Wednesday, 17 February 2016

President Bunnells 14 Feb 2016 Letter

Happy Valentine’s Day!  We love you all.  And to those who sent the valentines to the Mission Home, THANK YOU!  We loved reading each one.

We look forward to seeing you in Zone Conferences this week.  Our focus is Preach My Gospel chapter 4, "How Do I Recognize and Understand the Spirit?"  We hope you have had revelatory experiences as you studied this chapter.  Reviewing the chapter reminds us how critical the Spirit is in our work.  We hope you enjoyed reading about all the ways the Spirit communicates with us.  Recognizing the many ways we can be influenced by the Spirit helps me see that we receive inspiration and answers to our prayers far more often than we realize.

The Spirit speaks to us in so many ways.  It sometimes comes while we are reading scripture - in the form of an idea, a solution to a problem we have been pondering.  Sometimes we simply feel an impression - it can happen during the sacrament, while praying, while listening to a talk.  At other times, we simply feel a sense of happiness.  We may also find unusual insights or a wonderful, calm sense that all is well.  Sometimes it gives a more profound nudge.

An experience from our days as young parents comes to mind.  Prior to the cell phone age, I kept dimes and quarters in my pockets in order to make phone calls in phone booths when I was about town doing my work.  I recall driving southbound on I-15 in SLC one summer day.  Suddenly, a thought came to my mind.  It did not just come to my mind, it jolted me.  “Get off the freeway and call Jann.”  I found the first exit and a pay phone and made the call.

At that time, we were living in Sugarhouse, Utah.  We were converting our basement to a separate apartment in order to bring in more income.  We had been advertising our apartment in the newspaper, listing a phone number and address.  On that summer day, while I was away working, a man stopped by to see the apartment.  Jann described him as 'shady looking'.  He asked to see the apartment, and she took him downstairs to show him around. The kids were all away at friends' homes. 

They descended the stairs, and entered the apartment.  The door had an old knob that came apart occasionally.  The man shut the door behind them and the knob fell out of the door.  She had dealt with the doorknob before...It had to be inserted back into the latch in order to open the door.  She reached for the knob when suddenly the phone rang.  

She had our fancy new cordless phone with her, so she answered.  She was surprised it was me.  She knew I was driving all over town to get things done and had not expected to hear from me.  I asked her if she was ok.  She told me there was someone in the house.  I felt strongly she should not hang up the phone, but keep talking to me and to leave the house immediately. While she was talking to me she put the doorknob back in, opened it, and the man left.  Right after he left our children came home.  Had I not called, we don't know what might have happened to her and what the kids might have found when they came home.  We have been so grateful for that impulse ever since.

I know you have wonderful experiences hearing and responding to the spirit.  Treasure them. I love reading about them in your weekly letters.  Please come prepared to Zone Conference by refreshing your memories about the way the Spirit has influenced you.   

Thank you for sending your conversation starters. (I lost two of them!  If you don’t see yours here, please resend.) 

Elder Hill contributes this creative conversation starter:

I'd like to share one method that I've found very fun and easy. It’s simple, it’s selfie. People love taking pictures these days, ask people if you can take a picture with them holding a card and then walla boom. ice-gebroken. You then can tell them about yourself and bear testimony to them of the Savior.

Sister Cowles sends this great example of asking for referrals from everyone.

We had an appointment cancel, so we decided to knock some doors around the area. We knocked this one door and she wasn’t interested, so we did what we always do and ask them if they know anyone that would be interested. She quickly said, “49” and slammed her door. Ok…we figured she just threw out a random number, but we tried anyways. Not home. Ok, so then we started ringing some bell-ups and then it was about time to head over to our appointment when Zuster Harris felt that we should go check if the person was home again just in case so we did and HE WAS HOME. Turns out he is super positive and let us in and we taught him the Restoration right then. He is going through a hard time since he was married and had two beautiful kids, but then his wife decided one day to just get up and leave with the kids and he hasn’t seen them since August. He has no idea where they are and she won’t let him talk to the kids. Sad day. But he reads the Bible every night and was super interested in learning about the Book of Mormon. We had another lesson this past week and showed him the Restoration DVD, he really liked it and wants to come to church and check it out. It was just cool to see how asking for referrals on the door actually led to finding someone who was ready for the gospel. I don’t know if that lady actually threw out a random number or meant it sincerely, but either way that was totally led by the spirit. That has never happened to me before, but it really testified to me about how important it is to ask everyone for referrals because you never know who you could find through other people.

Finally, enjoy this wonderful experience shared by Elder Tolman about teaching an investigator how to receive an answer to prayer and recognize the Spirit.

