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!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

How Can I Increase Spirituality in my Life?

Part 2

Continued from last week’s letter

2. Prayer… is the Soul’s Sincere Desire

Have you ever stopped to read and think about the words to this favorite hymn? From it we can learn much about types of prayers and how prayer works.

-Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
Unuttered or expressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.

-Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear
The upward glancing of an eye,
When none but God is near.

-Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;
Prayer, the sublimest strains
That reach The Majesty on high.

-Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
The Christian’s native air,
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters Heav’n with prayer.

-Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,
Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice
And cry, “Behold, he prays!”

-The saints in prayer appear as one
In word, in deed, and mind,
While with the Father and the Son
Sweet fellowship they find.

-No prayer is made by man alone
The Holy Spirit pleads,
And Jesus, on th’eternal throne,
For sinners intercedes.

-O Thou by Whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod:
Lord, teach us how to pray.

Prayer is a measure of the desire of our soul to be ‘one with God’. We teach our investigators, “If you desire to receive an answer to the question of the truthfulness of the precepts we are teaching, you must pray”. A corollary to this logic for our lives is “If you desire to have increased spirituality in your life you must pray”. If we have a sincere desire to draw near to God, prayer will become second nature to us. It is an expression of the fire of testimony in our hearts. Prayer can either be spoken or in silence. In fact Christ asks that we pray continuously as we go throughout the day. He commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts, 3 Ne. 20:1 Prayer is the way to feel God’s love when we are feeling alone or vulnerable. Prayer is no better or worse based on how eloquently it is delivered. It is just as available to the smallest child as to the wisest patriarch. Prayer is central to the process of repentance. Surely God must rejoice when the sinner approaches Him in prayer to seek forgiveness and asks for help as he travels the road back. Through prayer the saints can find the unity with each other and with Deity that marks true discipleship. Christ is our advocate with the Father. When we pray we enable that divine intercession. Our words to the Father are through the name of Jesus Christ. Prayer allows us to express gratitude and to request blessings of which we stand in need.

President Brigham Young said, “It matters not whether you or I feel like praying. … If we do not feel like it, we should pray till we do” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young).

Sister Brubaker and I desired a particular blessing for one of our children. We prayed several times a day for more than 3 years wondering if our prayers would help. Finally, in a matter of a few months the concern was cleared up in a way that was beyond our greatest expectations. I know that God hears and answers our prayers and as we seek blessings through prayer we gain as a natural byproduct, greater spirituality.

3. Is my fasting meaningful?

Some of us really have to work at making fasting more than to just get hungry. I remember as a young boy wondering why fast Sunday went so slow.

Meaningful fasting is one sure method of cultivating spirituality in our lives. Here is a practical suggestion: Choose something very specific—maybe one of your investigator’s challenges or a principle of the gospel that you desire to more fully understand. Focus, fast, and pray. It seems that every time the scriptures refer to fasting, prayer is also mentioned. They go together.

Fasting is an activity perfectly suited to missionaries’ needs. As we fast with a missionary purpose in mind we gain more spirituality.

Alma mentions fasting as one of the qualities of the sons of Helaman that impressed upon him that they were great missionaries.

But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God. Alma 17:3

This coming Sunday as we fast together let’s pray for our investigators and especially that throughout the mission we will see major progress in bringing families to the waters of baptism.

We are seeing many wonderful miracles in the mission. After a 2-week delay waiting for visas, the newest missionaries finally made it to the Netherlands last Thursday. Several of them have already called to tell us of setting baptism dates in their first couple of days in the country. Please let us know of a miracle that you saw this week.

Our quest for greater spirituality will lift our mission. We will better be able to share the love we feel for God and our investigators, as we draw nearer to Him. We will ask questions and extend invitations as directed by the Spirit. We will enjoy greater power of discernment so that we can teach to the specific needs of individuals being taught the gospel.

May we be ever faithful so that it can be said of us … if they had faith to believe that God could … point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day. (Alma 37:40)

Have a great week, full of miracles,

Much Love,

President Brubaker

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Fountain of Youth!

