Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 12: A Bus, a Bus, My Kingdom for a Bus!

Since Elder Muller was not able to share any pictures this week, I thought I would start his letter by sharing a beautiful Christmas video. This was a live nativity play with 1,000 people! It is beautiful!

Click on this:

Angels We Have Heard On High


What a week! It's P-day again, so that means it's Monday, which means that apparently nobody in Belgium works today! That means no buses or trains. FUN! (There's another nationwide strike today)

But in all seriousness, it's been a great week. Tuesday was a really good day. We had district meeting, and it was our last one together as a district. Elders Goff and Childs got transferred, and Sister Johnson is now home. It was bittersweet. We talked a lot about what a successful missionary is, and how we can become more converted unto Christ. Really good. 

I have a new companion, Elder Hunt, and he's super cool. He's from Logan Utah but somehow he still manages to be a great missionary. ;) (We always tease missionaries who are from Utah! Just a family joke!)

Transfer day was pretty crazy. We didn't get much sleep the night before because Elder Childs had to pack, and we had to catch a train at 06.30 to get to Antwerpen on time. We both totally zonked out on the train, so at least we got some sleep.

Elder Hunt is super cool. He has a really positive attitude which is needed around here. We set some good goals for the transfer.

This week we haven't really taught a lot of investigators, but we had some good less active lessons (both of them fed us, which made it even better). On Monday we taught Brother Pace. He's an American who's lived in Belgium for a couple of years. He went inactive about a year and a half after his mission :(. (Going inactive means he has not been coming to church.) We are trying to teach his four daughters who are not baptized, and reactivate him at the same time. We shared both "He is the Gift" video, and "Because of Him" video with him, and it really struck a chord. He is making progress!

"He is the Gift" video:


"Because of Him" video:

Well that's about it. The work here is moving well. We have Zone Training this week which will be fun. Also there is a Christmas concert thing in Antwerpen that I was volunteered to play piano in. Thanks for the music!!! I don't know what I would have done without it!

Well sorry this email came so late... The internet at the church isn't working, so I had to finish it at a member's house... I think it didn't save everything I wrote, but I don't have time to rewrite it.... SORRY!!!!

Tot volgende week....

Elder Muller

P.S. no pics this week... I didn't get to upload them because of the internet... sorry.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Week 11: A New Adventure Begins!

"Tripanionship" of Destiny Reunited at Zone Conference!
(I am going explain some of the things Elder Muller will be talking about in his email so that as you read it, you won't find all of my "blue translations" throughout his letter!)

Missions are made up of transfers. Every six weeks is a transfer period. This means that throughout the entire mission, some missionaries will be reassigned to different areas, companionships will be changed and it requires missionaries to be ready to adapt to new situations! Part of the growing process of a mission. These young men and women pack up their belongings and head for their new area by public transportation. Elder Muller will meet his new companion on Wednesday. For me, it is hard to believe that Elder Muller will be getting a new trainer only half way through his 12 weeks of training in the field! The first 12 weeks in the mission field are considered your training period...learning the ropes of the actual mission field.  But this type of transfer appears to be a normal occurrence in his mission. This means Bryan will have to be showing his new trainer the area and bringing him up to speed on what is going on in his area. That will be a big responsibility for Bryan.

He also speaks about some of the Sister missionaries that came into the mission field with him six weeks ago...some of them are already going to be training new missionaries arriving in the land this week!! That is crazy!!! But the Lord has a plan for all that He does, and these young men and women are up to the task....Who the Lord calls, He Qualifies. 

In missionary speak, your trainer is called your "Dad" for Elders, and your "Mom" for Sisters. That is why Elder Muller is referring to his new companion as his "Step-Dad"! So many fun terms used by missionaries! Elder Muller is still technically a "Greenie" since he is so new in the mission field!

Here is Elder Muller......

So... my first transfer is done! Hard to believe! It's going to be a fun week.
Today we are giving a tour of Brugge to a bunch of other missionaries, daarom (therefore) we are emailing so early... sorry. We might split it in half. 

So Elder Childs is getting transfered! I'm getting a new step-dad, Elder Hunt. Elder Childs is just too awesome, so he's been assigned as a district leader up in Groningen, the complete opposite side of the mission. They call it the Groningen jump haha. 

