Monday, July 12, 2010

Veilig Terug

Well... my full-time mission has come to an end. I came home Thursday evening and since then it has been a roller-coaster of emotions. I miss the Netherlands and missionary work like crazy. But it's also nice to be home with my family. One thing is for sure--missionary work will always be a part of my life. I LOVE the gospel with all my heart! I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. My testimony is stronger than ever before. It has been an amazing experience to see others learn about the gospel and feel the love of their Savior. I hope you all get the chance to experience that someway in your lives. I finished reading the Book of Mormon at 5:40 in the morning in the mission home--and it was a beautiful experience to pray about it in the quiet hours of the early morning. I know that it is true. I've seen the Book of Mormon be a catalyst to change people's lives over the last 18 months--and always for the better. I encourage you all to continue reading in the Book of Mormon. If you don't already know for yourself that it is true, pray about it! I know you will get an answer and feel the Savior's arms around you. If you do already know it is true, pray about it anyway! It's such a wonderful personal experience every time that I would love you all to be able to have again. If you haven't studied Preach My Gospel yet, I encourage you to do so. It is pure revelation. I've seen the miracles that come from study and application of PMG in the last 18 months--and it's not just for full-time missionaries! Every member is a missionary. Thanks for all of your support, prayers, and letters over the last 18 months. I've appreciated it all. There is a lot more work to be done in the spreading forth in the kingdom of God, so let's all continue working with all our heart, might, mind, and strength (D&C 4:2). I love you all! I hope to see you soon.

I'll be reporting on my mission on July 18 at 9:00 am at 1030 S 900 W, Tooele, Utah. Afterwards there will be wat lekkers (refreshments) at my house. If you can't make it at 9:00, feel free to stop by anytime on the 18th and say hello.

Love ya! But more importantly, don't forget that there is a Heavenly Father who loves you so much more!
Chantelle Fowler

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Final e-mail

From e-mail dated July 5, 2010.

Note: Sorry for posting this so late. I've been at scout camp for the last few days. Chantelle get home tomorrow! - GRF
Well, this is it. Crazy, huh. A year and a half has FLOWN by. At the beginning it didn't feel like it went so fast, but now I look back and I still feel like a greenie. It's been hard saying goodbye--and yet it's so surreal-- I don't really feel like I'm leaving-- I keep telling people goodbye, but feel like I'll just be seeing them again next week Sunday.
Well, let's see-- what has happened this week?
This week has been full of cancelled appointments and lots of finding in really hot weather. It's been a challenge ..., but it's been good.
We actually had a lot of excitement this week though. Wednesday to Friday we went on exchanges. Zr. Cranford came back here to work with me. It was really fun to work with her again. She is such a wonderful missionary with an amazing positive attitude. We had super funny experiences together--especially while waiting 45 minutes for a tram with two old women from Indonesia who bickered with each other about whose children were better.
We also had a mini-missionary this week. Maaike from Apeldoorn came again on mini-mission (she's the same mini-missionary that came in February). It was so fun to get to work with her again. She's a super funny girl. It's so neat to see someone overcome fears of talking with people on the street or on the door. Then, when she was in the tram by herself on the way back, she totally had a super conversation with a woman about the gospel and the woman wants to learn what she believes in!
We went chalk finding again yesterday with a couple of members and drew the story of Samuel the Lamanite. It was fun. Quincy came with us--only one week baptized and the missionaries have got him out finding already. He really enjoyed it. The Elders were telling us that he almost convinced an atheist that he should start believing in God. That boy is going to make a super missionary someday!
On Friday, we were going to exchanges, and we almost missed our train, so we ran and jumped on just before the doors closed. We went and sat down and the train conductor who had closed the doors came to us and asked if we were from a church. He said that he'd seen a lot of people with our name tags before and said he wanted to know a little about what we believed in. We talked to him briefly before he had to move on and continue his work. We gave him a card and he went back to work. Just before we reached Haarlem, he came back and sat across the aisle from us and said he wanted to know more. We were able to talk with him about the Book of Mormon and he wanted a copy. He said he believes in God and Christ and is looking for truth. He was happy to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon, but was a little hesitant about giving us his number to give the missionaries in his area—however, he now has their number and he will surely see more missionaries riding the train in the near future.
I'm not sure if you've been following the world cup at all, but it has been madness here in Den Haag. Nederland beat Brazil on Friday and it was CRAZY! I'm hoping to be able to see one of the games after I come home. They are now in the Quarter Finals (I think). The streets are decorated in Orange and when the team is playing, the Dutch people are dressed in orange with all sorts of crazy accessories (hats that make noise, sunglasses that have footballs [or soccer balls if you speak American] on them, etc.)
But the most exciting thing of the week is that Brigitte got baptized! It was AWESOME! The ward mission leader worked really hard to be sure that almost everything was in French for the service. President Brubaker also came up so that he could give her the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday in French. The friend who introduced her to the church is the one who baptized her--the first time he has ever performed a baptism. It was all so wonderful. I was actually able to follow almost all of what was said during the service and confirmation. So, it's only my speaking ability that has disappeared. Maybe someday I'll be able to speak French again.
The bishop asked me to bear my testimony in church on Sunday for the last time, and I'd like to share a simply testimony now with you. I know that God lives. I know He loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is my personal Savior. I've felt His redeeming grace many times in the last year and half. He is my strength. I love Him with all my heart. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It testifies of Christ and stands as a witness of the restored gospel. I know that there is a prophet on the earth and that the gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. My mission has been a wonderful experience, and these next couple of days are going to continue rocking.
I love you all! See you soon.
Veel liefs,
Zuster Fowler

Monday, June 28, 2010

A lot of ups and downs.

From e-mail dated June 28, 2010.

Sounds like you had a good time a girls' camp. I was pretty surprised that you said that Elder DeMass showed up on the door step. He was a super Elder--I hope everything is going well for him.
Things here have been INSANE this week. It's been good, but has had a lot of ups and downs. Satan really pulls out the big guns when people get closer to getting baptized. But gratefully, our investigators all had super strong testimonies and despite any adversity, they knew that what they were doing was the right thing.
The most exciting things were the baptisms.
Mary, Isatu, and Ibrahim got baptized on Saturday evening. It was crazy making sure everything was arranged. We had arranged it all with the Ward Mission Leader, but then on Friday we got a call from the Relief Society saying they hadn't heard anything from him about what they needed to do. So we spent a lot of the day stressing about whether or not everything had been taken care of. Gratefully he was able to get everything pulled together and the baptism went smoothly. It was a wonderful service. The spirit was strong and afterwards Isatu told me that she felt perfect--that she had never felt like this in her life and that she was so happy. It was wonderful! They received the Holy Ghost yesterday and it was just amazing. They are so happy!
Quincy got baptized on Sunday after church. Quincy had a rough week—his parents told him it was his choice if he was going to get baptized but that they wouldn't come and that they weren't happy with his decision. But he knew that it was the right thing to do, so he was baptized and it was a WONDERFUL baptism. The spirit really testified to him and he received a lot of amazing promises in a talk given by President Oddens (the Stake President) about how through his example, his family would change their hearts. It was a wonderful service and he will receive the Holy Ghost on Sunday.
This next Saturday we will hopefully have another baptism. Brigitte should be getting baptized. However, she called us today to say her husband isn't very happy about it anymore. She says she is still going to get baptized-- but it's super hard when your family isn't supportive. Please pray for her and her husband (Roger).
Other than that, things have been good. Lots of funny moments this week including one at District Meeting where the Elders were in charge of making lunch and because they are cheap, they bought the cheapest noodles at the store-- which basically turned into mush. It was hilarious!
We also got the chance to have Amsterdam come work with us for a day on Wednesday and it was great! I got to work with Zr. Cranford again. She is such a wonderful missionary--just super positive all of the time. I'll actually be going on exchanges with her again this next week and I'm stoked about it.
Wow, for some reason I don't have a lot to say this week-- Maybe because I know I'll be seeing you soon or something. Speaking of which, my companion is RIDICULOUS and likes to tease me about it all the time. And now the Ward Mission Leader has started teasing me about going home. This next week should be a good one with a lot of miracles. Just because I'm leaving doesn't mean the work should end! Zr. Reber keeps asking why I'm not making lots of appointments to say goodbye--I've just been using it as a way to get them to come on joint teach :) "Hey, this is my last week in the Netherlands. When are you coming with us on Joint Teach?!" It's working. We've got joint teaches for almost all of our appointments already :)
Well, I'll close up with writing about the Book of Mormon. I'm reading in Mormon right now and I've been thinking a lot about Moroni and how he didn't know what was going to happen to him. Can you imagine? Everything he wrote then must have been the things that he found to be most important. Then later, when he writes his own book, the book of Moroni, he again writes the things he found to be most important. These last words of his are probably some of the most important chapters in the Book of Mormon full of sincere testimony to reach the people whom he had seen. What a blessing to have these words of the prophets! I love the Book of Mormon!

