Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Email

Hey ya'llllll

Wow! Christmas is just in 2 days. I cant believe it! I am stoked to talk to ya'll! It has been yet another wonderful week here in Virginia! We had our Christmas Mission Conference last Tuesday and it was amazing! I just cant even describe to ya'll how happy i am to be a missionary. Idk where or who i would be without my mission... without these experiences and friendships and the spirit i cant even imagine anything in life being any better! We all sang as a mission the EFY Medley "As sisters in Zion/Army of Helaman" can you imagine the many tears flowing in that room.? President Wilson stood up afterward and said the spirit was as strong as the celestial room. I was sitting on the front row and singing that song with an army of 300 missionaries behind me was the most powerful thing i have ever experienced. We are truly all apart of Gods army. All 80000 missionaries. What a powerful army! No one stands against us. No one can tear us down. Just as the 2000 stripling warriors fought and were exactly obedient they didnt lose a single soul in that fight! I know that same promise applies to us that as we teach the gospel and share it with others and as we are exactly obedient no soul will be lost! We will be able to save as many souls as we possibly can on our missions! But not just that... we are a powerful army not just as missionaries but also as the 15000000 members of the church! I can promise yall that if you do your part in keeping your baptismal covenants by sharing the gospel and living worthily and being exactly obedient that your powerful example will save souls. This is Gods army and we are so blessed to be a part of it and just as the stripling warriors fought, we will fight and just as they were exactly obedient they didnt lose any part of their army! We can strive to do the same every day in our lives so that God can receive his whole army again one day! Never surrender. Never give up your armor that stands for truth and righteousness. Fight til the very end. I am so grateful to be a part of this powerful and strong army! I would never give anything up to not be apart of this and to not turn to the opposing side. 

Thankfully with everyone being gone we were able to see some of our investigators this week. We are teaching a girl named avery who unfortunately is moving soon :( but she is so chill! Everything we teach her she just says "makes sense" she is really fun to teach. One of our lessons this week though she finally had a question that was concerning her and she was just concerned about the book of mormon and christ coming to the americas so we read in 3 nephi 11 where christ actually appears to the people in america and then we knelt down with her and asked her to pray to know if it was true and then to listen. She said such a beautiful prayer and after she finished it was silent. The Holy Ghost filled the room and she said that she felt good and knew that it was true. My testimony grew so much about the power of prayer. God wants to hear from us so badly. He stands at the door knocking, waiting for us to let him in! Waiting to hear from us and what is on our minds! We can tell him anything on our mind and anything that is in our hearts. It is so powerful. We can ask him anything and he will give us an answer! I know that to be true. He is my most loyal friend and i turn to him for everything. But the most important thing is to listen. I like to think of it as if you called up someone and rambled on about something or told a way funny story and then just hurried and hung up before your friend even had a chance to respond.... it's similar to that. We must let God respond. We pray to him and go on and on but sometimes we cut the phone call short and we dont allow the holy ghost to come and bear witness to us and help us receive answers to our prayers or to receive the comfort that we need. Our loving heavenly father is always on the other line he is there listening and i know he is there to respond as well! It was a neat experience cuz you could experience first hand what had just happened and that she was progressing in her conversion and we were able to witness it and feel what she felt as well. 

Our investigator named katherine is the most adorable person in the world. She was being taught before i got here and just wasnt really getting it and not progressing very well. We are just starting from the beginning with her and the past couple times we have met with her this week she is finally starting to get it. We talked to her about faith and trusting that God is really there and that he loves us! We did a "trust fall" with her. I represented Jesus Christ and she had to fall and trust that i would catch her. She was freaking out. Haha it was so funny. But she finally fell and I (thankfully) caught her. She was so scared to fall. She was scared i wouldnt catch her. Sometimes i think that is what happens to all of us is that we are scared to rely or "fall" on christ. Trials and hardships enter our lives and we arent sure if Christ is really there waiting to catch us. We arent sure if things will get better. We sometimes have that constant pit in our stomach of falling and not knowing anyone is there to catch us. But what is so incredible about faith is that when we finally decide to trust our savior jesus christ and rely on him we will feel the relief that comes after we rely on him enough to feel him there to catch us. I have learned sooo much about our savior jesus christ this christmas season. He truly is the son of god. He truly died for each and everyone of us. It is so hard to comprehend that he was able to suffer for every sin and weakness of every single person on this earth. It blows my mind. But i know that he lives! No doubt in my mind. I know that it is through him that we can receive eternal life and live with him and our loving Heavenly Father again. I am so grateful to be a representative of him. What a sacred calling! I invite you all to think about what you can give to Christ this Christmas season. What is something you can give up to become more like him? Remember him and his sacrifice this christmas season and especially that he lives! He loves yall so much. Sometimes with the people here in virginia i feel like i get to see just a tiny sliver of how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love the people i come in contact with and teach. And most definitely i can feel a tiny bit of that sliver when i reflect on and think about my wonderful friends and family and how blessed i am to be a part of ya'lls life. Thank you for EVERYTHING. I LOVE YOU!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Roosendaal

ps once again im sorry my emails are all over the place and make no sense.

