|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
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!!!!