Sunday, January 25, 2009

Family Home Evening & Dinner before Institute

Center for Young Adults - First Week

Well, now we have the first week of the program for the Young Adults under our belts. We had a family home evening, a dinner, institute, and an activity night. At the family home evening a young sister taught us the lesson of the Book of Mormon story of Lehonti. Several YA's put on costumes to act the events. We learned that when we come down off our mountain and (let down our guard), we can be slowly poisoned and not even know it. It was a good lesson on remaining steadfast and obedient and avoiding tempatation. The dinner on Thursday night was nice, we fed them sloppy joes, salad, and oatmeal cookie squares. Everyone enjoyed the event and then they attended the Institute class. We are pleased with the success so far and look forward to the coming weeks as the program develops further.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Elder & Zuster Servoss on District Outing

Outreach Dinner & Dinner after Training Class

Outreach Program: Center for Young Adults

This new year brings us some new responsibilities and opportunities. We started preparing for the Outreach Program or Center for Young Adults on Saturday the 10th by attending 5 hours of training on how to establish and run a center. It was very valuable training which was conducted by Elder & Sister Meng from the Area Office in Germany. We enjoyed a nice Chinese dinner afterwards with them and the Stake President, Jelmer De Jonge, and family. His wife Jennifer is an American and a Dutch returned missionary, and their children are bilingual. Last Thursday we had our first dinner for the Young Adults, prior to the Institute class. Which will now be a regular event. We will be at the Center (part of the Rotterdam North church building)on Monday, Thursday and Friday from 3 to 9 pm. On Monday evening we will have a family home evening. Friday night is activity night. The Young Adult Council plans the events and we coordinate them and staff the Center. This is the first Center in our mission. This program started in Germany and has been a huge success in Europe. We have heard some great stories from friends in Germany and Hungary about their programs. This program has become the greatest missionary tool in Europe. It provides a safe place for the young people, member and non-member, to gather and mingle. We are excited to be involved in it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Skating & Frost

Nellie at 80; Janni, Ellie & Nellie

Ice, Frost & an 80th Birthday

It has been quite cold here the past week or so with temps in the mid 20's a lot of the time. Here there is a lot of humidity, so it seems colder than the actual temperature. The Dutch are taking advantage of it and are flocking to the frozen canals, ponds and lakes to skate. One large pond near us even has floodlights set up and a portable snack bar. The citizens have also tryed to mark out a ring to skate around. The frost here is also very pretty to look at. Last Wednesday we drove 75 miles to Hilversum to pick up a bike for an elder and enjoyed the frosted trees along the way. A few days earlier we were also in Hilversum for the 80th birthday party of Nellie Van Scheijen Maas. Forty one (41) years ago we baptized here and five of her children. We have visited her several times in the past 8 months here, but this day was special. Three of her daughters came over to be with Nellie and to wish her well. We had a nice time getting acquainted with two of the daughters. We ate lunch with one daughter, Ellie, earlier that day. Ellie, Ben, Fred and their mother, Nellie, are the only ones still active in the church. It was nice to be with them and to share the special occasion.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Firework Remains & Missionary District Today

Firework Remains & Missionary District

We wanted to get a picture included that better illustrates the debris left behind on Jan. 1st that we had spoken of in the last blog. This picture shows two empty boxes that each held 10,000 Chinese firecrackers. The piles of red on the street are the paper scraps left after they were all shot off. This happened in front of the Zone Leader's apartment in another part of east Rotterdam, called Capelle.

Our Rotterdam District met today in our apartment. We enjoyed a good lesson on teaching with power and the spirit. Then we had a great lunch of chili, corn bread and salad that Zuster Servoss had made. It was then time for the last photo of our District before transfers tomorrow (Jan. 7th). We will miss those that are moving on, but look forward to those new ones coming in.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Oude & Nieuw Week (New Year's Week)

New Year's Week in Nederland

This was an interesting week for us here in the Netherlands (Nederland). We started the week off with a District outing on Monday to Kinderdijk (windmills). It was a very different scene with the ice and frost. We had a great time there at our favorite local place. In the afternoon on New Year's Eve, we received information that a member sister and her husband from Aruba (Caribbean Dutch possession) were at the local hospital for her cancer treatment and needed contact with the church. We took the Elders there with us and met Ingrid and Roland Odor (odoor). They are very nice, active members who needed some help. We had a nice visit and promised to take Roland to church (which we did today). We then went to a member's home (Erkamps) and enjoyed the Dutch treat of oliebollen and apleflaps (deep fried round scones with currents and apple slices baked into batter). We got the elders back to their place by 7 pm and returned home ourselves. We then experienced the thousands of fireworks that were shot off here in Rotterdam. We thought that we must have been transported to a war zone when at 10 pm the intensity of the fireworks increased to an amazing level. For the next three hours we listened to and watched out of our apartment window as the local citizens really went all out to celebrate. Smoke enveloped the area and the fire and police personnel were kept very busy. On New Year's Day we left at 10 am to deliver late arriving Christmas packages to missionaries. We were amazed at the piles of paper and trash that had been left on parking lots and streets from the night before. The roads were quite empty when we started a 125 mile loop to play FedEx. Along our route we passed along a canal in Gouda, where dozens of ice skaters were enjoying the new thick ice. The temps were in the mid 20's to it was not miserably cold. On Friday we went to a care center and made our weekly visit to Sister Matilda Slingerland. The holiday staff there was short handed and that made things interesting. That evening we went to another member's home and enjoyed a nice meal. We enjoyed visiting with them. On Saturday we drove to Hilversum to honor Nellie Maas (Van Scheijn) on her 80th birthday. We baptized her and 5 of her children 40 years ago. It was our third visit with her during this mission. It was good to eat lunch with her daughter Ellie just before that. It was nice to see some of the rest of the family, including grandchildren and great grandchildren. Then we returned to Rotterdam for another baptism in the R'dam North building. Wei Wei, a Chinese student, joined the ranks of the church. This week it is back to normal (whatever that is).