Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The End.

Well, I planned on making this email a lot longer initially, but a very cruddy day has put a stop to those plans. I have a few minutes, but I won't be able to say as much as I wanted.

I'm currently in the Mission Office, trying to keep my cool. This week has been nothing short of stressful; I'm so shaken I feel like I'm writing differently than normal. 

I had a lot of late nights, but managed to do some good work despite our heavy load of member appointments. I really would love to tell you more about my last week, but I'm afraid my lack of time is going to cut that short.

I would like to say one thing before closing off this email. I've specifically avoided doing the whole "preachy-missionary" emails, but I'm afraid you're about to get one. Hear me out!

I think that many of you reading this blog are not members of the church. Don't worry, that's okay. I'm not going to yell about you all being baptized and coming to the only true and living church on the earth. I could do that, but my focus is somewhere else. I want to talk specifically about The Book of Mormon. I encourage you all to read it. The lessons I have learned (and taught) on my mission have convinced me of its authenticity and its importance for every person currently living on earth. I believe in The Book of Mormon, that it is the word of God, and that's why I'm here. If you don't have a copy, ask a friend, or me. I'm sure most members would be MORE than willing to oblige. Read it, ponder its message, and then pray to God (whether or not you are sure He exists) and you will receive an answer. An answer and a joy like nothing you knew existed. The comfort of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a big one. Give it a shot. I dare you!

Okay, I'm going to end it here in order to finish my legality crap. I'll post a few pictures when I get home.

See you soon!

Elder (last time I'll write that) Shaw

Monday, May 23, 2016

So Little Time, Mountains of Work.

​This week was cool. Starting with last P-day, we went out for an activity with the ward. It was a big picnic! We had a good time playing games and goofing around with everyone. Then Timo went and ran us through some rugby conditioning drills. We were sore for multiple days.

We finally got to do some teaching this week! We had an awesome time with it actually. It felt good to be a little bit busy. Don´t get me wrong, most of our appointments still fell through. It´s an odd thing. People say that the Dutch always say what they´re thinking and always keep their appointments. I´ve seen a different side of the Dutch on my mission. Despite what they'd like to believe, they´re just like everyone else.

Well, I gave my "going away" talk yesterday. It was pretty cool, then afterwards we got swarmed by people trying to get appointments for this coming week. It made me feel really good about myself. I really hope I have helped the ward in some way. I really like them a lot.

Well, I´m keeping it a little short; I have a lot to do today! Goodbye!

Look at all the Ryans!

A castle!

Black swans \m/

Wet with cat.
Love you!

Elder Shaw

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

´Til the Storm Passes By

These emails keep getting more and more difficult to write. I feel like I´ve been doing them for so long that it just becomes a repetition of the same jokes over and over again. Heck, I wouldn´t be surprised if I had written this already. Or that!

Our week was funky. We didn´t teach very much, in fact. It was one of those weeks where you look back and go "What did we actually do?" I know we were outside working. But I don´t recall much coming from it. It doesn´t help that I was on exchanges for two days of this week. I spent a decent amount of time in different cities.
A fun observation about one of those exchanges-- we did a TON that day. We were just running from appointment to appointment in Heerlen. One of the missionaries there, Elder Stanworth, has become a very good friend.

Actually, I just realized. For the two investigators that were taught this week, I was in a different city. I didn´t teach an investigator in my own area! That´s really weird.

You want pictures? I have a few from this week. It´s about all I have really.

Mr. Drink!

You can´t see it super well because they scattered once we got close. It doesn´t help that Elder Drinkwater was going out of his way to scare them. BUNNIES!

Graffiti walls. My favorite!

Vegan Power!

There was a "big" jazz festival in Denbosch. There were a few small stages set up all around the city center. Elder Drinkwater and I lingered for a second to watch these cats play. It can only be called jazz in loosest of terms. Blues pentatonic scales and 4/4 timing aren´t really the most jazzy things in the world. They are Dutch; they are doing their best.

Our favorite part of the week, Numbers!

I´m hungry; Imma go get some brunch!

Love you!

Elder Shaw

Monday, May 9, 2016

Death Row

I feel like I´m walking it. The reality of coming home is setting in, and it´s that time of panic! Am I afraid to die?  Nah, I don´t think so. But like most people it´s not something I spend a ton of time looking forward to. The circle of life! 

I got some sun this week! And it was nice and warm! It would have been fabulous had I not been sick. It´s probably actually allergies, but it has been very disruptive. I haven´t been able to sleep very well, so I´ve been operating on very little sleep, a small appetite, and a crap ton of enthusiasm. It should be better this week though. I´m feeling better today.

We´ve been having a little trouble these few weeks. We want to find more investigators and get the ward more involved with them. Wards need to see that the missionaries are working as hard as they can; it helps them have faith in the work. Sadly, I feel like we have so little to show for the work we put in. We can´t get people to church. We are having trouble even getting scheduled lessons! I want the ward to feel like the work is moving forward, and know that we really can help people be happier, but it´s a little difficult at this point. We just have to keep pushing. Something will break and this ward can see miracles and come closer together. 

I should apologize. I don´t actually have any pictures this week. It was beautiful, but my mind was elsewhere... (and I was sick).

There will be pictures next week! I promise!