So we asked him if he had prayed to know if it was true yet and he said no. We then asked him if he wanted the answer to that question and he told us he did. So we challenged him right then and there to kneel and pray to ask his Heavenly Father if it was true. What followed was amazing. We told him we would not say anything after he had finished praying but that we would wait for him to break the silence after his prayer. So we kneel and as he offers a truly sincere prayer looking for his answer I received a reassurance of my own answer and I felt like I was also feeling him receive his answer from Heavenly Father that the Book of Mormon is true. So after he ends his prayer we keep kneeling in silence and eventually he breaks the silence then we ask him what he felt. He describes to us that he had this really warm feeling in his chest that also went up his neck a bit and to his ears. We said "Milko what do think that feeling is"? And he said it might be his answer but he was not sure. Quick note: something else they talked about in the broadcast was helping people recognize the spirit for themselves and not just telling them what it is they are feeling. So we read D+C 9:8 with him and ask him the same question and he says the feeling he got was the answer to his question. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Being privileged to be a small part in such a profound experience is a blessing I will be forever grateful for. (note: Milko was baptized in Zoetermeer yesterday!)

Thank you for your diligence and faithful work to find and teach the good people in Belgium and the Netherlands about our Savior, Jesus Christ. And thank you for sending your amazing experiences! We appreciate your sacrifices, and look forward to seeing you this week as we share the


President and Sister Bunnell

Sister Voss

Sister Voss sees her parents after 18 months

Elder Frederico's parents in the background

So Happy!!!

Kiss from Mom

Happy reunion.

MLC 5 Feb 2016

Pres & Sisters Bunnell, Goodman, Jones, Kimmons, Lemich, Jensen, Huber, Young, Dobler, Harris, and Cowles
Elders Hosea, Harrop, Clukey, Steenblik, Isaksen, Morrell, Reese, DaSilva, Hirsch, Smith, Parr, Lott, Wilson, and Bonner

Office Elders Cook and Andrew helping out with lunch.
Amsterdam Zone Leaders
Sisters Young & Jensen, Elders Steenblik and Smith

Rotterdam Zone Leaders
Sisters Harris & Cowles, Elders Morrell and DaSilva

Antwerpen Zone Leaders
Sisters Lemich & Dobler, Elders Lott and Reese

Elder Bonner giving his presentation

Pres. letter 7 Feb 2016

This week I received several more creative conversation starters. Enjoy!

Elder Muller writes:
I wanted to share another contacting idea with you. It makes travel contacting pretty easy and fun, especially if you have a group of missionaries. Pretty much you have a normal conversation, and then a missionary asks a question like: "So can you tell me more about Joseph Smith, like who was he? What did he do?" Then the others teach him the first lesson. It's best to do it around other people, like in a tram or metro. Everyone around you hears what you are talking about, and when I was in Rotterdam, I had people come over and ask questions.

Elder Matos offers this starter:
If someone sits beside you...politely ask, "Do you have enough room?" Heeft u genoeg ruimte?
It works Always! It’s a very subtle conversation starter.

Elder Higham shares this:
One of my favorite ways of travel contacting is to make comments about the weather. Dutch people LOVE talking about the weather! If it's a beautiful day, "Prachtig weer toch?", followed by asking them if it's always this nice this time of year. It almost always leads to being able to comment on how you're not from here and that, in turn, leads them to asking you what you are doing in the Netherlands. If it's terrible weather, this strategy becomes even more effective because Dutch people love being sarcastic about how nice the weather is. ex. "Prachtig weer toch?" (while it's pouring buckets) will almost always be followed by a laugh and a response similar to, "Heerlijk!" Then you can continue with the pattern

Elder Watson’s favorite question to ask is:
“What sort of cultural things are there to do around here?” It usually leads into a conversation about how we are new in the area and gives us something interesting to do on Pday!

Thank you for sharing your ideas!

Finally, here is a fun note from Sister Ryser. She is the wife of our Area Medical Advisor, Elder Ryser.

      Why do I get so tired?    
Everyone has times when mentally and physical they feel exhausted.  That is a fact of life, and missionaries, of all people, have reason to run out of gas once in a while.  When that happens to you sometimes, you have a severe case of being normal.

Fatigue only becomes a problem when it occurs so frequently or persistently that it starts to affect your ability to function as you wish.  When this happens, it becomes a matter of concern instead of a passing part of normal life.

What can cause this to happen and what can be done to prevent or cure it?
About 90% of the time no medical abnormality can be found after extensive testing.  In the other 10% it can be due to anemia, hormone problems, anxiety or depression, a simple lack of good sleep patterns, and/or inadequate diet and exercise.

How can I prevent “hitting the wall” more often than usual ?                                                                                                                                                                            
 Take inventory of yourself.  
Are  you - Eating a balance of fruit, vegetables, meat, grains and drinking 8 glasses of water daily?   Exercising 30 minutes per day?  (Something that raises your pulse above 150/minute
Exercising early in the day, not before bedtime?                                                       
Doing the things recommended in “Adjusting to Missionary Life to help deal with stress and fatigue?”                                 
Keeping a regular schedule of bedtime and getting up?

*When do I ask for help or get a medical evaluation?                                  
     “If you just can’t get up and go, day after day”                                                                                “If you fall asleep when doing things and can’t stop it.”    
“If you have fever, weight loss, unexplained lumps, and/or skin discoloration.”


