The Brubaker Family

The Brubaker Family

President Brubaker and I are excited to be here as the Mission President and companion of the Belgium Brussels Netherlands Mission! We love your sons and daughters, and feel to thank you for the wonderful missionaries you have raised! This is a very unique mission. Our mission includes two countries, and five languages, not including many dialects spoken in the Netherlands. The missionaries are teaching many people from all around the globe. With the help of the Spirit, the missionaries are finding those who have been prepared to receive the Gospel. This is truly the best mission in the world, and we are honored to be a part of it. We will try and take good care of your sons and daughters. We love them so much already!

We have 5 children and 11 wonderful grand children. We have so much fun together! We are grateful for the support they have given us as we prepared to leave for three years. Our home is in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have raised our family in the Millcreek Holladay area. We enjoy many activities together. We are happiest when we are hiking in Southern Utah, cross-country skiing into our rustic cabin in the Uintahs, enjoying a good game of Train or Settlers of Catan, or just being together and sharing a meal with each other. We love our family so much!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Zone Conferences Were the Highlight of Our Week

Our theme for this Zone Conference was Teaching to Save Lives, Love as the Savior has taught us, and Having a Changed Heart. We wee excited to help our missionaries learn important skills to improve their teaching. Our first Zone Conference was held in Lille, France. President Brubaker started the training by talking about the many types of questions that we ask. The most important question are those questions of the heart. He taught the missionaries about learning how the Savior taught. He is our best example, and he delved into this subject, and had a lot of participation. He had prepared a nice power point presentation to help with his teaching.

We were blessed to hear musical numbers at each one of our Zone Conferences. Our missionaries are so talented, and are kind to let me sing with them from time to time. I wish I could have recorded all of the musical numbers! Zuster Driggs, Zuster Miller, Elder Mann, Elder Pinnock, Elder Wood (violin) and Elder Nelson (piano) were practicing during interviews the week before for Zone Conference. I recorded their practice ( at bottom of post). They all added a special feeling to our Zone Conferences.

The missionaries look forward to seeing their fellow companions from the MTC at Zone Conference. Many memories are kindled and friendships renewed as they spend the day together. Elder Otonelli, Elder Cox, and Elder Monson met in the MTC.

Lots of hugs for Zuster Baxter who has been a great example and trainer to three missionaries. We love you Zuster Baxter, and please know there will be a huge void that will be felt by the members and the missionaries!

Our sister missionaries in Brussels and Liege enjoy being silly from time to time! We are missing three sisters! We love you Soeur Gagon, Hulet, and Bagwell!

Elder and Zuster Servoss will be sorely missed by all of us. They will return to the loving arms of their family next week. They have given tirelessly for 18 months in Rotterdam, Holland. Elder Servoss served in Holland as a young missionary 40 years ago. Sister Servoss has a special gift to make people feel right at home. She welcomed me into the mission, and I felt we were renewing an old friendship. I will miss her immensely!
Our wonderful Zone Leaders had lunch all ready for us! The Senior Couples are always ready to help with the lunches as well. In Amsterdam Zuster Dabel, Zuster Spek, and Zuster Salden had prepared home made soup, salad and pumpkin cookies for all the missionaries. We love you so much, and wonder what we would do without our senior couples! The missionaries love our senior couples so much. We are so blessed to have 6 couples on the Dutch side, and 3 on the French side of our mission.
Our missionaries are happy and content, and enjoy their meal time!
Elder and Hoffman and the Zone leaders; Elder Christensen and Elder Stringham produced a beautiful luncheon for all of us for our Zone Conference in Antwerp.
The assistants were well prepared, and taught with lots of enthusiasm. Elder DeMaas and Elder Simonsen asked the missionaries to brainstorm for a few minutes and write on the blackboard the many traps that missionaries might fall into when teaching. Then they used companionships to role-play with them. First they role played some of the traps that they had listed on the blackboard. Then they role played a good teaching example. Our assistants involved the missionaries and everyone learned from this role-playing. Afterwards, I learned that Elder Simonsen was not feeling well, and didn’t even have to act like he was sick in one of the role-plays. I think he has the flu! You would have never guessed it. He taught so well!

