Monday, May 2, 2016

Hey Guys!!!

So this week was kinda fun! Let's see... it started out on Monday when me and Elder Leigh headed to Brussels to have a P-Day with the Rest of our District. This last District has been the best on my mission. These guys guys all hold a special place in my heart and I'm going to miss them soooo much. But that's mission life I guess. Anyways, it was a pretty busy day where we take a lot of trains and trams to get around to see everyone and then we finally arrived back home. Then we began to clean and in Elder Leigh's case to pack! It was sooooo tiring. But we got it done and then had some well deserved sleep.

On Tuesday was Transfer Day and you know what that means..... that travel is not on time or doesn't happen at all!! Satan definitely knows how to annoy the Belgium/Netherlands missionaries and that is by messing up travel on Transfer Day. On Transfer day there's a ton of missionaries trying to reach their new cities and there are missionaries waiting to receive them at different stations and when trains don't come or aren't on time it messes up EVERYONE'S schedule. But we make it work. Plus, it's a day where you get to see other missionaries so that's never such a bad thing. Anyways, Elder Troumbley happened to be on a train to Brugge when the train declared it wasn't going to Brugge, but to Antwerpen. And that there was going to be a 3 hour delay getting there.... yeah, that sounds fun right? So I had to pick him in Antwerpen instead. Anyways, by the time we got home we had only time ot unpack. But it was a nice day. It was pretty sad saying goodbye to Elder Leigh but it's a good thing he only "dies" one transfer before me!

On Wednesday it actually wasn't the best day, at least for Elder Troumbley since it was his first day. Basically we had 6 teaching appointments set up and 2 were joint teaches.... and no one was home... at any of them!! It was sorta of disapointing. But We didn't let it get us down still managed to have an awesome day! We talked to a lot of people and managed to have some pretty funny conversations. One in particular with an African Lady who ended up inviting us to go have food at her house sometime. Ans because we LOVE food, we couldn't say no! ;)

Thursday we had an ok day. The most interesting thing was that we had ward council that night where were are now starting to create a new ward mission plan and that's pretty exciting. It's so awesome seeing the members being sooo willing to move the work forward!

Friday and Saturday were pretty normal working days. On Saturday we had the opportunity to do some service for a lady we found on the street and we now have a teaching appointment so that's awesome!! 

Yeah, that's pretty much this week!!!

Which brings me to my new companion Elder Troumbley!!!!!!!
So, Elder Troumbley is from Idaho. He moved around in his youth which he thought was pretty awesome. He's going to do robotics when he goes back to Uni and he's an extremely funny guy. These last few days have been really awesome. He's a really neat sort of guy so the apartment has never been sooo clean!!!!

Anyways, That's it for this week!
Elder Serra

Elder Troumbley... looking fly!

Best Photosss Everssssss!!!!

Hey Guys!!

Well, this week was pretty good actually. On Monday we were in Gent with most of our District and we walked around the city, which was really nice plus it's always awesome to be with the Brussels Business District! On Tuesday we had the last District Meeting of this transfer which was really sad. This transfer has been really awesome and I really am going to miss this District as it was this transfer. But I'm sure the next District will be just as awesome. Anyways, after that we went back to Brugge where we had a lesson in the park with our most positive investigators. They're 3 Phillipino women and they are a hoot, it's so much fun to be with them and they're really awesome! 

On Wednesday we had to go to Oostende where we had 4 lessons planned. However, 2 of them cancelled which was sad but me and Elder Leigh made the most of it and ended up having a fun day talking about a whole bunch of things. I'm sooo glad that I got to spend this last transfer with Elder Leigh. He's sooo awesome and really is one of my best friends here in the mission. Anyways, later that day, we met a lady on the train from Nigeria and we got to talking about food and the thought came into mine and Elder Leigh's mind to dinner contact. Dinner Contacting is the theory brought to us by Elder Roberts, that you try to get in with potential investigators who aren't incredibly interested by asking them about their culture and their food and then you ask if you can have dinner with them. Then, if the dinner appointment goes through, you share a message at the end and see what comes from it. Anyways, we tried and it didn't work but it was pretty fun so I think we'll probably do that again. 

