Hello, everyone! Yes, I am alive, contrary to popular belief. Despite the uproar from the attacks in Brussels, things have been a little hesitant but normal here in Tilburg. Elder Wilson and I got a lot of work done this week and had some great teaching opportunities amidst time spent conversing on the streets.
My highlight this week has been listening to what makes members of our Church, disciples of Christ. The other day we were knocking doors and we rounded the corner of Celebestraat in Tilburg and a lady walked to us on crutches. As she approached, she had a huge grin on her face, and I wasn't sure if I recognized her or not. Once she had finally reached us I made the assumption that I knew her since her face appeared vaguely familiar, I am so bad with names and faces. She warmly greeted us and started speaking a thousand miles a minute to Elder Wilson and I in English. I asked something in Dutch, and luckily she just switched over. I love it when people do that – when my companion or I can get people to switch over to their native language. This lady on crutches turned out to be a church member, and we decided to walk her home to her tiny apartment, complete with group showers and a group kitchen. (We are so blessed with space in America.) She spent the next hour telling us her conversion story. We didn't even ask; it was nice to sit and listen. Long story short, initial contact was made when the doorbell rang, and missionaries appeared at her door. But a second before she answered the door, she had a sort of split-second epiphany involving two guys in white shirts and ties with strong impression to listen instead of immediately closing the door. And that is how her conversion started. It was wonderful to hear, but it lead me think a lot about myself and each of us, about our own conversions. I have talked with many people on the mission about it, and I have concluded that each individual's conversion to the gospel has less to do with the past and more to do with what we will continue to do in the future. Because we have experienced the joys of the gospel, we need to continue to act upon it. It is a part of enduring; it is the real meaning of conversion – that we continue to act according to what God has revealed to us.
This week we had a couple of great teaching experiences, one of which was on Friday night. There were all sorts of parties going on, but Elder Wilson and I knocked some doors in spite of it. One of the first doors opened and, you guessed it, a teenager opened the door to a party that was raging inside. I quickly introduced ourselves, and explained to him simply that we wanted to share a two-minute video with him. He shrugged his shoulders and pulled out his phone. In quiet silence we watched the new "Hallelujah" film with him. After the film ended there was a moment of silence. My companion and I didn't say anything, we just looked at this guy and his complexion. At that moment he put his hand to his mouth, looked at us, and broke the cracked silence by saying in a cracked tone, "It is really cool to see what faith means to these people." The mood of the moment totally changed, and it didn't even seem we were at a hallway of party anymore for a split second. He denied our invitation to return, but it was a powerful moment brought by a simple two-minute video. I hope all of you took or will take the chance to watch the video the Church put out for Easter. It evokes emotion in others and can invite or reinvite each even closer unto Christ!
Thanks for the love and prayers through these crazy times!
I continue to work on responding to individual emails.
Elder Eli Andrew