Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Where has this week gone?

This week went so fast!! Nothing too crazy happened, it was actually kind of a rough week. A lot of my investigators cancelled on me. Which is really annoying because I´m barely even in my own areas as I´m often in Balona (my old area with my "old" companions).

Friday we had an exchange, I stayed in Balona Park with Zuster Zeegelaar and Zuster Jorgensen, and we visited people in our area. However I have been praying a lot cuz I really want to work in my own area, so then I can serve there too. I then had the impression to just call a bunch of members and ask if they have a day where they are always free so I can serve in Kwatta. I call a girl who is actually less active and has a lot of problems...but the Spirit told me very strongly that I need to ask her to be my companion for Friday. She seemed pretty excited to be my companion...however she was nowhere to be found that day .I was still able to see a few less actives in that area.

For example Broeder van Tholl, he´s in his 6o´s and cant walk anymore due to a heart attack.We had a very good lesson with him and his wife still comes to church. He told us how hard it is for his wife. As she needs to work a lot now  and take care of the grandchildren and basically do everything all by herself. But he has strong faith; that he will be able to walk again and he is making progress!
Our exchange was really good, I had a lot of fun even though many people cancelled on us, we were able to see others that were very grateful to see us.

On Sunday I had Zuster Verway as my companion for a few hours (shes a member) and she´s awesome! she´s actually my companions Zuster Zeegelaar´s older sister. I had an appointment with a less YSA (Young Single Adult), he did not open his door when we got to his home. Luckily another investigator Elisabeth lives at the back, so we decided to call her and ask if we can have a lesson with her.
We had a really good lesson about 2 Nephi 32, its a really good chapter. I than challenged her to get baptized on the 19th of March!! Excitedly she accepted and her son John will baptize her on that day.
After our lesson, we saw the boys father, whom we were going to see earlier. He than told us to wait and he will get his son. We had a good lesson with Amar (the son) and we will be working a lot with him to get him on the right path.

After that we saw Ramona, she is awesome as usual and she has a strong desired to get baptized however will have to wait a few years so then she can get married first. We do not want to encourage to get married at the age of 16. But I know that if she continues the way she is right now, her testimony will continue to grow and when she´s ready her baptism will be amazing!

After Zuster Verway dropped me back home, my companions handed me a note from a less active sister. It read. "Dear Zuster, I wish to be left alone, dont visit me any more."
My heart just broke into pieces, I still do not understand why she doesn´t want us to come anymore especially because she was starting to really understand the scriptures she was reading every day, came to church and we love her, we are friends.

I know that Heavenly Father has many more people waiting for us to bring them back to church!! I do not know why this has happened...but I do know to just trust Heavenly Father...and keep praying!!

I love you all, I hope every one had a good week, continue to read the scriptures, strengthen your testimony...let the Atonement change you!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book of Mormon is true!

Dear family,

I have no idea where to start, its been a bit crazy. Unfortunately my previous companion Zuster Jensen had to go home. I´m still very sad, it was so much fun to be with her and I´ve learned so much from her.

I am now back in my trio with Zuster Zeegelaar & Zuster Wood. Its been extremely stressful because we are working in 2 areas this also means we had to cancel on some people..its not possible to see every one.

However  on Sunday I asked a young woman in my ward if she can be my companion for the day. Beverley will be leaving this Thursday to go to the MTC. She has been assigned to serve in the Netherlands/Belgium Mission. But her visa has not arrived yet so after the 2 weeks at the MTC she will return to Suriname ans serve her until she has her visa. This is actually very helpful cuz it means I will hopefully get a new companion and than I can serve in Kwatta again! I do not know if Beverely will be my companion because that would mean that I´ve got to train her. And I do not know if I am allowed to do that as I´m still being trained.

Any ways so yesterday she was my companion and we met up with a few investigators and less actives. Kwatta is a crazy area. For example: we went to visit the K. family (the one where the father changed his taxi schedule in order to come to church). I jumped out of the car (luckily Beverley drives, so no biking accidents for me that day :) and excitedly yelled: Zuster K!!! All of the sudden this white car stops at their house. There are children knocking on the car window with panicked faces and mouthing something I couldn´t quite understand what they were saying! The driver then rolled down his window...yelled something...and drove off!
Beverley yells: "ZUSTER, COME INTO THE CAR NOW!!"
I quickly jumped back inside. Beverley locks the doors. Still confused and very much scared I asked her what was going on? She didn't quite answer as she was looking nervously out of the window. I then see 3 big men running towards the K´s family house. I ask again: What´s going on?"
Beverley than told me that the guy in the white car said that 2 Pit-bull dogs are running wild and attacking! I then watched these 3 men catching the two  Pit-bulls ( they were massive).
Normally I wouldn't be scared but the dogs here literally attack every one and every thing!

