My first week in Deventer is officially in the books! This week I was pleased to see the sun shine for about three or even four days in a row. It was unbelievable! I had just forgotten how buildings cast shadows and how warm the sun on your face feels. The three or so months of cloudiness has just really brain washed me, apparently. But anyway, we had a slower week these past seven days. Nothing bad, but Elder Clukey and I have been just getting in the rhythm of things.
We have a few solid investigators, one of which is a family of seven from the little Dutch territory of Curaçao. [Editor’s note: Curaçao is an island located off the north coast of South America near the western part of Venezuela.] The wife and the husband are kind of gangsters almost, loaded up with tattoos and all sorts of crazy stories, but yet have a soft spot for the Gospel. The husband was explaining the amount of heat in Curaçao by comparing skin tones with mine. He explained that he used to be as white as me, but simply living in the Carribean for a few years will permanently make you darker. I could only laugh at the experience. I've only met with them once, but I really enjoy their humility and praise of God, something you don't always come across.
Due to my companion and one of the district leaders needing to go to Belgium, I got to enjoy an exchange with Elder Frisby, the only other Wisconsin missionary in the mission. We had a blast together. He's a convert to the church (baptized in 2011) and discovered the church due to his love of philosophy. I enjoyed listening to his vast knowledge of just about everything you could a imagine. Doing work during the day was fun; he's very fresh and lively at the door, and you could sense the people felt our energy together. It really showed the power of unity, when you can just set aside your differences and just have a good time. We finished the evening off with re-arranging the loft, located on the third story of the apartment, and drinking a very delicious Dr. Pepper from the UK. The soda isn't the same here – I miss my Dad's soda shop back home!
Other than that, the weeks are filled with the typical variety of finding, teaching and, at some point, baptizing. We had a really cool challenge given by the district leaders this week, and that was to invite at least one person a day to baptism. To some, that may sound like a disaster, but when we would focus on the promise part of the ordinance, not the physical manifestation, I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions I received (people would say, yes, to making a promise with Heavenly Father).
My apologies for the briefness of the letter, but I love my mission, and I hope everyone has a great week!
Elder Eli Andrew
BULLETS – Here are a few of Eli’s comments in some emails on 3/16/14:
· The apartment is great. I especially love the hilarious style of the building. I just laughed when I first saw it … another crazy-looking apartment. I can even see the bus stop from my window, and if I zoom in my camera on it I can see the times the bus will be leaving.
· We live in a pretty nice part of town, whether that's for good or worse. The richer Dutch people are more stubborn, sadly. (But I still love it!)
· Elder Clukey also had a head cold this first week we were together and then I got a very mild version of it for a couple days, but nothing too serious.
· I've been fighting off a lot of preconcieved notions lately. If you let yourself think certain ways about your area, you are a lot less likely to see success, so I'm just shoving the doubts down the drain.
· I had an interesting conversation about root beer with my Ward Mission Leader this past Sunday. He just got off of his mission two years ago to England and told me about his first experience with root beer. As he said, "It tasted like tooth paste!" But he liked it the more and more he tried it. He also said that Europe has no idea about putting ice cream inside of soda. Completely unheard of here, apparently. Weird, isn't it?