Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day of Service

Saturday, June 18th, was the day we set aside for our "JoVo Day of Service" as requested by President Monson in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the welfare program.  We invited the Amsterdam missionaries to join the jovos in painting the apartment of an elderly woman in the Amsterdam Ward.

Sister Tanner, who has only been in the mission for 10 days, is busy taping the door frame.

Elder Brockbank, one of the Assistants to the President, has taken time from his many responsibiities to be the energy behind this paint roller.  He's doing a good job.

Elder Favero (front) is Elder Brockbank's companion.  Our district leader, Elder Alexander, isn't sure where to start first but Ramon Kasper, our JoVo President (left) is getting right to work. 

Now Elder Alexander is getting into the project.  He's pretty handy with a paint brush.

"Elder Salden - do you know where you're going with that ladder?"

His hard-working companion, Sister Salden, comes loaded with long handles for the paint rollers.  Now we can reach the high places on the walls without having to use a ladder. 

Elder Beckstrand shares the tape with Vanessa.  She is one of our JoVos, and it is obvious she has had some REAL experience with a paint brush.  It was fun to watch this little lady slap on the paint.

"Now don't forget to size this wall before you paint it,"  Elder Salden reminds us.

"Okay, I'll get right on that," says Elder Favero.

Elder Schulte comes to Elder Beckstrand for more paint.  It's a full-time job keeping everybody busy.

"Shall I let him have it?"  asks Sister Tanner.   This might be a good opportunity - he doesn't suspect a thing.

Okay, keep those rollers moving.  Lots of rooms, so little time.

I was wishing for the better quality paint we have back in the states.  This stuff doesn't cover very well.   It's going to take at least 2 - maybe 3 coats to really give us good coverage.

Sister de Groot is taping the cupboards in the kitchen.  She is being aided by Brother de Nijs, the high priest quorum president in the Amsterdam Ward.  He has been helping Priscilla get the apartment ready to occupy.

By noon everyone is ready for lunch.  Sandwiches, chips, apples, and cookies help fill up the hard-working missionaries and jovos.  The food disappears in no time.

Okay everyone - smile pretty for the camera.  The one with the most paint on their clothes obviously worked the hardest!  It looks like maybe Sister Salden is the winner.   (Of course, people like myself who changed before the picture was taken look like we didn't lift a brush the whole day.  Just for the record - I did.  Honest.)  It was a successful day and much was accomplished.  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Marken Island

We took a P-Day excursion with the Andersons to Marken  - an island that for eight centuries was in the Zuiderzee.  It was a prosperous fishing village until the decision to build the Afsluitdijk was made early in the 20th century, cutting off the Zuiderzee from the North Sea.  Since then, Marken has relied on tourists coming to see their old-fashioned fishing village.

The first sight to meet our eyes as we entered the village was this interesting structure.  It was calling out to visitors to come inside and see how wooden shoes were made.

The proprietress was able to explain the process from beginning to end.

She first held up a piece of birch wood and explained that it was the variety best suited for wooden shoes.

She showed us shoes in various stages of completion.  Each stage is done on a separate machine.

She pulled up her skirt to show us her 'sexy' clogs and the two pair of thick woolen socks that she wears with them.  The socks cushion the rubbing of the wood against the feet and provide warmth in cold weather.

We enjoyed watching this machine form the outside of this small wooden shoe.

The next machine carved out the inside.  The final step was to smooth off the ends that were left where the machine held the shoe.  It was an interesting process to watch.

This display showed the process from the beginning block of wood to the finished shoe at the top. 
I'm glad I'm not required to wear shoes like this - they don't look very comfortable.  (The woman in the shop advised us that you always fit your wooden shoes with at least an inch to spare between the shoe and the back of your foot.  Good to know before buying your next wouldn't want to develop a blister.)

The houses on the island are mostly green with white trim.  They looked like they had each been freshly painted for the tourist season.

As always, the gardens were beautiful.

Row upon row of green an white stiped houses line the streets.  They even paint their picket fences green.

There was a rare black one in this trio.

And here we saw a pretty beige home with green trim on the white windows.  The flowers were very colorful.

Sister Anderson and I stop for a photo op at this picturesque bridge.  Wilhelmina was a former queen of the Netherlands.

We walked toward the center of town and tried to go inside the church.  Alas, the door was locked.  The day we visited  was Second Pinkster Day in The Netherlands - a holiday that commemorates the Day of Pentecost.    

We were delighted to run into this cute little lady in traditional Dutch costume.  She was on her way to the museum that showed more of the traditional clothing worn by the Dutch for various special occasions.

This was the other museum proprietress who was very congenial  until we started talking about the reason we were in The Netherlands.  She immediately cooled off when we explained our missionary purpose.   "No, no, I don't want to hear about your church - I have my own church."  This is a common response in this country.

This model inside the museum showed the traditional wedding costume of Dutch brides.

And we can't forget the men.  They were quite elegant as well.

We walked out to the wharf to see the fishing boats.  Before the afsluit dyke was built there were over 100 boats in the fishing fleet that used this port.  Now there are less than 10 who continue to make their living in the fishing trade.  Most of the boats docked here are pleasure craft.  The afsluit dyke closed off the salt water from the ocean and created a fresh water lake.  The varieties of fish that live in the lake now are different varieties and not as plentiful.

