|A Catholic cathedral it is SO pretty|
|The other elders all bought Batman costumes last week, boy it's so funny haha! I thought it would be better to not spend money on something like that I'm trying to not be too spendy. Thanks for your work and sacrifices Dad!|
Love you tons!!
About Brussels--actually, that's a good question! It's an interesting situation here with Belgium. Ten or twenty years ago, it was actually its own little mission, but now the bottom half is in the French mission (it speaks French) and the top half is in the Dutch mission (they speak Flendement there, which is a lot like Dutch). So Brussels is actually half in our mission and half in the other mission, if I remember right. So yes, we actually have gone into the Dutch mission twice so far, because you need to in order to go to one of the Brussels churches where we had District meeting our first couple weeks here. Haha that's kind of cool.
About historic places--yeah, I have been able to see some cool stuff! Actually the second time we were in Belgium, I got to see a special statue (it's weird it's like a naked little baby if I remember right haha) that is apparently a really special emblem for Belgium. It's called the Mannequanne-Pees, because it's actually peeing too. Haha. Apparently it's a big deal, I don't really understand it, but whatever floats their boat. :D Also, yesterday, this is really cool, especially for you Dad, we got to be in the ACTUAL SITE of a WWI battle! It is just by Charleroi, the Germans came across the River Sambre against Europe and we got to see a German bunker from the trail, boy it was cool! Brother Cockx loves history too and he was really nice, he took lots of time on our little walk yesterday to tell me about the history of the battle and Charleroi. Anyway, I'm sure Dad would've loved to been there and evaluate the lay of the land and what he would have done as commander of the Germans and then as the commander of the Allies. Haha! Am I right, Dad? Boy, it's cool, you can just feel the history, it's almost like you can feel that people, some of our people, have given their lives here in this land of Belgium! It's so cool. Man and it is so pretty! That walk! Oh man I hope your eyes can see it someday, Mom and Dad! We don't have anything like it in Utah! Not that it's better than Utah. Just it's super pretty. I will kick myself because I didn't bring my camera from the car! But I bet you can look up the pictures on line, it was a little trail just outside of Charleroi Belgium. It goes right along the river and the Germans had their bunker set up so they could see people coming from a little ways from both directions on the river, but that the people on the river couldn't see them. Ohhh you'd love it Dad. Next time I'll have my camera. Also Charleroi is very, very old--King Charles (of France, I think) established a village and it eventually became a big fortress in the shape of a star with big big walls ("murailles" in French) and eventually it's like it is today. Man it's so cool. We passed by buildings made around 1900 and they're still being lived in! I would totally believe it if there are ruins and walls and buildings here much older than our whole country! Man it's sweet. Yes I love history. Also Belgium was apparently made to be a barrier between French and Germany, which have never really been friends. It was originally part of France and part of Germany. Man the spirit of the people here, in Charleroi, at least, is so chill and peace-loving, fairly "white" you could say in the Color Code, it's sad to think of brutal wars happening right here in this beautiful green place.
And Mom, how are you? How are your preparations going for the seminars? I pray for you every day! And I have become more convinced that I actually have the best woman in the world as my mom! You're so cool! :) I loved those pictures, thank you so very much.
OUr investigators are cool.
- Thibault, he went to Primary when he was younger, but he never got baptized. Now he's in his late 20s and he wants to get baptized so that's sweet.
- Marie-Thérése has always been Catholic, so she has some different understandings of some things, but she's really pretty open to the truth when we insist on it. And she's always nice, she's never rude to us. haha she'd probably be baptized if we asked her to!
- Frere Cockx, he was a Jehovah's Witness before he was a Mormon, and now he's probably the boldest person I know in setting people straight if they get a doctrine wrong in his School class, haha! I want to be like that, too. His story is that he was working at a restaurant and someone gave him a little pass-along card and he was curious so I think he actually sought out the Church on-line or called the missionaries or something (wouldn't that be a sweet call haha) and then he got baptized. Pretty sweet, right? Also the other Ward Mission Leader for Charleroi 2 is a convert, too. He's really nice too.
Yeah, Europe is good. Whew sometimes I feel like there's a dark cloud hanging over everything over here, but it's okay. I'll get used to it. Oh no, the language thing happened to me too! Holy cow the first or second lesson I went to I felt like i understood very little. There are lots of things to be grateful for, thanks Mom! You're right, it's so fun to have these baptismal dates! I like Charleroi. It's sweet.
Dad, I love you tons! I hope it's not been too hard to start work with the Army. Boy that's some big news, next week it is! I hope you're coping all right with it. I'm sure you are, tough old Dad. :D Man you're so cool, Dad. I hope I can be a good dad too. We met a young family yesterday, family of members, and they had their first little baby son who is four weeks old. It reminded me of you how the dad held his son and was so proud. Haha thanks for holding me, for supporting me out here! Thanks a lot! Sorry I hope it's okay I put you and Mom together in this one, I'll respond to the questions in your email too. Is the family doing okay? What's it like to be back in the ARmy? I felt a great lvoe for the missionary spirit and some of the missionary rules today, it was cool. Do you have any advice for keeping a good, strict budget? I love you soooo much and hope you have a great week! You're really so cool!
