Monday, 27 March 2017

Week 13: Dorpjes and Sinaasappelsap


It was great! Highlight of the week was I got to pet a Weimaraner. It was so soft and cute and just like Oliver. I asked the owner (in Dutch haha) if it was what I thought it was and he said yes and he asked how I knew them. Then he let me pet it. I miss dogs a lot! The weeks are still going by super duper fast. This week we went to Gent 2 times and a place in Gent called Landegem. I have 2 photos of me there at the station. We went to Oostende a few times which is always fun. Oh we went to Brussels again for more paperwork for me. I am done with all that now though! I don’t yet know when the conference [in Keukenhof] is but I'm really look forward to it! This next week we will go to Brussels again and Gent again maybe and Antwerpen for a zone training. Yay, Kennedy had her baby! Ya it is getting pretty warm here too! Everyday has been sunny and hot it seems. Especially when you are biking around in pants. Ya let me know what your new calling is! Ah that’s so fun hanging out with the family [Noels are coming for a visit!]. I miss them all a lot. Send me photos! Today I finished my first full planner. I get to start a fresh new one today and it feels so good haha.

The Extra,

I just read all of my friends emails and I am so proud of you all! I love hearing all of your adventures haha. Missions are so great and I am so glad I get to be out on mine the same time as all my other friends. The time is going by super fast! I have completed one transfer of my mission and now Matt will be coming out here to join me in the Netherlands. It's gonna be... wait for it… legendary! (How I Met Your Mother reference) I will be “killing” ER which means he will be done his mission and going back home after this transfer. In mission terms I am ER's “son” because he trained me. Anyway I am going to be here in Brugge for the next 6 weeks and then probably the next 6 weeks too. I love it in this city so I’m fine with it!

We went to the little city of De Panne this week. Look it up haha it's really small, but I really enjoy seeing the little town life. It's really quiet and peaceful and feels like everything is really slow. It was also a really nice day weather wise. So we took a train to De Panne that went through a lot of little dorpjes which is the name for little towns. Quick fact about the Dutch language is when the “je” is added to words it means the original word is smaller. So schat is the Dutch word for treasure and schatje means a little treasure. You’d use it to refer to a child or someone you care about. Okay so we were taking the train through all these little dorpjes which was really cool to see. The city of De Panne is right close to the France border and also the coast. We wanted to take the short walk to France but didn’t haha. We went to De Panne to look up a referral we had received. We went to the address and it was a really nice little apartment complex. The person wasn’t home so we started heading back to the train station. We had only about 15 mins until our train we had to make. But we decided to go knock a few doors. The very first door we knocked was an older lady who we talked to for a while. We had a great gospel centered conversation and she ended up accepting a BOM from us. It was awesome and really amazing! We could have just gone and sat at the train station but we saw the blessing of using our time wisely. It was also really interesting to see how the Lord works. Almost as if he knew we didn’t have much time so we were led right to where we needed to go. Well De Panne is far away from us so we told her we would be back in several weeks and she said we could come back and talk.

We then came back to Brugge and did some more door knocking here. We were on this one street and the last door this girl answered. We asked her the question we sometimes ask people to start conversations which was “where do you find happiness in life?” She took a long time to think about it so I thought she was gonna say something really deep. Then she looked at us and said chocolate. Haha it was so funny for me. We usually get the answer of family or something along those lines but chocolate was so funny and true! We also had a great talk with her and she accepted a BOM as well. It was a great day! And just to give you perspective those were the 5th and 6th BOM I’ve handed out my whole 6 weeks here. So two in one day was pretty great for us! I was so happy.

