Wednesday, July 30, 2014

5th letter from MTC -- Week 5

Naturally, when I see something that says 
"Do Not Enter".... I must enter!! 
(And if it says "Don't Touch"....Guess who has to touch it....
That's right, Elder Benjamin Steenblik!!)

Elder Benajmin Steenblik with his laundry bag.  
(I'm a tad bit concerned that his clean clothes 
are shoved in the bottom of that bag!!  
Thank goodness for wrinkle-free shirts.)

Me and my boii, Dru stompin' the yard here in Provo.  
Elder Benjamin Steenblik and Elder Andrew Harless 
have been friends in the Willow Canyon 5th Ward
 since Ben was 1 and Andrew was 2.

Yea!!!!!!  I am super juiced because I leave on Monday!  Our flight leaves on Monday, August 4, 2014 at 11 a.m.  The MTC has been awesome, but it's time for some Netherlands!!!! I am ready to get outside of these walls!

I got to see one of my BFF's, Elder Andrew Harless here at the MTC.  We saw each other on our temple walk on Sunday.  Yes we did make a big scene and yes people were watching, but that's okay.  HA HA!!  It was nice to be able to talk to him before I leave.  We reminisced of the good ol' shenanigans that we used to participate in.

Hey, funny Dutch story for ya.  So, in Dutch there are words that sound a liiiiiitle bit different, but have completely different meanings.  Long story short, I finally found out that I had been pronouncing a word just a little bit wrong. That changed the word from choices, to chastity.  So for the past 5 weeks, I have been telling our investigators that we are allowed to make our own chastity and that we are happy for the good chastity that they made.  Ha Ha...whoops!!!!  I'm sure there will be countless more times that I say something totally wrong that will be funny.  I'll keep y'all updated.

There is also another Dutch word that you have to roll the R with, but it isn't like Spanish where you roll it with your tongue.  You roll it with flem and it gross.  We were all trying to do it at the same time and you should have heard the noises coming out of our classroom.  It was honestly one of the strangest noises I have ever heard.  I felt like Elder Calhoun from "The Best Two Years."  One of the times I tried, I actually did it, but it was immediately followed by a great big gag.  You know you're speaking good Dutch if you are gagging yourself.

Elder Calhoun in "The Best Two Years."
This week our lessons with our investigators have been awesome.  In a lesson the other day, we got there and he started asking more questions about Christ.  We totally bagged our lesson and put together a lesson on Christ right on the spot.  We were truly listening to what the Spirit wanted us to teach.  It was one of best lessons we have ever had to give.

I love my district so much.  We are all so unique and different than each other, but that's what makes it awesome!  I have had some good times with all of them and I will miss them when we get out to the field.

This week, we got a new Dutchie district that is going to Suriname.  It makes me feel like a boss when they ask me Dutch advice.  Ha Ha!!!!!

I just barley got a hair cut and it was probably one of the scariest moments of my life.  I can't even tell you some of the haircuts I have seen come out of that place.  They look like a "Dumb and Dumber" pumpkin pie hair-cutted freak, but I had faith.  Faith without works is dead so I had to act on that faith.  Not gonna lie, it was one of the most painful experiences of my life, but it doesn't look completely horrible!  Boom...Glass half full.

This is what a pumpkin pie hair-cutted freak looks like.
Well, I am almost to Holland.  Just gotta stick out these last couple of days in the good ol' U-S-of-A. Thanks to everyone for all of your love and support!  Ik you van vlees!  Vlees is goed!

Elder Steenblik

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

4th letter from MTC -- Week 4

Elder Benajmin John Steenblik

Elder Benjamin Steenblik and Elder Caleb Featherstone

Elder Josh Parr, Elder Eli Andrew and Elder Benjamin Steenblik.  I guess I should have listened to Ben when he told me to stop at package 89.... Ha Ha!!!! Party on Elders.

Hello to all!

What another awesome week in the MTC it has been!  We all learned so much this week about the language and teaching.  It has been such a great week.

On Wednesday, the Provo Temple opened back up so we got to go do a session there.  The room was full to the max with missionaries.  It was such a cool experience to go with all of my friends in the zone and we get to go again every Wednesday.  I am looking forward to going after lunch today.  It is such a nice place to just take a break from the language, and just focus on the Spirit.

This week said tot liens to the Swedes and the Nords as they went off to Sweden and Norway early Monday morning.  They are both a great group of elders and sisters and they are all fantastic missionaries.

