Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in Belgium

Fijne feestdagen iedereen!  Kerst, en nu het is tijd voor de niewe jaar!
[Happy Holidays, everyone!  Christmas, and now it's time for the new year! ]
Well, Christmas is over and the new year is coming.  I have to say though, it doesn't seem like Christmas even happened.  It's not quite the same as a missionary.  It's still very good don't get me wrong, just not the same without family.  Plus, out on the mission Christmas is a work day just like every other day.  Christmas morning we got up and opened presents. I was super pumped about every last thing you guys sent, but I really enjoyed the cereal (one of the only foods I miss from the states), U of U drum and feather slippers, and letters from my friends out on missions, and your letters of course.  Tell Grandma (Sister) Yeoman I really enjoyed her poems she sent, especially the masters touch one.  I loved all the other letters and cards I've recieved as well.  Thanks everyone!  After that we ended up baking, or mostly Elder Cockbain baked I guess.  It was a South African tart/custard thing that was super good.  We took those and a couple of cards around to some members that live in Leuven during the late morning/early afternoon.  After that, we hopped on a bus and rode out like an hour to the family we spent Christmas dinner with, the Dexx... Dekx... yeah I don't know how to spell it but I know how to say it, so that's the most important part.  The first thing they did when we got in the door was ask if we wanted to skype then because dinner wasn't quite ready. They didn't have ask me twice, I was pretty excited.   Even though President Hank's setting apart blessing is holding through in that I'm not homesick, I was still super excited to see my family.  It was super cool, and such a blessing. I will say though I'm glad we skyped when we did, because even just a little later I would have been a liar.  During skype I told you a couple of things. One that it wouldn't snow, two that the brewery doesn't stink, and three that I wasn't sick.  Well within the next couple hours to couple days, all three happened.  First, actually I was sick when I skyped but more on that later, then the brewery stank and has been stinking the last couple days, then in snowed... so reverse order.
Elder Lott poses for a picture during his Christmas call

As my family knows, Elder Denny has been pretty sick this whole week.  He's still doing pretty badly, even though by now I've made a full recovery.  Cool experience though with my sickness:  Elder Cockbain is going home in a little over a week, which is a sad day because he's been one of my favorite companions so far, him and Elder Chantry.  He's been wanting to go hard this last part of the mission, and I've really wanted to be able to help him do that.  So we've been sticking Elder Denny at Bishop's house with Bishop so he can recover better while we go out.  But then I've still been sick.  Normally sickness isn't something to really stop me, but I'd been feeling really pretty bad, not sure the last time I was that sick.  But though the power of prayer, I was able to get through the week and work.  Also through the power of prayer, I was able to have an enjoyable time and feel pretty good while we were at members houses and skyping during this past week.
Power of Prayer

This week was one of tons of potential as far as setting some baptisimal dates.  The bad news is that a lot of our appointments got dropped, and we still don't have anyone on date.  But the good news is that we didn't lose anyone, so that same potential still remains for this week!  Also, that miracle of a referal from an investagator is turning out to be golden!  We've met with her three times already, and we just met her a week ago!  She's a really cool lady.  She is from Iran, and is Muslim but is looking to convert to christianity and is just looking for which church to join.  She is accepting a lot right away, and is very willing to seek confirmation for the things we teach and also for the Book of Mormon through prayer.  She has even still investigating after having a super deep doctrinal discussion with some members we brought her to on Christmas Eve.  (In his defense, she was pretty much directly asking questions and he did a good job of directly awnsering them. But we were freaked out for a couple days how she would take it until she came to church on Sunday!)  It just gives me a greater testimony of the Holy Ghost, and it's power to testify truth to the honest seeker.
Good week. Hopefully better to come.
Love you guys!
Elder Hayden L. Lott
ps sorry no pictures this week, the library computer is about to kick me off, some week you'll get a stack.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Early Christmas Miracles

Hey all!

Wow, this week has been fantastic.  Had a few early Christmas miracles to go along with it.  Me and Elders Cockbain and Denny have been seeing some success start to roll this week with our investigators who we started to work with at the begining of this transfer. We are teaching a steady amount of lessons now to a mix of investigators and less actives.  That in and of itself is a miracle to me, because I think we have already taught more lessons in this last week then I did all last transfer.  

Posing with the statue
[For those of you that know Elder Lott, you'll remember that he was always throwing out the Usain Bolt pose after races.  It's pretty funny that in the very same letter that he mentions Usain Bolt (below),  he would send a new pose for us to enjoy!]

