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.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

America - Made a Brexit Before Making a Brexit Was Cool - July 4, 2016

Mom disclaimer:  Trevan gets home on July 14th.  He is supposed to arrive at 3:00pm at the Boise Airport.  Any friends or family are welcome to join us to welcome him home.  We would love to have you and I'm sure it would be a nice surprise for him.

Prettige Onafhankelijkheidsdag! Yes that is a real word. Means Happy Independence Day. It´s a great day to be an American.

I feel that the news has got to be full of the Brexit back home too, but if not, just know it´s caused a lot of turbulence in the European Union. The Netherlands is offended that Britain would leave and take a large part of their economic dependency with it. Now Britain wants back, Scotland wants to break off, etc. Small countries love the union, big countries end up funding for the union. Perhaps the Union should take a few notes on something called the Great Compromise from over 200 years ago and reconsider. Politics and weather are always the name of the postivie contacting game here.


I forgot to mention this one last week. On the way back from zone conference we drove home with the Jansens (senior couple serving here in Den Helder). They also give permission to tell this this story by the way haha. We were in Alkmaar, about 30 minutes from home, at a stop light and we pulled out a sweater to show Zuster Jansen, she looked back, the cars next to us start going so she push the clutch in and went, and rear ended the car in front of us.    .........      Yeah. But when we pulled over the girl in the other car began apologizing because her car had stalled and that´s why it hadn´t moved. So it was all super chill, little damage, And Elder Jansen went to fill out the insurance reports but needed something hard to write on. Zuster Jansen demanded a Book of Mormon HAHA you know where this is going, and as they were filling out the form on the Book of Mormon, Zuster Jansen got cookies out of the trunk and offered them to the couple we hit. Talk about buttering them up. Long story short, they gladly took the Book of Mormon, little damage done to the cars, we have her address on the insurance report and is now a referral for Alkmaar. The Jansen’s are simply stellar people. 
Sonja. We finished all the lessons this week and she is ready for her baptism on Saturday. We ran through the baptismal interview questions before she has her interview, but she had cleared them all already during teaching. We asked if she had ever committed a serious crime (with her you really never know what she has done in the past haha) and she said "Yeah, I have before". Immediately my head started racing because we would have to get President Bunnell to come interview her if that was the case, but then after seeing our reactions all she said was "I was married". No further comment.

There are also more stories with her from this week, but I can´t remember them real well right now...
But her baptism is planned for this Saturday, programs are made, people have agendas booked.

The week was fantastic, running from appointment to appointment in the peanut sized city of Den Helder. 

Also, important note, I´ve mentioned Hossein and Roja having their baby around this time. Well, tomorrow in church Hossein got a call from Roja at home saying her water broke so he and Zr Jansen ran her to the hospital, but she won´t actually have the baby until later today. His name is Sam, an English, Dutch, and Iranian name. His birthday is the 4th of July. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a second generation Uncle Sam on our hands. An Iranian... haha

This week is BOOKED with people to teach and things to do so I know it is going to fly by so quickly. Before I know it I will be on the plane home. Terrifying, exciting, tiring, you name it. That´s the final full week of a Latter-Day Saint missionary.

Love Elder Trevan Scott Reese

A-Typical - June 27,2016

This week was pretty special because a lot of things happened that don´t in a standard week. Such as:
A. Doing baptisms for the dead as a missionary with recent converts
B. Giving your departing testimony in zone conference
C. Some of your favorite members from Apeldoorn come visit for the weekend
D. Eat Thai food and ice cream with a visiting family from British Columbia
E. Getting soaking wet while shopping the Amsterdam couture

It´s been a good one and we´ve stayed pretty busy with teaching this week. We need to get more members out with us to teach because we are hitting good numbers in lessons, but need members to come out and provide the fellowship more. Something we´re working on.

Sonja is doing great. The Jansens had a private appointment with her to talk about how she can could manage the law of tithing and had miracles literally come to the doorstep; a great story for later.

She is still set to be baptized in a few weeks and is very excited for it. We talk to her every day and she fits in her baptismal jumpsuit haha. 

We´ve almost got in contact with some people we had lost in the past which is really nice.

Well. That´s mostly it. In reality these emails are just reminders to look at so I can tell you the stories in 3 weeks. Real life is a lot better than online. Someone put that on a plaque.

Love Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Mobbin with Oma Sonja 

Temple construction - will be finished in August

June 20, 2016

This is gonna be quick. I took pictures with Sonja this week but this computer has no way to upload pictures. Haha sorry.

We are in Almere at the library and have little time for emailing since you have to pay.
We are headed to Amsterdam to shop for a while before working tonight and having zone conference tomorrow. 

Sonja came to stake conference yesterday and loved it. She is great. She's been telling neighbors and friends about her baptism on July 9th. Should be a stellar last weekend of the mission.

