The name of the game this week was service, service, service. We're technically supposed to have a few service hours a week, but our mission usually has a hard time finding people who will let us help them. This week was an exception, and we jumped on all the chances we got.
It all started last Monday evening, when Elder Rodriguez and I tried going to FHE at the church. We walked out of the apartment to find nice weather, then turned the corner to wait at the bus stop. After three or four minutes, Hurricane Katrina hit Namur and a wave of rain swept through the city. We found a doorway to stand in and partially protect us, and we laughed at all the people who were trying to run home soaking wet. The streets started to flood and cars had to start driving at walking speed with their hazard lights on. We missed the bus because of the rain, so we ended up walking to the church and air dried during FHE.
Because of the nice flooding in the region, we received a call the next morning from an older lady in the ward, who asked us for help since her entire basement flooded and everything inside got soaked. So, after district meeting, the four of us suited up and headed over to her house to do some cleanup. We spent a few hours bringing everything out of a corner room in the basement and drying the water until all the moisture was gone. We started patting each other on the back after a job well done, when the lady came up from behind and dumped a big bucket full of water and chemicals onto the nicely dried ground. She explained that she wanted everything clean as well, so we got back to it, did everything a second time, and were rewarded with a nice meal.
After we finished and put everything back, the lady told us that if we didn't come back the next day to do the rest of the basement, everything would be ruined. We agreed to do the rest, and came back the next day.
Friday morning rolled around with a phone call from another member family asking for help moving. It just so happens that moving is our specialty, so we suited up for the third time and helped out. After three days of lifting heavy things for multiple hours, our arms have gotten huge! Watch out.
Sunday happened to be ward council, so a bunch of extra people came to church and the missionaries were asked to make some authentic American brownies for the meal afterwards. We couldn't find all the ingredients we needed but we made some dang good brownies considering the meager circumstances.
A few weeks before I got to Namur, Elder Rodriguez and his old companion, Elder Smith, were interviewed by the newspaper and were followed around for a chunk of the day. Thanks to the article that came out soon afterward, people will often say things like, "Hey! I saw you in the newspaper! I'm not interested, but I really respect what you guys do. Right on." Last night was no exception, and a sweet guy ran out of his yard as he was gardening to talk to us. He told us all about how cool Salt Lake City is and the genealogy archives. I'll never cease to be surprised by how many Europeans have been to Salt Lake and Utah. It's like their vacation consists of New York, Las Vegas, temple square, then national parks in Utah. In a single night back in Strasbourg, we talked to two families who had been to the visitor's center in St George.
In between service and meetings we also contacted and knocked on doors, but all we've got for now are a bunch of potentials. We'll call them up and see what we can do.
(here are some photos from Trevor's last area of Lille sent to him by his old companion, Elder Tai. He will be securing a new camera this week. Yay!)