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

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