Saturday, February 28, 2009

MTC: Week 4

From letter dated 25 February, 2009

What a week! Just a few more days & I'll have been here a month - CRAZY! Where has the time gone?! I only have a little more than a month left & I'll be in the Netherlands. AAACK! I'm so excited and yet terrified at the same time!...
Mom & Dad, thanks for the letters. They mean a lot. The inspirational quotes and words of encouragement are wonderful! And I love hearing updates on the family. I'm going to do my best to get some letters sent today, but if not, give a shout out to Liz, Abby, Marci, Brian, Michelle, Clayton, & Kristi for their letters.
Okay, now on to this week. It has been great! I've really been focusing on the language of the Spirit. We had some fabulous devotionals & large group meetings lately that have gotten me thinking about how vital the Spirit is in teaching. The Spirit is the thing that will truly speak to the people. I teach & if I can recognize the Spirit and constantly have it with me, then the people will feel of the message and know it is true, no matter how much I slaughter Dutch. Dutch will come - but the most important thing for me to focus on is getting and keeping the Spirit.
This week I've had another couple of amazing experiences in the Referral Center. I love it! Teaching people over the phone & having them say they believe the message and want to learn more - it is AWESOME! Specifically a brother names John called in for a free Bible last Thursday. I talked to him about how God loves him & he said he didn't have time to talk right then, but could I call him Sunday? So I did. We talked about the restoration & he is meeting with the missionaries in his area!
Also this week, an Elder who was leaving approached me & said he had "an assignment" for me. He had talked with a woman in the Referral Center that day & she was extremely interested in the message. Sadly, there are no missionaries in her area & she can't go to church because she lives with her ailing mother who cannot be left alone. This Elder told her someone from the MTC would call her each week & teach her & talk to her about what she read in the Book of Mormon. He said he prayed about who should be the one to call & I'm it. Whoa buddy! Talk about humbling! I truly have my first investigator - a daughter of God what Gos is trusting me to teach! Wow. I feel overwhelmed, humbled, and absolutely reliant on Heavenly Father!
We also got new roommates last week - Sisters Crandall & Warner - both from Idaho & going to Temple Square - so if you every see them there, tell them "hello" for me...
Oh, random of all randomness. I was in the cafeteria the other day & ran into none other than Elder Colby Bradshaw! Talk about recognizing your age when you see an Elder that you used to babysit! I've also run into Elder Alex Fish a number of times...
To help us speak the language more outside of the classroom, Broeder Bond (who totally reminds me of my cousin Mike) came up with the idea to have a "Koning / Koningen van de taal" (King / Queen of the language) every day. Whoever speaks the most Dutch outside of class gets to wear this ridiculous crown. It is really funny. But we've been doing a lot better about speaking the language - Good thing, too because we start teaching all of our lessons in Dutch on Monday!
Well, I've gotta run. Time flies by on P-Day & I have a TON to do!
Before I go, Daryl H. Garn & his wife spoke at our devotional last night. Sister Irene Garn gave some scriptures that I think you should take time to study. They are affectionately called "Be of good Cheer" scriptures.
2 Nephi 10:23
D&C 61:36-37
D&C 68:6
D&C 78:18
3 Nephi 1:13
Ik weet dat onze verlosser, Jezus Christus, leeft. Het evangelie van Jezus Christus is waar. Ik houd van jullie! Dank je wel voor alles dat u voor mij doet.
Met liefde!
Zuster Chantelle Fowler
Oh, random facts you may be interested in that I forgot to include. There are only 14 Dutch speaking sisters in my mission. Also, the Netherlands is packed w/ people! There are 433 people per square kilometer in Amsterdam - it is the most populated city in the WORLD! So many people who need the gospel!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MTC: Week 3

From letter dated 18 Feburary, 2009.

Deze week heeft geweldig gaat! Dank u wel voor uw Valentines Package (oops! I don't know that in Dutch!)
This week has been intense and awesome! The package was great! My Elders, companions, and roommates appreciated it! I also got a package from Suzette, Toni, Kori, & Joey. It basically rocked my socks! (or my nylons - as the case now is). We got some good pictures that I'll have to send next week...
So things at the MTC are good... We have an average of 8 hours of class a day, personal study, companion study, and language study get an average of an hour a day & then we have breakfast, lunch, dinner and gym. I've been playing a lot of volleyball in gym & it's been a lot of fun. The Elders crack me up sometimes. I've got some good bruises from volleyball - gotta love battle wounds... My P-days (voorbereidingsdagen) have been super busy b/c Zuster Stapleton had a lot of eye doctor appointments and such. Today Søster Younkin & I have had a relaxing P-day w/ no appointments anywhere. It has been nice. Just laundry, studying, and running errands around the MTC...
I've had a couple of REALLY neat experiences at the referral center. Sunday I called a guy to make sure he had received the copy of the Book of Mormon that he ordered. He said he had & when I asked why he ordered it, he said he is an atheist, but he met the missionaries when they were shoveling snow in the neighborhood & he figured that if there are good people like that, he should give their message a chance...
The other one just happened yesterday. A guy called in for a copy of the Bible - but he needed it in large print. We don't send free copies of it in large print, so I offered him one of the videos we have... I talked to him about the gospel & asked if the missionaries could bring the movie & share more of the message. He said yes! He also committed to going to church on Sunday! I'm going to call him on Sunday to follow up as well. It was so neat to have the spirit prompt me on what this brother needed to hear.
Sister Stapleton left yesterday. Her visa still hasn't arrived, so she is temporarily serving in Washington D.C... I hope my visa paperwork as all going smoothly.
We've has some neat experiences as a district this week, which brought us closer together. I feel like my Elders are family. They are such awesome men!
Sunday, Janice Kapp Parry spoke with Beverly Thompson in Relief Society about the importance of music & how it brings the spirit.
At the TRC, I taught with Sister Stapleton this week. It was a good experience because we both had to focus on each other because we had never taught together before. Sister Younkin & I also got to teach together - that one went really well - the two of us just have this AWESOME connection! My teachers decided to change the teaching companionships again this week - so for our next TRC appointment, I'll be teaching with Elder Kramer. The appointment after this one will be in Dutch! Yikes! I've got a lot to learn in a week and a half. It's weird to think I'm already a third of the way through the MTC.
Yesterday, for Tuesday Devotional, Elder Ballard came. He talked about the improtance of having a good attitude & how it helps bring the spirit to investigators. It reminds me of President Hinkley and optimism again! It was an awesome talk...
Ik weet dat Jezus Christus leeft. Hij houdt van u. Ik weet dat het Boek van Mormon waar is. Ik weet dat wij een levende profeet hebben. Ik weet dat de kerk van Jezus Christus van de heiligen der laatste dagen de kerk van God op aarde is. U zijn kinderen van God. Hij heeft een plan voor u. Als wij Zijn plan volgen, konnen wij met him wonen.
Ik houd van jullie!
Met liefde!
Zuster Chantelle Fowler

