Monday, 29 October 2012

One year older

and closer to being dead (missionary term for one year completed, one year to go).
I can't believe it's been a year already.  It doesn't really feel like it.  We have to think of something exciting to do for "humpday".  Once you go over that hump, I hear it's just a waterslide and before you know it, you're back home.
Holy Moses.  A swimming pool?  That sure exploded out of nowhere.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't super, super stoked.  Sounds like a super cool thing too.  Solar, salty, sweet-ly awesome.  Dang.  Jealous.  Instead we're over here biking in the cold.  It's only about 10 degrees, but the wind and the wet make it feel a lot colder.  Het valt wel mee (it's not that bad).  At least I haven't crashed my bike again...
Where to begin.
Elder Shoemaker had a bit of a verkoudheid this week.  Or in other, English-er words, he had a cold.  He had some accident which smashed his soft-palette in his mouth, so colds get him differently.  In any case, we were home-ridden for a couple days while he recuperated.  It's hard to believe I used to chill around home all day.  I suppose I had a lot more things to distract me when I was home.  We managed to clean the apartment pretty thoroughly though.  It's probably the cleanest it's been in...oh a decade or so.  I literally scraped some grease off of a thing with a knife, and it picked it up like a long black snake.  *shiver* gross.  There's a super bad bug going around right now.  There are many members, investigators and missionaries who are getting it.  Dear ol' Elder Andrews is a bit under the weather too.  I feel just fine.  Top notch.  I've been really tired lately, so I think my body's been fighting it without me knowing.  Good job, body.  The extra hour of sleep from the time change helped.
Despite the coldular setback, we had a few adventures this week.  Edmund came to a baptism in Almere!  Frimpong, an investigator of 12 whole years finally received his answer and was baptised.  It figures that on the same day, the trains WEREN'T RUNNING between here and Lelystad. Gah!  So frustrating.  We called Edmund and told him what was up and he said he'd catch the replacement bus.  Fine and dandy.  40 minutes later, we called and asked where he was.  "Ya ya man, I just got the information.  I'm getting on the bus now." What?!  Ah!  another 40 minutes, he finally arrived and we walked to the church in Almere.  We arrived just on time.  He really enjoyed it though.  Asked some pretty good questions too.
Later the same day, we had to go to Lelystad.  So then we hopped on the bus and started going.  The bus driver apparently didn't know the way though.  He stopped at one point, backed up, went down another road to talk to another bus driver, then reversed and continued on the original road.  Hmm.  After a couple more wrong turns (apparently) a lady stood up and commented that she needed to get to Oostvaarders, to catch the train there.  The bus driver freaked out.  He stood up and started yelling at her in Dutch.  I can't really remember what he was yelling specifically, but holy man does Dutch sound scary when they're worked up.  She threatened to call the police if he continued to attack her, because she had made a slightly-snarky comment.  They both sat down and the bus continued.
Until he took another wrong turn.  Then some black guy--maybe Surinamese--got up and started yelling. The driver stopped the bus and both of them started towards each other.   I was super worried the black man was going to beat the driver up.  Luckily, a few people got in their way before something messy happened.  More yelling ensued and eventually, 10 minutes later or so, the driver got back behind the week, and drove back to centraal station.  Gah.  There, three security guards got on and whisked the guy away.  The driver and the two people who spoke up shook hands and we started our adventure anew.  Thereafter, we shared a cool conversation with the man in front of us, who had been trying to defuse the situation.  Turns out, he was a converted Muslim.  Hmm, never met anybody who converted to Islam.  I guess it does happen.  Either way, it was a good talk.  We were probably meant to get on that bus just to talk to him.
