Peace

“My peace I give unto you.” I studied peace and how faith and peace coincide for a couple days, and then Sunday in Relief Society, the lesson was on peace! Amazing. It was a tender mercy, because hearing it from someone else, that faith and peace and patience are all connected, and also hearing it in a language that I’ve come to love was a blessing, because I was then hearing 3 languages; English, Dutch, and the Spirit.

Peace is something I’ve been searching for the past couple weeks. Missions are not always happy-go-dory and peaches and plums and whatever else lots of people say… a lot of times, it is all those happy things, but it’s also rough. Sometimes it’s real rough.
But hey, the Lord doesn’t keep us there for long. We go through the rough and come out tough. 🙂
Knocking doors in frigid cold and everyone gets grumpy with you for making them open their door and let the cold in… heh heh. If it’s cold, let us in! haha just kidding. But really though, if you’re opening your door, it’s not our fault and no, you might not believe in God or in happiness, but we are not going to force you to do anything. Man alive, sometimes I don’t understand people. Or the weather.
Canal in Gouda
Also feelings of inadequacy are frequent on a mission. You feel like you can’t do anything right and your worth is basically lower than the bottom of the bottomless pit. You can’t do it for another moment. I can’t walk into the rain. I can’t bike through ice-rain. I can’t stay awake through planning. I can’t think straight because I have a head cold but we have appointments. We are never on time because of weather and public transportation.
But, guess what? Numbers don’t matter as much as the people and if you didn’t get in a word on that doorstep, it wasn’t because of you. The Lord will love you no matter what. You might not think you can speak the language, even your native language, good enough to communicate your message–but it is not your message. It’s not your voice that they need to hear. It’s the Spirit’s. And if you have the Spirit with you, then you are doing exactly what the Lord wants you to do. You will not be perfect–do not expect that. Please please please realize that no matter what your numbers say, no matter what the people outside do or say, it is between you and the Lord. You are doing good. You’re doing His work! His work is perfect, His workers are not.
What matters is that we keep trying. We study the Christlike Attributes in Preach My Gospel and we try try try and work to become more like Him. With Him we can do all things. We can’t do all things at one time, but we can do it all in His time.
Oh man. Peace helps me so much. I can take a breath and realize that if I was supposed to be doing something else, the Spirit would have guided me to do that other thing. But while I’m here, and if it feels good, then I know the Spirit is with me and that I’m in the right place.
We are worth it if we are trying to come closer to Christ. We can’t think we’re already there, we can’t teach or help people if we come across as perfect, saved people. Heck no. We have to travel with them in order to be able to help them. We are not perfect, and neither are they. We all need help and we can all go along with each other to help them.
Find peace through Jesus. Find Him through the rough times, and realize that in the rough times, you are still of worth to Him. He will never think you are not doing enough as long as you get up and do what you feel is right. Prayer is the best way to peace.
I know this and I love this knowledge. I’ve been learning so much through the hard, ridiculous times on my mission. I’ve also learned so much from the wonderful, amazing experiences. I love it all. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Thanks for listening to my rant for the week.
Hope you’re all safe and know you’re all cared for and loved. 🙂
love, Zuster Faasavalu
jess in Gouda

Music Touches Lives

Zr Nyakoh, Jess, windmill

We were let in this week by two old women. Different parts of Gouda, and
different personalities, but still amazing old women. One of them is
Ruisje. She yelled at us after we passed her door, “Ladies! come back! come
in for a moment!” that moment turned into an hour of laughing and tears and
the warmth of the Spirit. She told us that we brought some peace into her
life that day. What a sweet lady.

The other woman was not interested in hearing about the gospel, but when I
asked her about her piano that I saw from the window, she asked if I could
play duets and after I said yes, she gladly let us in and we played simple
and some not so simple duets on a lovely lovely piano for almost an hour!
We returned a few days later and gave her a copy of our hymnbook in Dutch.
We sang number 26, Joseph Smith’s First Prayer, and then prayed with her. I
know that music touches lives. We talked about music for a long time, and I
told her about church choir and singing and my choir director and friend,
Norma, and also about school choirs and musical pieces that I love. This
little old woman can *sing*. Man, she sings so good. We were blown away!

