Monday, September 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Food Drive! (9/22/2014)

I got fed almost every day this past week . . . so weird! I don't know how to handle eating with members, but I'm getting used to it. We've already seen so many miracles with members giving us names of their friends to go contact. I'm excited!
Monday we had curry with some members! It was delicious. We also went finding in the dark. That was new. It's starting to get dark early now, so people get mad at us when we go finding after 8 pm. But, we went anyway and tried to follow the spirit and met this really awesome guy that wants to learn about God. Miracles!
The next day, we went to a trailer park in the morning. We met this sweet, old lady that just told us that her husband and daughter had passed away. We prayed with her to help her feel better. I know that prayer is so powerful. Then we had a delicious lunch with a member. On the way to the restaurant, we met this lady who gave us a referral for her friend! So crazy! All these little miracles happen every single day. We then went and visited this member who is battling with cancer. She can't even hold up a book, so we read the Book of Mormon to her. After that we went finding a lot and then had an awesome lesson. Seriously, so amazing! We went over with a member to teach this lady named Crystal that we tracted into. Turns out she had met with missionaries about 10 years ago! Then, her roommate Nate walked in and sat down. He was baptized in Ontario and was active for about 2 years! THEN, her roommate Rachel walked in and told us that her mom is a Mormon. SAY WHATTTT?!?!?!?! So many awesome connections! We obviously were sent to their house for a reason! So amazing. 
We drove down to Qualicum Beach on Wednesday for district meeting. It was our first one together! It was really good :) I love being together with my sisters and working together to learn and grow. On our way back to Courtenay, we went tracting in Fanny Bay and dropped by a member as well :) Then we had dinner with some members, went finding, and dropped by this super awesome investigator. She told us about how she got LOCKED in her bathroom the other day. She was screaming and screaming for her neighbors. Then finally, when she was about to lose it, someone noticed and saved her. Phew, that would be so scary! I'm glad she was rescued. We got to know her a bit better and then talked to her about the Book of Mormon. It was a wonderful night. 
Thursday! So last week we were challenged to get weekly planning done in under 3 hours. Guess what? We did it in 2 hours and 50 minutes. It felt SO good! Now, we just need to keep doing it that way! We went and visited Arlene who now has her temple recommend! She's going to the temple in October and I am SO happy for her :) It's amazing! Then we volunteered and helped out with the giant B.C. wide food drive! I helped out last year when I was in Vanderhoof, so it was pretty awesome to be able to help out again. We dropped off a bunch of bags at people's doors with a member. The Nickel's (an AWESOME senior couple) came up and visited us as well :) Then we had dinner with our Bishop, went tracting, and made some phone calls.
Friday! Oh my goodness, Friday was insane! Seriously. So we went and dropped by a couple people in the morning. Then we went and taught Mandy. She's awesome! She wants us to read the Book of Mormon with her, so we will! Then we went and tried to see Ken and Shelley. They had just gone to the doctor and got some bad news. :( Everyone keep them in your prayers! We will be visiting them hopefully tomorrow! We had a lesson with our friend Triston. He told us that he had only been meeting with us because we asked him too. It was so sad to see him go, but he just isn't ready for the gospel yet in his life. We just had to bear our testimonies to him and tell him that God loves him. Agnes was next! We read 1 Nephi 1 with her :) She's preparing for eye surgery though, so it's getting hard for her to read. We're praying that it will all go well and that she'll be able to continue to learn more. After dinner we went finding. We met the CUTEST old man ever. He's 93 years old and just feels so guilty that he killed people when he was in the war. We told him that there is hope and taught him the restoration on his doorstep! He is so excited to read the Book of Mormon and learn more. I'm so happy for him, because I can see it changing his life already in the 10 minutes that we spent talking with him. 
Saturday was the food drive (For more info go on (or something like that)! We went over to a member's house for a quick breakfast before heading out. We ran from house to house collecting bags. In all of the Comox Valley, I believe that we collected about 23,000 pounds of food! That is amazing! We were all so happy and filled with the spirit of unity and service. The church organized it, but there were tons of volunteers helping out from all over the community. It was a very successful service project :) 
Sunday was church. What an amazing week. We went to church to partake of the sacrament. It was so great because a less active family that we are working with was able to come to church. We helped them get to know more members, because they just moved here. Then we went and taught Mike! He is doing so well! He wants to read the Book of Mormon every day and we even invited him to be baptized! :) We ate dinner with some members before going out finding. Funny experience: We knocked on this man's door, he opened the door and said, "Are you sure you want to talk to me?" As he is holding a large knife in his hand. Ahhhahahaha! We were dying. Then we visited this less active member who really wants to gain her faith back. So, we are planning on trying to help her do so!

This week was so great :) I just love being a missionary and serving the Lord! 

