Monday, March 30, 2015

Wow... Just Wow

Goede Morgen Iedereen!
[Good Morning, Everybody!]

To start out I'd just like to say I'm super glad I decided to refocus. Because even with that commitment it was super hard this week not to dwell in the past.  Scary to think about how it would be if I had decided to do as the rich man in one of Christ's parables:

 "16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:16-21)   

Part of this was because we had a lot of dead time taken up by bus and train rides, going out to the far reaches of our area to look up some referrals, a couple of which were actually home, and we got to teach and get return appointments! Side note on that one, it is crazy the amount of success we are having with having people listen to us and accept to hear more.  The only thing I can say is that we try so hard to be obedient and work hard to have the spirit, and working through the spirit. I can attribute none of our success to anything less than the spirit. He is truly the one who can touch the hearts of the people so deeply, powerfully, and immediately.  All we have to do is strive to be worthy for the spirit, and not hinder it in any way.

The other reason was that every time we met with Nxx this week it was jaw dropping.  She is radiating the spirit, and only picking up more momentum.  On Tuesday, just a day and a half after her baptism we were on a bus with her going to dinner with a member family.  She shared her experience of watching her families baptisms via skype, then pulled out the book of Mormon and shared with us everything that she had learned from it in the last couple days, namely about faith and overcoming fear and looking to God and not man.  Then she bore hardcore testimony about everything she had just talked to us about.  Needless to say, we were speechless.

This week was also a first for me in many things.  Also on Tuesday, while we were at the members house they mentioned that the women living above them had hurt her back and they were wondering if we could give her a blessing.  We said sure, so they checked with her if that would be ok, and it was so we went up.  I thought the father of the member family we were with would give the blessing but somehow without really knowing how, I got there I was the one who ended up giving the blessing.  That was a super cool, and humbling experience.  It was humbling because I struggled through the first part of the blessing, not knowing exactly the words I needed to use in Dutch, because I've never even seen a blessing in Dutch, but after that it was great!  As I started the blessing I could feel of the infinite love our Father in Heaven has for this lady, and continued on with the blessing.  That was such an amazing experience.  Also on firsts, was that this week was my first chance to stand in during a confirmation.  That was really cool.  Also, I had the opportunity to bless the sacrament in Dutch!  That was really cool as well.

This week has been great.  I love you all so much!

-Elder Hayden L. Lott

Question of the Week:  Do you see vending machines for candy or soda like we have here, or are there only food carts? 

Answer:  Yeah we see vending machines here.  All filled with candy, soda, and... well, other things.  They also have here bread vending machines next to bakeries and stuff like that.

Bread Vending Machine in Brussels
(picture from
Frites Vending Machine in Belgium
(picture from NY Post article about vending machines in Brussels)

Monday, March 23, 2015


Hey all!

This week, wow, what can I say? There is nothing quite like a baptism. Yesterday was simply a blur, everything seeming like a dream.  Yet there is so much I've learned, and I just feel happy.  

Cleaning the Font

So happy
with Elder Lott and Elder Besendorfer

Although that is most of what I will talk about, I will avoid telling everything about it because it has become very clear to me this last week and in the last few days especially that I need to keep my focus, there is work still yet ahead.  I do not find it a coincidence that I keep running across one of my favorite talks from a couple conferences ago by Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy entitled 'Look Ahead and Believe!'.  At the beginning of his talk he speaks about an experience with his mother, described as so: 'While I was a boy working in the fields with my mother, she taught me one of the most important lessons in life. It was late in the morning, the sun was up, and we had been hoeing for what I thought to be a very long time. I stopped to look back at what we had accomplished and said to my mother, “Look at all we have done!” Mother did not respond. Thinking that she had not heard me, I repeated what I had said a little louder. She still did not reply. Raising my voice a little higher, I repeated again. Finally, she turned to me and said, “Edward, never look back. Look ahead at what we still have to do.”...'  