Last Sunday we had dinner with this awesome family. There are 4 kids and they are all girls and they were all born in Belgium but the dad was born in Utah. They all speak English really really well and it feels like I am back home with a non-Belgian family. They are so fun to talk with. The dad served a mission in Spain and he makes really good food every time we go there. Last time he made a dish that he ate often on his mission. I can't spell the name of the dish but it is pronounced pie-eh-ah [Paella, and today is coincidently national Paella day]. It’s a rice dish traditionally made with rabbit meat and other meats they could find like snails… we had a chicken one though haha. It is made with a special rice and also with spices from Iran I think. It was so delicious! I just loved hearing the story behind the food from his mission and seeing how great a mission is for your whole life. He also shared some cool stories. I can't wait to be at that point in life haha! I love the mission life. It is going by so fast! I miss being lazy though, we aren’t lazy for a moment here. I am never ever bored. Which is nice. Sometimes we take short 10 minute breaks and even after that I feel guilty that I wasted that time. I think when I get back it’ll be really weird to have time to take a nap or to watch TV and do things that are less productive.

Something else that happened this week that was super cool was that I accomplished one of my mission goals to play street basketball with someone and then teach them. You know what I’m talking about, the typical missionary stories you hear about that sort of thing. We were walking and we passed this outdoor basketball hoop and there was this guy playing who looked about 25 ish or so. He was pretty good but we asked him if we could shoot around with him for a bit. Turns out he didn’t speak Dutch so we switched to English. Also didn’t work. He spoke Greek and only a tinsy bit of English. He accepted to playing with us and we asked him some simple questions about Greece and his family and things. We tried to tell him we have a BOM for him in his language of Greek. We told him we had to leave and as we were walking away he said “see you next Tuesday!” So I guess we are going back! I’m excited. We will bring the BOM in Greek and I am going to look up some words in Greek haha.

The Dutch word for this week is sinaasappelsap which means orange juice. Again I like this word because it is fun to say! It is pronounced sin-ass-apple-sap so pretty much how you would expect to say it.

In my reading this week I especially enjoyed reading chapter 18 of Mosiah. I underlined and wrote so many notes in that chapter! It talks a lot on the ordinance of baptism which is awesome. Its got some great verses that we use when we teach on baptism. I finished the book of Mosiah this week and the rest of the book is also great. But Mosiah 18 stood out to me! Oh and Mosiah 27:36, I read that and then I underlined it and wrote goals beside it haha. I like that scripture a lot!

Questions from home:

1.  Where will you watch General Conference?  Do you watch it the following week because of the time difference?
2.  Is Elder Nielsen in your Zone? I'm thinking not because he is in the Netherlands.  How many zones in the mission?
3.  Any zusters in your district or zone?
4.  I'd include pictures of Elder Richards but do you think he would mind appearing on the blog?
5.  Did you hear much about the terrorist attack in London?  There was also an attempt in Antwerpen, so be careful and watchful when you are out walking around.  Does the mission advise you on keeping safe while out in public?
6. Did you get a helmet yet?  Please get a helmet if you haven’t.  I want you to be safe and to keep the rules :)

1. Nobody in the branch invited us over to watch it so we'll chill here at the church to watch it. They don't show it in church here so we'll just watch it on the computer.
2. No Elder Nielsen isn’t, there are 5 zones. All of Belgium is one zone.
3. Ya we have 2 zusters in our district and there’s a few more in our zone but I don't remember.
4. Nah he's cool with it. He just likes making faces. Just make sure I look good in it before you post them. I trust you by giving you all the photos. But not all of them I feel are blog worthy!
5. Ya I did but I didn't hear about the LDS guy... that's awful. We got a text a few nights ago telling us there has been increased terrorism activity and not to travel to Brussels or Antwerpen or be in large groups of missionaries or use public transportation or go to centrums. I fell safe here in my little city of Brugge though! What's funny is we got that text at night and we had to go to downtown Brussels the next day for legality stuff. It was funny because we used the train and tram and were traveling in a decent sized group of elders. But we were safe and I know they wouldn’t let us do that if it wouldn't be okay!
6. no...