Brings joy to a mother's heart! Fun at a bus stop!
More bus stop fun!

Elders Childs and Muller waiting for a bus!
There are a bunch of new missionaries coming in as well, and a ton of Zusters (Sisters) going home. Because of that, at least one of the Zusters in my group is training. Zuster Mashburn. It's crazy!  
Anyhow, more on Zone Conference from last week. Here are some of my notes:
He (Elder Moreirra) talked about a bunch of things, but here are some quotes to help you get an idea:

Have the courage to follow the promptings of the Spirit. 

Decide today to serve the Lord the best you can.

Make the gospel personal. Personal for you, and your investigators.

Nothing belongs to you. When you go home, go to the Temple, and while in the Celestial Room, pray and offer up your mission as an offering to the Lord. You should be living your mission in a way that you can be satisfied with what you are offering.

The Church needs more Peters.

Have boldness enough to do something different.

We preach the gospel to bring comfort to uncomfortable people, and make comfortable people feel uncomfortable. -Elder Holland.

Yes, it was a good Conference.

So this week wasn't anything too special. Elder Childs wasn't feeling well for most of the week, so that was tough.

On Zaterdag (Saturday) it was gorgeous! It was perfect weather, and there were SO MANY TOURISTS! It was insane! Good weather, Sinterklaas day, and the first 'shopping day' of the Christmas season makes for a busy day in Brugge. We actually got stuck for about five minutes in a spot because there were so many people. 

Christmas time in Brugge, Belgium
Well, I don't have much more time, but yeah, stay strong and remember who you are. I'm excited for this next transfer, it's going to be great! I'll be able to Skype with you all, so be ready for that! 

Tot Volgende Keer!
(Until Next Time)

Elder Muller

(Here is some additional news Elder Muller shared in another email later on Monday.)

I can't remember if I told the story or not, but we went to the Carrefour (grocery store) last week, and right outside we saw a lady walking. I
decided I wanted to contact her, so I did. Something like, 'Pardon Mevrouw, even vraagje, waar vind u geluk in u leven?' (Pardon me, Ma'am, I have a question I would like to ask, "Where do you find happiness in your life?"  She responded and talked about her family, and how they make her happy. We were able to testify about how our families make us happy, and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ helps people find happiness in their families.
She was super positive and gave us her address so that we can give her
a Book of Mormon. Hopefully she becomes an onderzoeker (someone who will let the missionaries teach them about the Restored Gospel).

(I am so happy I still can understand enough Flemish to be able to translate Elder Muller's few smatterings of Flemish!! Tender Mercy from Heavenly Father!)

We also got two referrals (someone interested in learning more about the Restored Gospel.) this week. One of them is for a guy who was
living in Brussels but moved to Brugge.  He was being taught by the missionaries in Brussels. Apparently he wants to get baptized. That would be
super cool. This area really needs another baptism. The Branch needs
it. They haven't had a new member in a long time. 
Our Branch
President is super cool though. He'll go knocking doors by himself
every weekend and give us any people he finds.

A lot of Sisters are going home (completing their mission) this transfer, so three Sisters from our group are training. Sisters Mashburn and Maughaun from my
district, and Sister Johansson from the other one. I know Sisters Mashburn and
Maughaun will do great. I saw Sisters Mashburn and Hansen today which was
cool. Sister Mashburn is in Lokeren and Sister Hansen is being transferred up to Dodrecht.  A bunch if missionaries came down for P-Day today, and we gave them a tour of the city.

I'm excited for this next transfer. Christmas is going to be awesome. If you haven't already, I invite you to #ShareTheGift. http://www.mormon.org/christmas   Elder Hunt (Elder Muller's soon to be new trainer) seems cool, I've heard good things about him. Don't worry about me, I'm doing just fine. In fact I'm having the time of my life. I wouldn't trade this for anything.

Talk to you soon!

Elder Muller

The Beauty of Brugge

Brugge Centrum at Night
Elder Muller playing photographer! Nice job!
Brugge is so beautiful!
Brugge at Night

Although this may look beautiful, it saddens me (Amy) because Christmas didn't use to include so many American themes when we lived there.
Look at this delicious meal Elder Muller and Elder Childs made!
Elder Muller on the Left. A member of the branch in Brugge, and other Elders and Sisters. A Rainy Day in Brugge!
Elder Muller with two Sisters. They have been together since the Missionary Training Center in September!