pic my generation
pic ho ho ho?
pic me and avery!

December 9,2013

Hey everyone!!
Sounds like there is lots of snow there in utah!! There is no snow here yet.. just lots of very cold rain... they actually cancelled most churches yesterday except ours but we still only had sacrament meeting. They are whimps here! I never thought church would be cancelled over rain! It made me laugh! Haha but anyway, It has been an INCREDIBLE week! I dont even know where to start. I am loving this area so much and so many miracles have been happening it is unreal!! This week... believe it or not we taught CHRIS!!!! Never in my life did i imagine myself sitting in another lesson with him teaching him yet again. It was amazing. He is so awesome. He told us that the reason he lost contact with the church is just cuz he got caught up in school and friends and just being a typical college kid which is understandable.... he just lost focus on the church and religion in general and even stopped reading the bible cuz he became so busy and caught up with things. It was an amazing lesson though... we were just trying to figure out where he was at and where he was coming from with the church like if he had concerns or questions or doubts but it was nothing like that at all. He told us that he knows the book of mormon is true. There is nothing about the church that he questions or doubts. He knows that it is true. He has recognized a huge difference in his life since he stopped meeting with us and reading and everything. He told us he always felt like something was missing and that he couldnt figure out what it was. I have never heard a 19 year old boy talk the way that he did just about having a desire to be more spiritually in tune and actually recgonizing that he had been slacking a little bit and recognizing a difference in his life. As he was talking, i honestly just couldnt believe that it was happening and that he was saying the things that he was... i just felt so powerfully heavenly fathers love for him and so powerfully that he has a plan for him and for whatever reason... chris needed that break for a little while but he is ready now. That is why we found him is cuz he is ready. He agreed to be baptized at the beginning of next semester when he can focus more and not be so caught up with finals. YES!!! GET PUMPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We are still teaching Tim and we set him to be baptized on December 28th! He is doing amazing. This past week we taught him the plan of salvation and never in my life have i seen someone with big wide eyes while we taught him the whole thing. Tim has lost both of his parents and only has one sister who is still in Ethiopia..... when we told him that he could live with his family for eternity his eyes got even bigger and he said "Wait, you really believe that?" There is no greater work, no greater feeling than helping someone understand and recgonize that they truly can live with their families forever and that they can see their loved ones who have passed on again. We are so blessed to have the knowledge that we do and there is nothing better than sharing that with others and helping them know that there is truly a plan for them.... and not just a plan but a plan of happiness cuz this is the plan that leads to pure joy and happiness not just in this life but in ETERNITY.
On Saturday we had a busy day planned and a few lessons set.... however as we were going throughout our day things started to fall through... all lessons cancelled and we knew what we were going to do but something popped into my mind that was completely off the wall that i wasnt sure if it was the spirit or me just being weird.. haha but we knelt down and prayed about it and sure enough we went along with the prompting we received. We felt we needed to go down to petersburg (my old area) which where we needed to go was a lot of miles and a lot of time for us to travel. There is a less active that lives there that has been on my mind constantly since i got to this area. I met him a few transfers ago but had no idea he was less active but since i got here i have felt like we needed to go