Christmas Lights in Leuven

We had some really powerful lessons this week with a miracle of an investigator.  She woke up one Sunday morning and felt like she should come to church.  She didn't know which church to go to but remembered a card the missionaries had given her about our church, came and loved it!  Like I said, we have had some powerful lessons with her so far.  She desires so badly to know the truth that sometimes it is hard because she has such deep questions.  Well, that and she doesn't quite understand why Christ is important other than a good example but we'll help sort that one out.  From her actually comes another miracle.  During our last lesson, she told us that her friend is actually wanting to convert from Islam to Christianity and is looking for some help with some questions concerning Christ and is looking into which church to join. So she gave us each others numbers.  A referral from an investigator?  Miracle!  

We ended up getting a text from this friend of our first investagator the next day, and she asked for us to set up a time we could come and teach her... what? Add a miracle to the tally.  We are going to teach her in about an hour from when I send this off so I hope all goes well!  Another miracle is that when we were at the Antwerpen Church this week for a zone training somebody called the church.  They asked whoever it was that picked up if there was a church in Leuven, and when they said there was and got the info they wouldn't give out any info to us so we could teach them this week, but told us to expect them to come to church in the next couple weeks.  Miracle!

More miracles have jumped up when with nearly all of our dead time this week has been filled by either a suprise let in by a look up, or a suprise let in from a less active.  We got up to the Belgium/Netherlands mission standard of exellence this week for number of progressing investigators, (Investigators who have had more then one lesson and are keeping commitments) of 5 and could have as many as 9 or 10 by next week!  We are going to try and extend baptismal invitations and dates for those 5 whom are progressing in the near future so things are really looking up with the work!  The difference to me between now and a couple of weeks ago is not in an area, but in the change of dedication, truly loving those whom we serve, and single mindness to the Lord's work by me and my companions. The Lord truly does pour out His blessings when we as missionaries are prepared, obedient, prayerful, and humble enough to follow the spirit.

Merry Christmas everyone!   #sharethegift if you haven't watched or shared this video yet, please do so now!


Love you guys!

Elder Hayden L. Lott

ps Thanks for that story you shared at the end of your email Dad, it put me to tears thinking of the faithfulness and trust of that young man, and the kindness of those who helped him.  [from that email: Bishop shared a miracle story in church today. Last month when Josh Grimstead talked as our High Councilman he shared a story about a phone call from a family he baptized over 16 years ago while serving in DC. they looked him up because their now 19 yr old son is going to serve a mission. They are as poor now as back then, and they remembered a promise made back then...he would help if ever they sent a missionary out.-Plus they trusted the Lord explicitly! This family did't have money to buy this young man a pair of #14 shoes, or even a white shirt. But none of the poverty story was shared over the pulpit. After the meeting members of our ward felt inspired to help. Long story short, this young man stepped off the plane in SLC on Tuesday morning in his "best":jeans, ball cap, and New York Giants sweatshirt. His carry on luggage was a plastic shopping bag. By Wednesday morning he was outfitted with 2 new size 52 suits, shirts, shoes, socks, ties, shoe shine kit, and luggage that had already been on three missions. He was dropped off at the MTC dressed as he has never dressed in his life. The real miracles that took place to get him there are numerous. This missionary truly left home without purse or script.  Help came, just in time as this family, members, and young missionary acted in faith.]  

Also thanks Mom for the birthday wishes via Bishop Dxx.  He announced it over the pulpit and pointed at me Usain Bolt style, it was awesome!

Usain Bolt strikes his iconic pose
Can you imagine a Bishop doing this from the pulpit?  No wonder Elder Lott loves him so!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Loving it in Leuven

[Elder Lott's email this week arrived hours later than usual; thanks for the many calls and messages of concern.  We don't know why it was delayed, but feel so blessed to now know that he is happy and settling into the new area.]

I'm in love...  I'm in love with Leuven.

As you guys know I got transferred this last week down to Leuven, Belgium! The minute I stepped foot here I felt strange, like somehow I was coming home to someplace that I had never been to.  I connect with the people here really well, not that I didn't in Rotterdam/Gouda, but there is just something different about this place.

