Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Six for Six!!!

Playing Volleyball on Preparation Day!

Email from Monday, May 25, 2015

Hoi mannekes, (Hello Friends!...loose translation...doesn't translate literally!)
So I'm getting a new companion! Whoo! 6 for 6! (This will be Elder Muller's sixth transfer. A transfer is a six week period. And this will be his sixth new companion!) I am actually pretty excited. My new companion is my buddy, Elder Hills! We are going to have a blast together. 

Elder Paur is getting transferred to Genk, Belgium. We were actually pretty surprised because President had told us that we were probably going to stay together.... So much for that haha. Elder Hills and I are going to have a blast though. 

The Elders te Cappelle (from Cappelle, another area) got closed down. Due to visa problems, there are not enough new missionaries coming in to replace the ones going home, so our area just doubled in size. So we will be teaching all of their investigators now. Good news, we probably won't have to do any hardcore door knocking for awhile, we will be busy with our current investigators, and now theirs as well. Bad news, our area just got huge, and we don't know it at all....such is missionary life!  ha ha. 

So this week has actually been tough. It seems that after five weeks of the windows of heaven being open and blessings pouring out upon us, the Lord saw fit to actually give us some challenges this week. Nothing too serious, just appointments falling through and people not coming to church. Stuff that was totally beyond our control. This week should be better, hopefully. V--- should be getting baptized Saturday, so I´m pretty excited.

SOOOO this week.....

Tuesday was pretty cool. We had a really cool dinner appointment with a young family in the ward. They are SUPER Dutch, so it was pretty fun. They have two little girls who are just super cute bundles of joy. We had a great time getting to know them better. That was something that Elder Paur and I were focusing on, and something that Elder Hills and I will continue. Getting to know the members better. Sadly Dutch people aren't always warm and cuddly, and they aren't always very outgoing. So we are trying to do our best to change that--at least on our side. (My Dutch friends, please don't take offense to that! The same description can be used for Belgium people! Belgian and Dutch people are warm and fuzzy once you get to know them! It is just some times a bit harder to break into their circles!)

Wednesday we went on splits with the Elders from Cappelle. Elder Jones and I went to teach an investigator that they have who is a computer programmer. We thought it would be cool if I went and taught them because I love computers as well. #nerdlife  Sadly, he wasn't home, so we knocked doors and contacted instead.

We did have a cool experience though. Elder Jones and I decided to contact a Jehovah's Witness standing outside the metro station. We see them a lot, and normally we don't talk to them because, sadly, a lot of them like to argue with us. But for some reason I felt prompted to talk this guy. We went up to him, and asked him if he could give us a five minute explanation of what he believes. It ended up being a 45 minute conversation about faith in Jesus Christ and people having agency in their lives. It was one of the coolest contacts we have had in awhile. At the end he was like, "Ik vind het echt tof dat jullie met me gesproken hebben. Jullie zijn echt goede mensen, en ik ben blij dat jullie bezig zijn om anderen met hun geloof te helpen. Ik wist niet dat jullie zo toffe mensen waren." So now he loves the Mormon missionaries... :) (I find it really great that you spoke with me. You are really good people, and I am happy that you are busy trying to help others develop their faith. I didn't know that you guys were such great people!) Elder Muller's Dutch is flawless is this passage!!

Thursday we went on exchanges with the District Leaders. I was with Elder Blackhurst in Zuid (Rotterdam South). We had a pretty fun day. We started off by doing service for one of the members. We did yard work with the zone leaders for most of the morning and into the afternoon. We made it fun, and they fed us lunch, what more could you want? We did lookups and door contacting for most of the rest of the day, nothing too exciting. We did get ice cream though. Elder Blackhurst is dying this week, and I was his last exchange, so I tried to make if fun. (Dying is missionary speak for going home...finishing his mission!)

Elder Strikwerda

Elder Tomiainen - From Finland!

Missionaries Doing Service! (If you need help with anything, find your local Mormon Missionaries...They Will Help!!)

Elder Muller & Elder Blackhurst

Ice Cream!!

We did have a nice dinner appointment though, it was with the Stake Patriarch. They have this little bird that roams free... pictures are uploading as I´m typing this :)

 The bird seems to like Elder Muller!

"Free Bird!"
Here is a link to explain what a Stake Patriarch calling is:

Friday we had a good day as well, we mostly did our weekly planning and prepared for V--- baptism. Pretty exciting! 

Saturday was a tough day.... All three of our appointments fell through.... yay. At least we had a really fun dinner appointment with Familie Van Den H---. We had some really awesome traditional Dutch food. Stamppot It was amazing. 

