Monday, December 28, 2009

vrolijke kerstmis!

Merry Christmas, my wonderful friends,

It's been another dazzling week and we're enjoying a white Christmas in Belgium and the Netherlands. Yesterday after church, we all went outside in the thick of the snowflakes
and threw it at each other for a good half hour. Later, walking up and down the streets of Watergrafsmeer, we saw dozens of families outside making snowmen and forts together. They may have also thrown a few snowballs at us as well. ;)

We had another series of missionary Christmas conce
rts in Rotterdam and Den Haag on Thursday and Friday. It was such an incredible way to share the spirit of Christ with others through music. Without a doubt, the most exciting and memorable experience of my mission.

Zr. Fowler and I have had a lot of Christmas lessons with our investigators and members this month. We've truly enjoyed the spirit of Christmas and e
ven though its a very commercial tradition here in Amsterdam, we have found many moments of peace on earth and good will toward men. I'm grateful for the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

The wisemen sought the infant Savior, bearing fine gifts of
gold, frankincense and myrrh. How can we better seek the Savior and what can we give to the babe in the manger? I've thought a great deal about what I can gift to my Savior this Christmas. What will you give to Him this season? I encourage each of you to reflect about what to give of yourself to become more like Him.
Vrolijkke Kerstfeest!

28 December
Merry Christmas! I hope it was for you all. I definitely enjoyed the splendid Kerst festivities in Amsterdam. I am so grateful I was able to stay this transfer to celebrate with my favorite people in the Netherlands.

The ward held a musical Christmas Eve service on Thursday night (what would you know…Zuster Fowler and I participated, naturally), which was a great success. Everyone brought friends and family and the spirit was so incredibly tangible – I love that
no matter where in the world you are, the people seem to be brighter, more cheerful for Christmas. What a beautiful present to our Savior, Jesus Christ. :D

My family called me on Christmas evening and I was able to talk to them for 30 minutes. What a miracle. It was such an exciting opportunity to speak with them on the phone, even for a short amount of time. Thank you, family. Ik hou van jullie.

With 2010 fast approaching, I encourage you all to stay going strong. I’m definitely not a fan of New Year’s resolutions (because how long do they last, I ask you?) but here on the mission, I’ve definitely gained a solid testimony of goal setting. Without effective plans, a want is merely a "someday." Dat wil ik niet.

I wish you all much pleasure during the continued holidays. If you have desires to serve your zuster missionary in any way, write an uplifting letter and send it to her. :)

Love you all muchly,
Zuster Fritz

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas concerts in Belgium

Hello broeders en zusters and vrolijke kerst!

What a geweldige week! It has truly been the most incredible and joyful time of my mission - I absolutey love Christmas.This week was spent in Belgium. Our missionary choir sang in the streets and chapels of Brussels and Antwerpen – what an unforgettable experience it was! We sang in several prime locations in the cities’ centrums, attracting hundreds with our bagpipes, fiddles, and angelic voices to invite them to our Christmas concert that would be held that evening. :D Many members and investigators attended…as well as some interesting gypsy finds from the street….oh, Europe. This coming week we will do the same in Rotterdam and Den Haag, Nederland. Exciting!!

It is Christmastime in Holland and I’m enjoying the beautiful festivities in Amsterdam. It has been such a blessing for me to serve in this unique city and watch as the weather and decorations change – and hearts as well. I’ve witnessed so many miracles these months as I’ve watched those we teach make decisions that bring them closer to their Savior Jesus Christ. There is so much joy to be had in His gospel. And there is surely opposition (this is ever apparent to me in the city of Amsterdam where "alles mag” or anything goes). But as we press forward with a steadfastness in Christ (2 Nephi 31:20) we will be in His constant care.

I am so happy that I made the decision to come on a full-time mission. The reality of it all is so different from the films one sees (even the tulip-filled “Best Two Years” against the Holland backdrop) but I absolutely love my mission, rain or shine (though in Holland we definitely experience more of the former). I know that what I’m doing matters. It’s the most important work I could be doing. I am assisting in the Lord’s work and I find no greater satisfaction than seeing His hand in my life and the lives of those we meet and teach.
Thank you all so much for your letters and Christmas cards and prayers! I love you all more than I can describe in Dutch or English.
Het evangelie is waar!
The gospel is true. Absolutely.

Much love and Christmas cheer,
Zuster Jillian Claire Fritz

PS - We had an early Christmas dinner with Familie Zwaan and Claire...only some of my favorite people in Amsterdam

Monday, December 7, 2009

28 februari

Mijn geliefde broeders en zusters,

Kim heeft 28 feb uitgekozen om zich to laten dopen!!! Ik ben onsettend blij.De tempel en zone conferentie waren heerlijk. Ga maar naar de tempel.Ik houd van jullie allemaal.

