Monday, March 12, 2018

March 12,2018 Email :D

Chicken Hellfire
Hey y'all! :D
This week has been quite the adventure! :) In case you were wondering about the title of this email...we were on exchange this week, and Sister Ferrin came to spend a day with me! As we were trying to figure out dinner, we grabbed some chicken from the fridge and decided to marinate it in BBQ sauce in the oven. Pretty chill. Now here is the thing with missionary apartments. You NEVER know what you are going to find in the cupboard from past missionaries. We had quite the assortment of BBQ sauces to choose from...but here is the one we decided on: Hell Fire. It's hot. How hot? Apparently you have to special order has ghost peppers in it, along with California Reapers.... 
​So, being the crazy sisters we are...we dumped half the bottle on our poor chicken, put it in the oven, threw it together with some rice, and packed it away to the church with some ranch! SO GRATEFUL I remembered the ranch! We sat together in the YW room waiting for people to show up for basketball and just about died!! Hahaha such a sweet memory!
Another fun food thing: I discovered, thanks to Sister Killick, the best hot chocolate ever! You either make vanilla bean hot chocolate or normal, add in a peppermint tea pack, throw in some vanilla ice cream, and you're good to go!! :D SO GOOD!!!
We had ward conference yesterday, and President Ryan had some words of wisdom to share. He talked about the new Star Wars movie, and how excited he was to see it with his family! He sat there and at a point in the movie, was distracted by the sound of people around him eating popcorn and rattling their candy wrappers. It caused him to be so irritated for "7 minutes" that he lost complete focus of the movie and missed what he had waited so anxiously to experience! He related it to our life on earth and when we allow things to distract us from the happiness we are here to experience! :D Wow! So good!
I have so much more to share...but have so little time! Just know that I love all of you and love being a missionary! There truly is no better calling!!! 
Sister Van Valkenburg
​We went to a member's house this week that used to be a pro arm wrestler! SO COOL!! SO MANY MEDALS!!! (Kaylea, one of the best people ever is in the pic with Sister Killick.)

Monday, March 5, 2018

March 3,2018 Email :D

Vancouver, Eh?

Hi Y'all! 
This week is going to be super short, I am so sorry!
But this week was crazy and amazing! So super super busy and it has been a blast! The best part of the week (one of the best parts) was going to Vancouver for MLC!! Oh my goodness I love flying and I love Vancouver and I love missionary meetings!! :D It was so fun being around my old stomping grounds! As we had a few hours for contacting while we were there, Sister Killick and I rushed to a SkyTrain station and zipped down to see the Mims! Oh it was so good to see them! I love them dearly!! <3 We were able to call a couple other old friends to say hello and it was so good to reconnect! Vancouver will always hold a special place in my heart! <3

At MLC, we were trained on a lot of things, but one of my favorites by far was a video we watched about an Emu. (which I thought was an ostrich for the entirety of the video and for a few minutes after...but that's fine. If somebody could look up the difference between the two and email me, it would be muchly appreciated) During the video of the emu, it goes to a picnic table and seeks to get some human munchies...and somehow gets some Virtual Reality goggles strapped to its face!! OH MY GOODNESS!! As it watches through the goggles, it sees the sky and envisions itself flying. It flaps its wings and runs around the other emus, in its sleep it is practicing to fly, in the morning again, it tries and fails to fly. The other emus think its crazy. Finally, one day, it actually takes off and flies off into the sunset as the other emus watch. Of course, we know that emus can't fly. BUT. That is the point! How many limits do we put on ourselves when we know that through God we can accomplish the impossible?! When the emu finally took off, finally flew into the sky, it did not have the VR goggles on. It had a clear vision already of where it wanted to be and how it was going to get there! I am personally applying this to my life by striving to have a vision of what Heavenly Father can help me to become and aiming for the sky! I will be the first emu to fly out here in the Canada Vancouver mission! Watch me! 

Also, still going strong with the music! I had the change to sing in a quartet "Because He Lives" 2 times at MLC. The spirit was so strong! I was also able to put together a small number of "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" sung by 5 missionaries as I accompanied for a fireside last night. We had an amazing turnout with 3 potential investigators there and a few recent converts and less active members. God is so good!! :D

I love you all and encourage you to find an emu plan! How can you get into the sky?!
Sister Van Valkenburg

On splits with Sister Flukiger and Jensen in Vancouver! We took a selfie in a really fancy washroom
We were SO TIRED after our trip to Vancouver! Here is Sister Killick in the airport as we waited to be picked up and taken home.XD

Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26,2018 Email :D

Chicken Scream

Oh my goodness everyone!! This week has been so crazy!! 

