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!