Monday, November 30, 2015

through the good and the bad

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions! 

We spent the first half of the week just trying to find people! We found a few, but nothing super exciting to report on there. 

Then on Wednesday we started doing a little project for the members here! We cut out a bunch of turkeys and leaves and instead of "heart attacking" people's doors, we put turkeys and leaves all over their doors and wrote why we were grateful for them on the papers! Then we door bell ditched them and ran away in our pencil skirts ;) it was pretty funny to watch I'm sure. But it was so fun to do a small thing for them all and see how much they loved it, they do so much for us. 
Serving and loving people is the happiest thing. 

Then on Thursday we had the happiest day!
 First we went to the Walburger's for dinner and our recent convert Rashida came and another recent convert from the ward, Brother Hatcher. We all helped cook and I felt right at home :) 
Then we all ate and said what we are grateful for and all I could really say was
how grateful I am to be a missionary here in Virginia.
It was never where I expected or really hoped to serve my mission, but wow! 
I am so grateful that Heavenly Father knew exactly where I needed to go,
and more importantly the people that I needed to meet.
 It has been the best ever.
 Then after dinner all the girls when outside and jumped on the trampoline and laughed and had so much fun. 

Then we went to another dinner a few hours later! We were so full, but Heavenly Father must have blessed us to be able to eat more hahaha. We went to the Fotheringham's and the Ferrell's, Oryang's, McGrath's, Mui's, Rashida, and more were all there. We were all one big happy family, and after we all sat around and played the guitar and sang old Christian songs. 
It was one of those moments where you just look around and feel so much love for the people surrounding you. I love those moments.
 Definitely one of my happiest Thanksgivings. :) 

On Saturday we had a not so great day though... :( We went over to Gabriella and Brandon's house and they pretty much told us that once they move to Maryland they aren't going to be able to commute down to work, because she will be working on Sundays. We were so heart broken because that was the one last hope that we were holding on to. So we talked to them about how they are going to stay on their spiritual path and they seem like they are committed. We were so sad though, because they will be moving any day now and all we wanted was to see them be baptized, because they are so ready.
So after the lesson we just went and bought our favorite smoothies and sat in the car and cried for a while.
 Hahaha pretty pathetic, but missions are hard! I feel like you never understand it until you serve a mission and you experience that same heart break.
 But we had another lesson with them last night and we are going to try and have them meet with missionaries up there. Plus we are going to keep in contact with them and keep helping them get to baptism!
 We told them last night that they signed up for life-long missionaries 
and didn't even know it ;) 
I love them a lot though.
 But as I pray for them every night, I feel comforted that they will make it and that I've done all I could do for them. I have loved them and taught them and hopefully made just a little difference in their lives, and I just need to trust that Heavenly Father will always work everything out, through the good and the bad. He always does. 

When we were with Gabriella and Brandon we read this poem to them from a talk by President Packer called "The Touch of the Master's Hand." It says: 

’Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile:
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar”; then, “Two!” “Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three—” But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone!” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth.” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine,
A game—and he travels on.
He’s “going” once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.'

I love that so much. It has been such a blessing to see the touch of the Master's hand in Gabriella and Brandon's lives, and in my life.
 He has made so much more of me than I could have ever made of myself. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and a wonderful start to the Christmas season!
 It is the happiest time of year :) 

Love you all so much! 

XOXO, Sister Fowers 

Thanksgiving with people that I love!

I am so so so grateful to be a missionary!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift


This week has been a blur! I don't have a ton of time, so I will try to tell you all the things!

First, I sent a picture of our investigator Josephine! Isn't she the cutest? She is the one holding the baby. But guess what? We had to pass her off to some other sisters, because the family she is living with moved to another ward. :( We were so sad!! But she will do great and hopefully we will get to go to her baptism soon! 

We also had interviews this week! It was a long day because we were at the church doing role plays with the sisters the whole time and then our interviews were last.
 I just love President Wilson. He asked us to bring goals for the rest of our mission and it was so good to just look back on my mission and see how I've grown and how I still want to grow.
Mostly, I just want to love and serve and leave it all on the court. 
Just give it everything I've got for this last little bit.
 Its gone by so fast! But enough about that. 
Then he took Sister Canty and I out to lunch afterwards and we just asked him life questions and he just gave us advice the whole time. It was the best. Favorite part: we asked him what the key to a successful marriage was and he said, "Two words: yes dear." :) What a wise man hahaha. 

