Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm staying in Richmond! (3/24/14)

I can't believe that transfer calls were last week! That seems like such a long time ago! hahaha. Time is so weird as a missionary. That's all I gotta say!

Monday we got to go to Steveston Village! (where "Once Upon a Time" is filmed)
Here are some pictures of the village (aka: Storybrooke)
Here's Granny's Café!!
While we were in Mr. Gold's shop (from the show "Once Upon a Time") we were talking to the lady working there, while we were looking around. We got onto the topic of the gospel (of course, cuz we're missionaries). It turns out that she goes to a Christian school and she's studied about Mormons before. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and testify of it's truthfulness, and she said she would read it. IT WAS SO COOL!
Shopping fun
Thanks for the package mom and dad!
Thanks for the cookie mix mom and dad! They are delicious :) 
This is what happened last week:
We got to teach little 8 year old Abby on Monday! She is the cutest thing.

Then on Tuesday morning, we got to teach Moyett the Jamaican lady. She's hilarious! "You two girls are so sweet, you're going to give me cavities!" hahaha. Sister Petersen and I couldn't stop laughing. 
She said it was so painful. I felt so, bad but it just looked so cool as well. You and my weird fascination with medical things.
So yeah, we went to that and then went on a couple of weird exchanges with the Chinese sisters, because Sister Ding and Sister Chen went to the temple. SISTER CHEN WENT HOME ON WEDNESDAY! And, Sister Ding is going home in three weeks. It's so weird!
We got to teach Molly and John! They are so awesome. Molly is just loving being taught again, because she's been inactive most of the time that she's been a member. And John is just soaking it in. It's really helping him with his metal illness that he's going through right now. We were even able to get the Elder's to give them both a blessing on Wednesday. They loved it! The priesthood is real and it works!
Then, we put our soccer mom van to good use on Wednesday night. We had to pick up two sets of sisters: one from Vanderhoof and one from Prince George. It was so fun! We all three went street contacting and that was fun.
Then, we went to go pick up 2 new sisters that just arrived in the mission: one has been here for 3 weeks and one was fresh off of the plane. Only 2 sisters! When I came out, there were like 15 of us or something crazy like that. We got to be at the end of their "welcome to the mission testimony meeting" and the spirit was so strong! I could just feel it in the room. I love the fact that I get to feel the spirit so strongly as a missionary. 

We had transfer meeting on Thursday! Even though Sister Petersen and I weren't getting transferred, we got to go because the President invited us.

A couple sad things happened this week. Moyett doesn't want to meet with us right now and neither does Brenda. I've come to love them so much as we've been able to teach them the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. But, there is something that we can't control: agency! People have the agency to choose to accept or reject the gospel. We are going to give them some time, and then hopefully we can teach them and they will get baptized in the future!
Biggest Miracle of the Week:
ABI, MEGHAN, CHRIS, and ANGIE came to church on Sunday! Abi absolutely loved it! She had so much fun in primary! Angie could feel the spirit so strongly (Sister Petersen and I could just tell). I was so happy to be able to sit with them in church and introduce them to people. Hopefully, they will start to make it a habit and be able to come to church every week, so Abi can be baptized! The gospel blesses families so much, and I am so grateful that I will be able to be with my family forever.
A couple funny stories:
We were tracting, we knocked on this guy's door, and apparently he was an ex-DJ. He had 13 disco balls (and not just normal ones...GIANT ONES) hanging from one of the tree's in his backyard. It was pretty awesome.

So...there are tons of Chinese people in Richmond. One time we were knocking on this door...and a man opens it.... puts up his hands and says "CHINESE" and just closes the door. I swear that they do know how to speak English, because sometimes we can get a conversation started. It's just so funny the excuses people come up with so they don't have to talk to us :P 
The church is true! I love you all! Please write me letters! Now it's cheaper because you can use a U.S. stamp ;)

Sister Struempler

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement (3/17/14)

Monday we went to the mall...again! The Richmond Center Mall is HUGE! I don't even know where to begin on how awesome it is. Also, there is this Asian mall that has all these cool Asian stores. We've only been there once. These are probably the best potatoes that I've ever had in my whole life. They were like "sweet and sour" with onions are carrots and ugh....just delicious. I LOVE Asian food! seriously!

