Monday, July 12, 2010

Veilig Terug

Well... my full-time mission has come to an end. I came home Thursday evening and since then it has been a roller-coaster of emotions. I miss the Netherlands and missionary work like crazy. But it's also nice to be home with my family. One thing is for sure--missionary work will always be a part of my life. I LOVE the gospel with all my heart! I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. My testimony is stronger than ever before. It has been an amazing experience to see others learn about the gospel and feel the love of their Savior. I hope you all get the chance to experience that someway in your lives. I finished reading the Book of Mormon at 5:40 in the morning in the mission home--and it was a beautiful experience to pray about it in the quiet hours of the early morning. I know that it is true. I've seen the Book of Mormon be a catalyst to change people's lives over the last 18 months--and always for the better. I encourage you all to continue reading in the Book of Mormon. If you don't already know for yourself that it is true, pray about it! I know you will get an answer and feel the Savior's arms around you. If you do already know it is true, pray about it anyway! It's such a wonderful personal experience every time that I would love you all to be able to have again. If you haven't studied Preach My Gospel yet, I encourage you to do so. It is pure revelation. I've seen the miracles that come from study and application of PMG in the last 18 months--and it's not just for full-time missionaries! Every member is a missionary. Thanks for all of your support, prayers, and letters over the last 18 months. I've appreciated it all. There is a lot more work to be done in the spreading forth in the kingdom of God, so let's all continue working with all our heart, might, mind, and strength (D&C 4:2). I love you all! I hope to see you soon.

I'll be reporting on my mission on July 18 at 9:00 am at 1030 S 900 W, Tooele, Utah. Afterwards there will be wat lekkers (refreshments) at my house. If you can't make it at 9:00, feel free to stop by anytime on the 18th and say hello.

Love ya! But more importantly, don't forget that there is a Heavenly Father who loves you so much more!
Chantelle Fowler

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Final e-mail

From e-mail dated July 5, 2010.

Note: Sorry for posting this so late. I've been at scout camp for the last few days. Chantelle get home tomorrow! - GRF
Well, this is it. Crazy, huh. A year and a half has FLOWN by. At the beginning it didn't feel like it went so fast, but now I look back and I still feel like a greenie. It's been hard saying goodbye--and yet it's so surreal-- I don't really feel like I'm leaving-- I keep telling people goodbye, but feel like I'll just be seeing them again next week Sunday.
Well, let's see-- what has happened this week?
This week has been full of cancelled appointments and lots of finding in really hot weather. It's been a challenge ..., but it's been good.
We actually had a lot of excitement this week though. Wednesday to Friday we went on exchanges. Zr. Cranford came back here to work with me. It was really fun to work with her again. She is such a wonderful missionary with an amazing positive attitude. We had super funny experiences together--especially while waiting 45 minutes for a tram with two old women from Indonesia who bickered with each other about whose children were better.
We also had a mini-missionary this week. Maaike from Apeldoorn came again on mini-mission (she's the same mini-missionary that came in February). It was so fun to get to work with her again. She's a super funny girl. It's so neat to see someone overcome fears of talking with people on the street or on the door. Then, when she was in the tram by herself on the way back, she totally had a super conversation with a woman about the gospel and the woman wants to learn what she believes in!
We went chalk finding again yesterday with a couple of members and drew the story of Samuel the Lamanite. It was fun. Quincy came with us--only one week baptized and the missionaries have got him out finding already. He really enjoyed it. The Elders were telling us that he almost convinced an atheist that he should start believing in God. That boy is going to make a super missionary someday!
On Friday, we were going to exchanges, and we almost missed our train, so we ran and jumped on just before the doors closed. We went and sat down and the train conductor who had closed the doors came to us and asked if we were from a church. He said that he'd seen a lot of people with our name tags before and said he wanted to know a little about what we believed in. We talked to him briefly before he had to move on and continue his work. We gave him a card and he went back to work. Just before we reached Haarlem, he came back and sat across the aisle from us and said he wanted to know more. We were able to talk with him about the Book of Mormon and he wanted a copy. He said he believes in God and Christ and is looking for truth. He was happy to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon, but was a little hesitant about giving us his number to give the missionaries in his area—however, he now has their number and he will surely see more missionaries riding the train in the near future.
I'm not sure if you've been following the world cup at all, but it has been madness here in Den Haag. Nederland beat Brazil on Friday and it was CRAZY! I'm hoping to be able to see one of the games after I come home. They are now in the Quarter Finals (I think). The streets are decorated in Orange and when the team is playing, the Dutch people are dressed in orange with all sorts of crazy accessories (hats that make noise, sunglasses that have footballs [or soccer balls if you speak American] on them, etc.)
But the most exciting thing of the week is that Brigitte got baptized! It was AWESOME! The ward mission leader worked really hard to be sure that almost everything was in French for the service. President Brubaker also came up so that he could give her the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday in French. The friend who introduced her to the church is the one who baptized her--the first time he has ever performed a baptism. It was all so wonderful. I was actually able to follow almost all of what was said during the service and confirmation. So, it's only my speaking ability that has disappeared. Maybe someday I'll be able to speak French again.
The bishop asked me to bear my testimony in church on Sunday for the last time, and I'd like to share a simply testimony now with you. I know that God lives. I know He loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is my personal Savior. I've felt His redeeming grace many times in the last year and half. He is my strength. I love Him with all my heart. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It testifies of Christ and stands as a witness of the restored gospel. I know that there is a prophet on the earth and that the gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. My mission has been a wonderful experience, and these next couple of days are going to continue rocking.
I love you all! See you soon.
Veel liefs,
Zuster Fowler