We went to church in Hilversum today. Elder and Sister Salden are right at home in this sweet branch, as they are serving their second mission. We don't even try to keep up with these two! You will never meet two more dedicated, hard working, loving, kind seniors in the entire world! We are the most fortunate ones to have them in OUR mission!
We had a delightful lunch with them after church. We are still trying to find our their secret for all this vitality and energy! We all adore the Saldens!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Missionaries Finally Arrive!

Big smile!!!
President Brubaker called church travel Monday morning, as soon as he thought someone would be at work. We were so anxious to find out if our six detained missionaries had received their visas. We were holding our mission together with willing and able mini-missionaries throughout the mission, serving until our missionaries arrived. It had been two weeks, and we didn't know how much longer we could keep cities opened. We had driven a car to Den Bosch so that Elder Favero and Harry, our "fountain of youth" 81 year old mini missionariy could have a car. We were just waiting for Elder Davies and and Elder Leach so we cold give them the keys to the car. We both just about jumped through the roof when Ailleen at church travel said the magic words. "They have their visas!"
Six enthusiastic, excited missionaries arrived Thursday morning!
We were all smiles!
We loaded them all on the train, and arrived at the Leiden station in less than 15 minutes!
No more dealing with commuter traffic and loading vans with heavy luggage!
After the missionaries were debriefed at the mission office, and had their first interview with President Brubaker, we treated the missionaries to pannekoeken!
Back to the mission office. Our new elders were anxious to open their "call letters".
Their trainers were waiting patiently to meet their trainees!

Elder Maughan will be serving in Rotterdam South....
with Elder Klippel!
Elder McDaniels will be serving in Assen....
with Elder Ellis!
Elder Li will be serving in the Hague.....
with Elder Brockbank!
Elder Johnson will be serving in Utrecht with Elder Benson!
The last two elders read their calls together.
Elder Davis will be serving in Turnhout......
Elder Cundick will be serving in Heerlen......
with Elder Favero!
with Elder Bair!

Doe uw best en God zal doen de rest.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dedication of the New Mission Home in the Netherlands

The new mission home in the Netherlands was ready to be dedicated. We invited the bishops and their wives. stake presidents and counselors and their wives, the temple president and his wife, senior couple missionaries, President Brubaker's counselors, and our area authority and his wife.

We all enjoyed visiting with one another, and it was great having these wonderful people here!

President and Sister Van Rij have been serving as the temple president and matron for three years. We are so happy they could attend before finishing their assignment next week.

We were so happy that so many people....
came to be a part of this momentous event.
Elder Hans Boom, our area authority was pleased and honored to be asked to give the dedicatory prayer. It was a beautiful prayer.
President and Sister Van Rij were happy to see this wonderful painting of Amsterdam had been moved from the Netherlands to Brussels, and now back to the Netherlands. It was in the mission home when they were serving as the mission president and companion in Hilversum.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Interviews Begin

President Brubaker and I started our tour of the mission today! We were anxious to share some things we have learned from listening to the cd's on the last Mission President's Training at the MTC in June 2011. President Brubaker took a few minutes before each DL meeting to talk with the missionaries before interviews. He shared his thoughts about the importance for every missionary to know deep down inside why they are here. In order to the be the most effective missionary, each one needs to know and feel and have a testimony of their purpose, which they repeat together every time we are together, and every district meeting.
Our Purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ
by helping them receive the restored gospel through
Faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement
Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost
and enduring to the end.

These missionaries in the Amsterdam District live their purpose everyday!
Sister Beckstrand gave me this beautiful quilt! This is a gift she made for me!
On Wednesday we met with the Hague District. President Brubaker started District meeting by talking to the missionaries about their purpose. We were so energized and blessed to be with these faithful missionaries!
Sister Gardner and Sister Kremer are enjoying Sheralyn from Gent. She is serving a
mini-mission and is loving every minute!
After making a slight adjustment to our schedule on Thursday (receiving our new missionaries)
we met with the Eindhoven District a little later in the afternoon. We brought Elder Cundick and Elder Favero with us. Harry has been another blessing! He served with Elder Favero as a full-time missionary until Elder Cundick arrived!
Elder Schwartz was having his interview when we took the group picture. We couldn't leave him out!
We drove to Gent, Belgium, so we would be ready for interviews in the morning.
We fell in love with Gent all over again!
It was an unseasonably warm day in Gent!
The Gent church building was a little cold! But that certainly didn't dampen our spirits!
President Brubaker shared his thoughts and testimony of the importance of living and breathing their purpose as missionaries before starting interviews!
We have a Heavenly Father who loves us
and we love him!
(Gent St. Niklaas Church)