The guy in front of me is listening to music.  He's bobbing around and singing along to his headphones.  There are swears in his music.  It's kind of silly actually.
That same evening, we found the next member of Lelystad!  Literally.  We went over to teach the first lesson, and started by asking her background.  She's the referral from the inactive member, Lenny.  She's Brazilian, she speaks decent Dutch, she's lived here for so and so years, she's a member, she's...  Wait, what?  Yep, she's been a member for 7 years or something now.  She's married to a Dutch man and just got her legality papers, so she's going to be living here permanently.  Little red flags with the Dutch man!  He's actually really cool.  Totally supportive--and they seemed to love each other very much.  He's willing to come to church with her--she wants to start coming every week--and he even said he's going to read in the Book of Mormon to see if it spreekt hem aan (speaks to him).  Cool!  New member ge-found.
Sentina is still sick.  Nothing we can do...
We haven't met with Vicky and Debbie in a while.  They called off our last appointment.  Last I heard, they were planning on reading in the Book of Mormon together and Vicky's eyeball surgery got verplaatst  (moved) to end of November.  Bummer for her. 
Yesterday was pretty fun too.  We did a good job contacting and found a few interesting people.  One man is from Suriname and told us straight up he was drug-addicted and wanted help giving it the boot.  Of course we can help!  I spotted a lady sitting alone on a bench and went over and offered her company, and she ended up leaving happier than before with a Book of Mormon in hand.  She was super funny.
I got your frisbee too by the way. It's hanging in the window.  Ooo, spooky.  Elder Shoe's mom sent us all Holloween goody bags......filled with sweet love from Utah.
As far as what I would like or need for my birthday...
What I would really like is a typewriter.  It would make writing letters and stuff a lot easier and faster. But don't send one.  It would probably just be too big and bulky anyway.  I wish I would have had more insight though--I could have snaked that one you guys gave to Elly.  I remember seeing a 2 dollar one once in a garage sale.  This was before I was a writer.  I said, "Hey, I want to buy that" and you asked "Why?"  Then I didn't.  I'm trying to find one somewhere in a kringloop (pawn store) but I can't.  They're all but extinct.
Yeah, don't send one.  Well, if you can find one that folds into the size of a book or something, I'd be down.  Otherwise, don't stress it.
Also, I'm going to send my pictures home soon.  I want to back them up on my flashdrive first, but don't have a computer to do so.  I'll find a way and do it quick, don't worry.
Scary about Kitty.  She had a fracture? Gee, how long ago?  Where's the puppy supposed to poop?  In the pool?  Where is the trampo-lion supposed to go?  Questions questions.
I've got a birthday wish.  It's obscure.  What are the chances--just give me an estimate--of a crow-tie?  Ooo, gives me shivers.  Well, there's a thought.  Crow-socks are the coolest things ever already, so I suppose I've got everything a man could need already.  Crow tie though?  Mmm.  I actually just bought new socks too.  7 pairs for €7 or something?  So I'm doing alright with socks.
Well, honestly, I can't think of anything.
Let me just say--and I'm not trying to gloat--I'm glad I choose to be happy.  It really is a choice.  We work a lot with people that aren't happy.  Member included.  There's a certain joy to the gospel, but there's also choosing certain aspects of the gospel.  I choose to be happy.  Every day.  Some people don't choose to be happy.  They don't choose to look to those sources of happiness either.  It's very sad really.  I'm glad I choose to follow Jesus.  I'm glad I choose to be positive and optimistic.  I'm joyful every ding dang day with these things.  And loving it.
Choose Jesus.  Choose happiness.  They are, I suppose, one and the same.
Also, I had a crazy dream.
I had another dream where I was home.  We hopped on a train and went home.  It didn't feel right though.  It wasn't where I was supposed to be at that time.  This is where I´m supposed to be.  Despite how diddly-dang much I want to be swimming in that pool.  Dang it.
I made pancakes for breakfast.
Tot volgende keer,
Elder Burgess

