Sister Renee Fokken

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Why hello! Welcome to my missionary blog! I'm glad you found it! As most of you well know, I will soon be serving in the Alpine German-Speaking Mission where I will take upon me the name of Jesus Christ and serve him for a period of 18 months, striving to bring souls closer to Christ. I report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 15, 2011 and will return home in December of 2012. While I am away, my lovely sister has taken the task to post on here my weekly e-mails home to the family! Feel free to read them or just glance at any pictures I'll send home! And always remember to be continually seeking for those who are looking for the truth and know not where to find it; our Father has sent me abroad to help gather his sheep in Germany/Austria/Switzerland and you can do so where ever you may live. :)

November 28, 2011

Hello There!

Well life is going pretty good her in der Schweiz! I don't have too much to complain about! We have two baptisms in the month of December! I couldn't be happier for both of them! I pray that they will be able to follow through with their commitments and enter to this covenant with our Heavenly Father and feel that instant peace and joy that comes from the remission of sins. I have learned a lot about the gospel of Jesus Christ on my mission (crazy I know) but it has been interesting to see just how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so much a part of who I am. Living the gospel is not simple something I do. I want to live it because of the blessings it brings! I have learned a lot about the GIFT of the Holy Ghost and just how awesome it really is to be able to have the CONSTANT companionship of the Holy Ghost. That means we are promised that if we keep the commandments, always remember him, and take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, we are PROMISED that we can partake of the fruits of the Spirit which are found in Galatians 5:22-23; "But the fruits of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.." How great of a blessing that is to us as children of God on this Earth, learning through trial and err, to be able to find peace, faith, goodness, etc in our lives as the turmoil and chaos seem to swirl in the world around us. May we call strive to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion especially as this wonderful time of Christmas Season is fast approaching. May we seek after these things in righteousness that the Lord may grant us the desires of our heart!

The church is still true. I know that more now than ever! I am thoroughly convinced I had to serve a mission to realize just how much I am committed to this gospel. I have had several experiences where people tell me flat out that I am wrong and that no one can know what will happen after this life or that we have no purpose here. I am been told that I don't know my own religion and I should study other religions. We have been asked to never come back. We have been scolded for knocking on doors trying to bring people to Christ. We have had people say they don't know if the gospel is true anymore. People who have lost their sense of hope, and think that life is not worth living any longer. 

After all this, I still cannot deny my testimony. I cannot deny the peace I feel in the temple. The joy that comes through daily repentance. The love I feel of my Heavenly Father on a daily basis. My testimony that the Book of Mormon IS everything that it claims to be. I know with out a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know that I am a daughter of God and have been placed on this earth by a loving Heavenly Father of whom I have the potential to have all that he has, and to become all that He is. I would invite all of you this Christmas season to write your testimony frequently in a daily journal of yours and continue to count the many blessings that the Lord has given YOU!  Here in Basel, we are asking members to write a simple testimony of which we will place on the inside cover of a Book of Mormon and hand them out to those who are being prepared to accept the gospel. I would invite you to do the same. Write your testimony in a copy of the Book of Mormon, and give it to someone that your really care about. This gospel is the best gift anyone could ever give. 

May the Lord bless you in all that you are in need of.

Liebe, 
Sister Fokken



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October 3, 2011

I'M GOING TO SWITZERLAND!!!!

That's right! Me and Sister Nelson, are assigned to serve in the Basel, Switzerland area! We are white washing the area since there are elders there right now. It will be a grand adventure for sure!! I am really excited but not excited about the 14 hour train ride there... yikes! But alles gute! I am still having the time of my life here and will definitely send some pictures of the area soon!

I don't really have time to type this week but just know that I love the Lord. I love that he allows us to experience challenges in our lives. I have seen so many blessings from past trials that I have overcome and am grateful for the person I am through these trials. I am so grateful for a living prophet today! Thomas S Monson is the sweetest, funniest, most spiritual man I know! I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to hear from our beloved leaders every 6 months! I have a lot of work to do in the next 6 months but I wouldn't ask for anything else! I love to keep busy! ;)

I hope you all have a glorious week! Thank you for all the love and support and the prayers you offer in my behalf! They are truly a blessing I feel on a daily basis! Keep on keeping on!

Tschüss!

Sister Fokken



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September 26, 2011

"Did I hear someone ask for a MIRACLE?!"

For those who are wondering why that subject heading sounds so familiar, if I remember right it is a direct quote from one of my personal favorite charcters, Muschu on Mulan :)

Okay moving on... wow this week has been crazy! In a good way. It all started when we went to Vienna to go on exchanges with Sister Nelson and Sister Weed. (I went with Sister Nelson.) When we got there, we went to the Hirschmans for lunch and at first, it looked kind of "iffy" (if you know what I mean...) but it tasted rather amazing! There was also an investigator there named Queen who has such an incredible history! She is from Africa and super sweet. I will show a picture of her later. It was fun getting to know her and my spirits were instantly lifted! She got baptized on Saturday! It was awesome.

So then after lunch, we had an appointment with one of Queen's friends, her name is Dany. She speaks french originally but also speaks really good German. We started the lesson and just started to get to know her a little bit and she asked us if we had the book. We told her of course! We handed it to her and she asked if she had another one? We were a little puzzled at first but she said she wanted to give one to her mom too! She's not even a member and she is already handing out Books of Mormon! We were thrilled! We didn't have another one in French with us, but we got her mothers name and phone number and the Elders in Graz are going to give her one and tell her what it is all about!

Then, after that, we were talking to people that had come to the young adult center, where we were, who had just came out of English class. We talked to a few people for a few minutes and one of the ladies said she wanted to ask us some more questions. So we sat down with her, Lilly, and just talked about who we are, what we believe, and how if we can meet with her 3 times a week for 4 weeks, and keeps her commitments to read the Book of Mormon, Come to Church, and pray to know the truth, she will come to know for herself if it is true. She committed to doing so and we were thrilled!