Blessings happen when you believe in the Lord and His ability to bless your
weaknesses. I love Him and I will serve Him til the eternities and beyond:)
Love you all! Thank you for your prayers and love!

Love you all. Thank you for your love and support. I am forever ever ever
grateful!
love,
Zr Jess Faa

Jess and windmill

Gouda

While knocking doors in the little city of Gouda, we found a family! We had been praying the whole week to find a family that we could bring into the Gospel. It has been both my and Zr Nyakoh’s dream to find and teach and see a family be baptized, so we both started praying for it. We would go door to door and I would say happily, “They have a family!”but then every time but one the father or mother would answer and cut us off mid sentence with no interest or good day. But this one family all came to the door. They have four children, three girls and a boy, all under 5 maybe, and the mother listened to us and asked questions. The father said that he wouldn’t read the Book of Mormon, but if his wife wanted to, he wouldn’t stop her. She said she would and that maybe it would be good for their children. (whoa!!!)
I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t stop smiling. What’s more is that they know one of the members in our ward! The members they know have 7 children, so perfect! Joint teach! Well, we first have to go back and see what the mother thinks of the Book of Mormon. We’ve been praying that she’ll feel the Spirit while she reads it and searches it. They are a protestant family and are very converted to the Bible, so hopefully they see the similarities and the testimonies of Christ on every page.
mean swans in Gouda
Gouda is beautiful. It is much smaller than Antwerp, which is taking some getting used to, but it is a beautiful city with many little villages. I’m excited for the day when I can zoom around and know where I’m going! haha. For now, Zr Nyakoh and I just laugh as we walk around getting lost and having doors closed in our faces. It’s a great life.
Happy New Year! Here they said, “Happy Switching of the Year!”
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
While walking, we found this cupboard. It was full of books and on the side there was a sign that said that the cupboard is a library. You bring a book and you can take a book. You can take a book and give it to a friend and so on. It was really cool! There was even het Boek van Mormon inside! Very cool. Just my kind of thing:) haha
Loves,
Zr Faa

Christmas in Antwerp/ Transfer to Gouda

Christmas in Antwerpen was amazing! I just love love love love love those people. I feel so at home with them. I’ve decided that that if I were to live in Europe, Antwerp is where I would go. Oh man. I love them. They are a blessing to me and my life.

And I was blessed to be with my wonderful Zr Fleming for Christmas! We were so happy. Music was always playing or we were singing it and… yeah. She’s a blessing to me.