Love you!

Elder Shaw

Monday, May 2, 2016

One thing I will not miss is Dutch weather. This last week was very frustrating. We've had these really annoying days full of rain for an hour, then clouds and wind and cold for two hours, and then sun for fifteen minutes. Wash, rinse, and repeat. It wasn't the best.

One cool thing from this week was that we went to Nijmegen for Kingsday. I sent some pictures from Kingsday last year, and I have a few more. It´s basically when the entire country celebrates the King's birthday. Wouldn't that be nice? An entire country selling off all the old junk they don´t want in honor of your birthday? "Hey, it´s the King´s birthday tomorrow! We can finally get rid of all our baby clothes!" 

"Man, what are we going to do with this computer from 2003?" "Isn't it the Kings birthday next week?" "Perfect!" 

Yeah, I don´t get it either. Traditions are the most bizarre things. Every culture has them. Wanna know another Dutch one? You congratulate everyone at a birthday party. I mean everyone. "Wow, our friend-in-common is one year closer to death, Congratulations!"

One tradition which I consider pretty intelligent is in almost every Dutch bathroom I've been in...or.. toilet. The bath and shower are almost never in the same room (also not a bad idea). Anyway, every Dutch toilet has a little calendar hanging on the wall. What is on this calendar? The birthdays of everyone you know! What a interesting country. It seems like life revolves around that annually changing number that is your biological existence. They also throw big parties for people that turn 50-- calling them Abraham or Sarah respectively. I think that´s disrespectful to Abraham. He had a full 49 years on you, and that was when he was told he would have his first child! HE had plenty more fruitful years in him. Your 50 pales in comparison!

Okay, comedy rant over. Obviously I don´t have many stories from the week. I have some pictures.

Kingsday crew!

What´s a gathering of missionaries without a self-taken-photograph? (Avoid that "s" word)

Elder Morrel and I got into a little tiffy about the correct way to deconstruct our stand (which was better suited for selling Snow-Cones than sharing the gospel, honestly).
I love you all; have a good week.

Elder Shaw

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ik blijven.

Guess what!?! I´m staying in Den Bosch with Elder Drinkwater for my last transfer. We´re going to keep on keeping on! I am very excited! More exclamation points! More! If you can´t tell I´m quite happy that I didn´t get transferred. This (my last) transfer is actually only five weeks long as compared to the normal six. Five weeks in a new city would not have been ideal.

It was a decent week. Lots of knocking. It actually turned sunny and warm a few days ago, but changed back to dismal, dreary, and downright cold. It happens.

A few cool things. Elder Drinkwater and I did a lot of cooking this week. We baked a cake for our district, baked slutty brownies (yes, wonderful name) for a family, made curry for an inactive member, just.... yeah. I really enjoy cooking. Look out, ladies!

Yeah, I think that´s about it for the day. I don´t feel like typing anymore! You´ll see me soon enough, anyway! Pieces of trash. You´ve just been home doing your garbage while I´ve been here saving the world. I might as well just stay here and make all of you miss me even more as pay back...HAH!

I have a few pictures!

This is my eggie... Todd. I put him in brownies.

Goslings. I named them all Ryan.

I love you!

Elder Shaw

Monday, April 18, 2016

Chicken Poop.

Yeah, it has a story; I´ll get there in a second.

I am feeling more and more tired as my mission starts to draw to a close. I feel like it is impossible to get enough rest. We are as busy as two little beavers could be. It feels good. Maybe I´ll finally be able to sleep on the flight.

We had a trip to temple this week; that was nice. After we were done there, we all went to Keukenhof, that Dutch Tulip-y garden thing. It was very busy, so touristy, and a decent time. I took a lot of pictures of the "show" flowers. Honestly, that was the only thing other than the petting zoo that really interested me. The rest of the gardens are pretty... artificial looking. They just look so pampered and controlled. It was nice, but I wouldn´t go out of my way to go again. However, I picked up a chicken! It scratched my face, called me names, and pooped on me. I think it´s safe to say we´re friends.

I also got really frustrated with some Christians of another denomination. They invited us in and proceeded to tell us off for not following the bible closely enough. Yeah. I was really done with them. Elder Drinkwater was much more patient than I was, and he kept it in control while my temper was flaring like the twin suns of Tatooine. I wanted to hop on out of there, but Elder Drinkwater took care of it all and it ended on a tentatively good note. Even after all this time I still struggle with my anger. We are just human.

One more little story: in the Netherlands everyone has a little luggage rack on the back of their bikes. They use them to carry their groceries and children and best friends. I went on exchanges on Tuesday in Eindhoven. The Elder working in my city accidentally took his bike keys with him. I had to ride on the back of a bike the ENTIRE day. Granted, no one really gives you a second glance here; it´s pretty common, but ALL DAY?! My butt was less than satisfied with the seating arrangements.



Some flowers.​

Oh yeah, Moestuintjes. They´re something from Dutch grocery that they do once a year in the spring. It´s a bunch of seeds and some little pots to plant them in. We can grow our own veggies and herbs. Missionaries go crazy for these.

Pronounced the same as Bossa Nova, but then having to do with Den Bosch. Good name for your boat, sir. I salute you.
Love you all!

Elder Shaw