Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 11,2017 Email :D

Oh my goodness! You know, sometimes you don't realize that something is missing in your life until you find it again. In my last area, we didn't listen to at all. We used transit to get everywhere and I just never really put it on in the apartment. I know. Not like me. But with this new transfer, I have music back! We are driving around in the car singing, I am able to sing a solo and duet in a potluck tomorrow, I'm playing the piano to accompany people and for Relief Society...and I just got here! I feel like myself again and I didn't even realize that music was missing. Well, now it is in full swing and I am so so grateful! My testimony of music and the spirit that it brings is growing so much and I am so grateful for yet another way that heavenly Father has allowed us to communicate to Him and feel of His Spirit! Such a blessing!!

As I was reading the Book of Mormon this week, and though I don't have any specifics,!!! The Book of Mormon truly is the word of God and fills your heart with so much joy!! I strive to find at least one thing Heavenly Father is trying to teach me on each page. What helps y'all with your studies? :) 

Let me tell you...the work is rolling forth here in Victoria!! This ward is AMAZING!! We meet with the Bishop every week just as missionaries to talk about the work, all the ward missionaries come to our meetings, we go out every Wednesday with members to visit other members! It's so cool!! Members come to the church with names of people they feel inspired to see, we pair up and go out for a couple hours!! We expect to have at least 10 couples this week. We are having a ward potluck Tuesday, tonight we are having a huge combined family home evening, Sister Giles (my new companion whom I love dearly) and I are planning a gallery walk/talent show and starting up an art class. The food drive is on Saturday too and we are having a corn roast! There is hockey on Thursdays, Basketball on Wednesday and so much more in the works!! We see so many blessings each day as we just build the ward and referrals and baptisms are on their way!! I love it!

Sorry I don't have much else to say today...but oh goodness I am so happy and grateful to be here!! I love this gospel and love the miracles we see each day of God working in our lives!! Keep smiling!!

Sister Van Valkenburg

Also, my new address if anyone wants to send letters :) 

Walking around on the trails :)
I love these flowers!
A little example of how big the mosquitoes are bueno!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

September 4,2107 Email :D

Island Girl!

Hello hello!
We will be short today because my mind is just a jumble!! Transfer calls came, and I have been called to go to Victoria!! That's on Vancouver Island and is apparently BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!! I can't wait! I know that Heavenly Father calls us exactly where we need to go!!
This picture sums up my week! The two on the left are the Mims. I love them to pieces! They are some of the best fellowshippers and missionary minded people I know!! We need people like them in the world! Next to me is Sister Kim. I love her so much as well and can't wait to see what Heavenly Father has in store for her! She is an amazing missionary and so talented! Her testimony can move mountains! On the right is Teresa. :) Teresa will be baptized in 2 weeks and I am SO SAD I will miss it! I have been able to see her grow from someone who was quite down and not knowing where to go, to a beautiful glowing disciple of Jesus Christ!! She knows what she wants and she knows where she is going. She is amazing! <3

I'll keep it short for today, but I just want y'all to know that I know this church is true!! No matter what we go through, we WILL overcome. Through Christ! Have a great week :)

Sister Van Valkenburg

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August 28,2017 Email :D

Oh man! After this Zone Conference, I feel like a new missionary!! I feel like that probably after every Zone Conference...but still! This one changed the course of my mission! :)

We started off the conference with a story from the Assistants to the President. They were going out finding one day with some Zone Leaders, only having 30 minutes, and were challenged as they left by President Wong to contact as many people as they could. They took the challenge to heart, and planned literally every minute of their finding, for each companionship, and then went out and worked for the 30 minutes! They did a facebook challenge over the phone with ward members, talked to an entire soccer team and invited them to come play soccer at the church and talked to people on the street in between. They got a lot of solid potentials and referrals, and by the end of the 30 minutes had contacted over 900 people!! That's how Zone Conference started!! Then, we went into an awesome basketball game, literally Elders vs Sisters basketball game arranged by President Wong, and learned SO MUCH from the analogies that he presented! Things such as passing the ball before you shoot, rebounding, and using the area. It was amazing.

After the basketball games, we all sat down and watched a short video presentation on the 4 minute mile. The gist of it is that running a mile in 4 minutes used to be fantasy. NOBODY could do it! for years! Then one day, somebody did. Right after that, people were breaking it over and over and over again!! CRAZY!! Because it became possible. President Wong related this to our finding. We have had a goal as a mission for I don't know how long to get 3 new investigators a week per companionship. We haven't been hitting it. He encouraged us to raise our vision and break our "4 minute mile" By the end of next transfer, he has put a plan into place for us to be finding 8 new investigators per week! I know that we can do it with the help of our Heavenly Father!! I am SO EXCITED!!!

Oh there were so many more gems that happened at Zone Conference!! ...I suppose I will share them another time. :) But WOW!! So cool!!!

