|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
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.
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