Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 102: "You knew the end would come the day you signed up."

May 25, 2015

Is this real? This past week, we had interviews with President and Sister Robinson, two people who I have grown to love so much over the past two years. In my interview with Pres. Robinson, I walked in, and when it started he says, with a little laugh, "well, Elder Bonney, don't tell me you never thought the end would come. You knew the end would come the day you signed up." "Yeah, I guess that that's true. It just kind of sneaks up on you, though."

This will be my last time emailing from the Netherlands. On Thursday morning, I'll board my plane back to America. Next week, I plan on sending one last email (so don't freak out yet). Then, this journey will have to make way for a new one.

My last full week was a good one - full of good, old missionary work. Elder Byers and I kept ourselves busy, talking to a lot of people about our message. We were actually stopped while in the centrum the other week by a reporter for the local newspaper, the Brabants Dagblad. He wanted to interview us sometime so that he could write an article on what we do. So, on Tuesday, we met him in a café and were interviewed. (I made it to the top! It's the beginning of a life of fame.)The article was published on Thursday, and you can read it online here: 

In my opinion, it's pretty well written...besides the bad photo and the one time I was quoted out of context (it was bound to happen). The reporter asked me if we're here to "convert people from other faiths." I laughed and responded, with the mindset of "we don't convert, the Spirit does," saying something along the lines of "na, converting people is much too difficult! Impossible, even. We just share information with others and invite them to try certain things so that they can find out the truth for themselves and see what it can mean for them." What ended up in the paper: "but they aren't here to convert people of other faiths. Elder Bonney laughs: 'much too difficult.'" And that's all that was quoted. Oh well...a life of fame has its downsides. On the plus side, we have had people around who recognize us from the paper, so that's pretty cool.

I have to admit something. For the past few weeks, I've kind of let myself go, trying to enjoy the best of Dutch food and delicacies before I head out. Pannenkoeken, stroopwafels, Belgian waffles, fries, Indonesian food, all kinds of Dutch pastries... the list goes on. I'll miss the food here, it's true. But, it will probably be good when I stop my binge of eating enough to feed a small family.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Last Wednesday, the legendary Harry van de Sande (the 84-year old sidekick to the Eindhoven missionaries, remember?) came to work with us here in Tilburg. It was good to work with him again. He inspires me. He went to a few appointments with us, and he contacted with us in the centrum, too. It's funny -- it's hard for people to be rude to such an old, short, nice-looking guy as Harry. In general, people were a lot nicer to us that day. I will miss Harry -- he's become a great friend.

Something I've been forgetting to write about is our Chinese investigator, Aimee! She lives in... Beijing! Cool, huh? Her boyfriend is a member here in Tilburg, and we teach her once a week via Skype at his place. Because there are no missionaries in China (besides Hong Kong), the missionaries started teaching her a few months ago. She's an incredible investigator, and it's always fun to teach people with really thick Chinese accents. :) She should be moving to Tilburg in a few months, and I have no doubt that she'll be baptized soon after. She has made amazing progress over the past couple months. I'm going to miss teaching her -- it was fun. The best part about teaching people from countries with little exposure to religion is that it's almost like teaching a child -- you start and build from the ground up. Aimee is a great student, too, which helps a lot. And she questions things, which is good -- she questions certain things, but always stand open for the Spirit, which confirms our words or answers her questions. It's been a great experience.

Yesterday was my last Sunday in a Dutch-speaking unit (at least, for a while). I showed up, and a member from Lelystad, Christiaan, had come down to see me, which was a cool surprise. But when I walked into the chapel, who else did I see but...Elder Price's parents! The parents of my MTC companion, who was in the neighborhood for all my transfers in Eindhoven and Alkmaar. Nothing slaps you in the face with "face it, you're going home" like seeing another missionary's parents. They were here seeing a few things before picking Elder Price upon Wednesday, and they decided to go to church here. Go figure.

The primary gathered together dandelions and put them in a cup for me. That was a nice going away present... Haha. I will miss this little branch. I've really come to love them. Yesterday evening, we were at our regular Sunday dinner appointment, and the family had prepared me a "funeral dinner," since I was going home. It was super fun (and the food was great). I was sad to leave. I hope that I can see all these people again someday.

It's time to go. I'm going to miss this, but life moves on. That said, this country will always have a little spot in my heart. I'll write one last time next week. For now...I'll see you on the other side.
-Elder Bonney

At a park, dramatically contemplating life after the mission. 

With the members who prepared me my "funeral dinner" -- Pirousjka, Zakiya, and Darinusjka. Gonna miss the three amigas.

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