As I was reading through my study journal this past week, I read a passage where I wrote "At one point..." but read it as "Atone point" I was so confused! And then I realized at a different level why I can be confused at that statement. True, there was an "atoning point" when Jesus suffered for our sins, but EVERYTHING He did was for us! Is for us! And contrary to other religions where they believe in being saved at a certain time, where that one time the Atonement is for them, we know that our whole lives, our whole existence is our "Atone point." It's ALL for us! 24/7!! I'm so grateful for my Savior and all that He does for me! Because of Him I have access to Heavenly power and love every second of my life! We are so blessed :)

Another little nugget from Zone Conference...we were reading Alma chapter 8. When we got to verse 14, we talked about the words "weighed down." We looked at it from the point of lifting weights. One of the Elders said that being weighed down is when you're trying to push the weight back up. No matter how heavy the load, we need to keep pushing! :) Eventually, with the help of the Savior and our BEST effort, the weight WILL be lifted!!

I love it! I wanted to close this email with a MIRACLE!!!!!!! :D

There is a sweet lady, a recent convert, in our ward named Sandra Humphrey. She is from the Caribbean and has been here for over 3 years on dialysis 5 days a week waiting for a kidney transplant. She was here on vacation visiting her brother when she got sick and has been stuck here in Canada for the 3 years. Every time we visit her, she has just talked about faith. She has faith that everything will work out as it needs to. Her life is in God's hands! WELL....this week she called us. SHE GOT A KIDNEY!!!!!!!! Surgery was Saturday and she is recovering well in the hospital! We will go see her today! :) I love this woman so much and just cried when I found out that she was able to receive the kidney! We are praying each day that it takes well, and that she will be able to return to her home and 6 kids someday. :) God is so good!

OH! And ANOTHER MIRACLE!!! Remember the lady that I felt prompted to bring my water bottle for? That had the broken leg? Leslie? Well, she texted us this week and said she was so grateful and wants to meet up for coffee!! Oh I am so excited!!!!!!! :D :D :D

Have an amazing week everyone!!
Sister Van Valkenburg

We went bowling last P-day! It was a blast!!! My shoes were slightly less magnificent than the was my score...but we all had a blast and were given the same fair chances to be successful! ...kinda like life, eh? We don't all have fancy shoes, but we have the same chance to have a good game. :) Food for thought!
We heart attacked our dear investigator Bev's door! :) Love her!

So this tree is right by our apartment and we walk by it at least 2 times every single day. I think about this tree branch a lot. It is still hanging on to the tree, but is broken off just enough that it is dying. The rest of the tree is green! I think about that and how it could apply to my life. How many times am I still a part of the tree, but I have allowed myself to be broken off, just enough that I don't get the nutrients I need? Jacob 5 anyone? ;) We met a lady this week that is a less active member. She used to be REALLY active, and for the past 6 or 7 years has just...stopped. As we talked, she said that she has no excuse. She doesn't know why she has gone less active! So...she's going to start reading the Book of Mormon again today and come to church in a couple weeks when she gets back into town! So good! Another lady that I know goes to church each week, loves it, even taught Relief Society last Sunday and gave an amazing lesson!But when we saw her in her home, she admitted to us that her BoM reading is at a standstill. Her husband isn't reading either and is too tired in the mornings to come to church. They are still aprt of the tree! Both ladies! But in their own ways, they aren't receiving the nutrients! As they both begin to read the scriptures, and continue to come to church, I am so excited to see their testimonies start sprouting again! To begin reconnecting themselves to the tree and receive the nutrients that they so desperately need! Again, food for thought. :) 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August 21,2017 Email :D

Hi y'all!
Oh the mission life! So good! :) I absolutely love P-days because they give me a time to sit down and reflect on what has happened this past week. :) I'm going to keep it short and simple this week!

As I have been studying the life of Jesus Christ, I have been reading Jesus the Christ. SUCH a great book! Highly recommended! I have been avoiding it for most of my mission thus far because it's really big and I ZERO time to read these days...but really...just like I have learned over and over again, you can always make more time for the Lord!! :D Reading this book has filled me with so much wonder and love for my Savior! Though I am still pretty much at the beginning, I am learning so much just about how we truly are nothing without Him! I love my Savior so much and am so grateful every moment of every day for all that He does for me!

Miracle moment!! 
When we were rushing out of the house the other day, I grabbed my water bottle and realized it was only filled about a quarter of the way. We were just on our way to a lunch appointment and then would be back after for our companionship study, I was like "eh, I can make it on this much water for now." Also, my water bottle is one of those nice metal ones that keeps my water cold quite long...and weighs a lot. So any less weight is beneficial! As we were heading out the door, I felt prompted to fill it up and wash it. So, not really thinking about it, I dumped out the water, washed it, filled it, and we left! As we walked to the bus stop people were just getting off the bus and on the bus, so we ended up being the only ones there. I looked around and saw a lady sitting on a bench and hunched over. I walked over and sat down next to her, asked her how she was doing. She immediately just opened up! She was in severe pain, slowly making her way to the doctor. She had broken her leg the day before and had never broken a bone. She went on for a time and I listened, she just needed to vent...bless her heart her whole face was purple around her eyes because she had fallen out of bed from the pain and landed on her face! I asked her if there was anything at all I could do for her, and she thought for a minute and said "if I had my bank card, I would ask you to go buy me a water, but I don't have it with me." Wow. I pulled out my water bottle, and she drank almost the whole thing instantly! Then she hobbled away to the doctor, expressing her gratitude. I honestly don't remember much of what she said, I was just sitting there in awe. Heavenly Father really testified to me in this small experience that he is so aware of each of us! He led me to fill up my water bottle, make it clean for her, and be at that bus stop at the right time. I know that he is there for us in every aspect of our lives, and am so grateful I got to help this sweet lady in a hard time!