Here is a link for Stamppot. It is a great dish, with many variations. It's all about getting the vegetables mixed in with the mashed potatoes!

Sunday was fun! We had a big BBQ with all the missionaries in the Rotterdam area with a member named Mama G. It was a blast just chilling with 14 missionaries in one dinner appointment. Pictures are included....

Sunday Dinner Appointment at Mama G's!

Elder Muller's Buddy, Elder Pugh at Mama G's

Something that I learned this week..... I learned to appreciate the scriptures more. We have seen in our companionship the difference we have while we are teaching when we teach out of the scriptures. I finished the Book of Mormon this week for the first time on my mission. My testimony of the scriptures has really grown as I have studied them. It is so cool to see how things that you just happened to study that morning help you later through out the day. It is awesome :)

Well that´s about it this week. Love you guys,

Elder Müller

Cutting the cake we made!

They ate too much cake!

The Cake!

Elder Muller's buddy, Elder Lindstrom...might be the last time they see each other because Elder Lindstrom is completing his mission and returning home.
Elders Pugh and Sudweeks...always smiling!

Friends from the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah! left to right: Sisters Jensen, Kimmons, Hansen, Elders Hunter, da Silva,  Muller and Silva!
Elder Muller saying "Dat mag niet!"...that's not allowed!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Grace and iPads!

Elder Muller was unable to get his pictures to upload :(. Sadly, there are no pictures to include with this letter, so I went through and decided to post some from prior weeks that didn't make it onto the blog! Okay, so maybe I'll post some of the same ones! Elder Muller's smile just makes my heart happy!

Elder Bryan Muller

Good friends doing awesome work
Elder Muller's apartment one next to the red building

Rotterdam, Netherlands
Monday, May 18, 2015

Hoi iedereen, hoe gaat het met jullie? (Hello everyone, how is everyone doing?)

It´s been a pretty crazy week, lots of ups and downs. We had exchanges and Zone Conference this week, so we kept pretty busy.

For exchanges I was with Elder Shelton here in Rotterdam. (He was my old companion from Antwerpen.) We actually had a cool miracle happen. We decided to call up a former investigator we have been trying to get in contact with. She actually answered and wanted to set up an appointment for that day. Pretty cool. We were able to teach her part of the first lesson and just answer some questions that she has. She’s a pretty cool lady. She is originally from Azerbaijan. She is pretty much ready to be baptized, we just need to work through a couple things and she’ll be good.

We had Zone Conference on Thursday along with the Apeldoorn Zone (the northern part of Nederland). It was awesome, I learned a ton from President and Sister Robinson. President Robinson was just on fire as well. He had some great one liners. He was introducing a new Sister Missionary who was on her way to the MTC in London. She is from Gent, so they were letting her work for the day with the Zusters te Zoetermeer (Sisters from Zoetermeer, which is a city.) I guess they were going to teach someone that night. President was like, "She´s going to get a baptism before she even enters the MTC, why don´t you shove that down your pipe and smoke it." It was great, I love Pres. He just dropped stuff like that the whole conference haha. 

So the two main points of this conference were Grace (as Grace is part of the Atonement, and how does it work?) and iPads.... 

So GRACE!!! Whooo! So the entire discussion was based off of the talk His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox 

Here is a link to "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox:

Another item we studied was the talk by President Uchtdorf from this past General Conference. (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf is the Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

Here is a link to President Uchtdorf's talk "The Gift of Grace", given in the April, 2015 General  Conference. 

We had a great discussion on how Grace works. I'll share a couple points that I really focused on. I would encourage all of you to read these two talks though, they are much better than anything I can say. 

Grace inspires change. That is its purpose. Many people are very happy that they have been saved by Grace. I am too, but something important to ask yourself is, how have I been changed by Grace?  Christ does not require perfection immediately. What He does require is that we do our best. That's it. Do our best to follow Him and keep His commandments. The purpose of this life is to set ourselves on the path to perfection.  

Grace is like a booster engine. A good comparison is an electric fiets (fiets is a bicycle). An electric fiets is a bike that is electronically assisted. You can set how much help the motor gives you. What is important though, is that no matter how much the motor helps, you still have to pedal. It's the same with Grace. We can choose how much we let it help us, but we still have to be trying, or nothing will happen. 

Cool beans, iPads! Whoooo.... So we will be getting iPads. President told us that. He doesn't know when. Ten out of the 30 European missions received them last transfer. We will get them probably before the end of the year. We talked about their purpose, how we are going to use them, and the safeguards that will be in place to help us protect ourselves from things such as pornography. 