It started out with me saying goodbye to all my dear friends in the Nechako Ward. It was interesting doing so because I literally was just moving to the other ward in the it's like...I would still see them. :) We had a fun dinner at Bishop Krell's house! He lives up in the boonies and we drove out for some ham he had raised himself! Delicious! During the meeting, he pulled out an iPad and insisted that we play a game called "Chicken Scream." Have y'all heard of that? You cluck like a chicken to move this little chicken through obstacles. If anyone walked into their house at that moment, they would see a very confused Sister Missionary clucking her heart out at an iPad! XD Goodness gracious! 

Right after that dinner, we hustled down to the church building to a Relief Society activity on the 5 languages of love. Once again, I was put on the spot to stand in front of everyone and have people guess what my love languages were! Hahaha! So that was fun. It was a cute activity with a wonderful turn out, and we had some investigators come! Woohoo!! :D

Also this week, we had a Filipino culture night with the two wards combined. We had many nonmembers and less active members come, and enjoyed an evening of food, culture, music and dance! It was a huge hit! So stinking fun! 

This week I had a really cool experience that helped me to truly reflect on how the Lord answers prayers. For my Book of Mormon focus this time through, I have made it a goal to study in depth for a straight 30 minutes each day, with an objective to receive revelation for myself and for others each time. To liken the scriptures. The other morning as I prayed to start, I knew I was going to be studying Jacob 5. I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me to see a way that I could strengthen our zone here in Prince George and opened my scriptures. As I read the words of Isaiah, everything was crystal clear of ways I can cultivate this area, the way that the Lord was working with individual companionships, and how we can have a clear vision for the future of this area. I was floored! Heavenly Father truly is a God of miracles and will speak directly to us! We just need to ask, and then seek!

Also this week, Sister Killick and I had an amazing miracle! Within 30 minutes we were able to set two baptismal dates! We did so by simply following the plans we were inspired to write down in our planners and the lessons we were prompted to teach! Most importantly, we just weren't shy about bringing up the word "baptism." It is a gift from God to come closer to Him and find greater happiness in life! Who doesn't want that?! And why was I so nervous before to offer this gift to others? It was such a miracle that I will never forget!

I love you all! I am so graetful for all that Heavenly Father has given me and will strive each day to cultivate the area of the vineyard He has called me to serve in!

Sister Van Valkenburg

Doing the CPR (church, pray, ready) cup activity! I love this object lesson! When we use our three knives (prayer, scripture study, church attendance) intertwined together...we can support a lot of weight! :D

​We accidentally left he window open over night...oops!

inside my desk from Nechako. Missionaries sign it when they leave<3
"The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives." - President Russel M Nelson

Monday, February 19, 2018

February 19,2018 Email :D

Hello hello! 
Wow! We had some fun experiences this week!

On Valentine's Day, we decided to make some valentines cards for members we haven't seen for a bit and love to pieces! So we went by and there was one lady, Sister Hunsaker, that we feel HORRIBLE for not seeing yet! She is an older lady in a care center, and we were asked a couple weeks ago to go visit her on her birthday, but that was the day that we were super sick in indoors! :( SO we get to the care center and start walking in, and I turn to Sister Muir 
"Do you remember her first name?" 
"Eh, that's fine. It's a care center." 
So we walk in, and talk to a lady 
"Hi! We are looking to see Sister Hunsaker...?" 
"Oh! You're here to see Maria?"
"yeah! Sister Hunsaker!"
And then she gave us directions to Maria's room. We walked in and met Maria! MIRACLE: her daughter, Carmella, was with her! Carmella is an investigator of ours that we have STRUGGLED to see even though she lives 3 doors down from us. We had no idea! As we talked, it became kind of a struggle because only Carmella knows English of the two of she translated for us. I apologized for missing her birthday on February 1st or 3rd....and she said it was okay! She was sick on her birthday anyway. I sang happy birthday to her in Spanish and we left! Wow! Such a miracle being able to finally have a short lesson with our investigator! Later that night, we were seeing a member and shared with her the miracle of meeting our investigator! They were silent for a moment...
"Sisters. That wasn't Sister Hunsaker. Sister Hunsaker is like 90 and white."
Wow. Heavenly Father led us to a lady named Maria that the sisters had visited before, who happened to live in the same senior center as Sister Hunsaker, who had our investigator with her for Valentine's Day, who also had the same birthday. What are the odds?! 100% with Heavenly Father! Wow!

