Monday, August 11, 2014

1st letter from Leuven, Belgium -- Week 7

Elder Benjamin Steenblik
Just a cool windmill shot by the mission office in Leiden.

Elder Benjamin Steenblik
Check out these old ghetto urinals right along the streets.  I may have contracted a couple of diseases from peeing here.  We will see.  (Only Ben!!!!)

This is one of the buildings right by our apartment.  When we go to the cooler places in town, I will make sure to snap lots of pics.

Whad-up Homies?!

So yeah, I am in Belgium now! I have been assigned to the Leuven, Belgium area.  Down here in good ol' Leuven, they speak Flemish.  That is basically a form of Dutch.  So now, I am learning Dutch AND Flemish . I guess the Lord thought that Dutch just wasn't enough!!  Ha Ha.  When we talk to people, to me it sounds like they are speaking French, but I know the Lord will help me learn.

Leuven is such a cool city! There are so many cool old buildings here.  Belgium is a lot more, European than the Netherlands. 

The first thing I learned when we got here is that the soda sucks.  My first day, I got a Sprite from the vending machine all excited. Well, it was horrible! All of the European soda just tastes flat so I am quite a bit T-O-'d.

The single best part of Europe is the police sirens.  When I hear them, I feel like I am Jason Bourne!

Its really funny because EVERYONE here rides bikes.  Businessmen will be on their bikes in their suits.  70 year old ladies will just be out riding for fun.  It's madness, plus cars are over rated anyways. 

This week, we had the chance to bless a members home.  They said it just had a bad feeling to it so we went over there to leave a blessing there.  The wife was not a member so it was cool that she let us come. They made lunch for us which was really nice.  This house was ridiculous.  It didn't have a big backyard at all, but they had dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, a garden, and a huge fish pond. It was really cool. 

We also go out to Brussels every now and then to teach the Dutch people in the city.  Brussels is so beautiful! We had a service appointment with a lady to help her sort through some clothes and stuff.  She ended up giving us a ton of free clothes that are pretty awesome.

We had church yesterday.  Here is Leuven, we are blessed with an actual ward and church building.  We have about 45 active members in the ward.  They are all so nice and it was fun to meet them.

Our Bishop here is the man!!  We get to eat dinner at his house every Sunday and he is American so we spoke English the whole time.  His family made an awesome meal of mashed potatoes, asparagus, and lamb.  We talked with him for almost 2 hours about funny movies,  TV shows and sports.  Sports! Ahhhhh how I have missed talking about sports.  For those of you trying to get an image of my Bishop in your head, think Jim Gaffigan.  He reminds me so much of a bigger Jim Gaffigan.  He looks like him and talks just like him too.  He is the boss!! 
Picture of Jim Gaffigan
My companion is Elder Losee.  He is a way cool trainer.  He is from St. Geezy.  We get along really well and he is doing a good job of trying to figure out what the heck is going on. 

On Saturday, we had our weekly planning meeting.  It lasted so dang long and we didn't even leave our apartment until 4 that day.  So, I was sick and tired of being inside all day so I figured the day would get better.  We needed to get me a bike and all of the bike shops around here are way expensive so we took a bus out to a bike shop.  We got out there, and found out that it was closed on Saturday's, but luckily for us, there was a pawn shop right around the corner.  When we got there, they were closed as well so I still don't have a bike.  We went back to our area and decided to contact 3 referrals that we had.  Two of them weren't even real numbers and the other one wasn't interested so that didn't go well either, but we at least had two appointments that evening.  Both of them cancelled!!  Then on our way back to the apartment, we had to stop to get some food for dinner.  We literally waited in line at the store for 45 minutes. It ended up being a hard day, but I thought of a video that we watched at the MTC that night. Hey, everyone reading this, go to "youtube" right now and watch this video!!! It's called "Missionary Work and the Atonement."  It's a talk by Elder Holland and President Eyring and it is amazing.  In it, he talks about the trials of missionary work and how is isn't easy.  I have quickly learned why it is called missionary WORK.  It is tough, but it is so rewarding! I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't know this gospel was true, and that's for sure. 

And by the way, sorry my grammar is horrible.  I am using a French keyboard so it is really hard.

Well I am here! And it is awesome! The church is true and God loves you! 

                                               -Elder Steenblik

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