This blog is for family and friends who wish to following Trevan as he sacrifices his time and talents to go forth and teach the Gospel in the Belgium/Netherlands Mission for the next two years. Follow him as he grows through experience, challenges and triumphs throughout his mission. May our prayers provide him comfort and protection as he serves the people in his mission and may we all be inspired to be missionaries in our own lives.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Muricles - The Sun Heaven - October 27

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014


MTC Buddies
I told you last week that we had huge travel plans this week and they didnt disappoint. But before that we had exchanges on Tuesday and I was with Elder Bourne in our part of Antwerpen so it was really my chance to make our companionship shine. I've been here for a month but I have always been blessed with a good sense of direction so we got all around Antwerpen with my navigation ok. And that day we ended up contacting a referral, teaching 3 lessons and seeing a less active! 2 more lessons and that would have been the mission average for one week all into one day! We taught I guy named Marcel on his doorstep and he speaks hard core Vlaams but he is Belgian and is like 70 something years old. We taught him about faith and prayer because he said that ws hard for him having seen the vietnam war and having served in it. we were able to talk with him really well and he got it, saying he had been reading in the Book of Mormon even though it was hard. The promised to pray with faith that we taught about and he said he will use it too with learning French. He is over 70 and is learning French. haha love it. im able to relate with him with me learning Nederlands and although he speaks english he speaks vlaams with us so i can learn. i love him. he even remembered i lived in idaho. so sick. We taught the piano collector guy again which always takes forever because he loves to speak about his wife in india and selling pianos to get money to fly there. i have been piano for 14 years and eve i cant handle it. too much. hahah but then we taught another investigator who is from italy and is in a wheelchair with a physical disability. we taught about prayer and faith again because he was having a hard time with it being personal and not recited like the catholics believe. we taught well and i bore testimony strongly about how prayer is a connection with God and how I can have conversations with him and be lead by the Head of all life. He told me he loved all of it and he felt my kracht or strength behind it all and i had no idea what i was really saying in dutch. it was way cool though and we were able to identify that as the Spirit for him. and the pit bull didnt kill us that time either which was convenient. 
Belgian Fries
We are planning on meeting with them this week and teaching about the plan of salvation with emphasis on different things. I think Elder Bourne had a good day too with us being able to get so much done with me as only a greenie. 

Belgian Waffles, OH YUM!
Wednesday we trekked up to the temple and did our session in Dutch. There is another new movie! crazy because now i have seen the two newest ones and none of the others. it was obviously all in dutch, everything, but i understood around 60% which i LOVED. such a gorgeous temple even though it is tiny. we had temple conference afterward in Zoetermeer and its the most gorgeous city ever. that day it was so nice outside and we were in the chapel learning and meeting with missionaries from all over the mission. so gorgeous it was one of those times where a picture would have ruined it. so i just enjoyed it. i love nederland its so much cleaner that belgium. but belgium is so solid and old. good contrast haha

We went to Brussel on Thursday! such a neat place it was gorgeous too. we had real life Belgian waffles and they were straight from the celestial kingdom. oh boy never had anything so good. and we had belgian fries which is where french fries actually began! soooo good. I was with all of the missionaries from the MTC which was so cool because i have missed them all and they are all doing SOOO good in their areas. I was companions with Elder Morrell too which was SWEET because we are best friends and im convincing him not to walk on for football at the U and come to the Y. its an obvious choice right? so pretty thats what the pictures are

Waffles from the celestial kingdom
We also had a miracle Saturday. we taught those two girls 3 weeks ago where Elder Peterson said it was the best lesson of his mission but we lost contact. we thought they may have run into anti material because they like to look things up. but SATURDAY we were in the centrum on the nicest day ever so basically it was like Vegas strip packed everywhere, about to head down to the tram and i told elder peterson to wait. i saw a girl that looked like marinata, one of the girls, so we went over to talk to her. we yelled marinata across the centrum and she turned and IT WAS HER! such a miracle we have been praying to find them for weeks. she came over to us and was so happy to see us saying her phone had broke and she lost our number. we had no address so we switched numbers again and she was so happy saying her other friend Gifty asked just the day before when they could meet with us again! AHHH soo cool! so we will meet with them this week too! things are turning around!