My beloved brothers and sisters,

Kim has chosen Feb. 28 to become baptized!!! I am incredibly happy. The temple and zone conference were glorious. Go to the temple!!

Ik blijf in Amsterdam door de Kerst!
I'm staying in Amsterdam through Christmas!

I love you all.

Zuster Fritz

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Week

Hallo geliefde broeders en zusters,

This past week was Thanksgiving in America. Be of good cheer – I was well taken care of. We ate a blessed dinner at Claire’s apartment (an American working here in A’dam. She’s an incredible friend and I’m not just saying that because she reads my blog. It’s totally true). I hope your turkey and stuffing was as delicious as mine was.

I spent Wednesday this week in Brussels, Belgium. Yes, that is technically my mission and where you send all my mail (you are always welcome to send Christmas greetings to 87 Blvd. Brand Whitlock, 1200 Brussels, Belgium) but I am there but four times on my mission. Twice for legality documents and twice to enter/exit the mission. It’s a beautiful city. But they don’t speak Dutch.

We’ve worked a lot this past week (and will continue to do so this week) with the members of the wijk (ward) Amsterdam. I have a deep love for the members of the church here. They are so strong and so unique. I can’t imagine myself serving anywhere else (but transfers are next week…) I gave a talk yesterday in sacrament meeting (a bit nervous was I, maar het ging best wel goed) and one thing I highlighted about the members' missionary work is their homes. They have pictures of Christ and the temple hanging on their walls for every resident and visitor to see – it’s such an awesome missionary tool. I think it’s wonderful and I’m grateful I grew up in a home with those visual reminders of my faith.

Tomorrow: Zone Conference….at the
TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am beyond extremely excited to attend the house of the Lord to learn by the spirit and feel the powers of heaven. I have loved reading the Pearl of Great Price to prepare myself. Moses 7 is an awesome chapter about God’s plan. Expands my mind! I encourage those of you who are able to attend the temple. I sincerely miss that opportunity and realize how important it is to be worthy and able to attend.I love
you all indescribably.

Thank you so much for your letters (and the Christmas packages!) Jullie zijn geweldig!

Zuster Fritz

Monday, November 23, 2009

Noah's Ark and Africa

You people must think I can think of nothing better to write than the weather, but I must assure you that it is certainly letter-worthy. I have never seen so much rain in my entire time of living on this blessed earth. Last night, Zuster Fowler and I arrived to our appointment at the Zwaan's so wet that we spent a few minutes using their hairdryer to dry our hair and clothes. :) The rain was so heavy and fearsome, I was half expecting to see Noah's ark.

What a perfect segue into my next subject: Noah's ark. Serious. That is where I'm headed today. Some religious dutchman (almost an oxymoron, that one) made a replica of Noah's biblical ark and it sits in Zaandam for religious people like us to come and gawk at. :) It'll be pretty cool in the POURING RAIN today.

My apologies, I've said all I'll say about the weather.

I live in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam. I would describe it as the "Little Africa" of Holland. I can spend the whole day proselyting there and be the only white girl I see (besides my companion, Zuster Fowler). I absolutely
love the African culture here. Super friendly people. And they speak African English, which is a dialect they didn't teach me in the MTC, so it's kind of an immersion-type training, if you will. But it gets better every day.

Every soul we meet on the street in the Bijlmer adores Jesus and we have some pretty interesting conversations about faith and the like. Before we leave them, we always like to say a prayer with them. Africans do what we call "prayer talking." It goes like this: "When I say Jesus, you people say "Amen.'"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bike stil bij mij

What a day. Spent in Den Haag for choir practice. We're preparing for the Christmas concert series and we're pretty excited for the holidays.

The train ride to and from Den Haag was lovely. Low lands, green fields, farm homes, fog and rain. This certainly is a beautiful country and yes, we do baptize. (hahaha, playing off the old lie, "Wow, that's a beautiful country in which to serve a mission, but you won't have many baptisms." Well, I wish to dispell that lie. We've got another in Amsterdam this month.)

I wish to tell you all how much God loves me. I have left my keys in my bike at least five the Bijlmer and at central station...and it still hasn't gotten stolen. If I told any of the natives here, they'd consider that a miracle. Well, the blessings of a missionary, my friends.

We had such an awesome lesson this week with Mark and Lotte, two jovo's (young adults) that were friends of Kim van Dijk here in the ward. They came to a ward activity and then wanted to meet with us because they think we (the church) are way dang cool. Man, if every member could invite their friends to activities and church, the happiness we'd see and experience.

Zr. Fowler and I gave a workshop at zone interviews this week about trust. We read the story about Chief Captain Moroni to prepare and I love this man. Read his story. You will be moved.

Zuster Fritz

Monday, November 9, 2009

thermals. love them.