Quote that I love:
"Hope is trust in God's promises, faith that if we act now, the desired blessings will be fulfilled in the future." - James E Faust
That's about it this week! :) Short and simple. I hope you all have the best week ever!! 
hananimun, oo deh duh, sarahng hashin dah!! (Korean for "God loves you")

Sister Van Valkenburg

​Modesty is important, Marilyn!! Jeez! Fun finds here in Van City. :) 
This week I passed 7 months...that's crazy...and so we celebrated by going to the Chinese bakery that is downstairs from our apartment and got cheesecake! Woot woot!

​There are wild berries down random sidewalks here in Vancouver! I always pick one or two and eat it..and Sister Kim is just appalled! She has a thing with germs...we go through hand sanitizer like....(Insert metaphor of something that goes through something quickly...can't think of anything that isn't completely ridiculous right now.) Anywho! I finally got her to try one! I have it on funny! She made me wash them with my water and then she still almost didn't eat it! ...and it was a sour one..! SO funnY! 

August 14,2017 Email :D

Oh goodness gracious, people!! Didn't I just sit down to write y'all an email yesterday? I'm not complaining! Haha time is such a strange concept!

This last week I had a real comin to Jesus!! It's fun how on your mission it's a rollercoaster of emotions and events! (like life...just a bit more....idk. Like life!) You are constantly readjusting, relearning and rededicating yourself to the Lord! It's so important! This week we had an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders and I was so pumped! You always see miracles, and always learn so much on exchange! But this time, I fell apart. I don't know what happened! Instead of learning new techniques from my sweet leader, I was sobbing and telling her that I was a failure! That's not the way I roll! I know that Heavenly Father was DEFINITELY humbling me! The result of the whole hoop-la was realizing that once again, I really needed to dedicate myself to my Heavenly Father. My conversion was left on the side for a minute as I focused on other things, and that is NO BUENO!!! So I am rededicating myself every day! And I zoomed out and found a quality that is in dire need of further development in my life: charity!

In the Gospel Principles manual it has 4 steps to developing charity = the pure love of Christ = I NEED!!
1) Study the life of Jesus Christ
2) Pray to have greater charity
3) Learn to love ourselves
4) Avoid thinking you are better

As I commit myself to "rise to a greater sense of commitment" [PMG] I need to become more converted! I can't teach someone and help them to become converted beyond my own conversion! I can't lift somebody, without first being on higher ground. Therefore, I am studying my Savior, who is the perfect example of lifting and conversion! I was reading through my MTC journal, and found a quote from Elder Bednar that taught me that if I go looking for myself, I will never find it! But if I go looking for my Savior...then will I become who He needs me to be and end up exactly where I need to be!

 There's a quote in "Our Search for Happiness" [awesome book by M. Russell Ballard] that I would love to share!

"That's the way it is when Jesus Christ becomes a reality in your life. It isn't that He somehow makes you do things that you wouldn't do otherwise. Rather, you find yourself wanting to do what He would do and respond as He would respond in an effort to bring your life into harmony with His. And an interesting thing happens whenever you attempt to place your feet in Christ's footsteps. If you really concentrate on trying to walk the way He walked - loving, caring, serving, and obeying each step of the way - one day you'll look up and discover that His path has led you directly to the throne of God. For that is and ever has been His great purpose and mission: to lead us to our Heavenly Father so we can dwell with Him in His heavenly home."

2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

As I strive to follow the example of my Savior, I know that He will mold me into the missionary He needs me to be! I'd like to challenge y'all to join me! Rise to a new sense of commitment to follow our Savior! :) I know that we all will see miracles!!

Miracle that happened earlier in the week, we had an appointment, and when we arrived for the appointment, we were told that they would not be home for 30 min or we went out our backup! We had felt prompted that morning to plan a nearby street for knocking as our backup. As we walked down the street, we quickly realized that it was all apartment complexes that you need to buzz in....pretty common we felt a little bit at a loss! We continued walking, determined to find the reason that Heavenly Father had prompted us to come here, and lo and behold, there was a sweet Filipino family outside! Mom, Liselle, and dad, Nester, welcomed us instantly to join them on the porch for some water and a nice conversation!! They moved here from the Philippines about 5 years ago, and had had missionaries over to their home there. As Liselle and I talked, I felt prompted to share a scripture and an experience with her. The Spirit was SO STRONG!!! She smiled and thanked me, saying that she hadn't had a scripture read to her the whole time she had been here in Canada!! Well..long story short, they are new investigators for us and friends forever!! :) I love them so much and as they have committed themselves to reading the scriptures again and meeting with us, I am so excited to see what Heavenly Father has planned for them!!

