Zuster Young

Zuster Young
Zuster is Dutch for "sister", which is a title used for female missionaries.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ik Ga Verder

Even snell deze morgen! So we had a bit of a crazy week, we have found several potentials and have two new investigators. We were out doing look ups of former investigators. Now none of the people we had set out to see where home, but we 2-2-5 the house (which is you knock the two both to the left and right and then five across the street). It was cool because it was always the neighbors whom we had contact with and they are people who are planted seeds. Now not all of them, but always the neighbor. They knew who we were and had a Book of Mormon. Some of which were not ready, some it was the mom of the former and she had never heard of us and we gave her a Book of Mormon. Then we come to Teresa.... she has been here in Belgium for a week (when we knocked her door it wasn't even a week). She is here from Ghana visiting her father for the Holidays. Deciding if she wants to stay or not "It depends on how nice you treat me!" She welcomed us right up and in her home.She know who we were, she has LDS friends in Ghana and has seen the missionaries there. We sat on her couch and then her father came out: The dad: "Are you Jehovah Witnesses?" Us: "No sir, we are the Mormons." Dad: "Oh then you are WELCOME, please stay and sit. I will come join you soon." Unfortunately he didn't join us, he was on the phone. But good to know we were welcome! haha Teresa was raised Methodist and loves God. We taught a first lesson. She was a bit distracted on her phone but what was special was when we got to the First Vision. Zr. Robbins did that part and I just saw Teresa put her phone away. She was so excited and felt honored that we gave her a Book of Mormon. She then ran and grabbed her bible, asked if we would be coming over more often. We prayed, she said she would come to church this week and we set another appointment. Wednesday we went and visited Familie Van Steenbergen. They are an older couple in their 80's, due to Br. Van Steenbergen's health he can not make it to church. We walked in to the living room and there he was sitting in his chair. He had the biggest, brightest smile I have ever seen. You can't help but to smile and feel loved. They told us all about their family, how they met the missionaries and their life together. After a while Zr. Van Steenbergen's sister and husband showed up. They joined us and we just talked. Br. Van Steenbergen told stories about when he was in the military. His trips to the Congo. He was the one who played the trumpet. They pulled out photo albums. Br. Van Steenbergen is a hilarious man, the definition of young at heart. While he went to the bathroom, the brother-in-law went out to his car and brought in his Horn. When Br. Van Steenbergen returned and saw the surprise, his face lit up. The brother was playing it and it was very cool. Then Br. Van Steenbergen asked to try to play again. Now the brother had to hold it for him, and with his other hand he could push the key things. He hasn't played in over 10 years and he began to play TAPS. It was a little rough at first, but he was determined to get it again. And he did. Oh it brought me to tears. We pulled out our hymn book and sang "Abide with Me", the brother played it on the Horn (oh they are not members), the sister tried to hum along. Afterwards Br. Van Steenbergen sang "Abide With me Tis Eventide" all by himself in his sweet old Flemish, the most beautiful rendition I have ever heard. The spirit was undeniably there, the whole house felt warm. I was asked to say a prayer. I let the spirit guide as I prayed for this family and especially the sister and husband. When I was done, I looked at the husband and he had tears in his eyes, silently clapped and thanked me. As we left Br. Van Steenbergen grabbed my hand and held it very tight. He just smiled and looked at me, for what felt like a long time. The spirit hit me and all I saw was this young man in uniform. A moment I will never forget. Alright now onto Sunday, lets just say Sunday was a hard day for me. I will be honest with you all, I was laying on the floor downstairs and I was just in tears. I was having a hard moment. Just dent Bunnell called and I talked to him for a bit. I love that man. Afterwards it was like a switch had been flipped. We made several phone calls, were able to get ahold of referrals and people we have been trying to get in touch with. We filled up our schedule for the week! We ate dinner and then went to look up another referral. While biking I was doubting it would be positive. We rang the bell and he let us right up. While standing and waiting for the elevator a thought popped into my head "Why did you doubt me?" And then I knew we were walking into something special. And so here we have Rong Guang Li, Li for short. He is from Xian, China. He in Belgium since June and will be here for about a year. He has a wife and a son, who are still so the son can stay in school. Anywho, Li was in London touring around when he was stopped by the missionaries there. They took him to the visitor's center and showed him videos about the family. Which touched him. They took his information and here we are. We sit down and get to know each other and then jump right into it. He has no Christian background knowledge so we had to explain things very simply. It was very special to be a part of. The spirit took over because I explained prophets and the Joseph Smith story in ways I have never explained or thought about ever before. Clearly the spirit knew what to say for him to understand. You could see the gears turning, the spirit working on him. He agreed to baptism and was very sweet about asking how long this will take. We asked him to pray at the end, and because he has never prayed before Zr. Robbins said one and then he said one right after. I could see the spirit, the house was getting brighter. Li is golden. A prepared son of God, humble and meek like a child, finding the truth. A man from China, were religious things are lacking and harder for him to find the missionaries to have come to Europe, at the point in his life were he is ready. Now this is a huge testimony builder for me that Heavenly Father knows E A C H of his children. Where they are and what they are doing. As we walked out the door, that pure joy they talk about in the scriptures, I was feeling exactly that. A complete transformation from 2 hours before laying on the floor. While biking home, biking so fast because I was just so excited! I was thinking, and it is those moments, those people that make all of this worth it. All the tears, stress and frustration totally worth it. This is why I am a missionary. The Lord has not given up on me, or any of these other people from all over the world in a small town in a tiny country. So I will not give up on him. Never forget who you are and where you come from. This week was hard, I felt like I was slipping into the darkness again. Falling and I couldn't find my way. Not wanting to step out the door. How could I? What do I have to offer? But if you make yourself available, he will make you capable. Each time I stepped out the door, The Lord sustained me as his servant and we were saw miracles. His work is moving forward. I know that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am a daughter of my Father in Heaven. I have weaknesses and challenges, but that is because Heavenly Father knows I am strong enough to handle them. Zo, Ik ga verder. -- Zuster Young

