Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Week #26 I'll just get back on the tree and keep climbing....

A giant Ferris wheel in Antwerpen! Most of his pictures are atop this monster!

The Diamond Wheel - sitting by the Central Train Station which happens to be in the Diamond Sector of Antwerpen....hence the name!

"The Crew" before getting on the wheel!! Elders Lyman, Pugh, Sisters Young and Thomas, and Elder Childs! Elder Pugh is looking quite apprehensive!

Is it almost over???!!!!

Elder Pugh - Elder Muller says he is terrified!

Looks like a great preparation day activity!

Central Train Station from high up on the Ferris wheel!

The beautiful Cathedral of Antwerpen in the distance on the right of picture.

City view from the Ferris wheel!
(I get to do lots of translating for Elder Muller in this email!)

March 23, 2015

Hoi iedereen... (Hey Everyone)

Ik wil gewoon in het Nederlands vandaag schrijven. Nee, grapje, maar ik zou moeten proberen om mijn Nederlandse schrijf te verbeteren. Dus, wij gaan verder.

(I am going to write only in Dutch today. No, just a joke, but I do want to try and improve my writing in Dutch. So, we will continue...)

First, the subject... 

So last night on the way home from our dinner appointment, we (Elders Muller and Pugh and the sisters) did a little activity. We came up with an animal that describes each one of us. Elder Pugh is a monkey, Sister Thomas is a fox, and Sister Young is a dolphin. They decided I was a sloth... Hurtful right? Nah, not really. They meant it because they said that I'm just a really chill guy. I just always do my thing, slowly climbing the tree, and that if I fall off the tree I get up and just keep climbing. I'm still not sure what that's supposed to mean, but oh well. :)

So we had a pretty fun week. We had some cool experiences, I have decided to only share the highlights instead of doing a day by day summary... 

We had a really fun dinner appointment with Familie Boegaerts op Woensdag Wednesday). They live right outside of Mechelen (this is the city we lived in and where we met the missionaries!!!), and their son, Michael, just got home from his mission in Lyon, France (Formally the Geneva Switzerland Mission :) ) a couple months ago. They are just a super solid, super cool family. Sister Boegaerts is just disappointed that we moved from Belgium. She says that I should be in the Young Single Adult program here!

We had a cool miracle that night. Michael drove us home, but we did some less active look ups with him first. We stopped by a guy who we've been trying to get in contact with for awhile, but is never home. That night he was home, and we got to talk to him for a bit. He committed to coming to church on Sunday (which he did!) and we were able to set up an appointment for this week. 

On Thursday we had a really cool miracle as well. We had given a Book of Mormon to a younger guy named Maxim about a week ago. We were just knocking doors, and he said his mom would be interested. We set up an appointment and went and taught her the first lesson. It was really cool. It was what we call a RAD (Restoration and Doop Baptism). We teach the first lesson and invite them to be baptized. 

On Friday, we had a similar experience. About a week ago, we received a referral from the Zusters te Antwerpen (Sister missionaries in Antwerpen). They had talked to a man in Centraal Station who was a recent convert here on vacation. He gave them his brother-in-law's info who happens to live right by our apartment. We looked him up and did the same thing as with the other woman. This one was even cooler though, before we began teaching he was asking us where the church was and if he could come. He's just really ready. He is a refugee from Iran living here in Antwerpen. His wife is also a recent convert which is why he is interested. It was a really awesome lesson. 

That night we also had a really cool lesson with a less active family. It was one of the best appointments I've had here in Antwerpen. The mom is from Peru, and the kids are half Peruvian and half Belgian. The two boys are about our age, and it was just a lot of fun. It was the perfect mixture of spiritually powerful testimony and discussion with having fun and showing them that missionaries aren't robots. :)

Saturday was also pretty special. We went to Rotterdam for the baptism of a man named Sjaak. Elder Pugh had found and taught him, but was transferred before the baptism. We got permission from President to go to the service so Elder Pugh could give one of the talks. It was really fun. Nederland is so different from Belgium though. It makes it even weirder, because the signs and everything are all still in the same language, but the way people speak is almost totally different. #DialectLife 

The baptismal service was really cool. What made it even cooler for me was that I got to see Elder Hunter (from my MTC group) again. It's been almost six months since we've seen each other. It was really funny because we didn't know they would be coming. I walked into the hallway and we both saw each other and then froze. He was like "No way" (in a Scottish accent of course :) ) and we just had one of the strongest hugs I've had in my life. It was great, I missed that kid. He is part of a group of elders called "The Singing Elders". They've put a musical program together, and they are traveling stake to stake and preforming. The idea is to help generate referrals by inviting non members to the activity (that's the members job). It's had a lot of success in Nederland, and will be coming to Antwerpen in late May. 

Well those were the highlights of my week. Something that I've been learning is just how powerful hard work and obedience is. We've seen the blessings of it the past couple weeks. President had an awesome picture of a runner at the end of a race, totally just wrecked, he left everything out on the field. As missionaries we have to do the same if we want to be successful. 