So! What is the purpose of iPads? They have been given to us so that we can flood the Earth with missionary work. I think I spoke a little bit about this after Stake Conference, but oh well. Through the internet, we will be able to help and reach people we never could just by walking around and knocking on people's doors. It will also make it easier for those searching for the truth on their own to come across us, and contact us. This is nothing new, I think everyone understands the power of the internet. 

BUT!  I think there is a second and almost more important goal. We are being given these iPads (and free access to the internet) so that we, as a generation of Latter-day Saints can learn how to use technology for good. Right now the world is still rocking a bit from this sudden burst of information and communication, and honestly a lot of people cannot handle it. They get lost in the world of the interwebs. There is a lot of good on the internet, but also a lot of filth. Before, missionaries were sheltered from all of this. We were put in a bubble for two years. We were isolated from any temptation or challenge. This does not work though. Because sure, we are safe on our mission, but then we go home. Missionaries haven't been able to use technology for two years, so they go crazy and end up being sucked into bad habits, or worse, addictions. 
Having missionaries receiving iPads is supposed to help our generation overcome this challenge. Instead of isolating ourselves, we will learn how to keep ourselves safe by following the mission rules, but also learn to control ourselves, and exercise self restraint. When we will come home, we won't have to try to relearn everything, instead we will already be equipped with the skills we need to use technology for the right purposes, and in the right ways. We will be prepared to face the challenges of living in the Internet of Things but not of the Internet of Things. 

Anyhoo.... those were the two big things I wanted to talk about. I love you guys, and I hope that you have a great week. 


Elder Müller

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Plus Two Points!

Elder Muller
So happy to have received this late yesterday afternoon! I thought he wasn't going to be able to email since we had talked to him via Skype on Mother's Day! Missionaries are allowed to call home twice a year...Mother's Day and Christmas! It was wonderful to be able to see and hear Elder Muller via Skype. He is happy and filled with love for his mission and the people he is serving.

The little green sign on the bottom left of this picture says it is a World War Grave Yard. So my guess is this must be a church on that sight.
Elder Muller finally found some feet bigger than his!!!
Sorry, I just had to post both....I love to see his smile!!

How is this possible??
May 11, 2015

Hey guys, I don´t have a whole ton of time... We went to Kinderdijk today (It is a really touristy place with a lot of windmills :) ) We took a lot of nice pictures, but we got stuck there... so we didn't get back until late. This will be a quick email... sorry. :(

Elder Muller in Kinderdijk

This is for all of you who have been waiting for pictures of windmills!!
Doesn't get much better than this!
So "Plus two Points"... It´s something that I started here in Rotterdam... I don't know how to describe it... if someone does or says something cool, we say plus two points... Yeah kinda weird but it is funny for us. 

We had a super busy week... Probably one of the busiest of my mission. We also set two baptismal dates this week, so I will talk about that for pretty much the rest of my email. 

First is V---. She is so cool. She is one of the smartest 8 year old girls I have ever met. Her mom is a convert of a couple years, but went inactive because of some things that were going on in her life. Anyway, she still taught V--- about the gospel, and V--- decided she wanted to get baptized.  We have been meeting with her and her mom and preparing her for her baptism! She is just so incredibly smart. She was quoting the Bible in English... and she doesn't even speak English! She has also already seen all of the Mormon Messages for kids. What is just awesome is her mom. She has one of the strongest testimonies and is one of the best teachers I have ever met. She is incredible. We taught them five times this week. V--- will be getting baptized on the 30 of May. 

Here is link if you would like to check out some Mormon Messages. They are short little videos with uplifting messages!

Elder Muller with his awesome 8 year old friend, V---!
Our other baptismal date that we set was with an investigator named E---. She is a student from China living and working here in the Netherlands. She was a self-referral who has been taught by the missionaries for the past several months. She is solid. She pretty much is a member in all but name, and is best friends with the missionaries. She was introduced to the church by a friend in Utah, and so we were waiting on him to come to the Netherlands so he could baptize her. We spoke with him over Skype this week and set the date! Whoooo! 

We also had interviews with President and Sister Robinson this week. They are so awesome! (I know I say that about everyone, but it´s true!)  I am going to miss them so much. They pretty much talked to all of us about how we are going to be responsible to carry on the mission after they go home. About half of the missionaries here will go home with them, so pretty soon my group will be some of the oldest missionaries in the field. Yay responsibility.... "sarcasm". It will be cool though. It will be a whole new mission though. 