Later in his talk he says that when a person has served (or seen success) 'he is not overshadowed by his previous experience, nor does he look back and think that he has served enough. He is “not weary in well-doing,” because he knows that he is “laying the foundation of a great work” with a clear vision that such efforts bless lives for eternity. Thus “out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33).
We should all be “anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [our] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:27)."
He later quotes Elder Jeffery R. Holland who says: "The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future

Being able to teach Nxx has been been a wonderful experience.  She has helped remind me that pure faith, and those who sincerely and honestly seek for the truth truly are out there. God works with everyone, and in the cases of those whom are doing good and are humble enough to listen to the spirit such as in her case, they will be led to and find the light. Nxx has given a light to this ward that from what I can see has not been seen for quite a long time. There was not a face that was not smiling after her baptism.  I personally have gained valuable teaching experience and confidence moving forward, with renewed faith and a fire inside to help bring this knowledge and the happiness and peace that it brings to everyone.  I am so truly happy for her and her family, it is such an amazing thing to see all of them coming into the gospel and its light, into the Lord's kingdom here on earth.

We have had so many other cool experiences this week that you always hear about people having on their missions, but never imagine it will happen to you.  Like on Saturday, Elder Besendorfer and I were walking up the street.  We started talking about a super cool young African family that we have started teaching earlier in the week, where the first lesson went awesome but we forgot to set a return appointment. Literally the words were coming out of my mouth, 'When do you think a good time would be to stop by...'  when this car stops in the middle of the road, and we hear a familiar voice saying 'Hey, Elders!'  It was the husband of this family!  He asked us when the next time would be that we would come around and we asked what would be good for them, and he said 'Just as soon as you guys have time, how about tomorrow evening?'  Sure! So after we got home from Nxx's baptism we headed over and had an awesome lesson with them. They welcomed us into their home, and they fed us some super good fried plantains (like a banana) with a spicy sauce before we taught which was super cool.  It is cool to see how prepared they are. At one point while we where teaching, one of them even commented that they have had questions and feelings for a long time about things, but that our teaching and reading from the Book of Mormon has answered nearly all of them.  Haha, they even asked us at one point if we were prophets, because we taught the word of God with power, and the spirit, like someone having authority, and we spoke to those questions they had without them even voicing them.  We just kind of laughed and said no, and it led into a cool discussion about the priesthood.

I love this calling, and the opportunity I have to be a missionary.  To teach with authority from God.  To invite all to come unto Christ, to have faith in Him, use His atonement and repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to follow in His way, eventually leading to live with God again having immortality and eternal life.

Love you all!

-Elder Hayden L. Lott

Question of the Week: What is the trash and recycling like?  We've heard that it is a very different system than here in the US.
Answer:  With the trash here in Belgium it is super annoying.  Because of some weird law you have to use certain trash bags and they cost like 4 euros a bag.  They only get picked up every two weeks, and you have to separate everything.  Paper, organic waste, glass, plastics, and plain old garbage all have to be separate.  The Netherlands was easier, either trash or recycling and we had a dumpster for our apartment building.  Then they had big bins on the street you could throw glass and old clothes into.

ps I don't want to put too much of a clamp on talking about this last week, even though I feel like I need to move on a little bit for now.  I still really want to talk about it, I just want to give it some time so I can soak it all in and am able to pick out even more tender mercies as well. Plus a lot of the experiences of this week I just can't quite put down in an email.  They need the emotion of telling them face to face, so I'll be excited to talk about them during our skype time in May.  Also, how am I going to have any homecoming material if I share everything? ;)  I have years to tell mission stories and only 2 years to live it, gotta make the most of it right?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Now We've Got It On......

So now that we've got the blessings valve turned on, how do we turn it off?  Oh wait, we don't want to!  Wow, this week has been amazing.  We have received all the blessings we have prayed for and expected, and in the end could not receive all those which came to us!  This week has made me feel like the prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon when he exclaimed: 

15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles. 16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God? 17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought? 18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. 19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. 20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust. 21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth. 22 For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; 23 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;  24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover; 25 And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth." (Mormon 9:15-25)

Teaching Nxx (or Hurricane N as we have now dubbed her, because she is a force and came out of no where!) has been an amazing experience. She is so prepared and willing to pray about what we teach it is unbelievable.  She even bore hard core testimony in our investigators class on Sunday, which was crazy to see. So prepared!