Speaking of Filipinos....for anyone that isn't familiar with their culture...they LOVE to PARTAY!!! Woot woot!! We got invited last minute to a party at the church that they had for two little boys turning 1. We went for our dinner break. HOLY COW!! They decked the gym out with balloons, banners, and monkey balloons..they had 3 tier cakes, and a banquet to feed an army! Kids were running around playing games, and adults were enjoying it all just as much!! It was a P-A-R-T-Y!!! As we sat eating and getting to know more members of the ward, one of the dads started a game with all the kids. He would gather them all together, call out an item, and then they all had to go find one of that item and bring it back to him. The first/best item wins! It was pandemonium! Suddenly I hear "Missionary name tag!" and Sister Kim and I look at each other with panic in our eyes! Next thing we know, there is a stampede of about 20 kids running towards us and grabbing, grabbing, grabbing! So funny!! I think that the brother in charge was out to get us, because just a couple minutes later, he also called out "Book of Mormon!" And we were hit with another stampede!! We didn't get it as bad as the Elders, though, who walked in right after he yelled "Belt!" The poor guys were literally pulled across the room by their belt buckles...and were quite confused!! So much fun! XD
Here's a picture of my sweet companion eating her Filipino food! Yummy yummy!

This week we also had a fun picnic at Kitsilano beach as a Relief Society. Here's a cute pic of some of my favorite people in the universe!! On the far left is the sweet lady that did my nails, with her daughter, Rainbow! Next to her is my crazy ward mission leader's wife! She's a hoot and a half! Next to her is Sister Torman...she leaves tomorrow to go home to Utah...I love her dearly!! She loves everyone with perfect charity! In front of them, sitting down, is Sister Ross! We go help her in her garden sometimes...sweetest thing ever! In the blue is a sweet lady whose name I can't remember...but I love her! Then Sister Kim, me, and Carolina!! Carolina is from Brazil and was baptized with her husband, Rafael 11 months ago! She is SO SWEET and we are currently working with them to get them to the temple! On the far right is our super star Relief Society President, Sister Blumel. She does EVERYTHING for EVERYONE!! And on the chair to the right is the love of my life: two bite brownies!! So good! ;)
I didn't mention the sweet lady in front with the baby yet because she gets a special moment and another picture! Her name is Sister Lee, and she is Korean! Weeks back I sent a pic eating dinner with her husband and Sister Kim! This week she surprised us with some fun Korean food in a bag at the church! The bag was about the size of Sister Kim, I swear! I was so excited until we opened it up! See pics below!
Dried fish!! Shrimp!! And my favorite: Anchovies!!! If you zoom in closely, you can probably make eye contact with a couple! XP

Contrary to my face in the picture above...I love you all so much!! Have such an amazing, Christ-centered week!

Sister Van Valkenburg

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 8,2017 Email ;D

Hello hello!!

Yesterday was BC day, so we emailed today!! I asked a couple of people what BC day is all about in transit to start conversations...they didn't really know what is was....but that's okay! Because I knew about a different message that could change their lives! ;)
The sun is shining out here in Vancouver! And it's RED!! Because of the forest fires going on all over British Colombia...apparently you can see them from space...the air is full of smoke and the sun is red! It's crazy! Some people are even wearing masks and there are people warning us every day not to go running or anything because the air is dirty. Whether it is related to the muggy air or not, we also hit a record here in Van City! 36 degrees!!! Apparently, it hasn't gotten that hot here since the 1900s or something. I don't remember the year, but a lady on the bus was very excited about it! ;)
Update on my missionary wardrobe: I have 3 pairs of proselyting shoes and all 3 now have holes in the bottom! :P They are my "holy" shoes. ;)
We had a wonderful meal with a sweet older lady in the ward who was baptized about 15 years ago. She fed us some mystery meat Chinese tasted good! She's Filipino and didn't want to cook, so she picked up some food and heated it up...packaging was in Chinese so...we all learned together! Sister Kim swears that it was all chicken except the short ribs...but I've had a lot of chicken in my life and I don't think I've had at least that particular part of the chicken....who knows! Tasted good! ;) As we were eating, she looked at me and said quite seriously "Do they sell chocolate in Utah?" OF COURSE!! I say, we love chocolate!! She was appalled! Since our religion is so prominent in Utah, and chocolate has caffeine in it, she was shocked that the state would sell chocolate! We had quite the interesting conversation. :) To say the least!

My spiritual thought today has to do with the above picture.. I bought this watch last P-day, because mine broke, and while riding the skytrain home I realized that the second hand was broken! What the...? I just bought it like an hour ago! Instead of taking it back, I decided to keep it. It still works, after all! But I was really thinking about that second hand...and I felt another little analogy coming on. :) Lately, I have been SO STRESSED about where I need to be, who I need to be talking to, I need to use EVERY SINGLE SECOND of Heavenly Father's time wisely!! That's true..every second is precious, but I realized that I wasn't living in the moment. I would be talking to someone on the bus, and be glancing out of the corner of my eye every other second at the front of the bus where it says what stop is next. When my second hand broke, I had to go minute-to-minute instead of second-to-second. A lot changed this week in my conversations with people as I really took this to heart! How much of our lives do we spend counting seconds instead of living every minute of our lives to the fullest capacity? I truly have seen a difference from living each minute of my days this week and plan to use each second of Heavenly Father's time I focus on each minute!

