Monday, September 23, 2013

Vander...what? VANDERHOOF!! (9/23/13)

First, I want to start off with this amazing picture:

I SAW THE YOUNG FAMILY IN THE ENSIGN! pretty sweet. I screamed with joy when I saw their picture and my comp got really freaked out, hahaha. Yeah, I took a picture with a picture because I'm cool like that. 


There are so many interesting people in Vanderhoof! Most people that we tract into are actually quite religious, which is a whole new dynamic from people who don't know anything about God or Jesus Christ. For example, we have this one couple that we are teaching who are Christian. They love the Bible and love meeting with us. The husband will read the Book of Mormon, but the wife won't. Her dad is the preacher for the Christian church. She actually has been on missions for about 10 years of her life, through Mercy Ships which are based out of Texas. You should look it up online, they sound amazing.

There's also a bad side with having so many religious people as well. We had an amazing lesson with a first nations (Native American) lady. We gave her a Book of Mormon, but then her Mennonite neighbor convinced her to give the Book of Mormon back. It was very sad. Hopefully, we will be able to give it back to her eventually. She used to be an alcoholic, but has totally changed her life. She would love the gospel if she actually took the time to learn about it and didn't listen to her neighbor. Her neighbor is really scary. She yells at us every time she sees us go visit people around her. It's okay, Sister Ellgen and I still love her. 

So, when we were visiting a couple in our ward, the father told us that he met Jackie Chan on his mission! He gave him a Book of Mormon and got a picture with him and everything! I couldn't get over how cool that is. Seriously!! Jackie Chan has a Book of Mormon? Sweet!

So this past week we had a huge ward clean up of the building, because it was getting pretty disgusting. The two wards in Vanderhoof worked so hard, and now it looks so clean, beautiful and amazing. That was on Tuesday. Then on Thursday, we had an open house! We only had about 15 people show up, which was a little disappointing; but for our very first event, not too shabby. Us missionaries were in charge of showing people the baptismal font, which was amazing. I hope that we'll be able to get someone into the baptismal font very soon! 

On Saturday morning, we drove for an hour and a half to PRINCE GEORGE! An actual city. It was magical. We had zone conference all day Saturday. Then we had adult stake conference at night, but we had to find an investigator to come with us to be able to go. We went street contacting and I got proposed to. Sadly, I had to decline because of the fact that I am a missionary. He was a kind fellow and actually showed up at stake conference with his friend that night. Ha, ha!!!

We stayed with the Nechako YSA Sisters on Saturday night, but we had to walk back from stake conference because we walked there when we were street contacting. SISTER TILLEMAN, the Mission president's wife, gave us her jacket. She is like my mom away from home. I love my mission president and his wife SO much!

 Sister Tilleman's jacket!!!

The sisters that let us stay in their apartment! I love them so much! 

This senior sister missionary made us delicious food while we were at zone conference and stake conference. I love it when I don't have to starve/make food of my own.

And this is the wonderful Sister Shelley! She is in Vanderhoof with me as well, but she is in town. Lucky ducky. hahaha.

Well I learned SO much at Stake Conference and Zone Conference this weekend. I was so spiritually fed and am now ready to take on the week with energy and enthusiasm! This gospel is true, and I know that with every fiber of my being. I wouldn't be out here doing all this super hard and challenging stuff and working hard every day if I didn't know that it was true. 

An amazing story: So ANGELINA!! She was the first investigator that Sister Ellgen and I tracted into our very first night here in Vanderhoof. She FINALLY allowed us to have another lesson with her. We taught her about the restoration and she said that she'll be baptized on October 12th! I can't believe the day has finally come! She is so ready and reads the Book of Mormon. I can't be more happy for her!

Another cool story: So when I first got out in the field and we where getting assigned our trainers, I was actually going to go to Langley. But then, over the PULPIT, President Tilleman changed me to come to Vanderhoof with Sister Ellgen. I know that I was meant to be here even though I'm terrified of all the bugs, rats, and living in a log cabin. It's a lot to get used to. But I've been able to live in a log cabin for a whole month now!! I'm proud of myself. 

Another cool story: Sister Ellgen and I were driving back to our log cabin, and we saw something in the road ahead of us. We thought it was a dog at first but it was actually a BEAR cub! It was so cute running in front of us. I tried to get a picture, but he ran into the trees as soon as I pulled my camera out. It was pretty sweet. I've seen a bear and a moose so far! And some pretty scary bugs. And giant flies. Anyways, who cares? I'm doing the Lord's work!

I can't wait go get more letters from y'all! They mean a lot to me.

Sister Struempler 

Monday, September 16, 2013

14 new investigators this week!! WAHOOO!!!