Then we washed our car...for FREEEE! Perks of serving where the mission office is :)
Ugh . . . stinkin' van. Well, I love our van. Like I said last week. Future soccer mom in training right here - hahaha!
Anyways . . . then we got to teach adorable little Abby again. She is so cute! She wants to be baptized, but she goes to her dad's house every weekend so she hasn't been able to go to church. Please pray that she will be able to make it to church this weekend! We got her a children's Book of Mormon and she loves it! Pictures are such a powerful teaching tool!

Then on Wednesday we got to go visit this less active lady in Tawassan (I don't know if that is spelled's right by Point Roberts!!) and she met the elders at Wendy's. She just walked up to them and said that she hasn't come to church since she was 15 and wants to get her life together. She is such a miracle and so nice! I love when people realize for themselves that they need to change their lives to be happy :)

We had our last district meeting with Sister Chen!! She's going home on Wednesday! Super weird. I've never served with someone who has gone home before. She is just so calm about it. I would be freaking out if I was her! Here's a pic!
This is our district plus the senior sisters in the office. I love them!! I'm one with the chinese now :) hahaha!
Sister Nickels is hilarious! She's from Idaho!!

Then we took Sister Zhu (pronounced Jew) to a couple lessons with us. She's companions with our mission nurse right now, so sometimes she comes with us :)
We taught this man named John, who is dating this member of the chinese branch named Molly. He is so WONDEFUL! So prepared by the Lord. Molly really wants to be sealed in the temple and have an eternal family. Her testimony was so powerful and John was able to feel the spirit. It was such a spiritual lesson, I don't even know how to explain it! I loved it!

We also taught Brenda and we EVEN PLANNED OUT HER BAPTISMAL SERVICE! She decided to call us later in the week and tell us that she doesn't believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross. WHAT?!?! So random! We are going to help her resolve her concern this week and hopefully she will be baptized soon! I love her so much! She is such a funny lady.

We also got to teach this jamacian lady. She is SO FUNNY! She wants to be baptized and knows that the church is true. She kept telling us about how Sister missionaries are just better teachers because we are more compassionate. SISTAA POWERRR! hahaha, just kidding. Anyways...she also told us our futures. Apparently I'm too agreeable (haha mom you're always right) and that my husband is going to be the dominate one in my future marriage. And I'm not going to work, but going to volunteer a lot and be with my kids. And my future husband is going to be 1 year older or the same age as me. It was pretty funny. We taught her the gospel! She loves the fact that we have a prophet on the Earth today with authority. She is just scared of coming to church because she doesn't want her 3 year old son to be too loud. AHHH! We need her to come to church! pray for her as well :)

Transfer calls tonight! wish me luck!

Sister Struempler

Sickies... (3/10/14)

This week Sister Petersen and I were ordered by our mission mom to take the week off and rest, because Sister Petersen and I were sick. I started feeling better by Wednesday, but Sister Petersen didn't because she is way more sick than I am. She is even still sick right now, so everyone please PRAY for her. She needs to get better, and I am trying to do everything I can to help. With all of our prayers I know she will be able to get better :)

On Thursday, we went to our mission nurse's house and helped out a bit. It was good to get out of the house and do something. I really love my mission nurse. She is so wonderful :)

Then on Friday, we got to go out and teach Brenda with our member friend Sarah, who is preparing to serve a mission. Sarah and I tried to teach the whole thing, so that Sister Petersen wouldn't be too strained. Hahaha. It was really wonderful! We went over the baptismal interview questions with her and she is just so prepared to join the church. She was telling us how she explains us to other people, and she always tells people that us missionaries are always "high on Christ" and that we're so happy, and how it's refreshing. Sister Petersen and I got a kick out of that, hahaha. 

