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, May 16, 2016

It´s Who You Are, Not What You Do ---- May 16, 2016

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tulpen Koppen - May 9, 2016

Most of the stories were told yesterday during Skype calls, but I thought to send out a short email with the pictures anyway.

It was a hot, humid week. Perfect for the tulips but not missionaries. We stumbled across a local tulip festival last Pday and this last Saturday we went to a member´s tulip farm and plucked the tops of tulips for 3 hours in the sun. It was so much fun but it kills your back and hammys after so long. But check that off the bucket list.

Braden got his mission call this weekend to SAMOA. So far the month we are home together we will probably watch The Best Two Years and The Other Side of Heaven 10 or more times. He´s gonna rock the lava lava.

We are headed to Amsterdam today to shop and see a museum. The train ride is nice too because you ride through fields and fields of tulips and windmills. I´ve learned I take the Dutch culture and landscape too much for granted sometimes.
The pictures are of us on the tulip farm, also a big tulip festival where people make mosiac art piece out of tulips and hang Dutch flags and flowers on everything. Makes it smell nice everywhere.

And also the local tulip garden.

Sorry for the boring email, but Skype drains your energy for talking about your life and memories. 

Elder Reese

Friday, May 6, 2016

May 2, 2016

Just like I anticipated last week, all stereotypes, prejudices, and negative reputations about Den Helder are hereby shattered, crushed, ripped apart, and burned. This place is phenomenal. I feel bad and even guilty having called it an armpit at all, even if it was a joke. It's that great.

Transfer day was gnarly. Late trains made us barely catch all of our luggage inside, mean Dutch conductor tells us that the bike cards we bought are not correct and instead of paying the difference we get kicked off the train (typical), and I was abandoned at the rainy Leiden train station with 3 bags and a bike that I couldn't take all at once, but couldn't in 2 trips because if you leave anything unattended in a train station here you are a terrorist. BUT I finally managed to get to the office and grab Elder Penman, after getting an unexpected encounter from Morrel Cook and Aubrey (tender mercies) then we made our merry way to Den Helder. 

Koningsdag: Amsterdam was a party. Beautiful weather, we have a big, chill district and gave away between 100 and 150 Books of Mormon in all different languages. It was way fun. My camera battery was dead... but I will get pictures from Penman's camera.

In short, Den Helder is full of beach houses, old sea museums, and fields and fields and fields of tulips. It's fantastic. We bike down south to Julianadorp where members live, and it's full of tulip fields. It looks like the pictures you see online where the ground is painted with a brush. It's so neat and smells nice.

In the month of April, there were 6 baptisms here in the branch. So sick. 4 are from a family of 6 where the mom was a member, and 2 are actually refuges from Iran, who are the coolest people ever and were persecuted and had to flee Iran for being Christian. We have been partying with a lot of recent converts and it makes church so fun because the branch links on to anyone that comes so they can grow.

There will be neat stories to come of them. I love them so much. Familie Boerlage has ALix and Wim, the parents, then Martijn, Eric and Julian are twins and Isabella whose nickname is Mouse. Then Hosein and Roja are the married couple from Iran, and they are having a baby in JULY. THE WEEK BEFORE I GO HOME. So I'm pumped.

We have been able to knock a lot and even harvest new investigators, one of which has a faith blog of 45000 followers and loved our appointment and what he learned about the truth from the church. So hopefully those 45000 followers get some true things about us.

Today we are headed to a place called Anna Paulowna, a city just 2 train stops away, for the Bloemenbollen Dagen or the Tulip Bulb Days. So we will see tons of tulips today.

It's a wonderful place here at the Kop van Noord Holland.

I only took videos of the tulips this week, but I will take pictures today. But these are our stomping grounds on the dunes and coastlines here. 

Gestuurde liefde uit de Kop van Noord Holland,
Elder Trevan Scott Reese