Sister Struempler
​PS: this is what happens when you don't see what the other person is wearing first...companionship unity at it's finest! hahaha

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hold to the rod, the iron rod! (9/15/2014)

Hello from Canada! Here's the update for the week: 

Monday! We just had a pretty relaxing P-day last week because it was Sister Bartlett's first one here in Courtenay. We got to have FHE and ice cream cones with a family before going out tracting. It was so fun :) 
Tuesday we volunteered at the Food Bank in the morning. We got to help put bags of food together and talked to some of the other volunteers. We even raced to see how many bags we could do at once :P Then we went and knocked on some doors for a bit. We met this First Nations man who had some horrible experiences with Christianity. We tried to help him understand that's not what Jesus Christ would want. Hopefully, he'll have a better perspective of Christians now! In the afternoon, we decided to walk to save on some kilometers. We visited with a less active lady named Shawna who we are trying to help return to church. She brought up some valid concerns and we're going to help her resolve them. The Book of Mormon can help resolve anyone's concerns and it's the keystone of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon can help her just like it helps me :) Then we walked to a Buddhist investigator's house and talked to her for a bit. After that, we went tracting in the evening and then visited with a member family. They have 8 kids and are the cutest ever! We met with Debbie as well and watched the restoration DVD with her. Her husband came home on Thursday, so everyone PLEASE pray that he'll be open to learning about the gospel. Ahhh, so exciting! 

Wednesday we met with Mandy and tried to teach the restoration. You would think that I'd know how to teach by now, but nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes still, and have to continually learn. We also taught Triston . . . finally! He's our 18 YO atheist friend. He has a hard time having faith so we're trying to start him with the basics of reading and praying. Hopefully that will help him! We also taught our cute older lady friend, Agnes. She loved the restoration! We're praying that she'll feel up to coming to church so that she can see what it's like. Lastly, we taught Mick. He's doing great. We taught him about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and he thought we were chastising him for not coming to church. We weren't...really....trying to at all ;) haha.

Funny tracting story: We knocked on this man's door and he said he was Christian. He walks away and we were like...uhhh....and then comes back with a guitar! He then proceeds to serenade us and it was probably one of the best things that's happened while knocking on someone's door! hahaha :) 

Thursday we did weekly planning and knocked on lots of doors. We met this awesome potential named Crystal who met with the Elders about 10 years ago! She said they would come over all the time, but then they lost contact. It was such a miracle to be able to find her! 

Friday we went and visited a lady in our ward who lives in a nursing home. She told us about how, in her prayers in the morning, she always prays to say something funny. She thinks that people are too bored and gloomy and wants to help make people laugh! That is the sweetest thing ever! Then we had a zone meeting! New rule: we can eat dinner with just members now! And no more consecrated finding time from 5-7pm. The WHOLE day is consecrated to the Lord. What a surprise! I'm excited though. And I learned a ton from our new zone leaders and the sister training leaders. I'm so excited to be a missionary! After zone meeting, we visited a family that just moved into the ward. Then we went finding and met this awesome lady named Sheila. She volunteers at a bunch of places and even had a "free store" for people in need. She told us to come back and she would give us some of her vintage skirts. Ummm . . . yeah sure! free clothes! and we gave her a Book of Mormon! Afterwards, we met with this 19 YO girl who got baptized 3 years ago and hasn't been to church since. We finally got a hold of her! She wants to come to church, but is just having a hard time getting over the fear of coming back. Hopefully, we'll be able to help her get over those feelings! We also met with Kim and her daughter. They are working on coming back to church as well. They have a 4 month old pit bull and he's SO cute! It was an awesome day full of helping less actives!

Saturday...dun dun DUNNN! We both woke up feeling sick!!  : (  We tried to power through it. We got a media referral from and dropped off the Bible at his house. That was exciting! And then basically, we just died for the rest of the day and Sunday. We made it to church though! And we're now starting to feel better. Oh the joys of being sick. And yay for living with members who take care of us and feed us!  :) 

Spiritual thought: This week I've been studying 1 Nephi 8, which talks about Lehi's dream. Everyone who enters onto the path is a member of the church, and it describes three types of members. In vs. 23 it talks about people who went on the path but then left because they weren't holding onto the rod of iron. In vs 24-28, it talks about people who gained a testimony but then left. Lastly, in vs 30 it talks about people who hold on to the end. Which group are you in? How can we make sure that we're in group 3? We need to continually be studying the scriptures, praying, and going to church so that we can "continually hold fast to the rod of iron." 

The Church is true! I love being a missionary :) Please write me letters! They mean a lot!

Sister Struempler 

Hello From Down Under! (9/8/2014)

Good-day mates! Me and my new Aussie companion are working hard here in Courtenay! Introducing my new companion: Sister Bartlett

WAHOO!! She's been out for 7 1/2 months and this is her 3rd area. She's so cute and I love working with her already!

So starting from Monday: Sister Jolie and I went to the ward corn roast on Monday for the holiday. It was kind of cold. Seems like fall has already started coming here on the island. Then, we went tracting for a while and dun dun DUNNNN...we got the call! Sister Jolie got called to go to Kelowna 2nd ward! I am staying here in Courtenay with my new companion Sister Bartlett. Yay! I'm so excited! After getting the call it was a mad house for Sister Jolie, so that she could run around and say goodbye to everyone. We went and visited a recent convert so that Sister Jolie could say goodbye to her.

