Monday, December 28, 2015

13th letter from Den Haag, Netherlands -- Week 79

Erfan and I at the Christmas service
At the refugee camp playing with object from outer space
Christmas Skype with Elder Steenblik.  Ben has ALWAYS picked  his fingernails and for our Christmas present, he grew them out.  He will use nail clippers for the first time at age 20.

Yo Peeps,

I hope that you all had an awesome Christmas! We sure had a great one here.

To start the week out we looked up a less active woman named Stephanie from Peru.  We went to her house and she was home and let us in.  She is super awesome! Her husband is a non-member and she is pregnant and can’t ride a bike, so she can’t come to church.  She invited us back for a Peruvian dinner! I have been getting so much Peruvian food on my mission.  It is great!

On Christmas Eve we ate with the Prosman family.  They are one of the most amazing families that I have ever met! Every night before they eat dinner they read a chapter in the Book of Mormon together.  They are a super sick family and we had an awesome Christmas Eve together.  They have some family traditions that we did with them and they performed some Christmas songs.

On Christmas there was a music service in the church and it was really successful.  A lot of non-members came and we had 4 of our investigators that came and they loved it.  Everyone enjoyed the music and the Christmas spirit.  After that, I got to Skype home! That was nice to see my mama.  We ate dinner at the bishop's house with all 8 missionaries which was a partay.

My favorite thing about this country hands down is that they have a 2nd Christmas on the 26th.  On 2nd Christmas, we went up to a city called Wassenar and went to a refugee camp.  We served them hot chocolate and then played soccer with them.  They just took all of the American missionaries to school! Haha, it was awesome.  A couple of fights almost broke out and they were all yelling at each other in Arabic the whole time.  Only a few of the guys spoke a tiny bit of English.  We brought a football with us and were teaching them how to throw it.  They looked at it like it was an object from outer space! They had never seen a football before.  It was really fun playing with them, even though they just destroyed us.

We didn’t have a white Christmas.  It was 60 degrees!

The members here are just awesome.  On both Christmas and 2nd Christmas, we had a breakfast, lunch and dinner appointment.  They are taking good care of us!

We continue to have investigators drop us because of the stuff they read online.  It is so sad how much anti stuff is online.  Satan is working really hard on misleading people and it is very sad to see.  It is sure nice to know that everyone, whether it be in this life or the next, will have the chance to hear the fullness of the gospel and choose to accept it or not.

This was for sure one of the best Christmases of my life.  It was a privilege to have one last Christmas in the mission field.  The church is true and Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  No matter what the internet says!

Love you all.  Happy New Year!

                                  -Elder Steenblik

Monday, December 21, 2015

12th letter from Den Haag, Netherlands -- Week 78

Zuster Fredrickson from my MTC group went home this week
Haha... Last photo of Elder B and me..... Saying goodbye
Den Haag, Netherlands

Hey Guys,

Thank you so much for all of the Birthday wishes! It was a great birthday.  We ate at a members house and had a little birthday party with cake and candles and what not.  It was pretty legit.

Well, Elder B is gone! He left to Belgium on Wednesday.  My new companion is Elder Clukey and he is awesome! It is weird to back to an American companion after 4 1/2 months! I can actually talk about sports and awesome American things with him.  I have sure missed that.

This week we met with Arnold again and helped him clean his house.  His hoarding problem has gotten so out of hand that the government is kicking him out of his house.  It truly is the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen.  Hundreds of boxes of broken glass, pieces of wood, and old papers.  The backyard is literally just a mountain of garbage.  We helped him clean, but didn’t even begin to make the slightest dent in it.

Boniface is doing awesome.  We had 2 lessons with him this week and he is making progress.  He just needs to come to church! He always works super late on Saturday nights so doesn’t want to come to church on Sunday mornings.

 Erfan is doing great as well.  She has already read the whole Persian Farsi Book of Mormon.  The whole book isn’t translated into Farsi yet, but a solid chunk.  Haha, she even made a couple of grammatical corrections.  Maybe she will help translate the whole book into Farsi one day!

On Saturday there was a baptismal service in Den Haag and 2 sisters got baptized.  It was an awesome service and there were a ton of ward members there to support them.

Both Elder Clukey and I have been sick this week.  Not stay home in bed sick, but coughing and runny noses sick.  It is spreading around this country like a wild fire! But the weather has been amazing the past couple of weeks! I mean, we still have to wear coats but it is not freezing cold with rainy wind like it usually is.  As much as I would love a white Christmas, I think I would be just fine if it stays dry and warm!

I am super pumped for Christmas this week.  It is a privilege to be able to spend another Christmas here doing the Lords work and helping others.  Christmastime in the mission field is just the best.

Have a great Christmas everybody!

                - Elder Steenblik

Monday, December 14, 2015

11th letter from Den Haag, Netherlands -- Week 77 Happy 20th Birthday Elder Ben!!!!!!

Elder Steenblik and Elder B
Zuster Begazo, Elder B and Elder Steenblik
And I thought Smart cars were bad!!

Hey Everybody,

Thank you all so much for all of the birthday wishes!

We have had a pretty crazy week traveling all over the place.  It was definitely a week of lots of driving.  I am so tired of driving! For the past 4 1/2 months, I haven’t had a companion who could drive.  My lower back is startin to feel it.

We had a Zone Conference this week in Zoetemeer.  I just have to say how awesome President and Sister Bunnell are.  I have never met 2 more loving people than them!

We saw some success this week in finding new people.  One woman is named Claudia and we had a super solid lesson with her.  She is from Suriname but has lived here her whole life, and even lived in Florida for a little while.  She is a super sincere woman and was very happy to read the Book of Mormon and pray about what we shared.

There was a Christmas concert this week that the singing Elders put on.  It was outstanding and there were tons of people who attended.  The chapel was nearly full and the Spirit was very strong.  I got to see some members from some of my old cities which was super fun.

On Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference in Haarlem.  On Saturday night we drove home and there was some road work on the road we needed to take to get home.  At 10:30 PM we ended up in Amsterdam.  Then our GPS rerouted and took us through a huge dark creepy forest! Haha.  I can’t believe that we are even alive, but it was kind of nice seeing a forest though.  I have missed the great outdoors.  You don’t have much of that in this country.

We are still working on helping our investigators make progress.  We will have a great lesson and they are super into it and feel the Spirit really strongly, and are really excited to read the Book of Mormon and learn more.  Then we go the next week and they haven’t even touched the book or done anything! People just get so busy with life and the holidays and forget everything.

We had a lesson this week with an investigator who is an opera singer and he was trying to teach me how to sing! He would sing something and I would try to match it and then he would give me feedback and just destroy me haha.  Some people are just not meant to sing.  Me being one of them!

Elder B will be getting transferred this week down to Belgium.  My new companion will be Elder Clukey! I don’t know him too well but I'm sure he is great.

Happy Holidays peeps.

                         -Elder Stonecan
This is Elder Mark Clukey from  East Corinth, Maine.  He will become companions with Ben on Wednesday, 12-16-15