Sunday, October 25, 2015

11/Oct 2010

Hey Guys!!!

Ok so my companion. Elder Clement is my trainer and he´s pretty awesome. From what I hear from other missionaries he´s the best Dutch speaker in the Mission and he sounds it too. He´s been out for 21 months and he goes home after he trains me which is end of December. The first twelve weeks are for training for new missionaries so he´ll be my companion for a while. He´s pretty great, no arguments or anything, just straight up trying to be missionaries which is awesome. He´s pretty good and is making me do and try new things like door approaches and setting appointments up in Dutch. I feel like my Dutch is improving but at he cost of me being very quiet right now. 

Holland was awesome when we arrived! As soon as we got there some of the missionaries took our luggage and the rest of our district had to ride the train to the office. While we were on the train I brought a Dutch book of Mormon with me and someone kept looking at it so President Bunnell asked if we could practice teaching her about the Book of Mormon and so I had to teach an impromptu lesson and place a Book Of Mormon.!!! That First day is a blur after that. I was soooooo jet lagged that I got in bed at 9 and slept all the way to 6:30. Best Sleep Ever!!!! However, my area, Den Bosch, isn't really like Holland. It´s got less canals and  less fields of flowers and stuff. It looks mostly like any place in England which sucks. 

My AREA!!! Okay, I gather from what Elder Clement says and what I hear from other missionaries that Den Bosch is probably the worst area. However, me and Elder Clement are sorta trying to solve that. We´re trying to come up with a plan for the Ward Mission Leader and we're really trying to find new ways to work in he area. Since we´re white washing (it means that two new missionaries get put into an area rather than only one.) it´s pretty hard to teach since we have a lot of things to organize but it´s alright, after Tuesday we should have a lot more time to start teaching. However, we've taught a few lessons and they've been pretty good. However, I think it´ll take a while for me and Elder Clement to to get used to teaching together but it´s fine! 

The Conference was awesome but we didn't get to see Elder Holland because we were in an interview with the bishop trying to sort out our plan of action for the ward. Can you send it to me sometime so I can maybe read it next P day or something???? Thanks. 

That´s great about Zack!!!!!! if you can, tell him I miss him and that it´s great he´s gotten baptized. Say I wish I could be there!!

OK, Tell Adriana I´m sorry I can´t reply but I´m supposed to reply to President Bunnel along with all the other emails and we´ve only got an hour every week. See if you can every who wants to talk to me send letters because then I can try replying during the week.

Okay, I love you all and I miss you like crazy. 

Love from Elder Serra

First photo of a Windmill! 

Before he got his "In Mission Call"

His "In Mission Call"

First Photo of a Canal

Ready to go to his new Home!

New flat!


Email from sister Bunnell:

Dear Parents of Elder Serra,

Your son arrived Tuesday the 29th of September with a smile and eagerness in his step.
We are delighted to receive him as one of our new missionaries here in the Belgium/Netherlands mission. We will do all we can to love and help him fulfill his call from the Lord to be that valiant servant.
His companion is Elder Clement and he will serve in the city of Den Bosch.
I am sending a few shots of him at the airport,with his companion and with President and me.
Thanks for preparing him to serve the Lord.
Sister Bunnell

His new companion Elder Clement

President Bunnell and Sister Bunnell with Elder Serra

The whole group

Very well fed I would say!

All safe at The Netherlands


Hey Family!!!!!

Ok so, the flight stuff. So on Monday we have the flight at 4:55 pm here in Salt Lake and it's a ten hour flight direct to Amsterdam. We arrive in Amsterdam at 10:55 am Amsterdam time. I'm calling you from Salt Lake Airport any time between 1pm and 4pm on that Monday, I think that's during the night for you guys. I guess if she (Elder Ord's Mum) wants then yeah sure. :P. I had to spend quite a lot to dry clean my suits so you'll need to add a bit more than you thought. Yeah, everyone in the district is travelling at the same time so it'll be great. 