Transfer day was crazy, I think I spent about 10 hours that day either on a train or in a train station.  The train ride down was really pretty, although it is pretty tough getting all three pieces of luggage and a bike on and off each time you change trains.  I got to see and hang out with one of my old MTC buddies Elder Matt Morrell when I got to Antwerpe Station, and we even got to contact a little and get some frites in Antwerpe so that was pretty fun as well.  I also got to see another MTC buddy, Elder Trevon Reese for a couple of minutes.  All of the train stations here are super cool because they are super old and are really cool old European looking.  As for the city of Leuven, I am indeed in love.  It is very much a college town; more than half of people who live here are college students going to Leuven University.  There are little streets and alleyways everywhere, all laid out with cobblestone instead of pavement.  There are tons of old churches/cathedrals and tons of simply awesome looking old buildings because of the university.  The main centrum is cool right next to the train station, with a really cool monument.  There are Christmas lights up everywhere so it makes it extra cool.  I don't know how else to describe it other than super European.  I fell in love with this city for that reason alone.  Our apartment is among the smallest and oldest in the mission.  We are stuck up at the top of an old building so along with being small already, all the walls arch towards the ceiling.  It looks pretty cramped but once we got unpacked it ended up being really cozy, and I really like it actually.  Our apartment is pretty near a giant beer factory too, so that is pretty funny as well. I am also feeling great because the ward here is awesome and has treated me like family.  We had lunch on Sunday with one family, then dinner that same day with Bishop Dxx's family.  He is freaking hilarious!

View from an Investigator's Apartment

Just Outside of Lueven

I am loving my new companions! Elder Cockbain is from Johannesburg, South Africa which is super cool.  He has a really cool accent, not really British, not really Australian, but somewhere in between.  He'll be going home in another month, but I can already tell I'll enjoy the time I get to work/learn from him.  Elder Denny is from the area of St. Louis, Missouri.  He's got about 3 transfers left so this will be one of, if not the last, of his areas.  I'm super excited to work with and learn from him as well.  They both seem to seek the spirit, have strong testimonies, are hard working, humble, and obedient missionaries which is great!  It has been so great working so far with them.

We have been seeing some success the last couple days.  We taught more than one lesson in the same day, so it is already better in that aspect than last transfer.  We work a ton more with less actives, and even have a bunch of referrals we need to look up and a couple of investigators that are pretty solid.  We got the daughters of one of our investigators to church on Sunday, and they loved it! So that is exciting.

I am also learning a new language.  Vlaams (Flemmish) is what they speak here in Northern Belgium.  It is pretty much Dutch, but it is not nearly as far back in your mouth when you speak.  There is no guttle roll, it is very smooth.  It is beautiful to listen to, unlike Dutch (sorry Netherlands), because it is very sing songy, and meek.  They also use quite a few French words so I'm picking up a little French along the way.  I would almost say it sounds like Dutch with a Scottish accent, or, well something like that.

Good times had, great times awaiting.  Can't wait to see how it goes.

Love you all!

-Elder Hayden L. Lott

ps yep mom, I got the letters from you with the advent calender.  I haven't been able to have to time to memorize them but I enjoy reading through it in Dutch.  I also got all the mail sent to the office in case I haven't already put that in a letter yet.  Days are flying by!  Guess that's what happens when you're having fun and working hard.  Thanks for the birthday shout outs everyone!  It's hard to believe I'm going to be 19... 20 is going to kill me ;)

[Promised pictures from Kinderjijk.  So glad he was able to see this before leaving for Belgium.]

Ferry Ride to Kinderdijk

Elder Lott in Kinderdijk

So good to see his face!



Elder Lott in Kinderdijk

Monday, December 8, 2014

Time For a Change

Hey all!

Happy Sinterclaus! Or at least a couple days ago.  That was one of the biggest events of this week.  We got to spend Sinterclaus this week with Bishop and Sister Rxx and their family.  It's an interesting holiday.  I loved all the Sinterclaus songs, even if Bishop Rxx kept giving me crap for not being able to memorize any of them.  I loved all the treats, and pretty much just everything. It was super cool.  We got to do a white elephant kind of thing which me and Elder Lovin got funny gifts for, so that was cool.  

This last P-day we got to go to Kinderdijk, a super cool little dorpje [village or small town] with a whole bunch of windmills which was super great for pictures, which I will send a lot of.  To get there was fun, we had to go though downtown Rotterdam, then go to someplace in the Harbor (Rotterdam is apperently the 3rd biggest Harbor in the world so that was cool) where we took a water bus, and then a smaller ferry to get to Kinderdijk.

The work this week actually was one of the best we've had in a while. Our contacting success blew up this week, as we finally saw success in finding tons of people with enough interest to say we could come back and give a short lesson!