Monday, 22 October 2012

The curse has been lifted

......and the long wait is over.  I got my package!  Thank you so much!
Saltiness, sweetness, chocolate love and pictures.  And...what the heck have you done to the yard?  We were all trying to figure it out.  The closest thing I can guess is a swimming pool!  You're not getting a pool, are you?
I'll burst the bubble right now and say that Elder staying!  Wow, looks like the curse is broken.  Unless, of course, I move to a tri-panionship next transfer.  With this gargantuan manifestation comes other anxieties; what will happen next transfer?  Will my curse be entirely broken?  It will either be I leave and he stays (unlikely), I stay and he leaves (breaking the curse), we both stay or we both leave (highly unlikely).  The mysteries of it all.  I don't suppose I have to worry about it for another 6 weeks though, so bam, out of my thoughts.
The Temple was a good experience again.  It's always good to see people and be close to the Lord.  The trains have been super snaky this last week though.  The regular trains we need to catch weren't running, so we had to...overstap (change). We had to...get off and catch another train between stations, making us 40+ minutes late.  They wanted everyone to be at the temple an hour early, so luckily we made it on time.  The trains shafted us on the way home though.  We didn't get home until 8 that evening.  Aha, also to add to the travel-madness, 8 of us had to catch the bus from the temple.  We got to the station in Zoetermeer and had to go to Leiden.  Somebody spotted a sign and said "Well fiddely dee, there's a Leiden bus".  I said "Gee whizz, that's not the bus we caught to get here..." But er'body had already piled on.  Oh, it went to Leiden alright, but after travelling through every tiny city on the way there.  That took another, oh...half an hour or more.  Gah!  Then, to add to the rest of the travel-shenanigans, our bus back to the station took a full half hour, because we had just missed it.  I thoroughly hated all forms of more-than-two-wheeled travel by the end of that day.
Still, good experience.
We also had a special training meeting with President Odens, the Stake President.  Similar to the one in Antwerpen. He introduced a stake missionary/member plan to help the Stake.  The theme in our area is "Finding the One".  To leave the ninety and nine to find the one lost sheep.  It was a very informative training.  He even told us some helpful things about Dutch culture to help us.  Aaaand of course, the wacky train schedule was still in effect, so that snaked a few extra hours, as well as an appointment with Memsky, the coolest Dutch-African rapper you'll even meet.  Bummer.
I got Elder Andrews with a creative prank.  It wasn't so much of a bite you in the butt prank as an adventure.  I hid his action figure (yes, he has an action figure) in a sneaky place, then made a sticky note saying where to look.  In that place was yet another note giving another hint leading to another hint and so forth.  Uiteindelijk, there were about 15 or so steps he had to follow, looking in sneaky places and unravelling ingenious riddles and clues.  He was kind of a stinker about and let Elder Pimentel do it for him.  Elder P enjoyed it though, so it was worth it.
As far as investigators go, we've found a couple, taught a couple.  Sentina is still doodziek (very ill) and is actually getting treatments in the hospital or doctor or that's not going too well.  Hopefully she'll turn around soon.
Vicky made some good progress this week.  We watched a conference talk based on the Book of Mormon.  In feite (fact), it said "Either the BoM is of God, or the Devil" and you've got to read it to find out.  She was really effected by it and even made her own conclusion by the end that she should read it!  Her eyeballs are being operated on soon, so she can't see that well, but she and her daughter are going to read together.  We had to do some expounding during the lesson too, because she's still caught up on some non-important JW doctrine.  We explained what a few versus in the Bible really meant.  They use the last verse of Revelations to claim you can't add or take away from the Bible.  It says the same thing in Deuteronomy.  Revelations was actually written before the Gospel of John and his epistles, but in the Bible at the end because there was no other place before it.  Besides, those versus actually refer to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which the Book of Mormon neither adds nor subtracts from.  Confounded.  In short, she's going to read the Book of Mormon, and that's huge improvement.
