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.