"Hey, Zuster Hinchcliff...your dress is falling off."
6:16 AM (4 hours ago)
to me, julie
I wish I could say that was a part of an embarassing dream I had, but in acuality that was tactfully called out to be by an elder in my zone as we walked to the church for zone training on Friday. Fortunately my dress wasn't actually falling off my body. It was, however, bunching up and gathering around my rear end and waist as I walked. Yikes! Watch out for the powerful effects of static cling on tights, I know I will be! Fortunately experiences with siblings and wind lifting my skirts pre-mission prepared me for this one and the embarassment wasn't so zeer. Other than that revealing beginning, zone training was fantastic! It is an exciting time to be a missionary! I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but some years back one of the apostles/prophets on a visit to Nederland prophesied that Nederland would have 40 stakes and a temple. Currently there are 4 stakes and a temple. Working with these 4 stakes, our mission president has come up with a plan for us to fulfill the rest of the prophecy. I don't have time to write it all out, but I feel privileged to be a part of the Lord's great gathering work! This weekend Zuster Jones and I got to enjoy some of the fruit of our gathering efforts as our friend, Sara, entered the waters of baptism, made covenants with the Lord, and received His promised gift of the Holy Ghost. It was a beautiful experience for everyone present. I bear my testimony to you that I know the Lord loves His children and has provided a way for us all to return to Him through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As we follow Christ's example and keep His commandments we have access to that Atonement. To aid us in our efforts of obtaining salvation/making it possible, Heavenly Father gives His priesthood authority to worthy men. I am grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where that priesthood power is manifest to the salvation of God's children and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to share that message with this pocket of the world.
One last thought before I go. At our zone training an elder shared a story of a missionary who posed this question to his companion, "Do you have the faith to move a mountain?" The companion sputtered out some answer involving "if it's God's will" but was definitely wavering in his confidence. He then returned the question to the first asking if he had that kind of faith. His reply? "I do, and I'll be the first one over there with a shovel getting to work!" This experience reminds me of a few verses in James 2:17-18:
"Even sofaith, if it hath notworks, is dead, being alone.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."
Not really, but really. The temperature is cooling down to cardigan/light jacket weather, we've been listening to Christmas music lately (we don't have a whole lot of options and who doesn't love Josh Groban's voice?), and we actually celebrated Christmas in September as a companionship before Zuster Herring left for Den Haag. Zuster Jones and I thought it was so fun we decided to celebrate a holiday ever day this week, exciting! Haha so Happy Saint Patrick's Day!! We're celebrating it on Saturday, I'll let you know how it goes! This last week has been super fun with Zuster Jones. We were in the MTC together and know each other pretty well and our goals for our mission (we were running buddies at the MTC so we had a lot of good/deeps chats) so we're working hard to help each other be all that we planned to be! Which reminds me of my favorite quote by Elder Richard G. Scott, "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." Truth.
I have some exciting news to share! Our friend, Sara, is getting baptized this weekend!! We are really excited and she is the most exited of us all ('tuurlijk). She says the gospel of Jesus Christ makes her feel free and like she can walk on air. Great description! Sara's probably the most golden person I've ever gotten to teach and I really just feel privileged that Heavenly Father has allowed me to be a witness to her conversion. I love the gospel and I love being a missionary!!! I also love all of you very very much and am really excited that for a few minutes there our time on-line overlapped so we could "talk live." What a great day :)
I got lunch at a sandwich place the other day. It was pretty good, probably the best sandwich I've had since I've been here. It got me thinking on New Deli and how delicious it is which was a bummer b/c the sandwich I was eating in no way could even compare with what I've eaten at New Deli. Then I got thinking on the gospel and spiritual experiences I've had on my mission (and before) that bring me so much happiness and joy. Nothing else can even compare with what I've "feasted" upon (2 Nephi 32:3). It's pretty good motivation to work hard to have more of these experiences with more people (aka missionary work). What a great life I enjoy!
*Random side note, after eating my sandwich I craved an apple and after eating that chocolate...eat a New Deli candy apple for me would you? Apple pie apple or reeses sound great right now!
Speaking of New Deli, we have a family in our ward here from India (New Delhi), and we had just about the most delicious dinner the other evening with them. Since being in Antwerpen I have also enjoyed Labanese food, Italian food, African food (not sure which country...it was from a sketchy stand on the street. It was delicious though and I didn't get sick, so I'd def go back!), Belgian food ('turlijk), Surinams food, and today we're having Egyptian with a member for lunch, what great!