Monday, November 23, 2015

Don't Get Peppermint Oil in Eyes!

To start I just want tell let everyone know that my companion and I are safe and sound. I do not know how much y'all are aware of things going on over here, but it is pretty crazy. Granted I myself don't know alles. Being a missionary you are kept out of the loop and just gather your own tidbits. First for a couple weeks we have been hearing about things getting rallied and hectic in Brussels and in Paris. And then we heard about the attack. Gradually we have seen Belgian soldiers multiply and police officers wandering. They are everywhere. But don't worry, they bought waffles in Antwerpen Centraal so we know they are well nourished! Sirens are constantly going off. The security level has reached its highest point here in Belgium. We received a phone call last night cancelling our Zone Turkey Bowl. Jammer. However it is for our safety, the Belgium Missionaries are not allowed to travel outside their areas. So no District Meeting. Double Jammer. And at night we need to be careful or make sure to be inside because they are patrolling the streets. Now I am in little ole Turnhout, not sure what could be done here, but it is for our safety. I honestly don't know so much about everything that is going on, I am just a missionary without access to the news and I am just trying to share the gospel and help people find happiness and peace in this crazy world. Alright on to brighter and more uplifting things. I would like to boldly say, this was probably my favorite week on my mission. Left and right we were seeing miracles. To begin, our Branch is doing de Maand van Wonderen (The Month of Miracles). That is where for the month of November, we had members sign up one day of the month, so each day was full, and that member or familie fasted that day for missionary work. At the end of the day they call us asking about the miracles we have seen that day. Granted they just wait till Sunday to ask, but at least they are actually fasting! So marvelous things are unfolding here in Turnhout: Woensdag- Traveled out to Hoogstraten and did some look ups. Now Hoogstraten is a tiny dorpje and we walked the whole dorp x2. We walked a lot that day, it was great. Here in this little dorp we gave away a Book of Mormon, talked to several people and found a couple new potentials. The best was we had a referral from the "Finding Happiness" campaign. We walked to the edge of the dorpje, saw the houses going down in number. We are standing across the street from where our referral lives. House number 10. It is a strip club!! No wonder they are looking for happiness. So what do I do? I go on over and walk around the side to where the door and mailbox is and ring the bell. Zr. Robbins was in total shock. Unfortunately...maybe fortunately... no one answered. But I got a nice little kick out of it. That night we had a dinner appointment with Familie Van den Berg, who live in Hoogstraten. Zr. V/d Berg is from Brazil. And they have the cutest 2 year old twin girls. Needless to say I was getting a tad bit baby trunky at their house. After dinner Zr. V/d Berg came out with us to work and we ended up looking up a part member family. They are from Angola so Zr. V/d Berg could speak Portuguese. This family just moved into a new home and the wife, Julianna was really happy that we came. We sat and got to know her better and shared a message with her. Well during our visit her 10 month year old son started crying and well, she just popped her boob out and started feeding him! No warning and BAM! So needless to say my baby trunkiness was rather quickly diminished! I can wait a few years! haha Donderdag- On exchanges with Zr. Dobler. We had a