see him. We had no clue if he would be home or not and it was a huge risk using all those miles to go somewhere that we didnt even know if he would be home. But we did it anyway, and we got there and sure enough he was there! He works all the time and is rarely home and it was a huge miracle that we got to see him. He has only been baptized about 10 months and i think he forgot that feeling and the spark from his conversion cuz by the time we had left after we had read the scriptures with him and uplifted him his whole countenance changed and idk what it was but he just seemed more at peace. On the way home, we stopped to see another less active since we were in the area and miracle is, she was home too. she works 70 hours a week and told us that she wasnt even supposed to be home at the time that she was but thankfully the lord directed her otherwise and we were able to see her and uplift her. I just know how aware the lord is of his children. It just takes courage to act on the subtle promptings he gives us even when they seem completely unrealistic. He is so aware of ya'll. I hope you never forget that. No matter what you are going through or who or where you are he knows you. He knows your weaknesses. He knows your strengths. He knows you better than you know yourself. Dont ever forget that there is a supreme being always watching out for you. Even when it seems like you are all alone. .. you arent. The lord always has your back. He is always right there with you, walking along side of you.
I just want to share with ya'll something that changed not only my whole misson but my whole life this past week. Our district leader shared with us a story from the ensign that talked about a boy who played basketball and ran track in jr. high and he was a very good athlete, very talented and enjoyed playing sports and being athletic. The longer he was on the basketball team things started to go downhill.... the coach started to tear him down telling him to take a seat on the bench, telling him he wasnt good enough, and that he never will be good enough..... nothing but negativity and criticism came from his coach and this boy he isnt a quitter... but he finished out the season and put up with his coach for that season but after it was over... he never went back to playing sports ever. It scared him to death. He avoided everything he possibly could that involved sports. He didnt think he was good enough cuz he believed what his coach told him. He didnt want to embarrass himself cuz he knew he was no good. Well, this boy he ended up on a mission with a companion who was nationally ranked as a track runner and they were in a place where the busses dont stop at all... .you have to run and try and jump on. One day they were out and trying to catch the bus and his companion told him that they would have to run super fast to try and catch the bus... the bus passed by and they ran as fast as they could... well... he beat his nationally ranked track star companion to the bus... then every day... they ran to the bus and he beat his companion every single time. This boys life had been stolen from him. He took what his coach told him in jr. high and believed him and because he believed him he was living below his abilities from that time on until he discovered on his mission that he was actually good at the things he did in jr. high but he let just one person tear him down and ruin him. I love this so much and it changed my life so much cuz you are what you believe! Dont let anyone EVER cripple you! Ya'll are good enough. If you want success, you must go and get it and you must believe. Dont let outside forces ruin you. Believe in yourself. Believe that you are good enough. Believe that God loves you. Believe that you are talented. Ya'll are in control of your life! You control it. No one else. No outside forces. No one. No friends, peers, family members, and especially not satan. If you want to be happy, you must make yourself happy. If you are going to dream... DREAM BIG. Ya'll can do anything. Ya'll can do anything you set your mind to. You must believe.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal

Macy at a Baptism

December 2,2013

Hey ya'llllll
Wow! What a week. I dont even know where to begin! I am LOVING my new area. It's a dream. Seriously, i am having a blast! We had a wonderful week last week... thanksgiving was awesome! We spent it at the Bishops house and there was a huge crowd there of missionaries and YSA's so we just ate and ate and played games and had a blast. The food was yummy but of course not as good as Grandma's house thats for sure :)
MIRACLE OF THE WEEK..... okay actually.... MIRACLE OF MY WHOLE MISSION. Ready? Get excited........................
Remember how last week i told you i would find Chris, the guy i taught in C-ville? Well.... I FOUND HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here's the story. So Chris is someone that just broke my heart after he lost contact with the missionaries since he was so ready up in cville. I know that he knows it is true. I could always see it burning in his eyes and he was always lit up and his whole countenance changed since the first moment i had met him. I was really excited to get transferred to this area cuz i knew he was here and i wanted to find him so bad so ever since i got here i have been praying like crazy. I asked heavenly father to help me to find him only if he is ready. I asked him to please put him in my path if he was ready. I only wanted to find him if he was ready. So turns out... the church is true. Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers cuz he was put right in my path last week. It was so fun talking to him. I asked if he had a chance to come to church here in Richmond yet and he said he did but only once cuz he doesnt have rides to get there and then i asked him if he had been reading the book of mormon and he said yes and also that he has been reading the doctrine and covenants.! Then he agreed to meet up with us this week! I am sooooo excited!!! I cant even explain the pure joy that i felt after finding him! I KNOW that he is ready and know that everything happens for a reason and for whatever reason he lost contact with the missionaries when he got here i know that the lord is completely aware of him and what he needs at this time. I am so grateful for the power of prayer. It has the power to bring miracles into our lives if we just pray with FAITH. Faith is key. He will answer if we just believe!
Miracles have been unfolding in this area. I dont even know how to describe it but there is so much work to be done here and i have never so fully recognized the lords hand in my life as i have these past couple of weeks. He is blessing us with miracles and i am so grateful to be a part of this work. We found an awesome new investigator this past week named Tim. He is from Ethiopia and he is the most humble, quiet, gentle guy i've ever met. It's kinda hard cuz his accent is difficult to understand so there is a bit of a barrier but he is awesome! A recent convert in our ward who is from el salvador who also has a thick accent (idk how they understand each other sometimes haha) but anyway they work together and ali gave him a book of mormon and he started to read it and we were finally able to meet with him this week. It was cool cuz he came to thanksgiving with ali at the bishops house and had tons of fun and made lots of friends with the ward members. He loved the bishop and his wife and told us that he felt like he knows them from somewhere... like the pre earth life. When we taught him he told us that and also said that both of us look so familiar to him and that he feels like he knows us from somewhere. We took him on a church tour and he just kept saying that "it feels so good in here" over and over. He said that it just made him feel so good. He came to church yesterday and when we gave him the church tour the day before we explained the sacrament and everything but when it came time to take it he acted really strange and wouldnt take it which was fine so afterwards we just took the time to explain it to him and made sure he understood cuz sometimes its hard to tell if he is realy understanding everything but he actually explained it to us perfectly so we knew that he understood but then he quietly just said "i dont feel worthy... maybe later down the road" it was the sweetest, most humbling thing for him as a non member to understand the sacredness of the sacrament and what it truly means to partake of that sacrament. It was a huge testimony to me of how important and sacred the sacrament really is and that it should never be taken for granted.  
After church we had a lesson with Tim and i dont even know where to start. We taught him the restoration and it was so powerful. The spirit was definitely present and he told us that he felt all tingly inside and that he just felt so good in his heart. He told us that he feels that this is right and that he is excited to pray harder than he ever has before. In the middle of the lesson he looked at me and said "What do i have to do to become more like Jesus Christ" WHOAH. I have never been so excited to answer a question before! We taught him about baptism and told him that that is what he needs to do to become more like jesus christ. Then we asked him to be baptized and he agreed.! Gahhh. I cant even explain how good it feels to help others come unto christ and to help them feel all tingly inside and good in their heart. There is no greater joy and no greater work and the thing is is that it was all the spirit. not me, not my companion, not the member present... but the spirit. As long as we work hard to create an environment where the spirit can be then conversion will be brought to the hearts of those seeking for the truth. The spirit brings nothing but good feelings. It testifies of nothing but truth and i know that that is what Tim was feeling yesterday and that those feelings he had is the beginning of his conversion and his humble search to find the truth. Afterward, he asked if the church is in ethiopia cuz he needs to tell his sister about it who lives there! I am so grateful to be a part of this work. There is no greater calling!! I want you all to know that i know without a doubt that this is the one true church on the earth today. It is the original church that Christ set up when he was here on the earth and we are all SO BLESSED to be a part of it!!! We are all a part of the one true church while there are sooo many out there who arent aware of this and dont have the blessings of the gospel. We need to share it with them. We need to help them. That's why we are here to help our brothers and sisters return back to our heavenly home safely. I know that if we but have faith... that the lord will bless us with opportunities and many miracles in our lives! Miracles and blessings that are indescribable! I love you all soo much. Hope you know that!  I couldnt be out here without ya'lls support. I'm so grateful for every single one of you and that you are a part of my life! I couldnt be any more blessed with the life that i have been given. Have a great week! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal

November 27,2013

Hey ya'lllll
What's up. Well, I have been transferred to the Chippenham YSA ward in Richmond. Holla. My companion is Sister Bunnell from Lehi, Utah. She has only been out a transfer so i am finishing training her this transfer. She is great. I am very excited to be here and have been having a blast so far. There is a lot of work to do. The ward covers 3 stakes, even all the way down into my old area. It's an awesome ward and the members are just such great examples to me! Seriously, i'm excited to be back in a YSA ward cuz they teach me so much. Idk how strong i would be living in Virginia going to college, surrounded by nonmember friends and yet they are strong in the gospel with solid testimonies. It's a huge example to me and i've already learned a lot from them on top of my last YSA ward so i imagine i have a lot to learn while i am here!
To finish off with some experiences i had in appomattox before i left... we had something pretty cool happen last week as we were out trying to contact some referrals. We were having no luck, none of them were home so we went to go see a less active and he just set up a return appointment so we still had some time to spare before our next appointment so we decided to knock some doors which isnt the most successful thing in the afternoon when everyone is away at work but we did it anyway cuz... that's what we do. Ha anyway, we knocked on this door of this cute mom just home with the kids and she was not the least bit interested in our message at. all! But she was still super nice and we asked her if she knew of anyone that would be interested and she was just closed off telling us that everyone is baptist and saved but for some reason instead of just walking away we just waited... and looked at her.... haha apparently it got to her or made her feel uncomfortable or something cuz she just started rambling on and on about her different neighbors that werent religious at all. She just talked and talked and kept going and finally at the end she was like "oh, my next door neighbor just lost her son 2 years ago, and her husband recently." PERFECT. So we went and knocked on her next door neighbors door and this lady comes out with curlers in her hair and make up half done and she barely opens the door, just a crack. At first, she didnt seem the least bit interested. She told us that she was baptist and that she was fine. But something just came  over my companion and i and we just told her how much God loves her and is aware of her and everything she is going through. I've never felt the spirit so strong on someones doorstep before. Slowly she opened the door a little more and opened up to us about everything and agreed to let us come back. Obviously, i wasnt there for the return appointment but it was a really cool experience.
Something else that happened last week was we went to Family Home Evening with a family in our ward and that morning as we were planning what lesson to share with them, Sister Jones and I looked at each other and at the same time said "Restoration cups" if you dont know what they are.... it's basically just a cool visual that helps teach the restoration. We went over to their house that night and there just wasnt a good vibe. The parents were mad at each other and no one was really getting a long. So we pulled out the cups and attempted to teach as the kids were knocking them over and stealing them. But the next day we saw the wife and she started telling us how her husband has really been struggling with the church and is just fed up with all of it and is ready to leave it. She told us how worried she was about it and about him. Well, her husband is a convert and he joined the church about 10 years ago or so.... he was taught by sister missionaries and always has a special place in his heart for us and his wife just told us that what really made him want to join the church and what made it all click together for him and i guess was the turning point for his conversion was when the sister missionaries that taught him showed him the restoration cups. She told us how at FHE when we pulled out the cups they both just looked at each other and that his whole countenance and attitude changed the rest of the night and how they both felt like us pulling out the cups that night was Heavenly Fathers reminder or way of showing the husband that this is right. This is where he needs to be. It was powerful. The spirit is real. The church is true.
Idk if ya'll remember our investigator Chris, that i taught up in charlottesville that i talked about a lot. Well, at the end of the summer and right before i left the area he moved down here to richmond to VCU, which is where i am at now. We handed him off to some sisters that were serving here and they met with him once and then he fell off the face of the earth. Broke my heart. Well, he obviously isnt going to get off that easy cuz now i'm here, where he is at and i will find him. Of course if it's Gods will :) haha but i'm excited to be here and i know that I've been called to serve here for a reason and i'm excited for the adventures that lie ahead of me. I'm so grateful to be a missionary. Just want to let ya'll know i love you so much. I love being a missionary and really couldnt do it without ya'lls support.  I've learned a lot this week about faith and prayer and basically just how in order for anything to happen in answers to our prayers it must first start with praying with nothing but faith. I know that the Lord just expects our best and he will make up the rest. However, we cant expect that unless we have the faith that he is there and that he is aware of us. I know that he is there and he is completely and fully aware of you all. He knows everything you are going through. He knows your struggles. Turn to him and have faith in him. He is standing at the door knocking. He cant do any miracles for us and cant help us unless we believe that he can. I know that to be true! I know that he has put us all in the different situations and experiences that we are going through in our life for a reason. See what you can learn from it! There is always something to learn from every situation. Live in the moment. No matter how hard and love it. Have a great week! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal

November 20,2013

Hey everyone!!
Well turns out it was my last week here in the Appomattox area... I am being transferred but i dont know where to yet! So stay tuned until next week.... haha. We had a pretty good week full of laughs like always. That's what i love about this place is there is always something to laugh about no matter how hard things are! Anyway, this area we are in is really interesting, as i'm sure ya'll have already picked up that vibe... haha but the people here are sooo receptive and more than willing to talk to you and Sister Jones and i have found tons and tons of people here! The only thing is that all the people here although they are willing to listen... they arent necessarily willing to progress or keep any sort of return appointment. Haha. It's pretty tough... so sister jones and i were kinda left this week with hardly anyone to teach. It happens to us about every other week... its an interesting pattern. Haha anyway, we were knocking some doors the other day and we do what is called "inspired tracting" we just knock the doors that we feel like we should. So we had knocked a couple and had nothin... it was about time for us to head out to an appointment but i just looked at this one house a little across the way and without saying a word just walked straight to it... thankfully my companion followed. haha but we knocked annnnd... nothin. We waited... knocked again.... nothin. Cool story right? Thats all. Haha just kidding. We waiting longer than normal and finally someone answered. This guy named JT with dreads answered and just immediately came outside to talk. I've never had someone so happy to see us before. We taught him the whole restoration on his porch and asked him to be baptized right there and he agreed. He was shocked that we were there on his porch at that moment. He kept saying that he drives by our church every single day and has always wondered why there are never any cars there. haha. He said at least 10 times "i have always wondered about that church and cant believe you guys are here right now!" He told us how his grandma has been telling him that he needs to get back to church and his daughter begs him every week to go to church and how that is a huge example to him and that he needs to find the right church! It was a really neat experience and i know that the Lord directed us right to him! Im so glad i got to meet him and i know that if he is prepared and ready that he will continue to meet with us and he will especially know who belongs to that church he drives by everyday and know that he is always welcome! I'm so grateful for the spirit and the power we all have to access it.
My favorite scripture lately is Alma 38:3. Never in my life have i had a scripture hit me so hard. it says "I say unto you, my son (or my daughter), that i have had great joy in thee already because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the Zoramites (virginia)" I love love love this scripture cuz it shows that our Heavenly Father is soo proud of all of us! No matter our weaknesses, or the trials he has put us through he is so happy with us and the faith and patience we had through those hard times. Never in my life have i been reading the book of mormon and felt that everything i read was exactly what i needed to hear, or answers to questions i had. Even though there are things in there i have read over and over and for some reason lately it all applies to me no matter what and this scripture stood out to me so much because it is so easy and natural for us as humans to always beat ourselves up no matter what we are going through. We are our biggest critics. We recognize our weaknesses more than anyone... but Heavenly Father who knows every single thing about us and knows all of our faults and weaknesses... He looks past those. He helps us see how far we have come. He helps us recognize our strengths. He lifts us up. And through anything and everything we go through he still has "great joy" in us because we have overcome them and allowed ourselves to grow.
I am so grateful for all of the experiences i have had in my LIFE.... especially my mission. This area has really opened my eyes to how blessed i truly am and have been my whole life. I've always had a roof over my head, i've never had to even consider checking myself into the homeless shelter as i have seen members do here. I've always had more than what i needed when people here are lucky if they even have electricity and running water. I wouldnt trade any of the experiences i have had here for anything. I am grateful for the people i have met here. They are the most humble people who have taught me so much. I want you to know that i am giving it my all here. I've given my all to this area. I gave my all in charlottesville and although the success i would have and anyone would have liked to see hasnt come yet i know that i have made a difference and although it has been hard i know that my heavenly father is pleased with me. He is pleased with you all. No matter what you are going through. Keep going. It's worth it. Make Him proud. Give him your all.
Onward i go to a new adventure!! I love you all more than you'll ever know!!!! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal

November 12, 2013

Hey ya'lllllll....
Another wonderful week has flown by, the time is going faster and faster the longer i am out! It is going by way too fast! Yesterday we had a mission conference in Richmond and Elder Sitati of the seventy who is from kenya came and spoke to us. It was awesome!! He started off by opening it up to any question that anyone had... and he didnt answer them, but instead went on to talk to us about our purpose as missionaries and broke it down into 8 different sections and each section that he broke down had an action verb in it such as invite, help, receive, faith, repentance, baptism, and endure. It really stood out to me because in order for us to fulfill our purpose as missionaries (and members as well) we must act! We never get anywhere in this gospel unless we decide to act. We cant expect to feel of the converting power of this gospel unless we do something about it and we especially cant expect anyone else to feel it either if we dont act on inviting and be examples to others of living the gospel. We went through each different section of our purpose and studied the "why" and "how" of each part by searching in the scriptures and finding answers to not necessarily the questions we asked earlier but how we go about fulfilling our purpose and being successful.... but by the end he went back through the questions that were asked and had us answer them because the answers were all found as we studied our purpose as missionaries. It was a huge testimony to me that any question of the soul can be found in the scriptures and that the lord will give us the direction we need if we will just study the scriptures diligently... not just read them, but study them! I have always recited my purpose as a missionary as just something i would with the young women theme or anything else i had memorized...it was always something that was just memorized and we recited it cuz we are missionaries and that is what we do... haha but in this study of our purpose i found power and meaning behind why i really am out here. It is a power that will always stay with me and carry with me throughout my mission. It is a power that from now on i will always use to draw my motivation and strength from. There is power in this gospel. There is power in the Savior. Power in His atoning sacrifice. There is power all throughout this restored gospel that can give you the strength and energy that you need to get through anything. There is a purpose for why we are all here. Although I am a missionary and know my purpose out here.... what is your purpose? What are you going to do to gain power from your purpose here on earth? Who will you be? Who will you become? Those are questions i ask myself everyday so that i can return home a better me and so i can become what the savior needs me to become and learn from the different things i experience out here to reach my full potential as a missionary... and to continue to progress when i'm not wearing the name tag anymore. We all have a purpose here and there is power in that purpose!
Something else that really stood out to me from Elder Sitati was that the only thing we ever should worry about or stress about is if we are truly doing our best. He was a funny guy after every time he said something he would just laugh because he would say it in a way like  "duhhh, this is so obvious" he told us that if our investigators arent keeping commitments then they arent ready right now (duhh) haha and that there is no wasted effort in this work. As long as we have lifted up our voices and taught by the spirit and invited... then that is all that we can really do! Those who are ready will come to the gospel... they will repent and be humbled... and will keep their commitments. There is no reason for us to stress about anything... as long as we are truly doing our best. That was a huge lesson to me that as long as i focus on how converted i am becoming to this gospel and as long as i am doing everything i can to invite and fulfill my purpose at every opportunity then that is simply all i can do. I heard a quote recently that said "Missionaries should be full time teachers and members should be full time finders" This is all of ya'lls purpose here. As members of the church we are to find people for the full-time missionaries to teach. Every person we pass by every day, and every person we see... they are all our brothers and sisters. They need the gospel as much as we do. Strive to look at them through the eyes of the Savior. I know how hard it can be to be a member missionary, in fact, i was most likely the worst before my mission haha but i have loved seeing both sides of it. The missionaries need you! They need your help, wherever you are at ,there is someone waiting to hear the gospel. And guess what? You dont have to be special to share the gospel... you dont have to have certain talents and abilities... no matter how unspecial we all think that we are there is at least one thing special about us and that is our testimonies! The lord wont ever let us down... but we must have faith that he wont!
I'm not sure what the Lord is trying to teach me about this area haha but we had a pretty rough week with teaching and finding... but it was still awesome. We had a really sweet lesson with our investigator named Tyrell... we found him a couple weeks ago cuz we actually had an appointment fall through so we went to contact a potential investigator that some other missionaries found and when we got there it didnt really look like anyone was home but we decided to go and try anyway so i go to get out of the car and there is a man just standing right outside of my car door when i got out. I just screamed. It scared me so bad. Haha poor guy. Anyway, we started talking to him about the church and it just wasnt going anywhere but he still wanted to talk and while we were standing there talking a car pulled up to tyrells house and he got out and came over to us and all the man said that we were talking to was "Tyrell i think you really need to listen to what these girls have to say" and he was super chill about it and agreed to it and we started teaching him. This past week we were sitting on his front porch one night just teaching him about the plan of salvation. Idk what it was but i could see something spark in his eye when we taught him about the celestial kingdom. I could see in his eyes that he had found something he had been looking for for a very long time. The spirit was very powerful. He told us he would do whatever it takes to get there. He is really funny to teach cuz sometimes you cant tell if he is really paying attention or not cuz he doesnt say much but then you ask him a question and he goes on and on about it and is very sincere about it. Unfortunately, he is moving away for a little bit cuz his mom is dying. We went and saw him the other day and he was just a wreck but all he said was "I just keep thinking about the celestial kingdom" we arent sure how long he is going to be gone but i am just so thankful that we could teach him especially about the plan of salvation so that he knows his mom will be okay whatever happens. I know the Lord put him in our path for a reason and i know that whether it is my companion or i or some other missionaries that later harvest the seed that was planted that it will all be in the Lords time and that he will be ready. I am so grateful for this gospel. I am so grateful to be here serving the people of Virginia. Although sometimes i find myself getting caught up in asking, "why here? why virginia?" I hope ya'll know that i know i was sent here for a reason and i may not always see those reasons or be able to harvest the seeds i have planted but my testimony increases every day of why i was sent to this mission. And i know that the Lord needs me here at this time. I love you all! Ya'll are the best. Have a great week. XOXO
Sister Roosendaal

