I had to write things down this week so I wouldn't forget them.
First of all, we've switched gears again... Calling repentance does seem a bit...fiery, doesn't it? Instead,
wij sporen de leden aan om over familie te bidden (we encourage members to have family prayer). We figured that having the members unified, praying for one righteous cause would be a great help.
Whosoever ye shall ask in faith being united in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive.
We're focusing more on our Stake goal of 'Finding the One'. There are still members we need to...encourage to change, but for the most part, we think the members would most benefit this new perspective. Fire avoided.
Some shenanigans went down this week. The largest was on Tuesday. The Assistants to the mission President came to Lelystand and the four of us blitzed it. We split up (we got stuck on the bikes) and looked up people we thought were important to visit. We saw some cool experiences, met a German lady (Dutch in a German accent sounds awesome) and ran into some other interesting people. That evening though, it started to pour. Holy man was it raining. Elder Schulte, my temporary companion, has a slight fear of going to fast on a bike. It just so happened that our look-up was on the other side of the city. I don't know if I've ever been wetter. My scalp was wet and I could feel it soaking through my 3 or four layers of clothing. Man oh man. It was all for the better though. We arrived 20 minutes later at the door of the van Hulsts. Her expression when she opened up was gold. Something like "Oh no. What are you doing out in the rain? Get in, get in!" She let us right in and we took off our jackets and shoes and headed upstairs. Holy moses is the van Hulst's house big. It's four whole stories. They're pretty well off.
Anyway, we sat down in front of the fireplace--with a real fire glowing--with a cup of warm chocomel. I took notice of his bookshelf at once and that sparked a conversation. His whole wall is devoted to carrying religious books. All sorts too. We eventually got talking about the Book of Mormon. He had read the Plan of Salvation pamphlet we gave him! It was super cool.
But the best part was that Elder Schulte was testifying like crazy to Mevrouw van Hulst. Her reply was that she wanted what he had--a knowledge of truth. She said she's searching for it, and wants a testimony too! Wow! It was super awesome. We left them with a new Book of Mormon (they couldn't find their old one) and they implied that they would read it.
Gee, I don't think I've ever prayed harder in my life...
You remember Melissa? She's 20, has two giant dogs and is...well.....doesn't have the best lifestyle. We met her op straat (on the street) and told her to read the book of Mormon. What's surprising: she actually did! Whoa. Weird. She said she liked it too. Woo!
Otherwise, I have a few things to report.
I've been working out. Uh oh! You better watch out.
CROW TIE! Holy man diddely. Coolest tie ever. I jumped the gun and opened it the minute I got it. I couldn't help it. It's so cool. I wore it that same night. Hey, I'm wearing it right now!
I forgot to tell you about Lenaya. Elder Moscon shipped his bike up here because Elder Andrews was having problems with his own racefiets (bike). We tore the broken head of Lenaya and chucked Elder Andrew's bike's head on instead, making a Frakenfiets. It works fantastic now.
But the story goes further. The tape on my racefiets handlebars wore out this week because of rust. So I took Lenaya's old head, ripped her neck off and traded it for my bike's head. What we thought was a uselessly bike turned out to be the opposite. Besides the broken neck, we've used every piece of Lenaya. She's the gift that keeps on giving. I don't know where my old, bike, Peppy went. He's gone somewhere...
And thanks so much to the Cravens! They sent me a birthday card and some money. Thank you!
Thanks for the other people that took the time to write me. It's always great to get letters! Makes me feel warm and tingly.
I forgot to mention.
Saturday night there was a zombie invasion. Fair enough, that happens almost every night. That night was different though. I threw a scarf around my head as to leave only one eye exposed, then snatched a blanket and threw that over my back. It was really annoying too, because I had to wait half an hour in my outfit until the other elders were done planning. Anyway, hunched over, creepy me came shuffling around the corner with a mild yelp of surprise from Elder Andrews. He assumed the classic zombie reaction and backed away, shooting his pistol--but it wasn't working. "Gee," he thought, "this is a resistant zombie. I guess I just have to shoot it more. Derp."
Elder Pimentel then attempted to snatch me up in a full-nelson, but this zombie was more than either of them expected. With a growl and the sound of rusty gears, I exploded free of Elder Pimentel's grasp, wielding a chainsaw and bore down on Elder Andrews. He froze in shear terror (I resembled a certain zombie from Resident evil and the recollection shattered his mind) and was he the first to be mowed down by my unstoppable rage. Elder Pimentel in the meantime scrambled to make a dragon-tail, the one weakness of zombies. Elder Shoemaker walked in to find me lurking above Elder Andrew's freshly-disemboweled chunklets, screamed then turned away and ran. In the pursuit, both Elder Shoe and Elder P got trapped in the narrow entrance to our house. Lucky for Elder P, the chainsaw zombie preoccupied itself by grinding Elder Shoe to bits, letting Elder Pimentel escape. The chainsaw horror pursued him back into the main room, where by then, Elder Andrews had risen as the undead and had joined in the fight. Elder Shoemaker made a gallant attempt to fight the chainsaw zombie, but ultimately, had to flee as well. One more round around the house found Elder Pimentel in a similar situation, fighting for his life, but this time against two zombies. Again, he was forced to run. Unfortunately for him, he hadn't counted on Elder Shoemaker also rising from the dead and he was caught off guard. Elder Shoemaker delivered the stunning blow and reinforced by Elder Zombieandrews presence, they were able to take him down. A disgusting feeding frenzy ensued where the two zombies devoured him alive, shortly followed by the chainsaw zombie cutting away his own pieces to feed on.
The sound of rusty gears was actually an electric toothbrush in my pocket and the chainsaw was a padded piece of exercise equipment. We caught most of it on film too. Apparently, I'm a really good zombie actor (according to them, not me).
More shenanigans ensued thereafter, but the first was the most exciting. Elder Andrew's scream was great too. He wasn't expecting what happened, but he went along with it great. When I first exploded out of the blanket, Elder Pimentel saw my "chainsaw" and supposed it was a gun. His first reaction was to make a dragon-tail, which is a certain way of folding a towel into a lethal weapon. Probably the worst first-reaction ever. Anyway, that was super fun.
The language is doing fine. I wouldn't say I'm fluent yet. We don't talk enough together in Dutch, my comp and I. If you really do your best to speak your language as much as possible, you really excel. I can convey about 80-90% of what I want though, so I'm doing alright. I read the newspaper almost every day in Dutch, and can understand most of it. If you asked me what an article was about, I could tell you. I understand almost everything. I have to force myself to think in Dutch, but all my prayers are in Dutch. And yes, I even dream in Dutch...
Pray for our families--that they'll be able to feel the Spirit.
Thank you so much for everything!
Tot volgende keer,
I treated myself to a Dutch white shirt. It is awesome.
Elder Shoemaker & Andrews
Van Haag Zone