Monday, July 27, 2009

Zes maanden--gek!

From e-mail dated 27 July, 2009

It sounds like Scout Camp was a good time. I'm glad to hear you didn't get too wet while you had to live in your own shelter.
I did get the package--thanks so much. It was nice to be able to play some music again. I will be playing one of the pieces at Frank's baptism-- he was supposed to get baptized this upcoming Saturday-- but he didn't come to church yesterday-- so we are going to reset his baptismal date--hopefully he will be able to get baptized in a couple of weeks. We are pretty saddened that he didn't make it to church yesterday--especially because he loves the gospel so much and he always talks about how he knows this is what he wants. But, it will come--he will be able to get baptized--I just always have to remember that it is on the Lord's timing, not on mine...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Chris and Mom!
I don't know if Chris got my card yet-- but I will send one to mom today. Also--I know that this week is Chris' turn for a letter-- but since I sent him a card last week, I'm not going to worry about it too much because we are going to Volendam today with the Elders and a couple of people from the ward, so I won't have a lot of letter writing time.
So, what has happened this week?Well, it's been kind of crazy-- we were supposed to have interviews with President Brubaker on Thursday, but we got a call Wednesday night to tell us that our interviews were moved to Saturday-- so we moved all of our Saturday plans to Thursday at the last minute-- then Thursday they called us and told us that President Brubaker couldn't come Saturday-- so then we had no plans for Saturday-- so we did finding-- and then on Saturday we were called and told that we would be interviewed on Sunday after church-- so we had to move all of our Sunday plans around--basically it's been a crazy week of moving things around at the last minute, but all worked out.
Interviews with President were great. The training we had was just what I needed and my conversation with President gave me a lot of help that I really appreciate. I really want to share one of my insights from the training with you: We were talking about charity--which is SO important as a missionary (and as a person in general :) )--and we were talking about how it is the pure love of Christ. Now, most of the time I think of it as me needing to work on developing the love that Christ has for everyone, but yesterday it struck me a little differently. Charity=the pure love of Christ=the pure love that I have for my Savior Jesus Christ. I realized that as I work on developing more and more love for my Savior, I'll be able to do everything I need to and share His love with people because I love HIM so much. Just another spin on charity and how we can develop more charity. I'll be working on continually increasing my love for the Savior--I know that will help me in everything I do.
So, funny story. We exercise every morning--so sometimes we go jogging/walking along a canal in the neighborhood where there are lots of ducks and geese. Well, this week as we were going through this area, the ducks and geese started hissing at Zr. Miller and then they started chasing her. It was hilarious! They don't seem to have any problem with me--they only go after her. It is a pretty funny sight.
Zr. Miller's birthday was also this week, so we had a lot of birthday cake and a lot of singing. One of the members who comes on joint teach with us a lot (who totally reminds me of Toni Broadhead--seriously! They look sort of alike [besides the fact that Lucky is from Thailand], they act a lot alike, and they are both just wonderful!) had us over for dinner last night. Lucky is a new member who got baptized in February. She is a rock star. Anyway, she also gave me gifts since she was giving Zr. Miller gifts. It was really nice of her.
Friday Zr. Miller had to go to Belgium for a legality trip, so I spent the day working in Den Haag with Zr. Bennett and Zr. Baxter (their companions were also going to Belgium). It was so much fun to get to work with Zr. Baxter again! I miss working with her a lot. She is so wonderful.
Anyway, I've gotta jet. Sorry that my emails are always so random and out of order-- but I love you all!
Zuster Fowler