Tuesday was a mix of dropping by people and appointments. It was hard for Sister Jolie, because she's been here for 6 months. She said goodbye to Arlene (who now has her temple recommend), Melissa, Laura, Amanda, Shaun, Debbie, and more! We also taught this new person named George and he's so awesome! He told us about how he knows that there is an afterlife, because of his experience with his dad passing away. I can't wait to teach him more!

Wednesday, Sister Jolie said goodbye to Lynn, Mandy, some members, and a less active. Then we headed down the road to Nanaimo to take the ferry to Richmond! It was magical. We got into Richmond around 8:20, so I got to go street contacting on No 3 road again. What a blessing!!!

We stayed with the RICHMOND sisters on Wednesday night. But Sister Petersen was already home. Goodbye Sister Petersen! I love you! 

Thursday was transfer meeting! It was my first one with President Burt. It was so amazing! I learned so much. We have consecrated finding time from 5-7pm every day. This is when we go tracting or street contacting every day. We go other times during the day, but we have to go then. Now, he told us that our whole day is "consecrated finding time" and we need to keep our line in the water throughout the entire day. I really like the inspiration that President Burt has had for the mission so far. He is truly called by God to be the leader of the Canada Vancouver Mission! 

Thursday afternoon, I got back onto the ferry with my new companion Sister Bartlett! :) We then drove the 4 hours up the island to get back to Courtenay. 

Friday, we did weekly planning! Oh goodness, I am so grateful that President Burt wants us to do it in 3 hours now. I don't know how many more 5 hour weekly planning sessions I can handle. Now, I just need to figure out how to get it all done in 3 hours. Then we taught Agnus, this cute Scottish lady...or maybe she's Irish...I can't remember. Anyway, she's a super cute oldy lady. She grew up Anglican but didn't agree with everything that church taught. I need to have more faith in older people! Anyone can join the church at any age. Have I told you guys that there is a member in our ward that's 102?! She joined the church when she was 69. So crazy, eh?

Then friday night, we drove down to Qualicum and then they took us to Victoria for a zone conference. Sister Nelson (who came out with me) is my new Sister Training Leader! Wahoo!! 

Cute picture!!
Sister Nelson dropped the camera . . . hahaha!!

Carnival on the side of the road

Yay! So many road trips this week. 

Saturday we were trained by Elder and Sister Johnson who toured our whole mission this past weekend. It was such a spiritual, uplifting experience! I learned how to be a better teacher by using the Holy Ghost to teach. He taught us about how we need to help our investigators prepare for the lesson, then teach by interacting with them (not just talking their ears off), and then leave them with a commitment to keep that will help them progress. This doesn't just work for investigators, but it works for everyone! It's even how he taught us! :) 

Then on Saturday, we got back in the late afternoon, went tracting, and then met with the Bishop.

Sunday! We had church and Debbie was able to come! It was her first Fast and Testimony meeting. The spirit was so strong as people bore their powerful testimonies. Melissa was even fasting, even though she isn't able to come to church yet. Her husband doesn't want her to turn into a "crazy religious lady," so she has to soften him up a bit. 

After church, we went and visited with a less active family and talked about how much God loves us. Then we went and taught Melissa about keeping the Sabbath day holy and studying the scriptures! She's practically already living both of those commandments! She's just the coolest :)

Then we went and had a dinner appointment (Sister Bartlett's second one!) with a family in the ward. One of the girls invited her non-member boyfriend, so it worked :) It was delicious. Then we went finding for most of the night and finally met a less active that I've been trying to contact the past 3 months. All in all, it was an amazing week!

I learned that we really need to work with members to hasten the work of salvation. Sometimes as missionaries, we think that it all depends on us. In the scriptures it says that "the Lord will hasten His work in His time." It's the Lord's work and we're just instruments that he uses. There are always people that members know that we can go visit. We just need to gain the trust of the members and always ask for people that they know. It's so much better when people have already had contact with the church. They're so much nicer and open to it. I'm so ready for this next transfer! We are going to be baptizing! 

I love you all!! write me letters please! it's the same address that I had before:
Sister Elle Struempler
1820 Tull Ave
Courtenay, B.C.
v9n 5w6

Last Week of August! (9/1/2014)

Crazy how time flies by. I was looking at my journal a year ago this past week and it was quite hilarious!! I was getting into the swing of things in Vanderhoof...missions are just such an adventure!
On Monday, a little girl named Rosie got baptized in our ward. It was such a spiritual baptismal service! There were lots of people there that weren't members, which was really cool. They could just feel the spirit so strongly! Melissa came early to the baptism, so that we could give her a church tour. It was the first time that she ever stepped into a church in her life! It was so amazing. Ken was able to come as well as Debbie and her two kids. We just had a spiritual feast! 
Tuesday, we felt so bad that we hadn't been to the food bank in a long time. So, we went for an hour in the morning. One of the guys that volunteers there was asking us all these questions about what we do as missionaries. It was fun answering all of his questions. 