The next day we had a special training because we are starting the new "12 Week Training Program" which is amazing! Each companionship got a portable DVD player to watch examples of how to present specific materials and how to be better teachers. For those who don't know, there are 8 fundamentals that we are to focus on to help us become better teachers. They are truly inspired! I have such a testimony of this training program already! The only down side of that is that I have to start my training over again. So I will be a "golden" for another 12 weeks. All is well, I am just happy to finally be a part of the new program!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to give my first talk in sacrament meeting. That alone was a miracle in itself! Sister Downs really helped me get my grammer together but I got a lot of compliments on it so I think I did well! The topic was the affects of using the priesthood righteously. It was a little rough to get started but thankfully I have been blessed with many worthy priesthood holders in my life in which I truly feel extremely blessed by their priesthood calling.

Okay so here is the best story of the week!! Yesterday, we had made an appointment with a woman named Eva, she is so wonderful! But when we got there, she was getting ready to go to the hospital where her grandson we being rushed to because he had hit his face on something and had to go to the emergency room. So we left her a card with our number and we will hopefully get a lesson in with her this week! She really wants to! So that was pretty funny... as we were walking back to our car, a woman called out to us and told us she had a question for us. We walked over to where she and three other women were sitting, two of them stood up and came and asked us who we were and what we were doing? Sister Downs and I were delighted to explain our purpose to them and they agreed to an appointment for this coming week. We took their information and gave them ours and went along to klingle another potential investigator. The potential wasn't there and Sister Downs said we needed to give those other two ladies a card as well. So we made our way back to the bench. One woman said that if the other women liked what they heard in their appointment then she would set an appointment with us later. The other woman really just sat their and didn't know what to think. We wished them a good evening and headed to the car. We were about half way there when we hear someone say, "Excuse me!" We again made our way back to the bench and the quiet woman wished to make an appointment with us. We were happy to ablige and walked away in shock as to what just happened. We had 3 women come to us... All eager to hear the "Good News" or what we like to call, "The Gospel".

I know the Lord blesses His missionaries around the world! He is very aware of all that we do. Thank you for all your prayers! Keep them coming! They are working! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Liebe,
Sister Fokken



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September 19, 2011

Little Miracle

Sorry I dont have much time this week but I just wanted to share a quick story about a tender experience we had this week.

Saturday the weather had a mind of it's own. It was cold in the early morning, hot by noon and then started raining around 3 and got pretty chilly... We had a lot of things planned for the day: service for a few hours, an appointment with a less active, another appointment with an investigator, and one more less active later that night. Well, when we went to go do the service, the family wasn't there and didn't answer the phone so we started hunting down some less actives. We found one who hasn't been to church in 6 years or so and said that the Elders used to come by all the time! His face fell sad when we told him we couldn't come in... We were heart broken but because we have a testimony of obedience, we just prayed for him because that was all we really could do... Then we headed to the other less active appointment. Boy that is always an adventure... but we had Sister Bernier there who is the Relief Society president to help us out and share her testimony which was great! On our way to the other investigator, his name is Herr Wolfberger (he has come a long ways! He has quit smoking but can't get baptized until he comes to church which is the only thing we really are struggling with him) it started pouring down rain. Since Herr Wolfsberger is a single man, we would either need another female over 18 or to go outside. Neither option was looking to good. Then a miracle happened.

As we pulled up to Herr Wolfsberger's apartment, we called the member that lived across the street to see if she would come but she didn't answer her phone. It was my turn to pray for the appointment and so thus I began. I prayed for either the member to call us or that the rain would stop. As we got out the car, the sun escaped from behind the clouds and the rain ceased entirely. I know for a fact that the Lord answers prayers of the faithful. I know that we were meant to have that appointment with Herr Wolfsberger. I testify that the Lord lives and loves each of His children. He knows YOU individually just as well as he knows me! If we turn to him with full purpose of heart, he will great us the desires of His heart. For our desires will be His desires.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Until next time.
Sister Fokken



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September 12, 2011

New Investigators!!!

Wow this week has been so great I can't even begin to explain! But I must say this has also been one of the most trying weeks thus far. How is that possible one might ask? Well for anyone who has served a mission you know exactly what I'm talking about. Everyone else, here is a classic missionary story...

So it was Saturday night around 20:00 (8pm) and everyone who has served in a german area knows that people go to bed EARLY here so to have nothing to do but tracting at 8pm is rather difficult at times. Everything Friday and Saturday had fallen out...So, we had just completed our backup plan for our backup plan and were quickley running out of ideas. We got in the car and prayed more earnestly than ever and decided to go by on a few people that we try everytime we are in that area. Of course, these two investigators weren't home but then I had the feeling to head over to the Hauptplatz (Main Square) and see what we could find. Sister Downs and I saw a couple people walking our way and she turns to me and says, "It's your turn. These people are gonna get baptized." I chuckled and said, " Heck yes they are!" So I approached them and used me best german I could muster... the woman, responded, "Could you do that in English?" It was music to my ears! We were able to explain to them about a book, called The Book of Mormon, and asked if we could come give it to them as a gift. One of them spoke French and the other reads in Arabic and they were amazed when we told them it would be no problem to get it in those languages. We set an appointment for a few days later and celebrated by getting ice cream. It was a beautiful night. We knew then without a doubt the Lord had heard our prayers and was very aware of our efforts. We went back at the appointed time and no one was home... Emilie, the woman, had given us her number so we called and she said she was at work and lost track of time but she would be right down. We didn't have time to really talk about the book but she took it and commited to read the Intro. We came back and taught them yesterday for about 20 min, because they had yet another meeting to go to. The lesson went rather well and we set another appointment for next Sunday! Younes, the man, unfortunately is leaving Leoben in two weeks but FORTUNATELY we have missionaries around the world who would LOVE to continue teaching him.

This gospel is true! And Iove it.

As for my crazy/funny story of the week I have been collecting a few and waiting for a day when I had enough time to share them :)

1) I love that wearing Leaderhosen is perfectly acceptable to wear to church! LOVE THEM!!!
2) Did you know it is illegal to kill bees in Germany right now? Something about them going extinct; I guess someone forgot to tell them that all the bees are just on vacation in Austria...
3) I have seen, more than once, train cars moving steadily down the tracks with NO engine... I am still trying to figure that one out...

That's all for now, I really need to get back to work! I hope you always remember how much the Lord loves each and everyone of His children and may we do our best to treat each other as such! May the Lord bless you this week as you seek to do good in everything you do!