Thursday we worked in Oostende again because we had a whole load of referrals there and we decided to look all of them up. As we were doing so, we were contacting people here, there and everywhere and we ended up setting up 7 appointments for next Wednesday alone! It was a great day and if they all go through I don't know how we'll keep track of all our investigators! So that was a great day!!

Friday we had Weekly Planning and we got a lot done there. Then on Saturday we had a great day travelling along the coast to look up referrals and also to contact a few potentials. Unfortunately none of them were home which was kind of disappointing but We found this one guy called Ryan and he was SUPER positive so that was a day well worth it. 

Sunday we had church and we figured it was going to be Elder Leigh's last Sunday and so we spent some time taking pictures and saying goodbye. It wasn't the most interesting day until we got... TRANSFER CALLS! So we found that that I'm....................... STAYING IN BRUGGE. And my new companion is Elder Troumbley, who you guys don't know but I'll tell you more next week! Anyways, after that we finished up the day and went home and me and Elder Leigh just had a nice talk about how much we were going to miss each other.

That's it for this week
Elder Serra

Sister Majors, looking happy!!!

Me and Elder McKay, the two best looking elders anywhere in Europe!!

Oh sorry, I think that's me and Elder Leigh! sorry McKay...

Hey Guys!!!

Well, this week was great! It started on Monday when we had a great P-day. Quite a few missionaries from the zone ended up coming to Brugge for their P-day (totally unplanned) and so we met up with a few of them. It was pretty fun having them all there and it was great to spend time with the district considering that we haven't had a lot of district meetings due to terrorists... But it's all good now so it's awesome. 

On Tuesday we had two member present lessons which were pretty good. The first was with a really Catholic lady who wasn't so interested after the lesson but it was a nice lesson anyway. The second was with our best investigators. So over the last few weeks we've been having lessons with Venus who is a Phillipino lady with 3 kids. When we started teaching her it was just her. However, over the last few weeks she's invited two other women from her work to take the lessons. Which brings us to Emmy and Cristina. So we've been teaching them and it's been going ok and then there were a few weeks were we couldn't get in contact with them but now it's back to normal. Anyways, Emmy couldn't make it to the lesson on Tuesday so it was just Cristina and Venus and we taught them about Sabbath, Prayer and Scripture and it was awesome, the two of them were really attentive and willing to put those things into their lives. Cristina works on Sundays and she was worried that she wouldn't be able to keep the Sabbath as we were asking but we were able to teach her that it's a time where we try to turn to God and to our families and we committed her to try to spend some more time with her 7 kids individually and see the blessings that would come as she tried to concentrate on her family more and less on work. Hopefully we'll hear some good things next Tuesday. 

Anyways, then on Wednesday we had quite a bit of time where we knocked doors and withing that time we were able to find 3 really positive potentials and we have lessons with all of them this week so it should be pretty fun. Then we made the 5 hour trip to Utrecht so we could sleep there so we could attend the temple on Thursday it was a long trip but we got to talk to a lot of people on the train which was pretty fun. 

Then on Thursday we woke up pretty early to get ready fro TEMPLE!!! It was soo nice to be in the temple again after the last 6 months. There's a special serenity in the temple that you just can't beat. I also had the opportunity to read my Patriarchal blessing while I was in the Celestial Room and it gave me some cool highlights into what I could be doing better and I hope to be able to incorporate that in the next few weeks. It was also pretty cool to go to Keukenhof. It was soooo fun to be with other elders and sisters and just spend some time walking and enjoying some nice flowers. Plus, I got some pretty cool pictures so my mum will be pretty happy about that. It makes me pretty excited to go next year. 

On Friday we had weekly planning and began to plot things on a new map that we bought so now we can finally organize all of our inactives and former investigators so we know who we can visit in which places. 

Saturday I woke up and I was pretty ill, we ended up going to a little village in the morning with a member and proselyting there but when I came back I was pretty out of it so Elder Leigh suggested I sleep while he made some calls. It actually worked out for the best because when I woke up I felt a lot better and Elder Leigh had gotten a hold of a few people and made a few appointments. 