Hello my precious crowd. Thermals. Love them. It's been zeer cold and foggy every day. Good thing I get toasty warm riding my bike all over Amsterdam. I do love it, though. I love riding along the canals early in the sun-lit morning with the dew-soaked leaves strewn across the red-rocked paths and seeing the mist swirl above the still waters, the royal Dutch architecture rising vaguely across the canals. (poetess, or what?!) But seriously, words cannot even describe how beautiful this place of the world is to me.

Zuster Fowler and I have seen so many miracles this week. Our investigators are making so much progress and I am indescribably happy. I am happy because they are finding happiness in Jesus Christ, their Savior. I am happy because they are coming to know and recognize God's love for them more and more every day. I think of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 18 where it tells us how great will be our joy if we can bring but one soul into the kingdom of God. How great must be Heavenly Father's joy when His children make good choices to bring them closer to Him.

I've also learned some of the greatest lessons this week about my own happiness. I read a letter from my brother David this week that truly helped my perspective change completely for the better. He compares God's love to the sun. It is always shining on the earth, but sometimes, as is with nature, we are left in the darkness for a time. So it is with us. Sometimes we feel alone and apart, but Sunday will come again. It always does.Let the sunshine come from within. :)

I love you, my zonnestraaltjes.

Zuster Fritz

Monday, November 2, 2009


A rainy week in Holland. Good thing we're changing things in A'dam. There are now only two elders in Amsterdam and so we've decided to expand our boundaries, which will require us to use more public transportation. Public transportation is more dry. :D

Well, we've seen many wonders this week. We had many investigators in church yesterday and that went super well. We may be strange as Mormons, but fast and testimony meeting is always a treat. :)

I was very humbled this week by one of our lessons with a young man from war-torn Ivory Coast, Issoufou. He's just arrived here as a refugee and has absolutely nothing. He has no idea where his family was taken to and witnessed the deaths of many friends in several attacks on his village. He is so teachable and when he prays (in his African language), you know he's really talking with his Heavenly Father. It's sweet.
After playing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing together at Marijke's baptism last month, Zuster Fowler and I were invited to play it again at a talent night in Hilversum (outside A'dam) this week. That was an awesome way to introduce many friends of the members to the church and we all had a pleasant evening. We brought Amy and it was good to have her surrounded by members in that atmosphere. It was awesome to use what talent we have to play beautiful songs of praise to the Lord. And to hold a violin again. :)

Here's my "geestelijk toetje" (spiritual dessert) for you all this afternoon: Ether 12:41 "And now, I would commend you to see this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen." Amen indeed.

We truly need grace. I have never felt more imperfect in my life - I need that peace and grace every day. Our desires matter, even when our actions fall short.

Love you all.
Send me Christmas cards. :)

Zuster Fritz

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009


I am staying another transfer in Amsterdam and I'm tickled pink about it!!! Zuster Fowler is remaining too, because, as President said,"I'd hate to break up a dynamic duo like you two!" Ha, it's actually the Lord's will and I'm so grateful for that because I know we have more work to do and lessons to learn here in A'dam. (And Kim has bee
n praying that we'll stay so we can keep teaching her together. Now she just needs to realize that this is an answer to her prayers and the sign she's been waiting for to get baptized! :D)

We had zone conference on Friday and that was super - getting a bunch of God's army together. It was rejuvinating. :) GRATITUDE: He who receiveth all things with thankfulness, the same shall be made glorious. -Doctrine and Covenants 78:19

I have been thinking a great deal on gratitude and decided to start celebrating Thanksgiving a little early here in Holland. I definitely need to be more aware of my blessings. I have so incredibly many. There are definitely difficult days on the mission. Like Bishop Klein told me, "the real work is so different than the movies and postcards and pictures one see." Missionary work is rigorous. But it's worth it - absolutely. And it's worth it when we see the blessings that come from obedience and diligence. And those are things to be grateful for. So, on top of everything else, work at being grateful. You will find that it yields wonderful results.

Ik houd van jullie. You are my greatest good.

Zuster Jillian Fritz

Monday, October 19, 2009

Go on in greatness

October 19, 2009

Another week gone by in old Amsterdam. It's been rather a rocky week, not gonna lie, but I'm a missionary, so that actually means it was a time to learn and grow substantially. :) Eample of the difficulty: Zuster Fowler's key broke off in her bike lock, rendering it useless. Well, we were late for an evening appointment with Familie Todorovic anyway, so we just had to do as the Dutch do: achter op. This, my friends, means that one sits on the back rack of the bike, above the rear tire. My tires were pretty flat and the bike trail pretty rocky and what a combination for hilarity. We made it to the appointment only to find that my nametag had fallen off somewhere along the way. I jogged back home and luckily found it lying on the path beneath the lamp pole. God exists.

