Monday, January 8, 2018

January 8,2018 Email :D

Many are called but few are frozen!

I can't take credit for the title of this email! I stole it from Sister Jacquez whom I love dearly!! :) BUT the title fits perfectly for the grand adventure I am up for next!! Transfer calls came in this Saturday, and I have been called to go to Nechako, Prince George!! Wow!! What a change!! If you look on the map, it's about smack dab in the middle of the province, but it's the highest north that they send sisters because of the weather...hehe. When my flight lands it is supposed to be around -22 degrees C and snowing. Not too bad for a St. George girl, hey? ;) I am so pumped!! I will be whitewashing in with Sister Muir! She served with me for a transfer in my first area, so we know each other!! Woohoo!! 

I am going to miss Sister Bloomfield dearly! She has helped me so much and we have learned and grown so much together!! <3 But she is going to kill it with her new comp, Sister Nerberg!! She has been out 1 transfer, and they are going to have so much fun together!! 

This week has just flown by as we went around searching for God's children to strengthen and come closer to our Savior! So good! 

You know those moments when you're talking with someone and Heavenly Father just fills your mouth with something you needed to hear? I love those! Here is something He blessed me to say this week that I've really been pondering about.
"Everything happens for a reason, but not everything that happens needs to be reasoned with." 
wowza! So simple, but so true! I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us, and part of that plan is planning and experiencing life..while we look forward and learn from what we have been blessed to experience! I am so grateful for his perfect plan!!

Sorry this week is short! My head is up in the clouds about this transfer news!! And it literally will be this time tomorrow! WOW!!! Hahaha

love you all! Have an amazing week!
Sister Van Valkenburg
We took ourselves out to WhiteSpot this week to celebrate this sweet Sister's 6 MONTH MARK!! AH!!!
This little cutie is one of my favorites, and LOVES Sister Bloomfield's shoes! Without fail, when we are at their house, she come clomping around the corner wearing her shoes!! So cute!! <3
Family picture! Here is Brother Loughery (Assistant ward mission leader) with his family and our little team! We had so much fun together the past 3 months and now all of us are moving around. We had to meet up for a quick picture!! 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

January 2,2018 Email :D

Happy, happy New Year everybody!!! I celebrated by going in at 6, as per instructed, and deep cleaned the apartment!! Then I went to bed at 10:30. That's after midnight somewhere, hey? XD 

Just a heads up...not much to talk about this week! 

We enjoyed celebrating a lot this year, going to parties for the new year with some single women in the ward, eating dinner with other members, and making plans for the new year! It's going to be such a good year!! We have plans in each stake I'm serving in to prepare the members to find! It's going to be so good!!

I was at one of these New Years parties and they were passing around pizza, which I gladly accepted! I chose the one that had "everything on it" and turns out...it had SHRIMP on it!! Who does that??!?! *sigh* It wasn't that bad. :) 

I had a cool experience in Gospel Principles this week! The whole lesson was on Heavenly Father. Who He is, and what that means to us. We all were going around reading the strips of paper with conversation questions and scriptures, and the teacher walked up to me across the room and kind of discretely handed me a glass ball about the size of a tennis ball. I didn't know what to do with it, so I just kind of hid it in my lap. Later in the lesson, she asked me to hold it up and on the spot give an analogy of how it could represent God. I was blessed to think about how I knew the ball was there, and everyone there had the possibility of seeing it...but nobody did. But once they saw it, they couldn't deny that it was there! Just like that, if we aren't searching for Heavenly Father in our life, we may not see Him. But once we know He is there, which He always is, we cannot deny it!! <3 I'm so grateful for this knowledge...that I have a loving Heavenly Father who has provided everything for me! And, as one of the Elders in the meeting said, the only way he knows Heavenly Father is through His son, Jesus Christ!! 

