Monday, February 22, 2010

One of the best weeks of my mission

From e-mail dated February 22, 2010.

This has been one of the best weeks of my mission so far. It was amazing! But before I get to that, I'll respond to a couple of things in your email...
*The missionaries have made contact with the referral from Pat Esplin--I'm not sure what has happened so far, but I know that they've made contact, and as soon as I know more, I'll pass it through.
*For now the mission office is staying in Brussels, but we'll see what happens--they aren't sure if it will be moving or not.
*I'm not sure if the CD is on the approved list, but you're welcome to send it, and if it's not, then I'll just wait until I get home to listen to it.
Okay, now on to the AWESOMENESS that was this week :)
Monday we went to Delft for P-day and I got some fun things for the family and finally found souvenirs that I think the boys will like-- boy they've been rough to shop for. We then had dinner with a family in Delft that is from America, so it was fun to speak American English again :)
Tuesday was an interesting day-- we had district meeting (a last minute meeting because our interviews this week were cancelled because of all of the changes in the mission--we're just not getting interviewed this transfer-- sadly enough--) and then we had a really great appointment with our 82 year old investigator named Brother Dahoe. We watched the Restoration movie with him, and he absolutely adored it. He is coming closer and closer by the day to setting a baptismal date. After that we went to an appointment with a less active family--we had already eaten a pretty large lunch, and we showed up to an unexpected large meal at their house... and then we went directly to a dinner appointment-- basically I felt like an elephant at the end of the day (which is what made it interesting)...
Wednesday we went to appointments with new investigators that we had met last week. We went to our first appointment, and she had invited 2 other friends to be there! The friends were a lot more interested than she was, and at the end of the lesson, they both asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon and said they would be interested in learning more, while the girl we had met last week wasn't really interested (she is Jehovah's Witness and doesn't think she can let that go). It was really neat to go to that lesson and to talk with the other two girls who were really searching for more in their lives.
Thursday afternoon we met with the Amsterdam Sisters and went on exchanges. I got to go spend 24 hours in Amsterdam! I had the chance to see Marijke (who went to do baptisms at the temple for the first time on Friday!!!), Kim, Claire, and Elizabeth--some of my absolute favorite people ever!
Kim is getting baptized on Saturday! I'm SO excited for her! Talking with her on Friday was AMAZING! She is so strong. She has developed an amazing testimony of Jesus Christ, the church, the commandments, the Book of Mormon-- everything! She was talking to me about how she wants to help others understand better and how she wants to go on joint teach to certain investigators because she's seen both sides of the coin and knows that she can help them. She is fabulous. The Lord has BIG plans for that young woman! I'm so grateful that I am blessed enough to be her friend. I wish I could be at her baptism on Saturday, but I will definitely be there in spirit.
Saturday I got to go to the temple with Lucky. It was a wonderful experience! I love her so much! Seeing her in white making covenants with her Father in Heaven brought me such joy. I love the temple so much!
We also found some amazing new investigators this week--we're hoping to send some of our investigators to Kim's baptism because it's going to be such a beautiful experience and the spirit there will help them be able to make that decision for themselves.
Well, I've only got two minutes left, so I'd better run. I love you so much! And I love the gospel. Thanks for the letters and the support.

Zuster Fowler

Monday, February 15, 2010

Change is in the air

From email dated February 15, 2010.

So, this week has been crazy.
I don't know if you've heard anything from the mission blog or anything-- but the mission boundaries are changing. The French side of the mission will be joining the Paris Mission and all that will be left is the Dutch missionaries in this mission. Yeah, lots of changes happening. It means there are lots of transfers in the middle of the transfer to take care of filling spots in the office and such. Nothing is happening with the Sisters, but there are tons of changes going on in the mission in general. I'm interested to see what happens.
It sounds like things are pretty crazy at home, too. I hope that you had a good time with the missionaries. I love seeing how the members can receive so much when they participate in missionary work. I hope that you are taking the opportunities to go on joint teach when you have time--there's such a power in the members who make sacrifices to do missionary work--and they receive so many blessings. It's like the hidden secret--and although we try to help everyone receive these blessings, it isn't until they actually try it out for themselves and participate in missionary work that they see the blessings in their homes. There are a couple of families here that are super busy with missionary work--they invite our investigators over for dinner and they sit next to them in church--and seeing how their families are blessed for it is AMAZING!
So, I will be sure to pass the word on to Zr. Ekstrom from that Elder. Yes, she was one of my many MTC companions. She and I will be going on exchanges on Friday in Amsterdam! I'm super stoked to be going back to Amsterdam, even if just for a day. I hope I get the chance to see Kim and Marijke and many of the other people I adore.
Saturday I actually get the opportunity to go to the temple with Lucky--she has been a member for a year and while I was in Amsterdam we helped her prepare to go to the temple and President has given me and Zr. Fritz permission to go since we worked with her for so long. I'm super excited about it!
So, I'll share a couple of miracles really quickly (they are changing email systems, so I had to do some things with that and it took up a good chunk of my time-- and still didn't work--)--first, we went finding on Tuesday--we had prayed about and picked out an area that morning and when we got there, we locked up our bikes, prayed, and started walking until we thought we should start knocking on some doors. As we were knocking we both just had this really weird feeling-- so we decided to pray again and see where the Lord wanted us to go. We tried to follow the spirit and walked out of the neighborhood that we had picked that morning. The first woman we talked to used to be Jehovah's Witness--and she wasn't interested at first... but I asked her about her school because she was wearing a backpack--and it turns out that she studies the same thing I do! Well, as we continued talking, she opened up and all of a sudden she asked us, "Would you like my phone number and we can set an appointment so that I can learn more about your church?" Well, we have an appointment for Wednesday. We continued talking to people throughout the hour, and at the end of the hour we went to unlock our bikes and there was a woman bringing her trash outside. We exchanged pleasantries and she noticed our name tags. We started talking with her and ended up setting an appointment for 2 days later. Well, we went back two days later and taught her, her husband, and her 8 year old daughter. When they first got married they had a couple of friends who were members of the church. They are super positive. I'm excited to see where it goes.
I don't have much time left-- please continue praying for the investigators and members here in Den Haag. Sheba, Patricia, Doralin, and Alina especially need your prayers.
I love you so much. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, remember how much God loves you and I love you! John 3:16.

