Hello, everyone! It is a cool, misty morning here in Leiden, and I am excited to be cozily confined at my office computer this morning. These past two weeks were busy and decently stressful as usual, filled with office Elder duties, including our weekly or sometimes bi-weekly legality trip to Brussels, all wrapped up nicely with numerous opportunities to continue sharing the gospel message with our fellow men in the "always moving" city of Leiden.
But first off, we recently received three new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles!! How astounding and incredible it has been for me to have had the opportunity to listen and get to know each of the apostles on a more personal level, simply by listening to their Spirit-driven talks. Although it is a sad event to see three incredible men leave us, what a privilege to see and hear the testimonies of the new apostles in the Sunday morning session! I have learned to love to hear the apostles testify of the living reality of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. That is something we are trying to focus on here with the members. Elder Cook had the idea to come up with a centralized spiritual message for the members, something that we could do to help them improve their lives. We brought the idea up in ward council, and it was decided that we would center our message on "coming closer to Christ." What I have learned from studying this subject is that we can ALWAYS come closer to Christ, there is ALWAYS something we can improve on, and it was cool developing a message catered to this subject. Our finished product wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but we found a great film on LDS.org with every member of the Quorum of the Twelve testifying of Christ. We tied that in with a short scripture and our testimonies, and it is incredible the atmosphere that rests in the members' homes. I would encourage everyone to take a quick peek at this video.
Temple conference came out of nowhere this week! It was special to be able to attend for the third time now on my mission, and it is honestly fantastic that the Netherlands actually has a temple. I take that for granted occasionally. There was also construction going on during our visit, and I recently discovered that the local government finally gave in and sold the church the adjacent field! The church's property line only went out about a meter around the temple, so last year I was shocked seeing Dutch people casually letting their dogs' poop within a 10 feet of the temple. But soon all will be changed and we won't have people and their animals sauntering around the temple. Last note, a crane accidentally slammed angel Moroni! He was decently off-center, but luckily that did not disturb the sacred holiness with its walls. In other news, I was in charge of ordering pizzas for temple conference. I placed an order for 35 pizzas from Dominos, but to my (and everyone else's surprise) they were the 25 cm size, which is barely bigger than those personal pan pizzas you get for reading 10 books at the library. Luckily, I had attempted to order more than needed, which ended up being two "okay sized pieces" for everyone. The life of an office Elder; always learning.
And to my cousin Karina who just recently received her mission call to Denmark: I cannot be more excited for you. What a mission can do is hardly measured in words. As you learn and feel the gospel even more it will bring added understanding and an increased measure of light into your life. And to my cousin Colin who is now engaged, all I can say is, "Goed zo man."
Have a great week everyone.
Elder Eli Andrew