Elder Andrew

Elder Andrew

Monday, December 15, 2014

Eli Mail 12/8/14 (Zaandam, Netherlands) Letter 22

Oh, man everyone! I'm not even sure where I want to begin. It was quite an interesting week, to say the least, with the start of a new transfer and everything. I hope everyone has been doing well. I sure have been. I've been very much tunnel-visioned these past few months, focusing mainly on the work at hand and the day-to-day activities, taking no time to look around me and enjoy where I am. So, I'm glad I'm finally getting a little bit better at that balance.

Wednesday was supposed to be a pretty normal day, but we got a call on Tuesday during District Meeting from a part-American, part-Dutch family that's in our Ward. Brother DeVries told us that they had a house fire and needed us to come help the next morning for some clean up. It was a rather sad thing to see. Brother DeVries left a bag of camera equipment on this heater thing in his sauna room (they were just using the room for storage at the time) and one of their kids flicked on the wrong light switch, turning on the heater. So, yeah – excluding a few details, that's basically what happened, which led to the combustion of the bag. Brother DeVries quickly attempted to put out the flame to no avail. The flames kept creeping higher and higher towards the ceiling. They attempted water and all sorts of things, but the flames just seemed to inhale everything and spit out masses of smoke. In a last ditch effort, he grabbed his wife's partially wet bath towel and took out the fire. Who knew a bathrobe would save the day? Sister DeVries joked later after everything, sounding disappointed, "Honey, that was my favorite bathrobe!" So, Wednesday we spent the long process of carrying smoke damaged things out the house and hauling them to a storage facility in North Amsterdam. It was rather nice doing service. It changed the pace of things, despite it being a rather unfortunate occasion. That evening we had a dinner appointment set up that ended up canceling last minute, and I was a little annoyed with it since we had no back-up plan. But luckily we powered through it and it just worked out, and we saw miracles because of it. If I remember right, we taught a lesson and gave out two Books of Mormon, which was awesome and very satisfying. 

Friday was very wet. We listened to the wind just howl through our partially cracked-open window and watched trees blowing and the rain whipping around during our studies. We went out anyway, of course, and starting biking through the headwind to do a look-up. Thankfully, the family was home. We were able to talk with Diana, a non-member mom, and her mother, who is a member. I may have mentioned them before, but the whole family is from Columbia, so whenever I'm over there I think of the slight chance that my cousin may have taught them or something. But anyway, we followed up on our praying-as-a-family commitment from the previous month, and it turned out they have been praying as a family and loving it! Super cool to see people progress and find a love for the Lord.

We had an awesome stake conference this weekend. Every ten years the stake presidency of the Netherlands changes, and that was this week. It was super cool to be able to sit back and enjoy. The Church actually rented out a sort of hotel building for it, since this country doesn't have a stake center.

That's all the time for this week! Lots of exciting stuff coming up this week, love you all!

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