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.

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

First and foremost, I would like to encourage all not to go about hurting themselves any longer this fall. Every week I get emails saying `I get another X-ray this week` ´Your mom broke her arm´ or ´Your sister ripped the skin off her fingers´. Your bodies are temples. Take great care.

Also there is a new missionary portal which is just as exciting to a missionary as would an iOS 12 update be to the commoner back home. So that also deserves a shoutout.

Last week I challenged the powers, foreshadowing something ridiculous, which is ironically becoming more classic, of an event that would happen to me, my companion, or those I am around. There was definitely ridiculousness this week. In form of MIRACLES:

I was on exchanges with the Assistants here in Apeldoorn and we had a chalk full day of things to do, one of them teaching our super awesome investigator Jose. Prior to the lesson, Elder Abankie and I had taught about baptism being a gift from God and our experience of receiving the gift at the ages of 8 and 12. We followed up with her this last Wednesday, never really sure what to expect. She tells us, `Yes I pondered quite a bit about it, and I don´t know why exactly, but just got a feeling that I want to do it as soon as possible`.

Drop the mic.

Shut the front door.

Throw the former lesson plan out the window.

WHAT. It was so incredible to feel the Spirit that filled the room as she said that to us, as our joint teaches also picked their jaws up from the floor. We spent the entire lesson testifying of our experience with coming to know the truth and she was so excited, asking her friend Jan right there in the lesson if he would baptize her. We set everything up, got down to planning and she is set for baptism November the 21! She is taking all the lessons like a champ right now and each time her concerns are resolved through Gospel Principles class or scriptures. We are so proud of her and can’t wait to see her continue to grow as we teach her throughout the week.

Also that same morning, I was headed back from Groningen on exchanges and asked a few people on the train what specific Dutch words were in the Book of Mormon. They told me, rather irritated (Dutch people), and moved seats. Then a girl who saw it happen gave me a note that she wrote. In perfect English, she bore her testimony about God and trusting in Him, not in the world. I grabbed a Book of Mormon, wrote my testimony in imperfect Dutch and gave it to her expressing my love for the book and how it has changed my life. We said maybe 10 words to each other, she began reading, and we got off the train. By small and simple things, great things come to pass.

I have got to give a quick shoutout to the members in Apeldoorn who are some of the greatest and are hilarious to be around. We have tried to get another appointment with Oma Peters so that I may send more one liners of wisdom, but each time she has had visitors or has gone to the temple. I have never known such a busy 87 year old woman in my life. #stilltruckin´

We were also in Den Haag (again, it seems like) for Mission Leader Council this week, allowing me to see tons of my favorite people in the mission like Morrell, Cook, Voss, etc. I can’t remember if I shared it, but a talk I read a few weeks ago changed my mission forever in utilizing different things to teach, which may soon become a mission wide training which would be cool I guess.

We have a good week planned, the fall here is gorgeous, and we listen to Christmas music on the daily, life is headed into the best time of the year. I truly love Christmas on a mission. Yes, it is still October. But set your sights far in the future. I´m sure a general authority has quoted something along those lines. So yes, its doctrine.

Enjoy our premature Christmas card below. Holland aka Apeldoorn is priceless at this time of year.

Met allerste liefde van mij ziel,

Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Stand Firm in a World of Change -- October 5, 2015

Every day on a mission you make a plan. Whether it is for the next hour, or the next lesson, or the next day or next week, missionaries are always planning. Your plans take you to your goals and you goals led you to accomplishing our vision. So what happens when your plans take a vicious turn? Where does that lead you to? Well, here is another week of such experiences that were 110% unplanned and 110% worth it.

Tuesday was a gorgeous day and so we took bikes to save kilometers on the car. We mapped out our day to visit a few members to remind them about conference set ups and visit investigators and referrals. Highlight of the day came as we left a members home. I was eating an ice cream bar that the member gave us (along with a bag of groceries that we didn’t even need), trying to talk on the phone to missionaries one area over about a rescheduled appointment in my planner, and also trying to start biking away and merging into the bike traffic when our progressing investigator pops into view so we swerve to go stop her and I can’t stop the bike and almost drop the ice cream and start yelling Flemish impulsory words that don’t even fit the context of the situation and simply confuse all in person and on the other end of the phone. Classy. Not planned. Not safe. Not a problem.

