Monday, December 29, 2014

3rd letter from Lelystad, Nederland -- Week 27

Just me practicing for the upcoming X-Games.  If you zoom in really close on the front tire, you can see my sick air!
Just doin' some pondering.
Again, gazing yonder!!
This is the meal that we had for our 2 Christmases.  It is called "gourmet."  Everyone gets their own little grill/wok and you just cook it up.  It's super delicious!!
Hoi Dames en Heren

Wow! What an amazing Christmas week we had!!

This past week has been a little slower on the missionary work with Christmas and all of our dinner and lunch appointments with people, but we have still seen a  ton of miracles.  We had a referral in the next city over this week, which we were super pumped about.  We took the train out there and went to look him up.  We took the bus, but didn't know which bus number or what stop.  We were super lost and didn't even know what direction we should walk, so we just picked a direction and started walking.  There was nobody outside, but we deceided that we were going to talk to every person that we saw.  Some woman was on a bike and I deceided to flag her down and ask her for directions.  She had no idea, BUT she knew us.  She had met with the missionaries 6 years ago and even had her Book of Mormon at home! We scheduled a lesson with her, but the problem was we still had no idea where we were supposed to go.  Again, we just started walking. We walked for like 20 minutes and someway and somehow, we just happened to stumble upon it.  Out of the whole city we were looking for one street.  We had NO IDEA where the heck it was, but we found it! Man, the Lord truly does guide our steps.  The guy was just about to leave for a vacation to Belgium, but we scheduled a lesson with him in the New Year.  He was super positive and interested in Christ.

We had an AMAZING Christmas.  We had a lunch and dinner appointment with some of the families in the branch.  I got to Skype home too! It was super weird, but I loved it.  We had an awesome 2nd Christmas too! Yup, that's a thing here, a 2nd Christmas, so we got 2 Christmases.  On our 2nd Christmas, we went caroling as a Zone in The Hague.  The first 10 minutes was the most akward thing I have ever seen, but after we got warmed up, it went really well.  People loved it! We had a crowd watching and everyone was taking pictures of us.  Spreadin' Christmas cheer.... it's what I do! We had another awesome dinner appointment that night.  Perhaps one of my favorite parts of my Christmases, is that we got to watch an animated movie!!! Oooooohhhhh man! We watched "Surfs Up" and "The Incredibles."  I can't even begin to tell you how nice it was to take my shoes off, recline back and just relax and watch a movie.  It was heavenly!

On Saturday,  it was back to work.  There is like an epidemic going around the Netherlands. Everyone is sick, including Elder DeWitt and I, but we are trying to fight through it.

We got a new investigator this week named Weronika.  She is an old woman who just loves her bible. She is super open and said we are always welcome to come over, so we are going to start teaching her in the New Year.

I had the sickest dream last night.  I was on the street talking to people about church and Christ and all that jazz.  And who do I cross? An old Bob Marley out walking his dog.   I even made an appointment with him.  I mean, I'm no dream interpreter, but I'm pretty sure that means big things are comin'!

Well, 1 Christmas away from home down, 1 to go.  I loved it so much! Christmas out here really shows you the real meaning of Christmas.  I will never forget Christmas in the mission field.  
I hope that you all had a killer week with Christmas and everything.
 I love you all!
 Tot ziens

                                                         -Elder Steenblik

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from Lelystad, Netherlands!!!! -- December 25, 2014 -- Today is Elder Steenblik's 6 month mark!!!!!

Ben wishes everyone a Merry Christmas!!!!!  He sends his love and wants to thank everyone for their support.  (It was the absolute BEST hearing his laugh and he still has his FUNNY sense of humor.)

Monday, December 22, 2014

2nd letter from Lelystad, Nederland -- Week 26

Doooooouble Raaaaaainbow!!!! Whoooooa!!!!!!!!!!!
My boy, Elder DeWitt and me just spreadin' some of that Christmas Cheer.  (Thanks, Auntie Shauna for the hats and scarves.)
Elder Benjamin Steenblik and Elder Jeremy DeWitt.  We were biking and saw a pirate ship.  Naturally, we had to do the "Titanic and I'm "Flying Jack."
Goedemiddag allemaal!

