Monday, June 27, 2016

Made it to the airport - June 27

So many things happened...Monday night President & Sister Egbert picked us up (me & Zuster Parker) around 2 am, seeing as Zuster Parker and I wouldn´t get much sleep anyways, we decided to simply just not sleep. (We slept for an hour) 

Honestly, it was a lot of fun talking all night, however this was our biggest mistake ever!!! As we were checking in the lady told us that our flight will be taking off at 2:45 this point it was still 4 in the morning. They said that our airline doesn´t fly in the mornings anymore. Now you would think that they would notify the passengers, but they did not. Anyways, long story short, Pres Egbert called our Zone leaders and told them to pick us up. By the time we got back home it was 8 am, they then told us that we will be picked up at 9 am for district meeting. So, then we had one hour of sleep, after district meeting we started driving to the airport, made a quick stop at McDonald's drive thru, and then the "fun" began.

A family started living in a house that did not belong to them, the owners returned and obviously demanded them to get out, but they refused. They then started throwing out the owners furniture and values out on the street, sat down in the middle of the street and start cooking food. As we were still quite far from the airport, we didn´t quite know what to do; we were debating whether we should walk to the airport as we would otherwise miss our flight.

 After 3 pm the traffic seemed to clear out, we got at the airport around 4 pm, luckily our flight hasn´t left yet, as none of the passengers were able to make it on time due to this very strange situation.

We did not get the chance to proselyte in Aruba as we barely made our connecting flight. However Curacao was SO much FUN!! Of course the highlight was...seeing my Wela and my uncle Renè!! Although it was also very strange as I am a missionary.

I got to teach with Hermana/ Zuster Ramirez (in the blue shirt), she is awesome. Their mission, bike with mountain bikes, which was pretty scary! I fell twice! (You will hear this story more in detail in our next Skype session) It was so cool teaching some people in Dutch and then Hermana Ramirez would speak Spanish or Papiamento. I was quite surprised as I was actually able to understand quite a bit (Papiamento is the language spoken on the islands and my mothers mother-tongue), however I was glad that I was called to a Dutch speaking mission. The people are so nice, I love them, but at the same time it was very weird to be in Curacao. Obviously, Curacao is so more beautiful than Suriname. There are definitely a lot more poor people in Suriname, which is very sad, but at the same time...humbles me.

I  love serving in Suriname, I love the people here, I have learned so much from them! Even though I have grown up in a completely different culture, it amazes me how well I fit in here.

I was also sick (luckily none of the mosquito diseases) for a couple of days, which meant I could not go out. I hate staying at home and not being able to do the Lords work! But I am feeling better so I am excited to go out and teach!

So here´s the story about the I was/am sick I cant taste anything, while I was drinking it, I thought to feels thicker than usual and I could not remember when I bought it. So, I then asked Zuster Jorgensen if she can smell it, she took a quick whiff and said: "Yeah, that is definitely expired." Now, that wouldnt be that bad if only...I had a few sips, but that certainly was not the case...I drank the whole thing...A few hours later, I did not feel good!

                                         Zuster Jorgensen  has reached her one year mark!!

                                                            We were a bit bored ;o

I love you all so much, hope everyone had a good week! Speak to you soon!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Wela/Grandma in Curacao June 22

Had the opportunity to spend almost 2 hours with my Wela (86) and uncle RenĂ©! We had such a good time together! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Leaving Suriname June 20

Zuster Parker and I will be leaving Suriname for two days. This is only happening because of our visa. So, on Tuesday, we will be flying to Aruba, we will then have some sisters pick us up to go teaching with them. Then they will have to take us back to the airport and we´ll be flying to Curacao, we´ll have to wait at the airport for two hours, then we´ll be flying to Trinidad. We´ll arrive in the middle of the night, our Mission President and his wife, will be waiting for us there, they will be making us midnight snacks and..oh my.. Sister Egberts food is amazing! 4 hours later and we will be flying to Curacao and will be there until 6pm and guess what!!! The senior couple there will pick us up and I am allowed to see Wela (my grandma)!! I am so excited but of course we will still go out teaching!! Mom you have to give all the information to Sister Egbert :)

Then we will be flying to Aruba again and will have to be at the airport for 2 hours. And on Thursday, very early in the morning, we will be back in Suriname. I cant wait this will be so much fun! I'm mostly excited to just also get to teach other people on different islands and meet more missionaries.

Something crazy happened last Saturday: my companion and I are responsible for filling up the baptismal font, this can take a whole day the water pump isn't very fast. We normally split this into 2 or 3 days as it is such a long procedure. The day before we got a very specific referral from the Elders. The member who gave this referral told us the street where the referral lives with the house number, he told us what to talk about which was what our purpose is here on earth and why we have trials. And told us what time we had to contact, which was between 6 and 7 pm.