Miracle time!  So the week before conference, we talked to this super cool guy on the street named Edmund.  He had a...different way of thinking, but otherwise seemed interested.  We gave him a Book but went on our way.  So then, we contacted another lady named Renferm perhaps a week or two later, who was also very interested.  We got her information and when we talked with her, she mentioned that she had spoken with her husband, who told her he had also met us some time earlier.  Hint hint hint.  When we went over for a lesson, you can probably guess who was waiting there for us.  Edmund.  We contacted them both separately.  Coincidence?  Psh.
Edmund is a super cool guy.  We couldn't teach Renferm because she was busy with the children, but he's down 100% to learn more.  We're taking him to the church on Thursday for a lesson and to Almere on Saturday for a baptism Service (of somebody else).  He made some strange comments about how we can't commit him to do anything, and that if he doesn't want to do something, he won't.  So instead, we invited him to read and pray.  I promised him that if he carried through with our invitations, he would want to go further and learn more.  Aha, got you now!  He asked all the perfect questions too.  He's an awesome guy.
Oh, and we went to an African service.  The music was so loud, I couldn't hear myself think!  It was fun, and the people there have great faith.  I was impressed.  But at the end of each song, they bang the drums and everybody starts yelling.  It took me a while, but I realized they were praying.  The preacher at the front holds the microphone so close to his face and yells "Oh Jesu!" over and over.  They holler at the top of their lungs praises to the Lord, mostly repeating semi-generic things.  There was an interlude between the music where a preacher preached about families.  He talks really loudly into the microphone, ending each sentence--I mean literally each--with Amen or occasionally hallelujah.  The crowd echoes back when he says something that impresses them.  He spoke for about an hour, but I got the entirety of his message after 10 minutes.  The rest was repetition.  I'm sure this sounds really negative, but I enjoyed the experience.  It was good to see so many people (about 35) joined together in song and dance to praise the Lord.  It's just not...reverent.  It was hard to think, let alone feel the subtle whisper of the Spirit.  Still, another thing to go in the journal, right?
Aha, at one point, they put a basket on the front, then started jamming out.  The intention was to go up in front of everybody and put some money in the basket.  We put in a Book of Mormon instead.  Then, everybody went up to shake the preacher's hand.  I quickly wrote on a card "Wij willen graag over Jezus praten!" (we eagerly want to talk about Jesus) and urged Elder Shoemaker to give it to him.  When he shook Preacher's hand, he gave him the card.  The guy gave it a serious long look.  He seemed almost shaken by it.  The rest of the time, he was kind of somber.  I think he was really considering it...
Which reminds me.  We contacted a lady on the train, asking her what there is to do in Almere.  Her reply "The only thing I enjoy is worshipping Jesus." Perfect, you'll love this book, the Book of Mormon.  "Nope, I only worship Jesus, not this Mormon." Perfect!  You'll love this book.  "Nope, there's nothing above the Bible." Perfect, you'll love this book!  She didn't get it.  In the end, Elder Shoemaker said something like, "We're going to leave it here, on the chair in front of you.  If you don't want it, you can just leave it there."  As we got off the train, Elder Shoemaker looked behind--just in time to see her reach out and pick up the book to inspect it.  What a clever move!  Leave it for her, or leave it for somebody else.
It was a great week.  I'm looking forward for another transfer with Elder Shoe.
Tot volgende keer,
Elder Burgess
**You know that Portuguese member I was talking about?  She's having family/marital problems right now and is in great need of divine help.  I can't explain the details, but please pray that everything will work out for her and her family.  Thanks.

