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