(President Robinson and his wife have been leading the Belgium/Netherlands Mission for three years. Mission Presidents answer the call to serve a three year mission assignment in this capacity. Yes, two important words to remember, serve and assignment. Our Church is a church of volunteers! President and Sister Robinson have left their home and family to serve for three years. They will be replaced by a new couple July 1, 2015. This new couple will take over the mission and serve for three years!  Missionaries get very close with the Mission President and his wife, and his counselors. The Mission President and his wife are basically their Dad and Mom for the time they serve!)

Well that is all I really have time for. I will try to finish uploading pictures and stuff.... I might not be able to get all of them... they might have to wait until next week. 

Love you all! 

Elder Müller 

Awesome photo bomb by Elder Paur!


Elder Bean twice in the same did he do that???
Elder Muller is always smiling!

Monday, May 11, 2015

We Can't Party!!!!!!

Street party on Koningsdag!

Koningsdag Festivities

We Can't Party!!!!

Elder Pugh is so happy to see Elder Muller!!
May 4, 2015

Yeah so it's been a loooooooooong week. Lots happened so I'm going to try to cover the highlights.
So Koningsdag.... (Annual party in the Netherlands to celebrate the King!) It was pretty crazy. And we couldn't party. So Koningsdag is the biggest party of the year in Nederland. It's like a giant yard sale but on steroids add to that the fact that the Dutch have the best DJ's in the world, and there are street parties everywhere and you make for one very crazy, awesome, trunky day. We saw some miracles though. The whole day we pretty much walked around and tried to hand out copies of the Book of Mormon and cards. We had some cool contacts. 

Koningsdag Festivities
We got into a really cool conversation with some Muslims who were passing out the Koran for free. They asked if they could give us one, and we said of course! If we could give them a copy of the Book of Mormon. They accepted and we began to explain what it was. We ended up talking to them for about 30 minutes. More and more people started gathering around us and listening to what we were saying. We ended up giving out five copies of the Book of Mormon there. Pretty cool.
Later that day we decided we were going to go to the main party street where a lot of street parties were going on. We were walking down the street when this woman with a cup of beer complimented us on our ties (they were orange :) ). She looked closer and actually chased us down. She recognized the name tags and asked us for a Book of Mormon. Turns out she had wanted one for awhile but didn't know how to get in contact with the missionaries. #miracles! 

Check out those cool ties!

On Tuesday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, so I went to Rotterdam Zuid (South) for the day with Elder Strikwerda. It was a lot of fun. We taught two lessons and did some good contacting. That night he gave me a Henna tattoo on my back ha ha. I uploaded a picture. 

While I was in Zuid (South), Elders Paur and Torniainen taught our investigator Juscelina and set a baptismal date with her! She is going to get baptized in June! She is so excited. We saw her at church yesterday, and she is just so pumped, it's great! 
This weekend has been pretty crazy. We had Stake Conference and two members of the 70 came and spoke. Elder Boom from Holland and Elder Teixeira from Portugal. They came to reorganize the Stake Presidency. They both spoke about the importance of missionary work here in The Netherlands and what the Church is doing to help push it forward. I thought I would share some cool things that we learned.
So according to President, we are going to receive Ipads in July. President Teixeira spoke about how the Church is going to take this technology and help missionaries. Soon as soon as missionaries receive their mission call for a foreign language, they will begin to receive online tutoring through the Ipads before they even enter the MTC. When they reach the field they will continue to be tutored in the language... Pretty much, they will be the most prepared missionary force ever to reach the field. We will be using social media networks to share the Gospel. Our mission has been pioneering a Facebook referral program, the first of it's kind, that generates hundreds of referrals from people who are interested in learning more about Jesus Christ. Because of this they are now also able to track who is looking and ordering these referrals, and what might be a shock to many, the vast majority, about 70% volgens mij, (in my opinion) are from people ages 30 and younger. Missionary work cannot and will not be done the same way it has before. We live in a different world. Missionary work is going to change to help meet the needs and challenges of this new generation of people who are seeking the truth. It was pretty cool. 
So I'm out of time... I wasn't able to write everything I wanted to. We learned a lot more at this Stake Conference that I guess I will have to write about later. Sorry.
I hope you all have a great week!
Love you!
Elder Muller

Beautiful Rotterdam

Elder Muller's new bike!! (He doesn't care that it is a woman's bike...he got a great deal on it, and it is in excellent shape....that's all that matters to missionaries!)

So this little boat......
...Made this bridge open.....

....And all the traffic on the biggest bridge in Rotterdam stopped because of that one little boat!!