Sunday was Stake Conference so we again got to see a lot of the elders and sisters we saw on Thursday so this week has just felt like a big missionary reunion. It was pretty cool though and I got some pretty cool insights from one of the speakers who talked about it not being easy after you get started on the path to Heavenly Father. 

Elder Serra

Elders and a Dutch Clog.... of course!

Keukenhof!!!! A bit late but here it is!!!!

A windmill, as is the custom in Nederland!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Hey Guys! It's been a great week actually!!!

It started last Monday when we had a great p-day. We had a lesson halfway through the day so we ended up just working during the afternoon which meant that we had the whole night free. So we ended up getting home and deciding to watch the Testaments as part of movie night. It was pretty fun and a nice little night in per say. 

On Tuesday we taught a lesson to an old man that lives in basically a scary looking attic. It's all dusty and doesn't look like it's been cleaned that much... But he's a nice guy. So we actually spent a lot of time during that lesson trying to clear up his doubts about receiving an answer and knowing that the church is true. It's actually a wonder that the more I explain the process of developing faith and receiving an answer to a question the more sense it makes to me. It makes complete sense! In the world, even small children understand that you have to work for things. Parents have jobs to pay for the house while children do well in school so they can receive gold stars on their work. It's a process of works and results. When we pray to Heavenly Father and exercise faith through obeying commandments He blesses us with an answer to our question and blesses us with more faith so that we are able to exercise more faith and receive more answers. It's a completely fair process and it correlates perfectly. And then it isn't. Because although nothing is lost when He gives us answers (because knowledge can only be shared not taken away) we can receive so much more than is given. The peace from the knowledge he gives us and the comfort we can feel through that peace is unattainable anywhere else. It comforts me to know that Heavenly Father has a process set up for us to receive answers and comfort therein. One which is completely fair but blessedly unfair at the same time. Anyways, the rest of that day was great too. We found a lady that was really interested and who invited us back to meet the rest of her family so we'll see how that goes!

Wednesday we were out contacting and we found a guy and a girl from Luxembourg who talked to us for about an hour and 45 mins about basically everything! Like, if they had had a testimony of everything we'd said they could have been baptised. Or at least they would have had all the required missionary lessons. It was a really nice talk and the man was actually really interested. They both gave us their emails and told us to email them sometime so that was pretty positive.

On Thursday we had quite a normal day of contacting, a lesson fell through but instead we found an old investigator and made a return appointment. The biggest thing that happened was that we had ward council on Thursday and the Branch President showed everyone the stats of the ward and it made me and Elder Leigh realize how many inactive there are and I guess we felt pretty inspired because we've now started to contact inactive and really started making that a part of out weekly planning. 

On Friday we had weekly planning and then interviews in the afternoon. It was a really fun day and it was actually, for terrorist reasons, the first time that I was able to meet my district this transfer and they're great. It was soooo much fun. 

Elder Serra

 Photos!!! Yaaaaay!!!

After a hard day's work

WE found a cool windmill in the middle of a city!!!

Lesson with Anthony, he's the best!

And some selfies just for fun while Elder Leigh was in the toilet!!

And the Doezie family visiting from Southern California!! They had the pleasure to attend church with us in Brugge on Sunday!!!!!!! 

Hello peeps!

Well this week was.... something... :P So It started out really great. On Tuesday we had a great day where we went around Brugge contacting the potentials we found the week before. We found about 11 people last week and that meant that we had a lot of work to do on Tuesday. At the end of the day we ended up getting in contacting with a potential who let us in right then. We said we didn't want to take up too much time so we gave her an explanation about the Book of Mormon and made an appointment for the next day. 

