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!!

Sister Van Valkenburg

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 4,2017 Email :D


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! 

Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20,2017 Email :D

Yikes! The title of this email gives me the shivers! This week I hit 10 months in my mission life and 20 years in my time here on earth. CRAZY!!! 

Update on last week's zone activity (when we were Griffindor) we had so much fun! We did Minute to Win It games and other challenges competing as Districts. Go team Griffindor! 

This week we had a fun miracles! We got a call from some Elders in Merit asking about a lady that lives here that used to investigate the church. Apparently she has family in Merit. It was awesome! We got in contact with her and saw her the next day! She is so awesome! She wants to be baptized on her birthday in December! We set that as her date and are so excited to see her again! It was such a testimony to me that Heavenly Father looks out for us...no matter what!

Yesterday, we got the special opportunity to watch the Face to Face broadcast with Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard! WOW!!! It was so special! Sister Bloomfield and I walked away (Well, ran..in the rain...to get to an appointment) with so much gratitude! We both, though not expecting it, got so many questions answered that we didn't even realize we had! I highly recommend it to any and all that didn't watch it! Something that stood out to me was their comments on the balance between agency and inspiration, and when asked how to keep balance between worldly and spiritual life...answering that EVERY day is a spiritual day! We need to live a spiritual life in a temporal world. :) It's truly all about balance! I know that when we lean on the Savior, we are truly in balance!

Sorry this week is short! I'll try to make up for it with some pictures!!

This is Sister Archibald and Sister Buur!!! (pronounced "boo-uh" She's from Denmark! I love her!) They came to our apartment Wednesday morning and made us breakfast for my birthday!! I love them so much and am so grateful for their example to me!!! We are moving in together sometime this week or next!! So exciting!!!
Documenting my birthday continues...I asked the Elders if we could take a picture after District Meeting. It was a good meeting! Though we are all slightly stiff in the picture!! haha
Anyone that knows me well probably knows that I do not enjoy seafood! What did I want for lunch on my birthday? Sushi. So we went to Walmart (for the sake of time..) and got some sushi and ate it in the car! Comp goals!!

Whilst walking to the car with our sushi, a man came up to us asking if we had ever heard of this funky gym thing called Orange Theory trying to get us to join! we graciously accepted the free guest passes to the gym and as we walked away felt prompted to talk to him still. I turned around and said "Have you ever heard about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?" we sparked up a conversation and invited him to the broadcast! We got his number, gave him a pamphlet, and said we would see him Sunday! How fun!! Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 14,2017 Email :D

Hello sweet family and friends!!

Another wonderful week of miracles has come and gone and I'm so grateful for everything Heavenly Father has blessed me with!!

We started off with Monday, having a wonderful dinner with a family in the ward. They had invited MariLou to join us, but she couldn't. We had a lesson with her that evening, though! The girls of the family were so cute! They were so interested in our names and where they come from, we each shared tidbits. Bloomfield is a city in New Mexico named after Sister Bloomfield's great...something grandpa. And I informed them that there is a Valkenburg city with a small castle thingie in the Netherlands. The girls were so in awe! It was so cute! One of them, the oldest, at age 10 came up to us and said "I don't really know how to say this...but...are you important?" Such a perfect opportunity for Heavenly Father to work through us! We were able to bear testimony of the fact that she too, is just as important because of the name that she has to represent her family and her heritage and her heavenly family and heritage as well! It was so neat. :) It was so cool! Sister Bloomfield told me later that her parents were just beaming, and after that lesson, the dad did everything he could to get to our lesson with MariLou later that night! It really built my testimony about how important members are! Not only were we able to have an amazing experience with them, but the night just kept on going swell! As we were on our way to MariLou's lesson, we were able to find a new investigator with a strong Christian background and is so pumped to learn about the Book of Mormon! At MariLou's lesson, we had the brother with us that we had eaten dinner with, and were able to invite her to be baptized! She accepted for December 16th!!! :D The Spirit was so strong!! Throughout the lesson she was talking about how she feels this perfect peace at church...so different from what she had felt before! We asked if she would like that always, and we were able to bear testimony of the gift of the Holy Ghost made possible through baptism and confirmation with the proper authority! What an amazing experience for the member with us and for her! We had members in the building popping in to say hi during our lesson, and each of them, not knowing what we were talking about, bore testimony to her that she was exactly where she needs to be! It was so cool!!! <3

We had a string of just fun really cool miracles this week, too!!