Christmas eve in Antwerpen
CHRISTMAS EVE…..
Zr Fleming and I visited/said goodbyes to Bisschop Staepels (STAH-pulls) and his wife, Anne-Marie. Oh those two are hilarious. I was standing by them and accidently said out loud “Wow! I’m tall!” hahaha, we all three laughed at that. They and familiy Sherlock were the two that helped me the most with transportation to the hospital and emergency room and things. Blessed people.
Christmas eve with Sherlocks
Then! We went to the busstation and had 40 minutes to wait for our bus so I look at Zr Fleming and say, “Hey, you have your flute. We don’t have music, but you could play some Christmas songs and I can pass out cards.” 🙂 She said yes! We were both surprised, but we walked into the shopping centrum, a huge long wide street with shops and bakeries and subway and things, and Zr Fleming pulled out her flute and voila! Music and really cool people stopped to listen. Afterward, we saw this skater guy just sitting there (he had been there the whole time) and we walked away, but then felt like we should talk to him. In the back of my mind I knew we needed to catch a bus, but… hey, the lost sheep come first. So we get talking and he confesses that he doesn’t really believe in Jesus. We asked him what he does believe in and he said (dun dun dun!)……Music! He said he believes in the power of music and the deep effect it can have in a person’s life. Whaaat? Wow! He said he heard the music, appreciated it, and sat down to listen. He was sad we were done. But we talked with him and told him how we love music and use it in everything, also how music is powerful when mixed with faith and with God. He agreed. Now, he won’t be taught or anything, but he knows that Mormons aren’t just robots in weird clothing. We gave him a card and told him to look up the music on it. It was a very cool experience for both me and Zr Fleming. We even made our bus with 2 minutes to spare!
We caught our bus and made our way to the village Wuustwezel to the home of family Sherlock! Ingrid is amazing. We went over early to help prepare the food and then they asked me to come up with a musical Christmas program to go with Luke chapter 2. Oh boy. What fun. Their piano was out of tune…. but oh well:) It worked if you didn’t play certain chords. haha. It was wonderful. Ingrid also had a nonmember friend who asked us questions. She’s in her late 60s and said she had always asked about the true faith and if there was really only one, even if there are so many other churches and beliefs around us. The conversation went well, but her questions weren’t all answered. Food and company and the Spirit was great. Wonderful people!
Jess and Zr Nyakoh
New comp Zuster Nyakoh
Whoa. Time is going so weirdly fast! I am now in Gouda, Netherlands. Its the place of cheese and lots of laughs, thanks to my new companion Zr Jessica Nyakoh (nee-AH-koh). She grew up in Ghana and has been living in Gent, Belgium for the past few years. She is hilarious we laugh a lot and I haven’t felt stressed at all since I’ve been here, which is a blessing. I usually feel pressured and stressed the first Sunday in a new ward, but this week… wow. I just walked right in and thought “Well, they don’t know me at all, so I’ll just be me and everyone can choose what they think after that.” 🙂

With love, Zr “Faa”savalu

Christmas!

 Zuster Fleming and Jess post surgery
After a successful surgery this week, Zuster Faa is right back into missionary work.  After being discharged Friday morning, she played the piano for a ward party Friday night and participated in the Christmas music program Sunday morning.  Thanks everyone for your prayers for Jess!  –Jenny
Christmas! I can’t wait for Christmas and Skyping the fam and the dinner appointments we have. The ward here has blessed me so much. I will miss them a lot. They are amazing people that have such big hearts and think the world of me (for some reason). I am so blessed.
This Christmas season will be special. It will be a little slower and a little more chill, but I will still spread the Light of Christ to people. Christ is so special to me and I will be forever and always so grateful for His support and His love and His peace that He gives me everyday. Because of His strength, I’m able to keep going. It’s amazing. I feel His love that He has for the people here in Belgium, in Antwerp. Its the best feeling.
ferris wheel
Hopefully she rode the Ferris Wheel BEFORE her surgery!  Not after!
Quote for the week:
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “Tomorrow I will try again.”
It’s helped me through the rough times. As the African people shout, so do I, “Thank you Jesus!”
Have a wonderful holiday week you wonderful people!
Love you all!   Zr Faa
crazy elders again

Transferred to Gouda

Alrighty, I will be going to Gouda in The Netherlands! Where the cheese comes from, I guess. Haha. My new companion is from Belgium! That means I can keep my Flemmish accent and get better Dutch! Woot! I won´t be going to Gouda right away, so for now, I´m still in Belgium!

Zr Fleming and JEss
Musical Numbers…………
When you´re a sister missionary who can sing and play the piano, suddenly the ward choir director signs you up for everything and suddenly you have music piled in your arms and there´s no ands ifs or buts about it. You´re in. haha. It´s awesome. Zr Fleming also sings and plays the flute, so we have the same amount of music and responsibilities now…oh man, the music world. And Christmas! It´s Christmas music that we play and sing! Oh buddy its beautiful. Some of them I know from choir in school, some are Dutch, and some are just new. But man, nothing like Christmas music in your mission language surrounded by Belgian singers who are sometimes in tune 🙂 just kidding.
cute couple
Other good things….
It´s still rather warm down here in Belgium. Warm for December and warm for Europe. No snow. A little rain. Mainly cold. But, the sun is shining today, so I´ll take it.
I´ve been getting cards and letters and I´m so grateful for the love I feel from back home. Thank you!!!
opening Christmas package 2015
We taught Brahm the Plan of Salvation last week. He took it in pretty well. He says it sounds better than just a “heaven and hell” theory and that he wants to go to be with God, so that´s good! He´s coming to FHE tonight with some members and the 4 elders, so Christmas party for us tonight!
Gotta love life. Gotta keep smiling. It helps you stay happier and healthier, well, at least I hope it does.
Lots of love from Belgium!
Zr Faa

