I guess its really been another week. Time flies out here in the mission field, even more so than in the MTC. I am finally really getting settled, finally being able to take a breath and calm down and realize that if I take this a step at a time, I can do this. I've had a ton of really cool experiences this week, so I guess I'll get started and see how many of them I can fit into an hour.
|No information - but from date stamp of picture, this was taken minutes before it was sent,|
so must be outside of wherever they go to send p-day e-mails.
The first thing I'll talk about this week actually includes many experiences that have happened since getting here. These experiences have to do with the members whom I have met here. It has amazed me so far the strength I can see from those who are active. Especially here the in Netherlands, members of the church stick out from those around them. I think more so here that back home because the world around them is such a different contrast. One thing that I have been told, and that I have witnessed for myself, is that this country is very worldly. Legally, it is the most wicked country on earth. They were the first country to legalize abortion, drugs, prostitution, pornography, and many other things. That is why it is so amazing to me that these members can be so strong. It has proven to me in these 2 weeks of being here that light will always overcome darkness. We are at members houses for dinner nearly every night now. (That answers that question, Mom.) It is always a relief to walk into a members home and just feel at home, because as I have found, I feel at home when I am feeling the spirit, and it is in these members homes. We had a cool experience on Sunday with it being Fast and Testimony Meeting. Many of the members got up and bore their testimonies, but the ones that impressed me the most were those of the young men in the ward. They were very genuine, precise, and powerful. They were not basic either, one baring testimony of the temple and of baptisms for the dead. The future of the church in strong with young men like these, they are truly some of the elect of God's children and they are only yet still just in their youth.
I know I am only beginning to love these people, but I am so glad for the love Heavenly Father has blessed me with as of now. Now I don't want to leave the wrong impression. I am finding love for all the people of this country. Even though many of the actions of people here are not so great, most of them here really truly are good people. They are always willing to help you find your way if you are lost, or help you out in other kind ways. They have many Christ-like attributes without even knowing it. They seem like a perfect example to me of a people who would benefit from the truth, they just know not where to find it. Because of their past, they don't trust of religion, and therefore also God. There are these cases and also other sad cases such as those whom we talk to of Islamic faith. There are many of these people who seem interested in our message, but sadly we cannot teach because after doing a quick background check we find that they are from the Middle East and that their families would not be happy if they found out they were learning from us - they might even kill them. It makes me so sad to think that these people can see light, but will probably not live fully in it in this life. I hope and pray that these people will have a chance in the next life to receive and accept this gospel and the blessings that come with it. It's just really sad they can't receive it now.
I had the opportunity to go on my first transfer/split this week. I went with Elder Rozandaal up to Utrecht (Click here for more information on Utrecht). He is a native Nederlander, so it was way cool to be the only American around for an entire day. The first thing we did was go to a service project for an elderly blind lady in the ward they are serving. We had lunch with her, and talked with her for a little while and then started to get to work. When she was telling us what she wanted us to do, I was wondering if I was understanding her right, I was thinking that she wanted us to cut down a tree in her front yard. Turns out my Dutch is better than I thought it was because I was right; we ended up cutting down her tree. She was very grateful, and sent us of with lots of treats, including my first European Fanta, so good! After this, we had a dinner appointment and just contacted the rest of the night. Haha, yet again I have been told that I have a German accent, this time by Elder Rozandaal. He ended up asking me if I knew who Arnold Schwarzenegger was. I said yes, so he said that I sound kinda like that with my deep voice, only speaking Dutch instead of English. That is sweet! It doesn't help me want to fix my accent now because that kind of accent is awesome. The next morning we got up and had to skip most of studies to bike out to a teaching appointment. Before we got there, Elder Rozandaal related to me that man we were going to teach wasn't from the Netherlands but was from Nepal or some country close to there and didn't speak Dutch, but did speak English so I was going to have to take the lead on the lesson. I thought this was pretty cool, but later it was even cooler because he ended up being a man who I had contacted with a office elder my first day here! He didn't remember me but I remembered him, and I was sure of it after he said he had talked to some Elders on a train and that's how he came in contact with us. Anyways that was a blessing and I don't know all the reasons that we keep meeting up, but God is in the matter I know that. When we contacted him on the train he seemed very open, and upon starting to teach him he seemed also to be so. But as the lesson went on, I started to get the feeling that he was missing something. We were asking questions, and he seemed to understand everything we were teaching, but only intellectually. It eventually came out that he was also a missionary, but for another church. He had once been Buddhist but was now Christian. He didn't really want to hear our message, just liked to talk about God and Christ. He ended up trying to give us some advice. He told us that we should not be teaching here, but we should be teaching in a third world country. He told us that the people here are too rich to 'need' God, and that humbler people would listen better. He then told us that he has a friend that is in India that is a missionary for his church and that he can't get anyone to listen so he gets lots of people to listen to him by holding big meals and people come and he then puts on a movie in the background that shares their beliefs. He told us that's what we should do. I'm not going to lie, I was tempted to laugh. Instead I took the opportunity to bear testimony to Him that we were here because we had been called by a Prophet of God, which was as good as being called by God himself, and that all people, whether they accept it or not, deserve to hear the truth and have an opportunity to accept it. I also bore testimony that this is the one true church on the earth today, and that it is Christ's restored gospel on the earth today. After I said this, we sat for awhile while he thought about what I had said. For the only time during our meeting he looked like he was actually thinking and being touched by what we had said. We had to go pretty soon after, but I hope that even if it is not soon that the spirit will work with him and eventually get him to the point where he understands that our message has personal significance for him, and for everyone on this earth. I will probably never see what comes, but hopefully it will be fantastic.
|Frites (the Dutch way with mayonnaise, not ketchup)|
|Stroop Waffel! (This was something he was most looking forward to trying.)|
Well, I have so many more experiences, but my hour is nearly up. I love you all and have you all in my prayers. This church and gospel are true, Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, amen.
Elder Hayden L. Lott