Shelly! We went to have a visit with a sweet single mom in the ward, and as we were trying to find her house, we had to walk through a complex of 100+ houses! So many! We finally found her, had a wonderful lesson, and started walking back to the car. We were short on time, but I felt the prompting to knock on just one of the doors. So, of course, follow the first prompting! We went up and knocked. The owner of the home is a nonmember daughter of a less active member we see regularly! She thought we knew she lived there, and was home alone fighting a cold. She welcomed us in and we had a wonderful visit! The next day, she came to dinner at her mom's house with us, and the next day we had a fun lesson with her, her mom, and 2 of her nonmember nieces at the church making fun crafts and then went out to lunch! Such a miracle!!!

Jason! We were walking to the house of a less active we were dropping by, and saw a man taking out his trash. We approached and he said "no English! No English!" I said "what language?" "Mandarin." *deep breath* "Nee how! wuh shuh twan chow shuh!" (me trying to say, Hello! I'm a missionary!) Feeling like we were supposed to keep talking to him, Sister Bloomfield called the Chinese Elders as I tried to continue communication in Chinese. XD They talked to him on the phone and set a return appointment for the next day! They were able to see him, have a meal with him, and learn that he has been to the church before! It was so cool!!! Even if there is a language barrier, there is never a spiritual barrier!

Paul! This one is my favorite! <3 On Tuesday, we were walking out from visiting a less active in the ward and saw a man taking groceries out of his car. We were prompted to talk with him, and walked up and started the convo! He informed us that he used to have a pretty hard life because of choices that he made, then shared a heartwarming story about how he was led to a church and found Jesus Christ. :) It was amazing! We were able to set a return appointment for Friday to hand him off to the Elders to teach! Zone Conference got changed and so we had to move his appointment to Saturday. During Zone Conference, he called us and texted us! He had forgotten that we rescheduled and was trying to find another time we could meet! Sister Bloomfield (always so good at following the spirit) invited him to just come to church instead of meeting with us. He said he would LOVE to! And then asked "is it okay if I bring my kids?"  We almost cried! Sundayrolled around, and in walks Paul with a 2 and 3 year old. 2 of his 4 beautiful children. :) He stayed all 3 hours and has an appointment to meet with the Elders soon! He too talked about the spirit that he felt at church. He said he felt at peace and at home, nothing like other churches he has been to. The power of the Holy Ghost is so real! I am so grateful to be a playing piece in these people's conversion!! He is truly an elect!

This week, as previously mentioned, we had zone conference! It was so amazing! I was privileged to sing in a choir of 8 missionaries a version of Nearer my God to Thee/If You Could Hie to Kolob and Elder Ulisses Soares, one of the Presidents of the 70 came to speak! We all got to shake his hand, and I was sitting in the front row of missionaries! President Wong came and sat right in front of me, and Elder Soares was walking around close to us a lot, so many times I was in touching distance of two general authorities! It was an amazing experience! I learned a lot though! Right before the conference started, they had us missionaries sit down and President Wong looked at us and chose like 5 of us by the spirit to have a personal interview with Elder Soares. I knew it was coming and so desperately wanted to be one of the 5! I had tried to spiritually prepare and was feeling the Spirit SO STRONG in the moment! I was so sad when I wasn't picked, and prayed that Heavenly Father would calm my heart and help me to move on, focusing on what He needed to teach me. As I sat there, almost as distinct words I had the impression come to my mind "You have already received your witness." I don't know what exact witness I was searching for, but in that moment Heavenly Father calmed my heart, helping me to know that I didn't need to sit across from a general authority to know I was supposed to be there in that conference. Heavenly Father will always answer our prayers!

Something that we really focused on in Zone Conference is our faith in our goals. Elder Soares asked us if we had faith in our goals and what they mean to us. We all stood at different times answering what they meant to us and showing him that we truly do have faith in our goals. Then he had us open our planners and look at our numbers goals and the actual numbers we are getting. President Wong asked to see my planner...so he had mine. That wasn't nerve racking at all! ;) But it was such an interesting point! It didn't matter what the numbers were. He wasn't focused on that. It was the fact that they didn't match! He said that if we truly had faith in our goals, we would do everything in our power to reach them, knowing that they are truly attainable! 2 Nephi 25:23: "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know it is by grace that we are saved AFTER ALL WE CAN DO." What more can we do? It was a huge eye opener to me! We decided to focus that day on doing all we could to get people to church the next day. The next day, we had 4 less actives come to church for the first time in a while and 2 investigators. Heavenly Father really showed us that it is so true! There is always more we can be doing! We need to have faith that He will help us as we do all we can!

