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.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Dutch Christmas - December 21, 2015

I cannot believe that Christmas is on Friday. Every year of my life I've anticipated it for weeks and this year it just sneaks up. Being constantly busy gives you so little time to think of those kinds of things. But I will see some of you on Friday! 

We had a week full of packing, transferring, planning, and teaching. I will begin with the story of stories beginning Tuesday night...

This is Elder Childs' last day as a missionary, and nothing spectacular had happened. UNTIL we get a call from some elders up north who locked themselves out and had no spare keys.... SO being the charming zone leaders we are, reassured them that we would drive 2 hours up to get them in. They decide to lighten the situation by meeting us halfway in Meppel aka middle of nowhere. WE arrive in podunk Meppel and give the key to the two peachy elders. Well turns out it was the old key from when the sisters lived there and locked themselves out with the key broken in the lock, so the lock was replaced and we had no new key.

Chapter 2- They drive down with us and sleep over in Apeldoorn before transfers the next day in Utrecht. We had to get the key from missionaries in Leiden to them through the trains so they could go back and unlock their apartment, get their stuff and turn around to go to Rotterdam. The transition went smooth, but the real catch came when time was running tight and the transferred elder with his travel buddy got separated in Amersfoort. We were on our way back to Apeldoorn already and realized that half of the train went to Rotterdam and half to Den Haag but split halfway with one elder on one side and the other in the other.... So we had a new missionary heading to Den Haag without a phone, alone, and the other to Rotterdam. Long story short, we had zone leaders waiting in Den Haag and Apeldoorn and Rotterdam looking for this new elder lost in South Holland. BUT the Lord loves us and the new missionary was smart enough to get off in Gouda and swap trains to Rotterdam so he arrived safe and sound but it was a crazy few hours..

AS FAR AS REAL WORK GOES, we played piano at a station, sang and handed out Christmas cards which was cool. We went to teach Jose, turned out that her friend was there so we taught him too and invited him to be baptized. Miracle. And while we were sitting in the church planning on Friday the church phone rings and Elder Hosea talks to a lady who called from the church website and wants us to teach her daughter. Woot woot. And the sisters had a member friend show up to the church Friday and have questions about the Book of Mormon. Soooo miracles happen even when you are busy. 

The ward Christmas party was this week and was a blast. The primary are my best friends. I even got handed a freshly tugged tooth yesterday before sacrament meeting which was a bloody mess. Ha-ha

This week will be fun with Christmas for sure. The members are fantastic and the area is beautiful. Christmas in Europe is truly a once in a lifetime experience. And I am so grateful to be able to take part of it :)

Love Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Alles Op Eens - December 14, 2015

