Sunday, 11 March 2018

Week 62: Schaatsen in Alkmaar

Week was ok. It was very very cold. Every time we talked with someone we knew, like members or investigators this week I always said something like “it's cold isn't it?" and then they always responded well you are used to it right cause you are from Canada! Well ya, but it still is cold outside. Also, it is way more humid here which makes a difference. I also have very thin gloves but still managed to not freeze my hands off.

We had exchanges this week which was nice. They both came to Alkmaar which means that we had to divide up our appointments. Elder Crow took the day app and we took the dinner app. We also had the car though so we decided to use it to look up all the referrals we had. That was nice cause we would get out for like 15-20 mins to look up the referral and then knock around it for a bit. Sadly, none of the referrals were home, however we got 2 new investigators from working in the area. That was nice. I was working with Elder Humphrey from New Mexico so he was especially cold.  It was really nice to be able to head back to the car to warm up. We were so thankful we weren't out the entire day.  Well we had a nice dinner app then came home. The other elders were also just getting home. They had a rough day, Elder Grondel and Elder Crow worked outside the entire day. They found 3 investigators so that's cool but at one point they were biking and Elder Grondel stops and told Elder Crow that he was going to puke cause his hands were so cold. Elder Crow said his prayers while riding his bike were something like this “please don't let me have permanent damage to my skin!" So ya it was cold here. It only snowed the last day, on Saturday I think. That was really cool but then yesterday and today got super warm and it is geweldig!!! There is a 14 degree difference between today and 2 days ago, crazy. Oh probably the coolest thing that came cause of the cold is that for the first time since 2012 the kanaals are frozen and people are outside skating on the kanaals! Super cool. We went out there and walked on them. I wanted to skate so bad. I took lots of pics and videos though. So pretty.

During the week we helped a member cut down a bunch, like a lot, of bamboo stalks in her backyard. That was a fun project. Next time we go over she wants us to build a fence out of them. We had a really good appointment with an investigator named I. We watched the restoration DVD cause he had some questions about Jospeh Smith. He said it was moving and that he felt tears that wanted to come out but they just didn't. We told him that was the Spirit. It was just a really sweet moment. He is super cool guy.

Other fun things is that our heating system decided to stop working this week which was the coldest in years.  We called the mission and they said to go buy new electric heaters. So we set out in the morning to go to the store and the bridge was down for bikers, so we had to take a ferry to get across a 50 foot kanaal. Super cool actually. I took pics. Then we bought the heaters and had the task of biking home with them. It was worth it cause now we don’t have to freeze in and out of our apartment. So we had these two heaters going then all of the sudden they both stopped. We realized we killed the power to our house. Then our neighbour knocks on our door and his power was also out haha. oooops. He said he will fix it and we had to leave, when we came back it was all fixed so that was nice. It was in general a good week and this next one will be great cause it will be warmer!!! And we have zone training and also an exchange to Amsterdam.

That is all,
Elder Fernhout

1.  How was the weather this week?  Was it hard getting around?
2.  Did you have zone conference or is that this next week?  (If you had it this week, did you get my parcel?)
3.  How was the teaching this week?
4.  Do you have any interesting topics or articles you are studying to pass along?
5.  Where did you travel to this week?
6.  Did you have any zone or district activities?
7.  How was church?

1. awful, yes it was freezing.  I wore 3 layers of shirts and a sweater and my coat and I was still cold. I also had 3 pairs pants on…
2. next week.
3. great.
4. I am doing a challenge where I go to Jesus Christ in the topical guide and look up every reference and underline it. So that’s a big job but it is great so far, I am learning lots.
5. Den Helder and numerous little dorpjes to visit referrals. Not much more.
6. just district meeting which was our best one yet I would say!
7. great. I was asked to give a talk in 2 weeks.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Week 61: Wij Fietsten naar Amsterdam!!!

