Monday, 31 July 2017

Week 31: Transfer to Emmen

So, yes I now have a new companion and his name is Elder Rytting from Lindon, Utah. He's cool, we should have a good transfer or what is probably going to be 2. Getting from Brugge to Leiden and then to Emmen was a huge pain. Started with me sleeping in Antwerpen and we got there late cause our correlation meeting went late. So I left there and it was in Gent so I traveled back to Brugge then I had to pick up my bike from Bro Pace cause he fixed it because Elder Steele broke it. Anyway, that's another story. So we got the bike, then got my bags from the apartment and rushed to the bus station to get to the train station. I managed to fit everything into my one big bag so I only had to deal with the one bag. Problem is that it was 100 lbs! I also had to carry a bike and 2 backpacks and also a guitar without a case. Then I got to Gent and picked up another elder who was also heading to Antwerpen. We met in Gent and I had to say a sad goodbye to EF. It was a great 2 transfers buddy! The other Elder I was with had more bags than he alone could carry so it was not fun to get all of our stuff around. In Antwerpen we met the ZLs [zone leaders] who took us to the apartment for the night. It hasn’t been used for a transfer so there was nothing in it and I was so so so hungry cause I didn't have time to eat but there was no food. The elder I was with was carrying around a can of peaches though so we had that, haha. The next morning I woke up at 5 am and we got ready and left. Still no food. As I was taking my big bag down the stairs it got away from me and rolled down the stairs and hit the wall, the metal handle on it broke so the rest of the day I had to carry it weird and I ended up getting huge bruises on my calves where it hit me all day. I also had to wear a suit and it was hot and we had to run a lot too, going from train to train, then we got to Leiden late. Anyway, that's where I picked up ER. We traveled from there to Emmen which is also really far from Leiden like Brugge is. Thankfully he didn't have a bike. We also got kicked off a train for not having a bike pass at one point and we got home at about 9:30 at night. A very long hard day to say the least. Okay, now that my complaining is out of the way I can continue. No, wait I have more, sorry.

So we get to the apartment and the elders who were here before left a mess, so much crap and clothes. I went around with a garbage bag and filled 3 of them with stuff! 3! It looks a lot better now. Also when an area is white washed they are supposed to leave a little book about the area and the people and things like where to get haircuts. They didn't do that.... all they did was write a few things on the whiteboard and nothing else. So that was not nice at all! We were so confused and still kinda are, haah. Also, there was a paper on the board saying that one of us had to give a talk on Sunday… that was in 3 days. So I had to prepare cause I wasn't going to have my greenie do it. It turned out to be not so bad though cause I enjoyed studying and preparing for it during my study time. It made studies more meaningful because I had a purpose and was gathering information and stuff. I was so afraid it was going to be too short though! I was more worried about that than the language. And because I can’t speak too great I used a lot of sections from a talk I found in the Liahona and from the scriptures, haha. I never did time my talk though. So yesterday I go up there to give it and it was going great. I wrote it in English and translated it on the spot, I thought that would be easiest and it worked well. Then after a bit one of the councillors tapped me and told me to save time for the others, so I wrapped up quick and sat down. I had ER time me and I was speaking for 20 mins!!! I couldn't believe it, I was so embarrassed, they had to cut out one of the speakers! Great way to introduce myself to the ward. They gave me another paper and I have to speak again in 3 weeks, it'll go better this time though! 10 mins is so short though!

The rumours about Emmen is that the ward is really awesome, and it’s true, they are really cool. After church this family asked us over for a bbq so natuurlijk we said yes. So in the ward there's this old couple and their 3 kids and their spouses and kids. Just them makes up half the ward. They were all at the bbq and we got to know them and it was awesome, they are all so cool and fun. Also the dying missionary [not really dying, but done with his mission] who just left Emmen was there with his parents. So we got to talk to him a bit and ask him questions. We had a good time us all!  They live in Germany because it's cheaper and really really close, so I have made it into the 4 country club now! They drove us back home after which was nice so we didn't have to use the buses. My greenie doesn't have a bike yet so we do a lot of walking.