This week has been loaded with wonderful spiritual feasting. Monday we had a great FHE with members from our ward and our friend, Sara, over the Commandments. When we planned it that morning in our companion study we just combined a couple of things we had all studied during our personal studies, and it turned out to be just what a few of them needed! Love it when that happens. Tuesday Zuster Jones had an impression when our morning appointment fell through to walk to our back up appointment and on the way we ran into some members who were basically waiting/preparing for us to come over so they could feed us lunch. Sweet! After that we continued on to our back up where we met with a man who earlier expressed interest in the gospel. During the course of our lesson his brother and two friends came over and now we have second appointments with each one of them! Cool how the Lord works through a simple impression to walk to line things up just so perfectly and timely that we end up with four new investigators. It truly is "by small and simple things that great things are brough to pass." On Wednesday we had a zone conference (third one this transfer) in Rotterdam with President Kearon (he's in the area presidency) and it was amazing!! He focused a lot on the power of prayer and the importance of being enthousiastic and passionate for missionary work. It really got us all thinking about our aproach to missionary work and what we can do to improve. Zuster Herring and Jones and I were motivated to do more for our ward members and investigators and think outside the "norm." Thursday we had an amazing lesson with a man we ran into on the street and he is super excited to read the Book of Mormon and meet again this Thursday. Friday we had a zone prayer at 10:30 to better apply the power of prayer in the work and miracles were happening up and down the place! Saturday we had several awesome lessons with investigators and members alike and Sunday we implemented one of our new ideas for our ward. It's called "Iemand Houdt van U!!" and basically it's like when people back home "boo" each other with a plate of goodies during the Halloween season but only within the members of our ward and without the ding-dong ditching. The goal is that everyone in the ward recieves a plate of goodies and passes it on to unify everyone and spread some much needed love. The relief society president and her family helped us get it in action and every family we visited with a plate of cookies and a card loved the idea. We really excited to see it spread!! Another exciting occurence Sunday were transfer calls. Zuster Jones and I are staying here in Antwerpen together and Zuster Herring is moving on to Den Haag to another tri-pan. We've had a lot of fun together and I've learned a lot during this transfer so it's a bummer to be split up, however, we pretty much expected it so we made the most of our time together and I'd say it was successful. Anyway, there's an undetailed version of my week in kort review :)
I hope you are all enjoying the new school season and the new member of our family!! Send me more pictures soon alstublieft!! I love you all!! Tot volgende week!!
Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff
PS do me a favor and eat some New Deli for me! Give a shout-out to everyone there for me too and tip well, they deserve it! :)
Here are some quick highlights from my week in Belgium:
Graapjes (Funny things)
-Met the Belgian Betty White, she might even be funnier
-Saw Santa driving a tank in Kapellen
-After a lesson over the Book of Mormon, our friend, Sara, said a heart-felt prayer to know the truth. Afterwards we sat in silence for a few moments before she quietly repeated, "I know it's true," over and over again.
-For two days in a row we felt impressed to visit a particular person, and each time she wasn't home. That said, we were put in the right place to run into Noel, a man we've spoken with once before op straat. We had a long lesson with him and his wife on the side-walk and have an appointment for Sunday. Cool how the Lord sets us up to come in contact with the right people.
-We had eight investigators at church Sunday, four are people we are teaching and four are people the elders are teaching.
Well, I was going to write more about how missionary work is going here (very well), but then I received the most wonderful group of emails of my life!!! I am an aunt to the mostbeautiful baby girl since the creation of mankind!!! I am not just saying that because she is related to me, it's 100% true. First Melissa told me and I was like, "Well that's what you say and you're the mom so I'm not going to put a lot of stock in that..." Plus, let's be honest, most newborns are honestly ugly. That might sound harsh but it is nonetheless super true. But then I saw pictures of her and she's darling! Elizabeth Faye Rampton, the most beautiful baby girl since the creation of mankind :) And guess what?! Melissa and Kevin get to be with their beautiful daughter for time and all eternity! What a blessing and gift! Oh wow I am excited and proud beyond description!! Sorry you all don't get a "mission" email this week, but I'm a lot more excited right now by what Melissa and Kevin are doing to build the kingdom :) If their not the coolest people ever, I don't now who is. It's like one of the elders in my ward said yesterday at the prospect of one of the newly-wed couples being pregnant, "Why go out and find new investigators when you can just raise them?" Well done Melissa and Kevin :) Wat Leuk!!