As most of you probably know, this week my trainer Elder Chantry is going home (sad day) and I am taking over our area in Ommoord (Rotterdam/Gouda). He has been a fantastic trainer, everything that I could have hoped for and more. He has taught me so many things both about our mission, and life in general.
|Gouda Missionaries at the Bishop's House|
Sister Whittington, Sister Schwab, Elder Lott and Elder Chantry
(What's up the the duck lips, Elders?!)
I found out that my new companion will be Elder Luvins (I think that is how you spell it). Which is way cool because even though I am new, I've actually already met him. We talked for like an hour on a tram coming back from temple conference, so that's way cool. I'm pretty sure from what I can remember is that he is fairly new out here too, he's definatly been out less than a year anyways. So even though it's sad I'm losing my trainer, I'm super excited to get to work with Elder Luvins. I feel confident in my ability not only to take over this area but to thrive and make it fruitful with the help of the Lord.
There are two things I'd like to share this week. The first comes mostly from what I have been personally studying this week, and that is Charity. As I have been studying, I have come to learn that Charity is so much more than just service for our fellow man and those in need. Charity includes that yes, but Charity is actually the pure love of Christ. Not only that, it is a gift. Because Christ knows everyone perfectly, he can love everyone perfectly. We may ask in prayer for this pure love of Christ, so that we may be filled with love for all those around us and especially those whom we serve. I have really seen the blessings of this flowing this week, as I have felt a deeper desire to help and love those whom I have served and come in contact with this week. I love the words which the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. The entire chapter is over charity. It has helped me to know a little about why loving God and others are our greatest commandments. It is because if we truly love God, we will want to be like him. We will want to follow His example, and we will want to help others do the same if we truly love them and want the best for them. Therefore, if we follow a perfect example, all the other commandments will fall into place and are really just a road-map and checkpoints to becoming more like God. My thoughts seem really scattered on this, but I will sum up and say that it is my testimony that true strength and progression comes from submitting our will that has been given to us (free agency) by a higher being (God). Instead of doing what we will with our choice, we give up our will to that same higher being, in faith that it will be for our good perfection and exaltation.
The second thing I'd like to write about is an experience I've had this week and a few things I've learned from it. So our bike problems continued this week. On Thursday morning we went out of our apartment to look up some people before lunch, only to find that our bikes had been messed with. From what we can tell, someone had tried to steal them but were unable because we had chained them to the bike parking thing. We assume that when they could not steal them they became angry and started heaving on them in frustration because the way we found them they were leaning over sideways with the front tire still in the tire slot. The front of my bike was completely mangled, and Elder Chantry's tire was as well.
Before I say anything else, I'd like to say that everything turned out ok, and I actually knew it would from the minute I saw what had happened. It's funny how many experiences I've had that seem so insignificant out here on my mission that would have been huge back home. Eternal perceptive is real. We were able to steal a tire from another bike left by other missionaries to fix Elder Chantry's bike. That bike is going to another missionary who needs one because he is going from being a zone leader to a trainer. (He had a car as a zone leader.) As for me, my bike is fixable but we found out it would cost nearly as much to fix it as to get a new one, so I had decided to just get another. But it turns out I don't have to because a dying missionary is giving me hers (thanks Sister Schwab!) [parent note for our non-member friends: a dying missionary is the term used for missionaries that are on their last transfer before going home. A dying missionary's companion will sometimes say that "I am killing my companion", meaning that their companion is going home at transfer.] So the Lord takes care of us even in our trials. From this story I would like to testify that the Lord does not give us trials. He may allow them to happen, but he will never allow more than we can bare. Trials are opportunities for us to more quickly learn the things that we need to become more like Him, if we are humble enough to allow it. Along with that, God will do the most and allow and help us to be the most successful we can be in our situations, if we look for how he is leading us. God did not give us the trial of our bikes being broken, but he gave us some blessings to counter act it. We have been working super hard lately at finding positive people to teach. And in the last couple days we have talked to some positive people on the street as we have been getting from place to place that we would normally not have talked to had we been on our bikes. It is still to soon to see if any of these people will turn out or not, but it has been a blessing enough to have talked to some people who are positive, and not all just those who will harshly slam a door in your face, or wave you off without at least hearing you out.
This has been such a powerful week as for the strength of my testimony. As a last thought, I would like testify to the power of the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon in the power they have to bring light into our lives.
I love all of you and pray for you every chance I get.
-Elder Hayden L. Lott
ps mom I took out 90 euro from my account. Also I will be sending home a Christmas package, any requests for yourself or others? I have some ideas as for maybe as for chocolate and maybe gifts for siblings and others but I'd also like some ideas.