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ik ben een kind van God

From e-mail dated 20 July, 2009

Wow. Sounds like you are off to another fun week, dad. Don't kill yourself at scout camp, okay?
I still haven't gotten the package-- hopefully it comes soon. It actually will probably be better from here on out if you just send them to the office--that way there is always someone there to receive it and we don't have to worry about it getting lost in the Bijlmer (I guess I may have forgotten to mention that the Bijlmer is the ghetto of Amsterdam-- the part we live in is safe, but it's still not exactly the most reliable types of people when it comes to packages being delivered and such). I'm sure it will come--hopefully sometime soon.
I did end up getting Michelle and Renee's letter. Renee must have written a different one she sent with Mom's letter--the Michnee letter came on Thursday of this week...
So, this week has been a little rough. I'm learning a lot about how important it is to have your Heavenly Father's trust and about how agency affects more than just yourself... I keep praying that Heavenly Father will accept my work as the best I am able to do under the circumstances and I keep reminding myself that I am a child of God (as the title of the email says) and that He loves me.
Anyway, our experiences this week have been interesting, to say the least. Friday we had an Amsterdam Blitz, which means that all of the District Leaders and their companions in the Zone as well as all of the Zusters in the mission came to Amsterdam to work for an afternoon. We went on exchanges for the afternoon and I got to work with Zuster Erickson. It was great! She is a wonderful missionary. The area we were assigned to was the closest area to the church, so we ended up walking the whole day. It was really interesting to walk instead of be on the bikes. I felt like I was in a different country :). We had planned out our afternoon with an order of how we would do our assignments. As we were walking along, we walked past a street we were planning to hit up on the way back from the church to look up an old investigator. We felt like we should go there now. We went and no one was home. But we both felt like we should stay on that specific street. We didn't have a map because I knew the areas we were supposed to go to well enough... so we said a quick prayer that we wouldn't get lost, and we kept walking. At the end of this really long street we ran into a young man named Clarence and started talking to him. We had a super long conversation with him and he was really open. He was really interested in the Book of Mormon and wanted to learn more. We set up an appointment, and then he said (in Dutch, of course), "You know, I never take this street to go where I need to go-- but I felt like I should today--" Wow. Both of us led by the spirit so we could be in the right place at the right time. It was a great experience. It's amazing how inspiration works!
We also had an appointment with Familie Todorovic this week (the family from Yugoslavia)--but the parents weren't there when we got there-- so we ended up teaching the kids (they are all older). Only one of them speaks Dutch, so it was interesting to have to have him translate everything. By the time we left, they asked if they could come to church--we were shocked because we hadn't even been able to communicate much to them. They didn't end up coming to church this week-- we aren't sure why-- but the fact that the spirit reached them enough even through broken messages and translation was amazing.
Other than that, this week has been full of cancelled appointments, people who are drunk at our appointment, and finding.
Well, I'm almost out of time.
Know that I love you and pray for you often. How are my grandmothers doing?
Okay, for a short spiritual thought--I know that God hears and answers prayers, and that he loves us-- man, I've gotta go or I won't get this sent off before the computer shuts down in 25 seconds.

Zuster Fowler!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Amsterdam is een beetje gek!

From e-mail dated 13 July, 2009.

Hoi hoi!
I'm glad to hear that you all survived Havasupai. It sounds like things are definitely changed there-- hmmm-- Hopefully I'll get to go another time in the future.
Oh, before I forget (I've been meaning to ask this question for a month or something)--what day of the week was I born? In Ghana everyone is named for the day of the week they are born, and since we teach so many Ghanaians in Amsterdam, I'd like to know my Ghanaian name :)
So, last week on P-day we went to a pirate ship with the Elders from Almere and Lelystad. It was fun. It was basically a museum, but with 19-21 year old boys, things are always a good time. Sadly, my batteries died-- so I didn't get a lot of pictures of the good times, but Zr. Miller got some and the Elders all did, so I'll have some good pictures in a couple of weeks from Zr. Miller and then the rest I'll get to see in a year or more...
Tuesday we got to meet the new mission president and his wife--President and Sister Brubaker. They are really great. I'm excited to get to work with them. I'm not sure what kind of changes will be coming-- but it will be interesting to see how things are different. I'm not sure if the Pankratz's are here yet--we don't meet with the whole mission basically ever, so they probably are and I just haven't been in a meeting with them yet...
Anyway-- what else has happened this week in Amsterdam? There are just so many people here, it's pretty crazy. We went to the Markt in the Bijlmer a couple of weeks ago on p-day(a street market) and met a guy from India who basically dropped all of his customers to talk to us because he saw the name Jezus Christus on our name tags. We ran into him again and he invited us to come over for dinner this week and wants to give us free clothing from India. I'm not gonna lie, ever since coming to the Netherlands I've wanted clothing from India and an African dress-- so I'm pretty stoked about it :)
Also on Tuesday we went to visit Familie Todorovic (the family from Yugoslavia) and Familie Zorko came with (the family that goes to the ward in Haarlem). It was so funny because we would say one sentence and Brother Zorko would translate-- but he would say about 2 paragraphs--and then tell us that he explained basically the whole lesson. It was a good time. The family is really excited to learn more about the gospel. We taught them again Saturday, but Familie Zorko couldn't come because they are on vacation-- so it was a little rough to break through the language barrier, but hopefully things will continue progressing.
Frank, our baptismal date, is ROCKING! He is making so many friends at church and absolutely loves everything he is learning. Keep praying for him!
Yesterday we had a bit of a miracle. Remember Didi, the woman from Bulgaria? Well, we had an appointment with her-- but she wasn't answering her phone to confirm-- we decided to make the 50 minute bike ride anyway because we felt like we needed to go. We biked out there, but couldn't find her and she still wasn't answering her phone. We were going to just bike back, but felt like we should stay, so we just started knocking doors. A half an hour later we rang a doorbell and a woman walked up behind us--Zr. Miller turned and asked her if she lived where we had rung, I turned around and it was Didi! She had accidentally left her phone at home and had gone to Haarlem for the weekend, she was on her way back to the center where she and her son are staying and saw us (by this time we were on a completely different street). It was absolutely amazing how Heavenly Father placed us in each other's paths. I know that He is guiding this work through things like that...
Saturday we had a bunch of appointments cancel at the last minute, so we decided to do a couple of lookups. One of the lookups was a referral we had received a couple of weeks ago and we had tried going by a number of times, but felt like we should try one last time. We rang the bell and the people were actually home! And they were SUPER excited to see us! Turns out that the couple that answered the door doesn't REALLY live there, but it is the home from her father and he is on vacation. Anyway, turns out that they are less active members and they had actually talked about going to church this week, but us coming by really let them know that they should come! They came to church, and it was great! We have a lesson with them this week. Anyway, just another small thing that shows how much God is involved in our lives, and especially in missionary work. Gotta run.