few really good lessons with LARC's (Less Active/ Recent Converts) that day. We came home for dinner, and in all honesty I was wiped. I had a headache, no zin om buiten te gaan. Zr. Dobler asked me what the plan was and I had no idea. So I knelt down in prayer next to my desk. Immediately the thoughts came to go out. But I started to wrestle God in my thoughts. Justifying and trying to prove my point, saying I don't know where to go. But then a thought came: "I am giving you the strength, go out! Just trust me, step out and I will lead you." So I quickly humbled myself and submitted to the Lord's will. We went out and I decided that we would go look up a referral from the campaign. She was not home, so I rang the bell of her neighbor. Fernandez came down. This man is from Angola. He kept talking about how he knows our church, was talking about the members he knew, and how he sees the missionaries all the time. We were the 4th set of sisters to show up on his door. He thought it was some crazy toevalig. We kept testifying of the plan of God, and how he works in mysterious ways. After several minutes of going back and forth and much confusion we found the conclusion that he, himself is a member!! He was baptized! He has the Book of Mormon in 3 languages. We taught a lesson and said a prayer with him on the door. I was just awe struck as we walked back to our bikes.. This is why we had to go out, it had over about over a year since the last missionaries came to him. Clearly Heavenly Father led the way and brought us to him. Of course God has brought so many missionaries to him. His is trying to get his son back. I was hit with the spirit standing there, truly the worth of souls is great in the sight of God, even one, every soul. He cares so much about Fernandez and has kept his eyes on him, trying to help him get back on the right path. Think of the lengths Heavenly Father has been going through just for Fernandez, what lengths is he going through for you? Zaterdag- We had a dinner appointment in Merksplas, and we arrived about 30 minutes early. So we started knocking some doors. In that 30 minutes we gave away 2 copies of the Book of Mormon, found 3 potentials and set up a return appointment. Whoa. Enough said. We went to dinner at Familie Nwafor (husband is Nigerian and the wife is Dutch). Saturday was their day to fast, look at the miracles in their own neighborhood. And then they told us of all the missionary work they are doing. We did a spiritual thought about sharing the Book of Mormon with our friends. We practiced sharing our testimonies and inviting them. One of the most powerful dinner appointments. Benedict (the son) and I had been playing soccer in the house before dinner. But we were able to sit down and laugh with each other and then switch and the spirit flood the home.It brought tears to my eyes. I had this moment, of "this is what it feels like to be a missionary. This is who I am." A sense of pure joy. Living in Belgium has its perks, but also its faults. It has the best chocolate in the world and well... the members come and leave us surprises at our house. SO much chocolate that we cant even open the gate. Oh no... it is not even Christmas yet, I am going to gain so much weight. Just a warning now!! Alright, I have already taken so much of your time with such a long letter. Thank you for all your love and support. You gotta tackle life one day at a time. There are no expectations, and if there are they are only between you and the Lord. You are his child. All that matters is if you make yourself available, He will make you capable. -- Zuster Young Benedict and the Elders
Belgian Soldiers
Faa trimming my hair
The Referral... aka Stripclub