Elder Parr, Elder Andrew, and I have learned so much this week.  We had a really good lesson on listening to the Spirit as we teach, rather than just following the lesson plan.  To practice this, we did a couple of role plays and our teacher was the investigator.  They would just tell us a little about themselves and then say, "Go!".  We had no lesson planned or anything and we just had to teach what the Spirit was telling us to teach.  I kind of thought it and it was incredible.  We told the investigators exactly what they needed to hear.  Our mouths were filled and the language just flowed.  It was an amazing experience.

We teach 2 other investigators every other day name Toni and Lieke.  The best way to learn how to teach, is teach so that's what we have been doing since day 2.  We just committed Toni to prepare himself for baptism on August 9th and we are so close with Lieke.  They are just our teachers pretending to be an investigator, but we still feel love for them.  Toni and Lieke were real people that they taught on their missions.

I am super pumped because one of my BFF's, Elder Andrew Harless gets here today.  I hope I will be able to find him and give him a great big chest pump.

Everyone in the MTC is talking about Russia going to war with Ukraine or Ukraine going to war with Islam.  Every person says something different and has some different reason as to why.  "There shall be wars, and rumors of wars."  The end is near!!! Ha Ha.

We have a ridiculous amount of food!  The food in the picture is just the food that Elder Parr and I have received in packages since we got here.  Special note to the Parr family and my mother, WE HAVE A LOT OF FOOD!!  We have enough food for the next 2 years!

I love the epic picture of Elder Featherstone and I jumping into outer space in front of the temple.  He left to Sweden on Monday and I know he will be an amazing missionary.  We had some good times together.

It has been such a great week here in Provo and I expect next week to be the same.  Thanks to everyone for all of your love and support.  If you're gonna spew, spew into this.

                                                                                                  Elder Benjamin Steenblik

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

3rd letter from MTC -- Week 3

Elder Billy Shaw and I 
re-enacting my Peru sloth photo in the MTC.
Ben working in Peru with Youthlinc.  June 2013

Elder Benjamin Steenblik

Sister Fredrickson got a nightgown that says,
"I moose have a hug."  I went up to our Branch President, 
(President Hill) wearing it and he said,
 "Nice shirt!"  He went in for a high-five and I went right past his high-five and went straight for a hug!!!
I'm keeping him on his toes.
Week 3 at the MTC!

Well, this week has pretty much been the same. The days blend here. I feel like I have been here for a year, but then feel like I just said goodbye to everyone yesterday. 

Dutch is starting to get harder. We are learning stuff that I don't even know in English! We have 2 investigators that we teach everyday, so that helps us learn the language faster. When the investigator starts asking questions, we don't have the vocabulary to answer them so it makes it a challenge. It is amazing how much we already know after 3 weeks so I guess we just have to look at the glass half full and continue to learn as much as we can.

Since the gym is closed because they are redoing the floors, we had our devotionals at the BYU basketball arena. It was so nice to leave these enclosed walls of the MTC. While on our journey, I saw cars, stores, schools, and even people! I almost forgot about those things. The seats at the arena are horrible because there is no leg room whatsoever and we have to wear our suit coats so it is unbearably hot. On Tuesday we were able to get awesome seats, and right as it was starting, one of the ushers came and took us down to the seats on the floor of the arena. We just lucked out! 

My favorite part of the week was our war. Momma sent me some squirt guns so we whopped those puppies out and went to battle. The whole zone was running around shooting each other. It was so much fun. We get in trouble every single night from those dang Koreans (not actual Koreans, the people going to Korea so its not racist) above us. Every single day they come down and try to poop our partay. They are totally loud as well so its a little bit ridiculous. We are kind of rivals, 2nd floor vs 3rd floor. There is definitely a beef between us. Scandinavian pride!

We sent the Danes off to Denmark on Monday so it will probably get a little bit quieter on our floor. On Saturday I thought, WOW, I have already been here 3 weeks! Then after watching the Danes leave it turned to, WOW, we still have 3 weeks before we go to Netherlands. All in all, it has gone by fast, but I am still counting down the days until we get to go out into the field! 

You would all be proud to know that I only have one soda a day! I drink lots of chocolate milk so I can get big and strong.

We had to say goodbye to one of our teachers on Saturday. His name was Brother Robinson. He was our very first investigator before we knew he was our teacher. He was one of my favorite teachers no doubt. He has worked at the MTC for 3 years. It was sad to see him go. Speaking of which, he lives on Calla Lily Way which I'm pretty sure is in my stake. So I wonder if any of you know him? He is an awesome guy.  

I am reapin' my sloth shirt today. Everyone just looks at my shirt and just laughs, or at least I hope they are laughing at the shirt.. Although there are no sloths in Netherlands or Belgium, I am still a sloth extraordinaire at heart. 

