Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 26, 2013

Hey ya'll!!!
Sounds like a pretty busy week at home with school starting and everything! I hope everyone had a good first day of school today :) Well things here in Charlottesville are going good! We have transfers this week but president loves keeping us waiting in suspense and has decided to not tell us until tomorrow whether or not we are being transferred on Thursday. There are going to be tons and tons of changes.... he told us that everyone is being transferred... not literally but basically it will feel like we are all getting transferred. Haha. So it will be interesting! But things are going great and the work is really starting to pick up with all the students finally being back! It is crazy... there are people flooding the streets and the traffic is so crazy but it is awesome to have so many YSA's back in town! We have some awesome potentials we are working with!
So we have been working really hard on getting our investigator Anthony to progress.... I've been teaching him ever since I got here and he has been meeting with missionaries since January. He has been taught everything like 2 or 3 times haha and he is the most faithful church goer I know. He is there every week without fail.... the past couple months it has been so neat to see Anthony not necessarily progress in the gospel but in the ward and by just being involved with everybody. The whole ward knows and loves Anthony and he has been going to activities, he has been assigned home teachers, he sings in the choir, and he actually didn't have a place to live for a couple weeks so the ward just took him in and some guys let him live at their apartment until he could find something and it has just been incredible to see the ward totally take care of him and just love him so much whether or not he is a member of the church. Anthony though has had the hardest couple of weeks and I think satan is really working on him because he has been getting so involved and taken in by the ward.... I'm not sure I would even have time to list all that he has had to go through lately but it has been crazy and he was actually able to get a blessing yesterday which was so awesome for him and a way cool experience but what has been even cooler is that he still faithfully comes to church despite everything. He knows why he comes to church, he knows the importance of it, and it is a safe place for him where he is surrounded by people who love and care about him. Just watching him these past 4 months faithfully attend church has been such a huge testimony builder for me. Anthony doesn't give any excuses about coming to church... it is where he wants to be and it should be that same way for all of us. Imagine that you saw someone who had a bag full of 168 M&Ms and you asked them if you could just have 3 M&Ms and they refused and your like "Come on, it is just 3 M&Ms out of that big bag you have!" You would be kind of confused and a little frustrated right? I mean it is only 3 M&Ms... that isn't that much. Well... there are 168 hours in a week.... and guess what? The Lord only asks us for 3 of those :) that isnt that much right? I know how important church is and my testimony grows every week of its importance as I watch Anthony faithfully walk through those doors to forget everything that he has been going through in the week.... to leave it all behind and to give those 3 hours to the Lord that he deserves. It increases my testimony every week, that no matter what we are going through we are never too busy for church, we are never too busy to give some time to the Lord and renew the covenants we have made with him.
This week were able to meet with Pabla! A girl that we found on the bus forever ago and we taught her a couple times then she dropped off the face of the earth and we got in contact with her this week, had a lesson and set her for baptism! She is only 17 and is just a senior in high school so we had to get permission to teach her but we are super excited for her and she really blows me away. I just think about myself at 17 years old and how oblivious I was I guess to everything and how for granted I took this gospel and here is pabla, 17 years old, and a senior in high school and she is seeking for the truth and wanting to know what direction to take in her life. it is amazing to me! I love meeting people who truly are seeking and wanting to know and the perseverance and desire that they have is such an example to me that you know we really all can have our own testimony and continue to grow in this gospel. I mean I tell that to people everyday but when they actually do it is when I recognize that its real and that our Heavenly Father is so proud of them and is listening and answering their prayers. it is sooo cool
We have been working a lot with a couple recent converts... We are helping Wesley prepare to receive a patriarchal blessing which it was so cool to teach him about cuz he had no idea and is just so excited... we are also working with Jaime (himay) he is Hispanic and soooo awesome. He is a recent convert and a little less active so we are working a lot with him and helping him prepare to pass the sacrament! Also, we are helping tanna get to the temple by the end of this year! It is so fun to help these people progress in the gospel. After baptism, it isn't over. Baptism is just the gate that we enter so we can progress and return back to live with our heavenly father and there are steps we need to take to get there that will help us stay on the straight and narrow path. I love helping these people cuz the decision they have made to be baptized is sooo important and it is what will help them return back home to heavenly father but that isn't all they need to do and it is so cool to help them and encourage them to stay on the straight and narrow path. I love love love it.
One last thing real quick.... we have gotten super close with Wesleys (recent convert) parents who are non members. They had us over for the 4th and we have been doing tons of yard work for them lately. Well, they wanted to repay us this week and they took us out to eat at michie tavern which is some historical place with classic southern food it was delicious but it was hilarious cuz they were telling us how they tell all their friends about us and every person we met that day or ran into they told them what we did for them and how great we are and just built us up to everyone and Wesley says that all they talk about is us! They have even been starting to ask more questions about the gospel and what we do and everything so we are working on trying to get them to just take a lesson. It is just cool cuz they are even planting seeds to tons and tons of people and they don't even know it! It is so great and such a cool experience getting to know them and be around them! They will get baptized one day! I know it!
Well everybody, just want you to know that I know this is the true church on the earth and I know that joseph smith restored this gospel. It wasn't easy, this gospel isn't easy to live sometimes, but it isn't supposed to be. We are being tested. That is why we are here. I know why we are here and I know that as we make righteous choices here on earth that we can get back to live with our heavenly father who loves us so much. I love Virginia. I love the people and I love the area I am serving in. I never thought I could have so much love for people I hardly know but I do and I can just see a tiny sliver of how heavenly father feels about them. He loves all of his children so much and I know that as we look at each person as a son or daughter of god and seek to view them as Christ does that our lives will be much happier and we will seek to love more and criticize less. I know this church is led by president monson who seeks revelation for what we need to know and hear in our day. I'm so grateful to have a prophet. I'm so grateful for this gospel and the book of Mormon and for families and that we can live with our families forever. The church is true! I know it! LOVE YOU ALL