The wharf area was lined with shops and restaurants.  We enjoyed browsing through the buildings to look at all the Dutch products for sale - delft china, tablecloths, lace, etc. - but we left with our money safely in our wallets.  This was definitely NOT the place for good buys.  I was shocked to see cotton fabrics being sold for Dutch costumes at 15 Euros per meter - that would be about $20.00 per yard in the states.  I don't think so....

It was a cool, drizzly day.  We were glad for our raincoats.

This really is a pretty little village.  I'm sure the residents spend a lot of time and money keeping their homes perfectly painted and their gardens beautifully tended to impress their visitors.  After all - their livelihoods depend on it.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

My incredible companion can remember exact addresses of places he lived when he served his first mission in The Netherlands back in 1962-1965.  We went to Schiedam in January to look for Westvest 10.

Alas, after driving up and down the roads all around the area we finally determined that the apartment building where he lived had been torn down.  He was a little sad.  But after all, it has been 47 years. 

Our next attempt at locating a former address was in Amsterdam.  He lived at Courbetstraat #38- I  for 13 months when he was singing with the Mormonse Vier (Mormon Four).  Our faithful TomTom took us to the correct street with no problem.  It really is a handy little missionary helper.

He easily recognized the building and the stairway leading up to their room.  They didn't rent an entire apartment in those days, they just rented a room in the home of a Dutch family.  This particular family had six boys of their own.  I was told that the missionaries had to keep one eye open during the prayers at mealtime or the boys would sneak all the food before the elders could get any. 

They rode their bicycles to the central train station where they caught whatever public transportation they needed to get to their appointments.  The trip to and from the station took about 20 minutes.

As near as we could tell from the advertisement in the window, a modeling agency now occupies the set of rooms where they used to live.  Back in the day, their Dutch mom cooked their meals and did their laundry.  Pretty spoiled, right?

Our next search took us to The Hague where Linford lived with Moms Hoekstein.  That address was Loosduinsekade 572.  (How does he remember this stuff??)  That's our cute little silver car out in front of the building.

Voila!  The entrance to the building.  They stayed here with Moms Hoekstein for about 4 months.  She called the missionaries 'her' boys.  She eventually was baptized into the church from their stellar example.  After we were married she came to Utah to visit and spent some time with us in Logan where we were attending school.  She was a cute little white-haired lady who spoke very little English.  What communicating we did was by gesture and pantomime.

This blog is probably of small interest to a casual observer, but it was a very enjoyable trip down Memory Lane for my faithfull missionary companion who counts his time here as a young elder among some of his most memorable experiences.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Couples CfSA Training in Leiden and the American Pilgrim Museum

 On June 3rd the senior couples gathered for an informative training session about the Young Adult Centers at the new Mission Office in Leiden.  We talked about many of the concerns and challenges we face with the young adults, then we enjoyed a delicious lunch together.

Following the training meeting we left the office and drove into the Centrum to the old part of Leiden. 

As we drove into the city we passed the oude kerk ( old church), which is always a focal point in Dutch cities.

Many canals bisect the city.  Boat traffic is actually less congested than car traffic.  We learned from experience that it would have been faster to walk from the office than to try to drive the car through the narrow winding streets.  Our destination was the American Pilgrim Museum.

The Tibbitts (left) stop to consult their TomTom.  Does anyone know where we're going??

There was a lovely park on our route where people were enjoying the sunny weather.  I didn't get close enough to discover the name of the famous person on the statue.

We finally arrived (a little wind-blown) at the museum.  It was a small building which existed in the early 17th century when the Pilgrims lived in Leiden.

The museum curator told us the history of the Pilgrims who came to this city for religious freedom and eventually stayed eleven years.  After that time they made the decision to sail to America so that their English culture and heritage would not be lost.

This portrait of the Pilgrim leader hangs in the main room of the museum.

Actual artifacts of the time period have been preserved.

There were copies of  books of scriptures in English that were used while the pilgrims were in residence.  One of the reasons they made the decision to go to America was to preserve their language.  The longer their children lived among the Dutch, the more they started using the language of the people around them.

We saw beautiful hand-painted delft blue tiles more than 4 centuries old.

Everyone enjoyed hearing the history of our founding fathers.

Our curator had learned a wealth of information about the Pilgrims that he shared with us.

A view of the outside of the building.

Many antique vases of that time period were on display. 

Although not necessarily used by the Pilgrims, the furniture in the museum was representative of the time period.

This fireplace tile was very much like the antique styles we see today (except it was the real thing).  

These authentic hand-painted antique tiles are very prized today, and hard to find.

We are indebted to the Pilgrims for leaving Holland and sailing to the new world to establish their homes and promote religious freedom.  This group of people promoted the attitudes and values that eventually led to the restoration of the gospel by Joseph Smith.  Without him, we would have no reason to be here.

It would have been tempting for our founding fathers to stay in the Netherlands.  This really is a beautiful country.  Thank goodness they chose to go to America.  Good decision, guys!