Sisters Conference

Sisters Conference was beautiful! I saw my beloved “step-mother” Zr Bradley (who is going home next transfer, but she┬┤s dying here in Belgium! with Zr Young!) and my dear Zr Maughan.
Sisters Conference 7(Click on the picture to see it bigger)
I learned a couple things
  • “remember the reason” — make the sacrament and Sabbath a spiritual renewal
  • Anxiety is ok — even the great Book of Mormon prophets had great faith and desire and anxiety.
  • Make the temple, the House of the Lord, more of a home to you (temple conference is 13 or 14 October!!!!!!)
  • and, you learn more from failing than succeeding.

Being with all the sisters was great. ­čÖé special times

Antwerp from the tram
Tram miracle
We go by bus to see a lonely elderly sister who likes us to read the Book of Mormon with her for a bit. On the way back, the bus was a quiet ride. We get to the halte and get on a tram headed back to the center of the city. We get on the bus and I have a huge feeling that I need to talk to someone. But most of the people are looking at their phones or their backs are to me and my companion is sitting across from me, but she┬┤s in thinking mode so I turn to my right and there is this woman who looks tired. She┬┤s holding a grocery sack that says “carrefour,” thats one of the good grocery stores here in BE.
Something crazy inside me got up and moved seats so that I was across from her. I told her in Dutch that we are from America and don┬┤t know BE that well, where should we shop for cheap groceries? She laughed and told me a couple of places (and phew! We shop at those places already!). She asked why I was here. I told her. She asked why I left my mother, and then before I could answer, she said “oh, so that you could learn how to shop!” I laughed and said yes. I asked her if she had children and she told me her story. She is from Armenia, but has lived in Belgium for more than 40 years. She spoke just as much Dutch as me, but we talked about families and grandkids and teaching good morals and buying healthy food. I didn┬┤t ask her name, but I took her hand and the Spirit said this: “I know that you are a good woman. Your children love you. Your grandchildren love you. You are loved by God.”
She started to cry, and I started to cry. We both held hands. Her joints in her fingers are balloons, but the rest of her hand is skinny and rough and calloused and worn. She told me she believes in a God who protects her and her children every day. She told me she prays for that. I told her that is wonderful. I told her that He hears her, that He cares. She laughed and said that she doesn┬┤t really know if He cares about an old woman like her, but she believes He is there.
Then we came to our stop and I squeezed her hand and waved goodbye. I had the feeling that I wouldn┬┤t ever see her again, and that┬┤s true with many, many people I meet, but … it wasn┬┤t a disappointed I won┬┤t see her again feeling. It was a “I said what needed to be said” feeling.
I believe the Spirit will guide us if we look, follow, and listen.
Jess on the tram
By the way, I┬┤m staying Antwerp, BE for another 6 weeks!!!
Have a great week!
Love, Zr Faasavalu

That One Moment

There is that one moment in movies where the camera slows down, the music or sounds muffle, the characters are either in slow motion or “paused” for a moment. The main character usually is the only one seeing it, enjoying it, recognizing how special the moment really is. Sometimes, this character has a moment of realization, of wonder and awe, of gratitude or appreciation for the moment, the people in the moment, or the lesson learned in the moment.

Belgium sky
Just remembering it gives me goosebumps and fills me with happiness and gratitude.
This week, Thursday, I had that moment! That movie moment when time slowed down and I was really living in the moment. As missionaries, we are told to not worry about the future and tomorrow and anything other than today, to really live in the moment, to enjoy every minute of our missions because, yes, one day we will have moments when we really really miss the mission.
Belgium view
Thursday Zr Johanson and I came back together after exchanging with the sisters in Turnhout (Zr Voss and I were in Turnhout and found that windmill that I so generously cut out of our picture, oops.) But… I had felt really sick all day in Turnhout. Come to find out, as we get off the train and arrive in Antwerpen, we find that Zr Young was also not feeling good. After thinking it over, Zr Voss, our sister training leader, decided it might be to our (the sick sisters) benefit if we stayed together and to have Zr Johanson leave with Zr Voss to go to the Netherlands for a mission leadership meeting.
So… Zr Young and I had a day together again! Well, Thursday night and Friday all day.
Thursday night familie Boegaerts invited us and our investigator Ann to eat dinner and to have a lesson after the meal.
I can┬┤t give justice to what was said and how it was said, but on Sunday, Zr Boegaerts told me that that was the most spiritual experience she had had with an investigator, and she┬┤s been a member for more than 40 years and is such a good member missionary!
We didn┬┤t teach our planned lesson, but instead we all talked. Ann was great. She asked questions and answered ours and bore such a sweet testimony. The spirit was so very, very strong.
During the closing prayer, part of me is feeling very sick and needing to get home and take medicine and sleep for a long time, but the more part of me was so filled and enriched and humbled by this experience. Bro. Boegaerts said the closing prayer, in Dutch. Ann doesn┬┤t speak Dutch, but no one stopped him. The prayer was beautiful. Beautiful. For a moment, with my arms covered in goosebumps and my heart thumping and tears on my cheeks, I opened my eyes–just for a moment–and when I did, that┬ámoment happened.
Brother and Zuster Boegaerts, two Belgians, two faithful, humorous, generous members, their heads bowed in reverent prayer.
Ann, a woman from Thailand, a woman whose faith and sincerity is so evident through her testimony of the Gospel, her head also bowed, though she couldn┬┤t understand a word of the spoken prayer.
Zr Young, my best friend out here, also crying, also so strong and wonderful and spiritually gigantic, sitting next to me, with her head bowed.
Aw man. It was a moment of confirmation to me that I was and am exactly where I am supposed to be. The people, my companion, with me that day, were supposed to be with me, in that moment. Nothing could have been better. I was surrounded by strange people, different people, people that I would not have seen myself with if I had been any other place.
God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform,
He puts His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.
hymn no. 285
love you all!
love, Zr Faasavalu
Zr Voss and Faa in the rainZr Voss and Faa in the rain
p.s I am feeling better now.

