Monday, December 7, 2015

Game Plan: Love

Heya Pals,

It's going, here in Tilburg, Nederland. Sister Cowles and I have been enjoying life, biking with helmets, talking to people on the street, knocking doors, teaching lessons, feeling our bodies settle into winter and old age. Gah. Biking is not what it used to be..

This last week was Sinterklaas, and we celebrated that with ourselves by enjoying a nice dinner that we made and putting out our shoes so Sinterklaas could fill them. Fun holiday.

This African woman contacted us because she wanted to do missionary work with us and tell people about the second coming. Her comment, "I saw "latter-day saints" and I thought, these people know what they are talking about." Haha it's true! But we had to explain to her that we don't just talk about Jesus, we also talk about modern day prophets and another book of scripture that testifies of Christ. It seems that she missed that part, because she was just bummed that she couldn't go knock on people's doors with us. What a great soul. She'll figure it out someday. Honestly, the knocking on doors is not my favorite part of the restored gospel..

I got made fun of for my helmet for the first time this week. And it was three times in one day. You know who they all were? Boys. Little, teenage, and adult annoying boys. I thought we looked like babes in our helmets and nun skirts...whatever.

I learned something important this week: It's all about love. I don't know about you guys, but I get kind of tired worrying about what other people think and what they're doing and all the expectations I think I need to live up to and still always feeling second rate. That gets so old. I was pondering and discussing that this week, and I realized how destructive perfectionism is. I am So prone to perfectionism. But actually, when I try to pretend like I'm perfect and can do everything and don't need anyone, my emotions override my physical systems and my body literally cannot handle it. This used to be so frustrating for me, because how is it that so many other people get away with looking perfect? 
But this week, I had the thought that God is trying to save me from perfectionism. Perfectionism ruins our relationships and destroys our self esteem and it robs us of happiness and prevents us from loving ourself and others. And the fact is, we don't need to be better at anything before we can be happy (President Uchtorf says something similar). If I think that I need to be perfect for people to like me and for me to like myself, then I am going to be waiting for a long time and I will continually be robbing myself of happiness. Think of the people that you love and admire the very most. When you leave their presence, you want to be better. Not because they make you feel like you need to be prettier or skinnier or cooler or have nicer things or do everything in your whole entire like they do. You want to radiate love and happiness like they do. You want to have a beautiful, sparkly life filled with love and joy, and people who want to be around you because of how they feel when they're with you. 
That's why we love the Savior. Because He loves us. Because He accepts us for who we are while still helping us to improve.
I can love myself, my life, and my mission, as imperfect as all of those things are. Nobody wants to hang around someone who is fake. We love each other because we are real, and we all need each other because none of us are perfect. It's a perfect plan that God has created :) And it's all about love.

I love you all a lot, really and truly. You make my life beautiful.

Much love from Nederland,
Sister Jo the 1st

And this is olliebollen, which they only have this time of year. Dericious!

Cute Christmas shop

An old lady let us in to see her Christmas village!

Our ward mission leader's little boys, Nathan and Thomas. Ali, you would love these kids! Ah that happy baby is my best pal. he always wants me to hold him, but I cannot :(

Nimrod street! Hahaha this reminded me of Dad. Not cuz he's a nimrod, cuz he calls other people (like Bambi) one