Monday, January 26, 2015

This is neat:) WEEK 85!!

Lieve Familie, 

            Where to even start... well yes, I am back. Back in goodòl Rotterdam Zuid! Back in the place where it all began. Only this time it is different. A LOT DIFFERENT. To be honest, it has been a very interesting adjustment for me to make. A lot has changed in the past 18 months or so.. including myself. So yeah, my last memories of Rotterdam weren´t the best so I am grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity to do it over again. The Lord definitely likes to throw some curve balls, but I am planning on hitting this one out of the park.

   Yes, I am still doing the ZL thing. My comp is a lot different than how Elder Lee and I were. I really miss Elder Lee and our ``gangnam swag´´-He'll definitely be a friend for eternity. Elder Holt is 26 years old and from Canada and just hit his year mark. We should be learning lots from each other. Rotterdam Zuid is also A LOT different from anywhere else I have been in Nederland. I forgot just how ghetto and gangster it was. It’s like the "Bronx'' of Nederland, but full of poverty. I will have to take pics this week. 

 Anyways, this zone seems to be a lot different than the way we ran things in Eindhoven. Our zone here is smaller and close by each other (all within an hour of travel with Train) therefore we don’t have to travel far and we don’t have a car. Just walk walk walk, then walk some more and rely on public transportation. We will still be going on exchanges and working with other missionaries almost everyday and what’s funny however, is the fact that I am the oldest missionary in this zone. Seriously everyone here is extremely young. We have lots of new missionaries here and others that just hit their 3rd or 5th month mark on the mish. I guess you could say the atmosphere here is just something else. BUT I am looking forward to the opportunity and privilege I have to be here. 

Change is so interesting and honestly so unique. Coming back to Rotterdam has really enabled me to reflect upon the changing process I have gone through the past 18 months. Also seeing and working with all these young missionaries really just opens your eyes and, in a way, brings you to the realization of how much you have grown. It really makes me think and ponder about how weird or difficult it may be for my big adjustment coming up in the end of May/beginning of June. 
I have an endless love for my mission and will have that till the day I die. My testimony just continues to grow and I am starting to come to the conclusion that it is growing so fast and so strong because of the simple fact that it hasn't been easy. And I don’t expect it to get any easier. In life when things get hard how do we move on? How do we overcome it? Who do we go to for help? Or for healing? Well on a mission you learn to rely on Christ and Heavenly Father. You start praying more intensely, reading in your scriptures more diligently, and searching/seeking more sincerely for comfort. Nowww.. I cannot really explain how it has been done nor why they have done it, but I know that Heavenly Father and Christ have never left me. They have been with me since day 1. My mission has "awakened'' me to be able to realize the divinity of the Gospel and their never ending love. I am so grateful.

I miss you all and love you even more. Families are together forever, never forget that.

Have a great week and Enjoy to the End!

     Big Dude

      ""I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee''

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Lieve Familie,

         Great week. This week was full of travel and just good ól great missionary work. I really enjoyed it. Since it was the last week of the transfer we had no more planning to do or trainings to give, so besides the traveling, we were able to just get back to the good ól basic missionary work. I´ve really missed it. This week we spent 2 days in Eindhoven while the other days were spent in Vlissingen, Arnhem, and Nijmegen working with other Elders. It was great and the Lord just keeps on giving me snickers bars. 

   Well you are never going to believe this, but I am re-living my mission right now.... transfers happened and I’m going (drum roll please!!!!!!!).... BACK to Rotterdam South! ``sterker door strijd´´! 

   Seriously I just cannot believe it! Such a blessing, just another snickers bar that I didn’t deserve. Ever since I left Rotterdam South I have always had the feeling that I would one day end up going back. I am very very excited to go back to where I began this whole journey! I totally thought that I would be training or doing something else, but looks like I will still be holding the same calling that I have now and will be working with a younger elder (elder Holt). It’s going to be fun and it’s going to be like walking down memory lane! 

   It’s sad and hard to leave Eindhoven and Elder Lee. I am truly going to miss them, but Heavenly Father sees the bigger picture here. I know that transfers are inspired. Heavenly Father has never sent, nor will he ever, send me down the wrong path. My trust, faith, and love for Him just keeps increasing.  Packing is just never fun:( 

The time is flying. I miss you all so much and love you even more. In my weekly emails back home I always try to write what I feel or how I am feeling, but as for now at this moment..  

``...Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.´´ (alma 26:16)

The mission is the greatest decision that I have ever made. I’m grateful. SO grateful. 
Be Safe, have fun, and Enjoy to the End family. The Gospel is true.
     Big Dude

Here is my new address:
            Polderlaan 20C
            3074 ME Rotterdam South

Pics: I think these pics describe my Joy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Stand All Amazed.. WEEK 83!

