Monday, 29 May 2017

Week 22: Five Month Mark

Quite good but it was too freakin' hot! Wow, 5 months eh!

Ah, that's too bad. Dang, all the animals are taking a hit. I know the twins liked that cat a lot too. It was so nice! Ha, that's funny the gospel doctrine classes here are on the same schedule as there.  It makes sense but it's still funny. Ya, I always bring up having an eternal perspective when I teach the plan of salvation.

Ha, no we are not eating well lately, haha. A few nights ago I made plain white rice and that was all we had ... put a little maggie on it and nothing else. During the week we also had only mashed potatoes for dinner, haha. I was looking around and saw potatoes and thought hey I think I can make mashed potatoes and I mean they aren't hard to make but they turned out really good! We just ate straight mashed potatoes that night. However, yesterday I decided to see if I could make homemade mac and cheese with what we had in the house, the sauce I made turned out really well. I had to guess the measurements 'cause there are no tools or anything. I used flour, cheese, milk, butter and salt. Little lumpy but tasted good! But we are on plan to make some good dinners this next week!

Hey ya we meet people all the time and either they say they'll send our photos to our mums or EF asks, haha. Ya, it is so beautiful in Brugge. Some people say it's overrated but it is honestly so nice. most beautiful in Belgium! Ya good story behind these haircuts. I like mine but it's a little short for me, nice for the weather though! Okay, we'll try and take more photos.

I included photos of the Holy Blood procesie that we were at this week. It's a huge parade and each float is a different part of Christ's life. It was pretty cool to see. Really really hot that day. I had some bike probs this week. I popped my back tire 2 times in one day but Bro pace hooked me up. We had dinner with his family yesterday and he made these delicious ribs!

You'll see some seflies I took with 2 dudes and one girl.  We were biking by them and they shouted out "are you from Utah?" So we stopped and talked and they are Evangelical Protestants and are going to university taking religion classes and knew a bit about Mormons and missionaries. We talked for a long time and they were so so nice and cool! We cleared up some misconceptions they had and some about Joseph Smith. It was refreshing to talk to other actively religious people. They said they had a lot of respect for us and how dedicated we were and one said he was gonna change some things to be better in life. They were just so cool though. One of them said a prayer before we left and he pretty much just blessed us the whole time it was so nice. I gave the girl a BOM and she accepted it. She was Belgian and spoke English and Dutch and the other two only English I think and were from other countries in Europe. They do a blog on Youtube and took a video that they might post of us. I forget their name. I have a card back at the apartment I'll tell you next time.

1. Any customs you have noticed or find interesting that are different than North America?
2. Did you travel anywhere this week?
3. I missed you including a “word of the week” last week in your letter.  Can you resume that?
4. What was your favourite scripture you read this week?
5.  Did EC get transferred to Belgium?
6. Did you hear much about Trump’s visit to Belgium this week?
7. Did you have dinner appointments this week?  How is the cooking going? What is your favourite Belgian food?
8.  How is the work going?

1. Bikes, people are so much more innovative with bikes here. They use them for everything, moving from house to house, grocery shopping, dropping kids off at school, exercise or just looking around. They will carry everything on their bikes too. They have an add-on or something for everything you'd ever want to carry!
2. Koksijde, thats what the videos of the beach are from. We took a tram all the way down the coast. Koksijde is a little coastal town where we had someone to meet. Nothing much more than that. I will be going to Brussels today for P-day though and we are having a sports day.
3. I got one this week, aansprakelijkheidsverzekering which means liability insurance.
4. It was one I have already included. I finished the BOM again this week so that was cool! I make a lot of notes while I read. I started it again and as a mission we are doing a challenge where as you read you underline all words regarding faith and all things regarding the Holy Ghost. Pretty cool so far.
5. Ya! My whole MTC group is in Belgium, it's awesome.
6. Not much, just that we weren't allowed to go to Brussels that day for any reason.
7. A few, one lady fed us soooooo much food it was insane, I only ate that one meal the whole day ahha. Fav food has gotta be frikandels.
8. Decent. We had a lot of appointments and found a few new people however nothing toooooo solid and our good investigators couldn't meet this week and Stanley went to Germany but we went to Institute with him which was cool. I took a video of us on the train that you can see and all I told him was to say somehting for my friends and he bore his testimony in the viedo and about me and it was so nice! Stanley is doing so great!