It's almost Christmas and I've almost been gone 6 months! Holy Toledo! Wow, my mission is almost 1/4 over.  It's depressing how time flies out in the mission field! On Christmas Day, it will be my 6 month mark.

Oh man, it is so nice to be in the Netherlands where I can actually understand what some of the people are saying! I don't really miss the Flemish language in Belgium.  Dutch sounds a lot more nasty, but it is so much easier to understand! Plus, I honestly like the gross sounding language now.

On Tuesday, this week I was on exchanges in Hilversum and it was really fun.  I can't believe that I am alive! The bike that I used was horrible. It was the size of a kids bike, the steering was always turned way to the left, the seat was pointed nearly straight up, it made horrible noises, and didn't have any brakes.  But the Lord blessed me because I am still alive.  We taught a guy there about the law of chastity which is always a good time.  It went super well and we had lots of Bible scriptures to back it up.  It was a solid lesson.  That night, we went on splits with 2 of the ward members there.  I was basically in a city I had never been to, with a person I have never met and visited another person who I have never seen in my life.  It was a little bit weird, but we had a good visit with the less active member.

We went mini golfing this week! There is a guy in our ward named Christian who comes with us on joint teaches all of the time and it was his birthday.  We went to a glow in the dark mini golf place and golfed it up.

We had our Zone training this past week as well.  We talked a lot about effective planning and how to use our time most wisely.  Sounds pretty boring, but it was actually super good and I learned a ton. The best part was that it didn't take us 6 hours to get home like it did in Belgium!

We also went on a lot of joint teaches with the sisters this past week.  They are both awesome and I learn so much from them every time we go on a joint teach with them.

A wise man once said, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." -Buddy the Elf.  So, on Saturday night, we went caroling! Yes, it was the sisters idea, but it was super fun. We rode around to a ton of less active members and some of our investigators.  We sang to them and gave them cookies.  Yes, the sisters made the cookies! It poured rain on us, so we were all soaking wet! Haha.  All the people we went to were super grateful for us stopping by and wishing them a Merry Christmas.

Elder DeWitt and I had a really cool experience this week.  Our investigator pool is close to nothing and we basically have 2 solid investigators and other than that, nothing.  We did a lot of finding this week.  It can be exhausting to go out knocking doors and talking to people all day.  And kind of scary too because a lot of the time, we don't know what the heck the people are saying to us! We knocked on the door of a guy and he actually let us talk to him before slamming the door, like most other people do.  We stood at his door for like 10 minutes and talked to him.  We answered his questions and taught him the truth about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  There wasn't a doubt in my mind that the Lord helped us with that one.  The Lord promises that if we open our mouths and speak to people, He will bless us with his words in the very moment that we need it.

 As missionaries, we show our faith by going and talking to the people, trusting that the Lord will bless us with the language and to say what He would have us say.  I will be honest, sometimes having to go out and find people stinks.  We talk to so many people every day and nobody is interested.  It can be very discouraging.   Sometimes I just feel like a typical door to door salesman.  So many people think that we are there to sell them our religion or to convince them that their religion is wrong. We are there to invite them to come closer to Christ and to help them achieve the fullest measure of joy in this life and more importantly, in the life to come.  This next week will be another week full of finding new people to teach.  Finding people who have been prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel.

It is so weird to think that Christmas is in a couple of days!!! Wow!! This might be my first Christmas without snow! It doesn't even feel like Christmas without snow.  Don't get me wrong, it is freaking cold here, but it just rains and rains.  I've got my fingers crossed for a white Christmas!!!

Happy holidays everyone! I'm sad I can't be home, but there is nowhere else in the world that I would rather be than here in the mission field in the Netherlands! I am learning so much about Jesus Christ and His amazing example.  It has already been an awesome holiday season and I am sure that this week will be even better.

