This week I was able to finish the Book of Mormon along with the rest of my mission. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to start with everyone, as they started it in January and I got here at the beginning of February, but it was still such an amazing experience to be able to close the last page, get on my knees, and ask Heavenly Father once again if the Book of Mormon is true. I can testify that it is true, that it is without a doubt the word of God, and that it contains the answers, guidance, and revelation that we all seek in our lives. We just need to open the pages and read! :) As a mission, we started reading the Book of Mormon again on June 1st. We will finish on, as a gift to our Savior. I am so excited and so grateful for the opportunity that I have to read it again! I know that through my obedience to the promptings I receive from reading the Book of Mormon, I will be able to see miracles!! :D
Remember Bella and Roger from last week? Well.....they're on date to be baptized on July 8th! They are so good! We have taught them about 3 times this last week and plan on keeping that pattern going! I just love them so much and it is always such a treat to be able to go to their house and share another message of the restored gospel! When we saw them on Saturday, they had already read the pamphlet we were going to be teaching out of (We left it with them so they could come up with questions for our lesson and know what to expect) Roger commented really thoughtfully that he had read the pamphlet and loved what it said about repentance. He said that he struggles with low self esteem and he learned that repentance can help him with that. That was such a deep and thought out connection!! I was so happy! I just love watching him and Bella grow as they not only hear our message, but internalize it and apply it to their lives! I know that's what I need to be doing in church and my studies and everything that I do! I learn so much as I teach! Isn't that just so cool?! Mission man, they're so amazing! :D
We had kind of a funny phone call with one of our favorite less-actives in the ward. Her name is Hazel. She has a birthday this week, and had invited us over for dinner to celebrate. She called us the morning of to cancel. She said that she had been sick in the hospital all night!! We asked why she had been in the hospital, and she said she had made some hamburger patties for herself the night before and ate them...and they didn't sit well with her. Sister Miller commented "Aw man! They must have been some bad hamburger patties" and Hazel says "Oh no! They were DELICIOUS!!!" XD We just died laughing! I guess you had to hear her enthusiasm as she said it...but oh boy that was a funny phone call! XD
Lately we have been meeting with all of the auxiliaries in the ward and compiling lists from them for members and less-actives that need visits from us and such. It really has been so inspiring! We were able to drop by the house of a Sister Cooper whom the Relief Society President said is just lonely. When we came, she sat down with us and just poured her heart out. Because of recent experiences in her life, one of them happening just a few days before we came, she believes she has lost her testimony and spirit. She just cried as she told us that she is giving up. She stopped going to church, praying, and one of the things she loves, singing. We were able to bear testimony of her ability to keep growing her testimony and to have the relationship with Heavenly Father that she desires. We were able to sing a hymn with her, and she just cried and cried. :) She said that she did indeed feel the spirit. I know that we were sent to her by inspiration through a loving Relief Society President. I am so grateful for the experience I had to be able to be a tool in the Lord's hands in her life to lift her that day! It lifted me. :)
I have a lot of pictures coming your way this week...got a little camera happy...so I apologize in advance! But I just want everyone to know that I love this gospel! I love being able to bring it into the lives of all those around me here in West Kelowna, and I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us individually! He knows us!!! Have such an amazing week!!!
Sister Van Valkenburg
Just love the sunsets here! (Sister Miller took this picture, no worries!)
We found this gem in the hallway of Sister Cooper's apartment complex. Yes, this is a taxidermy dog. Yes, Sister Miller tried to pet it to see if it's real. It's real. Real taxidermy. XP
We had a wonderful walking day and while we were walking home (an entire hour uphill. It was wonderful! Apparently I was saying "Ow" in my sleep that night whenever I moved! Hahah) we saw a couple deer in the vineyards! So cool!
This is Hazel. We love her! She came to church for the second week in a row this week!