August 19, 2013

Hello everyone!!

I can't believe another week has flown by. Time is going by way too fast! It is crazy! Yesterday I walked into church and it felt like i had been transferred to a completely different area… our ward doubled in size in a week with all the students coming back! I didn't know hardly anyone! It was so weird cuz I've just been so comfortable with the ward and the people there and knew everybody… and it all just changed so fast! Haha but its pretty exciting there are tons more people coming into town for school which means the work will start to pick up again! This week has been so great and very humbling. I have learned a lot! 

We met with Tanna this week who is Less active and has been working on getting her life back in order. We were having a lesson with her and she stopped us all the sudden and was like "Why did you guys decide to go on a mission?!" haha so we both told our little stories and by the time we were finished she had tears in her eyes cuz she had no idea they changed the age last october and she just said that if none of that would have happened and if we wouldn't have decided to serve missions that she wouldn't be where she is right now. She wouldn't be working on coming back to church and she would still be lost and unhappy. She went on to tell us how church has started to become her safe place and that she has never been happier since when we started to come over and help her. Since we have been meeting with her she has felt more comfortable getting involved in activities, she has made tons of friends in the ward, she is praying and reading her scriptures and she has been so blessed because of all the good she is doing. She has this job where she has to work almost every sunday and it is a bad environment surrounded by people that don't hold the standards we have in the church and it is an environment that provides a lot of temptation for her so she has been praying and doing what she can to live a better and stronger life and she just got a new job this week where she will never have to work on sundays. I know that because of her faith and obedience that the Lord has blessed her and I know that Sister Walker and I are here in Charlottesville so we could help Tanna and support and encourage her and I am so grateful for the decision we have both made to serve cuz there are people out here who need us… who need the church. This church offers so much for people and it offers nothing but happiness and blessings if we are all willing to be obedient to what our father in heaven has asked of us…. and if we are willing to be an example of what we believe and open our mouths to share the gospel. 

I know that there are so many people out there being prepared to hear the gospel and i know how important it is that we share it and leave behind all feelings of inadequacy and fear. We, as members and missionaries are all apart of the same team. The Lord is our coach and manager. He is calling out the plays to help us know what direction we need to take in our lives or even who we need to talk to that is being prepared to hear the gospel. He will tell us what to do, what to say, and where we need to go as long as we are willing to act on what he tells us. The Lord needs us all to be an active part of His team, He needs us all to be starters…. not warming up the bench. He needs us to be strong and not let the opposing team (satan and his followers) to score. He is relying on us to push hard and carry out the plays that he calls out. We are here on earth to help our friends receive the restored gospel.. and it is game time! With Satan on the opposing team and all the temptations that are thrown at us in the world… the game is close. We can't let him win by discouraging us and making us feel inadequate. Elder Holland said that we need those who are on the team to stay on it and to stop dribbling out of bounds just when we are needed to get in the game and play our hearts out. I know how important this work is. and i know how important it is that we are all active players on the Lords team. He needs us to suit up and get out there sharing and living the gospel. 

