Monday, September 29, 2014

8th letter from Leuven, Belgium -- Week 14

Elder Benjamin Steenblik
Just chillin' wif my Lambo
Elder Benjamin Steenblik
Pretty gosh, dang, good form if I do say so myself.
Utah State University, Spirit Squad, 2016!!!!
Elder Benjamin Steenblik, hangin' with his homies!!!!

Well, this past week has been a pretty crazy! I have been all over Belgium doing training, looking up referrals and legality stuff.  Man where to begin...........

On Tuesday, we had our Zone Training in Sint Niklaas.  How sick of a name is that? But any hoo, it was awesome.  I got to meet all of the new people who got transferred into our zone.  Since we are pretty far away from there, we spent the night with the Sint Niklaas Elders.  It was basically a slumber party!! In the middle of the training, we were sitting in the chapel and some dude started knocking on the window and scared all of us half to death.  We all turned around and it was the Domino's delivery guy haha.  What a sweet surprise that we got a ton of AMERICAN food.  Ah, I miss that!!!!!!

Want to hear a miracle? Okay, so the past 2 weeks have just been really slow and kind of discouraging, but when we were on the way home from a long day at zone training, we missed the bus we were supposed to take.  We had to wait there for like an hour and were a little T.O.ed!!! It was a long train ride back to Leuven.  As we were on our way to our apartment, we walked past a grocery store and Elder Losee, stopped and said "wait, have we ever talked to her?" pointing to a girl in the store.  We had talked with her on the bus a couple of weeks ago and gotten her contact info, but it was a fake number.  We went in and pretended that we were shopping and when we saw her get in line, we hurried and jumped in line right behind her and said "hey."  She was so happy to see us and she asked us why we hadn't called.  Turns out, she got a new phone and we had the old number.  We got her new number and scheduled a lesson with her.  (At the church tonight!) Then, last Sunday, we were going to the bus stop to catch a bus home.  We missed that bus by 2 minutes so we had to walk down the road to another bus line.  We waited for like 30 minutes and one finally came.  We got on the bus and were sitting there and I thought "Hey, that chick kind of looks like Naomi... wait, that is Naomi!" We saw her on the bus and started chatting with her and she was saying that she is excited to come see our church building and hear our message.  Now, you can say running into her 2 times was a coincidence, but I believe that that was the Lord working miracles! Too sick.!!!!!!

On Saturday, I got to mow the lawn at our church building!!! Man, I always hated mowing the lawn at home, but boy it felt good to push that mower.  I have been living in a city for sooooo long (actually only like, 7 weeks), but still! It will probably be the only time in the next 2 years that that will happen!!

This week, I was in Brussels twice.  Once to look up a referral and once for visa stuff.  One of the  times, I was with Elder Andrew, my MTC companion and our train didn't leave for like an hour, so we just walked around the city for a little bit and saw all of the cool stuff.  It is such a beautiful city!! There's one problem....  everyone there speaks French, so that can make missionary work hard, but I still love it there and it was awesome spending time with Elder Andrew.

We had a ward family home evening this past week.  We talked about Christ, ate food and played a game which was fun.  It is the one where you put a sticky note on your forehead not knowing what is says, and you have to ask yes or no questions and find out what it is.  It was super fun! 

Today we had another zone P day in Antwerpen.  We played basketball and football.  (Actually soccer, but I get in trouble for calling it that.)  We have a completely different zone than we did last transfer, so it was really fun to play with all the new people.  The best part is, nobody got stitches this time!!! Look how far we've come. 

Hey, so I don't have much time to email today so this is the only email I will be able to send, but I will hopefully have more time next week! Thanks for all of the prayers and support that you all send my way, I can truly see the blessings.

                                                                                    -Elder Steenblik 

Monday, September 22, 2014

7th letter from Leuven, Belgium -- Week 13

Elder Benjamin Steenblik
Elder Benjamin Steenblik

Elder Benjamin Steenblik
Sup world?

The computer is fixed!! Now I can get back on track of emailing every Monday. 

One night this week, we helped a member do some service.  We were going to go help him move some stones and figured we would just help him with some small bricks in his garden or something.  It ended up being like a 3 hour project of carrying HUGE cinder blocks down some stairs.  We moved so much weight that it's not even funny! My body is still feeling it and probably will for the next 2 years, but it was all worth it in the end because his wife is Chinese, and that only means one thing.... Chinese food! I have been craving me some Chinese food since the day I got here, and I finally got it.  It was the bomb!! 

Ever since school started a couple of weeks ago, there is so many people in Leuven! It is basically a party city.  Everywhere you go, there is some concert or event going on or fireworks going off for who knows what reason. 

Every time we are waiting at a bus or train station, at least 3 people will come up and ask us what bus or train to take because the bus drivers basically dress like we do.  Most people here just think we are bus drivers I guess.  We also get a lot of people who come tell us to go give a car a ticket or they report stuff to us because they think we are police officers.  Sweet!!!

