Monday, October 26, 2009

Ik ben door de helfd van mijn zending.

From e-mail dated October 26, 2009

Well, here it is, the halfway point of my mission. Actually, it was last week-- but with the transfer ending this week, it feels a little more real. Especially since Zr. Baxter, my trainer, is going home this transfer. Crazy, huh? I love her so much! It's so strange that she's going home...
Oh, yeah--so I'm staying in Amsterdam. And so is Zr. Fritz. We're really excited to be staying. We've got a lot of work to do and a lot to still learn from each other.
This week we’ve seen some amazing things in Amsterdam. One was a lesson with an investigator named Amy. She is from China and she knows basically nothing about Christ. We had dinner and a lesson at a member’s house this week, and she really opened up as we taught her about Christ. She really felt the spirit testifying to her and she felt that He is her savior. She has A LOT of questions and isn’t sure she accepts everything about Christ, but it’s coming step by step.
Another fun thing in Amsterdam this week is a new finding approach that we tried--we call it flower finding. We went and purchased some cheap flowers and went to a park and gave them out to people and talked to them about what makes them happy. And you know what's amazing? People were actually happy to talk to us! Almost no one turned us down. We had bought 20 flowers, and in an hour we only went through 8. Yeah, we thought it was great. We are definitely going to do it again. And one of the women we talked to is absolutely convinced that we were sent to her from God because she was having a really rotten day--and we won't argue with that--we know we are sent from God, too.
So, I do have some sad news that comes with transfers-- Haarlem is closing. My greenie city is getting shut down. It broke my heart. I can't get the wonderful people there off my mind-- I love them so much, and now there will be no missionaries there-- My heart hurts most for Azelea because the missionaries were such a miracle for her. But, Heavenly Father knows what He is doing and what these people need. Maybe this is just what she needs to get in gear and decide to be baptized.
It sounds like things at home have been busy. Don't kill yourselves, all right? You all need to be alive when I come home in 9 months. This week I got letters from a couple of friends who hadn't written before--Jennifer and-- well-- the other is on a mission so she won't be able to read this anyway-- but say thanks in the blog. It was really great. Sometimes as a missionary you feel long forgotten and wonder what's going on--so it was really nice to hear from her. And thanks for your letters from home as well--they make such a difference.
...And I'm doing great with nylons and crystal lite. The peanut butter here is pretty good, so you don't have to worry about sending more. I'm not picky about what you send. Mostly I just want to hear from ya'll.
Well, I've gotta jet so this can get off to you before the computer blacks out. I love you so much!
Oh, I guess one thing you could send would be some warm wool socks and hand warmers--I'm not sure they have hand warmers here.
Okay, my spiritual thought is to always keep going, there's always something new to try and some way to find more happiness. I love you!
Zr. Fowler

Monday, October 19, 2009

vandaag ben ik jaarig--23

From e-mail dated October 19, 2009.

thanks for the birthday wishes. i'm on a super annoying computer today-so no capitalization, and i apologize for my spelling-- sometimes the buttons are a little difficult to push.
elder schmutz actually told me that you and his dad have been talking. we've actually never met but just talked over the phone to take care of things the office needs.
i hope matt is feeling better. that's crazy that it's hit so bad. a lot of people here are sick too-- i'm hoping we don't catch anything. tell pig boy belated happy birthday.
things with zr. friz are great. she's definitely stressed-- but i don't feel like she's too much more stressed than when i was a greenie. we have fun together and are hoping that we both stay another transfer.
this week was a little rough-- we had a lot of hold backs-- including my key breaking off in my bike lock and a lot of appointments not going through-- it led to a lot of achtering op-- and since zr. fritz's bike doesn't have very good tires, she had to carry our huge bike pump on the back of the bike with her. good times.
we had some really cool experiences too. including going to haarlem again for exchanges. i was in haarlem with zr. hamblin. we had a good time and i got to see some of the people i used to teach--we looked up a couple who had dropped off the face of the earth, and they are now investigating again--and then i got to see lie and milene.
we're also teaching kim zwaan--and she is amazing! i think i wrote a bit about her in my last email. basically she's one of the most amazing investigators i've ever had. pray for her! she even talks to people about the church and brought a friend with her to church yesterday. i really hope i don't get transferred-- and that zr. fritz doesn't either--
thanks for taking care of my checking account and alles. yeah, i made purchases last week--all of my christmas shopping is done-- now i just have to send it off to ya'll. could you put another 100 or so in my account? thanks...
i can't believe i'm 23 today-- so old! and also this is halfway through my mission if i only stay 11 transfers-- whoa buddy-- what have i done with my life?
i love you a lot. thanks for everything. i've gotta get running so that we can make it to zr. fritz's legality appointment on time.

veel liefs,
zr. fowler

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jullie hebben het wel druk

From e-mail dated October 12, 2009.