We did make a mistake...oops...On Saturday we called her to make sure that she would be coming to church on Sunday. We got her a ride and everything. And when her ride came to pick her up at 8:40 (because church starts at 9 am) and she was still in bed because we FORGOT TO TELL HER ABOUT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS! ahhh, oops. She didn't make it to sacrament, but she came to Sunday school and relief society. She wasn't too mad, just called us scatterbrains and gave us hugs :) She was able to get interviewed for baptism on Sunday, so hopefully she'll be baptized this weekend if she doesn't have her knee replacement surgery. :) We are so excited for her!

Then Sunday we went tracting and met some awesome people. We met this lady named Kelley and she is such a miracle. Apparently, she used to meet with Elder's when she lived in Vancouver many years ago. She remembered that they thought it was weird that she line-dried her clothing. She was like "nothing smells better than line-dried clothing. I mean you can put it in the dryer and stick a dryer sheet in there and it will get the job done. But it's just not the same." We thought that was pretty funny. She has a background of being Sihk, but is open to many different religious ideas. I can't wait to teach her next week.

Oh, and this week was fast Sunday because we had a conference last Sunday. This is the way to break a fast:
This is our van we drive. Future soccer mom in training right here...yeah....we don't like to talk about it hahaha ;)
I love studying in the morning!
I love and miss y'all! I hope you have a wonderful week. Please write me! The gospel is true! Heavenly Father loves you!

Sister Struempler

A Special Witness of Jesus Christ (3/3/14)

This week was probably the most spiritual week of my whole mission. An Apostle of the Lord, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, came and visited my mission. Words can't even describe how wonderful it was to be in the presence of an apostle. I just love this church and I'm so grateful to know that we have the same organization as the church that Christ established when we was on the Earth. I'm so grateful for apostles and a prophet that lead and guide our church to make sure that our teachings are in line with the Lord's will.

This week we went finding and had some wonderful lessons. Then on Friday, we had the whole mission here in Richmond. That has only happened once so far on my mission, because it takes a lot to get us all here. The missionaries up north had to fly down, the missionaries on the island had to take a ferry here, and the missionaries in the Okanagan area had to bus down. We had a mission fast and a conference on Friday night to prepare for the apostle. 

Then on Saturday, we all went to Vancouver and were able to be instructed by an apostle of the Lord. I can't share much, because of the sacredness of the event, but I learned and grew a lot during those couple hours. I know that this gospel is true and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church, with the priesthood authority to perform saving ordinances. I am so grateful to be a part of it and to be able to devote myself 100% to it for the next year. I love you all and miss you all. Please pray for me, I would really appreciate it. And send me letters as well. I am so grateful to you all for the support that you give me :) 

Sister Struempler

Richmond looks beautiful in white! (2/24/14)

This week was crazy! It's been snowing in Richmond since Saturday and it hasn't stopped! That's very unusual for Richmond. And, we are driving a mini van . . . pray that we'll be alright in the snow this week! hahaha.

So, last Tuesday we had dinner with Brad, Loretta, Bri, Carlie, and David. They live in Brookswood and Sister Petersen taught them when she was there for the first 9 months of her mission. They're such a wonderful family! I love them so much!
Bri, me, Sister Petersen, and Carlie. They're great . . . I laughed so much with them! More than I probably have my whole mission! hahaha.

Then on Wednesday we had district meeting. In my District there is Sister Petersen and I, the Richmond Chinese sisters (Sister Ding and Sister Li), and then the White Rock Chinese sisters (Sister chen and Sister Leung). So yeah! it's such a fun district and I love it so much. They're teaching me some Chinese!
Then I went on an exchange to White Rock with Sister Leung. White rock is where they film Psych by the way! Anyways...we went and taught this lady from Chile and the spirit was so strong when we taught her the restoration. She is preparing to be baptized! And then, we went finding and Sister Leung talked to all the Chinese people and I talked to all the Caucasian people. It was fun! Then some Jehovah's witnesses tried to convert us, but we didn't let them. There's no point in Bible bashing, it gets us nowhere!