My most recent language fail occurred this past week.  I had the word for great apostasy wrong and I was saying that after Jesus died, the world fell into a great big trash.   Oopsie-daisy!!!!

 I'll be straight up. This past week as far as missionary work goes has has been horrible.  It was one of those weeks where nothing went our way.  All of our appointments fell through and nobody was home when we went contacting.  I feel like absolutely nothing got accomplished.  Sometimes we will spend 2 and a half hours going out to one of our referrals, and they won't be home.  We have gotten a ton of referrals, so hopefully we will be able to at least get into contact with some of them and pick the work up.  There is one good thing, one of the less active families that we have been working with got the priesthood yesterday! That was really cool, so now there is 2 more priesthood holders in the Leuven ward. 

Another cool experience I had was in one of our lessons with an inactive man named Johnny.  The last time we had an appointment with him was on my 2nd day here in Belgium.  I remember in that lesson that I had no idea what was going on or what the scriptures that we were reading were about.  As we had this lesson last week, I kept having flashbacks to that lesson and how lost I was.  It showed me how far I have come in the language!  This time, I understood more what we were saying and what we were reading.  Of course I still didn't understand every little thing, but a lot more than on day 2.  The Lord truly has blessed me with the language and that experience showed me that. 

Well, that's all for this week.  I hope you all have a splended week with whateves yalls be doin.  


- Elder Steenblik


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

6th letter from Leuven, Belgium - Week 12

Elder Steenblik
Selfie Madness
Elder Steenblik
The tulip fields aren't as pretty as everyone said they would be.  Ha Ha


Yes, I am still breathing so that is good.  Sorry I haven't emailed in 2 weeks.  The computer at the church has been broken and I don't have all of the documents I need to make library account so, I couldn't email.  The computer is fixed, hopefully for good.  Man, it has been a long time since I have emailed so, I will try to fit as much in as I can.  Transfers are today but, Elder Losee and I are staying here in Leuven.

These past 2 weeks have basically been opposites.  2 weeks ago, we were so busy! Some days we had like 3 or 4 lessons a day.  It was awesome!!! Then this past week has been a drought.  All of our appointments fell through and we were busy with traveling to the Netherlands so, it went from feast to famine in the blink of an eye.  We have gotten a ton of referrals so this week should keep us nice and busy teaching.

On Thursday, we had a mission conference with the whole mission there! 150 missionaries all gathered up.  Elder M. Russell Ballard was there as well as Donald L. Hallstrom from the presidency of the 70.  It was so sick! Before the meeting started, we all got to shake their hands and say hello.  Elder Ballard literally gave an hour talk with no notes or anything he just stood up and started talking.  I will share a quick thing that I liked from it.  He talked about how we need to teach EVERYBODY and he said, "When you see others, think of the price that the Savior paid for them."  That is so true.  The Lord loves every single person on the earth more than we can even imagine! That is why as we as missionaries do our best to talk with everyone we can.  "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God."

We teach lessons to all different kinds of people.  We teach in English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and even Slovakian with translators.  It is really cool to get to meet so many different people and teach them about the gospel.

The other day, Elder Losee and I were walking down the street to our apartment and we saw a free couch along the road.  I have taken my fair share of couches on the side of the road in my day so, of course we took this one.  We carried it back to the apartment and the thing was so heavy!!  We literally carried it up to our apartment on the 3rd floor squeezing it through our tiny stairwell.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but by golly, we got a couch!!!

 The Leuven area is the biggest area in the whole mission.  It is SO BIG and we spend a ton of time traveling on trains, buses and on our bikes, but it is awesome because we get to go to all these cool cities.  The buildings here are amazing! Everywhere you go there is a great big old cathedral or government building.  I seriously think I am at Hogwarts sometimes.

The only bad thing about Leuven is the smell.  EVERYONE here smokes!! Groups of 14 year old kids smoke.  If a bus driver is ahead of schedule, he will get off the bus and have a smoke break.  When you pass the hospital, all of the doctors are out front in their lab coats having a good smoke.  Everywhere you go smells like cigarettes!! By our apartment, is a huge beer brewery that produces a worse smell than the smoke! The best way I can describe it is as a rotten artichoke smell! Every step you take you get a whiff of something else just as bad.

On our P day, we played some of the kids here in town in a pickup game of soccer.  We played with them for a while which was super fun. 

Well, the internet is all messed up right now so I've got to go! Hopefully I will have a solid computer by next P-day so I won't have to wait another 2 weeks! Peace out.  Love you all,

                                                      -Elder Steenblik 

Friday, September 12, 2014

5th week in Leuven Belgium -- Week 11

We didn't receive an email from Ben on Monday, September 8, 2014, but my cute friend Amy Andrew told me that Ben was mentioned in Elder Bishop's blog entry this week, so we will take what we can get.  I think Ben has had a super busy week this week.  Hopefully we will hear all about it on Monday, September 15, 2014.