Another fun story: 
We were in the hospital again this week, to see one of our sweet recent converts who wasn't doing too hot, and while we were there we got talking to a man named Dale. He told us that women don't go to heaven. Well you can imagine our emotions as we listened to his explanation. He shared with us Revelation 8:1

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  

"See?!" He said, "There can't be women in heaven because what woman can keep her mouth shut for half an hour?!?!" XD Oh my goodness Dale....who by the way was a minister, he was a hoot!

We have had such a fun time this week relating things to the gospel through experiences we have had. Truly teaching people in parables helps us to see miracles! 

While teaching a lesson on the restoration this week, I felt prompted to get up and try an object lesson that I had never heard of, nor thought of = the SPIRIT!!! So I got up and grabbed my handy dandy Olaf keychain from my bag, and Sister Muir's study journal. I opened her journal and hung olaf inside, then asked the family we were teaching to close their eyes. They were each seated at 3 different vantage points of the table. I asked them each to describe what they saw. Each was different from the other...and incorrect because they didn't remember the details right from their point of view. We explained how that was like great apostasy. The fact that they couldn't remember what was there doesn't change that it was true and completely there. The gospel is complete and in our lives, we just need to open our eyes to see it! We have many leaders (such as the prophets) that can tell us the view from all angles and help us to best understand what Heavenly Father has placed in front of us! So cool! Literally the next day, we found this video. I encourage all to watch it! :D So good! Discovering Truth Mormon Message

One of the craziest transfer calls I have received....I generally receive a prompting or two before a call, helping me to know what will happen. I felt for some reason that I was leaving. Others told me they felt I was staying! We were both right! I have been transferred to the Fraser ward! It is in the same building as the Nechacko ward! Haha! So I will be moving apartments to be companions with Sister Killick, and I will be an STL! So exciting! I can't wait to see the miracles that Heavenly Father has in store for us this transfer!:D

I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!
Sister Van Valkenburg

I decided to dive into the snow after transfer calls. It was fun!
Selfie with my snow hat!

Our gangsta District! Haha we had so much fun!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 13, 2018 Email :D

Happy Valentine's Day

"Happy Valentine's Day" seems to be the title of everyone else's emails this I figured I would jump on the bandwagon! Haha this last week hasn't been as much of a gong show as last week! In fact, it was a "Wong Show!" because we had zone conference! *buh dum psh!!* Hahaha :) Oh it has been such a joy having the sisters all together! There are only 6 sister missionaries up here, and one of them is Sister Clark! My MTC comp! It has been so much fun spending time together and taking her around her old area! We have seen so many miracles! :D

It has been fun driving around shoveling people's driveways and getting stuck in the snow ourselves a couple times! It snowed over a month's worth of snow in the span of 24 hours up here! :D It's crazy!!

I just have a quick spiritual thought and then I will close this sorry for it being so short this week! I was studying the restoration this week and my brain went off on a tangent analogy again! 

One of my favorite analogies we use in the church is how we are clay in the master potter's hands. I strive each day to be mold-able in His hands, so that I can become the masterpiece that He knows I can become! I was pondering a bit about clay, and how if clay is left out without being moved or anything, it hardens. Thus making it unable to be molded. But if one keeps moving it, stretching it, and adding continues to have the ability to grow and be shaped into what it needs to be! In life we have the Living Water, Jesus Christ, and His gospel to continually add to our lives and weave into our tapestries of discipleship! Such a blessing! So I am striving each day to add some living water into my life, to grow and to stretch and humble myself so that Heavenly Father can mold me! 

I love you all and hope you have an amazing Valentine's Day!!
Sister Van Valkenburg

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February 7,2018 Email :D

The Gong Show Week

Oh my goodness ladies and gentlemen! This week was a gong show!!

Never did I think that so many crazy things could happen in a week..but ya know? When you're in what we here call "the north" crazy stuff happens! I'll start with some cool spiritual stuff, though!

