Crazy to believe it's 2013 already. Gee, when did I leave, anyway? 1994?
I might have to actually keep this one short because I had a zillion long emails and now only have a limited time to write. I'll do my best.
So New Years eve was one big snore fest for me. We came in at 4 and chilled around, staring at the ceiling until bed time rolled by. Right at midnight, the city turns into WWIII as everybody screams and shoots off fireworks. It woke Elder Mower, but not me. Slept through like nothing was up.
This week was a pretty regular one. We talked to several cool people, had a lesson with the Stroobonts and worked like any other week. Then Friday struck and everything has suddenly piled up.
We had interviews on Friday with President. All fine and dandy. Afterwards, he pulled Elder Mower and I aside. Oh no! What have we done? He wasn't chastising us, however, but telling us we need to be in Leiden on Tuesday. What for, you ask?
To pick up my greenie. (Evan will be training a newly arrived missionary)
Please, take a moment to drink that in. I need to too...
Elder Roosendaal, who comes from Almere, is arriving tomorrow and I'm training him. I've met the guy before--more than once. Oh myan. We're going to be in a tripan for week--until tranfers, when Elder Mower will get the boot. President gestured to me: "Well, you're going to be training the new Elder," then gestured to Elder Mower, "Which means you'll be getting transferred. We're telling you now so it's not a surprise. You're getting transferred to... Well, I can't remember right now, but you're leaving, so be ready." Aha, what the heck!
So I pretty much in shock right now. I'm not sure how to handle it.
Also--and this is most of the weight we are carrying right now--we got in contact with William. They've been out of contact because they're having serious troubles right now. He owes a large sum of money to the bank that, if he can't pay in time, will cause his house to be taken away. He was sobbing on the phone when we were speaking with him. Holy man, it nearly broke my heart. He was considering drastic measures to get out of his debt. His children called him and saved his life that evening. We have worn out our souls over the last few days comforting our brother, both over the phone and in person. I don't know if I've ever felt so much love for somebody that isn't immediate family. I now understand how Nephi watered his pillow at night with his tears. We went over with the Bishop yesterday evening to comfort him and we gave him a blessing. He's doing better now--at least morally. I had a strong impression that everything would turn out well with him though. I'm not sure what will happen until things stabilize, but I'm strongly convinced that things will turn out. He's not even considering taking his life now, so that itself is great progress. Oh man, even writing about this is wearing me out.
On Sunday, however, there was a huge ray of light. We had 9 inactive members in church. We visited family Boda this week--who I fell in love with at once--and they came to church. They have 5 teenagers, yikes. Luckily, they all love the church, so no teenage angst in the way there. We also picked up Per, a young convert, and brought him to church. Lastly, our new Mongolia friend/member came to church as well. We gave him a Mongolian book of Mormon at the beginning of church because he had lost his when he moved here. You should have seen the look on his face. Pure joy. He hugged that book close and thanked us several times. Later during the testimony meeting, he stood up and bore his testimony about the BoM. Cool guy.
There was also some friction between Carla (Mrs. Stroobonts) and Mr. Stroobonts' ex wife. We're not sure what is happening--and we were advised not to get involved--but we were informed that whatever this drama is, it shouldn't interrupt with their baptism. There was another dollop of stress.
I don't know if I've ever been more exhausted than yesterday evening--in every sense of the word. It's hard loving every family we're working with right now. I don't know if my heart's big enough. I thank my Lord that I can be here, getting to know these people. Helping these people. I pray for the strength to do all this.
Thank you for all your prayers. For all your support. I really need it right now, trust me. I don't think I've ever realized my insignificance either. I'm only 21 and dealing with problems way over my head. There's no way I could do any of this without the Lord guiding me every step of the way. I acknowledge his hand in every aspect of the work.
Please, pray for me. Pray for Willy. Pray for the Stroobonts.
Prayer works, that much I can tell you.
Tot volgende keer,
*In regards to when you pick me up - - I'd like to hit up some of the previous areas I've served in for sure. Elder Jones did the same thing when his family came and got him. I hear, however, that you have to be released by your home stake president, so during the time we tour together, I would still be officially an Elder. I have to double check this though. Shouldn't be a big deal, I suppose.
*Thanks for the 4x4x4 Rubik's cube! I've been super busy with it (not during missionary time, don't worry). I'm proud to say I actually managed to solve it without instructions too! Only once though... There's still a step I haven't quite figured out. Anyway, I'll send some money in the mail to pay you back. I insist.