Zr. Fowler

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ik houd van het leven als zendelinge!

From e-mail dated February 8, 2010.

This week has been a week of miracles!!!
First, it sounds like things have been fun at home. I hope Renee's hair is all right--I've gotten two letters from her recently--she's a super funny girl...
Well, so, now I'll share some of those miracles :)
We had an AWESOME miracle this week! We went to an appointment that is about 30 minutes away by tram, and after our appointment, we found that our next appointment had cancelled. So, we decided since we were in this 'far away area' that we would look up some former investigators. We went to the tram halte to go a couple of stops further, and without thinking, accidentally went to the wrong side of the halte. We walked up to the waiting area and said hello to a young woman. She said hello back and then asked us if we were from a church. She said that she has been having a lot of problems lately and wanted our advice. We talked with her about the problems going on and were able to testify to her of her worth as a daughter of God and teach her about prayer and how she can get guidance from Him through prayer. She is from Hindu background, so she didn't know a whole lot about Christ--but as we sat and talked with her, the spirit testified to her of the truth of the things we said. She set up an appointment to meet with us this week, and she is really excited to read a couple of the things we gave her about her worth as a child of God. After we talked, we realized we were on the wrong side of the tracks, but by then it was time to head back to the city anyway, so we got on a tram with her and headed toward the city. It was a wonderful experience. It also made me really grateful for our family. I become more and more grateful for the family almost every day on the mission. I hear stories from companions, people on the street, investigators--everyone--about their families, and I just realize how absolutely blessed I am. I have wonderful parents and great siblings (even though they may sometimes be annoying). Thanks for everything that you do. Please pray for this young woman--her name is Arti.
We also had a really neat lesson with some investigators this week. Doralin is from Romania and Alina is from Poland. They are taught by the Elders, but they've invited us over to dinner a few times. They are fabulous people. We had a wonderful discussion about marriage in the world today and how God sees marriage--and that through the restored authority, we can be sealed for time and all eternity--that it's not just a piece of paper (like the world says), but a covenant that we make with God and our spouse so that we can help each other reach our greatest potential. They were really touched by it... I love the counsel of the prophets on marriage. Please pray for Doralin and Alina.
We saw another wonderful miracle this week. Wednesday night when we went to our dinner appointment, the member told us that she had invited a friend who was interested in learning more about the church. Sheba doesn't have a Christian background and she is a refugee from Iran with a really rough past--we were able to teach her about Christ and why He is so important for us. We were also able to teach her about eternal families (her brother was murdered when she was young) and God's plan. We've now had 2 appointments with her and we are excited to be able to teach her about Christ and help her come to know Him. She is super open and really excited to be learning more. It is AMAZING! Keep her in your prayers. It's always difficult to teach someone without a Christian background--but it's also one of the most AMAZING experiences. The spirit is super strong at all of her lessons.
This weekend we also got the chance to have a mini-missionary. A girl named Maaike from Apeldoorn came and worked with us for the weekend. It as so neat to see her learn about missionary work and get excited about the miracles. It was a lot of fun. We had some neat finding experiences with her and with our investigators.
One of the experiences we had was with an investigator named Patricia, from England. She investigated a year ago and just before I came here, Zr. Robbins and Zr. Bennett looked her up. She was a member of another church and she believes that the things we teach are true, but feels like she doesn't need to be baptized again because she knows that God lead her to her other church. This week we have made a lot of break throughs and talked about how God can lead us to good things to prepare us for the full truth. She has made a lot of progress this week--she finally admitted to us that she's scared to pray about baptism because then she has to take action--either be baptized or stop investigating and she doesn't want to feel like her other baptism was wrong. We talked a lot about it--please pray that she will have the courage to pray about baptism and that she will get an answer.
Yesterday we did some finding in the park where we drew the first vision with sidewalk chalk and talked with people about it. I'll see if I've got time to send some pictures.
This week really has been so great!
I've gotta run.