Monday, November 16, 2015

Yellow Shoe Trail

Howdy! Hope everyone had a great week! I heard that Ronda Rousey lost her first match this last weekend... dang. Her next opponent better be on the look out, she is gonna come ready to kill! Well another week has come and gone... It is crazy how fast time is flying. I am officially "old" in the mission. Not the coolest feeling... but hey it is what it is. Alrighty what happened this week: Spent P-day in Antwerpen with most the Elders and Sisters. Were very touristy and went to the best chocolate bar in the world. "There is more to life than chocolate, but not right now." Transfer morning: Now the night before we just had a party with the Antwerpen sisters... if you know me the later it gets and the more tired I get... the weirder I get. So needless to say it made for an interesting night! But Transfer morning, my ultimate Four Man all sat around each other. We sang a hymn. Zr. Johanson and Zr. Faa sang "Walk Tall" the young women camp song. Let me tell you what, there was not a dry eye in the room. Our Four Man was being broken up... we had the most special transfer. I am walking away with 3 sisters, not just companions, but sisters. We all were being stretched and pulled in our own various ways. Together it was the hardest moments of our mission, our life. Yet, the most sacred moments. Never before have I been so close to my Father in Heaven. To have been side by side with my sisters, angels, fighting the good fight. Knowing the Lord was on our side. I know I can speak for all us when I say, last transfer we were torn down and by the end were walking away knowing that the Lord himself was building us back. With our heads held high we know the fight isn't over. There are dark days ahead, but we know who we are. And how special it was to have been transformed. It was sad to see Bradley go, but she is on to bigger and better things. This was a sacred transfer. My new companion is Zr. Robbins.... my dream companion! No lies. Delisa Gallego, she is so much like you! Reminds me of you all the time! We have just laughed so much. Ridiculous! I am really excited for this transfer. Turnhout- Where to even begin? I love this city and this Branch. I gave a talk yesterday, "Why am I a missionary?" I hope it was good. This branch is so full of amazing people. The Branch President got up and even called us his own children. Turnhout is 7 baptisms away from becoming a ward! So that is exciting. But Robbins and I have made it a goal to strengthen the members and reach out to less-actives. I am excited for the work and know that we have the support from the branch 100% behind us. Well Saturday night we got checked on the bus by the Police... but we are legal so no worries! Fun fact for the week. I am legal. 9 Wees geduldig onder benauwingen, beschimp niet hen die u beschimpen. Bestuur uw huisgezin in zachtmoedigheid en wees standvastig. 10 Zie, Ik zeg u dat u een heelmeester voor de kerk zult zijn, maar niet voor de wereld, want die zal u niet aanvaarden. 11 Ga uws weegs, waarheen Ik ook wil, en het zal u door de Trooster worden gegeven wat u zult doen en waarheen u zult gaan. 12 Bid altijd, opdat u niet in verzoeking komt en uw loon u ontgaat.13 Wees getrouw tot het einde, en zie, Ik ben met u. Deze woorden zijn niet van een mens, noch van mensen, maar van Mij, ja, Jezus Christus, uw Verlosser, door de wil van de Vader. Amen. (De Leer en Verbonden 31) Ik kan belofte dat mijn zending is helemaal niet wat ik heb verwacht. Dit is ook de tijd voor mij beter te worden. Zoals Enos, "Ik knielde voor mijn Maker neer en ik riep hem aan in machtig gebed en smeking voor mijn eigen ziel (Enos 1:4). Altijd een antwoord komt. Hij kent mij. Ik ben in het juiste plek. "Ik ben een kind van God, door hem op aard gebracht. Hij heeft een veilig thuis en ouders lief bedacht. Ik ben een kind van God, toch voel ik mij heel klein; begrijpen wil ik heel zijn plan, een voorbeeld altijd zijn/ Ik ben een kind van God, Hij geeft mij toch zoveel, als ik maar leer zijn wil te doen, wordt zaligheid min deel." Daarom ben ik een zendeling. Zuster Young
Catherdal In Antwerpen
Chocolate bar!
A member from Antwerpen is a train conductor!
Sometimes... you fall asleep during a prayer.
My new companion!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Baptisms and Wedding Feasts