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Pres. letter 31 Jan 2016

Dear Missionaries,

We wish to thank you all for every effort you make to bring the gospel to these lands. We see you doing so much good here. You lift and build and encourage members, less active members, those not of our faith and your fellow missionaries. Your actions reflect love for the Savior as you go out every day to find and teach. We have some great news to share – last week you planned and carried out more lessons with member present than this mission has done for more than a year – 118! It is evident you applied the counsel from the Missionary Broadcast. Well done!


During our mission presidents and wives training at the MTC, Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy taught about obedience. “Please teach and reteach the principle of obedience. Help your missionaries to know that obedience is Heavenly Father’s commandment and that obedience will provide physical and spiritual protection for them. Obedience allows them to receive guidance and direction form the Spirit.”

Elder Elder Russell M. Nelson taught; “A mission at its best is an exercise in obedience training! And exact obedience brings miracles.”

"When we love the Lord, obedience ceases to be a burden. Obedience becomes a delight." Elder Joseph Wirthlin

Finally this from PMG p. 122: “As a missionary, you are expected to keep the commandments willingly, to obey mission rules, and to follow the counsel of your leaders. It is an act of faith. You may sometimes be required to do things you do not completely understand. As you obey, you increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom.”

Welcome New Missionaries!

We are thrilled to receive 6 new missionaries this week. Welcome to Sisters Lindsey, Maughan (yes another wonderful Sister Maughan!), Elders Gemmell, Mackay, Packard and Steele. Sister Lindsey comes from San Antonio and is serving in Lokeren. Sister Maughan hails from Lehi and works in Antwerpen. Elder Gemmell comes all the way from New Zealand. He is serving in Amsterdam. Elder Mackay is out of Taylorsville, serving in Genk. Elder Packard labors in Breda (he gave a wonderful talk there this morning!). His home is Phoenix. Eindhoven is home now for Elder Steele who comes from Payson.

Goodbye Dear Friends…

Reluctantly, we sent the following missionaries to their homes and loved ones… Sister Bush, Elder Conatti, Elder Evans, Elder Frederico, Elder Heinricks, Elder Neptune, Sister Robbins and Sister Watts.

Thank you for your sacrifice, your obedience and your devotion. Serving with you is an honor!

President and Sister Bunnell

Departing Missionaries 27 Jan 2016

Elder Frederico and Zusters Voss and Robbins

At the mission home

Elder Neptune, Zusters Voss, Watts, Bush and Robbins

Elders Evans, Frederico and Neptune

Elders Evans, Neptune, Romig, Zusters Romig, Voss, Watts, Bush, Robbins, Elders Heinricks, Conatti, & Frederico
Their last night at the mission home.

The group with President and Zuster Bunnell

Elder Hirsch and Elder Evans.(he looks like he's up to something)

Happy Elder Neptune

Elders Neptune and Evans

On the way to the airport on the train,  Zuster Voss, Elders Conatti and Evans

Elders Frederico and Neptune

Saying their last goodbyes, Elder Frederico, Zusters Voss and Bush, Elders Evans & Heinricks

Back to the office.  Elder Evans is taking a train back to Belgium surprising his parents.  They think he is coming home next week. Zuster Bush's parents are picking her up today.  Zuster Voss's parents are picking her up on the 8th.

Zuster Bush's Family

Elder Frederico's family picking him up.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Transfer week 26 Jan 2016

Elders Steele, Gemmell, Mackay, Packard, Sisters Lindsay and Maughan.
Our new missionaries just arrived in Amsterdam.

Sister Maughan and Sister Lindsay showing us their first pannenkoeken.

Elders Mackay and Packard.

Elders, Andrew, Cook, Gemmell, and Steele.

President Bunnell, Sister Maughan, Sister Robison, Elders Andrew, Cook, Gemmell, Steele, Mackay , Packard and Hirsch.

Elder Evans ordered a sandwich.  I guess he had enough pannenkoeken.

Sisters Lindsay and Maughan, Elders Mackay, Packard, Gemmell, and Steele.

President and Sister Bunnell with the new missionaries.

Our office staff, Elders Andrew and Evans, Sister Van Eeden, and Elder Cook.

Sister Maughan is going to Antwerpen, Belgium

Sister Lindsay is going to Lokeren, Belgium

Elder Steele is going to Eindhoven

Elder Mackay is going to Genk, Belgium

Elder Packard is going to Breda

Elder Gemmell, is going to Amsterdam

Elder Stanger and Elder Packard

Elder Mackay and Elder Bishesar

Sister Hansen and Sister Maughan

Sister Fleming and Sister Lindsay

They meet their trainer for the first time.

Elders Byers and Elder Gemmell

Elder Crowder and Elder Steele

Elder Evans Last Lunch

Every monday we have lunch in the office.  When the Elders are going home they get to pick what they want for lunch.  Elder Evans wanted Elder Robison to fix it, so we had a potatoe bar.

He has been in the office his whole mission and will truly be missed.  We threatened to have him on speed dial.