Well, the next morning getting to church was the treat. Achtering op with an oversized bike pump and our grocery bag full of lunch - we were quite the site for the locals. Don't worry, we're back to normal. But I shall never forget this crazy circumstance.
Zuster exchanges were a ball. Zuster Wieland joined me in Amsterdam and I definitely learned a bunch, being the respsonsible one and all. I feel like it was a chance for me to grow so much in love for the people we teach. I seriously love them all incredibly.

Zuster Fowler and I are teaching several young women our age and they are such miracles - Kim, Amy, and Daisy. Let me introduce you first to Kim Zwaan. She's 21, the daughter of one of our strong sisters in the ward. She hasn't been interested in the church until now - all thanks to Claire (American working here in A'dam). They went on vacation to Norway together and Claire spent a lot of time telling Kim about the church and dared her to come. So she did. And now she's been coming to church every week and praying like nobody's business - and she's the awesomest girl of my life. She totally invited her friend, Zander, (who, let's be honest, is totally interested in her) to church and has been telling him about what "we believe." How cool is she, I ask you? I have loved teaching her and seeing how prepared people's hearts can be and become. The Lord truly loves His children and makes ways for them to come unto Him. And there's always joy along the way.

Today is Zuster Fowler's birthday, which rocks. :) Her parents sent her a care package with chocolate cake and decorations, so our apartment smells and looks fabulous. Transfers are coming next week and we're praying everynight that we can remain here together. Amsterdam pretty much needs us. We rock. Best companionship ever. I'm so blessed.

Well friends and family, ik hou van jullie. D&C 128:19

Zuster Fritz

Monday, October 12, 2009

Restrict your remarks to the weather

Well, the weather was pretty extreme this week. Down pouring rain, and then enough blue sky to make a Dutchman a pair of pants. :)

We had stake conference yesterday in Nordwijkerhoudt and that was SUCH an amazing experience. It was awesome to see SO many members of the church and so many families! Sometimes what we do here seems small to me...but this was a great reminder to me that what we do here really is covering the world.

We had some pretty incredible teaches this week. One of the coolest appointments this week was with a young woman from China. Her name is Amy and she's looking. We taught her about God's love and she's praying to find out if He exists. I know she'll get an answer. Because He does exist and He loves her. It was such a special opportunity to teach someone who has no background or concept of God and Jesus Christ. But Amy's a miracle and I can't wait to meet more with her.

There are so many amazing people here in Amsterdam and I feel so PRIVILEGED to work in this gorgeous city, especially with the church members here. We've been really busy with starting new approaches and new programs and it's not difficult to feel overwhelmed, but part of trusting in my Heavenly Father is just not worrying. Because we just can't do it all without Him.

This week we have sister exchanges and my trustee trainer is leaving me for Haarlem. I'll be working with Zuster Wieland here in Amsterdam and I'm pretty anxious excited about it. Terrifed too, because I'll be taking the ropes for 2 days in this enormous city and I'll have to lead and guide in every aspect, but it'll be really good for me, eh? I'm super stoked! (I'll let you know how I survived it!) :)

I love you all and I wish you'd WRITE ME MORE! ;D But seriously, I pray for you all to keep happiness. Find it in the Book of Mormon. It's waiting for you there.

Zuster Fritz

Monday, October 5, 2009

Biking in the wind and rain - meh

Amsterdam is precisely like Berlin in that every morning I wake up and look out my window to a gray, overcast sky that remains for the day and will remain until April. :) I love fall in Europa.

Now, as to how that is on a bike. Well, it is decidedly more difficult to bike against the wind in a constant mist of rain. I must give up any hope of looking attractive for the rest of the season because this weather is anything but beautifying. I'm wet a lot.

In any case, the leaves are beautiful and the city is always bustling. I love what I can here. I must return back here after I'm done to catch up on all the culture I'm missing as a missionary. ;)

This week has taught me a lot of humility. Hahaha. That's always exciting. Not. We had a lot of potentially amazing appointments cancel on us this week and that was super disappointing. However, we ended this week with GENERAL CONFERENCE! My oh my, I love General Conference. It was so wonderful (especially when Dadson and Sharon - two of our Ghana investigators - walked in...miraculous). Kim came (!!) and watched with the headsets in het engels and she, Betty and I all commented on the attractiveness of President Uchtdorf. ;) I learned SO incredibly much from the words of the prophet and apostles. I love them!

I love you all and miss you. I think of you and pray for you often (so you better be doing likewise!!!) :D

Lots of Dutch love,

Zuster Fritz

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28, 2009

Well, the honeymoon days are over. My first week is over and it's really down to work here in Amsterdam. :) We've been incredibly busy with so many appointments (many of them with members from the ward. Go Amsterdam!!) and we've seen a lot of progression in the people we've found and taught.

Saturday, Marijke and Tomasina were baptized. And Ani, a 14 year old girl we're teaching, set a baptismal date for 31 Okt. We are busy. And loving it. :) It is so amazing to see the change that happens in these people's lives, in their entire countenance. I love being around them, teaching them through the spirit.