The main bummer from this week was Brandon and Gabriella. We had a lesson with them and the Bishop and his wife came with us. They told us that they are moving to Maryland to live with her mom while they save money, and then they are going to move back here in March. So we asked if the missionaries in Maryland could visit them and they said that her mom wouldn't allow that... so.... then they said they are commuting all the way down here for work and they want to commute down here for church too! And that they can keep meeting with us on Sundays, and at the end of all this they will decide if they want to get married or live separately and then they will get baptized. I was pretty much heart broken because they are SO READY. During the lesson they both shared what they learned from the Book of Mormon and what the Spirit has meant to them in their lives and it was just so clear that they are ready to be baptized!! So its sad, and a weird situation, but they will get baptized eventually. Hopefully sooner that they think. So just keep praying for them to get married because they are my favorite people and they need this so much. 

We also found a new investigator named Evan this week! He is pretty cool. We found him tracting and he seemed really open and interested. I wasn't there when they taught him because we were on exchanges, but they taught him and he is really prepared! He was supposed to come to church yesterday, but didn't make it. But we will keep teaching him! 

We also got a new investigator named Memuna! Hahaha let me just tell you how this went down, it was so funny. So we knock on her door and she opens right up and tells us to come in and just walks upstairs and so we just follow her upstairs! Turns out she is from Sierra Leone and is suuuppper Christian and loves the bible. She also talks really, really, really, really fast. Like really fast. It was like half english, half creole and then she was going at like 80 miles per hour. It felt like I was listening to her in fast forward hahaha. So we both are like trying to even comprehend what she is saying and she is waving her arms around and I would just catch a few words like, "John the baptist", "Herod", "Birthday", "Whhyyy!!", "Jesus", "Bible", "Peter", etc. Hahaha our heads were spinning. All we could do was nod and say, "Mmhmm, Jesus loves us so much." Next time we see her I will take a video so you know what I mean. She is super sweet though and hopefully will read and pray! 

Lots of good things going on here in Q-town! 

Most of all this week I am just feeling extra grateful and sentimental haha :) I have so much to be thankful for! Sometimes I just think about all the experiences I've had, people I've met, friends I've made, things I've learned, and my heart just feels like it could explode. I'm so, so, so grateful to be a missionary. It has been the best thing I've ever done. I'm grateful for family and friends who support me, and especially for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who are patient with me and love me despite my weaknesses. The gospel really is the good news! It is the happiest thing. Being able to share it with other people has been such a blessing and I am just trying to soak up every second. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week! 
Take time to thank Heavenly Father for everything you have!
 We are so blessed to be members of the true church
and to have a Savior who gave everything to give us everything. 

2 Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."
Christ is that gift. I'm so grateful. 

Have a wonderful week! Love you lots and lots! 

XOXO, Sister Fowers

Monday, November 16, 2015

best thing in the world

Hello lovely people!

This week was good! 

We went on a lot of exchanges this week and have been trying to just find more people, so this might be short, but we had some good things. :)

We met with our investigator Josephine this week and it went so well! She is the sweetest human ever. At the start of the lesson we asked her what hymn was her favorite and she said "The Spirit of God" and so we sang it and the spirit was so strong. She is pretty much a dry Mormon and told us how she plays children's hymns to her little baby every night. But she had a concern about getting re-baptized, so we talked to her about the priesthood and she totally understood! She told us she knows she needs to be baptized, she just doesn't know when. But we are meeting with her tonight and I know she is ready and will be baptized soon :) 

We also met with Gabriella and Brandon this week! I wasn't actually there because we were on exchanges, but Sister Canty filled me in :) They talked about baptism and basically Brandon wants to be baptized this week, but they either have to move out or get married before he can. So they are praying and deciding and making a decision this week. But Gabriella doesn't want to be baptized until the first week of December. We think she just doesn't feel ready, but they both know they want this. They couldn't come to church yesterday either because of work, but we are meeting with them tomorrow and just pray that it all works out! 

