May 20, 2013

Journey to the Promised Land - Week 39

I'm in Belgium! I'm also typing on an American keyboard, so it's going to take me awhile to re-learn. Slightly bothersome.

Getting to the promised land of Brussels was quite the experience. 

So on Tuesday, I said goodbye to Toul and stayed the night in Nancy with the zone leaders. Elder Reed and I had a train to catch at 8 in the morning to go to Paris, so we finished our bags and waited at the apartment door for the other Elders to come and help us carry our things to the train station. They were late getting ready though, which left Elder Reed and I to get to the train station on our own with all our suitcases. 10 minutes before the train was supposed to leave, we were sprinting through the city with our bags flying everywhere. At one point, while stopping traffic in the middle of the largest street in Nancy, I gave up trying to roll my suitcases and literally started throwing them to Elder Reed to get to the train on time. Sorry, suitcases. Through the station, people noticed we were a bit stressed and half a dozen of them grabbed our bags and helped us load them on the train. We barely made it. Hooray!

In Paris, we got off the metro just in time to see the 40 new missionaries fresh from the MTC walking in a herd toward the Paris chapel. (This is the biggest group yet!) It was quite the sight to see. With so many blues, I got to mother one of them, meaning I took him out to his first contacting session. Since it was his first day, I took him contacting past Notre Dame. We got back, all the blues were assigned to their trainers, and everyone left. (In France we call them blues and not greens.)

My plan was to go up to Brussels with my buddy Elder Dickson, who is training. Before our train, we took his blue to the Eiffel Tower as is tradition and headed back to the train station. This was difficult as well, since it was the three of us with nine full-size suitcases going through the Paris metro. I very nearly rolled down an escalator after all my bags tipped over and slid down. Let's just say that the whole station was staring at me. 

The problem with the metro was that the doors would open, everyone would rush on, and there wouldn't be enough space for our suitcases. By the time we got to the train station, we had to sprint again with all the suitcases to make the train. 60 seconds before it left, we got to the train, but they wouldn't let us on because we didn't have our tickets. The Elders with our tickets were already on the train, and we couldn't get in to retrieve them. With nothing else to do, I started sprinting up and down the platform like a weirdo, hoping they would see us through the window. It worked, they ran out with the tickets, we literally threw our suitcases on the train, and got in as the doors were closing behind us.

But transfers are fun! We sat down, dripping with sweat, and shared stories with the other Elders heading to Brussels over a loaf of banana bread.

I got to Brussels and met my new companion in time to go teach a Spanish and Russian. No, I do not speak either of those languages. I would say something in English which was then translated to Spanish by another Elder which was then translated into Russian by the investigator's friend. Brussels is crazy. I love it though, and I'm having a blast.

Since Brussels has a bunch of foreigners working at all the international buildings, our ward is pretty diverse. Yesterday at church, we had people from Belgium, France, Africa, Germany, Finland, and probably a few other countries. About half of the ward is American, which makes our proselyting area as perfect as any could get. Members all talk to us in English and give us a bunch of American food that no other missionaries can get. They feed us all the time and are willing to help. So, it's like an American ward. Then, we step outside, and we're in Belgium and everyone speaks Dutch and French. Plus, Belge people are nicer than French people. It's the perfect place!

So that's my adventure so far in the promised land. Just speaking French, learning Dutch, riding on metros, and living the missionary life. I'll update you more next week! Love from Belgium!

Elder Wilson

This is right outside our apartment

The dying day of Elder Dunn