I am so limited on time, but I wanted to share ROMANS 8. Read it. Love it. Nothing can separate us from the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Pray hard. And WRITE YOUR MISSIONARY!!!!!!!

Much love,
Zuster Fritz

Monday, September 21, 2009

Riding a bike in a skirt? No problem!

Groetjes von Amsterdam! My first week in the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands mission has been a raging hit and I can't wait to pick up the work here in this AMAZING mission.

Let's begin with my golden city: Amsterdam. God loves me so much - because this place is incredible. Great things are happening. HOWEVER, if y'all thought that I was coming to the Netherlands to teach tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Dutchmen, you have something else coming to you. I'm surrounded by everyone; many Africans (with whom we speak an awesome sort of English), Surinamse volk (a dialect of Dutch), Europeans of all varieties/languages, and now and then some Americans. Ya, pretty much Amsterdam is the worst city for one to learn Dutch. Lingua franca: English. MAAR (but) I am learning.

One week in Amsterdam on mission and already I've beheld so many miracles. The work itself is a miracle. We are teaching and finding so many of the elect and the members have been with us all the way, joint teaching is incredible. Every person we find and teach on the street or in the parks has SO much potential and so much to give. I'm learning to truly listen as Elder Holland taught in PMG (Ch 10).

One miracle I'll never forget: Evanne. She's a gorgeous young woman we approached in the park - asked her straight away what her purpose in life is. SHe shared with us that she's actually searching for that very answer, but she didn't feel her church was answering it. Therefore, she was reading in the Bible. Zuster Fowler told her about the Book of Mormon and shared her favorite scripture from Alma and as she did so and testified, tears began to stream down Evanna's cheeks. She expressed that the feelings she felt as we spoke to her were exactly what she was searching for and that she believes we were the answer to her prayers. We taught and testified some more, set up an appt., prayed with her (a beautiful experience) and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon - she was going to read from Alma 5 until our appointment. It was a wonder. We pray for her everyday and are so excited to teach her more about her relationship with her Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. She is ready!!

My companion: Zuster Fowler. Zij is mijn held. I absolutely love everything about her. She and I are one soul in two bodies. :) Together we will see miracles. We're working really hard and have SO many investigators, one with a baptism this Saturday. Her name is Marijka and she is completely transformed. I wish I could have seen her from the beginning. Marijka is a special daughter of God and she teaches me so much with her eagerness to read from the BoM. Simply the way she carries and handles the book in her hands shows her appreciation for what it's done for her life. She is so accepting of the gospel principles we teach her. She knows they will make her happy.

In any case, the ward is so excited for her. I am so excited for her.There are simply not words enough to describe what happens here. I love the work, love being a missionary, love the members/investigators, and love my Savior Jesus Christ.

Het herstelde evangelie is waar!
Zuster Fritz

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Arrival in Belgium!!

Sister Fritz has arrived safely! She looks excited and enthusiastic about her mission. We are delighted to have her with us. Her first assignment will be in the city of Amsterdam.
Her address will be:

Groenhoven 622
1103 LS Amsterdam-Zuidoost

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My last preparation day in the MTC!!! I leave in 4.5 days for Belgium/Netherlands and am SO excited to embark on this, my assigned mission! I have loved everything about the MTC and know that it'll be hard to leave this incredible place, my awesome district of Dutchies/Danes/Icelandics, my leaders and my teachers, but it is right and fitting that I leave on time. I'm so totally and absolutely ready. Bring on the storm!!

I had such a great week, fast Sunday especially was an awesome experience - always a great reminder of the battle of our body and spirit. And last night for MTC devotional, Elder Richard G. Hinckley came to address us. It was such an outstanding night to remember, so much truth confirmed. Listening to him speak was a delightful reminder of his father, our beloved prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley.
I won't be able to receive any dearelders from you after Friday, so make sure you write to me before noon that day! (hint hint!) Write to the mission home in Belgium from now on - I am looking forward to hearing from you all in abundance!

Ik wil mijn getuigenis met jullie delen. Ik weet zeker dat God and Jezus Christus leven - ik weet dat wegens de Heilige Geest. Het Boek van Mormon is waar en was vertalde door Joseph Smith, die een profeet van God was. Het Boek van Mormon getuigt van Jezus Christus en als wij lezen kunnen wij ons de Heilige Geest voelen. Ik ben een dochter van onze Hemelse Vader en ik ben dankbaar om een zendlingzuster te zijn. Ik houd van jullie en wens je veel succes met alles.
Moroni 8:3

Veel liefs tot wij elkaar zien,
Zuster Jillian Fritz

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"You must be willing to give up the life you have planned in order to claim the life that is waiting for you."