Ok, I’m really interested to hear about Emmen!  Here are my questions:
1.  What were your first impressions of Emmen? 
2.  How did it go picking your new companion up in Leiden?  28 new elders is so many!
3.  Did you get see Elder Nielsen this week at all? 
4.  Where did you end up staying the night before you went to the mission office?
5.  How is the ward in Emmen? How was your first Sunday?
6.  How different is the accent? Can you understand the people okay and can they understand you?  
7.  How is it going whitewashing the area?  
8.  Are you in an apartment?  What is it like?  
9.  In what city are the next closest missionaries?  Is your district and zone very big?
10.  Does the church have a computer?  Is that where you will write from?

1. The train to get here showed us a lot of nice counrty side, it felt really really nice to have no sound around us and just open fields. So I enjoy that. Also I thought Belgium was really flat, but somehow it is flatter here. I can't explain it, it is just so so flat.

2. answered

3. No! but I met his MTC comp who is really cool. Also, now Matt and I are in the same country it is cheaper to text him so I did that a little.

4. answered

5. haha, also answered

6. Ya it's coming okay. Its easy cause it’s not Bruggs, which is the Brugge accent, but it’s hard because I have to adjust to a new accent. I'm doing pretty okay though. In a week I should be fine. Ya they understand me. They can easily tell I served in Belgium. They say I have a Belgian/English accent, haha.

7. Pretty rough actually. The other elders didn't leave much help and so I am not sure what to do all day cause all the other elders who served here told me the same thing and that was to not go door knocking. First because it's been done like a thousand times already and 2 Emmen is the JW home base for Europe.

8. The apartment is really nice. Ya, I’ll send pics for next week. It is in an old folks home so it’s quiet and big. It's one of the best ones in the mission. Also the walls are super solid so we can play music pretty loud. We are on the main floor and there is no one below us so we can do workouts and stuff and don't need to worry about that.

9. Zwolle is next closest. Ya, our district is decent. About 11 missionaries I think, it's an odd number cause there is a 3 man companionship.

10. Yes, but only 1 so we are at the library now.

Oh and a funny story to end off. So when we first got there and I was cleaning up I saw a jug of water. So I put it in the fridge for later. Then the next day we got groceries and one of the things we got was syrup stuff to flavour your water. When we got home I poured a glass of nice cold water and put a bunch of the syrup in. I took a big gulp and I thought I was going to die. I put the cup down and sat down on a chair and just breathed for a bit. I was in so much pain, it tasted like I drank acid! My throat was in so much pain. ER thought I was joking so he also took a big sip from his and right away spit it out. We wondered why the syrup tasted so bad! Maybe it had gone bad? Maybe we put too much in? So we did it again with about half the amount of syrup, again it was bad! Worse actually! So I thought the cup was contaminated with the syrup and got a new cup. I needed to rinse my mouth out so I poured just a cup of water and this time it was also awful!!! I was so confused! It was about at that point, 3 gulps later that I realized that what I thought was water was actually vinegar, haha. We felt so stupid. There’s got to be a good lesson there. Mum, your always good at relating those things... but ya, we had some good laughs and still are.

Anyway that's all, love you lots

Elder Fernhout
The church in Emmen
Flowers in Emmen

Elder Steele with Elder Fernhout's bike
Cool shot of Elder Furniss
Visiting members before leaving Brugge
More visits with members he will miss
Studying for his talk
Bowling with the District in Gent

Monday, 24 July 2017

Week 30: Knokke and Transfer Calls!

I was so nervous before transfer calls this time! More so than usual.  It's like a new mission call every transfer.  Anyway, we waited and everyone else in the district got their calls but not us. Then the APs [Assistants to the President] called which is not normal because usually the ZLs [Zone Leaders] call. So I was pretty sure EF was going to train. They gave him his call first and his next companion is a missionary who is serving in Gent right now, Elder Van Der Werff.  So he is coming over to Brugge to be comps with EF and then it was my turn.  Elder Mackay, one of the APs told me that a lot of prayer went into this decision and right then I knew it was not going to be in a normal missionary place. He told me that I am being transferred to Emmen. Which is really far north and on the German border! I also don't know who my next companion is because I will be training again. So I will be white washing it, which means the 2 missionaries who were there both leave and 2 new ones come in.  So that's exciting.

Yes Gma Purdy!!! 101 that's so cool. Maddie and Jackie are so fun, that's awesome. I went on exchanges again this week to Brussels. I was there with Elder Torrie from Utah. We played a game of Monopoly to the end and it reminded me of playing Monopoly with my cousins. It was fun.