This is a really bad picture of sister Leung and I:
Then I came back on Thursday, we did some weekly planning, and taught this super cute Filipino couple. They are questioning their catholic beliefs and they're so open to hearing about the restored gospel! I know that God prepares people for us to find! It's so wonderful to see people's testimonies grow about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

On Friday, we cleaned this lady's house for her because she's preparing to get a knee replacement on Feb 28th . . . and then get baptized on March 22nd! She'll be coming home to a clean house now, and I just love her. She's the sweetest thing! She even gave us some of her homemade pottery! 

Then on SUNDAY, we had a baptism! It's such a crazy story!
The dad served his mission in Japan where he met Wendy. She's from China, but moved to Japan. They got married and Wendy has been learning about the gospel ever since. Their oldest 2 daughters have been baptized and Wendy promised Becky (the little 9 year old girl) that she would get baptized with her. Well, Becky turned 8 and Wendy still wasn't ready. So Becky has been waiting and waiting for her mom to be baptized. Then, on the first Sunday that Sister Petersen and I got to Richmond, Wendy decided that it was time for her and Becky to be baptized! I love this family so much and am so excited for them to be able to be a family for eternity now!! 

The gospel is true! I am so grateful that my family is sealed together for time and all eternity because Heaven wouldn't be Heaven without my family. I love you all and miss you so much! please write me letters! I love hearing from all you!

Sister Elle Struempler
Oh and here are some pictures from the temple trip we got to have last Tuesday!

Have miracles ceased? NAY!!!!! (2/18/14)

Wow, this week has just been full of so many miracles! I don't even know where to start! First of all, we were able to move into our own apartment. It was an old elders apartment....again! Please Elders, CLEAN YOUR APARTMENTS! We spent 5 hours on the kitchen alone. But it's all clean now, and we are able to feel the spirit! I am so grateful that we were able to do that!
Here are a couple big miracles that stick out to me:
One night it was just POURING rain. We didn't want to knock doors in the rain and wind and storm, so before we got out of the car, we said a prayer that someone would be kind enough to let us into their home so that we would be able to get out of the rain. And we knocked on one door...they didn't like us...the second door...nobody was home...and the third door...a super nice asian lady answers. All we said was "Hello" and she was like "come in, come in! it's cold outside"! She took our umbrellas, coats, and sat us on her couch and gave us warm water. Sister Petersen and I didn't know what to do because she was so kind! We told her that we are missionaries and she said that she knew some. She pulled out a buisness card and it was the card for the ESL class that we have at the church on Saturdays! She is from China and her English isn't that great, but we were able to teach her the whole restoration and it was just such a miracle. The spirit was so strong and we were able to bear our testimonies to her!
Brenda! Brenda is such a miracle. The Elder's gave us her to teach. She has been smoking for the past 50 years, and that's why we changed her baptismal date to March 22nd. She didn't smoke all day on Saturday and Sunday, but did have one on Monday. That's just a testimony to me that we all slip up sometimes, and we just have to keep trying to do our best and follow the commandments. She said that she won't smoke anymore so everyone please keep her in your prayers! She also is having a knee replacement surgery at the end of this month. I know that with the Lord, everything will go well and that she will be baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Last BIG miracle. We were street contacting (you can do that here in Richmond!!!! FINALLY!!!) and we talked to this man that was COVERED in tattoos and gave him a card. He said that he was a member of the church, but hasn't come in over 10 years! His brother is a bishop and all of his family is active! We were able to talk to him more and he wanted us to teach his girlfriend and two daughters the gospel! We were able to teach them a little last night and the spirit was so strong. I know that Heavenly Father puts us in the places that we need to be at the right time, so that we can help the people that need it the most.
On top of all of these miracles, I was able to go to the Temple today and I SAW THE GULBRANSON FAMILY FROM VANDERHOOF THERE! Kalene was getting her endowment because she got called to the Provo, Utah mission and TIFFANY got sealed to Korlyn in the temple! I wasn't able to see Tiffany, but IT WAS SO GOOD TO SEE THE REST OF THE FAMILY! And, I also saw people from Chilliwack as well. I feel like B.C. is starting to become like home. There are so many people here that I love and care about.
I love this gospel, I love my mission and I am so greatful for the inspired leaders that we have in this church and that we have a living Prophet to lead and guide this church today.
Please write me! I haven't gotten any letters yet! You can even use a U.S. Stamp now and send it to:
Sister Elle Struempler
Canada Vancouver Mission
P.O. Box 149
Point Roberts, WA
If you send me a package, make sure to write on the outside what is in it so that they can take it across the border!
Sister Struempler

