Saturday, June 17, 2017

She´s home!! June 16th Frankfurt - Germany

So Zuster Vernes was supposed to arrive around 11.10am on June 16th...well arrived she did, but her luggage didn't...and we had to wait for about two hours before she finally walked out!

Waiting, notice everybody has left except for us

Finally hugging her big bro cuz he had to leave the airport to be at the University

This little boy was also so happy

                          Jumping for joy...Amy is finally home!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Preparing her homecoming - June 15th

 Patiently awaiting Zuster Vernes homecoming...and making a banner to welcome her back!

 This little guy was barely walking and talking when his auntie Amy left for her he´s almost 3 years old and she´ll be surprised at how he has grown and he´ll be talking her ears off.

Departure of Surinam - June 13th

 So Zuster Vernes has arrived in Trinidad on Tuesday June 13th and will be on the plane on Thursday June 15th via Toronto - Canada and then the journey continues to Frankfurt - Germany!
18 months of being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are going to end but the good thing: as a member of the church you CAN always be a missionary even without a badge!

If you´re not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart - Elder Neil Anderson

After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel -
President Joseph Smith

Whatever our age, capacity, church calling, or location, we are as one, called to the work to help Him in His harvest of souls until He comes again - President Henry B Eyring

Member missionary work does not require the development of strategies or requires genuine LOVE - Elder Russell M Ballard

Monday, June 12, 2017

I know God will only give me challenges I can handle - June 12th

I can't believe that my mission is over. I am leaving tomorrow morning to go to Trinidad stay there until Thursday morning and then I am on my way to Germany. 

This week isn't how I expected it to be at all. I thought that everything will go smoothly and perfectly. I thought we would just have a full schedule every day. Hahaha, well it was quite the opposite. In fact all of our appointments that were planned got cancelled. And contacting wasn't very successful either. I can't remember when it was but one of these days I got really really sick. I could barely move and so that meant I had to stay in the WHOLE day. And I was SO frustrated with myself and just the whole situation. I prayed to God and asked Him to help me, so that I can go out and teach because that is all I really wanted to do. During my prayer I felt peaceful I was still sick the next day but healthy enough to go out and teach.

 Roasting marshmallows and making Smores for my last P-Day

We met a man named Roy. Zuster Jordan and I locked our bikes and saw him sitting on a bench. So we sat next to him and started having a conversation about God. As he was going off about something random I had a very strong impression to ask him a question. I kind of just brushed it off as it would be rude to interrupt him. But the impression just wouldn't leave so I then interrupted him and asked: "Roy, are you happy?"
He looks down and says :"No, I am not happy" 
He then tells us how is grandchild of 8 months old passed away and just feels hopeless, he felt that God has abandoned him. 
We then talked about God's love and it was just such a spiritual moment. We hand him a pamphlet of the gospel of Jesus Christ and told him that this is the recipe of happiness.

1 O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understands my thought afar off.

3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

Zuster Baker, Zuster Barker & Molijn
Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, cannot attain unto it.

On Sunday I had to bear my departing testimony and well long story short they had a lot of people assigned to speak and so when it was my turn to bear my testimony it was already time to close the meeting. During the meeting I was just praying to know what I need to say as I wouldn't be able to give my talk anymore and so then I felt like I needed to share the struggles that I had this week.

So when I went up I told the congregation how I needed to have a Priesthood blessing a couple of weeks ago because I was starting to get anxiety about going home. Family please don't take this the wrong way, I love you and I can not wait to see you, but I am sad to not be a missionary anymore and because I just don't know what to expect. In my blessing I was told that there are many challenges ahead of me and that it will be hard.

Which honestly just freaked me out even more about going home. It also said how my life won't be like how I have planned it to be like but I will still be happy if I continue to keep the commandments of God. I then realized during my testimony that I need these challenges in my life so that I can progress.

I am forever grateful that I have come on a mission it has changed me forever. I am grateful for the challenges that I have had and the challenges that our Heavenly Father has in store for me. 

 I know that God will only give me challenges that I can handle. I remember when I got interviewed by my Stake President (before the mission) and he asked me what I am looking forward to on my mission.  
I told him that I am excited for the hard times, for the times when I need to rely on faith, when I don't have another choice but to rely on my Heavenly Father. He looked at me completely shocked.  

Romans 12:12,21

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulationcontinuing instant in prayer;
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

I will miss being a missionary and seeing the people here but I am excited for this next chapter in my life. 
I will see you soon. 
I love you all so much.
Thank you for all your support and love!

Zuster Vernes 

On an exchange with Zuster Barker

A lady rejected us so as we were walking away, she ran after us and gave us Pompelmoes

Huge grape

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I can't believe I only have 8 days left in Suriname!!! Then I will be in Trinidad  and then... BAM I'm in Germany. 
It honestly doesn't feel like it has been 18 months. I still feel like I just came out of the MTC.
Anyways this week was really great!!! 
We had Zone conference this week which is amazing as usual. Pres. Egbert was talking about Temples and I honestly can't wait to go to the temple again. It was really cool as we were mostly reading in the old testament and just reading how God has instructed his children to build temples from the very beginning.

