Monday, 20 August 2012

It was hot-diggety this week

                                  Elder Burgess, Elder Moscon serving in Turnhout
It was hot-diggety this week.  I mean that in more than one way too.
And holy man, those were huge emails.  My eyeballs are sore from all that reading.  Time to give my fingers an equal workout.
Ah yes, hot diggety.  I meant hot diggety as in this week was both hot and diggety.
I could imagine that if Mom were here, she'd have to remark every half hour about how hot it is.  With the humidity so high as well, you could cook an egg in the crook of your back.  It's been so hot.  Luckily, the bottom floor of our house is usually pretty friss (fresh), so we've migrated 80% of our in-house time to downstairs.  We've also developed a pattern of walking only in the shadows.  Belgium people are usually very generous about offering you something to drink--especially in such weather--so we've been well-hydrated.
As far as diggety, we had one heck of a miracle week.  Tuesday, we took a trip up to Eindhoven, to pick up my verblijfsverguning (residence permit legality papers), so that was quite fun.  We got to see Harry and eat lunch with the Eindhoven Elders.  Stickers were picked, strawberries taught and faces melted on hot hot buses.  Fun fun.  That evening, on a whim, we decided to visit somebody named Asamoah, a Ghanaian lady we quickly contacted a week or so before.  When we arrived, the man of the house let us right in and we had a super cool conversation about God.  The man, Prince, is super intellectual--he knows his stuff.  He pretty much told us what the purpose of our life on this Earth was and even gave us a thought-provoking reason why he thinks African people have it rougher than European people.  I can't say it is the reason, but definitely makes sense.  According to him, whether they realize it or not, European people follow God's commandments because they are built directly in the law.  Or at least in part.  Crime rate is much higher in Africa, so though they have great faith, they don't follow the law more generally.  Very interesting to think about.  It's quite fascinating how many people we've come across lately with the same concern: why does God allow bad things to happen.  For me, I think it's simply a part of this life.  We live in an imperfect world because of the Fall--with sickness, corruption and disease.  That's just a natural part of living on this world.  Anyway, him and Asamoah are super cool.  We look forwards to meeting them in the future.
BUT then that evening, we were heading home.  It was a bit late, but when somebody called out to us, we were willing to stop and listen to him.  A younger guy, perhaps...25 or so stopped us.  He remarked how he always saw us (missionaries) in Alkmaar, always biking, biking biking.  "Where are you going all the time?" he asked.  It was an all-around funny contact.  He was slightly drunk, which made it stranger...  At one point, he stopped mid-sentence and simply said "dude", then straightened Elder Moscon's stubborn, crooked handlebars.  Then, at one point, he spotted an ice cream truck (they're EVERYWHERE here) and hurled his ice cream across the street.  We still have absolutely no idea why he did that.  He had pretty much the entire thing left over but he chucked the thing anyway.  Splat.  "Oh, don't worry, those are kind neighbours."  Umm...okay.  Turns out though, he's a super cool guy.  We met him the next day, not drunk, and he's very interested in what we have to say.  We taught him the plan of Salvation and he drank it in.  When we offered him a Book of Mormon, he wanted to pay for it!  He said he'd read it in just a week, but...I'm a bit doubtful.  We saw him in the Supermark today and set up an appointment for tomorrow.  His name is Jaap and his girlfriend's Jip.  Funny names for a couple.  It says Jip and Jaap on their mailbox.
Also, we met a young guy named Simon.  He's the son of another investigator, who has been telling us to meet with his son for some time now.  He's lost his faith for...similar reasons as Antony, but is open to hear what we have to say.  We're naturally excited to meet with him too.
Ah!  Another miracle.  Sometimes, things just seem to fall through.  That's...not the miraculous part.  I'm getting to it.  Buuut we had pretty much more than half of our appointments fall through this week.  At the end of such an appointment-falling-thorough day, we had no clue what to do.  So, we got down on our knees and humbly asked for guidance.  Then, acting on nothing more than faith, we went for a stroll.  After a stinky contact, somebody stopped us a bow shot away from our house.  Him and his crew hang around the entrance to our street everyday, so we seem him a lot.  This time, he stopped us and asked us what we're doing all the time anyway.  We told him and he was excited and totally wants to meet with us.  He said next time we run into him, to bring several Books of Mormon to give to his zillion crew-buddies.  Whoa.  Hallelujah!
So after that cool contact, we decided to roam some more.  Eventually, we found ourselves in front of Tauelen's house, a Portuguese investigator who pretty much dropped us a few weeks ago.  Almost casually, I commented that she lived there.  We stared at the door for a while until Elder Moscon suggested we see what's up.  After a brief discussion with her, she told us she wanted to come to church the next day.  Whoa.  She came too.  We picked her up and brought her along.  It was super unfortunate because the Van den Berg's and Germann's weren't there that day--two super awesome Portuguese-speaking families, but at least Lolas was (who speaks at least 8 languages fluently).  She really enjoyed it too, remarking how it was different, but interesting.  She wants to come again in the future, and asked us if the youth ever do activities together (she's 18).
Then, later that selfsame Sunday, we had a great appointment with an eternal-investigator family.  This time though, he had actually read in the Book of Mormon.  Wow!  We had a Q&A lesson and the Spirit was strong.  We're going to keep really good contact so that he continues to read.  I feel inspired to keep better contact with people, to spoor hen ann om in het boek van Momon te lezen (to track them in the Book of Mormon reading).
Then we went to a member's for dinner.  There were a grand total of 7 little children there.  Ack!  The members had their friends there and even gave away a Book to them!  They were ecstatic about it too.
Dang, so much to say.  Also, the Stake President gave us a training on encouraging the members to give away Books of Mormon's to their friends this week.  Therefore, I challenge you, oh parents and avid readers, to give away a Book of Mormon by the end of September.  Email me right away about your adventures.
Well, sorry for making your eyeballs sore as well.  This week was super great, it's not my fault.
Love you all so much!
Thanks for your letters, especially you, Preston.  I'll write back as soon as I can.
Tot volgende keer,
Elder Burgess
I forgot a few things.
Dad, after 20 long years, you still expect me to brush my hair?  Psh, I don't think you really know me.
On one hand, we have a dome scratcher at home, this fun little device with little wire arms tipped with plastic bubbles.  You rub in on your dome and it feels fantastic.  You can get the benefit of dome-exhilaration without actually having to brush!  Loop-hole.
We lost contact with Natalie for several days.  We were beginning to worry, but we picked up an appointment with her for tomorrow.  It's a difficult time to meet, so it's going to be tough to get a Joint teach.  Still, we're optimistic.
Also, there's a festival down the road from our house called Kermis.  There are rides and stands and food and games of skill and games of chance and loud music surrounding the large church.  Unfortunately, we can't participate in all the shenanigans.  It's been going for a solid 3 weeks now.  Pretty much around 3 or 4, it gets super busy and loud.
Also, I found a dozen or so coins on the street.  We were excited that they might be of value, but it turns out you use them to buy cigarettes.  Urk.  Also, I found about 20 car wash coins.  I'm secretly hoping they'll fit into the Kermis coin slots...
I had a dream about Braden.  I worry and pray for him.

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