Saturday, April 25, 2015

8th letter from Hengelo, Netherlands -- Week 44 (A few days early)

I was trying to steal Elder Abanke's swag by using his glasses.  It didn't work!
Our beds already for our starry night
Elder Hunter England gazing at the stars

P-day is on Saturday this week because Monday is a big Dutch holiday called King's Day.

Well, we started the week off with an exchange.  Elder Abanke came here with me in Hengelo.  He is a super swagalicous piece of man from Suriname which is on the north coast of South America.  He is one of the coolest guys you will ever meet! He is so humble and just, amazing.

We were walking home and we walked past a little bar/cafe thing by our house and some people yelled "hey boys!" I thought “oh great, the drunk people are yelling at us.”  I looked and they told us to come sit with them.  We went over and they told us that they have seen us all over the Netherlands, but didn’t know what we do.  We told them how we were missionaries from our church and then they had lots of questions about the church.  There was a group of about 8 of them, so we basically started teaching them! Believe it or not, we actually had a very intellectual conversation with them.  While we were talking to them some drunk guys came outside and started yelling at us and our new homies totally stood up for us.  It was sick! Elder Abanke already speaks Dutch, but they thought that I was just the most amazing thing they have ever seen.  Haha! They couldn’t even imagine that 18 year old kids would leave America, learn Dutch and go teach for 2 years in a foreign land what they believe.  They were just in shock and had so much respect for us.  Before we left, I was talking to one of the guys about rugby and I asked him if he had ever seen “Forever Strong.”  He hadn’t, so he looked it up on his phone and even started downloading it.  We are in the Netherlands, so you can just download whatever you want legally.  Haha! Now every time we ride by the bar/cafe thing, some of the people yell "Hey Elders" and wave to us.  It’s awesome because now we have some new friends!

We also went on Splits in Enschede this week and worked with them for a while.  We found some new people and made an appointment for next week for them.  The dinner appointment we had cancelled and it was Elder Crowson's birthday, so we all went out to dinner to an Argentinian Steakhouse and got delicious burgers.

This week was fairly warm.  To show the Lord how grateful we were for the warm weather, we slept under the stars! On the 2nd floor of our house there is a little part of roof that you can walk on, so we took our mattresses out and slept outside.  It was great and I felt like I was camping.  We woke up in the morning and we were covered in frost and everything was wet.  It reminded me of trek! Overall, a very baller experience.

We met with most of our investigators this week as well. Things are going good with everyone.

Well, we just had P-day on Monday, so that is basically it.  Have a great week everyone!

                                                 --Elder Steenblik

Monday, April 20, 2015

7th letter from Hengelo, Netherlands -- Week 43

A windmill in Geesteren where some of my ancestors lived
Sign at the Steenblik farm with the date 1893
This was at the Steenblik farm

Hallo mooi mensen!

Transfers were this week, so Elder Frisby is gone! I am now with Elder Hunter England from Afton, Wyoming.  He has been out for about 20 months, so yet again, I got a seasoned veteran.  We get along super well and have already had a great week together.

There is a member in the ward named Broeder Kabel.  He goes super hard with family history and everything, so last P-Day, he took Elder Frisby and me to see some of the places where my ancestors lived.  We drove out to a town called Geesteren.  There was a big church building where many of the Steenblik’s were baptized before they converted to the church.  We then went and found the Steenblik farm.  There was still a sign on the farm that had the name “Steenblik” with the date 1893 underneath it.  That is where Fredrick Steenblik lived when he was young.  Frederick was the one who would later accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and be baptized.  He then migrated to America, and now here I am! It was super cool to see all of that.

On Elder England’s first day here, we kept busy with 3 lessons.  We also found a new investigator named Don Carlos.  We met with him in like a bar/cafe thing and it was super chill, but he was a bit coo-coo. The whole lesson he kept telling us how Jesus was racist because he wasn’t black and about how George Bush was worse than Hitler.  Oh, the people you meet on a mission.

We taught Belloh the “Plan of Salvation” again this week.  She doesn’t understand why it’s so important to know what happens in the future.  She is worried about what choices and things she has to do now and we explained to her that because we know of what happens to us when we die, that affects the decisions that we make now here on the earth.  We explained that all of us will have to stand before the Lord and be held accountable for what we did on this earth.

We met with the Torosian’s again.  They still haven’t heard from their family in Syria to see if they are alive or not.  It has been really tough on them, but they were really happy to welcome Elder England.  I truly do just love this family! They are the most amazing and loving people I have ever met.