We taught our investigator Micky this week which is always a highlight, he is just so humble and accepting of the gospel. We asked him if he would be coming to church on sunday. He then says: " Well according to this book (the pamphlet) it says to not procrastinate and come to church and I have missed two Sunday's which is too many so I will come to church." Sunday came along and Micky did come!!! Which just made me so happy he started making friends right away and stayed the whole three hours. After church we asked him what he thought of it and he said: " I just feel like I came home".
Sometime during this week I went on exchanges with the Rainville zusters. (my old area) 
It was good going there and seeing these Zusters work hard, being obedient and they have just changed so much. 
Their teaching skills have improved enormously which made me happy to see.
Then when I returned back to my area we had an appointment with Jorgan. When we arrived a less active Michele was there as well. So he then joined the lesson which is good because Jorgan is painfully shy and just doesn't really talk. 
After the lesson Michele then says: " Hey sisters you said you were going to visit me today at the same time you told Jorgan you would visit him, that's why I came here." 
Whupps!! felt pretty bad that we doubled booked ourselves but it all worked out. :)


Wendell also came to church yesterday he then said the closing prayer in Gospel Principles class and he said:" I am grateful that I can be here. I know that these are good people and I want to continue to be surrounded by them and continue to be a part of it".
Well I hope everyone's week was good. 
I love you all
Zuster Vernes
On my exchange I got to teach my past investigator Marilin in very broken Portuguese!! I am grateful that Heavenly father blesses me with the gift of tongues in those times when we teach Brazilians. Also Marilin will be moving back to the Dominican Republic and will get baptised there. I am so excited for her.  

with Marilin

Monday, May 29, 2017

I just love sharing the gospel - May 29th

This week was honestly amazing. Being able to go to MLC. It kind of just felt like a very long EFY/YSA Conference/ General Conference all in one.

I haven't been able to go teaching very much this week as I came back to my area Friday morning. But I did get to share the gospel in the plane with two people which was super awesome! 

I honestly just love sharing the gospel. It makes me so happy even it they don't quite accept the gospel yet. During the plane ride back to Suriname I had the chance to talk to a Trini (man from trinidad) I think I basically taught him all of the lessons. He was super interested and has seen missionaries before just has never spoken to them. Between the plane seats Zuster Baker was able to pass me an english Book of Mormon which I was then able to give him. He was so excited to start reading it. 

He even said whilst he is here in Suriname for 2 weeks that we can stop by and teach him. 

Yesterday after church we stopped by at investigator´s house. She started to open up to us and told us that she needs to move out of her difficult relationship. But she is stuck there as she doesn't have anywhere else to go with her son and doesn't have enough money yet. She then just kept repeating how she only needs to survive one more month there and by then she will hopefully have enough money. 

We then said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to let her know that she is His daughter that she can have peace in knowing that He loves her, knows her and cares for her. That He has a better life planned for her. She then hugged us and started to cry which really touched me. 

I can testify that Heavenly Father really does knows us and He just wants the best for us. 

This week we also got to see Arthur in the hospital which was good. He has been really depressed as he is really sick. When we visited him we were able to help him see the positive things in life. We made a list together of what we are grateful for. I think that helped him a lot as he was able to recognize the blessings that God has given him in his life. 

The theme of this week was for sure Romans 8. It's  one of my favourite chapters in the New Testament. 

I love you all so much, 

Zuster Vernes

Monday, May 22, 2017

One look and we know - May 22nd

This week literally flew by!!!

So tonight I will be biking to Kwatta and then tomorrow morning I'll be heading to Trinidad for MLC. I will return to Paramaribo on friday. I'm excited but not looking forward to stay out of my area for that long. But I am confident, in my companion Zuster Jordan, she will do great. 

Zuster Jordan and I have just been on the same wave length which is great. 
We just give each other one look and we already know what the other one is thinking. 

We invited our investigator Micky to be baptized which he accepted. Later during the week we also taught him Word of Wisdom. And it went really well. I was slightly concerned as he has clear Word of Wisdom problems. As we explained to him why the Word of Wisdom is so important. He was quiet for a while. He then looked at us and just said:" I will try. No I will stop. I feel like I need to stop." 

Sometime during the week we had a lesson with a new investigator named Olga. She is an old woman and can't walk very well. Anyways we get there and she just starts talking about random stuff. Then her phone rang.
And she asks us if it be alright for her to pick up. 
We say yes. And she was literally on the phone for 35 minutes!!! 
I was just so confused. And it was hard to interrupt her to say that we need to go. 
Hopefully our next lesson will be better. 

Our investigator Wendell wanted to fast to receive an answer whether he needs to stay here in Suriname or go back to the Netherlands so we fasted with him. We had to run in pouring rain to get to his house, completely soaked we read in Omni (I think) and started our fast. We were just continually praying for him during the day as he smokes like 30 cigarettes a day. But for the whole two meals he didn't smoke and later he only smoked 2 which was really amazing.

