Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter! (4/21/14)

This week was so great! We went to Stantly Park last week! Here are a few of the MANY pictures that we took:

Boats need gas stations too!! hahaha
I had to get a penny!!
seafood poutine! delish!!
SOO! Fun!! :)
WHY are there PALM TREES in Vancouver? It makes no sense to me...
Driving in Vancouver to get to Stantly park!
So yeah, that was SUPER fun! I loved going there. (Family: we need to go again after my mission, because we didn't even get to see half of what was there!!!)
This week we got to teach some awesome people! Abi, was her cute, crazy self as usual. We finished teaching her so hopefully she'll be baptized in May! Then, we also taught this eleven-year-old girl named Shaylin. She's super cute as well! Their house has TONS of animals! Birds, chinchillas, dogs, cats, bunnies, etc. It was awesome! But not awesome for my allergies! So maybe we will go on splits with the Chinese sisters when we teach her :p
We also have been teaching the CUTEST Taiwanese lady ever! She is planning on getting baptized as well! We are SO EXCITED for her and her son.

Sister Tilleman, me, Sister Petersen, Sister Kurd, Emily, and Sister Hogg!
She's so nice and calls us her angels, haha. I'm so happy to teach her and see her face light up as she learns more and more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 
A couple funny stories:
So we were tracting and we were approaching this super fancy house. Well, those always have gates that you have to open to get to the front door. The gate was partially open, so we just go in. Out of habit, I shut the door (so that animals don't escape, etc.). Turns out nobody was home. As we walk back to the gate, we found out that IT WAS LOCKED! We ended up hopping over the fence to get out, skirts and all. It was SO FUNNY! We couldn't stop laughing.

We were tracting and knocked on this guys door. He was atheist, so we started asking him why to just get talking. His 8-month-old puppy runs out of the house to say "hi" to us. So, I pet him and then continue talking. Then I feel Sister Petersen's hand on my back. Apparently, the dog thought that Sister Petersen's skirt was a tug-o-war rope and was pulling on her skirt. She was frantically trying to twist and turn so the dog would let go. Finally the owner noticed and had to open his jaws so that he would let go of her skirt. Again, we couldn't stop laughing!

Things that happen to us missionaries are so strange, but I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything in the world! 

On Saturday, we had a ward pancake breakfast and Easter egg hunt! That was super fun, and we even had some investigators there. We got to know the ward better, and it was just great! 

Sunday was one of the best Easters ever! We had a wonderful church meeting and 5 of our friends that we're teaching were able to come. If you haven't seen this video, PLEASE watch it! It's amazing!

It's just a wonderful message about the true meaning of Easter. I now realize how important Easter is because Christ was Resurrected. We know that we will see our family and friends again after we die because we too will be Resurrected! 

Then, we got to go to Anne's baptism! We taught her the first lesson, and then she decided to go to YSA in Vancouver instead of the family ward here in Richmond. So, we passed her off to the YSA elders, but were able to go to her baptism! I love her and I loved going to her baptism! It was probably one of the most spiritual experiences on my mission so far. Baptism is so simple, yet it is so essential to our eternal salvation.
We also got to met Jimmy, who's Anne's sister. She is so cute and hopefully will start coming to church with Anne!
Then, Sister Petersen's friends in her first area, Langley, invited us over for dinner. We got permission and headed over to a wonderful Easter feast!
What a wonderful way to end such a great week! I know that this gospel is true and that we're all here for a reason. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He knows everyone of us personally. I love you all!

Until next week,
Sister Struempler

There is Sunshine in my Soul Today! (4/14/14)

This week was so wonderful! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, what more could you ask for? So last P-day was pretty relaxed. We went to the mall for a bit and that was about all. Today we are going to go to Vancouver to visit Stantly Park! We're so excited! I won't be able to write any letters today, but next week I'll send you some for sure. Make sure to write me! I really love hearing from everyone :) Happy Almost Easter!!

