Sister Renee Fokken

My photo
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. :)

February 20, 2012

Best Course on Life.... My Mission

Hello there,

Man this is killing me not to be able to make an exclamation point.
Anyways, this week has been a tougher one on the mission. Last monday
was probably the hardest day of my mission thus far. Have I told you
about our neighbor man? He is really cool but really opinionated and
I am still as stubborn and strong willed as he is. Or at least I was
last Monday. We had a blast playing soccer/basketball with our
district last monday and when we were on the train to go home, we
noticed that "neighborman" had called about 3 hours earlier. We sent
him a text because figured that he was just at work on Lunch break
when he called and we didnt want to disturb him at work. Well, we got
home and didnt hear from him. He then came and knocked on our front
door and we asked why he had called earlier and he said it was a test
to see if we were true to our word as in that he could call us
anytime. Well, we failed his little "test" but I wasnt really
bothered. I thought it was stupid. So we told him that we had an
appointment and that we would be back later and we can talk some more.
So after we had FHE with our ward mission leader we headed back to
talk to Neighborman. We talked for nearly two hours. He was mad about
something and I wasnt sure what. He didnt like that I was really
serious when I talked about the Gospel and he said and did some other
things that made my blood boil a little. And Sr Phillips even got mad
and she NEVER gets mad... I truly felt like Christ at times during the
conversation where I would try to teach a gospel principle and he
would interupt and change topics and tell us that we dont know
anything and that all religions are the same. He spoke to us as if he
thought he knew everything about us and that we knew nothing about
what it meant to live a hard life. That was probably the hardest thing
for me to hear. My life hasnt been as bad as his I am sure, but he
knows absolutely nothing about my past. Things that I had to struggle
with. People I've lost. Friends that have betrayed me. He knew nothing
yet he told me all about his life and how hard it is and how it is
more important to be happy than anything. There came a point that I
just stopped talking and stood there in wonder as to why he was the
way he was? At that point in the conversation he started making fun of
me for looking tired and told me to stop drinking so much and to get
some sleep. I know he was just joking but still, I was just astounded
as to how he could act the way he did. He then put a rolled up news
paper in my face and said something that I cant remember. I grabbed
the paper and pushed it calmly out of my face but he again put it in
my face. That is the point that Sister Phillips was about to deck him
in the face. After that, I said he was right I need to go get some
sleep. Sister Phillips prayed and we went back up to our apartment. I
walked in and collapsed by my bed and sobbed. I felt the love the Lord
has for Neighborman so powerfully and yet he still denied everything I
said. I felt the heartache the Lord feels when he sees one of his
children reject his beautiful perfect plan, and refuse to change and
grow. I have never felt such a great desire for the salvation of men
as I did that evening. I know now exactly how the prophets in the Book
of Mormon felt when they wept for their brethern who didnt know the
gospel or who just denied it and rebelled openly against them. I
learned so much in these two hours. I wish I could tell you all that I
learned. But I think the thing that I learned the most is how to love.
I LOVE these people. Now I just need to learn how to show it.

The week was pretty slow after that. We had a few appointments but
mostly we were going by former investigators or potential
investigators. We had no luck. It may be because I kinda sort of
prayed for more humility. Whoops. But I have learned a lot about
myself and that I cant do this work alone. I love my mission. I love
my companion. The Lord definately knows what he is doing. I love the
gospel more than words can express and I cant deny the power of God
and the power of the Atonement and this gospel. On Saturday, we went
out to dinner with Neighborman because he doesnt want to meet at a
members home and we cant meet with his in his apartment so we went to
a pizzeria and he told us about a lot of things. Probably one of the
funniest days of my mission. He told us about how you cant just go and
talk to someone about the gospel. You have to show your love first and
then they will feel that love and be more open to the gospel. He has a
point, but missionaries have superpowers that he doesnt even know
about. That may be how he will come to the gospel is just by us
showing him the love of Christ and then he'll be more open about
talking about Christ. But I know that there are several other children
that are just waiting for the gospel, looking for a hole that needs to
be filled and will do anything to be happy in this life. TRULY HAPPY.
This really is a wonderful life. Something that is so short. I am
doing all I can to give my all and find the lost sheep I promised the
Lord before I came to this earth that I would find.

There is a song called, "Fire of God" by Kenneth Cope and it has
become one of my favorites. It expresses exactly how I feel. Well the
first verse and chorus. I'll get to the other verses later. But I have
had too many miracles happen in my life to deny that this IS the
Lord's church. Another song that really struck me this week was one
that the young men sang yesterday at church. It's called, "I'll Find
You My Friend". Look that one up too. Ahh, they are just sooo good.
They make me feel excited to be a missionary.

On a happier more uplifting note, I want you to STOP reading this
right now and go to YouTube and type in "Tribute to Relief Society" by
Alex Boye. Right now.... Go..... I am not going to start typing
anymore until you listen to it.........