We also met with our new investigator Sharon this week! Her dad had been meeting with the sisters, but he moved. One day we were trying to call him and she answered the phone and said we could come visit her! So we have taught her twice and she is the sweetest southern Christian lady ever. :) That's the awesome thing about Virginia, so many people love Jesus, its the best haha. But she is awesome and is excited to read the Book of Mormon and learn more! 

We are also working with just a ton of recent converts and less active members. 
They are all doing well and I just love new members of the church.
 They get me so pumped about the gospel and sharing it! 

This week we have more exchanges, interviews, and hopefully Brandon's baptism! 
So good things are happening.
 I'm just so grateful to be here and to be a missionary. 
It is the best thing in the world. 

I hope you all stay warm! I hear it is snowing? Its 60 degress here, so... #VAforthewin :)

Love you all lots and lots! Do good things this week!

XOXO, Sister Fowers 

We literally took zero pics this week... so here are some library selfies.haha

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lost Sheep


This week has been good!

On Tuesday we met with our investigator Ta'nique. I don't think I've told you about her yet? Can't remember. But she is a 15 year old girl that the elders passed off to us. She has been taught for a while, but her dad won't give permission for her to be baptized. :( So that is sad. She hasn't had a very loving environment growing up, so she has a lot of emotional struggles. She is really sweet though. 
We are going to do personal progress with her, so that will be awesome. 
We just keep praying that her dad's heart will soften! 

On Wednesday the ward had a temple trip to go to baptisms and guess who went! Rashida!!
 It was the happiest thing. 
When we taught her about the temple she was so excited to go and she really wanted to do her dad's work. She is from Sierra Leone and her mom was 13 when she had her and her dad was 16. Crazy right? Then he died when he was 23 and Rashida was 7. So she never really knew him and doesn't have very much information about him or how he died.
 So we scrambled to help her get on and get his name ready and she got to take it! We had her call us on her drive back from the temple and she LOVED IT. She said she couldn't stop crying the whole time and when she got her dad's name back and it had been done, she was so happy. She is on fire and doing so well :) I love her so much. Yesterday at church she was telling us that she might want to serve a mission too! It's so cool to see the gospel change people's lives. 

Our recent convert Andrew is doing well too! A few weeks ago he didn't come to church, so we were worried, but it turns out he was taking one of his non-member friends to another ward in Fairfax and now his friend is meeting with the missionaries! Yay for sharing the gospel haha :) 

We had to drop our investigator Anthony this week though... hahaha he didn't have the best of intentions and was pretty much just creepy! I have never had so many encounters with creepers as I have on my mission, its the weirdest.
 But he said he will keep reading the Book of Mormon, so that's good! 

We met with Gabriella this week. Brandon wasn't there because he had to work, but they are struggling right now. Their relationship is really rough right now, but they want to be baptized, so we are trying to just encourage them to make a decision about getting married or living in separate apartments.
 Its hard because as a missionary you can't really counsel people on personal things like that.
 You just have to encourage them to turn to Heavenly Father for answers.
 But I know that I was supposed to teach this family and that everything will work out for them. They love the gospel so much already and they have such a strong desire to be baptized.
 So keep them in your prayers! 

We also got a new investigator this week named Josephine! She is the sister of a member in the ward. She is here from Ghana because she came here to have her baby in a safe environment, so she is staying until January. She has been meeting with missionaries in Ghana for years! But she was baptized in the Catholic church and doesn't see why she would need to be baptized again. We had a lesson with her and she loves the church and the people in it and knows a ton about the gospel. But the spirit wasn't really there until we showed her the He Lives Easter video and all of the sudden the spirit of the whole lesson changed. The member we brought, Nicole, is a recent convert from Rwanda who just got baptized in another ward in September and then moved into our ward. Nicole bore powerful testimony of the need to be baptized again and how it has blessed her life. Josephine told us she would read and ponder more and pray about it. So pretty much she could be baptized any day, she just needs to decide to actually do it! But she is so sweet and I have decided I just love people from Africa. They are the best people. :) Keep her in your prayers too! 

This week I have been thinking a lot about the parable of the lost sheep. 