Jasmine’s baptism

This week we taught a man named Braam. He has a ligament missing in his wrists so he can´t turn them, which is kinda cool. He is interested in listening to people about Christ and the Gospel, so yes! It will be awesome. We have another lesson with him this week.
Christmas is coming! The ward here in Antwerp is amazing. They have reeled Zr Fleming and I in to do some musical numbers and to sing in the choirs:) it´s wonderful.
Keep the Christmas Spirit going this December. It´s important. When we understand Christ´s Atonement then we understand why He was born and why it is so important to have His Spirit.
Jasmine's baptism 12-5-15
Jasmine was baptized Saturday. It was such a blessing to be there and listen to her testimony. She was found by sisters almost a year ago and then was baptized Sat. She´s amazing. I love the Gospel and how it blesses people´s lives.
Happy Holidays!
Zr Faa

Thanksgiving in Antwerpen

Hello!

Well….. this week. Thanksgiving!!! It was delicious. We were with Sister Sherlock the whole day, cooking, baking, and preparing the meal. The 4 elders came at 6 and then we ate dinner and had homemade pumpkin pie! It was sooooo good. So fun. Lots of work, but it was really fun.

 Thanksgiving eating
I am so thankful for nice members and family away from home! It’s such a blessing to know that I have people to count on and friends for later. 🙂 So blessed!!
 Rotini
Have a safe, warm week! Love you all!
Zr Faa
 Thanksgiving in Antwerpen

Gratitude

Mo, Fleming, Robbins and Faa

I am so grateful!

I am grateful for…….
  • Family
  • Safety
  • Inspired leaders
  • emails and letters
  • the Book of Mormon
  • Prophets, from the scriptures and today
  • music, for piano and listening to music
  • running, the feeling of freedom and the rush of the wind and feeling good
  • chocolate
  • food
  • my apartment
  • family
  • my companion, Zr Amy Fleming
  • love from the members here in Antwerp
  • love from my friends out here
  • love from God
  • teaching lessons in the freezing, bitter cold
  • my big winter coat
  • gloves!
  • beautiful clouds
  • family
  • Belgium!
  • the sweet stinky smell of Belgium
  • the Netherlands!
  • modern medicine
  • dinner appointments
  • friends
  • those epic moments of pure happiness
  • the Atonement of Jesus Christ
  • McFlurries from McDonalds (oreo with raspberry syrup)
  • Zr Mo Young
  • Zr Aubrey Robbins
  • Zr Andi Johanson
  • Zr Louise-Bethe Jaramillo
  • Zr Jenny Maughan
  • Zr Eliza Riley (home now)
  • Zr Becca Huber
  • Zr Kajsa Bradley (home now)
  • Zr Nikki Thomas (home now)
  • President Thomas S Monson
  • poptarts
  • Reeses peanutbutter cups
  • books
  • writing
  • sunshine
  • family
  • hymns

With everything going on, I am so grateful for the Gospel. It brings hope and peace and love and safety, even with the world around us is the complete opposite. I am praying that the missionaries in the Paris France mission serving in Belgium are safe.

We’re safe down here in Vlaanderen! We’ve been given precautions, but we’re safe.
The Work of the Lord will go forth, even in these situations of trials. I know it can. Somedays, I’m not so motivated. Somedays, I’m not feeling so good. But we keep going and keep praying. Something good will come out of it.
LOVE YOU ALL. I’m doing good. It’s been wonderful. A hard work week, but we’re here and loving it.
Love,
Zr Faa-savalu