Exchanges: A great week

Wow, this week went about as fast as the last! Geez, my weeks are counting down!

creepy stairs
Monday my lovely friends Manda, Philip, and Darren from Breda came to Antwerp and we went to lunch together, which was great. I love them. Ah man. Then after lunch Zr Jo and I met Steffi, an RM from our ward, who took us to see cool places in the center of Antwerp! That was a lot of fun. A good chill day.
Zr Young exchanges
TuesdayWednesday┬áZr Young and I went on exchanges!!!!!!!!!!!! (Finally!!!!!!!!!!) Oh man, it was amazing. We had a blast. We were looking up some people that she had taught back at the beginning of this year, who weren┬┤t home, sadly, but we talked to this woman named Naomi! She is a very positive potential. She told us that she is “muslim,” but she doesn┬┤t practice. She also prays with a lot of her catholic friends at their shrines and cathedrals, but she said that it isn┬┤t what she┬┤s looking for. WE HAVE WHAT YOU┬┤RE LOOKING FOR! Zr Young shared her testimony about prayer and Naomi said how much God means to her. We talked about finding answers and peace through prayer. She said she sees us as angels, good people, then asked us to pray for her! We gladly obliged and then said, could we pray with you now? She said yes! So, we prayed together, the three of us, on a busy street in Berchem-Antwerp, Belgium. It was pretty amazing. Zr Young and I also went to see AGNES! Oh, oh, oh, my sweet Agnes. She just loves┬áZr Young. It was such a great appointment! The Spirit is in that woman┬┤s home. She is a choice spirit with a very very inspiring soul. Oh man:)
Zr Young and Faa on bikes
Saturday we went and saw Agnes again, and ah my, she´s amazing. We love her. She is planning on getting her patriarchal blessing soon! Wahoo! Saturday was also the Mormon Arts Festival in Antwerp (MAFA)! Wow, the music was great, the art was very interesting, and the food was delicious! So many talents shared and displayed. I saw Bishop, Rosie, and Xiandry Odro!! Wonderful day! It rained a lot, but, hey! I´m in Europe and it rains a lot. I also purchased an orange umbrella:)
Sunday Ann came to church and then came with us to dinner at family Schiltz. And let me tell you that that dinner appointment was one of the most spiritual I have had in Antwerpen. The Spirit was so strong that we all, all 9 of us, just sat in the quietness of it for a few moments. Its not like us to not talk. Oh wow. Lots of tears. Ann bore such a strong testimony of the Gospel and how it has blessed her over the past two years that she´s been learning and growing in it. Beautiful day:)
And so……… yeah! That was my week!
Love you all!
love, Zr Faasavalu
PS– what “finally happened” was that sadly, my bike has been stolen. Now, someone has a very good little bike with a new back tire and a broken bell and no working front light. But, they have a back light and good breaks, and duct tape on their chain guard. Bless their souls. Good thing Antwerpen has good transportation and I have good shoes still! Mission adventures!
Tot zo

Stake Family Day

train ride

We had a stake family day!! It was so fun!! Saw people from Breda and played a cool game with the Antwerpen ward!

camping with Zoetermeer

Ate food from the Murtons and talked to a lot of people!

Amanda from Zoetermeer

Had good talks with Jasmine and Amanda—oh man, just great great life! And Manda┬┤s two darling boys! oh!!! Tender mercies to see so many people and be in the woods! I felt like I was camping! And we played volleyball with a bunch of people. Fun fun.

Zoetermeer reunionLiefs,

Zr Faa