Well, I'll go attach some pictures. I love you!
Zuster Fowler

Monday, June 21, 2010

This week has been INSANE!

From e-mail dated June 21, 2010

Wow. This week has been INSANE! Heavenly Father is keeping me plenty busy before I go home. I'm loving it, but it's crazy and stressful and everything all rolled into one.
Tuesday Zr. Brubaker was able to come with us to some appointments since they had to be here to have a final interview with the sister that went home. It was wonderful because we are teaching a lot of people who speak French (and I can't speak French AT ALL anymore-- sad day! I can understand pretty much everything they say, but speaking it is completely gone--) An amazing appointment that we had was that evening with Brigitte, President Brubaker, and Zr. Brubaker. We talked about baptism and the covenant that we make. In the appointment we had to talk with her about her baptismal date, because to have her prepared in time we were going to need to meet more often. As we talked about it, she said she wanted to move her date to be baptized later in July. President Brubaker then said (in French) that it was okay if she wanted to, but that she could be ready by the 3rd and then he pulled the "And Zr. Fowler is leaving on the 7th" card. I haven't really told a whole lot of people that I'm leaving yet--especially not many of our investigators--and she turned and said, "What?! You can't leave! Okay, I know you have to-- so I'm getting baptized on the 3rd so that you can be there." We set up appointments so that she will be ready. She'll actually have to have her interview a bit early because we want it to be in French, so President Brubaker is going to come interview her tomorrow.
We had interviews on Wendesday, and it was great. President gave me an assignment to do these last few weeks--I'm supposed to make a list of all of the things that make me happy--and then he said that he'll be giving me another assignment in our next interview on July 7. It's been fun to take a little time at the end of every day to write down things that make me happy. I'm interested to see what the next assignment is.
We had a cool experience during a consecrated hour—Zr. Reber and I were finding around a Market and felt like we should go down a street we'd never been to before. As we walked down the street, EVERYONE was Muslim. We got to a corner and felt like we should go down another street. We were walking along, wondering what we were doing in such a Muslim neighborhood, when we saw a woman pull up on a motorcycle. We went to talk with her and she is from the Dominican Republic and has heard about the church and wants to learn more! It was neat to have the spirit guide us to her.
We also had a cool lesson with Zr. Daniels on Thursday about the Word of Wisdom. She drinks coffee and tea and as we talked about it, she is going to give them up for a week and see how she feels. I'm not sure I've ever really written about Zr. Daniels--she is an older woman and the Elders found her and asked us to help teach her, so we teach her once a week and the Elders teach her once a week. She's a nice woman, but has pretty bad depression. It's been really neat to see how the gospel has brought light into her life. She is so much happier now that she has the gospel. She is planning on being baptized on July 3.
We had an-- interesting-- experience during finding on Friday. We had a super cool contact in the park with a man from Curicao who wants to learn more about the gospel--we had a half an hour conversation with him about the gospel and he gave us his information to pass to the Elders in Arnhem (because he lives in another city). When we were done with that conversation and parted ways, another man, who was sitting on a bench, called out to us and asked if we were from a church. We said yes and he walked up to us and started telling us that we shouldn't only help people with skin of another color--we told him we help everyone and he said that we needed to help him because he had received a letter from the police about being reported for aggression and violence and said that if we didn't help him that he would take a knife and kill a bunch of kids. We tried to calm him down, but he wouldn't and he just took off in another direction. We went to the police station and spent a good hour there reporting him. Hopefully nothing happens and he was just upset. I'm really grateful for the protection we receive as missionaries. He was upset enough that I'm sure if we weren't protected by God, we would have been beat up or something--but God definitely protects us (not to make you worry or anything-- I've never had an experience like this one in the rest of my mission-- so you have nothing to worry about!)
Saturday evening we had a super cool ward activity. It was a luau with a show from people from the Pacific Islands. Everyone invited their friends, and there were definitely more non-members at the activity than members. It was awesome! It definitely kept us on our toes--we were trying to go around and talk to as many people as we could the whole night. It was a wonderful evening. Everything got started a little late though, so some people were a little upset that everything was taking so long--but what was really funny to see is that it was the Dutch people that were upset, while the people from other countries (and all of the visitors) were just chill and enjoying the evening. Sometimes Dutch people are a little too bound to their schedule.
Oh, Happy Father's Day! I'm so sorry I forgot to send a card or to say anything. And Happy Anniversary! ( I did send a card for that one). Yesterday I played a musical number in church as well as accompanied the Relief Society for their musical number. It was a wonderful service. It's weird to think that in a couple of weeks I'll be listening to services in English again. Strange.
This week I have been in Third Nephi. It has been so wonderful to read about Christ visiting the Nephites. I love it so much. I know that Christ lives. I know He loves us. I know that through Him we can return to our Heavenly Father.

Have a wonderful week!
Zuster Fowler

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crazy busy, and Wonderful

From e-mail dated June 14, 2010.

Things here are CRAZY busy! And it is WONDERFUL! But we do have some sad news. One of the sisters is going home because of health problems and Zr. Cranford is being emergency transferred to Amsterdam. President called us yesterday morning to let us know. He wanted to talk with me first and he told me the whole situation and I thought he was going to transfer me back to Amsterdam--I'm not going to lie that a part of me was excited-- I'd love to go back!--but then he said that Zr. Cranford would be going. I'm going to miss her. She has such a positive attitude and is an extremely hard worker. She truly does her best to follow the spirit and to make people happy. I'm going to miss working with her. However, because things are so busy for us sisters here and not so busy right now in Amsterdam because of all of the illness and such, the Amsterdam sisters will be coming to Den Haag to work a couple of days in the week. I'm not really sure how it's all going to work out, but it should be a good time.
Quincy has been taught everything this week and is so excited for his baptism! He has become an integrated part of the ward and everyone in Den Haag is excited to attend his baptism. His parents have turned a neutral head to the church and don’t really want anything personally to do with the church, but are supportive of him in his decision. We had a lesson with him yesterday after church and then he stayed and had lunch with us and the Elders. It was quite the time. Man, those Elders can get someone going! They were having towel fights--you know, whipping each other with dish towels. Eventually we had to say tell them not to kill our investigator before he was baptized!
Isatu and Mary are doing so well. We had dinner at a member’s home this week and Isatu just talked about how she can’t wait to be baptized. She is so excited! She wants to be able to dedicate her life to God. She has had quite the life. She is from Sierra Leone and told us about how she lived during all of the wars there for blood diamonds. She lived 8 months in the jungle, just trying to survive. She got captured and was in line in a camp to have her arms or legs cut off because she didn't know where any diamonds were. There were only 20 people ahead of her when the Red Cross helicopters came in and rescued her and brought her to the Netherlands. When talking about tithing and fasting this week she said, "I have to do it—God and Christ have done so much for me."
Brigitte is also doing pretty well. We will probably need to move her baptismal date because she can only meet once a week and we haven’t been able to get through things as quickly as we had expected. But she is excited about her baptism and has been inviting friends to all of our lessons so that they can also hear about the gospel.
Bisou is one of the friends that Brigitte invited and she is doing okay. We had a wonderful lesson this week with a member who had also been baptized before and Bisou felt a special connection with her. It was an amazing appointment! Members make all the difference for investigators. But then the next appointment was a little different—she wasn’t so open. I’m pretty sure she has depression and her reaction to the gospel is also dependent on her depressive episodes. We are trying to find a way to help her feel the spirit in every lesson.
Brother James is doing well. He feels like he is learning more than he ever knew before. We need to get him integrated with the ward, so we are going to be having the Elders teach him after this week so that they can bring men from the ward over to help him have the desire to come to church every single week.
One cool experience this week was on Friday. Zr. Reber had a feeling to go to a specific street for a consecrated hour and because she felt so strong about it she was super diligent in talking to everyone. No one wanted to talk to us and there were a lot of Muslims. However, as the hour was coming to a close, a woman from Bulgaria invited us in and is interested in the Book of Mormon. She also felt a really strong connection with Zr. Reber. It was awesome to see how the Lord worked through Zr. Reber and I feel like this woman is one of the reasons Zr. Reber was sent to the Netherlands. I hope that Zr. Reber is able to recognize more and more her worth as a missionary as she continues having experiences like this.
We had a really-- interesting-- experience during finding the other day. We were in a park and went to talk with a man who was sitting on a bench. We had a good talk with him about God, but he is from Yugoslavia and was in the wars there and was really worried about us because he said there are way too many Muslims here and he is worried that they will try to kill us because we are preaching Christ. At the end of our conversation he told us that if he ever sees us again, he will always protect us. It was quite the time.
Well, I also attended my last Zone Conference this week-- sad day. The assistants called us up a couple of days before to do a role play on baptismal calendars because we've been seeing so much success with them since I went to Zone Leader Council. I also played the musical number and was asked to bear my testimony since this is my last Zone Conference. It felt a little like the Zr. Fowler show. It was weird to think that this is my last one. Zone Conference has always been at the end of the transfer, but since we are doing things on a monthly basis now, it fell in this week. I've been trying to push all thoughts of going home out of my head, but I had to think about it a little so that I could give my closing testimony. I talked about the ability we have to choose every day to follow our Savior Jesus Christ--and that we can choose our attitude as missionaries. I think my mission became such a wonderful time for me when I began to choose to always be positive and love my mission. I shared 2 Nephi 10:23--we have the chance every day to choose eternal life. I hope that you all choose eternal life every day in the many different choices you have to make. I love you! Only a few more weeks to finish the Book of Mormon if you are joining in the challenge! Keep reading :)
Love you!
Zuster Fowler
P.S. Yes, that is an African Dress :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Going full speed

From e-mail dated June 7, 2010.