However, as we were having breakfast, we got a call from our Zone leader and he told us that there will be a baptism today. Of course my companion and I are freaking out as we wouldn´t be able to fill it up as much as it needs to be! Immediately we biked to church, started filling up the font and sadly cancel on a lot of people as we cant leave the church. Now baptisms start at 5pm, I have no idea how in the world the font was filled by 4pm. It honestly was a miracle as it is just not possible for the water to run this fast!

Problem #2 occurs...which is we have to drain the font, this also takes 3 hours if we are lucky and then we have to go home or else it will be past our curfew! Now we are still freaking out, and not quite sure on what we need to do as this was the only chance to contact the referral. And again second miracle happens the font was emptied by 7 pm!! We then start biking crazy fast to this referral.

3rd problem occurs...we cant find it! The house number was like 389 and it was nowhere to be found! It simply did not exist. We then tried calling this member and ask him to describe the house. He says it´s made out of stone and it has like a tent in front of the house. For any one who hasn´t been in Suriname...this description is basically every single house!!

Frustrated Zuster Jorgensen and I bike the street up and down, at 7pm is point it is getting past and the sun is down, it was pitch black. We then finally decide to pray. A man came out of his house and asked if we needed help. We told him the house number and the persons name, he told us that the house numbers have been changed, he used to be 187 and is now 23.  With this information we try to find it.

My companion recognized a house while we were biking once again down the street that we klopped (knocked) at in our first transfer together. (During our rescue project finding the less active and bringing them back to church, however this old lady very rudely rejected us in the pouring rain) And guess was raining like crazy again, we klopped at the same house, the same woman again very rudely rejected us, then we asked if she knew the person we were looking for, she then says yes, they live across the street.
We klop and a woman comes out, we introduce ourselves, she looks at my name tag, starts laughing and says: "You are the sister of Elder Vernes, right? Well he taught me with Elder Zwart (not sure if it was him or Elder Koenen) And I got baptized."
She then also said: "You came just in time as i only just got back from work, if you would´ve gotten here any earlier, you would have missed me."

Sometimes, okay actually, a lot of times when we plan our day, it never goes the way we want it to be. Heavenly Father gives us these trials and cancelled appointments so then we can be just in time to meet up with the person that need us most!

Another cool experience is when we taught our investigator, we taught her the restoration, in her closing prayer she said: " Heavenly Father, help me join this church and become better, help me to understand the Book of Mormon better."

Another awesome success...3 of our investigators came to church and also a lot of less actives, it was just AMAZING!

On my left, a young woman, Jamay 14 yrs, she has read the Book of Mormon & the Bible 7 times! She and her mom are the only members in their family. And she has read Jesus the Christ, only been a member for 2 years, her testimony is incredible, such an example to me. She shares the gospel with every one and I mean every one! I love her so much!

I hope your week has been awesome, I love you all do much, keep reading the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY and PRAY EVERY DAY!! Happy father day!

Received a package from my family!! And a big hug from my nephew Charlie!

 The Sanna kids, I love them!

Killed my first cockroach, normally I let my companion do it ;)

Goat ate my Book of Mormon June 13

Man...this week was a little rough, so much has happened...

a lot of people fell through which is fine but then every one contacted...rejected us.
On Wednesday, we started our day off contacting, for some reason there wasn´t many people outside or at home. It was also a very hot day. As we parked our bikes somewhere a dog started following us, luckily it was a nice dog, so we named him it Sunshine.


Sunshine, the friendly dog

Anyways we contacted a woman who had a ton of goats in her yard, however she said that she was has her own religion. We then asked if we can take pictures with her goats, and sh said yes. These goats were super scary though because they looked like they were going to attack us. They didnt but one of them really liked my Dutch Book of Mormon as it started eating it.

Later that day on our way to see Kalusha, I noticed a woman sitting in front of a shop. I felt prompted to turn back, I told my companion that we need to park our bikes and talk to this lady. As we were walking up to her, you could see the sadness in her eyes and just the way she was sitting. We started having a conversation and I told  her that God is her Heavenly Father and that He loves her. She than started sobbing, I put my arm around her and promised that He will help her, she then told us some very personal stories about her life. It was quite a sad moment but I am grateful that I was able to bear my testimony to her. She didn´t want to meet with us, as she said that she wasn´t worthy.