I am so grateful for every second that Heavenly Father gives us, and for every minute that I am able to spend as a missionary here in the Canada Vancouver mission!! There are miracles around every corner, and I am so blessed to be a part of them! I love you all and I love my mission! Have an amazing week!

Sister Van Valkenburg

Sister Kim made me some Korean food! Korean rice, egg, and seaweed! Did I mention that we have an entire cupboard dedicated to her seaweed? True story!!

Went to Chipotle for the first time in my life! It was delicious!! I will admit, though....I'm still a Café Rio girl at heart. ;) <3

Sunday, August 6, 2017

July 31,2017 Email :D

Hello hello!
Another week has flown by in Van City!! ...apparently that's what people here call Vancouver? Something. Idk. I'm trying to be cool and....*cough cough* anyway! :) It's Monday again and life is grand!

This last week we have been busy, busy, busy! We had quite the adventure Saturday and Sunday! A man in the ward informed me last Sunday that he would be singing in sacrament meeting and asked if I would accompany him to Come Thou Fount. uh...only my favorite song! Yes! Texted him quite frequently throughout the week...and he finally met us at the church SATURDAY NIGHT with the sheet music! We have 9:00 church, people! Turns out, the sheet music was NOT Come Thou Fount, but it was The Lord's Prayer!!! What?! This was no simple hymn, people I can tell you that! I couldn't back out at this point, and poor Sister Kim (Who has an amazing opera voice) ended up getting dragged into this wonderful ensemble! Hahaha come Sunday morning we walked up to the front during sacrament meeting and performed a beautiful rendition of The Lord's Prayer, me on the piano and Sister Kim singing a duet. We had angels helping us for sure, and it all worked out swimmingly! But boy oh boy was that an adventure! After that, we threw together a quick lesson and taught Primary as well! I love the opportunities that we have as missionaries! Though there is something that I learned through all of this...nothing is completely spur of the moment or "winging it" when you have prepared as Heavenly Father needs you to. I didn't completely "wing" the piano, because I have practiced in the past. My daily studies and experience in primary helped me to teach the sweet kids...and Heavenly Father knew exactly what I was going to face in that Sunday. He provided the means for me to accomplish the things that He commanded! :D

One day this week we were challenged by our District Leader to have the pamphlets in our mind when we talk to people. He promised that as we did that we would have the opportunity to use them to help people and teach the gospel. I was sitting on the bus, a bus that we had not planned on taking but followed the Spirit to get on, and a husband and wife sat down a couple seats down from me. I felt prompted to talk to them, and kind of yelled across the bus something about the weather. They smiled and started talking back! So I scooted over and had a really nice conversation with them about Vancouver, as they were visiting, and searched for something to share with them, keeping in mind the pamphlets! I asked them what brought them here, and instantly the mood changed. They were here for the burial of their 2 month old granddaughter. *enter Plan of Salvation pamphlet* I was able to bear testimony simply about how their sweet granddaughter is in a better place, and as they had to get off at the next stop, hurried and gave them the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. I have experiences like this every day, but this one really stood out to me because of the commitment I had made to a leader. I know that as we set goals and really aim to achieve them that Heavenly Father will bless us with miracles!

Another cool experience, we were able to have a last minute lunch with a returning less-active family, an investigator, and a ward member! That was a party! If y'all remember last week's email about a certain figit spinner and it's attack to my face....that was at their house! So for our message that we shared, we told the story of David and Goliath. XD I thought I was so funny! But in all seriousness, we shared about how when David prepared to face his giant, he selected FIVE small stones, not just one. And when he walked up to Goliath, he had his sling already in his hand. He was ready to fight. He was prepared! Sister Kim shared with us that in the MTC she learned of these 5 stones to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I know that as we carefully select our stones (may be more than 5) to face our giants, and walk toward them with faith, ready to sling, Heavenly Father will guide our stones to hit direct center! However, key points I learned this week...there may be many giants. There ARE. But we can only hit one at a time. And we have to ACT!  We can't just stare at the stones in the river or put them in our bag. We need to walk forward with faith. :) Random thoughts from Sister usual! :D

Funny story:
So we live in an apartment building with two other sets of Sisters and one set of Elders. So it's a weird day if you don't run into at least one other set of missionaries going in or out around the street we live on! We were doing out studies the other day, and we get a phone call around 7:30 from the Elders. "Uh...hey sisters....we were just dropping off a missionary and we forgot our keys....could you let us in? So sorry." We live on the 4th floor and the elevator was we hustled down in our fab workout attire and opened the door. A few hours later we were finishing comp study and receive another phone call from the SAME Elders! "Hey sisters....we've done it again! So sorry...." Hustled down...opened door....ran back up and went out to work! We came back to the apartment for dinner later that evening and saw that the management had taped signs on every door leading outside that said "No key, no entry! Be aware of those you are letting into the building!" I died laughing!!!! What a coincidence, hey? Apparently the same Elders called the other sets of sisters the next day...when they locked themselves out again. XD Too funny!!!