On Wednesday we had two great member presents with a potential we found last week as well and with this lady (Maggie). The first lesson was great and then we went over to Maggie. We taught her the Restoration and about how to receive answers to your prayers. We then had her pray. We asked her if it would be okay if we could be silent for a little bit after the prayer so she could have time to think. After the prayer we were quiet for a second and then she started crying! Now don't get me wrong when someone is crying that's usually bad, but it was great to see her feel the Spirit. She asked us why it was that she felt like that and then we were able to testify about the Spirit. It was a great lesson. It really showed me that the Spirit really can give answers right away. When we exercise enough faith in Him, He will always give us an answer. 

On Thursday we had a great day in another small town called Gistel. While we were doing some look-ups in the area we looked up a lady that had talked to us at the door for a very long time a few weeks ago. She let us in and we taught a great lesson and I don't know when but when we were talking I asked her if she thought she could receive an answer to her prayers and she said outright "No" and I asked her why. And, as if quoting Laman and Lemuel, she said 'God doesn't answer my questions, he doesn't just talk to us like that" I felt as if the experience with Maggie fueled the testimony I was able to give to her. That God answers prayers, that he can and will answer our pleas when they are sincerely spoken. That He is our Father and like a father, he will always answer the sincere questions of his children. That through the Spirit she could have a spiritual experience, right then and there, where God would let her know that the Book of Mormon and our message were true. That He would always answer, no matter the question and that it would be on his time. Yeah, that was a great lesson.

On Friday we taught a French Lesson. We brought a member along and he translated the lesson for us and the man in the family prayed and it sounded pretty sincere although I didn't understand a lot of what he said.

And then came Saturday. Saturday is usually great and this one seemed  like it would be even better. Because of CONFERENCE!!!! Normally on Saturdays we go to a small town and we go on splits with the members of our ward. In that town we are teaching 3 different people and so we were set to have three great member presents. However, before we even got to the town, 2 had already cancelled via text and when we looked up the second he wasn't home.... But hey, we still had Conference. We came to the chapel and we listened to Saturday Morning session and then went home. 

Sunday we had to work the whole  way (mostly) until 3:30 and then watch all the sessions of conference in one go because a member needed to use the only internet cable in our chapel. But it was okay because it meant we got to listen to President Uchtdorf spit out the funniest line in Conference ever. "For those under the deception they have to find the PERFECT woman before they can enter into serious courting or marriage, my beloved brethren, may I remind you, if there were a perfect woman, do you really think that she would be that interested in you?" That line made my day!

Well, thats it for this week
 Elder Serra

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hey Guys!!!!!

Well, this week has been exciting in a whole different sense. Starting on Monday we had a nice P-day. We had a lesson with an inactive member and he says he's going to start taking the steps towards coming back to church. He's a great guy and I have faith he'll do great now that he's really committed. 

Then Tuesday. That was a day and a half. It started with the call in the morning about Brussels. We didn't realize what had happened but the Zone Leaders told us to just not take any trains and buses which wasn't sooo bad because we had to work in Brugge anyways. However, it was a pretty sad day in terms of contacting. People everywhere wouldn't talk to us because they couldn't believe that a loving God would let something like that happen. However, we ended up talking to a woman who after expressing this 'concern' we talked to her about the agency of men and what a gift for good it could be if only we tried to learn of and live like our Saviour. She was really interested and we have an appointment in a few days. A true testimony that the work of the Lord cannot be stopped even on days like Tuesday. 

Then Wednesday we actually did have the events affect us a bit. We normally go to another city to work on Wednesday but because we weren't allowed to take buses we had to cancel a few lessons. However, that meant we got to get a hold of a lot of potentials here in Brugge so no time wasted I guess.

Thursday was a normal working day were we actually had a really interesting lesson with an old lady that had already read the Book of Mormon and the Bible. She was actually so familiar that she was trying to use the Book of Mormon to say that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the same. She was brought Catholic. However, to teach, me and Elder Leigh realised that we would need to learn a bit more and then practice how to explain it in Dutch. And it actually made for  a great realization about my knowledge of my Saviour. The reason why it is so difficult for other people to understand the difference between God and Jesus is because there is barely any. We are on this Earth to achieve perfection. Perfection is an attribute that gives us or anyone who has it, a certain look or glory. You look and feel and act different when you are perfect. Both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are perfect. They give off the same glory and to someone without a personal relationship with either of them can easily confuse them. Not only that but to describe perfection in one is to describe perfection in another. They are both so similar that the only difference is that one is the Son of the Other. That one is the Father of our Spirits and the Other the Saviour of our Spirits. We worship them both because of their perfection but we worship One because of the Plan he has made for us to be perfect and the Other because he has made that Plan possible. And so, as when meeting twins, the only way you will come to know who is who is by building a personal relationship with them. 