Love, Elder Fernhout
Daffodils in Brugge
Daffodils along the roadway
Daffodil close-up
Grocery Store 
Street Basketball 
Drawbridge letting a longboat through
Windmill at dusk
Pink sky Brugge
The sun is out!
Beautiful day in Brugge
Train station in Landegem

Monday, 20 March 2017

Week 12: Staying in Brugge

Hey Mum,

The language is coming great so far! I have noticed a lot of improvement lately! Yes I am super pumped for Matt! I don't know when I'll find out, could be really fast could be a while. So when you find out send me a chat about it and I might see it sooner than anything else. I hope he is in my zone or even district! He came at a good time, we have a big conference coming up [in Keukenhof] so I might see him there. It's not all of the mission but a lot of it. I can't wait to hear about his first week. Send me the emails from him. Ya the Paris France mission borders ours but there are a ton of memorials here in Brugge. Statues all over the place for Canada. We were just talking with a familly about this last night actually. The city Eber is also huge on war history. We will probably go there soon for pday. A couple things I have noticed here is the quality of the cars is so much better! There are Teslas all over the place and all the taxis are Mercedes and there are Jaguars and Maseratis all over. It's crazy! The way Brugge is laid out there is a big ring road surrounding the Centrum and along the road is a canal the whole way and we bike it sometimes and it is so cool. There are tons of people running it and I think you would just love to run around it! It's so perfect for running. They have paths for runners too. You should try to google maps it and do a street view of the ring. There is a part that has like 4 windmills right along the canal too. Oh and when I was in Iceland there was this yogurt that i really liked there and it was my favourite ever. Turns out they have the same stuff here too! I have yogurt for breakfast often.

(from the last week)
It's not going to be a lot this week I think but I have a few things. I just finished reading all my friends emails and ugh I miss them all so much. Honestly the day we all get back together is going to be so so so great! I have so many amazing memories with all of them and I am sure everyone is sick of hearing my stories. I kind of have a reputation here and also everyone in the MTC said that I’m a great story teller. I guess I tell a lot of stories but that’s because I have so many to share. It just made me realize how grateful I am for the people in my life and my friends and how they have been such a great influence for me. I am proud of all you guys out on your missions and the ones who haven’t left yet and the ones who are doing other things. I miss you all and I love you all. Love hearing from you and I read your emails! I really love what Brett said in his last email about testimonies I love his goal to bear his testimony every fast and testimony week. It’s a great goal, I’m gonna do it too! I challenge all of the missionaries reading this out there to do the same thing. Good language practice!

Anyway this past week we cleaned the apartment for a few hours. I had to do the shower and also the toilet. It wasn’t that dirty but I mean it just isn’t fun to be doing that. I also did a lot of organizing that’s my specialty haha! Missionary apartments have so much random crap from the past people, a lot of extra clothes that other elders have left behind. So I organized a ton of papers and also some clothing. It was weird to be in the apartment during the day though. We are never in the apartment except for sleeping, eating and studying.

On Sunday last week a guy came in halfway through sacrament meeting and he came with this girl. I talked to him afterwards and he served in the Paris, France mission a few months ago. He is just touring right now but he is in the navy in DC. He was fun to talk to and shared some mission experiences. The girl he was with is a recent convert from Antwerpen, she was just showing him around some cities. He toured Brugge that day and he chose a good day because the weather was super good. I love Brugge, I hope to tour it with you guys after my mission.