Then we went and taught Mandy. She's so cute! We finished going over the plan of salvation with her and it was just crazy. So many things that she has never heard of, it was kind of overwhelming. It just makes me so grateful to know that I grew up knowing about these things and how simple it is really. God loves us and he has a plan for us.

Then we went and taught Ken and Shelley! Turns out Shelley isn't all that interested, but Ken is still doing awesome. We're just mainly going to focus on teaching him and helping him progress, while still keeping Shelley a part of that process. 

Then we went and helped a member's neighbor with her garden. She had this plant that she doesn't want any more, so I had to use my big strong muscles to dig it out so she could get rid of it. It was quite fun! I want to have a garden when I go home, since I've been doing all this gardening here on the island. 

In the evening, we taught Mick! He knows the church is true. I'm just trying to be patient so that he can work things out with his wife. It's just hard when you just want to help people so badly, but really we can't do anything else. It's all up to him now.

Wednesday, we had district meeting! This might be our last one together *sniff sniff.* It was really good & I learned a lot :) Then we had a miracle happen: a member who just got reactivated brought a friend to church a couple weeks back. We were able to meet her and ask her if she wanted to learn more and she said yes! So exciting! So hopefully we will be able to start teaching her and help her progress. 

Then, we taught this man named Chris. He can't get over the fact that we believe in the Great Apostasy. We basically had to testify of the Book of Mormon and commit him to read it. That's all we can do. The Book of Mormon can resolve anyone's concerns as long as they read it with real intent and pray to God sincerely to know if it's true.

Then, we had a lesson with this lady named Agnus. She's from Scotland and is just the cutest old lady ever! We taught her about the Restoration and she thought that it was very interesting, so hopefully we'll see what she thinks about it when we go back this week. 

We went finding out in the boonies on Wednesday night and oh my gosh it was BEAUTIFUL!
I love serving on the Island :)
Thursday, we had weekly planning and we finished it in RECORD TIME! It was so cool! yay, miracles! Then we taught Debbie about the importance of praying and reading the Book of Mormon every day. It was a really good lesson and the spirit was strong. We even brought Book of Mormon stories for her two kids :)

Friday! We helped the lady that we gardened for on Tuesday again. It was good. I got to chop off the tops of rose bushes and whatnot. We gave her a Book of Mormon. She told us she wasn't interested in learning, but she said she would read the Book of Mormon. Everyone has their own time :) It was fun to help her out!

Then, we went and taught Ken and Shelley again. We explained the first few chapters of 1 Nephi to them to make sure that they were understanding everything they were reading. 

Friday night, we had a really cool miracle. So we went to stop by this lady that used to meet with the missionaries, and I accidentally pulled up too far forward. We got out of the car and there was this lady outside smoking right by where we parked the car. She started talking to us and told us that she had seen us before and normally slammed the door on us. She said that she could really use some help now though and would love to meet with us. Ahh...I love cool experiences like that!! 

Saturday we dropped by some people in the morning and then had lunch. We taught Melissa and it was so awesome! She watched this video: and then decided that she wants to fast to know if God is there! So we taught her about fasting and how it's a type of prayer. She is just doing so well! Everyone please pray for her that she will recognize her answer!  

Then, we went to a wedding!! But, we had missionary brain and thought it started at 2:30 . . . it started at 2! So we missed the actual ceremony. BAH! But here's the cute new couple. Andy is a member and Sam Moi isn't, but she comes to church almost every Sunday! They are so cute :)
We went to their dinner afterwards at a Chinese restaurant. It was delish! We got to talk to a lot of awesome people and tell them about what we do as missionaries. 

Sunday we had church! Mick, Debbie, and Ken were all able to come. It was so amazing :) 

Then we had a lesson with a guy named Mike, who recently got diagnosed with cancer. He kept telling us that he didn't know why he invited us back. We know why. Because we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ which can change his life.

Afterwards, I had a strong impression to go and visit this former investigator named Jeanie. She answered the door and told us that her and her husband were looking for a new career path. We talked about doing what Jesus would do by helping the poor and needy. We said a prayer for her and she just started crying. I know that God send us to her to help comfort her and give her peace as she is making this decision in her life. It was really amazing know that my companion and I were God's instruments.

Then we visited a cute member family, and then went finding for the rest of the night.

This week was so amazing. I just know that all the work that we put in, whether we are missionaries or not, is recognized by God. He is preparing people everywhere to learn about the gospel and we just need to be willing to open our mouths to be able to help these people find the truth. 

I love you all!

Sister Struempler 

Girl's Camp! (8/25/2014)

Monday, we went tracting all evening . . . Wahooo! My favorite thing to do ever! But, seriously, I do like tracting :) Most of the time.

