Tuesday, March 29, 2016
"So, Sister Young how is your last transfer going?" - Elder Stevenson (in the most sarcastic and holding back laughter tone I've ever heard) You guys this is getting harder and harder to do... I have no idea how to start these emails or what to say. So much is happening in each day and I wish to share it all with you! Yet I look back at the week and it feels like such a blur that I ask myself, "What did we even do?" Here is some of those highlights that stood out: Tuesday.... oh Tuesday was a day I wish we had one of those drone things everyone is talking about. Or a secret camera that captures the entire day. We had a lesson with a guy named Fari, he is from Iran and in his twenties. He has been living in Nederland for 3 years and converted to Christianity awhile back. We taught him a first lesson and he accepted the baptismal invitation. But to add to this, I am about 90% sure he was stoned. His apartment just smelled of weed, he was wearing a weed hat from Amsterdam. Afterwards Zr. Bybee was so excited for him and just loved how it went. Don't get me wrong, it was a sweet lesson. I just did not have the heart to tell her I was sure he was stoned. It is just way too common here. Anywho he left for work, and I realized i left my glasses in his apartment. He was really nice and left work so I could get them. Fast forward about an hour or so and we are biking towards our dinner appointment. Another appointment went long so we were biking as fast as we could to meet with the elders. The phone started ringing, I looked behind me and noticed my companion was a whole football field behind me (that happens too often, I just don't realized I go so fast) and as I turned back forwards, a car which had no intention of slowly came pretty darn close to hitting me. And not even 3 minutes later, still hearing the phone ringing in my bag, i lost control of my bike and hit a crack in the bike path. My life flashed before my eyes. My bike did this really cool trick where it pops into the air, does a 360 degree flip, throws you off and then crashes into the ground. I ended up in the bushes, luckily there were bushes or else I would have fallen down into the main road. What a scratchy soft landing. I also found the local dumping spot for drugs, needles, and etc. So that's good to know. I hope you are laughing... it was quick the trick. To make it better, just picture a sister missionary just sitting in the bushes, thank goodness I have a helmet... not moving for a few minutes not realizing what just happened and then she just dies of laughter... that was me. Funny huh? Oh wait it gets better... we keep biking. We meet up with the elders and we keep biking. So farther and what is ten minutes later, we go over a speed bump, yep they even have those for bikers. We go over and my chain falls off, completely off! Front and back. A stream of LDS missionary swear words come flowing out my mouth... I look ahead and my companion and the Elders are just laughing their little tails off. I try fixing the chain but I needed some tools, so we walked the rest of the way. That is when the question came, "Sister Young, how is your last transfer going?" Ya know, it is one I will never forget... Friday we had a lesson with Jonathon, he was a self referral. We met up at the church, with the elders, and gave church tour. My poor companion was not feeling so good and she went to the bathroom, not to come out till Jonathon was gone. She wouldn't leave, and I felt so bad leaving her there. It also was weird teaching a lesson with just the elders and myself.. Anywho, we walked around the building explaining, teaching the first lesson as we walked. Answered all of his millions of questions. Now it might have just been me but I was feeling the spirit so strong. It was going pretty good, but then at the end something switched. I could just see it in him. He got really mean towards me, nitpicked at everything I said and put words in my mouth. I just felt the spirit leave. He made a comment "You are pretty bold to claim to be the only true church." A feeling came over me, and it was a moment of clarity, something I can't quite explain. Yes, that is exactly what I am claiming. I know with every ounce of my being this is the one and true church of Christ, which was restored through Joseph Smith. And I was going to give everything I had to testify of that. He was not walking out feeling like he won. It ended up being very long and frustrating. But we did all we could to defend and testify. I also am learning that I am becoming truly Dutch. So that is exciting... And I want to thank you all for your love, support and prayers. Know that we are okay, doing everything that we can to stay safe. My heart and prayers go out to those affected by such tragic events. The Lord is with us. I am thankful we were able to celebrate Easter this weekend. To be reminded for fully of our Saviour and what he did for us. I know He lives. "Be still, and know that I am God." -- Zuster Young The aftermath of the bike tragedy and my expressions.