Oh! Another one! We received a referral from a ward member to go see a less active sister. We went to her house. She wasn't home, but her inactive 30 year old son was. We were able to talk to him on the doorstep, and he opened up that his friend's sister just died. I felt prompted to invited his friend to receive a priesthood blessing of comfort and visit from the Elders to explain the Plan of Salvation. He accepted and the Elders should be seeing them sometime this week! It was such an amazing experience to see the little path that led us to that door and now his friend will have a chance to hear the gospel! Though not active in any shape or form in the gospel, this guy recognized the blessings that it brings and that his friend could benefit from it. So cool!

I am so grateful for the many miracles that Heavenly Father blesses us with each and every day! He is truly in the details of our lives! Have an amazing week y'all!

Sister Van Valkenburg

The view right outside the church...see this beauty at least 3 times a week! <3
Took some pics whilst getting ready this morning because we never take pictures...if anyone likes Harry Potter you may recognize a color scheme...we may have a zone activity today competing as districts and our zone may or may not be Griffindor...XD

Sister Bloomfield is so flexible!! Look at her!!! I was struggling to stay sitting up to look in the mirror! 

November 6,2017 Email :D

Wowie wow wow! God is just so good :) 

This week was so good! But for the sake of time and all I only have a couple of things to say. :)

One: Scripture that I love! Sister Bloomfield pointed it out to me this week and I just love it!

Alma 36:5
"Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things; but God has, by the mouth of his holy angel, made these things known unto me, not of any worthiness of myself."

We talked about how despite any "worthiness" we are ALWAYS worthy of gaining a testimony! No matter what level we are in life, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally...He will lift us. And we are always worthy of a testimony!

A really fun, really cool experience that we had:
Marilou (the lady we found in the church parking lot) had such a good lesson with us last week! We had a ward couple with us and the lesson was just SO GOOD!!! She said she would be at church on Sunday, but come 9:15 she wasn't there and we had Ward Council in another ward...so we went into our meeting. About 30 min later, we got a text from the Elders. "Marilou is here and she's bearing her testimony!!" We bolted out of Ward Council as fast as we could!! We only caught the closing song...but as we walked up to see her, she was just swarmed with members congratulating her and introducing themselves to her! She was invited to dinner, people asked if they could come to lessons with her, it was amazing!! Talking to the Elders later, they told us that in her testimony she had talked about us (calling me "Sister Vah Vah Voom" because she can't say my name) and said that everyone in their testimonies had been saying that the church is true and she thinks they are right! She has found the true church! It was such an amazing experience!!

I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ! I know that they are truly in the details of the details of the details of our lives!!

Love you all!

Sister Van Valkenburg

ps. Thank you to those who sent pics of your cute kiddos! Made my day!!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

October 30,2017 Email :D

Hello hello! Happy Halloween!! And most importantly, happy wedding 29th wedding anniversary to my beautiful mom and dad yesterday!! 😘Love you both!!

Oh wow! This week was the bomb! Literally..like we made a bomb out of baking soda and a gallon sized container of vinegar during District Meeting....! Haha it was awesome! Our district leader is really into using visuals to get his message across! We were learning about the steps that it takes to get people to come to church! The vinegar was the people, the baking soda was the members and Ward council! It was way fun! 

Adventure of the week:
We came out to our car to leave for the day on Tuesday morning, and our back left door was open a crack! The contents of the dash were all over the front seats, and the little cord/circuit thingie box lid thingamajig was off and the cords were exposed!! Holy Toledo!! Our car was broken into!!! Luckily, all license and registration are in place, nothing was broken, and the car runs smoothly! The little booger took only one thing! My flash drive!!! How rude!! Well enjoy the EFY and MoTab!! Hahaha who knows? Maybe it can be the beginning of a beautiful conversion! Music is pretty high up there with ways to connect to the Spirit! 

