Hello, fellow readers, friends and family! This week in Zaandam was work as usual, including a good number of fun activities and appointments. And for all those who are wondering: I talked about it with a few members, and the "dagelijkes krant" (daily newspaper) had a special issue, so yes, Valentine’s Day sure did happen.
This week I'd like to begin with Tuesday. I had an exchange with the Zone Leaders, so I had the privilege to work a day the beautiful city of Alkmaar, a classic, fresh-looking North Holland city and a place known for its tulip market. We spent most of the day on the bikes, and at one point Elder Neptune and I were discussing the new goal for the zone: travel contacting. And right when we had started talking about it, we did it and pulled over our bikes to strike up a conversation with a man walking on the street, and we got a potential right off the bat. It was awesome and just a testifier to me of how the Lord's hand really is in our daily lives.
That evening we enjoyed a dinner appointment with a part-member family that are tulip farmers. They have a big parcel of land and a nice, cozy little home out in the farmlands of the Netherlands. After a mixed dinner of all sorts of potato based foods, we got to take a look in the barns and check out the process of growing tulips properly, sorting them, and wrapping. It was pretty cool, and each of us got to take tulips home.
As far as the missionary work goes, Elder Da Silva and I had a really awesome miracle this week. We have had the goal this transfer to teach one Restoration lesson with a baptismal invitation every week, and so far we've been able to reach it. But this week the lesson we had lined up didn't go through, so we were really nervous about how we were going to pull this one off without a planned lesson. So, Thursday morning we prayed that we could teach the lesson that day, even though we had no planned lessons. We set off, but at the last minute decided to work in North Amsterdam instead of Zaandam. We grabbed a train and headed on our way. I wasn't sure which part of North Amsterdam to work in, whether to take Bus 34 or 33, but in the end I decided on 33. Right before we got on I had a really good feeling about it, not really knowing why. And there happened to be a member on the bus, so we talked with him on the ride there, and it was really great to talk to him, since I didn't know him too well. We got off at his stop and parted ways. We did some exploring and eventually found ourselves doing bell-ups, the last thing we really wanted to do during the afternoon on a Thursday. But as we were belling up a big apartment complex, two women came to go up to their apartment, and they made a comment like, "You're not gonna have any luck here, only Muslims live here!" We quickly replied back and discovered they were converted to Christianity. On a whim I just asked if we could share a 5-minute message and, to our great surprise, they said, "Sure!" We followed them up to their apartment, having no idea what was going on, and they graciously let us into their home. It turns out it that this mother and daughter are very active Christians that converted from Islam not too long ago. They were very open to discuss, and we shared a very powerful first lesson with them. It was a real blessing that day and a cool, direct answer to our prayers. In the Bible dictionary it says prayer isn't for the intent of changing the will of God but to align our will with His. I highly recommend doing a good study on prayer and reading the Bible dictionary's description. So, yeah, that was our miracle for the week. We'll see where it goes with them!
That's all the time I have for this week. I hope everyone is doing well – and don't be afraid to shoot me an email once it a while. I love hearing from you all!