For district meeting this last week Sister Muir and I were able to give a training. The morning of the meeting, I felt prompted to incorporate a trust fall! So during our district meeting, we had two of the Elders come up and demonstrate a trust fall. The one falling was genuinely uncomfortable...but stepped up ready to take the bullet. As we talked about what could make him more comfortable with the fall, (knowing who was behind him, standing closer to his companion, talking to each other) his tension eased and by the time I told him to fall, he did so willingly and without any fear. It was amazing talking after about the little exercise, as he expressed how building that relationship with the person behind dispelled the fear and made him feel more safe. I know that it is the same for each of us, as we learn to trust the Savior. He has our backs! As we gain a relationship with Him, knowing where He is and communicating with Him, we will fall safely in his arms each time we need to be caught. And I promise you, He will catch us. It is like that with each person we are teaching! We are committing them to take a leap of faith, or a fall back into the Savior's arms, as they enter the waters of baptism! Each time we humble ourselves to fall into the Savior's arms, we will recognize the infinite love He has for us and how close He truly is to us at all times! :) It reminds me of a quote from Elder Uchtdorf's General Conference talk: 3 Sisters. "You are in His hands. Very good hands. Loving hands. Caring hands. And nothing anyone ever says can change that."

After our training, we had another from one of our zone leaders! We played charades! It was altered a bit to be a speed charades game. Two teams trying the complete the most actions! It was SO MUCH FUN! And it taught me a valuable lesson. You have to be all in! In everything in life, in missionary work as well, you HAVE to be all in, or you will look the fool. Your team won't be as successful, though you may see success. But when you truly give it your all, go all in, you will see MIRACLES!! The team that went all in more than doubled the amount of points the other team got. Whose team are you on? :D

Fun activity: We are starting a crochet club! We have some signs in windows around town and are inviting all who want to come learn to crochet or work on their projects to join us! It's so fun! We have a sweet recent convert, Ellen, who LOVES crocheting and has been teaching us! Yay!

Another fun activity: We played dodgeball this week with a couple more recent converts who invite their friends to come play dodgeball at the church each week. It's hilarious!! ....I'm not the best...but there is definitely no shortage of laughs when we are all on the court together! 

Another cool analogy: I was taught an analogy of the game tic tac toe. The Elder teaching asked someone to come play a game of tic tac toe with him. One at a time they go, cats game. Then he said, let's play again with no rules! Go! Then he proceeded to push the other Elder out of the way and scribble out his marks so he could win. RUDE! Then he talked about how if there are no rules, there is no game. What's the difference between football and soccer? The rules. What's the difference between badminton and tennis? The rules. God has given us rules so there can be a game! So we can win! So we can learn and grow and progress. Aren't you so grateful for the gift of agency and the rules/laws God has given us? Without them, there is no purpose here on earth. 
2 Nephi 2:13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

Now. To the gong show. 
This last week, Sister Killick, Sister Gallagher and Sister Muir had the stomach flue and I had a cold. Sister Gallagher and Sister Killick were house bound for 4 days, and Sister Muir and I weren't able to go full out with our missionary work for the majority of the time as well. We slept over at their house one night and took care of them. Since Sister Gallagher and Sister Muir aren't able to drive and Sister Killick was the most sick, I was the designated driver for the four of us! I was able to make grocery runs with Sister Muir and Gallagher, I was the ambulance to the ER twice (yes, that happened) and took turns with Sister Gallagher and Sister Muir going out on splits for a couple hours a day. It was crazy! It's an interesting experience not being able to think straight as a missionary. Your desire to go out and serve the Lord is magnified when you physically cannot do it! But it makes the moments so much sweeter when you are trying your best to work through the Spirit. Because if I worked through my own brain in the lessons we had this week, it would have been a mess! I had few lessons, and fewer contacting opportunities this week, but each moment was precious and the Spirit was able to guide me so much more. I'm grateful for the experience I was able to have to be humbled by Heavenly Father to recognize how little I am and how might He is. I love Him and will strive to constantly recognize each moment here as precious! 

