I made a grand tour of North Holland this week. Penamn had to go to Brussels for a legal document (I really REALLY wanted to go with and see Belgium for the last time) but I stayed back and had exchanges in Amsterdam, Haarlem, and a bit in Alkmaar. So for the more part of the week, I was outside Den Helder. I thought the zone leader lifestyle was gone, apparently not.
The week was full of merciful blessings in regards to the progression of people we are working with. We have a new investigator named Tsigereda from Ethiopia and also Holland. We taught her the first lesson and we both felt prompted to ask her to kneel and pray with us to know if the Book of Mormon was true. The Spirit was so strong and she asked when we could come back. We stopped by Saturday and the best part is that she came to church yesterday with her 2 kids who loved the primary (they made up 50% of it) along with 4 other investigators of ours!! Getting people to church is so hard on a mission, especially when it´s so taboo in Europe anymore, but we were rich in blessings yesterday.
I was honored to translate Hossein´s talk yesterday about his and Roja´s experience as Christian refugees from Iran to Turkey, Greece, Germany, and eventually Holland. The story of strength and faith they have as they took the sinking boats is unbelievable. Made it hard to translate because it was so incredible to hear.
The Boerlage´s are just as good as ever. The twins passed the sacrament like champs yesterday and we get to see them more often this week because we won´t be out of town so much. It was hard not being here with them and other investigators because on exchanges we knocked doors all day and didn´t get to see them. But at the same time we had 3 gorgeous days in Amsterdam, Haarlam, and Alkmaar. Such beautiful, tulip-filled, history-rich, hartstikke-Dutch places.
Right now we are working on getting investigators that keep solid, regular appointments in the week so we can get more members out to teach with us. The branch here is so great, they have exhausted themselves with the last 6 recent converts last month and seem to still be catching their breath from the growth haha.
It´s incredible that all the negative, unfortunate, unlucky, or sopping wet events that happen during the week flee your mind on Mondays and you always resort back to the blessings and miracles that the Lord blesses you with. Sometimes I feel like I give you a false interpretation of life out here, that it is all fun and cheery and everything runs smoothly. Yeah right. Most of the time you want to die. But luckily you don´t and you get through it some other way. Then either the sun comes out, time goes by fast, a look up ends up being home, or you are simply given strength not to die, and you look forward to the next good thing. And those results come much more abundantly when the work is not an outward expression, but an inward desire. Missionary work is who you are, not what you do.
Make it a mission prep lesson, please. It will save you a lot of time searching for your own soul.
Braden heads out on his mission just a month after I get back, so here´s picture of the original duo, coming to you from the totally buggin´ 90s decade. Those are the family missionaries now.
Beste week uit de Kop van Noord Holland,
Elder Trevan Scott Reese
Few shots from Amsterdam and Station Haarlem aka The Best Two Years set piece