This week´s title is influenced by the fact that almost NEVER in the life of a missionary do things come at a steady well-manageable pace. Instead, either nothing is happening making you miserable and desperate, or everything comes at once, making you miserable and desperate. 
So here´s the story.
It´s the most wonderful time of the year. Yeah yeah we all know but what does that mean? In essence, NOBODY wants to risk having a less-than-ordinary Christmas season. Which is good because people tend to put in more effort to be happy, pleasant, and peaceful. For the most part.
Comprised list of things that happened in the past 7 days making a hectic start to the Christmas season: 
- Investigator getting an operation this Friday. No formal appointments for a month. Yay.
- Zone Conference in Rotterdam. 
- Super awesome new investigator drops us. Come back next year. (We are going in January mwhaha)
- Zone Service Project at the Food Bank in Zwolle. People start to see us more than Jehovah´s Witnesses here to dunk the Dutch. #JokesOnThem
- 2 repeat 2 Stake Christmas Concerts Saturday and Sunday evening in Apeldoorn bringing FLEETS of nonmembers to the church including sweet little Maria with both eyes still intact. 
- Transfer calls occurring DURING the last Christmas concert making 9:00 last night a jumble between Maria, nonmember friends, members wanting to know about transfers, missionaries wanting to know about transfers, a broken fax machine in the office making us solely reliant on the computer, and call in reports with a jam packed Apeldoorn church building. Woot.
To say the least, things have been exciting. But really, they have been. It was a great week. Jose is killing it, is becoming more and more independent, should be getting a calling soon. Maria came to the concert, despite the fact that she thought I invited her to a comedian show at the church, and she loved it nonetheless. Hamid has surgery on Friday. Henny dropped us. The December blues are coming around a bit where investigators have little to no time to meet. So we will go find new ones. AKA member referrals from the concert. 
But, the other news I guess, is that I´m staying in Apeldoorn. Thank goodness. I would have been so upset to leave. I could honestly live here the rest of my mission and be completely content. This place is home, these people are family. Give me an immunization shot to transfers please. Elder Hosea is coming here which is Elder Conatti´s greenie and he is a sick kid so I am pumped.
We are getting Skype set up soon. SO CRAZY. I can´t believe it is here again. I feel like I was just in Den Haag. 
Hopefully I can get some pictures of our zone service project soon because I was in charge of it with the members and leaders of the organization and it went great! I wrote an article also for the Zwolle newspaper which is going to be reviewed and published probably.
I will try to get some video or pictures for the Christmas concert too. I was really good. For real. The stake has musical talent here.
Also there were 6 missionaries going home this transfer and 3 of them gave dying testimonies in zone conference who were my companions and I got shout outs haha. I am known in the mission for having a little amount of companions. Mostly because Conatti and I stayed together for so long.
This week is packed with more zone stuff. The sisters that came out with me are going home next transfer which is nuts. TIME FLIES. 
We should have good stories coming up. We plan on seeing Maria twice hahaha so twice the adventure.
Christmas in Europe is truly a blessing. I wouldn´t trade it for anything in the world. 
Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sinter Klaas en Pietjes - December 7, 2015

It´s the most wonderful time of the year. Saturday December 5th the Dutch celebrated Christmas like Americans do with Sint Niklaas (St Nicholas) and Pietjes (elves). So we were with a super great family Saturday night when they open presents and the 2 little kids were soOOO funny. From now until Christmas everyone celebrates the birth of Christ and on Christmas Day everyone eats together as a family and might go to the church for the Christmas service. I like it a lot. The focus on Christ is stronger here during the season, ironically.

Tuesday I worked with Elder Abankie in Apeldoorn on exchanges haha talk about a flashback. We had a great time and saw miracles in getting in contact with people who have been lost for a while. We taught some solid lessons this week to Hamid and Maria, after hearing another one of Maria´s critical life stories, this time about losing her public transportation card. (Every appointment there is something new but we use it to teach her the Gospel every time haha) Hamid is one of the purest guys I know and I love working with him and his family. He really understands the Book of Mormon and learned how to pray so quickly. We taught a lesson on the door also which is always a neat experience, especially when the woman scowls at you thinking you are Jehovah´s witnesses then having her thank you out of her heart when you leave. The power of the Spirit changes hearts.

Jose has been a little sick, which is a bummer but we will meet with her this week and she is still her same happy, bubbly, more confident self. She is a champ.

Hopefully we are able to teach some good first lessons this next week because we have a stack of people to go look up at teach. We are jam-packed with Zone Conference, Zone Service, and 2 Christmas Concerts this week, but they are all great opportunities for missionary work to improve!

Transfers are next week during the Christmas concert so all the missionaries will be freaking out getting phone calls during the most emphatic of Hallelujah choruses heard on this side of the Mississippi.

And by the way, BYU playing Utah in the Vegas Bowl? Are you kidding?! I came on my mission when I did so that I wouldn´t miss any of those matchups. Haha

The funniest thing that happened this week was yesterday when we brought the sacrament to Bro Van Dam in his assisted living center. He was watching billiards (totally boring outside of a mission but as a set apart representative of Christ it is like the Super Bowl) that was being played between British and Chinese fellows. Bro Van Dam was for the British guy and told us how the Chinese guy was one of the ugliest Chinese people he had ever seen. So we were interested to see what he looked like when the camera hit him. After a minute he came up on the screen and looked exactly like every other Chinese man in the world. Of course. Then we look at 87 year old Bro Van Dam and he says See? Ugly eh? Haha we told him they always just look the same and he said Yeah...I know they do. HAHAHA sooo funny. Dutch people.