More about the exchange I went on last week. I was with an Elder DeBloois from Utah. He was cool and could speak good Dutch which was nice. He’s also great at keeping a conversation going so that was helpful for me and my limited Dutch. We had a busy day like I said last week but we did good. I often had to stop biking and pull out directions because I had no idea where we were going haha. We made it everywhere on time and didn’t miss any trains surprisingly. The weather was great and there were lots of flowers blooming. It was so hot I wanted to take off my coat! It's making me a little scared for the summer, apparently last year was the hottest it has ever been here. About 35 degrees Celsius. I am not looking forward to sitting in hot trams and biking in that. But then I think of Mike and Scott and Jeff and Mosiah who are all in really hot places! But ya we made it to everywhere on time and I realized I can do more than I thought. It was a good experience for me to stay back in my area on exchanges. In Oostende we visited this older lady who grows these beautiful flowers. Zuster Favorin. She’s awesome, she speaks French as her first language but English with us. She is less active but really wants to go to the temple and is working hard to get there. She always gives us apple juice to drink. After that we met Stanely in the library in Oostende and had a good lesson there. Then we took a very full tram that ran along the coast to get to Blankenberge. I love going to the coast for some reason, they have pretty nice beaches here actually. But as missionaries we aren’t allowed to go to them because they are often naked beaches haha. Ah Europe. It's nice to see the ocean though. Also in all of those coastal cities they always have naked statues… people tell me that all coastal cities are like that for some reason. Other than those its great seeing all the boats and things. On the weekends tons of people flock to the coast so its busy there often. And it seems like everyone there is over the age of 60. There is no young people it seems. Anyway we took a bus back to Brugge after our lesson and it was dinner time so we made some pasta. It was nice to be able to relax a bit after that day!

We did some door knocking this week which I feel always leads to an interesting experience. You never know who is going to open that door. It's also fun to learn about people and what they believe. Often we try to make it a sharing experience rather than us just saying our beliefs. We learn a lot about other religions. There is so much diversity here so we have the BOM in about 30 different languages in the apartment. Some languages I have never even heard of! Anyway I love it out here! Mission is going great and time is flying by.

I read a lot this week in the BOM. I am into Mosiah now, which is full of great stuff. But I really enjoyed chapter 16. Mosiah 16 is so good and very interesting you should all read it. I really enjoy reading during my personal study time, I look forward to it everyday!

Dutch word of the week is graag which means gladly. I like it because its fun to say. Is pronounced ggg-rah-ggg the triple g is the throat g sound they do in Dutch.

Questions from home:
1.  Any cities with war memorials in your mission? Or are they in the neighbouring mission (is that the Paris mission)?
2.  How often do you eat street food?
3.  How is the biking going?  Are you building muscle?
4.  Did you hear about the missionaries in Brazil that were robbed at gunpoint recently and one missionary fought back (all caught on a security camera)?

1. Like I said ya there are lots all over the place.
2. Maybe 5 times a week, but usually it's pastries from the grocery store, an actual meal maybe 1 or 2 times.
3. Ya we bike so much. Yup I am definitely getting stronger but I mean there are no hills here. The wind is the only hard part and it is so so true it is always against you. I don't get how...
4. No! that's crazy! haha ya we are supposed to run away haha, not fight people with guns but that's an awesome story.
Back in Brussels with MTC companions
Trees in Brugge
Street view Brugge
Because sometimes you have to stop and take a picture of the vines
Grey sky over Brugge canals
Stay tuned for more information on this picture next week...
Just pondering the scriptures ...
"Do not fear, just do it"

Monday, 13 March 2017

Week 11: Signs of Spring in Brugge

Week was awesome! I love my mission and I love being here. The time is going by so so so fast for me. Thanks for the update with Tyler, I'm so excited for him, he's such a great guy I wish I was there for his farewell.  Man I miss Porter a lot, I want to see him! He'd better make it until I get back! Haha, his howling is so loud.

This week I went on exchanges and I had to stay in Brugge which meant ER left me alone here with someone who doesn't know anything about the people we teach or the city, very scary and stressful for me because I had to lead us all around. Also meant I had to carry a lot of the conversation. Our first appointment that day was a lunch appointment with a member couple and they made the most delicious stuff ever. It's called witloaf I think. Not sure how to spell it but it's leeks that she grew in her backyard which are finely chopped and wrapped in a few slices of ham and then that was covered with some type of cheese sauce. Ugh so good, she also made a soup. A lot of the veggies that she used were from her garden. It was so good! It was a long bike ride to their house but that day was one of the most beautfiul ones yet! So nice to go biking that day.

