Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24,1017 Email :D


How has your week been? Good?! GOOD!!! Wow I am just so full of energy today!! 😄 It has been an amazing week! I only have a couple thoughts this week, as it was one of those crazy fly-by weeks where everything happened, but nothing happened...ya know? 

A thought from last week that I forgot to sacrament meeting a member of the ward was left with like 3 minutes to speak. He got up, and shared a simple thought that was so cool! He said that once upon a time he was in Yugoslavia and was driving on a really narrow mountain road. He saw what he said was one of the most clear cut signs he had ever seen. It has a picture of a hand and next to the hand it said something like 50 Kilometers. There was another hand underneath it, but it was a skeleton hand. It said 100 Kilometers. He talked about the importance of staying safe and following the Lord, that following His guidelines will keep us on the right path, and that if we try to go our own way, or own speed, things could get a little...well...not okay. :) I love it! 😁

Also, this week as I was standing on a doorstep waiting for someone to answer the door, I noticed a sign in the window. It was to tell us that they had video surveillance of their property..but it was worded in a way that made me think. It said "Your presence is being recorded." Like whoa. It was a little light bulb moment where I recognized that everything I do is being recorded, not only on the level that I need to constantly be representing Jesus Christ and His church because we don't know who is watching...but Heavenly Father! My life is dedicated to Him. I am always wanting to make Him proud, to do His will and be worthy of the experiences with His children that will bring them closer to Him and He is always watching! Just a reminder to me to always be my best self!! 

Which brings me to something AWESOME!! This week we had district meeting and were presented with our baptismal goal theme as a zone for the month of May. We all prayed as a zone for what our goal should be for how many people will be baptized. We came up with the number 4. Then, our zone leaders prayed and decided on a theme that would help us reach that goal. Kind of like a motivational catch phrase. They came up with *drum roll* 24/7! And they had us read D&C 24:7 

For thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion; and in this thou shalt have strength.  

We talked about giving Heavenly Father our ALL for this goal and they pointed out...all = 24/7. All of our time and energy! And then they said WOW It's D&C chapter 24 verse 7! 24/7!! I just love it! I know that as we work to give our Heavenly Father our best, we will be able to reach this goal! 

Another something this week..there is a less active family that we were able to go teach this week, and we had some active members come with us that are friends with them. The Less Active family we visited has a really steep, narrow, sharply curved driveway and a small area for parking on the top. We parked at the top and were kind of closed in by walls and cars. So, in order to get out of the driveway, it required a lot of readjusting and switching from drive to reverse, etc. After our lesson, we had to hurry and leave to our next appointment, and the friends stayed together to chat. As I was getting in the car, I looked up and all of them had come out on the balcony to watch the show! They even took their drinks and started giving pointers and cheering us on! XD No pressure as the driver! Hahaha thankfully, we got out of there safely and efficiently and there aren't any dents in any of the cars or walls. XP

Wow! Aren't we so blessed?! We know of the restored gospel and how to partake of it! We know that we have a Heavenly Father who love us SO much! We know of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us and we have the privilege of having such an intimate relationship with them! I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of these things and the countless blessings that I receive each day! I love you all! Have an amazing week!

Sister Van Valkenburg

24/7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 18,2017 Email :D

Today is the 3 month mark of my serving the Lord as a full time Missionary! Wow! Time certainly flies! I have been told that the first 3 months of your mission are the slowest/longest....I certainly hope that isn't true because time has FLOWN by! :O

Did everyone have a good Easter?! I did! We went around sharing the video I believe I sent last week, the Prince of Peace, with people on doorsteps and had some amazing experiences with people who would watch it with us! We even got a new investigator from it! :D I absolutely love bearing testimony on every doorstep that I know my Savior lives and that He loves each and every one of us individually and perfectly! WOW!! :D

We were able to do some fun service for people for Easter! We "egged" someone's garage (Like a heart attack, but egg shaped paper) randomly! I had a feeling to cut out some papers shaped like eggs and pack some tape, and when we were in the area of a member's family we felt like we should egg them! It was so fun!

There is a lady in our ward that we had a really interesting experience with this week. She has told us in the past that she has been having a hard time with her landlord. She lives in a basement.They have been to court 3 times! He takes control of her lighting and turns the lights off on her throughout the day...which would just get annoying on top of the fact that it's illegal! He also has put threatening notes on her door, texted them (her daughter lives with her) saying they are being evicted the next day, and overall just been terribly rude! Also, this lady is in her there's that too! Anyway. We felt prompted to share a message with her about the comfort and peace that the Savior brings and we wrote down a whole list of scriptures! When we were having our lesson with her, the power went completely out! Her landlord had taken the hydro meter off the side of the house! (illegal) Apparently, this was the second time that day! She had had it replaced earlier in the day. The police were called, along with they hydro company, and we stayed with her trying to help in any way she could. We could hear the landlord walking around upstairs and it was so creepy! We were so scared! But luckily he didn't come down! The lady in our ward has everything "booby trapped" anyway with paperclips leaned against doors and baby powder and books on the stairs that lead up to his portion of the house! XD Since that day, he has blasted music when he isn't home all through the night, cut her wifi and power, and tested all the security system alarms at 5 in the morning! We are trying to get this poor sister out of that house as soon as possible! Anyway. Now that I have laid all that story down, you will understand a little better what it meant to me when she called us yesterday morning in tears. She had woken up early in the morning, because of her landlord's noise, and sat down to read her scriptures. She pulled out the card we gave her with the scriptures and read the first one: 1 Nephi 1:20