Tuesday, we went and taught this mom and daughter. They starting by asking "What happens after we die?" So, we started teaching them the plan of salvation and it was crazy awesome. They had never heard of a "pre-earth" life before. We had to explain to them about that, how we all chose to come here to earth, and about Adam and Eve. God didn't set them up for failure, but he gave them their agency so that we could come here to Earth. I'm so glad that they chose to eat the fruit because we wouldn't be here if that didn't happen!

We also went to an appt that we had set up with a less active. We got there five minutes early, so we started to knock on a couple doors by her house. We turned around to walk out of a driveway and then saw her drive away. Typical missionary moment . . . I guess we won't be meeting with her anytime soon.

We went finding a lot that night as well :)

Wednesday, we had our district meeting over the phone. It was lovely. Then we had a meeting with a recent convert. It was so sad! He had dropped off his Book of Mormon at the church so he didn't have one any more. We talked to him about it and are going to try to help him gain a testimony back. He had to have had one at one point. It is so easy to lose your faith, so that's why we constantly have to be nourishing it.

We also met with Ken and got to met his wife! Her name is Shelley and she is so cool. She has already been starting to read the Book of Mormon! Ken doesn't think he'll be ready to be baptized on Sept 13th, but we're going to try to help him get ready for it as soon as possible. He believes that the Book of Mormon is true and now we get to teach his wife! :)

We met with Mick and it was so good. He knows the church is true. Seriously! He loves the Holy Ghost, the fact that we believe in the natural man, and the fact that we don't believe in original sin. He has never been a part of a "group" in his life. He doesn't know if he wants to join the church because of that. Everyone please pray for him that he'll be able to get married and eventually get baptized!

Thursday, we went and met with Lynn who is now coming to church regularly. She's getting out of being less active, which is such a miracle! She is so cute and I can just see her glow as she has started to become more active in the gospel.

We started planning while the North Island sisters drove down. They got in the car with us and we drove to Sidney! We got to go street contacting in Victoria, which was AMAZING! I loved it. I remembered some of Victoria from when we went on our family trip there a couple years ago, so that was kind of strange.

Friday, we drove to Girl's Camp! But not just any Girl's Camp, the B.C. wide Girl's Encampment! It was AWESOME! They fed us lunch and then we got to go meet with the girls. They divided us into groups, so each set of sisters had about 20 or so girls. Then we just had a Q&A session., all about life. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my mission so far. I love being a missionary and helping people!! 
Then after girls camp, we drove to Nanaimo and stayed there for the night.

Saturday, we drove back to Courtenay in the morning and then went on exchanges with the North Island sisters before they drove back. I went with Sister Holbrook and Sister Jolie went with Sister Shelley! Sister Holbrook and I went and dropped by some people and walked a lot. We are running out of kilometers, so we'll be walking a lot this next week! She's such an amazing missionary for only being out for 2 transfers! I learned a lot from her. Sister Shelley and Sister Jolie were able to see Melissa, Debbie, and a less active family in our ward :)

Sunday, KEN came to church again! His wife wasn't feeling too good so she wasn't able to come. But, it was so good to see him again and see him progressing :) It was awesome. Then we had to walk the rest of the night and oh boy do I have some nice blisters!! Mole skin is going to be my best friend. I've been spoiled with a car for too long :P

So this week I learned a lot about trusting in God and believing that everything will work out for the best. Worrying about the little things that we can't control is just silly and makes things worse. I'm ready to run to the end! I can't believe that next week is transfers. Then only 3 more until I go home. Pray that all goes well this next week for me! And send me mail please. I really appreciate all the letters and encouragement I get!

Sister Struempler 

I Love Being A Missionary! (8/18/2014)

A mission is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I feel like every week some amazing things happen...along with some not so amazing things. But it's the amazing things that we always need to focus on and remember! That's what makes it all worth it in the end.

Monday we were tracting and Sister Jolie and I both felt like we just needed to go down a different street. So we found the street and started walking along. Nobody was really interested as we were knocking on doors. And then we saw Rick walking up the street. He was this person that we'd met a few weeks back, but never got his address or phone number so we didn't have a way of contacting him again. Turns out he wants to come to church! We were able to get his number, so hopefully we can start teaching him soon. Such a miracle!

Tuesday night we decided to drive to Bowser to go finding because we were going on exchanges with the Qualicum Beach sisters (our Sister Training Leaders). So we were tracting out in the boonies and we met the cutest old lady ever. She just had a friend pass away and was really sad. She wanted to show us all her albums and tell us her life story, like most old people do. But we had to go. She was so funny and just made our night!

