zaterdag 21 oktober 2017

Time for stories

Alrighty, time for some stories!

It was awesome to serve with sister Chandler. She sure can work! When we whitewashed the area it was pretty tough, A lot of people that were being taught didn't want to meet with us anymore. therefore we spent a lot of time on the streets. We met more bloodthirsty dogs than humans, but everyday we had a tender mercy. Step by step we managed to expand our teaching-pool. Also, you really know when you're serving with a Hawaiian when the first thing that's being said when we come across a plumeria tree: 'those flowers will make some beautiful leis'. she literally collects flowers anywhere and can make a lei with any kind of flower. I am such a proud mom for having such a talented daughter (when a missionary trains someone, the missionary is referred to as mom or dad, and the trainees are daughter or son). 

Also, we have some pretty creative elders in our area who can make reading the scriptures a lot of fun. For example: Who was the First Avenger? 1 Thessalonians 4:6 :)

Funfact: Chickenskin is actually an existing word here in Hawaii. Who needs goosebumps when you can have chickenskin? :)

and of course, the most important story of the day: Some members of our ward went online and bought me something Dutch! Muntendrop. Yum. I am trying to share these delicious treats with others but no one seems to really like them. It's all good... They're just rejecting my culture. No big deal... BUT, the more muntendrop  for me :)

Story time to be continued.

vrijdag 13 oktober 2017

Short update

Hi everyone,

Time flies and I don't have a lot of time to write.

So here is a picture of a tortoise and a dog. Because why not?



and a scary haunted house


Other than that life is going well. I am still in Ewa Beach and very busy with a lot of things.

dinsdag 22 augustus 2017

Dinosaur

It was time to go to the Tabernacle in Honolulu for transfermeeting. I met sister Maghanoy, who is going home. I also met sister Modolon who is going home next transfer. Time sure flies, again... My new companion will be sister Chandler. She is Hawaiian! Local Power! Just like Amulek in Ammonihah (Alma 10). That must mean I am Alma ^_^ I look forward to work with her!

So here we are, in the Ewa Beach 1st area. It's always very sunny and hot. We are both new to the area, so obviously we were getting lost so once in a while. But it's all good now! It's really fun to discover a new area together. We get to know the members very well and we try to talk to as many people as possible because we don't know anyone yet.

In the 3 weeks that we are together we have had experienced a lot of things already:
- An inactive member for YEARS walks up to us to ask if we can visit him and his family.
- I played pickleball.. Who knew it existed? I didn't... It's fun.
- A lot of people who were genuinely interested in the gospel were placed on our path. One wanted to change and do better, another one wanted more peace and comfort, and others wanted guidance for their family. they all recognized that the gospel of Jesus christ can help them with that. How amazing is that?
- we're getting super tanned.
- The Book of Mormon is awesome and true. With that knowledge, everything else falls into place.

Also, Jurassic Park and World are filmed over here... And I can testify to you that dinosaurs are still on this island. We have to battle these ferocious creatures everyday!



Lastly, A little moment for all the amazing opportunities that I had to think about my wonderful flat country (sometimes on the picture it looks like Luxemburg, but in real life it's dark blue!)






maandag 24 juli 2017

Kuku

Aloha!

Time sure flies. The transfer is almost over already. 
This time the importance of the Book of Mormon really stood out to me again. I mentioned eralier that I really can see people's life change when they read it. It is the keystone of our religion and when you come to find out the Book of Mormon is true, everything else falls into place. 
This goes very well together with President Thomas S. Monsons talk last General Conference (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/the-power-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng) where he puts emphasis of gaining a testimony about the Book of Mormon. Last stake conference (a big meeting where a lot of congregations from the area come together) the members got a challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 100 days. Recently we got the same challenge from our Mission President. Challenge accepted!

I remember one time when I was in Belgium on a mission how I described how I almost died (not really, but just to be dramatic) due to the heat. Well, I am in humid Hawaii, in the summer, on the dry side of the island, it's essentially a desert here.... My tolerance for the heat has most certainly grown. But I am still almost dying. It's all worth it though :)

Some amazing things happened:
People randomly step into the chapel on Sunday and ask if they can know more about the church (of course!);
Someone who recently got baptized got her patriarchal blessing;
Another one got her temple recommend!
And maaaaaany things more!

Some other notes:
1) Some people might think Hawaii is paradise on earth... Let me give you one good reason why Hawaii doesn't live up to that reputation. Let me introduce you to... This!