Mxx is continuing to progress, and it is so much fun working with that family!

The next miracle that came actually came about a week ago, on Monday night.  We went over to this part member family's house that we've been visiting and working with, being friends with for awhile and had a really good time.  But it started out a little crazy because the husband, who is not a member, at the very beginning asked if we could teach our message before dinner or anything else.  So we did, and we talked about the plan of salvation.  During the lesson, we had the strongest impression to ask him to baptism even though we hadn't planned on it.  I had the opportunity of asking him, and with the biggest grin on his face and with an expression like he'd just been waiting for us to ask, he said yes!  Now he is just praying some more to about a date but he really does want to get baptized!  Oh man!  This moment was made especially sweet because I just love this family, and have worked with them from my 2nd or 3rd week here. I would love to see this family receive the blessings of the gospel together.

The Lord rains down his blessings!

I love you guys!

Gotta go, we're going to go play soccer today in Antwerpen for P-day!


Elder Hayden L. Lott

ps the question of the week is a long one to answer, I'll do that next week

Leuven Railway Station (picture from Wikipedia)

Click here for a link to a video of the station that
 the Elders would have been at in Leuven to catch a train to Antwerpen.

Antwerpen Rail Station (picture from Wikipedia)

Picture of District in early March before transfers, taken from Zuster Riley's blog.
Back row:  Elder Corsini, Elder Cook, Elder Thomas, Elder Lott being held by Elder Lovin
Elder Besendorfer kneeling in front, Sister Castro on back of Sister Riley

Monday, March 9, 2015

God Answers Prayer

Making Rainbows

Hey all!

      I know not by what method rare,
      But this I know, God answers prayer.
      I know that He has given His word
      That tells me prayer is always heard
      And will be answered, soon or late,
      and so I pray and calmly wait.
      I know not if the blessing sought
      Will come just in the way I thought,
      But leave my prayers with Him alone,
      Whose ways are wiser than my own-
      Assured that He will grant my quest,
      Or send some answer far more blessed. 

      -Eliza M. Hickock
      (Thanks for sending me that poem Grandma!)

This poem pretty much sums up the week for us.  God truly does answer prayer, I knew it before, I really know it now, and I know He will in the future and forever.

To begin this transfer, Elder Besendorfer sat down and made a commitment and a goal that we were going to pray for success this transfer.  Not only in teaching and in finding, but in baptizing.  We weren't however, quite expecting to get the miracles that we did or as quickly as we did.  Let me cut to the finish here, we have 2 people who are on date now to be baptized, and this all happened in the space of 3 days.

The first of these two is Mxx.  He is the cool 9 year old young man of a family in this ward that has been recently re-activated.  He is full of spunk and energy and the whole family is just so fun to be around.

The second of these two is when the jaw dropping miracle comes.  Her name is Nxx. We didn't know Nxx until this last Saturday, and had only talked on the phone once before that.  She and her family are from Venezuela, but she has lived here in Belgium for 3 years, to work and to study here at Leuven University. A couple of months ago her family moved to Utah, and just a month ago she went to visit them.  During this time, her family began to meet with the missionaries and go to church and while she visited them she went as well.  She and her family fell in love with the church, and her family has plans to be baptized [at the end of the month].  When she had to come home, she felt quite sad she would have to leave her family and had the desire to be baptized with them.  Also that she would have to leave the church, because in that time she had gained a testimony of the truth of it all; the restoration, the Book of Mormon, the fact that this is Christ's church, all of it.  She was really sad because she thought the church might not be in Belgium, but little did she know, it is!  She went looking and found this out a little while after she got back, got our number, called us and said she wanted to meet and so we invited her to the ward board/card game afternoon on Saturday.  This is where we met her and learned her whole story.  On Sunday, riding the bus to church with her she ends up telling us: 'I want to be baptized and I don't want to wait. I want to get baptized on the same day as my family so I can be baptized with them in a way even if I'm not with them'.  Well ok then!  We commited her to baptism on the spot and started planning with her and the Bishop after church to make this happen by then.

