Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Lights!! (12/29/2014)

This week was SO amazing. I just love Christmas and I love my Savior, Jesus Christ! 

Monday we had our Christmas party with the other sisters in our district! We took a video of us acting out the nativity. It was pretty stinkin' hilarious.
Mary, Joseph & Baby
Then we went and had FHE with an awesome family. They were going ice skating for FHE, so we couldn't really participate....but we shared a message all about He is the Gift! We also helped this lady in our ward clean her house because she lets us do our laundry at her house for freeee!!!!

Tuesday...we had this awesome lesson with this new investigator named Bruce! He's going to give Sister Bernard a piano! So sweet! So he's an amazing person and has questions about why his mom died and why the love of his life died from cancer. We taught him about the plan of salvation and it was so great. We think that his mom led him to us so that he could learn about the restored gospel, because she was super religious before she passed on.  

Wednesday!! We went caroling with Sister Holbrook and Sister Soram. Some lady gave us coupons for fro-yo because we caroled to her, so we went and got that as well :) Then we went finding and then had Christmas Eve dinner with Sister Rhodes. It was amazing! Roast beef and the works.
getting excited to open our presents tomorrow!!
CHRISTMAS!! We woke up and opened our presents :) WAHOO!! so excited. We studied and were off to the Pimiskers. We had Christmas brunch there and Sister Bernard skyped her family.
Sister Bernard calling her family
what I do when Sister Bernard calls her family...hehehe!
It was awesome!! Then we walked around downtown for a bit and handed out "He is the Gift" cards. We then had lunch with this less active lady and her husband...the ones with millions of dogs. It was fun! hahahaha. Then we came back and I got to call my family! Wahoo! See y'all in 10 days!!! And then we had Christmas dinner with this older lady in our ward and a couple of her kids. All in all, it was an amazing Christmas!!! Even though it didn't snow until yesterday hahaha!
Friday! We were both dying, but we finished weekly planning. So sick! We both have colds that we just can't seem to get rid of. But, the sister training-leaders came over with ice cream and that gave us motivation to go out. We went and knocked on peoples doors. We talked to this awesome Jamaican 7th-Day-Adventist. We also contacted this lady named Joleen that we found a few days earlier, and she became a new investigator! Miracles!! God rewards us when we are diligent, even when we are sick!  :)
Christmas lights!
Saturday!! Aw man, I have an awesome story for Saturday: We went finding a lot on Saturday, and we were getting sick of it. It was snowing and cold and just ...yeah, not the greatest day for two sickies to be out. But we did it! We were out in Rutland and we walked up to this door that had a snow shovel on the front porch. I said a silent prayer that nobody would be home, so that I could shovel their driveway. It was amazing! Nobody answered, so Sister Bernard held my bag while I just shoveled away. It just makes you feel better when you do service for people! Then Sister Bernard was super inspired to go to this complex and knock on some doors, instead of where we were at the time. First lady...nobody...second door...this lady was just walking out to smoke. Her mom is in the hospital and her son just died. She was just stressed out of her mind! We were able to comfort her and pray with her, and it was just an amazing experience. One of those moments when I knew that I was at the right place and the right time, ya know? Plus she grew up in Alberta and knows tons about Mormons! We are going to go back and teach her!! anyways.... Then that night, Sister Soram and Sister Holbrook had a baptism and we got go. It was amazing!!!
Sunday! Church was amazing. I learned so much! It was just one of those awesome Sundays :) We went and dropped by people and visited this awesome family! The husband is from Africa and they have the cutest love story ever, and the cutest little girl ever. 
It was an amazing week, and I'm so grateful that I can be a missionary at this special time of year. This next week is going to be the best week ever and I'm so excited! My last week of my mission...who knew that this day would ever come. I thought that I was going to be a missionary forever! I guess not...hahahaha. But I just want you all to know that I love Jesus Christ. I know that He is my Savior. I love the Book of Mormon and I know that it's true. I know that it changes lives and that it is the word of God. I am so grateful that I got to be a missionary for Christ's church for these past 18 months. This is the way to be happy. The church is true.
Sister Struempler
p.s. check out the World's Largest Nativity on youtube. It's posted by the piano guys! It's AMAZING!!!!