​These little pokey thingies (Kuku or something) are a nightmare. I thought stepping on lego was bad... This is 100000000 times worse. One little pricky thing in your foot and you're knockout (not really, but it hurts).
2) You know you're too far gone when you are writing in your journal and try to think of the word flashlight in Dutch. I failed... Zaklicht? I needed a dictionary... shame on me.

woensdag 28 juni 2017

Busy transfer

What a transfer! Due to circumstances I got to serve with sister Karitea (Kiribati) and sister Lybbert (Orem, Utah) as well in this transfer! We had the privilege to go to the temple because it was the last week for sister Karitea before she finishes her mission and goes home. There is no temple in Kiribati so we had special permission from President to go. As always it was very beautiful and peaceful and enlightening! It really makes me realize how grateful I need to be to have a temple in the Netherlands. It always seemed to be a long trip, but it all falls into perspective now.



Also, HAPPY FATHERS DAY!
I miss my awesome father, but it's a good thing how our Heavenly Father can always be reached at any time! I really like a talk of someone in church past sunday:
the F is for friend
the A is for ally (I forgot this one, I think it was ally...)
the T is for teacher
the H is for hero
the E is for example
the R is for rock
Yup, fathers have the potential to be awesome. 


Also I keep being suprised by all the random licenseplates in Hawaii:
WIFEY
BAK UP (This was quite amusing because we were stuck in traffic and this car was in front of us. We get the hint...)
PURPL (And it was a yellow car.....)
and much more. This makes driving a lot of fun. People can be very creative.

Other awesome news:

The seeker of truth was baptized!! It was so awesome. She is a 59 year old lady and sprinted to the baptismal font. We could barely keep up with her. She was so happy and so were we. This is the best part of a mission :)

And of course,.... Pearl Harbor time! This time we got to fax supersecret files (not really, but it sounds more exciting this way) and organize them. We were in a little nice room with AC. nothing to complain about!



Update on transfers: Sister Lybbert and I will be staying together and we will be covering both Makaha ward and Waianae ward. Good thing we had a warming up already!

zaterdag 27 mei 2017

Another month passed

This one day I was going to the store (on pday of course) and decided to buy a basketball. I figured I should practice my non-existent basketball skills (still throwing the ball korfball-style) in the United States, because it's pretty popular over here. I go to the store and buy this awesome basketball of the Wilson brand (I might re-enact the same friendship with this basketball as Tom Hanks did with the volleybal). Guess what... Transfercalls happened and my new companion is going to be Sister... Wilson! Personal revelation right there! I am excited to serve with her because we already knew each other from the Big Island. I am going to miss my sweet little Brazilian companion as well though.

I finally found out what Xing on the road means.... (X represents cross in case you were wondering)

I love how one of our investigators went to church and she was introduced as investigator. She didn't like the term. She said: what am I investigating? A crime? 
Good point...
We will refer her now as a 'seeker of truth'

This transfer I really want to testify about the elect. The people that the Lord has prepared to receive the gospel.
D&C 29:7 talks about the elect and D&C 33:6 goes into more detail who they are.
We really found one of the elect people and it brings one of the most beautiful feelings a missionary can have. 
No matter what we teach or talk about, that person already knows or recognizes that the teachings make sense. All we need to do is to bring it to that person's remembrance and we get to experience to the joy and change that the person is going through.
The gospel is awesome, being a missionary is awesome. I can highly recommend it ;-)

I would like to share with you some awesome jokes that I heard from my companion and another member of the Church that must get you giggle at least a liiiiiiitle bit

1) 
Did you know the oldest computer can be traced back to Adam and Eve?

It's an apple.

It had limited memory

One bite and everything crashed

2)
What's the number for the Garden of Eden?

1800-ADAM-812 (read out loud)


Lastly I want to give you a challenge: Who is this Pokemon?

dinsdag 18 april 2017

week 38-40 Waianae

Allrighty, time to write again. Another 3 weeks have passed and a lot has happened!

I am a little too late, but better late than never: there is a new and powerful eastervideo (https://www.mormon.org/) called the Prince of Peace. Besides pondering about the awesome message it contains, I challenge you to find out why my Brazilian companion was so excited :)

And of course, I can not forget to mention... General Conference! I loved how they talked about the (importance of) the Holy Ghost, how we must keep on doing the little things to strengthen our testimony, and of course every missionary if superhappy when their investigators see and hear the talk of Elder Costa of the Seventy (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/to-the-friends-and-investigators-of-the-church?lang=eng). I wonder why... Maybe you should click on the link and find out for yourself!