Then, I was in Qualicum all day Wednesday. It's basically a retirement community so everyone is...mature. It was interesting! hahaha. Old people can just say whatever they want because "they're old and don't know what they're talking about." We stopped by some people with a member and was able to teach someone. Then we visited a member from the branch and talked to them about Preach My Gospel. They gave us a fig from their fig tree to try. It was weird. We went finding and met some very interesting people. One guy wanted to hang out with us on the beach...we were like...umm, no we can come back and teach you about the Book of Mormon. hahaha! Then we visited with some more members. They gave us some soup but we had no way to eat it. This is Sister Gibb and I getting creative.
Wooo! Old quizzno's cups​ as soup cups. Hahaha. Gross. Anyways, then I headed back to Courtenay.
Thursday we had weekly planning, which is always an experience. We need to do it, but it's just so hard sometimes! It was fun going out finding that night. I just can stand staying inside for too long.
Friday we had a lesson with a former investigator. His true friend who introduced him to the missionaries was able to come, so it was such a great lesson. We taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how baptism is an essential ordinance. It's so important for us to all be baptized by someone who holds the Priesthood authority of God, so that it's bound in Heaven and on Earth. We asked him to pray about it so I'll let you know how it goes.
Then we visited with Arleen. SHE GOT HER TEMPLE RECOMMEND! WAHOOOO!!! Her family is now going to be sealed for time and all eternity. I'm so happy for her. I can't even wait! You can just see her face glowing as she talks about going to the temple. It's just such a wonderful thing. I love the temple! <3
Then we met with Ken. He's doing so well! We finished up teaching him the Restoration. He believes that the Book of Mormon is true! He's been praying and feels like his surgery is going to go well and that God is keeping him alive for a reason.
Then...DEBBIE! I seriously love this woman so much. She invited us over for dinner and it was so fun. We got to know her a lot better and her kids are just so cute. We taught her about keeping the Sabbath Day holy and how we need to be obedient to God's commandments. Her daughter kept saying during dinner, "when are we going to talk about Heaven?" Little kids are just so cute! And so in tune with the spirit! And have such wonderful questions.
So Friday was the "highest of highs!"
Then Saturday...We had a wonderful meeting with our ward mission leader and his wife. They live in the village of Cumberland. Well, since we were already there for the meeting, we thought it would be a good idea to spend the day there. We started going tracting and literally nobody answered their door. We did a pretty decent sized street and maybe 2 people answered.

Then, I had to go to the bathroom so we went to the main street of town. We went to the library and Sister Jolie was able to talk to an inactive member which was pretty cool. We gave her the address of the church and she said that she'll drop in sometime. It's funny how God places us in the right place at the right time. Then we went out onto the main street and realized that there was a festival going on, so that is why nobody was home. We started just talking to people on the street and just got this strange empty feeling. Like the spirit couldn't be there at all. It was still with us, but not with the people in Cumberland. We felt like we were in the Great and Spacious Building. We had to leave because we just couldn't stand the feeling anymore. When you're set apart as a missionary, it's wonderful to feel the spirit so strongly. But it does have an effect on us. So that was our "lowest of lows" point in the week. We went to a different town called Royston and went tracting there. The spirit was able to be with us more. We also went to visit some members and that helped a lot. The spirit is so sensitive, and we always need to be worthy of it!
Sunday was one of the craziest ones by far! Ken was able to come to church! He has a hard time walking though, so he uses a cane. He couldn't walk on the carpet at all, so Sister Jolie and I were running around like crazy people trying to find a wheel chair. Good thing they had some! So we wheeled Ken into the chapel and he was able to enjoy sacrament meeting. He has committed to be baptized on Sept 13th. Now we just need to meet with his wife to get her on board.

The gospel is true! I love being a missionary! You can send my letters to:
Sister Struempler
Canada Vancouver Mission
P.O. Box 149
Point Roberts, WA
Sister Struempler
Canada Vancouver Mission
8440 Williams Road
Richmond, B.C.
V7A - 1G6
because transfers are coming up soon . . . I can't believe it!
Sister Struempler

John Bytheway (8/11/2014)

​Monday I had to deal with this. My finger was SO SWOLLEN from the wasp sting the night before. We went tracting and I kept asking people for new ice to put on my finger every time my ice melted. It was pretty funny, but people were nice and gave me more ice :)

Tuesday I woke up and my hand was even more swollen and was turning red and blotchy. I had to go to the doctor and she told me that I needed to take lots of Benadryl and gave me some cream to put on it. Needless to say...I was pretty much out of it all day because of the Benadryl.

Wednesday we went back to work! We went finding and visited a member. We had a lesson in the evening with Mick again. We talked to him about The Family A Proclamation to the World. He had a problem with our church being a patriarchy, so we helped him to understand that men and women are equal. He's praying that his common law wife's heart will be softened so that they can get married and he can get baptized! We're meeting with him again this week so hopefully we'll see some progress.

