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!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Monumental Day!

It's celebration time! The Mission Office in Holland is complete! We had our first District Leaders meeting in Leiden!
Happy Day!
President Brubaker impressed upon the minds of the district leaders the important role they play in our mission. As we begin reading the Book of Mormon as a mission, missionaries learn through training from their mission president the inspired role the Book of Mormon plays in conversion.
Missionaries role play introducing the Book of Mormon by using the Book of Mormon introduction.
With the help of the spirit, missionaries learn as they practice presenting the Book of Mormon, the powerful
tool the Book of Mormon is in conversion.
There was a great feeling of unity and love for one another, and a desire to go forward with more faith and commitment as we feel blessed to be serving in the Belgium Netherlands Mission.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Beautiful Family Embraces The Gospel

Fordjour Family, Antwerpen, March 27, 2011

The adventure begins two and a half months ago. As we were traveling in between appointments, we came across a Ghanaian family – Kate and three of her children. After talking to her briefly about families, she agreed to have us over to teach her and her family more. We shook their hands, and parted ways. At the first appointment, we met Apia – the father. Not knowing that he had been baptized into our church in Canada, 20 years ago. After a few appointments, he informed us of this fact, and talked about how it was hard for him to believe in God after seeing all of the suffering throughout the world. We talked to him about the Love of God, and challenged him to pray and seek his own answer. He accepted the challenge, and the next Sunday showed up to church. After praying, reading in the scriptures, and coming to church, a new light came about him and he quickly changed into a major support to the conversion of the family.

It was so amazing, over the course of the next little time to watch the family make huge strides in progression. Three of the children: Venus (15), Fordjour (11), and PinaMang (9) made the decision to come unto Christ and be baptized as members of the church. They all had their own questions and concerns, but through help from members, and a lot of help from our Heavenly Father, they were able to gain the testimonies necessary to take this important step of faith. The children were all so excited on baptism day, and Kate, though she doesn’t quite feel ready with the language, is also excited for her baptism which will be in a few weeks. All in all, this was quite the adventure. Teaching and learning from this wonderful family of nine. What a blessing!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beautiful Stories of Conversion in The Hague

Leendert (Leo) Arie, March 26, 2011

Leo is a friend of Ben Wolda, who is a recent convert to the church. Ben had been telling Leo about the church one evening and invited him to experience it for himself and come to church with him the next day. Leo accepted the invitation and came. Elder Leach and I met Leo and started teaching him soon after. Leo was like a gospel sponge and absorbed everything that we taught him. He was progressing so fast that we moved his date forward a couple weeks to keep up with the pace at which he was learning. He's was a super star investigator and is going to be an awesome addition to Wijk Den Haag as a member. He was baptized on the 26th of March. (Written by Elder Hawkley)

He Sun (Sun)

Elder Favero and I met Sun while riding bikes home back in December. He didn't have a background with religion wanted to come to the Jovo Centrum when we invited him. When Elder Mohrman was my companion we invited him to come to the Family Home Evening that was being held at the JVC. The lesson turned into a testimony meeting and Sun felt the spirit very strongly. He prayed that night to know if God was there and he received his answer. Since that point he made huge steps in the gospel and accepted to be baptized. He was baptized on the 26th of March by Elder Leach. (Written by Elder Hawkley)

Tresna Meijer, Den Haag, March 26, 2011

Tresna is a Dutch woman that was found by the missionaries just outside of her home and had interest right away in the Book of Mormon. She has had a lot of experience with different religions in her life and she felt something different as she spoke with the Elders for those few minutes. Tresna read the entire Gospel Principles book and most of the Book of Mormon before her baptism, but the key was once she prayed specifically about the Book of Mormon and received her answer!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rotterdam Zone President's Training

We had our last training in Rotterdam with the Rotterdam Zone. Elder Sanchez and Elder Jones were really good sports as President Brubaker helped them practice contacting using Quality Gospel Conversations. QGC's are bringing contacting to a new level.
It is not easy, but with lots of practice and not being afraid to come up in front of all the other missionaries in your zone can be a little intimidating! Elder Sanchez and Elder Jones learned so much from this experience with President Brubaker.
All missionaries get a chance to role-play, evaluate and role-play some more.
The Spirit becomes a part of this teaching and learning process. Zuster Hill and Zuster Reber try to make the role-playing as real as possible and choose to act the part of their own invesitigators.
What a great day with our missionaries in Rotterdam!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Cleaning Can Be so Much Fun!

What would we ever do without the help of our senior couples??? Elder and Sister Tibbitts truly made a diifference in the living conditions of the elders in Kortrijk and Gent.

(Sister Tibbitts writes)
We had a very successful day of spring cleaning, or de-junking missionary apartments! We started in Kortrijk where we gathered up a lot of stuff the elders had cleaned out of their apartment - old bicycle parts, bags of old clothes and linens, broken fans, broken wardrobes, and many other things. This gave them a real lift. (sorry no pictures)

Next we traveled on to Gent where we got rid of two old couches, two big chairs and recliners, old appliances, and a few other things. Both Gent and Kortrijk elders were so helpful in loading and unloading the van.
Elder Alexander and Elder Calkins even surprised themselves when they were able to get everything to fit in the van! It was now packed full to the top, with junk.
Then they came with us as we went to the recycling container park (like a dump but much fancier!). Here they literally had to throw the couches up and into these huge dumpsters - we never could have done it on our own. We then went to another station to dump wood products, another for electronics, and another for metal products. Very efficient!
What a great feeling to use those muscles and get rid of the junk!
They were in heaven as they tried out the new furniture. Wow! What a huge transformation!
We drove away, with a load lifted from the apartments and from our shoulders - it's much nicer to live in a clean apartment without a lot of clutter and old junk around!
Two happy and content missionaries! Thank you Elder and Sister Tibbitts!
Elder and Sister Everton visited Elder Ellis and Elder Kuttler in Zwolle. These elders get the award for having the cleanest oven in Holland!
Congratulations Elders!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Den Hague Zone President't Training

