Thursday, December 3, 2009

Temple Square, Kent & Kae, Sister Slingerland

Home in Utah Again

We have now been home for two weeks, and are getting used to being back. Part of our hearts remained in Nederland, and we will never forget those wonderful people. It has been good to correspond with some of them via email and Skype. We look forward to continued close contact with many of them. It is sad to realize that the special missionary spirit and discernment is no longer the same. We are getting caught up in the "normal" routine again. Kent has been enjoying attending the BYU football games with his sons (something that he cherishes). Kae has enjoyed visiting with her friends here again. Kent has had some dental work done, and is happy for that. Both of us are enjoying having our family close to us again. On Monday night, Nov. 30th, we went to Temple Square with our son Lance and family. We very much enjoyed the Christmas lights and feeling that was present there. We also had a wonderful time visiting with one of our former Young Adults from Rotterdam, Sister Ramona Slingerland. She is now serving her mission here at Temple Square. It was so good to see her and to see how happy she is.

The past two evenings we have had family visit us for a "Sinterklaas avond" (Dutch Santa Claus evening). We had a great time giving the grandsons "Zwarte Piet" hats (Sinterklaas's helpers), and Delft blue jewelry boxes to the granddaughters. There were chocolate letters for all, lace table toppers for the women and Scottish scarves for the men. We have had a little snow here and are expecting more snow next week. So far the weather for Utah has been dryer than normal. We are still getting used to the cold here, but look forward to the beautiful snow that will replenish the water supply for the area.

Some friends have asked us what our current plans are. We are trying to take things one at a time. Kent has a new Ward assignment and will be sustained on Sunday. Let us just say that he will be quite busy with the calling. We plan on learning more about the new Family Search program and spending time at the new Family History Library in Salt Lake. We also have the two new area temples to visit. After Christmas we will drive to Memphis area to see our son Brian and family. Then we will make a trip to Orlando to see our foster son, Robin, and family. We will be busy. In the future, when the time is right, we will serve another mission. For now we are happy to be home and are enjoying our family and friends here in Utah. May the Lord bless all of you and help you to have a joyous Christmas Season filled with joy. Merry Christmas from Kent & Kae Servoss

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Last Story before our Return

The time has finally come to end this great adventure. We enjoyed our mission so much and have had so many wonderful experiences. It was very difficult to leave Rotterdam and the Netherlands.

Since we were already in Europe we decided to take a trip to trace some of our family roots. We were amazed at how many English relatives we both had. We looked at our pedigree charts and plotted out visits to many of the places that they had lived. We had some wonderful experiences going inside a small church in Litlington, where some of the Webb family lived, another old church yard in Toddington where the Tracey family lived. We also drove through areas where John Burnett, Aurelia Hawkins, and Susan Hunt had lived. We felt a family connection as we traveled through those places.

On Monday, Nov. 9th, we drove to Liverpool and Preston. We enjoyed touring the Maritime Museum in Liverpool and were surprised to see a monument outside of it, which was placed there by the LDS church. It depicted an immigrant family which was typical of thousands who left from Liverpool to sail to America. An hour later we were walking along the River Ribble in Preston, where Heber C. Kimball and other missionaries baptized the first nine British saints just ten days after they had arrived from America. We were able to stay in the temple patron housing at the Preston Temple complex that night. The room was nice and the Scottish members that we visited with were great. They had come down from the Edinbourgh area for a week of temple activity. They were typical of many nice people that we met, and this day was just a sample of what we did. We put a lot of miles on the diesel rental car, and had a once in a life time experience.

Now we are here in Brussels for our last night in Europe (for now). We fly home tomorrow and are very excited to see family and friends once again! Thank you for all of your prayers and support. We hope to see many of you at our church this Sunday the 22nd of November at 11:00 am, 650 E. 2150 S., Bountiful, Utah.

Happy Missionaries, Preston Temple, Warwick Castle

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Bodiam Castle & The Brighton Pavilion

Two of the beautiful sites in southern England are the Bodaim Castle and the ornate pavilion at Brighton. The castle had the clasic mote and draw bridge. It was built back in the 1300's. It was owned by a knight and has a long history. The beach resort of Brighton is home to the eccentric summer guest facility of a king. It is very ornate and looks great even with the dark and cloudy skies. This is such an amazing country. We are very glad that we had two weeks to explore it.

