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).
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?