Merry Christmas!! (12/22/2014)

I'm so excited for Christmas! If you haven't watched this video yet, please do. It's the best thing ever, and really brings the spirit of Christmas :)
Monday we went to the mall and did some Christmas shopping :) We are doing a secret Santa within our district. I bought some cat socks for the sister that I'm giving mine too :P  She's going to love them!! We also went tracting and found this awesome lady named Melissa! I love Melissas, hahaha. She actually reminds me a lot of my friend Melissa in Courtenay. Her husband is Asian, so they are Buddhist. But she is also super open to learning more, so pray that we can meet with her! We also taught this Jamaican lady named Laureen. She's so sweet! She has never heard of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith or anything! It was so cool to hear her reaction to the restoration. Then we went and visited this recent convert named Marsha. She's hilarious! She's been writing Santa all year long so that she can get a Christmas present!
Then on Tuesday...uh oh! The Japanese food we ate at the mall on Monday did not sit well with us. We don't know what we had, maybe food poisoning? But we were so sick. It was awful! But we were able to get feeling betterish by Wednesday and went back to work. 
We had our district meeting on Wednesday. We also had to get our car fixed, so we got to walk for most of the day. That was fun. When we were super dying, we knocked on people's doors that had benches or chairs on their front porches. If they didn't answer, we would sit down for a while. It was pretty funny. Oh the things that you do as a missionary. We did get to teach this awesome lady named Stacey! She's never really found a church that has "fit" her, so she was super open to learning more. She's even started reading the Book of Mormon! Pray that her husband's heart will soften so that he will be open to learning as well :) 
Thursday...weekly planning and lots of tracting. Wahoo!!!
Friday! We went to an area called Rutland and hung out there for most of the day. We dropped by this potential that Sister Bernard had found a month ago. She wouldn't even give the missionaries her name back then, but then a couple weeks ago the elders ran into her as well. She gave them her name and her number as well! People's hearts do soften during Christmas! We stopped by her place and had a nice chat. Hopefully we'll be able to teach her as well!!!!!
Saturday...we had a FREE HOT CHOCOLATE STAND! We wanted to promote He is the Gift in a creative way :) It was so fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Holbrook, Sister Bernard, Me, and Sister Soram (She's from Micronesia!! so cool!)
Afterwards we went to celebrate Sister Bernard's 4 month mark at FATBURGER!! 'MURICA!
It was so delicious :)
Sunday was the Christmas Program! Amazing as always. They actually used the talk I sent you last week in it, so that was pretty awesome. After church we went and visited this less active lady who doesn't believe in God anymore. She's super nice, and totally does believe in God. She's just in denial :P hahaha! Then we had dinner with the Relief Society president and her family! They are from England :D So great :) And then we ended the night by going caroling with the YSA sisters. It was so fun! We had some crazy reactions. We caroled to random people as we knocked on their doors. We had drunk people, shirtless people, and people gave us cookies! It was great :) I love Christmas! We're going to be caroling a lot this week!
I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas! I'll see you soon enough :)
Sister Struempler

Food & Finding (12/15/2014)