Elder Morrell and I in the Brussel centrum
We had stake conference these last two days so we went to Brussel AGAIN haha but Elder Morrell got to sleep over with us that night which was a party. He lives in Tilburg which is in Nederland so it was easier with travel time to stay over. There is no air conditioning here so the stake center was baking hot haha and the stake here is the Antwerpen stake and its actually real big. its neat to see how many diligent members really live here.

We have been everywhere this week haha trains are our lifeblood and they are so neat to ride. we fly through belgium and holland on trains passing by castles and tulip fields constantly. really neat. and the food is pretty good too haha

only a week til transfers which is nuts but it should be a good one! investigators are coming back to life. which is also helpful haha baptisms for the living, not the dead. ok im done now.

Have a great week! Thanks for all your love and support!

Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Monday, October 13, 2014

This has been a week for the books

It's been quite a slow week but this next week will be just the opposite because we have to travel all over. Tomorrow and Thursday we have planned exchanges here in Antwerpen and again in Sint-Niklaas,Wednesday we go up to Nederland and Leiden for the Temple, Conference and then Friday we go to Brussels for legality purposes and again Brussels on Sunday for stake conference. We won't even be in Antwerpen very much but we get to see other missionaries which I am real excited for.

 we got soaked here haha dripping wet
This week Elder Peterson and I have been real sick with colds and I had a nasty head cold for a day. It was nice though because it only lasted for one day and then lately it has just been lingering. Not super fun though. It has also been raining like crazy here the last 3 or 4 days and so its like a flood everywhere and you don't dry off because it is so humid. 

We had several lessons for this last week planned but unfortunately most of them fell through. Belgium is really strange because no one is ever home. Ever. Even when it is pouring rain and inside is the only place you want to be, no one is home. So we have had a real hard time with that, especially with bringing members along for lessons and then the investigator doesn't show up after we have confirmed. Kind of frustrating. We are still seeing great success though and have had a lot of Facebook referrals and talk about family history to people. 

My Dutch is getting better and we had the chance to meet again with President and Zuster Robinson this last Tuesday. Zuster Robinson helped me a lot with advice over the language and keeping faith high. In each lesson there are truths and restored truths and as long as understand those and teach those in Dutch well, people will feel the Spirit. So that has helped this last week. 

Conference was still really good and last night we watched the Sunday Afternoon session since it was already midnight here when it was live. Elder Bednars talk was my favorite. it was funny but one of those talks that drills you hard. 

The food is still good here and i haven't eaten anything i haven't liked yet!

Sorry this week has been so boring. It's just become routine now but its still really great.

Next week will be much more interesting.

we got to watch the National Belgian Futsal Team play

Dad that's cool you got to meet with the governor. and go to Utah. i miss those family reunions and wish i could be there. i get more homesick over things like that than anything else. 

I'm not gonna lie Saturday was the worst. 

that was the day it rained for 4 hours and it was cold and we had to look up a lot of people so we were dripping wet. you don't dry off either so we stayed wet all day. i would hope it would be like 5 but my watch would say 2:30. it was the worst. and we had no lessons that day so we knocked doors and contacted but you cant hear what people are saying because people driving down the cobblestone streets are really loud. honestly every person i saw on the street i hoped would just shoot me dead haha it was brutal. I'm actually making it sound a lot worse than it really was but i need to write it out so i can vent it haha i was frustrated with everything and elder peterson was happy Saturday so that frustrated me even more haha not good... but i got over it, yesterday was good and I'm learning more in church and it is sunny today.

i really have nothing cool to say haha its been quite a lame week

Elder Reese
it was pretty this day after the rain storm.

also european streets signs are funny because they don't tell you where you are going but they tell you where you are NOT going haha

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In a land where chocolate chips are lindor truffles - October 6, 2014

I have realized ive said quite a lot about life here without even mentioning the food. along with all the typical sterotypes of belgian food, indeed, it is divine. in fact, chocolate is the national food. Belgium does right. Belgian chocolate is sooooo good i dont know if i can ever go back to that hersheys stuff. its almost customary here to have a dessert with every meal, so thats neat. and almost all the time it is chocolate or cake with chocolate or cookies with huge lindor chocolate chips or ice cream with chocolate chunks. its pretty sweet.