Tschüss bis nächste woche!
Sister Fokken



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September 5, 2011

What a Week!

Hello everyone! Well I don't have much time, as usual, to tell you everything about my week but we'll see how much I can cram in here!

This last week was crazy! I experienced my first companionship exchange! We took a train (as we usually do) to Wien aka Vienna! I was so intimidated when I got off the train though... In Bruck an der Mur, we have the population density similar to that of LaVista/Papillion area... Wien, it is like Las Vegas!! There are 2 million people in Vienna alone. And it's huge! The map for Vienna is an entire book! But I got to learn how to use it! We got to Vienna on Thursday morning and we exchanged and so my new companion was Sister Lind! She is awesome! Totally reminds me of Shantelle in so many ways. It was great! We even got to teach a lesson in English! I was super excited! We went to a family who is active but is considered less active because they don't stay for all three meetings because the wife doesn't understand English OR German... Anyways, their son, Ali (25 or so) had his girlfriend over and she was from Romania! We had four languages in that room alone... German, Persian, English and Romanian. The girl friend though isn't a member and she is totally ready for the gospel and was excited to pray about the Book of Mormon and to come to church! She gave us her address and phone number and it was just so great! Ahh, Love IT!! Also I ate a peach at that appointment... I can't remember the last time I had peaches??? Mom, can you? Once again, the Lord blessed my tastebuds ;)

Then Zone Conference was the next day and it was awesome! Just so motivational and helps to build up ones confidence to spread the word once again! Our mission is known as the "sleeping giant" in that there are so many people that are being prepared right now, they will soon all be ready to accept the gospel and missionary work in Europe will explode! I hope to be part of that bringing about thousands!

Then we came home and life just keeps getting better. Yesterday after church we went to go visit a girl named Aline who speaks english and Romanian and was here for the summer helping her cousin as a nanny basically. Well this cousin is actually a less-active man that we go visit every once in a while. When the sisters found her, they knew that is why they needed to visit the Costans. So yesterday we talked about Christ's earthly ministry and she was astounded that he suffered so much for us. And the best part was at the end she prayed from her heart instead of from her usual 'recited' prayer! It was so great!

Then we walked down the street to follow up on a man we met in the parking lot a few weeks ago and he and two of his other friends committed to an appointment for this week. The blessings kept flowing as we attempted to contact another less active family and they weren't home so we went door to door and found another less active that we have been looking for, another man who has a Book of Mormon but doesn't understand it, and another woman to wants to know more about the gospel! Blessings all around!

I know the Lord answers prayers and this IS His work. May the Lord bless you and may you SEE those blessings in your daily lives. I promise you they are there and if you will CHOOSE to see them and express gratitude FOR them, you will be so much happier.

Until next time,
Sister Fokken




Pictures:

This first one is me and Aline (Uh-leen-uh) and she is Romanian but was visiting her cousin who is less active and we found her when we went to go visit this less active family.

The second one is me over looking Bruck an der Mur, the sweetest little town ever! We hiked up to an old Fort on the top of the hill and can see the whole town from there!

The last one is actually in Vienna with the other sisters there. We had Zone Conference this last Friday and went on an "Austausch" (ow-s-t-ow-sh) or what is known as "exchanges" while we were there! I went with Sister Lind and she is amazing! Reminds me a lot of Shantelle actually! From left to right those sisters are: Sister Chappel, Sister Lind, Sister Nelson, Sister Weed and then Sister Fokken :)




August 29, 2011

Pictures



Wunderbar!

Wow this week has been sufficiently crazy! I experienced my first eating appointment this week... Meine Gute... That was a lot of food. Unfortunatly, food is a HUGE part of Austria culture, and their feelings are hurt when you 1) don't eat every thing they give you 2) don't say yes to second helpings or 3) don't accept random food they feel obligated to give you when you come to their home! I am thoroughly convinced that the Lord blesses missionaries stomaches and tastebuds to be able to take on the amount and variety of food they have to consume. I thought the MTC was rough... stuffing my face here has become quite the obstacle. I am grateful, however, that I have found a new 'like' for certain foods that I never liked before. Exibit A: Ice cream with fruit. IT'S AMAZING!!! Where has it been my whole life and why was I so opposed to it before? Exibit B: Granola cereal with cornflakes. Best invention in the world if I do say so myself! Exibit C: Salmon. Had that for the first time ever! I think my like for fish was tainted ever since my fishing trip with Dad when I was 8 yrs old... something about having fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week straight makes me not crave fish that much. I thought all fish had bones in it and tasted basically the same. Boy was I wrong.

The scenery here is amazing! We went to visit family Kaiser. They are so sweet! They live on a farm ON the Alps and the view from their home is breathtaking. Their children are adorable. There is Sandra (12; almost the exact same age as Rachelle actually! Her birthday is at the end of March) Then there is Peter (11) and Paul (10) Marlene (6ish) and then Mattius (3) I was swept off my feet by little Mattius! He had just returned from an exciting ride in the front loader of the tractor driven by Paul. Mattius got on his little "FisherPrice" version of his front loader tractor and went to the end of the drive-way. I didn't pay much attention to what he was doing because I was trying to keep up with a conversation with Sandra. Much to my surprise, Mattius pulls up right next to me and opens the basket of the front loader and gives me probably the sweetest little flower in the world! (Okay so it was a week with little blossoms) But it was soooo cute!!! I love flowers and from this little prince charming, they were priceless ;)

Another cool experienced that happened later that day was when we were out finding people after an appointment fell through. It was getting pretty cold and it started to rain. We had umbrellas luckily though. We went to a potetial investigator's apartment and they weren't there (shocker I know) so we rain through the rain back to our warm car. Well, as I was sitting there, a lady was just sitting at her window watching us and the rain, probably thinking that we were crazy or something. I knew we needed to go talk to her so I looked at Sister Downs and said, "Let's go talk to her real quick" so we left our warm car and talked to her by her window in the rain for maybe a minute or so but she told us we could come back! We set an appointment with her to see her tomorrow. Schau ma mal (We shall see).

