Week 15: Antwerpen!

Hoi iedereen!

This week we got to go to Antwerpen for Zone Conference!!! It was so much fun to see President and Zuster Bunnell! The whole focus of the conference was The Restoration. It was really powerful and I feel like I learned a lot. We also got the mail while we were there! Thank you to everyone who sent me something! I loved reading through the letters and enjoying the treats πŸ™‚ Speaking of treats, we bought A TON of chocolate in BelgiumΒ on Thursday! It’s not that you can’t get it in Nederland, it’s just a lot cheaper there πŸ™‚ We are now the proud owners of another 5 lb. bag of Chokotof πŸ™‚ But we’re going to be good this time and ration it out! We also went to this kind of “hole in the wall” place for dinner that the Elders recommended, where I found Currywurst! I saw it on the menu and decided I needed to give it a second try (my first experience with it in Germany was not the greatest πŸ™‚ It actually ended up being a lot different than the one I’d had before. It was a normal sausage color (not yellow) and covered in mayo and some sort of sweet and sour sauce. It was echt lekker! I would definitely eat it again! I think you would really like it too dad πŸ™‚
Getting back from Antwerpen ended up being a little more exciting than we were anticipating. We took a tram from the church to Antwerpen station, then an international train from Antwerpen to Roosendaal. Everything was going fine until we tried to take a train from Roosendaal to Breda. Haha, 8 of us missionaries were sitting on this train for almost 40 minutes, and it wasn’t going anywhere! Finally an announcement came on that said they could never find the guy who was supposed to drive the train, and that we all needed to switch to this other one! In the process of switching trains, we met this girl from Italy that was super confused because she didn’t speak Dutch. She ended up hanging out with all 8 of us as we tried to figure out the trains together. We all hopped on what we thought was the right train, but we ended up in Dordrecht instead! Ahhh! So by now it was likeΒ 10:30pm, and this italian girl and 8 crazy, sleep-deprived missionaries were all chilling’ in Dordrecht station! We ended up having a great conversation with this girl and the Elders gave her a card, so it was all worth it πŸ™‚ I don’t know if anything will come from it with her, but I definitely believe we were ment to meet her that night πŸ™‚ All in all it was a crazy fun adventure that night!
This week we cleaned the outside of the church and had our wijk picnic! A bunch of the ward showed up and we deeped cleaned the church. It looks really nice now! It was really fun to work side by side with the members and get to know them better πŸ™‚ We really do have a wonderful ward here in Breda πŸ™‚
Wonderen en Grappias:
. A woman gave us popcicles langs de deur this week! She wasn’t interested in our message, but she was still super nice! Haha, we must have looked pretty tired when we got to her house. We had a couple of pretty hot days this week, so that popcicle was definitely a tender mercy πŸ™‚
. Like I said before, this week was HOT! While we were langs de deur this cool lady we gave a BvM to offered us some water. We walked in and she filled up a glass for each of us. Then she was like “I’ll give you some for the road too!” and filled up this giant water botle that was just chillin’ on the counter. Super nice, right? On our way back, Zr. Abbott decided to drink out of it (she’d forgotten her waterbottle that day). Haha, she drank a good chunk on this water bottle before she started gagging and freaking out! She was like “That is NOT water!” Haha, it was water, but apparently there was beer or alchohol in the water bottle before! Ewww! We quickly stopped at the nearest Albert Heijn where she bought a drink and a 100 pack of mentos to try and get the taste out of her mouth! It was soooo funny!
. This week I had exchanges with Zr. Lindsey! She is wonderful! She always has such good advice and we laugh a lot together πŸ™‚ I would love to be companions with her one day!
. President gave us all permission to sleepΒ in 2 daysΒ this week before zone conference. We’ve all been exhausted and a little stressed out with all the recent changes, so this was definitely a WONDEREN for all of us πŸ™‚
I am so grateful to be serving here in Breda! I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people, and have the opportunity to share my testimony with them. I know that God is in the details of our lives and that he loves us so much!!!!
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Love, Zuster Mangum
. I got to see Zr. Lechtenberg this week! She was heading down to Belgium with Zr. Wahlquist, so we saw her when we dropped Wahlquist off at the station! She sounds like she’s doing awesome! It was a fun little reunion πŸ™‚
. We were given homemade, Morocan cookies by this muslim lady we were teaching! They were so good!
. Here’s a pictue of Antwerpen Central Station. It’s said to be one of the most beautiful stations in the world! I definitely believe it! This picture doesn’t do it justice though.

Week 15: Guys, fasting works!!!

Goede dag iedereen!

