Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chonology is officially out the window

From letter dated 13 April, 2009
Note: Just when I was getting a handle on posting Chantelle's letters out of sequence with her e-mails, I get another surprise. Just yesterday we received this letter which she wrote a week before the letter we received and posted on Tuesday. So we'll just have to deal with the order of the postings being completely out of sync with the chronological order her correspondences. She refers to this letter in the blog entry dated April 14, 2009. By the way, we were able to call her today since it is Mother's day. She sounds great, and she is doing great. - GRF.

Hoi mijn familie!
Het is een Heel mooie dag hier in Haarlem! Ik en Zuster Baxter zitten bij een canal om onze briefen te schriven. (It's a beautiful day here in Haarlem! I and Sister Baxter are sitting by a canal to write our letters). Ik houd Haarlem! (I love Haarlem!) I've decided to write you a letter every week with the happenings so that I have time to read your emails & respond to your questions as well as read emails from the Mission President.
Anyway, today is tweede pass (second Easter), so pretty much everything is closed, so we'll be taking a short P-Day today & use two hours tomorrow to do our grocery shopping and email.
We just barely had a really exciting little miracle happen as we have been writing letters, so I'm going to start with that. Here's the background: Saturday we had a bit of a rough day finding. An old man yelled at us & not many people were interested in talking to us. We were feeling really humbled & decided to stop & eat the sandwiches we had packed for dinner. We prayed & asked Heavenly Father for His help to not let this get to us, then since there wasn't a place to sit, we started walking around the block while we ate. We turned the corner & ran into a middle aged Dutch man. We started talking to him about the gospel & he was interested enough to give us his number & take a pamphlet. Well, he just barely called us to say that he read the pamphlet & wants to meet with us to talk about what he read! He's really excited about it! Oh, the miracles Heavenly Father puts in your path!
Okay, so what has happened the rest of the week?
Tuesday was District Meeting, so we travelled to Alkmaar & had a great conversation with a young woman. She's from another town, so we referred her to the missionaries there. District Meeting meant that I got to get to know some of the other missionaries in the mission. Our district is super small - 2 Elders, us, and an echtpaar (married couple). I'm excited to build unity as a district. Then, that night, we went to a new member's apartment for dinner. Her name is Stella & she made us foo foo (probably the wrong spelling-- but sorry!), which is an African dish that you eat with your hands. The sauce was super spicy! My mouth fell off! Stella was laughing at us sissy la la American girls - it was a good time.
...Other than that, this week has been pretty great. We've met some phenomenal people & our progressing investigators are getting closer and closer to baptism every appointment.
Friday we had a special opportunity where all the District leaders in our Zone came to Haarlem for training - which is not normal because Haarlem is a Sister city, but the Zone leaders prayed about it & felt really strongly that they should do their training here. That means I got to see some of my favorite Elders from the MTC because their companions are District leaders. That was definitely a blessing for me. Then, the Elders did some contacting in the city & came across a woman who used to meet with the missionaries & she said she wants to start learning about the church again! We went and taught her yesterday! She's excited to learn about the gospel & it is a super cute family. The biggest problem is language barrier - she's from China, but speaks pretty good English & is learning Dutch. Her husband speaks very little English and almost no Dutch. And their daughter speaks Dutch & Chinese, but no English. Whoa, buddy! But, we're working to find a way we can teach this wonderful family as a family.
Friday, also, as we were going langs de deuren, we cam across an old lady. She told us that we shouldn't try to talk to her, but instead look for dapper young men because she's old & going to die sooner, but these handsome young men would be good for our church & then we could marry them. Het was een heel grappig gesprek! (It was a super funny conversation).
Yesterday was my first Sunday where we had regular church int the Netherlands - which means I had to get up to share my testimony. Heavenly Father really blessed me to be able to say all I wanted to say & without too may glaring mistakes. The members kept coming up to me to tell me I have the gift of tongues - Well, I definitely know that the power of God is the only way I am able to speak as much as I can. Plus, I think He changes it in their minds :) Things really do get better with the language day by day. I can understand so much more & say so much more than before. I know Heavenly Father is blessing me so that I can do His work. Oh, also, there were 3 or 4 American families there on Sunday & one of them asked for your # so they could call and tell you something - so you may get a phone call from a family I met here.
Things here are great! Don't get me wrong, it is hard, but wonderful. I am reminded of a talk I read that had a section called "The Atonement and the Missionary" - the reason missionary work is hard is that salvation was never meant to be easy. However, it is glorious. I know the gospel is true & that Heavenly Father strengthens us, with Him ANYTHING is possible.
I love you all! you are constantly in my prayers!

Met al mijn liefde,
Zuster Chantelle Fowler

1 comment:

  1. Fun to read Chantelle's letters!! I just came across the website from her facbeook page. I worked with her at BYU. I am sure she is a fantastic missionary.

    (P.S. I am in a contest that ends tomorrow and am super close to a prize...everyone go vote!
    The EZ desk Giveaway)