As part of the gong show week, we were in the Emergency room for the second time, Sister Killick needing to get a couple IV's. She was already there with a senior couple and Sister Gallagher, Muir, and I were there to take over. As we walked up, we realized that she was in the process of getting blood drawn and not doing too well with the process. Sister Gallagher and Sister Muir walked away to give her her space but I felt prompted to stay by her. I didn't know what to do because her one arm was being worked on and she was squeezing Sister Horsely's hand with the I grabbed her foot. Yeah....I know. You know those dramatic moments in movies when someone is in so much pain and is like issuing out their last requests? Yeah, this went down. 
Sister Killick: *gasping* "Sister Van Valkenburg! Sing to me!"
Me: "What do you want me to sing?"
Sister K: "What you are going to sing at Zone Conference!"
So in the emergency room I start singing a song about doing Heavenly Father's will, trusting in Him. It went so quiet as nurses and doctors started working quieter, and the Spirit filled the room. Sister Killick was calm and stopped crying as she focused on the lyrics, and I recognized once again the amazing power of the Holy Ghost! It can truly pierce through anything! Wow! SO DRAMATIC and SO SPIRITUAL. 

I am so grateful to be here! There is so much going on now as we all regain our health and strength. What an amazing opportunity to be a full time servant of the Lord!!

Love you all! Have an amazing week!
Sister Van Valkenburg

ps. I learned how to do a moose call this week. I will find soon and practice. Stay tuned!

(By the way Zone conference got moved to Monday, so I will be emailing next Tuesday)

Sister Muir studying #sick #everyday
The birthday party!
Found a friend #beardeddragon
We got sushi 2 more times...#avocadoroll #spicycaliforniaroll #Idon'tlikeseafood

Monday, January 29, 2018

January 29,2018 Email :D

Is it summer?

This week up in PG the coldest it got was like -12...and right now we are sittin pretty at +2 degrees Celsius!! I must be dreaming! Everyone we talk to is like "yeah, this isn't normal. Enjoy it while it lasts!" Oh, believe me, we are! :D

I absolutely loved the Stake Conference broadcast yesterday! Did anyone out there get to see it as well? I honestly don't know what area it covered...but it was awesome! I loved Elder Natress's talk about his son jumping from their 10 foot balcony. Though it was funny hearing the younger brother say "you missed the pillow!" How many times do we think we have set ourselves up for success, and miss the mark? How many times do we make plans that wouldn't work anyway? I know that if we consult with Heavenly Father with all our plans, they won't miss the mark for sure! And we can make sure that we are spiritually safe by doing this things Elder Natress suggested:

1- Pray every day
2- Read the scriptures (Specifically the Book of Mormon)
3- Find someone to serve each day
4- Once a week, take the sacrament and renew your covenants

I have seen in my personal life how much these simple building blocks can shape who we become and how safe we are when we diligently seek to do them each day/week! :D

I was pondering this week a book that I grew up reading in my home and in choir called The Spyglass. It's about a king, whose life and kingdom are in shambles. He eats a meager meal each day and the castle is run down, the people are poor and sad. Then, one day a wise old man comes and shows him a spyglass. The king looks through the spyglass in the direction of his kingdom and sees a beautiful, lush, park with fountains and people happily walking along! The old man turns to him and says "You have seen what might be, now go and make it so." He leaves the king with the spyglass for a season and leaves, promising to return later and see how things turn out. The king goes to the park, which is currently overrun with weeds and just depressing..and proceeds to rip down some of the vines. Underneath he finds the beautiful fountain from this vision he had seen through the spyglass. Slowly but surely, his kingdom is transformed as he looks through the spyglass and make the kingdom what it always had the potential to become! When the old man returns, it has if it is a different kingdom! He takes the spyglass, and travels on to another kingdom.

As I have thought about the above story, I have compared it to our relationship with Heavenly Father. Through His eyes, the spyglass, we can see the potential of our kingdom. We can see what our hands and hearts can do to change the world around us! But it is only when we act on what Heavenly Father has shown us that we accomplish miracles. I know that as I have prayed to see others through His eyes I have found greater love and accomplishment in the world around me. I have also prayed to see myself through Heavenly Father's eyes. I cannot believe how much He could love a little thing like me! I know that He loves all of his children and we each have infinite possibilities! :) I can't wait to see what our kingdoms hold! 

I know that my Savior lives. How grateful I am that we know this, that we can share this with the world around us each and every day! I am so grateful for my family and friends that teach me how to be a little better every day! I love you all! Have an amazing week!

Sister Van Valkenburg

"One notch up!" - President Wong

PS. P-day will most-likely be on Wednesday next don't be freaked out if I email later! <3

PPS. camera isn't working this week...SO SORRY!! PICTURES NEXT WEEK! PROMISE!