This week was so great!!! On Monday we had a lesson scheduled with Diane, our awesome investigator. Turns out she messed up her back, so we wont be able to teach her for a while! We didn't teach her all last week, so hopefully this week we'll be able to teach her more and she'll feel better. We had FHE with an awesome family. Funny story: we were going to watch Joy to the World, but then when we put the DVD into the DVD player, it got stuck. So they had to use pliers to get it out or something. We talked to them about the first Christmas in America in 3 Nephi 1 instead, so that was really great :)
Tuesday we had lunch with this awesome lady in our ward! She is dying of cancer, which is really sad, but she's hanging in there! We had a wonderful time together :) I feel like on the mission we pick up a lot of moms & dads, grandmas & grandpas. We did a lot of finding which was great. We have a lot of people scheduled for this week, so hopefully we can actually teach them!! We also had dinner with a member and that was interesting. Sister Bernard and I were SO STUFFED that we didn't feel good. Sister Bernard actually threw up after dinner. So sad. We realized that we need to stop eating so much food. ugh! Why are the members so awesome? One day we accidentally had 3 dinner appts, so we had to reschedule 2 of them. 
Wednesday we had a CHRISTMAS zone meeting. We read this AMAZING talk and all talked about it. I challenge you all to read it and tell me what you think. It really opened my eyes to the role that Mary and Joseph played for Jesus Christ. We also had a Christmas dinner and they even got a YSA band together to play Christmas songs for us while we ate. It was so fun!!! Then I finally got to teach Alfonso!!! He is this awesome man from El Salvador who just got baptized in October. He's been struggling a lot lately with the word of wisdom and doesn't know if he can repent. We finally got him to understand repentance, and he came to the Christmas party and to church on Sunday! MIRACLES! 
Thursday we did weekly planning. I only have 3 more left! I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We found lots more as well. We found this super awesome guy right before we were about to go inside. We were out street contacting in creepy downtown and we walked up to this man named Bruce. He said that he talked to Elders before, but they never called him. We got his number and are going to teach him on Wednesday! Pray for him for us!!!!
Friday we got to volunteer for the Salvation Army again. We rang the bell for the kettle drive at the mall! We're going to the mall today by the way - I'm so pumped!!! I just love it. It get's me in the Christmas spirit volunteering and helping people out! Then, we had the CHRISTMAS PARTY! Even Santa made an appearance. Lots of less active members and investigators made appearances. That was so awesome!! CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS!!! 10 more days!!!!! Saturday we walked...and walked...and walked...and walkedddddddd!!! It's park your car day on Saturdays, so yeah. We did get to help someone decorate her tree! And had an awesome dinner appt. :)
SUNDAY!! Church!!! We went to church and had a great time. After church, we stopped by this family that we met on Saturday who told us to come back the next day. Turns out he was just trying to be nice and thought that he made it clear that we shouldn't come back. Say what? People are so weird. Then we went and visited this AWESOME family! The wife is from Germany and she was there when the Berlin wall came down! She's a convert too. So basically the best thing ever. And the husband was a convert too and had the BEST conversion story. Then, we went and visited the less active that had the wolf and all the dogs. That was so fun! But stinky!! Afterwards we went finding and then went to visit a newly married couple in our ward and sang christmas songs with them. It was great! Love you all!

Send me letters!!

Sister Struempler

Here are some pictures from the week:


Santa Claus at the Christmas party!



Sister Bernard on Bernard Street

me holding a wolf puppy

So many dogs!!

Christmas is coming! (12/8/2014)

I'm so excited for CHRISTMAS because it's the best time of the year! Everyone loves CHRISTMAS and is so much happier! People are more willing to listen to us because CHRISTMAS is coming up. CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS!!! Can you tell that I'm excited? hehe!

On Monday, we did our normal p-day thing. We taught this new investigator named Diane. She is SO AWESOME! She is a recovering alcoholic and is so ready for the gospel. We taught her the entire restoration lesson and she loved it. She loves that we have a prophet on the Earth today and she loves the Book of Mormon. She is so prepared, so everyone please pray for her for me! We really want her to get baptized this month and have a WHITE CHRISTMAS!!! We're teaching her again tonight.

Then on Tuesday...oh Tuesday. Something happened to our car and that was a fiasco. We are still trying to get it fixed. We got to meet with this recent convert. She is so crazy, but so awesome. She kept telling us about how she owns a castle in Detroit and needs to go there to find it. What an adventure! We also got to help out with a nativity exhibit that the church was putting on here. It's called "Creche." It was BEAUTIFUL! There were over 400 nativities on display!