Oh goodness! Life is a rollercoaster, my friends! I am so grateful for all that Heavenly Father sends our way! All of the Goliaths are scary, though some may seem identical to one that you've seen before! I know, that no matter what, each time we sling our stones with faith, our arms get stronger, our aim is more sure, and we grow and progress along the journey that Heavenly Father has lovingly sent us here to earth to experience! I love you all! have a wonderful week!

Sister Van Valkenburg

We had a lesson with a sweet Chinese lady in the ward. She left the room for a bit and I snuck a pic....had to show y'all the traditional Chinese visit. Slippers for your feet, fruit, and nice china containing HOT water! So sweet! (Also is was quite hot outside so we were all sweating buckets as we drank the water! XD)

Driving home from the doc this afternoon...saw this exit....good thing I wasn't the driver! ;) Hahaha so close to the Border!!!
Inline image 1
Saw this cutie today!!! :D Sister Christensen came out with me and is now a Sister Training Leader opening up Langley!! I'm so proud of her and she is SO AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! LOVE HER!!!
Also a quick pic of the sticky note our apartment manager left us on his sticky note board he has by the elevator. This was during the time the elevator was broken. XD He leaves little notes a couple days a week to keep us giggling. XD Love him!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 24,2017 Email :D

Happy 24th of July!

Did I really not realize that it's the 24th of July until I read an email saying "Happy 24th of July!" ? ....maybe. To my credit, I'm in Canada! ;)

This week we got transfer calls! Sister Kim and I are both staying here in beautiful Vancouver! Woot woot!! I'm so excited for another 6 weeks with my sweet companion in this CRAZY fun city! We are going to see MIRACLES!!

This week was really fun with activities! We were able to attend a baptism, do a service project with the Relief Society making blankets, and then we finally had a fireside that us and the Elders in our ward cooked up! It was so good! :D :D Converts from our ward shared their conversion stories and we had a beautiful musical number with cream puffs and donut holes! The Spirit was so strong, and our Bishop said that he wants to make it a tradition every 2-3 months!! We were able to have investigators at each event, and I loved just sitting back and watch them just take it in! One of them, Christine, told me afterward when I asked how she felt that she just can't get enough of it! She said that it's something that she needs now. That she absolutely needs to partake of each week and every chance she gets! I'm so happy for her and I love watching her progress!!! :) I'm so grateful for the sweet people that Heavenly Father allows me to be with in this area!

A lot of other things happened this week, and I just love seeing the miracles every single day! One of the best things, at least to me, is that I was able to get to JACOB 5 in our reading!! Anyone who is reading with me and the mish read it this week too! ;) I've read the Book of Mormon several times, but this time I took the 3 days we were given to really dissect it! I wrote every part down and tried to just follow the timeline of the olive tree!! I LOVED IT!!! Highly recommended to everyone reading Jacob's so good! Heavenly Father just loves us so much and wants us to be NOURISHED by the good word of God!!! He knows our individual needs and He will make sure that we will get everything that we need to accomplish the things that He commands us to!

Sorry this week is kinda short...hope y'all have an amazing week! <3
Sister Van Valkenburg

Sister Kim is modeling my latest creation. Contrary to her beliefs, my apple/banana/bread pudding was a huge success! Hahaha
When you take your shoes and socks off to discover why your foot felt a bit hot and sensitive
during the day...dangit I bought these shoes like a month ago!!!
Previously mentioned has a hole all the way through...the other...perfectly fine!!! Riddle me that!
Now the important thing in this picture isn't me or Sister Kim's faces. It's the thing that she is holding in her hands. Have y'all discovered these yet? Or is it just a Canadian thing? Anywho. These little things are mesmerizing! Fidgit spinners I believe they're called.They're dumb, just hold it and spin it on your fingers...but this little spinner decided to play David and Goliath with me! I spun it, and the little white circle (the weight) flew out and hit me square In the face! Hahah I guess that made me David AND funny!

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 17,2017 Email :D

6 Months Serving:

Wow. You read the caption right! I set foot in the MTC 6 months ago THAT is weird!!! It's a weird thing to think I just don't! Haha! :D I took a bit of time to reflect this morning on where I have been and where I am now...HOLY GUACAMOLE!!! Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways my friends, and I am proof of that! I am so grateful for all that I have learned on my mission thus far, and absolutely can't wait to see who Heavenly Father is going to help me to become!!

As some of you may know, I am not the biggest fan of seafood! But I decided when I started my mission that I would try anything that is put in front of me and just ask what it is after! I haven't had any crazy experiences....but this last week we had a nice Korean meal provided by a Chinese couple in the ward for us. I found out afterward that the yummy food I had eaten was in fact squid and anchovies! ...amongst other things, of course! Yummy! XP

I had a really cool experience this week on a bus! I am trying to get out of my comfort zone more, and especially with bus contacting! I told myself while getting on the bus, that I would sit next to and talk to the person on the bus that I felt would be the least receptive to the gospel and that I would have the hardest time talking to! He wasn't hard to find! The wonderful son of God that I sat next to had bright green hair, more tattoos than not, and quite a lot of metal to match! The tattoos covered even his face as he had bat tattoos on his cheeks, and though it doesn't really matter...he didn't have eyebrows either and I thought that was peculiar. He had sunglasses on and a purple polo...I kid you not, he looked like the Joker! I popped on down next to him and said "I like your hair! What inspired it?" He replied "The Joker" Whelp. That was surprising! This young gentleman is named Isaac, and has a return appointment to meet at the church tomorrow to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can change his life! Will he show up? I don't know! But did Heavenly Father teach me an important lesson? OH YEAH!!! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone! :D