We then traveled by train to Oostende and met 2 people, which also went good. Then we took a tram to Blankenberge which took an hour and I was really nervous for this one but it went great and I learned that day that I can speak a lot more than I thought and that I know how to get around the city better than I thought too. So it ended up being a pretty good day. I have been wearing my slippers so much on my mission [Mahabis]. I am so glad I brought them. It's also weird here because every house we go into we never take our shoes off. A week ago for Pday we went to Brussels and had a good time playing volleyball and basketball there. We also went to Gent this week for interviews dash district meeting. While other people were being interviewed the rest of us had the meeting but when that ended we played ping pong. The interviews went long so we ended up playing a ton of ping pong. It was so fun. I am pretty good compared to a lot of people haha. The weather is so nice lately and there are these really nice flowers that are coming out, I'll have to take a photo for next week.

(last week stuff- written the last Pday but sent this week)
Not really sure what else to talk about. Well there was this one thing. A few weeks ago I was on exchanges with E. Higham. We were knocking doors down this one street and it was raining. I look behind us and I look up. 3 stories up an apartment building with an open window. It wasn’t very large at all and it was pretty high up. But I remembered I had pass along cards in my pocket. If you know me I think you can tell where this is going. I took out one of the cards and took a shot. To my amazement it flew perfectly into the window! I looked at E. Higham and he saw it and it was awesome. I told E. Higham that “all we have to do now is wait about 40 years until we see a Mormon Message about someone who found this card in their house and decided to check it out and were baptized later.” But E. Higham says we’ll hear a story about someone whose eye got sliced because some idiot threw a card threw his window haha. I prefer my story. Anyway that was really cool. I’ve tried it again but it hasn’t worked, guess that first one was lucky.

We’ve had a lot of other little miracles that I enjoy seeing. I’m just so happy to be wearing the name tag and be here on my mission. Whenever we go out into public I feel good knowing who I represent. Although it’s hard for me to always be on my best behavior haha. I hope I am being a good example to everyone that sees me. The people here find it really weird that I wear a nametag. I mean it is really weird but c’mon people. They don’t even try to look subtly, its pretty funny actually. Everyone stares at the tag! People my eyes are up here! But I don’t mind really, I enjoy knowing that I am doing a little missionary work even if I don’t say anything.

Well I’d share more cool stories about this week but not a whole lot happened. It was just a good solid work week. Although we had a ton of people drop their appointments which can be frustrating. We had a lot of good meetings with people and I am able to say more and more every week. I often don’t say much because I interpret what they say as they speak so I am behind in the conversation then when I finally have something to add E. Richards says something. So I often feel like a ghost watching everyone else have a conversation and I am just observing them. Because if I don’t talk to people they don’t talk to me and they look at E. Richards the whole time. I’ve gotten used to that though.

I also have a Canadian flag on my bag because I am a proud Canadian!!! And that has been a good conversation starter sometimes. I’ve had people sit beside me solely because I am Canadian. This one guy was from Saskatchewan and we had a good talk about the greatness of Canada. I also shared with him what I am doing here, it was a good moment. Me and E. Richards get into it sometimes about Canada vs USA. He says we stole their holiday of Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if that’s true or not but I say that we didn’t! Ugh. Anyways Canada is better, sorry Americans. This one American family that we visit here always make Canadian stereotype jokes. Like the typical polar bear, igloo, maple syrup ones. I found myself often bringing up Tim Hortons in my stories which doesn’t help but I guess I am a true Canadian.

One of the things I miss most is music. I love music so much! I don’t have any of my own music yet but I bought a USB stick which every missionary has filled with music. So I will start to fill mine up. I really like the album PMG by James the Mormon. His music hypes me up to do missionary work haha. I also like a lot of other stuff. But if any one has music suggestions I am open to them!

