I can´t do this anymore. I can´t try to squeeze in a week´s worth of things that happen in Den Helder into an email. More stories will be told back home in the 208, such as our encounter with the rehabilitation police, a torrential downpour when an important member present lesson falls through, the adventures in Amsterdam last Monday, teaching a classy Dutch family while the father smokes the biggest cigar I´ve ever seen, and attempting to make a trendy song cover with a former member as a distraction while tearing pornography off the walls. All this at the slight expense of being a Mormon missionary.
But those aren´t the stories I´ll share today. They all have their times and places, but I will tell you a miracle or two from this week and save the rest for those days back in the states.
We were able to finish painting Tsigereda´s house this past Wednesday, and you can judge our work in the pictures below from her red and white walls. It came out really nice and we were able to have amazing lessons with her this week while preparing her for her baptism. We stopped by again on Saturday and she told us how much they had missed us in those 3 days, since we were usually over there for a few minutes every day to keep painting. That was awesome to hear and the 2 kiddos were so excited to see us and take pictures during our lesson about the Sabbath Day.
Yesterday we had church in Haarlem for the Western Europe stake conference broadcast which was so good. Elder Christoffersen spoke and Sister Oscarson about the strength of the church here and the example they are in the world in times of terror and turmoil and it touched me so much. I was so happy to hear and know how aware the leaders of the church in Salt Lake are about these members and investigators. Also, Sonja came too! She got a ride down with a member and loved the service so much. Even though it was a broadcast she thought it was so good and even recognized people she knew from other branches. Really neat miracle at church yesterday in Haarlem.
The subject of the email also pertains to Sonja. We have been asked to call her Oma now, which means Grandma, and we are her new grandchildren that she likes to flaunt to her neighbors when we go over. For our Plan of Salvation lesson this week we brought a member of the branch presidency along who would be giving her rides to and from church. He is 72. She is 71. Draw your conclusions, people. Here was the following dialogue:
Sonja: Do you want anything to drink? Coffie maybe?
Elder Penman and I: Water would be best, it's warm out today.
Sonja: Alright, whatever.
*joint teach arrives*
Sonja to Rinse (joint teach): Anything to drink? Coffie?
Rinse: No, no that's okay, I'll take a glass of water.
Sonja, looking at the three of us: You know, if I'm going to become a member of the church I'm going to get a lot skinnier around you folks.
Elder Penman and I: laughing
Rinse: Even skinnier?
Elder Penman and I: dry heaving on the couch
And that set the tone for our lesson (and their fellowshipping relationship) that was constantly interrupted with such sassy/flirty comments from the 65+ers. Hilarious lesson, really. But it was also really good and focused on understanding God's plan for us. Also explains why it was almost 3 hours long.... But moral of the story, she loved church, wants to be baptized, just might find a husband, who knows, loves her new grandkids and is incredibly sensitive to the Spirit. All I really need to say about her is that she worked on the Dutch navy ships for a long time around lots and lots of sailors. A very strong willed, sassy woman. Gotta love Oma Sonja.
I feel that´s an adequate description of the week, plus or minus a few major stories saved for later.
Love Elder Trevan Scott Reese