A Comic Book Store - some of Elder Muller's Belgian Papa's Favorites!

Brugge, Belgium

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Week 10: I didn't want to say I told you so, but uh, I told you so....

Elder Childs wearing Elder Muller's coat...he was cold!

Pictures that Alyssa and Jaedyn sent Elder Muller!

Wow what a week!!!! So much has happened I hope I can get it all down. 

First off, I would like apologize for my last email, I was rushed for time so I'm sorry if it didn't make any sense. :) 

So we had Zone Conference this week, which was a ton of fun. I've had a ton of cool experiences that I hope to be able to talk about. 

First off, travel to Zone Conference. This is where the subject line comes in, haha. 

Elder Childs wanted to get up to Nederland pretty early, because it takes a few hours to get there. Last time he left in the afternoon, and got there at like 11. 
We wanted to travel with other missionaries, but everyone was leaving later. Elder Childs tried to convince them to leave earlier, but nobody would have it. So we left at like 4. When we got to Ghent, we discovered that all of the trains to Antwerpen Centraal were canceled. We didn't know why, but nothing was running that direction. When we were on the train to Ghent we were fine, but we had over-stopped for about an hour for lunch with the Ghent missionaries. Elder Childs was frustrated haha. That's when he said 'I didn't want to say I told you so, but uh, I told you so.... ' 

Elder Childs...Not happy...can't get to Antwerpen!
BUT this is important.... Everything happens for a reason!!!! We managed to catch a train to Brussels, and happened to jump on the train that we were planning on catching in Antwerpen. It runs from Den Haag to Brussels via Antwerpen, and by some miracle we caught it in Brussels before it left. We only had one problem, we didn't have enough time to buy tickets to cross the international border while we were in Brussels. We called up the Lokeren Sisters (they owed us a favor, also, they had managed to get to Antwerpen by bus I think) and asked them to buy four international tickets (We payed them back :) ). While we were doing this, a young man man (maybe mid or late twenties ) sat next to me. He heard our discussion and asked what we were trying to do. We got to talking, and ended up talking the whole way to Den Haag. Sister Johnson and I (a Ghent Sister) actually ended up teaching him the first lesson on the train. He was super interested about everything. It was really cool! We managed to get to Nederland ok. We stayed with the Den Haag Zone Leaders and to Elders from Genk Belgium. 

Zone Conference was really cool. It was on Thursday. I got to see both of my MTC companions!!!! It was a totally awesome to see both of them. I was surprised to see Elder Matos, he had gotten into the land the week before. He got approval from the MTC doctors to go, so he's here now!
The talks were awesome. President talked about obedience, and how through obedience both our faith and love for God and Jesus Christ grow.
Sister Robinson spoke about the Dress and Grooming standards. I'm doing just fine with that haha :)

During Zone Conference they are visited by Area Authorities from Church. Elder Morierra is an Area 70 from Portugal. THERE ARE CURRENTLY EIGHT QUORUMS of the Seventy. Each quorum may have up to 70 members. Members of Quorums of the Seventy are often referred to simply as “Seventies.” Seventies are called to proclaim the gospel and build up the Church. They work under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Presidency of the Seventy
Some Seventies are assigned to headquarters administrative functions, but most live and work within a specific geographic region of the Church. Like the Apostles, they also travel frequently to visit and teach congregations of the Church.
Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy are called to serve until the age of 70, at which time they are given emeritus status (similar to being released). Members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy typically serve for three to five years; after this time, they are released. Members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy are considered General Authorities, meaning that they have authority to serve anywhere in the world. Members of the remaining quorums are called Area Seventies, and their authority is limited to the area where they serve.
Sister Moreirra spoke about loving the people. It was harder to follow her because an Elder was translating for her, but it was still really good.
Elder Moreirra was really good. He spoke about a lot of different things. Mostly about faith and and becoming more like Christ. He gave us all an assignment, to study the life of Peter. Look to see what changed in his life that made him the powerful witness of Christ he was. It definitely helped me a lot, and I learned a lot from him. One thing that I've really been working on is becoming converted unto Christ. On a mission a testimony is not enough, I've already found that. You have to be converted to Christ. I encourage you all to think about what that means. I'm going to try to talk more about Elder Moreirra next week, I forgot my notes, and there is still more I need to talk about :).