Monday, June 28, 2010

A lot of ups and downs.

From e-mail dated June 28, 2010.

Sounds like you had a good time a girls' camp. I was pretty surprised that you said that Elder DeMass showed up on the door step. He was a super Elder--I hope everything is going well for him.
Things here have been INSANE this week. It's been good, but has had a lot of ups and downs. Satan really pulls out the big guns when people get closer to getting baptized. But gratefully, our investigators all had super strong testimonies and despite any adversity, they knew that what they were doing was the right thing.
The most exciting things were the baptisms.
Mary, Isatu, and Ibrahim got baptized on Saturday evening. It was crazy making sure everything was arranged. We had arranged it all with the Ward Mission Leader, but then on Friday we got a call from the Relief Society saying they hadn't heard anything from him about what they needed to do. So we spent a lot of the day stressing about whether or not everything had been taken care of. Gratefully he was able to get everything pulled together and the baptism went smoothly. It was a wonderful service. The spirit was strong and afterwards Isatu told me that she felt perfect--that she had never felt like this in her life and that she was so happy. It was wonderful! They received the Holy Ghost yesterday and it was just amazing. They are so happy!
Quincy got baptized on Sunday after church. Quincy had a rough week—his parents told him it was his choice if he was going to get baptized but that they wouldn't come and that they weren't happy with his decision. But he knew that it was the right thing to do, so he was baptized and it was a WONDERFUL baptism. The spirit really testified to him and he received a lot of amazing promises in a talk given by President Oddens (the Stake President) about how through his example, his family would change their hearts. It was a wonderful service and he will receive the Holy Ghost on Sunday.
This next Saturday we will hopefully have another baptism. Brigitte should be getting baptized. However, she called us today to say her husband isn't very happy about it anymore. She says she is still going to get baptized-- but it's super hard when your family isn't supportive. Please pray for her and her husband (Roger).
Other than that, things have been good. Lots of funny moments this week including one at District Meeting where the Elders were in charge of making lunch and because they are cheap, they bought the cheapest noodles at the store-- which basically turned into mush. It was hilarious!
We also got the chance to have Amsterdam come work with us for a day on Wednesday and it was great! I got to work with Zr. Cranford again. She is such a wonderful missionary--just super positive all of the time. I'll actually be going on exchanges with her again this next week and I'm stoked about it.
Wow, for some reason I don't have a lot to say this week-- Maybe because I know I'll be seeing you soon or something. Speaking of which, my companion is RIDICULOUS and likes to tease me about it all the time. And now the Ward Mission Leader has started teasing me about going home. This next week should be a good one with a lot of miracles. Just because I'm leaving doesn't mean the work should end! Zr. Reber keeps asking why I'm not making lots of appointments to say goodbye--I've just been using it as a way to get them to come on joint teach :) "Hey, this is my last week in the Netherlands. When are you coming with us on Joint Teach?!" It's working. We've got joint teaches for almost all of our appointments already :)
Well, I'll close up with writing about the Book of Mormon. I'm reading in Mormon right now and I've been thinking a lot about Moroni and how he didn't know what was going to happen to him. Can you imagine? Everything he wrote then must have been the things that he found to be most important. Then later, when he writes his own book, the book of Moroni, he again writes the things he found to be most important. These last words of his are probably some of the most important chapters in the Book of Mormon full of sincere testimony to reach the people whom he had seen. What a blessing to have these words of the prophets! I love the Book of Mormon!

Well, I'll go attach some pictures. I love you!
Zuster Fowler

Monday, June 21, 2010

This week has been INSANE!