20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast outand stoned, and slainand they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to makthem mighty even unto the power of deliverance. It was just what she needed that morning. She bore testimony to us that as she exercises her faith, Heavenly Father will protect her and deliver her from this hard trial! I know that that is true for whatever we are going through!
I love you all! Have an amazing week!

Oh! Something fun we did for this sweet lady...she has been so stressed that she forgot about Easter! SO we brought Easter to her! We bought her some bunny ears and eggs and filled the eggs with chocolate! We put them around her little side yard area with an easy Easter egg hunt and cute note! She absolutely loved it! So cute! I absolutely love serving people and Easter and the knowledge that I have that the Gospel is true! I was able to give a talk in church on Easter Sunday about the Godhead and would love to close my email today with the words of Elder Dallin H Oaks in his talk this April General Conference that I was able to use in my talk!
testify that we have Heavenly Father, who loves us. testify that we have Holy Ghost, who guides us. And testifof Jesus Christ, our Savior,
who makes it all possible, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Van Valkenburg

Latest obsession: CLOUDS!!! They are so beautiful!!!
It's getting green here!!
Happy Easters from the Seesters! Did I really buy and wear those bunny ears? You know I did.

Kit Kat...with cookie dough?! LIKE WHAT?!?!!

Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10,2107 Email :D

OH man!! It has been such a good week!! :D :D The sun is coming out, the rain is...well it's still here, but it doesn't bother me as much, I've got tan lines showing up on my feet, a little color in my cheeks, and the spirit is abounding everywhere!!! :D We had interviews with President Burt, Zone Conference, and Stake Conference! Wow! So good!

SO here is a smorgasbord of thoughts!

A quote I read the other day in the Adjusting to Missionary Life booklet stuck out to me! It says: "Worrying can be a way of mentally practicing failure." One of those no brainers that is worded in a way that you! :O I love it! One of the things I think comes as a side-effect of trusting completely in the Lord is that you don't worry as much! Another side-effect is that we are more successful in things that we seek to accomplish! I love it! :D 

Yesterday, Sister Thurber and I were having a companionship study in the car before a dinner with some members, and when we went to start the car, it wouldn't start! NO, the car wasn't on when we were doing our study! We tried it a couple of more times and the engine just wouldn't turn over! SO of course we said a prayer! After the prayer, the car started right up on the first try! We were able to get to our dinner appointment exactly on time! Heavenly Father loves His children so much! Even in the little things! :D

Also yesterday, we were walking up a long driveway to a house and a dog started barking at us. Nothing new, we just kept going. A lady called from inside the house that we she wasn't interested in our message, that she was staying inside to be safe from the dog, and that we needed to walk slowly away from the dog and up the driveway because it would attack us. She was nice about it...just concerned about our safety. We promptly turned around and started walking slowly up the driveway. The dog was still growling and barking, and I looked back for a minute, just to see it run at my companion, and then suddenly stop like it hit a wall. It was so cool! I don't know why that dog stopped, but it was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father really protects us! :D

Another story! During Zone Conference, President Burt taught a little bit out of Alma 50, about Captain Moroni being prepared for the Lamanite attacks with his digging ditches and building walls, etc. We learned that we need to be prepared in all things! :D So, applying this, Sister Thurber and I planned to see a less active member of the ward on Saturday, without contacting her ahead of time. We didn't have any lessons planned for Saturday, but we wrote her in, made a lesson plan, and planned a whole area of people we were going to go see and streets to knock around her house. We prepared! Before we even left the house to carry out our plans, SHE called US to see if we could come see her and have a lesson with her! And we did! It was such a testimony to me that if we prepare, Heavenly Father will provide a way for us to carry out His work! WOW!!

