Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Birthday Week! (7/21/2014)

First, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday this past week! I really appreciate it! I was able to have an awesome birthday, and thank goodness it fell on a P-day! Blessings.
We went and had a delicious birthday lunch at this cafe in downtown Courtenay. It was so fun! We also walked around and looked at all the cute little shops. They are so fun! I love how each area that I've served in has been so different.

opening presents!

We went finding and then had a lesson with this man named Willie. He's such a character. He isn't interested in learning anymore, but we were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation and answer some of his questions about what happens after we die. He's going through a lot right now and just doesn't have the time to meet anymore. He told us a funny saying that he used to tell his sister before she went to bed: "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite. And if they do, beat them with your shoe, until they're black and blue, and remember that God's angels are watching over you." Sister Jolie and I like to say it at night now before we go to bed :P

We also had an FHE with one of the families in the ward and had raspberry crisp made with fresh picked raspberries. Deelish! I used my cute new "Plan of Salvation" kit that I got for my birthday for a lesson :)

Tuesday we went and visited a less active - now being reactivated - lady in the ward to give her a large print Book of Mormon. She is so cute! We're going to start teaching her the lessons because she's forgotten a lot about gospel over the years.

We also had a fun potluck with the Relief Society at a park on Tuesday evening. We had an investigator and a less active there; it really helped them get to know more of the ladies in the ward. It was super hot, so there weren't too many people, but enough that it was still tons of fun.

Wednesday, we had a lesson with this lady named Susonne. She's been struggling with some of the commandments and we finally figured out why. She's never prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true! So we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with her and challenged her to have the faith to pray about the Book of Mormon so that she can know for herself if it's true. Everyone pray that she gets an answer!!

We also had our first Zone Meeting! It was Sister Shelly's birthday, so Sister Jolie and I made brownies to celebrate. It was so amazing! We learned so much about keeping our covenants that we make in the temple. We need to focus on obtaining the good rather than avoiding the bad. We also talked about how we can be more unified as a mission and be more unified in our companionships as well. I just love the direction that President Burt is taking this mission :)

We went to Atlas cafe for dinner with Sister Shelley and Sister Holbrook as a District/Birthday celebration! It was delicious! Then, best part . . . I got to go on exchanges with Sister Shelley on her birthday! We got to reminisce about our missions so far and we learned so much from each other. We got to meet some really awesome people and teach this lady named Debbie as well. We taught her the restoration and helped her to understand why there are so many churches. She committed to read the Book of Mormon for 5 minutes each day, so hopefully she will start to gain her testimony of the truthfulness of it as well.

Thursday we had weekly planning...oh the joy of weekly planning! It actually wasn't too bad this week. I think we're getting better at it :) We also did lots of finding as well.

Friday . . . I have a funny story: We went tracting and met this lady named Tina. She told us that she had been "courted" (aka she dated) by a Mormon, so she has read the Book of Mormon before. We asked her what she thought about it and she had a problem with it not being the Bible. We ended up talking to her for 45 minutes and tried to help resolve her concerns. Moral of the story: some people are prepared by God and are willing to listen to you and others are not quite ready, so you won't be able to help them. We have learned a lesson from that one.
Mt. Washington
Saturday was such a crazy day! We had a recent convert, who is partially less active, text us in the morning asking for prayers. So, we ended up meeting with her and helping her out in the morning. Then there was a giant farmers market all day, so we went street contacting near there to talk to people & got some lunch afterwards. Then, we decided to go to Mt. Washington for finding...big mistake. All that is there is a ski resort and rental places. It is BEAUTIFUL, but seriously . . . nobody to talk to. We talked to one person in an hour, so we decided to make phone calls until our lesson. Our lesson was with Bridget, who we met last week at the park randomly. It went so well! We taught her the restoration and about why there are so many churches. She likes to just pick and choose what she likes from different religions and incorporate it into her own. It was really interesting to hear her perspective on things. She's coming to church this Sunday so everyone please pray for her!