This week has been crazy! ItΒ΄s been full of lots of change, but lots of miracles as well (IΒ΄ll share the big one at the end πŸ™‚ We now officially have 4 sisters working in Breda! Zr. Parker and Zr. Haynie are our new additions! They are both super sweet and fun to be with! Things were kind of stressful with them moving in, but we’re excited to get to know them better.
So I’m just going to skip to the big miracle we had on Saturday because I’m so excited about it πŸ™‚ 
On Saturday we had our Zone Fast. We’d been fasting the whole day (as a zone) that we would find some golden investigators. Haha, our zone leader was like “We’re not looking for wishy washy people. We’re looking for God’s elect who are going straight to the Celestial Kingdom!” And after a long day of fasting, I think we found someone πŸ™‚

Okay, lets start at the beginning. We started the day really motivated and excited! But as the day continued on, our energy started to slack. We’d had an appointment fall through, it was really hot outside, and we just weren’t seeing any success with anyone. So, we decided to use our lunch hour to take a nap to try and get our second wind (we couldn’t eat, so we might as well sleep!) Midway through our nap a less active calls us and wanted to meet up for a lesson (She’d canceled earlier that morning). We were still feeling kind of groggy, but we dragged ourselves out of bed and met up with her. She decided last minute that she wanted to have the lesson in the park, which was kind of frustrating because our lesson was watching the Restoration video. Ahhh! We were kind of freaking out because we had no idea what we were going to teach her!!! We were both racking our brains trying to decide what we were going to do. We ended up deciding to go over the Restoration lesson with her because she’s planning on a mini mission, and we had some pamphlets on us πŸ™‚ She’s worried about not knowing enough, so we’ve decided to start going over all the missionary lessons with her again. Anyway, we were sitting at the park and her friend came by and sat down by us. While we were talking to her, the friend casually picked up the book of mormon laying there and started flipping through it. At the end of our lesson I told her friend that she could have the book if she wanted it. She was like “Really?!? Wow, thank you! I started reading a little bit and it’s really interesting!” Then our member said “Hey, you guys should tell her what the book is about,” So basically we ended up teaching her a Restoration lesson right there in the park! It was the coolest, most powerful lesson I’ve ever had. We had her read Joseph Smith’s first vision from the pamphlet, and she couldn’t even get through it before she started crying!!! The Spirit was so strong! We talked to her about the Spirit and how sometimes people get emotional when they feel it. At the end we read Moroni 10:3-5 and before we could even invite her she was like “I think I’m going to pray about it tonight!” What!?! You beat us to the punch line! Who is this girl!?! We were sooooo excited! It was also awesome because our member helped teach part of the lesson, which was super good for her. I think it helped her realize that she knows more than she thinks she does. Wow, all I can say is, fasting works!!! This is the miracle we’d been fasting for. Even though it was a long day, it was totally worth it in the end! It was such a testimony builder for me. God truely is in the details of our lives. He is preparing people all around us to hear His gospel. If we pray in faith and give Him our best efforts, we can be an instrument in His hands to help bless the lives of the people around us! 

Wonderen en Grappias:

. So this was crazy. We were at one of our investigator’s houses, and her daughter was running around with some of her friends. We could not believe it! Our two investigator’s 4 year old kids are best friends!!!! What are the chances?!? She was so excited to see us though! It was really fun to make that connection πŸ™‚

. We saw this kid (probably 10 years old) and he rode by us on his bike saying “Fietsen met de helms? Ik heb dat nooit gezien!” (“biking with helmets? I’ve never seen that!”) Haha we are literally the only ones who wear helmets here!

. Our joint teach fell through this week, and we were worried because we can’t really understand our investigator’s dutch. We were praying all day that we’d be able to understand her enough to teach her effectively. When we were at the appointment we could totally understand! Guys, the gift of tongues is real! I swear I couldn’t understand anything this lady said the week before, but this week it was pretty clear. It’s just another testimony to me that God does answer prayers! The lesson went really well too! We finally got her to pray at the end of the lesson, which is something she’s been struggling to do. It’s really amazing to watch the Spirit work in her and to help her progress πŸ™‚

. We were knocking doors this week, when this old man pulls up in his fancy car behind us. (Apparently we were at his door then) He told us to tell him why we were there. Halfway through our speel he held up his hand out the window, reving the engine, and was like “Ik geloof in mijn eigen menier!” (“I’m religious in my own way”) then sped away down the street! Haha, it was actually pretty funny how dramatic he made it! 
. Another miracle along with our big miracle this week. We went to Zr. Staff’s house Saturday night (still fasting), and she gave us White Chocolate Magnum Ice Cream Bars!!! She thought it was funny that my name is like the ice cream. I don’t think we could have ended our fast in any better way πŸ™‚

. We were walking through this old Begijnhof (a place where nuns used to live) museum thing this week, and one of the guys who worked there was asking us what the Begijnhoffen in America were like. Haha, he thought we were some sort of nuns from America!!! The ‘Zuster’ nametag is definitely decieving sometimes πŸ™‚

This week has been an amazing week filled with so many miracles and laughs! I’m so grateful for the joy the gospel has brought into my life and I’m excited with the opportunity each day to share that with the people in Nederland!

