Monday, August 31, 2015

Good Stress

Hey Everybody!

So this week have been a crazy one!  We've had a good mixture of just about every kind a missionary work in.  Teaching, finding, testifying, conferences, stake activities, late nights of planning/organizing, and running for trains were all to be found in abundance.  All and all leading up to quite of bit of stress, but good stress. Not enough to not overwhelm me, but enough to push me and make me want to be better and lean on the Lord in every way that I can.  Thus, good stress. 

Proverbs 3:5-6

If you are not moving forward you are moving backward.  All the planning late nights and running around though did make me pretty darn tired. At the end of the week I was ´bobbing´ in sacrament and dozed off a couple times at a members house on Sunday night. That's ok, they are a great family and didn't judge.

At the end of this week our investigators pool seems to have thinned itself out by virtue of the new elders coming in.  We now have 2 super solid investigators  who will hopefully be getting baptized in the coming months and the rest have become super flaky or we've never been able to get a hold of them.  That happens sometimes when 2 new missionaries come in.  The 2 who have stayed though are great!  Jxxx is one of our solid investigators, she has been investigating now for 4-5 months or so and has received all the lessons.  She is just waiting to overcome a smoking problem to be ready for baptism, which I know she can do!  She is Dutch through and though and has the cutest little daughter who also loves coming to church and is really surprisingly in tune with the spirit.  The other is Lxxx, who is from the Congo.  His native language is French, although we teach him in Dutch and Elder Higham clarifies in French when we need to.  Cool stuff.  Something that has been apparent to me in this last week is how much more open the younger generation is to hearing our message and not shutting us out compared to the older generation of Dutch.  We have seen a lot of success talking to people our age and a little bit older.  I think it has something to do with that being the age people are trying to find themselves, who they are and where they fit in this world.  Looking for the place people are in their lives can help us as missionaries to find the aspects of the gospel that can help them most and will bless their lives and give them the biggest chance to take interest in the gospel.

I love to serve the Lord, I need to work on (once again) making it His work though and not mine.  Funny how cycles occur in life and on the mission.

Love you all!

Elder Lott

Question of the Week:  Do you spend most of your time in Roosendaal, or traveling around the cities in your district?

Answer:  I spend most of my time so far in Roosendaal. I'm trying to get Elder Higham at least a little used to normal mission life before I start doing about 2 exchanges and/or a sister support day a week with the members of the district. Life will start getting a little crazier this week though as we start into that.  I'll still spend most of my time in my own area though, or should, we'll see.

Kiss and Go

Roosendaal Field
Tree Tunnel
Yeah, we got lost on some farm trails...  white wash life!

Monday, August 24, 2015

First Son, Whitewash

Hey Everybody!

So this week has been just about the most packed of my mission so far.  I guess I'll start on Tuesday night.  That was my last day in the beautiful city of Brugge.  We went back to the apartment, I finished packing, then we started our trek towards Roosendaal.  (Because I was training and needed to be in the Netherlands super early for some training meetings we got to sleep over the night before, and when I found that out I suggested Roosendaal, which worked out perfect!)  Anyways, so we started our way there, but got caught up at a few stations along the way which was a blessing in disguise because I got to call a bunch of people that are in Belgium both in Brugge and in Leuven before I left, so that was good.  When we finally arrived in Roosendaal late that night we had missed the last bus to the apartment so we had to call the Elders to get directions, and ended up having to walk with my luggage and bike for like 45 minutes.  Oh well, that ended up paying off later this week, knowing how to walk home that is.  On Wednesday morning I got up and left with another Elder who was training, and Elder Groesbeck actually then already had his companion, because he was serving here in Roosendaal, we just kinda switched!  Anyways, we got to Leiden and went through a couple of training meetings and then got to go meet our greenies!  And... my first son is... Elder Higham!  He is from Red Deer, Canada. He ran in High School, played a little BBall, and has quite a bit of greeny fire!  So needless to say, like father like son ;)  We've had a ton of fun the last couple days getting lost, looking up investigators, and getting to know the ward.  We go to the Breda ward, and this ward is awesome!  It is probably the strongest and biggest ward I've served in so far (80-100 active). Our ward mission leader is awesome, and looks like we'll be getting fed 5-7 times a week so they take care of us really almost too well.  Our apartment is super nice, it has 2 floors!  But although the other Elders left us with a pretty decent work load, they left the apartment a mess!  So that has been our P-day today, cleaning.  It's doing a lot better though. They did, like I said, leave us with some good work though.  This will be the first area I don't have to build from the ground up to get things going so that is good.  We have about 3-4 solid investigators and a couple less actives we work with regularly so that is good. Also, Elder Higham speaks French!  So we´ve been looking up French speaking investigators out of the area book and seeing some success with that.  I'll be his French greeny and he'll be my Dutch greeny and everything will work out ;)  Cool things though.  Everything is going well.  Learned lots of lessons and all.  I just really need to catch up on sleep though.  I've been up late planning and doing various other things pretty much all week but other than that, everything is great!