I always thought that Belgium and the Netherlands wouldn’t be that different from each other but I was wrong. I haven’t even lived in the Netherlands yet but I can tell it is different, and E. Richards says how different they are too. The people here in Belgium really don’t like the Dutch people haha. They talk a lot of crap about them, usually about how they don’t speak the language properly or how they are such bad cooks or how they are so rude and direct. All kinds of stuff. I can't wait to go to the Netherlands and hear what they have to say about the Belgians. I think I will like the Dutch food even better than Belgian. Don’t get me wrong Belgian food is crazy good. But we go to the Dutch store sometimes to grocery shop for some specialty Dutch items that they don’t sell otherwise here in Belgium. Things like vla and cruesli and cassis. All good stuff. But the Dutch waffles don’t compare to the Belgian ones. The stereotype is true. Belgian waffles are super good and they also make really good chocolate. They have a chocolate company called Cote d’Or. They make some great stuff. Anyway when you combine the chocolate with the waffles it is to die for. They make really good pastries of all kinds. We often get croissants for lunch. We’ll get like 1 normal one and 2 ham and kaas [cheese] ones and then a dessert one like chocolate. All for a few dollars here in Belgium and it's great. We also pick up this juice called agrum juice it's pretty dope.

I really liked 2 Nephi 31 this week. It is a great chapter! I usually read in English during studies and then in Dutch at night and try to translate it in my head. It is going pretty good. Things are said slightly differently in the two languages so I enjoy reading the same thing because I can learn more. Anyways read that chapter.

Dutch word of the week is beloning which means reward. Funny story about this word. I was in a lesson and E. Richards used it and I didn’t know what it meant. It stood out to me because you pronounce it as bah-loan-ee. Yup just like the meat… it is so funny to me for some reason. Every time he says it in the lesson it is a serious moment and it makes me laugh.

Questions from home:
1. What did you learn this week in personal study?
2.  Is your March 25th baptism still on track?
3.  The missionaries in Argentina have to write their president every week, do you have to do that?  Do you have any reports to make?
4.  How is the bike riding?  Do you bike a lot and are you building your muscles?
5.  What does haring taste like (to people who eat it) and when do you think you try it, haha?
6.   You are right, I love the video clips :)  One question though, where is the front door of your apartment?  I couldn’t see it on the tour! (I’m thinking it must be at the end of the hallway by the bedrooms and bathroom.  Another question, are the toilet/sink and shower separate rooms?)
7.  It is the Dutch election this week, have you heard anything about it yet?

1. Uh... I read a lot in the BOM, I'll get to that later.
2. Nope, its now April 8th, but its not because of him it's because of the branch here and how the buildings work with fonts and things. The video I uploaded with us playing ping pong is with the guy who is going to be baptized.
3. Ya we do, every missionary does that I think. I report some numbers but it's more about talking with the president and he usually responds.
4. Biking is so awesome, it makes me feel like a real misisonary! We bike aaaaaaaaalllll the time. We do a lot of biking. We bike to allllll of our appointments and also to the church and home a lot and to the station to catch trains and to get to stores. It's hard when we have to carry groceries. My legs are getting stronger really fast, it's already getting easier and easier and Elder Richards bikes pretty fast, he has a race fiets. We don't really ride through the Centrum often because it is bad on the bikes and its usually busy so it's faster to take the outside ring.
5. Mostly like onions, I'll try it sometime next transfer hopefully. It's not a thing here in Belgium.
6. It's next to the bathrorom door at the end of that hallway there. Yup you are right. Ya that's very common here, toilet is separate from everything else.
7. Ya but nobody talks about that here in Belgium. I saw some stuff when I went to Rijswijk a little while ago.