Our first Zone Conference was held in Lille, France. Don't you think we have the best looking missionaries? They truly exude all the attributes of Doctrine and Covenants 4. We start every Zone Conference by repeating in unison:

1 NOW behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Parting is Such Sad Sorrow

We are finding that these days of preparing our missionaries for departure are very emotional! We are so attached to our missionaries and are saddened when this day comes. It is a blessing to hear their testimonies the night before they leave. They have learned and grown so much. We have a precious evening with them as we share a meal and share experiences together.

Rachel came to say her good-byes to Sister Orton who was instrumental in bringing the Gospel into her life.
Airport departure

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elder Jex Joins Our Strong Force of Missionaries

Elder Jex made his way to our mission early this morning. He is our newest missionary! We are so excited to have him arrive safely.

Fall is beautiful in Tevuren Park! We spent some time with our newest missionaries visiting the
Dedication Site of our mission.
Elder Jex, Zuster Vels (MTC in Preston England) enjoyed the beauties of this sacred place.
President Brubaker shared with our new missionaries the story of the this dedication site,
that took place in 1998 by Jeffrey R. Holland
Later we returned to the mission home for Elder Jex to receive his first assignment in the mission field.
He was very excited to learn that he will be serving in Almere,
and his trainer is one of the best in the mission, Elder Relitz.

Interviews with President Brubaker

Every six weeks President Brubaker interviews 141 missionaries. It takes about 2 1/2 weeks to travel and visit each one of them. The interviews are held at the church, and a zone will come together for training for part of the day. The Zone Leaders prepare training during this time, and we normally have lunch together. The missionaries have some down time while they are waiting to be interviewed. They share photos, help in map reading, etc. We look forward to this time to be together.

Lunch together in Arras France
Soeur Fritsch made 40 crepes for dessert in Lille, France. She is French, so we were the recipients of the real thing! They were perfectly all the same size. She said she has been making crepes since she was a child. I guess practice makes perfect!
Elder Riley and Elder Larsen were happy to volunteer for seconds!
Elder and Soeur Arhets are serving in Mouscron France. Elder Arhets was born in France, and they are in charge of the Center for Young Adults. She made lasagne for the missionaries. Oh, were they happy campers!
Soeur Gappmeier is from Switzerland. She arrived a little later than the other missionaries, so we finally got a picture with her in Lille. She is doing so well!
Elder Christensen is so helpful when it comes to anything. He has a heart of gold! Charleroi is on fire. They have eight baptisms scheduled for the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nellie and Nicole Are the Newest Members of Brussels

If you ever wonder if the missionaries are really the Lord's servants, don't! They are just a bunch of 19 year old kids doing miraculcous things, because the Lord is guiding them. Nicole is from Togo, Africa.
She has lived in Belgium for twenty years. A little over two years ago, she went through a difficult divorce. She got very sick, and was recuperating in a hospital, and she prayed that she would be guided to know what she should do with the rest of her life. She noticed a new Bible that hadn’t been opened, and she was attracted to it. She read in Psalms some comforting words, and felt to seek God in her life. She took this to mean that she was to search for the true church. She visited numerous churches and never felt that the spirit was there. She devoted a lot of effort to this search , but after two years she was ready to give up. In a prayer, she told the Lord that she couldn’t continue, and if he wanted to lead her to his church, she would give him one more day. The next morning, she left her apartment and proceeded across a plaza in Brussels. Coming from the opposite direction were Elders Benito and Canonica. Within minutes of starting their conversation, the spirit bore witness that this was what she had been looking for. In Zone Conference President Brubaker mused; what if those elders had been disobedient that day, and stayed in the apartment hanging out a few minutes too long.? To be instruments of the Lord the missionaries know that obedience is the most important factor in success.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It Must Be Holland!

The Dutch bicycle boom started in 1866 when a Frenchman, Michaux, built a steel model of a cycle named the velocipede, which he had invented two years earlier. The cycle had pedals on the front wheel and caught the eye of the Dutch baron, Otto Groenix van Zoelen. Van Zoelen had his blacksmith copy it.
Mr. J.T. Schotte of Amsterdam became Holland's first importer of the velocipedes in 1868, and his main customer was Mr. H.H.Timmer. Timmer made history in 1869 when he started the first Rent-a-Bike business in Amsterdam. He also organized a Learn-to Ride school inside a large Amsterdam hall.
When Timmer went on a business trip to the town of Deventer he met a brilliant blacksmith named Henricus Burgers. Timmer sold one of Michaux's first wooden velocipedes to Burgers. Burgers studied the model carefully and by the end of 1869 he began to manufacture his own bicycles. His factory was a success. Today, Burgers is acknowledged as the founder of the Dutch bicycle industry.