 I love you all!!!
                                                -Elder Am Stone Can (That's what my name translates to)

Monday, December 15, 2014

1st letter from Lelystad, Nederland -- Week 25

Some random ship we saw.  (Lelystad, Nederland)
Elder Benjamin Steenblik, just being BEN!!
This is the Verschuure family.  They were my last dinner appointment in Leuven, Belgium.  (Elder Ryan Cockbain, Verschuure girls and Elder Benjamin Steenblik)

 Ben's "Genk" district.  He loves them a lot and will miss them terribly.

Guuuuuess who is in Nederland? This guy!!

Well, transfer day was very uneventful, which is always a good thing.  I got here safe and sound and in one piece.  And so far, I don't think I forgot anything.  I was super sad to leave Belgium.  I loved it so much, but Nederland is super cool.  The first thing that I did when I got here is take a big drink of tap water! It was awesome because you can't do that in Belgium.  (Unless you don't want to have children.)

My new companion is Elder Jeremy DeWitt.  He is super cool and we get along really well.  He is an awesome missionary! We are both still learning the language, so it has been a little crazy talking with people.  Luckily EVERYONE here speaks English, so if you don't  know a word, you can just ask.  We have an awesome apartment here in Lelystad.  It is super big and really nice! It is right on the centrum, and get this, I can actually walk around it without hitting my head on the ceiling! Yeah baby!!

There is a set of sister missionaries who serve in Lelystad too.  We go on joint teaches with them sometimes and have dinner appointments together.

I still cannot find my way around this place to save my life  There are big long bike paths that run through neighborhoods that cars aren't allowed to drive on, and then actual roads.  There are so many bikers here it's not even funny! It's unreal!

We had some cool lessons this past week and I got to meet some of the members.  We had a lesson on Thursday night with 2 of our investigators, and it was super cool.  We decided that we weren't going to give them a normal lesson and were going to teach what they needed to hear.  It was really nice because we weren't focused on covering all of the points in a certain lesson. We just said what we felt and what the spirit directed.  We taught about our life on earth and about making covenants.  It was a solid lesson.

Unfortunately, we didn't have church on Sunday, so I didn't get to meet all of the members.  We had Stake Conference which super fun.  There was a session on Saturday night that we went to in Haarlem.  Afterwards, we spent the night with the Haarlem Elders and 2 other Elders as well.  Elder Billy Shaw from my MTC group serves in Haarlem and we had a blast! I haven't seen him in forever because I have been way down in Belgium.  We had 6 beds that we basically just threw into a huge pile in the living room.  Everyone just found a little piece of bed to sleep on.  We were up late talking and just having a good time.

On Sunday, we had another session of stake conference in who knows where.  It was a rough morning.  Basically, everything that could go wrong, did.  A huge series of events led up to us missing our bus and trains and everything.  LONG story short, we got stranded and just had to call the Zone Leaders to come pick us up.  Haha, whoops! It was a super cool stake conference.  When I was there, some guy came and talked to me and he saw my name was Steenblik and he was super surprised! He said that his father and his father's family were baptized by another Elder Steenblik many years go.  He couldn't remember the first name, but he did remember Steenblik.  I thought that was super awesome!

Well, so far I have loved the Netherlands and my new companion! Thanks for all of the Birthday wishes from everyone! I had an awesome birthday.

 Tooooot ziens. 
Elder Steenblik

Monday, December 8, 2014

18th and final letter from Leuven, Belgium -- Week 24

Ben is going to miss these beautiful buildings in Leuven.  He's going to Lelystad where it's flat and no buildings.  He is going from one of the oldest cities in his mission to one of the newest.
Leuven is decked out and ready for Christmas!!!!!
Koen, Elder Benjamin Steenblik and Hans.  Koen is one of my homies.  He served his mission in England and joint teaches with us a lot.  (Koen and Hans are brothers) 
Heeeeey Yo,

Man, it has been an amazing week! We saw so much success this past week.