I love you all! Happy New Year!!!
Sister Van Valkenburg

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26,2017 Email :D

Oh it has just been such an amazing Christmas here in Langley! :D Heavenly Father is truly showering us with blessings this Christmas season!!

We were able to take part in so many fun family traditions of ward members this week! We were in a nativity, pulled Christmas crackers and wore crowns throughout the dinner, had a full on Bethlehem feast (lamb and all), and ate schnitzel!! Okay..the last one wasn't a tradition, but I thought it was cool that I was able to have a German feast as well! It was so fun to see how uniquely we all celebrate Christmas, but how special it is that we all have the same purpose behind it. We all strive to remember our Savior, and draw closer to Him and each other. That's what traditions are all about! As I was studying and contemplating about traditions this week, I realized that simple things we do each day or each week could be considered a tradition. We read the scriptures, pray, and go to church to accomplish the same purpose! We set aside time for something special, to come closer to each other and remember the Savior! 

In 2 Thessalonians 2:15 it says: 
"Therefore,, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

As I have lived the gospel in my life, I have truly come to see how these "traditions" we do each day and each week bring us closer to the Savior. As we stand fast and hold to the traditions that we have been taught through the Spirit, the scriptures, by our leaders, teachers, families, and friends...we truly come closer to who Heavenly Father asks us and needs us to be!! 

Last Monday we were able to participate in a zone white elephant gift exchange! So fun! We played it the Danish way, where not everyone gets a present! :O You draw a number from the bag and that's the order in which we pick from the middle. Then, before anyone opens a gift, someone sets a timer for x amount of minutes (nobody knows how long it will be) and we start two dice around the circle. If you roll at 1, you steal a gift from anyone. 6, you give a gift to anyone, and 3, you pass your gift to the right! It was so crazy!! At the end of the timer, we all went around and opened the gifts we had received. Between Sister Bloomfield and I, we had 3 or 4 gifts...including one that we brought! YIKES! Hahah oh it was a blast!

We were also able to participate in ZONE CONFERENCE this week! It was SO GOOD!!!!!! I am learning more and more how President Wong teaches...and more and more on the importance of planning and applying what the Spirit teaches!! As one of the many object lessons, we watched the short mormon message on the current bush. (so good! Highly recommended!) talking about a farmer who cuts down a bush that has grown too large and crazy, knowing that in order for it to grow more and bring forth fruit, it needs to first be cut down. It was compared to how in our lives  Heavenly father sometimes cuts us down in different ways to humble us and help us to grow to become who He needs us to be! President Wong, in conjunction with that story, told us about bald eagles. He said he was studying them, and how when they are old, if they rip off their old beaks and pull out their old talons, new ones will grow and they will live longer. Sometimes, we need to go through something painful, getting cut down or seemingly pulling a part of us away, to grow and become new. To change! I think about the potter's clay and how Heavenly Father truly knows who we need to become. It may be hard, but as we allow ourselves to go through change, to be molded by Him, we become who He needs us to be!!  

I am so grateful for this gospel! I am grateful for the opportunity we had to finish the Book of Mormon on Christmas Day as our gift to the Savior!! :) I know that it is true. I know that as we read it and abide by its precepts, we draw closer to God and BECOME who He needs us to be! If we are trying our best, it is enough! I am so grateful for our Savior, who has made it possible to learn and grow as He lovingly cuts us back and shapes us, then lifts us up as we push forward and grow. Wow. What an amazing, perfect plan He has for each and every one of us!! 

I love you all!!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Sister Van Valkenburg

I would probably label this a pinterest fail...but we tried to be cute with the Christmas Lights!!! haha

Walking around Christmas day in Fort Langley, a lady we were talking to asked to take some pictures of us! How cute!
A little pic of Fort Langley :) Such a cute little town!
The Christmas Eve squad!! So excited!! I love these sisters!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

December 18,2017 Email ;D

Merry Christmas!!!