1.  What is happening with transfers?
2.  Did you have a zone conference?
3.  How was your week?
4.  Who does your apartment inspections?  I’m glad to hear you are keeping the apartment tidy.
5.  It looks like your pants are getting loose, are you losing a lot of weight?

1. Answered

2. No, already had it this transfer.

3. Good, slow week again, but we had fun. Almost put another investigator on baptismal date but he dropped the appointment at the last second. But we looked up some referrals and less actives in Knokke which is the top of the Belgian coast and it's a really nice, rich area so we checked it out a bit.

4. The senior couple in the area.

5. Actually ya, haha. My dark grey ones are huge on me but we don't have a scale so I can't tell if I am or not.

I can't think of a good word for the week, sorry.

Elder Fernhout

Mural in Oostende

Concert in Brugge Centrum

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Week 29: Koksijde, Ijs, and .... France

So some things about the week... We had a great appointment with a less active and his non-member girlfriend who sat in. She is interested and then yesterday, he came to church! He called Sunday morning and said he wanted to come and wanted me to see if anyone could drive him, so I figured it out quick and he was there!

We were biking through the centrum and there's this spot where we are often spotted by tourist members. We had just finished a dinner appointment  and we wanted ijs, so we decided to go get it at our favourite place. We drove past the corner where we are often spotted and sure enough we hear "hey, elders."  It was an older couple standing in line at another ijs place. So we stopped and talked and right when we got up to them the husband turns around and fiddles with his wallet and then comes over and shoves money into our pockets.  I looked later and he gave us each 30 Euro! So nice. Oh and they also bought us ijs, haha! They were super nice people.

We had apartment checks this week so we made the apartment all nice and neat for the inspection. It didn't take much time though cause we live pretty clean, EF and I keep it nice. We passed it just fine.

We were door knocking one day and were getting kinda sick of it so we went to the near by basketball court to see if anyone was there and there were 3 people.  I was nervous to ask but I know when something is scary, something good ends up happening and there's nothing to be afraid of. Besides EF is good at basketball.  So I went and asked and they were like "ya, sure." We played a few different games that we knew, then 2 of them left and we played bit longer. Another tall dude came and he asked where we were from and after I told him Canada he said he used to live there. I asked where and he said Edmonton, Alberta! Haha, so cool. He was cool and we exchanged numbers so we can play again. It was loads of fun.

There are these stores called Kringloop Winkels that are like thrift stores and are super cool; you can get some good stuff there. I got a cool mug that you stick in the freezer; now when I have a drink I take it out and it's so nice! Right now is sale season here. I don't know if it's all of Europe but in the mission area the 2 countries are only allowed to have sales 2 times a year for some reason, so right now is one of them and aaaaalll the stores are 50 or more percent off. So this is the time when missionaries buy a lot of clothes. I have some good stuff but might get something, idk. It ends at the end of the month.

1.  question about a picture from a couple of weeks ago: why are you holding up a huge sign with the Church’s name on it? It looks like you are making the missionary work fun over there, I'm glad :)
2.  Google drive says only 979 MB of 15 GB have been used, shouldn’t you have lots of room left?
3.  what did you do this week?  any funny stories?
4.  how is the work coming along? have you found any new people to teach?
5.  how is the ward in Gent?  do you ride with members to get there or take public transportation?
6.  what was the best thing about this week?
7.  what was the worst thing?
8.  any dinner appointments?  is it easy to grocery shop in Belgium?

1. haha, we cleaned out the Brugge church and we saw that and asked if we could take it and put it up in the apartment so I had to carry it on the bike home. Thought I'd take a funny picture with it first. It's a parking sign, btw.

2. no trust me it's full!

3. we went to France hahaah. We had a refferal to look up in a city that is a 15 min bike to France so we took our bikes with us and off we went. I took a few photos but can't upload them now, will do it tomorrow though! We kinda got lost and ended up getting stuck in sand with our bikes in the middle of nowhere and then my chain fell off and it was not fun but we got through it and it actually was fun.

4. nope haven't found anyone new in weeks.... jammer genoeg. we teach a decent amount though.

5. good, we had a munch and mingle yesterday after the service so that was fun. we take the train and tram.

