#1 Coming to you live from the quaint, coastal, isolated, sketchy, resort city of Vlissingen, this is Elder Reese.
Reasons as to why this week was the most lopsided, extreme-ridden, roller-coaster week of my mission:
-Monday and Tuesday in Delft we are SPRINTING between appointments all day so see people and teach them for the last time before I transfer out. Still sore.
-Wednesday, get to the hotel and meet ELDER BRUNEAU my son from none other than FRUITLAND, IDAHO and get pumped about sports and soccer and Idaho and missionary work
|Trading tags and shirts. Last days together|
-Say goodbye to 28 elders headed home including some of my best friends I have met here in Belgium and Holland. Terrible range of emotions.
-Arrive in Vlissingen after barricading the public trains with suitcases and a bike, in the meanwhile teaching a Catholic man and atheist woman who argue on the train whilst we testify of restored truth.
-Nothing is happening in Vlissingen and the former elder went home so we have a dirty apartment and nothing but 7 hours of contacting on schedule
-Take a 6 hour train to Groningen aka cross country trip for the final music performance Saturday night then drive all the way back to Den Haag with the APs and President until 1:30am
-Grab a train Sunday morning to Vlissingen and sprint on the bikes to the church for sacrament meeting at approximately 10:06am wherein the speaker analyses the Old Testament story of Naomi and Ruth in relation to her life and living up to her given name of Naomi Ruth.
So here we stand.
If Elder Bruneau isn't traumatized by now I will begin to start thinking he isn't human. Ha-ha only kidding. But really, as a first week missionary with problems ranging from jetlag to new cuisine, Elder Bruneau is nothing short of a stud with the heart of a champion. Such an amazing guy. And he graduated in May. 2015. I found a grey hair when I heard that. Unbelievable. I am so grateful for his attitude and perseverance through this crazy couple days. He has seen the country now ha-ha and this week we go to Belgium so he is jumping in head first.
|Elder Bruneau and Elder Reese|
We have been able to have a great time together and I love his guts. Half of the time I think he is training me. And his Dutch is phenomenal for a 7 week missionary ha-ha the members love it. It's so fun to be from the same place, have the same work ethic and drive, and love the same things. He is a Nike snob. LOVE IT. We mesh just like a pre-fitted Nike Free Flyknit 4.0. Kid you not, after talking for a while on the train about how we can be diligent since success is promised in the scriptures, our transfer motto is #JustDoIt. Not too shabby, eh?
Yesterday we taught our first lesson together after contacting a man on the street who can only speak broken English, we led us to his home (about a 15 minute walk which was kind of nuts) which is a kind of immigrant facility, we get yelled at from the reception desk and the Dutch officers start interrogating us aka me since neither of the other 2 speak any Dutch but we get the green light after showing ID (Bruneau showed his Idaho driver’s license haha love it) and we went inside to teach him and his Muslim family through his wife who speaks better English and fluent Arabic. They enjoyed the story of the Book of Mormon through the pictures, however, and we are headed over again, through reception and interrogation to drop off an Arabic book for them. Weirdest lesson of my life. Welcome to the field Bruneau, welcome to the field. Ha-ha but really who is genuinely surprised that this kind of thing would happen to me as a begin training a new missionary?
THE MEMBERS HERE. Holy smokes love each and every one to pieces. Den Haag was the biggest unit in the mission and Vlissingen the smallest. 27 members here but most are on vacation right now. And you won't believe it but every evening but one we are given dinner appts. The branch here CHERISHES the Elders. It is so much fun to be with them and work with them. So amazing. Such strength.
|Harbor in Vlissingen|
Right now we have been pleading for guidance and more specifically a member referral to get SOMETHING started here. I made a service calendar for members to sign up on in case they or others need our help in service so we can find people to teach. We were given a referral yesterday too!!! Our prayers were answered and we plan on seeing him soon with the member. We are praying this is what gets the ball rolling here :)
Vlissingen and Middelburg are beautiful places and I can't wait to see the success come from such an area with the members that are here.
Miracles are waiting. I don't know I feel that, but I just do.
Keep it classy.
Elder Trevan Scott Reese
#2 Where do I even start with this week ha-ha?
So crazy. such a flip of events, so much going on and so much to get going on.
Vlissingen has struggled for a while and the fact that the 2 elders that just went home from here left it this way says something about how it needs a revibe.
Monday and Tuesday were great and I got to say goodbye to some beloved people up in Delft and Den Haag. I love that place so much.
Then Wednesday we were in the airport with all the new and dying missionaries. Soooo crazy. I said goodbye to Elder Bosco, Elkins and Claflin which was crazy and I love them all so much. Elder Bruneau is my greenie from FRUITLAND! Super cool. He is a champ too. Ready to work super hard and not afraid to make mistakes which is perfect for a missionary attitude as a greenie. We have a good time together, it is just hard to only contact all day since there have been no progress or much work here at all. I will get it going though. We will see it come.
Even though there is so much riding on my shoulders right now, I don't feel stress. I feel a sort of longing or anticipation like you would at the beginning of a race or at the kickoff of a football game. As if something big and grand is about to happen. It makes me excited, just gotta make sure I take it the right way and don’t fumble.
The closest missionaries to us now are an hour away. Sooo different from delft when we saw others every day and 14 of us were within 15 kilometers. I miss it. I really do.
Our concert in Groningen went great, again, and the people were very very touched. There were accounts of reactivation (!!!) and there were many in attendance. Weird that it is over but now I will just dive in 100% to Vlissingen and our area. The members are gems. So amazing. They have already stolen my heart here.
We are praying hard for referrals and for success. It will come. It is just a matter of what are we supposed to learn in this time that we are stretched so thin.
|Warm Stroopwafels with Elder Bruneau|
The temple looks awesome! Super excited for that when I get home.
By the way, I have known this for quite some time now but keep forgetting to mention it. So don’t kill me. The church has cut off a week of our mission so now we return home around the 13th of July which is exactly a year from right now. Transfers ended up on Christmas Eve or Christmas day and flying missionaries at those times is not ideal, so the MTC and church have shaved a week off of our missions this year. So I have 1 more year until I am back now.
Thank you for the prayers. They are needed and greatly appreciated!!
Love you all so very very much.