Wow, life is busy for ya'll at home...
And thanks for the package. I already got it-- and yes, I already opened it-- You crack me up. The CD is great! And thanks for the cake and such. I thought it was really funny that you sent a cake pan, too :). Did grandma Snyder tell you that she already sent me $100 for my birthday? I'll probably just leave it in American money and use it when I get home rather than using it here--it's just too much of a pain to exchange money. It sounds like the American dollar is worth less and less every day! I pulled out 100 euros last week and that ended up being $146? AAAAH! I'll have to be a little more thrifty. Zr. Fritz and I have been doing a lot with the Elders on P-day lately because if you're going to spend your money anywhere, it's Amsterdam--the rest of the Sister cities don't have as many museums and such.
As for birthday p-day plans-- not anything exciting-- we're celebrating birthdays today because there are quite a few of us with birthdays this month. Next week on p-day, Zr. Fritz has a legality appointment, so most of the day will be spent on legality. Hooray for birthdays :)
So, what has happened this week? Well, we've had some pretty funny experiences. Last Monday for P-day we went to the wax museum, so that was fun. Then on Monday night we were going to do some finding it was raining, so people weren't really outside and Zr. Fritz and I have been avoiding langs de deuren as much as possible because it just really isn't that effective. Anyway, so the Elders had told us that in some cities they go "bike finding"--meaning they ride their bikes along until they see someone and then they stop and talk to them. Well-- we decided to try it. We were riding along and saw a man walking, so I put on my brakes-- but with the rain, my brakes started squeaking like crazy! I screeched to a halt next to the man and he was pretty scared that I was going to run into him. We had a short conversation with him, and it was good. But, needless to say, we'll avoid bike finding in the rain from here on out.
We had an amazing appointment with a new investigator this week. His name is Marcel and he is really open and looking for the truth. (Pray for him) But, there was a really funny part in his lesson. We asked him to read in Moroni 10:3-5, and he came to the part where it says "vanaf Adam"(where it says 'from Adam to'... in English) and in the Netherlands A'dam is short for Amsterdam--and because he was reading along, he didn't really think about it and he said "vanaf Amsterdam..." Zr. Fritz and Zr. DeNijs (our joint teach) and I really had to hold in our laughter. It was hilarious. Maybe one of those 'you had to be there moments'.
But besides funny moments, this week has also been full of miracles. On Saturday we went to teach Vili and Ani (they are from Bulgaria). They had told us that they didn't believe President Monson could be a prophet, so we asked them to listen to his talk to the YW from April and then to pray about it. They told us they didn't listen to the whole talk and when they prayed they didn't get an answer. We told them they really needed to listen to the whole thing before they could get an answer, and then we felt impressed to just listen to it right then and there. We pulled it up and listened to the talk in Bulgarian. When it was over we asked them how they felt. Vili looked over at us and began to cry--she told us that she didn't believe before, but now she knew--she said this is the happiest she's been. Then her boyfriend came into the room and he asked what was going on, and she bore testimony to him--he then sat down and started talking to us and even agreed to read the Book of Mormon! The spirit was SO strong!
We also had a really great experience with Familie Todorovic. We have been really concerned that they haven't been making progress, so we were going to give them back to the Lord. However, when we went for our appointment, they had actually read! And as we were talking about it, the granddaughter had all sorts of questions for us and everything finally clicked for her. The spirit was amazingly strong and really testified to her that what we were saying is true. The others in the family are still a little behind and not really progressing--but she is really excited about the gospel now and was even getting frustrated with her family that they weren't getting it!
Anyway, my time is up. I've gotta run. But I love you. Next week we have special permission to go to the temple, and I'm so excited! I encourage you all to go to the temple--I miss it so much. It really is the house of the Lord.

I love you!
Zr. Fowler

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Het is hier ook een beetje friss‏

From e-mail dated October 5, 2009.