Well last week on  pday we did indeed bike to Amsterdam from Alkmaar. It wasn't actually very nice weather at all.  It was rainy and a bit windy too. Of course it was against us the entire way. Well we set out anyway, without a map, however we knew that the bike paths are clearly marked and we would be fine.  So we left and eventually we were biking through the countryside going from one dorpje to the next. It was very pretty and nice. We went to Zaandam and when we got there we went to the elders apartment to surprise them. They were so confused to see us with our bikes haha. We chilled with them a bit and then left to Amsterdam centraal. We wanted to bike to the middle so that's what we did, the signs were super easy to follow and we only got lost 2 times! It was so easy, we took a ferry to cross a big kanaal. It was so fun and then we ended up at Amsterdam Centraal! we felt very accomplished.  We took some photos that I will include. Inside the station I saw a tourist with a Canadian flag so I asked where she was from and she said Toronto but she was traveling with 2 other people from Calgary.  I told them I was from Lethbridge and they were like “hey a ‘berta boy!!!"  So that was fun haha. We took the train back to Alkmaar.  The trip was 48 kilometers total and if we didn’t stop in Zaandam it would have taken us an hour and 50 mins.  So not too bad at all!  We weren't even sore. We want to go further next time haha.

During the week we had some good lessons.  Mainly with M.  He is on plan to be baptized on March 24! He also came to church today and he wore clogs!!! So funny.  What's better is during the week I saw someone biking with clogs on and I took a photo.  Little did I know that that person was our investigator who later wore his clogs to church haha!  He liked church though and wanted to know who he should pay.  I told him he doesn't have to pay anybody and that he actually gets free food today because it was potluck day so that was probably nice for him.  We had another appointment with someone and we put them on baptismal date for June 17... he is quite positive.

Saturday was a great day, we had a lunch appointment, a dinner appointment, and then we had volleyball that night, with like 13 people. It was very fun! The dinner was with fam M. They are going on vacation to Sweden. We always have a good time with them. Also, they have a cute dog which I got to pet, which we don’t get to do that often as missionaries. Sunday was great cause we had an investigator in church and he wore klompen!

Questions of the week:
1.  Did you travel this week?
2.  Is Zone Conference this week?
3.  How did teaching go this week?
4.  Did you have many dinner appointments?  Did you eat at the M's?
5.  It sounds like you are biking a lot!  Did you bike much this week?
6.  How is church? Have you spoken in church recently?
7.  Do you do anything for service in Alkmaar?  (The elders here carry a shovel in there cars to help people shovel there driveways, though I know that won’t work in your mission)
8.  How has the weather been?
9.  How are District Leader duties going?
10.  Did you try herring yet?  Have you eaten any new foods?

1. Amsterdam a few times and just the other normal places
2. Soonish. I think it is next week actually.
3. Great I'd say.
4. Yes, haha. Sister M's husband took us to vollyeball and stayed to play with us. That was cool.  This week we don't have many...
5. Oh yes, since we got the bike computers we have gone 540 kilometers. I love biking though, very relaxing. I like my bike a lot too, although it always sucks to go into the wind...
6. I haven't spoken in church since Emmen! I did have to teach YM’s last week. Other than that we don't do much.
7. No I wish. We help this one lady in her house sometimes but not much else.
8. Sunny and freezing, like really cold. It would be the Canadian equivalent of negative 20.
9. Great! We are coming up with fun challenges and things. Last transfer we did a challenge and Zaanda, elders lost so they had to do a punishment which was singing in Amsterdam centrall. I got a little video of it haha.
10. No but Sister M said that she is going to get it for us...

Dutch word I thought was funny is vooruitgang.  It means progress but literally translated means forwards out go.

That is all,
Elder Fernhout

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Week 60: Staying in Alkmaar and Doop Datum

I'm glad you got to go skiing. I'm sure my ski legs are good because of all the biking, it keeps my legs strong. Speaking of biking we are probably going to bike to Amsterdam today! So pumped. We are coming out of winter here and it is getting a bit warmer everyday and we have a lot more light.

The week has gone by so fast again.  We got transfer calls, but nothing exciting. We are staying together for another one here in Alkamaar.  Our entire district is actually staying the same except for one person, so that's cool.

Tuesday we had a service appointment with this lady in the ward to move things around at her place... she was really nice. She loves penguins and I counted 134 of them jsut in her living room area. That night we had ward council, I love to jsut sit back and listen to all the old Dutch people talk about stuff.  It's great. The next day was Wednesday and we had an appointment with M who is an older dude. We had a good lesson about the plan of salvation and he told us that he is a member of another church and he doesn't like it anymore. He wants to come to ours and if he likes it better he will be baptized, so that was cool.