View Zone pday playing Football in Amsterdam.jpg in slide show
Zone playing Football in Amsterdam

Monday, 15 October 2012

Where to start?

Answer questions or tell stories?
I'm glad to hear the missionaries back home are hard-working and focused.  Keep up the good work.  As far as being straight-forward, they're not.  We're instructed again and again to challenge people to baptism in the first lesson.  It's important to let them know why we are here and why we are meeting with them.  We're not here to just have a bible discussion, we're inviting people to change their lives and come closer to the Lord.  I've seen too many times when Elders have failed to get this point across and investigators expect nothing more than an interesting chat.  Of course, where you go after that invitation depends on the people.  Some will simply progress faster than others.  That's when you need to take other steps, like inviting them to stuff and helping them befriend members.  Otherwise, invitation during the first appointment should be standard.
So we had a couple great ideas for pranks this week.  But pretty much all my pranks keep getting bamboozled by silly things!  We bought a 2 litre diet coke to do the Coke-Mentos bomb to Elder Andrews--only to discover it wasn't going to work!  You need to shove like 5 Mentos in the Coke bottle before it explodes.  I'm not sure if I can rig such a bomb.  We'll see.  We also tried to make Elder Andrew's drink a stink-mix.  We poured some Dark Chocomel (super thick chocolate milk) into a container, then put a ton of pickle juice, salt, soy sauce and a raw egg into it and swished it all up.  It sat there for 4 days before Elder Andrews finally picked it up.  He put it up to his lips...!  And smelled it.  ARGH!  His sniffer got to it before his mouth did.  Bamboozled.
They got us back though.  We convinced Elder Pimentel that every missionary has to go through a gauntlet--to chug half a container of Chocomel.  He snatched up the Rancidmel and started guzzling that thing, burping and half-gagging.  Something was wrong through, because he finished the whole thing.  To celebrate his triumph, Elder Andrews poured us some real Chocomel--which was actually the Rancidmel.  Luckily, I noticed before I drank it.  Dangit, they turned our prank back on us.
But otherwise this week was pretty standard I suppose.  We swung by Caraline, only to have her husband tell us she wasn't interested anymore.  GAH, Dutch husbands!  They're stinkers.  It's really upsetting, because she (he?) didn't give us a chance to try and improve her life, like we promised.  A bit of a step back, but seed planted.
We had a few rays of sun here and there.  We found somebody screaming for the gospel and we're really excited to work with her.  Her name is Melissa.  We haven't had a chance to really teach her yet, but we brought by a DVD, a Book of Mormon and piece of paper saying how the Gospel could improve her life.  She was somewhat taken aback by our friendliness I think.  We left a good impression, which is very important.  We should be able to meet with her again next week.
Sentina is pretty sick right now.  She has a "longaansteking" which is pneumonia.  There's not much we can do.  I'm still worried whether she's talked with her parents or not.  She alluded that she wants to talk to her parents about being baptized, but not necessarily ask for their permission.  Hopefully, she'll recover quickly.
I'll be getting my package tomorrow.
THANKS FOR THE SOCKS!!  Holy man, crows socks?  Coolest things ever.  I swagged my crow shirt, belt and socks all at the same time, busting out terribly good looks--then decided to fix my bike.  I got a bit of grease on my shirt...
Wow, congratulations for Wesley!  How exciting!  Does he have an estimate to when he'll be leaving yet?  The new announcement is great because it means one less year I'll have to wait to see all my church buds again.  How fun is that?
Word on the street is that Elder Shoemaker will be getting the boot (or...shoe?) and the Almere Elders will both being staying.  Elder Shoemaker says he has a feeling that he'll be leaving.  Plus, it's inevitable.  I've got the Curse.
Ooo, a new development.  My no-bike-crash record was officially smashed.  On certain streets, there are concrete slabs that force the road narrower, also forcing cars to play chicken deciding who goes through first.  On either end of either slab, there are concrete columns, about the width of a volleyball.  So earlier this week, my bike was making a rattle.  I leaned down and started prodding the fender, trying to find the source when suddenly a concrete pole snaked into view.  My first thought was "Oh crap, I'm going to hit that pole!" Then I did.  It was one of those distorted moments.  I saw the pole, hit the pole, then was draped over the pole.  I was bent over that thing, with the blunt end sticking in my gut.  I thought at that point, "I'm stuck on a pole.  Dangit." My bike kind of crashed away and I slumped off the pole, more confused than anything at that point.  Elder Shoemaker said he looked behind and just saw me, gut-first hanging on that stupid pole.  One bruise and no damage to my bike was all that happened.  Pretty weak crash, but a crash all the same.  There goes my record.  Almost made it a year.  I looked afterwards and every concrete column had a smaller metal rod sticking out the top--except the one I sprawled on.  That would have really hurt...  Miracle?  Hmm...
Also, it's interesting to see how the Lord blesses you for just...doing what you're supposed to.  We had a short meeting with an inactive Portuguese lady in the morning.  A few people told us the scheduled meeting with this lady would be unproductive, because of her marital situation (her husband is totally against the church).  However, we decided otherwise and have met with her the last couple weeks.  Anyway, a few appointments followed and between, we rode around, doing our best to talk to people .  We stayed focused, knocked some doors and found a couple cool people.  Later that same night, that same Portuguese lady called and said she had been talking with her friend, who said she wanted to meet with us!  Wha?  We called that friend up and she said she wanted to make an appointment and that she wanted to come to church too.  Whoa.  It's a testament to me that when you do your best, the Lord will fill in the rest.  Ge-rhymed.
Real orange juice is kind of expensive here...
We're going to the Temple tomorrow.  Should be fun.
How to put it... I would be honoured to do Papa Joe's endowment, but if it's already scheduled to go, I don't think it should be put off.  I'm sure they're waiting up there for their sealing.  Waiting another year would be difficult I'm sure.  I'm so happy for them. 
We haven't met with Vickie in a while.  Our appointment last time was cut short.  It's her birthday today.  She is turning 82.
Well, I think that's everything.
Keep up the awesome work back home, all of you.  Thanks for your support!
Tot volgende keer,
Elder "Spock"