Thursday was weekly planning...and MY YEAR MARK! WAHOOOO!!!! I can't believe that I've been a missionary for a whole year now. That is just too crazy! Long days and short weeks, that's for sure. So that was pretty exciting. Sister Jolie made me her mom's famous chicken wings and we got to enjoy them with Sister Shelley and Sister Holbrook as well. They came down because on Friday we had zone conference and John Bytheway!! So after finishing planning and going finding, we went down to Qualicum Beach together and stayed the night with the Sister Training Leaders and had a little "Year Mark" party for Sister Shelley and I.
Friday morning we drove down to Nanaimo and had an amazing Zone Meeting. Our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders taught us about Ether 12 and how we can increase our faith in so many different ways. The more I learn about the gospel, the more I realize that I really don't know anything. Hahaha!
All the Sisters in the Nanaimo Zone!
Then we drove from Nanaimo to Victoria. We had a special meeting with the Nanaimo Zone and the Victoria Zone. John Bytheway taught us and President and Sister Burt came as well. It was so amazing! I learned so much and so many of my prayers were answered. Then we rushed to get some food before the Youth Fireside started.
We got round 2 of John Bytheway and he taught the youth and all of us about Coming Unto Christ and how that's how the Book of Mormon starts and ends. We believe in Christ and the Book of Mormon teaches us all about Him. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon in my life.
Friday night we stayed with some sisters in Victoria.
​It was so fun to be with them :) Then Saturday we had to road trip it back to Courtenay, and then the North Island sisters drove all the way back to their area. Tons of traveling this week, but it was so worth it!
GUESS WHAT?!?!?! Debbie and her two kids came to church on Sunday! Sister Jolie and I were SO excited! It was so amazing to have them there to see what it's like and to learn about the gospel even more. Debbie is just so prepared and loves the gospel. We can't wait to teach her more this week!
We also taught Melissa again. She's so amazing. She has been praying and even started reading the Bible! That's HUGE for someone who didn't believe in God when we first met her...she believed in aliens. Good thing we got that all cleared up :D  It's so cool to see people progress, even at a small rate, because you can see the change it makes in their lives.
So that was my week! Full of sickness, traveling, being spiritually fed, finding, and teaching. Now we're going to be doing some baptizing pretty soon!
I love you all! Take care! Please write me letters, I really appreciate them :)
Sister Struempler

Ouch bee, don't sting me!! (8/4/2014)

Monday we had some fun at the information center :)

That's what missionaries do for fun. Seriously... hahaha! We went finding at a complex that night. Such a miracle! We ran into a guy that we had met street contacting. He gave us his mom's number so we couldn't get ahold of him again...until we found out where he lives! He gave us his number and we were able to find a new investigator. :) The Lord leads us to where we need to be.
Tuesday we met with this lady named Mandy and her 12 YO daughter. She has been meeting with the Jehovah Witnesses for 12 or 13 years and still doesn't believe in God. We are going to try to help her to have her own experiences that will help her have a testimony of God. She's super cool! She makes her own yarn using different animal hair, then she dyes it, and then knits cool stuff from it. Super crafty!
Wednesday we had district meeting and then ate and left as soon as possible to catch the ferry to Denman Island! We also went to Hornby Island as well. It was beautiful! We meet some really interesting people and were able to hand out a few copies of the Book of Mormon. It was such a fun, exhausting day! I didn't get too seasick :)
It was so pretty going there and such an adventure! So many artists and hippies live on those islands. I don't think I could ever live on an island though.
Thursday we finished weekly planning in record time! Sister Shelley and Sister Holbrook came down because Sister Holbrook was having some problems with her visa. She had to go to Vancouver and Sister Shelley got to hang out with us for a day and a half. It was really fun!
Thursday night we taught this lady named Shawna who is less active now. She still totally believes that the church is true and shared some really cool experiences with us where she knew God helped her in her life. We are going to start working with her and her son to come back to church. She used to work on Sundays, so she got out of the habit of going to church. It's so easy to slip out of the gospel. We need to constantly be checking ourselves and making sure that we are staying on the right path.
Friday we went contacting in a parking lot! I've never done that before until I came here to Courtenay. It can be slightly awkward, but it was pretty fun. We got a couple phone numbers from people and will follow up with them later.
Another lady in our ward has stopped drinking coffee for 5 weeks now! She has only 1 more week to go and then she can get her temple recommend. Her name is Arleen, can everyone please pray for her? Thank you!!!
We taught Ken, the man that got brain cancer when he was 14. He is doing so well! We finished teaching him about the restoration and he was like, "What does it take to become a Mormon?" And we were like, "Oh, let us tell you!!" It was amazing! He is so prepared. The gospel helps everyone no matter what their challenges or concerns may be!!
Sister Shelley left with Sister Holbrook back to North Island Saturday morning. It was fun to be together as a district! Apparently we are the only mission in the whole world that has Sister District Leaders.
Saturday we got to teach Shaun (less active), his girlfriend Amanda and their friend Corey. It went so well! For teaching a bunch of 20 year olds about eternal marriage, it wasn't even that awkward! We even talked to Corey about learning about the gospel again, and he said that he'd be ready to meet with us again. Miracles are happening here in Courtenay!
Sunday....oh what a day! I don't even know where to begin. Triston showed up at church which was such a miracle! He had to leave after sacrament meeting to go to the Salvation Army Church. He might be moving to Duncan to learn how to be a tattoo artist from his dad. We'll see what happens with him. After sacrament meeting Bridgette showed up at church! She was the lady we taught that lives on Mt Washington. She LOVED church and was just glowing afterwards. I just love seeing how the spirit can touch people so strongly in their lives.
Then after dinner, we went tracting. We were knocking on a few houses and then one had a gate that you had to open to get in. I reached my hand under the gate to open the latch and then PAIN!! EXTREME PAIN! I was running away from the house screaming while Sister Jolie was frantically trying to figure out what happened (she thought I had just seen a spider...bahahaha)...I got stung!!! By a wasp or bee or hornet or something. My finger started swelling up like a balloon! So we went and stopped by the bishop's house who happened to live close by. I got some ice to put on it and then we finished tracting while I was holding a bag of ice to my finger. It was an interesting experience. I was able to get some Benadryl from a member so hopefully it will go away soon. My finger looks so nasty. It was a strange experience.
So that was my week! Full of miracles. I love seeing God's hand everyday in the work we do, because it just strengthens my testimony that the gospel is true. God knows all his children and we are just His instruments in helping them remember what they already knew.
Send me letters! I would really appreciate it :)
Sister Struempler
p.s. here's a cool new website that the church put out! Go Canada!