I think that's all love you bye

Monday, 22 May 2017

Week 21: The Work in Brugge Continues

I only got the one parcel with the DNA kit and shirts. Ya, they were really nice, she was actually the aunt of the elder who trained Elder Tanner [speaking of a member visiting Brugge who sent me a picture]. He's really cool and I made sure to tell her that.

I love the rain. Ya, I always have one [a raincoat] with me which is why I bought a small packable one.

Today I am emailing from Gent which we will probably do in the future because it makes our lives so much easier than running around Brugge [to find a computer]!

We haven’t gone back to that one lady yet but we have to go down there for someone else so we will stop by on the way and see her. We tried looking up the couple from the bus but they were not home so we’ll try again some other time. No, we haven’t gone to the little dorpjes nearby to do any work. There's enough to do in Brugge still. We did bike to one to do a look up this week. We biked like 30 kilometers in one day, it was a lot!

1.  Did you get both packages from me or just the one (2nd parcel has the deodorant in it)?
2.  How is the training going? Are you managing the senior companion and other responsibilities all right?
3.  What is your main way to find people to teach?
4.  What are you learning about yourself on the mission?
5.  Have you been able to play a ping pong match with EF yet?
6.  Are you doing all right for money?
7.  Raincoat questions from above …
8.  Did you get fed much this week?

1. Just the one. I love all the stuff in it! You always know what random stuff to include!
2. Training is good. We had a Brussels trip this week. Ya, I'm managing it all okay.
3. Through members and asking for referrals. Lately, we have been getting a few from door knocking, which we did with some of the members and it went really well!
4. Lots, haha. I am getting a lot more skills, learning how to spiritually feed myself and how to best use my past experiences to be a good teacher for others.
5. Yes, we did play and it was really close. I won the first set by a decent amount, then him the next, then the third went to a tie for a long time and he eventually won in a really close match.  It has been a long time since ER and I played, haha. But ya, he's slightly better than me at the moment. [Nick always likes a good challenge and sounds like a friendly competition].
6. No, they are not sending in my reimbursements or something weird is happening! I am so poor! Sorry I have been taking out personal money as of late because of that! I am not happy about it, it sucks! [His reimbursements will come soon no doubt … missions are so good for learning to budget your money!]
7. Yes
8. 2 times and one was with a member who invited a missionary from 3 years ago to eat with us, so we had dinner with him too. He is just traveling around to some of the cities he served in. I asked him where he’s from and he's like Canada…. I was like, okay, where in Canada? He said Alberta, so I was like where in Alberta? He said some little town in the southeast. I was like, dude, I’m from Lethbridge, where are you from specifically? He was like, oh, wow, that’s so cool, I'm from Cardston! His last name is Nish. He’s actually going to school at the University of Lethbridge and is living on the west side now.

That's all, love you, bye

From our Hangouts chat:
He is not too sad about Porter being put to sleep.  He felt he had already said his goodbyes to him, which is a relief since he loved that dog so much!  Also, he was able to fix the brakes on his bike this week himself, which is comforting.
Elder Fernhout and a former missionary, Elder Nish
An MTC reunion after Zone Conference!
Another picture of the beautiful Belgian countryside ... so much green!
peaceful countryside
some happy sheep
"Really cool farm gate"
Getting a sunburn from all the biking

Monday, 15 May 2017

Week 20: An Awesome Mother's Day Video Chat

It was really nice to talk live and to hear you guys! This week was good, some cool things happened and training is also going really well. I feel like I have to be an extra good example which is hard sometimes but I really love training; I would love to do it again too! I think I enjoy it a lot because I got a really good greenie. We get along real well and do good stuff here. I feel like the work has slowed a bit since ER left but I think that’s normal. There's just so many things to stay on top of!

Ya, I am at the point in the language where I have all of the basics which now allows me to grow really fast and get good in a bunch of areas of the language. Once that happens I'll probably be transferred to an area with a new accent!

EF and I do 100 pushups every night which is fun, I can already tell I am improving! We also play soccer some mornings which is really fun! We went to Diksmuide this week to see a Lamb of God referral and the guy was interesting … I could barely understand him because he had some kind of speech impediment but I was able to give him a Book of Mormon and he accepted it so that was awesome! He’s also meeting with the JWs and he wrote up 117 Qs for them so it’ll be fun to see what he has for us, haha! It was so hot though in that little dorpje!