Oh my goodness it truly is the best time of the year! And Heavenly Father has blessed us this week! It was an early Christmas present! We haven't been finding too many investigators this past few weeks, and thought the work is still rolling forth, we want to hasten the work!! This week, we truly applied ourselves to find, and Heavenly Father blessed us with 7 new investigators, and 2 others that were passed to us! Miracles!! He truly knows what we need and what these people need in their lives! 

We found a couple this week as we were knocking the area. We only had a couple more minutes planned in the area, and nobody seemed to be home. We had strayed from our car quite a bit and were going to turn back to head to our next area...but we knew we had to find the reason Heavenly Father had sent us there! We felt to knock one more door, and met Julia and Harry! They are a Chinese couple that are anxious to learn and welcomed us right into their house to hear a lesson! It was so amazing! At the end of the lesson, we asked if we could come back and share more. They looked at each other and talked back and forth in Chinese, then said they would like us to come back twice a week for one hour at a time. We were just taken aback! YES!!! We are so excited to see them grow and progress in their faith in the gospel!!

This last week, Sister Bloomfield and I were also able to sing in a combined ward choir for a Christmas concert! It was so fun going around inviting people and just filling the chapel with the Spirit!! We had many people come that are not members of the church! So fun!

Have a Merry, Merry CHRISTmas!!! Light the world!!

I love you all so much!!!
Sister Van Valkenburg

 
Just blocking the sun. :) (not our car, we promise!)

hey what would Christmas be without a Christmas onesie (thanks mom) and the Savior?! I am so grateful for this time of the year!!​

Saturday, December 16, 2017

December 11,2107 Email :D

Oh how I love the Christmas season!!! We have just been caroling up a storm and sharing the Light the World message with all in sight! We have concerts coming up, cookies decorating, and honestly the amount of Christmas cookies already offered to me...and consumed....could be enough for the next few years!! Yikes!!! 

We started off Monday with what we called the "Festive Home Evening" I told you about last week, decorating sugar cookies for a local homeless shelter. Santa came, and the message went really well! We had an amazing turnout and the ward will try it again next year! :D Santa came in at the end, and did some laps around the room with the kids following him singing Jingle Bells then handed out candy canes and cuties to them. :) Of COURSE we had to get a picture with the jolly man!! 
On Tuesday, the missionaries were assigned the job of individually bagging all of the cookies to be taken to the homeless shelter!! 443 cookies and a few hour later...this is most of them! Hahaha it was so fun!! We got to go deliver them with a small group of ward members on one of the trips, and it was such an amazing experience talking with the sweet people there!! :)
On Thursday we got to go caroling with the cub scouts!! They, no joke, got a school bus and us, two sets of Elders, and a band of cub scouts and leaders piled in to go caroling around the ward! We got to sing at a house home to a few horses the enjoy eating sister missionary hair and hoods!! Haha oh how fun!!


This week we saw many miracles! We have a list of former investigators that we drop by when in the area, and there is one that we have felt prompted to drop by a few times but have never gotten to actually do it. The other day, we got a call from the Elders saying that a lady had called wanting to meet with missionaries and that they gave her our number to contact. It was her!! We were able to see her the next day, and the Spirit was so strong!! We asked when we could see her again, and she asked to meet the next day! So we saw her again! She has an extensive teaching record that dates back to 2014...and just was never ready! This time, I think she is. :) 

Another miracle, speaking of drop by's....there is a sweet single lady in one of our wards that we have been trying to drop by for about 2 months. She never answers her phone...so we have been knocking on her door every time we have been in the area. No answer! BUT last night, the door opened!! Turns out, it has been the wrong house the WHOLE TIME!! She moved! But the miracle is that the lady behind the door is so prepared to hear the gospel! We were able to share a message with her and will be back later this week to share more! :) It's so amazing how God places these miracles in our paths!! 

A passage of scripture that stood out to me this week was Ether chapter 2...specifically verse 6! 