Thursday was a hard day. It had just been such a long day and we had some really hard, confusing Dutch lessons that we really didn't understand. I was just really ready for the day to be over. That night when we said our companionship prayer, Elder Shaw was in our room so he offered the prayer. He thanked the Lord for all of the trials that we experienced that day and that we might learn and grow from them. Now there's something you don't hear every day!!!!  I have made it a personal goal to thank Heavenly Father every night for the trials that I have faced that day, and that I will be able to become stronger because of them. 

Its a shame to hear that Argentina cheated and beat Netherlands in the world cup. Well 3rd place ain't bad. But if you ain't 1st, you're last! 

It was an awesome week and I learned so much. I love you all! 
                                                                       -Elder Steenblik

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2nd letter from MTC -- Week 2

Ben's "Dutchie" District
Sister Charlee Fredrickson, Elder Ben Steenblik, Elder Eli Andrew, Elder Zach Hammond, Elder Josh Parr and Elder Billy Shaw
Hallo Eidereen!
        2nd week at the MTC, and it was a good one. I have learned so much in the past week about the gospel and about the spirit, and a little bit of Dutch too. 

       Last P-day was a blast. After my email we went back to the residence hall and Elder Parr thought he would be funny by hosing down all of us with his squirt bottle. So, I went into the Elder's room next to us and found some squirt guns, and it was on. To make a long story short, 10 minutes later we were all soaking wet after a huge water gun battle. It was a blast. When we went to go to the room to change some Moron had closed our door, so we were soaking wet and locked out. To get a new key from the front desk, you have to be dressed in missionary attire, so we had to wait for the Zone Leaders to come back and they had to go get it for us, but it was well worth it. 

       On Sunday we had a devotional by Josh Wright, a piano player. He played a couple of songs for us. After one everyone gave a standing ovation, and one of my friends in front of me wasn't standing so I started boo-ing him. After that, like 50 people just turned around and stared at me giving me dirty looks thinking I was boo-ing the piano player. Ha. It was hilarious. 

       Yesterday, Elder Neil L Anderson came and spoke. He spoke on always listening to the spirit and always having it with you. Yesterday morning was horrible. I couldn't pay attention and just wasn't feeling it that day. After lunch, I said a prayer asking for the spirit for the lesson that we were about to teach. We taught one of our "investigators" about Joseph Smith and the restoration. It was in VERY horrible dutch, but she understood and committed to read and pray over the Book of Mormon and over our message. After our lesson, me, Elder Parr and Andrew were all pumped. It wasn't even a real person, but we could definitely feel the spirit and were so excited that she committed to pray. 

        The gym here closed for the next 2 weeks because they are redoing the floor. So we went out to the field today. We played sand volleyball and I came back just covered it sand. In my hair and ears and all over my clothes. We also played soccer and a fight almost broke out. It was awesome. 

         We have had some awesome discussions at our district meetings this week. We all get along so well. We sometimes have a difficult time focusing during study because we all love to joke around with each other.

           The MTC is one of the most holy places on planet earth but, it is the worst smelling place I have ever been to. When we put our trays away at dinner, the dish washing area smells like dead fish. I have to hold my breath or else I gag. When you walk by the mailbox, there is an overwhelming smell of garbage, like unto a dump. 
         Every Sunday when we go on our temple walk, I just looking at Utah Lake wishing I was there. 

         On the 4th of July, we had a special devotional on America. After that we watched the movie 17 Miracles. Those pioneers went through so much, all because they knew this gospel is true. It made me think of how 2 years of my life serving the Lord is the least I could. I will always be eternally grateful for those pioneers and their sacrifices that they made. Right as the movie finished, we all went outside and they gave out Dove ice cream bars and we watched the Stadium of Fire fireworks. Elder Shaw is one of the Elders in my district and I love him. He loves to sing as loud as he possibly can. I convinced him that if he started belting the national anthem, that everyone would join in. He just started belting it as loud as he could and everyone just sat there. But did this get Shaw down? Nay, I say. Shaw sang pretty much the whole dang song. It failed miserably because nobody ever joined in. The best part was, about 5 minutes later, another Elder started singing it and EVERYBODY joined in. 

       I'm stoked that Netherlands is gonna win the World Cup. I predicted that from day 1.
      I love you all and miss you so much!​ Ball so hard!

