Monday, 10 December 2012

Maybe not healthy, but at least I am happy

Well, this first week in Belgium has been an interesting one.  I was upset when I had to leave Family Storm, but the Lord definitely cushioned the entrance.  We got to our apartment Wednesday evening, caught a bus out to the middle of I-still-don't-know-where and set 4 baptismal dates.  What?  With a family nonetheless.  This family has been coming to church for the last .....5 months or something?  The mom just got married to a member not too long ago and started coming to church sometime along the way.  Her three boys are ages 13 to 8 and love church.  We asked them why they came and they said, "to learn about Jesus and the Gospel!"  And something about candy, but that doesn't matter.  When we set a date of January 13 (in this transfer) the boys fist-pumped.  They are super prepared.
They also have a naked cat.
Ooo, I've never seen one before.  We heard a strange croak from outside and the mom adorned an embarrassed expression as one of the kids went to open the door.  "Oh no, we have the ugliest cat."  Yeah, okay.  We'll see about--WHOA.  It's a naked cat!  It's covered in a very fine, thin peach fuzz, with a bit more around its tail and some on its nose.  It looks so dang strange.  You know how you pet a cat's back and it scrunches all up.  Holy man, it looks weird on a naked cat.  Wrinkles everywhere.  I can't even properly describe it.  The feeling.  Ooo, the feeling.
Anyway, we're very excited for this family.  Family Stroobont.
On Monday, before I got here, Elder Mower and Elder Goethals set a baptismal date with another guy, Kurt Lust. I've never met him...
Also, On Saturday...  Man, Saturday.  We caught a bus out to the middle of nowhere for an appointment.  Because it was on Saturday, there were pretty much no buses, so we had to lounge around in below zero weather.  Thank goodness I put on pyjama pants underneath my suit pants.  Thank goodness for feet warmer pads as well.  So that was miserable.  But worth it.
We finally got to the appointment.  An African family.  The mother, Vanessa, described, Sister Herring (who's been in a few of my districts) demanding to speak with her.  Super bold, right?  Vanessa tried to get away, saying she needed to catch her train, but Sister Herring held on to her tight.  "You need to hear what we have to say.  There will be another train."  So Vanessa waited and listened and felt something inside.  Then missed her train.  She wrote down her info and gave it to Sister Herring, who gave it to Elder Mower some time ago.
That night, we were surprised to discover, however, that Vanessa is already a member!  She was baptized some years ago while her husband was still in Africa.
We talked to her husband, William as well, who was apprehensive at first because he thought we worshipped Joseph.  We solved that problem in a flash.  Anyway, after talking, he told us he had been praying that God would help him regain his faith, because he had fallen away slowly.  Vanessa too, was praying that God would help her husband come back.  He described himself as being that lost sheep.  He said, "I need a miracle from God.  A miracle to help me come back."  I handed him a Book of Mormon and said, "I've got a miracle right here."  It was so amazing to see that us being there was an answer to their prayers.  We promised and testified like crazy that everything we had to share would bring him back to the fold, as long as he does his part too.  We set a baptismal date with him too, for the 13th of January.  "When you know, will you join the body of Christ and be baptized?"
"If God tells me too, why not?  Why not?"
Absolutely amazing.  They've got 3 children as well, all over 8.  We didn't really get to speak with them, but next time we will.  We're going over for dinner next week.  Elder Mower mentioned he loves spicy African food, so I got to prepare my gut now for all that pepper.
Aaaand then, because we were outside for so long, Elder Mower and I got pretty dang sick.  He was worse off than I was.  Holy man, he was so sick he slept in until 12:30.  Yep, we missed church -  helaas (unfortunately).  There was no way either of us were able to go.  Having us both home was good news for our apartment though.  Not going to lie, it was a pretty trashy place when I got there.  Apparently, they had cleaned it a week earlier, but I'm not so convince.  We blitzed the place and restocked the shelves with delicious fresh produce so now it's looking a lot, lot better.
It's at the top of a 3 or so story building, so we have to walk up this narrow, Belgium staircase to get to the top.  Unfortunately, there's no shed for our bikes, so they have to remain outside in the rain and cold.  We haven't been able to ride bikes in a while because Elder Mower's bike needs repair.  I'm worried it's going to get ruined by the weather, but we'll fix the problem soon.  You don't do as much biking here anyway, because of how huge the area is.  We don't have many investigators inside the city.
Serving with Elder Mower is awesome.  Elder Moscon is still in Turnhout and still the District Leader, so I could speak with him over the phone.  Still kicking it.  I'm not sure if I ever mentioned Caroline in an email, but Elder Klippel and I found her while we were on exchanges one day.  They same day Paul was found too.  Caraline is super awesome and is actually working towards baptism right now!  Paul was deported to Italy unfortunately, so I won't be able to see him while I'm here.  Paul was the guy on the boat, if you remember that story.  He was baptized a while ago.
That's funny that you mentioned Uncle Joey and the tree falling over.  I told Elder Mower that same story.  Uncle Joey reminds me a lot of Jesse. Or...maybe vice versa.  I'll have to send you a picture and you'll know what I mean.  Same stop-being-a-wuss kind of attitude too.
About Dad threatening (was he joking?) to write President Robinson... .please don't.  I can't say I'm perfectly fine with being transferred so much, but I am willing to follow the Lord's will.  When President Burnham (is he still the Stake President?) was going through the missionary application process with me, he always said how I would meet all sorts of characters and people on my mission.  I like to think that was a sort of prophecy.  I have certainly been able to do that--with both non-members and members alike.  Think of how many friends I've made!  I'm fine with being a nomad.  I'm fine with whatever the Lord desires.  Don't worry about it.
I didn't get shoes.  I misunderstood their sale...  What a sale-hound I am.
It's snowed a couple times here.  Big fat snowflakes too--the kind where it's like 9 snowflakes smashed together into a small snowball.  But it just rains later in the day and gets rid of it all.
I almost forgot what Belgium milk tastes like...
Well, that's all for now.  Maybe not healthy, but at least I'm happy.
Tot volgende keer,
Elder Burgess
Kardinaalstraat 22B
Leuven, Belgium

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