We had some bike troubles this week too but that led to our miracle for the week! We were kinda late for a train, so we were biking really fast and EF realized he had a flat tire but we decided to keep going; then he kinda crashed and he ended up bending his front tire but we kept going because we were late. As we were on this one path, this guy stopped us and said he had a pump and that he could help us. We got talking he said he knew a Canadian, which he brought up because of the flag on my bag. He said it was also a missionary and he met with them a few years ago but then they just stopped coming by and he didn’t know why. I think it was when Brugge was closed down to missionary work. He said he would start meeting with us again and gave us his number and address! So cool! And I almost didn't even stop.

Word is WONDEREN and it means miracles. I chose it because it sounds like wonders which makes sense, like Jesus performed wonders, gives a new perspective to the word.

Nice, I was totally going to ask you for recipes! I also have a microwave, btw.

Okay love you bye

1.  Did you go anywhere this week?
2.  How is the work going?
3.  Do you have to travel to Brussels for paperwork for EF much?
4.  Have you been on any exchanges lately?
5.  What kind of pasta do you cook?  What do you serve it with?
6. How is the training going?

1. A few places like Diksmuide. Should be going to Antwerpen for ZC [Zone Conference] this week and also Brussels for EF.
2. Kinda already answered.
3. Hah, did that one too.
4. Nope, but next week we will be!
5. Just penne with a white carbonara sauce from a jar. I'll fry up some spek and peppers and onions too.
6. We get along really well. We share stories and have good laughs and it’s really fun!
A photo taken by a member visiting Brugge
Train Board in Brugge
Beautiful street in Belgium
Eating ijs under the protection of an arch
Church in Diksmuide
Temperatures are rising in Belgium!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Week 19: Training in Brugge

It is really hard being a trainer but also really fun in a way I never even thought of. It is also really stressful though because you are responsible for starting someone's mission! Serving in the church really does help with all kinds of other life skills that are useful! My goodness, that is a really really busy week! I'm sure your class was great though! Sick, ya, I have seen those cups and they look so cool! [Chill Factor slushy maker Jake received for his birthday]. That Camry better be there when I get back! I love that thing! That dog, I miss him. Maybe he is just lazy [Porter is having trouble getting around these days].
Ya, what will work best is the video Hangouts, but I actually haven't figured out where to do the Mother's Day thing yet... I don't know what's happening with that, sorry. I will try and figure it out then let you know during the week.
I have noticed so much language improvement this week, we were knocking doors and got let in and I had an hour convo with this elderly Catholic lady all in Dutch, it was crazy. Pretty sure I've been blessed with extra help in that area because I'm training.
We also had a great lesson with O, in English, and we taught him the whole restoration. It was good. He has all kinds of questions which I love because it shows interest and a desire to learn more.

Questions (I’m just going to repeat the one’s from last week since they are still applicable, haha):
1.  Tell me about the changes this week … who is your new companion?  Where is he from? How long has he been out? How is his Dutch?
2.  How did it go with ER leaving this week?
3.  How did the missionary work go this week?
4.  Did you go to church in Gent this week?  What is the ward like there?  Did all the members of the Brugge Branch make it?
5.  Did you travel anywhere this week?
6.  Do you know yet how it will work to talk on May 14th, Mother’s Day?  I’m really looking forward to that!  Let me know what work’s best!

1. E. Furniss is his name, from Rigby Idaho, he has been out 5 days. He does good.
2. It went well.  I was really sad to see him leave, he gave me one of his name tags which was cool. (A trainer-trainee tradition).
3. Alright, we did a lot of stuff. Everything I do is an example so that motivates me to work hard and do everything right. Every time I felt like we might be being a bit lazy, we went and worked harder. We met a lot of cool people and had some good lessons. It's weird making all the decisions.
4. Awesome, it felt like I was back home again! So so many people, 178 to be exact and they expected 130 max., haha. Almost all came, it was a good turnout.
5. Ya freakin' Lichtervelde for like 3 hrs, got lost walking around this tiny little dorpje and I was too stubborn to ask anyone for help. Then when I finally did, it was this old farmer dude who only spoke Italian and that didn't help. I slept so good that night. A few other places, but nothing else new.
6. Nope, ya I could try 4 our time or 3 our time I'll let you know.

Okay love you bye

Word is slagroom, which is the word for whipped cream. It's cool because slag is a term for hit and room is cream, so it is similar to English but still cool.
A church in Brugge

One of the beautiful old churches in Brugge

A groentje!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Week 18: Changes on the way ...


