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. :)

October 30, 2012

October 1

The other day, I was laying on my bed looking out my window just thinking about how crazy life as a missionary is and how blessed I feel to have this privilege to serve a full-time mission. Then, I suddenly realized that I speak GERMAN!!! I never thought I would ever be able to say that I was fluent in another language but, here I am! Oh man, I still can't believe it sometimes. I really do love this life as a missionary. I've never been so tired yet so satisfied in my whole life. There is NOTHING but the work of the Lord that could produce such a sensation. This gospel is true. If this church were of the devil, he would have abandoned me on this mission a long time ago. But I am here. Stronger than ever. And have asked to labor longer in this wonderful field. I don't get it. And I don't have to. I just have to recognize where my strength comes from. Who is by my side. And press forward with a perfect brightness of hope, feasting upon the words of Christ. There have been so many little miracles that have happened this week. I wish I could tell you them all! But, it would take 5 hours to speak it let alone TYPE it. But the one person that I wanna talk about is Zlata. She has made so much progress this week and is living proof of so many principles of the gospel. 1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation to all learning in the gospel. 2) The Book of Mormon will change the lives of those who read it and apply the doctrines they learn there in. 3) The Priesthood is real and this church is the ONLY church on earth that has the right to exercise that priesthood power. So #1: Earlier this week, we were talking to Zlata about baptism. She said that she was born Catholic and would die Catholic. She also said she knew that the Catholic church was wrong but she didn't want to change. I was about to drop her right there. She could feel it too. She asked us if we were going to stop coming if she wasn't going to get baptized or if she wasn't allowed to get a blessing if she wasn't a member? The spirit gently placed a few questions to ask her before we dropped her though. We asked her why she thought we came each week? (I can't remember what she said exactly, but I think she just said, I don't know?) Then we asked her how she feels when we come? (She said, "I always feel peace.") Then we asked her if she feels like her faith has grown since we have been meeting with her? (She said yes.) I told her we were not going to give up on her and she asked why? We read Alma 32:27. She said that was beautiful and we explained that even with her little faith that she had, she could accomplish great things. And as long as her faith is growing, we would continue to meet with her and help her along the way. #2: Just before leaving, we committed her to read just 5 minutes in the Book of Mormon each day. And we gave her a scripture marking pencil and told her that she didn't have to remember EVERYTHING she read but to mark scriptures that she liked or she had questions about. We promised her that if she would just show Heavenly Father that she was TRYING, he would bless her and she would be able to remember things more clearly. She agreed to read and we set another appointment for Friday. Friday came. The blessing we had scheduled for her had fallen through, and we didn't really know what we were supposed to teach her. We prayed (like always) just before going into the lesson. We went in and asked her if she had read. She said she only had a little bit of time to read. We said, that's okay, what did you mark and we can talk about it? Well she shared about 5 scriptures with us and the last one she shared was all the way in 1 Nephi 19! Ha, we were amazed! She had never read any other reading assignments we gave her before. It was crazy. When we talked about the scriptures she read, she read one and said, "Here, I found myself in the scriptures!" She was already applying the scriptures to herself! We were astounded. After talking about a few of the scriptures, we went back and re-read one about Christ and repentance/judgement. We then talked about repentance which led to a discussion about the ten commandments which the Spirit totally testified straight to her heart and she understood and wanted to repent and live the ten commandments. Coincidence? Not a chance. The power of the Book of Mormon is real. #3 After the lesson on Friday, we set another appointment for Sunday. We finally gathered two men with the Melchizedek Priesthood to come with us and give Zlata a blessing. We were really late, and it was kind of crazy to have 5 people come into her TINY apartment instead of just two. But we did it. She had explained to the two brethren that she had had 3 blessings from the Catholic priests already. As the brethren were explaining more about the way we do the blessing, and how it is the words of the Lord not these brethren and then explained that it is only by the wish of the recipient that a blessing can be given, she just kept saying, Yes, I want one! Please! The blessing was amazing. Afterwards, she said she felt a really warm feeling. She was very grateful for them coming and doing that for her. Ah, I wish words could expressed the feelings I have had in the last few days. This Friday, we have transfer calls... I am going to cry if I have to leave this place. I have really come to love this area! We have been so busy this last week we haven't really had time to have a proper dinner break! Then on Friday, we had a "District Finding Day" and found 19 more potentials! Needless to say that we are going to be fairly busy the next little bit! We are helping with a building open house this week, going to the temple, and still trying to meet with everyone we are needing to! Yippee!!! Please pray for us to have success this week contacting these 19 potentials and that they will accept the offer to learn about the gospel. And Please pray that Sister Hatch and I have the energy to be able to do that which we need to do! Oh and enjoy conference this weekend! Don't forget to bring a question! :D Love, Sister Fokken

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