We finished this month's Zone President's Training this week starting with the Hague Zone.
We met at the Amsterdam Chapel.
President Brubaker taught the missionaries about helping investigators
learn about the importance of coming to church.
Missionaries spend 50% of the time role playing and practicing with each other.
Everyone gets a turn and with all this practice they are becoming better and better.
Practice builds confidence and empowers the missionaries.
They learned some very important things that they can do to help investigators feel more
comfortable when they come to church for the first time.
Sometimes the missionaries catch me being sneaky!
Letters from home puts BIG smiles on missionaries faces!
Just like old times.....Elder Salden just couldn't stay away. We are so incredibly blessed to have Elder and Sister Salden serving their second mission in Holland. It is so good to hear the famous words,
" Doing just fine as frog's hair."
The sun was shining in Amsterdam today! We might all be lacking in Vitamin D
but we certainly make up for it with enthusiasm and joy we feel to be serving in the
best mission in the world! And Spring is on it's way!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Soeur England Bids us Adieu

Soeur England, one of our precious and never to be forgotten French missionaries, completed her mission this transfer. She brought her family to the mission office and we got to meet once again and this time she had her family with her. A year has passed, since the boundaries changes took Soeur England to the Paris France Mission. We love you Soeur England and are so proud of the joy of the Gospel you brought to many people in Belgium and France.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rotterdam Stake Conference

Hotel New York is located in the former head office of the Holland-America Line (HAL), the steam company that introduced immigrants throughout Europe to a whole new future. This is the dock where thousands of people left to find a better life, and were looking for freedoms enjoyed in America. As President Brubaker and I walked along the docks, we thought of those who stood on the same spot where we were so many years before.

We drove up for Stake Conference in Rotterdam. We were caught with nostalgia and feelings of another decade as we walked the halls of this hotel. There was a mass migration of members of the church in the mid 50's who left Holland and took their families to America.
Big changes have come to Rotterdam in the last century.
Elder Kopischke, a member of the 1st quorum of the Seventy, and the president of the Europe Area, was the visiting authority. What a great privilege for us to be with him at two Stake conferences two weeks in a row.
The Rotterdam Stake is blessed with four sisters, eight elders and two senior couples!
President Brubaker had a baptismal interview with an investigator after the meeting. I enjoyed trying not to be too suspicious as I took some photos of missionaries visiting with other missionaries and members while I waited for him.
You just can't help but smile when you are around these beautiful devoted missionaries!
Each day is a gift.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.

Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts.

And we are never, ever the same.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Hard Part About Transfers

As hard as it is to say good-bye to missionaries who have completed their missions, we are also excited to see how much they have grown and developed during their experience here. President Brubaker and I seized the opportunity that presented itself to pick up Zuster Sharp in the Hague and deliver her to the mission home. Many sad good-byes and tears were shed as Zuster Jeffs and Zuster Sharp bid adieu. Zuster Harrington was excited to be back in the Hague!
We stopped at Kinder Dijk on the way to Brussels. We enjoyed a walk along this historical site of Holland. it is quite the sight to walk by 17 remaining windmills. In the 1700's, it was a pumping station where the windmills pumped the water to keep the ground dry.
After interviews with President Brubaker at the mission office, we all spent a memorable evening together. I look forward to this night, when we can share with each other our testimonies and personal experiences of how being missionaries has changed our lives for the better.
Elder DeMeester and Zuster Sharp have loved their missions so much! They have given 100%!
Elder DeMeester's family was anxiously awaiting for him when we arrived at the airport. The emotions were high as brothers and parents were once more reunited.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Transfer Week Begins

Elder Calkins and Elder Guanuna arrived safely in Brussels early this morning. Elder Calkins and Elder Guanuna made an impression on this gentleman that sat next to them on the plane. He observed them as they studied during the entire flight to Belgium. He wanted President Brubaker to know that he was deeply touched by these two young men and their dedication to what they were about to start.
Elder Tibbitts offered to take a group picture of the welcoming committee!
After loading all the luggage, we drove to the office. President Brubaker shared some knowledge of the mission and where we have missionaries serving throughout our mission.
After lunch and a good nap at the mission home, we were blessed with a beautiful sunshiny day in Tervuren Park. We enjoyed our walk to the dedication sight.
Elder Matthews shared the story of the experience Elder Holland had in 1997, when the land of Belgium and Luxembourg were dedicated for missionary work.
This tree always holds our attention, as Elder Matthews asked the missionaries how we can compare this tree to the Gospel.
The delightful warm weather brought many people out to the Grand Place in Brussels.
Along with the help of our assistants, Elder Calkins and Elder Guanuna had their first experience in Belgium to talk to real live investigators.
They had big smiles as they told us about their marvelous experience of talking to many people about the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
Belgium waffles...........mmmmmmmmm!
Back to the mission home for the anticipated letter. Where am I going to serve?
Elder Guanuna was excited to be going to the furthest norhern part of our mission. He will be serving in Heerenveen with Elder Crittendon as his trainer. He will have a 5-hour train ride tomorrow.
Elder Calkins won't have quite so far to travel. He will be staying in Belgium and will be serving in Ghent with Elder Alexander as his trainer.
The assistants were so excited to show them where their first area of service will be. These two wonderful young missionaries will be a great asset to our mission! We feel to thank them for their desire to be obedient and share the message that can change peoples lives, and bring a feeling of peace and gratitude into their lives!