Hello everyone, and welcome to Week 12 of Zaandam with Elder Andrew! Well, I'm still here thankfully, and I'm really pumped to have another transfer or two here in this lovely little town.
Hopefully, it's just work as usual with everyone and a nice close to the month of January. Before I really begin, I would just like to say thank you to my cousin Casey for her service and example, as her mission in Spain just recently came to a close.
This week was filled with a number of odd and comical events as I transitioned from my old companion to my new one. But I'll start off with this past Monday, my last P-day with Elder Toole. At 3 p.m. we met Peter, the man we helped activate and work to get the Priesthood, and he wanted to take us on a little bit of sightseeing tour for our last day together. We went to Volendam, a nice, pretty little coastal city located at the outskirts of our proselyting area. As we drove there it quickly became foggy, and we could barely see 10 feet in front of our car (it's crazy how much moisture is in the air, here!) We arrived and went around, checking out the little gift shops, but sadly we couldn't see the main attraction, the cool little harbor! The extreme mist provided for an interesting atmosphere, but it only allowed us to see the first line of boats lined up against the docks. Bummer, but, “Oh, well.” Guess what else happened? We ran into other missionaries! It was pretty hilarious. The zone leaders based in Alkmaar and the Hoorn Elders happened to be there at the same time, and it made for a really funny afternoon. Last little note: Elder Toole and I did this photo booth thing where you have to put on these clogs and a weird Dutch outfit. I wasn't too interested in doing it, but it was hilarious in the end when we got the pictures. (Sadly, I can't send them!)
Wednesday was transfer day, and we departed the apartment at around 7 o'clock to catch an early train. Unlike my last experience with transfers, I wasn't stuck on trains the whole day or waiting in a station for hours on end. By about 2 p.m. my new companion Elder Da Silva had arrived, so that was pleasant. We had a pretty great first day together and even got in the door with a potential and taught him a lesson (blessings!). We also ended up being on a bus in North Amsterdam that evening, too, and had a really cool experience. I've found it a little difficult and at times annoying on my mission to talk to people on public transportation, but Elder Da Silva loves it. We sat by a guy on the bus and struck up a conversation and ended up getting a potential right off the bat. My testimony of being an all-around missionary was strengthened that evening, and since then I've been committing myself to find more opportunities, even if it means just having a conversation with someone. We have a new goal going on in our mission called, "The Wrinkle in Time Project" where you keep track of your proselyting hours (they include time spent actively finding, teaching, and talking with people). It has kept me really accountable for how we as missionaries use our time, and it's been a great help so far.
Elder Da Silva is great. He was born in Portugal but spent most of his life living in Brussels. He grew up speaking Portuguese at home, learned French at school, and picked up English and Spanish with friends and on the streets. He tried to avoid learning Dutch, which made it all the more ironic when he got called to our mission. So yeah, Dutch is his fifth language. Pretty crazy. But other than language talents, he is a great teacher with a solid testimony, even for such a young missionary, and it's a good time being able to be with him.
I'm out of time, here, but I'll add one last experience. About a month and a half ago Elder Toole and I went on a whim one evening and did a couple of bell-ups and were pleasantly surprised to give a Book of Mormon away to this one guy. Fast forward to last week: Elder Da Silva and I went in to teach him, and he's from Portugal! So it was pretty cool, I kind of just chilled mostly, attempting to follow a conversation in Portuguese only via facial expressions and hand gestures (I tried my best, but I still was way off with the topic). Long story short, the guy is actually an actor with weird ideas and wouldn't let us explain much. I won't share too much, but I'll just say he thinks some weird relationships involving Jesus happened in the Bible that really didn't.
Ran out of time, but thanks for the letters, and I love you guys!
Elder Eli Andrew