Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Temple and change.

This is Danielle....The last couple of letters have been an ongoing conversation with Adley so  I thought I would include different parts of it so you would understand her letter this week.  (Above is a letter from Charles, one of the boys we are trying to adopt from Africa...it's been 2 years....)

(Adley) I had some questions about the temple too... Just what do you feel is so important about the temple? I have been thinking a lot about it lately and I just want to know why for you personally it is so great. 

(Me) So here are the reasons why I love the temple, they are in no particular order.

1.  I love that God is just.  I love that God has rules.  I love that God has mercy.  He therefore provides a way for each of his children no matter what their circumstance to be able to fulfill and accept commandments and covenants.  

2.  I love that there is a place sacred enough that we might be able to draw closer to God.  A place to make higher covenants and promises.  A place to kneel with humility, to understand the Plan of Salvation,  and to promise to live our lives to the best of our ability.

3.  I love that he knows in order for us to be saved we must be given an opportunity to save others, to become like Christ, Saviors on Mount Zion.

4.  I love the impressions, thoughts, ideas, feelings, communication from spirit to spirit that comes from being at the temple.  I have received many very clear impressions while at the temple.  I remember when I was at the temple and received the impression I was pregnant with Adrienne.  You and Carissa were very close in age and to have a third baby even closer in age was a little bit of a shock.  I was so glad to find out about that at the right place, because I was reminded of all my blessings a healthy body and the blessings of the Priesthood, and I was grateful.  If you are humble you can't go to the temple without receiving direction.

5.  I love beauty.  I love order.  I love cleanliness.  I love light.  I feel at home.

6.  I love that God is always waiting to give us more.  Like a baby sitting in a high chair eating...the mother is always waiting with a spoon full of food waiting for the child to open it's mouth.  He wants to teach us so many things, about Heaven, about love about covenants and promises.  He wants to give us more to teach us all things.

I think of it this way.  We live in a world that is Telestial.  Our Father in Heaven lives in a place that is Celestial.  The gap between these places is too wide, he must bring us up a level he must try to close the gap from the world we live to His home, so he creates a medium in which we can be instructed more fully.  His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways are higher than our ways.

I also think about a math teacher who moves from basic math into Algebra.  When he presents ideas that are different than what we have learned we can have two responses.  We can shake our heads and say I just don't understand, why do I have to learn this stuff?  It doesn't make sense.  Or we can say wow this is different but I really want to know how this will help me, I want to learn more, I am excited to learn more and I can see the common threads, the addition and subtraction.....the basic elements to both math classes are the same.

7.  At the temple I am reminded of my worth, my potential, who I am, who I can become, who I was destined to be. 

8.  At the temple I am reminded that every thing I sow on earth I will reap.  My relationships with my husband and my children will be sealed up unto me for eternity if I am righteous.

9.  I go to the temple because Heavenly Father has asked me to, and I always want to be obedient.  I go to the temple because I truly believe in the sealing power that reaches out with spiritual protection and physical safety for my children. 

10.  I love the temple because I am reminded of what I once knew :) 

I love you keep up the amazing work.  When I got home from Rexburg I thought to myself, I am never leaving home again, and then I got this letter in the mail from Charles. :)

Love Mom

(Adley) Mom. That letter broke my heart. You guys need to go over there as soon as possible! Maybe you could all go and when I get back I can watch the farm or something?  I wrote everyone personally today and it is transfer day so I do not have a lot of time.

I loved that about the temple. I was thinking this week what the temple was and I have always just been super impressed with your testimony of the temple. I seriously think your testimony of that is so strong.  I just remember when I went to the temple you were so genuinely excited for me and so grateful to go with me. I love that mom. I miss the temple a lot out here. You two are so beautiful too. I miss you guys.

I need your help a little bit, I hear these stories from all the missionaries about people changing, and I am not sure I have seen that yet! It makes me so frustrated I want to cry.