Monday, March 21, 2016
Where to even begin about this week. You would think that a missionary on their last transfer would be confident, calm and know how to keep herself together. To be given a map and know how to get from point A to point B. To speak the language and talk to everyone they see. Think again... unless well then it is just me. Ya know, it could very well just be me. This just might be the most embarrassed I have ever felt in my life. So with that said, please laugh at the series of events I am about to share. Because you won't be the only ones laughing... Yesterday we were asked to give talks during the Wassenaar Ward (English) but during the Sacrament, the young men had just lined up at the end of the water portion and the fire alarm went off. I turned around and the look on those Deacon's faces was priceless. They looked scared out of their minds. Everyone totally confused, finally the Bishop told us to exit the building. The Zoetermeer ward was already making their way out, two wards all standing outside. After several minutes they tell to come back inside. But not even a minute later the alarm goes off again and back outside we go. Then several different people at different times asked if I set the alarm so I didn't have to speak. What the heck man?! When we finally did get back in, the Bishop came up to me and said due to time I didn't have to speak. HA! Saturday we had a Spring Deep Clean of the ward building. There were several tasks to be done. It kind of felt like we were back in the MTC where there was someone standing there with a whiteboard with a list of tasks and when one was finished they gave you another one. Our first task was to clean windows..Check. But there were several people, which is good! However, when we went back to see what more we could do, Br. Vis gave us the duty of scrubbing the gym floor. So we got on our hands and knees and scrubbed the gym floor. The bishops came by and joked that we needed toothbrushes and called us Cinderella. Friday Zr. Bybee was supposed to go to Brussels for legality things. Due to bad planning from the office and a series of stressful events, she didn't make it. We were on a train for 3 hours.... Again on Friday we just got done with a lesson with the elders. We were biking on our way to Zr. Van Der Scheer for dinner. First I almost fell off my bike trying to get on! Took a wrong turn, then fixed our direction. Then I heard a loud noise and my chain got stuck and I almost fell off. We pulled over and some wirey thing came off and got caught in the chain! It was terrible. I tried to fix it but one I was laughing too hard and second it was really stuck. We were by a canal and the houses on the other side, a guy came out and asked if we needed help. I had no idea how to explain it. He came over and had to go get big duty tools.... garden clippers and a saw. He then cut the wire thing out. Handed it to me "Alstublieft, as a souvenir." And walked away.... My biggest regret is that I did not bring my bike my last transfer and am now using a worse bike. We were knocking doors, a man opened, looked scared and motioned a cross with his hands and blessed us. Thanks kind sir, I needed that! One night we were walking home from the Tram halte when all of a sudden I heard this sound right behind us. Had been a bit slower in walking we would have been peed on!!! A guy up at the tram spoor was peeing off the edge... so gross! Friday night at our dinner appointment Zr. Van Der Scheer made a dish... one that she grew up on. One she was very proud of and loved. One she thought was the best way to prepare it. It was Sauerkraut.... with potatoes, hydrated fruit and lots of cream. Needless to say it was not very yummy... poor Sister Bybee did NOT like it! And I could tell, so I used my experienced missionary skills and shoveled it down, and being polite ate a second plate so that Bybee did not have to. Just had the worst taste in my mouth the rest of the night... sacrifices. I got us lost several times!! Asked several people for help, they thought I was nuts. I know the helmet doesn't help! But they all said that we need a new map. We also need an updated ward list. Twice this week we showed up at a house for a dinner appointment and they had moved. The best was when the man across the street came out and told us they moved. Looked like an idiot! Alrighty... whoa that was a lot. So now on a more spiritual and good note, we had pretty sweet experience. On the day I got us lost and we were all over the place. We stopped and ate ice cream. After that I saw a street and decided to go over there. (This is the street we got blessed at the door). Kept knocking and then we came to one door, the man came to the window. He is Catholic, yet never heard of our church or the Book of Mormon. We taught him the first lesson through the window, gave him a Book of Mormon and prayed with him. We are going back this week. It was a really sweet experience! And seeing how happy and excited Bybee was, was really rewarding! We are doing our best to figure things out. We have big shoes to fill here in Zoetermeer. I am trying to do my best to help Bybee... I feel like I have no idea what I am doing. Everyone here reminds me of how much time I have left... I see the days ticking away.. It doesn't feel like I am on my last transfer. I just hope you all know how hard I am working, or how hard I am trying to work. This means so much to me, and I know I am not the best or most talented missionary. But I am giving my life, absolutely everything I have to do what the Lord expects. To talk to as many people as I can. I love this work. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. But this is the closest to heaven and safest I have ever felt. Please never forget that there is a Father in Heaven who loves you. He is waiting to hear from you. No matter how hard it gets, he understands. You are so precious to him. Be humble and lean on Him. He wants to lift you and your burdens. I love you all... have a beautiful week and smile! -- Zuster Young