Okay so I obviously cant wait forever, but this song is HILARIOUS. We
heard it at an Relief Society activity earlier this week and I about
jumped to the moon because it was so awesome. I love relief society.
This last week we had an activity where it was a film night where you
had to have your ticket and they tore your ticket just like at the
theaters, they had posters of other movies all around the church
house, they had a snack stand, previews, and everything. I really want
to do this when I go home. It is so cool. We stayed for the previews
because they were mostly mormon ads and stuff and then this song. It
was really cool.

Yesterday on our way to church, we were getting ready to walk out the
door and Sister Phillips prayed. I dont remember much about her prayed
except that she asked for an opportunity to participate at church. I
was a little worried at first but then didnt think anything of it.
Well, while we were greeting everyone in the foyer, the sunday school
president asked us if we could give a 5 min overview of the Plan of
Salvation. I hestitated slightly but said that we could do it. I was
way nervous but Sister Phillips kept her cool. (Really weird because
usually its the other way around...) We got up and taught about the
plan of salvation and bore powerful testimony. Sister Phillips told me
after church that the parents of some very active members were NOT
members of the church. It was awesome. I absolutely love Sister
Phillips and seeing her working through the spirit. She is truly such
an amazing example to me.

Bis Nächste Mal,
Sister Fokken

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

February 6, 2012

One more time...

So I am staying in Richterswil for another transfer with the same best companion in the whole world. I love my life.

Yesterday, we had an amazing testimony meeting. I love this ward so much. They remind me a lot of the Ralston Lavista ward actually. Everyone is so friendly and just so missionary minded. The bishops wife got up yesterday and told of her experience in sharing the Book of Mormon with her neighbor and how she gave it as a "going away present." When the neighbor took the wrapped book, not knowing for SURE what it was, she held it close to her heart and with deepest sincerity thanked the member for such a wonderful gift. This neighbor knew that this book was special even before she read it. This is the power of the Book of Mormon. Several others followed her and shared all their missionary moments and they nearly brought me to tears. During the third hour, we had a combined RS and Priesthood lesson about the Book of Mormon and modern technilogical missionary tools that we could use. It was a powerful lesson. A member of our mission presidency came and talked about the goal of the mission and how the members could get involved. It was marvelous. Then our GML (aka ward mission leader) invited each family there to take two Books of Mormon. One they would take and write their testimony there in and then return it to us missionaries to give to someone else. The second book would be for them to give away to someone else this year. We had brought nearly 35 books to the church that day and only walked away with 8. After the meeting, a member came to us and said that she was going to invite our investigator over for dinner soon and she wanted us to be there as well. This morning, another member called us and invited us to help a friend move (interestingly enough, it is the neighbor to the bishop, who received a Book of Mormon last week). The Work is going forward.

I have seen many miracles come this week. Once again, I got pretty sick again and Sister Phillips got sick as well... We spent a lot of time studying while each other were trying to sleep off this sickness we had. On Saturday, we were going to go play floor hockey with our ward and a less active in the ward, and then go to a dinner appointment that evening. Well, we were both pretty sick on Saturday and couldnt go play hockey (which was okay because the less active couldnt come after all) and we cancelled our dinner appointment. We felt bad but at peace at the same time. We were planning and filing out the Progress Record for Sunday, and I felt that we needed to call our neighbor, Rocco, and invite him to church. I called him and he said no, but he said that he would come talk to us after he got home. We spoke with him for nearly an hour and he is such an amazing person. He said he was planning on coming to church all week but then today, there was just too much, and he didnt feel like facing 80 random people. I asked him if we could pray with him and he said certainly. I prayed and the spirit was so strong. After the prayer, his whole countanance had changed. He still didnt feel like coming to church, but he was touched that we would pray for him like we did. It was so cool.

Another little miracle happened yesterday. We were on our way home from our GML's house and I felt that we needed to take a train that left earlier and so we did. We went to go see Maria and luckily she was home. She let us in, we taught her and set up another appointment for Wednesday. Had we taken the train an hour later like we were planning on, we wouldn't have been able to sit down and meet with her because her friend was calling from Brasil around the time that we would have gotten there.

This week, I have received more spiritual promptings as I ever have in my entire life. I feel so blessed to be worthy to receive such spiritual promptings. I have been praying hard this last week to be a better tool in the Lords hands and to be able to recognize his will and have the courage to follow the spirit. Especially when I had to sleep longer than usual and I felt like an awful missionary for sleeping during valuable time. As I pleaded with the Lord to know what more I could do, I read Mosiah 4:27. What a comfort that was to know that the Lord is still pleased with me and knows me individually.

May the Lord bless you with all the righteous desires of your heart.

Sister Fokken

PS I have gotten several compliments on my german lately. Woot. More evidence that the gospel is true. :)

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.