Transfer Verdict: Staying in Turnhout, new companion Zr. Robbins (: Alright what a week we have had! Simply two events took place down here in Belgium: 1- Our beautiful Polish investigator Emilia got married on Saturday. We were able to attend this grand event. A Polish married a Romanian, in Belgium. Soon, there will be no such thing as culture! We will all become one! haha Anywho, she looked beautiful. SO many polish people, they are a loud and party some people. We first went to the Gemeente Huis for the official marriage of the law ceremony. And then we walked across to the Market Square to the giant cathedral for the church ceremony. That was pretty cool to see a Catholic wedding... interesting. Yet it was nice. But all in all it just reminded me of how much I want a Temple marriage. Now I am not saying that I am trunky and want to get married... alstublieft! But it was a testimony builder for me, that marriage is something of sacred value. Although the wedding was beautiful, there were distractions left and right. No one truly listened to the Priest. A Camera man was recording everything and was walking all over the place, in front of things and all over the church. It seemed and felt very man made. Are you picking up what I am putting down? It was sweet to be apart of a polish wedding and be there to support her. Who would of thought that coming to Belgium you would get to witness a Polish wedding? 2- The beautiful Ann was baptized yesterday! We traveled to Anterwerpen and there she was sitting on a table in the kitchen, trying to calm her nerves down. Yet she was so excited. As she was getting ready I saw many members from the ward, all of whom gave me a huge hug and were very surprised to see me! In all honesty I thought the ward wouldn't even remember my name, I was just a greenie. That was a long time ago. Maar kijk, my time in my first area hasn't truly ended. It has continued on my whole mission. I was sitting next to Zr. Boegarts, who put her arm around me and said: "Do you remember that dinner appointment we had a few weeks ago and you came? That was the strongest most spiritual moment of my life. Don't you forget it. (Points her finger at me and then motions towards Ann) That is why you are here. You are needed. Now if that is the only reason why, just know how important that is." I just started to tear up, the spirit hit me so strong. I realized in that moment that I have been an instrument in the Lord's hand. I haven't done anything, I have simply told the Lord that I will do his work and will. I strive to be worthy and functioning to be able to do just that. And because of that determination I have been blessed to see and feel Him work through me. That I can still be me and that is all he asks and needs. A mission is a very interesting things, with Zr. Bradley getting ready to go home, I have done a lot of reflecting as well. This has not been my mission to do the Lord's work. It has been the Lord's mission to do his work on me. I have no idea what the future holds. I have handed all of my wants and desires over. All the cords have been cut. I am here to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. How sweet it is, to see his sheep find their way. Thank you all for your love support. I have felt your prayers and thoughts, there have been very many weak moments but I was lifted. In those moments when I felt my Heavenly Father the farthest away, that was when I was carried. Thank you again. I love y'all, and miss jullie! Fijne week! -- Zuster Young
Selfie with the bride and groom.
The Hall entrance of the Turnhout Gemeente Huis... Turnhout birthplace of the playing cards.
Turnhout District- Zone Antwerpen Soccer Champs.
Antwerpen Sunday Walk.