In Luke 15 it says:

4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

I love that parable so much. I watched this video the other day that really changed my perspective:

Missionary work is all about going after the lost sheep. 
Whether that is investigators, less-actives, other missionaries, your companion, its all the same.
Its about loving people into the gospel, not forcing them. You have to love people with a genuine love though, not anything fake or superficial. I've learned a lot about that lately and I'm so grateful to be a shepherd for others and also the recipient of that love, like the lost sheep. 
So I hope that you all do your visiting and home teaching and call people 
and spend time with them and just love them! 
They are small things, but if you do them with love you will see miracles :) 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and know that I love you! 

XOXO, Sister Fowers 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Learning to Trust Him

Hey hey hey!

Its me again :) I hope you all had a Happy Halloween!!! 

This week has been crazy! 

I will try to wrap it all up and have it make any sense at all haha.

On Tuesday we met with our new investigator named Anthony! I told you about him last week- he is super awesome! He is kind of the bachelor/ladies man type and was almost a professional baseball player, but he didn't get drafted or whatever you call it haha. But he has no religious background really, just believes that there is some sort of higher power. We asked him if he ever wonders what his purpose is in life and he said he wonders every day and that he is sick of just living life to get money. He used to just live for baseball, but now that that is over he is just searching for meaning in his life. We had a really powerful lesson and he is so prepared! He works on Sundays, so he couldn't come to church, but he has been reading the Book of Mormon and we are meeting with him tomorrow night!  

On Wednesday we had MLC down in Richmond and it was so good. All of the STL's and zone leaders surprised Sister Wilson by making pink shirts for her and before we walked in the gym for lunch, we all put them on and just walked in and she just started crying.
 It was so sweet. She has the most positive attitude and is the best example to all of us.
 I learned a lot at MLC though, and on Friday I gave a training on gratitude.
Every time I study about gratitude I just see how much I have been blessed! 
Heavenly Father is so good to me. 
President Wilson also challenged all of the missionaries to make the holidays this year about others. So many times we try to make the holidays good for ourselves. But as we turn outward and just make them about loving and serving others, we will have the best and most spiritual holidays ever. So that's my challenge for you too!
 Find someone you can love and do it this holiday season :) 

Then on Wednesday night we got to spend the night proselyting in Richmond, I went to VCU of course, and then we spent the night at the mission home because we had sister training leader meeting the next day! I love being with the sisters and I learned a lot about how to be a Christ-like leader. 

We also met with Gabriella and Brandon this week! Wow, it was such an amazing lesson!! We talked about the temple with them and how reading and praying each day will help them to overcome the struggles they are having in their relationship. They just aren't sure if they want to be together, but they need to either get married or move out in order to get baptized. So that's a struggle, but I know that Heavenly Father will work everything out. 

The really cool part was when Brandon was sharing what he learned from the Book of Mormon. He told us he has been reading it every day on his lunch break and it has been changing his life. He started crying and told us how when his grandmother was his age she would party wasn't religious and one day she just got this feeling that she needed to read the bible, so she started reading and then she started going to church and one day she just realized that being in the church was the only thing that made her happy. And after that she gave up all of her partying and cleaned up her life. Brandon was super close to his grandmother and she passed away a few weeks ago. He got super emotional and told us that he felt like she was influencing him from the other side to read the Book of Mormon and that she was giving him the same hunger for the gospel that she had when she was young. It was so cool to see how the simple things of the gospel are really changing this little family's life! The only obstacle is the marriage thing and that Gabriella isn't having quite as many spiritual experiences because she isn't reading and praying as much. So we are working on that. But we fasted for them this week and they told us last minute that they weren't going to come to church, but then a few minutes before it started they told us they were on there way!! So they have come the past three weeks and are doing so great :) Brandon said his goal is to be baptized before Thanksgiving.
So please keep praying for them!! 

Also, happiest of news. We had transfer calls this Saturday. And guess what.
Yay!!! Its a Halloween miracle!
 I finally get to keep a companion for two transfers! Hahaha everyone thought for sure that Sister Canty would get transferred, but nope! Heavenly Father is so good and is letting us stay together :) So we are going to celebrate and we are going to have so many miracles this transfer. 

One thing I have been learning lately is that Heavenly Father has a plan for us! He is so in control, even when we don't realize it. I am so grateful that we can pray and learn His will because if everything was just left up to me my life would be a mess! But we just have to learn to trust Him and everything always seems to work out. I'm grateful for that. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and stay warm! Its chilly here in VA, but oh so beautiful :) 

Love you so much!
XOXO, Sister Fowers