A new investigator, Tersy, we went by his house and he told us this: "I have a new church" Not something missionaries want to hear. We asked if he has read the Book of Mormon and he said no. We bore our testimonies to him and assured him assured him that if he reads it and prays about it, that he will feel the Holy Ghost. He looked a little sad when we left and then he said: "You can come by and ask how I am doing."

Showing off my biking skills

A little hurt, we started biking, all of a sudden his huge dog jumped over the brick wall and chases us down the street. Luckily his neighbor shouted as the dog was about to bite and then it left us alone. Needless to say...I am not a big fan of dogs anymore!

Two awesome lessons; first I want to share is about Hugo, taught him the Word of Wisdom, at first it was hard for him to give up tea, but at the end of the lesson, when we asked him if he will live the Word of Wisdom...he grabbed his tea...and threw it in the trash! He then looked at us and had a huge smile across his face.

Other cool lesson was with Marlene (our investigator), she is in her 50´s and has 4 grandchildren, the oldest is 11 and the youngest is 4, they are super cute, I love them all so much. So, the oldest came out and said: "I have read the Book of Mormon" Me: "Really?" She: "Yes" and then she told us what she had read. How crazy is that? These children are so amazing, they know so much about the gospel. None of them are baptized but we will make sure they will :)

So even though this week was rough, it still was a good week! We have seen so many miracles, it was crazy.

I hope your week was amazing! I love you all so much!

Members coming to teach with us! June 6

First off... I love you all so much!!

So, the biggest success we had this week...was having the members come teaching with us! it was so cool!! Every lesson we had was just filled with the Spirit. The members in Tamenga are working hard! Yesterday, after church, so many members came up to us and asked when they can come out teaching with us and not only that...but they gave us so many referrals! I feel so blessed being ableto serve in this branch and in Kwatta. I am so happy that I can serve this transfer with these lovely people!

Our less actives are doing well, most of them are reading the Book of Mormon, praying and coming to church again. Our investigators seems to struggle in a way. We have a lot of investigators which is nice. One of them (Hugo) is actually supposed to get baptized this Saturday but because he didn´t come to church, he can no longer be baptized on this date. I´m not sure why he didn´t come as a ride was provided for him and he loves the gospel. The only thing i can think of is that , he might needed to go to work, but we will check up on him tonight.

It rained a lot in Suriname, and my rain jacket kinda broke and its really cold when it rains.

This is Kalushka, who taught us boxing, and his dog peed on Zuster Jorgensn

One of my favorite investigators is Stefan. He just gets so excited about the gospel.We were sharing some scriptures, he then stopped us and said: "All of these verses are so beautiful. I need to write all of them down because they are important to me." He also told us that he has been reading the Book of Mormon on random pages and every verse he reads...implies to him! Without us even asking, he told us that he wants to get baptized!! However it will be in August, as he will be going to the Netherlands for 6 weeks. Then he held up his Book of Mormon and said I will bring this with me everywhere, this is the most important book!

Zuster Jorgensen was not feeling too good this week. We went to visit a member, at the end of the lesson, I looked at her and she was as white as snow! She then ran into their bathroom and threw up, we  think it is because she might have had old Bami. Luckily the member did not notice..the members gave us some food, Zuster Jorgensen didn´t have to say a word to me... We looked at each other...I nodded...grabbed her food...and ate all of it!
Later in the week, at a less active member, we were playing with a puppy...we looked down and notice that it peed all over Zuster Jorgensen´s was pretty funny.

All in all...we had a pretty good week! I can´t believe I´ve almost been out for 6 months!! This entire time I was thinking...I´m almost 5 months. I got really sad when I found out that I missed a month..time is flying by! But I am just grateful that I´m able to serve!

I love you all and hope every one had a good week!

Baptism May 30

I did not take may pictures this week. But this is what I do want to share with you...Sister Ria is a less active, a few months ago, we went by her and taught her a lesson. Her sister Anna was visiting her and so we asked her to sit with us. She loved it. Unfortunately she lives in the area of the Elders, so we took her information and passed it on, last Saturday she got baptized!!

When she bore her testimony, she said how grateful she was that we invited her to sit with usu during our lesson.  When she was done bearing her testimony, she was about to sit back down. Then ran back to the microphone and said: "I forgot to say one more thing. I will endure to the end with all my heart." the next day, on the Sunday, sister Ria came back to church!

Another week flew by May 30

During the week when things happen, I always try to make a mental note to write in my email certain experiences, however I am actually emailing and nothing comes to mind. So sorry when my emails arent very long and might not make any sense.

Any ways this week flew by, we had some good days and some bad ones. A lot of people have cancelled, which sometimes can be annoying especially when they come out and say they are too tired, so they want to take a nap instead.