Monday, March 14, 2016
Dames & Heren, ik heb geen idee om hoe dit email te begin! Maar ik hoop dat alles goed met jullie is. Well the grand adventure in Zoetermeer has begun and it has been craziness! I have gotten us lost so many times, on Thursday we ended up outside of Zoetermeer in the middle of no where. Oh first an intro to my new companion: Sister Danielle Bybee from San Diego, California. This is her first area and I am thrilled to be here trainer... her companion. This girl is an answer to prayers, for so many reasons. She walked into the room at the mission office and I knew she was mine. We have clicked and already laughed so much. Small world though, she did a year at Southern Virginia playing Lacrosse the year after I attended. It is nice to be able to talk to someone about SVU and they understand! haha But she is gem.. Already has just a great grasp on the language and is brave to just go for it. Greenie fire.. it is a real thing! I am really excited to be working with her. Zoetermeer is a beautiful place.. among our many bike rides of being lost we came across the temple. It was a tender mercy... and then to bike a little further and get lost again but see Captain Moroni pointing out from the trees ahead was so special. This city has been my dream city to serve in and I feel honored to be here. It is a bit stressful whitewashing, but we are making our way around. We are covering two wards, Zoetermeer and the Wassenaar Wards. The Wassenaar ward is all Americans, a few British, so you can call it the English ward. The wards overlap a bit, so we had to split up during the last hour for Zoetermeer RS and Wassenaar sacrament. I went to sacrament meeting... it was all in English.... all American English... the hymns... the sacrament prayers... Sorry but I am not going home now... too weird to have church in English. I felt like a misfit! I mean I can't really point out why it so weird is. Yet, I just did not like it. As I looked around you can definitely tell they were Americans with their Chevron patterns, Vera Bradely bags, the girls hair is all braided and big bows and flowers... But they are super sweet. Most of them are here for the Embassies, or Shell company. Super smart people! We had a dinner appointment last night with a couple who are diplomats and have lived all over. they speak like 4 languages, their kids all speak different languages. They are originally from Colorado. We had an American Easter dinner... Ham.. I have not had Ham in since America! Our ward mission leader for them says he is an accountant but he looks like a UFC fighter and actually is an undercover spy for the US government. We have dinner with them on Saturday and he said they are making real American Steak!! They get it from the American base in Heerlen.... yes!!! Man this is the perfect place to transition to go home. haha We have big shoes to fill here so we will do our very best. I just want to say, there is has been a big change since coming here. This is the final minutes of the big game. Now having a greenie i have truly had to step up to the plate... and it is amazing. I am getting to feel that I have come a long way, I do know what I am doing. I can make a difference... just feeling good and loving every minute. I am truly trying to set a good example and do things I have never really done, or things I am always hesitant to do. I talk to the very first person I see. One day I did that and we got a referral. Friday I got us lost after a choir practice in Den Haag (which how did I get roped into that? Why do they think ALL missionaries can sing? We are singing for the Stake Easter Concert) anywho I got us really lost and it was already 930 pm. We had to wait for a tram for 15 minutes and then travel another 45 minutes. But that whole time we talked to people and it was a pretty sweet experience. Toeval bestaat niet! We have gotten 7 referrals... so we gotta get them contacted!!! We did weekly planning and we are pumped for this week... we are gonna see miracles. Work harder than ever before. We went and visited a recent convert named Ton, he is in a wheelchair and truly has the biggest heart. From the moment we sat down and started talking to him I was overwhelmed with the Spirit. Tears were coming to my eyes... the more he spoke and shared his story I was so touched. We then listened to a talk and this feeling overcame me even more and I just cried. This moment of I can't go home, this is why I am here. This man right here. The Lord was speaking to me through this man... just to meet him was amazing. I hope to make these last few weeks the best of my mission... so far they are. But there is still the mission home... Hope y'all have a beautiful week!! Remember that you too can make a difference... -- Zuster Young