We had transfers Wednesday which by a sheer miracle went smoothly in Utrecht for the most part. We were in the massive, crowded, under construction station all day when we found a public piano. I started playing a song with a beat when another elder took his pen and made a drum beat on top. People were stopping to listen and we starting singing and rapping (only a bit) and gave away a few cards ha-ha. Not planned. Not exactly legal in the station. Not a problem.

Thursday we ended up getting sucked into members’ homes and they enjoy talking about American politics so much.... fantastic. After dodging political questions at every move we ended up leaving with a member referral and a pretty good idea of European social healthcare. Also learned a new Dutch game called sjulen which is basically small scale shuffleboard but of course it is different and 100% Dutch because apparently the Dutch started EVERYTHING. The national pride here is unreal.

Hahaha Friday we planned A LOT for the new zone vision which isn’t fun whatsoever but taught a crazy investigator that let us in a week back and he loved the restoration movie. He wants the longer one to watch now too so looks like we will have movie night this week sometime ha-ha crazy man. That day oma peters in our ward turned 87 and so we visited at night while she had other members over and they told stories about the Indonesian concentration camps and how life was fleeing into Rotterdam which was bombarded at the time of the Second World War. It is SO interesting. So incredible to hear about it all, and oma peters for asks the most abstract and exaggerated questions about the process such as, had it always been that way? ...... Yeah Oma, people just flee Indonesia as a weekly hobby. Hilarious. 

And this weekend, conference topped everything off and is always perfect for what you need to hear. I can’t help but get teared up as I listen to it. I am so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Elder Holland stole my heart again making every missionary in the world 693669x trunky for their mom. I still have to watch the last session since it was so late here.

There is a family here called the Kloosterboers who are an old couple that remind me exactly of Grandma and Grandpa Reese ha-ha so as we go there every week I feel that same love and we laugh about the same things but in a different language and land that I would back in Highland. I love them so much. Bro Kloosterboer has a currency collection and has documents from the 1600s which are SOOO cool. We went through money and orders that have legitimate German Nazi stamps on them when they took over Holland. It is fascinating. 

I hope this week is smooth for everyone, but remember to take the bumps as momentum into the next stretch.

Elder Trevan Scott Reese

OCTOBER 19,2015

Harvesting the Fruits of Apeldoorn

I used to say that there was never a true fall season in Idaho and that summer always seemed to jump straight into winter. Then I came to Europe....

There is NO fall here. It is already freezing cold. We have had to scrape frost off the car and turn on the seat warmers and steering wheel warmers. Life has taken a rough turn. The zusters in Apeldoorn basically slapped us in the face as we complained yesterday and they biked 30 minutes to the church in the cold. (HAHA) But leaves are changing and I have truly been enjoying it because I feel like I am back in Antwerpen again which is enough to turn the worst of days into gold.

I was also opposed to listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Yeah well this week we broke it out and Michael Buble Christmas has been a saving grace the last few days. Listening to it in the car is a brick to the face flashback to Antwerpen and Belgium and goodness and love. It makes me so happy. I faced the fact that if I actually do go back there for Christmas, I would be pretty pumped.

This week we went to the temple!!! The Den Haag temple has got to be one of the most celestial spots on the earth that I have ever walked. It was a great day with a bunch of the missionaries that I love. More and more people are going home which is really hard to have to cope with sometimes, but I´m just glad my pals and I head home at the same time.

MIRACLES THIS WEEK: Friday I was in Groningen on exchanges and we were knocking a street that felt like a marathon, and we came across Beatrice. As we defined our purpose on the door, she told us she had a Pearl of Great Price in her house.  (.......) Like, of all books of scripture to hold in your home, you have the Pearl of Great Price. Alright. We built off of it, she let us inside and fell in love with the fact that we were volunteers and shared the truth with people. She explained to us how she believes in Christ but that she has never felt farther away from God than now. She prays every night for an answer and had prayed about the Book of Mormon before (her aunt and uncle were members) but she never got an answer. I testified of my personal answer through patience and enduring and she understood well. Then I felt the prompting to punch her in the face. So I did. Hahaha figuratively. I ask her, in one of the boldest moments of my mission, if she thinks God could give such a tangible answer as 2 American young guys, sitting on her couch teaching her the truth in her mother tongue. She looked at me and laughed a little before saying that she would be afraid of that. It hit her that we were representatives of Christ and her countenance changed as she realized WE were her answer. That is my FAVORITE part of being a missionary. Telling people straight up those coincidences do not exist with us. 

