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. :)

January 23, 2012

SCHAAAAWEEEET

So this week has been crazy awesome. It is seriously such a good time to be a missionary here in Richterswil. Let me just explain to you some of the little tender mercies we have seen, aka evidences from the Lord that we are doing EXACTLY what we are supposed to be doing.

We got a referral from the Luzern Elders the other day and we didn't really think much of it. We traveled about an hour and a half by train to contact two referrals that we had. Gotta love missionary work in Switzerland. On our way to a little place called Steinen, we got on this train and we were talking in english about something, I can't remember now what it was, but then a lady just looks at me with a curious look on her face and I can't help but smile back. She asked where we were from (in English) and what we were doing exactly. We told her we were here to invite people to come to Christ. She told us about how her faith in Christ has helped her in her marriage. She has been married for 28 years and I said congratulations, and she said it was only through the grace of God that it was possible. We started talking about the Book of Mormon and she said, "I know that book, and I will never read it." Not surprising, thats what a lot of people say. So I began to inquire why she would never read it. She gave the typical answer that no one should add to the Bible. We talked a little bit more and I just bore my testimony that it IS true and it IS the word of God and that everyone can know if it is true if they just read it and pray about it. She didn't accept what I said, but that was the first time in my life that I wasn't really hurt or offended or mad at someone for doubting my beliefs. I know what I believe and I am just here to invite and find those whom he has prepared. She just isnt ready yet.

After we finally got to Steinen, we found the potential and they told us that they weren't interested but I have no doubt that someday they will be very interested. They were very sweet people. After that we took another train to Schwyz to meet with the other referral that we received. His name is Nikolaus and he is from Greece and he is awesome. Very interested in what we believe. We were able to teach him the introduction lesson and it was so awesome. He has a strong desire to change his life around. And I have a feeling that as he reads the Book of Mormon he will feel the power there of and have a desire to come unto Christ. He is just so wonderful. After this awesome appointment we started the journey home. We found a train that went passed where we needed but we knew that we could take a train from there to our little city. So, we boarded the train. Then about half way through the ride, I saw another train that I thought would be faster, so we hurried up and got off the train and boarded the other train. Well to make a long story short, this train went in the wrong direction and we ended up waiting for 20 min for another train that took us to another stop that we waited another 20 mins for and ahh, I felt so bad. Instead of getting home at 9:29pm we got home at 9:50pm ish.... So schlimm. But we had a lot of fun, playing in the snow waiting for the trains. Ha, I challenged Sister Phillips to a slidding contest and she totally biffed it and was soaking wet... SOOOO funny.

The miracles geht weider. Just yesterday we were on our way to an appointment and there is a small train that comes right by our house that we like to take. We were waiting for the train and enjoying the sunset when the train came and was slowing down. Suddenly, Sister Phillips says, "There's Momo." Momo is a former investigator that we have been trying to contact for the last 3 months. We had a good chat with him and he asked US if we had time to meet on Thursday. We said of course and continued on our way to our appointment. We got to Familie Koch and made a sad attempt at teaching their 7 year old son in german about the Laws and Ordinances of the Gospel. The children here don't speak high german very well and they REALLY don't understand broken high german. Thank goodness his parents are there to interperate what we say. Afterwards we had dinner. I cannot tell you how many times I have had cake or cookies for dinner. It is crazy. But its alway so good. Finally we made our way to the door once more, (after talking about Mitt Romney for a few minutes or so...) then we walked back to the train station. We missed the train that left at 18:03 and thus missed our connecting train that only comes once an hour. So we had to take the 18:35 train and take a bus back to our house. Not a big deal just a little less convenient. Well it turns out that our neighbor, Rocco, whom we gave a Book of Mormon to last Sunday, took the same bus. We talked to him from the bus station all the way to our apartment and talked to him for another 20 min or so. He said that he was starting a new diet where he is only drinking juice and tea for the next 21 days with no food. Talk about will power. But he said that he wants to change his life and it is so nice that he also has "our" book to read while he is making these changes. He has read about 136 pages thus far in the Book of Mormon and he said that everything he's read is in line with what he believes. I again bore my testimony of the many wonderful examples in the Book of Mormon and we invited him to come to church and he sounded like he would really like to come. We were thrilled. We exchanged numbers and we hope to hear from him soon.

I know that this work is the work of the Lord. There is no way that all of these things should have happened the way they did. Missing trains, buses, being late to appointments is all in the hand of the Lord. He knows who we need to see and how we can meet with them. Life is so cool as a missionary. I wouldnt want to be doing anything else in the world right now. The church is true. Our Savior lives. The Book of Mormon is the key to the knowledge we need to be happy in THIS life and to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven.

Take care this week,
Liebe, Sister Fokken



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January 2, 2012

RICHTERSWIL

So I am now in a place called Richterswil and I love it. The best part about it is that I am with my MTC companion again, Sister Phillips. She is still one of the best people I have ever met. Now to be companions with her once more is a total blessing. We have had fun reminissing about the good times we had together in the MTC and also talking about what we have learned about ourselves, missionary work, and the people so far on our missions. We also found out that Sister Taysom is training. Sister Marquard (not sure about the spelling) is her new Golden. We are so excited for Sister Taysom. She is one of the best missionaries ever. We also recieved Sister Cannon in our Zone. She is awesome and grew up with one of my roommates. The world is sooooooo small. Life is so good as a missionary. We have such a great mission President as well. He has set the goal of doubling our baptisms for the next year. We are doing a special fast for our mission this coming Sunday so that we can not only build unity in the mission but also so that we can achieve the goal of having 300+ baptisms next year. I received a personal witness that this goal can and will be achieved if we do what the president has asked which is to 1) hand out a book of mormon everyday to someone who we feel inspired to give it to and who commits to read it 2) are exactly obedient 3) and if we read two chapters in the Book of Mormon each day. I am so proud to be a missionary in the Alpenländische Mission. I love seeing miracles each and everyday of my life. We met a woman on the train the other day and she was amazed at the book of mormon and that we would give our lives to the Lord for 18 months. She took the Book of Mormon and promised to read it. It was such a spiritual experience to hear her talk about Jesus Christ and about a dream that she had in which she can NEVER deny that Jesus is the Christ. We also met with a part-member family the other day and they are amazing. They read the Book of Mormon each evening as a family and pray together  daily. They are the sweetest people ever. I love my Savior. I know he LIVES. He loves each of his children. Especially YOU. May the Lord Bless you and may you continue to be missionary minded and seek out those that are straying from the fold. The only way that missionaries can have true success is if you get involved. I would invite you to pray for the Lord to show you someone in your path that you could share the beautiful message of the Restoration with them. I promise you as you do so, you will find a peace come into your life and a new friend throughout all eternity.

With all the Love I can muster,
Sister Fokken



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