And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges , in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord. 

This is before the verses talking about when the brother of Jared is asked to find a way to make light for the barges later in their journey and make them "tight like unto a dish" It never quite occurred to me that before they came to the great waters they needed to cross when the Brother of Jared was conversing with the Lord about what to do and sees Him...that there were little bodies of water to cross. And other barges made! It was a testimony builder to me of our lives today! We have so many trials! Great and small. A lot of bodies of water to cross in our lifetimes! But each one is preparing us for something bigger that Heavenly Father is going to help us through! In verse 16, He says to the Brother of Jared "Go to work, and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built." He built on the brother of Jared's knowledge and understanding he had already obtained through the other water crossings in his journey. That's what Heavenly Father does with us! Each thing we go through is to lift, build, empower, strengthen and prepare us for the future! He truly has a perfect plan for each and every one of us!! 

Wow!! Heavenly Father is SO GOOD to us! I am so grateful for the many miracles that He blesses us with each and every day that teach us to look out and look up! I'm so grateful for my Savior, for all that He did for me and continues to do to help me reach my highest potential! As I grow closer to Him, I recognize more and more each day who I truly am, and how much He truly loves His children!! 

Love, Serve, Obey!! Oh! And of course, Merry Christmas!!

Love,
Sister Van Valkenburg

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4,2017 Email :D

Wow! 

Never in my life did I think that I would wait so anxiously for and be so grateful to receive a General Conference Ensign!! But oh boy were we so excited for this puppy!! We finally got our Ensigns this week and you can now guess what we have been doing during our free time!! <3 I'm so grateful for the inspired words Heavenly Father sends us through His prophets!! 

This last week, though, I have been really loving Joy D Jones' talk "Value Beyond Measure" SO inspired! I loved the stories she related of each wonderful sister, and the concept that 
"If we sin, we are less worthybut we are never worth less!"
That was truly manifest to me in sacrament meeting just yesterday. A sweet sister in the ward got up and bore her testimony that I just love so dearly! She has been inactive for years, and with a gentle push and some service, she has been coming back to church! She stood up and said the reason she stopped going to church was because she had trials, and every time she tried to be good...Satan pushed her down hard. She figured that if she stopped trying, then he wouldn't push as hard. So she stopped. And he did. Things were great! She said that life was pure bliss and not too hard. But she was completely miserable! She just cried as she bore her testimony that she could not live like that any more! She is back to stay, and claim the blessings! She knows that it won't be easy, but that it will be worth it! I am so grateful for her example! The man after her to bear his testimony said to her "Welcome back! We have been saving your inheritance for you here. It's yours to take!" Wow. Just evidence to me of God's infinite love! She may have made choices that made her less worthy, but she was NEVER of less worth!

Another man got up, visiting his daughter from Australia, and bore his testimony about his family being eternally connected. He testified of the sealing power and how only one of his daughters, the one in our ward, is active. But that he knows his family is eternal. He said that though he is from another country, he knows the church is just as true over there, and that through our influence on his daughter, we are making the sealing power real to him. Wow!

We are kicking off the Light the World campaign this last week for the month of December!! Have y'all heard of it?! It is so good! We are having a fun Ward Family Home Evening (we're calling it "Festive Home Evening") tonight and us missionaries are giving the spiritual thought! I am so excited! We are planning on having a bunch of scriptures that each depict a character in the nativity (Joseph, Mary, shepherds, wise men, etc) and have them read and guess the characters! The last scripture read will be 3 Nephi 5:13 
Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. 
The last character of the story is us. We are all disciples of Jesus Christ! And as we serve each other and "Light the World" we will be able to help others to feel of the beautiful spirit of Christmas and most importantly, Jesus Christ! 

