It is amazing how much happens in a week even when you sit in an office every day. Maybe it's different here in the mission office. Now I'm really starting to wonder what Dad's day is like when he says "same stuff, different day" :)
Monday: Often the most exciting day in the office because the day is filled with meeting with President and Sister Bunnell. We talk a ton about the legal progress of all the "greenies" that just came in the last two transfers and the ones that will be coming soon, (like Elder Samuel Hunter from back home). We also talk about various assignments that we are working on or that he is going to give us for the coming week.
For example, I have started to update all the legal forms that we use to apply for the Netherlands's Visas and a few for Belgium and I've been working really closely with the church reps in South America to get some missionaries into the land from Brazil (this process is a huge pain in the rear) and the language barrier makes it kinda frustrating to deal with. Also to give you an idea of how long the process is for South American elders: Elder Bartolini flew in this Thursday after visa waiting for over 9 months!
Wednesday: First Brussels trip as an office elder! Per the norm, we got fries and waffles in the Centrum. The office elders get free waffles because we bring the big groups, so that's a plus :) As for the legal process, its not too difficult. Everything is done before hand so we show up and that's about it. This reminds me that soon ill have to be driving everyone to Belgium on these trips, and the mission van is a stick-shift. Do you remember the last time I tried to drive stick mom and dad? It was very bad... and so far its a slight bit better but not really. haha! Luckily we are getting a new mission van in a couple months!
Birthday! My last birthday in the Netherlands! I got lucky that Elder Bartolini flew in on the same day so President and Sister Bunnell were at the office on Thursday, and they took us all out to get dutch Pannekoeken (crepes) as celebration. They were delicious. But nothing beats movies with mom on my birthday. Thanks for the package! I still haven't made the cookies, but I'm sooo excited for them. I just need to find the time to make them. This week we were 9-9 almost every night at the office. Another thing that has helped me appreciate Dad is the the fact that I now know what its like to never be able to leave work behind. We get calls at 10 at night and on P-day that we have to respond to, but that's been dad for years now! I don't know how you do it!
Well I would tell you more, but the rest are just smaller things that wouldn't be interesting over email. I will end by talking about an experience i had this week, nothing big but very interesting to me. We got to see missionaries come (elder Bartolini) and unfortunately a couple of missionaries go (medical Issues). Looking back I learned a lot about life by observing these missionaries. Just like Elder Bartolini, we all come into this world excited to get work done and to achieve what we set out to achieve. and in my opinion what really determines the happiness and satisfaction of life is how we carry that enthusiasm into our lives. You can be excited, but what do you do about it? How are you spending your time? Are you busy becoming the best version of ourselves or just getting blown around in life? Answer those for yourself. Like the other missionaries that went home, we never know how long we have left to "perform our labors." As I watched these missionaries that when home I was incredibly impressed by them. I expected them to be kinda sad and down that they have to return, but both of these missionaries were just as happy as I had ever seen them. I know that it's because, in the time they did have, they gave everything they had and had no regrets. I hope that I have a few more days left in my life, and in that time I hope to live to where there are no regrets when the last day comes. To support this thought read Alma 34:32-33:
32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
Elder Talyon Anderson Perry