What a glorious week it has been up here in Vanderhoof. I started off on an exchange last Monday night and was in Prince George all day Tuesday with Sister Kindlespire. It was pretty amazing being in a CITY! I saw a Walmart and Target. I got really excited, but then we couldn't go anyways because PDay was over. But still, it was nice being in civilization. 
There is us doing the exchange. Sister Kindlespire and I went to Prince George. Sister Ellgen and Sister VanTeidren (I totally didn't spell her name right, oh well!) went to Vanderhoof. 
Us being silly in the car!
Sister Kindlespire and I were able to teach a girl named Alex. She was baptized on Sunday, which is pretty cool! Her mom got baptized a couple months ago, and now Alex is baptized! We taught her about prophets and obedience.
The kittens were jumping out of Sister Kindlespire's arms, hahaha. I don't like cats. They make me so sick!
There are so many crazy and awesome people that we get to talk to every day. I love meeting new people every day and just getting to know them. Spreading the gospel is so fun!
Here is me with a stuffed polar bear and an Inukshuk. We went to this place full of stuffed dead animals. It was really weird. So many people are gone right now because it's hunting season. Also, haying season is coming to a close, so a lot of people are crazy busy trying to finish barreling their hay. I'm learning about all this farm stuff! It's pretty cool. 
This is Tiffany Thorne. She is an amazing person! She was actually at BYU-I during the spring. She left to go back for the fall and I'm really sad. She is an RM and went on her mission in England! She would come tracting with us and teach us so much. I LOVE HER!
I don't know what happened to these two carrots, but they grew together. Pretty crazy, eh?
The other sisters had some creeper guy at their apartment complex, so they stayed with us Saturday night and last night. Hopefully everything will work out, but I loved having a slumber party with them!

So I gave a talk yesterday in church about the atonement and how it applies to missionary work. It was really amazing, and I hope that the members are getting more excited about missionary work! We had 2 investigators and 1 potential investigator at church on Sunday. Sundays are so crazy! I'm so glad that Mondays are pdays so that we can rest from yesterday.

We have been finding a lot of new investigators, so hopefully now we can get them progressing! Sister Ellgen and I have taken the challenge from our mission president to get a baptism in October. If you could, please pray for us to have a baptism! I know that prayers get answered. 

Thank you everyone who has sent and are sending me letters! I really appreciate it, and they give me a lot of hope and strength to progress forward with the work.

We went to Fort St. James again on Wednesday and Friday last week. There are a lot of nice people who are prepared there. It's just really hard because a lot of the Native American people just walk everywhere. The closest church is in Vanderhoof. The Elders before us where trying to start a branch there, but we haven't had much luck. It's okay though! There are a lot of prepared people in Vanderhoof as well.

I love seeing people's reactions to us when we knock on their door. There are some Mennonites and Jehovah's Witnesses here. We have avoided Bible bashing so far, so hopefully we can continue to do so. 

I know that the missionaries in B.C are starting to see miracles every day. I know that by being obedient, working hard, and loving everyone, the work will continue to move forward. I love you all and miss you so much! Take care, and keep writing me!

Sister Struempler

Monday, September 9, 2013

Vanderhoof is the Promised Land (kind of)

So much has happened this week, I don't even know where to begin! It's been crazy!

First off: Old people are hilarious!! Seriously. Sister Ellgen and I went tracting in a place that is kind of like an old folks home, but not really. Some elderly people will just chat with you forever and never let you leave. Others will slam the door on your face and call you crazy! hahaha! Either way, I think we both had a grand time. 

Another thing: Boyfriends are stupid! Seriously! Sometimes when we go to visit someone, we have to make sure that their spouse/boyfriend isn't home because sometimes they just really don't want us to be there. It's quite sad actually.

We had appointments fall through this week, which is really disappointing. Hopefully, the people of Vanderhoof will soon realize how important the gospel is and make time for it!

Sister Ellgen and I have been pleasantly surprised by how warm the weather got this week. It was really nice. We decided to have a picnic outside during our lunch time. 
We're so cute!
Anyway, this week I had the privilege of inviting one of our investigators to be baptized! She said yes! Her name is Rebecca, and I would LOVE if you could all pray for her. She has a few things that she needs to overcome before she can be baptized.

When Sister Ellgen and I went to Fort St. James on Friday, we were able to stop at a member's pizza shop to say hello and share a message. Sister Blackmore actually made us pizza which was awesome! It fed us for a few days. 

Our kilometers that we can drive got reduced by 500!!! We were sad to have heard that. Hopefully, we will be able to get some more next month. We try to walk while we tract, but sometimes we can only hit 4 or 5 houses in two hours because the ranches are so far apart!! On Saturday, we had a miracle because we were walking up this one road for 30 minutes and found just one house. We talked to her and she became a new investigator! She told us that there weren't any other houses on that street and saved us a lot more walking. Some people are super nice here, and I really appreciate it!
We have thought about hitch hiking but we decided that it probably isn't the safest thing :D

I saw my first moose!