Windmill at dusk
Taking photos in District Meeting
Kapsalon: A Dutch dish with Turkish donair meat, french fries, cheese and salad topping


Monday, 6 March 2017

Week 10: One Month in the Field

Hey Mum,

I found out we are allowed to take little video clips so I have started to do that! I think you'll love it. We went to Rijswijk this week to get more legal stuff done for me. We also went to a haring [herring] store and Elder Tanner had his first haring but I couldn't do it. Soon though! We went to this one store and bought so many croissants. They make them reeeeaaaalllly good here, some with cheese, some with chocolate and some normal and they are usually really cheap! We did a ton of biking lately, especially yesterday. We have done a lot of biking in the rain which is so fun I love biking in the rain. In the morning ER and I have been good at getting up and working out, we do P90X, it's more fun to follow a video than do random stuff. It's hard though because we live in an apartment so we can't jump or be loud or anything. We also went to Gent again for district meeting, we went to Ikea afterwards again. It was fun and always nice to see Elder Tanner. We also made some FUFU this week which is the African food with the soup and big dough ball. We made it at a less active members house and it is not that great a food but I mean it's something you gotta try. I can't wait to try it from a real African person.

Questions from home:
1.  How is the weather?  Does it rain everyday?
2.  How far a train ride is it from Brugge to Brussels, Brugge to Antwerepen?
3.  Are you learning to cook Dutch/Belgian food at all?
4.  Please let me know what I can mail you.  (I’d mail you some Easter chocolate but you are in Belgium and I’m sure the chocolate is much better there!)
5.  How did the work go this week?
6.  When are your next transfers?  In 3 weeks, when Elder Nielson comes in?
7.  How’s the Dutch/Flemmish coming along? No doubt it gets better every week!

1. rainy and windy and only one sunnyish day this week but it is aweosme I love it and ya pretty much everyday.
2. Brugge to Brussels is like 1.5 hrs and to Antwerpen it's like 1.
3. A lot of Indonesian food haha like nassi, Elder Richards makes it so good.
4. haha I don't need anything that soon, I am just making a list so I can make sure I got it all.
5. It went well, a ton of dropped appointments.
6. Yup, but I will almost 100 percent stay with Richards.
7. It's hard but improving slowly.

Here is the stuff I wrote last week:
Hello again, this is my more detailed version of some things that happened this week. So ya like I said last week I was on exchanges with and Elder Higham from Red Deer. We had a lot of fun and did some good work too. We had a zone conference in Antwerpen, that’s why we went there in the first place. There was a lot of people there! And Prez Bunnell and his wife were there too. The conference was all day pretty much. Elder Richards and I went up to Antwerpen a day early so we didn’t have to travel in the morning, we would have had to get up at about 4 in the morning! So we hung out with them and played some board games because it was pday. Then we sat around and told stories and then we went to do some missionary work to end the day. I went with Elder Higham's companion named Elder Sutherland. What’s cool is that Elder Sutherland was trained by Elder Richards! So in missionary terms he is Elder Richards son just like I am haha.

So we split up and went knocking doors to find people who would donate food for the food bank. ES was doing most of the talking but then we found someone who spoke English so he turned to me. I was not ready for that, but I was able to talk and the guy let us into his apartment to get food. We ended up having a really good conversation about religion and he showed us this binder he has full of notes he takes when he reads the bible. He loves the bible. So I was like do I have a book for you! We didn’t have one but it worked out because he said we could come back the next day! So that was really cool for me because it was the second bell that we rung. ES says it was because I am a greenie. So after that we kept going to other houses. ER and EH were working together and no one was giving them food. But me and ES kept getting tons of food. It seemed like everyone we talked to was really awesome and gave us tons of food. So ya that was cool. That was all Monday night and the conference was on Tuesday. So we spent the night chilling with ES and EH and then in the morning went to the church for the conference. It was good and I learned a lot. ER volunteered to be the dummy for learning how to get haircuts, another missionary cut his hair in front of us all and taught us how to do it. Turned out ight.

