So, General Conference day was crazy. Saturday evening we had a dinner appointment with the young men's president. It was a pretty cool experience; he is into archery and showed us his bows he's been working on making. Super interesting how different kinds of wood have different elasticity and so forth. He had an open fire in the backyard, and we cooked our own meat over the open fire, something you rarely ever see in this country. It reminded me of camping back at home in Wisconsin. The next day we headed over to the Apeldoorn church building and began a day completely filled with conference. Sadly, our antenna was having problems so we had to just resort to playing it off the internet on a smaller screen, but it was no real hassle. There were a number of talks I loved, but sadly I forgot my notes in the apartment, so I can't share my favorite parts.
The next day we headed off to the Elders apartment in Den Haag where we would be spending the evening for our temple conference the next day. I was reunited with my trainer, Elder Claflin, again! We talked about good old days in Belgium, including our crazy huge spider that we fed every night and all sorts of funny stuff. I really enjoyed seeing him, and it could possibly be for the last time during my mission. The next day we headed off early and caught a tram on a very misty morning in Den Haag. I had kind of forgotten the way when we got off the tram, so we were guided by the golden angel Moroni that peeped up over the buildings – a symbolic and literal guide. The temple was a fantastic, being reunited with other missionaries and friends. And, of course, enjoying the peace and comfort of the temple was to die for. Afterwards we traveled as a big pack and enjoyed an afternoon of Domino's pizza at the Zoetemeer chapel. At around 3 o'clock, we got news that our bus had arrived, and we all packed into a big tour bus, around 60 missionaries in all, and headed to Keukenhof, the famous tulip place. It was a pretty neat experience, because it was just flowers after all. But it was astounding – just the shear amount and different kinds of flowers in bloom. They basically just released us, and we broke off into groups and walked around until 6 p.m. Our name tags brought a lot of attention as usual, and we got to meet some church members and even returned Belgium/Netherlands missionaries!
PHOTO CAPTION: Keukenhof ("Kitchen garden") is known as the Garden of Europe and is the world's second largest flower garden.
The work has been doing pretty well here. We've had to do a lot of finding lately due to investigators setting appointments three weeks into the future, little things like that. But I did receive some inspiration – I had the urge that we should avoid our usual route of contacting for a week and just work around the train station and the outskirts of the Centrum. It all paid off when we met a Chinese student walking back to his apartment. The three of us became friends almost immediately, and he told us he was a Christian missionary too (crazy, huh?). We had a very spiritual first lesson with him on Sunday, and he showed us his Chinese Bible and told us about the underground Christianity in China, and how China is more democratic than we think. It was cool, and I'm excited to see what the future holds with this guy.
Last note, we got transfer calls! I'm so sad say that Elder Clukey will be leaving me and going to Belgium. I learned a lot from him. We had a lot of fun together, and our geekiness gave us lots of interesting things to talk about during the transfer. Guess who my new companion is?! Elder Da Silva! And no, not Elder Da Silva from Brussels, but Elder Da Silva from Brazil. My second Portuguese companion – crazy! It's almost like President wants me to learn Portuguese or something, now. Hah!
Thanks for the emails and for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I feel the support for sure! You guys are in my prayers as well. Have a great week, everyone!
BULLET – from 4/13/15 email:
At our temple conference I was sitting in the endowment session when Elder Bourne told me Wisconsin lost in the NCAA Finals. He's the AP in Amsterdam. I spent Christmas and other occassions with him when I was in Zaandam. I always made proud comments about the Packers and stuff, so we always joke about sports stuff and my Wisconsin pride. I had no idea Wisconsin had made it far at all really! Crazy! Final 2 is pretty good, but, oh well.
More Pictures (goofball ones included)!!!
(super goofball pic here, but I love it....I bet I have a picture of Eli giving a look like this at age 3!)
I spy Eli here getting the Domino's pizza he mentioned :)