This week we had an amazing experience with a sweet member! We have been using music a lot in our teaching lately, singing a song and bearing testimony with scripture. It truly is fun! We were visiting an elderly sister in the ward whose husband died just about a year ago. We were prompted to sing A Child's Prayer for her and share some scriptures on that. As we sang, she smiled and was just touched! As soon as we finished, she told us that that exact song has been stuck in her head the past few weeks and that she couldn't remember the whole thing! She was so grateful that we sang that song for her because she was able to learn how it goes! It's the little things like that that just bring a smile to my face! <3

We had another miracle happen! (so many!) There is a 17 year old less active named Stephen in our ward, but he is never home. :( He and his sister were baptized about 2 years ago and Sister Bloomfield, unbeknownst to me, has been praying to run into him on the streets because he is never home. Yesterday, we did! It was so cool! He was with a friend and we said hello...as we crossed paths on the crosswalk! Oh no!! We were only able to say hello! :( After the exchange, Sister Bloomfield was so grateful to have seen them, but said simply "I hope we get to see them again soon so that we can actually talk to them." I said "we will!" Less than an hour later, right outside our house, we ran into them again! Heavenly Father is so good! We were able to talk to them longer this time and it was just so good! I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father that looks out for our needs! 

Another miracle! And this one's a doozie!! Once upon a time it was Wednesday night, and we have coordination meeting for Willoughby ward at the church 8:00 every Wednesday. So we come pulling up at about 7:45 to get to our meeting, and see a car parked right smack dab in front of the front doors of the church. As we drive by the car, I think I recognize her as a ward member and feel prompted to back the car up to talk through the windows. As missionaries, we are not allowed to do that without a backer outside of the car! But...ya know...when the spirit says to do something....you do it! So I backed er up and we said "hello!" to the lady! Turns out, she isn't a member of the church, and had parked her car there because she "feels good" there! We were ecstatic!! :D We had about 10 minutes before the meeting, but the Elders and Ward Mission Leader didn't appear to be there yet, so we said we would love to give her a short church tour before our meeting if she would like! She said yes! So we had an amazing church tour, taught a bit of the Restoration, set a return appointment for TONIGHT (so excited) and had just an amazing experience! Come 8:15 we had said goodbye and sent her on her way with no sight of the Elders! We then received a text from them saying that coordination had been moved to the ward mission leader's house that night! BUT they sent the message at 3:30 that afternoon. Our phone didn't receive the text until after we had been at the church and met MariLou! Oh it just built my faith SO MUCH that Heavenly Father is in the details of the details of the details!! I know that there is a very important reason that we didn't receive that text message until later! We wouldn't have gone to the church if we had gotten it on time!! It was such a cool experience!! :D

I am so grateful for all the miracles great and small that Heavenly Father blesses us with! :D

have an amazing week!!
Sister Van Valkenburg

ps. Pictures of Halloween Costumes and your smiling faces would be much appreciated!! <3

My sweet companion and the chocolate/banana/Peanut butter pancakes we made! We couldn't just do the regular mix! ;)
We tried donairs for the first time! Yummy!
The ward trunk or treat! ...We switched nametags! Cuz that's all we can do! XD
I got a little excited for Christmas last P-day and bought chocolate countdown calendars...! Now it just needs to be December 1st!! XD Merry Christmas!! :D

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 23,3017 Email ;D

Lost inLangley: The Saga continues!

Hey y'all! :D

Oh this week has been such an amazing adventure! I'd love to start with my beautiful companion!!! Sister Bloomfield is the sweetest ray of sunshine! She's been out for two transfers, and is just on fire! I know I am going to learn so much from her this transfer! She truly is amazing!! <3 

We are a lot in common in the fact that we have NO IDEA how to get from point A to point B without a GPS! XD And...we didn't have a GPS when we got here. So first order of business was: buy a GPS! So we did...day 2. And then getting in the car on day 3, I got in and rested my arm on the middle console = where it was with the cord sticking out.....and severed the charge cord!! The GPS was out of commission after like 24 hours!! Dang Sister Van Valkenburg!! It's okay, though because the Lord always provides! After getting lost in the rain for a solid hour or two on foot...we wandered into a gas station where I was prompted to buy a USB/car charger converter thingie and we were able to use the computer hookup cable thingie as a charger!! Miracles!!! :D 