Ok news. 
So over the last 5 weeks we've had cleaning assignments throughout the MTC and we clean the Gym on a Monday and another building on a Saturday and it's awesome. So in the Gym we started out with a girl called Megan as the cleaning leader person and she was great and she's actually arriving in the MTC today which is great coz she was so much fun... time to get emails you know ;) then a new girl called Sharon became the Leader and she is literally the most fun person, we see her most of the time when we go to Gym and she's hilarious and for our last cleaning assigment on Monday she's bringing donut! ;) Then in the other building there's a girl called Morgan and Morgan is engaged to a returned missionary and she's so awesome. Usually there's not enough cleaning to go around for everyone in the District and Morgan always picks me and Johnson to take a break and talk to her. And she's the most spiritual beast ever. I'll see if I can send you a link to her blog and you'll see, it's the best thing ever. So it was really sad having to talk about our last time cleaning with them but it was really fun ;)  

Now, Best experience of the week!
On Monday our other teachers Sister Schwab and Brother Wells were like 'Do you guys want to go do your investigator lessons in a two way glass room?' and were like YEAH!!! it was so fun. you get to watch people teach on the other side and you can evaluate them without them knowing. So a bit of Background! (I'll send you pictures of all these people later) So Sister Schwab is our teacher but she acts the part of Sam who's one of the other investigators we "teach" the same way Brother Klippel acts like Michael. So Sam has a problem with smoking and that's what we were trying to follow up on in this lesson, because we committed her to stop smoking the lesson before. So anyways, Elder Ord's Companionship goes in and teaches and it's great and then it's our turn. So we go in and we forget about whether or not they're watching and we just get teaching. So Sam tells us that she stopped for a few days but that she smoked like 5 times. At this point in the MTC experience, me and Elder Johnson are emotionally and spiritually invested in these "investigators" so when she says that we die inside and we go stern and tell her to try harder and that it's not just for the near future but it's for her eternal salvation and we really lay down the law as gently as we can. Then we teach her about having and exercising faith and that is what she needs as she tried to quit. So we finish and we come out of the lesson and later Sister Schwab was like "that was awesome... like you guys made me feel bad about smoking and I don't even smoke! You boys are really good at following up on commitments" and it was great. Afterwards, even though we weren't really supposed to teach her again before we left she's changed the schedule so that we can teach her again and it's just great!!!! My teachers are soooooo awesome, and I'll send pictures later about them. 

Adriana, I gained a few kilos which I'll drop in like 2 weeks with all the biking I'll have going on so aaha ;) 

Dad, I'll check out the talk later today and see if I can drop some comments for you, thanks for everything you guys are doing ;)

Some of the Teachers in the MTC: 

Goodbye America!!

Flight information

Love and miss you a lot!
Elder Serra!!


Hey Fam!!!

So this week I actually wrote down the things I wanted to say before I got here so it should be easier to write. First of all: I was wondering if you guys can send the missionaries to Britt's house. This week I've been really feeling that she'll listen if she speaks to the missionaries. Send the sisters there whenever you can. ALSO, send the new elders to speak to Daniel, (our sorta cousin). I read a scripture this week in 2 Nephi 2:8 and it really hit me that it is soooo important for them to know about this gospel.

Next thing, I forgot to tell you last week that me and Elder Johnson found out how to put EFY music on in the classrooms so we're having a ball when we have personal study and planning sessions. Planning sessions are 30 minutes long and we plan what we want to study. In personal and companion study we study for the lessons we're going to teach and we study how to better teach and then in Language study we learn grammar and things like that. 

Ok, On thursday we had lesson with Michael (Brother Klippel) and we made sure that we really showed our love and at the end, the teacher broke character and told us that it was such a good lesson and that he loved that we treated our investigators the way missionaries should and that we really were progressing. It's mostly because we've gotten really good at testifying of what we know. It was such a great lesson and it really helped us feel like we were on the right track. 