Hopefully we can get some video of some sort because we are helping the ward with some big deal Christmas concerts this weekend. I almost sang a solo haha yeah not happening.

´´The last thing on your mind is that the day holds something special, something holy, not superficial, so here´s to the Jesus Christ who saved our lives.´´ - Taylor Swift. One of our favorites to party to in the car.

Love Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

So Doop; The Danger of Vacuums - November 23, 2015

MOM NOTE: I accidentally posted the week of the 23rd after I already posted Nov. 30th.  Scroll down to see November 30th post)

This last week has been one for the books and was just as nuts as I said it would be last week. We had our zone training this last Wednesday in Zwolle and it went really well. Our presentations hit home and we had some hilarious role plays ha-ha so now there are a ton of inside jokes with the Apeldoorn zone about 2 polish ladies on the door..... Ha-ha

But the biggest news came on SATURDAY. Because Jose was baptized Saturday night and confirmed just yesterday in church!! We were filling the baptismal font around 5 and as it got to about 6:45 I was really praying and hoping more people would show up for her baptism... She was there with her members friends and a member of the bishopric when we were about to get started. Then I look around the corner and a flood of members came walking in! We had about 30 people here for her baptism and then walks in MARIA. Hahaha I was so happy. Little Maria at 4´8´´ braving the dark and cold to come see a baptism at the church. I love her to pieces and the ward members thought she was the funniest little lady ever. Funny story about her to come...

Jose was confirmed and the baptism was soOOoo good! She and Bro Van Vriesland who baptized her did great and she was so happy! Yesterday is church she was saying how she just felt clean. She is a champ taking notes in church and reading up in the scriptures and hymn book. Yesterday we stopped by and gave her a brand new triple combination and some of those scripture stickers Mom mailed and she was so excited. She loves crafts and can make anyone clothes so the Relief Society is all over her anyway. MIRACLES. 

We saw so many cool things this week. Friday we had no solid plans which is always rough, but on exchanges we were able to apply our zone training and found 10 potential investigators and taught 3 lessons out of nothing specifically planned. The Lord looks out for his disciples. 

Quick miracle: As we were teaching last week and giving Jose the baptismal interview, a man knocked on the window at the van vrieslands and came inside as a friend of Jose´s. He took off his jacket and was wearing a cross on his necklace. I talked to him about it and basically contacted him in their house with 6 people around and we have an appointment for Wednesday at 7 teaching him, Jose, and the van vriesland´s at the van vriesland´s house! I trained on teaching when finding and finding when teaching and this week God came full circle and we saw miracles with both!

The zone has let us know about several miracles they have seen this week applying what we trained on. We told people to quick contacting people to just talk to people. Get to know them. Fall in love with them. Kind of. And THEN relate the Gospel to their needs or wants. Miracles have been pouring in and people are slowing getting a change in opinion about the Mormons and church here in the Netherlands :)

Alright here is the story about Maria: HAHA we went over on Friday to invite her to the baptism and she let us in, we talked to her (calmed her about refugees and terror for about the 8th time now) and were able to read together and teach and all that jazz. Then OUT OF THE BLUE she starts rubbing her eye because something gets in it. She tells us about how it has been in there for days and she can´t get it out. So the day before she had taken the vacuum hose and put it UP TO HER EYE to try and get the ´stukje´ out. She told us how the vacuum got stuck and she started yelling and pulled it off before her eye got yanked out. HAHA this little Indonesian lady living alone is trying to relieve her eye with a vacuum hose and keep her eye from coming out. The way she tells it is soooOOOoo funny but she is so genuine about it it´s hard to laugh ha-ha so she told us she was going to go buy a SMALLER VACCUUM hahahahaha so I interrupted her and told her no, go to the doctor. Hopefully she takes the advice but her reasoning is that the vacuum is cheaper than the doctor. Boy oh boy.