And now it's time for....another one of Alissa's analogies! ...catchy, no?
I have had a reoccurring dream on my mission that I just thought was funny or interesting until I was talking with Sister Kim this week, and I was able to recognize some meanings. She has had a very similar dream! She dreamt that she was on stage, ready to perform, but she didn't know the dance steps or the words. They asked her to do them, but she said that she couldn't...and wouldn't even try. She was frustrated because she didn't know what to do and couldn't meet the demands of those around her. As I listened to her dream, I was instantly able to connect that to her missionary work. She feels she doesn't know, so she says she can't and won't open her mouth. I know she has it in her, but she won't even try sometimes! I was then able to look at my dream. My dream I have had quite a few times and has been similar, with minor variations. I will be backstage, about to go on, when someone will inform me that I'm wearing the wrong costume, to go get my costume on, or that I'm in the production in the first place! I will rush around, trying to find my costume! Sometimes I can find it, sometimes I can't. Most times I don't even know what it is supposed to be! The time comes to go on stage...sometimes I'm handed lyrics to quickly read, sometimes I'm not! On stage, one of 3 things will occur. 1) I magically will know everything and give an "almost" flawless performance. 2) I will know nothing and try to find my way through, or 3) I will remember parts, and fumble through with either the help of those on stage with me or someone reading me my lines off stage. I distinctly remember one time in this dream acknowledging that I had had the dream before, and known what to do, but in that moment couldn't remember. WOW!!! What a perfect illustration of my missionary life!
Finding my costume, hurriedly reading the script and other preparation is my studies. It's my role playing and my meetings. When I'm out on stage, it's show time! I'm doing some proselyting, I'm teaching a lesson or I'm giving a training. When I rely on the Spirit (the voice off stage reading me my lines), my fellow missionaries and ward members (who are on stage with me) and my studies and experience, I will be more successful! I can look at my sweet companion and know, from my little experience so far as a missionary and in those dreams, that she needs to just open her mouth! WOW! Thank you Heavenly Father for this wonderful parable!

I'm so grateful for all that Heavenly Father gives us each day! It's the little things! The sun is shining, and the Son is always shining! Matthew 5:16!!!

Sister Van Valkenburg

Don't remember if I sent this...but we did blue face masks for the 4th of July! ...weren't that blue...but hey our faces are now...still about the same actually! Don't really get the concept..
Only sent this one for Sister Kim's face...XD We were locked out of a member's house this morning while we waited for her to get ready for the day...
My adorable mother sent us missionaries! (Twinkies) How cute is she?!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 4,2017 Email :D

You know...I'm not even mad that my P-day was moved to July 4th...because I REALLY
get to celebrate a good 4th of July!! Haha these Canadians celebrated on the first....(Canada Day) I didn't have the heart to tell them that they got it wrong...;) Oh well! We had a wonderful Canada Day where the streets were PACKED!! Especially at City center...wowie! We were shoulder to shoulder! That was really fun street contacting! There were police everywhere to do the traffic! I had one hand on my bag, one on my companion, and was smiling and saying hi to everyone else! We were able to have so many good conversations with happy people!!

This week is going so good! My sweet companion's leg has gotten a bit worse...and the other day she woke up and it was BOTH her legs! We were finally able to get her into a doctor, and the verdict is that it is her body's reaction to stress! How sad! :( I'm so grateful we were able to get that resolved, though! I just have such a strong testimony that Heavenly Father puts us with people that will help us grow! I see so many ways every day that only I can help her, and so many lessons that we go through each day that only Sister Kim and this situation could teach me! We see miracles every day!! :D

With this whole experience of being a trainer in a new city, I have been learning and growing A LOT!!! I spent a bit of time to reflect this week on what I am going through, really took time to get down on my knees and talk it out with my Heavenly Father. The answer that I got is that I need to take some time for myself. I have been focusing SO MUCH on my companion and how to help her, that I have neglected myself a bit! The scripture Mosiah 4:27 came up in my studies the other day and I know it was for a reason!

27And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order ; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order. 

I am so grateful for the support system that we have in the church! I have really learned this week two things. Well, re-learned (because that's what you do in life and as a missionary! You learn and re-learn!) 1) Use the resources that you are given! They are there for a reason! Never be afraid to ask for help! It doesn't show weakness! (contrary to my natural thought process) and 2) Take some time for yourself. You need it!

One of my favorite people this week is a sweet investigator named Bernice. I don't know if I have mentioned her yet, but she is 89 years old and has more spunk and sass than I think I do! And for those who know me....yeah. She's sassy! ;) We go and help her with things once a week and we teach her a lesson once or twice a week. She is awesome! She doesn't' remember everything quite as well as she used she reads it over and over again! She absolutely LOVES the missionaries! And she talks every time we come about how she just feels the spirit and no matter what kind of a day she is having, she always feels better when we come! I don't know if she will ever be baptized, we hope so, but I'm so grateful that she is able to feel and recognize the spirit!!! :) That is SO IMPORTANT!!!!!! Her neighbor across the street came over one day when the Elders were helping her. We are teaching her now, too! She's awesome as well!