We spent a great day in Antwerp with the Antwerp District. Elder Pitchforth and Elder Wang left before I got a picture of their district.
We were ecstatic with joy when Victor and Faith came to the Antwerp ward to see us. They are doing so well and Victor is the Sunday School teacher now. We love to see and feel of their strong testimonies and how the gospel has blessed their lives so much. In turn they have blessed our lives with their strong faith and testimony and are our eternal friends!

Monday, October 24, 2011

How Can I Increase Spirituality in my Life?

This week in Zone Conference we were Challenged to Increase in Spirituality. Why is this so Important? How can we do this?

In the Middle Ages languages were evolving in the European Territories at a fast rate. Dutch, which was previously indistinguishable from German veered off on it’s own. The influence of the Norse invaders as well as the Frisians with their connections to the British Isles started to mold the language into what it is now. In England, the Saxons had entered with their Germanic language and virtually eradicated the Celtic tongue from most of the British Isles. Romans had conquered earlier also leaving a mark on the English language. For three hundred years starting in 1066 AD the French speaking Normans ruled Britain, which also greatly influenced English. This interesting mixture provided a larger vocabulary than that of the other European languages. There were often two words that meant the same thing. Over time these doublets tended to take on slightly different shades of meaning. Language experts like to say that the French word often took on a more refined or ‘inward’ meaning while the German and Norse words would be more ‘outward’ leaning. (The French derived word battle could describe an inward struggle whereas the Germanic word fight tends to best describe only outward conflicts; The French derived word joy versus the Norse word happy is another example of this inward versus outward situation). So English became a good language to both speak of external things as well as internal thoughts and philosophy.

We often approach situations with an outward (worldly) frame of reference, or with an inward (spiritual) point of view. The outward is thrust upon us very early in our mortal lives, as we experience hunger, pain or even when we just open our eyes and look around us. This point of view can be termed ‘natural’.

The inner thoughts and feelings are more sensitive and can be called ‘spiritual’. In fact the French word ‘esprit’ can mean both ghost, (as in Holy Ghost), or our inner consciousness. When we relate to God or Christ we are generally dealing with important thoughts and feelings ‘in our spirit’ as opposed to immediately tangible, visible or ‘natural’ objects.

All this is to point out that even since early times man and civilizations have had these two worlds to reconcile. To be in tune with the Spirit is mostly an inward activity, not seen, and therefore oft times more difficult to relate to; for we are ‘natural’ beings.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14 we are taught by Paul But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

When Elder Causse spoke in general conference he quoted from the philosophical story The Little Prince by Antoine St. Exupery “But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart”

Therefore to increase our spirituality we must look less with our eyes and feel more with our heart.

Often where the Spiritual and Physical meet is where we can find great power, if we can keep our spiritual ‘hearts’ in control over our ‘natural’ bodies.

In the gospel we place great importance on ordinances, which are by definition “outward manifestations of inner commitments”

In our quest to increase spirituality we will focus on several outward actions that will increase our inner or spiritual strength. We will also focus on a few inward thought patterns that we will need to learn to control in order to improve our spirituality.

Elder Joe Christiansen of the Seventy has outlined ten things that can help us to improve our Spirituality. Over the next few weeks we will examine these points and see how we can put them into practice in our own lives and in our missionary work.

Read Scriptures Daily.

R What are scriptures? How can reading them help me? Latter-day revelation identifies scripture as that which is spoken under the influence of the Holy Ghost (D&C 68:1–4). We often say that it is a record of God’s dealings with His people. If the words in the scriptures are written under the influence of the Holy Spirit then it follows that we should study them if we desire to reinforce our Spirituality. We are often counseled to read ‘straight from the scriptures’ as opposed to reading books about the scriptures. As we read the actual words and phrases that were written with the help of the Holy Spirit we can feel a strong bond between the truths we read and our personal needs. If we too read the scriptures while we have the Spirit with us then the connection between physically reading and spiritually feeling can create enormously motivating energy as well as knowledge of what we should do to improve ourselves. Through the Holy Spirit we will receive answers to our questions as we read. We can gain new insights into gospel truths of a pure form. As missionaries we can obtain inspiration for ways to help our investigators find answers to their questions and come unto Christ. The desire to drink deeply from the well of the scriptures can become exciting and fulfilling. As we participate in this spiritually strengthening activity we will find the inspiration of greater spirituality guiding us to make better choices. We will have a mighty change of heart and have “no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2).

