Hello everyone! We had another solid seven days here in Deventer, a lot of good contact with investigators, including some of our Chinese investigators that seemed to disappear, having a month of exams, and I think Elder Tolman and I have also just been taking full benefit of the amount of sun we are receiving lately. Oh, and how could I forget?? My one-year mark!!
Among other events, we had great contact with our investigator, Kenny. The great thing about him is his open willingness. He struggles a little putting the willingness into action but is completely receptive to the Spirit. He has kind of a rough background too, as he opened up to us this past Saturday during our lesson. Towards the end of the lesson he told us how he wants to look good when he comes to church with us, because of the obvious difference with everyone else wearing their “Sunday best,” but that he had never worn a dress shirt or tie in his life. His statement took me a little by surprise, and he told us further about how after the age of 15 he had to take care of himself; no one ever told him how to dress or anything – he just simply learned on his own. He got involved with the wrong crowd when he was young, just swept away in the breeze, although always knowing it was bad for him. We went through a few of the baptismal interview questions with him and later discussed about discerning between light and darkness, and it became very apparent to me that he has definitely had help from the Lord, in one way or another. And I believe that qualifies for all of us, too. Just not everyone recognizes the source. Another touching thing he said was about how “it is really painful to make a mistake, and then make the same mistake repeatedly, over and over.” He was referring to smoking here, but it has been remarkable to see Kenny recognize the light of the gospel that has been increasing in his life. We had him on date for baptism for the 4th of July, but we instead replaced that date as the date to stop completely with smoking, which felt much more comfortable for him rather than squeezing in a load of material and commitments in such a short time. To keep it short, Kenny is remarkably sincere and has, as the Book of Mormon describes, “no desire to do evil,” which I admire greatly.
Other than Kenny, we have also had a number of other cool miracles, one of which took place this past Thursday. We had planned to meet with our two Chinese investigators at about 7, but after a number of texts throughout the day the lesson kept getting pushed back later and later. I was a little doubtful of the whole thing, but it turned out fine when we turned the corner to the student housing at the newly appointed time, 8:30. To our pleasant surprise, Zhou, our sassy Chinese investigator who refuses to use an English name, brought along another small Chinese person with him. As we walked up the stairs of the student housing, he quickly informed us he had a lot of questions for us and was wanting to become Christian. How cool is that? We didn´t have much time to start diving into a full lesson. I always struggle knowing whether or not to do the first or second lesson with Chinese people. It’s a matter of answering important, relevant questions but equally requiring lots of explaining and some amount of crisscrossing into the other lesson. So, we just had small talk and talked about some of his questions. It was amazing! He started throwing out these questions, no Joke! “Where do we come from?” and “Where are we going after this life?” and “Why do we experience so many hard things in life?” and “Why are there so many churches today?” Elder Tolman and I smiled at each other in pure excitement and utter surprise when he started rattling through his very deep, soul-searching questions and listening for our answers.
Other than that, we worked hard – did a lot of street contacting and contacting people while riding our bikes. As mentioned in Week 14´s letter, the Apeldoorn Zone Leaders have been teaching a Spanish lady here in Deventer that may or may not have a very cool story attached to it involving us Deventer Elders! Surprises!! But, that will have to wait until next week.
Love you all and have a fantastic Fourth of July!! It will be my first and only Fourth of July not in the States! “Gelukkig!”
Elder Eli Andrew