Hey, everyone! Here in little, old Spijkenisse we have reached the wonderful beginning and end of another week! Among notable events of the week, the greatest is our leap in transportation. We have graduated from foot travel to now somewhat decent bike travel, although we will be scrubbing our bikes with tooth brushes and Coca-Cola soon, which cleans a chain incredibly well. And for whatever reason, when you go a little while not biking, it always takes a little while getting your muscles all back into the biking groove. So, that's my analysis for y'all; we are still truckin' along.
We have had some great success this past week, including getting in contact with our baptismal date, Drusella. We have had a regular teaching schedule with her, lessons twice a week, and she has been attending church every week, but out of the blue she just disappeared. We received no answer to our phone calls. She missed church a few times, and when we would drop by there was no response to our knocks. Now, if I had to describe Drusella to my audience, that is not at all the sort of vibe you would get from her. She has an incredibly strong faith, always keeps every commitment we give her, and even cooks us a delicious Curaso rice meal we sometimes take home. But for whatever reason, we were just completely in the dark. Now me, being the worry wart that I am, didn't start panicking, but I was getting pretty uneasy by the lack of any sort of contact from her. But during our emailing last week I heard the phone ring in my pocket, and low and behold it was Drusella calling! It was an awesome miracle having her contact us and solidifying the next lesson. At church this week she leaned over and whispered to me, "Are you people getting the baptismal things ready, because it's almost September already." That one made me smile. In conclusion, our islander friend is still steady as a rock.
Wednesday we had the opportunity to have a member of the Quorum of the Seventy visit us, Elder Timothy J. Dikes. It was a great conference. At the beginning he asked for a raise of hands to see how many of the missionaries were “greenies,” and over half the chapel full of missionaries raised their hands. I don't know anyone here anymore! But his message was very much focused on overcoming fears and doing the work – a great message and great encouragement to keep working hard. He told a story when he served in Germany on his mission, about difficulties he faced, and I think it connected and was exactly what our missionary force needs at this point. Although it was not quite the message catered to me, it still applies.
Lots of good things happen daily here, one of them being the wonderful power of the Atonement. It is so cool to be able to see and become change and to watch as it transforms other people. I love how our message is centered on Christ and the simple but endearing fact that we do have second chances, and that no mistake has to be an end. We had a special dinner appointment with a young, recent convert family that lives close by. I loved hearing their story, beginning when they watched the Youtube channel "Shaytards," ordering a Book of Mormon, and getting two teenagers at the door. I also love the gospel principle that you can start from any sort background, like this family, who grew up with nothing but have now found so much more hope and happiness in their lives. I would encourage everyone to renew that feeling of happiness you enjoy from the gospel, because we all have a right to be happy in this life.
Here is a great video you may or may not have seen, and it is a great even after the hundredth view.
Love you guys,
Elder Eli Andrew
PHOTO: These little kids are crazy about us; they call us "Eldertjes."
PHOTO: We watched the lady make this LEKKER, a little dough patty that she rolled out, pressed in a waffle iron, then cut in half and the filled with sweet hot syrup in the middle. (Those are probably the wrong order of events, but it was cool! I had never seen one made by hand before!)
PHOTO: The band back together, for the first time in a year.