We are still meeting up with Stephanie. (investigator) She still wants to know if this is true. She has been reading in her Book of Mormon every day and has been marking in her scriptures. We invited a member to come with us (Sister Salik) we made sure to be there 15 minutes early because Sister Salik tends to just make herself feel like home at our investigators houses :) 
We klop and guess who answers the door... Sister Salik!! Anyways we had a good lesson with Stephanie, we watched a General Conference talk by Pres. Monson to strengthen her testimony of a modern prophet. 

Yesterday during a LONG day of contacting we started talking to a man who was drinking a beer. As we tell him that we are here to speak about God and helping others to come unto Christ. He looked at his beer and then said:" Should I throw this away? It isn't good to drink is it?" 
He then throws his beer away and we had a great lesson with him. 

Hope everyone's week was good. 
I love you all 
Speak to you soon 

Zuster Vernes

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

So this book fills in all the gaps from the bible? - May 15th

We had a really good week. Saw and met some amazing people who I hope to always remember. 

We had a lesson with a new investigator which is Manisha. She is 18 and has two kids. When we got to her house her boyfriend came out and started talking to us unfortunatley he wasn't very interested. At some point Manisha came and we started teaching her about Prophets and the Priesthood. After our prayer she then says: " I am really happy that you came, I was feeling a little down the whole day but I feel a lot happier now" 

I feel like Zuster Jordan and I have just been having so many spiritual lessons this week with our investigators and people that we talk to on the street. And I think it's amazing that they recognize that as well. 

with Loes
One of the highlights this week was with Wendell (investigator). He told us some pretty sad news. He will be going back to the Netherlands on the 3rd of june which is baptismal date. During our lesson he expressed how grateful he is that he met us. That we have been teaching him the gospel. He said: " I was in complete darkness and I didn't know how to get out. I don't know what I would've done if I wouldn't have met you" 
He then looked down and wept. 

During this week we had lots of contacting. We klop (knock) at this one house and a man comes out, tells us he doesn't have time because he is making Nasi (rice with meat and veggies really good) we assured him that it would only take a minute. As we are explaining who we are and what we are doing he then tells us that he had been taking the missionary lessons before and even has a Book of Mormon which he has been reading and he is now in Alma. I was just in complete shock. He then told us that we can come back another day so I am excited to see where things will go. 

Oma & Opa love to feed us
On Saturday we had a lesson with Meneer Cederburg. During our lessons he always seems uneasy, he won't really sit still, asks a lot of questions etc. 
That day we taught him the Book of Mormon and explained how precious things were taken away from the Bible and how we need the Book of Mormon to fill in those holes so that we can have the fulness of the gospel. He then says:" So this book fills in all of the gaps of the Bible" Us: "Yes."

Meneer Cederburg then smiles holds the book and was just peace. For the first time he wasn't wiggiling in his chair but we had his attention. He then tells us how excited he is to read it and just kept holding the Book of Mormon close to his heart. 

Zuster Jordans first rainstorm

I hope everyones week has been great. 
I love you all so much.

Zuster Vernes

Monday, May 8, 2017

I need more spiritual food - May 8th

This was another great week, we had many great lessons with members and investigators, I just love this place so much! 

So first let me update you on our investigator Wendell. We almost see him every day to prepare him for his baptism as he some things to work on still...But he has been changing So much!!

He even called us this week and just asked what is a good chapter to read in the Book of Mormon. During a lesson, Wendell stopped us and said: I don't know what it is but I just feel really good. I feel warm in here (points towards his heart) I have never felt this way before"
Zuster Jordan and I: "THATS THE SPIRIT" 
It was really awesome.

We have a new investigator, Brother Cederburg, he´s around his 80s. We were teaching him about the Restoration. When it was time for us to go. He then said:" Why do you always do this to me? I need more spiritual food."

This week we met with another new investigator named Micky/Feliksdal. We contacted him whilst an appointment fell through and it turns out he's actually really awesome. 
We taught him the Restoration and once we explained how the same church as Jesus Christ was restored/brought back. He looked at us and then said:" Now I understand. It's a good thing you girls are teaching me this cause I had no idea." 
He is really awesome and I have a feeling that he will be able to change a lot when he continues meeting with us. 

Sometime during this week Zuster Jordans bike broke down so we had to walk  back home and exchange bike tires which almost took the whole day but I can now say I know how to fix bikes :)
We also saw Arthur this week. We watched the Restoration movie with him. And during the 1st vision he started to cry. The spirit was just so strong. I have never seen any of my investigators react that way. Later in the week we had the Najorda family come with us to Arthur's and the father and son gave him a Priesthood blessing as Arthur is very sick and the doctors can not figure out what is wrong. 
This was only the fathers 2nd time giving a Priesthood blessing as he had been inactive for many years and never received the Priesthood. He is very active now and is a great example to me.
 As we walked them back down. Brother Najorda turned to us and said:" I got goosebumps whilst giving the blessing. Thank you for allowing me to serve" 

That is about it for this week. 
I love you all so much
Zuster Vernes