When the joy of cycling was first discovered it was primarily a rich man's sport. In 1871 the first Dutch bicycle club was founded in Deventer, named "Immer Weiter" (always forward in German). Soon other clubs sprang up among which the Algemeene Nederlandsche Wielrijders Bond (ANWB) in 1885. Today this is Holland's National Automobile Club. In 1896, the slogan "Everybody on the bicycle" indicated that the bicycle had finally trickled down to the middle and lower classes. Farmers abandoned their horses and postmen, policemen, and even the Dutch army, used bicycles. The army had a machine-gun mounted bicycle battalion. By the turn of the century there was a demand for cheap, good transportation which only the bicycle fulfilled. Today, almost every Dutch person rides a bicycle, or "fiets", to work, school, or for pleasure. Holland has a population of 15 million and there are 12 million bicycles.

All Dutch missionaries have bicycles, and fit nicely into the Dutch culture. In Holland there are bicycle paths everywhere! We are learning to be very careful when driving! There are added traffic lights just for bicycles. Can you imagine what it must be like to drive in a country with 12 million bicycles? It is wonderful! I especially love seeing a whole family, sometimes a mother with 3-4 children on one bicycle!

Bicycles at the train station in The Hague.

Notice the design on the wheel of a traditonally dressed woman in Stomphorst, Holland.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stake Conferences in France and Holland

We have been blessed to attend three Stake Conferences in the last six weeks! It is truly exciting to see a large group of saints come together and be taught. It gives President Brubaker and I the opportunity to meet some of our missionary investigators, and the ward members. In Holland, we are learning to give talks with a translator next to us. One benefit of not speaking Dutch is your talk only has to be half as long! I had the surprise of my life when I noticed my name was on the program for the Lille, France Stake Conference, when we arrived. Heavenly Father truly blessed me with courage to give my first extemporaneous talk in French!We were so delighted to visit with Sister Marianne Cliviche and meet her sweet mother. Sister Kleijwek husband is Elder Chris Kleijwek, who is the area authority of our mission. They are both so kind to us, and we are grateful for their service and vision for our mission.
After Stake Conference in Lille, we were able to capture a photo of President Seube and wife and family. President Seube is a dentist and is so willing to help our missionaries with dental problems.
Elder and Sister Langeveld arrived just shortly after we did. Elder Langeveld served in Holland as a young missionary. They are so excited to be in Holland together! Sister Langeveld gave a talk in the adult meeting in Rotterdam all in Dutch! She has only been in the land for three months! Elder and Sister Servoss tug at our heart strings as they have loved the young adults in Rotterdam, and have played a major role in getting the center for young adults started. The two young adults in the middle love these two senior couples!
Sister Bennett and Sister Robbins were excited to introduce their investigators to us at Zone Conference in The Hague.
Elder Rasmussen, Elder Cox and President Brubaker having a moment to chat after Stake Conference. Just notice the smiles on their faces!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Missionaries Love Mail

One of the highlights on interview day is receiving mail! Need I say more?

Missionaries get each other pumped up for another week of finding and teaching.
Missionaries come in all shapes and sizes- not matter the size they are so full of energy and excitement for the work!
Zuster Driggs is so excited to receive her new "magnet" tag. The things missionaries get excited about......isn't it wonderful!
After a very rewarding day in Rotterdam, we were greeted by a beautiful view of the city from our hotel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This is Elder Harper in the Mission Office. Sister Brubaker asked that I add some pictures of recent baptisms we've had here in Brussels, as well as other places in the mission. Seeing as I'm serving in Brussels, I've mostly got pictures from here, but occasionally others send in their photos so I'll put up what I've got.

Inès & Javier Rodrigues-- Brussels 1-- June 14th 2009

Reinhilda Gyamfi--Brussels 1--June 14th 2009

Frank Gyabah--Brussels 1--July 5th 2009

Omar Haruna--Brussels 1--August 2nd 2009

Nini Schippers-- Brussels 1--August 16th 2009

Isaulinda da Luz--Brussels 1--August 23rd 2009

Espoir Kivuvu--Brussels 1-- September 6th 2009

Sekou Keita--Rotterdam--October 9th 2009

Tomasina Jose --Amsterdam-- September 26th 2009

Marijke Zen--Amsterdam-- September 26th 2009