Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Week 41: Brussels, Baby, Brussels!!!

Well, I am all settled in Brussels or Bruxelles, if you are French. Our apartment is on the 3rd story  and there isn't an elevator so our wonderful Zone Leaders carried my two ridiculously heavy suitcases up the stairs. My companion's name is Soeur McClaine, she is tall and beautiful and has Princess Aurora hair. We laugh a lot and it is a bit strange because we are kind of the same person, she even randomly hiccups like I do. She is older in the mission than I am, she is going home at the end of November. I actually have a senior companion, which is a change, it isn't much different than being co-companions actually but I was kind of excited to be a junior companion. Our apartment is so cute and homey. I think I'm gonna like it here!
There are two wards in Brussels, I am in Brussels 2, there are so many missionaries in our ward. There are the zone Leaders Elder Helvey and Elder Anderson, the District Leader Elder Canonica and his companion Elder Harivaa (They are Spanish and French speaking missionaries) There are two senior sister missionaries, they are both from Germany and are so cute. And there is the senior couple in charge of the Young adult center, the Halls. That's ten missionaries!! We see a lot more of them that's for sure, I love seeing missionaries around. Sometimes when I see missionaries I'm like, "Wow! Cool! Missionaries!" and then I remember that I am a missionary too. There are so many different cultures and languages and people here. Our ward is a French/English ward, so they give announcements and have different Sunday Schools for both languages. But there are also a group that speaks Russian and another that peaks Portuguese and another that speaks Spanish  Church was really nice but I had no idea what language to talk to people in, so I mostly smiled and nodded and said "Hello...Bonjour...uh, hi?" Everyone was very nice though. Our Bishop is Portuguese but he kind of reminds me of Cristiano Pina. Just nice and kind and European.

So many things happened this week that it is hard to remember them all. Thursday the 21st was the Belgian Independence Day, we went to see the military parade. We got some really nice spots right next to the street, there were lots of soldiers and police people hanging around. About the time the parade started it started raining and being the prepared people we were none of us brought umbrellas, so we got really wet. It was however worth it. We got to see the king of Belgium (Yes, Belgium has a king still). He is pretty old but he was stoically waving to everyone in the rain. There were lots of cool armored vehicles and big guns. They had airplanes fly over and I think some of them were from World War II, they were so cool, they sounded different than modern planes, I liked the old sound better. It of course stopped raining a little bit after the parade was over. It was a fun day, there were also some fireworks that woke us up at about midnight. I am glad that even though I missed Bastille Day in France I at least got to celebrate the Belgian National Holiday in Belgium. 

Before parade picture
Belgian soldiers have cool hats

After parade picture
We had some good rendez-vous this week, I am still figuring out who everyone is. Atanasu is Romainian and a very nice middle aged man. He is a semiprofessional chess player and is so humble and is looking for a change and some friends, and he came to church!! Ndaboli is African and has been prepared to talk to us, it was only the second rendez-vous he's had with us and he asked, "So I've read and prayed but I haven't gotten an answer yet, what is your advice?" We told him to keep at it because these things happen in the Lord's time and that it is when we are consistently reading an praying that the answers come. Rusty is from Eastern Europe too, I think. He is about 30 and really cool, he is studying all kinds of spiritual things and Christian Mysticism, I think is what he called it. I asked him who God was for him. His answer was interesting and there were a lot of similarities to what we believe, we gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet to read before our next lesson. He is fascinating to me. In the past five days I have met people that think so differently than I do, I think it is so wonderful. They have such a different way of seeing the world, and they have thoughts and ideas that never in a million years would come into my head. I think that is one reason this work is so wonderful, you get to meet and learn about and learn from so many different kinds of people. And Brussels is the perfect place to meet any kind of person you could hope for. I am really excited to be here. 
I love you all so very much!!
Soeur Gaelin Turney
P.S. Wednesday was my half way mark, I am on the downward slope, crazy!! 

Frère Lallemand. He is basically Tom in 30 years -- he wore that to Jean Baptiste's baptism.

Jean-Baptiste's baptism!!!!

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