Anyway, it was a great one and we have Turkey Bowl today and a great thanksgiving week planned! Should be a good one! Hopefully the terror threats stay away.....Yeeeeahh ha-ha

Elder Trevan Scott Reese

You Don´t Go Cold Turkey on Thanksgiving in Holland - November 30, 2015

This past week we racked up a total of 4 Thanksgiving dinners across the board of senior couples and President Bunnell. We end up celebrating Thanksgiving more overseas than in the states itself ha-ha. And every time it was sooOOOoo good. I have missed food like that. Something to look forward to back at home someday.

We had our turkey bowl Monday and it was glorious. PERFECT weather with sunshine and about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We put sisters as QB a few times and scored every time (secret weapon) and Apeldoorn ended up beating Groningen soundly. Almost every zone member was there and we had a great time together, pictures to come.

Other than that, Elder Childs and I had just about everything with no proselyting value hit us in the face this week as zone leaders, as far as cleaning the car, MLC, DLC, zone vision cards, sick missionaries, travelling to and fro, choir practice, etc. So we kept busy but on the flipside of the work this week.

However, we had some cool miracles happen. Wednesday we took over an appointment for the sisters and taught a solid Dutch guy a strong first lesson and invited him to be baptized. He understood our message really well and loved the word Restoration. He said something about it ´klopt´ ha-ha or just makes sense. We should see him again next week.

Also, Hamid, a great investigator here with his family from Iran, came to church this week and I developed such a strong love for him. He was so happy to be in church and to participate. He has lived here with his wife and kids for 30 years or so, speaks Dutch and they are all Christian. He is one of those people that lights up your day when you see him because his heart is of pure gold. Just to paint the picture, we knocked his door, he said HEYY GUYS shook our hands and told us to come back on a day that he didn´t have so much cooking to do ha-ha so we did and here he is. 
We had our monthly MLC in Den Haag this week which was sick because I saw Morrell Cook and Parr again. It´s nice to have connections through your best buds in the mission ha-ha. 

We were in Groningen this week and it was POURING rain. Shouldn´t be surprised by that but it was sooooo rainy. So Elder Childs and I decide to cut our shoes some slack and went proselyting in klompen for the rest of the time we had there. You can storm through puddles and your feet will never get wet in those wooden shoes ha-ha people loved to see it too ha-ha American accents in the rain wearing klompen. Classic.

Have a great week this week


Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Transferring, Planning, and the Ripple Effect from Paris - November 16, 2015

Transferring, Planning, and the Ripple Effect from Paris
Today all the flags are half-mast in Holland in tribute to the attacks in Paris that happened on Friday. The news is obviously ballistic over here, but I think it might be even worse in America with the presidency campaigns and debates about World War III. We have been kept up to date about things like that because a suspect was just arrested in Brussels and this last week we opened Brussels in our mission. I can only imagine what is happening in the Paris mission.

Paris is closer to where I am sitting now than Boise is to Salt Lake.

Last year we had the Je Suis Charlie attack in Paris also which sent high alert status into Antwerpen, and I made it through that one ha-ha so hopefully things stay that way. No missionaries have been affected in the Paris mission either. 

We have had a lopsided week this week full of lame things to write about.... We had transfers Wednesday in Utrecht, always making for an adventure since the station is in the middle of its 30 year renovation overhaul. You can never get away from construction, even outside of America and I-15. 

The last few days we have been planning and planning and planning for zone training which this Wednesday is. Elder Childs, Zuster Bush and I have lots to do still but the training should be good. Our time is crunched hard. 

But never forget JOSE. She is still killing it and one of the coolest people I have been able to get to know on my mission. We taught her about President Monson and shared his Dare to Stand Alone talk, and she loved how he can lead us and how he is a person ha-ha. We have gone through the baptismal interview questions preparing her for her interview this week, and she has been writing everything down and studying it to know. Bless her heart. We told her it isn´t a test or anything but she wants to know as much as she can. She has her dress, jumpsuit, program and everything picked out for Saturday :) It will be such a cool service! Makes for a busy week!

Because of that, no much funny business has happened. Lame, I know.

Remember the importance of prayer:

´´Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?´´


Elder Trevan Scott Reese

PS I dropped my camera in the church in Zwolle and the battery fell out so until I get it back I have no new pictures... Classic