 Universiteit Antwerpen
Things are starting to get much more routine finally and so i have been able to settle down a bit more. The language is still killer but its because it is Vlaams and not Dutch. Quite a few times i have been able to get what i want to say across in the right way but im still really slow so by the time i have something to say the conversation is on a new subject. it makes contacting not so fun sometimes but occasionally we get people who are patient and loving and respectful that we are trying to learn their language.

The people here surprise me all the time. They can usually tell we are foreign by our accent and they love it when we say we are Americans. They respect our effort to learn Vlaams/Nederlands and so thats a good conversation starter. Then they always go on to say "why would you want to be here if you could be in America?" they are head over heels for the states here. my kind of people haha but really it has made me appreciate so much more what it means to be an American. I took way to much for granted in the states.

Also what i love about everyone here is that no matter who you talk to, everyone here knows where Idaho is! hahah seriously people in our own country dont even know how to locate it on a map or have heard of it and people here know all about it. I have had comments about the funny electoral debates last year and when I say from Idaho they always ask "oh yeah, Boise?'' hahaha YES BOISE. They know about Mormons too. Usually we get: from salt lake city, many wives, and the presidential candidate mitt romney. they know so much about american politics here its scary. but they obviously dont know much about polygamy haha so we have to correct those false things a lot. 

Conference was awesome yesterday and we actually can see 2 sessions live! The Saturday and Sunday sessions being here are 6pm so we can see those at the church live which is cool. it was cool to think that when it was live that everyone else i know back home is watching the exact same thing. especially my family. we have seen all but last nights session with bednar scott and ballard. so we will do that this week. it made for a great birthday yesterday because we watched 3 sessions of conference, ate belgian chocolate, and talked with members. 

Antwerpen Centraal Station
Investigators are still doing well and Eric is our first baptism on the 19th! his mom just got back from Ghana so she can be there and hopefully we can begin teaching her as well! we are planning everything for that this week. Waldini has had something come up with his moms health in Brazil so he is headed that direction but he is always positive when we talk so hopefully things go well and he can return or we can refer him to the Brazilian missionaries. We check in with Daniel tonight to see how that is going and we had a nonmember family member to one of the families here ask us yesterday when she could be baptized. so that is coming up as well. antwerpen is on fire. im not gonna lie its kind of a trashy city but that makes it ghetto and fun. There heavy religions here are catholicism muslim and jew so we see a lot of each everywhere we go but really everyone is so tolerant and nice here. 

I was able to visit Sint-Niklaas this last week on exchanges and that was super neat. its a smaller suburb with its own ward so it was neat to see a new perspective and hear hard core country vlaams. i was with elder blackhurst and this week i will be with elder van de merwe there again.

Alles goed heir! Heeft een goede week!
Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Roller Coaster - September 29, 2014

Hoodlum status in Gent among an old castle wearing stellar foot coverings
A mission is a roller coaster of emotions, energy, time, and all public transportation. No joke. the trams we take everyday bring me back to the Indiana jones ride at Disneyland everytime. definitely a good time. until you are carrying groceries, standing room only, and trying to talk dutch on the phone. HAHA let that be a mental picture for you. its dark too. underground. #Belgiumsketchy and don't even get me started on the elevators. they are called lifts and they have no door.


Week 1 CHECK. What a miraculous week. I kid you not it was so hard and I wanted to throw in the towel so many times. but as sister robinson told us on day one, if you don't feel that, youre not a missionary. so essentially all is normal and all is well. its been beautiful. the weather is party cloudy around 65 degrees everyday with light rain sometimes.

Last Tuesday we had zone training which was really awesome and I got to meet everyone in the zone for the first time. and let me say everyone here is just like me. except elder Peterson haha. im learning the dutch really well with everyone around me speaking it, and in role plays they tell me I have amazing dutch for a greenie so that made me feel a lot better.

Wednesday we went shopping because we didn't have time on Monday and the only money we had was mine because elder Peterson had used his for travel to pick me up. and they don't do grocery bags here so we had to buy garbage bags and take everything home that way hahahah and they ripped open at the tram stop and things went everywhere. #thoseamericans hahah and we had to go so far to our apartment it was mortifying. Ever need tips on how to efficiently grocery shop? ask the missionaries, they can help you....