We went to the Familie M for dinner which was good. We got there late but they were nice about it. Thursday we went to Den Helder to meet with M. He makes music and showed us some of it! good stuff. We are teh perfect elders for him I'd say because of the guiatar connection. Then we went to Hoorn for a dinner appointment. That was also good.  Friday we had interviews with the president and then district meeting. It went really well I'd say.  Saturday we went to Hoorn again for a couple people and one of them we met outside his little shop. He sells a bunch of Suriname food and inside the store they sold jello! I bought a pack and made it. Sunday we had church and then we had to bike all over the place. We had to do it fast too! We got a good work out in. We had diner at fam Db and they had some delicious groenten soep for us!

1.  Are you staying in Alkmaar, same companion?
2.  Did you travel anywhere this week?
3.  How did interviews go with President Bunnell?
4.  How are district leader duties going?
5.  Best thing that happened this week?

1. yes and yes
2. Hoorn, Den Helder, Amsterdam, the usual.
3. Great, he has so much wisdom. It's going to be sad to see him go soon.
4. Great. We love it. We teach good meetings and I love being able to talk with more missionaries more often.
5. This article I found in a September 1988 Ensign,

Zaanse Schans

Den Helder
Den Helder
Biking in Den Helder

Week 59: Tijd Vliegt in Alkmaar

The week has gone by sooo fast.  One of the fastest weeks I have had actually.  We were really busy with appointments the whole week so that was why.  We had a record amount of appointments and things all in one week, everyday we were just running from one thing to the next.  Cool to hear about the snow at home though! We got a little bit this week here.  We also get a lot of hail here…well weather wise this week was a lot colder than usual, however, there were almost no clouds for 3 days which was weird.  My eyes are not used to so much light because it is always overcast.

So last Pday this member took us out for dinner.  We went to a place that is like HuHot!  It was really good.  It is called Victory Wok.  She brought her son and the 4 of us had a good time.  It was so nice of her to take us there and we really appreciated it.

On Tuesday we had district meeting which went well.  We taught a good training I must say.  It was all on the BoM and using it in our teaching and contacting.  Then we quickly travelled back for a lunch appointment we had with a less active and we had a good chat with him.  We had to leave there to get our next appointment with some investigators.  We left to go to our dinner appointment.  That was great.  We have never eaten at Family D yet so it was fun.  They were both born in Rotterdam and were interested to know that Oma was also born there!  I will have to ask her where specifically.  We had a really good time with them.

Wednesday was our slow day.  We only had a dinner appointment.  It was with a member from California, she is really cool and made us delicious chicken enchiladas.  But before that we biked to a city called Heerhugowaard and we had a couple people we needed to look up.  We a travelled a total of 270 kilometres in 3 weeks on bikes, and we aren’t even biking that much.  We definitely could go more.  But ya, we biked all around that city looking up people.

On Thursday our first appointment was at 9:00 am at the church with an investigator.  He is Dutch.  He is very knowledgeable in religion and actually had a BoM he got from missionaries who gave it to him 15 years ago here in Alkmaar.  So that was cool and our lesson was good.  We then went to Den Helder which took a minute.  There we had an appointment with a guy who wrote himself out of the church but now wants to come back.  He is pretty good on the guitar and Elder Crow and I got to play electric guitar for the first time.  We came back to our dinner appointment which was another good one, family D!  They are so funny.  They have guinea pigs and he kept making jokes about eating them.  Then I told him that I did actually eat one before, haha [in Ecuador].  He asked if it was lekker [tasty].  We had yet another appointment that night but she wasn’t home so we added her to the list of all the people we need to get around to look up.

Friday morning we had a meeting with our ward mission leader. He fed us lunch as well and we arranged a Powerpoint presentation that we are going to use on Sundays to teach the old people how to use and how to share things on Facebook, church things of course.  That’s where the elders come in.  That took a while.  He then took us to the train station where we took a train to Den Helder again and had an appointment with a lady named J.  She is a former who we decided to look up when we were in Den Helder because why not.  She turned out to be super positive and is now our best investigator!  She tells us that when she reads in the BoM she feels like a warm blanket is being put around her!  She feels a lot of peace when she reads in it too.  We invited her to church and she will be coming in the next 2 or 3 weeks.  We then headed to Horn for 2 other appointments, they were both not home.  But in between them we had some time to get dinner at the station, which was Burger King and very popular here.