Wow, it sounds like life never slows down for ya'll.
Things here have also been going full speed. It has been great and hard and wonderful. It's true what you said about me spending a lot of time on my knees seeking the Lord's counsel for working in this threesome. Luckily, since we're in a threesome, I gave my desk to Zr. Cranford and I made a dresser in another room my study desk--so it gives me a little privacy when I really need to kneel down and talk with God (which I've been doing even more of than usual this last week). But despite the difficulties of working in a threesome (in adjustment, companionship unity, and arranging the schedule), we've been seeing A LOT of miracles!
I got the package you sent this week. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Zone Leader Council in Dordrecht and received the package then. It was such a wonderful council. We talked about baptismal calendars. We've been trying to use them more often, but now we are going to start using calendars in our first appointment and show people that we have a teaching program that will prepare them to be baptized and in that way help them set a baptismal date and be more focused on the purpose of our visits (they will know beforehand what we are going to talk about in our appointments)... I am so excited to see how it will change the mission. It gave me a lot of insights and I think the baptismal calendar is pure inspiration. I can already see how it's blessing the lives of the people we meet and helping us work most with the people who are most committed. I'm positive it will help the people we are teaching to stay more focused and progress more quickly.
Quincy is doing wonderfully. At our appointment this week, he said he talked with his parents about him being baptized, and they say that they support him. He wishes that they would investigate the church with him right now, but he said, "Just like all you as missionaries can do is invite people, that's all I can do with them. I can't force them to learn more, but I know that they will see how it is blessing my life. I'm just grateful that they aren't opposed to me joining the church." Hopefully we will be having an appointment at a member's home next week with his entire family there—the family is the family of Quincy's friend who is on a mission and Quincy's family wants to get to know them better.
Isatu and Mary are doing well. They are still excited about being baptized...
Brigitte was out of town this week, but she's doing well. We talked with her this morning to set up an appointment for this week. It's sometimes so hard when your baptismal dates can only meet once a week-- but she's progressing well and really developing a testimony of the restored gospel.
Bisou is one of Brigitte's friends and she has been going from church to church for years trying to find the right one. She likes the one she goes to now, but still feels like there is something more. We've had a couple of appointments with her this week and she is finally finding answers to questions she's had all her life. We invited her to be baptized, and she is concerned about whether she should be baptized a second time (she was baptized as a baby), but we told her that we will be talking about it this next week and committed her to pray and to ask God what his will for her is. She said she will continue to prepare to be baptized and she knows that God will let her know if that is right. Her current date is for July 10.
We also set a baptismal date with another new investigator named Alfred (we call him Brother James). He is from Aruba. We met him almost 2 months ago and he was leaving on vacation. A month and a half later, we met with one of his friends and at our appointment, his friend said that Brother James had met us and really wanted to meet with us. They both came to Regina's baptism and we started meeting with Brother James after that. He came to church yesterday for the first time and liked it. His baptismal date is July 10.
Things here in Den Haag are busy and going well. We have been trying to go on splits and have been taking members finding a lot—which I think has been really good for the members. They really like it and they now see a bit more of what we do. This week is a full schedule and we have a lot set up to take members with us this week. I'm excited to see the miracles that happen.
We also had a baptism this week in Den Haag! A couple of months ago, Zr. Reber and I were going finding and we had felt really good about a specific street. Well, we spent the whole hour there knocking on doors only to have every door slammed in our faces. No one would even talk to us for more than 2 sentences. At the end of the hour, we were walking back to our bikes and there was a man on his bike putting flyers in the mailboxes. I went up and started talking to him. He is from Cameroon and his name is Philip. He didn't have a lot of time, but we exchanged phone numbers. We gave him a call and set up an appointment for the next week. After that first appointment, he came to church and has only missed one week at church since. We gave him to the Elders to teach and he just got baptized on Saturday. It was wonderful! Last week Sunday we were in Sunday School and were talking about honesty. The Sunday School teacher went around the room and asked us all what we want to be more honest in this week--he had just learned about tithing and he said, "I want to make a goal to always pay an honest tithe." His baptism was amazing! It was such a wonderful experience!
The gospel is true! I know it with all my heart! I love the gospel. It's such a blessing that we have to be able to share it with those who have not yet partaken of this wonderful fruit. I love you so much! Have a wonderful week!
Zuster Fowler
P.S. the picture of me with the girl is Lorianne from FA.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Challenging but rewarding.

From e-mail date May 31, 2010.

Wow. This transfer is definitely going to be one of the most challenging I think, but also one of the most rewarding. Training in a threesome is an experience unlike I've had in any other companionship and it's hard-- but it's good. Zr. Cranford is an AMAZING missionary! It's just difficult making sure we give her all the opportunities she can have because Zr. Reber and I are so used to teaching together. So, to help her be able to have more opportunities, we've been trying to go on splits—but that is also difficult because the companionship sometimes feels like it is two different companionships instead of that we are all unified. I'm really trying to figure out how we find that balance. Do you have any insights?
Isatu and Mary are doing great. They are ready to be baptized, but they want to wait for Isatu's uncle to be ready. They set a new official date this last week. Their baptismal date is currently set for 26 June. We are hoping to get them really connected with the ward before that comes—we are taking leaders in the ward on Joint Teach and the whole family has friends in the ward.
Brigitte is doing well. She's so involved in the ward--it's wonderful! We went to her lesson this week and she had a couple of friends there. It was interesting because one of them was a little contentious-- but when we talked with Brigitte she said she knew it was true and it didn't matter what her friend said. At the end of the lesson we testified that we knew that what we had taught was true (the plan of salvation) and testified of the importance of it in their lives. After we had testified, the female friend (Bisou) turned to me and said, "When can you come over to my house? I want to talk with you more about this." She really felt the spirit--I'm excited to meet with her again.
I went with a member to an appointment with Quincy this week and we talked about faith, repentance, baptism, the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. He told us how he had received a spiritual confirmation this week that being baptized was the right thing and we committed him to pray about a date. Well, yesterday after Sunday School Quincy walked up to me and said,"June 26--I want to be baptized on June 26." He is SO excited! He has been telling the whole ward about it and everyone is talking about how they are going to be coming to his baptism. He's even making a facebook event so that he can invite all of his friends. He's calling it "Zwemmen in de naam van de Vader, de Zoon, en de Heilige Geest." (Swimming in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost). Oh, brother. He's quite the character. He's doing wonderfully.
Yesterday, a Sister came home from her mission in England, so she gave her homecoming talk. I was basically bawling the whole time-- It's just becoming way too real-- Being in such a complicated threesome is helping me keep my mind focused on the work--but in moments like that it just hits me that a full time mission comes to an end. I'm excited to take her on splits though--she and I have A LOT in common. We both have broken a foot on our missions and she had the same companion situation her last transfer as I do now--I'm interested to see what her experience was.
Oh, something else funny that happened yesterday-- a group of BYU students came to our ward. They are on study abroad for art history-- and one of them just happened to be one of my old co-workers from Freshman Academy--Lorianne Frodsham. It was crazy to see her again and to hear about all of the changes that have happened at FA since I left. Wow. Life is going to be different when I come back.
If you get the chance to go to Abree's reception, give her a big hug for me. And yes, I think I would like to go to my reunion-- wow, that's going to be weird. I'm not sure if you've planned any vacations or anything, and if you have going to the reunion isn't that big of a deal, but it could be cool to see people again (or it may just make me wish even more that I was back in the Netherlands). You can go ahead and RSVP if you don't have anything already planned for me to be doing that day.
I have no idea what Kim's plans are. Sorry. Just email her and you can arrange things that way.
And no, I haven't gotten the package yet--but we are having Zone Conference next week (I'll be doing the musical number and I think I already will be giving my goodbye testimony) and I should get it then.
Tell the kids congratulations for all of their awards this year--it shows how much hard work they have been doing. Keep it up!
I'll leave you with a short thought from the scriptures that I have made as my transfer theme:
It is in Alma 23:6
And As sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them--yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.
I know that this is a marvelous work I have the opportunity to do. And as we all work on it together, we will be able to help these people so that they never fall away. The role of the member in missionary work is so important! I love you all so much!
Zuster Fowler