I'm so grateful more and more everyday to be a missionary. I can't even tell you how much i learn each week i really wish i could just tell you all every lesson i learn. But if anything i am learning so much from this area and especially the ward. As i was sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday i was just looking around at all of them… and just amazed at how strong they all are and how proud i was for all of them to be there and worthily partaking of the sacrament. I was blessed enough to grow up in the gospel surrounded by friends who had the gospel in their lives. Then i look at all these people in my ward and i'm just amazed at how few of friends they have that are members and yet they remain so strong. They know what they believe. They know this church is true and they stand for it no matter what. I have never seen such great member missionaries especially in a young single adult ward where most everyone that age is still trying to figure so much out…. and yeah they still are figuring a lot out but they aren't wavering on the gospel… it is something they know to be true and something they know needs to be shared. I don't even know all of them but the spirit i felt yesterday and even the unity between all of them was amazing. They teach me so much! I love serving around them, they are all my good friends and we just strengthen and uplift one another in ways i never thought possible with people that are my same age. It is amazing! This work is amazing! The Lord loves us all and i can feel and see just a sliver of that love that he has for the investigators i teach and even the ward. I know he knows each and every one of you and everything you are going through. He is there waiting to uplift you and carry you through whatever hard thing your going through. I promise he is there. I have never felt his hand so powerfully in my life before than i have these past 4 months. He is aware of each and every one of us and loves us all beyond comprehension! I wouldn't trade these experiences i am having for anything. It is the best thing i could have done in my life and for my life. 

I love you all soooo much! Thanks for everything!! Have a great week!! 


Sister Roosendaal

August 12, 2013

Hey ya'll hey....
How goes it?! Another good week has flown by here in Charlottesville! Things are slooow but good, they will pick up soon when school starts so it is great. We are losing our teaching pool by the second as they are all moving away to go to school somewhere else. Our most solid investigator Chris, moves this Saturday to go to school in Richmond and he is just soo close. It kills me! It has been so sweet teaching him and watching him go through this conversion process... he is a lot closer than he thinks he is! It will be way fun to go to his baptism down in Richmond when he feels ready! Its awesome cuz the Elders we are handing him down to.... one of them I went to high school with! So that's cool. Who would have thought! He will be in good hands, I am so excited for the day when he enters into the waters of baptism. I cant think of a greater feeling than being able to watch him do that! This work is amazing and the church is TRUE!!! I love it!!!!!
So we have been doing a lot of finding this week... just trying to find some new investigators and it has been way cool to watch how the spirit works as we are trying to find those who are prepared and how much our plans can change just by listening to the spirit. So we were getting ready to leave the apt. one day and we had everything ready to go and I just kept having the feeling that we needed to take the bus..... BUT..... the bus isn't exactly one of our favorite things to do haha so I just kept carrying on but the feeling just kept coming and the spirit kept insisting that we take the bus. Haha so we dropped everything, changed our plans and headed to the bus stop. We were sitting there waiting and sister walker asked which bus we were taking and I just responded that I had noo idea, until someone crossed the street (YSA) to come and wait at the bus stop and we went and talked to him and turns out he has a friend that is Mormon and he just kept saying "ok where is a pamphlet, I will take a pamphlet!" and he was soo excited about it and kept saying that his friend has been trying to get him to take a pamphlet for years! Haha so we gave him one and the bus came and we hopped on with him and had a good conversation with him trying to call his Mormon friend the whole time to tell him that he finally took a pamphlet! He was soo excited it was hilarious. Haha the people here are so great, I hope we get to teach him! But it was just a sweet experience, the spirit is real and it is powerful. it can change your whole day and the outcome of your whole day into something better than what you originally had planned. it may feel uncomfortable and weird at times but I never regret following the spirit, our Heavenly Father knows everything better than we do and if we following the promptings of the spirit we will better be able to do his will and our days will be a lot more successful and happy.
So kind of a funny experience.... we went to contact a less active this week and it was a way pretty drive out in the woods and of course the house we come to is a run down house with piles of junk everywhere and it was just a mess but there were just a bunch of guys hanging around of all ages. Mainly old guys with beards and they all had a beer in their hand and it was sooo sketchay. But we decided to go talk to them anyway and we found who we were looking for and just invited him to church real quick so we could get outta there fast! He was so out of it and just so hard to talk to and slowly all the drunk men started wandering towards us, it was like a bad dream! Haha it was so weird so we got out of there as fast as we could and just told him when and where church was and we even had to tell him what church we were from. he obviously hasn't been in years... haha where else could i have these kind of experiences? its the best. Anyway, we walk into church on sunday and there he and one of the older guys he was with were! Sittin on the front row in the chapel waiting for church to start! Haha it was hilarious. I never would have thought! We were actually pretty sure that they were so out of it they wouldn't even remember that we stopped by! But surprisingly enough they were there and it was so great. I'm so happy they came!
Something i learned a lot about this week is the difference between having a testimony and being truly converted to this gospel. I learned a lot about it and i especially love the story about peter in the bible. Peter was an apostle of the Lord and worked by his side witnessing the many miracles he performed for three years! That would be the best, but although he had a testimony of Christ and his teachings... he wasn't truly converted. He denied Christ three times after the three years he spent working with him. After that peter wept bitterly and knew what he had done.This story serves as a reminder to me that knowing to do right, even desiring to do right is not enough. It is often very hard to do what we clearly know we should do.... Peter became steadfast and immovable to this gospel after that experience and was truly converted. Having just a testimony of this gospel isn't enough for us to get through the challenges and temptations that this life throws at us. I know i'm out here on a mission serving and helping people become converted but i cant and no one can convert beyond their own conversion. we must all be converted ourselves. But it isn't always easy to do that... just like it wasn't easy for peter when he was with and working with the Lord for so long....
In Joshua 7:10 it reads “And the Lord said unto Joshua, get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?”  I love this scripture because it shows that Satan will do anything to try and drag us down, discourage us, makes us feel inadequate and put us on our face. However, as we hold onto Christ and look up towards him and gain our strength and motivation from him and his atoning sacrifice he will help us get up off of our face and we will be able to feel the power of conversion working in our own lives. Hold onto Christ, be steadfast, and as we truly strive to be converted ourselves, we will be more willing and able to help those around us feel of the power of the spirit and help them receive this gospel.  
President Ezra Taft Benson said “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take the people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature….”
I know that as we all become more converted to this gospel that our desire to share it will increase and it will become a lot more easier! I know that i am out here to convert people but if anything i hope that i become my own biggest convert! I'm so grateful to be out here serving. It is the best experience.... i get to meet people i normally never would talk to and i get to have experiences and witness miracles that i wouldn't be able to if i were home! I love you all! Have a good week!! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal

Friday, August 2, 2013


Hey everyone!!!
What a great week it has been! It was definitely very humbling and I learned soo much!! The work is going great we have some awesome investigators... they are just all leaving at the end of August which is a bummer haha but we are still just trying to find some new investigators! The students are starting to slowly trickle back in and I know the work is really going to pick up once school starts again and there will be YSA's all over the place.
We taught Chris Brady a couple times this week and he is doing so awesome!! We had a really neat lesson with him this week where the spirit was just so powerful! We invited a recent convert named Harriet to come with us...  she joined the church at the end of april and she seriously is so amazing.... we invited her to come and she really didn't have time cuz she had something going on but she felt like she should come at least for a little bit and I am soo glad that she did!! She is just a spiritual powerhouse and could relate so well to Chris. It helped him so much to hear her conversion story and to have someone there who knows how he feels and knows what he is going through. It really put things into perspective for Chris.. he was able to understand better that he doesn't have to know everything before he gets baptized... that is what is so amazing about the church is that we don't \need to know everything. We are continually learning... we are constantly being taught the same things in church on sundays but yet we are able to take different insights each time we are taught something because of the different points that we are in in our lives. It is a continual learning process and our testimonies are continually being strengthened and we all get to do it together which is amazing! I love it! We actually assigned Chris to read alma 32 which is all about faith... it is a great chapter I would suggest reading it haha but what is crazy is that Harriet read that exact same chapter before she came to the lesson cuz she felt like she just needed to! She had no idea that we had assigned that chapter to him... it was so cool and we just had a great discussion about it and harriet could be involved cuz she had just read it! Ah, and to top it all off.... we decided to kneel down with Chris and pray about the book of Mormon. We told him that we would kneel down to pray and that he needed to ask just a really specific question... like "is the book of Mormon true?" So we knelt down and chris gave the most sincere and heartfelt prayer I have ever heard ..... it was amazing!!! he said it perfectly and after we said amen we all just sat there forever... just listening. You could tell that he was listening and paying attention to the spirit so hard... he really really wants to know!! He finally sat up and kinda had tears in his eyes... and he just kept saying thank you over and over.... we asked him how he felt and he said he had a warm feeling in his heart, so we made sure that he recognized that it was the holy ghost and that is how we receive answers to our prayers.... he serioiusly was glowing afterward cuz I know he felt it.... he knows what he felt.... he felt a witness that the book of Mormon is true and he felt his heavenly fathers love towards him cuz of the amazing feeling of the holy ghost. I know that not only did he receive a witness of the truthfulness of the book of Mormon but I did as well.....  his prayer and his real intent and the spirit just testified to me again that this church really is true and that heavenly father truly answers all of our prayers. he is aware of us.... he is aware of our concerns and our needs and he is willing to pour down those blessings upon us as long as we are humble enough to turn to him and to ask with sincerity. Like I said, Chris was just glowing after that lesson and I have never seen him so happy. I am sooo excited for him. I just have to say that there is honestly no better work out there than missionary work! Being able to help chris on this journey and help him seek for the truth and helping him find something that will bless his life for eternity... gah.... it is the biggest blessing to be out here helping people get on the path that will lead them back to their heavenly father! Like Elder Holland has said all we need in this gospel is a simple belief... if we can just believe and build on that belief that we have then we can come to KNOW. I know that everyone through prayer and the power of the holy ghost can come to know of the truthfulness of this gospel and can be able to feel of heavenly fathers love toward you. I know that I have definitely felt strength and comfort from my father in heaven this week especially as I have knelt in humble prayer asking him for things. He loves us. He knows us. and he is waiting for us to turn to him. I can testify of the truthfulness of that and the power that it can have in our lives. He will never turn our backs on us.... no matter how many times we turn our back on him... he will always be there waiting.