But wait, transfer calls came on Sunday, and wait for it..... drum roll please................. Yep you guessed it, I'm getting transferred!  Which is actually totally ok with me, and I'm SUPER excited because I'm headed to Belgium!  I will be serving in the city/area of Leuven, Belgium.  And guess what? I get to be in another trio! (I guess I need extra looking after) ;)  My companions will be Elders Denny and Cockbain.  Elder Cockbain has been a Zone Leader for forever just like Elder Chantry was, and is apparently going home though about 3 weeks into next transfer.  I guess I'm just a ZL killer ;)  I am super excited to be going down to Belgium!

I really love this city I am leaving; the ward has been great and I had learned so many things and made so many memories here.  I guess that is to be expected though.  It was a good greenie city.  I hope to keep in contact with at least some of the super cool people that I have met here and hope and pray the next Elders can make it more successful than we were able to.  That's one of the great things about this work, is that it isn't a competition.  We always hope that someone else is better than us.  We can all rejoice in the success of each other because we are all serving the same purpose and same master, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  This is his work, and we are simply the means by which he uses to accomplish it.  I love our Savior, and all that he has done and will do for us.  I know that he knows me personally, as well as everyone else.  I know I sometimes sound like a broken sound track record when I say that, but I will never cease in praising him or in striving to be like him, or in doing my best. "...I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God for in his strength I can do all things..." Alma 26:12

I cannot wait to see the experiences I will have in Belgium!


Elder Hayden L. Lott

well none of the computers in the library are sending pictures so hopefully next week I can just flood you guys with tons of them!

Mom's question of the week:  Do most apartments have a mail slot in the door, or are there cubbies in the lobby or out on the plaza?
Answer:  Honestly it depends on the apartment, and there are big cubbies in the one in Ommoord, but you pick up the letters inside because if they were outside they would get broken into super often.  The one in Ommoord was super ghetto anyways because it didn't even have a lock, we just had to pull really hard to get it open.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Rush

Hey all!

It's been another great week in the Netherlands!

This week we had a tri-zone mission conference and a member of the Seventy came to speak to us.  Elder Moreira or something like that, he is from Portugal.  He is a super funny guy, always happy and bouncy.  He stressed to us the importance of dedicating our mission to the Lord.  How it is not our mission, but the Lords.  It was really good to hear because he actually answered a bunch of questions I've been having and gave us some great advice.  I didn't really come away with anything specific other than that feeling, but it was cool that the next day during personal study I came across a scripture, and it is Matthew 19:26 which is already super powerful.  But when you read the Joseph Smith translation, it adds that all things are possible for those who give themselves up to the Lord. [JST Matt. 19:26  But Jesus beheld their thoughts, and said unto them, With men, this is impossible; but if they will forsake all things for my sake, with God whatsoever things I speak are possible.] This hit me pretty hard, and I realized between these two things that lately I've been making this more my work, and not the Lords work.  I need to do as it says in Proverbs 3:5-6 and "Trust in the Lord with all your (my) heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Sometimes it can be a little scary to try and act on promptings we get or to follow the path the Lord has set for us, either because we are afraid we are wrong and it is just our own thoughts or whatever other reason it may be, but I can testify that we don't need to be afraid in following the Lord.  If we are trying our best to follow him, we will eventually come to recognize the way that He lights the path we should take.

We got to have a Thanksgiving dinner!  We went to the Txx's and had turkey, stuffing, pie, the whole shabang!  That was super fun.  Before that we had a turkey bowl with all the other missionaries in our zone. That was super fun even though we lost in the end.  It made me realize just how out of shape I've gotten :p

Feeding the Ducks

More Ducks
[This narrow strip of beach/grass is a few minutes away from Elder Lott's apartment.  The buildings pictured are very iconic ones in Rotterdam, and Nesseland Beach is a popular volleyball circuit site.]

I will also say once again that exchanges are great.  I have learned some of the greatest lessons so far from each of my exchanges, and they never let me down. I had the chance this week to be with Elder Endicott this week in Ommoord.  He was able to give me some really great advice on some things I've been struggling with, and gave me a super good example of some things I can put into my contacting.  Mostly just making sure that I am teaching and testifying at every opportunity I get.  We had a cool stretch of about 20 minutes when we first, placed a Book of Mormon with an Islamic lady (miracle!), and then starting talking with another lady while going back to our bikes, talking and walking with her for about a mile, and gave her pretty much and entire lesson!  Turns out that she lived in Amsterdam so we gave her those Elders number and a card, but hey, still super cool.

Train Station in Capelle

We bought a coconut for a euro!

Super Heros!
Elder Lovin and Elder Lott

Love you all!

