Monday, May 25, 2015

12th and final letter from Hengelo, Netherlands -- Week 48

Steenblik, Steenblik and Steenblik

Elder Ben and KJ

Mean Muggin'  --  Elder Ben, Zuster Hansen, Zuster Huber and Elder England

To start this lovely week off, I went on an exchange in Enschede with Elder Cutler.  We were out knocking doors and a guy yelled to us that he wanted to meet with us.  We were just like, great what a miracle! We went inside his house and he told us that he was a Jehovah Witness.  For the next hour, he taught us a lesson about how much he knew about the Bible and everything. It was very interesting to say the least!

We also worked with the sisters in Apeldoorn this week! Sisters Huber and Hansen.  They are both super cool sisters.  We went to a lesson with them and there was an enormous pit bull dog that was so wild! The whole dang lesson, you were either getting a huge tongue to the face or a tail smacking your body the entire time.  On top of that, he felt the need to jump on us every so often.  My clothes have hair on them permanently.  After the lesson we went with the Sisters and ate at Subway.  Veeeery disappointed in Dutch Subway! It still had that AMAZING Subway smell, but the food was Blimpie quality. 

We had a dinner appointment with KJ this week.  He is the one who has his mission papers in waiting on his mission call.  After dinner, we went and played some basketball with him.  The weather was super good this week, so we figured we would take advantage of it! 

Yesterday we went to Opa Steenblik's house so I could say goodbye.  His son and his wife were there visiting as well, so I got to meet even more Steenblik's! 

It was a bit of a rough week.  We didn't have one lesson in our own area, but then on Sunday, we had 4 investigators come to church! The Torosian's came as well as Belloh and the guy from Somolia. Our chapel was packed to the max and there was over 70 people there.  It is a good thing that they are getting a new church building in 3 weeks! 

This Wednesday I will be transferred to Eindhoven and I've heard it is a super cool city.  Every missionary who has ever served there has loved it, so I am super excited.  My new companion will be Elder Holt.

Hengelo has been great and I have loved every minute of it! I will miss the ward so much! 

Have a great week friends and family!

                                          -Elder Steenblik 

Monday, May 18, 2015

11th letter from Hengelo, Netherlands -- Week 47

A missionary and his bike  -- Elder Ben
Elder Ben 
Hey folks!

To start the week off, on Tuesday, we got to go to school! We eat dinner with a nonmember family every week and the mom is a school teacher at a local school.  She asked us if we could come and give presentations to her classes and her students are 12-13 years old.  Man, what a humbling experience.  If you are ever learning a foreign language and start to think that it is coming along, just go give a presentation to a class of 12 year olds! Hahaha.  For the first 2 class periods we just talked about the differences of America and the Netherlands and what America is like.  They all had tons of questions and I talked a little about football.  Most of them have heard of American football, but never actually seen it. I pulled a video up on the projector of football big hits.  They thought that it was the sickest thing they have ever seen! Haha.  It was awesome! Everyone's dream here is to one day go to America.  The 13 year old girls were more than excited to meet 2 nicely dressed young men from America ;) .  For the last 2 class periods, we went to the English classes and talked with the students in English and they were 16 years old.  We weren’t allowed to preach about our religion, but they actually had lots of questions about what we believe.  We answered all of their questions and ended up basically teaching a whole restoration lesson.  Afterwards, we got to go chill in the TEACHERS LOUNGE! Every kids dream! The school felt very similar to a normal American school.  Super cool experience to go be a teacher for a day! Hopefully, years down the road when these kids meet the missionaries on the street, they will remember the 2 goofy American kids that came to their school.

We had a Zone Conference in Rotterdam on Thursday and we spent the night with the Rotterdam Elders the night before.  For the 2nd part of the conference, we got to hear from the singing elders.  There are 4 elders in our mission who travel around and put on singing devotionals.  They were so dang good!

Friday I went on an Exchange in Deventer with Elder Andrew (my beloved MTC companion) and we had a great time together.  After we ate lunch, we had to run out of the apartment to catch the bus.  We got to the bus stop and Elder Andrew just said "Crap!" He had forgotten the keys, so I told him that we could just call the zone leaders and ask them to bring the keys.  Then he said "Crap!" He had also forgotten the Phone! Haha.  We had to ask some random dude on the street to use his phone so we could call for a set of keys. 

Saturday we had our interviews with President Robinson.  Last interviews ever with him.  We will be getting our new mission President on July 1st, I think.

We met with family Torosian’s this week and they had friends visiting from Syria.  The friends spoke broken English and the Torosian’s speak broken Dutch, and then they spoke Arabic with each other.  Communicating was sure an experience!

Guess what? Elder England plays the mouth organ! (Known to some of you as the harmonica.) I make him play me some "Home on the Range" every night before we go to bed.  Very awesome!

Well, things here are going great! I will be getting transferred next Wednesday, but I won’t know where until Sunday night.

Have a fantastic week!

                              -Elder Steenblik

Monday, May 11, 2015

10th letter from Hengelo, Netherlands -- Week 46

Elder Hunter England and Elder Ben Steenblik
Opa (Jan) Steenblik, Elder England and Elder Ben at the wooden shoe factory
LeBron James is enjoying the flower pedals! (AKA, Elder Steenblik)
Elder Ben says...... Howdy!

Goede Daaaag,

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there, especially my lovely mother! It was awesome to be able to talk with her yesterday.  Already my 2nd Skype! I feel like the Christmas Skype was just last week! Time flies when you’re a missionary… maybe not for the moms, though.