So funny story for ya'll..... hope ya don't think i'm crazy after this. haha so about a month ago we... meaning I lost the church keys. We had them  to play ball at the church on a pday and that is the last place they were seen. Well it has been pretty difficult not having keys cuz we have lessons at the church and stuff and we just use the building a lot so it has been a huge pain.... I have searched EVERYWHERE for them and called everyone and they have just been nowhere to be found.... so I was just at a loss and didn't even know what to do anymore and so I finally decided to pray about it.... finally meaning that I should have prayed about it a month ago when I lost them. haha but lesson learned.... we ran inside the apartment the day after I had prayed about it.... we grabbed some stuff, ran out the door and all the sudden we hear this big cling of something falling on the ground.... I turned around cuz there was someone walking behind us and I was just super confused cuz I didn't know what it was..... I looked at the ground and there were some keys..... so I asked the girl if they were hers or if they saw where they came from.... giving me a weird look she replied "no" so I slowly walked over and peeked to see what keys they were.... freaking out knowing there was no way they could be the church keys.... BUT.... it was the church keys!!! I have nooooooooo idea where they came from.... they seriously just fell out of nowhere. it was the craziest thing... and I promise i'm not crazy cuz sister walker witnessed the whole thing. haha. THE CHURCH IS TRUUUE.
We had another sweet experience this week.... we were going to go to this place to play basketball cuz there are a lot of ysa's there and we were just going to go play with them and just get to know them and talk to them about the church and what not. Welll.... we attempted to go this last week and there was only one person out playing and we just didn't feel good about going.... so we went somewhere else and then I just had a pit in my stomach and felt like we needed to go back.... so patient sister walker let us go back and there were more people playing... so we changed real quick and walked over and without even saying anything they asked us to play with them.... huge, tall, black, tattooed guys. Scariest thing ever. Haha but they were super nice to us and we kept trying to talk to them about the church but it wasn't really working so I just kept praying that we would be able to fulfill our purpose while we were there.... so this kid came over and was just standing by the court... I went and introduced myself and asked him to play but he couldn't play cuz he was hurt.... PERFECT.... so I stood there and talked to him about the church and it was probably one of the best conversations I have had with someone on my mission cuz he just straight up asked what we believe and I was able to tell him and testify to him but it was so different cuz I was really trying to be real with him instead of just giving him a pitch..... and it was just an incredible difference trying to be more real with him cuz it allowed him to be more comfortable and open up more.... I know that there are so many ways we can share our testimonies with people but the best way is by example and to relate to them, to care about them, and their concerns and their interests. I learned a lot from that night.... I learned how enjoyable sharing the gospel and how comfortable it can be as long as we are real with people and act like real people too. He said he was interested in learning more... i'm not sure what will happened but I definitely know we planted some seeds and we were able to fulfill our purpose which was even better.
This week has been very humbling for me. I've learned a lot about the power that this gospel has and how truly blessed we are to have it in our lives. I don't even know how people go through the things that they do in their lives without this gospel. it is so important and so powerful. Heavenly father loves us. we are all his children and he is just waiting to help us. I know that to be true. I know this gospel is true and I truly am soo grateful for it and i'm so happy to be here serving and helping the people of Virginia! I know this is where I am supposed to be :) I love you all!! have a good week! The church is true :) XOXO
Sister Roosendaal