Thursday we taught a lesson to a woman who spoke a) Spanish and b) Dutch and I speak c) none of the above haha we had a member with us that served in Uruguay so him and elder Peterson took the reigns for over an hour and I was a pretty paperweight on the couch. she had strange questions too about tithing and things so I was not even there haha. We had another somewhat bible bash lesson that evening with our baptismal candidate's brother... about faith haha seriously faith is something basically everyone has in something. yeah it was fun but we didn't bash really just argued and won #swag

Belgium Sunset
Friday. Punchline. Hookline and sinker. Friday we visited a less active member named Wouter who lives in a super hot place but is really patient with me and my dutch. I gave a spiritual thought from 3 Nephi 11 and prayed afterwards and he told me as we left that that whole time I had spoken perfect Nederlands. WHAT. holy smokes I was so happy for the rest of the day. the gift of tongues is REAL. anyway then we had the opportunity to look up facebook campaign referrals which people can order a family history page and we follow up with them on. So we went to a referral and he was an 18 year old kid named Daniel who ordered it to learn more about God and Jesus Christ. umm ok family history is awesome but we said that the book he was looking for was right here as we thrust a book of Mormon onto his chest. We then taught him the whole first lesson. He said he prays every morning and every night, wanting to know what is right and which church to go to on sunday because there are so many. uhhhhhh come with us perhaps? YES so he told us that the entire first lesson made so much sense and that Joseph Smith had the same thoughts he did and we committed him to baptism on Oct. 26. and he said absolutely no problem teach me. Bros, kids, Belgium is on fire. THEN we taught 2 girls from Nederland and Belgium and the same process happened. We taught very well that time in particular and everything clicked for them. We committed them to be baptized when they came to know it was true and they we so touched. they told us it wasn't even what we said but the light in our eyes and the feelings they had as we taught and committed 2 years of our lives to this teaching. is that not perfect? they felt the Spirit and recognized it over what we said. Ladies and gentlemen, everyday miracles.

Later we helped Wouter move on Saturday and the man is crazy. I kid you not he collects pianos. PIANOS. like Belgium is a small enough country as it is and he collects PIANOS. we had to move them all from one storage shed in Aartselaar all the way into the Antwerpen centrum on wooden sticks to roll it across tram lines and sidewalks. absolutely nuts. here we are moving pianos across Belgium into these sheds and attics. you think sheds and attics are bad in America? dude this place is like Jurassic period old and spiders and mice EVERYWHERE. so that was neat. and we lived through it which was also a plus.

I can understand so much more at church and our correlation meeting. the members here are so strong it is amazing. I wish I could have done more in my ward at home. they love everyone and face temptations and hardship at every turn yet remain faithful. I admire it so much.our ward mission leader is Broeder Nyans and he is a dinosaur hahaah hardcore Flemish speaking but I actually can understand him. Every sundaynight we eat with Familie Schiltz who are the best of the best. Honestly we are afraid that we will go over to see them one day and they wont be there because they have been translated. Bro Schiltz goes on teaching appointments with us and Sis Schiltz makes me die laughing everyday. She is Irish and speaks great English but she is so sassy. so sassy. hahahaha the sweet innocent sassy with nothing but good intentions which makes it so much better. They are like our parents here and so every sunday night is like family home evening and I love it. we spend it with all the antwerpen missionaries and them. I bet there will be hilarious things to come about the Schiltz.

Gent Belgium
I talked about our other baptismal investigator named Waldini last week and we taught him again last night. we taught the plan of salvation and it said that is the hope he needs. he would tell us "'yeah when I was reading from the book of Mormon on day 3 I felt this and then I felt thins on day 6"' haha he reads everyday! and prays everyday its amazing. he is on track so well and wants to escape his girlfriend who by the ways is a devil is his words and she takes pictures of us and the members car when we teach. he is doing real well so hopefully things continue. he quit drinking on his own and is almost that way with smoking.

Things are pretty Golden here right now. Elder Peterson said that teaching the girls was the best lesson of his mission. and he has been here a year. the antwerpen area was in a real lull last transfer in the mission and now we are sitting close to the top. things have flipped 180 in the last weeks and im so happy I get to contribute.

Hope things continue to go well at home/college/high school! keep me posted I love hearing from you!

Met zo veel liefde van Belgie,
Elder Trevan Scott Reese