I've decided to start these h'emails off with a good ol' "what I've learned" section, right at the beginning.
What I've learned this week:
Wearing warmer gloves is very important.
It does actually snow here
the Dutch word for fart (which I've already forgotten)
Anywho, another week gone in the Netherlands. We visited the Turkenburgs earlier in the week. They're super interesting. He's a convert of a few years and she's a member since...ever? Not sure. But the two met through an on line video game called Ebony (aha, video games are good for something!), and he moved to Texas to marry her. Now they live just north of Leiden I believe. We had a visit with them and the moment I entered their house, I was awed. They've got swords and dragons everywhere. No jokes. Swords and axes on the walls, dragon statue thingies on the shelves and whatnot. I suddenly really like the Turkenburgs.
Things are going GREAT with Antoine, holy man! It was either the day of or a day later, but we COMMITTED HIM TO BAPTISM. Woo! Yep. We went over with the intention of sharing the Plan of Salvation, but when we discovered he hadn't read from the book of Mormon like we had invited him to last time, Elder Frahm turned to me (when Antoine was upstairs fetching somethings) and said "We gotta read from the BOM with him." Wham. When Antoine came back down, Elder Frahm suggested we read...a chapter somewhere in 2 Nephi with him. We read the chapter together, which discusses the reason why Christ was baptized. Then, Elder Frahm straight-up committed him to baptism. Whoa. Divine inspiration all the way. I'm positive he was lead by the Spirit that night to share that alternative lesson. Atoine totally gets it though. When we asked if he would be baptized, he totally agreed, because "I was baptized when I was a baby, but I was too little! I think it has to be my choice." Wuh-bam, you got it.
But yeah, we're meeting 3 times a week with him and it's going great! He totally understands everything we teach and his testimony of the Book of Mormon grows with each visit. Though, we ran into a speed bump last lesson. Apparently, he wants to go down to Africa and start his own church. urch! Um, excuse me? Do...what now? He gets that being baptized means becoming a member of our church and that he will only go to our church, but he still wants to start his own down in Burundi. We're thinking maybe something was lost in the translation, so we're going to find somebody who speaks French to come along with us next lesson. I'm positive things will get worked out.
Otherwise, things are going somewhat slow admittedly. With me being so fresh, I think about home alot. Home is so great, what can I say? And with Elder Frahm so close to going home... Let's just say there's a lot of home-thinking going on. I'm not quite settled yet, I don't think. With some time, I'll be fine.
Yeah, that whole picture ordeal. I took a look at my pictures and a lot of them are a bit unfocused. I'm going to try switching some settings on my camera, but otherwise, I've got an extra memory card. Still, I'll send it back to you when I get your letter. Whoops.
Yesterday we went to the Stichter family to celebrate Australia day. It was awesome. There must have been 4 or 5 families there, all crammed into a tiny Dutch house--with at least a dozen children too! It was a great time to get to know people though. Plus there were a couple non-members there too. The food was delicious; there were meat pies and shepherd's pie and potato salad and tonnes of desert. And these narsty little sammiches with Vegemite in them. Yuck. Vegemite is a lot like marmite, which is essentially just...yeast paste or something. BLECK. Tasted like...bitter...mixed with butt. I took a bite before I realised what it was. Apparently, my expression was almost as sour as the sammich. So now the impression Sister Stichter has of me is that I hate Vegemite. Hey, fine by me.
So it's snowing right now. This morning we woke up to see the world covered in a sprinkling of snow. Yep. Time to start wearing warmer gloves. Oh, and two buttons fell of Papa Joe's coat. Elder Frahm, being a living Swiss-army knife of talents, was able to sew one of them back on (as well as the third, which had almost fallen off), but one of the buttons is lost. Darn. I'll have to find a replacement.
.....aaand onto the answer part of the email.
Our branch meets at 10:00 and ends at 1:00. The next meeting starts at 1:30, so we have some time to say goodbye to those leaving and hallo to those coming in. I find it interesting talking to the members concerning how they found themselves situated in the Netherlands. Almost universally, it's because of work. A lot of fathers work for international companies and were offered positions in the Netherlands. Because of that, our branch is almost always changing. In ten years, it's likely that almost every member of the branch will be gone--moved back to North America most likely. Even since Elder Frahm was here last, several families have moved out of the ward.
We've had a few dinner appointments with families--three or four, not too many. But we're expecting to have a lot more in the following few weeks. Brother...Irving? set us up a dinner appointment calender. YES! We've got eight or so dinner appointments in the future. Being fed rocks.
Aha, what's so interesting about my bike? It's just a 5 speed bike, nothing too special. Blue and red. It seems determined to make me hate it--it's gears don't work anymore, it's had a flat tire, etc etc--I love it's guts. We ride our bikes almost everywhere. Sometimes we take the bus when it's cold or we have to go especially far away, but otherwise, we fiets it up h'everywhere. You ride bikes all year round--in the rain, in the snow, in the dark, on the road and without helmets to boot. It's the Netherlands! Half the mission rules concerning bikes don't apply to us. Don't worry though, it's the law that we have lights on our bikes at night.
Apparently, neither does the rule that says "don't live near water features". It's in there somewhere. We live in a little 3 story townhouse. Our backyard is pretty much a canal. It's unavoidable here to live near the water.
As far as my Dutch goes...it isn't really. I hardly get any practise. What with being in an English branch and all. People speak fast to boot. We had a afspraak met een onderzoeker just the other day and she spoke so fast. I contributed diddely to the lesson because I couldn't keep up. Elder Frahm mentioned afterwards that he didn't force me into saying anything because he thought as much. Gee. I'm hoping I'll either get transferred soon or they'll switch the Office Elders and us so that we're in the Dutch ward. That'd be nice. I feel like I'm getting behind in that regard.
Anyway, I've pushed my emailing limit again. Darn all your questions!
Tot volgende keer,
en ik houd van jullie!