Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

 Happy 4th of July! 
 Even for Americans living overseas, the day MUST be observed!
We decided to host a barbeque for the Hague Zone.  That included almost 30 elders and sisters.

Our super chef of the day was Elder Beckstrand.  He had everything under control, even for such a large group.  The apron adds just the right touch - don't you think?

Elder Hanks climbed the tree to hang the American flag.  Sister Hill was his back-up.

Before, during, and after our meal the young people enjoyed all kinds of sports - basketball, volleyball, and soccer to name a few.  The 4th fell on Monday, which is P-Day in our mission.  Hence, everyone is attired in casual clothing and loving the chance to play outside in the warm (but not too warm) summer sunshine.

These elders dug right in.  Elder Jones demonstrates the wacky side of these young men.  From left to right are Elders Schulte, Jones, Waldie, Staker, Hendrickson, and Benson.

And there are definitely roses among the thorns.  From the front:  Sisters Welch, Hill, Tanner and Harrington.  Elder Hanks and Elder Ellsworth chose the right table for the best scenery.

The die-hard players came late to the table, but they quickly made up for lost time.  Elders Brockbank, Leach and Favero are on the left side.  Elders  Crittenden and Bastien are facing the camera on the right, with Sister de Groot in front.  I couldn't make out the elder way on the end - he is more interested in his hamburger at the moment.  Who can blame him??

Elder Salden enjoys a BIG glass of red punch in a blue cup.  All of the paper goods were red, white, and blue.  You can't get more patriotic than that!

The elders went back to the court for after-dinner soccer.  They needed to run off some of those calories.

We just got cleaned up from the afternoon barbeque when it was time to put everything back out for the JoVo's.  Their Family Home Evening activity was also a 4th of July celebration.  After all - even Europeans should celebrate our Independence Day if they are members of the church.  Religious freedom was essential to the restoration of the gospel by Joseph Smith.  The young lady in the fore-front is Selina, who is visiting here from Argentina with her Aunt Estella.

I couldn't believe that Elder Schulte could possibly be hungry again, but we have learned that these missionaries can pack it away.  David (center) isn't very big, but you wouldn't know it from the way he eats.  It's probably a survival instinct.  This meal has to hold him until Wednesday, when he gets fed again before institute.

We enjoy these young people tremendously.  Kim Stigter (front, right) brought an American tourist with her to FHE.  Across the table from Kim is our JoVo President - Ramon Kaspers. 

Jacquelina Alsina-Santos is from Almere but will be moving to Groningen in August.  We'll miss her.

The Amsterdam Elders with David.  Elder Alexander is our district leader, but will shortly be leaving us.  He is being transferred to the office in Leiden next week.  Enjoy your freedom while you can, Elder.  Those office elders hardly see the light of day from their desks.

This young lady on the left is from Hinckley, Utah!  She's practically our neighbor in Millard County.  What a small world!  She could remember Helen from Delta High School.  We might even share relatives back a generation or two.  Many of Linford's ancestors came from the west side of Millard County.  Amy Howes is her name.  She's on a  4 week tour of Europe and just happened to meet Kim at church in Wassanar.  They hit it off and she decided to stay with Kim for the week and take advantage of the chance to have a personal tour guide of Holland. 

Roland helps himself to some baked beans.  He's not technically a young adult, but he comes every Monday night for Home Evening.  I think Elder Beckstrand has collapsed (with good reason.)  I wonder how many hamburgers and hot dogs he cooked today?

The rest didn't last long.  Here we see him carrying trays of cupcakes and brownies to the tables.  He doesn't want to take all of these goodies home.  We're gaining too much weight having all these treats around.

We were so lucky that a former senior missionary left red, white, and blue plates, napkins, and cupcake cups with Sister Salden.  (I wouldn't have known where to buy them).  They added just the right touch to our festivities.

One of the best things about Roland is his willingness to help.  He's always first in the kitchen after an activity to help wash up.  What a change the church has made in his life.  He was a convicted drug dealer who had done time in prison before he met the missionaries and was converted to the church.   Now he has a whole new direction for his life.  The gospel truly saves souls.

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