Here is a surprise link that I found to a song performed at the Zone Conference Elder Muller is talking about. Elder Hunter and Elder Silva are performing with Elder Cooper, and Elder Bishop on the piano. Elders Hunter and Silva were with Elder Muller in the MTC, and also performed in the MTC Choir along with Elder Muller.

So after Zone Conference we headed back to Belgium. We actually stayed with the Ghent Elders because we were doing a district split. Elders Lindstrom and Schmidt from Kortrijk needed me and Elder Goff to go with them because they were double booked. Elder Goff went and did a baptismal interview with Elder Schmidt, while me and Elder Lindstrom looked some people up and went to Correlation Meeting.
Something awesome happened to me and Elder Lindstrom. We looked up a guy that they had given a Book of Mormon a week and a half before. They had tried calling him to follow up, but with no luck. We stopped by and tried to set up an appointment. He asked us if we had time now and let us in. We asked him if he had read any of the Book of Mormon, and he told us he had read all of it. WOW!!!! That never happens! We proceeded to do what we call a RAD (Restoration and Doop Datum). We teach the first lesson (the Restoration) and then invite them to be baptized. It was totally awesome! He wants to be baptized and come to church. So cool! There are people who are ready and waiting to hear the truth of the restored Gospel. They are waiting for the opportunity to receive it. Our job as missionaries and members of Christ's church is to help them
Alright I don't have enough time to talk a whole bunch more, but I want to finish my thought from last week.
Most of this is a quote from Elder Holland, but with some of my words thrown into it.
Why is this hard? Why is missionary work so hard? Why isn't the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia because of being in the baptismal font all day? Why don't more people listen to us? Why do people fall away from the Church? This is the true church right? Christ leads this church right? Why isn't it easier?
Maybe, just maybe, it's because Salvation is NOT A CHEAP EXPERIENCE. This is Christ's church. Why would we believe, why would we think that it would be easy for us when it was NEVER easy for him. If Jesus Christ can fall to his knees in agony calling out abba, Father, Papa, well no wonder that salvation is not a whimsical thing for a missionary, or a member of His Church. This is the Living Son of the Living God asking if there is some other way! Maybe, just maybe, missionaries, investigators, and members have to feel something, something, of what he felt. A token sacrifice. Just remember that when it's hard, and you ask why it's not easy, you weren't the first one to ask that question. Someone a lot greater, and a lot better asked that a long time ago. For Him there wasn't, and maybe in token sacrifice, it isn't always easy for us. When it is hard, when we are rejected, cast out, spit upon, made a hiss and a byword, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with the greatest life this world has ever known. No wonder it isn't easy.

I am including a link to a six minute video about the talk Elder Muller is referring to: 
The written talk in its entirety is here:

Tot volgende week.
Elder Müller

Elder Muller in a tunnel in Ieper, Belgium.

Brugge at Night

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Christmas (Kerstmis) Market

So yeah, that's a story for later. 

I really don't have much time, so I'll share a couple stories but that's it!!!

First off, Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!! We had a Zone-Pday in Antwerpen to celebrate today.

This week we have Zone Conference, so it's going to go by FAST!!!! Tomorrow we travel to Nederland for two days. Should be cool. 

So we went to Oostende this week to contact this semi less active family. The mom is from Sierra Leone and is super cool. She has four kids, and the ward really misses them. We need young blood! Anyway, she made us a LEKKER (delicious!) dinner. Spicy rice with spicy chicken and salad. SOOOO GOOOD!!!! I LOVE AFRICANS!!!! They are so awesome. We taught them a quick lesson and then left because it's an hour bus ride home!

So dirty animals..... 