On Sunday, I had to give a talk, in Dutch! As if giving a talk wasn’t bad enough.  Now I have to do it in a language that I don’t even speak.  Ha, but it went pretty well.  It was actually a cool experience and I guess I better get used to it because I will be doing it for the next 14 months.

Things are going good.  Hopefully the weather will start warming up this week! Our investigators are all doing great.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support.

Tot ziens!
                                                         -Elder Steenblik

Monday, April 13, 2015

6th letter from Hengelo, Netherlands -- Week 42

Temple Conference on Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Elder Ben wearing his wooden shoes
Elder Ben and some mission friends
Keukenhof Garden
Elder Ben  --  Keukenhof Garden
Keukenhof Garden
Elder Ben, Sister ? and Sister Frederickson  -- Keukenhof Garden
Elder Ben  --  Keukenhof Garden
Elder Ben taking a selfie at Keukenhof Garden
Elder Ben praying for the rest of us at Keukenhof Garden
Spidy Huntin' Steenblik on the job!

Hey Everyone!

Wow, what a week! We started the week out with temple conference.  On Monday night we traveled to the mission home to spend the night.  It was fantastic! It is more of a mission mansion.  It is the biggest house that I have been in since I’ve been here.  We got there and Sister Robinson had a nice home cooked meal waiting for us.  We were treated like kings!

In the morning we drove to the temple and had a great session! It is so cool to go through the temple in Dutch.  Afterwards, we went to the chapel to eat lunch.  It was so fun to see all of my friends in the mission that I have missed so much.  We took a coach bus to Keukenhof Garden, a huge garden with lots of tulips and everything.  It was beautiful! We stayed there for a couple of hours and then headed on our way home.  My cheeks were literally sore from smiling and laughing all day! That’s the sign of a good day.  On the way home our train got delayed 30 minutes because a homeless man decided to wizz on the train, but you know what? I can’t blame him! That’s what they get for charging you to use the bathrooms.  Just sayin’!!!!

On Wednesday we made the 2 hour trip out to Winterswijk to get Elder Frisby´s wallet.  We got it, but there was 100 Euros missing, so we traced back what happened.  He left it at the gas station in the bathroom, someone found it and took 100 euros and then put it in the mailbox of the police station.  If you ask me, that is a win! Yeah, they took some money, but at least they had the decency to return it to the police.

We had a lesson with Angela this week.  We were planning on teaching her the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” lesson, but when we got there, we kind of turned into her psychiatrists.  It was actually really needed. She opened up to us a lot because we have built up that trust with her.  Sometimes as missionaries, that is the best thing you can do is just sit back and listen.  Just be there for your investigators and support them in their trials, so that is exactly what we did and it helped her a lot.

On Wednesday I went downstairs to shower in the morning and I saw like 5 little tiny spiders hanging everywhere, so I killed them.  I didn’t think much of it until Elder Frisby came downstairs and started screaming.  He had like 4 spiders crawling on him.  Once we actually started looking at the walls and door frames, they were covered with baby spiders and spider webs!  We spent like an hour blow torching and vacuuming spiders.  What had happened is that we brought a chair in from our backyard when the zone leaders ate lunch with us and it had an egg sack on it.  While we were at our temple conference, the egg sack hatched tons of spiders!

I found out this week that Michael Mestoyan got baptized! Elder Losee and I started teaching him when we were in Leuven.  We worked with the Mestoyan’s a lot.  I am so happy for them! This is exactly what they needed and it’s also a good boost for the ward in Leuven.

We had a lesson with the Torosian’s this week and when we got there, you could just see that they were in so much pain.  They were very emotional and sad and we asked them why.  Since we can’t communicate very well, they just turned on the news and showed us.  There was a big bombing in Syria on the very street where their kids live.  There is no internet there or any form of communication, so they have no way of knowing if they are alive or not, but they showed pictures of the apartment complex where they live and it was in pieces.  It was heartbreaking to see how much pain they were in. We all got on our knees and said a prayer together.  There was a powerful, undeniable spirit there.  Please keep them in your prayers.

Well, I will be getting a new companion on Wednesday! Elder Frisby is going to Zaandam.  I feel like I just met Frisby! This past 6 weeks has flown by and I had such a great time serving with him.  My new comp will be Elder England.  He was in my District my first transfer, so it will be fun to see each other again.

Well, this kind of turned into a novel, but there was just so much great stuff that happened this week! The Church is true!

                                                     Elder Steenblik