What a miracle.

What a week!

I love you guys so much!

-Elder Hayden L. Lott

Question of the Week:  We've heard that Belgium has a huge jazz music scene.  Do you ever see/hear street musicians as you travel about, and what kind of music do they play?
Answer:  I haven't really heard all that much jazz while I've been here, if any at all actually.  We hear street performers pretty often, especially now that it's getting warmer.

Leuven Space Needle
(As we call it, anyways)

Short Sleeves!

Spring Fever

Short Pants?

It is track season, again ;)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Staying Here in Leuven

Hey all!

So by the title of my letter you all know that I'm staying here in Leuven, and Elder Besendorfer is staying as well.  Which is awesome, I'm so excited, for a few reasons actually.  The first being that hopefully we will be able to continue to see success and reap the rewards of our labors by getting a baptism this transfer, bring even one soul unto Christ.  The second being that I'm glad the commotion has finally stopped for me, this will be the first time on my mission I keep both an area and a companion.  That is nice, it will give some stability for at least the next 3 weeks.  That's funny though because as of Wednesday, Elder Besendorfer will be my longest tenured companion.  It seems so short though, I guess time really does fly when you're having fun.  I'm pretty glad, we've turned out to be pretty good friends and it's always nice to work with a friend.  The work is always so much more fun when you are friends with your companion. Another nice thing about staying will be that I will get to see Leuven in the spring.  I will know it for more than a cold, dark, brown place!  Although even then it is still pretty.

Leuven Town Hall
picture is from Wikipedia

This week has been pretty good.  Had some trouble getting appointments with people, but all is well.  Something really cool was that on this last Tuesday Elder Besendorfer and I got interviewed randomly for a TV show.  They said if they use us, it won't air until next year because that is what they are filming for, but that was super cool.  We pretty much gave a lesson on the restoration of the gospel to answer their questions about us and the church.  Then they tried to pry into Elder Besendorfer's personal life by getting him to talk about his girlfriend and tried to turn that into a drama that he doesn't get to see her for two years.  What funny TV people!  He played it off pretty well though, and we were able to force the subject back to the church and our beliefs so we won in the end. ;)  We had zone conference this past week as well, and we got to hear some really good things from President and Sister Robinson as well as the AP's.  At the end they showed us 'Meet the Mormons', the film that came out this summer, as a sort of treat and I guess so we will know more when people talk about it.

Meet the Mormons Movie Trailer

We were able to see progression this week with a few of our investigators!  One in particular was very pleasing to see, and see the miracles that came from it.  We have been working with a less active member for a couple of months now, from after a couple weeks since I've been here actually, and her husband and son who are not members.  She has now been re-activated, and our work with her husband and son is paying off also. They came to church on Sunday!  More blessings came from this, because they are both from South America and speak Spanish, and on this Sunday out of the blue two other families we have been trying to work with but haven't been able to yet, came.  The only other two Spanish speaking families in the ward! Wow, that could not have been more perfect.  We are seeing success as well, with other part member families.  We didn't have a chance to meet with Wxxx, our Ghanian friend, this week but he called us and very much wants to meet again, so we'll be doing so this week.

I love the Lord, this is His Gospel.

Love you all!

-Elder Hayden L. Lott

Question of the Week:  Do you see many IMAX theaters like we have everywhere here in the US, or do people mostly just attend live theatre, rather than cinema movies?
Answer:  I don't know about IMAX theaters but they have plenty of normal movie theaters here, just like in the states.  Live theaters again, about the same as in the states.

ps   Not really any pictures this week, I took mostly pictures with people and I ended up not getting transferred so they would be weird to give now.  Oh! I got the Valentine's thing from Sister Tanner and the Primary Kids/Young Men and Women. Thanks so much!  Also shout out to my younger brother: he and Bountiful High won the state title in basketball, and it is his birthday this week!