So they told us that cultural shock would be worse coming back than going to Uganda. So far I believe it. It's hard getting back into the rythm of things, but it's all good, and I'll get the hang of it. One thing that's been fun and a little frustrating is I think I've had a little insomnia lately. I only slept 2 hours (naps here and there) in 50 hours. It's frustrating being exhausted and coming close to falling asleep but not quite making it. It's fun when I wake up from those short naps, cause I feel really anxious or stressed and immediately think in Dutch, "where am I again?"
Sunday was probably the hardest day of my life. Seeing people again was awesome, saying goodbye to people was hard, saying goodbye again to Holland is also hard. At Church I chatted with an older lady who we used to eat with. She told me that she doesn't want to live anymore. After Church I chatted with someone we baptized, he's had a major case of depression for the past year and can't get out of it. He says his desire for life just isn't there, he still has a testimony and comes to Church still, but he's having problems with everything, and depression isn't helping. The last person I saw was a girl I baptized. One of my most special memories on my mission was with her, we had so many great appointments. Well she told me she doesn't believe in the Church, Joseph Smith, or the Book of Mormon anymore. It hurts so bad.
So last week Thursday Harry picked me up from the airport and I rested at his place for a couple hours and then went out with the missionaries, visiting old investigators, they're going to try to start teaching them again. I got to visit with Br. Stewart. He still loves Iowa! How could somebody not?!!! He hasn't even been there, but ever since he was little he's always loved Iowa. Friday I had a great day with Br. Harry. We spent the day in Aachen, seeing where the old Holy Roman Empire capital used to be. We ran into the missionaries. It's so funny, we ran into the missionaries in Uganda several times, I ran into them in Madrid and Sebastian, ran into them in Den Haag, and then again in Aachen. Sunday was one of the hardest days of my life, Friday was one of the most special. I think it's natural for missionaries to feel like failures if they don't baptize. You feel like you didn't help the ward grow and almost like you may have not been worthy for Ensign-like missionary stories. I had those-type feelings on mission about Eindhoven, the only city I didn't baptize in. Driving back from Aachen we had a good conversation about things and then he talked about a member in the Church who he gives a ride to, who has a bad leg. I remembered that my last week in Eindhoven we found a person with a bad leg. So when we got to Eindhoven we went to visit him. Holy cow it was him!! It was so nice to see him, that he's doing great, goes to Church and all. We were driving to the station and then I remembered an investigator I wanted to see. So we went to see him and then we crossed an intersection and I asked how Freda and Collins were doing. He said that Collins got baptized and they both moved to England. Harry also told me that Job Vogels got baptized. So three people that I taught or found in Eindhoven got baptized. Of course I learned several new lessons about missionary work that day, but more important, I felt one of those tender mercies of the Lord and that He does love us and watches over His Church everywhere. Special.
Saturday I spent the day visiting old investigators and members in Heerenveen, way up north in Friesland. I biked 10 kilometers to visit some people and then it started raining...hard. "Lekker Hollands Weer" is what they always say (Nice Dutch weather, or kinda typical Dutch weather). It was fun experiencing that again...the whole day. I went with Swently to a young men's activity, bought lots of chocalate, visited more people, and then ate with Ludmila, Sulli, and Swently (a family we taught), had a short spiritual thought, family prayer, and then we slept downstairs and watched Spiderman 3! Sunday I was in Leeuwarden and luckily it didn't rain the whole day like it did Saturday.
I think Monday was the longest day of my life, up at 5:30 in the morning, so 9:30 PM Sunday night Utah time, and then arrived in Provo midnight Monday. About 25 hours of sunlight! It was fun being called Elder Beck again, I miss that. It was fun being in the airport and noticing again all the English being spoken around me, and seeing how Americans are fat. So in Holland you generally have to pay to use public restrooms. Yeah, that's not cool, but the restrooms there are so much cleaner generally than restrooms here.
So yeah, I'm sad to be back, but also excited and anxious to do things.
I forgot to mention a couple weeks ago a neat experience I had my last day at the Crane School. The kids really wanted to see my pictures from Gulu, Northern Uganda. They especially wanted to see pictures of the people up there. It's interesting how curious they are about other people in their own country. To me they are all the same, but they see people from other tribes differently. I showed them pictures and pointed out to the kids that they have a nose, mouth, ears, and eyes, and so do the Acholi people. I tried showing them that even though their tribes fought a war for 20 years, they are the same as them.
When I said goodbye to a kid there he said, "Kasey, when you are president of America and a country comes to beat Uganda, you come and help." LOL.
Hopefully my blog entries won't be boring for now on.
This is in the internal displaced person's camp in Northern Uganda. This place was the worst poverty I've ever seen, and it's a lot worse in other camps I hear.
This kid loved playing with my shoes and legs...and leg hair (ouch). I've never seen an African with leg hair, so naturally they think it's really odd, along with white skin. Kids try to rub the white off.
This is the women's grassroots development group. We gave them all Starburst, and they loved it! I'm trying to get their organization a computer, so if anybody knows where I can find one, let me know.
This is another women's group that protects vulnerable children. They need a camera and a computer. With a camera they can have someone arrested who beats their kids by taking pictures of the scene when they show up.
So the girls and I cut Kindra's really curly hair. So we thought a glued on French mustache would look good on me. I'm thinking about growing one out now...or not.
This is Hamis. This guy is one of the biggest studs I've ever known. He is Honorable Fred's assistant and did so much for arranging me to come to Parliament. We gave "Leadership and Self-Deception," "Anatomy of Peace," and the Book of Mormon to read. He wants to start a NGO with me that teaches principles of peace to schools, families, and communties from those books. Soon he'll probably want to get baptized too. He's also trying to come to BYU's Business School. I'm going to look into scholarships for foreigners, if anybody knows any info that would help, let me know.
The Nile! In the background is an island where lives a guy, who people say, can walk on water.
HA! We played red light, green light with these kids. It's so fun watching 300 some kids running toward you.
Teaching business class.
Cute kids at Crane School
My funky tan. Some of that is dirt too.
These kids were fetching water at the well down there, when I pulled out my camera they all ran toward me. I usually tried taking somewhat interesting pictures with kids. Here, they are all flexing their muscles.
Grabbing the bull by the horn. Not really, though. Cause I'm not grabbing the horns. And it's not a bull.
Coming back from Parliament in Kampala. I think I look like a missionary.