First off, we got an amazing referral!!!! It was a self referral from a guy and his wife and they have a baby together.  They have both been searching for the truth and found the church online and referred themselves to have a missionary visit.  We had a lesson with them and they are super positive! They committed to read and pray together this week.  At the end of the lesson, they even said that they felt something special when we were teaching them.

Unfortunately, Serre' was sick this week, so we couldn't have a lesson with her, but we had an awesome lesson with Bea.  We did a family home evening for her and her daughters.  We gave a spiritual message, played a board game and then ate brownies that Elder Cockbain and I made.  We all had a good time together.  This past week, they read Alma 32 as a family.  They also said family prayers! Bea didn't have to work this week, so she was able to come to church with her daughters for the first time.  They fit right in and everyone was really nice and welcoming to them.

The weather here is just the worst.  It has been constant rain for like a straight week now.  On Wednesday, I was on exchanges in Antwerpen with Elder Dallin Bosco, son of Robbie Bosco (some famous BYU player, I don't know) and it was super nice because we had a car.  I forgot how nice it is to be able to get in a car and crank up the heat.  Count your many blessings ladies and gents!

Now, it is time for the miracle of the week! On Sunday, during sacrament meeting, some random woman we had never seen walked in.  At the end of sacrament, we went and talked to her.  It turns out that she talked with some missionaries on the street about 8 months ago.  She never got lessons from them or anything, but she remembered talking to them for a brief moment.  On Sunday, for whatever reason, she just felt like she needed to come to church.  We scheduled an appointment with her for this week.  How crazy is that?!

There was also, Sinterklaas this past week.  That is where the kids put their shoes out on December 5th and Sinterklaas leaves gifts for them.  It is basically the Belgian/Dutch version of Christmas.  That is where they get all of their big presents, on December 6th.  Then on December 25th, they do little gifts.

I am getting transferred!!!! We have transfers on Wednesday, and I am going to Lelystad, Nederland.  That should be AWESOME!!!! I am a bit nervous though because my new companion, Elder Jeremy DeWitt has been out less than me.  (He arrived to the mission field on September 18, 2014)  Uh-Oh!!!!!!! I have always had a big/strong/trusty comp to look to when I don't know what someone said or when I don't know what the heck is going on.  This should be interesting!!

I am definitely sad to leave Leuven.  I have come to love the members in the ward and all of our investigators.  Plus, this past week has been the most successful week I have had on my whole mission.  Our investigators are starting to keep commitments and to progress and now I'm leaving as all the fun is about to begin.  I am super excited to see what adventures Lelystad will bring.  I will miss this place a lot.  The members are awesome!!!! There is a little 4 year old girl who is the cutest thing I have ever seen.  She always comes up to me and gives my knees a great big hug and says, "lk hou van jouw, Elder Steenblik."  (I love you.)  Presh!!!!!!! She doesn't speak any English, but knows every word to "Let it Go."  Haha, I got her to sing it for me.

Well, I am finally going to get to go to my fatherland! I literally know nothing about Lelystad or about my new companion, but I am super pumped.

Leuven, its been real.  Peeeeeeace!!!!!!

Love you all,

Elder Steenblik

Elder Jeremy DeWitt will be Ben's new companion on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ben had to write something for our ward party on Saturday, December 13, 2014 and this is what he turned in.  (Willow Canyon 5th Ward  --  East Sandy Stake)

My favorite scripture about Christ, is Alma 7:11.  "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people."

I like this scripture because it teaches us so much about the Atonement in one short verse.  Most of the time when we think about the Atonement, we just think of Christ suffering for our sins, but he did more than that.  He not only suffered for our sins, but as this verse says, for our pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind, even our pains and sicknesses.

That means that he has literally been through every sorrow that we have ever had, every temptation, every pain.  So, when we are going through a trial and we feel that nobody understands what we are going through, he does.  He has been through that very thing.  We can turn to him for peace and comfort knowing that he has felt everything and been through everything that we have.

