Monday, May 11, 2009

Gelukkige Dag Na Moeders Dag

From e-mail dated 11 May, 2009.

Happy day after mother's day. It was good to talk to you all...
First things first--I'm staying in Haarlem!!! I'm super excited about that! And Zuster Baxter is staying as well, so we'll be companions for at least one more transfer. Yay!
...It's been a little rough--I had only received letters from the family the whole first transfer, which means that I only received 2 letters and a package via snail mail. But then, at Zone Conference there was a stack of letters that had been sent to the mission home. So, I got letters from Aunt Joan, Liz, and Kris--I was pretty stoked. Well, then that night we got a call from the Elders to say that there was another stack of letters that I missed-- apparently there's a whole bunch-- so sorry to all of you who sent letters that I haven't gotten yet-- hopefully I'll get them this week or next--I don't even have any idea who they are from.
Anyway, so things that happened this week-- We've had a lot of interesting experiences with people thinking we're Jehovahs Getuige this week (Jehovah's Witnesses), and then when they find out we aren't they get super relieved. We've been given treats on the door when people find out we are something other than Jehovahs Getuige-- but they still aren't interested in learning more about the gospel. I wonder why they are so relieved to find out we aren't Jehovahs Getuige--it sounds like so many people have had bad experiences with them here in Nederland.
Wednesday was Zone Conference--and we got to go to the temple! It was AMAZING! I've been really struggling not being able to go to the temple here--after going at least once a week for 4 years and then getting cut down to nothing, it's a little rough--so going to the temple was such a blessing. Everything was in Dutch, which was cool--and I could understand probably about 90% of it (it probably helps that I'm super familiar with what is said-- but still!)
Friday we went on exchanges--I went to Den Haag with Zr. Miller--the one that I know from high school. This is her last transfer, so she heads home on Wednesday. It was good to learn from her for a day. We actually ended up going on splits with some members that day--the first time I've ever gone on splits--and we did some langs de deuren. It was interesting because the member I was with is really shy, so even though she could understand everything that was said and I couldn't, I still had to respond to everything. It really made me focus and realize what I actually am able to do and what I can work on.
Things with our investigators are going well. Milene is fabulous! I absolutely LOVE her! She really wants to know what the commandments are so that she knows what she has to commit to when she gets baptized. She thinks that tithing is a really cool concept (we were a little nervous that she would struggle with it), but she is a little wary about the word of wisdom. She drinks wine with dinner every once in a while and loves fruit tea and she doesn't see why she should have to stop-- but she is in the process of praying about whether or not it is something Heavenly Father is asking of her. I know that once she gets that answer, she'll have no problem with it. Yesterday we asked her for her email address in case one of us was going to get transferred and she got really upset when it hit her that we aren't the permanent missionaries here--she said she feels like we have such a connection and she feels like it would be difficult to build that with anyone else. Her friend, Frank, the member through which she was introduced to the church, helped her to see that Heavenly Father sends people to cities for a reason. It's so great when investigators have a friend who is a member because then they can really ask all of their questions and they feel so much more comfortable. My testimony of member missionary work has intensified a hundred fold these last 6 weeks--really, the best way for someone to come closer to Christ through the gospel is by having a friend in the gospel--pray about who you could help come closer to Christ and introduce to the missionaries, it is amazing what a difference that makes!
Azelea is wonderful. Her husband found a job here in the Netherlands, so they won't be moving to Greece, which is great! She is praying right now about whether or not Joseph Smith is a prophet. What's interesting is that she KNOWS that the Book of Mormon is true, but just hasn't made the connection between the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith yet. It will come.
Engelien came to church yesterday and LOVED it! It was wonderful! The Relief Society president had come with us on joint teach earlier in the week, which was so great because then she had a friend when she walked into the church and everyone really worked to help her feel welcome. That is another that's so important--if someone enters the church as a stranger, they should leave as a friend. I think that's something I was always a little wary of--if I didn't know someone at church, I just assumed they were there with someone else or that everyone else would be introducing themselves and I didn't want to overwhelm the person--IT'S NOT TRUE!!! The people want to feel friendship from the members--always introduce yourself when you see someone you don't know.
Things in the mission are good. It is hard and stressful , but good.
Anyway, I'd better wrap up...

Ik houd van jullie allemaal!
Zuster Chantelle Fowler

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