Monday, May 24, 2010

Final transfer

From e-mail dated May 24, 2010

Note from Chantelle's father:
We received a letter from the mission home last week stating that Chantelle's release date would be August 2nd. This was very confusing to us since she had already told us she would be coming home around July 8th or 9th. We even called the mission home in Brussels to verify her release date, and they told us that August 2nd was correct. I informed her of this when I e-mail her last night. Her response is in the following paragraph. -- GRF

So, the office called me this week since you called them and asked me if I had talked to President about my release date. I told them we had decided I'd be going home in July--but I didn't know it was an option to go home in the middle of the transfer! They just asked are you going home in July or August. Now part of me wants to stay until August 2--I thought it was end of August that they had mailed you about! Okay, I just called the office--it's not an option to go home in the middle of the transfer-- so my official date is 8 July. They are going to email you about that as well.
Now, for the news about transfers. Zr. Reber and I are staying in Den Haag--but I am also going to be training again. So we will be in a threesome (a first since the MTC-- but there didn't really count since I was never with my sister companions anyway). It should be an adventure and also a challenge. We are really going to have to be conscious of her needs and feelings--we've been together two transfers and have learned how to teach with each other, and I can imagine that that will be difficult to bring someone else in (especially someone who is brand new and doesn't understand Dutch very well). We are also going to have to be conscious of unity as a companionship--it will be a good thing to have three people because we are so busy and will now have the opportunity to go on splits more often-- but it could also make it seem like there is a third wheel sometimes. Pray for us that we'll be able to build unity between the three of us so that the spirit can work through us.
We have had a really awesome week this week!
Monday we had a lesson with the man I had written about a couple of weeks ago--the one who came up to us in the park saying that his neighbor had put our card in his mailbox. Well, turns out that this man (Tibor) is a Jehovah's Witness-- so it was quite the appointment-- actually it went really well. He had invited another JW to come as well and we actually had a really open conversation about what we believe in and it wasn't until the end when they started trying to prove us wrong through the Bible--at that point we had to leave and we just testified of the importance of prayer and that the only way to know if it was all true was through prayer. In the end he actually took a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked if it would be possible to have another appointment after he had read. We said that we would be willing to if he wanted to and that he could call us for an appointment--we didn't set a new one right then because if he really is interested he'll call us, and we're not interested in Bible Bashing.
Wednesday we had a wonderful appointment with Brigitte and her husband. We brought a French speaking member with us and watched the Restoration. It was wonderful! At the end of the movie Roger said he felt emotional as he watched it. We then read Galatians 5:22 and he said that these were the things he felt. He didn't come to church with Brigitte this week-- but hopefully he will come along soon.
Thursday we had an AMAZING appointment with Isatu and her children (Mary and Abu). We went through the baptismal interview questions with them so that we could know what we still need to teach before they get baptized in June (they still haven't set a specific date), and they were all bearing powerful testimony to us about the Savior and about the restoration. The spirit was SO strong! Isatu told us how grateful she is for the Savior and that His church is back on the earth. She is getting more and more light in her eyes every time we teach her. At the end, 4 year old Abu gave the closing prayer. As he prayed he said, "Thank you God that we have found the true church." It was such a wonderful moment! I love being a missionary!
Friday we had an AWESOME appointment with Quincy. His mom wasn't there (she's been a little off-standish lately-- we think her social connections to her other church are making her question whether it's good to investigate). We talked with him about the restoration of the priesthood--and he had studied a lot about the priesthood. As we talked with him about how it was lost and restored through Joseph Smith he said, "This all makes sense. No wonder the world was in such a mess." Afterwards we asked him what he was feeling about the church and about baptism. He said he wants to be baptized! He said that ever since he walked into the JoVo Contrum for the first time that he felt at home and he feels the spirit has been guiding him to learn more and more. He said the only thing that is holding him back is a lack of knowledge. We talked about how you will not know everything, and our Joint Teach (Zr. Scherf), who was baptized when she was his age, talked about how she knew it was true through the spirit and even though she didn't know EVERYTHING, that she knew it was right and that now, 30 years later, she still learns something new about the gospel almost every day. He said he is going to think and pray about baptism and let us know when he wants to get baptized. He then came to a baptismal service on Saturday (one of the Elders'investigators got baptized) and really felt the spirit and told one of the Elders that he'll be baptized within a month. We'll see how it goes--but hopefully he'll be able to be baptized before I come home!
Well, my time is almost up. I hope that it's going well for you all in reading in the Book of Mormon. It has been AMAZING! I read in Alma 42 today and had so many insights about the Fall! I love it!

And I love you!
Have a wonderful week!
Zuster Fowler

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crazy week.

From e-mail dated May 17, 2010.

Wow, it sounds like it's been a crazy week. It's also been pretty crazy here-- but in a lot of different ways.
So, I've got another "getting-hit-on-by-a-Muslim-man" story for you. This one is pretty good. We were biking to an appointment on Monday evening and I stopped at a light. Well, I'm on my third bike of my mission (my other one was about to die, so a member gave me another to use for the last couple of months), and this bike makes a lot of squeaking when you stop. A young man in front of me turned around when he heard the noise and then he did a double take. He said something about my bike making noise and then he saw my name tag and he said, "Jezus Christus?! I love Jezus Christus! And I love Mohammed, and I love Abraham and Jacob and..." And the list went on. Then the light turned green, so I said goodbye and took off-- Well, he followed me and pulled up next to me on his bike and started asking me why I don't wear a hoofdduk (the Muslim woman's head covering). I told him it wasn't part of my faith and he started telling me about how it should be. All of this is happening while a whole bunch of other bikers are starting to get upset because he is taking up the bike lane and not letting them pass. It was ridiculous. Eventually I ended up saying goodbye just before taking a turn to get away from him and he didn't follow. Boy, I'm definitely not going to miss experiences like that--although they do make for some good laughs.
Tuesday we had Zone Conference--we are now doing interviews and Zone Conference every month instead of every transfer. I had a bit of a freak out moment when the missionaries who are going home next week bore their testimonies-- I realized that I'll be in the next group-- Yikes! We talked about ways that we can work with the members better. It's so interesting to think about how missionary work happens in Utah compared with here in the Netherlands. Everything in Utah happens through the members, and when you need a joint teach you can basically knock on the neighbor's door and ask them to come along because they are probably a member of the church. Okay, I'm just kidding--I know it's not THAT easy-- but when you hear of missionaries in Utah getting 40 joint teaches a week and we feel really good if we get 9, then you just kind of realize how different missionary work is in different parts of the world. The BEST way for someone to come to a knowledge of the restored gospel really is through a friend. I've seen it time and time again on my mission. I hope that we are able to focus on that and help the members here to invite their friends to enjoy the wonderful fruit that they have been able to partake of.
Then we had exchanges and I went to Groningen to work with Zr. Sharp. This was my first day working outside of Den Haag Zone in my entire mission. It takes about 3 hours to get from Groningen to Den Haag in the train--good times. But, it was such a wonderful exchange! She is a fabulous missionary and I learned so much from her. We had a lot of fun together. She was also trained by Zr. Baxter and she has a deep love for the work. I really feel like the best times I've had on my mission were when me and my companion had a love for the work and a love for God that exceeded anything else--and Zr. Sharp and I were able to share in that for a couple of days. It was wonderful!
In coming back to Den Haag though, things have been a little rough. Most of our appointments were cancelled on us-- and usually at the last minute-- so we had a joint teach there and everything-- which is also rough on the joint teach because then they sometimes are less likely to come in the future because they just think it will get cancelled again--
But things with our baptismal dates are going well. Mary was actually in the hospital this week (turns out she has sickle cell anemia), so the Elders were able to go and give her a blessing. She came home yesterday. Her mom still came to church though and they are excited about baptism, however their date will probably have to be a little later so that Mary can recover from her hospital stay. Please pray for them!
Brigitte is doing really well and getting super connected with the ward. She has been going to exercise activities with the women of the ward and is loving every minute that she spends with people from the church.
We also had a really interesting conversation with Doralin today-- I talked with him on the phone to try to make an appointment for later this week and he told me he may want to get baptized on Saturday! What?! Well, we had to tell him that in order to be baptized, he can't be living with his girlfriend anymore--they either have to get married or he has to move out-- I'm not sure what's going to happen. He probably won't get baptized on Saturday-- but pray for him that he'll be able to make a decision soon and that he'll have the strength to do all he needs to.
Well, my time is almost up. I love you so much! Next week I'll let you know where I'll be for my last transfer...

Veel liefs,
Zuster Fowler

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It was good to talk to you.

From e-mail dated May 10, 2010.

