This week has been good. I am still pretty tired per usual. Give Uncle Brent a big hug for me. He has been helping out a lot with the Facebook referral program. Weird to think that I only have two transfers left. Six-and-one-half months with one companion! Bless Elder Cook's heart. He has seriously been a trooper – we both have, making it through together. We have learned and grown a lot together here in the office. We cover each other's weaknesses well. He's pretty good at waking up, I am not. I am a clean freak, and he's not. It's been great. We both got to attend MLC (mission leader council) yesterday. That was fun. I was scribe, taking notes of the speakers and take-away points while Cook helped with, you guessed it, cooking. It went from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It was a long but beautiful conference. I love seeing how much President Bunnell and the leaders really care about the mission. I am at the point now where I have been companions/good friends with a good chunk of the leaders. It's a fun environment to be around. President Bunnell continues to stun me. He is truly called of God. Not perfect by any means, but he carries out mission affairs and reflects a lot of powerful Christlike attributes. I only have good things to say about him, and that makes me happy. These three training weeks in the office have not been anything as expected. With this referral campaign, I feel like I have been working with Uncle Brent cracking the Divinci's Code or something like that. It makes me a little sad that our time to proselyte has been less than usual because of the program. But all in the name of referrals, right?
I continue to really search for moments to obtain His word. Sometimes that has been only 15 minutes in the morning, but it makes a difference in my day. It gives me something to really "maul" over during the day, and maybe this is weird, but I really do feel stronger when I have read the word of God. That's not going to be easy translating that to my regular schedule, but I hope to make it work for myself. I also really strive for teaching opportunities, too. A long conversation on the street feels so good; it makes me happy.
On another note, I am excited for my new assignment: Tilburg. I will be serving with Elder Wilson. He's an awesome kid. He was a QB in high school in Calgary. And yes, he's a Canadian! My second Canadian companion next to Elder Heinricks! Last thing on my Leiden agenda: make closure with investigators and members (we can squeeze in a few more lessons!), finish up the coding for the Facebook campaign, and last-minute training items with Elder Gross. Super excited.
Here's my little spiritual thought that will most likely replace my weekly letter: Broeder van Beek visited MLC (mission leader conference). I quickly discovered he has been part of the brain trust behind the referral campaign. We chatted about things before he spoke, and when he spoke about it, it was super interesting. He mentioned the last campaign "Finding Happiness" back in November and how much it failed. About 109 referrals received, and they had to end it early because of anti-religious movements on the internet. He spoke about how they pondered, prayed, fasted, and studied research about how to hit their target audience for the next campaign. They looked at catchy titles, where people click, all sorts of measurable data. They finally came to the conclusion to make the campaign simply Christ centered. To his amazing surprise, as the new Easter time campaign began referrals flooded in. "Now, at this moment, we are at 812” referrals, he stated. And this all because of the intrigue at the title and free DVD offer, "The Son of God." As missionaries, we kind of get scared away sometimes from talking directly about Christ. We switch to something more simple like "being happy" or "families," but real power lies simply in learning and getting to know the Savior of the world. I hope I and everyone else can continue to "keep him close to your lips." It really is about getting to know and following Him. That was a powerful lesson for me, and I hope I can continue to boldly testify of His life and to learn His ways.
Elder Eli Andrew