Probably one of the crazy funny things I saw this week is an old grandpa just walking down the streeet in a speedo. Classic European look ;)

I wish you all the best week of your lives! "The happy life isn't found, it's made" - Camille Eyring Kimball. So destiny is yours! Use it wisely!

Love always,
Sister Fokken

PS My new address is:

Salzlände 15/21
8700 Leoben
Austria

Hope to hear from you soon!!! :)



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August 22, 2011

PICTURES!!!! And recent happenings!

Hello out there! I am so glad to be able to finally send you some pictures! I am currently living in Leoben, Austria! Basically I live in a valley in the Alps... no big deal... I promise to have more pictures sometime soon. Please enjoy these ones for now that give a slight glimpse of my mission thus far.

SANY1389: This is me and my first Mitterbeiterinen! aka companions. Sister Phillips is on the left and Sister Taysom is in the middle. I love these two so much!!!
SANY1401: Sister Phillips LOVES icecream! More than anyone I've ever met!
SANY1402: Sister Baxter (left) and Sister Hunt (right) these are the other two sisters that were in our room who also went to Alpine! They are awesome!!!
SANY1403: This was us staying up late on 4th of July to watch the fireworks from Stadium of Fire! It was a ton of fun and we got awesome icecream but the next day was Sunday and it was fast Sunday so needless to say, it was a little rough trying to stay awake...
P1010451: This is a view of the Alps from our balchony on the 5th floor! So glad there is an elevator :)
P1010453: This is my new companion, Sister Downs! She is great! We have already had very tender moments with one another as I am experiencing a whole new mission world!!!

Wow it is so nice to not have to rush through e-mails here. I can actually share some really neat stories I have been experiencing! Woohoo!!

So, we left the MTC at 5am on Monday, Aug 16th and arrived in München, Germany at 7:50am on Tuesday. So that means we were going to have to go all day long before we could sleep! When we got here, we were greeted by President and Sister Miles and their daughter, Rachel who will be leaving for her mission to Rome, Italy next week! Woot! :) The Assisstances to the President were also there. We loaded our stuff in the van and we were given a copy of Das Buch Mormon, several passalong cards in German and were told that we were going to board the train and be missionaries! Ha, well Sister Baxter and I had been talking to a woman on the plane (mostly Sister Baxter) about the church and we decided that we wanted to go and give her a Buch Mormon. So we did! She said she would read it :) Then we got on the train for the first time... talk about being scared out of one's mind! Elder Baird took the lead and showed us what to do and spoke to one woman and she actually committed to reading das Buch Mormon! Then he turned around and said to stay on that side of the train and to get off when we were supposed to. So we (S. Phillps, S. Taysom, and ich) started to scatter ever so slowly. Sister Taysom got shut down and I knew I was up. I had seen a fellow who was sort of eavesdropping and he seemed very curious so I chose to speak to him. I told him that I had been in Germany for about 45 min and began teaching! It was awesome! I was inspired to ask the right questions to get him thinking and make him even more curious about the church. I bore testimony that all the answers to those questions were in the Book of Mormon and committed him to reading it. Then he even let me get his address so that missionaries could come clarify what he reads and help him answer his questions. What a rush?!?!  It was awesome! The Lord knew I needed that. I had been praying for missionary opportunities on my journey to the mission and here it was. I know for a FACT that the Lord places His servants in the path of those who are prepared and it is up to us to find out who they are!

Moving on, my companion is great! Her name is Sister Downs, she is from Georgia! She goes home in November but is trying really hard NOT to get truncky and keep working hard. I hear it is really hard to stay focused the last few months. I'll worry about that when I get there ;) We almost missed our train the first day we met! Ha, President Miles had to drive us as fast as he could to the train station and we made our train but barely! I've never had to run so much to catch a mode of transportation as I have in the first week of my mission! We were always running it seems! But the area that I am serving in is called Bruck an der Mur (said like Book on der More) It is so cute! I live in a town called Leoben. Sister Downs says it is really small comparitively. The buildings here are like that of Louisiana in that they are so colorful! I'll try to capture more of that in pictures but my camera is currently broken so I'll use Sister Downs! :) The creeks here are crystal clear! I have never seen anything like it before! On Saturday we went to do service for Bruder Kubik. He is awesome! He sings Home on the Range in ENGLISH! It is so cute! He is an elderly man like most of the people in our ward. Our service for him was to pull weeds, aka Stinging Needle from his bushes that line the yard. Meine Gute... I had so many bumps on my arms that day and they still itch a little... but all is well! Oh yeah and afterwards, he gave us some juice. What kind one might ask? Well none other that UNsweetened Grapefruit juice... if you haven't had it, I would recommend using it as a prank because it tastes that nasty! I just drank it fast and tried NOT to think to much! After that he gave us chocolate which I was extremely grateful for. Chocolate here is amazing! (as most of you already know...) so that made it totally worth it!

Our area is huge! It takes about 2 hours to get across the whole span of it. Our ward has 30 active members. There are 2 primary children,1 young woman and 1 young man... All the rest are either elderly or don't have children. It's crazy how much missionary work they do though! They are golden! Sister Cseh is one of the most amazing of them all! She is 81 and LOVES to go on team ups! She is a powerhouse! Yesterday I had the priviledge of listening to 5 hours of straight German. I think I understood MAYBE 10%. It is a lot different here. They speak a dialect known as Steirisch (sty-rish). It can be compared to a southern drawl. So basically I feel like I'm back in my first week of chemistry class my first week of school in Louisiana, but they aren't speaking in english... I did have the priviledge to say a few prayers in the meetings and I spoke/introduced myself in sacrament. I got a lot of compliments on my German so it must not be too bad? :)

After church, we had the opportunity to go and teach a girl named Aline. She is from Romania, living with her cousin and his family, the Costans. Brother Costan is currently attending another church so they found Aline while contacting Brother Costan as a less active member. (Hopefully that makes sense) Aline does not speak German, and she speaks a little bit of English. Brother Costan speaks German and Romanian. It is very interesting to say the least. So anyways, we knocked on the door and Aline answered and seemed very pleased to see us! Brother Costan was sitting there and the fun began. We opened with prayer and attempted to answer his questions. He tends to not like you speaking for more than 5 seconds so he will cut you off and ask another question. It was rough at first and I didn't fully understand what was going on, but he suddenly turned to me and asked me what I thought. I paused and through the spirit bore strong testimony of agency and the will of man verses the will of God. That the only person that can tell us what to do is God and even then it is still our choice to obey. I testified that when we do, we can feel peace in our hearts depite the actions of others and the restlessness of the world around us. I translated what I said to Aline and she agreed. As Sister Downs bore testimony, the Spirit was so strong and you could sense the discomfort Brother Costan felt. The spirit is real. The gift of tongues is real. I know it!

