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

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