Elder Hayden L. Lott

ps In response to my moms question about hand-warmers.  They are pretty nice.  I have some that Elder Chantry gave me.  But actually what I've found is that a pair a leather gloves is super good as well.  What mostly bites is the cold wind, so if you can keep that off you'll be fine for the most part.  (The jacket from Uncle David and Aunt Di is super good at keeping the wind off!  With that and a sweater and the leather gloves, I've been warm. Oh and thermal leggings.  Just keep the wind off!)  Also, yes we have a microwave in our apartment, and every other apartment I've been in has one.  They all have a stove.  But what is weird is that only about half or less have an oven.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Just Another Week in the Netherlands

Hey all!

Well, the weeks are flying by faster and faster it seems like!  It's hard to imagine that I have been out on a mission for almost 4 months!  Crazy stuff.  This week has been pretty smooth.  Nothing too crazy really.  Really just hitting the grindstone.  Not sure how many hours we spent on doorsteps this week, but that doesn't matter.  What matters is that we are trying, and the Lord is blessing us with keeping our sanity and even being happy through it all as we continue building this area from the ground up.  Still not seeing the fruits of our labors as far as numbers go, but as far as blessings go it's unbelievable!  We are seeing some progress in working with less actives, teaching a couple families, and individuals.

I guess this would be a good week to talk about an investigator that we have.  I haven't really talked about her in the past because I'm not exactly sure how to tell her story, and I will say that there is a lot I will leave out.  But her name is Jxx, she is from Bulgaria, but has lived here in the Netherlands for awhile now though.  She doesn't like the Dutch language, she says it makes her sick to speak it, so we just teach her and talk with her in English.  She is a health nut, and just a super sweet lady!  She is so loving it is unreal.  I have really been able to connect with her, and have some really spiritual experiences with teaching her.  This week we had a really spiritual lesson with her.  She ended up relating to us why she started to take the lessons from us, and why she loves being around us.  In the past, apparently she has had other people come to her house from other religions but she told us she didn't like them because even though they talked about God and Christ they always, as she puts it, were forcing their beliefs on her.  She felt that they were angry with her even while they were teaching, so she didn't like them much.  But with the Elders before us (Elder Johnson and Giles), they simply shared what they believed and took interest in what she believed and simply added to that.  She said also when she sees us, she always sees a light around us, she always feels calm, and can feel the love coming from us. (We have been able to tell her that this is the spirit and the Light of Christ.)  The final thing that put it over the edge was when she was talking to her teenage son about us he made a comment, "Oh Mom, it is good you are meeting with them, Mormons are the nicest people in the world." Although he shows no interest in meeting with us, I'm glad he can a least say that about us.  She knows that everything is true, and wants to be baptized.  But it is sad because there are some things out of her control keeping her from that for now.  One day I know she will be baptized, and I will rejoice with her that day!  I hope and pray thought that day will be sooner than later.

I love this gospel.  I love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I love the people of the Netherlands, especially those whom I have met so far.

Because of Him

Witness of Christ - Dallin H. Oaks

To answer Moms question from last week, everyone in this mission has at least a washer in their apartment.  We are one of the lucky ones with a dryer as well.  My Christmas package, if it happens at all this year, will be super small by the way.  Packages are super expensive as you probably know, and so most of gifts and other things might better come in a few years when I get home.

Love you all so much!

Elder Hayden L. Lott


no pictures this week, I forgot my card reader at the apartment.  Sorry everybody :/

Oh, one small thing I missed on the letter is that we are going to a zone turkey bowl today! That will be fun.  I will miss going to Grandma and Grandpa's for Thanksgiving, but it is all worth it for 2 years.  We are getting a Thanksgiving dinner from the Txx's  though!  They're sweet.  Love you mom!  [The Txx are the dear couple that Elder Lott watched General Conference with his second week in the mission.  We are so in love with members who take care of missionaries!]

Monday, November 17, 2014

Eyes Opened, Faith Strengthened

Hey all!

This week has been one of potential, and of a vision of what hopefully is to come, not necessarily in getting to see the fruits of our labors.  Slowly but surely we are starting to see more success in our finding efforts, and also in seeing miracles that I never would have hoped for.  Most all of our lessons fell through this week, but we are filling in with some people who we have been talking and working with for a week or two who are pretty positive, and getting lessons now which is awesome because for the first time since I first got here we are starting to have a teaching pool rather than a lesson here or there.  Out of those we have, about 3-4 we have prayed about and see to be positive.