A shout out to my BYU cougars. I've been thinking of you and wish y'all a way dang sweet fall semester! (and totally feeling a twinge of longing as I hear the carillon chime "Come Come Ye Saints" every hour). Na ja, ik ben blij om een zendelingzuster te zijn.

How unbelievable it is that we leave in 10 days!! Already I've begun to pack what little possessions I have in preparation for our vertrekking naar Nederland. The time is flying by and I'm getting giddy to be finally in the Netherlands.

It's been a trying week in our zone, but we've also experienced many rewards. Elaine S. Dalton, General Young Women President, addressed the sisters in Relief Society this past week. What a fine and energetic woman she is. I was able to meet her briefly afterward and I'll always remember her message to us: "You must be willing to give up the life you have planned in order to claim the life that is waiting for you." If I haven't learned that by now in my life, I wonder how much longer it will take. :) I've definitely been reminded again and again that Dutch is my language and the Netherlands my mission. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not [yet] seen." -Hebrews 11:1

The decision to be a missionary is the best that I have made in my own eternity.

I love you all tremendously. More letters from the crowd would be lovely. ;)

Jillian Fritz, Zuster

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

a day outside the MTC

I'm now on the downside of my half-way mark at the MTC. Three and a half weeks remain and we get the new Dutchies next Wednesday. We're incredibly excited. :) Things here are great - certainly eventful.

A very interesting "opportunity" arose this past weekend that helped deepen my gratitude for the Lord's spirit, which I feel every moment of every day here at the MTC. Zuster Sharp was unwell this past weekend with an ear infection and pneumonia, but as the clinic on MTC campus was closed, we were to go to the BYU urgent care clinic. While my companion was seen by the doctor, I remained in the waiting room, surrounded by insipid conversation and shocking language (ok, it wasn't shocking by the world's standard, but keep in mind that I'm a missionary in the MTC). It bothered me, actually.

We were sent to the Rite-Aid next to my old grocery stop, Macey's, to get her Rx filled and spent some time wandering around the real world. Very strange experience, really.

Our schedule was then completely crazed and we didn't have opportunity to feast on the word, which really affected our attitudes and moods. We prayed earnestly together that night to get the presence of the Holy Ghost back with us.

The following morning, Sunday, was a sweet experience. The sacrament definitely helped me feel that again. And it was certainly refreshing - here at the MTC, you feel the spirit all the time and so much that sometimes you feel immune to it. Therefore, I'm really grateful for this experience.

Something funny that I loved from this week: playing the role of an investigator for one of my teacher's lessons, I said about the Book of Mormon, "Yah, this is all interesting..." To which Brother Bond curtly stated, "No, National Geographic with natives running around in loin cloths is interesting...this is real. This is truth!" :D I love it.

How I love the Book of Mormon! I have never felt such a sincere yearning for knowledge from the scriptures. My personal studies have been amazing - I studied the "strait and narrow path" this morning and I love this passage from Alma 37:46 - "It is...easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss." This is true. Obedience and prayer keep us this path and we must simply look to Christ and live.

The church is true. Ik houd van jullie.

Veel liefs,
Jillian Claire, Zuster

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ich frohlocke in Wahrheit (that's German)

The weeks go by unbelievably fast. Today marks my halfway in the Missionary Training Center. And what an awesome time it's been! :)

This past Monday was our first "Engels vast." Translation: no english. I'm not gonna lie, it was a challenge for me at first (because it was like 40% German coming out), but throughout the day, we four Dutchies had total confidence in speaking this language. I am amazed at our progress. AND, it felt so good to finally open my mouth and try out the new language. ;) Seriously, my German is both a blessing and a crutch.
Monday was the best of days. We taught a young woman who has made the commitment to come to Jesus Christ through baptism. However, she struggles with addictions to alcohol and tobacco and so we taught her about the Word of Wisdom. Because she knows this is the true gospel, she is willing to end those addictions to prepare herself for baptism. I am in awe of her faith. Yet it really is such an amazing commandment - with incredible blessings. I was so happy to see her make that choice in her life. And it was a choice that she could make because she has agency - a choice that will now allow her to exercise her agency more fully.

We also have started teaching in Dutch. JAWEL! (That's Dutch for "Jawohl!" Ya, I know. Not as cool. Hahaha) This has been amazing and challenging. I love opening my mouth to teach in this language, which I really am coming to adore. However, it has proved challenging in that I want to take off and talk and talk and talk...but it's not about ME. I'm in a companionship and it's not "I" it's "we." As I've taught with the other three (teaching with the Elders has been pretty cool) they have been so patient with me as I try to reign myself in. I cannot even express how much I love mijn collega's. I am learning MUCH patience and humility. They are such examples to me - I love seeing them make leaps and bounds as they rely on the Lord to learn.