We contacted (talked with) a guy, and we were having a great conversation about what we believe. He asked us a ton of questions about faith and Jesus Christ and talked about when he was younger. He wanted to be Christian, but never really figured it out. There was this elderly lady just standing next to us, not part of the contact, just listening the whole time. He asked us if we believe in the devil, and we said yes. He pointed at the old lady and whispered "She is the devil". I don't know how she heard him but she just started yelling at us in German. He told her that this was Belgium, we speak Vlaams (Flemish-dialect of Dutch) here. So she started speaking in Dutch. She was calling this guy a "woman", "animal", etc. She told us to come inside this house we were standing outside of and look. We don't know at what, but we didn't want to because she was SCARY!  Elder Childs was just like, we only speak English, and she switched to English 'Perfect I only speak English too' it was freaky, she was speaking in tongues. She called us cowards because we wouldn't go inside and then spit on the guy we were talking to, and at us. "You are cowards!!!" "You are women, like him!!! Come inside, come inside." That's what she kept saying. Elder Childs tried to say he only spoke Spanish, and she was like, 'IK BEN GEEN ESPANOL!' (Flemish for "I am not a Spaniard!") We asked the guy if she lived there (She was still yelling at us) and she was like HOW DARE YOU ASK HIM!!! HOW DARE ASK YOU!!! He is an animal. Come inside, come inside. We tried to bear testimony that he is a child of God, and that God loves everyone. He was a really nice guy. She just kept yelling at us so we walked away, and he went into his house. 

We turned the corner and looked back around. She saw us and started chasing us down the street. It was weird!!!! The mission is so crazy!!!!!

Anyway, we had a great lesson with our investigator Martine this week. She's super cool and devoted to her Catholic religion, but she's reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. 

We had a really cool thing happen on Sunday! A Sister missionary who had just finished her mission in Portugal (not even released yet) and her parents visited church. It was super cool.

Anyway I have NO time, so quick spiritual thought. From Elder Holland: Sometimes we wonder why life is hard, why is the mission hard? The Church is true right? Why don't people just flock to join? Why isn't the only difficult part of the mission avoiding pneumonia from being in the baptismal font all day?

I am convinced that it is because SALVATION IS NOT A CHEAP EXPERIENCE!

Me and Elder Childs love this talk, and I will talk more about it next week! Maar (But) think about this for a bit :)

Tot volgende week! (Until Next Week!)

Elder Muller 

Ice Skating Rink in Market Square of Brugge
(We used to visit there at Christmas!  Elder Muller is so blessed!)
Ice Skating Rink in Market Square in Brugge
Oostende, Belgium
This is Elder Muller taunting his family!  His caption he wrote was... "Do you know what this is?" 'DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?!?!?!?"  "A mammoet!!!" This is one of our favorite "sausage meats" to eat with an order of Belgian Fries at a Frituur Shop!  (That would be the world famous Belgian Fries at a local Fry Shop!!) This is all we talked about before he left!! We all wanted one of these!

*I am sorry for the pictures being sideways! I don't know how to flip them!

**I also have to figure out why when I post this it changes the text of makes it line up funny and has white framing around some sentences!  I'm still learning!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Week 8: Wow this week has been CRAZY!!

Elder Muller & Elder Childs in the Trenches Together!

Wow this week has been CRAZY!!!!

Actually not really, but I wanted to get you all pumped up. :)

It has been really cool though. On Tuesday, we had district meeting. We slept over in Ghent because we didn't have enough money to get back to Brugge the night before (we were waiting on reimbursements). It was really cool. The only sad thing was that the Ghent Zusters were on exchanges so they couldn't make it. That morning the District Leaders got a phone call from President saying that he and Zuster Robinson were going to be there. Kinda put the pressure on! 

As I said last week, we wanted to go to Ieper that day, but we were kind of afraid to ask President, because it would essentially give us a second P-Day. 

Elder Lindstrom (from Kortrijk) got up the guts to ask him, and he and Sister Robinson just started laughing really hard. "Of course you can go, that's where we're headed right after this."

So yeah, we got to go to Ieper with President. It was really cool because they were honoring the 100th anniversary of the start of the Eerste Wereld Oorlog. (WW I)

We got to go to several trench monuments and stuff, it was really cool. Sadly I don't have a camera, but I uploaded a few from Elder Childs, and I want to get some from Elder Lindstrom as well. 

We stayed that night in Ghent again because by the time we got home, we would have missed the last bus to our apartment. (It's too far to walk) So we had a slumber party two nights in a row. 

On Friday we went to Oostende (an hour bus ride) and tried to meet with some Less Actives and a Potential Investigator. We didn't have any luck with that, both of them weren't home. We did go to the beach while we were there, so there are some pics of us there. Not nearly as warm as a Florida beach :)  

So Brugge is so cool. They just set up the ice rink in the Markt, and are working on the Kerstmis Markt. It's going to be legit. Too legit. 