It was also amazing to see three young lades being baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. They are amazing and learn to fast. It really makes your heart melt when they say they want to be baptized again because it felt so good. I just look forward to see what the future has in store for them. Yup, life as a missionary is awesome.

And... Templetrip! this time not to the Kona temple, but the Laie temple. Together with the Makaha sisters we drove past the Dole plantation, through a suuuuperlong driveway, and arrived safely at our destination. Of course it was an amazing experience. So lucky to be in a mission with 2 temples.



​So pretty...


​Suuuuuuperlong driveway

Some other things to mention:
- I finally got to include a Disney movie in a lesson! All those years of practice finally payed off.
- I saw a gas station called Freedom BI
- I had to swallow my dutch pride a little as I prepared delicious pannenkoeken and someone calls them crepes...It's all good. I got over it.
- After a heavy rainstorm we got to enjoy the company of many cockroaches. One mega big mutant cockroach included.

That's it for now. Have a good week!

dinsdag 28 maart 2017

Still alive!

That sure was a long time ago! I am sorry. I'll try to be more consistent. A lot has happened, so let me give you an update.

I had to leave my dear Honoka'a to go to Waianae on Oahu. I will probably die of the heat, but that's ok. I will leave all my possessions to my parents, except my cats, They will go to my younger brother. All joking aside, it's really amazing here, and so is my new Brazilian companion sister Modolon. She is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and literally talks to everyone. We probably know about everyone in Waianae now. The people are kind, the members are awesome and hardworking, and we have lots of opportunities to share the gospel with people. What else can we wish for?

We saw so many miracles happen this transfer: 
We step on people's doorstep right when they needed us;
we found a guy during our morning run, that we often met in town, and he's interested in learning more about the gospel;
A bedridden member is preparing to go to the temple, and the joy we see in her eyes because of it is priceless;
Someone we never met called us to ask if she could come to church (.. of course you can!);
I had finally the opportunity to serve with sister Topp for a day. Our brothers served together in the Scotland-Ireland mission and the younger sisters serve together in the Hawaii Honolulu mission;
Again we get to see how the gospel changes the live of many people;
And muuuuuuuuuuuch more.

In this transfer I was remembered again on how amazing and important priesthood blessings are. I witnessed both a blessing to administer to the sick and a blessing of comfort. In both cases it brought such a peaceful and calm atmosphere in the room and in the respective person. It really make me grateful for my father, brothers, and friends who are able to do that.

We also had a service project with the zone in Pearl Harbor. It was a great experience. I was part of the cleaning crew and got the see a lot from the ship on the inside.

Picture: Pearl harbor

Some other things to tell:
Lesson #2: Don't go tracting during some fancy UFC game either
I have reached the point where the abbreviation WoW is not World of Warcraft anymore but the Word of Wisdom

We had to defy many ferocious creatures and had some fluffy plufpuffs barking at us
Picture: fluffy dog
Picture: small dog
Advantage of Hawaii: having the most beautiful areas to study if you don't have time to go back to the apartment

Picture: beautiful Hawaii

And last weekend we got to hear that sister Modolon and I have another opportunity to serve together for 6 additional weeks. Looking forward to it!

donderdag 9 februari 2017

Week 26-29

Hello again! Yep I am still here. My updates are getting less regular. Sorry!

What to add to the things I've already said....?

A lot happened this transfer, so be ready!

First of all, we had a lot of meetings and training!

1) Zonemeeting: the whole zone is coming together and receives training from the zoneleaders. It is always good to be reminded of what we have to do as missionaries in order to help the people around us come closer unto Christ. We ourselves need to experience how to repent first in order to teach it to others for example. We also got to be introduced to the new missionary schedule. exciting!

2) Zoneconference: this time four zones come together. We were lucky because it was in Waimea so we didn't have to drive very far. Faith, your own conversion, and how obeying the commandments will improve us as missionaries and the people around us. Much more happened but I'll give you a brief summary ;) It is so much more awesome if you're present.

