Monday, January 26, 2015

7th letter from Lelystad, Nederland -- Week 31

District Almere! This was my district last transfer
Toodles to Elder Jeremy DeWitt at the train station
We've got Chef Ramsey up here.. AKA, Elder Steenblik
Heeeeeey Peeps,

So, yet another week here in the Netherlands is in the books!

On Wednesday, we had transfer day.  We got all of Elder Jeremy DeWitt´s stuff and rode to the train station. Transfer days are just insane! You should see the train stations! There are big groups of missionaries with bikes and luggage all over the place, and the train station workers basically hate us. Every time a train comes in or someone’s train arrives, everyone unloads or loads up luggage and bikes and runs through the station to the train.  Elder DeWitt left in the morning on his way to Belgium. My new companion, Elder Blake Alston arrived about an hour later.  

When I was at the train station some of the missionaries who were just in Belgium, told me that they had talked to people on the streets who had seen Elder Ryan Cockbain and me on TV.  Cool right?! I’m thinking that I will win an Oscar before Leonardo does.  Ha.  Sorry, Leo!

This is Elder Alston´s last 6 weeks of his mission, so I will be killing him off.  (That means I will be sending him home.)  I am so pumped that I get to serve with him for these 6 weeks.  He has been one of my role models in the mission.  He seems to know everything there is to know about missionary work, so I will be able to learn a lot this transfer from a seasoned Veteran. He is from South Jordan, Utah.

It has been a slow, but busy week.  Slow because we weren’t able to get any appointments with our investigators this week, but busy because we have been busy looking people up and finding.  Since basically every single door here has been knocked several times before by missionaries and knocked by Jehovah Witnesses every week, we are trying something new.  We have put the bikes in the shed for a while and are going to try walking from place to place and talking to everyone we see on the way.  It has already gone pretty well.  We have found some people by doing that, but believe me, our legs are feelin' it! Wow!!! We are both like, gimping around today because of how sore our legs are from walking around 7 hours a day.  Haha.

We started the transfer off by fasting.  We fasted that we will be able to find the people ready for our message and that we will be able to build the branch here in Lelystad.  In every prayer we say, we have been asking the Lord for a referral.  Even when we bless the food, we pray for a referral and today, we got a self-referral! Boo-Yaah.  We have also been working with the branch president on finding people that we can look up.

We got some snow this week! And by snow I mean like less than an inch, but everyone flipped out. It basically turned into a slippery-snowy-slush.  All day it was just nasty to walk in and everyone was sliding all over the place, but by night it was frozen solid.  The main form of transportation here is bikes, so it was hilarious to watch everyone trying to basically bike on an ice rink.
We made a few appointments this upcoming week that we are super excited about.  We found some cool people and got swollen legs in the process.  We had a pretty great week!

Love you all,
                                                        -Elder Steenblik

Monday, January 19, 2015

6th letter from Lelystad, Nederland -- Week 30

Elder Benjamin Steenblik
I miss water!!!!!
And here we have the local marijuana shop in Lelystad, Nederland
This is how high the ocean would be if the dam broke
Are we being fo realz right now?! You would think they would learn to travel with a buddy!!!!!
I ate raw herring! It was about as good as you can imagine! Raw and slimy!
Hallo Mensen!

You guys will never believe what happened this week!!!!! The SUN came out!!!!! For like a day and a half! I forgot what that thing looked like because it has been weeks since I have seen it.  Oh boy, was it nice.  Ah the sun! But, it was short lived and we are back to rain every single day.

Well, to be honest, not much to write about this week.  Super rough week.  Probably the hardest week yet.  All of the lessons we had rescheduled or didn’t go through, so that left us with a whole week of nothing.  We are struggling to find people to teach.  This past week, we have knocked hundreds of doors and spoken with countless people on the streets.  We have found a couple people who just want a free book, but nobody who is really interested.  We were at least able to meet with some of the less actives this past week, but the days have been long.  Full days of knocking doors in the pouring rain.

We are doing our best to try to pick the work up, but it sure isn’t easy.  I have faith that as we work with diligence, the Lord will bless us with miracles.  If you guys could pray to help us find some people to teach, that would be spectacular!

I will be getting a new companion this week on Wednesday! Elder Jeremy DeWitt is being transferred to Kortrijk, Belgium, and Elder Blake Alston will be coming here with me! I have loved serving with Elder DeWitt so much.  We have had an awesome time and learned a lot, but I am excited for the adventures that this next transfer will bring!

Haha, I am famous now!! All of the people at church on Sunday said they saw Elder Ryan Cockbain and me on TV.  I am expecting a call from Universal Studios this week.

Well, that’s basically it.  I love you all and miss you a ton, but I am loving it here! I know that this is where the Lord needs me to be.  I am learning so much and really am just having the time of my life. Thanks for all the support and prayers that are sent my way.

                                          -Elder Steenblik

Elder  Blake Alston is in the middle.  He will become Ben's companion on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.  He has been serving as AP and will spend his last transfer out in the field with Ben.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Elder Ben Steenblik and Elder Ryan Cockbain were on TV in Belgium and the Netherlands on The "Fans of Flanders" show talking about their missions.

In November 2014, Elder Ben Steenblik and Elder Ryan Cockbain were filmed in Leuven, Belgium talking about their missions.  They were on the "Fans of Flanders" TV show.

Click on blue writing above.  Then scroll to the top of the page.  Click on the black rectangle to watch.  Enjoy!!!!!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

5th letter from Lelystad, Nederland -- Week 29

Ben's balcony at his "sweet" apartment in Lelystad, Nederland
Ben's bathroom
This is where Ben's muscles come from
Ben's kitchen
Ben's family room - front room
Ben's study area
Ben's bedroom.  Where are the awesome chevron sheets we bought?
Hoi Iedereen!