Inside of Cathedral in Gouda

Stained Glass in Gouda Cathedral
Virtual Tour of Sintjan (Gouda Cathedral)

In Counsel Room in Cathedral in Gouda, Reading the Holy Bible

Singing in the Cathedral

It has been interesting how my view of finding people has changed this week.  The first experience that helped me open my eyes was going on splits with Elder Bitters (Lone Peak High) this week.  Throughout the day, which was made up of mostly just straight door knocking, he shared a lot of experiences that he had already seen on his mission.  What stuck out to me the most was nothing he directly said, but was what the spirit taught me through his words.  In this mission especially, we are not going to be able to logically convince anyone that our church is true.  The only people who will truly end up listening to us are those whom have allowed themselves to be prepared by God in one way or another, whether consciously or unconsciously.  We then are responsible to be ready to teach those whom we teach, and not just with knowledge, but with spiritual strength.  In this way, God will help guide those who are prepared and those who are ready to teach together.  Once again, this is always something I had known in my head, but that became a much more powerful lesson when learned through the spirit.

I am glad I learned this lesson before my second experience of this week.  Because even after learning this lesson, my next experience was a hard one.  During our contacting during the week, we came across a man who was fairly interested in what we had to say.  He actually brought up a few things he knew about our church and said he was very interested in what we had to teach.  He set up an appointment with us to come back the next day!  We were so pumped and excited after that we hardly stopped to think about what had just happened.  So the next day we came back, thinking that this would be a great lesson because we had prepared to answer some questions he had, and were simply so happy to be teaching a lesson.  When getting there, we found that his son was there. He was in his 20's and we were like, alright!  We sat down, started our lesson, and started to answer and the questions they had before with some scriptures we had found, and then the whole situation turned on us.  Turns out both the Dad and that son were Baptist and super well versed in the Bible.  After answering the first question, the son pulled out his ipad and proceeded to ask us about some super deep doctrinal questions and before even letting us answer, he would move on to sharing a whole bunch of scriptures that supposedly proved that our church was wrong and of the devil.  At this point, I had a feeling that of course now I know was the spirit telling me to just get out.  But we were bull headed and tried to defend ourselves, but at this point the spirit had left the room.  I was able to show that most of what they were using against us was out of context and was in fact not the truth, but no answer was good enough for them. As frustration rose I finally just calmed down, bore my testimony, and we kinda forced a prayer and left.  After the lesson I just felt sick.  Not because of anything they had said, but because I had gone against a lesson that I had been taught just this week (that we cannot convince anyone this is true, the spirit must bear witness or nothing we say will convince anyone) and I had gone against a spiritual prompting and not gotten out when I should have.  As I knelt in prayer that night, I was once again humbled because of the love and patience I felt from my Heavenly Father.
Working out on Nesselande Beach

They have some sweet beach volleyball courts here too!
It would be fun to be here during the summer.
[Mom research discovered that Nesselande Beach is a popular
beach volley circuit site, but could not find webpage in English to link to.]

Elder Lovin going through skate park at Nesselande Beach

God is our Heavenly Father, He loves us more then we can even comprehend.  He is patient with us, and is ever merciful with us.  He sent his Son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sins.  Christ felt all pain and sorrow that we felt.  He knows the heartache of both he who is wronged and he who did wrong.  His atonement is truly infinite and through it, all losses, pains and wrongs experienced in this life will be made up.  If we are faithful and follow Him, by repenting, being baptized, receiving the Holy Ghost, and doing our best to endure to the end in following Him and becoming like Him, we will live with Him and God and our families forever.

I love all of you so dang much!

Elder Hayden L. Lott

Me (Elder Lott) and Zwarte Piets!

I can't believe I forgot to talk about this in my email!  It was St. Marks (or some st. anyways) on Saturday !  That means that Sinterclaus comes to town along with all his helpers, Zwarte Piet!  I would love to tell more but I suppose I'll have to another time because my time is almost up.  Look up info about it, its so cool!

Zwarte Piet and Sinterklaas

 It was impossible to prosolyte because no one was home, they were all in a centrum here or there to watch Sinter Claus come in!  It was one big party here in the Netherlands. 
Man, I can't believe I forgot to write about this!

Monday, November 10, 2014

What I Learned From President

Hey all!

Been a crazy week again, but I am settling in to having a new companion, and I am starting to get my feet under me in taking over this area.  We've had a busy week of mostly finding new people to teach, and looking up former investigators.  One of the fruits that I've seen this week was that a less active we've been working with for about three weeks now came back to church on Sunday!  It was so good to see him there, and I know that it will help his progression back onto the straight and narrow. It was cool as I felt that this is at least part of what missionary work is; helping all whom we come in contact with come unto Christ.