3) Stakeconference: where all the wards and branches from one stake (Kona stake for the win) come together. It was really nice on how members can help in the missionary work, how the temple truly blesses your life and how you can stay strong in the gospel.
One of the points to stay strong in the gospel is to be present with your family. I was thinking about that. We had a good testimony meeting last Sunday about families. As a missionary we don't get to be with our own families, so at first it seemed a little bit tough. But then you really realize that we as missionaries get to be part of many families on our mission. We meet members and investigators who share their times of trial but also their times of joy with us. In turn they get to experience ours. They really feel like family and I am grateful to be on my mission and to meet them. And even though Hawaii is pretty much the other side of the world, families are still the same. I am grateful to Heavenly Father to give us families and I am grateful for the gospel to provide us with a way and with guidance to be most successful as a family. I am also grateful for the temple to strengthen us as a family and be sealed for eternity. So much to be grateful for! Speaking about temples...

4) Templeconference: the whole zone goes to the temple together. Again we were lucky enough to do family sealing and also endowments. 

What else happened...? I went on an exchange with sister Blackner. I got to learn a lot from her, even though it was only one day. This is cool because we are kind of sisters. If a missionary trains you, she is called your mother. Technically I have 4 mothers (Nyakoh, Mercer, Stewart-Chester and Barber). They all were my trainers before I finished my 12 weeks of training. Sister Blackner was trained by Barber. So technically we are 1/4 sisters? I can't wait to meet my 1/4th niece. (Blackner also trained a missionary) or my other 1/4th sister (Barber also trained someone else) This is kind of confusing... On to the next point!

P-day experience: Waipio valley! this time we hiked aaaaaaallll the way down. It was superslippery in the morning, but we survived. It kind of looks like Jurassic Park, but luckily no dinosaurs attacked us. All good. And yes, I am wearing my Dutch soccer shirt! But unfortunately people still ask where I am from.. :( That's ok..




Again I got to meet a lot of new amazing people.

Aaaaaaand... This super sweet young lady got baptized!!! It was such an awesome experience to see her walk in the baptismal fond and her boyfriend baptizing her. She was really prepared by the Lord. All sister Maghanoy and I had to do was to teach her and bring things to her remembrance :) Did I already tell you she is super sweet?

And lastly a missionary lesson: It is not wise to go knocking doors while the Superbowl is on. Suddenly the super kind and friendly Hawaiians become more private. More Dutch.... Do not disturb :O

woensdag 4 januari 2017

Hawaii: Week 24-25

Here I am again! transfer calls happened.... tumtumtum.. Both sister Maghanoy and I are staying in Honoka'a. She is my first companion that I will serve longer than 6 weeks with, woow. What to do?I guess we'll keep doing our best! it's going very well here and we are making lots of progress.

It really is a lot of fun to teach families. Each member has its own questions and you can see the blessings the gospel is able to provide for them in this life and the life to come. This reminds me every time how blessed I am with my family as well.

It is also a special experience again and again how quickly people are willing to share very personal stories with us, young strangers. We get to hear a lot of stories where people went through hardships and trials, and they go through it a different ways. Some still mourn for their loved ones who passed away, while we also met an old lady who sees the positive in every situation. She is for example now able to cook and sleep whenever she wants because her husband passed away. That's also a way to look at it xD

This transfer we had zone conference! all the missionaries of the island gathered because we only have 2 zones here anyway. Mission president Bekker and sister Bekker, and Elder Curtis and sister Curtis were present as well to give us inspiring instructions. Now, it took me a long time to realize that "For unto us a child is born" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is only one verse in the Bible (Isaiah 9:6).... Learning something new everyday ;)  

This period we also got to enjoy a little of the island again. A lovely member took us for example to Kona (we went to a museum about Hawaiian history and nearby was a city of refuge (where in a certain way the principle of repentance was applied)) and to ancient fishponds. Very beautiful. We also drove past an ancient building where people used to be sacrificed.... :O Sister Maghanoy and I also went halfway to Waipio Valley but had to turn back halfway due to lack of time. Now the way up sure was steep and exhausting. Stolzekleiven in Bergen suddenly is an easy climb (I might exaggerate a little, but you get the point :) ).

City of Refuge in Kona

​Area with ancient fishponds. There were some eels as well and they sure aren't the prettiest fish I've seen

Now lets close this message with the holidays! First, happy birthday to me and my brother of course. second, merry Christmas (mele kalikimaka)! the houses were very beautifully decorated. there was lots of food (I need two airplane seats when I get back home), and the members gave us lots of Christmas presents. That was very sweet and thoughtful. They truly feel like family already. We also had a nice Christmas service in church where we were able to think of the birth of Christ and his atoning sacrifice. there was narration and music done by the members and we were able to listen and enjoy. Lastly, happy new year! With new opportunities coming our way, let's do our best this new year!