Monday, May 18, 2009

Doop datum gesteld!

From e-mail dated 18 May, 2009

So, it's been quite the week. But I'll start off by answering your questions...
The Dutch is-- coming-- yesterday I was really frustrated by it all-- part of me feels like I haven't made much progress at all in the last 6 weeks-- but I know that I have because I can say more and understand more, I just wish I could understand it all. One of the members yesterday at a JoVo (Young Adult) dinner started talking about how impressed he was because I'd picked up on so much since coming--but I just don't see it. I know it's better than it was, but I feel like I could be such a better missionary if I could understand people and respond in a way that was meaningful to them instead of just understanding the ideas behind what they are saying and praying that what I say relates.
I haven't really used any French since that first day-- and honestly, I'm not sure I can remember much French anymore. It took me a few days to remember how to say goodbye in French last week-- speaking another language all of the time has made me forget what little French I knew.
Well, as for what has happened here this week-- this week has seemed SUPER long. I'm not sure why--maybe because it was kind of an in between point with transfers and all, plus I was sick for a couple of days--so everything just went really slowly, but it was really good.
We set a baptismal date with Engelien! She is getting baptized on June 20 and she's stoked for it. She is pretty amazing! She reads in the Book of Mormon on her breaks at work, she talks to so many people about this "geweldig kerk die [zij heeft] gevonden"(wonderful church that [she has] found), and she really thinks about and applies everything we teach her. She is wonderful!
Also this week, one of the recent converts got his mission call. His name is Sjaak. The night before we had been at dinner with Familie Scholten and we all guessed where he would go. I guessed South Africa--and that is where he is going! Johannesburg South Africa! So, I told him he owed me a prize. Also in the dinner conversation we talked about how all of these Muslim men are verliefd op mij (in love with me-- sort of--) and he thought it was really funny. So, yesterday in church he gave me my prize--an article from the Liahona about an LDS perspective on Muhammed and a postcard with a picture of Egypt with passages from the Q├║ran on the back. He thought he was really funny. Oh, good times. I'm excited for the kid though! He is quite the conversion story--I wish I had time to write all about it, but I'll have to do it another time or tell you about it in a year and a half.
Yesterday the Zuster who just got released (Zuster Miller--also from Tooele) and her family came to visit the ward here in Haarlem. Which means that I saw people from Tooele-- really weird-- especially since the daughter that was there is one of my good friends from High School--Liz Miller. Anyway, it was great to see her, although it was also weird. It really reminded me that a mission isn't very long, so I need to make the most of every minute that I'm here.
Friday night of this week we were going langs de deuren in the pouring rain when we saw a woman walking in the middle of the street. We went and started to talk to her. Turns out she is from Bulgaria and had met the missionaries there. She had taken lessons from them over 8 years ago, and she started to cry when she realized we were from the same church. She is leaving the city for 6 weeks, but we have her number and will call her when she gets back--she wants to meet with missionaries again! The miracles that Heavenly Father does for His children to be able to have the chance to hear the gospel--I mean, really, what are the odds that we would run into her on a rainy Friday evening in the Netherlands?!
Wednesday we were langs de deuren and felt like we should go down a specific street. We came across a young woman who had lost a lot of family members lately and wasn't sure if she could believe in God. We felt impressed to share a scripture with her and she said we could pray with her--we are meeting again with her next week. Amazing!
Okay, something to keep you all spiritually fed. I was studying patience this week because I have a hard time with patience--especially with myself--and I found something really amazing. Read Romans 5:3-5 and 8:24-25. It made me think about the connection between patience, experience and hope. As you have patience, then you are able to experience things that you wouldn't otherwise experience, which then gives you hope for things in the future, so then you have more patience, which then brings more experience, that leads to more hope-- it is a never ending cycle! It is one that I need to acknowledge more--I definitely have a lot to learn.
Okay, I have to get going. I wish I could write more--there are so many amazing experiences!
Well, I've got to run.

Veel liefs,
Zuster Chantelle Fowler

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