September 20, 2010
Hello there family and friends,
Boo Boo, I saw your picture with John Bytheway – cool. That’s cool…did you get to talk to him at all? I heard you had a great time at EFY, but no details – how was it? How is school going? What classes are you taking? Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? Junior year can be tough but I know you’ll do great? What is new with boys? Any dates recently? How about the license? Will that happen anywhere in the next couple of years? What are you studying in the scriptures – in seminary? I would kill to be able to get back and re-do seminary! Mark up those scriptures eh! Are you, mom and dad hitting the gym? What is up with the gym? Is Ian still stopping by and eating a lot?
Well, here is what is going on here. Elder Johnson is a very funny guy! He is definitely a ‘country bumpkin’ l.o.l. he is a goofy guy in my opinion and he thinks he is a good dancer. When he thinks I am not looking he will “bust a move” it’s very entertaining. He reminds me of Mitch Thackeray – big buy. He thinks Danielle is pretty judging by the family pictures.
The city is beautiful here in Kortrijk, Belgium. It is wonderful! We see miracles every day! The branch here is tiny but lively at the same time. We probably have as many kids under 10 as we do adults over 20~ Lots of babies! It is your dream ward Danielle. They speak Flams here which is another dialect. It sounds a lot like French, just that they are using Dutch vocabulary; it is tough to follow. There is oh so much history here! The awesome cobblestone roads are everywhere. You hardly ever see a house built out of wood anymore – they are all brick. There are a lot of cars everywhere and this country was not built for cars, but somehow they manage to squeeze around all the buildings etc. It is scary though. It be honest the people are not as open here; I try to ‘speed talk’ through all of my contacts so they don’t have a chance to tell me they don’t believe in anything, or that they are Catholic; definitely two of their favorite responses “well…I’m Catholic soooo…” and then I don’t believe in God. I ask, “do you believe in your family…?” Them “no” oh “do you believe in yourself at least?” at which point the answer is pretty much 50/50 yes or no, it’s kind of sad to be honest.
The, you get the foreigners who say ‘yes’ to almost everything! I love them!!! There are a lot of African immigrants here! They are wonderful! What we hear from them is “Yes, I love Jesus Christ!” This is a wonderful area, I love it!
Now, a little bit about me. Yesterday was church and we miraculously had 5 (wow!) investigators in church, but in spite of this there was just one thing missing…our Branch President. Turns out that he was in a bike race. The church in Europe at its best…no really the church is good here! Because the Branch President wasn’t there things were not organized at all and we had to scramble to pick up the pieces, my companion and I ended up teaching the Young Men class, teaching our investigator class and then giving literally last minute talks in Sacramento meeting, crazy to say the least. It was good though. I spoke about how the Lord blesses us so abundantly and His hands are in our lives in so many ways and yet we are often caught in our ‘worldly cycle’ and don’t notice the blessings. I also talked about how we have to do our part to be worthy of these blessings as well. I shared D&C 130:20, 21. Then I gave a very long testimony …my companion helped out as well too.
I love my mission, I love the scriptures, I love my Father in Heaven, I love you too! Can’t wait to hear from you!
Elder Ryan Leash