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.