Well, then on Friday we found out that the Brussels Elders were going to be coming over to work in our city because theirs is too dangerous. So since then it's been pretty fun. We've had the opportunity to really get a lot of work done with contacting different people and getting to a lot of the referrals. 

Well, Then Easter Sunday came around and the funniest part was a dinner appointment we had with a family from Brugge and it was so nice to spend time with them on such a special time of the year. 

Elder Serra

Elder Leigh!!!

Me and Elder Leigh found a beach, it was pretty sick!

Antwerpen and Eindhoven Zones

Hey Guys!!!!!!!

Well, this week has been great, it's been pretty exciting. So it started on Monday when we had a zone p-day in Antwerp which was great because I got to meet the whole zone who all seem awesome! We also ended up talking to a guy on the way back who was pretty interested so we got to set up an appointment with him for this next week. 

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference which actually ended up taking up most of the day but it was a pretty great way of spending the day. I really learned a lot from the Zone Leaders. It actually got me thinking a lot about goals and how I've been going about setting goals for my mission. I realized that I've been going through my mission without a specific goal or goals. I have my purpose and I strive hard to accomplish it but I realized that I wanted more things to come out from my mission than just the accomplishing of my purpose because although that is the minimum we should do as missionaries, I feel like he expects us to improve beyond that. Like Pres. Ballard said “I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.”. And so I've decided to try to do that. To come up with so some goals for my mission and try to go further than just the minimum.

On Wednesday we had few appointments fall through but no worries, because we taught a lesson in Arabic! Now, just so you don't assume that the gift of tongues works better in me and Elder Leigh, you have to know that we just had them read the pamphlet and somehow got out of there with a commitment to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. However, it was a pretty funny experience for us.

Thursday and Friday were just normal working days. Saturday we went on splits with 2 members and taught a few lessons. I went to teach to of our investigators who both come from the Philippine and guess what?! We got to baptismal dates so were really great and said they would be willing to make the goal to get baptized. So that just brightened our day right up. 

On Sunday we also had a pretty normal day. We were expecting a few investigators but they didn't come which sucked. However, both of the Philippine investigators said yes to coming next week so hopefully we'll see them then.

Elder Serra

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hey Guys!!!!

Okay, well, this week has been EXCITING!!!!!! Let´s start at the beginning.

On Monday after I emailed me and Elder Shaw had to go get the bike lock on my bike because I lost the key... yeah, learning responsibility on your mission is hard. So anyways, we get the lock broken and then we go tot say goodbye to one of my favorite families, the Van Dam Family (Pictures below) and they´re awesome. It was really sad to say goodbye to them because they really were great. I can´t wait to come back here after my mission and visit them though! 

Then on Tuesday I had dinner with another amazing family, the Noot Family who are also amazing!! The dad of the family makes knifes as a hobby so we went and ninja chopped some bottles with his biggest knifes.... it was awesome!!!!! It also happened to be their little boys birthday so the whole family was around. Anyways, someone brought the cutest dog ever and I really want one!!!!

Wednesday was HECTIC!!! Wake up and get everything ready then I had to get a train to Eindhoven then wait an hour and ride all the way to Dordrecht then wait 20 mins and then take a ride from there to Antwerpen and another hour wait till I got on a train to Brugge. Just to give you some time parameters, we left Den Bosch at 9:37. I arrived at Brugge with Elder Leigh at 16:29.... And that was just to Brugge. The bus ride to our apartment is 20 mins plus we missed the first bus so... We started working at 6pm! However, it didn´t matter because I was in a great city with a great companion! Brugge is great and I have wanted to serve with Elder Leigh for 3 transfers now so I´m a happy duck!! Saying goodbye to Elder Shaw was pretty hard though, he was a great companion and a great friend. I love the guy and I hope I get to see him before he goes home in June. That´s still a while away so it´s okay. 