Well I hope you all have a good week. I love all of you. 

Elder Muller

This looks like it must be an early morning picture! Notice the white shirts and ironing board in the background!!!
Traveling back from Rotterdam
Elder Muller, capturing a cow!

Where our family rented our van when visiting in 2008/2009!
Apparently, Elder Muller almost broke his toe last Monday when they were playing indoor football (soccer)...this is the first we knew of it!
This is now a chocolate shop, but it used to be a beautiful tapestry  and souvenir shop. Many of my tapestries are from this shop. So sad.
Roads in the middle of nowhere that Elders Muller and Pugh walk to find people and to go to dinner appointments!

A cool sculpture in Antwerpen where we used to take pictures of the kids when they were small!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 25: #NotAfraid

A letter from Mama that went to Canada! No wonder it took so long to arrive!
Elder Pugh Studying

Knocking a Hobbit Door?

Hello everyone,

I hope everything is going well, I don't have a lot of time, so I want to knock out this big email first. I apologize if I don't get to personal messages! 

So #NotAfraid is our district vision for the transfer. Not afraid in every aspect. Most if it has to do with having trust in God, and not being afraid to be bold in our message. 

So it's been a pretty long week, not much happened. A lot of appointments fell through, which is always frustrating. It was still a good week though. There is a new project in the mission called Project: A Wrinkle in Time. President has looked at how we work, and he decided that we needed to find ways to improve how we work. We have a new standard of excellence; 20 hours of proselyting time a week. That includes only the time we are actually actively contacting, or teaching. Sounds like it should be easy, but you really have to work for it.  Even though we didn't have a whole lot of lessons, we made 20 hours, so at least we worked hard! :) 

So, I went on two exchanges this week, both in Antwerpen. One with Elder Childs and one with Elder South, my new district leader. He's pretty cool. Something funny we figured out. We have a mutual friend--Connor Randall. They knew each other in Texas, and I was friends with Connor at BYU-I. Small world this mission. So Connor, if you read this, Ben South says hi. :) 

We did have a couple of cool lessons with some people. We watched the Restoration video with our Russian investigator, Yury. They have Russian as a spoken language on it, so it was really easy for him to understand it. It's pretty cool how you can feel the Spirit while watching the video, without understanding anything it was saying. (I don't speak Russian...) Shows how powerful the message is!

Something sad happened. A member of the ward died last week, so we went to the funeral. All the missionaries sang a hymn as a special musical number. It was kind of sad. The family members were able to bear powerful testimony of the Plan of Salvation, and how we will be with our families again. 

Today was pretty fun! We had a Zone P-Day. All the missionaries in Belgium came to Antwerpen, and we played voetbal. Our district is pretty awesome. Sister Young played Goalie at SVU (Southern Virginia University), so she's pretty good. Elder Pugh is also a beast, he had a hat trick! It's always a ton of fun to be with other missionaries!

Well I know this isn't much, but I really don't have a lot of time. We still have to go home and change for a lesson tonight. It's sad that it takes an hour to get home... oh well Antwerpen opportunities! (That's something we started saying to stay positive. It used to be bij voorbeeld (for example), "We don't have a car today because it's in for maintenance, Zone Leader problems"... NO! Zone Leader Opportunities! That probably doesn't make any sense, and I'm sure you're all confused... Oh well. :) ) (Elder Muller is saying that they are trying to turn unfortunate events into positive opportunities for missionary work! If the Zone Leader's car is in for maintenance, then they have a problem - they can't get to where they need to be. But that isn't really a problem! Now they have to walk or use public transportation which will give them OPPORTUNITIES to meet people and share the gospel!)

I would like to encourage all of you to go and read Alma 7. It's a great chapter, and we can learn a lot. I studied it a couple days ago.

Also Elder Pugh and I learned something interesting  this week. The word Atonement doesn't exist in Hebrew... atoning, atone etc does, but Atonement does not. It's an English word. If you put it into a Hebrew context, it translates into something like "wrapped in the arms of love" or "encircled in arms". So just remember that next time you read the Book of Mormon, and you see that, it means the Atonement!

Well that's pretty much it!

I hope you all have a good week!


Elder Müller

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 24: I'm Related to Elder Childs!!

Making Soup for the Homeless

Elder Pugh making soup!
Elder Muller chopping vegetables!

March 9, 2015

Hello Everyone,

So turns out that me and Elder Childs are related! Elder Childs was doing some family history, and he found out that he has ancestors named Muller. So yup. We're actually related.

So it's been a crazy week with transfers and all. That and I haven't been feeling that well, so that wasn't nice. 

uesday was a pretty crazy day. We had to go to Sint Niklaas for district meeting, and I just felt horrible. I had a really bad cold. District meeting was fun though, sad that it was the last one, but oh well. (It was the last district meeting with this group of missionaries. Some of the group has been transferred to different areas.)

Last District Meeting Together!