Well I have to get going... until next week!

One more random thing before I go... people walk their cats here! They have a leash and actually walk their cats...crazy...

Schönen Woche!
Sister Fokken



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August 13, 2011

Farewell MTC

Welp, see ya later America! I'll be heading out to Munich on Monday morning! I cannot tell you how excited I am. This is the most amazing adventure I have ever been on. I have met new people that I feel will be my friends throughout the eternities and I get to continue the friendships as I go to spread the "good news" to the people in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A mission has been a very interesting thing. One cannot describe it, one can only experience it. The power of God is real. The gift of tongues is real. The Spirit is real. I have grown so much in my time here; even if I went home now, I would never be the same again. Yesterday we had an In-Field training session and talked about The Doctrine of Christ. I love the purity, clarity, and simplicity of the doctrine of Christ. Every aspect of the Gospel points toward our Savior Jesus Christ and how we can become like Him. The process is easy to comprehend because it is so simply stated. Faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement. You dont have to KNOW how the atonement works, you just need to know how to WORK the atonement. Once we learn how to work the Atonement, we will better understand how we can fully and sincerely repent. In Preach My Gospel, we are told to, "repent daily." We are all mortals and make mistakes on a daily basis. We should not be so proud as to think that we went about our day perfectly, for no one does. If the prophets says that he repents daily, I'm sure we can find and acknowledge at least a few of our weaknesses or mistakes throughout the day. I promise as you strive to repent daily, you will have an added measure of the Spirit in your life and you will be able to better contribute to the building of the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth. The Spirit will open YOUR eyes to those who are struggling that you would have not seen other wise.
 
The biggest thing we stressed yesterday in our meeting was that our purpose is to baptize. We know it is only through the grace of God that we can be saved in the last days at the gateway to His highest kingdom is Baptism. So yes, my purpose IS to baptize. We desire everyone to be baptized because we care for them. We love our fellow men. If I had a friend come to me and express their love, share what brings them happiness, and tell me I could return to my father in Heaven, I would love to know how. Especially if they told me that I could have a contant comfort, if I made the right decisions in my life, after I was baptized. We all know enduring to the end would be difficult but the Lord, knowing that obstacle before hand, thoughtfully provided us with our families and prophets in EVERY dispensation. I am so thankful for our current prophet, Thomas S Monson and the decisions he made in his life to live worthy and able to receive revelation for our day. We NEED it.
 
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I extend a call to all of you. You too are to be missionaries in the gospel. Please think of someone that you know that could use the gospel in their lives right now. Right this second. I'm not joking. If you cannot think of anyone, pray for someone to be placed in your path whose heart is prepared to receive the "good news" aka the gospel. The gospel is meant for everyone. We must work in the Lords timing, yes, but there is always someone that has been being prepared by the Lord. Remember that the Lord was already IN the vineyard when the servants came in Jacob 5, the alagory of the Olive Tree. Once you have someone in mind, invite the missionaries to your home. Tell them you have someone in mind that you would like to share the gospel with but don't know exactly how to go about it. I KNOW it is hard and I KNOW it takes courage to share something so precious to you. Missionaries have been there too! They were member missionaries before the mission as well! When you ask them what to say, they should have some pretty good ideas on how to best bring up the gospel. They are trained to relate everything to a gospel principle and to relate it quickly to the Restoration. Take courage and pray for the ability to share. If your friend says no, don't worry about it. It is just not the right time. They will thank you later for planting that seed and your attempt to help them find an ever lasting happiness.
 
I know this church is true. The Book of Mormon is the best book on the planet. It has the answers to every question  you could possibly think of. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for all that He has done for me in this life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve Him. It is the least I can do to give back what I have been given. I know that God cares about EACH of His children. He knows YOU! Not as just a son or daughter but He knows you by name and every small detail you care about, He cares about because He loves YOU. I know this is where I am supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. Thank you to all who have made it possible. I love you! Take care! Until we meet again.
 
Sister Fokken



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August 8, 2011

Testimony

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, I just wanted to share my testimony with you before I leave America for a while...
 
I know my father lives. I know that the Lord loves all of His children and that is why he has called me and many others to serve in Germany/Austria/Switzerland! I feel so blessed to have found favor in the Lord that He trust me to do His work. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives! I know the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and we would be lost without it. It truly is a sacred book of scripture that is to be use in companionship with the Bible. So often I have read the Bible and thought, "What exactly does that mean?" More often than not, there is a BoM scripture that explains it so much better than anyone ever could. This IS the work of the Lord that I am finding myself lost in. I couldn't think of a better place to be. My scripture for the week has been Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path." I couldnt image anyone else that I would want directing my path but a Father in Heaven who knows my potential. Who loves me more than I could ever dream!
 
I have modified my mission motto in the last few days to: The Savior Jesus Christ. Learn of Him. Come unto Him. Become like Him.
 
For it is Jesus Christ in whom I have chosen to be the center of my life and my mission. Doubt not, fear not. I know who my shephard is and I will do my best to gather His lost sheep in the Alpine Mission. If you have a few extra moments in your prayers, pray for all the missionaries, pray for missionary opportunities, and pray for His children to soften their hearts and let the message of the Restored Gospel in their souls, that they all may partake in the blessings of exaltation when the time comes.
 
Until Next time,
 Aufwiedersehen!