It is still continuing to get darker and darker each day, at least in a physical sense, and so we have to work especially hard with the daylight we have to get our work in.  We have started to move our last hour of studies to the end of the day so that we don't have to be out working when no one would open their doors anyways because it is pitch dark.

The first experience I would like to tell this week has to do with Faith.  Because of the success we have seen with praying specifically for how many potential investigators we want to find each time we go out, we have been continuing to do so.  This last Wednesday before leaving the apartment for lunch, I felt impressed to pray for 3 new potential investigators, and after doing so, felt confident that we would find them and even felt impressed on where we would go to find them.  But, also out of laziness, we only took 2 Book of Mormons with us.  We had about 3 hours ahead, but after just the 40 minutes and on the same street even, we had given away 2 Book of Mormons, and gotten the OK from the people we gave them to to come back in a week.  I was mixed emotions at this point.  We had seen a lot of success which was to be expected because of our prayer, so I was happy.  But I also had a sinking feeling; I couldn't believe myself.  I had prayed for rain, received confirmation that it would come, and not prepared my field to receive it.  After 2 more hours, there came again mixed emotions  because we had not found anyone else whom was even the slightest bit inclined to listen to us.  I was puzzled because our prayer had not yet been answered, but also just figured it was our neglect to prepare that was holding us back.  I was proved wrong when on the last door we knocked we met a lady who was very interested in what we had to say, and had many of the right questions to ask that led perfectly in a talk about the Restoration.  We asked her if she would like a Book of Mormon and she said yes, so with kind of a guilty thought in the back of my head, we had to tell her we didn't have one with us.  We ended up setting up a time when we could come back with the Book and teach her and her husband more so it didn't ruin the situation, but it sure taught me that I need to prepare for what I pray for.  I think that this is the case a lot of the time in our lives.  We pray for things, and God is very willing to give them to us.  But in order to receive them there is an act of faith on our part.  We need to put in the work, and prepare ourselves for the answers we will receive from our prayers as long as we do our best to do so.

Gouda Square
I know again - but it's really cool

Another Alley in Gouda

The second experience from this week is that we got to work side by side with President Robinson this week!  What an amazing man.  We got a call on Friday morning during companion study from him, with him letting us know he'd like to work with us for the day.  So we set up a time and place to meet him in Gouda and that was it.  My first reaction was: Oh my heck, we're going to work with president, ahhhhhhh!  But my fears were soon calmed as I was reminded of a lesson that was impressed on me by my mom from about the day I was born until I got out of the car at the MTC, and that is if we are doing the things we should be, and are trying our best and doing our best to follow Christ, we have no need to be worried, ever, for anything.  I was so glad that I knew what I was doing that day, and that I had been trying to do my best as a missionary, so I had nothing to hide.  I only had room to gain from working with President, and oh, did I gain!  After meeting up with him, I was again easily put to ease because he is a very loving man and you can feel that and the spirit radiating from him when you are around him.  He bought us some Turkish pizzas for lunch, and some ollibollen for desert while we walked around Gouda's main square.  After this and some other things in Gouda, we went to look up a less active in Zevenhuizen.  I am so glad we had Presidents car for this because it would have been a long bike ride into the middle of some farm land, beautiful farmland yes, but still the middle of nowhere.  When we met this man it turned out he had no interest in coming back to church or listening to our message.  Nevertheless, it was amazing to see the outpouring of love from president as he talked to him about normal things instead for awhile, like the fact he was raising goats, reindeer, chickens, and had an onion farm.  At the end of our conversation, the less active was still not interested, but his countenance  had reasonably changed into that of friendly and warm towards us.  At this point, we only had an hour or so until we needed to get to a dinner appointment and President needed to go do some other things, so we decided to go and knock some doors.  It was amazing to see that as we went along, people who would normally have slammed the door in our faces, and actually even some who were in the process of doing so would take a pause, and actually stop and listen to what we had to say because they could see the outpouring of love and of the spirit that came from President in a humble, yet strong way.  There are so many things I learned from President that day, and many I am still trying to put to words, but I have learned even more so that a mission is a labor of love, and we should not be afraid to show that it is so as we proclaim the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Me and Elder Lovin enjoying Ollibollen