Elder Hayden Bishop

Tuesday was the beginning of our Belgium excursion!  We woke up early that morning and I drove from Amsterdam to Brussels.  We made it to district meeting in a little city right outside of Brussels called Leuven.  We attended the district meeting there and then went on splits with the Elders in Leuven.  That is so close to the French speaking side of Belgium that we taught a restoration lesson to a French speaker and we had to bring a joint teach who could translate.  It was a KILLER first lesson though.  He was a practicing catholic, and we blew his mind haha.  We had scriptures to prove it from both the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and he loved it.  It was probably the cleanest, most thorough restoration lesson I have been a part of, and the Joint teach did a great job translating.  We stayed a little over an hour and told him we needed to go when we finished the lesson.  He didn't want us to go.  He loved talking with us and we set an appointment for that same week.  He told us we need to stay an hour and a half next time haha.  When we were leaving he told us that he was gonna go straight to to study some more.  It was a great experience, not only for me, but also for Elder Steenblik.  He is a greenie and that was the first restoration lesson he taught.  I am glad he was able to be a part of it.  We had a fun day in Leuven with the Elders there, and the best part about it...  I got to sleep on a lumpy air mattress that was half full that night!!!  Haha it was awful, but I was so tired it didn't even matter.  I fell straight asleep.

Monday, September 1, 2014

4th letter from Leuven, Belgium -- Week 10

(Elder Benjamin Steenblik and Elder Hayden Losee)
I don't think I've ever sent a picture of Elder Losee yet.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Elder Hayden Losee.

Bishop Dixon and I doin' some work at the dinner table.
(Check out Ben's Draper Temple wrist band on his right wrist.  He has worn that since the Draper Temple Celebration..... May 2009.  He had to take it off for his collarbone surgery in February, but put it back on before we left the hospital.)

This is another cool building by our apartment.

What is up America?!

This week has been full of awesome stuff.  On Thursday we had zone conference.  It was sick because all of the missionaries in our zone are awesome and  President and Sister Robinson are both amazing too.  We had a training from them and the AP's and it was actually super entertaining.  I didn't even fall asleep! It was cool to meet all of the missionaries in my zone and this week, we have a mission conference with the WHOLE mission.  All 150 missionaries and ELDER BALLARD is coming.  I'm pumped!!! 

On Saturday, we had a stake BBQ.  It was with all of the members in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium and some of the nearby Netherlands wards too.  It was super fun because I played soccer with the kids and it was pretty bad because I was getting embarrassed by these 9 year old kids.  It reminded me of my good ol' days in the Amazon playing with the villagers of Yanamono.  It was a really fun BBQ until a hurricane decided to come out of no where and then the rain started comin' DOWN.  That ended the party pretty fast, but it was fun while it lasted!

The best part of my week was when I found out that they have the Cheetah Girls in Dutch!!! Now when I get home, I can watch my Cheetah Girls in English AND in Dutch.  Oh happy day.

Once a week, we have a lesson with a less active family in the ward.  They have started coming back to church and now we are teaching their 8 year old son.  If all goes as planned, the older brother can get the priesthood and baptize his younger brother.  How sweet would that be?! They have 3 kids and they are all awesome.  All of them think that America is sick and they all want to go there someday.  They are always singing American gansta rap. 

At the end of the lesson with them, we gave them all a blessing as their school year is about to start.  They don't have a dad at home so we were able to give them blessings for the new school year.  That was the first blessing I have ever been apart of and boy was I feelin' some spirit.  They were so grateful to be able to have priesthood power in their home.  The 2 older brothers are on track to get the priesthood so they can have it all of the time. 

Today was awesome because we had a zone p day.  It had been cold and rainy weather all week and then today it was sunny all day.  We got together as a zone and played some futbal.  It was a blast.  I can't feel the lower half of my body right now, but it was worth it.  It ended when one of the sisters cut her leg on a rusty pipe on the field and had to be taken to the hospital.  I don't know how bad it was, but hopefully she will be able to have a speedy recovery. 

It was really funny because after we got back to the train station, we realized that the train was on the other side of the track and was coming in 4 minutes.  We grabbed all of our stuff and ran down the road, across the bridge, and to the train track just in time.  Then the train pulled up on the side that we just ran from, so we got all of our stuff ran down the road, across the bridge, and to the train.  We were haulin' and It was a full on sprint.  We barley got everyone on the train in time.  We sat down and were all sweaty and out of breath and were ready to go and then one of the missionaries said "Wait this train is going to Germany?" Crap!!! So, we got everyone up, got all of our stuff and were all running off the train.  Then walked down the road, across the bridge, and down to the right side to wait for the train we were supposed to be on. Folks, this is pretty much a typical day of missionary work, but that's what makes it fun and adventurous. 

Hey, so I sent out the wrong address for our apartment.  The paper I read had it wrong so here is the new and improved address. 

Kardinaal Straat 22B
Bus 03-01 3000
Leuven Belgium

It has been a very eventful week here in Leuven.  The mish is going swell.

Love you all, Elder Steenblik