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July 11, 2011

Week 4

Week four has been just as amazing as the previous weeks! So much learning has been happening! The language is coming along amazingly I can't even tell you how much the Lord has blessed me! I have two of the best companions in the WORLD and our whole zone is extremely close. There was a whole district that left for the Alpine Mission this morning! Only 5 more weeks here before we get shipped out as well! It's been quite the learning experience here though. My english is getting so bad! So sorry my sentances aren't so flowey! If that's even a word...So when you are at the MTC you have fake investigators but it's amazing how real they can feel with the spirit! We have been working with a man named Frank, 30 years old, parents died, no job, no faith, and no friends. Smokes and drinks to keep him calm but nothing ever suffices. This seems to me to be a very common state of investigators. I feel so blessed to have these practices with investigators such as Frank and many others. I'm learning a lot and especially how to love all of God's children.
 
This week I feel like has been really humbling for me. I realized just how much I love my companions this week and how bitter sweet of a moment it will be when we will have to depart. I have such a testimony of the statement, "Serve those you love, love those you serve." This is true in EVERY relationship in life. I know that the Lord blesses us in so many ways when we serve His children.
 
Something I found very interesting this week was the fireside we had on Repentence. The gentleman who spoke brought up a good point. He said, "When did repentance become a bad thing?" He talked about the hebrew form of the word when it was originally written meant "to turn". (Refer to Bible Dictionary) As missionaries we are encouraged to "repent daily." Why? one may think. Well, if you truly have a testimony of repentance, you know that through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can feel an added measure of happiness in your life by removing those burdens, or sins, on a daily basis. It is through the power of the Atonement we overcome physical death, but it is by living the gospel of Jesus Christ that we can overcome spiritual death. (Preach My Gospel, Lesson 3) I know my Savior lives. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to repent daily! What a gift. May we always remember who we are, where we came from, and what our Father in Heaven desires of us.... To become like He is.
 
Matt 11:28-30 "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden"
Ether 12:27 "Come unto me and.... I will make your weakness become strong"
Moroni 10:30 (I think?)
 
The Gospel. Learn it. Live it. Become it.
 
Until next week
Love,
Sister Fokken



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July 4, 2011

Week 3!

Wow, i can't belive it's week three! Crazy! yet another great week at the good ol' mtc! This is seriously the best time to be here at the MTC. We got to celebrate Independence Day on July 2nd and watched the fireworks from campus of the Stadium of Fire! They were awesome!!! We also had a fireside before and we sang "Yankee Doodle" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" for prelude songs. I am so grateful for so many who are so willing to put their lives in danger so that I can enjoy the freedoms I have here. I am especially grateful for my uncle Orin. He left his family to protect their rights and freedoms so they could worship how, where and what they may. Thank you!
 
I am so grateful for the religious freedom the Lord has granted us. I know it is through his mercy that this country was founded on such a solid foundation. This freedom is without a doubt a key part of his eternal plan for his children. The restoration would not have taken place were it not for our nation's independence. I am so grateful for the courage of Joseph Smith to never deny what he saw. I know the Lord answers prayers; sometimes, He doesn't always give us the answers we want, but what you NEED.
 
We were talking about recognizing the spirit yesterday and it is so important in all aspects of missionary work. My favorite question to ask while teaching is, "Was spuren Sie?" aka "What do you feel?" I love when they don't know how to describe it necessarily and then I can turn to Galatians 5:22-23 and it teaches us that "the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." When I explain to them that what they are feeling is the spirit, or what we call "The Holy Ghost," it is amazing. Then the best part is explaining to them that through that same feeling/spirit, they can know the truth of ALL things. It is a promise given to us from God! I love the promises of the Lord because if we do what He asks, He is bound to follow through. We must trust in the Lord and study it out in our minds and if it be true, He will cause your bosom to burn within you and you shall feel it is right. (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8)
 
I know this gospel is true. I know we are all children of a Heavenly Father who knows us each individually and loves each of us the same. He has blessed us with such a beautiful plan so that we may return to Him and become like him. How sweet is that? We actually can become like God through our experiences on Earth and obtaining a body of flesh and blood as He has. He places us in family units that we may help one another to find our way back to Him. Joseph Smith DID see God the Father and Jesus Christ and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it was in His day has been fully restored. "... do His will [and ye] shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether it I speak of it myself." (John 7:17)
 
One of the greatest things about this gospel is that we dont' have to take anyone's word that it is true. We can receive DIRECT and PERSONAL revelation from God! Once we know the truth, we must have the courage, like Joseph did, and live it. Thus my new missionary motto.
 
Know it.
Live it.
Become it.
 
Until next week,
Sister Fokken ;)



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June 27, 2011

Week 2

Wow this week has been incredible we have had the whole first presidency and all the quorem of the twelve here at some point on campus this past week. On tuesday, Elder Bednar addressed us and 7 apostles were on the stand! He gave a great talk that was called Becoming "Preach my Gospel" Missionaries. He had 5 main points which were:
 
1) Understand that they serve and represent Jesus Christ
2) Are Worthy
3) Treasure up the words of Eternal LIfe (refer to Doctrine and Covenants 6; 11:21 and Alma 31:5)
4) Understand that the Holy Ghost is the ultimate and true teacher (Get out of the way! Let the Holy Ghost to his job!)
5) Teaching is much more than teaching and talking (Observe, listen, and discern before you speak)
 
The greatest part aws when he gave his Apostolic Promise that "You can do this!"
 
After the fireside, i met my mission president! President Miles! He is great! He served in Germany about 40 years ago and hasn't spoken German since! This will be a grand learning adventure for us all! :)
 
I love our purpose as missionaries "To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive  the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism recieve the gift of the hg and endure to the ende. live it love it!



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June 20, 2011

Week 1

Hello there!
 
Well this first week has been crazy! It's been soo good though! I've only been here for 4 days and I've already taught twice! Auf Deutsch! Es ist sehr Wunderbar!!! Ich liebe Deutsch zu lehrnen! Anyways, I actually have two companions. Sister Taysom, from Rockland Idaho (Near Pocatello) and Sister Phillips from Meridian! Which is about 15 mins from where I lived when I moved to Boise last fall.
 