I have never before felt such a love for the scriptures, specifically the Book of Mormon. I have focused some of my personal study (the best hour of the day) on "glory" the past few days. What a gold mine of truth that subject opened for me! My favorite find:
Moses 1:39 -> Mosiah 4:11-12 -> Mosiah 3:20 -> D&C 3:16,19-20 -> Mosiah 4:12
I couldn't be more filled with joy in my life than I am now. I am being refined in all aspects of my life, so that I may better understand His will "to bring to pass...the eternal life of man."

Veel liefs,
Zuster Jillian Fritz

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

we don't teach what we know, we teach what we are

Another week passed. We've moved on to the second lesson in our teaching - the plan of salvation. As we've been preparing ourselves to teach our investigators, we've spent so much time being taught ourselves in a deeper manner and perspective. I have never learned so much about the plan of salvation's role in my personal life. And may I add my testimony that this is God's eternal plan for us, His children.
Everytime I teach these principles, I am filled with delight, for I know it is eternal truth. Jesus Christ is the center of all things.
We don't teach what we know, we teach what we are.

Moisah 18: 10-11
Mosiah 4:2 The blood of Jesus Christ if in our hearts would pump and spread throughout our veins to every part of our bodies, enabling us to use those limbs to glorify God and the Son with good works.

I love the work. Veel liefs,

Monday, August 3, 2009

letter reading

reading letters from home on a glorious summer evening

Life is wonderful. I've never been happier, nor closer to my Savior in all my life. I love bearing my testimony frequently. Each time I do, it is strengthened.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

MTC still fabulous

It's been an incredible week and it's really flown by. The days seem never-ending, but the weeks are over in a flash. And the MTC is still fabulous.

Each Saturday, everyone has to prepare a five minute talk for sacrament meeting on one of the Christlike attributes from PMG. Then after the sacrament is passed, two missionaries are called to share it. I was one of them. I was really grateful for that chance to speak. I loved studying patience and sharing my experiences and testimony about the principle. (sidenote: thanks mom for always teaching us patience. I promise I'll be better at it by next Christmas!)

Sunday night fireside had Stephen B. Allen come to address us. WHAT a meeting! It was a very interactive fireside and we talked about the hymn, "Come Come Ye Saints" and how those words can become ours as missionaries. Power comes with song!!

Thursday was our first day in the RC (referral call center). It is a bit nerve-racking at first to call people and ask them if they want missionaries to bring them the Book of Mormon, but I had an amazing experience. At first I was just getting voicemail after voicemail. Finally I got a woman named Velma. We talked for 38 minutes about the Bible in our lives and how our reliance on Jesus Christ gives our lives unmatched purpose. She was a Catholic Bible teacher for 27 years, so she had a lot of insight and favorite scriptures to share with me as well. She's not quite ready for the Book of Mormon to be brought to her, but she seemed sincere when she told me that she'd think about it. She knows where to get it now. I'm praying for her often.

I've been thinking a lot about Joseph Smith this week. I got to watch the "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" Sunday night!! I was so happy to have that remind me of the truths I'm teaching our investigators about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through our prophet. How I love that great, good man. I hope that we can ever more appreciate the restored gospel in our lives and have a desire to share it with others. Even if it is a small desire, if planted in our hearts, it will swell. It is the seed of the tree of life. And we want to share that with others. (Alma 32:28)

I love you all so much. I pray for you often and appreciate you more than I can say.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

dutchies at the temple

I am just come from my anticipated P-day temple trip. As we were walking down the path from the temple, a tour bus pulled up to the curb, unloading a large group of people. From Belgium & the Netherlands!! It was a sure miracle!

They noticed our nametags and flocked to us immediately. They commended us on our 7th day Dutch skills & were SO happy to meet us and tell us about how much they love sister missionaries. How wonderful, huh? This was a direct and dramatic answer to my (and Zuster Sharp's) prayers. We pray daily together in Dutch for help with the language and love for the people. And the Lord hears and answers our prayers.

I am so excited to go forth and serve and love those people. I'm in the right place and I'm going to the right mission. No doubts! How could I need any more assurance? It amazes me the way the Lord communicates to His children when they seek Him in faith.

Eeeeeeeek! It was so exciting!!

I wish you could see just want an amazing place the MTC is. Everyone is so Christlike in their kindness. We say hello to everyone we pass (in our mission languages). The elders in our zone stand when we arrive @ meals, and take our trays for us afterward. Doors are held for me no matter where I go. Laughter is everywhere - everyone is always having a good time together with their companion(s) and district/zone.

The new missionaries arrived today. It reminded me that it was only one week ago that we did that. I want you to rest assured that though I do love & miss you, I'm not at all sad. I didn't have time to be. I think of you often and much, but I am so confident that the Lord is blessing you tremendously for supporting your missionary daughters (both of us). We pray constantly in the MTC and always ask blessings to be with our parents and families.