Something fun: Saturdays are walking days! SO, we try to use our car very sparingly on Saturdays. Sister Thurber and I, when knocking the streets we planned around the lady above, walked up a big hill. And by big hill, I mean it took a good 20 minutes to get to the top so we could talk to some more people! So not huge, but enough that we were just a little bit tired at the top! ;) As we were plodding along, I turned to Sister Thurber and I said "Conference application! When we are too tired to walk, we run!" (Elder Gary B. Sabine's father) So, we decided to run to the top! We started off, and were almost collapsing in laughter about 5 seconds in! We didn't realize how tired we were, and both couldn't get our bodies to run up the hill!! You had to be there, but we were just the most awkward runners! that's one of the ways we are applying conference! XD How about you? ;) 

It has just been such a good week! I love this gospel!! I know it's true!! I know that because of Jesus Christ, we can all be resurrected! We can all be forgiven of our sins! We can wake up every morning knowing that it is going to be a good day, no matter what happens, because He has already lived it before us! :D I love my Savior and I know He lives!! Check out this video if you have a chance! It's so good! We are trying to share it with everyone we meet! Happy Easter this week!! :D

Sister Van Valkenburg

It was raining and I got DRENCHED!! You can't really tell in the picture, but Sister Thurber just had to take one!  

Beautiful beautiful West Kelowna. :)

Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3,2017 Email :D

Okay really was so good! Watching General Conference as a missionary for the first time was such a blessing! There was still the revelation there for myself that I am so grateful for and will DEFINITELY be applying in my life, but there were also things I came to know about how to help my investigators progress to baptism. Little whisperings from the Holy Ghost that "so and so needs that" and "you should share that with so and so" It was SO COOL!!! I am so grateful for General Conference!!! We are so privileged to be able to hear the word of God through His prophets, seers and revelators today! Like wow!!

I absolutely loved every talk given, and saw so many themes, but the one that I loved the most was the need to love and follow our Savior. :) I absolutely loved Elder Holland's talk and his analogy of standing in a choir. It is so true that when you're in choir, you want to stand next to someone with the best pitch because it lifts you up if you're flat, brings you down if you're sharp, helps you to know the tone and are more unified as a choir when you listen to each other and when you stand next to someone with the music down, you're solid! The Savior has perfect pitch, and if we stand by Him, He will help us stay in tune! 

I also LOVED Elder Gary B Sabine's talk! There were so many golden nuggets in there! I loved his analogy of standing up on the inside! In order to be all in, we need to be standing up inside! "It is far better to follow the creator than the crowd" I also loved his quote from his dad that said if he gets tired of walking, he can always run. Sister Thurber and I run from door to door when we get tired, and it wakes us up and gives us energy!! It gives us more purpose and makes it exciting! We always need to be giving our all to the Lord! 

I also loved Elder Rasband's talk and how he acted on his first prompting and stuck his foot in the door! I have a goal to act on my first promptings from now on! There are many situations on my mission and during my life that I didn't act on my first prompting to do something and I have wondered what could have been. I want to be able to say, like President Monson, that when the Lord needs someone, he can count on me! President Monson is such an amazing example to me of being on the Lord's errand and following the promptings of the Spirit!

Another favorite talk: C. Scott Grow! He talked about how he wants to be on the team, not on the sidelines. As a baptized member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I have taken upon myself the name of Jesus Christ. I am wearing the jersey of the Lord's team. I want to play. As a missionary, the jersey is displayed quite clearly on my chest, but I want it to show in my actions. I need to practice to play well so that I can clearly represent my Savior and His gospel! I need to live it! I need to practice my dribbling by reading the scriptures and do some free throws by going to church! I need to run some ladders by saying my prayers and do some drills with my teammates as I write in my journal and act on promptings of the Holy Ghost! I need to live my life standing next to the Savior! I am on His team! The winning team!

Like Elder Yoon Hwan Choi advised, we need to look up to Christ for strength, balance and healing. Look up in the rain! Open your mouth! Drink it! No matter what we are going through, the Savior is with us! He knows us! He suffered for all and if we stand next to Him, we can sing "There is sunshine in my soul today!" 

I love the last paragraph of The Living Christ and wanted to share it. :) Wow :)  

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son. 

Wow :) We are so blessed to have the knowledge that we have about our purpose here on earth! We are so blessed to have the Savior as our guide and for all He did for us! We are so blessed to have General Conference to hear a prophet's voice! I am so grateful for the love and spirit that we are able to feel from the Gift of the Holy Ghost, for the guidance we receive in our lives when do our best to live our lives in line with Heavenly Father's will and divine destiny for each and every one of us!! I love you all and know that my Savior lives! He loves us! Our Heavenly Father lives! Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet on the earth today! The Book of Mormon is true! Read it! Love it! And act on what you learn! I love this gospel! I love being a missionary! Ah!! So much love and joy! 

I am proud to be a disciple of the Lord and I pray to always be worthy to represent Him and be playing on His team! 
Sister Alissa Jean Van Valkenburg

ps: How did everyone's questions go that they brought to conference? I Know mine was answered!! 
pps: New challenge: write goals and a plan to accomplish them based off the revelation you received from conference! :)