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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Stuff and Fluff.......

.....because I couldn't think of anything else.
So I got pranked again.  This was a good one too.  We are the mail-checkers, so naturally we checked the mail one day and I was stoked to get a letter from Cassie!  We sprinted upstairs, exchanged some words with the other Elders and I opened the letter--to get a big picture snipped from the newspaper.  WHAT?!  AGH!  We had stuck the same thing to Elder Andrew's bulletin board a week earlier.  Those snakes copied Cassie's handwriting, removed a stamp, placing it on a new envelope and shoved it into our mailbox.  Goshdernit.  They got me, got me so good.  I've got a killer prank lined up though.  I'll let you know when it comes to fruition.  I'll have my revenge.
As far as investigators...
Sentina is doing well.  Unfortunately, she was sick this week, so both appointments with her fell through.  She's got a few concerns right now.  Her testimony is strong though--she reads in the Book of Mormon often and even discovered the Liahona (Dutch Ensign).  She mentioned during our lesson in church that she already knew the Book of Mormon is true.  The biggest concern I have right now is that her parents won't agree with this path she's chosen.  It doesn't seem like too much of a problem, but you never know...  She could get stuck in another Isa situation.  Hopefully not.
Caraline is hard to keep in contact with.  It seems she's never home when we call her!  If she's still reading in the Book of Mormon, however, everything should work itself out.  We need to get in contact right away though.  Caraline was one of the four ladies we met when we contacted those two ladies drinking in the street.
Vicky, the 82-year old is super difficult to teach.  She told us at the beginning of the lesson she would never change because she believes in JW beliefs.  She feels the Spirit strongly every time we meet, but is too blinded by the doctrines of the JW church.  She goes off in tangents too, but she's too adorable to chastise and for us to her to get back on topic.  This is her thought process: "Oh yes, that reminds of Autumn.  We used to live on a farm and every Autumn, we'd get all sorts of apples and make pies out of them.  I like pies.  They're so tasty.  We'd also make pumpkin pies.  Do you like pumpkin pies?  I like pumpkin pies.  They must be my favourite kind of pie.  They're so delicious.  I wished they made them all year round.  Do you...?"  AH!  Stop being so adorable and stay on task!  We'll see how things go with her.  She needs to open her mind if we are to progress though.  She feels it in her heart, but her head is not letting her realize it's truth.  Sigh.
That's super cool about all the miracles on your end.  I'm glad Daddy-O has taken the challenge seriously.  I'm also glad to hear about the missionaries swinging by Marissa's.  I hope everything goes well in that regard.  I pray for my family and friends elke dang dag ( every dang day), and that they'll be willing to accept the gospel when it's presented to them.  Keep that in mind.
On Thursday, we scheduled an entire day of just service with Jesse.  We met up at around 11 and when to Zr Knights, a sweet old lady, and help yank out a super deep-rooted bushtree.  After an hour and a half, the thing came free, we ate stampot (stew) and then went over to Broeder Borsboom's house.  Have I told you about him?  He's a hilarious old guy with a crippled foot.  He's got a scooter that's--in his own words--"pimped".  He's pretty much our Harry van de Sande of Lelystad.  We can call him at almost any time of day and bring him on Joint Teach.  He makes delicious Indonesian food too.  Super cool guy.  Oh yeah.  We went to his house with Jesse and cleaned up his front yard too.  After this marathon of service, we finally ate dinner at Jesse's with Chaim there as well.  Jesse is closed about what he believes right now, so the night's discussion was pretty much 2 hours of World of Warcraft talk.  I felt like I was drowning in nerd.  The way he talked about it, you'd think he was the leader of a top-world-class business corporation--instead of a digital guild earning digital and thus useless money.  It was kind  of sad.  Still, it was a great day.
