HELLO MY WONDERFUL FAMILY!!!
I love you guys so much and I am always so jealous when I get emails from everyone telling me about their exciting lives!! This week has been....interesting but good!!
First off, on Monday we went with the Elders to the Begijnhof here in turnhout. The explaination I read was in Dutch...but to translate. It is an old community that is built by women. Women who were widowed or who decided not to marry, and they are known to be some of the most well kept up neighborhoods in Europe. It was pretty cool to see, and there are a lot of old people who live there now. But they are required to keep everything in as original condition as possible!! It was pretty fun and I also think that it was the quietest neighborhood I have been in since I have been here....CRAZY!!! So....that was P-Day.
On Tuesday, we had district meeting. I love district meeting because it is a time when you get to meet with missionaries who are going through a lot of the same struggles as you and you get to build each other up and have some fun together for a couple of hours!! This week we focused a lot on Obedience and Forgiveness. Elder Ombach shared a story with us that he learned when he was a little guy.
There was a man, who went around and he collected rockes. but not pretty rocks like diamonds or rubies, just normal, gross, ugly rocks. Every time that he saw something bad, or negative, he would put in a new ugly rock in his pocket. Eventually, his entire house was filled with filth and no one wanted to be there. He then asked us,"are our houses, or brains, just like this man's? Do we only look for the bad in people, or situations? Or do we collect the pretty rocks that everyone wants to have?"
I think that sometimes we all need a reminder to look for the good in everything that happens to us. Life is too crappy just to be focused on the bad, when we could focus on the good. Have a glass that is half full and not half empty!! It makes a huge difference!! Try it!! Write it down for a week and see the change that happens!! I can testify that it works!!
So.....remember how I have said for months that my mission call should not have only said to prepare to share the gospel in the Dutch language, but that they forgot all of the rest of the languages on the planet? Well....that proved true again this week. We came across a Portuguese family when we were knocking doors and they let us right in because they recognized our name tags...Well...not a single one of them spoke Dutch. You would think,"Oh, that's ok....we still have English as an option, right?" Lies....It isn't true!! We tried really hard to communicate with them, and made an appointment for Saturday night. But then...we remembered that we didn't know of anyone who spoke Portuguese...PROBLEM!!!
So...the next day, we went to look up a less-active that the Relief Society President gave to us....and guess what? She is from Brazil!!! I don't think that there is a better way to invite someone to return to church, than by asking them to come on a joint teach with you....so we havebeen able to teach her and also the Brazilian family....and I have learned a little bit of Portuguese on the way. Nos somos missionarias de igresja Jesu Cristo dos santos dos ultimos dias!!!
We also had a wonderful day on Thursday!! We had our first correlation meeting and we had a dinner appointment with the Branch Mission leader's family that evening!! The Van Der Waards are super cool!! One of their sons reminds me a lot of Jake....that makes me miss him even more and I can't believe that he is going off to college this week!!
Anyway.....We have finally found investigators....but we have a huge problem....all of them are chain smokers. Heck, I am starting to smell like a chain smoker because we keep going to appointments with them...I promise, I am not becoming an addict!!
I got to go to Antwerpen on exchanges this week!!! Yes!!! I got to hang out with Siser Kohlert!! We had a great day with an amazing lesson with a less-active sister. She is struggling with her testimony, and I have had similar experiences in my life. The spirit was so strong in that lesson!!! I love lessons like that, where like it says in DC 50, both the teacher and the pupil are uplifted!! We also got to make smores in the Antwerpen apartment with their gas stove!!
At church yesterday, we had our first investigator come to church!!!! It was a beautiful day and the branch was super excited and very welcoming!!! That just proves to me that the branch is ready to grow and that we just need to get to the point that we are working together and then the work will get going like a wild-fire!!
I miss all of you very much!! I love you and think about you every single day!!! Please stay safe. Jake, don't do anything too crazy at college!!
I will do my best to stay safe and happy!!! Keep putting the pretty rocks into your sack!!