This week we met with Jan Steenblik again! I call him Opa (grandpa) Steenblik.  We ate lunch with him and his girlfriend and then they took us to a klompen factory.  Klompen are those Dutch wooden shoes. It was super cool! We got to see how they were made and we got some cool souvenirs.  Then we all went out for ice cream afterwards.  They asked us if they could have a Book of Mormon, so we gladly gave them one.  They kept trying to pay us for it! Haha.  His girlfriend has all sorts of questions for us and she said that we are the first people who have ever been able to give her answers to her questions.

We had a lesson with Anja on Wednesday night that was amazing and the Enschede Elders came along with us.  She is trying really hard to read the Book of Mormon not as a text book and find how she can apply the things in it into her own life.  One thing I have been doing every day when I have a personal study is making a one sentence summary of something I learned that I can apply that day.  We invited her to do that and she loved the idea.  She also wants to meet with us every week and study together. At the end of the lesson, we all got on our knees and said a prayer and she asked God when she needs to be baptized.  The spirit was super strong and everyone in the room felt it.

On Thursday night, I got a call from President Robinson and he asked if I could come to the Mission Leader Council the next day.  On Thursday night, Elder England went to Enschede to work with them for the day and I went with the Zone Leaders to Apeldoorn.  On Friday morning we made the road trip out to the west coast.  Luckily the Netherlands is tiny, so it only took about 2 hours.  It was a super cool meeting! We got a really good breakfast and lunch, and all of the talks given were fantastic.  President and the AP's gave trainings on what we will be training on next transfer.  I also got to see some friends that I haven’t seen in months! I am super grateful that I got to go.

Afterwards, we went to The Hauge to go to a dinner appointment with the Romig’s.  They are a senior couple in our mission.  There were 6 other missionaries there as well, so it was just a party! By the time we got back on Friday night, it was already 10 PM, so I just spent the night in Apeldoorn again.  We finally got back on Saturday, and we had District Leader Council.  It was a week full of travel and meetings, but I learned a ton from all of it and had a blast as well.

Yesterday at church a random guy walked in, so we went up and talked to him.  He met the sister missionaries at some time in his life on the street and he felt like he should go to church on Sunday.  He found the address and came! So, that was the miracle of the week! We are going to start teaching him soon.

This week we will be traveling to Rotterdam for a Zone Conference, but we should at least have some more time to do some finding and teaching in our own area.  I hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day!


-Elder Steenblik

Monday, May 4, 2015

9th letter from Hengelo, Netherlands -- Week 45

Elder Ben and Opa (Jan) Steenblik
Elder Ben at Jan Steenblik's house
The "Orange Boyz" Our awesome district

This was our booth -- Elder Cutler, Elder Steenblik and Elder Da Silva
Elder Cutler and Elder Ben  (A selfie, of a selfie.  Mind blowing! Thanks to my freakishly long arms!)
Hey Errbody!

So it has been a long week since P-day was last Saturday, but it was a great week!

On Saturday President and Sister Robinson were in Hengelo.  They called us up and asked us if we wanted to go to dinner with them, so we went to some super fancy restaurant.  We got a nice salmon soup appetizer and then a great big ribeye steak imported from America! Best steak I have had here. President came through big!

Monday was King’s Day and it’s a HUGE holiday here.  It is basically a nation-wide garage sale.  Every city is just full of booths selling stuff and people just take blankets and set out all of their old junk for people to buy.  Our whole district went to Enschede and we rented a booth and gave away Books of Mormon and other stuff.  We had a ton of success! We gave away a ton of Books of Mormon in all sorts of languages and we found some super solid people for the Enschede Elders.  It was a super fun day because it was just a party all day and awesome because EVERYONE wears orange that day.  There was music blasting throughout the city all day, but if I heard one more Pitbull song or the song “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, I was going to kill someone! Haha.  My ears were literally ringing all night because of the constant loud music for 9 hours straight.  Great day!

I went on an exchange with Elder Da Silva this week and he is from Brazil.  I was teaching him how to throw a football and it was going great and he was starting to get a nice tight spiral.  I threw it to him and he caught it, but it hurt his finger.  About 30 seconds later his finger was swollen, purple, and crooked! His pinky finger is broken! Ah man, I feel terrible!! I was teaching him how to throw, but skipped the “how to catch it” part.  Now he has to go to the hospital and get that taken care of.  I feel like a terrible human being!

This week we looked up a long lost cousin of mine! He lives in Borne which is a city right next to Hengelo.  His name is Jan Steenblik and we went to his house to meet him.  He was super happy to meet me and invited us both inside.  We talked for a while and he showed us all sorts of old pictures and letters from the Steenblik family.  Jan is 74 years old and his wife died about 8 years ago.  He has a girlfriend who was there as well.  They asked us if we wanted to stay for dinner, so we did! We ate with them and got to know each other.  They had lots of questions about the gospel and about us, so it was really great.  It was super cool to be able to talk to a relative of mine in his native language.  The native language of the Steenblik’s!

We taught Belloh this week about faith and repentance.  She came to church again yesterday, so things are moving along with her.

Anja changed her baptismal date.  We have an appointment with her on Wednesday to talk about it more.  She came to church yesterday and bore her testimony of the gospel.  Hopefully on Wednesday we can pick a new baptismal date with her!

We also found a cool new investigator this week.  Her name is Manuela.  She is Italian, but has been here for about 11 years, so there is a little bit of a language barrier but she speaks enough Dutch to communicate.  She is a Christian woman who loves Jesus and she met the missionaries years ago in Italy.  We are really excited to start teaching her.

It has been a solid week with all of our investigators and also with King’s Day.  We hope to keep busy this week as well!

Have a great week peeps.

                                      -Elder Steenblik