Lieve Familie,
          I cannot describe the past two days of my life. I simply cannot put my feelings down on paper. To say that they were the best two days of my mission would be an understatement; they were the two greatest days of my mission. 

Following a week of council meetings with the mission leaders and giving a training, I had the privilege to return back to Kortrijk (with Elder Argueta) and partake of/witness the baptism of James Seynaeve and his son Korneel. Now like I already said, I cannot in the slightest degree explain or describe to someone how it felt and how I feel. Grateful, Joy, Silent, Humbled, In Awe, Un-deserving, Inspired, and relentless LOVE are some of the words I could use to describe it, but even those words aren´t enough. I think the only people who understand how I feel is the Man upstairs and his son. God is a god of miracles and this is his work. The way in which he works inspires me, humbles me, and gives me all the motivation in the world to serve him and to love him. 

James’ life, the life of his wife Giselinde, and also his sons Korneel, is changed. I love them. I feel so privileged and humbled to have been able to have the chance to be the instruments in the hands of the Lord at that time to bring him and his family the Gospel. The baptismal service and being a part of the Holy Ghost ordinance was indescribable. Just being in their presence and also in Kortrijk was and is something I will never forget. It was very emotional for James, his wife, and for me. My life is changed because of it. 

Family and Friends I do not have much to say because I just cannot express the love, gratitude, and appreciation that I have for our loving Heavenly Father. I want you all to know that God is not just good, He is great. That his son Jesus, is the Christ and that I know with all the surety of my heart that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It is the plan of happiness. With that being said, I would like to echo the words of Alma in Alma 5:45-46 
``...Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?
 46 Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God.... And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit;..´´ 
   God lives, he answers prayers, and he sent his son. They love us. 

                ``I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, 
                confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
                 I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
              that for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.´´

Love you all and miss you all dearly.

-Big Dude

Monday, January 5, 2015

God of Miracles.. WEEK 82!!

Lieve Familie,

                 As I am typing this email a familiar song keeps going through my head.. Now not the entire song because the song is somewhat absurd but a very specific line keeps going through my head and that is “I Believe in Miracles”. And I will tell you why.. But first,

       This week has been great! Seriously I cannot complain. Of course everything wasn’t perfect, but that’s actually what made it perfect. Weird to think right? -Imperfections actually make something or someone perfect.. I believe it or that’s how I see it. But anyways yeah, this week was full of lots of exchanges (working in different cities with other missionaries), lots of food, world war 3 (new years), fireworks, stress, lots of driving, giving blessings, watching people come unto Christ, laughs, some tears, and oh can’t forget to mention.. a BAPTISM! Just your typical week of serving the Lord you could say.. Full of memories and full of new things learned! Full of no regrets! To be honest 2015 has really just started off with a BANG! It is going to be a great year- I just feel it. 

              Now this is why the song by Hot Chocolate has been in my head.. “I believe in miracles”.. Do you believe in miracles? Now I believe many of us, myself included, have said once upon a time that famous line of “I believe in miracles” or maybe we have hoped for a miracle. Not only looking back upon this last year, but this last week I believe that Heavenly Father is trying to teach me something very important. And that is to be found in the following scripture: 
 ``For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.´´ 2 Nephi 27:23
(Mormon 9 also teaches us upon this principle)
 About 8 weeks ago, on my blog I believe it was week 73 or so, I wrote about me being ``speechless´´. I shared a very personal experience about a man (Bro. Van Gijls) in which we gave him and his wife a priesthood blessing of healing and comfort. I left out lots of details because of how personal it was to me and I am still going to leave details out. But last Saturday I was able to return back to the house of the man and his wife for a visit. I hadn´t seen him since the time of the blessing and at that time he could barley walk, talk, and move. To my surprise, when we returned, guess who opened up the door to let us in.. It was Bro. Van Gijls himself- walking, talking, hanging up our jackets, and leading us into the living room.

  Now I have seen miracles, but not one this big. 

Baptizing was also a great miracle. I was able to watch John’s progression all the way from receiving the first lesson from the missionaries (me and Elder Rudolph) to entering into the waters of baptism. This upcoming week will be full of bigger miracles- last night I was called by the Elders in Kortrijk telling me that James (father of the family of 7) would like me to participate in his baptism this upcoming Saturday. I will be attending and giving the talk on the Holy Ghost. Miracles are all around us. The Lord has also been producing a miracle in myself. I call it a miracle of becoming better. A miracle of waking up to the reality of having a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior. It is great. I feel so humbled to know these things and I hope and pray to never forget them. 

God is a god of miracles. 

I miss you all so much and love you even more. You are in my prayers. Have a great week and be safe! Enjoy to the End. 

   Big Dude

Pics: Bro Van Gijls en his wife
        John’s baptism
        World war 3