Then on Tuesday, we went on exchanges! Sister Ding and Sister Wang came with me, and Sister Petersen went with Sister Li. I was privileged to be companions with Sister Ding for her LAST day of her mission! She went home on Wednesday morning to China. I'm going to miss her so much!!
Sister Ding is on the left and Sister Wang is on the right. :) 
We did some tracting, and it was awesome because I could talk to the English people and they could talk to the Chinese people. I felt like it was so efficient! Except I always had to ask them what happened after a door because I don't speak Mandarin. It was pretty funny.

Then on Tuesday we had some lessons that we went to together. We also went street contacting, and that was so fun! We went to the Richmond public market for dinner, and it was only Asian stuff! It was awesome. We had to do that for Sister Ding's last dinner. 

We were able to teach this girl named Amra from Mongolia. It was so interesting because she's never even heard of God or Jesus Christ. I was so glad to have the Chinese sisters with me because they always teach people who don't know about God. Most people from the Asian countries are Buddhist. We taught her the plan of salvation and she loved it. It makes me so happy to teach people about this plan because it's true! We know why we're here on this Earth, where we go after we die, and where we came from.

Then, we went and visited Molly so Sister Ding could say goodbye to her. John doesn't want to meet with us any more, which is super sad. Hopefully some missionaries in the future will be able to teach him again!

We also saw cute little Abi and we watched the restoration DVD with her. I know that Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet in this last dispensation!

Then, we exchanged back on Tuesday night. We dropped the Chinese sisters off at the mission home on Wednesday morning and said good bye to Sister Ding one last time. We had a Zone meeting which was really good. We talked about how we can use the Book of Mormon more in our missions. By sharing the words of the Book of Mormon more and testifying of its truthfulness, we can help people gain a stronger testimony of it.

We tried to teach Moyett one last time, but she wasn't home. It's so sad when we have to stop teaching people for a while. I'm going to miss teaching her, but she isn't ready and isn't willing to make the time for it right now. I know she'll be baptized in the future.   

We taught some more pretty awesome people this week. We have been trying to meet with the members more and even some less active members. We taught Sachi again and she's so awesome! She had so many questions, so we taught her the plan of salvation. We asked her to read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon and she thought that it was too short when she looked at it. So she read the ENTIRE FIRST BOOK OF NEPHI! It was crazy! We had to explain the whole thing to her. It was pretty funny actually.

We also have been working with this less active lady who has three little boys. We've been trying to get her to church for the past month or two and she finally agreed to come this Sunday. We were running around with our heads cut off trying to find 3 car seats for her boys because she doesn't have a car or car seats. With the Lord's help, we were able to get the car seats and someone with a van to pick her and her boys up. It was such a miracle to see them there! Everyone is welcome at church, members, non-members, and people who haven't come in years! I love this gospel and I know that it's true!!

So here is an example of some of the houses we knock on:
Huge mansions! It's crazy. Richmond is full of them. But it isn't like there is a neighbourhood of mansions. You'll see a normal house, and then this giant thing, and then a normal house. Then a couple mansions, then a normal house. It's crazy how diverse Richmond is!

This is my companion and I's motto:
Here's a beautiful picture:
and lastly, this is what I do to my companion at night. I give her giant corn rows:
hahaha - that was fun! I love you all and have a wonderful Easter! I know that Christ was resurrected and that He Lives. 

Sister Struempler

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today I've been out for 8 months! (4/7/14)

Woot woot!

So, last pday we got to go to a Buddhist temple! It was SO FUN!
Then, we taught Abi again. She is seriously the cutest thing. We were able to teach her the ten commandments this week, and we did it by making a puzzle. Every time she put a piece of the puzzle together, we taught her the commandment that was on that piece. Then we taught her hymn 303 "Keep the Commandments" because she loves singing. It was probably one of the most creative lessons my companion and I have ever come up with!

Then...John and Molly. We finished teaching John about the plan of salvation. So, we decided to teach him the Law of Chastity so that John could get baptised. I guess he isn't as solid as we thought. Needless to say, he took great offence to the Law of Chastity and I don't know if we will be meeting with him again. It's so sad! I want them to get sealed in the temple for time and all eternity! If only he could just understand the eternal importance.

