To be honest, I don't know how to put this week into an email. SO much happened and most of it as miracles from on high. But I'll start off with the transfer calls. Got them Saturday night, we are both staying in Den Helder. Ok check, now to the real work.
I am convinced that Den Helder is the smallest city in the mission. Delft was pretty small and quaint, but Den Helder is tiny. YET, I am sitting in the middle of the largest teaching pool I've had in Holland. You better believe it. Each week we've been able to tally a few new investigators that are promising. Members are coming out to help us teach and even do service for them. In turn, the investigators feel more of a desire to come to church and be a part of the branch community. Just yesterday we had members setting themselves up as joint teaches for lessons with them behind our backs haha the Lord is blessing this area with prepared people for us to find.
Many great things happened, such as a foothill bike ride lesson with an excommunicated member and recent convert at the same time, learning Farsi with Hossein and Roja while eating Iranian food, painting Tsigereda's house with Elder Jansen and 2 crazy kiddos who don't understand the concept of wet paint, and doorstep teaching in what is known as the ghettos of Den Helder. *side note, ghettos here are legitimately ghetto. The normal lower to middle class neighborhoods here would be considered ghettos and unsafe areas in America. It's THAT ghetto.
But I won't go into much details with those stories here because we had one amazing miracle that trumps them all. Early on in the week we had tried calling an investigator that referred herself through Facebook and lives about an hour away by bus. She had been so positive after our first lesson a month ago, but got sick and had cancelled our 2 follow up appointments. We couldn't get a hold of her through text or calling, so we set aside special time Friday morning to trek on out there, eat lunch on the bus, and work in that small village. We showed up around 11 and she opened the door with a huge smile and commanded that we go inside. Her neighbor was there and was also very happy to see us (rarity that that happened) since she had known the elders in Arnhem years back. Sonja, our investigator, told us about what happened in the last week with her sickness, and that the ambulance came and picked her up on Monday night and shipped her off to Alkmaar for MRI scans on her head from her headaches. She didn't have much time, so she didn't even take her phone or purse with her, but only her Book of Mormon. In the hospital she read on the bed while in a room with 3 other patients. A pastor came and saw what she was reading and instead of bashing or condemning the book like normal, Sonja told him it was a beautiful book, and he agreed saying it was. She told people in the hospital that she is Mormon and that the Book she had was true. That's why she brought it with her over her wallet or phone. And THAT's why we couldn't get a hold of her early on in the week. She was released from the hospital and had no way of getting home without a wallet. She walked into the bus and told the driver she had something to say (she is one of the sassiest 71 year olds you'll meet. honestly like a Dutch Betty White hahaha) She told him she had no money or phone but needed to get home and the bus driver told her to get on in and he would be happy to take such a young girl home hahhaa he seriously said that. Thursday night she had prayed and felt the need to pray for us that we would be successful in our work. Then Friday morning we showed up on her door and she was ecstatic. She was still having headaches and we proceeded to explain the Priesthood further and were able to give her a Priesthood blessing. Her testimony on the Priesthood and the church was already so strong (in fact, Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door a few days prior and gave her a magazine that she threw away in front of them and said to them 'don't come back, I'm getting a ''I'm a Mormon'' sticker for my front door' and sent them along) so when we proceeded to bless her with strength and courage she couldn't help but cry and describe the entire story as Bijzonder Wonderlijk. She told us she wants to follow the church course (aka missionary lessons) and be baptized before she is 72. I told her we would help her with that no doubt and she has a baptismal date set for the 9th of July. She told us in the middle of the lesson that she had just stopped drinking and is down to 1 cigarette a day now too. You can't even imagine our faces as this all went down. Haha the Lord is so merciful with His children. One of my new best friends is a 71 year old Dutch woman. That was the highlight of the week. So funny, so spiritual, so only made real through God.
Keep her and Tsigereda in your prayers please. They are making great progress toward baptism. Investigators are surrounded by so much evil here yet they stick it through. One even un-antied her next door neighbor after our first lesson haha #miracles
Wish Jennifer Reese a happy birthday this week. 48 and still going strong ;)
Elder Trevan Scott Reese