Then a member who is neighbors with her decided to make us some food - it was so funny. She had a mish-mash of European wieners, salad, and pop-salmon. She put the packaged salmon in the microwave and then cooked it until the bag poped - hence "pop-salmon." Sister Jolie and I were laughing so hard!

Sunday, we had church which is always so fun. I love this ward! It's full of so many awesome people!! 

Well that was my week! Transfer calls tonight and I doubt anything will happen, but who knows? 

Sister Struempler

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Missionary life is full of Adventures! (7/14/2014)

This week was so crazy! I don't even know where to begin. I talked about this a little in my last email, but we had a Zone Conference with President and Sister Burt! I love them so much. They are amazing. I can't wait to see what they will do with this mission.

I've been dying from allergies recently. Thank goodness for modern medicine! I got medicine and now I'm hopefully good to go. Apparently allergies are the worst they have ever been for people this year. Lot's of stuff in the air I guess!!

Wednesday, we had a few teaching appointments and that was really fun! We taught this man named Ken. He's gone through several cancer treatments and it's been really hard. I know how much the gospel can heal people, spiritually and physically, so we're really excited for him to learn more.

We also taught this cute pregnant lady. She's Christian, but has some questions about the Mormon faith. We've been trying to help her understand baptisms for the dead and the Book of Mormon. Oh and today's her birthday too! We're twins :D

Lastly, we taught this AWESOME lady named Michelle and her 10 year old daughter was there as well. We taught them the Plan of Salvation, and they thought it was the coolest thing. They want to believe that it's true! Michelle was like, "Okay, how do I start?" We were like, "Let us teach you." So we talked about Alma 32. Faith is like a seed, we need to water and nourish it so that it can grow into a tree and produce delicious fruit. *Side note - we're taking care of someone's garden in the ward and OH MY GOODNESS! So many blueberries! I've never eaten so many blueberries in my life! Taking care of their garden makes me want to have my own garden one day! The fruit is so sweet! Literally! hehe.

Thursday, we had my first dinner appointment in Courtenay. We had dinner with this lady in our ward and her non-member husband. It was so wonderful! They are the sweetest old couple, and I just love it. He's not interested in learning really, but it was a good visit!

Friday, we visited with a 102 year old lady! She's so awesome. She got baptized when she was 59 and has never missed a day of church since, until the past couple years. But, I mean, she's 102! What can you expect?
We also taught this man named Gerhart. Please pray for him for me. He's so awesome! He was studying to be a Lutheran priest, but then changed his mind. We invited him to exercise his faith and to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He was like, "I'm scared, because when I get an answer then I'll have to become a Mormon!" Right you are Gerhart, right you are ;)

Saturday, we had such a miracle! We've been trying to contact this lady that a member told us to go see. The problem is that she lives 45 minutes away in Mount Washington. We went to this park on Saturday to try to talk to people, but there was only one person there. We thought we would just go talk to her because we were already there. Turns out it's the referral we've been trying to contact! We are going to go see her on Saturday. I'm so excited! 

When we were finding on Saturday, Sister Jolie and I got peed on by a very excited dog - uh...yeah. Gross! But other than that it was cool! We went to a party at one of the member's houses because one kid just got home from his mission, another kid is just leaving this week, and another kid just graduated from high school. It was an exciting time!

Sunday was church! We've had a few less actives that we're working with start to come back to church. It's been pretty exciting for the ward :)

And today I had to celebrate my birthday by getting a Birthday Cake Doughnut from Tim Horton's:
I love you all! Thank you for the Happy Birthday wishes!

