Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15,2017 Email :D

Okay. So once upon a time is was Monday, May 8. We were parked along the side of a drainage ditch and upon arriving at our car at 8:45after an appointment, we got in in preparation to drive home! I, the driver, put the car into drive and pull forward, parallel to the ditch and go to flip a U-turn to go back home.(there was a road just ahead of us to use to turn around) As I turn the car to the right, to make the turn, I feel a slight tip,and down we go into the ditch! I had missed the edge of the road by only about a foot, and because of the recent rain...there was a TON of mud, the dirt/mud gave way and we slid into the ditch! It was a gentle slide in...and only the front part went was shallow enough and such that the back left wheels were still on the road and such...but it was no bueno! We were stuck in the mud. Luckily, a good samaritan...whom we might have flagged down...had a chain and was able to pull us out! We were home after curfew muddy and tired...but safe! The plastic bumper cover is a tad bit dented in..but upon inspection from Boyd Auto and the mission vehicle manager, no maintenance is required and the only thing damaged is my pride! 

Poor car wasn't made for mudding....;)
battle wounds.

On another note...that honestly isn't related to this incident at all and was already planned...we got tiwis in our cars! Which are these little monitors that track our speed and have a built in GPS and way to test if we are going around curves or over bumps too hard....and then yell at you and send a text message to President Burt and the fleet coordinator. They are made by a company named inthinc...and I am honestly so grateful for them! I feel so much more accountable! And no, I haven't even had one warning or speed yell thingie! I'm doing good! hahaha I think the cool thing is that they have the logo of their company on the monitor thingie, and it looks like it says "Inthine" like in thine hands I know I am and I am in thine car and need to respect thine property...hahaha! It's so fun!

May 15,2017 Email :D

Happy Mothers Day yesterday! 
Oh my goodness it was such a blessing to see my beautiful family! Just a little plug...sorry folks...I am just so grateful for all that they have taught me by word and action! I have noticed a lot out here that the qualities that I have that I have really come to value are things that I learned from my mom. I am so grateful for her! (And the rest of my family, of course! It was just Mother's Day so..ya know)

There was a quote I found this week from Quentin L Cook that says "Being sincerely Christlike is an even more important goal than being authentic." Wow! This hit home for me. It is so important to be representing Christ as best we can at every moment we can! Especially as a missionary because His name is on our chest...but also as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! When we are baptized we promise to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. :) So being sincerely Christlike is a promise that we have made to God. A promise that we renew each week when we take the sacrament. (Such a blessing!) I am so grateful for this little reminder I found this week. :)

This week I was able to see so many miracles! It is such a blessing when you look to see the miracles in your life! I promise you, you will find them! Our teaching pool hasn't been...progressing...really well lately, so we were promised by a loving Sister Training Leader that if we cleanse our teaching pool and former a lot of people that aren't progressing (Basically just focus on them less and look for new opportunities to teach) that we would receive many blessings! So we did! And out of that came a couple miracles. :) Here is one of my favorites! 

We have a goal each day for how many Potentials we want to be blessed to find. A potential is someone who basically says they are interested in learning more, and have the "potential" to become an investigator. We had a goal the other day of 4. We were done knocking doors and finding for the day, and only had lessons to go to for the rest of the night and only had 2 potentials. As we were walking to an appointment, we were talking about how we only had about 5-10 minutes until our finding time for the day would be over and we wanted so badly to reach our goal! I felt prompted to knock on a specific door as we were walking. The door opened, and a lady answered who ended up becoming a potential! As we were writing down her information after, we sat down on a bus stop bench. As we stood up to go, a teenage girl and her boyfriend walked up to us. The girl was really shy, but blurted out "hi" and just stood there. We, slightly taken aback, introduced ourselves and our purpose as missionaries and asked if she would ever be interested in meetings with us. She just nodded her head yes. It was such a miracle! :D Just like that, we were able to meet our goal! I know that Heavenly Father wants to bless us if we just make ourselves worthy and ready to receive His miracles! It was such a cool experience to recognize Heavenly Father's hand in our lives! 

I am so grateful for the privilege I have of being here in the Canada Vancouver mission! I know that Heavenly Father needs me here, and I know that when we follows His will, we will always be where we need to be! Have such an amazing week everyone!

love, Sister Van Valkenburg

ps. I hit my 4 month mark on weird...:O

I finally ate poutine for the first time! It wasn't bad! This is a classic poutine with fries, gravy, and cheese curds. :D
Oh Sister Miller...if you can't tell what she is pointing at, it's deli ham. She didn't realize this until we got home at 9:00..but during lunch she had "put the ham away" in her suitcase! :O Oh dear. Hahaha thus is the life with Sister Miller! And yes, she has been here for almost 2 weeks and still isn't unpacked. XD
Beautiful view of good 'ol Okanagan lake!
We had a movie night last night and watched some of President Monson's On the Lord's Errand. We decided to pop some popcorn and Sister Miller put just a touch more kernels than needed. XD I have a lovely video of her trying to fix the situation! Haha love her!