When conference rolled around, it seemed as though everything fell apart.  Saturday evening, we went to go watched the first session of conference, but then our train was 40 minutes late!  It turned out okay because we got some prank ingredients (which were on sale,... yes!) and we talked to a Dutch-born Canadian.  Anyway, then we finally got to Lelystad and Elder Shoemaker crunched my hand taking his bike down from the rack.  Then, I noticed my tire had a flat!  Agh!  AND there was bird poop all over my bike!  Double agh!  We swung by and got some air from a member, then finally showed up almost an hour late to our appointment with President Hoola to watch conference.
Then the next day, the Priesthood session went haywire.  For reasons too complicated for me to explain, the projector system didn't work.  Arg!  So we missed all of priesthood.  Because we left our bikes in Lelystad overnight, Elder Shoemaker and I had to ride our two spare bikes.  One doesn't have working brakes, and the other has no derailer.  That means the chain was dangling down uselessly.  After the chain fell off for the third time, I ditched that sucker by a building and hopped on the baggage rack of Elder Andrew's and we achteropped the rest of the way.  We were stuck with the dangling chain on the way back.
Miracles.  Elder Shoemaker and I had to watched the church for two hours between the afternoon sessions.  About an hour in, he had a feeling that we must go outside and bring somebody back in to watch the last session.  We did a round with nothing but rejection.  BUT as we were heading back, a gaggle of boys called out to us.  "Wat zijn jullie (What are you)?" We told them we were the missionaries, from the church just around the corner.  "Oh, we've never been inside before.  Can we go right now?" Wha?  OF COURSE YOU CAN.  So right then and there, we guided five boys, from ages 11-14 back to the church and four of them (one being Muslim) came inside and watched President Eyring's talk.  It was super, super cool.  The eldest (and loudest) of them asked me at one point, "So, I want to come here every week.  Do I have to bring my parents, or can I just come alone?" That question blew mah mind.  BOTH!  He whispered to his friends at one point that he liked our church, and it was close to his house, so he wanted to attend ours instead."  I would have never expected that the person(s) we were suppose to get would be children!  It's amazing they trusted us to immediately to follow us into a strange building in the first place.  I suppose they, being young, were more receptive and trusting of the Spirit that we hold.  That was a neat experience.
I hope my letter wasn't too short this week. 
Conference was awesome.  There's such a strong Spirit when the Prophet speaks.  He is truly an inspired man.
What do we see when we look out the window?  The top of McDonald's directly below (with a permanent wet-looking spot where Elder Andrew's stained the rocks with fritesolie (fries oil)), a medium-sized square where the occasional oliebol (donut) stand rests, the tall library splitting the concrete into two paths: one leading to the gentle-inclined strip of stores that comprises the centrum (center); the other leading eventually to a nearby lake or inlet with roads and parking in between.  Lights, water, rain.  And people.  There was also a car show this week.  All sorts of old cars and stuff, filling the above-mentioned square.  We took a quick ramble around.  Nice cars--and lots of them too.  Not sure if it was larger than the one in Vernon though...
Well, op=op.
Tot volgende keer,
Elder Burgess