Sister Struempler

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Angels are here on Earth (7/8/2014)

This week was just full of miracles. I just don't even know where to begin. On July 1st, President and Sister Tilleman left to go home to Arizona. They will be missed. I love them so much and I am so glad to have gotten to know them. They will forever be a part of my life. On July 2nd, President and Sister Burt came here to become the new mission President and mission mom of the Canada Vancouver Mission. I love them so much already and can't wait to get to know them even more! I know that this gospel is true. I know that God calls people to different areas of his church at different times for a reason. It won't even be a hard transition, because the church is true. President and Sister Burt have been called by God to lead our mission now. They are truly inspired leaders.
Monday June 30th we were able to check out one of the local marinas. It was so pretty! Here are some pictures:
It was SOOO pretty. I love serving here on the island. It's just beautiful! We had a ward potluck picnic on Monday night. There were some non-members and less actives present, so we were able to go. It was fun to be able to get to know the ward and become better friends with them :) 
Tuesday we had so many miracles and a hilarious experience. July 1st - Happy Canada day! They don't even have fireworks, which is lame in my opinion. We decided to go street contacting in the morning because there would be a lot of people. Lo and behold there was actually a parade going on. We accidentally started walking along with the parade and started handing out mormon.org cards to people as other people were trying to hand flyers to us. It was a confusing, funny mess. We met this awesome lady named Tabatha and...more on her later. 

After being thoroughly embarrassed, we went and had lunch. Then, all our plans for the afternoon started to slowly fall through. We decided to call this referral a member gave us and they told us we could go visit them! We called the member who referred them, and they were able to come as well. We taught them the plan of salvation with their friends and it was such a cool experience. They decided that they didn't want to continue further, but the seed was planted :)

We also got to go teach this super sweet lady named Debbie. Oh my goodness, I love her. She is so kind and quiet. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she loved it. She wants her kids to learn about God and have that as a part of their life. We are going to try to see her again this week as well :)
Wednesday we had district meeting over the phone. I love having Sister Shelley as my district leader. Did you know that we are the only mission in the whole world that has sister district leaders? Pretty crazy, huh? 

We tried to follow up with some of our potentials and ended up knocking on Tabatha's door! We found out that she had moved there and that she was interested in hearing more. So, we set up a return appt and prayed that it would work out. We also had a really cool lesson with this lady named Shelley. She has always wondered about what happens to people when they die. She was taught a year ago and now we are going to start teaching her again. I'm super excited!

Thursday we had weekly planning. We went out finding and ran into this guy named Brandon. Sister Jolie and her trainer ran into him her first transfer here in Courtenay when he was about done. His mom had just passed away and he didn't know what to do with his life anymore. So, Sister Jolie and her trainer just testified to him about the plan of salvation and told him that everything was going to be alright. Then, we ran into him. He told us all about how we had changed his life. He said that he put the mormon.org card they gave him by the picture of Jesus Christ in his house so that he could always remember that experience. It is just so cool to see how much the gospel can affect someone if they let it happen! 

Friday we taught a couple of really cool people with a member. It was such a miracle that they were both home and willing to learn more! Saturday we went finding a lot. Sunday was fast and testimony meeting! It was so special to be able to hear the ward bear their testimonies about Jesus Christ and how much He has changed their lives. We also had a lesson with Tabatha. It turns out that she had met missionaries growing up when she lived on the Queen Islands. She was totally open to learning more and we even set a baptismal date with her for August 15th! I'M SO EXCITED FOR HER :D Everyone please pray for her! 

Sunday night, we drove to Qualicum Beach and stayed the night there. Monday we drove the rest of the way to Nanaimo for our first Zone Conference with President Burt! It was SO amazing! They are so inspiring and I love them so much already :) I can't wait to see what they will do next for this mission. We also were able to go on an exchange: I went with Sister Holebrook and Sister Shelley went with Sister Jolie. We both stayed in Courtenay and saw so many miracles. Miracles have not ceased!

I know that his gospel is true and I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I know where I came from and I know what my purpose is on this Earth. I know where I will be going when I die! It is so important that we help other people so that they can know this truth for themselves as well!

The church is true! God loves you!