Then, (here's the funny experience) we had lesson with one of our other investigators Sam and we decided to commit her to stop smoking and to Baptism. HOWEVER, the word for baptism is "doop" and the word for death is "dood" and they sound pretty similar. SOOOOO, as it turns out I commited her to become dead rather than baptised at which point Johnson was like "DOOP, DOOP, NIET DOOD" and we had really good laugh about that :P oh well, at least she said that she's going to be baptised ;) 

Then that same day I got a 2 packages. One from Elder O'loughlin's family with a big old package of Swedish fish!!! BEST SWEETS EVER!!! and then someone called Samantha Marinho sent me a whole bunch of cupcakes. Could you find out who they are? :P 

When you sent me the Character of Christ talk, I was really happy because it's like my favourite talk (I heard it on my first Sunday in Movie Night when they show the Apostles speaking at the MTC in past devotionals) However, there were 8 letters so I thought that a lot of people had written me.... I died a little inside ;) but thanks for that talk, we tried to find a written version but found none anywhere. 

Now, a great experience this week! On Sunday we have a devotional and we had one of the directors of the MTC speak about the Holy Ghost and he would pick missionaries of the audience to share experiences with everyone. I really wanted to go up and at the last moment he picks me to be the last one to share. So I go up and share the experience that I shared with you last week. And it was great. And the bit that really makes me feel great is that people have been coming up to me since to say thanks for my experience!!!! it was great!!!

Now last thing that happened this week. Last night we had a devotional again but we have 1:30 to share what we thought about it afterwards with our District. However, after about 45 minutes, it sort of turned into a spiritual testimony bonding meeting and everyone just shared testimony and the whole time, I felt myself grow stronger in Spirit and it was amazing. 

Ok, Dutch Testimony.

Ik weet dat deze kerk waar is en dat als wij het evangelie volgen, wij kunnen tot God terugkeren. Ik weet dat Joseph Smith is een profeet van God en dat hij het Boek van Mormon is de woord van God. Ik voel de Geest als Ik het Boek van Mormon lezen and als Ik bidt en vrag God over mijn leven en mijn vragen. Ik weet dat wij kunnen antwoord ontvangen door gebet. Ik weet dat wat Ik schriff is de waarheid en dat Ik weet dar voor mijnselve. 

It's hard to write in Dutch so I'll leave it at that ;) 

Ok, to individuals ;)

Mum: Read 2 Nephi 22:2 ;)

Dad: Read your emails in a second ;)

Adriana: it's great that you're going on a Mission, start preparing now ;) Read DC 4 over and over until you understand it better than you understand how to bake ;)

Joana: I really miss your dancing....... don't tell anyone I said that ;)

Hugo, I'm going to send you some Swedish fish, I hope you get addicted ;)

Till next week ;)

Love, Elder Serra

Thank you Sam!! 

Thank you Elder O'loughlin Family!!

At the Devotional??

Elder Serra and Elder Jonhson


Hey Mum!!!!

Ok, to answer your questions:

Elder Johnson is from Salt Lake City and I think that's as much as I should say over the internet.
Dutch is going pretty good. I've started naturally pronouncing English words with a Dutch accent and yesterday me and Elder Johnson taught a 1 hour discussion with an investigator. It's not a real investigator but it was still a great lesson.
The most spiritual experience was this:

So on Thursday last week we had three lessons to teach. The first two went great and those are the ones that get evaluated every week so they can tell us how to improve. We taught two members but they both said we brought the spirit into the lesson and that we taught with good Dutch so we did great on those. Then we both had a great lunch and we thought the day couldn't get better. Then we got into lessons. Brother Klippel is our teacher and mum, he's one of the best people I know, I'll send some pictures next week(promise). Well, anyways, we got in lesson and Brother Klippel is one of the three investigator we deal with. He acts like someone he taught on his mission so the reactions and questions that happen in the lesson are pretty real (plus he's a great actor) so in lesson he talks about the investigator and gets us to think about what this investigator needs and whether we've thought about them like an investigator not a practice. Me and Elder Johnson realized we hadn't and were freaking out. On that day there were 2 other companion-ships that were teaching him. When the first one came out they were in there for 35 minutes and they said it went great. The next one spent 45 minutes in there and said that it went great but that they're Dutch sucked. Me and Elder Johnson decided to take a few minutes and go pray for some guidance in the lesson. I don't think I've said that many prayers that were as sincere as that one was. And so we got in there. I don't really know how but I started speaking and bearing testimony and every time I handed it off to Elder Johnson he wouldn't know what to say because the Spirit wouldn't let him, physically, and it would make me speak again and I started crying and I made the investigator tear up and I don't really remember a lot of what I said but when we finished and walked out, Brother Klippel broke character and got us back in and said "Well Done, he's got it, he knows how important this is for him and how much you love him" I've never been guided by the Spirit much but that was the first time that I was really an instrument in the Lord's Hands!!! It was the best feeling I had in the MTC.

Anyways, other things that happened, I'm addicted to a sweet from America called Swedish Fish! 
I saw an Elder Holland talk about Opening My Mouth and it really made me think about how much I was willing to open my mouth and speak to strangers but I am now!  Yeah, I'm really happy at the MTC and I can't wait to get out there. I'm also getting sorta fat but not really (yeah, I've gained weight) but it's okay because I'll be cycling for 2 years ;) Also, I'm like amazing at football around here but they wreck me at basketball every time! Oh right, I forgot last week to tell you, here at the MTC there is an Elder Mitchell who's from the Norwich Stake. I know him but you don't, ask Adriana or Christie, They'll know who I'm talking about. He's great and it's good to see people around. I'm going to the temple today as I have done the last 3 weeks and it's great there. I'll show you pictures of every one there ;) Last thing, if you do end up finding Elder Johnson's Mum send her this from me:

"Hey Elder Johnson's Mum!
I just want you know you raised the best son ever (exept for my mum but you know)! But seriously, he's like my rock here in the MTC and I really couldn't ask for a better companion. Sometimes we see other companion-ships arguing over trivial things and we say we're glad to have each other but I want you know (I can't let him know because I'm a man you know ;)) that he's the most amazing person I know, his faith is sooo strong it blows me away when he bears testimony in lessons. thanks for whatever you did with him :)
From Elder Serra"

Ok that's it for this week, I'll see you next week. love you all!

Elder Serra


Dear all,

Okay, Sorry I didn't really put much information on what's happened over here but I honestly don't have a lot of time but I'll try harder ;)

Well, this week has been so eventful that I barely know where to start!! Okay, well, on Thursday me and my companion where about to commit our 'investigator' to baptism when we found out our time with her was over. Oh well, we learned a lot though!! We then however got 2 new investigator that we're supposed to teach at the same time. They're Sam and Michael and we have to do it all in Dutch. On the day we got them we decided to go into the lessons with a script, just with a lesson plan and see how much Dutch we knew and so we spent all day Thursday planning for those lessons!! that was probably the hardest but most rewarding day we had here at the MTC. And the Most important thing to me specifically happened. It was the biggest testimony builder that I ever had. Read 1 John 4:7-21 some time...... It is now my favorite scripture. Later on Friday we decided to have a District Devotional and it was so spiritual it killed. Elder Ord shared a scripture and we all talked about our favorite scriptures and it was amazing!!! Right, My District!!! There's eleven of Us:

Elder Johnson (My companion/best guy I know)
Elder Ord (The funny one)
Elder Stanworth (the Muscle)
Elder O'loughlin, Elder Torrie and Elder Mostaler (The Brains)
Elder Meister (The District Leader)
Elder Needham and Elder Brunner( the Blond Pretty Boys)

Honestly mum, I couldn't have asked for a better district, these guys are amazing they're all from America except Elder Meister who's from Canada!!! I'll say more about them next week!! 