Christmas here in the Netherlands and Belgium is pretty crazy.  They go hardcore! On the 5th and 6th of December, they have Sinterklaas.  The kids put their shoes out and Sinterklaas and his black helper, Zwarte Piet leave gifts.  This is basically Christmas for them.  They get all of their big presents on December 6th.  Then they have the normal Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Get this...... a 2nd Christmas on the 25th.  I could get used to that!!!

Well, I love you all Willow Canyon 5th ward.  I miss yallz and hope you have a Merry Christmas season.  Dooei

Elder Blink Van Steen

Monday, December 1, 2014

17th letter from Leuven, Belgium -- Week 23

Elder Benjamin Steenblik and Elder Ryan Cockbain
Here is my lovely Thanksgiving feast.  I was actually super pumped to have Burger King.  They only have them in the Netherlands.

Belgium at night

Goedendag Dames en Heren

Happy Thanksgiving folks! I hope you all had a wonderful turkey meal while watching some American football last week.

Things here are coming along and we have had a pretty successful week.  We had a really good lesson with a new investigator named Serrè.  We taught her about the Restoration and it went really well.  She read Alma 32 and then we challenged her to pray about it.  She said that she will be baptized when she gets an answer that it is true.  She is super positive about the gospel and has been looking for the truth.  About a month ago, she was going through her books at her house and she saw one about prophets.  She pulled it out because she was really interested in learning about prophets and Christ.  Then, we came knocking on her door! Want to hear a spooky story? After finding that book, she changed her computer password to prophet363, for whatever reason.  Then, we go to her house and are teaching her about prophets and guess what page number we assigned her to read? 363.  Bam!!!! Now, there's a sign that we are legit.

We had a Zone Conference in the Netherlands on Thursday.  We spent the night in the Netherlands with Elder Parr, my MTC companion.  His comp is Asian, so of course we made him make some delicious Asian food for us.  They don't have any extra beds in their apartment and only 1 couch, so I literally slept on the hard wood floor with a bed sheet as my blanket.  It was the worst! Luckily, as missionaries you are always tired, so I was at least able to get some sleep.

Elder Moriera from the 70 was there.  He is from Portugal and he is the boss! He is super hilarious! President and Sister Robinson also spoke.  They spoke about how when we increase our obedience, we also increase our faith and our love for those we teach and for the word.  They also talked a lot about working with the ward members.  It was a super fun conference and I got to see a lot missionaries that used to be in my zone and catch up.  I always love Zone Conferences! On the way back home, we were on a train with all of the other Belgian missionaries, so it wasn't too bad.  We quoted movies the whole ride home and it made it go a lot faster.  It was Thanksgiving, so I had a good feast in the train station.  Double Whopper wif fries! Boo Yaah!!!

On Friday, we finished dinner and didn't have anything planned and I got a feeling that we should go look up a woman named Grace.  I haven't seen Grace since my 1st week here.  The contact was lost and we could never find her home.  We rode down to her house and she was actually home. She lost her phone and got a new number, so that's why we couldn't get a hold of her.  She is a super Christlike woman.  She is from Ghana and is one of them "Praise Jesus" Christians, haha and I love it!! We had a good little meeting with her, shared a scripture and gave her a new Book of Mormon.  She invited us back tonight for her daughter's birthday partaaay.  I am super excited that we have gotten contact back with Grace.  At the end of our lesson, she asked us with a very concerned look on her face, "Wait, do Mormons celebrate Christmas?" I was just like, heck yeah we  do! And she just let out a big sigh of relief.

I finished the Book of Mormon for the 8th time this past week.  I challenge people every single day to read and pray about this book, so I figured that I would do the same when I finished.  I already know that it is true, but when I finished, I took on Moroni's promise and prayed to know if it was true. And let me tell ya, it is! So, this week, I challenge all of you reading this email to do the same.  Even if you are 90 years old and have been a member since you were 8, pray and ask Heavenly Father if it is true! That is my challenge for you all this week.

Break the wrist, walk away.

Love you all,
                                             -Elder Steenblik