September 09, 2013

... But It's So Underground You've Probably Never Heard of It - Week 55

Elder Wood and I were the most hipster companionship of the whole mission last Monday, as we dedicated the entire day to finding the most underground things to do in the city of Brussels. For example, everyone here knows about the famous naked baby statue called Manneken Pis (in Dutch), le Petit Julien (in French) or Little Man Pee (in English) but not everyone knows about the SECOND one tucked away in a corner called Janneken Pis. It's one of those things that you have to know where it is if you want to find it. Also, we spent our time perusing secondhand stores and record shops. I got threatened by a drunk man holding a screwdriver the wrong way up to my chest, but that was about as exciting as it got.

Harry Potter continued at district meeting on Tuesday with the Tri-wizard tournament. The events included turning in the best piece of garbage found on the street (extra points for presentation), name the hymn, question and answer, and a scavenger hunt. The sisters won for Gryffindor, of course. 

We've been spending a good amount of time in the train station recently for some reason, and there's a really interesting phenomena that happens with missionaries. First, put name tags on two young men wearing shirts and ties. Next, place these two young men in any train station, store or metro station, and suddenly everyone assumes they're experts on Belge transportation, produce, and bus lines. If we stand in an open area, a line accumulates in front of us in minutes. "No, sir, we don't work here ... I'm afraid you'll have to go ask the help desk over there . . . . . actually ma'am, this is the first time I've been in this store as well." Sometimes they get slightly angry and threaten to tell our employers that we should really be more knowledgeable. "Well, sir, I'm afraid talking to our employer would involve prayer, which is actually what we're inviting you to do."

We went on exchanges on Saturday, so I worked with Elder Davis for the day. We wandered onto a street with a relatively high concentration of African families from the Congo and decided to contact a man walking towards us. As we were talking to him, others stopped to listen to what we had to say, so Elder Davis and I split up and flew solo to divide and conquer. One guy was so excited that he took the Book of Mormon out of my hand and said, "I apologize, but I'll be taking this. Come over to my house on Tuesday and talk to my family." The Congolese sure love hearing the word of God.

On a continent with no air conditioning, desk fans become a necessity in hot weather. Early in the week, our single fan broke. Seeing how large of a problem a lack of a fan would be to us, Elder Wood and I grabbed a screwdriver and had the fan in pieces across the floor in minutes. Not surprisingly, it still didn't function when we put it back together, and we had to suffer for a few days. On Friday, we went to teach my favorite family, the Sanfts, and they had a shiny new fan in the corner of the room. Elder Wood asked them where they had purchased it, and instead of answering his question, they just gave us their fan. We got back to the apartment with fan in hand and received a hero's welcome from the other two Elders. Last time, the family gave us an entire apple pie. They're just fantastic.

During a dinner appointment this week, we were eating our food and chatting with the American family when one of their young daughters yelled over to me from across the table, "You eat like a french person! Aren't you from America?" I'm not exactly sure what that entails, but I guess at least one french thing rubbed off on me.

Alright, I'd like to finish up today with a story from another mission. Elder Wood got an email today from his friend in Brazil, and I thought it was good enough to share with you all:

"Quick story about fasting, there was a companionship in another zone here who was teaching a young woman but her dad wouldn't let her get baptized, so the missionaries fasted with her to soften the heart of her dad.  Well it was softened, a lot, he had a heart attack the next day and died, she was baptized the following Saturday."

Wilson's wise words of wisdom for the week: Be careful what you pray for.

Elder Wilson

The Sanft Family, the ones that gave us their new fan. They know I will be transferred next week and they wanted a picture of us all together. 

The garbage that Elder Ensign found was a small motorized motorcycle for children. He dressed up as Hagrid and rode in on it.