I don't know if I am doing something wrong or if I am not desiring something that I should. I don't really know if it is me that has to change first? I know it happens, but what if it doesn't happen before I come home? We met this super great guy on the street the other day, and I prepared really hard for his lesson because he was searching for something and when I got in that discussion I could NOT remember anything, I couldn't speak, I couldn't understand, and when I prayed I didn't get anything.  He was like, " Well, at least I have heard your perspective, that was nice." But you know what? That is NOT enough. It is so frustrating for me. So, so frustrating. I don't know what I am doing wrong or if I am even the problem. I can't ever write about my investigators because we don't have any!

Mom, I don't want to just convert myself. Maybe that is what the Lord wants I don't know. But it really hurts. And I don't want that. I didn't come to just share a point of view this is really how we can be saved!!!!!


We went to the orphanage this week and all the kids call me " Flower" or VirĂ¡g. They drew me some pretty pictures and I just love them. Other than that I am just trying to figure out how to close my mission. I know 5 months still....but you know that will go by so fast. I love you mom. Be safe. Sorry I didn't write another family letter.  Tell the boys I really do love them I just do not have a lot time to reply!

Love Sis. Fowers

Monday, February 3, 2014

I feel like my testimony is getting picked apart and re-arranged out here. I love it!

We are Europies! Man. Adrienne. Russia! I am so stoked. My people hate your people. What can I say?
Alright, just kidding.  This side of the world is so different from America. There is so much history. There is so much hurt and sorrow. There is so much tradition and old grudges. I would basically describe Europe with that word, Old.
I would say that the thing I learned the most this week ( because there usually is a general theme) is who the "Hungarian" is. Where they came from, why there are who they are, and the losses they have suffered. It is changing my mission, just figuring out who they are. I think I am stepping out of my American bubble. And I really like it. These people don't come from a place where freedom bells ring and where they sing about their accomplishments. The Hungarian anthem is pretty much a plea for a better land and time. The first line is " God bless the Hungarian..."
We went and visited A. last week. I would describe him as an antique, a piece of artwork. He sits in his little antique shop with his best friend ( his dog named tadpole),  feeds him little apples from his garden, friend to any tired traveler that wants to reminisce, and polishes old clocks. We walked into his old little antique shop and said we wanted to talk a little. He pulled out the old translation of the Book of Mormon and set it on his little table. He paused for a little and then started to explain what we were doing there. He said, "You are missionaries, you come here because you believe something, you want to make other people believe. You don't understand where we come from."
He then started to explain his idea of religion. A Pope telling him when to sit, when to stand, when to pray, when to worship.
He talked about real faith. He talked about the need for genuine people. He talked about the history of Hungary, losing wars, losing two-thirds of your home, and being told how to live. Told us about the day the tanks rolled down the street, right outside his shop. Told us what they were told to think, believe, and live.
I hurt so bad when I think of that. When I think of one of my old investigators getting his only pair of denim pants taken away because he wasn't in uniform. I hurt when I think of the all the Hungarians on the street that tell us they are losers, ( they know the English word for it) and I hurt when little A. pets his dog and tells us that is what religion is. But he has FAITH. If there is one thing a Hungarian is, it is sincere. When they believe something it is because THEY believe something. It is real. This is not a disguise for them. It is them. They do not wear masks, they wear tired, stone faces, you can see chisel marks, and abused edges, but you don't see cracks.
I look back at who I was before my mission I just see a Mormon. I see a person who as a Laurel president shook hands because she wanted friends, who learned the gospel for knowledge, who prayed for acknowledgement, who went to church every Sunday.  I see a girl who wanted to be perfect on the outside, whose reflection in the mirror was more than the being within. Who did because she was told. That is not the person who follows the living Son of God.

Who the heck cares if I am Mormon! I've met more than a hundred better people than me on my mission. I've seen a hundred stronger faiths than mine. I've seen a hundred kinder acts and heard a hundred sincerer words.
SO WHY IN THE WORLD AM I HERE!?! Well... not because I am Mormon.