Okay so this week was good. It's been a little hard to come to grips with a few things, such as personal weaknesses and just little facts that come with missionary life--such as we're expected to pretty much dedicate all our time out here to the Lord--I know that may sound kind of stupid, but it takes getting used to! Haha. I have really been noticing how shy I am, or how much I don't talk to people. That's hard, too, because that would be pretty easy to change in English. Not so easy in French. :D But it's a blessing to be here. It's so green here, you wouldn't believe it Mom!
This week we had a ton of mangez-vous (that means that we ate a lot at peoples' houses). Elder Amico has been trying to get me to lots of dinner appointments with the members so that I can know them once he gets transferred out. That's actually a question I think we both have--whether or not he'll stay another transfer. He's already been in this area for six months, so normally he'd get the boot, but he's also training me, so President and the Assistants might have him stay here, I don't know. But either way, it'll be good. I'm grateful, he's helped me have lots of fun and has been patient with me as I learn to teach. Boy there is a big difference between learning and knowing the gospel yourself and then teaching it in a presentable, organized way so that others can understand it! Whoohoo boy there is a difference. Because when I talk like I think--in other words, someone asks a question and I just start saying all the stuff in my head related to the subject--that gets really bad really fast! Haha. So maybe I should practice making little outlines and presentations, like I did all the time for Williamsburg. I never really thought of that, cool. Anyway, life is good. :D Me and Elder Harris are two blues (greenies) in an apartment, and both our companions are really experienced, Elder Amico is just barely under six months from home now, and Elder Wells goes home after next transfer. So when we do Practice Teaching, which is a little thing for companionship study where one or two elders teach other elder(s), me and Elder Harris teach something to our really experienced companions, and it's always really hard because we need to do it in French--hey maybe we should just do it in English for a while. Anyway, I always bounce around on different appendages to the topic, and sometimes Elder Wells and Elder Amico get confused about why we say something.
Haha but man, the real-life questions that people pose are hard! Seriously. I mean, who without practice can explain to someone who is only mildly interested in the Church why they should pay tithing in 1 or 2 sentences, and make it convincing? Whew it's hard!
In fact, I've had a question with that on my mind--does anyone have any suggestions for how to convince people, especially people on the street or at the door, why they should listen to us, what reasons we can give them? Because I know why, but I don't know how to transfer that knowledge to them simply and yet convincingly!
I mean, it's a valid question. If someone is being honest, and we come to their door, we really need to know how to communicate that, I think. If anyone has any suggestions with that, please please please let me know, because I would love enlightenment there. So yeah, I certainly have some things to work on.
Also, I've felt some comfort recently with the fact that I ain't really up to speed yet in the mission--in other words, I'm not the firey-bold, Spirit-carrying, great teacher, light-in-the-eyes, talk to people lots missionary that I'd like to be just yet. But I guess that's why they call us "blues." Haha we're kind of just babies in the mission right now, in the two years we get to "live" here. Haha but it's interesting because naturally, when Heavenly Father knows we need to change, He's not just going to give us comfort, he's going to give us some direction, too! So if you feel comfort and yet feelings that you need to change or things of that nature, I think that means you're on the right track! Because life ain't always meant to be comfortable. :) Mais voilà. So that's good.
We have two baptismal dates now!!! Whoohoo!
Our investigator, Marie-Thérése ( you say it "Mary-Tay-rez") asked me to baptize her last week, which is super nice of her because I haven't been here all that long, and I think she wanted me to partly because I'm struggling a little bit because I'm new and learning the language and all that. :) So that's definitely something to look forward to! Her baptism is set for the , but that can change, we'll see if she's all set by that time. She's always really nice to me. Her son, Thibault, is another one of our super-ready investigators. He's really cool. He works out and stuff, half of his living room is full of gym stuff, haha I thought Austin could appreciate that. :D Marie-Thérése is in her 50s and always gives us hot chocolate and cookies when we come over. It may prove to be difficult for her after her baptism because she technically lives in Charleroi 2 Ward, but she knows the people here in the Charleroi 1 Ward. Dad, do you have any recommendations on what to do there? I think technically she's supposed to be baptized in the 2 Ward but also, I can really see the difficulty there of going to church the first week after and not knowing anyone. But yeah she is super duper excited, haha she wanted to do it in January when we talked to her last week! Hahaha. All in good time.
Here is a little picture of people in our ward. On the left is Brother Cocksx, my Ward Mission Leader (we are with each other a lot because there are only two missionaries per ward normally over here), and his daughter Rachelle, I think, and then Michel, our recent baptism, who feeds us like every day, then Elder Amico, then Thibault, the son of Marie-Thérése. I don't think I have a picture with Marie-Thérése really, but I will take one with her at our next lesson.
Other than that, life is going really really well! Nobody worry about us because of the terrorist stuff that's been going on, we're fine. In fact I've gained a little bit of weight, I'm a little bit too fine. :) But there it is. We also have the baptismal date for Laisse, Michel's 8-year-old daughter, set for the, and she's been wanting to be baptized for a long time, so that's cool, too. We got to go to a little concert put on by her music school my first week here, and she sang a solo, she's really good at singing. Grace, you would love her for that, I think. She's really nice and probably one of the most patient teachers of French to me when I ask.
Thanks everyone! Please love and support the missionaries where you live, whether it's just a friendly honk and wave (haha, I bet the Utah missionaries get that a lot :D) or inviting them and a friend over for FHE, give them something to smile about. Because nothing is cool like great members. (Especially if they give you food. :) ) God bless you all and please remember to pray today. God loves to hear from you, honest, even if you think He doesn't.
God bless and keep you all this week!