So, it's also cold here. I've already pulled out my winter coat, because you're always a little colder with the wind blowing against you as you ride your bike. The rain has started again-- so we're having a good time. I guess the good thing is when it's super cold, you have even more drive to get more appointments so that you can be inside...
Now, for the things happening here. We've had some really interesting experiences this week. I just keep feeling like the work in Amsterdam is going to take off like CRAZY! I'm looking forward to seeing it explode. We're probably taking on another area of Amsterdam because the Elders feel like we could help the investigators there better (we've already taken over a couple of investigators there), so that should keep us on our toes. One of the investigators who we've taken over is from a part member family. She's the sister of my friend Joyce who is currently in Utah on vacation (I wrote a little note warning you that she might contact you on one letter somewhere-- I hope you got that--). Her name is Kim and she's AWESOME! She came to one of the conference sessions and we had just talked to her about receiving answers and finding out if the Book of Mormon is true--then a large portion of the talks in conference was about recognizing the Holy Ghost! She looked at me and was like, "How did they know?!" It was so cool.
By the way, I LOVED conference! It was amazing! I hope you enjoyed it as well. We had quite a few investigators come, which was great. I loved how a big focus was God's love--especially from President Uchtdorf and President Eyring. Really, everything we do should be because we love God. That is definitely something I'm working on doing--making my motivation in everything the love that I have for my Heavenly Father. I know He loves us so much! Because He loves me, I want to be better. I love Him. Now, I need to be better at aligning my actions with that--like the scripture says, If you love me, keep my commandments."
Something cool that happened this week is that we got to work with Zr. Brubaker. We had interviews on Thursday with President and after interviews, Zr. Brubaker came to our appointments with us. It was really neat to see how the spirit worked through her to share her feelings with the investigators, even though she didn't really understand the language. It was a definite testimony builder of the importance of the spirit in teaching.
We've also been trying to implement new and creative approaches in finding. One that was really funny that actually turned out well was talking with a woman about her shoes. "Hey, nice shoes. Where did you get them? By the way, want to hear about the gospel?" Okay, so it wasn't quite like that-- but almost :)
Well, I've gotta get running. But, I love you! I know the gospel is true. Can you believe that it was a year ago that I turned in my mission papers? Crazy. Time flies when-- you're so busy that you can't keep your head on straight :) Just kidding-- sort of--

I love you!
Zuster Fowler

P.S. the pictures are me and Zr. Fritz eating an appel oliebol and then of us with Zr. Brubaker.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Awaited letter arrives.

From letter dated September 28, 2009.

Note- Here's the letter to replace the lost e-mail referred to in the posting dated September 28, 2009. - GRF

Dear Mom & Dad,
I'm so sorry about my email not going through. I had it all ready & went to attach pictures & accidentally closed it. Yeah dumb, I know. It made me really upset because I'd spent so much time & my emotions were in there & with one false click, everything was gone. I'm sorry. I know how much you look forward to getting my emails. But-- oh well-- what can you do?
So, Marijke's baptism was AMAZING! The spirit was super strong. A new member named Jeffrey was the one who got to baptize her, and it was really neat for him. The she was confirmed in sacrament meeting on Sunday. She told me that she feels like a child-- she is excited, ready to learn and grow, and she feels absolutely clean. She's amazing! I love how the Savior has healed her, her life really changed-- especially her perspective on life & she's just so happy now. It's been so amazing to see. She's actually coming on joint teach with us this week-- so that'll be really good!
We also set another baptismal date this week. Her name is Ani. She is 14 & comes from Bulgaria. Her brother was baptized a couple of years ago & is now inactive-- so we've been trying to help him come back to church. In the process, she's decided that the church is true and she wants to be baptized on October 31. Her mom also wants to be baptized... So pray for Vili and Ani!
As for the rest of our investigators, things are going really well. We've got a couple thinking about baptism and we've found some really positive people this week. One, named Francoise came to church yesterday & LOVED it! We're praying she'll also get baptized.
Training is good. The hard part is being responsible for EVERYTHING because Zr. Fritz is so overwhelmed right now. It's also hard to see how hard she is on herself. I remember how it is to be in her shoes-- less than 6 months ago I was there-- and it's hard to be in a completely new land, not knowing what's going on-- feeling like you follow your trainer around like a puppy dog-- and missing home like crazy. I just hope I'm able to help her the way the Lord wants me to help her. She's so great & I love her so much! I've learned so much in the week and a half we've been companions. She's AMAZING!!!
I hope that things at home are going well. How's the play? How's Chris doing in Florida?
I want to tell you how much I love you. Thanks for all that you've done for me & all that you continue to do. It's weird that I've been gone so long. Missionary life is normal for me now-- as a greenie I never thought this would be normal-- I knew I would love it, but normal is a different story. I already start getting anxious when I think about going back to non-mission life-- so I think about it as little as possible-- and I still have 10 months left-- man I'm really going to be a basket case when I no longer wear a name tag!
Well I'm gonna run.
I love you! I know the gospel is true. I've really seen it touch and change people's lives. It's hard to talk with people daily who laugh at you and challenge your beliefs-- but it's strengthened my testimony. I know there is a God. I know it with all my heart. I've spent a lot of time praying & thinking about the things people challenge us with-- and every time my answers come back stronger and stronger from the Holy Ghost. I know it's true.
I love you!

Veel Liefs,
Zuster Chantelle Fowler