My time here is not my own. Every minute of every day is planned full. We rise at 6:30 (actually, 6:10 to get ready/shower) and have gym time, service (cleaning classrooms) or personal study right away, depending on the day. Class time is spent learning how to preach the gospel (in English first) and in Dutch, how to pray & bear testimony. We start & end with prayer/song in Dutch. Two teachers a day - Sister Spencer and Brother Bond. Both BYU students. Bro Bond is amazing at effective teaching. Very lively, very encouraging.

Choir is Sun & Tues at 4:15 - 5:15. We sing at the Tues. evening devotionals. A GA speaks to us each week. And then we discuss it afterward as a district.

I love Sunday Relief Society in the morning after watching Music & the Spoken Word. Then Sacrament meeting as a zone (several districts - going to Belgium/Netherlands, Oakland, Temple Square, Denmark & Las Vegas). I love them. Each Saturday we prepare a 5-minute talk for sacrament meeting & 3 missionaries are called up to give be prepared!!

So, that's life at the MTC. Very structured. Lots of learning/classroom instruction. 3 hours each day for 1) personal study, 2) companionship study & 3) language study. Lights off @ 10:30, no exceptions.

I love it here, have I mentioned that?? Unlike any other place on earth!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I've been a missionary for a full week! :) And I'm loving it absolutely. I love my district and my companion, Zuster Sharp. I am so blessed to have her - she and I get along PERFECTLY and we're learning so much from each other. She is going to see miracles on her mission. Our teachers are great - Brother Bond is especially amazing. He is an effective teacher and helps us with the language a LOT.

I really enjoy the residence hall life - I've really gotten to know the sisters in my room and I've seen SO many people here that I know. It's AWESOME to make so many connections. I've adopted Kelley's attitude about mealtime and gym: it's "super-happy-fun-time." It's so refreshing to get those breaks. As for exercise...I am now a jogger. Zuster Sharp and I usually jog around the indoor track or outside by the temple for gym. It feels SO great and I can then justify eating desserts at meals. :)

And yes, Mom and Annie Laurie: I joined the choir. Glad I did, I am. Uh-mazing. It is the most POWERFUL thing to have those hundreds of elders singing behind me. We sang last night at the MTC devotional for Elder Groberg. It was so special to participate in that.

In class, we've mostly worked on learning the first lesson in PMG. We're learning LOTS of teaching skills by example and its definitely a humbling experience. :) We practice a lot on each other in our classes and district (we're still in English). But let me say that Zuster Sharp and I are SUCH a team! We really feel the flow and completely trust each other to teach by the spirit. Even though our district members are just pretending to investigate, the spirit is overpowering when we teach. I cannot wait to get out there and do it for real. ;)span>

ALL RIGHTY, the Dutch. Yes, I'll admit that it CAN be a pretty language. :) Seriously, it's just German with a twist. The others in my class have been asking me for help in pronunciation and grammar and I've been helping them when the teachers are gone. It's been a humbling experience to be in that position. I am grateful for the opportunity to share what I know. I'm not learning this language for myself, but for them - the people in Nederlands.

I love this place. I love the spirit that is here. I love praying to start and end every meeting and event. I love growing closer to my district. I love learning from my teachers. I love sharing my testimony and praying in Dutch. I love waking up every morning with a hymn in my head, knowing that I am being obedient. I love teaching the gospel and hearing it from others. I've never been more tired in my life, but I've also never been more happy.

I love you all. I think of you a lot (time permitting hehe) and pray for you all by name every night. Keep sending happiness to me through the post! :) It makes me so excited to hear from you!

Zuster Fritz and Zuster Sharp

Saturday, July 18, 2009

first letter home

15 Juli 2009

Meine Gute! What an unbelievable day! Its been nothing but orientations and meetings with our residence hall sisters and also meeting with our district, who are all headed out to my mission or the Copenhagen Denmark mission. So, its a fun mix.
But they've definitely kept us very busy and I'm always meeting new missionaries - as well as seeing many I know. It really just feels like a full-scale EFY :) The food is mediocre but my bed is excessively comfortable!!
I can't even describe how I feel about being here. I am SO excited to be a missionary. I can't even begin to comprehend the good that I'll do for the people, for myself, and for the progression of the work. I'm confident that I'll witness many miracles over the next 18 months as I'm about the business of the Lord.
So much of what our priesthood leaders have told us today focuses on obedience. I feel that I have a good understanding and a bit of practice at it, but I know that I'll begin to comprehend the principle in a whole new light as it governs my actions, attitude, and preaching over the course of my mission.
There is such an incredible spirit here. I feel in the right place and have been taken SUCH good care of that I've had almost no time to be sad or homesick. Maybe it'll hit later, but for now, rest assured that I'm having the time of my life!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

she's off!

she's off to the MTC for 9 weeks - the beginning of her 18 month full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints