Tuesday, November 25, 2014

White (11/24/2014)

This week was probably one of the best weeks that I have had on my mission. Get ready for a good one!

On Monday, we were just going about our normal P-Day business, then we got a phone call from a member. He told us that this lady named Shayla called him up and was begging him to call us so that we could meet with her. She investigated the church 2 years ago, but then just dropped off of the face of the planet. She was watching some youtube videos that freaked her out and decided that she needs to make changes in her life and wants to start coming to church again. Talk about a MIRACLE! So we called her up and started teaching her Monday night. She also came to church yesterday which was super exciting! 

We volunteered at the food bank on Tuesday and this guy that volunteers there seems pretty interested in learning about the gospel. Now we just need to find a way to contact him besides the food bank...because we're not really supposed to proselyte in there. We saw Ken and Shelley! Ken had a pretty bad fall last Friday and actually broke his nose. So sad! But the ward is being great and helping them out which is really awesome. Shelley "doesn't know if she can be Mormon because she likes coffee." She'll come around, it'll just take some time :) 

Then we taught this CUTE old lady named Agnes. She is actually preparing for baptism now! She's scared of water, so we'll see how this goes. Her date is for December 13th, so everyone please pray for her!

Then Sammui had her baptismal interview! It went so well and she was just so happy afterwards. :)

Then we taught our pagan friends Tuesday night about the restoration. It was pretty good, but we don't know what it's going to take to get them to change. Hmmm...
Wednesday we had district meeting! It was so good :)
 I have a twin by the way
p.s. this is how missionaries park their cars...hehe
Last district meeting together because TRANSFER CALLS ARE TONIGHT! ahhhh.

Thursday we did weekly planning and then went out to work. We went finding and talked to some pretty awesome people. We talked to this guy that was sincerely asking questions about the Book of Mormon and it was just so awesome. We gave him our number, so hopefully he'll call and want to learn more! We also visited the relief society president's mom, who isn't a member, and then visited with an awesome member family :) So exciting!  ​
Friday, Sister Bartlett got sick :( She had to rest and she also got a blessing. It was such a miracle! She felt better the next day! Priesthood power is real! We also went to a member's house for dinner and that was delicious. They just got sealed last week! There are 8 kids! Then we went and saw Sammui one last time before her BAPTISM! 

Are you ready for Saturday? BEST DAY EVER!  We went up to MT WASHINGTON in the morning. It's the Ski Resort of the Island. It made me want to go snow boarding so badly. We have a member and an investigator up there so we got to spend some time with them and teach them :)
Do you want some Sushi, Eh??
And then when we got back to Courtenay, guess who I got to see?!?!?!?!?!
VICTORIA WAS IN COURTENAY! We went shopping with her at Costco! Oh my gosh, I was in heaven. She's going to the temple in January! I'm so happy for her!!!!!!!!!! :D
Then we went and taught this cute lady from Ecuador named Catalina. 

And then....

Sammui and Andy :)
It was so amazing :) I love her so much! Then on Sunday she got confirmed and it was just awesome :) I could see her just glowing with the spirit!
Then after church and lunch, there was a Christmas Parade. We didn't go to it, but we got there just as it ended and talked to the departing crowd. I was in heaven! Most people I've seen on main street in Courtenay the whole time I have been here! And everyone was so kind and excited for Christmas that people actually talked to us. I love this season!

We went and watched "Joy to the World" with this less active member. She wants to come to church but can't wake up for it...uhhh...yeah. We're working on her.

Then we had dinner with the Andersons! (the people that we live with)
I love them so much :D hehehe

Then...MIRACLE! This senior Elder from Salt Lake called us and told us all about this couple that went to St. George on vacation. They were there for 2 weeks and went to the visitors center 3 or 4 times. He said that they were getting home yesterday, so we went over and met them. They are SO SOLID! I'm so excited. And then we went and visited another less active member that night and she gave us a bunch of free clothes. Wahooo!

Miracles have not ceased. 

Sister Struempler

Monday, November 17, 2014

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

This past week has been FREEZING! Like 30 degrees. So crazy.

Monday we went to a member's house and did some arts and crafts. It was super fun! We got to make our own homemade Christmas cards! We're going over today as well to finish them up. So fun :)

Then on Monday night, we went all the way out to Black Creek to have dinner with some members in our ward. They live on a Bison farm . . . so awesome! Except, get this: the wife's parents live in a suite above the garage and they actually go to the ward in Campbell River. Let's just say that we & the Campbell River elders ended up at the same dinner appointment (awkward). Afterwards, we went and had FHE with a different lady in our ward :)

Then on Tuesday, we went on exchanges and I went down to Qualicum Beach: Land of the Old People! It was really awesome though. It was super cold, but super sunny. We went to the beach for exercise in the morning, which was really fun!
We got to teach this super cute old man about the plan of salvation. His girlfriend just died, and he's really sad about that. We also ate dinner with some members & the wife is from Chile. She made MEXICAN FOOD. Awe man, I've missed that stuff!! We also got our flu shots and met this awesome old man that looked like Abraham Lincoln! It was full of adventures!

I got back to Courtenay and we did our weekly planning. We tracted a complex that a member lives in and then went and had a lesson with them. We also dropped by this less active that actually said she might come to church on Sunday! I'm so sad, she didn't come :( Then we planned SAMMUI'S BAPTISM! SO STINKIN' EXCITED! She's getting baptized on the 22nd!! WAHOOO!!

Then on Friday, we went to an apartment building to go tracting in the morning. We then drove to Nanaimo for a Zone Meeting! It was seriously so good. We talked about how setting goals are so important to success and it's all from goals that the work begins. I'm trying to be better about setting goals now!

Then the Duncan sisters came up on an exchange with us, and we both went and saw members at 8pm. It was good :)

Saturday, we were still on the exchange for a little bit and Sister Schroeder and I went to Comox & talked to people. We went to go contact some people that this man told us to go visit. We went to knock on the door and there is a husband and a wife. The wife starts walking down the stairs (mind you, we can see this through the door) and says: "I'm not answering, it's the Jehovah's Witnesses!" and then I say (through the door), "We're actually Mormons!" She then proceeds back up the stairs. We ring the doorbell this time. Wait. The wife comes back down the stairs, "They're still there!!!" At this point we realized that she wasn't going to answer the door, so we just left a note. It was so awkward, but so funny! hahaha. Oh the joys of missionary work. In the afternoon, the Duncan sisters left, so we went back to work. We visited a couple members because we were freezing! It was good though :) This ward is starting to do better with their missionary work!

Sunday we had church :) Nate came with Crystal's three girls:  Juniper, Sage, and Adaelia (sp?). So cute, right? It was funny because Sunday was the practice for the primary program - of course! But they seemed to like it alright. Sammui came as well. She's doing so well and I'm so excited for her to be baptized!

After church, we practiced with the choir, ate lunch, and tracted a bit. We went and taught Sammui some more of the commandments to make sure that she understands them. She's Vietnamese and Chinese. The sad thing is that when she was living in Vietnam, she actually got stoned when she was younger. This has caused her some mental problems and she even has a fake eye because she got hit in one of her eyes with a rock. She's the sweetest person ever and has such a positive attitude. I'm so grateful to be able to have gone to her wedding, teach her, and help her to be baptized!! We taught a few more people that night and it was so great.

This week was amazing and I just love being am missionary. I hope that you have had a wonderful week as well! write me letters!

Sister Gabrielle Struempler 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hastening the work! (11/10/2014)

Wahooo! Another week as a missionary completed. What a crazy week, I don't even know where to begin.

As you know from my last email, we got to watch "Meet the Mormons." That was sweet. I love that movie so much! I love how it shows us Mormons as normal people. On Tuesday, we drove back to Courtenay and on the way we stopped at this place called, "Goats on the Roof" There weren't any goats on the roof anymore though. Too late in the season. But here are some pics:
Sister Bartlett got to ride on a yellow school bus for the first time!!
The members that we live with have a bus. :)
"Goats on the Roof" with no goats :(
The pumpkin that sister Bartlett and I carved on Halloween!
We got to teach our pagan investigators. It was awesome. They told us that they want to be friends with us and have good conversations. We don't know how interested they are in converting though. We still teach them because you never know what can cause a person to change. The less active came to church once, so we have made some progress. I'll keep you updated. We talked about tim-tam slams, so now we're going to have tim-tam slams and teach them another lesson this week. It'll be fun :)

We got to do some service for a family that just moved into our ward. That was so fun! We helped them paint some of their rooms :) They fed us lunch and even made us a GIANT panookie! Oh my gosh. It was so good, I was dying! So full. And then we went and had dinner with a different member that night. I felt like a stuffed turkey by the end of it all.

Cool story: We went to McDonald's with a member to teach one of our investigators. She ended up not showing up, so we were walking to the door when this lady stopped us. She was like, "Are you missionaries?" And we were like..."Uhhh...yeah?" She then said, "We're Jehovah witnesses! I think we've seen you around town. Do you get mistaken as Jehovah witnesses a lot?" We then proceeded to sit down with these two wonderful Jehovah witness ladies with our member and had a little lesson with them. We talked about how hard it is to knock doors - they really do understand! And then we started getting into the Book of Mormon. They didn't even know that Mormon was a person! We basically taught them the entire restoration and they didn't even Bible bash us at all! It was such an amazing experience. God does prepare people for us to teach; even the people we would least likely expect, can be ready to hear the Gospel. 

Another cool story: We met this guy who was working on someone's house and he was interested. He gave us the cross street of where he lives, but didn't give us the actual address. We went one night and knocked on all the houses around the cross street and couldn't find where he lives. Then another day, we had an impression to go back to the cross street and there was an apartment complex there as well. We started buzzing some apartments to talk to people and here walks out our potential! He was like, "Well, this is where I live!" It was such a miracle. We also found a super cute, nice old lady in that same apartment complex. Miracles. 

We taught Ken this week about temples. He really liked that :) We also got to teach Melissa who we haven't taught in FOREVER! She quit smoking. And, she fasts the first Sunday of every month. Uhhh...coolest investigator ever!

Oh, and on Friday we got a frantic call from a member of the Bishopric telling us that he forgot to ask people to speak in sacrament meeting. Guess who spoke in sacrament meeting? Sister Bartlett and I! Wahoo! hahaha. 

I love you all!

Sister Struempler

Happy Halloween! (11/4/2014)

What a crazy couple of weeks it's been...what a crazy transfer it's been! I don't even know what to say. My mind is all over the place, so hopefully this email makes some sense.
Monday evening we got a call from a family in our ward. They asked us if we were coming over for dinner and we were like, "We'll come. On our way!" Forgot to look at our dinner calendar . . . oops! It was so much fun. They have 8 kids and they all like to talk to us at the same time - hahaha!!
Then we went and got Ken's baptismal record all signed and finished off. He's an official member!! <3 We also stopped by Debbie and her husband, Wade. They made it back from their trip to California. They even stopped in at the San Diego Zoo! Sounds like they had a blast. I'm excited to teach them again :) 
Tuesday we went on exchanges! I went to Duncan with Sister Weller. It was awesome! Duncan has one of the largest First Nations reserves in all of Canada! There were some pretty awesome totem poles to look at. We got to visit this recent convert who is just the coolest. She thinks that science proves that Adam and Eve existed! I don't remember all the things she told us, but it was pretty sweet. 
Wednesday we had district meeting in Nanaimo. I love being with all the other sisters here. :) Then we came back to Courtenay. We had no k's left, so we had to walk everywhere that day. We talked to people and even stopped by this less active man. His name is Gordon and he reminds me of Santa Clause, haha. He's a funny old guy. Then we went to the church and taught the young men how to cook fast & easy missionary meals. :D
Thursday. Oh my gosh it was POURING! Dumping buckets from the sky. It was ridiculous. Oh yeah, and there's been a water problem the past week. We can't drink the water from the taps. We have to boil our water or get water bottles. That's been fun! hahaha. Apparently, the water is contaminated. So weird. Anyways, so it was pouring. We stopped by some people and nobody was home. We didn't know what else to do, so we went to the Walmart parking lot and talked to people there. It was pretty fun. We pumpkin/heart attacked some people, and stopped by this awesome new member who just moved in. We went finding a lot and had dinner with a member. What a great Thursday!
Friday - HALLOWEEN! It was Sister Bartlett's first one. It was awesome :) We even carved a super cute pumpkin - her first one. If I had my camera cord I would show you. I forgot it. next week! We had to be in by 6pm, and we did some weekly planning while listening to fireworks. 
Saturday - We walked around and talked to people.We met this sweet biker guy that totally met Elders before. Too bad they went over to his house on Sundays to watch football. We told him that we don't watch TV on our missions, hahaha. It's just so cool to see how many connections people have with Mormons! We were walking around and Sister Bartlett was feeling really faint. We called the mission nurse and had to go to the hospital. We were there for 4 STINKIN HOURS! I was dying. But, we made it out alive and Sister Bartlett is okay :) MIRACLES. Some men from our ward even came and gave us blessings. 
Sunday we went to church! It was an awesome testimony meeting and Sammui came to church as well. I'm so excited for her to get baptized in two weeks! We also had dinner with a family and watched the CES broadcast. We went finding and then drove to Nanaimo!
MONDAY! Zone conference! We had no idea what it was going to be about. We left at 10am to get to Victoria for a combined meeting with all the missionaries here on the island. Then...dun dun DUNNNN! President Burt GOT THE MOVIE "Meet the Mormons" for us! WAHOOOO! IT WAS SO GOOD! I just loved it. If you don't know about it go on meetthemormons.org and you can learn more.
We ended up sleeping in Nananimo again last night and then came back to Courtenay today :) We stopped at "Goats on the Roof" on the way up in this teeny town called Coombs. There is grass growing on the roof and they have goats...that seriously LIVE on top of the roof. It was awesome!
Well that was my week. Full of crazy ups and downs. 
I'm excited to start to listen to Christmas music now :) If anyone wants to send me some, that would be much appreciated!
Sister Gabrielle Struempler

I'm a Missionary! (10/27/2014)

This week was extremely hard, I'm not going to lie. I lost all of my motivation, was exhausted, was sad, and was frustrated.   : (

We all go through weeks like this. When things get tough, and we are about to give up, just keep going. My favorite fish (Dori) says: "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming, what do we do? we swim, swim, swim!"

"When things go wrong as they sometimes will, when the road you are trudging seems all uphill, when the funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile, but you have to sigh, when care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must, but don't you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns, as everyone of us sometimes learns, and many a person turns about when they might have won had they stuck it out. Don't give up though the pace seems slow. You may succeed with another blow. Often the struggler had given up, when he might have had the victors cup. And he learned too late when the night came down, how close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out, so stick to the fight when you are hardest hit, it's when things seem worst that you must not quit." 

We must not quit. When life get's hard, I try to keep an eternal perspective. This life is a test. Jesus Christ already paid the debt. We just need to keep the commandments and endure to the end. Then we will have eternal life. If life was easy, we wouldn't learn anything. Even so, I sometimes wish it was easy. But that wasn't God's plan. His plan was for us to come to Earth to gain a body, gain experiences, and be happy. We wouldn't know happiness if we didn't know sadness. We wouldn't know good if we didn't know evil. 

Just keep swimming!
Sister Struempler 

p.s. Here's my new district:

Ken got baptized!! (10/20/2014)

This week was just crazy like usual. I don't even know where to begin. Well, I guess I'll begin with Monday. So, Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving! Wahoo! We got invited over to a member's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Traditional turkey dinner and the works. It was Sister Bartlett's first time having a turkey dinner. She loved it! Plus, they let us have the wish bone so we're going to do that today. Also, another first for Sister Bartlett.
Then we went and had another turkey dinner with some less actives. By that time we were done, we were in a turkey food coma. Delicious but uncomfortable. We went and had FHE with a couple in our ward. We talked about always having a spirit of thanksgiving. The Jaredites in Ether 6 were stuck in barges for over a year, yet they continually sang praises and thanked God. I wish that I could always have that great attitude. 
p.s. we didn't get a transfer call. I'm still in Courtenay! 
Tuesday we got to volunteer at the food bank! They just love us after that huge B.C. wide food drive that we had. They even gave us a Costco pumpkin pie! Aghh! What's with people and feeling like they always need to give us stuff? I love it, but I don't at the same time. We had a normal day after that. Street contacted, tracted, heart attacked Melissa, and taught Ken. It was great!
Wednesday we tried to figure out some other ways that we can do service in the community. We also visited with Jennie. She's just the greatest :) Then, we saw Lynn who's coming back into activity. She knows Ken, so we got her to play the piano at his baptism! So exciting. Then we visited a lady who is battling cancer and shared an uplifting message with her. What a trooper! We visited some members and went finding a lot :)
Thursday! We did weekly planning, only 18 more to go . . . phew!! I'm never planning anything for the rest of my life. Just kidding, maybe for just a couple weeks after I get home. Then I'll be over it. We taught Sammui the word of wisdom. She's hilarious! She kept saying, "It's like a menu! I have to choose what's good!" So cute. We also taught Prince! It was an AMAZING lesson. We started teaching him the plan of salvation and then he was like, "Hold on a second." He went and grabbed his brother Joseph and they both listened in. It was so awesome! They had tons of questions and were super involved. The member was just so happy to come with us. I love lessons like those :)
Friday, KEN GOT INTERVIEWED FOR BAPTISM! It went so well :)  We were so excited! He's so great :) We also went finding out in the dumping rain. That's the best :) And then stopped by to see some awesome people! When we were tracting, we found this awesome guy! He told us about how the Elders gave him a Book of Mormon a month ago when we was in the Okanagan! It was a sign that we stopped by his house! We weren't able to get his number or anything, but he promised that he'd call us and ask us questions once he started reading the Book of Mormon. I love how God places us in the path of people that need to speak to us. It just strengthens my testimony. 
Saturday! We now have a "park the car" day. So, on Saturdays we walk all day long. Weee! Went and saw Ken and Shelley. Gave him a jumper to wear to be baptized in. Then, in the evening, we got a ride with one of our members to Stake Conference! It was so great! It was all about missionary work which made me so happy. President Burt even came and spoke as well.   :)
We stayed overnight at the Nanaimo sisters' apartment. There were 8 of us all together in one apartment, sleeping on the floor . . . girl party!
Sunday! We went to stake conference again. It was so great! I loved hearing recent converts telling their conversion stories, listening to branch presidents, temple president, mission president, and our stake president. Afterwards we all got to meet with President and Sister Burt :) They are amazing! My mom and dad away from home. Then we got a ride back with another couple in our ward. Then....PREPARE FOR KEN'S BAPTISM! It was so amazing!!!!!!!!!!
It was one of the most spiritual baptisms I have ever been to. It was so great! I got to speak on baptism, Lynn played a musical number on the piano, and Sister Bartlett spoke on the Holy Ghost. Even Shelley was brought to tears. It was such a tender experience for all of us.

I know that this gospel brings so much happiness and joy into everyone's life. We are brought out of the dark world and into the light of Christ. 

I'm so pumped for 6 more weeks in Courtenay!

Love you all,
Sister Gabrielle Struempler