I love you! I hope that all is going well. Time is just flying by-- Have a wonderful week!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Een jaar is op

From e-mail dated February 1, 2010.

So, I'm actually sitting in the Amsterdam library emailing you-- we had a Zone P-day in Volendam today (where we go take the pictures in the traditional clothing)-- this is my third time going-- and this time was super expensive considering we had to come all the way from Den Haag-- sometimes I get all stressed about spending money here, especially on frivolous things-- and then I think about how I'll never have this experience again-- but still the whole money thing has always been a stress for me--I don't like spending money, but I like having the experiences.
Anyway, this week has been a good one. I hit my year point--and I got a little depressed for a couple of minutes-- but then I realized that if I'm depressed about it, I can't give my best work, so I just need to work even harder these next few months. I can't believe how quickly it has all gone.
So, I forgot to tell you about what happened my first day in Den Haag. It was CRAZY! We decided to do a consecrated hour of finding in a park nearby the church, and as we walked into the park, we saw a man walking toward us. I stopped him and began to talk to him about what his view on religion is. He said that he believes in Christ, but that no one else in the Netherlands does and that it is awful in the Netherlands. Zr. Robbins asked him, "Why do you think it is that way?" and he took it completely wrong and got all mad--he said that now he doesn't trust us either, and he actually tried to knock off her ear warmers and hit her on the head! It was CRAZY! Between that and getting hit on 3 times in 20 minutes in a tram that day, if I hadn't heard good things about Den Haag, I would have wanted to cry and go back to Amsterdam.
We had some pretty great finding this week. I really love finding with Zr. Robbins because she likes it as much as I do... On Tuesday we planned to do a consecrated hour right after an appointment with our investigator, Brother Dahoe. During weekly planning we had talked about maybe doing it in a market area close to his house, and we felt good about it when we prayed about it that day. As soon as we walked out of our appointment, we talked with a man who was locking up his bike. He told us that there was just something about us and that he definitely wanted to learn more. Sadly, he didn't show up to his appointment-- But, in the rest of that hour, we found 2 other people who set up appointments and 2 more who gave us their number. It was just great! I think it was really good to have talked about a place to go finding during weekly planning, because I think the Lord was able to place more people in our path that way. We haven't had appointments with the other people from that hour yet, but we have them this next week.
We are really excited about this transfer and this whole year in Den Haag. We set a goal this week for how many baptisms Den Haag will see the whole year. There are 3 companionships here, and so we set a goal for 25. We just found out that the church building is going to be renovated beginning in June-- but we are praying that the work of the Lord will still be able to go forth with all its might here. The Lord has big plans for Den Haag--you can just feel it. We are going to do our best to bring them forth...
We had a dinner appointment earlier this week with a family that we had had a dinner appointment with when I was here one time on exchanges. It was a lot of fun to be with them again. They are really excited that I'm serving here, and we were able to talk about their conversion and everything. The members here have wonderful conversion stories. I love hearing about them--it always gives me so much hope! We also got to hear about the Elders and their lives before their missions--which was super interesting. Seeing some pictures of them before their missions and seeing who they are now always gives me hope for the future.
Oh, super funny experience. It was so cold here on Tuesday that the brakes on our bikes froze. Luckily for me, I was able to get them working pretty quickly, but Zr. Robbins didn't realize that her brakes were frozen. We came up to a light and she couldn't get her bike to stop, so she just ended up jumping off and her bike went flying. The woman in front of her thought it was her fault and started apologizing, so Zr. Robbins had to explain. But it was hilarious to see! I'm just glad she's safe. Oh, the adventures of being on a mission in the Netherlands.
We also had a really great experience finding on Thursday. We were going langs de deuren and started talking to a girl who was 19. She was pretty open and we gave her a card and she laughed and said, "No way! You're from the mormons?!" Her mom's last name is Mormon and the mother met with missionaries a number of years ago because she was interested to see what the church was about. We have an appointment with the girl (Jaleesa) this next week.
We also got to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration on Saturday. It was AMAZING. I love the spirit and how he testifies to me during that movie. I received another witness that the church is true, and that what I am doing here is of infinite importance. I love what I do.
In my studies this week, I've been studying a lot about enduring to the end, and read in Mosiah 5:15. It really touched me. Learning to be steadfast and immovable is one of the tasks of this life--steadfast and immovable in the Lord. I think I learn more and more about that every day on my mission. And I hope that as I work on being more and more grounded in Him, that I can really be sealed His. I'm grateful that through the plan of God and His restored gospel that we can all be sealed together as a family. I love you so much!

Tot volgende week!
Veel liefs,
Zuster Fowler