Friday, August 11, 2017

August 8,2017 Email ;D

Hello hello!!

Yesterday was BC day, so we emailed today!! I asked a couple of people what BC day is all about in transit to start conversations...they didn't really know what is was....but that's okay! Because I knew about a different message that could change their lives! ;)
The sun is shining out here in Vancouver! And it's RED!! Because of the forest fires going on all over British Colombia...apparently you can see them from space...the air is full of smoke and the sun is red! It's crazy! Some people are even wearing masks and there are people warning us every day not to go running or anything because the air is dirty. Whether it is related to the muggy air or not, we also hit a record here in Van City! 36 degrees!!! Apparently, it hasn't gotten that hot here since the 1900s or something. I don't remember the year, but a lady on the bus was very excited about it! ;)
Update on my missionary wardrobe: I have 3 pairs of proselyting shoes and all 3 now have holes in the bottom! :P They are my "holy" shoes. ;)
We had a wonderful meal with a sweet older lady in the ward who was baptized about 15 years ago. She fed us some mystery meat Chinese food..it tasted good! She's Filipino and didn't want to cook, so she picked up some food and heated it up...packaging was in Chinese so...we all learned together! Sister Kim swears that it was all chicken except the short ribs...but I've had a lot of chicken in my life and I don't think I've had at least that particular part of the chicken....who knows! Tasted good! ;) As we were eating, she looked at me and said quite seriously "Do they sell chocolate in Utah?" OF COURSE!! I say, we love chocolate!! She was appalled! Since our religion is so prominent in Utah, and chocolate has caffeine in it, she was shocked that the state would sell chocolate! We had quite the interesting conversation. :) To say the least!

My spiritual thought today has to do with the above picture.. I bought this watch last P-day, because mine broke, and while riding the skytrain home I realized that the second hand was broken! What the...? I just bought it like an hour ago! Instead of taking it back, I decided to keep it. It still works, after all! But I was really thinking about that second hand...and I felt another little analogy coming on. :) Lately, I have been SO STRESSED about where I need to be, who I need to be talking to, I need to use EVERY SINGLE SECOND of Heavenly Father's time wisely!! That's true..every second is precious, but I realized that I wasn't living in the moment. I would be talking to someone on the bus, and be glancing out of the corner of my eye every other second at the front of the bus where it says what stop is next. When my second hand broke, I had to go minute-to-minute instead of second-to-second. A lot changed this week in my conversations with people as I really took this to heart! How much of our lives do we spend counting seconds instead of living every minute of our lives to the fullest capacity? I truly have seen a difference from living each minute of my days this week and plan to use each second of Heavenly Father's time wisely...as I focus on each minute!

I am so grateful for every second that Heavenly Father gives us, and for every minute that I am able to spend as a missionary here in the Canada Vancouver mission!! There are miracles around every corner, and I am so blessed to be a part of them! I love you all and I love my mission! Have an amazing week!

love,
Sister Van Valkenburg

Sister Kim made me some Korean food! Korean rice, egg, and seaweed! Did I mention that we have an entire cupboard dedicated to her seaweed? True story!!


Went to Chipotle for the first time in my life! It was delicious!! I will admit, though....I'm still a Café Rio girl at heart. ;) <3

Sunday, August 6, 2017

July 31,2017 Email :D

Hello hello!
Another week has flown by in Van City!! ...apparently that's what people here call Vancouver? Something. Idk. I'm trying to be cool and....*cough cough* anyway! :) It's Monday again and life is grand!

This last week we have been busy, busy, busy! We had quite the adventure Saturday and Sunday! A man in the ward informed me last Sunday that he would be singing in sacrament meeting and asked if I would accompany him to Come Thou Fount. uh...only my favorite song! Yes! Texted him quite frequently throughout the week...and he finally met us at the church SATURDAY NIGHT with the sheet music! We have 9:00 church, people! Turns out, the sheet music was NOT Come Thou Fount, but it was The Lord's Prayer!!! What?! This was no simple hymn, people I can tell you that! I couldn't back out at this point, and poor Sister Kim (Who has an amazing opera voice) ended up getting dragged into this wonderful ensemble! Hahaha come Sunday morning we walked up to the front during sacrament meeting and performed a beautiful rendition of The Lord's Prayer, me on the piano and Sister Kim singing a duet. We had angels helping us for sure, and it all worked out swimmingly! But boy oh boy was that an adventure! After that, we threw together a quick lesson and taught Primary as well! I love the opportunities that we have as missionaries! Though there is something that I learned through all of this...nothing is completely spur of the moment or "winging it" when you have prepared as Heavenly Father needs you to. I didn't completely "wing" the piano, because I have practiced in the past. My daily studies and experience in primary helped me to teach the sweet kids...and Heavenly Father knew exactly what I was going to face in that Sunday. He provided the means for me to accomplish the things that He commanded! :D

