Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31,2017 Email :D

Subject: WOAH!!! WE'RE HALFWAY THERE!!! *living on a prayer* 

Hello everybody!!!

This email is going to be a smorgasbord of a bunch of random things, but hopefully I will be able to fit everything in!

First, something funny...we were sitting in our classroom last night doing some practice teaching, when someone outside decided to wiggle his pen under our door just to tease us. Being me, totally focused on everything at all times, I decided to try to grab it when it was sticking under the door. I got my hand ready, and lunged "gracefully" to grab it. I fell on the ground...taking my desk/chair combo with me. XD BUT I got the pen! hahaha that was definitely a bonding moment for my district. And the poor Elder that had been the culprit...we don't even know him. XD

Speaking of my district, we are all growing so close! It's going to be hard to say goodbye to all of them!! We eat every meal together, and tease each other like siblings, and 'work out' together every day! By work out, I mean we play lightning/speed/knock out..whatever you call it. The game where you shoot free throws with two balls and get each other out? It has become our thing. All 12 of us, plus whomever else wants to join. It's the funnest thing! We are all out of breath cheering and running...no hard feelings, but competitive!! I love them all so much!!!

As many of you know, when you are dropped off at the curb, a host missionary comes and helps collect your luggage and lead you where to go. I get to do that tomorrow!! I'm so excited to invite missionaries to the MTC!! ...kinda going to be hard pulling them away from their families....but It's going to be such a cool experience to be the first smiling face they see on their journey as one of the soldiers in God's Army!!! :D :D

The other day, we were practicing some different elements of teaching by teaching one on one the first part of the Restoration. As I began teaching, the teacher came over to observe me. I got overwhelmed, started teaching the wrong lesson, just drew blanks. Even with the teacher's help, I hardcore just couldn't teach effectively. I was frustrated and just ended up focusing on not having a come apart as he basically taught the pretend lesson for me. My confidence was shot. When I came back to the dorm for bed about 15 minutes later, I sat down to write in my journal. Before I write in my journal each night, I read over my notes from the day to remind myself of things I wanted to say. I saw a scripture I had written down earlier that day, and felt inspired to find it again.

John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he may give it you."

I bear testimony that Heavenly Father is always looking out for us. I already knew that Heavenly Father works through other people frequently to help us in our lives. Little did I know, sometimes he works through yourself to help yourself!!! :D Heavenly Father knows when we are down, struggling, or lost. He will always be there for you. :) I'm so grateful for this experience I was able to have to strengthen my testimony!

The missionary broadcast was cool! I'm sure most of you have heard that the schedule for missionaries got changed! I don't understand completely all the details, seeing as I'm on MTC schedule and it doesn't quite apply to me yet...but one of the things that applies now is an extra HOUR at night!! WOOHOO!!! More time for journal writing and organization. It has been glorious. :) 

Something I really wanted to write about was the devotional on Sunday. Richard I. Heaton, administrative director of the MTC spoke. He started by having all converts who joined the church within the last two years stand. Quite a few stood. He then selected two, a boy and a girl, to come to the stand. Even when he simply had them stand, I was filled with the spirit. Brother Heaton had the girl go first. She is from Oregon going to Thailand, and used to be a Quaker. Her story was pieced together by him asking questions, but it started with her going on a five week mission for her church. At the end of it her leaders asked her what they could pray with her about. She said she wanted something to happen in her life to bring her closer to Christ. So they prayed with her. Fast forward to I think that school year, she asked the boy at school known as the "Mormon boy" to a dance. They had begun to talk about their religions, and challenged each other to pray which church was true. Long story short, she started taking the discussions. ;) She was already 18, but waited 9 months to be baptized because her family was against it. One night, she was reading the Book of Mormon and read Alma 26:27. This gave her courage, and she told her mom she believed the church was true and wanted to be baptized. Now, here she is on a mission! The spirit was so strong as she bore her testimony through her story. Then, Brother Heaton commented on how special it is to hear stories like that and sometimes people even point out other missionaries  in the room as being influences. There was some commotion, then he said "People are pointing. Who is that?" She smiled and said "That's Elder Parker." The 'Mormon Boy' was in the MTC with us! Everyone cheered as he walked to the front. Brother Heaton asked "What was it like to be a part of this?" Elder Parker smiled and said humbly and almost reverently, "Well it is easiest if I talk about the day she got baptized. I have a picture of it I always keep with me." He proceeded to pull a picture out of his shirt pocket, a photo of them on her baptism day, and bear a powerful testimony of the joy he felt baptizing her, saying he has never felt the spirit that strong before. I cried. The spirit was so strong! Elder Parker bore testimony of the joy he felt, saying THAT is why he is on a mission. I cannot wait to partake of that joy! I know that going on a mission is the best decision I have ever made! Having the privilege to be set apart as a disciple of Christ to share this message of joy to the people of Canada...! There is nothing I would rather be doing than the work of the Lord!

I love you all so much!!!! I am going to try to send pictures in a separate email this time....we took them all on my companion's camera so maybe they will send! *crossed fingers*

Until next week,

Sister Alissa Van Valkenburg

ps. I fly out a week from tomorrow!!! AHHHHH!!! :D :D :D

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