Love you all!

-Elder Hayden Lott

Elder Groesbeck and me



Last Pictures of Brugge

Brugge Waffle
One Last of Brugge

Elder Higham and me at Greeny/Trainer meeting
Roosendaal Apartment

Top Floor (bedroom)
We have 2 bathrooms!  This apartment is great.  Now that it's clean.

So..... this happened
[Missionaries in the Belgium/Netherlands are now required to wear bike helmets.]

Monday, August 17, 2015

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Goededag Iedereen!
[Good Day Everyone!]

On a mission and in life there are many cases where you can look back on experiences and see how they have helped you grow to become who the Lord needs you to be.  You are able to see His hand in your life.  But every once and a while you get to see His hand working well before you actually experience much at all.  You know you are going to have an opportunity to grow under His hand.  That could go for a mission in general, very much so.  But I guess I'll get to what I'm more directly talking about now.  With transfer calls yesterday, that was one of those opportunities where I get to see it coming.  I am going to be heading out of Brugge this week after just one transfer and be heading up to Rossendaal (I think that is the Breda Ward) in the Netherlands.  I will be white-washing in (replacing both elders who served there this transfer) and I will be training a greeny.  I have also been called to serve as District Leader of that district. (Cities of Vlissingen, Breda, and Tilburg... so the Southern chunk of the Netherlands)  Fun stuff!  I'm really excited and looking forward to this new opportunity to serve!  I hope I can help lift and support, and be the missionary and person the Lord needs me to be in all those aspects of His work.

I have loved my time here in Brugge, Belgium.  I've learned so many lessons in such short time! I've enjoyed getting to know these wonderful members and learning from their examples and testimonies, things I will ponder and treasure for a good long while. I've really enjoyed working here and having fun times with Elder Groesbeck.  He's is staying and getting an Elder on his 2nd transfer, Elder Fairbanks. They are both super young, so that is going to be a great learning opportunity for them! Great chances for improvement!  We've built up a fairly solid teaching pool this transfer that hopefully they can work off of that and see some success!  I'd love to come back in the next couple transfers and see a Baptism here!

The Lord is always working in our lives.  When we allow Him is when we make the most progress, and most of the time that feels pretty good.  But even if we are maybe not doing our best, He still loves us.  He loves us enough to 're-calculate' our route, giving us the chance to get back on track, and give us the energy enough to get going again.  That is the miracle of the atonement and His infinite love for us.  I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven.

The Miracle of the Atonement
C.Scott Grow
General Conference April 2011
I love you guys too!

-Elder Hayden Lott

Question of the Week:   We know that Belgians enjoy football (soccer) and cycling.  Are there any other sports that are heavily followed there?

Answer: I know that least in the Netherlands field hockey is fairly big among youth at least, as well as speed skating as can be seen by their sweeping of the medals in the winter Olympics.  In Belgium I know that basketball is at least fairly big here, but soccer really is king by a long shot.  Track and Field is pretty decent as well. (Shout out!)

Belgian Frites
This is our favorite Belgian Frite shop 'te groot' which translated means 'too big'.  You can get an order of fries here that is huge for only 4 euro.  Needless to say we come here more often than we should.  This picture doesn't even do justice to how many frites there are!  So good as well!  And of course, we finished them all.

Fun on the Beach on Oostende

Peanut Butter from a Visiting Member from the States
Elder Groesbeck and Elder Lott

Brugge Market (Centrum)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Good Times

Hey Everybody!

