The title of this week conveyed through a proud moment of mine that occurred this last Tuesday. New missionaries are opening a new city in Lokeren Belgium so we helped furnish and build furniture for the apartment. We travelled with the zone leaders and on the way back i spotted our majestic Star Spangled Banner waving in the Belgian sky. At first I had no hesitation, but one quick double take later I realized the gravity of the situation as that flag flew gallantly outside a Harley-Davidson motor shop. You betcha I pledged allegiance then and there. O say does that Star Spangled Banner even here wave. Highlight of my life.
Transfers are here! Its pretty crazy that its been 6 weeks already but looking back i feel like i was a jet lagged zombie forever ago. Elder Peterson is leaving to Amersvoort up in Nederland so I will be taking over Antwerpen with my new companion Elder Shelton starting Wednesday. I am really pumped to start a new transfer and feel a little more useful and productive.
I would first like to apologize for the blandness of my emails lately. We email in the morning and i can never remember anything that happened during the course of the week. Funny things do happen here but most of the time I am just deadweight with my companion until i learn how to do everything haha.
I did get to go on exchanges with Elder Van de Merwe this week who is our district leader which was a blast. I got to be myself FINALLY and he is the craziest America enthusiast too haha. we both LIVE by country music and the World Cup and Olympics and America. His family is the Van de Merwes we know back home in Boise too. Super cool. We went to appointment to this 19 year old kid named Gerard from Sierra Leone who speaks perfect English and Dutch. We were able to teach him the second lesson of the Plan of Salvation and he is one of my favorites because he will stop you mid sentence and ask his question. so nice so we dont have to guess. He took it all in and kept repeating, "Wow ive never heard of this before but it makes so much sense." We got to the Kingdoms of Glory and that was where he had a hard time. We wanted to know why God would separate us like that if he loved us all so equally. I was able to explain the law of how mercy cannot rob justice and how if it did God would cease to be God. He understood PERFECTLY and the Spirit was so strong. So good. He had been reading in the Book of Mormon but know he was able to feel what we taught him and how hopeful it is to have this plan set before us. Elder Van de Merwe was explaining the Atonement and said something about "Because of Him" and instantly the idea of the video popped into mind. I asked if we could pull it up on his phone so we did and we watched it with the Spirit SO strong. It all clicked for him. He is a 19 year old kid who wants to do good and love God and know he knows where he can go if he does. He kept telling us "How do I get to the Sun Heaven? Everyone should want that." So neat. So right now we are setting him up to go to the Sun Heaven. so cool. He closed with a prayer that he would never forget what we had told him and that he could live so he could return home. Oh boy it was so neat. The power of Christ is real and that video helped him realize that so much. Elder Van de Merwe and I were pumped. Such a fun exchange and he is staying here in our district so i will be with him again.
I ate Nigerian food called FuFu last night haha so weird but it wasnt too bad. its like mashed potatoes in a soup with meat and you eat the whole thing with your hands. How do you eat soup with your hands? i dont know but i pulled it off somehow. And our Ghanian member was very impressed with it being my first time.
Elder Morrell got a crazy transfer call and is coming down to Belgium! Second transfer and he will be in Genk so we will we each other in zone trainings and the turkey bowl. So pumped for that.
We have been able to recover most of our investigators this week so we are on a good track with things now. The Zusters ahd a baptism Sunday and it was so nice and spiritual and i got to play the piano for the intermediate which was cool. Its so neat to see people feel t he Spirit so strong when they perform these ordinances.
In my studies I had been recently studying over justice and mercy which was sooooo perfect because I got to use it all with Gerard. God loves us all so much and wants us to come back to Him. But he is a just and perfect God so we must do things to go back. He gives us commandments to be happy and follow Him so we can return and be worthy to live with Him. Elder Holland's talk over a strict God is so perfect. Too often people are following the doctrine and example of Christ until something gets hard or they dont like it so they jump out and say God is not loving. God is not a comfortable God. We cannot expect a God that pats us on the heads, sits back and watches as we frolick and pick marigolds. Not only does God rock the boat, but he doesnt even row it. Man is creating God in his own image.
I hope this week is fantastic.
Elder Trevan Scott Reese