From e-mail dated June 21, 2010

Wow. This week has been INSANE! Heavenly Father is keeping me plenty busy before I go home. I'm loving it, but it's crazy and stressful and everything all rolled into one.
Tuesday Zr. Brubaker was able to come with us to some appointments since they had to be here to have a final interview with the sister that went home. It was wonderful because we are teaching a lot of people who speak French (and I can't speak French AT ALL anymore-- sad day! I can understand pretty much everything they say, but speaking it is completely gone--) An amazing appointment that we had was that evening with Brigitte, President Brubaker, and Zr. Brubaker. We talked about baptism and the covenant that we make. In the appointment we had to talk with her about her baptismal date, because to have her prepared in time we were going to need to meet more often. As we talked about it, she said she wanted to move her date to be baptized later in July. President Brubaker then said (in French) that it was okay if she wanted to, but that she could be ready by the 3rd and then he pulled the "And Zr. Fowler is leaving on the 7th" card. I haven't really told a whole lot of people that I'm leaving yet--especially not many of our investigators--and she turned and said, "What?! You can't leave! Okay, I know you have to-- so I'm getting baptized on the 3rd so that you can be there." We set up appointments so that she will be ready. She'll actually have to have her interview a bit early because we want it to be in French, so President Brubaker is going to come interview her tomorrow.
We had interviews on Wendesday, and it was great. President gave me an assignment to do these last few weeks--I'm supposed to make a list of all of the things that make me happy--and then he said that he'll be giving me another assignment in our next interview on July 7. It's been fun to take a little time at the end of every day to write down things that make me happy. I'm interested to see what the next assignment is.
We had a cool experience during a consecrated hour—Zr. Reber and I were finding around a Market and felt like we should go down a street we'd never been to before. As we walked down the street, EVERYONE was Muslim. We got to a corner and felt like we should go down another street. We were walking along, wondering what we were doing in such a Muslim neighborhood, when we saw a woman pull up on a motorcycle. We went to talk with her and she is from the Dominican Republic and has heard about the church and wants to learn more! It was neat to have the spirit guide us to her.
We also had a cool lesson with Zr. Daniels on Thursday about the Word of Wisdom. She drinks coffee and tea and as we talked about it, she is going to give them up for a week and see how she feels. I'm not sure I've ever really written about Zr. Daniels--she is an older woman and the Elders found her and asked us to help teach her, so we teach her once a week and the Elders teach her once a week. She's a nice woman, but has pretty bad depression. It's been really neat to see how the gospel has brought light into her life. She is so much happier now that she has the gospel. She is planning on being baptized on July 3.
We had an-- interesting-- experience during finding on Friday. We had a super cool contact in the park with a man from Curicao who wants to learn more about the gospel--we had a half an hour conversation with him about the gospel and he gave us his information to pass to the Elders in Arnhem (because he lives in another city). When we were done with that conversation and parted ways, another man, who was sitting on a bench, called out to us and asked if we were from a church. We said yes and he walked up to us and started telling us that we shouldn't only help people with skin of another color--we told him we help everyone and he said that we needed to help him because he had received a letter from the police about being reported for aggression and violence and said that if we didn't help him that he would take a knife and kill a bunch of kids. We tried to calm him down, but he wouldn't and he just took off in another direction. We went to the police station and spent a good hour there reporting him. Hopefully nothing happens and he was just upset. I'm really grateful for the protection we receive as missionaries. He was upset enough that I'm sure if we weren't protected by God, we would have been beat up or something--but God definitely protects us (not to make you worry or anything-- I've never had an experience like this one in the rest of my mission-- so you have nothing to worry about!)
Saturday evening we had a super cool ward activity. It was a luau with a show from people from the Pacific Islands. Everyone invited their friends, and there were definitely more non-members at the activity than members. It was awesome! It definitely kept us on our toes--we were trying to go around and talk to as many people as we could the whole night. It was a wonderful evening. Everything got started a little late though, so some people were a little upset that everything was taking so long--but what was really funny to see is that it was the Dutch people that were upset, while the people from other countries (and all of the visitors) were just chill and enjoying the evening. Sometimes Dutch people are a little too bound to their schedule.
Oh, Happy Father's Day! I'm so sorry I forgot to send a card or to say anything. And Happy Anniversary! ( I did send a card for that one). Yesterday I played a musical number in church as well as accompanied the Relief Society for their musical number. It was a wonderful service. It's weird to think that in a couple of weeks I'll be listening to services in English again. Strange.
This week I have been in Third Nephi. It has been so wonderful to read about Christ visiting the Nephites. I love it so much. I know that Christ lives. I know He loves us. I know that through Him we can return to our Heavenly Father.

Have a wonderful week!
Zuster Fowler