The Lord really protects His servants!! There has been so many times where I could have gotten really hurt by dogs, cars and many more! But I´m not scared that anything will happen!! The people here really need the gospel in their lives!! I know that our Redeemer lives, I know that the Book of Mormon is true because I have the desire to share it with others. I know Heavenly Father will protect me!!

That same day we went to see Esther (name changed), she´s a 14 year old girl, who´s gotten baptized almost a year ago. I met her a few days ago near a playground. She told us that she really wants to come to church but her Mom is against it and wont allow it. It was really sad because she began to cry. I asked if there´s a day where we can come over and talk a little bit about the gospel. At around 4 O´clock Beverley and I went by her house but her little sister told us that she was sleeping.
A little disappointed we went back to the car. Saw some more people. When our 7 O´clock appointment fell through... I decided we should try Esther again. This time she was outside, she invited us in and we started to talk about the Restoration. Than her Mom comes and says with a not so happy face: "Are you from the church where she used to go?" We said: "yes" at this point I was thinking: she´s gonna kick us out! She than said: "Okay, well I will allow Esther to go to church, as long as someone there can pick her up and bring her back home."

I was so relieved and just speechless when she said that! I could not believe it! When her Mom went back inside, I turned to Esther and said: "What just happened?" She then started laughing and said that on Saturday night she bore her testimony to her Mom about the church!!
She told her that she really wants to go. I was just amazed by this 14 year old girl! Later on she told us that she is almost done reading the Book of Mormon, she´s currently in Moroni 10.
Isn't she amazing?? She hasn´t been in church for a very long time but she continued reading the Book of Mormon and she prays every day!

I know that the Book of Mormon is true! I love reading it every day!

I´m sorry it´s a bit short today but I hope you know I love you all!

Book of Mormon: An Introduction

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

As Sisters in Zion... I´ve come to appreciate, whom taught me so much and whom I´ve learn to love and become friends with.

On the Lord´s errand... serving His people

I love the incredible people of Suriname

Chinese New Year and great experiences

with Cherry, the parrot

Today is Chinese New Year and every winkel (store) in Suriname is owned by Chinese persons there aren´t any stores or cyber places open, sorry that I´m emailing quite late. Unfortunately this also means I can´t get any groceries today but we should get some special permission to do it tomorrow instead.

I want to talk about the S. family today There are 3 children, oldest girl Shannon*, 2nd oldest boy Shemar*, and I dont remember the youngest boy´s name but he´s turning 8 soon. These 3 children come to church every Sunday! The two oldest are baptized and they are the sweetest kids you´ll ever meet. I love them so much!  Their parents are not baptized and do not come to church. They don´t even sit with us when we teach the the children. These children are a great example to me!! I am so impressed that they come to church by themselves, read the Book of Mormon and pray every night!! I love teaching them, we are trying to teach their Mom; last week we´ve had Family Home Evening with the kids. The Mom was at home so we invited her to come sit with us. At first she declined because she had a cough and she did not want to speak. But then I said that she wont need to talk, all she can do is sit with us and her children and just have fun.We had a little lesson about the importance of prayer and we made a prayer rock with the kids. It was so much fun and the even the Mom made a rock. I hope we will be able to teach her more with her kids as I know that the gospel blesses families, it will change their lives! They´ve got a parrot, Cherry, I´ve got a cool picture with it. (*names have been changed)

Zuster Jensen and I came up with an idea on how to receive referrals from members. We decided to try it out on Broeder (brother) E. he´s 72 years old and got baptized 6 months ago. We gave him a new Book of Mormon, challenged him to write his testimony in it and pray to whom he should give it to. We prayed together and after a few minutes has past, he was a little confused...he looked up and said: "I know who I should give this to" It´s a woman he greets every Sunday on his way to church. He was confused to why the Holy Ghost will tell him this woman because he does not even know her name! So we set a date to go together with him next Thursday and hand her the Book of Mormon. He is very excited now!! it is really cool to see members doing missionary work...something I looking forward to when I get back.

On Sunday we had Stake Conference, so interesting how different Stake conference is over-here. For example when people gave a talk, they would involve the members. Everyone would just have a good time and contribute to the talk. My Mission President was there too, which does not happen very often as he is always in Trinidad. Whilst a sister was giving her talk...all of a sudden this bat flies into the church and its freaking out. It started flying above our heads, it was kind of scary cuz I really did not want it to land on me!! The bat then crashed into one of the ceiling fans than a big brother stepped on it so it could not fly anymore...picked up the bat in a tissue and than let it go. As he was passing us though I could hear the bat just whimpering, it was pretty sad.

We are teaching a family who are recent converts, they are very poor and the father works on Sundays for a Taxi company. he told us that during the week he does not make any money but on Sundays he can get up to a 100 SRD, its still not very much to feed his family. But its 5 SRD which he can earn during the week...if he´s lucky. We´ve spoken to him about the importance of attending church and the law of tithing. Last week he told us that he changed his work schedule and will not be working on Sundays any more!! he´s so excited about it because he knows that Heavenly Father will bless him because of his obedience. The people here are just so incredible!! I could not believe his obedience and faith!!