Also, funny story: We dropped by a member family in the Brookswood ward and found out that it was their son's 8th birthday!! We tried to make the visit short and sweet to respect their family time, and the sweetest thing: they had the 4-year-old come in with some birthday cupcakes (the mini Halloween ones of course) and take them to us as the guests! The birthday boy watched as the 4-year-old graciously held out the cupcakes to me and Sister Bloomfield. I said no thank you, and as the little boy tried to walk past me, I tried to help because the cupcakes were a little wibbley wobbly....and down on the carpet went ALL the cupcakes!!! -.- Oh man!! such an adventure!! We quickly cleaned up, shared a birthday scripture with the boy, said a prayer, and ran out! Welcome to the ward!! Ahh! XD 

Wow this week has been full of so much fun and so many miracles, though! We were able to find some families to teach and meet the sweetest ward members! We are working on figuring out the area, as we are covering 2 wards, 2 stakes, 2 zones! So fun! We are the first sisters back into the Willoughby ward for some time now, and the Relief Society President especially is so stoked!! We were able to sit down with her this week and get like 20 names to go see!! The work here is just about to boom!! SO exciting!! 

I am so grateful to be here, so blessed to be surrounded in the arms of His love each and every day!! I have been studying the life of Jesus Christ as a transfer goal...and wow! I am just so grateful! 

Have a wonderful week everyone!!! Love you all!!

Sister Van Valkenburg
As a goodbye present, I got my nails painted by sweet Ricky (6) while Irish (2) did my hair. No pic needed for the hair XD
It rains here like every day!! So beautiful with all the leaves changing color as well! Here's a pic with my SOAKED shoes! haha! :D

Oh the things you find in your pantry when you get transferred! Chocolate quinoa?!?!? 

October 16,2017 Email :D


So...a lot happened this last week! But I only have a short amount of time to write!! 

The title of this email is because I will be leaving this beautiful island! :( only for one transfer was I able to be here....but it was something that I will be eternally grateful for!! :) 

We had a zone call Saturday night to tell us our news, and I have been called to go back to the mainland!! I will be in Langley, right by the temple! I am so excited to serve with my beautiful new companion, Sister Bloomfield, and run run run!!! 

This last week we had a really fun soccer night with an investigator family and a less active family in the ward. It was a fun little pick up game with little kids running in circles and giggles all around! We had a wonderful talk with them after, and the Spirit was so strong! Oh I love them!

Last night was the musical fireside that we have been planning for the last couple of weeks! It was awesome!! We had 11 musical numbers stake-wide and the Spirit was SO STRONG!! It was one for the books!! I was able to play the piano for the congregational hymns and for the EFY medley that us missionaries of course had to sing! It was a different version though with different harmony..pretty cool! Elder Deppe and I sang "Because He Lives" again, and other musical numbers were "His Hands" "Savior Redeemer" "Come Thou Fount" a Christian melody from a family of 6 girls all singing...STUNNING. It was a highlight for sure!!

We had a wonderful miracle this last week! We had about 2 hours of time to go finding and decided to go downtown. In the morning, we decided to plan specifically what we would look for for each 15 minute block. So for the first 15 minutes, we planned to search downtown for a man who had lost a loved one, for the East Elders to have a new investigator. As we were walking downtown, we found a man named Jason. I stopped him, just asking what he was up to, and as we talked, we learned that he had lost his mother! It was such a testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father puts those people in our paths! As we talked, he said he had to go, and I felt prompted to invite him to a singles night activity the next day. We would be playing board games. We went searching for other people afterward, and Heavenly Father blessed us to find almost all the people we had planned for! Blessings!! The next night, we were going to drop in on the game night, and got a call from the East Elders. Jason came to the game night!! We were able to attend the game night and pass him off to the Elders. He became a new investigator. One of the Elders came up to me later that night and said "Sister Van Valkenburg! How did you know to invite him to the game night?!" And I was like..."I dunno. The Spirit...why?" And he told me that  Jason has literally traveled the country to play games. He loves board games! It was yet another testimony builder for me that Heavenly Father is SO AWARE and will put all these people in our paths!

Oh I am so excited for the miracles I will be able to see in my new area, and am so grateful for my Heavenly Father showing me each and every day that there truly is a perfect plan for each and every one of us! 

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!!

Sister Van Valkenburg

The Parliament building at night <3
Selfie after soccer! I love these girls!!
British Colombia: the best place on earth!