Sister Struempler 
p.s. here's some more pictures


This week was...well, interesting to say the least! Being a missionary is always so unpredictable because you never know what's going to happen next. :)

It was kind of rainy at the beginning of the week, so we just had a relaxing p-day. Today is sunny, so hopefully we will get to go someplace fun! 

Tuesday we volunteered at the food bank for the last time! It was fun, but we didn't have many opportunities to share the gospel. We are going to find other ways to volunteer and help the community by sharing the gospel with them!! We also got to visit with a lady who doesn't come to church anymore. She's embarrassed to come back, which is completely understandable. The church is perfect, but the people aren't. I'm trying to be more Christ-like by not judging people by the way they look or act. Everyone is a child of God and is precious in His sight. We also were able to meet with a family where the dad is a member and the mom isn't. She's from Argentina and is super nice! It was great getting to know them and we were able to teach them as well.

Tuesday night, we went on an exchange with our Sister Training Leaders. It was so fun! I went to Qualicum Beach with my mission grandma, Sister Peterson (she trained Sister Ellgen). It was so fun to talk with her and learn from her. I know that it's just so important to help people to feel the spirit, even if they don't do anything about it. We need to help them by praying with them and reading scriptures with them! I've been trying to apply the things I have learned throughout the week. 

Wednesday I was in Qualicum Beach all day! We had district meeting in the morning, and I just learned so much! We are trying to invite 3 people to be baptized every day, so that we can help more people to come unto Christ. It's been hard, but very rewarding! We were able to stop by and visit with a lady who's been going through a lot right now. I just know that no matter what we go through, the gospel can help everyone! I came back to Courtenay Wednesday night.

Thursday: Weekly planning! One more down & one less to go! Weekly planning is always hard, but it's so worth it to do it right. We went tracting a lot on Thursday night. Knocking on doors, finding people who need the gospel but don't even know that they're looking for it! 

Friday we had an amazing lesson with this lady who just started to come back to church. Oh my goodness, it was amazing! She has forgotten almost everything about the gospel; that's what happens when you stop going to church. She has decided to make a change in her life by coming to church again. We gave her a Book of Mormon and challenged her to read it every day. I just love seeing people who are willing to make this change in their life, and are willing to repent and change to become better people. Repentance isn't a scary thing! It is wonderful to become a better person and follow Jesus Christ's example. We were also able to have dinner with a family in the ward. The grandmother isn't a member, so we were able to share a message with her. No matter who you are, everyone needs the gospel of Jesus Christ in their life! 

Saturday, we went and visited a member family out in Fanny Bay. We asked them if we could do anything for them, and so they told us that we could take their dog on a walk. They live right on the beach, so there were no objections. We were even able to share the gospel with people on the beach as well!!
Imagine having this view in your backyard! So beautiful!

We had a lesson with Franck as well. He's from Africa and is super cool! He came here to go to the university here in Courtenay. He was raised Catholic, but has found a huge interest in the Book of Mormon. I love the power of the Book of Mormon and how it is the literal evidence that we can hold in our hands that proves the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Pray for him for us! :)

Then, church on Sunday! We got to teach relief society about Preach My Gospel! Everyone needs to read it, not just missionaries. It was fun to be able to help them with their missionary work! Afterwards, we dropped by this lady who was meeting with the missionaries but then went to Alberta for a while. We reconnected with her and she actually told us that she was thinking about Sister Jolie that morning - what a blessing! The spirit directs us to the people that need to hear the message of the gospel. We also contacted a lady who a member told us to go visit and she wants to hear more about the gospel! Miracle number 2! :) We went tracting all Sunday night and talked to some really cool people. We even talked to this lady who has never been religious. Her daughter has been talking to her about learning more about God. We invited her to be baptized and she said yes, maybe one day. We aren't teaching her, but it was an amazing experience to be able to help her feel the spirit and the power of our message. 
If you want to send me a birthday letter (hint hint), please do so soon! As Canadian mail is super slow and can take a couple weeks to get here.

