Monday, January 22, 2018

January 22,2018 Email :D

This week is going to be super short and I am so so sorry it is! We had a crazy week this week and saw miracles! One of which is that the weather is SO WARM!! It was like -1 or -2 for most of the week! We weren't even wearing coats knocking doors! ...some of the time anyway. ;) 

One of the days this week I was knocking a street with Sister Gallagher, and nobody was home...and if they were, they were not interested. We decided to say a prayer to know where Heavenly Father would have us go to make His time productive. As we prayed, I felt peace. But nothing came to mind of where we should go. We decided to pray again. During the second prayer, two young boys walked down the street and were talking to each other. We overheard "Hey, that's Paul's house! I love Paul" "Yeah, that's Paul's house!"  We finished the prayer, and went to Paul's house. Paul turns out to be a man in his 30's that was taking the discussions about 10 years ago and is interested in learning again! We were able to set a return appointment and sent the Elders over! WOW!! The power of prayer! It really built my testimony that Heavenly Father answers every prayer!

We had another fun experience this week! Late Saturday night we were sitting in our car, just about to drive home, and our phone started buzzing like crazy! 15 text messages at once! It was a very detailed media referral! We were freaking out!! A sweet mom who is less active that has a nonmember husband and 2 kids that have been asking questions. She wants us to teach them! We were so pumped and looked up in the GPS where they live so we could plan it in for Sunday to go meet them. They live in Mackenzie!! 2 hours away!! (yes, that is still our area) So we ended up just calling and will be skyping the lessons with them! How exciting!!

Also, I hit my one year mark this week! We celebrated by eating popcorn and M&Ms and watching Labor of Love. Partay! It's amazing to think that I have been here for a year...thinking back on all that I have experienced this past time....I am so grateful for all that Heavenly Father has blessed me with and the lives of those I have been able to touch, and those that have touched mine! I know that this church is true. I know it because I strive every day to live and apply it to my life! And that is when the Spirit testifies to me of its truth. I love Jesus Christ! I know that through Him I can have eternal happiness with my family forever! How great is our calling to share that joy with the world! 

I love you all!
Sister Van Valkenburg

You can't tell really well in the picture, but our hair will freeze out here and turn white! Haha we have had people comment on doorsteps that we are getting old out here or say "How long have
you been outside?!" Hahaha so funny!
Sushi strikes again! Avocado rolls and spicy California rolls! Let's go!
It's not Mario's Mario Hart! Hahah...hehe...I thought I was so funny taking this picture!

Monday, January 15, 2018

New Mailing Address :D

Sister Alissa Jean Van Valkenburg

January 15,2018 Email :D

Hello hello!

WOW!! What an adventure getting here! The plane ride up was a party! We had Sister Muir (my comp) Elder Mathews, and Elder Deppe who I served with in Victoria! Partay! We will all be in the same zone up in Prince George!

Sister Muir is the BEST!! She's so sweet! She is from Kitchener, Ontario and has been out for 9 months!! She is HILARIOUS and tells the best stories!! I love her to death and can't wait to see what we are able to accomplish together in this area!!

On the plane, I was so blessed to be sitting next to a lady named Christine, who was flying home from a business trip. I was able to share my testimony with her of the Book of Mormon and on the plane ride she read the introduction, testimonies of Joseph Smith and the witnesses, and started in on 1 Nephi!! We will be meeting with her soon. :) I am so grateful for Heavenly Father always placing people and experiences in our paths!

We stepped on the plane..coming from positive number weather...and stepped off the plane into Prince George at a whopping -22 degrees! The prediction was correct! :O Did I mention that because of the pulp mill that Prince George also smells like rotten eggs? Hehe oh's quite the adventure! As we went through this week, tracting, teaching, and going to meetings we were definitely not the warmest on the outside...heck our hair was white from freezing!! But my heart has never been so warm! I love this place and the people here are the best!! <3

This ward is/about to be on fire!! With me and Sister Muir coming in, we also added another set of Elders! So our small ward up here has 3 sets of missionaries! Bishop is pumped!! We met with him this week and made some plans to "open up our planners" to the ward. He said he would bring us when the 6 of us missionaries walked into the room and saw 2 pizza boxes on the first thought was: "Welp! Looks like I've got 1/2 a piece for me in there and will be grabbing a snack later!" And then, lo and behold, Bishop opens the boxes and there are 2 PIZZAS IN EACH BOX!!! They were just stacked on top of each other with a little divider!! :O And that was when I knew my life would be changed in Prince George. ;) We will be meeting 2 times a week to discuss our plans and who we are working with...on top of coordination! :) On Sunday, Bishop had us all come to the stand and bare our testimonies for the ward to get to know us and encouraged them to have us in their homes and at 8 o'clock at night so we don't have to be on the streets! Woot woot!! This ward is SO PREPARED and I can't wait to see the miracles that Heavenly Father has in store for all of us!! <3

I had a cool experience this week in Young Womens! We were asked to pop in on Sunday and share an experience that had strengthened our faith in Jesus Christ. I told of when I was at girls camp as a 12 year old and we went on a faith walk. It was dark outside and we were led through the trees and campground meeting various people dressed as prophets and angels testifying of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was so strong! At the end of the journey, we were taken individually and blindfolded. I was led to a strand of rope, crisscrossed through trees to make a course. I was told to hold on tight and follow the rope. There was shaking, poking, whispers, laughing, name it! Distraction of people trying to get me off the course. I couldn't see and was just feeling my way through. It was frustrating! I did my best, and when I had reached the end, someone said "congratulations! You made it!" My blindfold was removed and the first thing I saw was a picture of the Savior. The warmth that filled my heart at that time is something I will never forget! I know that He will always help us through the winding, dark paths of life! He has gone through the course and will lead us through! And He is waiting for us at the end to welcome us and help us to feel His love and abundance! I am just working every day to be worthy of that moment and know my Savior from my time here on earth! (Alma 34:32)

The teacher of the Young Women, after we had shared our testimony with them gave us this handout:

"A man passed away and was resurrected and waiting in a room to be interviewed. Another man was ahead of him. The door opened, the man entered, the door closed. The man on the outside could hear the conversation on the other side of the door. The interview began: I want you to tell me what you know about Jesus Christ.

Well, He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He lived thirty-three years, spending the last three in His ministry organizing His church, choosing His apostles to direct it, giving the gospel to direct our lives.

The interviewer stopped him and said, yes, yes that's all true, but I want you to tell me what you know about Jesus Christ.

Well, He was tortured and crucified that we might have eternal life. Three days later He was resurrected that we might return to live with Heavenly Father.

Yes, yes, that is true, but I want you to tell me what you know about Jesus Christ. The man, a little perplexed, again began: Well, He restored the Gospel in its fullness to the earth through Joseph Smith, reorganized His church, gave us temples wherein we might do work to save our dead. He gave us family prayer and family home evening where we might unite with our families. He gave us the Priesthood to heal the sick and personal ordinances for our salvation and exaltation. 

The interviewer again stopped the man and said: All of what you have said to me is true. The man was then invited to leave the room. After he left, the door opened and the second man entered. As he approached the interviewer, he fell upon his knees and cried, 'My Lord, MY God.' " 

~ unknown

This story spoke volumes to me! Do I really know my Savior? Do I know that man that came to earth and lived and died for me? My brother? My redeemer?! May I live every moment of my life grateful for Him and knowing that it's only because of Him, and through Him, that I can obtain the greatest happiness known to man! :) I love Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Sister Van Valkenburg

ps. Sorry there aren't pictures!! My camera doesn't connect to these week! Promise!! 

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 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!!​