First off, sorry my emails are not consistently on Mondays. Sometimes we switch our P-days and other times it's a holiday so all the libraries are closed and we have to wait until later in the week to email. This last week it was because it was Tweede Pinkter Dag. Pinkster is Pentecost and even though Nederlanders are for the most part far from religious they celebrate Pentecost (when the Apostles received the Holy Ghost after Christ ascended into the heavens) on Sunday and have a second day on Monday. This actually is one of several religious holidays celebrated in Nederland. Many Nederlanders have no idea what the holidays actually represent anymore. The irony is sad, but at least there's a remnant of religion around them all.
This last week was SUPER busy/unusual for us. We had a sisters p-day on wednesday and all the sisters in our mission in nederland and belgium gathered together at the mission home for lunch, facials, and an exercise class taught by Zr. Brubaker. It was super fun and afterwards we did a companion exchange. My companion, Zr. Jeffs, went to Gouda and another sister, Zr. Welch came with me to Haarlem. Zr. Welch stayed the night Wednesday and was my companion for all of Thursday. Thursday was chalk-full of appointments and it was fun to introduce another missionary to some of our investigators. Also, Zr. Welch and I are pretty similiar so we had a lot of fun swapping stories back and forth, and she is a super great missionary so I learned a lot from her. Two things I really like about Zr. Welch are that she bears her testimony simply and boldly with everyone! It was so cool. Also, she doesn't speak the greatest Dutch (it's not bad, but not great) she doesn't let it discourage her, she just goes for it and talks. I think that is just the coolest example and have been talking a lot more since being with her. Because we had a lot of appointments Thursday, we were biking around a lot, which is normal. What wasn't normal though was warm temperatures and clear skies we had Thursday. We weren't expecting such nice weather/were not prepared and definitely got sunburned. On the train ride back from Dordrecht were we exchanged for our actual companions, a black man walked over to me, put his arm beside mine to compare our skin color, laughed and then said "almost" and walked away. Haha it was super unexpected and funny. Friday I had to go to Belgium to do legality paperwork (aka sign a piece of paper) so we left our apartment early Friday morning to get to Den Haag where we were meeting up with a group of other missionaries who needed to go to Belgium for legality. Zr. Jeffs stayed in Den Haag with one of the sisters there and then I trekked down in a giant van with the other sisters and elders. The "road trip" was fun, the legality work quick and boring, the sun hot and intense (I got burned again), and I was getting antsy because on the way to Belgium/in Belgium we didn't get to do any actual missionary work. Luckily Zr. Jeffs and I got back to Haarlem in time to have dinner with our bishop's family and one of our investigators. Saturday was back to missionary work (Hurray!) and then Sunday Zr. Jeffs and I got to sing "I Know that my Redeemer Lives" with our investigator Fabien. The ward loved it and Fabien enjoyed singing for them so much she asked when we were going to do it again! I don't if I've told you much or anything about Fabien yet, but she's great. One day we were out in the rain on our way home from a rather discouraging day of missionary work. Fabien was walking on the sidewalk with her headphones in and Zr. Moses and I biked right on by. Luckily, Zr. Jeffs jumped off her bike and started talking with Fabien. She invited her to church, gave her the address and then we continued on our way, forgetting about her in the next few days. Then, what to our surprise, two Sundays later Fabien rolled up in church! She's from Ukraine and doesn't speak any Dutch, but she speaks English so Zr. Jeffs translated the meetings for her. Fabien loves church. She started taking the lessons and now we're hoping she'll be baptized at the end of June. But guess what?! So this last Sunday we sang with Fabien in sacrament meeting and sitting in the congregation was another person we'd invited to church a month or two ago on the bus who again just rolled up into church one day. We have an appointment with him, Gabriel, this afternoon. Sunday was a great day.
I really love being out here. I love being a missionary and I feel like I'm getting to a point where I am finally getting comfortable with the country, the language, myself, the Dutch, the work, everything, and am actually being effective. Life is great.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
Love, Zr. Hinchcliff
P.S. as I sat down to start writing this email, I happened to sit by one of our former investigators! Haha there are no coincidences!!