Long time no see, everyone! These past two weeks just flew by, so I'm excited to delve a little into what has been going on here in the quaint, little town of Zaandam. The weather these past two weeks has taken some twists and turns, for better or worse. I was a little perplexed when we received snow, rain, hail, and sleet all in the matter of one afternoon. Come on, Nederland! Make up your mind with the weather!
January 27 was a fantastic day – missionary work at its best. We had a zone training in the morning, and we learned about "teaching like the Savior" and also more about teaching the first lesson to new people. The beauty of it was that we got to apply it that night in a first lesson with a referral. His name Dirk Karten (Derrick is the English pronunciation), and we had set up the appointment weeks in advance so I was kind of wondering if it'd actually go through. But luckily it did, and he had invited his whole family around the table for a "good religious discussion." We nailed them with the Spirit, and we were all choking up when we read Joseph Smith's account of the first vision. It was a very memorable experience, and Elder Da Silva and I grinned the whole way home.
The work here has been going okay so far, I decided to kind of "clear house" with our investigators, and we're pretty much are starting from scratch again, just because people were being people – no solid appointments and not too much commitment-keeping. We had planned a week ago or so to have a "sports evening" on Friday, which we usually have a few times a month. But after a number of last minute calls and texts, we weren't thinking it was going to go through. My companion and I were eating dinner right around nightfall when we finally decided to cancel it, and almost immediately after the decision snow started to come down. We hadn't made a solid back up plan, and I looked out the window in terror. The reason I mention this experience is because at that very moment I decided it was going to be a fun night. And it was, all because of the choice. Some nights are hard in our mission, but if we want to have fun, like with any circumstances in life, we can choose to make it so! So, there's my "two cents" on decision making for the week. We can't control our surroundings, but we can control our own reactions.
We've enjoyed a fair amount of dinner appointments lately, one of which was with a Brazilian member (the only active member in Zaandam), and she whipped up a delicious meat and rice meal that concluded with these homemade chocolate ball things. Quite wonderful. As far as everything else goes, it's just work as usual, knocking doors and talking to a lot of people on the streets. We are also working a lot in North Amsterdam, a part of our area that I've sadly been neglecting for some time now, and we are finally getting some great work done in there.
I'm excited for this coming week, and I hope you guys all are, too. I've also seen the blessings of doing three simple things in my own life and in the lives of members, and that is reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church. Pretty simple formula, huh? Well it is, and it can really make a big difference in our day-to-day lives. I know that to be true. Stay awesome everyone, and I appreciate all of your prayers and concern for missionaries out it the field! Have a great week!
· Elder Da Silva and I made a homemade "hot sauce" last week, it contains 10 very hot yellow peppers that we found at an Indonesian store in Zaandam. "Alle rechten voorbehouden." Oh man, it's something else. While preparing it, there was a blast radius of about 10 feet where just smelling it made you go into a whirl of coughing and sneezing. It was fun, especially to try it and put it on food. [EDITOR’S NOTE: According to a photo Eli sent, the creative young chefs made their own label and named the creation, “The Devil’s [Flatus].”
A misty day in Volendam.