As a recently returned missionary I found myself needing help. I was hopelessly in love with Sister Brubaker but there were some perceived obstacles to getting married at that time. Some outside pressures and probably some fears threatened our relationship. One night I prayed fervently for guidance. As I ended my prayer and then opened the Scriptures, they fell open to Genesis in the Old Testament to the story of Rebekah and Isaac. As I read the words there was both knowledge gained and a feeling of calm reassurance that we should go forward and get married soon. I shared the scripture with Sister (Rebecca) Brubaker and was grateful that she also felt the reassurance of the Spirit. The answer was not at first evident with natural eyes. But with spiritual ‘eyes’ and the power of the scriptures, the answer became evident…The Scriptures provide a powerful tool to increase Spirituality.

2. Really pray and not just say prayers. Prayer is the means given by which we can communicate with God the Father. This communication is often compared to work. As we examine the great prayers in the scriptures we note that there were phrases used such as ‘poured out their hearts’, ‘wrestled with the Lord’ and more.

Next week we will discuss prayer more and then move on to some of the other 8 points, which can help us increase in Spirituality.

The Lord loves us, God the Father loves us. For now we are more than simply God’s children. We are also His army. As His missionaries we are promised to be blessed with inspiration “greater than at other times during our lives”. I pray that we will take full advantage of this promise as we learn to effectively increase our level of spirituality and then act accordingly in the ‘natural’ world with the insight given us through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

We love you all. Have a great week,

President Brubaker

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Metske Comes to the Waters of Baptism in Zwolle

Metske Klavin, Zwolle, 23 October 2011

Metske is one of those miracle stories. He started investigating the church on his own somewhere around ten years ago. Five years ago, he started meeting with the Elders. Through many ups, downs, prayers, fasts, and visits from missionaries and members, he has come to know and realize that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints really is God’s kingdom on the earth today. His favorite hymn is, “I Stand All Amazed”. He feels comfort in the words and love of Christ. When he smiles, the whole room seems brighter and immediately, everyone else in the room is also smiling. He definitely is one of the Elect of God. I am proud to have been able to meet and teach him. (Written by Elder Fullmer)

Tessa Hetem Joins the Chruch in Alkmaar

Tessa Hetem, Alkmaar, 23 October, 2011

Tessa Hetem went to Utah on an exchange program when she was 16. There she was paired with a Mormon family that had the courage to bring her to church and invite her to meet with the missionaries. She took the discussions for one year before she returned to Alkmaar. There she found the church, continued to study the scriptures and even completed the next two years of Seminary. The Elders came into contact with her for the first time in this part of the world and invited her to be baptized. Now that she is of legal age, she was able to make the decision for herself. Her host family flew from America to be a part of her baptismal service and see the fruit of the seed they’d sown. written by Van De Graff and Elder Nielson

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Li Cong Embraces the Gospel in Rotterdam

Li Cong October, 22 October, 2011

Li Cong is amazing. We were led to contact this 23 year old on the street about 2 months ago. Through the quick conversation, we came to find out that he knew almost nothing about God, the goal of life, or life after death. In fact, he had never taken the time to think about those things! He gladly accepted an appointment with us. Through the 8 weeks that we taught him, he was willing to keep commitments. There were no walls that came up. He accepted a baptismal date even when he didn’t know what that meant! But, he stayed with that date. In the beginning it was a little tricky teaching him. Both of us (Elder Osmond and Elder Mickelsen) never had experienced teaching someone with absolutely NO religious background. We had to start with the basics. But since Li was willing to read and pray, he progressed. Li later explained that he was reading with his mind, and not his heart. He was searching for just more knowledge about religion rather than the spiritual side of it. One day Li made the switch. He said he used his heart with the Book of Mormon. Through that, he found so many answers to the millions of questions he had. He soon had no questions at all because the message of the gospel meant the world to him. Through that time, he read the whole Book of Mormon. His testimony of it is unshakeable. He was baptized on October 22nd, 2011. What a strong member he is going to be. Li has the desire to go on a mission, and we hope to see that soon. He will be a blessing to many lives. His biggest desire is to go back to China and share the Good Word to those who haven’t had the chance to hear about it. We love him!