So this week has been anything but expected, but still super good!  Still having some frustration with Sxxx not getting off work, but really that has been the only bump in the road, and if the only bump is one I can't really control then that's pretty good, right?  We've had a ton of crazy, cool, and spiritual experiences this week.  Well, a few more than normal that is.  I'll start with a spiritual experience I guess.  On the second day I was here in Brugge, we were out knocking doors and we came across an older man (ok, that doesn't really describe him, everyone is old here in Brugge; it's super rare to see kids), his name is Fxxx.  After a little chat on the door about Christianity and the Book of Mormon I felt like we should pray with him, so we did, right there on the door and then asked if we could come back.  We've been going back about once a week now, sharing a little bit at a time at first because the first time or two he was super prideful about his knowledge of the Bible.  We kept thinking we might drop him, but we would find ourselves going back for some reason.  On the time when we had decided was do or die, we ended up just sharing our testimonies and the spirit was super strong.  You could see he was touched, and since then when we go back he has been opening up and telling us that even though he's been Catholic and studied the Bible all his life, he's had doubts that God even exists.  We've been able to start to help him grow his faith, sharing Alma 32, and other things with him.  He's gone from being very prideful about his knowledge, to listening and accepting what we are saying.  You can see that what we are saying is starting to touch or fill a gap that he didn't know was there before.  This is just the beginning of the well springing up unto life eternal.  He's open to thinking about baptism now, and is going make it to church in the next couple weeks. It's so cool to see that even hardened hearts can be softened and filled by the light of the gospel.

One funny experience from this week would be when we were walking down a street in the centrum, on our way home, when a girl and her friends walked up to me and Elder Groesbeck and said she was looking for someone with a letter 'e' first name.  Then she noticted our name tags and said 'Elder, oh that's great!'  Then she asked if we could sign her arm and give her a 'zoentje' which is like a smooch, a little more than kiss that is.  I told her that no, sorry we were volunteers from our church so we wouldn't do that right now, and we walked away.  Elder Groesbeck had only caught that she wanted us to sign her arm, so he was like "Elder! What was the problem? She just wanted us to sign her arm!" So I told him, then he freaked out a little because he was about a half a second away from saying 'yeah sure, why not?' and then we had a good laugh about it, because I totally could have let him say it and watched things get awkward. What a good companion am I though? ;)  Haha good times.

Love you all!

-Elder Hayden Lott

Question of the Week: What is one of your and Elder Groesbeck's favorite p-day activities?

Answer:  It's super fun to go out the the Beachs in Oostende (city on the coast that I am in love with) on P-day.  Play some sand soccer or frisbee with other missionaries or just people on vacation.  Even though this city is super beautiful, God's creations are so much more so, like the ocean.  Just saying.  

Oostende Beach
picture from Google

Oostende Beach
picture from Google

Oostende Beach
picture from Google

Oostende Beach
picture from Google

Monday, August 3, 2015

Learning a Language or Two

Hey Everybody!

So this week has been another good, but not quite there week.  We've had to push back Sxxx's baptism again; really hope he can get work off soon and have to courage to ask his boss for it.  Kxxx, well, he's not doing well.  He has relapsed onto some old problems and is losing interest in meeting with us.  Nearly everyone else is on vacation, and although we do see miracles in finding, sometimes it's hard getting through all the other people in between.  Like so many times on my mission (at least a couple time a day) I feel exactly like Alma when he declared 'O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!  Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.  But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted me.' (Alma 29:1-3)  We have gotten some solid referrals though, we'll do all we can to help them receive the word of the gospel onto good ground.

I've been trying to have more fun with contacting people this week.  We do a lot of traveling because our area is huge, so instead of jumping straight into the gospel or the weather to start a conversation, I've been asking people where they are from.  Then if they aren't a tourist, I'll ask them to teach me either a little bit of French or Bruggs (a dialect of Flemish spoken here in Brugge among natives).  People's reactions are so much better when I approach things this way than any other.  We end up having much better conversations in the end as well.  It's funny how just a little bit of love in the form of trying to learn a language that hardly anyone knows really opens people up, who normally would probably just ignore me. 

I love you all and hope all is going well!

-Elder Lott

Question of the Week:   It looks like there are not many cathedrals in Brugge, but the ones there seem like historical treasures.  Have you had a chance to tour any of them yet?

Answer:  There are quite a few cathedrals here in Brugge, but even more old churches!  Whenever Elder Groesbeck and I take a break, we always look for the nearest church/cathedral and go inside.  They really are so cool.  Sadly, in lots of them you can't take pictures but that makes sense; they are a religious, spiritual site.  I haven't toured any yet to say, but seen a lot of them!

[Parent Note:  There are some magnificent cathedrals in Brugge.  I can't help sharing some of the fascinating histories of these beautiful structures  Check out the links!]

picture from Google
Famous organ and interior furnishings
St. Salvator's Cathedral, Bruges

picture from Google
 Houses a Michelangelo sculpture of the Madonna and Child
Church of Our Lady, Bruges

picture from Google
Repository of a vial said to contain a cloth with the blood of Jesus Christ
Basilica of the Holy Blood, Bruges