We started the week off with a read thud.  Last P-day after emailing, we decided to go grocery shopping.  When we were in the store, we realized that we had forgotten our keys.  Whoopsie Daisy! We ended up calling like 5 of the ward members before we were able to track a spare set down! All in all, it went smoothly and we were only locked out for like 2 hours, but it wasn't very fun.

We had a super awesome District meeting this week.  The Zone Leaders and AP's came.  Afterwards, we all went to KFC for lunch, but it's not the same here.  It is super expensive and you don't get that much food, but it was still super delicious.

We have met some very interesting people this week.  We knocked a ton of doors, so we saw a lot of different people.  One of the doors we knocked invited us in.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and had a little lesson with him.  It was a little distracting because there was some 60 year old guy in the room reading something on the computer with nothing covering the lower half of his body.  And I mean nothing! Haha.  That was honestly one of the weirdest lessons I've ever had! We also met some guy from Suriname who we were talking to on the street.  He was yelling at us and being super hostile.  Then he was trying to have us get into his car.  It was super sketchy! We basically almost got "Taken."  We bailed out of there pretty fast.

It has been super dark, rainy, windy, and cold here.  So, just the usual!

It is hard here in Lelystad, to find new people because it is a pretty small city and they have had 4 missionaries serving here for years.  And there are a TON of Jehovah Witnesses! So, pretty much every single door we knock or person we talk to has not only talked with the missionaries before, but also with the Jehovah's multiple times.  Everyone has big ol' signs on their doors that say "GEEN JEHOVA" (No Jehovah's!) Everyone here claims to have read the whole Book of Mormon already and they say they know it's false.  It makes things interesting!

On Sunday night, we had a super successful night! We looked up 3 old investigators from a couple of years ago.  They were all home and actually happy to see us.  We scheduled appointments with all of them over the next 2 weeks.  We had about 45 minutes left before we go home and we decided to knock some doors.  They were all super weird! Like, 7 houses in a row didn't even open the door, but started yelling at us out the window.  And Sunday night is Bath Night! I was kind of ready to just call it a day and go home to my nice bubble bath, but we decided to knock one last door.  Oooooh, we've all heard the stories of "the last door" so we did it.  To sum it up, we placed a Book of Mormon and scheduled a follow up appointment this week.  Bam! How cool is that? AND my bubble bath that night was just that much better.

Well, things here are coming along.  Not too much going on right now, but we are laying the foundation.  Hopefully all of these lessons will go through, so we can get some more investigators.

Have a lekker week!
                                              -Elder Steenblik

 This email came later today......

Crap!! So, today police came knocking at the door asking for me.  To make a long story short, you have to pay to dispose of your garage here and you throw it in this shoot thing.  The dumb machine was jammed, but it ate our money THREE different times not allowing us to get rid of our trash.  We  decided to just put our trash next to the shoot.  So, basically they dug through our fetchin' garbage and found a letter of mine and tracked me down.  They gave Elder De Witt and me a 90 euro ticket.  This week I will be pulling like 60 dollars out.  Soooory!!!!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

4th letter from Lelystad, Nederland -- Week 28

Now behold, this is Elder Steenblik.  Hear him.  (Ben came up with this caption.) 
New Year's Eve in Lelystad, Netherlands
Ball so hard.  Elder Benjamin Steenblik and Elder Jeremy DeWitt

Man, it has been a crazy week here in Holland!
Happy New Year!!!!!!
This week we have been doing a ton of finding.  Knocking millions of doors and talking to people on the streets.  We made a couple of appointments for this upcoming week that we are pumped about.
On Wednesday, we had interviews with President and Sister Robinson.  Unfortunately, we did not receive i-Pads like I was hoping for haha, but it was fun to talk with them.  It was just a super chill interview and after that we had our district meeting.  Then we had to go straight home! Since the Dutch go so freaking hardcore with New Year’s Eve, we had to be in our apartments by 4 PM.  We ended up watching some church movies.  Yippeeeee! Some members made us oliebollen, which is like a fried dough that is super delicious and fattening.  I had 14 for dinner and then 5 more for breakfast the next day.  I don't know how I am not dead or just plain fat yet.  We tried to take a nap, but there were so many dang fireworks going off it was impossible! Which brings me to my next point.  HOLY SCHNIKES!!!! Fireworks here are only legal once a year so everyone just goes nuts on New Year's Eve.  It sounded like we were in a war zone!! When midnight came, this place lit up! I can't even begin to tell you how many fireworks were going off.  Words cannot describe its awesomeness.  It was literally one of the top 10 coolest things I have ever seen in my life.  And I'm not just blowin' smoke.  Like, WOW!
On New Year's Day, I went on exchanges to The Hauge with Elder Torniainen.  He comes from the mediocre land of Finland!! Ha, just kidding, Finland is awesome.  When we exchanged, we met up in Amsterdam and had lunch there.  We took one step out of the train station and were immediately punched in the face with the smell of weed.  It was bad! That whole city reeks of marijuana.  We went and got fries and they even had, get this, weed fry sauce!!! Mmmm tasty, haha.  We saw where all the red light districts were and what not.  I wonder who would win in a "worst city in the world off" Vegas, or Amsterdam? Elder Torniainen and I had an awesome day together.  We had a lot of fun and found a ton of potential investigators.
This week I had the chance to give my first priesthood blessing in Dutch! It was a little rough around the edges, but it was a super cool experience.  We have also been going through our area book and looking up some of the old investigators this week.  We are still trying to find that "golden investigator." This next week is going to be another long week of knocking doors and finding.
I hope that you all had a lovely New Year's Eve and have the best year that you could ever imagine! If you can dream it, you can do it!!!
                                        -Elder Steenblik