That was pretty epic. Another thing! When we were in Fort St. James we taught this Hungarian lady. She loves the gospel and comes to church once a month, but won't commit to anything. She thinks the gospel is too complicated and just likes meditation. Hopefully, she will soon understand how important it is!
Here is a picture of a gorgeous sunset, it's too bad you can't see it very well.
So, since we are so short on kilometers this month, we have to try to get people to drive us places. Some people are better drivers than others. hahhaha. Let's say I might have gotten a little car sick this week. A lot of the roads here aren't paved and are just gravel and dirt.

There were two weddings this weekend in Vanderhoof and that was pretty crazy. There are also a TON of little kids in the ward that I'm serving in. It's nice that it's not silent and awkward like it is in singles wards. 

We have been trying to find some service opportunities and are going to clean some windows and help with a food drive this week. Also, some lady wanted us to help her with her chickens. She's going to have her boys kill them, and then she wants us to come over and help her clean them. Sister Ellgen is pretty excited. We'll see if it actually happens, hahaha.
Here are some more pictures:
Thank you for the mail! It made me SOOOOOO happy!!!! Keep writing!
I can obviously bench 200 big deal.
Duck Dynasty bandaid to the rescue of my blisters!
I love you all! Thank you for all of your prayers!!
Sister Struempler

Monday, September 2, 2013

Vanderhoof: hunting, gardens & dogs!!
I'm finally starting to get used to missionary life. After a few weeks, I heard that it gets better. I'm going to just keep trying my best to make it until then!
our whole district . . . we were sad the dollar store was closed!
So there are two wards in Vanderhoof. There is the Vanderhoof Ward, which has the town side of the city and all of the houses on the south side of the river. Then there is the Blue Mountain Ward, which is the ward that Sister Ellgen and I are serving in. It has all of the areas north of the river, along with Fraser Lake and Fort St. James. We have a HUGE area.
A lot of the members here are related. It's pretty funny actually. We had one of the members draw a family tree for one of the families in the ward so that we could get all of their relationships straight.
people like hunting here!
Tracting story: So we were knocking from door to door one day, and this one gentleman answered the door and then said "goodbye." We actually ended up talking to him and started up a new conversation for like thirty seconds before he said "didn't I say goodbye?!" Hahaha!! I guess that's one way of telling someone to go away.
There are so many dogs here! We haven't had any attack us so far, but one of them peed on our car, hahaha. That was funny.
the horse wouldn't let me pet him!
There are tons of horses and cows here. People have huge gardens, and we have like 20 pounds of potatoes that we got for free (and some carrots and squash). They're yummy. There are pastures that go on for miles and miles here. It's so weird.
beautiful clouds!
One thing that I have to give Vanderhoof credit for are the clouds. I have never seen such pretty, fluffy, gorgeous clouds it my whole life! I just look into the sky sometimes and think that is what heaven is going to look like.
Another tracting story: We went to a mobile home and the guy that answered the door said he wasn't interested, but to try the trailer next to the home. Sister Ellgen and I went to the trailer and it reeked of marijuana. We said "hello" to the man that answered the door, gave him a card, and then walked as quickly as we could back to the truck. We are never going back there again, hahaha.
So, we live in a cabin that the Mecham's (who are members) own. Sister Mecham is awesome! She actually crossed America like the pioneers did in handcarts when she was a little kid. She makes awesome homemade bread for us.
our cabin

Sister Ellgen & I were trying to be artsy . . . ha, ha!

The weather here is pretty nice. It's been around 60 to 70 degrees, not too bad for tracting. It's rained a few times, but that's what a rain coat is for!
Sister Ellgen and I have become ninja bug killers. There are these dumb flies in our apartment all the time and we kill them with our bare hands. Pretty cool! hahahaha
We don't have any progressing investigators right now because the Elders didn't leave us much to work with. We mostly spent the last week tracting and finding new investigators. We were able to find 6 new investigators last week! It was pretty awesome.
Vanderhoof, BC
Angelina is doing well. She doesn't want to take lessons from us yet...but said she would come to church and we could answer her questions while she was there. She is native American and was forced to be catholic growing up. They took away her language and made her speak English. She doesn't want to be forced into religion. We aren't trying to force her, but we want her to understand the importance of it! We'll keep working with her and praying for her.
We were trying to find a former investigator, and the directions that we had weren't super clear. People don't use addresses here.  They say things like turn left where there is a giant rock, and drive for 10 kilos and its the first house on the right, or whatever. So we went to a house hoping that it would be her, but then it wasn't. She had never lived at this house. But Deedra answered the door and was super interested in learning. We had a short lesson and hopefully will be meeting with her again this week!  
cute girl named Cora!
My fingers hurt from  typing so fast, hahaha.
We met a Jehovah's witness yesterday & it was really interesting. We challenged him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, because that's the only way to understand the truthfulness of its message. He said he would and then call us if he had questions.
This gospel is true and I'm so excited to be able to teach the people of Vanderhoof about it!