After the awkward Law of Chastity lesson, my comp and I decided to drop by the office before going in to eat dinner. We had some thank you cards that we wanted to give to the office couples. When we dropped in, an investigator named Malcolm showed up and nobody was there to teach him. The Elders were suppost to teach him, but they had to reschedule. They tried calling him, but he ended up showing up for his lesson anyway. We gave him a tour of the church with the Nickels and then taught him the entire restoration and invited him to be baptised!!! IT WAS SUCH A TENDER MERCY AFTER SUCH AWFUL LESSON! It was so good. He is going to be baptised on April 27th! yayyy!!!!

This week we were able to teach some awesome people after having so many of our baptismal dates fall though for March. I know the Lord is blessing us so much! We were able to teach this girl named Sachi who is a sceptic. We thought she was going to be argumentative, but she had some really sincere questions. She wants to find God in her life, but is just very logical. We left her with a Book of Mormon and then taught her on Sunday about the restoration. She felt the spirit! I could tell that she was about to cry at one point. The gospel really changes peoples hearts, and I see this miracle every day. We invited her to be baptised, and she said if she overcame her scepticism, then she would. 

We also taught this lady named Evelyn. She is SUCH a miracle. The Chinese Sisters ran into her at a bus stop and got her number. We tried calling her but she never picked up. THEN the Vancouver Korean Elders also ran into her in Vancouver, and they talked to her again! We phoned her and phoned her until she finally called us back! We met with her last night and she is the cutest thing. She is first nations and really reminds me of Angelina (the first nations lady that I taught up in Vanderhoof). She's so in tune with the spirit and knows that the gospel can help her and her family. She's had such a rough life, like most first nations do. So, I am glad that we are able to help her and that God put her in the path of TWO sets of missionaries. We also invited her to be baptised and she said yes! She is going to be baptised on May 4th!

General conference was SO amazing! I was able to gain so much insight and revelation that I've never been able to do before. I think it was because Elder Christoffersen came to our mission a month ago, and I was able to feel so connected to the apostles and Prophet. I loved President Monson's talk about Christ-like love. I want to love everyone around me and show people that there are people who still care about them. I love this gospel! It is so true!

WRITE ME LETTERS! I only got one this week :(

Sister Struempler

As Sisters in Zion (3/31/14)

Last week, Noelle sent me some great questions. I've decided to put all the answers on my blog, so hopefully this can help people who are preparing to go on missions :) Plus it was just fun to think about all of these questions:

So far, what has been the best part of your mission?
The best part of my mission so far is the privilege to help people learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. My testimony has grown so much, I can't even explain it. I know that this gospel is true with all my heart, and that just makes me so happy. I love the fact that I can just walk around smiling all day, even if people reject our message or are rude to us, because I know that it is true and it makes me happy. I love seeing the change in people as I bear my testimony to them. I can see the light of Christ in their eyes as they hear truths that they have already known before. While not everyone will accept our message, it is just wonderful to have the opportunity to help people change their lives and find joy and a purpose in their life.  

What has been the most difficult part of your mission?
The most difficult part of my mission is when people don't keep commitments or decide to reject the gospel. It just breaks my heart. I know that this gospel will help them, if they just make the time and have that desire to learn. Everyone has their agency to choose for themselves, but sometimes I just want to force them to choose the gospel. But I can't. hahaha. It's frustrating. But if someone won't accept the gospel, then we will just go out and find someone who will. 

What do you wish you had done to better prepare yourself for your mission?
I wish that I had studied "Preach My Gospel" better before my mission. I also wish that I had read and studied the New Testament and the Book of Mormon better before my mission. It's so worth it to know those things before your mission, because then you can just go straight into studying deeper doctrine once you get onto your mission. You just need to have a solid testimony going into a mission, because people will test you and try to break down your testimony every day. 

What advice would you give to my Laurels about preparing to go on a mission or preparing to go to the Temple?
I would tell them to pray to their Heavenly Father every single day and talk to Him about everything. Establish a relationship with Him, and it will help you so much for the rest of your life. I would also tell them to study the Book of Mormon. It is the keystone of our religion, and I want to make it the keystone of my life.

Do you wish that you had done anything different during High School as far as missionary work goes?
I wish I was just more educated about missionary work. I didn't know ANYTHING in High School. I wish I had known how important it was to share the gospel back then, and I would have been talking to everyone about it. I just didn't know. Priests and Laurels, GO OUT WITH THE MISSIONARIES :) Make the time. This will help you SO MUCH to be better prepared to go on a mission.

