Thursday, April 09, 2009

Vilvoorde - part 2

This week I'm in Utah and so that is my excuse for not making regular posts. We are having very full days and so I have little time to update my blog. This week kind of evolved. At first we were just going to come up for conference and to go to my missionary reunion. Kira heard that we were coming and told us that she had an appointment for Evan at the Primary Childrens hospital and she asked if we would stay for her appointment. Of course we agreed. She decided to come down early and we all went to conference. Sharley's friend is getting married on Saturday and when Ben heard that we were going to be here in Utah he decided to come up with her. So today is Thursday and today Ben will get here and so five of our six kids are in Utah this week. I'll give you all a full update when we get home (Saturday) but for now you'll have to live with part two of Vilvoorde.


The Delange family had one son who was around nineteen. He never was too interested in the church but we became quite good friends. One night Elder Reber and I were sitting on our bikes outside a local pub looking at a map trying to decided what we should do next. A drunk came out of the pub and started harassing us. It was getting to the point that we were about to leave in order to avoid an incident when quite suddenly out of the dark came the Delange boy and nailed this guy so hard he hit the deck like a rag doll. We politely thanked the boy and quickly left the scene before we got in trouble.

Another time we were walking through the park surrounding our house and suddenly out of the bushes came flying dozens of the paper cones all aimed at us. The darts were followed by a bunch of local kids and they were shooting darts at us through plastic tubing that is normally used for electrical conduit in brick walls. The tubing is very similar to what we use for underground sprinklers. The paper cones are simply wrapped out of paper strips that they cut out of magazines. The darts fly very well and we got to the point that we could hit the flies on the walls of our apartment. I still have one today (the tube, not the fly).

On preparation days we would travel around Brussels catching all of the tourist sights. Perhaps the most unusual sight is Mannekin Piss which translates to pretty much what you might think it does. "Little man that pee's". I have seen pictures of this statue before but I had no idea he was in Brussels. You imagine this fancy statue on this very elegant looking fountain but in reality it is stuck on the corner of a very plain building and you would never know it was famous. What is funny though is that he is often dressed for any occasion that comes along. In this picture (pulled from the web) he is dressed as Santa Clause. I have also shown some pictures of the Grote Markt (Grand Market) which is down town Brussels. It is quite grand looking when you stand in the middle of this Market and look at the buildings that surround you. While I was in Belgium, Brussels celebrated their Millennium. Isn't that crazy, a city that is a thousand years old. It is difficult for Americans to imagine something like that.

I had two companions while in Vilvoorde. I sent Elder Reber home and when my new companion showed up I was quite surprised. It was Elder Davis again. I had him in Turnhout and now he followed me to Vilvoorde.When I got him this time he was a changed man. In Turnhout he worked and all but he didn't seem too energized. This time around he was ready to work. We had a great time. We were teaching a young man who lived on his own. When we first went into his apartment I was a little surprised by a poster he had on his wall. Most single guys would have a picture of scantily clad woman but this guy had a poster of the statue of David. You know the one where he has no clothes on? I dismissed the poster and we taught the guy several lessons. One day a man stopped us on the street and asked us if we were aware that the kid was gay and that everyone was beginning to think that we kept going there for less than pure purposes. We didn't want to just dump him if he were truly sincere so we decided to challenge him to baptism and see if he was serious or not. First I wanted to confirm the rumors and I remembered that he wore a necklace with the greek letter lamda (λ) on it. I wondered if this might a symbol of homosexuality so the next time we were there I asked him about his necklace. He told us that it was indeed a symbol of homosexuality. Shortly after that we challenged him to get baptized. He actually accepted. I was transferred shortly afterward so I never did find out what happened.

When I got my transfer notice I was told that I was going to Deerlijk and my companion was to be Elder Mont Miller. Elder Davis was giving me all sorts of pity telling me he felt sorry for me and that I was probably one of the few Elders in the mission who could get along with this guy. He prepared me by telling me that Elder Miller was one month behind him so they overlapped a month in LTM. Elder Miller showed up to the LTM wearing white socks and he had no toothbrush, shampoo or deodorant with him. He was forced to get dark socks and before they left for Belgium the older district gave him a present that included a toothbrush, shampoo and deodorant. I wasn't quite sure what to expect after that.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

WEll! I certainly learned more from this post than I have ever in my entire life. Who knew? The gay people certainly do have several symbols that they've taken as their own. Ie. The rainbow, colors, etc.

Very interesting mission stories Fred! I hope that guy that was hit on the head wasn't hit too hard. LOL!

Have fun with your kids! I think that is cool that you all ended up in the same place at the same time for various reasons.. Someone is looking out for you all. : D