It was good to talk to you all as well. It's crazy that it's all coming to an end so soon. One of the Elders here in Den Haag is also going home at the same time and we just keep freaking out, so we try not to talk about it too much. I didn't think of anything else that I need/want-- oh, wait! Yes! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I've missed them. Just a few--I don't need a whole bag or anything--but it sounds really delicious right now. Let me know if there are any specific souvenirs you all want. I've already got something for everyone, but if there is anything you really want, just let me know and I'll do my best to get it for you. And the sooner you let me know, the better because I'm sure the last few P-days of my mission will be getting pretty full (members and investigators want to teach us how to cook or take us places or whatever--)
This has been a wonderful week of missionary work. At the beginning of the week we were excited because we had a full schedule-- and then so many people cancelled at the last minute that at the middle of the week we were wondering what was going on. But the end of the week was amazing! We set two new baptismal dates and had some wonderful appointments with our investigators.
Isatu is doing wonderfully. Her daughter Mary has also decided she wants to be baptized. They don't quite feel ready to be baptized on the 22, so they have moved their date to June, but they are excited to make that covenant with the Lord. We taught them this week about the 10 commandments, the law of chastity, obedience, and obeying the law. They loved it all! In talking with Isatu about the law of chastity she bore her testimony of how important it is to be faithful and how she wants her family to have all the blessings that God has in store for them.
We set a baptismal date with Brigitte this week. She is a member referral who has been to church 4 times now. She is AMAZING! She loves the gospel so much and has begun sharing it with her friends and family. We taught her about lesson three this week and also taught her husband for the first time. He is now interested in the church as well and he said he'd come to church yesterday-- but he didn't-- but hopefully he will come soon. She is planning on getting baptized on July 3.
Jordana is doing a lot better--life is still crazy, but I think she's got things a bit more under control. We had an appointment with her yesterday and talked about the temple. The spirit in the lesson was AMAZING! I think out of everything in the gospel, the temple is one of the things I love the most. I really hope that you are getting the chance to go often. I know you went a few weeks ago--keep it up! :)
I don't know if I mentioned that we passed Ranjeet on to the Elders and they started teaching him this week. He's doing well and he came to church on Sunday for the first time! (He's been coming to the Center for Young Adults, but getting him to come on Sunday has been hard because he's been in Amsterdam). It was great to see him there. We actually had 7 of our investigators in church yesterday! It was great!
We had an awesome experience yesterday in the park. We were finishing our consecrated hour and were unlocking our bikes when a man noticed us and started walking across the grass. He reached in his bag and pulled out one of our pass along cards. He asked if it was from us. We said it was. He said that his neighbor had put it in his mailbox and that his neighbor said that he had talked with us in the park. We remembered the neighbor—we had talked to him only a few days before and he was Muslim and we had asked him if he knew anyone who would be interested in our message and he said that his neighbor would be and asked if he could take a card to put it in his mailbox. The man said he had been wanting to call us and thought it was such a coincidence that he saw us in the park and that he wants to make an appointment so that we can come talk to him sometime. He didn't have his schedule by him, but we now have his number and will hopefully have an appointment sometime soon!
So, one thing that really confuses me about people is how God can so blatantly play a hand in their lives and they can still refuse to take the bait. There's a girl that Zr. Robbins and I found in our 3rd week together. We tried to get her to the JoVo Centrum and to set up appointments, but nothing just ever worked out. Well, the Elders contacted into her a couple of weeks ago--two days in a row--and got her information and gave it to us (she had a new phone number) and the other Elders contacted her the day after that, so we called her up and had an appointment last week. Well, she said she wanted to meet again, but that she didn't know her work schedule, so we were supposed to call her and get a new appointment-- but she never answered her phone... Well, Wednesday we were in a completely other part of town for an appointment, but the woman wasn't at home, so we decided to knock on the doors there so that we could see if anyone would be interested--and who happens to be behind the first door we knock? Her! She was there babysitting--coincidence? I think not. We set up an appointment for Thursday, but she wasn't home. And she didn't answer her phone. The Elders ran into her again yesterday. The Lord has put missionaries so many times into her life-- but she's just not willing to make the effort to take the blessing he wants to give her. Bah! That's one thing that I just don't get! But, agency is a big part of God's plan and she has to use that to take what He is trying to give her.
...I love the gospel so much! I was studying this morning on the Book of Mormon and read about Alma and Amulek's experiences with Zeezrom. Something that really struck me is how merciful God is. Even after all that Zeezrom had done, he was still forgiven of all he had done in the end. It really made me think about the wonderful message we share of repentance and being able to truly apply the atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ in our lives. The atonement truly is the saving power to everyone who will partake—it is for EVERYONE, they just have to choose to accept it—and I have the wonderful opportunity to go out every day and share it. I love it!
I love you all with all my heart. Kids, you don't have too much longer to redeem yourselves for not writing often :) Just kidding. But seriously, I'd love to hear from you all at least one more time before I come home. I love you!
Zuster Fowler

Monday, May 3, 2010

Finding and teaching.

From e-mail dated May 3, 2010.

...The weather these last couple of days has been so cold! Earlier this week it was super warm and I was LOVING it! But it has been pretty much constantly raining since Friday. It makes for some very soggy missionaries (especially when your appointments cancel at the last minute--) but it's a good time.
Friday was Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) which is a big national holiday. So, what do they decide to do on their day off? Everyone sets up tables out on the streets and tries to sell their junk to the passerby's so they can buy someone else's junk. It's the only day of the year that people are allowed to have a yardsale. It's crazy. And everyone is drunk-- so we basically avoid the center of the city and try to be in appointments most of the day. Thursday night we had an appointment in Koningstraat (King Street) and didn't realize that the festivities started the night before there-- so we were in the midst of it-- but came away without any problems.
We expected a good number of our investigators to set baptismal dates this week-- and they are feeling good about baptism, but just don't feel ready to set a date (and we gave one of our baptismal dates to the Elders because we felt like they would be a better match for him). But it has been a good week. We've worked hard and seen some wonderful things happen.
We had a really cool experience with prayer this week as well. We were in a consecrated hour and we had picked out a park the night before. We went to the park and even though it was a BEAUTIFUL day, nobody was there! We were walking around and couldn't find anyone, so we decided to pray. We prayed that God would place the people in our path with whom He wanted us to speak. Well, as soon as we were done with our prayer, a woman rode past on her bike and turned around and stopped to ask if we were lost and needed directions. We ended up being able to talk to her about the gospel. She knew members of the church a long time ago, but the members had moved back to Germany. She wasn't super interested in the church, but it was amazing how Heavenly Father placed someone there right after we had prayed. We then turned around to see a young many playing with his dog—we went and had a great talk with him about the Restoration that lasted the rest of the hour. He took a card and was going to talk with his girlfriend to see if we could come share more, but when we called he said they weren't interested. But the point of the story is that our Heavenly Father answered our prayer. And even though neither of the people ended up becoming new investigators, I know that we were there to talk with them for a reason. It was a neat experience.
I got to see Kim and Joyce on Monday when we went to Keukenhof--so that was super cool! I'll try to add some pictures.
Things are going well with Zr. Reber. She's getting a better hand on the language... Yesterday we went finding in a park in the rain and a couple of members came with us so we split up. I think that was really good for her to be forced to take the lead in a way. They met a man in the park who said he knew God loved him because just a few minutes before he had been praying that God would help him and then he met them... I'm really grateful for the role I feel that Heavenly Father plays in my life. I know He is there and as long as I am doing my best and constantly trying to listen for if the spirit tells me something that I will be guided to help those who need me.
Things with our investigators are going well. We have asked the Elders to start teaching Ranjeet--we think he'll be able to relate with them better.
Isatu is doing well. We taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ this week, and it was great! Her biggest desire is to follow Christ. She said that she wants to do everything she can to return to live with her Heavenly Father. She is a wonderful woman with a strong spirit. She's still talking with her uncle to see if they will get baptized on the 22 or on another date, but they will definitely be getting baptized soon.
Brigitte is great! She also has such a desire to follow Christ. I love it! We taught her the plan of Salvation this week and she said, "I love it! I'm so happy. I know this is God's plan." She would get baptized next week if she could, but she can only meet once a week... so it is going to take a little while to be able to get her completely prepared.
Yvonne and Quincy are doing well. Quincy is going to a camp with the Young Adults here this week. It should be an amazing experience for him. Hopefully they receive a confirmation soon that this is the right thing. Please pray for them, and for Kiko (the younger brother) and Ronald (the Father who doesn't believe in God at all). It would be so wonderful to see them as a family in the temple!
Well, I'm going to go so that I can get some photos on here. I'll talk to you Sunday. Love you lots!
Zuster Fowler

Monday, April 26, 2010

Goings on.

From e-mail dated April 26, 2010.