We are trying to find new people to teach and keep holding onto ones that have slowed in progression. It's a battle, but in the world anymore, let alone the Netherlands, everything for the Gospel is.
Love you all, no reason to tell all these stories here because I can talk about them with you in a few weeks. 

Have a good one!

Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

That´s What I Love about Sunday - June 13, 2016

I´m losing more and more motivation with emails, I´m sorry. 

This week was another good one and he weather cooperated pretty nicely here. Remind me to tell you stories about the Curacoan mafia and Sonja´s morphine later. 

I´m going to keep this one short and sweet and simply tell you about the miracles we had yesterday. We had another handful of investigators in church which is such an incredible miracle in itself. Sonja came to Den Helder for the first time and I have never heard a Relief Society laugh more in one hour than yesterday morning. Who knows what went down but she brought life to those women yesterday haha. An older sister was a killer missionary yesterday and took Sonja on a quick church tour. (I mean like 3 minutes quick because the church is only 5 rooms, a kitchen, and a hallway). When they got to the baptismal font, Sonja asked if that was indeed what it was, the sister said yes, and Sonja made an attempt to climb over the glass wall and in hahahah. It was a joke but she is really excited to be baptized but tries to be sheepish about it. WE had the former temple president and his wife come speak in sacrament and gave the most CASH MONEY talks on faith and the wonder of the Book of Mormon. Sooo good. Sonja loves the whole branch and the whole branch loves Sonja. After church we were starving and exhausted (church is exhausting as a missionary) but were so blessed by the miracles we saw yesterday. A reactivated member also got a calling yesterday as well, and every reactivated member is gold, but in a branch it is the world to them.

AND turns out that Sonja is coming to the Mormon Tabernacle concert in July when I will be there so I could see her one final time before leaving. And she is bringing her nonmember friend. Already a missionary. The doctor told her this week to cut down on coffie and to stop smoking. She simply told him, Doctor I´m already there, I´m a Mormon. Classic.

I promise to take pictures with her this week and send them home haha.

Until next week!

Elder Trevan Scott Reese

Matchmaker - June 6, 2016

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

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Elders Am ong the Elderly - May 30, 2016

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

Making Ups of Downs - May 23, 2016

This last week we have been able to revolutionize our work here in Den Helder. It wasn't too shabby to begin with, but it's only gotten better. 

At the start of the week we actually got to go to the temple, which is a wonderful miracle in itself. But we went with Elder and Zuster Jansen, Hossein and Roja for their first time ever. Elder Penman and I met them in Zoetermeer to do baptisms for the dead for Hossein's brother and mother who were killed some time ago in Iran. Roja was baptized for his mother and him for his brother. After they got out of the water Elder Penman and I were able to confirm them and be the witnesses in the temple. It was soooOOOooo cool. A dream. It was really a dream for a missionary in this mission to see. They loved the temple so much and can't wait to go back in a year for their endowments. 
Another few notable miracles from the week came from them and the Boerlages as well. Early in the week I was determined to get more members to come teach with us in Den Helder, a great deal also because Elder Cook and I were on exchanges Monday and Tuesday and were able to teach each lesson with a member. I was awakened to the importance of members in missionary work and read it the next morning in Preach My Gospel. A lot of the time I haven't had the best attitude about it because getting a member to 1. Agree to come, 2. Have the time to come, and/or 3. Not take over a lesson when they come, is just more hoops to jump through, and nothing is worse when you jump through them and then your appointment doesn't go through... BUT throwing that aside, we took steps of faith this week and were able to teach several lessons with members, and not only members, but with Hossein and a few of the Boerlages present! Its like killed 2 birds with one stone because they do sooo great in the lessons and their testimonies are in turn strengthened as they bear them. Cool stuff.

Hossein came and taught Triggered with us and testified of his decision to join THE church and not just A church. We were teaching about the plan of salvation and came to our life on earth when we mentioned how we take chances that God gives us (aka baptism) and we came out of the appointment with a baptismal date for Tsigereda at the end of June! So that was a testimony to me about how important that joint teach can be. It was awesome, Hossein loved it, and next week he is being set apart as a ward missionary. Perfect. 

One of my favorite things about Den Helder is peoples' willingness to come to church. I haven't had this many investigators in church at one time since being a greenie in Antwerpen, and even then only once in a while. This is constant. There is beauty in the branches. The Lord prepares his vineyard in spectacular ways.

This week we have no exchanges with Amsterdam or Almere, but a busy week with service and new investigators. I appreciate the prayers that make miracles happen for us. We are going to try and get more members out with us, which is a little more difficult done than said.

I had to snap a shot of the Almere Relief Society picture when I was with Cook at a member's house. Classic.

Elder Trevan Scott Reese