When we came back to Antwerpen, Elder Shelton and I had to walk his bike up to Centraal Station for transfers. It took like two hours, and it was raining and hailing the whole time--not fun. We had a fun dinner appointment with the Evans Family though, so that was cool. 

Wednesday was crazy, transfers whooo! So Elder Shelton left and is now in Rotterdam Zuid (South). From my district, three more missionaries left. Sister Mashburn is now in Amsterdam, Elder Van de Merwe is in Dordrecht, and Sister Jones is in Utrecht. (These three missionaries are now in the Netherlands.) So most of the day I waited in the Centraal Station for my new companion, Elder Pugh, to arrive. When he got here we went out to eat at Pizza Hut with a less active we've been working with named Ivan. That was cool. 

That night we went to Boma and Tante Ingrid's to celebrate Boma's verjaardag. It was awesome! (Boma and Tante Ingrid are Elder Muller's Belgian Grandma and Aunt Ingrid. They live in the area where he is serving so he is able to visit them.) It's really a blessing to be serving here. 

Boma's Birthday Taart!


Elder Muller and Boma...picture from Tante Ingrid!

Another Picture from Tante Ingrid!
This is a link to a short video sent to us by Tante (Aunt) Ingrid!! What a wonderful surprise! Elder Muller is there celebrating Boma's birthday and this is him speaking in Dutch! I can understand all of it, but will take too much space to translate it for everyone! Suffice it to say, he is telling us - with Boma and Tante Ingrid as witnesses - that he CAN speak Dutch, and he rarely speaks English with them! And he wrote a birthday card to Boma in Dutch!! And he was very sick with a cold this day, and so he said he had to struggle for some of the words....but I think it sounds fantastic, and I wouldn't have thought he was struggling for words!!

Elder Pugh is a super cool guy. He's been out 20 months, so he's almost dead. (Missionary speak! The mission lasts 24 months for Elders, so whatever companion you have when go home is said to have "killed you off". So Elder Pugh is nearing the end of mission with only four more months left to serve, so that is what Elder Muller is referring to!) He's from the same group as Elder Hunt (30 Elders).(Elder Muller is referring to a group of 30 Elders that arrived in the mission field at the same time. That is quite a large group for his mission, so that means that in four months, all 30 of these Elders will be going home!) He's got a lot of experience and I'm learning a lot from him. He's a great missionary and a really funny guy. 

Thursday we did a ton of finding/lookups most of the day. It was pretty fun. We knocked some doors and found some cool potentials. Not much else happened. 

Friday we had some appointments, so that kept us busy most of the day. We taught a lady named Mevrouw Wauters on the door. She's super cool, they (Elders Reese and Shelton) found her by knocking doors, and taught her the first lesson. We followed up by giving her a Book of Mormon, and also a children's version. It was cool on the door lesson. I've never seen anyone so happy to receive The Book of Mormon. It was pretty special. (The children's version that he is referring to is one that is done with pictures and simplified versions of the stories of the prophets found in the Book of Mormon. My missionaries also brought me one of these when we were studying the Church in Belgium...made it easier for me to try and learn the basic stories from the Book of Mormon.)

We also had a cool lesson with a woman named Augustina. She was someone Elder Shelton and I found, and we finally were able to set an appointment with her. We taught the first lesson, and invited her to be baptized when she received confirmation that the Book of Mormon was true. She was super excited about it! 

Saturday we had a pretty fun day as well. We started off by helping some members make soup for homeless people. It was a lot of fun. We had an appointment with an investigator named Yury in the afternoon. I think I said something about him last week... He's russian, but we've been teaching him. After that we just did some finding and some lookups but nobody was home. 

Yesterday was fun. Church was great. We had a small miracle! A less active member called us up out of the blue wanting to come to church, so we rode the tram with him. Pretty fun. Church was cool, nothing crazy happened. We had a great dinner at Familie Schiltz. It's probably the highlight of my week every time we go there. It's just so gezellig! (comfortable and cozy)

Today we had a pretty chill P-day. We cleaned, shopped and then went around the city with the sisters. It was pretty fun. Nothing crazy. (P-day, or preparation day, is the one day a week the missionaries get to clean their apartments, do laundry and grocery shop, do something fun....and the most important event is to email home!!!)

Well, I wish I was better at writing emails... but that's all I've got. 

I'll share a quote from Elder Pugh regarding missionary work:

If I have ice cream, I'm not going to throw it in their face. I'm going to cover it in chocolate and toppings so it looks delicious and they want it themselves.

That's how to do missionary work. Don't throw it in their face, but show that the message you have is lekker (delicious) so they eat it for themselves. :)


Elder Muller
Oh the things you see in the city...a goat!
Crazy Transfers!

The Amazing  Elder Pugh!
Craziness of Transfers! Loading bikes and luggage to head to the Netherlands!

Elder Shelton with Anne Rigby-Evans and Herman Evans!! My friends!!

A Tiny Horse!

St. Paulus Kerk (Church)
Description of the Steen House (see pic below)
Monument by the Steen House
Side View - Steen House

The Steen (Rock)  House in Antwerpen...we visited this many times