I love you all! The church is true! Share the gospel with everyone you meet!

Sister Struempler 

p.s. President Tilleman leaves tomorrow and our new mission president is President Burt! So crazy! :)

Courtenay is so beautiful! (6/23/2014)

This week was full of so many miracles! Monday we just hung out and tried to get into the swing of things, being in a new area and all. We went finding that night and then had FHE with a family in the ward. I love sharing the Plan of Salvation with everyone. It's just such a beautiful thing to know God's plan for us and know that we have a direction for our lives.

Tuesday, we got to wear jeans! TWICE! We volunteered at the food bank in the morning. I love doing service, and I haven't had very many opportunities on my mission so far. I'm excited to start helping people more! We also had a lesson with this man who got in a really bad work accident and has had a headache for 5 years now. If that doesn't help you to count your blessings, then I don't know what will! He's not really too interested, but it was fun to teach him about the plan of salvation so that he knows that one day he'll have a perfect body. Then we went and gardened for a lady. She told us about her life and that's always fun. I love hearing about people's life experiences!

Wednesday we had district meeting. It's so weird having it over the phone, but it's still a spiritual experience. I love having Sister Shelley in my district again. We've been in three districts together! I think we'll just be together our whole missions, haha :) 

We went to go visit a couple who only live here in the summer. They are from California and are both converts. We have such a strong influence on our friends! They were able to be introduced to the gospel by friends. They also live right by the ocean. Look at this amazing view!
We also met the COOLEST lady on Wednesday night while we were tracting. We knocked on her door and she was like, "Sure, let's talk!" She just sat down on the porch with us and we taught her about the Book of Mormon. She thought it was super cool that we're missionaries and that it was such a coincidence that we knocked on her door at that time. She is going to Africa for a mission trip in about a week! We gave her a Book of Mormon for her trip and are going to meet with her when she get's back in a month. People like that make being a missionary worth it. She was so nice and just knew that we really believed in what we were sharing. She was so open to the spirit and just so willing to learn. It was such an amazing experience!!
Thursday we got together with the relief society to help weed someone's front garden that was super overgrown. There were a lot of women there helping each other out and it was so fun to get to know the ladies in this ward a little better :) They are all so sweet!! Then we had our weekly planning. Every one that I finish means that I have one less to do on my mission ;)
Then on Friday, we went to visit the sweetest lady ever. She really wants to go to the temple and be sealed to her family. The only problem is that she LOVES coffee. Everyone please pray for her for me! She really wants to stop but when it comes down to it, it's hard for her. We're going to help her the best we can! We also got to have a lesson with these two guys from Africa. Franck and Prince. They are so cool! We taught them the restoration and invited them to be baptized. They said they would need time to think about it, but are open to the idea. It was so funny because I was trying to teach them how to say my last name. Its like strumming a guitar with -pler at the end. And then Prince was like "So if you're playing the guitar...then you're strumplin'!!!" Hahaha I was dying! 
Saturday we went to visit this lady in our ward who's really sick. She's been battling cancer for a while now. She's so strong! I know that God doesn't allow us to go through things that we can't handle! We also met with a less active and his girlfriend and friend. It was cool to see him sharing the gospel! Everyone can share the gospel! It makes us so happy! All three of them were also able to come to church on Sunday! :)
Sunday was church & I'm trying to get everyone's names down. It's hard! But I'm getting there. Sister Jolie and I both spoke along with the ward mission leader. We talked about why we do missionary work, what we share, and the ward mission plan! It was an awesome missionary Sunday!! Then we dropped by to see some people in the afternoon, went finding like crazy, and met with one of the families in the ward. It was pretty fun. All in all, a wonderful week. We are really trying hard to find that one person who is ready to be baptized in this area. Please pray for Sister Jolie and I, that we may be inspired by the spirit to know who we can help prepare for this saving ordinance. I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Until next time,
Sister Struempler