Saturday, October 30, 2010

star of the week: Anne-Marie van Winckel

Here's the haps with our friends:
Liliane is going completely strong; reading night and day, giddy about her baptism every time we see her. Only thing is, we don't know when that will happen. We’re waiting on the softened heart of her opposing daughter. That’s not getting her down, though. We are planning like it'll happen any day and praying like mad.

Anne-Marie set her own baptismal date for 14 December, which happens to be her birthday. She’s got all the fine details worked out. She knows the gospel inside and out so we feel a bit useless when we go to teach the lessons. More supervising than teaching, really. I wish all investigators were member referrals. :) This woman has a heart of gold and is completely set on doing everything asked of her and then some. She gets the ABCD (above, beyond call of duty) award.

Fernand is a new friend whom we found in a park in Hoboken. He meandered over to us, his 70+ year old legs clad in a vintage suit, and when we approached him and told him we talk to people about religion, he looked around the leafy path and motioned to a bench. We sat there for 80 minutes teaching about the restoration. Our follow up appointment was brilliant - he has read dozens of pages from the Book of Mormon and received an answer to his prayer that it's true. He’s currently on holiday with his wife but we are expecting a terrific appointment on Wednesday.

Willy is from the Congo and Zuster Holbein and I met him as he was walking down the street op Linkeroever (very far from where he lives). We had a brief interaction in Dutch in which we explained that we share the Book of Mormon. He expressed interest in a French copy and we set up an appointment to deliver it. That and several more appointments fell through but Zuster Van Wauwe, our ward missionary and friend loves her brothers and sisters from her native Congo and encouraged us to keep trying. She accompanied us to our first lesson where we learned that Willy does not speak nor understand Dutch. Confusion and awe followed because we truly carried on a whole conversation with him that first day and we were speaking Dutch. Well, he has read through Alma in the Book of Mormon after several appointments and asked to be baptized into the church he's been looking for all his life. A sweet experience.

Nico is just one more miracle that will have to wait until Monday when I can give his conversion justice. But in the meantime, attend and enjoy church and I love you all.

veel liefs,
Zuster Fritz

Monday, October 18, 2010

the good and the best things

I have no idea how to put any of the miraculous and incredible things into words and I just feel silly trying. I serve in the best mission with the best missionaries, among the best members, teaching the best people. It probably becomes cliché to read my letters every week because the only thing I can do is rave about all the "good" and "best" things. Now, I remember a certain lady in my life who hated positive Christmas letters and demanded to know the negative. I just feel sorry for this woman's existence because focusing on the negative is so ridiculous. Really though, there are a million things I could focus on - I could type for hours about the rude and obscene things that people have said to me in 16 months, I could rant about my frustrations with people who don't commit to the most important thing on earth due to either lack of understanding or lack of desire. and then there's the constant tiredness I feel. It never goes away. Neither does the weather. There's just no need to even mention these things, even to myself. And it's definitely a battle, choosing to disregard something that truly makes its presence known, but the gospel of Jesus Christ is the POWER to do it. I finished my study of the Doctrine and Covenants this week and while reading about Joseph Smith's history, I was so impressed with his attitude: as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me...nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in...and I feel like Paul, to glory in tribulation." -Doctrine and Covenants 127

That's the gospel message. Liliane is suffering health problems, Juliette's son is dying of cancer, and Ethel is looking for a job. And while they are all very difficult trials for them, eternal perspective in the plan of salvation that our loving Heavenly Father has created for us is the only way to make it sanely through. :)

I love sharing that with others. So. much.

and love you all,
Zuster Fritz

l'automne in Belgique

What else could you expect than a week of miracles? First of all, I have the most sensational companion ever: Zuster Amber de Groot and I have never laughed so much in my life - the mission is such a riot, I love it. We do and give our best to enjoy every aspect of the work and there really is nothing better than what's happening here in Antwerpen. We had 9 new investigators this week which is fantastic and our regulars are going so strong. It's now been several months teaching them and though they are completely ready for baptism, it's all working in the Lord's timing, which for a missionary is sometimes ridiculously long. Hahahaha. Liliane and Juliette and Anne-Marie are all completely elect and prepared and it is such a privilege to teach them and witness their faith in action. Each one of these ladies is SO involved in the scriptures and everything else that teaches them the principles of the gospel. I love them ridiculously much.

We are still teaching Florence Mensah from Ghana and her whole family and it's incredible - the lessons are full of hallelujahs and really good questions. Man, I love that family. Joseph came with us on joint
teach and it blows my mind that it was only four months ago that we introduced him to the Book of Mormon. Now he's got the priesthood and teaching and inviting people to the gospel like crazy. He is a marvel to behold and leaving to England in a few short weeks. I know he'll endure to the end no matter where in the world he finds himself.

I love this fall weather that is
descending upon us in Belgium. Best time to go finding on the streets. :)

love you all

Whoa, ok so I loved conference and got a lot of inspiration about what I can do to finish strong and restart my life again at home.

Ok, down to business here - I love love love Zuster De Groot. We spent the beginning of p-day cleaning and I mean really cleaning! We then shopped and cooked lunch together and we are heading out for a day on the town in Antwerpen with our favorite member, Katie from Canada and her new husband.

Joseph Mendy is moving back to England in just a few short weeks and Antwerpen will not be the same without him but what a testimony that he needed to find the gospel here and now. I am so grateful to be a part of it.

I hope you all are watching and sharing the Mormon messages on and These are incredible.