Bodiam Castle & Brighton Pavilion

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Travels to Germany & England

We had our exit interview and a nice dinner and testimony meeting on Oct. 28th. That night we slept at the mission home. The next day we rented a car and drove to Frankfurt, Germany. The autumn leaves were so brilliant. We had a great visit with our friends, the Barlows (who are missionaries with the Area Office). We visited the Young Adult Center in Frankfurt and got some ideas to pass along to Rotterdam.

On Friday the 30th we drove to a quaint city, close to Belgium, called Bernkastel-Keus. It is a medieval style village and sits on the Meuse River. We had fun eating at a quaint restaurant and staying in a B&B. The next day the Barlows drove on to The Hague, Netherlands; we drove to Dunkirk. We had breakfast in Germany together. By 2 pm they were in the Hague and we were in Dunkirk. By 7 at night we were in England and they were back in Germany.

We drove off the ferry and into the traffic, which was on the wrong side of the road (at least for us). We had an exciting 1.5 hour drive along some very narrow country roads, which paralleled the coast. This was all in the dark. We made it safely to our friends place (Dave & Pam Winters) in Eastbourne (southern coast). We had a great three days there, and enjoyed singing the church hymns in English again.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The End of this Mission is Near

Yesterday we enjoyed our last senior couples outing here in our mission. We went with seven other couples to the Queen's palace at Het Loo, near Apeldoorn. We had a wonderful time visiting with each other and seeing the beautiful palace and grounds. This was one of the official residences of the Dutch Royal families. We had visited this palace in 1991, when we made our first trip together to the Netherlands.

We are now in the last 10 days of our mission. We come to this point with sadness, but are also happy that we will be able to be with our family and friends back in the USA. Missionary life has been our life for 1.5 years now and we will miss it.
Our last day here is October 28th. We are then traveling a little to Germany, France, England and Scotland. We will arrive home on 18 November. Our mission report will be on November 22nd in the Bountiful 23rd Ward, 650 East 2150 South, at 11 am. Directions: Take the 2600 South/Woods Cross exit from I-15. Follow the road east and continue on it as it turns north. You will come to a traffic light at 2200 South. Turn right there and drive east (uphill), turn left and immediately right (continuing uphill) past the second intersection and then you will find the church on the right. We hope to see many of you there. Thanks for your support and prayers. Our home address is: 1953 S. Davis Blvd., Bountiful, Utah 84010. We hope to have our old phone number back: 801-292-7769, if not you can call our son, Trent, at 801-444-1028.
With much love, Kent and Kae Servoss

Last Senior Couples Outing in Nederland

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Johnsons Visit the Netherlands

Two weeks ago our friends, Bob & Paula Johnson came to visit us. They flew in from Salt Lake City to learn about the Dutch people. We did our best to mix in some sight seeing with missionary work. Here is a list of some of the things that we did: 1. Season opening social for the Young Adults (Jovo's), and Institute class, 2. Visit to Delft and stepping into the big wooden shoes, 3. Correy Ten Boom house visit in Haarlem (a family who hid Jewish people in WWII), 4. FloraHolland flower auction (80% of the world's flowers pass thru the flower auctions of Holland), 5. Zaanse Schans windmills, 6. Liberty Park WWII museum, 7. Castle De Haar. The pictures below represent items 2,4,5,6,7. We had a great time with them and gave them a little taste of the culture here as well as missionary life. They even participated in a missionary District Meeting.

The Johnson's Nederland Visit

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Elfstadentocht (Eleven Cities Tour)

Every winter the Dutch attempt to hold an eleven cities ice skating race of 200 kilometers along the canals. It is called the "Elfstadentocht" (Eleven Cities Tour). The only problem is that with the warmer weather the past 12 years, they have not had enough consecutive days of very cold weather to make the ice stable. But wait, why are you talking about this in the fall, you say? Well, since the last race was in 1997 and since the Dutch are very inventive, they have come up with a warm weather alternative. It is a race along the canals, but with the participants standing up in a canoe/surfboard and using a long paddle to propel themselves. We could not believe it when we saw it. Here is evidence of the race earlier this month. You will note in the pictures the bridge with tile images that represents the past participants of the ice skating race. The far view shows skaters in motion. The closer view shows the individual tiles on the bridge with pictures of the skaters. Then you see some of the participants as they head into the last 5 km of the 5 day race (which is done in stages each day). It was truly amazing to watch them race. Many were probably the same ones that do the race on skates in the winter. Any way, the Dutch do love to have a good time.

Eleven Cities Canoe Tour

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Giethoorn Canals

Senior Couples in Giethoorn

Last month the senior couples on the Dutch side of our mission had a little outing to a unique village here called Giethoorn (goat horn). It is considered the Venice of the Netherlands. It has tree lined canals in place of roads that traverse the city. We took a tour in a little boat that was a lot of fun. We also visited two museums. It was interesting to learn about this unique village. It was great staying in the hotel one night and eating the buffet dinner. It was a great opportunity to spend time with the other couples and President and sister Brubaker. We were able to see part of the country that we had never been to.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

40th Anniversary Pictures

40th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Last Saturday, August 22nd was our 40th Wedding Anniversary. We decided that it was a good reason to have a nice party for the entire Stake and many others. We have made many friends during the sixteen months that we have been living here in the Netherlands. We reserved the church so that we could share our joy with others. Here it is very unusual for anyone to married a long time, and 40 years was amazing to most people. We were honored to host our friends for a nice evening of socializing. Many friends brought food items, so there was plenty to eat. We had a great sound system set up and a "DJ" played a selection of music from the 1960's and 1970's, that our son Lance recorded. Towards the end of the evening we danced to a few songs and others joined in. We had over 100 people attend the celebration party. We are known for hosting parties so since we had missed having our Christmas open house in Utah, we had this little social, ha, ha. People we know from all over the country came (but the Netherlands is only 1/5 the size of Utah). We had a great time and went home with dozens of flowers, cards and some boxes of chocolates. Two of our guests included Nellie Van Schijen-Maas, and her daughter Ellie from Hilversum. Forty three years ago my companions and I had the priviledge of baptizing them and four other children in their family. We have visited with them a few times before, but it was very special that they drove the 60 miles to see us this time. An important side note is that Kae and I gave each other new rings to commemorate the day. Her ring is a new small gold band that she wears alonside her original rings. We are so greatful to our family and all of those others we love who have helped make these past 40 years together so enjoyable.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Whole Mission Conference with Apostle Nelson

On Thursday the 13th of August we were priviledged to have Apostle Russell M. Nelson greet us and speak to our entire mission (Dutch & French areas together). It was very nice being able to shake his hand and also that of the new Area President and member of the First Quorum of Seventy, Elder Kopischke. Sister Nelson accompanied her husband. They had attended an international conference on the family in Amsterdam during the week. They had a great experience there and were able to speak to people from all over the world about what the Church of Jesus Christ feels about the importance of families. You may want to read their talks on To prepare for our conference on this day we had to help with moving about 200 chairs, and then setting them in place. Buying food for 180 sack lunches, and then making the lunches. Sister Servoss organized the assembly of the lunches and with help we put them together in 1.5 hours. Before the conference began we were able to get acquainted with many of the French speaking missionaries, who we seldom see. It was great to see our cousin, Sister Orton again. The 2.5 hour conference was great and the spirit was strong. Elder Nelson told us about the importance of our individual callings and how they were determined. He also told us that the hours of 6 to 8 am in a missionary's life can determine the rest of their life. That is the time for personal study and getting ready for the day. Study Jesus Christ and learn as much as you can about Him. He suggested that we go to the Topical Guide in our scriptures and study each of the subtitles for Jesus Christ. He pronounced a blessing on us and told us that we would be successful as we have the spirit and teach by the spirit.

Later that day we fed over 30 young adults who had come to the Fireside to hear Elder Nelson speak. The fireside was for anyone else who wanted to attend to hear a present day Apostle speak. There were over 450 people who squeezed into the building and another 150 sat on chairs in the parking lot (with piped sound). We heard more inspiring words from Elder Nelson. He spoke about the best translators that the church has and their abilities. He told us that they can translate scriptures into another language at the rate of 1 page/day. He told us that Joseph Smith translated scripture from the plates at the rate of 10 pages/day. Many of us have trouble trying to read 10 pages of scripture per day. The long day finally ended by us helping to put the 150 outside chairs back in the church. We had a great spiritual treat today and had another witness of the divinity of this work.

Missionary Friends: Servosses & Barlows

Visit from the Barlows

We had a delightful vist from our fellow Bountiful 23rd Ward members and friends, Elder Steve & Sister Lana Barlow on August 9th. They met us at our church that morning. It happened that my wife and I were the main speakers in Sacrament Meeting that day. So the Barlows got to hear us speak in Dutch and heard the simultaneous translation. They are serving a mission with the Europe Area office in Frankfurt, Germany. They travel to over 30 countries and provide training and support for those that deal with church funds. It was great to spend a day with them driving around this part of the Netherlands. We visited the Hague, Zoetermeer Temple, the North Sea and the heart of Rotterdam. They stayed the night with us and then returned to Germany. It was interesting comparing notes on the different types of missions that we are serving. It was so good to see them. At the end of our mission we plan on visiting them, before we come home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Barbeque, Hamburgers & Classes

Young Adult Camp Pictures

JOVO Kamp (Young Adult Camp)

We are sorry that it has been awhile since we have written. We have been very busy here and it isn't slowing down any this week. We spent last week with the JOVO's (Yo Vo's)or Young Adults at their camp in a wooded area near the city of Den Bosch (which means woods). The theme of this year's conference was, "Enjoy the Journey". The camp was conducted in Dutch, but most of the attendees also speak English. It was fun for them to have their theme in English. There were 150 young adults there, of which 15 were friends of the church (investigators). The location is an establised retreat with ample dormitory housing and large cabins spread through the forested comound, which are used for class rooms and a location for the dances. There is also a large building with a commercial kitchen and several dining rooms. We spent much of our time helping the two senior sisters from Groningen, Ida & Emmy, prepare the great meals for the group. On Thursday we were in charge of the BBQ. Two senior brothers helped me grill 160 hamburgers and 80 hotdogs. Sister Servoss had some help in preparing all of the other things. Each day was filled with workshops in the morning and activities in the afternoon. There were classes on dating, setting and achieveing goals, enjoying scriture study and making it fun, getting prepared for your mission in life, chastity, and having a positive outlook on life. In the afternoon there were sport activities such as soccer, basketball, cross country bike navigation, swimming, and dance lessons. It was great to see how these young people came together, helped each other, and completed many tasks. The various teams helped with the dining room set-up and clean-up, etc. Thursday afternoon was spent giving service to the communities in the area. There were about 5 different projects that took place from cleaning a beach resort, to walking with handicapped adults, to cleaning up around the library. There were two dances during the week and two firesides. At the second fireside we heard from the new President of the European Area, Elder Kapieska. He is in charge of all of the missions and members in this part of the world. He taught us about our patriarchal blessings being personal revelation to us. He quoted Joshua 23:14, where Joshua told the House of Israel that the Lord had blessed them when they were righteous and that all the things promised them had come to pass. For us the same thing can be true as we live a righteous life. He also quoted D&C 130:20-21, where we are told that blessings come through obedience. During the last three hours of the camp we had a testimony meeting, where about 1/3 of the young adults were able to bear testimony and express their feelings about the camp experience.

We had a great time becoming acquainted with so many of the young adults. It was so nice to see the quality of the young people here. We feel that the future of the church in this area will be in good hands. It was extra fun last week since we had been given the challenge from our mission president to speak Dutch as much as possible. We did our best and when we tryed to switch back to English after 10 pm, it was difficult.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ingrid is Still the Winner

A valiant lady has returned to her Heavenly Father, Ingrid Odor passed away on July 10th from lukemia. She had been here in Rotterdam since January undergoing chemo therapy treatment. She responded well to the second chemo treatment and her loving brother donated some of his bone marrow to her thereafter. She was doing well and was looking forward to returning home to Aruba at the end of the year. God had another plan for her and she had an unexpected brain hemorage, which took her life. She was fortunate that her husband and second daughter had arrived a few days before. She was a great example of courage and determination. She had many struggles but remained strong under difficult circumstances. On Monday the 13th we held a memorial service at our church for her. The program was very nice, with several speakers, including Sister Servoss. One of the young elders spoke and three missionaries sang the beautiful song, "Till We Meet Again". The chapel was full of family, friends, and Ward and Stake members who knew her and came to love her. Ingrid was an example to us all and will be dearly missed. We will also miss her daughter Christine and grandson Jaydrick. They had all become family to us. We rejoice with the knowledge that we will see her again one day with a cancer free body. We are so grateful for the great plan of salvation and the atoneing sacrifice of Jesus Christ that makes it all possible. Ingrid's memory will always remain with us. She was our heroine and is still a big winner in our eyes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Greens and Servosses