Monday, November 2, 2015

365 Days

Dude, I have been a missionary for a year now! You already know we celebrated with the traditional burning ceremony. Pictures to come at the end. Well we have had a crazy week, spent a lot of it traveling and in Antwerpen. So first I want to share a couple moments from the week: 1-Spent all day Thursday helping a woman in Leuven move into her new house. Man it brought back so many memories of the years of moving. I am a bit sore... let me tell you. 9 missionaries, a senior couple, and then this woman. It was a party! 2-We got back in contact with some investigators. One of which isn't progressing, but it was good to see her. Another family, we had gone out to contact but I thought we should go look them up. As we turned the corner, Agata, the daughter walked out the door. She was walking to pick up her brother from school. We walked with her and then afterwards went back. We saw the mom, who is getting married this week so there was all sorts of Polish and Romanion family members there. She was super excited to see us, we had a lesson. It was short and sweet, the spirit took over. At the end everyone, even though we couldn't quite communicate the spirit did and we all knelt in prayer. 3- In Antwerpen working with Zr. Johanson: walked off the tram and started walking down the street. I saw a woman walking our way, I pulled out a card and stopped her. She heard our accents and asked where we were from. This woman is from Detroit, Michigan. She was cool, on the way to pick up her child from school. We talked for a bit, really open and has an appointment. A woman, from Lebanese parents, born in Detroit, married an African and lives in Belgium. Never heard of the church and two American girls stopped her in a street in Belgium. Oh how the Lord works... 4- Now fast forward about 30 minutes in the same neighborhood. It is a beautiful October afternoon, standing on the sidewalk in a Belgian neighborhood, surrounded by houses and trees. Leaves falling. Parents with their kids coming home from school. We contacted another woman, she knew who we were because she had talked to Elders one time before. This woman was very interesting. She continued to talk about the Mexican Mafia. Now my whole time on my mission I have never heard someone bring up issues from the South America. And she talked about issues and things and we just stood and listened. There was even a little girl who fell off her scooter, I got down to help her up and the woman didn't even stop, just kept talking. Now during this conversation, she kept looking at me. I felt like she was looking into my soul. I had no idea what to say, I was trying so hard to follow all that she was saying. So finally I just said: "I know what you are child of God. He knows you and knows what you are looking for. He sees you trying." I saw the tears water up in her eyes and a smile come across her face. I was hit with the spirit, and I know she felt something too. Religion is kind of a touchy subject here, so I had this impression that she doesn't get to talk about her feelings, thoughts and what she is looking for. She is trying and looking and then we came. We listened. I thought of Christ and when he was on Earth. He listened to people, he didn't force a first lesson on them, he listened to them and then said what they needed to hear. Left it up to them. That was our experience with this woman, we could only listen because maybe that is what she needed, told her of God's love and testified of Christ. We fulfilled our purpose in that moment. I hope she holds on to that feeling. 5-We are having problems with the plumbing... whats new? There are always things wrong. The Zone Leaders showed up in onesie suits and a plunger! 6- Waiting the Markt Centrum of Turnhout for Jenthe for the JOVO Fireside, there was a drunk old man who came up to us and went off about Hillary Clinton and money. Kept laughing... and then walked away and told us not to forget him. I never will. 7- Saw Agnes this weekend... I love that woman! She is doing good! Okay now I will share an insight from my studies this week and my testimony! Whoa this is long... sorry y'all! Mosiah 4:27 "And see that all things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength and again it is expedient that he should be diligent that thereby he might win the prize, therefore, all things must be done in order." I have left to come to Belgium to teach the word of God. Yet the preacher is no better than the hearer...we are all equal. I too have left my labors and all I have to be here. But I too am just as important as the learner. I am not just a teacher but a student. Now go to Psalm 37:23 "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." Please don't forget that you are in the arms of the Lord. He knows all that you are doing, he walks with you. But you must realize that you cant run faster than you have strength. There is a purpose for all things. Sometimes it might be a little hazy, you have stumbled, or the lights have dimmed but don't give up. He has you in his hands. -- Zuster Young
So the fire...een totaal mag niet! maar is goed! Het was echt leuk!