After the conference we split up and it was just me and EH. ER and ES went back to Brugge for the day. Me and EH had a good day, we had a dinner appointment which is always good. The family was an older lady and her husband who isn’t a member but she is. And their youngest son was there. He is 21 and makes rap music in his room all day. He was funny but I can't imagine raising the kid, that must have been a lot of work. His mum asked him to say the dinner prayer and it took him like 10 minutes to say it properly. At first he went off in Arabic then in some other language then he pretends he is possessed then he starts talking in clicks and weird language. It was funny but I really wanted to eat! Then he starts his prayer “Yo Jesus, it'd be real nice of ya if ya could bless this food we have here in font of us” and just kept going like that. Then his mum pretend stabs him with a knife and he said a normal prayer. That family was really interesting, really funny though too. The mum is an amazing artist!

Earlier that day we were looking on a map of the city of Antwerpen and EH looks at me and tells me to pick a street that we were going to do some door knocking on. He said I pick it because I am closer to the spirit because I am a greenie. So I picked some random street and we went there. Within an hour we had 3 really good conversations and taught the restoration 2 times on the door. I don’t think y'all understand how crazy that is. It was a miracle, EH has been out almost 2 years soon and has never had that happen in his entire mission. We gave one of the people we talked to a BOM and we had really good conversation about the restoration. It was so good I can't even explain it. Anyway that was really cool for me.

Another cool story is when me and ER went to visit a member family here in Brugge. We didn’t really know what we were going to share with them but right before we entered ER decided on the first vision and gave me my part to do. I was nervous but I knew it was all going to work out good. We had a nice talk with them about stuff and then got into the first vision. After we shared our thoughts the wife said that just 2 hours before we came she was asking her husband questions about the first vision and was losing her testimony of it. I truly believe that ER was inspired to talk on what we did. It was so cool for me experience that and ER is such a great example of following the spirit.  Part of the Book of Mormon I like is 2 Nephi chapter 4. I just like it because it shows the kind of person Nephi is and its interesting to see what he writes. Just read it and you’ll see what I mean.

Dutch word of the week is dingen which means thing. I just think it’s a funny word and really suits its meaning. They use it a lot here. For example “the dingen over there” its also really useful for me when I don’t know the work for something haha.

(testimony for the Stewart’s)
Learning the language has been hard and it restricts me to be able to only share simple thoughts. But I think it helps me focus on the most important things. When I bear my testimony in Dutch it is very simple but I think that is the most powerful. You don’t need fancy words to make a good testimony. Just the basic doctrines and principles. I have a testimony that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he restored the true gospel to the earth. Every time we recite the first vision I feel the spirit so strongly. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and that he leads the church in these latter days. I know that Jesus Christ died for us and that though the atonement we can we freed from sin. That gives me so much comfort in life. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that he loves us. I know that he communicates to us through the Holy Ghost and as we keep the commandments and repent and live the word of God we can feel the spirit in our lives and it will lead us and inspire us. I know that that Church is true and that the Book of Mormon is the most true book on the earth. I know that we can learn so much from it and as we read it we will grow closer to God. I have seen the power of the Book of Mormon in my life and in others and I see the importance of reading it every single day. I know that as a missionary I have a very important calling and I am doing the right thing. I love my mission and know that I have been called here by a prophet and apostles who are inspired of God. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Cool stuff about my mission area. So I am serving in a city called Brugge, which is the Dutch name. All the cities also have English/French names which I think Brugge becomes Brug or something. The area me and ER cover is he second largest in the entire mission the largest is in Friesland [in the Netherlands]. We are in a part of Belgium called West Flanders. Belgium has two parts Flanders and Wallonia. Flanders is Dutch and Wallonia is French. They have separate governments and Brussels also has its own government. Its all very confusing. Anyway West Flanders is known for having the hardest accent of anywhere in the mission to understand so ya that’s tough for me. The area that my companion and I are in covers a few other cities, some are Oostende, Bredene, Zeebrugge, Pittum. I’ll try to take a photo of the maps we have and include that so it makes more sense. Anyway Brugge is also known for being hard for missionary work but I absolutely love it here in Brugge!

Love Elder Fernhout

Biking along a canal in Brugge
LDS church in Brugge is on the second floor