Sunday was really cool. We had a really good church service. I'm starting to understand more of what's being taught, so that's pretty cool. Afterwards, we visited a less active that contacted us. It was pretty crazy. He's gone through a lot the past year or so, so we're going to try to help him get back on the right track. 

Today was an awesome P-Day. We went to Ghent and toured the Castle there. It was pretty funny, as soon as we got there I remembered that Hillary and I had already visited it before. Last time we left cause there was a bunch of obnoxious school kids haha. It was a lot of fun. Almost all the missionaries in Belgium came. I got to see a sister from my MTC district, Zuster Mashburn so that was cool. We both miss our MTC district a ton! It's really hard going from being with a whole bunch of missionaries to just you and your companion. It gets lonely sometimes. Luckily, Elder Childs makes up for it with his big personality!

Well that's about it. I guess I should share a spiritual message. 

I've started reading the Book of Mormon again, both in English and in Nederlands. I would encourage all of you to read the first two chapters in 1 Nephi, and really apply some of what happens to Lehi's family, but more especially, the promises and blessings that the Lord gives to Nephi. I think that we often forget that in those first two chapters, the Lord VISITS Nephi. 

1 Nephi 2:16 
16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

Anyway, there's your homework. I promise as an authorized representative of Jesus Christ, that if you do what Nephi did, and live as he lived, that you will receive the same blessings and promises the Lord gave him. The scriptures are for US. Apply them to yourself!

Tot Volgende Week!!!

Elder Muller

Extra notes from a family email from Elder Muller:  He would love handwritten letters.  Emails are obviously faster, but it is nice for him to get a letter at this apartment.  If you do send him a letter, please include your email address so that maybe he can answer you that way. I don't know how easy it will be for him to get to a post office to return a letter. That is my suggestion, not his!

His apartment address for now is:

Elder Bryan  Muller
Sint Petersmolenstraat 204
Bus 201,
8000 Brugge 
Belgie (Belgium)

If you want to send him some thing bigger than a letter envelope, then it has to be sent to the mission address which is on the front of the blog. The post office in Belgium does not leave packages at apartments, and that creates problems for missionaries to try and find the post office and make time to get there.

Elder Muller fast asleep--second day in Belgium! (Thanks Elder Childs!)

Elder Muller and  President and Sister Robinson in Ieper, Belgium
A Beautiful Picture of Brugge (taken by Elder Childs)
The Belgian Coast!
A Chilly Day at the North Sea!
Having Some Fun!
More Fun!
Chillin at a Castle in Ghent
Beautiful Countryside in Belgium
WWI Bunkers in Ieper, Belgium
Monument in Ieper, Belgium
The Last Post in Ieper, Belgium
Elder Muller Preaching the Word!

Musings of a Missionary Mama: What week is this? Oh I know, it is a HARD week!

Hello Family and Friends,

I haven't posted any of my "musings" here for awhile.  I guess I just haven't had the strength to bare my soul for awhile!  Because that is what it feels like. Sometimes I think maybe I wasn't meant to be a missionary mama!  I keep waiting for it to get easier!  Sure, outwardly to the world I can talk about it now without crying, but that doesn't mean my heart still isn't weeping from missing my son, or that I don't hide in a closet to let the tears flow! And I can't stop looking at the clock to figure out what he might be doing at that exact time in Belgium. I am sure this is what every mother of a missionary does!  I don't seem to get anything else done. I wonder when that stops!

I was so thrilled when I heard where Bryan would be serving his first few months in the mission. Brugge is a beautiful city in Belgium. My second favorite Belgian city next to Antwerpen. We have several European tapestries hanging in our home, and two of my favorite are of the cities of Brugge and Antwerpen! Brugge is a major tourist area and so beautiful. It is on the North Sea Coast. They call it the Venice of the North because of all the canals that run through it. Brother Muller used to take many of our visitors there and give tours around the city....and we used to always find tourists following us around listening to his tours in English! It was quite funny. So Elder Muller has been there many times. The city will be spectacular during the Christmas season with the Christmas markets being set up, and the lights and music...and smells of food! Oh, if only I could be there!