Saturday, February 14, 2009

MTC: Week 2

From letter dated 11 February, 2009.

Hoi! Hoe gaat het met jullie?
This week has been good! Part of me feels like I've been in the MTC forever & part of me feels like I just arrived yesterday...
Let's see - what happened since I last wrote? My teaching companion and I have taught some great lessons this week & I'm learning a lot. Last week we were working on teaching toward the needs of the investigators. Out teacher, Sister Spencer, gave the other Elders a concern & we were to try to find out their concern and help them resolve it. It was neat to hear how the spirit spoke to me in that situation... I now understand a lot more about how the spirit speaks to me & about how I need to immediately follow those promptings... I hope I continue to learn more about how the spirit speaks to me so I can continually follow it's promptings, especially when I get into the field.
This week has also had some rough spots. I get so frustrated with myself sometimes! Especially with the language. Our task for our teaching appointment was to go contacting - obviously in Dutch since it is a "language task". So, we were practicing with our teachers and it was AWFUL! We had no idea what to say & couldn't figure out what the contact was saying either. All of us got extremely frustrated. But it also gave us new resolve to practice more & constantly work on our Dutch. We've made a lot of goals this week to help us improve. By the time our teaching appointment came around we were actually able to contact & understand a lot of what was said. It was amazing to see how faith, prayer, determination, and hard work all work together to help us improve. Elder Jose A. Teixiera spoke at our devotional and said the spirit guides you when you are doing your part - that means actually DOING something! I have been working hard, but that was a great reminder & helped strengthen my resolve...
Sister Stapleton & the other Dutch district leave on Monday, which is going to be weird! I've become good friends with a couple of the Dutch Elders in that District & they helped me learn Dutch more quickly...
I have to run! I love you all! Remember that the Savior loves you. Read 2 Nephi 9 - I've been doing a lot of thinking about that lately. The messages contained in that chapter are AMAZING!
Met Liefde!
Zuster Chantelle Fowler

Saturday, February 7, 2009

First week at the MTC

From letter dated 4 February, 2009

Well, I've been at the MTC for a whole week now & we are no longer the "youngest" in the MTC. It has absolutely FLOWN by.
As I mentioned briefly in my letter last week, I'm a solo sister. So basically I am companions with two sisters who have class in the same hall as I do - so we are in the same residence room, walk to class together, go to class with the Elders (they are also solo sisters) and then the Elders make sure we are with each other at night to walk back to the residence together. It is definitely not what I was expecting, but it's been a definite learning experience. The first couple of days were a little rough as the Elders and I were trying to get used to the situation - but my Elders are fabulous! I'm so blessed & I'm learning a lot from them. The Elders are super respectful & have really taken the added responsibility of having a solo sister as well. They take my tray at meals, they wait around to make sure I'm always with either them or my companions, and they stand when I walk in the room (by commission of the branch president)... This experience is already teaching me many things. As you know, I'm not very good about accepting service from others - but now I'm learning humility & patience (mostly with myself).
The first day here, we got thrown right into the language. I'm already praying in Dutch (very simple prayers, mind you) and bearing my testimony in Dutch. It is amazing to see how the gift of tongues really works.
The spirit at the MTC is AMAZING! I love it here & am learning SO much! I've learned a lot about myself & my relationship with the Savior. ... I am working on understanding more about how the spirit speaks to me...
... We've had some good talks as a district, and it has been neat to see the Elders open up about their feelings & experiences. After the devotional we talked about how we all needed that message. What can I say? My Elders are great! (Even though it may be interesting to spend 12+ hours a day with Elders). Good thing I have my companions too. I'll tell you more about them later.
I've already grown in a lot of ways & have a lot more to learn! ... Remember how much Heavenly Father loves you. ... Christ truly is our Savior & he loves us so much! He truly will guide us. He knows your name. I testify that is true. You are important and there truly is a plan for you.
Zuster Chantelle Fowler

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

First day at the MTC

This is an excerpt from Chantelle's first letter dated 28 January, 2009.

I don't have a lot of time, but we were asked to be sure to write by the end of today. It has been a whirlwind day... I'm a solo sister - so I'm in a district with 6 elders & no other sisters. Then I'm assigned as a companion with a sister who has been here for a couple of weeks & is going to Denmark and another sister who is leaving in two weeks for my mission. We'll see how it all pans out - it will be a learning experience for sure.