This is the DI jacket Ben wore to prom back in May.  
I mailed it to the MTC and 
he is working it with his missionary name tag.  (I love how Elder Billy Shaw is looking at him.  Priceless!!!)
The FAMOUS missionary map. Elder Steenblik

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

1st letter from MTC -- Week 1

Elder Andrew, Elder Paar and Elder Steenblik 
Hello family and friends!  Yes I am still alive.  It has been an intense first week!  Saying goodbye to everyone was so hard but when I finally put that name tag on, I knew it was time to get to work.  Within 10 minutes of getting here, I was in a classroom with a teacher speaking Dutch to me.  Our teachers never speak in English to us so it can be a wee bit hard to know whats going on.  When people "fake" speak Dutch with lots of clem, that is basically exactly how Dutch sounds.  You should just hear the noises coming from our classroom.

My companions are Elder Parr and Elder Andrew.  Parr is from St. Geezy and Andrew is a cheese head from Wisconsin.  We all get along really well.  There are 6 of us learning Dutch.  5 elders and 1 sister.  It amazes me how much Dutch we already know, but we still have A LOT to learn.

We have 4 different dutch teachers and they are all amazing.  They are all return missionaries from Belgium/Netherlands.

On our SECOND day here we started teaching an investigator named Robert.  Of course Robert is just a volunteer but we take it seriously.  We prepare lessons for him and answer his questions, in very horrible dutch.  We finally go him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon on the 3rd lesson.  We also taught him how to pray.  He thought it was so awesome that you can pray for others to help them.  

Some animal died in the vents of our classroom building and it smelled horrible so they evacuated us into a different one on Friday.  I can still smell it.

I have been called to the the district leader of the "Dutchies" as they call us.  Our district is freaking awesome.  I have laughed harder with them than I have laughed in a longtime.  But we can also kick it into gear and have spiritual discussions.  We all work together to learn this ridiculously flemmy language. 

My zone is the Swedes, the Norwegians, the Danes, and yes even the Icees.  There are 3 missionaries a year that go to Iceland and they are here now.  There is only 6 missionaries in the whole country.  We have some funny kids in our zone.  All of our class rooms and dorm rooms are right by each other so we spend a lot of time with all of them as well.  Every night we have jam sessions in the showers and sing as loud as we can.  Crazy rap battles go down.  And you are talking to the Zone 37 her roulette champion.  Its a pretty big deal.

On Sunday we went on a walk up to the temple.  I almost forgot that there was a world outside of these walls.  I saw Utah lake and was ready to go boating.  Every time a teacher pulls out their phone to check the time.

The food here is AMAZING.  In 1 week of all you can eat buffet for every meal, I have gained 1/2 a pound!  I'm really starting to fill out.  I get at least 2 full meals every lunch and dinner.  The food is just amazing.  I have been here a whole week eating every meal in a white shirt and I don't have one stain!  Through all the meatball subs, chowder, and whatever else I have had some close calls, but no stains.  I go a tomato soup and when I sat down my tie dipped init so I just shoved my tie into my mouth and sucked it off.  Worked like a charm.  Tasted good too.  Gym is so much fun too.  There are some ballers here.  One of the kids in my gym plays for BYU as a center.  The kid is just massive.  It is may fun to just get some elders together and play a pick up game.  One of the things that has grown most here, my b-ball skills.  The Lord blesses his missionaries.  Hey Dad, maybe if you were a missionary you could dunk too.  Ha just kidding.  You're too huge.

Right now I am doing my own laundry for the first time in my life!  It suchs.  At least I don't have to make my own meals yet.  Maybe we could work out a thing where I just ship my laundry home and then you send it back clean.  Just a thought.

To get a visa to Belgium, you have to participate in "Magic Tuesday" as they call it here.  We are the only ones that had to do it.  It was a stool sample that you had to catch in a cup and then add scoops of it into a vial and blend it up.  We all learned a lot about ourselves that day.

On Sunday we watched a talk by Elder Bednar called "The Characteristics of Christ."  It was one of the best talks I have ever seen in my life.  Mom I know how much you love Elder Bednar, so look this one up!  it was amazing. At the end of his talk he bore his testimony that the Lord knows my name and the Lord called me to the Belgium/Netherlands mission.  That is pretty powerful coming from someone who calls missionaries for a living.

Well it has been a week full of mixed emotions.  It has been very challenging and I imagine next week to be the same.  But i love it!

Turn down for what!

                                                                                           -Elder Benjamin Steenblik

                                                                          MTC SCHEDULE

6:30 a.m.  -  Wake up/study
8:20 a.m.  -  Gym/shower
10:50 a.m.  -  Class starts
12:50 p.m.  -  Lunch/class
5:45 p.m.  -  Dinner/personal, companionship and language study
10:30 p.m.  -  Bedtime/and LOTS of FUN!!!!