The MTC is seriously so amazing! Everyone says that if you can make it to Sunday, you will be fine. It only gets better from there! I am so excited to be here. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have so many prayers said in my behalf. Thank you so much! They are working! I haven't really had an extremely hard day yet. Neither of my companions knew German before they came and so they've had it a little rough the past few days but they are doing soooo well! I testify that the gift of tongues is so real. Both of those sisters can now pray and bear testimony in a language they knew two words in German! I know that it is by the power of the Lord that their learning has been accelerated.
 
Sundays are by far my favorite days though. We mostly study and attend meetings which is the best ever! I love my district! We outnumber the Elders and I'm pretty sure that's the first time in HISTORY that's happened! We only have one set of Elders in our district so that means our district only has 5 missionaries! It's beautiful! We have already become like family and our Elders treat us like queens! They are going to be such good missionaries! I wish I could figure out how to upload pictures! We took the oh-so-famous picture of us all pointing to our mission on the map! We are so proud of where we are going! We had 12 of us in our zone arrive on Wednesday and all of us are going to the Alpine German-Speaking Mission! It's going to be amazing! We also get to meet our new mission president on Friday!
 
Wow, I wish I could describe everything I've felt this week and do it justice but if you've ever felt the love of God through the Holy Ghost, multiply that by 10 (atleast!) and that's how I feel almost all the time. I love this gospel. I have been so blessed on the paths I have taken in my life. The Lord truly blesses those who have a desire to serve! "If ye have a desire to serve, ye are called to the work... And faith, hope, charity and love with an eye single to the glory of God qualify him for the work." I know this gospel is true. I have prayed about it serveral times and get the same answer every time! Das Buch Mormon wahr ist. Joseph Smith einen Propheten von Gott ist. I KNOW it. I hope you know it too. If you are still searching for your answer, don't give up! He IS there and he IS listening and He DOES love you. More than any mortal ever could! Take Moroni's challange and ask sincerely if  things are true. The promise is not just for the gospel alone but he "testifies the truth of ALL things."
 
I hope this letter finds you well! I love you all! Take care!
 
Aufwiedersehen!
Sister Fokken



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June 15, 2011

Farewell Talk

Good afternoon brothers and sisters. I pray that the Spirit will help me deliver my message I have prepared to the hearts of those who are in need of these words.
I want everyone to close their eyes. Envision your greatest desire. What does it look like? What does it smell like? Who is there?
You can open your eyes and/or continue to ponder if you’d like. I have grown up in this ward pretty much and would like to express, if I may, my love for this gospel, much thanks to many of you who were my teachers at such a young age to now. You have all helped me create my greatest desire. My greatest desire it to obtain exaltation. Listen to the promises of exaltation from the Gospel Principles Manual:
1) They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
2) They will become Gods
3) They will be united eternally with their righteous family members and
will be able to have eternal increase
4) They will receive a fullness of joy
5) They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have – all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge. Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “The Father has promised through the Son that all that he has shall be given to those who are obedient to His commandments. They shall increase in knowledge, wisdom and power, going from grace to grace, until the fullness of the perfect day shall burst upon them.”
I don’t know who wouldn’t want those blessings in their lives? So what must we do to obtain such a perfect afterlife? We must desire and work for the qualities required to become an eternal being. Dallin H. Oaks in his talk this last April spoke of “eternal desires.” He said that, “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.”
According to this quote, how important is it to have righteous desires? I would say very important. In the scriptures, there are several quotes about desires. Elder Oaks pointed out the story of Enos whom after he was forgiven of his sins, desired for the welfare of his brethren. In Enos 1 verse 12 he gives us a formula for which we can obtain all the blessings we’ve been promised. He says, “And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.” The three things Enos needed to receive blessings of the Lord are: desire, labor, and faith.
Two of my all-time favorite scriptures touch on all three of these concepts. The first is Alma 32:27 which says:
“ But behold if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.”
I love how the Lord is so accepting of everyone. Everyone is on different levels of understanding and commitment. We each move at our own pace. Some have a strong conviction of the gospel due to the many trials they have been through, while others may be starting at ground zero, still struggling with that desire to believe and want to change and to become better. I testify that this scripture is true. Every trial we encounter we must start with a desire to overcome whatever we may be facing. Whether forgiveness of another, loss of a loved one, serving a mission, having a child, etc. We must have that initial desire to want to change. Sometimes it is hard. Trust me. There have been times when I’ve wanted to tell Heavenly Father, “No, they are in the wrong.” Or “But I don’t want to do that!” Elder Oaks states:
“Readjusting our desires to give highest priority to the things of eternity is not always easy. We are all tempted to desire…. Property, prominence, pride, and power. We might desire these, but we should not fix them as our highest priorities…All of us face potential traps that will prevent progress toward our eternal destiny. If our righteous desires are sufficiently intense, they will motivate us to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other sinful pressures and priorities that prevent our eternal progression.”
Elder Oaks continues to say a little later in his talk and says:
“To achieve our eternal destiny, we will desire and work for the qualities required to become an eternal being. For example, eternal beings forgive all who have wronged them. They put the welfare of others ahead of themselves. And they love all of God’s children. If this seems too difficult – and surely it is not easy for any of us – then we should begin with a desire for such qualities and call upon our loving Heavenly Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.”
We have been promised that, if we humble ourselves before Him, and have faith in Him, then he will make weak things become strong unto us. It is a promise. Once we establish that faith, we must act on it.
My other favorite scripture of all-time is found in Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21.
“ There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”
We know that the Lord is bound to do His part when we do what he tells us to do. This alone motivated me to live righteously and obey every commandment He has given by way of scripture, prophets, local leaders, or personal revelation, I have chosen to do my best to obey His will for me. It has been a VERY personal decision though. As most of you know, I have been called to serve a full-time mission in the Alpine German-Speaking Mission. My decision to go has been a long process. I have pled with the Lord to let me NOT go… for some medical thing to happen, for me to get married, ANYTHING but go on a mission. As time went on, I remembered the covenant I made at baptism to obey all his commandments, to be “willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places…that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.”
I knew the Lord had called me, as an individual to serve His children in the Alpine mission. Overtime, my desire to do His will, outweighed my own desire to be comfortable in my own little world and thus, I submitted my papers and accepted His call.
I love when Elder Oaks said, “Remember that righteous desires cannot be superficial, impulsive, or temporary. They must be heartfelt, unwavering, and permanent.” The desire to Follow the Lord all my days has been the best decision I have ever made and has never led me astray.
So what are some good “starter” qualities that we can work to obtain while here on earth? I would suggest that you go to the Lord for more specific qualities, but some suggestions would to start with the qualities of Christ. We can find “Christlike Attributes” in the scriptures. A good reference for which scriptures is the Christlike Attributes section of my future best friend, “Preach My Gospel.” Even when I wasn’t planning on serving a mission, I took what seemed like a little “personality Questionnaire” to find out what attributes you are living well, and which could use a little more tender love and care. The qualities listed are: faith, hope, charity and love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience. Under each of these attributes there are statements and you can rank yourself a 1-5 and if you answer honestly, you will find which areas in your life may be lacking. I would invite everyone to obtain a “Preach My Gospel” manual and to seek out these key traits that our Savior had. He is our ultimate example. He is the head of the church. And he is what we should all be striving to become. An eternal being.
I can promise you, there will be times when you will feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or of little worth. Do not give up hope! This too shall pass. We must keep moving forward in faith. Not just ordinary faith, but faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I promise that as you do so, the Lord will extend His hand of mercy, pronounce blessings that you need, and life will be much easier to endure. I promise you also that as you search the Book of Mormon daily, you will draw strength from His word. Always remember that we have a divine nature, not just young women, but we are all Spirit sons and daughters of God. Remember that we have a Savior that has suffered all of our burdens. He has fought our fight already. He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If we are trying, He provide you with every needful thing. I know He will do this for you, because I have seen Him carry me in my times of trial and weakness. And since He is no respecter of persons, I know He will gladly do the same for you!
Sorry if I seem to be rambling, I just get so excited about the gospel sometimes. I have never loved anything more than I do this gospel. You can ask my family, they know all about my best friends because I talk about them all the time. And all my best friends know everything about my family because I talk about them all the time. Why? Because I love them. Over the last year or so, I have thought about the influence of the gospel in my life nearly everyday. The happiness that it brings to my daily life is more than I could ever hope for! There is a little book called, “Our Search for Happiness” by Elder M. Russell Ballard. I would recommend it to everyone! One day when I was feeling sorry for myself, which happens quite a bit, I thought this book would be able to help me out since after all, happiness is what I was searching for. I was surprised, though I shouldn’t have been, that the contents were simple. They are the basic doctrines of the gospel. :

