Sunday, July 27, 2008

Elder Kent and Parents from Everett, Washington

Inge Palanveng & Elders at Baptismal

Enduring to the End of His Mission

We witnessed a great baptismal experience yesterday. Elder Kent was ending his mission last Wednesday. A lady that he and Elder Patrick had been teaching had postponed her scheduled baptismal date and it appeared that Elder Kent would leave without seeing Inge (Inga)Palanveng baptized. Then on Monday she told them that she had received a spiritual confirmation that she needed to be baptized on Saturday. The great thing was that not only would she be baptized, but Elder Kent's parents had come to pick him up and were able to return from Belgium for the service last night. It was great to see Elder Kent and his proud parents at the meeting, where his companion Elder Patrick baptized Inge. Then his morning Elder Kent and parents went to church with Inge and he confirmed her to be a member. What a great way to serve and to endure to the end. This was the fifth baptismal that we have attended in the past month. There was a mother and three daughters baptized at one baptism in the other Rotterdam Ward two weeks ago. The work goes on and it is great to see these fine people join the church. We love being a part of it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kinderdijk Molens (windmills) Pictures

Kinderdijk Molens (windmills) Visit

Last Wednesday, July 16th, we went to the world famous windmill site called Kinderdijk. It is a wonderful place and is only 20 minutes from our apartment. It has 19 windmills situated close to each other along some canals and the river. They form an impressive symbol of the struggle of the Dutch against the ever threatening water. They were built in 1738 to 1740, and stand as a living monument of the protective measure used to protect the land from flooding. Their former function has been replaced by modern pumps, but there is a working model that we toured. We had a wonderful time with the young missionaries and Elder & Zuster Crowther. One of the pictures shows our District group (minus 2 sisters, who couldn't make it). Other pictures show the many windmills.

Lunch Time at Zone Conf. (huge Dutch sandwich)

Zone Conf. Lesson on Faith (The Last Crusade)

We had a Multi-Zone Conference in Apeldoorn on July 9th. We learned some great things there and the spirit was so strong. We would like to share with you some of the presentation of our great Mission President, Paul Woodland, on faith. He said that faith is confidence of trust, action, a state of being, no fear, firm of mind and that it is a process. He then showed a video clip of the Indiana Jones movie, "The Last Crusade". It depicted Indie and his father inside the cavern where they were looking for the Holy Grail. He was forced into helping the bad guys find the grail. There are several things that he had to do. Picture in your mind Indie heading towards the precipice that had to be crossed to find the grail. He had to follow the same steps that we must follow to exercise our faith. 1. He was placed in a position to help because of the love he had for another (his father). 2. He had hope, faith and belief. 3. He had to know the map or guide book (scriptures for us). 4. The penitent man kneels before God (we have to kneel before God while repenting). 5. He followed the footsteps of the name of God (we must follow the word and name of Christ), and walk in the word of God. 6. He had to prove himself and take a leap of faith from the cliff, believing that the invisible path or bridge was there. He was willing to give his life for his father (we must have faith and go forward, relying on the word of Christ). He achieved the goal and saved his father (we can save others through faith and obedience). It was a very effective teaching tool and certainly held our interest. We love going to these conferences and learning and preparing ourselves to do the work more effectively.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Very Exclusive Apartments with what looks like a log cabin on top (typical of unique buildings we see here).

Believe it or not, this is 185 Euros or $296

Honesty in Rotterdam

We have just experienced an amazing event here. We had to go through a procedure to become registered as legal resident aliens, that involved a lot of paperwork and payment of fees. We assembled all the documents and the money and put it all in a large folder. We wanted to make sure that we had everything together. I should have separated the money out, but didn't. We hand delivered the paperwork and I pulled out the 100 Euro bills that were inside for the fee. I thought that I had put 7 bills into the folder, but only found 6. Well, I pulled another from my wallet and paid the fee of 662 Euros (or 1.6 x 662 = $1,060). We left and felt good that our papers were submitted, but wondered about the possible missing money. A few days later we received a call from a Dutch brother that had facilitated our paperwork and had written a cover letter on behalf of the church that was part of the packet of papers. He had received a call from the City Hall telling him that they had found a 100 Euro bill with the papers. They asked him if it had been left there accidentally, or was it put in as an incentive (bribe) for faster handling? He told them that it was definitely not put in as an incentive, and that he would call us and inquire if we were missing some money. So, the end of the story is that we got the 100 Euros back from the City and were amazed and pleased that the employee was so honest and caring. They could have easily kept the money. We were grateful and impressed with the honesty.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We call this a "Roller Skate Car", one of many small interesting cars here.

Street & Bike Path in Business Area

Roads, Bike Paths & Sidewalks

Now that we have been here for two months, I have decided that you should know something about the unusual roads, bike paths and sidewalks here in Nederland. The Dutch have left enough room in the space between buildings for cars, bikes, and pedestrians, and may even add a tree lined island in between. In the photo you can see the way it is set up across from our apartment. From right to left: sidewalk, bike path, one way traffic, tree lined island. Out of sight is a repeat of that going the other direction. This is an exception, some other streets are so narrow that you have to pull over to let on coming traffic pass. Oh, horses come along occasionally (police or just riders)and travel in the bike lane too. When there is parking on only one side of the street, you can parallel park facing either direction. It is amazing to see the small spaces that some people squeeze their cars into (we think some push the car in sideways). Also, it is not uncommon to see two wheels up on the sidewalk. Many intersections have round-abouts instead of stop signs. All traffic has to slow down, but all cars must go around at least one curve before proceeding. There is always one through direction of traffic, the others have to pause and feed into the circle. It is really quite efficient. Also, usually at other intersections without the round-about or traffic light, you just slow down and proceed when its safe. The person on the right has the right of way. Mix into all of that the fact that bicycles have the right of way, and you had better be watching the bike paths as well as the traffic lanes. Then there may also be the Tram (street car) or bus. Some of the bike paths have their own traffic lights. Oh, there are 20 million bikes in the Netherlands. You have to watch the signs along the streets, because many places require you to pay for parking. You have to find a parking ticket dispensing machine, put in a credit card and select the time that you need. A ticket is then printed out and you place it in the car window. The end time must be visible. The fines are heavy if you over-stay. The freeways have some great interchanges that rival the US, but then again you may suddenly come upon a traffic light on a lessor freeway. The exit and merge lanes are quite small at the start, but they quickly widen and usually give plenty of time to move over and exit. There are also controlled signs overhead on the freeways. When traffic is heavy the speed limit for each lane is posted at some lower speed. There are also notices of traffic delays listed on the signs. All in all you see very few accidents here. End of discourse, I just wanted to share this part of our adventure with you.