Well, then Thursday and Friday we worked a lot and had a lot of fun. People here speak Dutch but it´s a different accent. Flemish is what that´s called. so rather than two languages put together (Dutch and French) it´s more like Ducth with a heavy french accent. Either way, it takes a while to get used to. But, it´s pretty fun. I actually haven´t been in Brugge too much because we work in a lot of other small towns but what I have seen is pretty beautiful. (pictures to come.) 

Then Sunday I met the ward. It´s actually a branch of about 30 people... maximum. However, they were all very friendly and I felt welcomed at once!!!! 

Anyways, that´s it for now!!!!! More news next week!!!!!
Loves, Elder Serra   

Timo´s family!!!! (Timo´s mum is the first woman I´ve hugged on a mission because she´s soooooooo awesome!!!!)

Last picture with Timo!!! :(

Family Klevers!! They´re awesome!!!

Family Van Dam.... It wasn´t her best day but look at that guy´s hair!!

Last picture with Harry Van de Sande, best missionary I know!!!!!

Pictures of the Den Bosch Dragon. I was living next to it for 5 months and never took a picture :P

Cutest dog ever!!!!!

The first spot were I contacted someone on the street in Den Bosch. 

Elder Leigh looking fab!!!!

Some cool buildings in Brugge!!!!!!

The bell tower in the centre of town!!! It´s huge!!!!!!

Me with the funniest dressed lady in Brugge! Not really, she´s someone we do service for but she does dress pretty weird :P

Hey Guys!!

Well, the calls have come in and I will be............ GOING TO BRUGGE IN BELGIUM!!!!!! My first actual transfer!! My new companion is Elder Leigh who is a great guy. He was in my first District once I came into the mission and he´s such a great guy, I just love him to death so this will be a great transfer. I´m so excited that I get to serve with him in such a great place. 

Okay, so a breakdown of the week:

It started great on Monday were we had a lesson with a new investigator called Bao. She´s from Vietnam and she speaks.... a lot. But we had a great first lesson and she was still interested so we made a new appointment for following Thursday. That was a pretty good day considering it was P-day but we still got to teach a lesson! 
Tuesday we had 3 lessons planned and District meeting so it was going to be a great day. 

Tuesday we went to district meeting where we were surprised by our District Leader, Elder Crowder, with some confetti as congratulations for Timo´s baptism. We took it very humbly ;) Then we had to go to our lessons. However, we had to wait for an hour and half for the first lesson since he forgot we had one. And the other two weren't home... But we found some cool people knocking doors so that worked out great.

Wednesday was a normal day. We worked in a small village that day where there were a lot of rich houses. We didn't find a lot of people but we worked for a long time and that´s always satisfying. 

Thursday we taught the inactive family that came to church a few weeks ago and they´re preparing they´re daughter for baptism which is great. Hopefully it will get them to try to be more active. 

Friday was dinner with Timo's family!!!!!!! It was such a great appointment. Elder Shaw is a great cook and so is Timo's dad so the two of them made dinner while me, Timo and his mum played cards. However, the cards were massive... like big, big cards so it made for a funny game. Afterwards we actually got to share with them a spiritual message and they liked it so much that both me and Elder Shaw got a hug from his parents!!!! If you knew his parents, you´d understand why it´s so special for me and Elder Shaw that they like us.

Saturday we got calls and I found out I was going to Brugge!!!

Sunday was my last Sunday in Den Bosch and it was actually really sad. I've been here so long that it´s become sort of home away from home. I´m going to miss so many people here and I can´t wait to come back to visit!

Sorry, I forgot my camera, so no photos this week, but I´ll email it all on Monday ;)

Well, that´s it for this week!!
I´ll tell you more next week!!
Loves, Elder Serra

Since there was no photos, I just googled some!