-The Restoration
- The Book of Mormon
- The Priesthood of God
- God’s Eternal Plan
- Etc
At first, I was even more mad… I was like Heavenly Father really? Why? But I continued to read, and realized that Elder Ballard couldn’t be more right. This gospel brings a happiness that cannot be found anywhere else. We must choose now, to live it! I am so grateful for the opportunity to go forth and share the gospel which is also known as “the good news.” Personally, I think it is fantastic news! We are so blessed to know what we know! I just love this gospel…
I think one of the coolest things about the gospel for such a logical person as I, is how every principle is linked to each other. Which means you can create infinite circles. Now I know my topic was righteous desires but if you look at it, we start out with a simple righteous desire. This desire leads to action. This action increases our faith. Thus our testimonies increase which causes a stronger desire to be committed to the gospel. When we are more committed to the Lords work, our faith grows again and again and again. What starts out with a little desire to believe will actually initiate our eternal progression. I’m not saying there won’t be times when there will be little pebbles thrown on our path, I guarantee there will be! But it has been in those times, that I have grown closer to my Savior and needed to reevaluate and start to focus on what really matters most, sometimes rearranging priorities as needed, and again, commit myself to progressing toward my righteous desire. As I did so, I found that motivation to keep moving forward in the way of the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, I know with all my heart, that this gospel is true. I have felt that tender feeling of the Spirit that has testified again and again of it’s truthfulness. The Lord is very much alive. He sent His son, who suffered for my individual sins, weaknesses, infirmities, sorrows, and everything else I have ever felt. Jesus Christ is our Savior. It is because of Him we can have the opportunity to return to the presence of God forever. There is no better place we can learn of Him than in the temple, the House of the Lord. If I could, I would live in the temple. I know someday, I can live in a place very similar feeling and I so look forward to that day. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It does not replace the bible, but it works with the bible. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and if we heed the counsel of it’s pages, we can come closer to God than by any other book in this mortal world. I know Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. He translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. The Priesthood has been restored! I am so grateful for the priesthood in my life. It truly is the power of God here on Earth! Lastly, I testify that Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God sent here to lead us in these later days to help us develop righteous desires and help us return to heaven, and receive exaltation! What an amazing blessing to have a modern day prophet in times like this in our world today. I am so grateful for the blessings in my life. I know this is where I’m meant to be and what I am supposed to be doing with my life right now. I know it is. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

June 4, 2011

Is This Really Happening?

Wow! I can't believe how close it is! I will be giving my farewell talk in 9 days (probably should start working on that...) I am getting set apart that same day. Then a last hoorah with my family. Then my flight leaves in 10 days around noon. I report to the MTC in 12 days. Many people have asked me, "How do you feel?" or "Are you ready?" My response is usually the same where in it is "I honestly don't know?" I am so excited, so nervous, overwhelmingly happy, emotionally confuse, stressed out, completely calm, etc. Basically it's been a roller-coaster the last few weeks. I think one of the things I'm most nervous about is German grammar. Ha not so much the language.. just grammar. Sounds silly to those who know nothing about the German language but for those who don't know, there are about twelve different cases. Now, I can't name them all obviously, but now you know why I'm a little nervous. I hate sounding like an idiot.

This last weekend, I had the opportunity to go see one of my favorite people in the world! Her name is Kjersti, but I just call her KJ :) We walked around down town St. Louis, had some UH-Mazing pizza from Imo's Pizza; saw this crazy awesome guy making fudge and man does he know how to put on a show! We also went to her nephew's baseball game! He is quite the little player if I do say so myself! ;) I was also a photographer for KJ's brother's ward! It was awesome! Kjersti is my hero in so many ways! I was having so much fun, I didn't want to leave! It was well worth the 6 hour drive each way!

Well, let the countdowns begin! Two weekends left! I plan on making the most of them! ;)