There are several things in the life of a missionary that can distort the idea of time, such as no weekends, switched pdays, conferences, etc. For me right now I am getting blasted over the head with reality checks and time warps. Being in Antwerpen again makes me feel like a greenie again, I sometimes get treated like a greenie still, but the past 2 days different people have told me that I sound like a real Dutchman. Nice. And I saw tons of pictures of Elder Conatti and his homecoming (so great, sooo cool) and also emailed my sisters who are back home now. And friends are getting home in the coming weeks, getting ready for school and seeing their families again. And I'm still in Antwerpen haha. It's like beginning meets the end, east coast meets west coast, alpha and omega yaddah.
I will start with a Maria story. Yeah, you thought those were gone since I left Apeldoorn. False. Maria is still here. We went to MLC this week and Hosea gave me a bag of things I forgot with a big wrapped up box and a letter taped to the top. What. I opened it up and read the sweetest, funniest, most classic letter from Maria about how she is doing, and why she wanted to give me this gift. I opened it up in the car and it was a modern-day translation of the Bible with a white cover around it! Hahaha soooo sweet of her! It made my week! I need a Dutch Bible again anyway haha not exactly the missionary translation.... but I am so happy with it hahah it’s so funny and so classic. We are also keeping in contact with each other through email so I can help her out with anything she has questions about while I am in Antwerpen. Apparently she told Hosea and Parr in Apeldoorn that she needed a rest from investigating, called off the appointment, but then called at the time of the appointment saying she still wanted them to come over to stay friends’ hahaha such a gem. So the Maria stories continue! Which is good, because last week I said something about the former lady I taught here in Antwerpen... yeah we showed up on exchanges with a joint teach and she handed us the Book of Mormon back on the door and said no.... Just another everyday missionary heartbreak.
In other news, we have made contact with Gerald and Eric!!!! The other elders work with them on their records, but of course I want to be there with them since they were baptized here a little over a year ago. They both fell through the cracks in the ward a bit...(happens too much here) so I am on Mission: Rescue. It's is amazing because I have prayed for them so much in Delft and Apeldoorn and Vlissingen. And my prayers have been answered after one year and I get to personally rescue them.
We taught another former this last week, Fredrick, and ended up resetting a baptismal date with him for May. So cool. I really believe I am here again to research and recall the city that stole my heart and rescue all those I can find again.
Also, the sisters work with a less active family, Dirk and Christel, and Christel LOVES me because I would always tease her back and take her stabs as a good sport haha. So the sisters were in an appt with them and told them they had a surprise coming. We knocked on the door, the sisters took us to the living room where Christel was and she jumped up, starting laughing and yelling then basically ate me alive in a massive hug. It was so great to see her reaction haha I really should have recorded it... that’s the only regret. She was so excited and couldn't stop hugging me for the next 15 minutes. So awesome. Those experiences make your mission gold.
|Ivan and I|
Quick story: this week we were in an area where we worked with a less active over a year ago, so I called him and asked if we could visit, but turns out he moved to Turnhout! But he said he really wanted to see me and would come all the way to Antwerpen the next day to buy us lunch. Sooo Wednesday we met up with him, had such a great time and laughed so hard AND HE IS COMPLETELY ACTIVE IN TURNHOUT. HE HAS A CALLING AND IS WORKING ON A TEMPLE RECOMMEND. AND I DIDN'T KNOW! It was some of the best news I have heard in a loooooong time! He ended up telling me how I was one of the first missionaries that put him back on the path to church and I wanted to cry for joy all over my fried Turkish lunch.
We have a good amount of work coming which is nice. Our most solid investigator Anita is on baptismal date for the end of February and is doing so solid. She is a self-referral from the website and has a sister that’s a member in France.
This week has made me think a lot about home and school stuff since Morrell Parr Cook and I are trying to get stuff set up. And everyone is home or going home right now haha. People keep asking if I will die here in Antwerpen. That would be insane. 7 transfers here haha I don’t think it will happen but I tend to stay in cities for forever. Heavenly Father still knows I don't like change haha.
Groetekes uit Vlaanderen!
Elder Trevan Scott Reese
"You don't inspire others with your perfection. You inspire others with how you handle your imperfections" - quote I found on an Apeldoorn member's wall