So, what things have been going on this week?
Ranjeet is coming to understand more and more about our Savior each day. We still haven't talked with him about the Restoration—but we are doing that tonight. But we felt like the Restoration has no meaning if he didn't first have a testimony of Jesus Christ. He is starting to make connections with the JoVos, and we've really got to get him to come to church on Sunday, so that's our big push this week.
Isatu is wonderful. She is SO excited about the gospel! We had a great lesson with her and her kids this week about the spirit and Victoria (a convert of 2 weeks) came with us on joint teach and it was AMAZING! They were able to really connect with each other and Victoria bore testimony of her experiences with the spirit. Then we asked Isatu if she has ever had an experience where she has felt the spirit and she told us about a day when she and her daughter were praying together and she just felt that He was there—she said it was the strongest feeling she has ever had and she wants to be able to feel it more and more often. She said, „I know that as I read in the scriptures and pray every day that that feeling from the spirit can be with me each day.“ When she came to church on Sunday, Victoria was able to lead her around and they have become good friends. I love members!
We got another member referral this week who is super positive! Her name is Brigitte. Another recent convert brought a friend to church last week Sunday and she invited us to come over this week. We had an appointment with her on Saturday and she knows the church is true—she has been learning from this friend about the church for a while—and she wants to pray about being baptized. She is from Togo and speaks French. Her English is pretty good-- but she prefers hearing the gospel in her own language or in French, so her friend (Folly) came to the appointment. We basically said a total of 10 sentences in 40 minutes and he taught the rest of the lesson. We had studied things that morning to teach her, and it was amazing--he would say them without us even mentioning it--he said, "I just felt the spirit telling me that that is what she needed to hear and what you wanted to say." She is actually also friends with Victoria—they went to the same church before—so Victoria was able to explain some things to her about the church when she came again on Sunday. Basically Victoria and Folly are going to double the size of the ward in Den Haag :)
We also had a good couple of appointments with Yvonne and Quincy. We talked with them this week about baptism and they are thinking about it. They are a little hesitant because they just got baptized a year and a half ago in another church, but they are praying about it and seriously considering it. They are such a wonderful family.
We had interviews this week with President Brubaker, and afterwards Zr. Brubaker came with us for a couple of hours to teach. Neither of our appointments showed up, so we went and decided to knock on some house boats! I've actually never tried contacting the people who live in houseboats (I've always thought about it, but never actually done it). It was really interesting, and we had a really long conversation with one woman who said we could come back if ever in the neighborhood, but didn't want to make an appointment. It was quite the time.
Oh! Exciting news! We had a lesson with Zr. Santos this week and talked with her about the status of her and her boyfriend getting married. She said that they want to get married, but he doesn't want to get baptized in the church and he only wants to marry in a Catholic church and she was really sad because she wants to get baptized. We looked at each other and said, "So the only thing holding you back from getting married is that he will only marry in a Catholic church?" And she said yes. We were able to tell her that it doesn't matter where they get married, just as long as they get married. She lit up! She thought that because she wanted to become a member of this church that she couldn't get married in another church. She got so excited and they are now starting to make wedding plans! Pray that they will be able to get married soon. Man, I would love to be here for their baptism-- but I'm not sure that will happen-- the mission flies by way too fast!
...Well, I'll add in a thought I had while studying in the Book of Mormon this morning. I was reading in Mosiah 14 and the last three verses really stuck out to me. I pondered them for quite some time. One of the insights I got was about how when in the Old Testament it talks about God coming to earth to take upon the form of a man, that it is talking about the God of the Old Testament: Jehovah (Jesus Christ). So many people don't understand that Christ is the God of the Old Testament and that's where the confusing idea of a trinity comes from. I'm so glad that we have the knowledge we have--that we know that God is our Heavenly Father and Christ is his Son.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time keeps rolling on.

From e-mail dated April 19, 2010.

Thanks for getting everything squared away with housing. Brittany apartments sounds good. I've had a couple of friends live there, and it should be good. I'm sure that the Lord will provide fabulous roommates and we will have a wonderful time together...
The missionaries going home DID make it out--well, the two that went home last week. A couple had their parents come pick them up, and they haven't been able to make it out-- it's been quite the adventure for many people--the Bishop's wife and mother in law are in America (they went for conference) and they were supposed to come back Saturday-- but that didn't happen...
Yes, I did get the Easter package. Thanks so much! The CD is great! I also got a package this week from Marci, Jamie, and Suzi. It was good to hear from them!
Well, what are some things that have been happening here?
Ranjeet is doing well. He is learning more and more every day about Jesus Christ and feels that there is more and more happiness in his life. He hasn't made it to church yet—he was visiting family this week, and although we committed him to go to church in Amsterdam, he didn't make it. We are praying he will be there next week. But he is making a lot of really good friendships at the JoVo centrum, which is great. He looks forward to the activities.
We also have a new baptismal date. Her name is Isatu, and the sisters taught her about a year ago. The Zone Leaders ran into her in the street a few weeks ago and have been teaching her and her kids. They just turned her over to us yesterday at church, so we haven't had any lessons with her and her children yet, but will have a couple this week.
One super awesome miracle this week is a member referral. Daan Peschier is leaving on his mission (he was supposed to be gone this week, but because of the volcano, he hasn't left yet). Well, his farewell service was last week Sunday. He invited a lot of his friends, and one of his friends really wanted to come, but couldn't—so his mom and little brother came to the service instead! She felt the spirit at church and invited us to come over and answer her questions. Then the young man (Quincy) came to the JoVo Centrum on Monday and loved it. We went to their house on Tuesday and they had looked at the website and had all sorts of questions. They invited us back to their house for Wednesday and had even more questions. Her husband is not religious at all, so she really wants us to be able to teach him. We talked about how our purpose is to help people join the church through baptism when they come to know it's true and although they've been baptized just a year ago, they said they want to learn more and want to start coming to the church regularly and see where it leads. Quincy also went to Daan's setting apart on Thursday and he met the Bishop and Stake President. There is just a super good feeling about this family, and it all came from the example of one young man in the ward. We pray that it will lead to them receiving the restored gospel. Please pray for them (Familie van den Berg).
On the way back from Brussels on Thursday (another legality trip), I had a wonderful 2 hour conversation with a 28 year old young woman about her beliefs, and although she's not interested in meeting with missionaries right now, she is definitely going to look at the website and we exchanged email addresses for after I go back from the mission, and that contact with the church will stay in force.
We also got to run a primary activity this week. We did a mini MTC, which was super awesome. The kids all got name tags and went to different countries where they learned a little bit of the language, learned about missionary work, and played a game from the country. Some of the kids learned how to tie a tie and others were members of Captain Moroni's army. It was super cute and a lot of fun.
Jordana is having a rough time right now--she just got told that she has to move out of the place she is living by the end of May and she has picked up work and 2 new gyms-- so she has gotten super busy. Please pray for her!
Oh, something else super this week was we got a phone call from the man that flagged us down on the street a couple of weeks ago. He said he thinks about our interaction almost every day and he has received so much strength from it. He said he isn't quite sure he wants to make an appointment yet, but he wanted us to know that the things he felt while we talked with him have affected his life.
I was reading this week in Jacob 5--the allegory of the Olive Tree--and really thought about the time periods that are talked about. The Lord really is gathering his people for the last harvest. And that is what we are all a part of--full time missionaries, members, everyone! We have to work with all our heart to help the harvest be great!

I love you! I hope that all is well!
Zuster Fowler

Monday, April 12, 2010

An interesting and yet wonderful week.

From e-mail dated April 12, 2010.