I'm opening RICHMOND ENGLISH sisters!! (2/12/14)

This week was SO BUSY AND INSANE! I loved it and I'm so glad to be in my new area, but I do miss my old area and Sister Dockstader a lot.

So, it all started off with the transfer call on Monday. Sister Dockstader is staying in Chilliwack and she got a new companion, Sister Black. And I am opening Richmond English Sisters with Sister Petersen. I don't even have a picture with her yet but I'll put one up soon.

I had to say goodbye to the Fox family. I'm going to miss Sister Fox SO much! She's the greatest!
 And here is a picture of me and Sister Dockstader. Goodbye Chilliwack!!
It was SO cold! Hahaha. Anyways, I was packed up on Wednesday and we drove to Richmond for Transfer meeting on Thursday. I learned so much about how to be a better missionary and improve myself to become what God wants me to be. Then, I got my new companion Sister Petersen. She's from North Ogden, Utah :) 

We've been living with the Richmond Chinese Sisters since then, because our apartment situation hasn't been figured out yet. They are SO CUTE! We love them so much :) Sister Ding and Sister Li:
They make the BEST food in the whole world! Oh my goodness :) Sister Li is from Taiwan and Sister Ding is from mainland China. 

Then we got to work! We started by weekly planning, and it was really interesting trying to plan for an area that neither of us knew. We made it through with the Lord's help, and I have learned that planning is so important. We don't need to work harder to hasten the work, because there is a limit to how hard we work. We just need to work smarter and use the resources that we have and the spirit to guide us :)

Then on Sunday, we went to church! It is so wonderful being in Richmond because church is in the same building as the mission office! We have all the senior couples that work in the office in our ward and I love them all so much! They have helped strengthen me when I felt weak, because it's hard opening an area.

On Sunday, a part-member family went up to the Elders and said that they were ready to be baptized and the Elders gave them to us to teach! It was such a miracle! Throughout all the uncertainty this past week, the Lord was able to bless us because we were working as hard as we could! Wendy is the mom and the daughter is 9 years old. The daughter was waiting for the mom to be ready so that they could be baptized together. Sister Petersen and I are SO excited for them :) Their baptismal date is Feb 23rd!

So if you want to send me mail send it to:

Sister Gabrielle Struempler
Canada Vancouver Mission
P.O. Box 149
Point Roberts, WA 98281

or you can send it to the mission office (but that will need an international stamp)

Sister Gabrielle Struempler
Canada Vancouver Mission
8440 Williams Road
Richmond, B.C.
V7A - 1G6

The Lord chastens us because he loves us and wants us to be better. Sometimes when missionary work or just life in general gets super overwhelming, we just need to "get over it and get to work!" Doing the Lord's work is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and I'm only able to do it with His help. We need to follow the commandments to get His help. I am so grateful to be a part of His church and I know that this gospel is true. I am out preaching it because it's the only way that our brothers and sisters can return to live with Heavenly Father again. I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.