Yes, so big changes this week. I will still be in Brugge but I will have a new companion obviously as ER is dying [translation: Elder Richards is going home]. I get to meet him tomorrow. What is really interesting about my new companion is that he will be a greenie. In other words, I am training this next transfer. The president called a few nights ago and told me the news and let me tell you I was not expecting this! I am really scared but I am ready, I am willing to do it. It is going to be scary because we are in a really hard area accent wise and I still have a little trouble understanding people and there's no doubt that the greenie will also have trouble as I did when I first arrived. So this next transfer is going to be really really different than the last 2. That's the big news.  I am emailing from a library in Gent right now and don't really have that much time. ER still hasn't left yet but we are having a good time and he's buying a lot of chocolate, haha. I'd say he's excited but also kinda sad, he loves the mission field but it will be nice to go back home.

Haha, yes I saw those pillows, I was thinking more like flowers or Brugge scenery or something. But I'll look at the dogs haha. [on what kind of throw pillow I'd like.  Brugge is known for its tapestries and they make beautiful pillows].

1.  Tell me about the changes this week … who is your new companion?  Where is he from? How long has he been out? How is his Dutch?
2.  How did it go with Elder Richards leaving this week?
3.  How did the missionary work go this week?
4.  Did you go to church in Gent this week?  What is the ward like there?  Did all the members of the Brugge Branch make it?
5.  Did you travel anywhere this week?
6.  Do you know yet how it will work to talk on May 14th, Mother’s Day?

1. will do
2. not gone yet but he's all packed and ready to go
3. okay it was kinda crazy, found a lot of potentials for next week though!
4. No it was in Brugge for the last time
5. not really but I'll be going to Leiden tomorrow to meet my new greenie or groentje
6. nope haha, no idea

The Extra:
I don't think I'll have much time to write much down [on PDays] because we don't get to email from the church anymore :( Anyway this one will be more spiritual because I think you'd appreciate it.  We talk lots on the mission about developing Christ-like attributes and there's a bunch of them listed in PMG.  One of the ones we talked about lately was humility.  Which is one of my favourites.  Humility is in part the absence of pride.  We see the cycle of pride in the BoM often with the Lamanites and the Nephites.  It starts when wicked people are being really bad, so they are humbled by God, by things such as famines. At a certain point, they realize they need God and that they can't do it alone.  They are then blessed and helped by God and the people then again begin to prosper in the land.  As they continue in their prospering they get so wealthy that they forget God once again and become a wicked people once again because of pride.

Pride is never good and something I learned is that comparing yourself to others is a form of pride which causes contention and is never good.  It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and we do it so often.  But as we learn to be grateful for what we have, we recognize God's role in our lives and are more peaceful.  If we don't become prideful we have no need to be humbled which is not fun.  DON'T EVER PRAY TO BE HUMBLED!!!  BAD THINGS HAPPEN AND YOU WILL BE HUMBLED!!!  But if you need to it is probably going to be good for you in the end.  So yes, develop the attribute of Humility, but like all attributes, you can't develop one without the others.  They are all interwoven.  Gratitude is also a great one to develop.  All these things/attributes bring peace in life.  Really they do.  And everyone can do better.  We must always be working on improving ourselves and trying to become more like Jesus Christ.

To continue with some of my favourite things about it here I'll mention the trees along the roads.  Something I absolutely love that they do here is they put trees all along the back country roads and along bike paths as well.  It might be the photographer in me but it is so pretty!  All the leaves and greenery, it looks so nice!  I think I've taken some photos of them already but I'll try and take some more.

Something we did in church this past Sunday that I really found insightful was they asked us all to write down our 5 most valuable possessions, not necessarily physical.  If you really think about it, it can be kinda hard but it helps you realize where your priorities are.  So try it and be honest with yourselves! Is there something you need to work on?  Remember 3 Nephi 13: 19-21, where are your treasures? Are they corruptible and earthly or eternal?  I know that true happiness comes from laying up treasures in heaven where they will be safeguarded from corruption.

This past week I got the awesome chance to work with Elder Tanner, one of my old MTC companions, for a whole day.  We did a lot of stuff and had a bunch of fun.  Also went to a new place called Torhout.  Very small but I love the little places like that the most.  We found where we were going and after it was time to go back to the train station.  I told Elder Tanner that I knew a way that would be faster, turns out I didn't and when I reluctantly admitted I had no idea where we were.  We looked at a few signs and followed them eventually to the station.

For lunch we had some amazing Turkish food called Kapsalon.  As we were eating a fight broke out between these two 14 year old boys.  One of them wrecked the other and there was a huge crowd of people.  A few other 18 year old by standers were laughing at the kid and it was so mean! European teenagers are not the same.

We had an appointment with Omar that was good and by then the day was over.  We had a lot of other little stories but that would take forever to write down.