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 8,2017 Email :D

Hello everyone! :D 

This week I was able to get my new companion, Sister Miller! She came from Whiterock as her last area, and is just SO full of energy and enthusiasm! She is constantly trying to be the best person she can be as a missionary, and relies fully on the Lord! I absolutely love it! I think she spends more time on her knees than anyone I've ever met, and I just adore her passion for the work! She genuinely loves everyone she meets and I aim to be just like that! We hit it off immediately, and were able to have a good first few days together! (And still going strong, of course!) Our comp name is we always have to combine our names into something for the heck of it..hahaha. Sister Thurber's name with mine was Van Thurberger or something like that. :) Fun times! You can't tell in the pictures that much...but Sister Miller looks a big liker Hermoine Granger...from Harry cracks me up! 

Our weeks activities have included starting a gratitude wall where we write blessings of the day on sticky notes and make a collage that we add to each day...I totally forgot to take a picture..but I will send one next week! It's awesome! We also tried to make brownies...but somewhere between gluten free and our oven...we made charcoal. Hahaha I promise I can bake! We also drew mustaches on our fingers for Cinco de Mayo and sang in Spanish a lot...hahaha you can't get away with a lot to celebrate as a missionary, but we put forth a good effort!

I had a really cool experience this week where we were able to role play with a member of the ward. When we asked for feedback on the role play, the lady told me that I had came across really fake. She knows me, and she realized that I was trying to be like Sister Miller, who is over the top bubbly, chatty and bold. I am more straightforward and quiet. She told me to not worry about being someone else, and to just be myself because only then can the Spirit be there! Only then can I be genuinely in tune. It was such an important lesson for me to re-learn. I know that we all need to just be ourselves! It's so simple...but it just really hit me hard this week. :) I am so grateful for the little experiences we all get to have each day to be able to become better. :D 

Sorry this email is so scattered! It's a good discription of my brain right now! 


Comp study on the beach!

Exhibit A and B of our brownie experience...

Sister Miller made me a sandwich. :D #wifeher #notyetthough #loveher
Me trying to be a photographer again

Have a fantastic week!

Monday, May 1, 2017

May 1,2017 Email :D

Now you may think by the title of this email that I am now going to be in a new area...but you are wrong! Hahaha I am getting a new companion, though, in beautiful West Kelowna! Sister Thurber is heading off to Port Moody, and I am getting her MTC companion as my new companion! I can't wait to meet her! Sister Miller from Columbus, Ohio! ...that's about all I know. Also, I have seen a picture or two and she is BEAUTIFUL and just glows with the Spirit! :D I am so excited!!! 

This past week we had a district meeting where Sister Thurber and I were able to give a training on following up with giving commitments. We had such a fun time calling up one missionary from each companionship (4 total) and giving them a "commitment" to do until further notice. We had a sister braiding her hair, and some elders tying and retying ties, walking around the perimeter of the room, and holding their breath! Then we gave them more commitments, promised blessings, and never followed up with the past commitments! Some would just stop doing the other ones as more were added, and some tried to do all at once! There was jump rope, pushups, singing, reciting, you name it going on! It was so funny to watch! And then, of course, we tied it all back to the importance of following up and explaining commitments. It was awesome! Going with our goal of being 24/7 missionaries (as described in last week's email) We made some sweatbands that said 24/7 on them for the elder who had to do the pushups! It was so fun and made such a good point! :D I love trainings like that! Well, I love trainings in general! Love learning. :) 

A scripture I came across this week really stood out to me:
Hebrews 12:9 

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence : shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits , and live? 

It was one of those "duh" moments that I just love in the scriptures! I have always loved comparing our relationship with our Heavenly Father with our relationship with our earthly father. This scripture makes such a good point and I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of a loving Father in Heaven that knows me and wants the very best for me! I love Him and I know He loves me! <3 

Sorry there wasn't anything terribly exciting this week, but just know that I absolutely LOVE being a missionary! Have an amazing week!!

Sister Van Valkenburg

Here are the bomb sweatbands we made! Hahaha we thought we were so cool! XD
Kind of getting into photography...this little guy was right outside our door!

So behind Sister Thurber, you see a bridge. This bridge has a river underneath it. We have a tradition that whenever we walk across this bridge, we each break off a twig
from a tree/bush and toss it in the river, then run to the other side and see which twig "wins" This is Sister Thurber with her last "twig" that she tried for...longer than necessary
to break off of the bush XD

This is the lady I wrote about in my letter and her husband, the ward mission leader. :) Brother and Sister Moyor. I love them!

Some of you may know that I am allergic to cats...but this one looked so friendly! Did I know I was allergic? Yes. Did I pick it up anyway? Yup. Did I have an allergic reaction? Oh yeah. Do I regret anything? Not a chance. ;) Hahaha have a good week everyone!