6. France, or the members we met or our dinner appointment with the ward mission leader, or golfing in Koksijde.

7. not knowing where the freak I am going next transfer and the possibility of getting a bad comp... but I'm confident I could make any companionship work. Some just take more work than others. Also, the work was not that great this week... real sloww.

8. the dinner appointment with our ward mission leader and one other where we had a pannenkoeken party. Our ward mission leader is from Suriname and all the other missionaries say Suriname food is the best so I asked him to make it for us and he (and his wife) did and let me tell you it really is super delicious! The dish we had was called roti and it's really simple but so good. I must learn to make it! It made me jealous of the Suriname missionaries. Ya shopping isn't too bad. It's a weird feeling to walk into the stores here like it's a normal thing. I know all the products just fine and all.

Oh, I am gonna miss being able to wear the badge! [responding to a comment I made]

Word is alle which I think is French actuallly but they use it all the time, like alll the time, it's hilarious. It's a filler word you use when you forget something or mess up a sentence or someone cuts you off biking or anything really. It's awesome. They say you speak Flemish when you use alle properly. Pronounced ah-lay.

and this belgian computer blocks that dutch website page, haha.

Loves Elder Fernhout

stuck in the sand
wait, is this in the mission?

not seeing the bike lanes ...
visit to Koksijde
new shoes

member family in Brugge

Monday, 10 July 2017

Week 28: Canada Day / Fourth of July

Week was good, went by really fast! We got word that Elder Sabin, the General Authority who spoke at General Conference, is coming to speak to us soon! Also, what's cool is he served here in this mission when he was a missionary. What's even cooler is he served in Brugge and even better he baptized the first member here in Brugge and his name is Br. Plovier and Br. Plovier is awesome. He is a 75 year old guy who does so much for us and he loves ping pong. So that's something cool to look forward to. I also really really enjoyed his talk and the stories he shared!

The week went by really fast because it was busy. Started with zone pday which was in Brussels and there we had a sports pday where we all played volleyball and had a BBQ. The Americans will tell you it was for the 4th of July but the Canadians will tell you it was for the 1st, haha. It was all pretty fun. We also had interviews with the mission president and his wife this week; I always enjoy interviews, and our prez is so good. He asked me some general questions then turned the time over to me to ask anything. I wanted to know where I was being transferred this next one because I have a really good chance of leaving Brugge. He laughed and told me a story about how his daughter stayed in the same area for 18 months... so that wasn't very reassuring! I love Brugge but it's been a long time now, so I hope I get transferred. I'll know on the 22nd. I feel like I have plateaued here in Brugge, but when I leave I'll probably miss it a lot here.

I also had a 2 day exchange in Brussels this week. I left Brugge Tuesday morning and didn't get back until Thursday night. I was with one of our district leaders named Elder Steele. He is from Utah, Southern Utah somewhere, I forget. He is 6 foot 7 and a really funny guy, everyone likes him. So it was a fun exchange. We had a few appointments and for dinner got a mitraillette. So good. In typical exchange fashion we stayed up late talking, haha.

When I got back we had an appointment with O which went really well! He first told us he needed help with something and he was being very omnious and wouldn't tell us any details so it sounded sketchy. We finally got it out of him that he wanted us to help him wash a car he has so he can take pics and sell it. Then after he said we can "study" which is what he calls it when we have lessons. So we followed him on the bikes and we went from his house in the centrum, past our house which is kinda on the outskirts, then into the country side and there was nothing but farms and sheep around us. We were like where are we going but we just followed him until we stopped at this little old house in the middle of nowhere. There was a car there but no water. Anyway, long story shortish, we couldn't find any stuff to wash it, but it was his friends house and he can get stuff from inside. He didn't think his friend would like it if we also went inside so we left and told him to call us when he is done. We found out later that his friend didn't care if we went over to his house and that he actually has a golden Lamborghini and a red Ferrari outside his house!!! I wish we went over there so bad now! We are gonna try to go back, haha.

We had a good lesson with O after that though. We talked about the Plan of Salvation which was a bit hard for him to understand. I mean he has no Christian background so everything is new. So we have to take things really slow with him. We ended the lesson by talking about showing our faith and doing things and then I asked him to be baptized and he said if he feels ready he will be! So we set a date and he said he'd come to church, which he did yesterday! It's all going great.

