Oh my, is it really Monday again? Well, hello, everyone! I hope things are going smoothly with the transition of a new year and everything, and somehow we’re almost to the end of January, now. Quick note: I think I've hit or surpassed the mark from when I turned in my mission papers one year ago. I must say, that was a very much anticipated time for me. I spent the latter part of January and the entire month of February driving home from school every day in my big old, white Chevy truck and eagerly scrambling out the car and fast walking down the driveway to check the mail. So, I'd just like to call a little attention and recollection to the amount of things that have changed since the day my father and I hit the "send" button and turned in my papers.To sum up this past week’s events and daily happenings in one word, it would have to be food. Just the word food, for a number of reasons, one of which being that we accidentally set two dinner appointments two hours apart on Sunday (mistake!), and the other being that we were able to have a few more dinner appointments with members than usual, which is always pleasant. Well, I suppose I will start with what we did Monday. Elder Toole and I finally got the motivation to actually do some touristy type things, and we set off to go explore the Rijks Museum located in the heart of Amsterdam. It was quite a thrill, being in such an immense and complex place, loaded with unbelievable amounts of old artifacts and paintings of deceased Dutch people I've never heard of. All and all, it was a nice experience, but even after nearly four hours of walking around and occasionally reading the printed information, we just barely skimmed the surface of the place. I left pretty satisfied, but my head was reeling with all the information that I took in. That evening we headed off on the bikes as usual and did look-ups for most of the evening. We've had a few miracles in this area called Koog and de Zaan, including three-to-four very positive potentials. So, we productively used the evening and made contact with them.Tuesday morning we got an unexpected call from our district leader and asked if we could go on exchanges on short notice. We gladly agreed, and I spent the day in Amsterdam traveling about with Elder Besendorfer, talking to people on the streets and doing an assortment of other tasks. We have been kind of challenged to talk with more people on public transportation, which is one thing that isn't easy for any missionary. I remember the days in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) when we would set two chairs in front of each other, and we had to strike up and normal conversation with our teacher as they pretended to be a Dutch person. I've had several opportunities and impressions while traveling to talk with people, but it's a hard task to really integrate that into normal missionary work. So, that's one thing I'm praying for lately – more opportunities on "het openbaar vervoer."Friday we had a great lesson with this wonderful lady from Turkey. A month or so ago we found her just doing typical door knocking, and we taught her the plan of salvation this week. We weren't sure it was going to actually go through, but it did, and her sister even sat in and accepted a Book of Mormon at the end. We prepared well that morning, refreshing ourselves with the lesson and finding great scriptures to enlighten her understanding, all of which lead to a very powerful and Spiritual lesson. It's quite amazing when you've done all you've could to prepare yourself and the Spirit is really just able to work through you. I love it. In terms of finding this week, we didn't have too much success numbers-wise, but I always feel satisfied when we get to have a good conversation with someone or help strengthen their own perspective on God.
Saturday was a great day. We had usual correlation with our awesome Ward mission leader (who, by the way, loves missionary work and has a lot of ideas and innovation for Amsterdam), and then we all headed out to the Dappermarkt, a very busy market with about everything you can think of. It's a wonderful place to go finding, and we've had a few people get baptized recently just from all six of us missionaries swarming the market with pamphlets and cards. We always say in our mission that the first person is always the hardest to talk to, then it gets easier from there, and it's so true. I was a little nervous at first about it (I've done plenty of contacting, I don't know why), but after an hour of walking up and down streets, it just gets easier and increasingly fun.
Love you guys,