I again am so grateful for my Savior and all He does for me! For all of us! I love Him in my own imperfect, incomplete way! But I know He loves each and every one of us completely and perfectly! We are never worth less to Him! <3

Have an amazing week!
<3 Sister Van Valkenburg


The joy when we got this Ensigns!! I can't even begin to describe it! ..SO I'll post a picture of
Sister Bloomfield's face! Love her soooo much!
happy happy day!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 27,2017 Email :D

This last week we were blessed to have 3 American Thanksgivings and, of course, still have leftovers in the fridge! Woot woot! One of my favorites, was with the Loughery family. They fed us Thanksgiving last Thursday...thinking it was Thanksgiving. He's Scottish and she's Canadian. It was so fun! 

We had a fun miracle that really built my testimony in the little things! Each day, we make a plan for every hour, sometimes half hour, of where we are going to be and what we will be doing there. We also have a backup or two planned for each segment, being prepared and showing Heavenly Father that we are going to be where He sends us! On Saturday, our plans fell through, so we hustled to our backup: Walmart. We had a solid 15 minutes or so, and though that sometimes isn't enough time to do a lot..we wanted to show faith in our plans! So we parked the car, prayed for guidance, and started hustling in to find whoever Heavenly Father needed us to. As we were making our way to the entrance, I saw a lady smoking on the side of the building and felt prompted to go talk to her. Upon later discussion, I found out Sister Bloomfield did too! We changed course, and sat down next to her, asking how her day was going and sharing what we do as missionaries. She said that she has depression and is looking for a way to find more happiness. She works in Walmart and was just on break. Miracles!! We are going to see her, and possibly her husband, later tonight! :D 

We had another cool experience this week that taught a principle of the gospel. We were asked on Tuesday if we would be able to move apartments on Friday. No problem! We figured if we spent our night time packing on Wednesday and Thursday we would for sure be ready. We were told we could ask a set of Elders to help us move as well, so we got that lined up and were even told we would get a truck and trailer! As the time got closer to move, we realized that sister missionaries have accumulated a lot of things in the 5 years that they lived in this apartment...and we did not have enough time, patience, or manpower to do it in time. At like 15 minutes to the time the Elders were coming to help us and the trailer was supposed to come...we were a wreck. We were frantically going to make a garbage run and ran into the Elders. They were early. So we ran upstairs, leaving them in the lobby and started hastily throwing remaining things in boxes...there were so many boxes!!! We ran back down outside and saw the trailer coming. And then we looked behind it. Behind the trailer was another van with a senior couple in it to help. And behind them, 3 additional sets of Elders walking behind. They had moved earlier that morning and decided to come help us. In less than 45 minutes the Elders had everything out of our apartment, including the stuff we were going to take later for sake of time. In another 45, everything was in our new apartment. I was so extremely grateful! Though moving apartments was such a small thing...it was hard for us to do and we just wanted to get back to Heavenly Father's work out here! It was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father will always help us. Sometimes we plan things, and think we've got it! We got the help we thought we would need, we prepared and set aside time to accomplish it and we were ready! But when it really got down to the wire, we didn't know if we would be able to do it! But Heavenly Father sent some grace our way and made up the difference. I know He is always there for us in our times of need! Great and small! 

Oh! Last but least, transfer news came! Sister Bloomfield and I are STAYING TOGETHER here in beautiful Langley! Here's our new address if you want to send anything. :) 


Had to take a picture with Sister Bloomfield's first Tim Horton's!! We had donuts too, of course!
Our new apartment! :D It's a bit more organized now...we realized after we moved everything in and after the Elders left, we failed to get any of the 4 study desks (yes, 4) from our apartment into our home! So we are studying on the ground for now! XD How fun!
The Senior couple that helped with the move gave us all some money to buy lunch afterward. We told the Elders to take it and go and that we would just eat our own food and unpack for sake of time. About an hour later as we were headed out the door, we heard a knock. The Elders had bought us some pizza! How sweet!
The pizza took priority over anything else in the fridge. We removed a shelf to get that sucker in there! XD Priorities!