Monday, 1 October 2012

een streek uitgehaald met iemand‏

"A stripe extracted with somebody"
Or dubble translated
"To play a prank"
So we were inspired by Dad's hilarious prank and decided to play some of our own.  It started simple; I put shampoo on Elder Andrew's toothbrush.  Unfortunately, he noticed.  "why's there green slime on my brush?  Who slimed my toothbrush?"  Dang.  Then, I tried salting it.  He washed it off unknowingly before actually brushing.  Dang.  Then, a stroke of genius.
We took some plastic wrap and with a Q-tip, pushed it into Elder Andrew's thing of toothpaste, making a cavity.  Then, we filled that cavity with hand lotion and put the cap back on.  The joke was nearly ruined when Elder Andrews squeezed the lotion out--part of the plastic went with it!  Luckily, Elder Pimentel--without knowing--helped us out by saying that it was just part of the new tube of toothpaste that had come loose.  Elder Andrews then brushed his teeth with hand lotion!  There was a lot of screaming involved.  Oh man was it funny.  I nearly busted a gut. Or maybe two.
But he got his revenge.
The next morning, while I was in the shower, Elder Andrew's poured Mexican spices all over my towel...  I tried to dry off but got a faceful of Mexican spices instead.  All over my hair too.  I had to shower twice!
We're still thinking of a good way to get him back.
Oh yes, and spiritual matters!  Unfortunately, Joyce was anti-ed.  She talked to her friend, who evidently told her that LDS are evil people or something, weet ik veel (I do not know).  But the Almere Elders have her address and they'll look her up in a few weeks.  Who knows what could happen.
On a better note though, Caraline came to church!  It was super cool.  We had arrange to pick her up on Sunday (she lives near the church), but then when we called her, she said an appointment had come up at 11:00. I was choked that she wouldn't come, but she surprised me by saying she still wanted to attend the first hour.  She even brought her 8-year old daughter along--who reminds me of Julia, but darker-skinned.  Lots of members said hello and she said she wants to come back next week.  Yay!
Sentina Spaans also came to church.  I don't know if I've mentioned her, but she's got a date to be baptized.  She self-referred herself after she had a fallout with her last church and was inspired by a friend who had lived with LDS members in America.  She really enjoyed the service.  She's super positive too.  She almost knows everything already.
There was another one of those don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover moments again the other day.  At a JoVo activity (YSA - young single adults), Jesse showed up.  Jesse looks like the kind of guy that will knock your lights out if you say something wrong.  Really reminds me of Joey actually--but Dutch.  He's changed his life around, turned away from a lot of terrible things.  Apparently, he has actually punched some people in the face...  Ooo.  Friendly, friendly guy though.  He's not quite ready to accept the gospel, but we're going to do some service with him on Thursday.  I'm sure with time, he'll see the truth.
Overall, it was a great week.  Our investigators are doing very well.  Also the members.  We met with a less-active member and she really opened up to us.  We set some goals and plans with her and she jumped right on board.  We're teaching her mother as well, an adorable 82-year-old British lady with a high voice. 
Things are rolling pretty well in Lelystad.
Also, no package yet.  I'll probably get it when we visit the temple--just around the road!
Thanks for the letters from er'body.  I can't remember if I mentioned it, but I got a package from Sister Smith and primary.  Thanks a zillion!
Tot volgende keer,
Elder Burgess

Almere/Amsterdam District training ~ September 25, 2012
 Elder Andrews and Elder Pimentel (Evan's roommates)
 Elder Burgess, Elder Ellis (Evan's born and raised Austrian buddy), Elder Shoemaker, Elder Hansen holding down the Elder Shoemaker's signature 'thumps up' sign.