First of all, thanks to everybody who sent me letters and stuff for my birthday! Thanks for the candy, Thompson's, thanks for the letter Auntie Marilyn and Warren and thanks for the box of goodies parents! (That card was hilarious by the way). When I opened that package, I was super stoked. Our room is looking more like home, what with that ninja and raptor above my desk. Thanks a zillion billion!
This week raced by. It seems like only two seconds ago I was writing a letter home. Days are starting to meld together here. I guess with having all the days virtually similar, that's bound to happen.
Anyway, yesterday was fun. We had Elder Ka...zu Yamoshito of the 70's speak to us--as well as his wife. His wife has only lived in America for 4 months so her english was pretty.... Still, she did a great job all things considering. Once and a while she'd stop to ask: "you understand?" or "k?" Elder Yomashito's English was better, so his talk was slightly more...organized. He spoke to us about our relationship as missionaries with our onderzoekers, and how vital that relationship is for eternal salvation and stuff. It was uplifting and spiritual.
I'm starting to appreciate the scriptures more. It feels like I'm diligently seeking knowledge within their pages, marking things down and whatnot as I read. I can feel the spirit as I do so. It's amazing. I invite everybody back home to do the same--truly pay attention to what your reading as you read.
It sounds like you're having a crazy time with that cat that replaced me. I tell my district members about all the shenanigans it gets into--including its incessant knack of switching all the settings on Dad's computer. Dad, maybe if you knew your way around, you could fix it! I'm sure they have classes for that.
Life's still good on this end. Meals are almost getting to be a chore now. It's like I've almost given up on them. I find myself caring less about what I eat, which could be deadly. Still, I try to eat a salad at least once a day and I am staying away from hot dogs, burgers and pop.
Speaking of food...I've got about a zillion pounds of candy in my room right now. The Thompson's (THANK YOU!!) sent me a package a while back with about 3 dozen chocolate bars. I think I've eaten two so far. Many elders leave behind a bunch of candy when they leave. I appreciate it, but please, no more candy! I've got about enough to last my entire mission.
The language is coming along really well. I don't feel like we're SYL-ing (speak your language) enough outside of the class, but I'm sure in a week or two we'll be speaking it the majority of the time. They have some pretty crazy grammar rules, especially concerning past tense. I guess you could say that about any language though. What should I say in Dutch? I houdt von mijn familie....for suresies. It's weird, the Dutch people don't really say "I love you" at all. It's just part of their culture. The verb to love is liefde, but you can pretty much never use it as a verb. You could say, "God heeft liefde voor ons" (god has love for us) but not "God liefdt ons" (God loves us). Just doesn't work. Instead, you have to say, "Ik houdt von u," Literally translated "I hold of you." Craziness, eh?
My district has got to be the best around. We work so well together. We try to eat together in the eat-a-torium everyday and pray everyday before personal study time. My ccompanion has got to be the best in the world. Ever. He's mellow about things, yet has a great sense of humour. Plus, he strives to correct any problems we bring up in ccompanion study.
Right now, our two onderzoekers (investigators) are David and Kim Swaan. They are both our teachers role playing, but I treat them just like real investigators. I think they're making great progress. David really wants to know Christ because he knows the gospel can help him and his family, and is really interested in what we teach. His parents are divorced and his little brother died a while back, so family is really important to him. Right now, though, we have to teach him about the word of wisdom because he smokes and drinks a bunch. In the Netherlands, everybody you'll talk to offers you a drink when you come over. It is...considered rude if you refuse, or ever ask for water instead! (they always have a million litres of juice in their fridges). So when David offered me something to drink - tea, coffee, beer, I asked for apple juice instead. He scoffed and said something along the lines of "Bah, my little cousin drinks apple juice! Have something real to drink! Beer, tea!" I settled for water.
Kim Swann might be the perfect investigator though. Her mother and sister are both members and she essentially keeps all the commandments already. She accepts everything we teach and all commitments we extend without any fuss. Pssh, we'll have her baptised before the next letter I write. Well, probably not.
I hope things are great on your end! Don't miss me too, too much. Just a regular too much will do.
Oh, for my birthday, I make only one request. I would like a letter from each of my friends, if that's not too much to ask for. Just a simple "hey, how's it going" and what are you up to would be the best present.
Ever heard the song "come thou fount of many blessings, tune my hear to sing it's graaaaace"? It was removed from the hymnbook several years ago because of copyright issues, but it doesn't stop them from singing it every two seconds. In a week, we must have sung that song over 5 times. One of our leaders even played the motab version in a lesson. The worst part is that it gets stuck in EVERYONE'S head so EVERYONE is constantly humming, singing or whistling it everywhere. Oh well.
Until next week, totziens, en ik houdt van jullie!