How did Seminary help to prepare you for your mission? Or did it?
It helped. It was my fault for it not helping me more. I didn't understand the importance of it in high school, and was asleep half of the time. Stay awake in seminary! Study the scriptures that you learned about in seminary at home as well, so that you gain a deeper understanding!

What are the people like? 
People are different in every area that I have served in. The trick to working with people is just loving them and serving them. If they are rude, just smile and tell them that God loves them. :)

What is your typical day like?
Typical day: I wake up, work out (I've gotten better at working out in the mornings, it's hard, but working out feels so good and I feel better during the day when I actually work out), shower, eat, start personal study at 8 am, companionship study at 9 am, out of the door by 10 am. We try to schedule appointments in the mornings because it's hard to find people in the morning; people are at work or at school. But, we have found that we can go street contacting in the morning if everything else falls through. Then we eat lunch at 12, I usually eat as fast as I can (for about 10 minutes) and then sleep for the rest of our lunch hour. Then in the afternoon we have more teaching appointments, or stop by members. Then we eat dinner at 4. Then from 5-7pm we have consecrated finding time. We knock on doors, go street contacting, etc. It is our time to find people to teach because it's when people are at home. Then from 7-9 we either have more teaching appointments or try to drop by members; if we didn't find a new investigator then we continue knocking on doors until we find one every day. We have 20 quality gospel conversations every day, which leads to us finding at least one new investigator a day. God is pouring out blessings upon the Canada Vancouver mission!
Sister Ding is going home in 8 days! I'M GOING TO MISS HER SO MUCH! (Now I have an excuse to go to China after my mission)
My district! Plus our two Sister Training Leaders :) I love them so much! Sister Shelley is in my district a zebra companionship! Sister Leung speaks Chinese and Sister Shelley speaks English. Ah, it just sounds so fun! She's in White Rock. 

We were able to teach adorable little Abi this week. She is progressing so well! Her mom Angie sits in on the lessons, but just wants us to focus on teaching Abi. This week we were able to help Angie a little bit because she said her FIRST PRAYER! In her prayer, she even said that "I am excited for Abi to become a Mormon." It was the cutest thing that I have ever heard. :)

We were also able to go on an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders on Wednesday. I went with Sister Hobbs and Sister Petersen went with Sister VanTienderen. It was fun going out with them! We were able to teach John with Molly. John is doing bad. His depression is really weighing down on him. Please everyone, keep him in your prayers for me! The gospel is helping him, but its hard for him to feel the spirit with his depression. Molly is so strong to be able to help him all the time! She said that she couldn't be doing this without the gospel. The gospel can help everyone!

We also stopped by this ward member who has just recently started coming back to church. She is preparing to go to the temple soon! I can't wait, it's just too exciting! Making sacred covenants with God and keeping them is so important in the process of "enduring to the end" (part of the Doctrine of Christ). I am so grateful to help her become an enduring member of the church!

We also taught this 12 year old named Hiro. His mom is from Malaysia and his dad is from Japan. Only the mom is the member. The elders have been working with him for a long time, but have passed him off to us to teach. We are so excited! Sometimes, people just need sister missionaries to teach them :) 

Then on friday, a HUGE miracle happened. We went to the church to go to a return appointment that the Chinese sisters set up for us with a new investigator. We show up 10 minutes early, and she is already there hanging out in the mission office, reading an ensign! hahaha. Then we went into another room to teach her and she's just so prepared. We taught her the entire restoration and invited her to be baptised (mind you, this is the first time we met her) and she said yes! April 26th :) She has decided to go to YSA though, so we passed her off to the YSA missionaries. I'm so grateful that I was able to teach her the first lesson and help her progress towards baptism!!!

On Saturday we were able to go to the General Woman's broadcast. It was such a wonderful, unique experience. Members brought some friends and a lot of recently baptised women were able to come as well. It was so wonderful to be able to unite as sisters! <3

I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the doctrine of Christ. This gospel is so true! I love it!

Sister Struempler