So in our branch we have 38 people that come regularly on a Sunday. So not that much. We have a lot of less actives, we are trying to get them back and we always have really good lessons with them. However when Sunday comes around...they never show up. I have definitely seen how it helps when you bring active members around. As is shows the less active that people really do miss them and love them. Luckily our branch is excited to do missionary work, so they always ask how they can help us and they are willing to come to lessons. Which is sweet! i love the members here. I feel this transfer is going to be a good one especially when we include the members. So if anyone has been noticing that less people are coming to church, ask the missionaries how you can help, if you can come teaching with them or even better is to have FHE at your house and tell the missionaries to bring an investigator or a less active. When the feel the Spirit and make friendships with the members, their desire to come back will increase!

I would like to tell you ll about Zuster Yetty, she´s AWESOME!! She is the perfect member missionary, we hold FHE at her house every Wednesday at 7pm. As she lives near a playground, she literally invites every one who is in her eye sight and ear range! She is such an example to me!She shares her testimony all the time! Because she has been opening her mouth, her entire family got baptized and they live in the Netherlands. I was also told that she´s been on the radio and on TV for something and she has mentioned the church, bore her testimony in public. The best thing is...she is so humble about it! She always wants to do missionary work!

We got to have an awesome lesson with Stefan, he´s so cool. We were teaching him the restoration. Before we started our lesson, I asked him if he was reading the Book of Mormon, he was honest and said that he hasn´t. He was nodding at whatever i was saying, he then said: "It´s true, I know what you are saying is true. I should be reading this every day and i´m going to read it from now on." Stefan is so cool, he understands everything ans he always testifies to what we are saying is true. I love when you can see the light in people´s lives, when they can recognize that they can feel the Spirit.

Yesterday, we were teaching the Sanna´s kids, 3 kids that come to church without their parents, they are the only members, I love them so much! During our lesson Sharedy grabbed a brush and started brushing my hair, which was a bad idea. because at the end of our lesson..I started to look like Diana Ross for the rest of the day! My hair was huge!

that´s it for today, thank you all for emailing me. I love you so much1 If you want to help the missionaries...just let them teach you or go out with them. Missionaries need the members and the members need the missionaries!

Exchange day photos May 24

...and then Zuster Zeegelaar on our exchange..she braided my hair! It took forever!! Was so much fun though, I also only kept it for 2 days. Everyone at church loved it.

On P-Day Zuster Jorgensen and I tried some frozen was yummy!  

This transfer is almost over May 24

Where to much has happened! First...I can not believe this transfer is almost over!! It´s going WAY TOO FAST!!!I wish I could just pause the time.

We visited a less active, Giovanni, he is awesome. I used to visit him when I first came on my mission. However, he just just wasn´t changing, he started to come to church after a few months again, unfortunately he hasn´t come in a  long time. So when we visited him, I was quite shocked when he said that he is reading the Book of Mormon and he is in Alma 7. Most people dont even go past 2 Nephi. I was so happy when he told us this. He also wasn´t able to come to church because he has been out of the country for awhile but he promised to come this Sunday and he will be taking a non member friend with him.

Exchanges last week was so much fun, every lesson is just so spiritual. We visited a Zuster at the hosipital, she´s pregnant but her body rejects any food, she also throws up blood. This happens every time she gets pregnant, her husband and her have been thinking about abortion a lot too. They prayed about it and had a feeling that this baby needs to be born. After this decision their baby moved for the first time. She also had a dream how everything will be okay. I find this couple amazing, the both admitted how hard it has been for them and their faith has been struggling a lot. In this lesson it wasn´t much us talking, we were mainly just listening to them and have the Spirit teach them. This was probably the most spiritual lesson I have ever had. Her husband started to bear his testimony to her and we read scriptures on how we can rely on our Heavenly Father.

Saturday we went to our investigators mom and were able to do some service for her. She lives in Saramanka, it´s about 45 minutes drive, past Commewijn. There are no missionaries in that area, so it was awesome to be there and help out. We digged some holes and planted banana trees. The mom was so happy as she is very old and cant do anything. I love serving others, it really does expand our happiness here on earth.

Whilst I was on exchanges, my companion as at the church. A guy the came and started telling her that she needs to repent. She took his information and told him when church starts. On Sunday two new people came. We talked to both of them and it turned out that both of them are in our area. When we got home and talked about these two men, we came to realize that one of them was the guy my companion met a few days ago! I am so excited as this like...never happens! We will be having our first lesson with him this week.

I just want you all to know how grateful I am for being able to serve the Lord. I wish I could serve longer than 18 months. But I also know that this is just the beginning! I can´t wait to see what miracles I´ll be seeing this week.