I love you all, have fun and speak to you soon!!

Friends forever

Rainy days, not enjoying this much rain!

Friends forever

So it has been raining over here! At first it was fun cuz the water was getting above my ankles but after a while it got really cold and I didnt enjoy it too much.

Zuster Jensen and I have been serving 8 days together, I have learnt so so so much from her! This Zuster is amazing!!! She´s from Utah, loves mountain biking and is just the coolest person ever!!
 She´s been serving for a year but unfortunately because of health reason she needs to go home, I´m so sad she´s leaving I really do not want her to leave but I just know that she was here for these 8 days for me! She has helped me being a consecrated missionary!! This is what I love about her: she´s hard working, obedient, faithful, an amazing teacher and her testimony is incredibly strong!! I am just thankful that I was able to serve with her for this short period of time. Even though we haven´t served for a very long time...we´ve become very good friends and I feel like I´ve known her forever!!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bikes & Zone photos

On the road again...loving it

Zuster Vernes bike always has some problem...my companions helping me out

Suriname Zone

Crazy week

It has been so crazy this week!

As everyone knows I was supposed to be in Kwatta on Wednesday, however Zuster Jensen, my new companion, had health issues and had to travel to Trinidad to see a bunch of doctors. I was then told she´s going home. I started to pray a lot because she´s an amazing missionary and I really didn´t want her to go!  Her companion, Zuster Ashkraft, was still in Kwatta for one more day and I was able to serve with her in my new area and get to know investigators and members.
It was amazing! Every single person we had...the Spirit was undeniable strong! It was crazy and I will never forget that day! It got me really excited to serve there, even though I had no idea if that was still going to happen as Zuster Jensen was in Trinidad.
My "old" companions and I had now two areas  Balona Park (my old area) and Kwatta (new area). This was so stressful as there are so many people that we needed to see but we couldn´t be at 2 places at the same time. It was really difficult, we had to cancel on a lot of people. The distances between those 2 areas did not make it any easier; there was a lot of biking which just wasted our time.

On Friday I received a call from my district leader. He told me to pack my bags because Zuster Jensen was coming back! I was so happy to hear that!!She arrived on Saturday morning at 5 am, so she only had 1,5 hours of sleep; however she´s so cool it did not even effect her! As I was studying the scriptures she layed her hands on my shoulder and said: "Zuster Vernes; I just prayed and we will find a family who we will baptize." I was surprised by that so all I could say was. "Okay."

We than quickly got ready and started biking around. She told me that I should take the lead when contacting! I dont really like contacting very much; I always get really shy, but I´m working on it.
There was no one there except for this 1 lady. I jumped off my bike and greeted her. She looked like she was ready to "attack" me so we continued biking...still no one there...as we were biking suddenly Zuster Jensen stops at this house and yells:"Klop klop" (knock, knock I know its strange but people here do not have any doorbells and you can not knock on their doors cuz they either do not have one or cuz you can not go through the gate) A mother with 2 children comes out and we tell her who we are and what our purpose is. She really got excited and we made another appointment with her. She said that she was married too! Which is very unusual here. I don´t know if we will baptize her family but the Spirit was strong!

On Sunday after church we went to see Rose*, she´s 16 years old, has a baby an lives with her 20 year old boyfriend. Actually her boyfriend is a member but has stopped coming to church.
Rose loves the gospel even though she´s young, she´s really smart and very mature and a fantastic mother. She really wants to get baptized...but her boyfriend, Jason* however does not want to get married just yet. When we went by on Sunday; we invited Jason to sit with us...however he refused and drove off. Rose was really upset but we still had a good lesson with her.

Afterwards we decided to go contacting, again I took the lead and had the strong impression to go down this one road...so we went there but the only person outside was a Muslim woman, doesn't have faith in anything she said. So we continued biking. There were 5 massive dogs chasing towards Zuster Jensen and I...trying to bite us!! I started yelling at them which made them stop. As we quickly cycled away from those dogs Zuster Jensen says: "Hey, I think that´s Jason in his car. So she starts jelling: JASON!!! The car stops and to our surprise the guy in the car is Jason! It was the craziest thing ever...we biked to his car which was in the middle of the road, which is always super buy, however this time was not!
The Spirit guided us to what he needed to hear. Even though I was talking; it definitely wasn't me!! The words that I was saying was Heavenly Father´s! It was just the craziest thing ever!!! But I know that it wasn't a coincidence...Heavenly Father guided us to him!

Zuster Jensen already taught me so much. And I just know when we involve Heavenly Father in our plans...we can strengthen the Ward and change Kwatta.

I´m so excited to see what will happen this week!
I love you all!

Zuster Vernes

*The names of the people has been changed to protect their identity ( not by Zuster Vernes but by her Mom who keeps this blog)