First Family Visitors

We have just had an enjoyable week with our cousins from Utah, Rod & Cathy Green. We were able to mix their visit into our missionary work. We had a great time visiting Brugge, Belgium. It is a quaint old medieval city, which is surrounded and criss crossed by canals. The old city has many wonderful Belgian lace shops. We enjoyed shopping in them and taking in the flavor of the city. We then drove to Brussels where we visited the Grand Place (the major square in the center of the city). We met the Green's niece and our cousin, Sister Jenny Orton and her companion Sister Rideout there, and enjoyed a great meal in a restaurant. It was a wonderful visit. We then drove the sisters to their apartment and delivered some packages from her mother. The next day we spent time visiting an elderly sister and preparing for the Young Adult dinner and Institute. It was the last meeting in the Rotterdam North building before its six months renovation starts. On Friday we visited Delft and enjoyed that old city and the ceramic shop. Saturday was very different because the ladies went to a Relief Society event and Rod and I went to clean out the YA things from the north building. In the afternoon we all got together again and drove to Moordrecht for a 4th of July BBQ with the Stake President's family. We had a great time. Over the next several days we visited some other members and places such as Arnhem, Hoek van Holland, Amsterdam, and Kinderdijk. It ended with a joint teaching experience that we went on. It was a grand experience and we hope others will come to visit too.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Battlefield Pictures (tank, monument,& hillsides)

WWII Battle of the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge)

To celebrate and remember the feedom that we enjoy today, my wife and I took a trip on June 6th, 2009 to the former battlefields in Belgium where the Battles of the Ardennes were fought. We visited Bastogne with another American couple, Dave & Karen Pond. Bastogne was the city where the most intense fighting was and the place where the heroic American soldiers defied great odds and won a tremendous victory.

On June 6th, 1944 the Allied Forces landed at Normandy, beginning the liberation of France, and Belgium, and the defeat of the German army. The Allied commanders had determined that the winter conditions and the difficult terrain of the Ardennes hills of Belgium would deter the enemy from making an attack in that region. They decided to weaken the defensive forces there and concentrate on other areas.

However, the Germans saw a great opportunity to launch a counter offensive and attempt to break-through to re-seize the port of Antwerp. It started on December 16th, 1944 in the cold and fog. The attackers had about 250,000 men, 600 tanks and assault guns, and 1,900 big guns and howitizers. The American forces had about 80,000 men in the area. The attack was a complete surprise and the defenses were broken through in many places. But resistance was organized and the Americans fought back bravely. They were heavily out numbered and the German Panzer tanks seemed unstoppable. The battles were tremendous and there were many lives lost on both sides. On Dec. 22nd, the German General von Luttwitz sent a letter to the American General McAuliffe demanding the surrender of the Americans. That is when Gen. McAuliffe gave the famous response, "Nuts". The fierce fighting continued and it was not until the 26th that reinforcements arrived under General Patton. Thousands of American troops arrived to rescue the city and defeat the Germans. The Battle of the Ardennes is considered the greatest American battle of the 2nd World War. There were over 80,000 American casualties. It was the final decisive battle that really turned the tide of war, which finally ended in May, 1945.

We were grateful that we had the opportunity to experience some history. Dave Pond and I are both retired military, so we saw the battlefields with our knowledge of tactics and military planning. Dave and I walked through some of the woods where the fighting had taken place and found some of the old foxholes that had been used. We are so thankful for all of those who fought and died there to help preserve the freedom of the world.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dutch Mission Conference

On Tuesday the 16th of June we had the last Zone Conference with our current mission President, Paul Woodland and his wife Marilyn. It was a rare conference of all of the Dutch speaking part of our mission. We had a group picture taken, which you see above this article. (If you click on the picture it will become larger. Also look for a zoom button, so it is easier to see.) It is amazing to us to know that there are almost the same number of French speaking missionaries who will also be having a conference on another day. The two languagues are what make this mission unique. Our mission president is fluent in French and has learned quite a bit of Dutch too. He is a great leader and we will miss him and his wife very much.

At the conference we heard the farewell testimonies of 12 missionaries who are leaving next week to return home. They had such wonderful testimonies that they shared with us. We heard the story of a man named Shum, who was praying about the Book of Mormon in the day time. At the end of his prayer he opened his eyes and the room was filled with bright sunshine and he felt a wonderful warm feeling. He knew then that the book was the word of God, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He was baptized and is now enjoying his membership in the church. The spirit was so strong during the meeting. We heard several of the missionaires talk about struggles that they had had at one point in their mission, and of the joy that they experienced with a change of attitude and heart. It was also wonderful to see how the Elders hug each other. The sisters also hug each other. It is so great to see the love and genuine concern that the entire group has for others. There were also some members present to help with some training. They played the role of investigators being met on the street. It was a wonderful day, and one that will be remembered for a long time to come. We love being a part of this great work.