Another cool experience this week: I was on the bus talking to the people around me, and such when I heard the words "Aaronic Priesthood" behind me. And it wasn't Sister Kim! I turned my head slightly, and saw this young boy, age 14-ish talking to his friends about THE PRIESTHOOD! I didn't know who the guy was at the time...but I was instantly so proud! I listened in a bit as he explained to them what the Priesthood is and how he is able to have it! We got off at the same stop, going to a dinner appointment, and this young man, named David Johnson, introduced us to his friends! Not only that, but he walked us to our dinner appointment (we didn't know where to go) and explained to his friends who missionaries are and how excited he is to one day serve a mission! He is going to be an amazing missionary!!!

Man! There were so many miracles this week, all small but significant! Our teaching pool is growing, my Spirit is rising, and my smile gets bigger every day! I love serving my Heavenly Father! I love wearing the name of my Savior on my chest and being able to tell people every day who I am and who I represent! I pray to always live worthy to represent my Savior!!!

Keep smiling! Enjoy your week and know that a little missionary in Vancouver Canada loves you!!!

Sister Van Valkenburg
Canada Day picture! Isn't the city beautiful?
Just one picture of a park like 2 blocks from my house...blessed!
This is Brother Lee! Him and his wife (photographer) had us over for "real Korean food" for Sister Kim! I ate the whole thing with chopsticks! And, of course, we sat on the floor.
Cliché selfie, but red white and blue for my country! woot woot! Oh..and my tan lline is definitely not going away any time soon...XD

June 26,2017 Email :D

Hello hello!

I am a little bit less scatter-brained than last hopefully things will go a little smoother! hahaha Sorry about my crazy email last week! Also, Exactly one year from today I will be on a plane home. Most-likely. Weird.

This week has been amazing! :) We are getting to know the area better, didn't get completely lost at any point, and the sun is shining! :D This week we also said goodbye to President and Sister Burt. They leave on Thursday...and I'm still a bit in denial about that! They have changed my life with their love, example and leadership! This Saturday we were able to go to Richmond for the evening and the ward there threw a huge party for the Burts. It was so sweet! I cried. They will always have a very dear place in my heart!! <3

This past week has been quite the adventure physically! My sweet companion woke up one morning and couldn't feel her left leg! That was quite a nice surprise for us! She told me that she was in a car accident 2 years ago and that afterwards she couldn't feel her leg for a whole month! She just shrugged it off and we went to work! (After calling the nurse of course) As the days have gone by, she has gained feeling in her leg...but that feeling is pain. :( We are working on getting her a doctor's appointment, but in the meantime we are just doing our best! She is such an amazing example to me of perseverance and dedication! Because of this challenge, though, it is taking us a lot longer time to get around. Double and sometimes triple the time. It has been a blessing! It has been hard, but I have been able to finally see that just because we move slower, doesn't mean that the work needs to be moving slower! Heavenly Father is still sending opportunities and miracles our way! One of those miracles came our way yesterday as we were on our journey home from dropping by someone's house.

We were at our bus stop, and checked the time. The bus wasn't coming for 20 minutes and there was nobody in sight to talk to. So, we started walking to the next bus stop. And then the next..and the next! We finally sat down determined to just wait it out, and hoped for somebody to come that we could talk to! Almost as soon as that thought crossed my mind, a man came up and sat down on the bench next to me. I turned to him and asked how his day was going. He opened right up! He told me about his family, his kids, his job, how his dad just died, how he feels about it, everything! I was able to share the whole Restoration with him and give him a Book of Mormon! Unfortunately, he will be moving to White Rock soon...but I was able to get his number right before he got off the bus, and we have been in contact! Miracles!

Another miracle happened this last week that started on the Skytrain. It has really grown my faith in just talking to everybody! Last Saturday, we were on the skytrain, and I got talking to two guys that seemed to be in their late 20's. They weren't too interested in the gospel, but we had a couple more stops to go, and one of them, Caleb, was pretty keen on just talking. So I just kept talking to him about Vancouver and why I'm here and what I do and he told me about places to go see. At the end of the conversation, I felt prompted to ask him if there was anyone that we could pray for. He said he couldn't think of anyone. So, also following a prompting, I gave him our number and said to call or text us if there was anyone. Then we got off! I didn't think about it again, until he actually texted us Monday! He said that he had thought of someone. His friend, Gabe, that was with him! He just didn't want to say anything in front of him! As we texted, Caleb also said that he had questions about our church's beliefs. I invited Caleb to come to a baptism this weekend, and he came! We passed him off to the YSA Elders, and he is now a new investigator of the church, reading the Book of Mormon and soaking it all up! MIRACLES!!!! :D

I am so grateful for the blessing of being here! I talked about it a couple weeks ago, but really the miracles and blessings are ALWAYS all there if we just look for them! God is so good! The church is true, and it WILL change your life! Just open your heart. :) I love you all! Have an amazing week!!!

Sister Van Valkenburg