Sunday, July 9, 2017

May 29,2017 Email :D

I know I said the sun came out last week...but holy cow did it come out this week!! I have a watch tan line! I never get those! :O ...mainly because I have never worn a watch....but it still makes me giggle! The first couple of days I forgot to wear sunscreen...hence the title of this email...but I'm doing good and everything is tanned up again. :) 

One of the biggest struggles the past couple weeks has been WATER. We are on boil water notice, and have been for the past 3 weeks. The water here is contaminated, so until further notice we are having to boil our drinking water before we drink it, or buy bottled water. It's like camping! So fun!

We started the week with a wonderful combined Zone Conference. :) It was really emotional, because it was our last Zone Conference with President and Sister Burt...but it was so good! We had so many good role plays and trainings...I took pages and pages of notes! I was asked to lead the music, and for the closing song of the whole conference we stood and sang "Called to Serve." I looked around as we sang and everyone was just crying...the spirit was just so strong! It was a really cool experience. :) After the conference, President Burt took the time to have a 2 minute final interview with each of us. I am just so grateful for him and his love and service he has dedicated to each and every one of us during his time here. :) Of course, he isn't leaving for another month...but man! Saying goodbye this week was tough! I will forever be grateful for him and the things I have learned from him and Sister Burt. :) 

This week was full of miracles, too! They're all there if you just look for them! That's something that I've really been learning and trying to apply. You can go through the day noticing and looking for the little miracles or you can go through the day waiting for a big miracle to happen. Rarely will I find myself having a good day if I'm just doing the latter. :) 

We were able to find 5 new investigators this week! (That's big in this area. We have had many weeks without any) Two of them are husband and wife, and the other group is a mom and her two kids. :) They are all just awesome! Bella and Roger, the couple, have sooooo many questions which is soooooo good! As we taught them the Plan of Salvation, we were peppered with questions about our religion (polygamy, blood transfusions, heaven vs hell, you name it) and somehow, with the help of the Spirit, we were able to tie EVERYTHING into the Plan of Salvation while teaching simple doctrine. The Spirit was so strong! Bella and Roger were so good, too! They weren't arguing, just answering questions, and they were just highlighting the pamphelt! I loved it! The mom and her two girls were so good too! We were able to teach them the Restoration and the spirit was so strong in their lesson! Cindy, the mom, was just crying as she felt the Spirit. :) We were able to help her recognize that what she was feeling was the Spirit, I can't type my thoughts really well today....but it was just so good! Just know that! :D

I had the opportunity yesterday to go to my first baptism on my mission. A man named Carlos was baptized. Because he only speaks Spanish, the entire service was in Spanish! It was such a remarkable experience...I haven't taken much Spanish in my life, but somehow I was able to understand the majority of what was said at the baptism. :) The Spirit was so strong, and many of the ward members commented after that they had never felt the Spirit so strong at a baptism. :) It was a beautiful experience to be a part of. 

I just love this gospel and love being a missionary! Have an amazing week!!
Sister Van Valkenuburg

Sorry for the crooked angle...but I'm still obsessed with the clouds. :D
We met this friendly dog at a lady's house as we were knocking doors. He LOVED this rock. Just sat there with it in his mouth the whole time we talked to the lady. XD She wasn't interested in learning more about the Restored Gospel...but hey, I got a picture of her dog!
I mentioned last week that we helped sandbag at a bible camp. Well, this is a picture taken from a park. All of the parks here are closing because the lake water has gotten so high, there is no beach! The snow is melting from the mountains, and the lake just keeps rising! People down by the lake are on evacuation notice if they haven't already been evacuated, and we are expecting the lake to go up 6 more inches and keep rising until July! There have been a lot of service opportunities, to say the least! In this picture, there is a little hut looking thing in the lake. That's actually a dock that has been submerged in the water! Crazy!

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