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