Low quality picture, high quality district!! We had such a blast this transfer having our district also be the missionaries of the ward!! Gonna miss em! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October 10,2017 Email :D


What?! Has Sister Van Valkenburg lost her marbles?! Nope! Thanksgiving here in Canada is October 9th. Weird. I know. I kept getting freaked out with people celebrating Thanksgiving...thinking I missed the whole months of October and November! Haha! Time really is flying by though! I hit my halfway mark on Saturday...that was really weird! We celebrated by going to KFC...a little piece of home. But KFC here in Canada has just completely messed up because they don't have BISCUITS!!!!!! That's literally the main reason we decided to go to KFC!!! We were sorely disappointed. :( But it's okay!! :) 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we have been sharing a fun message with members about happiness and gratitude. We have been singing a lot and sang "Count your Blessings" with the accompanying scripture:

D&C 78:17-19 
17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;

18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.

19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

 Isn't that such a gem?! Another gem from this week was something that Sister Giles shared in her talk on Sunday! I was supposed to speak, but because I was already singing, I was asked to speak next week instead! She gave her talk on seeking happiness and finding the good in life. She shared a really sweet quote: "happiness is like a butterfly. If we chase it, it will allude us. But if we sit and enjoy the beauty around us, it will come and sit on our shoulder." Something along those lines. It's so true, though! As we chase after things, they may float away. But there are so many miracles and beautiful things that surround us every single day!! Got has given us so much!! "He has showed us how to be happy, we just need to follow." -Sister Giles
We had Zone Conference this last week as well! President Wong is so hilarious!! He told us again the analogy of the turkey. There was a meeting of all the turkeys, teaching them how to fly! They went to the meeting, learned to fly (it was amazing!!!) and then they all walked out of the meeting. He keeps telling us two things: 
1) Don't be a turkey! President Wong told us that if we are caught being turkeys that he will order a special name tag for us that instead of "Sister Van Valkenburg" says "Turkey Van Valkenburg" Nobody will know the difference on the street, he said! And he will make us wear it for a whole transfer!! No bueno!! I promised I wouldn't be a turkey! I might be out of the loop though, because he told me (in front of the whole zone) that I especially couldn't be a turkey because they might be able to fit it on my name tag XD
2) chop chop!! (He had every language spoken in our zone come up and say "chop chop" at the same time in their language.Trying to prove a point here: We need to be urgent!)
Something I also loved about Zone Conference: There was an analogy given about running track. When running a lap in track, you have checkpoints of where you want to be at certain points of your run. 'at 20 seconds I want to be here, and 40: here' etc. The Elder giving the training said that at each checkpoint, you need to course correct. If you haven't reached your desired time, you know that you need to make it up before the next checkpoint. It's like that with our personal goals. As we set goals for ourselves, we need to make checkpoints and re-evaluate at every turn! We don't give up if we haven't been able to reach our desired goal at our checkpoint, but we refocus and push harder! It was really cool to hear! :) 
Oh! Like I said, I have been singing a lot! The night before Zone Conference at like 10:00 we got a phone call from Elder Deppe (District Leader) "Sisters! We need your help!" They asked us to do a musical number for Zone Conference! Elder Deppe and I ended up singing a duet of "Joseph Smith's first prayer" to the tune of "If you could High to Kolob" It was beautiful! I got a video of it so I'll show it....in about 9 months XD I also sang a duet with Elder Deppe in church Sunday. It's called "Because He Lives" It's BEAUTIFUL!! We will sing it next Sunday as well at a stake fireside. I'll see if I can get a video of that as well. 
Quote of the week from my Bishop: "Duct tape your face to the grindstone!" Haha he went on to talk about how that's why we have companions: To help with the duct tape. Oh man XD
Inline image 1We went bowling as a zone for p-day last week! Here is a shot of the sisters! We are just missing one companionship.
Most of the zone is here in this pic!
Inline image 2And a nice personality shot! From left to right: Elder Deppe, me, Elder Mathews, Sister Bak, and Sister Hatch
 Thanksgiving dinner was spent with our sweet investigator Donna (in pic) and her miracle daughter I've written about, Tianna. Here's a pic of the spread! Donna is a raw food chef, and the pumpkin pie pictured is raw. It was actually pretty good!

I found a big gun thingie at a military base here! ....that's about all I know...but is was cool!