You want to know. Because right now you think I am apostate. :)  No one makes it to heaven because they are a Mormon. No one makes it to heaven under any religious name. No one makes it to heaven unless it is under ONE name and one does not wear "that" name. One becomes that name!
My comp and I got yelled at the other day by a man who said just about every rude thing about a Mormon he could think. I have never felt so sick in my life and I attributed it to the fact that what he said might have been true. And I didn't know.  20 years of learning about this religion and I was so sick that I might be wrong.
So I did some evaluating.

What is the main thing Christ teaches in the Bible? What does EVERY single question probe? Every question is a probing of the heart. Where is your heart? I can stand here all day and tell these people I am right, but if I don't act in such a way to exemplify the Son of God, then no matter what my religion I am wrong.
The bible talks about how  when we are judged there will be quite a few people that will say, "I did miracles, I did so much good, I preached about Christ, and I have done so much for him."
Do you know what the Master says? " I never knew you. Get out of my house and don't come back you wicked servant." Isn't that interesting? We can do all the good we want, we can obey, teach, and help, but in the end where is our heart? What is in our heart?  Where is our faith?  You remember all the times that Christ said that the Gentiles were more righteous than the Jews, when they had more faith than the Jews, how the harlots and the publicans would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before them. So it is the same here.
For forever I have felt like my religion stood in the way of my faith. I didn't understand......I was just doing it backwards!  It is super easy to serve in the branch, easy to eat a piece of bread in sacrament meeting, easy to serve a mission and have people write you and tell you how great you are. All of that means nothing without understanding.
What is hard is living is such a way that in every situation you are applying the gospel, living Christ's example, and serving an All-knowing God.
Now don't get me wrong.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true! It does matter that I am a member of this church. It does matter that I have been baptized, following the example of my Savior. The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored from the original church Christ himself organized.  We need it, we need the Priesthood, we need the ordinances for salvation, we need it to help us build a relationship with others, with our Savior and Heavenly Father, but without real faith, it is worthless.
I feel like my testimony is being picked apart and rearranged out here. I love it! I want to be converted, truly converted. I don't know exactly how, but the Hungarians are teaching me.
I love Jesus Christ. I love his gospel. I love his Church. You hate my preaching right now. Understandable. I am just really excited because something clicked for me! I am studying and learning what conversion is and I am building on a sure foundation. I recommend it to everyone. Feels great!
This week was incredible! We have 6 people that are going to be baptized and we got standard again!? THIS NEVER HAPPENS. But it is happening. Cool, huh?
Also, A. has this little craft that ADOLF HITLER made for his sister!!!!!! I saw his hand writing! He is a very artsy man, too. Who would've known? He also gave us the old Hungarian money. Which equals more than 1000000000000000000 forint! The inflation in Hungary was so bad that they had to start using numbers in the thousand billions! And one millard ( that is what they were called) would buy you an egg. Crazy cool, huh?

I think Adge, if I could give you any advice right now it is to study the Russian history And with the language learn the alphabet over, and over and work on the pronunciation. Do that until you get into the MTC. Trust me that makes it 10 times easier. You are going to love Europe. I thought I was going to hate it. It is great.
Also yesterday was incredible because I was able to use my peacemaking skills. We were visiting this family that hasn't come to church in a while. When we got there the spirit completely helped me to talk to them about what was going on, they were angry and upset and at the end we were kneeling in prayer! I couldn't believe it. There is still a lot of work to do, but it was such a blessing! They want us to come back every week! This is a very strong family that can really help out our ward!
Anyways, I talked way too much.
Adrienne I love you. You will love it there. I would say get a coat now. It is FREEZING HERE. I don't even want to know what it is like there. Don't take a lot to the MTC and just buy stuff when you get there on a P-day. Get a side bag- it is a rule now. AND GET A SUITCASE WITH 4 WHEELS. If the transportation there is like it is here you will regret not getting that. With trains and the subways and buses- you'll die without it. You'll also screw up your back. I have really messed mine up.
Alright, I love you all. YOUR LETTERS WERE HILARIOUS. Boys stop being such lady killers!

Nathan: I come home on July 23. Be ready for a party.
Love Sis. Fowers