It has been an interesting and yet wonderful week in the life of a missionary. I guess I should give you transfer news first. I'm staying in Den Haag and so is Zr. Reber. We should have a wonderful transfer together. Haarlem is opening up again--which makes me super happy. Part of me wishes I could be the one to open it back up, but the Lord has His plan and His path...
It has been quite the week in Den Haag—with a lot of cancelled appointments, which led to a lot of looking up people and talking with people on the street. This week we had quite a number of super long conversations with people during finding-- and they weren't interested in an appointment in the end-- but hopefully the conversations we had will help them think and have invited them to come closer to their Savior Jesus Christ.
We had Zone Conference at the temple this week, which was wonderful! I love the temple so much! I really felt the love of my Heavenly Father while I was there. I hope that you are getting the chance to go often.
Saturday was a WONDERFUL day! I got to see Kim!!! She came to Den Haag to visit Jordana with us. Jordana has a lot of the same concerns Kim had before she got baptized, so we got permission to ask her to come out here and go to an appointment with us. Kim and Jordana were able to just talk and we asked Jordana to focus on learning if the Book of Mormon is true--we've taught her SO many things, but talked about how if the Book of Mormon is true, that she'll come to know the rest of the things are true. It was a good appointment.
Then Saturday evening there was a baptism! Elders Black and De Mass have been teaching a wonderful family from Ghana. A recent convert is renting a room from this family, and he began sharing the gospel with them. The mom (Victoria) is a single mom and she and her daughter (Deborah) got baptized on Saturday evening. We have had the privilege to teach them a couple of times and it was such a wonderful evening with everyone who came. We had 8 investigators come to the baptism, and afterward we were talking with a couple of them and one of them said, "I think we may be next." We will hopefully visit them this week and see how they are feeling.
The big miracle of the week is Ranjeet. Last week Saturday we had a consecrated hour right before we were going to a dinner appointment before going to General Conference. Friday night we had prayed and both felt really strongly that we should go to the park. Well, Saturday turned out to be a day full of pouring rain in Den Haag. We prayed and asked Heavenly Father that we would still be able to find someone in our consecrated hour. When we biked into the park, the rain had stopped just a few minutes earlier. We were locking up our bikes and I saw a young man walking past. He looked really familiar, and I thought maybe we had talked with him the day before. We locked up our bikes, prayed, and started walking through the park to talk to people. Most of the people just were not interested, and it was looking like it was going to start raining again, so a lot of people were staring to head home. As we continued through the park, we saw the young man again. I mentioned him to Zr. Reber and asked if we had talked with him the day before. She said she didn't think so. We then talked to an older gentleman who didn't have any interest. And when we turned around, we saw the young man again. I said, „Okay! I've seen him three times now. It doesn't matter if we talked to him yesterday or not, we're just going to go talk to him.“ We went up and talked to him about Jesus Christ. He told us he was from India, here to study and had been here for about a year. He told us that he believes in God, and that he prays to God every day. He shared with us how as a child he had no belief in God, but a few years ago he broke his arm in an accident and prayed and asked God to help him, and now he is healed—and he believes that God played a huge role in that so he now prays to God daily to ask for his guidance throughout the day. We testified of the power of prayer and talked with him about how we teach people about Jesus Christ and want to help him to learn about Christ (as he had told us that he has no knowledge of who Christ is and he wants to know why Christ is so important to so many people). We set up an appointment for Thursday and shared a prayer with him—in which he felt the spirit testify that this was something God had sent to him. Well, we had our appointment on Thursday and we just taught him about Jesus Christ—who Christ is and how He is our Savior. We testified that the only way back to God is through Christ. Our joint teaches testified of how Christ has blessed their lives, and we talked about how to accept what Christ has done for us, we need to be baptized. He said he wants to prepare himself to be baptized. He went to the JoVo Centrum that evening, and he came on Saturday to the end of a baptismal service. After the service, the Elder's Quorum President took him on a tour of the church and then we talked with him about the things he had learned and felt. He said that every time he has come into the church, he feels something and he feels like God is giving him the confidence he needs through what he is learning about Christ. He pulled out the booklet we had given him about the Plan of Salvation and said, „Through reading this, I now understand where I come from, what my purpose here on earth is, and where I am going. I know God has a plan for me.“ We testified of how Christ is central to that plan and committed him to be baptized on May 22 and he accepted. We gave him a baptismal calendar and set out all of the activities and lessons we will have to prepare him to be baptized. It was a wonderful experience and I'm excited to help him prepare!
I know the Lord is preparing people and as we go and work with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, that we will be led to those who are being prepared for the gospel.
I'm excited for this transfer—to see all of the miracles that will happen here in Den Haag and throughout the mission.
Oh, I'm not sure if I've told you about Familie Santos--they are from Cape Verde and we team teach them with Elders Fritzler and Hansen. We had a wonderful lesson with them on Thursday about the Word of Wisdom. We talked about how we receive blessings when we are obedient and then explained the Word of Wisdom. She said, "Okay--well, I don't need those things. I'm just going to quit!" She is such a wonderful person! And her 10 year old son, Pauloe, is a cute kid. They both want to get baptized, but she lives with her boyfriend and he isn't so interested in the church and doesn't really want to get married or move out--and she doesn't want to break up, so she's trying to talk with him so they will get married. Please pray for them!
My studies in the Book of Mormon this week have been mostly in the Isaiah chapters. It has been quite the time, and I've decided that I really need to learn more about Isaiah so that I can understand them better. However, one thing I read today was that when the things come to pass, we will be able to recognize them--and one of the reasons we have prophets (such as Nephi) is so that they can explain the things that are of importance to us from Isaiah in plain terms. Studying Isaiah is definitely something on my list of things to do when I come home.
Well, I love you. I'm going to run so that I can attach some pictures for you! Have a wonderful week!

Zuster Fowler

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Easter, General Conference, etc.

From e-mail dated April 6, 2010.

Okay, I guess I'll start off answering your questions.
First: I know Kim wants to come to Utah for when I come home and I'm not sure, but if I understand correctly, she may have already asked for time off of work--so the sooner she can know the better. I don't know if she is planning on spending most of her time with her extended family and such, but I'm assuming she will probably also want to spend some time with us... I actually will get to see her on Saturday (she's coming out here to go on joint teach with us to Jordana), so I can ask her what her plans are and such.
As for vacation--I'm good with whatever. I've actually never been to Yellowstone, so that would be fun. Mom also mentioned maybe Florida, and it would also be great to see grandma and Aunt Teresa. I don't really care so much about Disney World or whatever if we go to Florida. Anyway, I don't really have a huge opinion about what we do...
I still haven't gotten the package, but I'm guessing I'll receive that at Zone Conference on Friday. We are going to the temple again for Zone Conference. I'm so excited! I love the temple so much! I've been studying about the temple in my personal study--it's super!
Oh, there's a young woman that is a couple of years younger than Renee here, and her mom is really worried about her and her gaining a strong testimony. I felt like it might be good if Renee writes her and tells her about her experiences and testimony--focusing on how the gospel has blessed her life. If Renee wants, she can either send a letter to me, or she can send the girl (Kim) an e-mail...
So, I've now been in the Netherlands for over a year. Crazy huh? I think so. The weather is a lot like it was when I first came here--and it is beautiful (although still a little cold). I can't believe how quickly time has flown and continues to fly! It's been quite the week in Den Haag. For some reason or another, people are cancelling appointments like crazy this week. We're doing our best to make backup plans and to constantly be finding. I've been doing a lot of thinking these last couple of days, and feel like I received a lot of personal revelation through General Conference as well as through my prayers this morning about things I personally need to do to help the work in Den Haag move forward with greater speed.
Speaking of General Conference, it was AMAZING!!! We had 6 investigators come to General Conference. I LOVED the talks and feel like the Lord has a lot of things He wants to tell us right now. I really feel the importance of parents and am really grateful for you and hope that I can also be a good parent someday.
We had exchanges this week, and Zr. Vels came to work with me in Den Haag while Zr. Reber went to Amsterdam. Zr. Vels is from the Netherlands, so it was cool to get to see how she works with her own people to help them receive the gospel. I definitely learned a lot from her and hope that I can apply it to increase my own capabilities to do missionary work.
Yesterday we had a really neat experience. We were on our way to meet a member to go do something with them for P-day when a man yelled to us from the side of the street saying, "Red me van dit hel!" ("Save me from this hell!") We turned back and talked with him. As we talked with him, he shared with us how he is homeless and has become a drunkard. He told us how he doesn't want to be living this life and how his family has deserted him. We cried with him and bore testimony of how Christ can help him to receive strength and that although we have no way of giving him a home or a job, that we can help him to come unto Christ and change his life through following Christ's teachings. He took a copy of the Book of Mormon, and told us he will be coming to church on Sunday. Just before we parted ways, he said, "I just bought two cans of beer with the little bit of money that I had. I'm going to go throw them away and start now to change my life." I hope that we see him at church on Sunday and that he can feel the atonement of his Savior--because that is truly the only thing that can save any of us.
I'm loving my study of the Book of Mormon! I actually read in 2 Nephi 8 today and verse 7-9 really stuck out to me and I thought about finding—we are not to be afraid of the people we talk to, but rather awake and put on the strength of the Lord—and remember the times we have wounded the dragon (remember the times we have found people who were ready to receive us) and allow that faith and hope to keep us moving forward. I'm so grateful for how Heavenly Father speaks to us through the pages of scriptures. I'm not sure if any of you are also taking the time to read the Book of Mormon again, but if so, I'd love to hear some of the insights you are receiving.

Well, I've got to run! I love you so much! Thanks for the Easter cards, the letters, and the support. I love you!
Zuster Fowler

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A really great week in Den Haag

From e-mail dated March 29, 2010.

