We had exchanges again this week, and this time I stayed in Assen and Sister Verdegem (who usually works in Apeldoorn) was my companion for the day. This was actually my first full day in Assen without Sister Woodbury, and it's comforting to realize that I do indeed know the area well enough to not get lost, to know what to do next, to lead the way. I love Assen!
|This was an advertisement for a flower shop in Zwolle that was super beautiful!|
We had a cool experience this week where a member family asked their neighbors if they'd be willing to let us practice teaching our lessons with them, and they totally accepted- so we got to teach them! So we had a member present lesson, they already had a relationship of trust with each other, the members trusted us with this awesome referral- it's the most ideal situation possible in missionary work. We could knock on a hundred doors, and if for just one person our message brings a ray of hope in a time of darkness, it's worth it. But it's so much more effective for everyone to see that we're normal people who are just dedicated to God and sharing what has brought us so much hope and happiness, and that idea can best be communicated when we're introduced by friends.
That arrangement was even more fabulous because after the lesson, we all went over and had dinner with the member family, and it was pannenkoeken! Can you imagine pancakes for dinner? But they aren't like American pancakes. Instead of being thick, light and fluffy, they're thin and sturdy. I don't really know how to describe it- kind of like crêpes, but less fragile. Anyway, they're delicious. They had savory dinner ones with cheese and bacon cooked in, and then just normal plain ones what we could cover with syrup or powdered sugar. Dinner, and dessert. I love it when that happens.
|Bridge in front of the huge gorgeous ancient Zwolle statehouse building|
Also, this week we were invited to an incredible, elaborate, fancy birthday party for a pair of one year olds. It was awesome. We go over a couple times a week to help a bit with this family since it's kind of hard to manage one year old twin girls while being pregnant, and their mom knows how to throw a party! It was awesome to be at a lovely restaurant, to be involved in helping the girls and for the other guests to see how trusted we are. Sister Woodbury and I both got to share some of our beliefs and have really cool conversations with different guests, and this is another example of how much nicer it is to talk to people who already view us as friends, not random strangers trying to push a religion.
The last most exciting thing that happened this week was Turkey Bowl! We got together as a zone in Zwolle to play good American football/ultimate frisbee and to eat a dinner together. It was really fun- all my years participating in ward turkey bowl back home paid off and I felt like I contributed to my team. But we're missionaries, so we don't keep score haha. Anyway, it was a blast! Also, Sister Woodbury and I got to Zwolle early to try to email at the library there- sadly, it wasn't open, but happily, Zwolle is a beautiful old city and it was incredible to wander around before the turkey bowl started, appreciating the gorgeous buildings and eating fresh croissants. So that was pretty cool. Also, on the train ride back from turkey bowl Sister Woodbury and I sat on the floor with the six missionaries from Groningen and we all played Bang together. It was awesome.
|I climbed to the top of a rope structure thing on a playground while we waited for the other missionaries to come to turkey bowl|
|Playing Bang on the floor of the train. Only four out of the eight of us are pictured here haha.|
|Our Thanksgiving dinner! Elder Hirsch, Elder Rasmussen, and Elder Rozendaal as the crazy photobomb|
So, it was a good week! There are still challenges and stressful moments, but overall we are so blessed with so much work and such miracles here in Assen. My experiences this week have definitely made it even more clear that missionary work is most successful when members and friends are involved. Thus my encouragement to everyone is that we need to open our mouths! Share what's important to you with those around you. We never know who might be interested or how much it will mean to friends or family that we thought of them with something so central to our lives. Heavenly Father wants us to come closer together, to form stronger bonds of friendship and love, and the Gospel should always facilitate that. I'm so grateful that I can be here dedicating all of my time an energy to sharing this message of hope! At least for this specific period of time. I can't believe I've already been on my mission for almost four months!
|A really cool old door to the statehouse building|
Until the next week/tot volgende week,
PS: Also, I've noticed something funny that became especially obvious at our zone p-day. Some combination of me introducing myself in Dutch/missionaries pronouncing everything the Dutch way means that even when American missionaries are speaking English, they still say my name the Dutch way. It's pretty obvious in English how we say it, but in Dutch it's "f-oh-ss." So I don't ever really get "Sister Voss" from anyone except missionaries from my MTC group. Everyone else says "Sister fohss" so to speak. It's pretty funny.
Also in my post from a couple weeks ago, did I mention that I was drinking rooiboos tea, a herbal tea from South Africa? That might be important to mention.