Yvonne is Surrounded by Love From the Young Adults

Yvonne van den Berg, October 22, 2011

Yvonne van den Berg was met by Elder Davies and Elder Ellsworth last February. She loved the Book of Mormon and was excited to learn, but wanted to take a little more time. Yvonne stayed involved with the church, visiting the Young Adult Center and spending time with the young adults. That is where the sisters met her. After spending a week at a young single adult’s camp and attending church, Yvonne was ready to take the step of baptism. Every week she would have a list of scriptures and questions ready so that she could feel prepared. The young adults in the stake helped to answer all of her questions and to overcome her concerns. Yvonne is already a missionary as she shares the gospel with everyone she meets. She told us that the gospel has helped her to find peace, more self confidence, and a better relationship with her Heavenly Father. Yvonne was baptized on the 22nd of October, 2011 and she is already preparing to go the temple. Yvonne is already amazingly strong and we are excited to see her grow even closer to Christ and to her Heavenly Father!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Zone Leader Council Held at Mission Home

All Zone Leaders congregated at the Mission Home for the monthly training by President Brubaker. The Den Haag zone leaders were really popular today. They brought "French" pastries for breakfast before we began our meeting!
You would think all we do is eat! We have to refuel often to feed all those learning cells!
Elder and Sister Pankratz provided homemade eclairs. I think they rivaled the French pastries! We like to spoil our missionaries!
The Zone leaders discussed and wrote down all of their duties. They have quite the list!

It was a crisp beautiful fall day!
Left-Right Elder Bjork, Elder Crittendon, Elder Osmond, Elder Brownell, Elder Morhmon, President Brubaker, Elder Bastian, Elder Andrews, Elder Frahm, Elder Hawkley, Elder Mickelson

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our Temple Zone Conference With the Apeldoorn and the Rotterdam Zones

We met the Apeldoorn and the Rotterdam Zones at the temple today. They were all on time, and were even able to start a few minutes early. The Dutch promptness is rubbing off on all of us! We all congregated, after having a wonderful experience in the temple together.

The senior couples were delighted to come for both days! Sister Moses and Sister Rich are surrounded by great examples of dedicated service by our senior sisters.
President Brubaker asked all missionaries who speak German to have a picture with Elder Weidmann. Elder van Doesburg, Elder Ellis, Niek Sumpter (mini-missionary), and Elder Pope all were pleased to have a picture with the area authority, Elder Weidmann who is from Zurich, Switzerland.
Elder and Sister Everton are in love with their opportunity to serve a mission together!
Sister Rich and Sister Moses are serving together in Dordrecht, and feel so blessed to live with Bishop and Sister Roberts who take such good care of them!
Niek Sumpter and Elder Sanchez enjoy getting acquainted!
Elders Klipel, Davies, Brown, Jones, and Ellis all are excited to be serving with all their heart, might, mind, and strength!
Elder Hawkley and Elder Brownell have a moment to share missionary experiences, and to admire each others great ties!
Elder Kunz, Elder van Doesburg and Elder Mickelson find great pleasure in serving the Lord!

Elder Weidmann was so considerate and took the time to visit with any of the missionaries that might have questions. Sister Anderson took the opportunity to share her thoughts and questions with him.
Who has memorized the most scriptures? Elder Brownell and Elder Mickelson can't agree!
We were so grateful for the few short days we were able to have with Elder Weidmann. He truly inspired President Brubaker and I to help our missionaries in ways that we had not thought of. It is such a blessing to feel so connected in the Gospel with someone in such a short period of time! Thank you so much Elder Weidmann for blessing the life of each one of our missionaries! We drove him to the airport, so he could get back to his family in Switzerland!