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A stranger here

๐ƒ๐จ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž?

This week marked a significant anniversary for Monic and I.

12 months ago, we arrived in the Netherlands.

Those months have simply flown by, so incredibly fast.

We have travelled throughout Belgium and the Netherlands, visited with lots of family, reacquainted ourselves with many old friends, made many new friends from all across the world and testified of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in many towns and cities.

Yesterday, we met up with fellow Scot โ€“ Mark Stewart, an Area Authority Seventy, as each of us fulfilled assignments to speak at The Hague Stake Conference in Zoetermeer this weekend.

Reflecting this morning, I was reminded of a scripture in Ephesians 2:19.

At the time the Apostle Paul was fearlessly traveling into lots of different lands and meeting many new people.

Writing to the members of the Church, or Saints as they were called and are called today, he reminded members of the Church of the blessings of belonging, when he told them, โ€œYe are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.โ€

What do you think of when you think of โ€œstrangersโ€ or โ€œforeignersโ€?

Mark and I are both Scottish, growing up on opposite sides of the country.

Speaking last night, our mother tongue, dialect, cultural background, and lifestyle may be different from the Dutch, but we were no strangers or foreigners โ€“ we were indeed fellowcitizens with the household of God, the Saints, here in the Netherlands.

In our day, in these turbulent times in which we live, strangers and foreigners are coming to us – daily.

We donโ€™t have to look far. They are all around us.

Are you welcoming?

In fact, I was a stranger here not too long ago, yet I have always felt welcome here.

I know that no-one is a stranger to Jesus Christ.

In Romans 8:16-17, the Apostle Paul explains furtherโ€ฆ

โ€œThe Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.โ€

Try as we may, we cannot separate ourselves from each other.

As children of God, we are not strangers to one another, we are all in fact brothers and sisters.

I hope that we will remember that we are all children of God and part of His family.

Have you ever felt like a stranger?

#HearHim

My Favourite Dutch Words

One of the missionaries askedโ€ฆ.โ€œWhat are your favourite Dutch words?”
Here are my top 5 for the moment!
๐‹๐ž๐ค๐ค๐ž๐ซ โ€“ The adjective lekker, denotes several positive attributes including nice, appealing and high-quality. Tasty food is commonly called lekker. However, the word extends well beyond food! For example it is often applied to nice looking people, well-made clothes, nice weather and even a good nightโ€™s sleep.
๐†๐ž๐ณ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ž๐ข๐ – This is a fascinating word – it is often equated to cosiness but means even more than that. For the Dutch, I think gezelligheid represents a much broader spectrum of fun, joviality or even amicable situations that are all united by a warm sense of personal comfort and togetherness. Its just a lovely word!
-๐ญ๐ฃ๐ž – The Dutch use diminutives much more often than we English speakers do. They make words sound smaller, cuter or friendlier by adding the suffix โ€“tje. For example, a small dog is a hondje, a wee nap is a dutje.
๐ˆ๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฐ๐ข๐ค๐ค๐ž๐ฅ๐ โ€“ I just love the word for complicated, every time I use it, it just simply sounds much better in Dutch than it does in English!
๐‡๐จ๐ฉ๐ž๐ฅ๐จ๐จ๐ฌ โ€“ Anyone who knows me well, will know that my favourite Dutch word of all time is this one. It simply means hopeless! And for many years it was a perfect description of my Dutch itself!! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜‚
Do you have any favourite foreign language words?

Signs of Progress

How do you measure progress?
After 9 weeks of immersion in the culture of Belgium and the Netherlands, something significant, yet very subtle happened in my head this week.
For several weeks, I hear the Dutch language and then translate what I hear into English.
In order to respond, I then translate my English thinking into Dutch.
This week though, things started to change – just a little.
I am beginning to think in Dutch… ๐Ÿ™‚
What a difference it makes!
The result?
I am even struggling to recall some simple English words and replacing them with Dutch ones!
The transition is starting to happen!
Don’t get me wrong, I have still lots of learning, but genuinely feel after some tough weeks, that I am making some progress.
So how do you measure progress?
…One day at a time! And then recognising the change.
When I’m dreaming in Dutch – that will be a real sign!
And for our new missionary arrivals next week, remember to speak it every day – that is so crucial. There is hope!!