I'm Staying in Courtenay! (7/28/2014)

Monday was just crazy. Nobody knew when transfer calls were coming. They ended up calling people on Tuesday morning. We didn't get the call, so we're both staying!
We were able to teach Debbie on Monday night and she's doing so amazing! We read part of the Book of Mormon with her and it helped her understand it a lot more to read it with us. She's excited to learn more and to continue reading her Book of Mormon. Everyone pray for her for us!! She is just so wonderful :)

Tuesday we volunteered at the food bank because they just need a lot of help there. It's fun going there, but we can't go very often. We did a lot of finding and drop-bys during the afternoon and evening. We also visited this super cute family in the ward and talked to them about the Plan of Salvation.
Wednesday was insane. We had a lesson planned with this pastor for the Ukrainian Russian Orthodox Church, and we had a member all lined up to come out with us. She couldn't find her car keys, so she had to call and cancel. Then we called a bunch of people in the ward and were able to finally get a hold of someone. We picked her up and we were able to have the lesson. Phew! He's nice, but doesn't really want to change. He doesn't believe in the Great Apostasy so it's hard for him to understand the need for the Restoration and a modern day prophet. Also, when we left his house it was literally dumping buckets of water from the sky. I just love being soaked! 
Then we met with this man named Ken. We've met with him a couple times now and he's really nice. He got brain cancer when he was 14 and has had 4 operations and lots of chemotherapy since. He wants to learn more about God because he's survived so far. He thinks that God is helping him and keeping him alive for a reason. We're super excited for him, so everyone pray for him as well please :)
We also met with a family in the ward on Wednesday night. The dad is from Vanderhoof! Woohoo! Connections :)
Thursday...weekly planning. It was also President and Sister Burt's first transfer meeting. We didn't get to go, but that's okay! We had work to do here in Courtenay. We stopped by to see this super cool lady. Her mom told us to go by sometime and she's just so awesome. She has 5 kids and has been meeting with Jehovah's witnesses. She is interesting in learning about the Book of Mormon so we're going back next week to teach her about it!
Friday we went and saw this member who's trying to get her temple recommend so she can be sealed to her daughter and husband. The problem is that she loves coffee. But not anymore! Yesterday, she has gone 4 weeks without drinking a single cup of coffee! WAHOOO! We are so excited for her to go to the temple!!! She told us that she can't even smell it anymore! Heavenly Father works miracles :)
We also decided to go knock on doors at the base in our area. There were people that have been taught there before so we thought it was okay. We were doing so good and people were being so receptive. I was so scared the whole time though because I just kept thinking about how any one of these people on the base could probably kill me in an instant. Then we knocked on this one guys door and I was terrified. Big. Bulky. Tattooed. Scary. Military man. My companion was like "We are going around sharing a message about God tonight..." and he was like "DO YOU THINK I WANT TO HEAR YOUR MESSAGE?!?! ARE YOU EVEN ALLOWED TO BE HERE ON THE BASE?!?!" All I could think about was him growing into a giant hulk and tearing us to pieces. We were like "sorry Sir, bye!" and walked away swiftly. Scary moment of the week.
We were able to teach this wonderful guy named Mick in the evening. He loves the gospel and has been taught for a few years by Elders. We decided to give him and call and start teaching him again. He's really awesome and we're going to see if we can help him progress. His favorite thing about the gospel is the Holy Ghost! He think's it's so cool and can sense it in the members of the church.
Saturday we went out in the boonies to Black Creek. Brought me back to my days in Vanderhoof. We visited the Bison Farm that one of the member's in our ward owns. We also taught Debbie in the evening again :)
Sunday! This former investigator named Triston decided to show up. He's this scrawny, 18 year old atheist who has decided that he wants to learn more about the gospel again. Wish us luck! haha.
I love you all so much and I hope that you have a wonderful week. Please send me letters, they are much appreciated! 
Sister Struempler