Saturday we had to catch a train out to Enkhuizen, that was a trip! We also had to walk 30 mins in the middle of the countryside…really random then all of the sudden we found the house.  This guy is a potential investigator we called and set up an appointment with.  What is cool though is he had a few guitars laying around and we asked if he played and he was like “ya, only for like the past 53 years…” So after our lesson he picked one up and I asked if he does any jazz or blues and, wow, he sure does.  He just went off.  I have never seen anyone play so well on the guitar.  Elder Crow and I were both so awed.  That’s all we could think about for the rest of the day!!! He was so insanely good!!!  But back to the lesson.  I taught on the restoration.

We then travelled to Horn to go to another appointment we had called and set up.  We didn’t really know what were getting into.  Turned out he was a JW and took the opportunity to teach us everything he knows about his religion and all the problems he has with the BoM.  Again, he had issues with all the little technical things.  So then he says that it was all wrong but he also hasn’t taken the chance to read and pray about the book.  He just went with the easy way and went with the world.  People get so caught up in trying to prove that it is true.  What it comes down to is that you can’t prove it is true, but you also can’t prove that it is wrong, so the only other option is to go to God and ask the source of truth if it is true.

We headed back to Alkmaar and biked like crazy to make it to our weekly dinner appointment with fam dB on time.  That was good as always.  They are literally what I want to be when I grow up.  They are so good.  They do their familie history, they go to church every week at their age even, they fulfill callings, they do the daily reading and things.  They even have a freakin 72 hour kit, which they check and rotate.  They are so good, great examples to us.  They even share the gospel to the people they know and they have us over every week.  It is just crazy how good they are, haha.  Anyway, after that we rushed home to change to go to the gym for volleyball with some of the ward members.  That was a blast.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I willingly bought fish for the first time and ate it willingly … and liked it.  It was kibbeling which was delicious!

Tender mercy that happened this week is when we were biking and we got really lost and the path we were on just ended. We were stopped and looking around when all of the sudden this car stops in the middle of the freakin road and the driver gets out runs over to us and asked where we wanted to go. We told him and he pointed us in the right direction. I was so amazed that he saw us, slammed on his brakes and left his car running in the middle of the road to come help these 2 random strangers! So that was nice.

This week's questions:
1.  How did the work go this week?
2.  How is it going with the branch members?
3.  Did you travel anywhere this week?
4.  Did you start back writing in your journal?  You will no doubt be glad you did!
5.  When do you think you will get the parcel I sent you?
6.  When are transfers next? They must be coming up soon?!
7.  How are district leader duties going?
8.  Are you eating well and feeling healthy?
9.  Do you wear your bike helmet I sent you?

1. Just the one person we found and yes J is progressing!
2. Oh yes very good. Elder Crow says that one of my strengths is ward relations, haha.
3. YES!
4. No... I think I will just call this my transfer off. I will do it for the next transfers. I make sure my weekly emails are long and kinda include that as my journal...
5. Next zone conference or maybe interviews this week on Friday! If it is really fast.
6. Soon! next week.
7. Great. It is fun to be more involved in everything.
8. I would say so. Elder Crow is good at keeping us on track. Although they have really good candies over here… namely wine gummies, haha.
9. Oooh yes. everyday. I like that helmet. I have gotten 3 compliments from random people on the street. It is very useful too cause we bike at night all the time and by law you need to have lights. So now I don't need to have any on the bike cause I have them on my head. Makes my life easier.

That is all,
Elder Fernhout

Monday, 5 February 2018

Week 58: Ik heb het KOUD!!!

Yes, I heard about the Eagles!  It’s about time they won the Super Bowl. The last time they made it to the bowl was 2004 against the Patriots and they lost so this year was great to see that they had a revenge game, haha.  

It has been not snowy here but it has sure been cold! Yesterday was probs the worst day for it! and we were outside the whole day. I finally went to Amsterdam! I got to tour around the centrum a bit. A lot of my pics are really weird and random and that's because we did a scavenger hunt and had to photograph everything. So that’s why I have some really random pics of things but I'll just send them all to you. That was our pday on Monday, it was great. That night I stayed in Amsterdam and went on exchanges with Elder Harding. So I also got to look around the next day as well. It was fun. Amsterdam is a really weird place though with weird people, haha.