Wednesday, we had district meeting! It was so great :) I love Sister Holbrook, she's a fantastic district leader. We also got to be hostesses at the Creche exhibit for a couple hours and tour people around. Towards the end, a bunch of school kids came and there were so many of them. It was crazy!!! Also, a man from the newspaper came and took pictures of Sister Bernard looking at one of the nativities. She's famous! She was in the newspaper on Thursday! hehe. 
We also found this cute couple named Lauren and Brent. They invited us over for dinner the next day. Thursday. Thursday we did weekly planning. We also visited with this less active lady and helped her read the Book of Mormon. She just got an electric blanket and was falling asleep while we were reading to her....hahaha, oh well. Then we had a super stressful lesson with Lauren and Brent. Turns out Brent is a pastor at the Baptist church. They wanted to teach us, instead of us teaching them. They are super nice and said we could come back anytime and would help us if we ever needed anything. Agree to disagree, eh? We also had a meeting with our ward mission leader. He made us eat fennel. It was...interesting! 
Then on Friday we got to help out with the Salvation Army kettle drive. We got to stand in the mall and say "Merry Christmas" to people. It was so cute. Parents would give little kids a looney or a toonie and then they would come up to the kettle and we would give them a candy cane. So FUN! We got to visit an awesome family in our ward that night as well. 
Saturday! "Park the car" day. Oh man, I was exhausted from trudging in the snow all day. We talked to lots of people. We met this drunk man that some missionaries had talked to earlier, who felt bad for not talking to the missionaries before. He was so nice, and I hope he actually calls us. We also met this guy that had his priorities all messed up. He said that we should go try some ecstasy and then we'll, "know what life is all about." Poor man. We also met these teenage guys who tried to get us to hang out with them. On Sunday, we had so many miracles. We went to church and that was great. A lot of less actives showed up, which was nice. We found this awesome lady named Stacey. When we knocked on her door, she was like, "Come in! Get out of the cold!" She doesn't go to any churches, but is interested in reading the Book of Mormon and learning more! We're so excited to teach her on friday. We also got to go to the beginning of the Christmas Devotional and then had to leave early. We went to our stake president's house (he's in our ward) and had dinner with them. They invited some neighbors over as well who aren't Mormon. We shared Luke 2 with them and made gingerbread houses! I even put a moose on ours! hehe. Well, that was my week!
I love you all so much!!!
Endure to the end!
Sister Struempler

Welcome to Kelowna! (12/1/2014)

So I'm in Kelowna! I got here on Wednesday night and it was SNOWING! I'm so excited to be here, but it's seriously freezing. -15 degrees Celsius. But it's an adventure.
Monday we awaited the call. We got it while eating dinner with a member, so they were able to comfort us. I love members. I love Courtenay. I miss it already, but I know I'm supposed to be here in Kelowna. Tuesday was chaos with packing and saying goodbye to everyone. Tuesday night was the Relief Society Christmas party, so at least I got to say goodbye to lots of people there.
Wednesday we went to Nanaimo. Sister Bartlett went to Richmond to pick up her TRAINEE! She's training a brand new missionary. I'm so proud of her. 
Then I got to the airport at noon. We had a huge delay because there was so much fog. I was stuck in the airport with an Elder for 5 hours. It was an adventure. We flew to Vancouver and then had a lay over there. A member from Vanderhoof bought us dinner, so that was sweet! Being a missionary is so awesome. And then from Vancouver we flew to Kelowna, and I got my new comp Sister Bernard! She is SO awesome. I love her so much. She's from Utah :) She's been out for 3 months and we are getting ready for an amazing transfer together!!!
Thursday we planned. I hate planning...still. I think I say that in every email I have ever sent home. Oh well. Then we went out and worked! We live right in downtown Kelowna, which is nice, but is also kind of scary. But, I'm getting used to it. We talked to tons of people and found some cool potential investigators. We then went and visited a member. I knew her brother and sister-in-law in Richmond, so that was cool that we have a connection already. We also had our first coordination meeting. There are 3 sets of missionaries in this ward! So crazy. It's probably twice or three times as big as the Courtenay Ward. Friday, we walked around downtown again. We tried to visit some people. We met this awesome less active lady who is from Cuba. She was just waiting for someone in the church to visit her and show her some love. She has felt ignored for a long time, so we're going to work with her and help her a lot. I'm so excited!
Then on Saturday, we had our walk and talk day. It was so cold! We went and met the Bishop. He's only been a member for 8 years! It was amazing to hear his story. Sunday, I had to give a talk and my topic was about enduring to the end . . . because I only have 5 and a half weeks left. I was running around like a crazy person at church trying to meet everyone and get all of their names down. I'm determined to get to know this ward even though I won't be here that long. Members are just the greatest! Then, a nice family invited us over for dinner yesterday. It was really good. We went finding in the cold and everyone who opened their door was like, "It's cold, go home!" And we were like, "No, this is important!" haha - oh the joys of winter. 
I know that this church is true. It just is! There is only one true church on the Earth that has the priesthood power and all of the saving ordinances. It's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 
I hope that y'all have a wonderful December and Christmas season!
Send me letters!
Sister Gabrielle Struempler
313 - 1425 Bertram Street
Kelowna, B.C.
V1Y - 8K4
Sister Struempler