That's great that Jake did that [Moroni's Quest]. I wish I could go now, I would appreciate it more now, haha. Going on a mission just opens your spiritual eyes that can't be opened any other way really.  I have already learned so much!

1. Tell me about the work.  Do you have investigators?
2. Did you have many dinner appointments this week?  Are you learning to cook more foods?
3. I miss you including a word of the week.  I also like when you include a recent scripture you have read that you find inspiring.
4. When are transfers?  I ’m thinking there is an excellent chance you will be transferred this month.
5.  Did you take photos this week? What folder are they in?
5. Is there anything you’d like me to include in my prayers for you?

1. We had a few investigators drop us recently and are running low so we have lots of time to find new ones now! but the few we have are doing great. O is really progressing.

2. Not really, just the one. We have one today that will be great! I have a few meals under my belt.

3. Sorry I forget. Okay, the word is Onafhankelijkheidsdag which is Independance Day!

4. The 22nd, on a Saturday, at about 8 pm.

5. I did but I can't upload photos rn so I'll do it later.

6. Not really, I'm doing great!

I think that's all, love you bye,

Elder Fernhout

Monday, 3 July 2017

Week 27: Exchanges in Antwerpen and Zone Conference

Oh, wow. Leo, thanks for letting me know [Leo Davidson, an elderly man in the ward, who Nick home taught, passed away]. Ya, there is definitely a difference between Dutch speaking elders and Flemmish ones.

Yes, all those purchases are correct. Also, I bought shoes I love which I'll show you. They were only 60 Euro but I bought EFs shoes too becasue then they were half off. Then he paid me back for them. They are so cool though, I'll take a pic for you.

We had a great lesson with O this week. He began by how the JWs knocked on his door and after he told them he was meeting with us they began to tear us apart and told him that we are trying to trick him and that we work for the devil and are trying to bring him into fire. But thankfully we are good friends with O and he believes that we are not trying to do that. After he told us all that I just said, “they can talk a lot of crap about us but we aren’t going to do it to them” and then O was like "and that's the difference.” He said he gets a good confident and comfortable feeling with us and not them. We then had a good lesson with him and then at the end I asked who is gonna pray and he said I get to choose. I have asked him before but he never has so I asked Elder Furniss, then O said, “why not me?” with a smile on his face. I was so pumped! He said a really good prayer! So sweet and heartfelt! His greatest desire in life is to get his mother out of Iran and take care of her, then marry and have a family and move to paradise, paradise is Canada, haha. He looooooooves Canada. So much. He also calls us "adult" instead of elder cause that’s how he thinks it is pronounced, haha. We tried to fix it but it didn’t work so now we just accept it and we like it. As we were biking away he said, “be safe adult, I only have 2 adult, one who teaches me Facebook (EF) and one who breaks me into Canada (me).” He’s so funny, ha.

1. You went to Antwerp? Did you go on exchanges?
2. How was zone conference?  What did you learn? Is the mission focussing on any particular principle of missionary work right now?
3. Did you get the parcels?  There should be three (at least): one from Gma with Easter chocolate, one from me, and one from Amazon Germany.
4. Are you wearing your contact lenses mostly now?  Does the humidity make wearing them more comfortable?
5. What is the weather like now that it is summer?
6. Are you keeping your apartment clean?
7. Any funny experiences this week?
8. Can you understand everything people say?
9. What do you think your biggest strength is being a missionary?

1. Yes!! it was great, I was with Elder Geeraert from Taber. We found a new investigator and taught 3 lessons which is really great! Although the bike I used there was awful and the chain fell off all the time.
2. Awesome. Learned not to be a fill time missionary but a full time missionary. Ya, they are focusing on finding right now.
3. Yup, I got them all now! and the one from Amazon is the wrong thing but I also needed those, so no need to worry. I wanted razor guards mum. [well that’s what I thought I ordered, maybe I shouldn’t order in German…]
4. Ya, all the time. Ya, they feel fine.
5. All over the place. Rainy weeks and cloudy weeks and sunny weeks. All over.
6. Ya, when I cook EF usually cleans and organizes, so it’s nice. I do cleaning too though.
7. Ya, lots of random things that I can’t explain. uuuuhhh idk.
8. Yup
9. Idk, making friends with the investigators and less actives and active members.

That is all,

loves elder fernhout