The exchange was great! I got to meet their top 2 investigators who are both on date to be baptized soon. They are super cool guys. We also had a lot of time to find new people. We went to the streets around the centrum and contacted every person we saw.  It was fun. We found one person in 5 hours, which is not great but it was fun to talk with Amsterdamers and walk around and tour a bit. There are so many tourists there and people who speak English! It’s crazy. I'm not used to walking around and hearing people having conversations in English! That night we had a dinner appointment and then exchanged back. The next day though we had to get up early to travel back down to Amsterdam then catch another train going to Zwolle for zone conference. I saw Elder Blackwell again [from Magrath] (in a lot of photos with me, haha) as well as Elder Cameron [from Calgary] and Elder White [from Ontario] and a bunch of others. It was great. It was a good conference.  Afterwards we stopped in Amsterdam central to grab some Turkish food with the Zaandam elders before we headed back to Alkmaar.

Thurdsay we had some cool lessons with new investigators. Other than that we didn’t do much other than finding but then on Friday we traveled up to Den Helder, which takes a long time. But there is a RM there who was willing to drive us around so we could contact all of our referrals up there. That was sick. We were also able to visit a less active who really appreciated us and a former investigator who made an appointment with us. So that was all productive. Then we came back and ended the day with a dinner appointment with family de Bruijn. They are so good at having us over every week. They are old and we know it’s hard for them but they still do it! It’s so nice, they actually just called us to make one for this week, haha.

The next day we had one with fam M and it was really fun. They had a friend over for dinner and we had a good time talking about tulips and skiing and other stuff. Then after I helped Bro M make a family search account. He is interested in family history but his tree wasn't very big. at all. like nobody. He had some names of relatives on a paper and after a ton of searching I found one of them and that led to a tree of a bunch more! It was so good and he really enjoyed it and thought it was cool to find more relatives he didn't know about. Then yesterday we went to check on one of our best investigators and he dropped us… really painful actually, he was so cool. Oh well. We then worked in Hoorn (city name) for 2 hours and found a new investigator. It was really cold. We talked to soooooo soooo sooo many negative old Dutch people, haha. They were so mean I couldn't believe it! Oh well. You get used to it. Oh and I had to translate in church yesterday, that was a first!

Questions for the week:
1.  How was church on Sunday?
2.  Did you get to teach anyone teach anyone this week?
3.  How did the finding go?  Did you get to Texel?
4.  Tell me about your dinner appointments, those are fun to hear about.
5.  Did you have any funny experiences this week?
6.  Are you doing well writing in your journal? (I included a new one in your parcel).
7.  What are you learning about in your studies?  Now that you’ve been a missionary for over a year is it hard to find study topics?

1. Good, I translated for a visitor from Las Vegas, Nevada.
2. A few people. We had no appointments set up so we just found a few people and also taught a less active and a former, so yes but not much. I set up a toooon of appointments for this next week though! We have 24 appointments... its crazy. We found 10 new investigators last week. That is a record for us for one week, so good, so ya, this next week we are packed FULL. We also have a ton of dinners. Gonna be great.
3. Good. Nope.
4. I did.
5. I was biking in Amsterdam with Elder Harding. We hear some loud yelling up ahead, sounded like a riot. We kept going and went right past this old man who was yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he sees me and points and yells “die jonge heeft last van mij!" which pretty much means "that boys got a problem with me!" so that was weird, I thought he was gonna come at me. Then around the corner we parked our bikes and then he bikes past us and yells “ik heb mijn haar niet gewassen!" in a sing songy voice and that means “I haven't washed my hair!" so ya, that was weird. He contiunied to yell things as he biked away… oh Amsterdam.
6. No haha... I broke my streak. I broke it bad. I need to get back into it.
7. Oh I don’t feel like that at all. I'll never run out of topics. I have been studying the gathering of Israel and religious tolerance lately and also a lot of cool things about the BOM. I read the conference talk by Tadd R. Callister, that is so good. It was on the BOM and he just says it how it is.

Okay that is all
Love bye, Elder Fernhout

Zone activity in Amsterdam

Albertan Elders Fernhout and Blackwell