Also I guess a third thing, in response to some questions from my mom, we only go to the store once a week for most of our grocery needs.  But we do take the opportunity to stop and grab things during to week to keep us happy :) some things include ollibollen (pretty much a ball of dough deep fried, sometimes with apples or other fruit inside; there are stands everywhere here in the Netherlands in the Fall), Frites (Belgian fries that have batter on them and are cooked twice), doners (they are like Turkish/Arab shredded meat and vegetable sandwiches on flat bread and are to die for) capsallons (like a doner but in a foil tray, intead of flatbread they put frites on the bottom layer and put everything that would be in a doner on top)  Belgian Waffles (they have little balls of sugar inside and are made from dough not a batter), and of course stropewaffles! :)  I also love some of the deserts here, incuding vlah (it's like a pudding but not quite thick; it's thinner and creamer and a little less sweet).  For breakfast a lot of the time, I eat grijsmeel pop which is like a sweet oat meal thing but just a little different and I can't quite explain it -  anyways that is very Dutch.  Me and Elder Lovin also discoverd this week that if you get rijs pop, (rice pop, pretty much the same thing as grijsmeel pop) and put in cinnamon and vanilla extract that it is a super good desert!  Yogurt, cheese, and chochalate here are simply amazing, and are better than I have ever had.  My favorite thing a member has fed us would be a couple of weeks ago we got a super good Indonesian stir-fry!  It was sooo good; I still don't know what the meat was but I don't care because it was just that good. 
I love you all and am keeping you in my prayers.


Elder Hayden L. Lott

Monday, November 3, 2014

Darkness and Diligence

Hey all!

This week has been pretty much all that I have expected.  I dropped off Elder Chantry at Rotterdam Central Train station and picked up my new companion Elder Lovin (Salt Lake City, Highland High School) and we were off.  

Rotterdam Central Train Station

Finally!  Ran into Elder Knudsen from my home stake!

Daylight 'savings' was on Sunday, and this week has been really dark.  The sun isn't really completely up yet until almost 9 am and is completely down by 6 pm at night.  For those first couple days, I'll be honest - it was a little depressing with all the change going on and the sun never being out.  It is hard to work when the sun isn't out.  But no worries, as soon as I realized what was the cause I've been able to whip it and get right back on path!  I have to laugh though, Dutch people are funny. In general, they are already a little less likely to even talk about religion than most.  But now that the sun is going down, they use that as even another excuse to turn us away.  Haha, it's just kind of funny. 

Park in Gouda

View Across a Dyke in Woerden at Night
Doesn't quite give it justice, especially since there was a windmill lit up by
lights in the background that you can't see in this one.

Rope Tower in park in Capelle

Me and Elder Lovin on top of the Rope Tower
We just had to - it was so random and cool!

Anyways, going into this transfer I had the feeling that what I would need to focus on studying and applying would be diligence.  Elder Lovin and I have been super diligent thus far in working hard to get some people we can teach, because as of when I picked him up we had one person we were teaching and one less active we are working with.  We decided to put all our efforts in going through the area book and potentials list, and in trying to find some new potentials on our own.  Every time before we walked out the door this week, we prayed that the Lord would bless us, that we would be able to be successful in finding people whom we could teach, even sometimes praying specifically for the blessing we wanted. One such case was Saturday. As we walked out the door, Elder Lovin prayed that in the next 3 hours we could find 2 people whom we could teach.  The Lord answered our prayer, as we found 2 within the first hour of our look ups and door knocking.  (We actually worried that our prayer had been answered too fast and that in the next 2 hours we would find no success, but the Lord really rained His blessings down as we found 3 more!)  The Lord not only blessed us in this situation, but for our diligence in all our work this week.  We went from having no appointments for next week to now having 5, as well as 4-5 others who said to come back in a couple days. We also were able to place 3 Book of Mormons!  It is my testimony that the Lord will bless all of us for our diligence.

Along with this is finally really starting to see the fruits of my labors in the language. Since I have gotten here, I have gone from not understanding nearly anything, to actually being comfortable listening to an entire Priesthood lesson, Sunday School lesson, and Fast and Testimony meeting this Sunday, and learning from it!  I am also seeing progress in speaking the language, as I was able to give my testimony of the Book of Mormon without having to translate any of it in my head for the first time!  Part of this progress I believe is not being able to fall back on Elder Chantry as much, but I know this and all the blessings like it are from the Lord. The gift of tongues, and interpretation of tongues are true and are given as I seek them diligently.

Click here for more information on the Articles of Faith

This is the way nearly all gifts, revelation, testimonies, and other things are gained.  Our Heavenly Father wants to give us all that he can, but he does know what is best for us. Thus, we must first put our work in, both to prove our faith and to give him something to work with.  Then he can give us the blessings we want because we have learned from Him, and trusted Him to do so.  The Lord will make us equal to all of our challenges if we are diligent and obedient.

This work is true, it is the Lords work.

Love you all!

-Elder Hayden L. Lott

PS shout out to my little sister, it's her birthday this week, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!