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Transfer Verdict: ....drum roll please.... I am leaving Lelystad, picking up a beautiful fresh out of the oven greenie and heading to white-wash Zoetermeer!! My last 7 weeks will be by the temple, training and remaining the Sister Training Leader for the Den Haag Zone. 😶 I was speechless... my poor companion Sister Jensen, now she has seen some weird things come from me. I mean I am a weird person... but Saturday night I was freaking out.. completely dumbfounded, sucker punched! I have been telling everyone I would be staying and training. It was heartbreaking to tell people and going to church on Sunday was so emotional. Here is how my weekend went: Saturday night: Middle of weekly planning, and President Bunnell calls. Lays the news on me and I accept. I hang up the phone, toss my pen in the air and just sit on the floor for a solid 10 minutes. We had no idea where to begin. With an hour and half to spare before our lesson with Charlie we start making a plan for packing, making a white wash packet, clean and meet with as many people as possible for the next 3 days. And mostly thinking of how am I going to tell Charlie? Met up with Charlie and went to Burger King to get ice cream... Oreo ice cream 'turrlijk! After a few minutes, of ignoring it and just avoiding the subject she brought up transfers herself. Broke the news... charlie and I cried... people giving us crazy looks! Charlie turned to Jensen and asked her to say a prayer. That spot there in the Burger King in Lelystad Station became a special holy spot. Charlie means the world to me, and she has come so closer to the Lord. She is the reason I was here in Lelystad. I have found a sister. But I knew in that moment I have done all I could for Lelystad. Sunday: Alright if you are fasting, I advise don't cry a lot.... you get the worst headache! Now here is where it gets really funny... but heartbreaking. They broke the news that we both are leaving, everyone knew that Jensen was, dun she is going home. But as for me, a total shock. There literally was a gasp in the air and heads turned. They asked us to bear our testimony. Jensen went first was up there for a solid 10 minutes. I was nervous, holding back tears and waiting for the right moment. As there always is, you make a move to go up but someone goes. Sit back down. After another 15 minutes I finally get up, but my foot got caught so I almost fell on my face. I jumped and made a gymnast move like "SAFE!" and was laughing at myself.. so was every one else. As I walked up I felt the tears coming, oh man... I smile and say : "I will keep this short... Thanks and Bye!!"with peace signs and make the motion to walk away. Everyone laughs but I turned back to bear my testimony. I stood there for what felt like eternity and just cried. I could not find the words, every time I tried to speak more tears came. Why is leaving so hard... especially Lelystad? That moment when they grab a tissue box and bring it to you... ah! I finally was able to speak... now please do not take this is any prideful way on my part... as I looked at the congregation all I saw were tears. I had only said a few words, but my favorite people, the members, whom I love were in tears as I said goodbye. I have felt like I have not done enough for these members, there is so much potential here! I want to do so much for them! I felt like my time was taken away. But in that moment seeing their tears, it was humbling and comforting. A few others got up and bore their testimony and making a comment about me leaving.. also with tears. After sacrament meeting members coming up, with tears in their eyes, playing with my hair, rubbing my cheek, hugging me to death, all said it was unfair. Thanked me for the impact I have had... they all know I don't believe them, or see what they seem to see. Even a woman, not a member, a friend of Sister Prins, comes to church, cut my hair and just getting to know, came up in such tears in her eyes. Did not want me to leave. Why? What have I done? But it was truly a humbling experience... these people who I love so dearly all told me through their sweet gestures and tears that I, yes I Zr. Young was here for a reason and had some sort of influence in their lives. Lelystad has become family. To end my testimony, thinking I was doing good said "..this is my prayer... oh wait this is not a prayer.. this is my testimony... amen." I again made a fool of myself and filled the chapel with laughs... Sat down and Charlie called me and "Awkward Cupcake".. another member leaned up and said it was good to know that there are other people just as embarrassingly emotional. I truly do fit in with these people. My heart aches... is so torn. But then I am so excited about this new adventure... the grand finale of my mission. I would not trade any of this for anything! The sun is shining more and more each day... even through the endless Nederland rain. Funny moments: - Sitting at Burger King, a man who lives in a group house with a less active, came over to say hi. I told him that I was leaving. He was drunk... you could smell it. He rubbed my cheek and said he would miss me. Ahh... awkward!! - Teaching Angelique's kids "When the Mormon sisters pray, prayers get answered." - This week my chain on my bike has fallen off 7 times! - Walking (because Jensen and I both had a flat tire, my fault... well the pumps fault. We do not have a good pump and it just took out the air!) Anywho we were walking and this old man biking, pointed at me and with a thumbs up shouted "Beautiful Braid!!" - Now I eat my feelings... so before anymore comments come about my gaining weight... I know!!! I am in Europe and it is hard to control the portions thy give you. Plus they have great chocolate! And I eat my feelings... so when I get too much of any feeling I go to the kitchen and make things. These last few weeks I have baked so so many things.. and eaten them! I got a ton of pictures so sorry for the overload of a long email and millions of photos! Ik hou van jullie! -- Zuster Young My freakout with transfers