So on Sunday we got to go on a Sunday walk and I took way to many pictures just for you ;) it's beautiful and there's SOOOOOOOO many missionaries around the Place. Then we had a devotional with a Seventy, like we do every Sunday, and it was pretty GREAT!!! Then on Monday we taught our lesson and used that John scripture and it killed, it was amazing., or at least amazing for an unscripted broken Dutch lesson. Then we had a teacher teach us how to role play and we had such a good role play with another companion ship so me and Elder Johnson are having the best time teaching. Then yesterday we had Elder Oaks of the 12 speaking... HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!!!!!!!!! it was amazing. Also yesterday morning I had to give Elder Johnson a blessing cos he wasn't feeling too well but he's fine now ;) Ok, Last thing.... This morning there was a fire in our building!!!!! it's all fine but someone left and bagel in the microwave and went to the toilet but it's all good now!!!!

Love you a lot and I promise I'll get better at replying!!!! Love you!!!!!!
Elder Serra


Dear all, 

It is so busy in here and the schedule is soooooo tight but I'm loving it. I love that Hugo is missing me (as well he should) and tell him I love him. Ok, Because I have not time right now, I'll just tell you what the MTC is like.

There's sooooo many people here it's crazy. Everyone is always studying a language or teaching investigators or bearing their testimony to other missionaries in their Mission Language so it's really fun. I don't have time to put pictures up or to even look at the ones you've put up. I love my District here, they're all amazing. Elder Johnson, my companion is amazing, he makes me work really hard. The cafeteria serves some good food but yesterday we found a different cafeteria stand with AMAZING FOOD!!!! so I'm all good there. Right, teaching! So on our second day in we began to teach our investigator Henrike who  is a native Dutch Speaker and so our lessons are all in Dutch. On our first lesson we were too stunned at the fact that we gave a lesson to realize it but we didn't really start teaching him the right thing. The Spirit didn't want us to teach about the Plan of Salvation but we only really found that out when we decided on Monday to teach about the Restoration. Mother, the Spirit was soooo strong it was ridiculous!!!!!!!! and so yeah, that brings us up to today. Next week I'll go through everything that happens but today we lost some of our email time because we had to meet one of the District Presidents (nothing bad, don't worry ;)) ok well, love you all lotssssssssss

See you next week!
Elder Serra

So, on 21/08/2015 Elder Serra wrote his first email after arriving at the Provo MTC:

Yeah, sorry I haven't been able to reply until now since we're not allowed to reply until we've met with out branch president! I'm doing great! That's great that Hugo's finally lost another tooth, pay him well for that. My companion is called Elder Johnson and he's great, he's like proper blonde! We've been in classes like non-stop since I got here and I've learnt sooooo much, the Spirit is so strong in the place, it's ridiculous. Tomorrow I'm teaching my first investigator in Dutch with Elder Johnson (and yes, I know enough Dutch for that, how crazy) I'll tell you how it goes next week. Yeah, I have 10 other elders in my district and they're great. One of them is called Elder Ord and his birthday is next week (he turns 19) and I was wondering if you could make him a small cake with his name and the number 19 on it and then overnight it to me so we can make his birthday special that'd be great. Right, I've taken a few pictures but I don't have time right now, my P-day is on Wednesday so I'll do it then. Right, message you next week.
Elder Serra

Elder Serra with Elder Johnson

 The Netherlands!

His District

On the 19th he arrived at the SLC airport and some friends were very kind to pick him up and take care of him until he entered the Provo MTC (Thank you so much! Again... again... and again...):

Special friends that went to pick him up at the airport

On the 18th of August, Elder left his family and friends in England to go to the Provo MTC:

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