Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 18: So I Guess Endives are a Belgian Thing

Hello and Happy Valentines Day!!!

The birthday party was a huge success, I must say that I love the movie Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. I thought it was a good movie before my mission but now it is one of my favorite movies, granted its is one of the few I can watch but it is a good one. Elder Weber is from Germany and we asked him what his favorite dessert was, he said apple strudel, which none of us knew how to make and were pretty sure we wouldn't be able to find. So we bought an apple tarte instead. It was good, but very different from apple pies in the US.

After the party we had Family Home Evening (FHE). It is held at the church and is supposed to be for the Young Adults but it is still new and so there are some not so young adults that come too. We were in charge of the lesson and we talked about tender mercies of the Lord, we read James 5:11, Psalms 145:8-9, and 1 Nephi1:20 and read some passages from Elder Bednar's talk. It was a good reminder to look for the tender mercies that are in my life every day. It is funny that when you look for them the more there are.
Wednesday night we had dinner with  Rita, she is so good to us. We ate endives, which I found out was the base of the soup she made us last week. This time,  there was an endive salad, uncooked endives in something that was probably mayonnaise, not my favorite, mashed potatoes, and another endive dish. If I understood her french correctly, you boil the endives, wrap them in sliced ham, pour a white sauce over it and cover it in cheese and put it in the oven. I liked it, though endives have a slightly bitter aftertaste I am not really fond of. I have been surprised by the food that the people here eat, I guess I've always thought of European food as bread and cheese and fruit, which is true, they do eat a lot of those. But they also eat a lot of dishes that are butter, cheese and meat, they taste good but are really heavy. It was definitely something I hadn't anticipated.
District meetings are on Thursday mornings, and I have to say that my district is amazing. Our lesson was on testimonies. Our district leader, Elder Hall, assigned a couple of us topics to share about. He asked me to talk about what it means to bare testimony. There is a phrase in true to the faith that sums it up really well, baring testimony is sharing the hope and assurance you have received from the Holy Ghost. We all shared our testimonies at the end. There is something amazing about missionary testimony meetings, that I don't think that you can find anywhere else, it is hard to explain but there is something different and wonderful about hearing missionaries testify.
After district meeting we went out for sushi because it was Elder Duarte's year mark, I like sushi.
Friday night is English Class, we usually teach Beauty before and Jacqueline after. Both are recent converts, Beauty is an African Young adult who is amazing, his name is pronounced bo-tee, and he got the priesthood last week and a calling this week. Jacueline is a middle age Belgian woman who loves Elvis and is really funny. Rita, Beauty and Jacquline were the only ones at English class. We taught about holidays and shared all of our favorite, Beauty likes Christmas as does Rita, Jacqueline said she doesn't like holidays and doesn't do anything for them. We asked her about Elvis' birthday and she decided that that was her favorite holiday.
This Sunday was a JA activity, that involved eating, a spiritual thought and a movie. All things that as a missionary I especially love. We volunteered to bring American cookies, Europeans love American cookies. We decided that in honor of Valentines's Day we would make sugar cookies. My wonderful sister Paige sent me a package that contained a heart shaped cookie cutter that inspired the operation. It is hard as a missionary  to plan in time to make cookies that need to be refrigerated for an hour, I discovered.We made the dough Friday, rolled, baked, and frosted them Saturday and took a huge tray of the finished product on the bus to church with us, it was quite and adventure. We watched The Best 2 Years. I see the movie differently now than I did before my mission, I can relate a lot more now, and it is a lot less far-fetched than I thought it was. It was a little weird because Belgium looks a lot like the Netherlands, and I could definitely relate to the train stations and stores. It was a lot of fun we have some pretty cool young single adults here.
And probably the coolest thing that happened was with Maurice, he is or only progressing investigator at the moment, and he finally came to church yesterday!! Maurice is from Camaroon and is a student and a soccer player, which is one of the reasons he has been having a hard time coming to church. But we had a lesson with him Saturday night about obedience and keeping the Sabbath day holy, and he said he would come, and he did. It was really cool because after the meeting Beauty and Amadu, another recent convert, talked with Maurice and we had a mini lesson in the foyer about prayer, and both Beauty and Amadu bore testimony about prayer and coming to church. It was so good.
Jacqueline made us food and brought it to church so we could eat it later, it turned out to be the same endive dish that Rita made us, uh...yay! It'll be good, there has just suddenly been a large influx of endives in my diet, and before a week and a half ago I didn't even know what an endive was.
Today we went and saw St. Paul's Cathedrale in downtown Liege. I really like Cathedrales, there was a group of art students drawing inside and it made me want draw too, I am going to have to comeback on a study abroad or during the summer and just draw, I have this internal conflict sometimes of wanting to draw and knowing I am supposed to be talking to people about the gospel. Ah well, c'est la vie. There was a huge painting of John the Baptist sprinkling Jesus with water, and both Soeur England and Soeur Williams didn't know what to think, they were incensed. It just made me laugh. I love how beautiful cathedrals are, but I always feel so loud when I move, I feel like I am stomping around. It did have some amazing stained glass windows.

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