Veel liefs,
Zuster Fowler

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Echt een wonder

From e-mail dated 6 July, 2009

It sounds like this week will be full of adventures for ya'll at home. Havasupai--man, I wish I could come! Next year you'll have to plan a trip for when I come home. I've actually been thinking about that a little bit, just because everyone who is going home always talks about the ups and downs of having their parents come pick them up. To be honest, I think I would prefer just coming home to Utah and then going to Florida or something with the family so that we can all spend time together and won't have to worry about me being a tourist with a name tag. I don't know. I've still got a year before that would all happen anyway--but just something to think about while you all are making whatever plans you make for the next year.
We had some pretty great experiences this week. Thursday we went to do some finding in a neighborhood not too far away from our apartment. The second door we knocked on was a family from Yugoslavia. They don't speak a lot of Dutch, but they kept saying, "Jezus Christus! Ja, wij houden van Jezus Christus!"(Jesus Christ, yeah, we love Jesus Christ.) We tried to see if one of the DVDs we had happened to be in any Yugoslavian languages, but sadly it was not. However, the mother said that she speaks better German than Dutch and that she really wanted to see the movie. So, we went inside with their entire family and put in The Restoration DVD. However, they didn't have a remote so that we could change the language. But, that didn't matter because when it started playing all that could be heard was the background music with no words. So we just ended up making commentary throughout the whole movie about what was going on. At the end of the movie we told them we would love to talk with them more and they got really excited and asked when we could come back. We are meeting with them again tomorrow--and, get this, there is a member of the Haarlem ward who actually lives in Amsterdam that is from Yugoslavia--so he and his wife are going to come on joint teach with us. What a blessing!
That same day we also found two other families. So we just went from teaching a bunch of single people to teaching 3 families as well. Super.
Saturday we had our third lesson with a man from Africa named Frank. We had asked him to read 3 Nephi 11 the last time we met with him, so when we walked in on Saturday the first thing out of his mouth was, "I understand from this that I need to be baptized... but what if I've already been baptized?" So we talked to him about the importance of authority and at the end of the lesson he accepted to be baptized on August 15. Well... he came to church for the first time yesterday and absolutely loved it! Partway through the meeting he turned to Zr. Miller and asked if he could get up and bear his testimony. He went up and told an absolutely amazing story--one that neither Zr. Miller or I knew... ----A year ago Frank saw 2 Elders walking on the other side of the street. He felt like he needed to talk with them, so he crossed the street and stopped them so that they could talk. He wanted to meet with them again, but he accidentally gave them the wrong telephone number. Ever since then he has been on the lookout for missionaries from the church because he felt like there was something God wanted him to learn from them. He has been having a really rough time lately, and 3 weeks ago he prayed for some guidance in his life--that day Zr. Miller and Zr. Stapleton rang his doorbell. He talked about how he knows that God has a plan for him and how he is really looking forward to being baptized and becoming a member of the church. It was an amazing experience to hear him tell that to the whole ward. This work is really the Lord's work--He has his hand in every piece of it. It is great!
Today a bunch of Elders came to Amsterdam to spend P-day with us all. We are going to a museum--it should be a good time. I'll try to get some pictures off to you sometime soon... we'll see what I can do.
We'll also be meeting the new mission president tomorrow. Should be a good time. Anyway, I'm going to see if I can add some pictures to this email (we are at a library with hookups today, so I'll hurry and use my last couple of minutes to do that.--One of the pictures is of me and Zr. Scholten; one of me and Azelea and her daughter Belina; and one of me by the church in Haarlem--Ah, the Best Two Years)
I love you and pray for you!

Veel liefs,
Zuster Chantelle Fowler