Here is a map of Belgium so that you can get an idea of where Elder Muller is, and just how big his proselyting area is:

He is in Brugge and his area covers all of Brugge, Oostende and everything else north and west of Kortrijk.  Crazy big! To get to Oostende takes an hour by bus!
His District Leaders live in Ghent.  The District Leaders are the two Elders who oversee several companionships of Elders and Sisters in a given area. They then report to Zone Leaders who live in Angwerpen.

For Preparation Days, Elder Muller and Elder Childs travel to Ghent to be with the missionaries in their District. It gives them a chance to be with other missionaries and have some fun. It gets lonely being with only one companion 24/7!

Hopefully this helps to give a visual as to the area that Elder Muller is working in.

For whatever reason, the last week has been difficult.  I think it started with my son, Jeremy, playing some of Bryan's old Christmas arrangements....just brought back the memory of Bryan sitting at our piano practicing this piece to perform in Sacrament for Christmas.  Silly, right? Jeremy performs it beautifully, so that is another tender mercy from Heavenly Father...I can still listen to beautiful piano being played in my home! All five of my children play beautifully.

I realize in my post about tender mercies I have had with Elder Muller's mission, I neglected to mention the first and most amazing one!  The fact that Elder Muller was called home to the Belgian/Netherlands mission is an amazing tender mercy.  The Lord is responsible for this call to serve, not Bryan!  Our missionaries do not request to be sent some where in the world. It is a spiritual experience for our leaders of the Church to place these young men and woman in their missions. It is done with much prayer and promptings for the Holy Ghost to tell them where the missionary should serve. So for Bryan to be sent to his homeland of Belgium, was indeed a great tender mercy for our family. He is going back to the land where he was born, where his family and ancestors are from, and most importantly, where our family found the gospel! It is in Brussels, Belgium where we were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on December 12, 1998. We were taught by Elders and Sisters from the same mission! Amazing!! It has changed our lives so much...for the better!

The other tender mercy of this mission call is that I know where my son is!  I know the streets he is walking. I know the language he is speaking. I know the food he is eating! That is an amazing blessing to me. Heavenly Father understood how hard this would be for me, and he gave me these comforts for the next two years. 

Let me share another reason that my son is serving, along with 88,000 other young men and women of our Church...did you ever stop to think why so many young people would put their lives on hold for 18 to 24 months....when I say on hold, I mean on hold. They leave their families, they leave their friends, they leave their studies at universities, or they leave jobs that they have had, they leave their phones, their computers, they leave any connection to the life they had been living. They and their families sacrifice financially to send these young stalwart adults into the mission field.  There must be something important that they want to share with the world, or why else would they sacrifice so much?

It starts with the belief that God is YOUR loving Heavenly Father.  He is your Father in Heaven. He knows you personally and loves you more than you can possibly comprehend. He wants you to be happy in this life and in eternity. To accomplish this purpose, He provided a plan called the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Son of God; His life and teachings are the guide to peace in this life and joy in eternity. The gospel is Heavenly Father's plan to help us have peace in this life and joy in eternity. The gospel is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and requires us to have faith in Him, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy  Ghost, and endure to the end.

The Atonement is the event that enables us to be reconciled to God. To atone is to suffer the penalty for sin, thereby removing the effects of sin from repentant sinners. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of making a perfect Atonement for all mankind. His Atonement included His suffering for our sins, the shedding of His blood, and His death and Resurrection. Because of the Atonement, everyone who has lived will be resurrected. The Atonement also provides us with a way to be forgiven of our sins and to live forever with God.

The gospel of Jesus Christ blesses all who accept and live it. One of the best places to teach and apply the gospel in in our families. God has established families to bring happiness to His children, to allow us to learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and to prepare us to return to Him after we die. Although family relationships can be challenging at times, our Heavenly Father blesses us as we strive to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. These teachings help us strengthen our families. *

*From the Church pamphlet "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ"

This is a part of the message these young people want to share with people around the world.

One other question to answer....why am I a missionary mama and not a missionary mom?!  This is a cute question I have been asked. It is simply because my first three children were born in Belgium and started their young lives there. We lived the traditions of that country...including me maintaining my maiden name, and our children calling us Mama and Papa instead of Mom and Dad!  We kept that tradition going once we moved back to America! As my kids explain - I am their Mom but my name is Mama!! 

Until the next time....and if you have any questions you would like me to answer, please feel free to contact me at amylschaefer1210@gmail.com !