Liefs, Zuster Mangum 

Here are some pictures from our adventures in North Breda! There are a lot of beautiful fields and pastures up there. We also found this funny park bench πŸ™‚

Week 14: First Restoration lesson, Redhead days, Achterooping…again!

Hey everyone!

This week I had the opportunity to teach a Restoration lesson with Zr. Abbott for the first time!!! We’ve never actually taught one, in Dutch, in Nederland (MTC doesn’t count :), so it was an exciting occasion! We taught it to this young muslim lady and her sister. They were both very open and interested in what we had to say. We’re not sure if this will really go beyond a curious interest in our church, but we have a return appointment next week, so we’ll see what happens! If they do end up being really interested in joining then we’ll have to get permission from President Bunnell before we can teach them any further. It was a really cool experience though. We could definitely feel the Spirit while we were teaching her πŸ™‚
We had a couple other appointments this week, but two of them ended up falling through 😦 We’re a little worried about these two people because we haven’t seen them in a while. We have appointments with them this week though, so hopefully everything will work out!
This weekend was Redhead Days here in Breda! #jessicamangum It’s basically where all these redheads from around europe congregate and celebrate being redheads! It was really funny because the park and centrum were just SWARMING with redheads wearing funny shirts that said things like “Gingerlicious” and “Redhead Heaven”. We actually met two American, Mormon families while we were contacting there! It was so cool to talk to people, in english, who were really excited to see us! It was definitely a moral booster for me and Zr. Abbott πŸ™‚
This week one of our “investigators” got up in church yesterday and bore his testimony. I say “investigator” because he shows up to church every week, but he doesn’t want to meet with the missionaries. Why? I have no idea! But he’s a really cool guy. He bore a really sincere testimony about how he feels at home and loved at church. It’s been really cool to see how the ward just loves and fellowships him. Member missionary work is sooo important! That is definitely something I’ve learned here so far on my mission! Members play a crucial part keeping people active in the church (members and nonmembers alike). It’s interesting with this investigator. He used to come to church a couple of years ago, but left because he felt alone and like he didn’t have any friends there. The only reason he came back was because he had “this little voice in his head that kept telling him to go back.” The Spirit prompted him to go, and now he’s back! It’s our job as missionaries, and especially the ward, to make sure he stays!
Wonderen en Grappias:
. I got to do achterooping this week…again! I don’t know why I’ve had so many opportunities to do it lately, but I’m really starting to get the hang of it πŸ™‚ Zr. Wahlquist (a new greenie!) was with us for a day while her trainer was at a conference, so we got to achteroop her around a little bit!
. There’s this cool new young adult in our ward named Xollie. He’s from South Africa, and the ‘X’ in his name stands for a clicking noise! You kind of make this clicking noise with your mouth and then say the name Ollie. It’s really fun to do! Haha, he just makes fun of us because we can’t do it right πŸ™‚
. Two people we met this week langs de deur thought I was from Germany! Apparently I have a German accent when I speak Dutch! (yay 3 years of high school german!) Well, at least I don’t sound American! πŸ™‚
Lessons learned from Zr. Staff:
So a little bit of background on this new section of my emails. Zr. Staff is this old, less active woman we go an meet with every week in her resting home. She literally makes our night! She has such a strong testimony and always has something profound to say!
This week we were reading scriptures with her. Zr. Abbott opened up her book of mormon, and one of our Restoration pamphlets fell out. On the front is a picture of Jesus holding a lamb. Zr. Staff saw that picture, gently picked up the pamplet, then started bawling!!! She kept pointing to the lamb in Jesus’ arms and saying “Dat ben ik! Dat ben ik!” (“That is me! That is me!”) Me and Zr. Abbott were so touched. We must have seen that pamphlet a thousand times, but never had that simple, but powerful thought crossed our minds. You could see the love and gratitude Zr. Staff had for Jesus Christ. Even seeing that picture of Him sent her into tears! Me and Zr. Abbott both left that appointment so touched by her simple declaration of “Dat ben ik”. We are all that lost lamb that Jesus is carrying, bringing us back into the fold. It really hit me that night just how much Jesus Christ loves us all individually. I would encourage all of you to take a step back this week and think about your relationship with Jesus Christ. I know I definitely will! It is so important for all of us to grow our love and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has done so much for us, and I’m so grateful for His influence in my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Him!
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Love, Zuster Mangum
Pictures: My goal this week was to place my “I love my family” sticker on a telephone pole. Check! And, we found these funny garages with guinea pigs painted on them! So cute! Apparently Dutch people like to paint their garage doors with funny things on them sometimes πŸ™‚