ALSO, last night we had an appointment fall through at 7:30, which is terrible here because it is dark at 6 and those late hours with nothing to do is super awkward for missionary work. But we decided to look up a soft potential, who actually let us in (interrupting the rugby world cup, aka sacrifice) to teach him and his wife. We taught one of the BEST first lessons of my mission, and what made it the best was that we taught THEM, not the lesson. My testimony was again confirmed of the power behind Preach my Gospel. Neither was religious at all but as we explained how we joined the church, the gift of truth we had been given, and how they could also receive it, they took it like champs. The man, Ferry, told us how the truth would come in such a way, in person and through personal experience, and how he had never really thought to ask God, not is neighbor. And the best part was that he basically invited himself to baptism! ha-ha he asked what our goal was and when we explained how it was to receive that gift we talked about, baptism, he said, Ok and where would that happen? Could we do that here in Apeldoorn? HAHA YES. YES YOU CAN. Incredible. He is excited to read and wanted to keep in contact with us through the phone, email, every source possible. One of the coolest, unified, personal, spiritual, celestial lessons I have ever taught. All in the last moments of Sunday night. Glorious.

This week I have been working to distinguish between the warnings/cautions of the Holy Ghost and simply self-doubt. Seeing so many miracles and incredible blessings, I have been able to better recognize the constraining power of the Holy Ghost, so now I need to get better at understanding the warnings of what NOT to say or do in giving people salvation. Much easier said than done. But what an incredible gift from God to have. 

Funny stories: the fact that I am still alive. Period. No, let’s see. Last week we found some random kids playing soccer outside while knocking doors so we took a break and played along. This is a reference to the picture from last week. It was quite an effort, but we fell short 2-1. The up-and-comings are quite something for the Nederland Oranje.

Have a fantastic week. You bet your bottom dollar something incredibly ridiculous and absurd will happen to me this week. After all, that is a mission isn´t it?

Love Elder Reese

September 28, 2015

Don’t have much time this week so I will just share the highlights.

Wednesday we had zone training which is our 4 hour training session for President Bunnell and the zone and it was fantastic. Elder Abankie and Zuster Manning had killer presentations and mine went well too. It was a lot of fun and we all learned quite a bit.

Thursday, cool miracle, we met with a single mother member originally from the Middle East with her daughter and sister, who is not a member. We ate together and had family home evening in which Neda, the mother, expressed to us her sickness right now with depression and everything she has going on right now because child services is trying to take away her 9 year old daughter Victoria. We were able to give all three of them blessings because the daughter and sister had a few health and stress problems as well. It was amazing to see the Spirit work in each of them, showing their faith in the Priesthood, even for Neda´s sister Nasmi who isn´t a member. She wasn´t open to take a Book of Mormon or learn much more because she has done it before and said it wasn´t for her. At least not yet.

Saturday we got a surprise trip to the temple! President told Elder Abankie that he should go 3 times before going home where there isn´t a temple so we went! Soooo nice to receive that Spirit and guidance for missionary work after having 6 months without it. 

We had a rap in our zone training Wednesday and while we practiced a member came in and heard me playing a random made up beat and asked me to play it in sacrament meeting Sunday. I told him it wasn’t a song and he said o ok it doesn’t matter. 

I thought they would forget. Yeah they didn’t. So yesterday in church I had a musical number with no number and just improvised come thou fount to random chords? Pulled it of somehow and everyone loved it haha

Transfers are Wednesday and abankie is staying! Super crazy because this is his 5th transfer here so 7.5 months in Apeldoorn. We didn’t expect it. Morrell went to be a zone leader in Rotterdam which I know he will love. 

That’s about it in short

Here is our classic on our way to the temple selfie