...It's been a really great week here in Den Haag. We have found more new investigators in this one week than I think we've found in the last 3 or 4 weeks combined. We really committed ourselves to focusing on finding new investigators and making time for them through letting eternal investigators go, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly. We have found them in consecrated hours, between appointments, while standing by our bikes after looking up a referral, and basically everywhere. It has been a really great week. One of the new investigators we have found was on Saturday. We rang her bell and she came over the speaker and said that we had come by last week--we said we hadn't, and she asked of we are JW's and when we said no, we're from another church, she let us in. Her name is Abies and she is from Nigeria. She stopped going to her church about a year ago because her Pastor tried to break her family up. We talked about how God's plan is for families to be together forever and we watched a 6 minute movie called Finding Happiness (I LOVE that movie! I've really become a church movie nerd!). When the movie was over she said, "I felt the spirit so strongly. Where is the church? I can't go tomorrow, but the Lord has told me that even if this church is 2 hours away, I need to go." Tjonge jongen! The spirit was so thick you could cut it with a knife! It was AMAZING! We have an appointment with her on Wednesday and we are going to commit her to baptism. Please pray for her and her family (her husband is in Nigeria right now-- so we haven't met him yet, but he is coming back within the next couple of weeks).
Oh, so I have a funny story that shows basically how awkward I'm going to be when I come home. We were at district meeting on Tuesday and we were doing some practices. The District Leader took a few of us out in the hall so that he could give us some characters to be. We did the first practice, and then it was time for the others to get characters, so everyone else went out in the hall--but Elder Hanson (the district leader) had to go with them to give them their characters--and the last person to leave the room shut the door behind them--so it was just me and Elder Howell. We looked a little panicked at each other and said, "Whoa, this is awkward!" and then we went and opened the door and told one of them to come back in. Oh, the joys of being a missionary. I don't know what I'm going to do--I'll basically never get married because I'll just be awkward the rest of my life.
We went on Wednesday to Brussels again to take care of getting a new passport for Zr. Reber. It was an adventure. The US embassy has so many guards! And you walk past the rest of the embassies and they have basically no security. It's pretty crazy. While there a couple asked us to witness as they signed some papers to buy an apartment in New York, so we got to talk with them about the gospel--and that was super cool. That night we had one of the worst appointments of my mission--the spirit just wasn't there because the man just wasn't open. He was criticizing us and telling us that we weren't qualified to teach the gospel. Our Joint Teach, Zr. Mule, stopped him and told him how grateful she was for the missionaries and she bore super powerful testimony--when she was done, his whole attitude changed. It was amazing! I love the members!

AAH! I've gotta run or I'll lose this.
I love you!
Zr. Fowler

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quite a week.

From e-mail dated March 22, 2010.

Well, it's been quite the week. Tuesday we had to go to Brussels for legality (we'll be going again this week Wednesday because Zr. Reber's passport has some problems, so we have to go to the consulate), Thursday we had interviews, and Sunday was Marvel's baptism.
So, I guess I should start out with the information you've been waiting for from interviews-- President and I talked about when I'll be coming home. I've been doing a lot of praying and thinking about it because I knew he would ask me what my thoughts and feelings were. Whenever I thought about coming home in August I would get super excited, but also stressed out of my mind-- and when I thought about coming home in July I would get sad, but also a really strong peaceful feeling would come. Through my life, I've had many different experiences with how the spirit speaks with me--but one thing that I always know is the spirit is that feeling of peace. The sadness is normal because when you love your mission so much, there's no way you won't be sad when you leave, whether earlier or later. Anyway, the final decision is that I'll be coming home in July. The transfer day is July 7, which means I will probably be reaching Utah on July 9.
I have decided that between now and then, I'm going to read the Book of Mormon again--and my last night--while in the mission home, I'm going to read Moroni 10 and apply Moroni's promise again. I'm excited to be able to do this again. I've done it many times throughout my life, but it never fails that I receive an answer from my Heavenly Father that it is true--He will always answer us! I'd like to invite each of you to take on this challenge with me. I've done the math, and it's 5 pages of the Book of Mormon a day. We can share with each other the things we've been learning as you write letters, and then, the day that I come home, I'd like to have a testimony meeting with the family. Remember this is an invitation--you only have to do it if you want to... but I know that your lives will be blessed as you take this on--as you read the Book of Mormon with real intent, as you talk about it with each other, and as you pray and ask God for yourself if it is true. If friends want to take on the challenge as well, please include yourself in the invitation--I'd love to hear the things you learn and feel as you read. I'd also love to hear your testimonies when I come home--maybe we can get together soon after I come home and share our testimonies with one another.
There are a couple of other things--the day after I come home, I'd really love to be able to go to the temple with mom and dad (and whoever... but mostly mom and dad). I'd love to be able to go to the Provo temple, if possible...
Marvel’s baptism went through this week (even with him being gone on vacation the week before) and it was great! It was a little harried putting it all together, but it went really well and the spirit was really strong. Marvel had invited a number of his friends and their parents, so a lot of people came inside the church for the first time and we had a couple of investigators come who also brought friends. We also had a number of investigators who didn’t come, who had promised to come—and we feel like that has let us know that they aren’t as serious about investigating as they have professed to be. We have prayed a lot and have decided to completely give them back to the Lord. We were really struggling with that last night, but after we had dedicated ourselves to the Lord to say we were going to do this, we received a text message from someone who came to the baptism but had to leave a little early saying that he was really glad he came and he really wants to meet with us to talk about what he felt and to learn more about the church. I know that the Lord will bless us with the people who really are ready for the gospel. We have had such a hard time finding new investigators these last couple of weeks—and this is a big step of faith for us, but I know that the Lord will bless us with new investigators as we completely dedicate ourselves to following Him and His will.
Well, I'm going to run so I can attach a couple of pictures really quick.

I love you!
Zr. Fowler

Monday, March 15, 2010

Still undecided

From e-mail dated March 15, 2010.

So, I still don't know when I'm coming home. I really don't think I can come home in August and go immediately into work and school--I'd like to spend a little time with the family and have the chance to get back into work before the first day of NSO. But I'd also like to stay on my mission as long as possible. I'll be talking with President about it in interviews on Thursday.
One really neat experience this week is that we were in an area that’s a little far away for an appointment, so we decided to spend the whole day in the area. Well, the appointment didn’t go through-- so we just talked with people on the street the whole afternoon. We hadn’t had time to pack dinner, so we decided to go to a little snack bar and grab something to eat before heading to our appointment back in the middle of town. As we were standing in line, there was a family in front of us and the little 2 year old girl kept coming over to me to show her book to me and we would read together. We exchanged pleasantries with the parents, and as we were all waiting for our food they asked, "So, you are from a church?" We started talking to them about the church and they are really active in their own church, but were intrigued by our beliefs. At the end of the conversation, they weren’t quite ready to make an appointment because they are really happy with their church, but they told us that they really felt the spirit during our conversation and will be looking into the church a little more. Even though it didn’t lead to new investigators, it was fun to apply the principle of talking to everyone...
We also had quite the amount of bike problems this week. Zr. Reber's bike basically died. The tire blew up and her chain fell off all in the same day. We managed to still make it to all of our appointments riding achterop--although we were a half an hour late for them all. It was quite the day.
As far as Marvel—our baptismal date—goes-- well-- he went on vacation this week and we didn’t know he was going to be gone. His mom had said she was leaving for a couple of days-- but she made it sound like they were only going to miss one appointment—and we haven’t seen them or been able to reach them on the telephone since-- hopefully they will come back soon—his baptism is supposed to be Sunday, which is still possible, and the ward is still willing-- but it’s going to be quite the crunch.
We do have this AMAZING investigator named Jordana though--she's super. She's the one who came with us to Kim's baptism. There's one big problem though-- she works on Sundays and can never come to church. PLEASE pray for her to be able to find a way to come to church on Sundays and for us to know how to teach her in a way that will help her to have enough faith to do whatever it takes to make it there.
We also got the opportunity to go to District Leader Council this week. The Elders invited us to come so that we could have a 'true council' and make some goals for the Zone. It was a neat experience--they usually don't have sisters at DLC. It was good to receive some training--the District Leaders on being a DL, but a lot of what they received was also really applicable to me as a trainer--and then it was really neat to be a part of making some goals for the Zone.
Yesterday we had one more really neat experience. We were doing a consecrated hour of finding and had been talking to people in this neighborhood opstraat. Every once in a while we would knock on a door if we felt like we should. Well, we felt like we should walk down a specific street, but there was NO ONE on the street. As we walked down the street, I saw a door on the other side of the street and felt like we should knock on it. A woman came to the door and she said her mother had just passed away a week ago and that she didn't really have time. Well, I asked if she needed anything and asked if we could maybe pray for her. She looked at us for a minute and then invited us in. We talked with her about life after death and shared some scriptures with her from the Book of Mormon. She was really touched and felt like her mom sent us to her. She didn't want to make an appointment because she said, "I know that you are sent to help people come into your church and that's not going to happen, but I do want to read this book and come to church sometime soon." It was a neat feeling though to be able to talk with someone who we felt like Heavenly Father had sent us to at a specific time when she needed some support. We always know that God sends us places where the people need us, but sometimes you don't get to seen who or why in the moment you are there.
Well, I've gotta get running. I love you a lot. Please keep us in your prayers--I'm praying for you as well.