One day this week we were challenged by our District Leader to have the pamphlets in our mind when we talk to people. He promised that as we did that we would have the opportunity to use them to help people and teach the gospel. I was sitting on the bus, a bus that we had not planned on taking but followed the Spirit to get on, and a husband and wife sat down a couple seats down from me. I felt prompted to talk to them, and kind of yelled across the bus something about the weather. They smiled and started talking back! So I scooted over and had a really nice conversation with them about Vancouver, as they were visiting, and searched for something to share with them, keeping in mind the pamphlets! I asked them what brought them here, and instantly the mood changed. They were here for the burial of their 2 month old granddaughter. *enter Plan of Salvation pamphlet* I was able to bear testimony simply about how their sweet granddaughter is in a better place, and as they had to get off at the next stop, hurried and gave them the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. I have experiences like this every day, but this one really stood out to me because of the commitment I had made to a leader. I know that as we set goals and really aim to achieve them that Heavenly Father will bless us with miracles!

Another cool experience, we were able to have a last minute lunch with a returning less-active family, an investigator, and a ward member! That was a party! If y'all remember last week's email about a certain figit spinner and it's attack to my face....that was at their house! So for our message that we shared, we told the story of David and Goliath. XD I thought I was so funny! But in all seriousness, we shared about how when David prepared to face his giant, he selected FIVE small stones, not just one. And when he walked up to Goliath, he had his sling already in his hand. He was ready to fight. He was prepared! Sister Kim shared with us that in the MTC she learned of these 5 stones to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I know that as we carefully select our stones (may be more than 5) to face our giants, and walk toward them with faith, ready to sling, Heavenly Father will guide our stones to hit direct center! However, key points I learned this week...there may be many giants. There ARE. But we can only hit one at a time. And we have to ACT!  We can't just stare at the stones in the river or put them in our bag. We need to walk forward with faith. :) Random thoughts from Sister V...as usual! :D

Funny story:
So we live in an apartment building with two other sets of Sisters and one set of Elders. So it's a weird day if you don't run into at least one other set of missionaries going in or out around the street we live on! We were doing out studies the other day, and we get a phone call around 7:30 from the Elders. "Uh...hey sisters....we were just dropping off a missionary and we forgot our keys....could you let us in? So sorry." We live on the 4th floor and the elevator was broken...so we hustled down in our fab workout attire and opened the door. A few hours later we were finishing comp study and receive another phone call from the SAME Elders! "Hey sisters....we've done it again! So sorry...." Hustled down...opened door....ran back up and went out to work! We came back to the apartment for dinner later that evening and saw that the management had taped signs on every door leading outside that said "No key, no entry! Be aware of those you are letting into the building!" I died laughing!!!! What a coincidence, hey? Apparently the same Elders called the other sets of sisters the next day...when they locked themselves out again. XD Too funny!!!

Oh goodness! Life is a rollercoaster, my friends! I am so grateful for all that Heavenly Father sends our way! All of the Goliaths are scary, though some may seem identical to one that you've seen before! I know, that no matter what, each time we sling our stones with faith, our arms get stronger, our aim is more sure, and we grow and progress along the journey that Heavenly Father has lovingly sent us here to earth to experience! I love you all! have a wonderful week!

love,
Sister Van Valkenburg

We had a lesson with a sweet Chinese lady in the ward. She left the room for a bit and I snuck a pic....had to show y'all the traditional Chinese visit. Slippers for your feet, fruit, and nice china containing HOT water! So sweet! (Also is was quite hot outside so we were all sweating buckets as we drank the water! XD)

Driving home from the doc this afternoon...saw this exit....good thing I wasn't the driver! ;) Hahaha so close to the Border!!!
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Saw this cutie today!!! :D Sister Christensen came out with me and is now a Sister Training Leader opening up Langley!! I'm so proud of her and she is SO AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! LOVE HER!!!
Also a quick pic of the sticky note our apartment manager left us on his sticky note board he has by the elevator. This was during the time the elevator was broken. XD He leaves little notes a couple days a week to keep us giggling. XD Love him!