November 4,2013

hey ya'lllllll
Hope you all had a great week and a good halloween! I loved all the pictures! We had an awesome week this week and like always i learned a lot! We finally got back in touch with our investigators Tom and Chris cuz Toms mom died and they went out of town for awhile... we had such an amazing lesson with them and just had to lay it all out on the table for them. I cant even explain to ya'll how much i love that little family of theirs. I seriously would never be able to put it into words... and i will honestly do and give whatever it takes to get them to the waters of baptism... and not because it is what i want but because it is what the lord wants and i want this more than anything for them cuz i know how amazing of people they are and how much not only the gospel can help them but how much they can contribute to being wonderful members of this church. i think the hardest thing for me right now is that they know it is true... especially chris. But i can definitely see it in toms eyes.. he just feels like after 65 years of being catholic and living his life one way that it is basically too late to change his religion and the way he lives. but i can testify that it is never too late for anyone.... i cant testify to you all that i have seen a complete 360 change in that family especially tom. i have never seen anyone light up so much when talking about the temple and living with our families for eternity. i have never seen anyone who has lived 65 years of his life saying reapeated and recited prayers change his ways and begin to have a conversation with god and even kneel down at the end of our lessons and offer the most heartfelt and sincere prayer. I never thought after meeting Chris that the gospel could touch her heart in a way that i have never seen. She knows it is true. Everyone is on a different path getting to that point and her and tom are definitely on different paths. You can know and tell someone knows it is true when they kneel down and pour out their heart to god with tears streaming down her cheeks and the spirit coming into the room with an overwhelming feeling of joy. i have never felt or experienced anything like helping come to and recognize the testimony they once had in the pre-earth life. I cant even explain the joy it has brought into my life and continues to bring.
I learned a very valuable lesson yesterday in church... we were supposed to have a lot of investigators there and all of them we were about 90% sure they would all be there... and when only one of them showed up my heart was just broken. i sat there just having my own little pity party about how many didnt show up and how bad i felt for myself until the spirit taught me a very valuable lesson. During the sacrament the spirit whispered to me "what about the one?" i got so caught up in thinking about the people who werent there instead of the one who was. And what a miracle that was! We havent had a single investigator at church until yesterday and how blessed was that one person for putting forth that effort to come. I got so caught up in myself and forgot to see the bigger picture. The Lord takes the time to focus on each of us individually. he is always going after the "one" and how grateful i am to have a loving heavenly father and savior jesus christ who love each of us so much that they are aware of every persons individual needs and desires. They hear all of our prayers and every single prayer that is said is always answered in the lords way and in the way that is best. As a representative of Jesus Christ i am here in Virginia to find the "one" to focus on the "one" because one person can make a ginormous difference. That was a huge lesson to me of how important it is to go after and focus on the "one".. no matter who i am teaching, talking to, or whatever i may be doing i will focus on the "one" despite any distractions or things going on around me. As Christ would focus on the one, i invite you all to do so as well. Do as he would do.
Obviously the Lord had a lot to teach me yesterday haha and someone said something really interesting they said "love people for where they are now, not where you want them to be" i love that. It applies to everyone... not just missionary work. I know that as we love people for who they are right that that love we show toward them will get them to where they need to be. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the things we wish people would do better, or how we wish the people around us would act better but i know that charity never faileth. As we are kind, patient, loving, and tolerant towards others and their actions and love them despite the things they do that that love wont ever fail them. No matter how long it takes or how much lovin we have to do i know that love will help beyond any criticism or any judgments we may have towards others and i know that the lord has a plan for everyone and that as a missionary here in virginia, if i do my part in loving the people and loving my investigators that they will eventually get to where they need to be whether or not it is when i am here or not. I just learned that sometimes all we can do is love. It is the most important thing. Love will never let us down. It is what our heavnely father gives to us... infinite love and i know that he has never let ANYONE down.
Im so grateful to be here. i know this church is true without a doubt and i'm so grateful to be helping people find out for themselves! There is no greater work! And nothing brings more joy than seeing that fire start to burn in someone elses eyes! I love ya'll so much!!! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal

October 28, 2013

HEy Everyone,
Things here in the hood are going goood! I've learned a lot this past week ... things were really slow and seriously no one answered their door this week or kept appointments. and if they did answer, it was slammed right back in our faces. haha it was crazy but awesome all at the same time. It taught me to love rejection. of course it is really hard to see people reject our message but to me it is a testimony that i am planting seeds and helping them become prepared for the future when they come in contact with the missionaries again. There is a scale of preparedness from 1-10... 1 being totally unprepared and 10 being comletely prepared. Statistics show that people generally come in contact with missionaries about 7 times before they get baptized. I know that each person we meet is somewhere on that preparedness scale and because i have the courage to talk to them and invite them to hear our message... i am helping them get higher up on that scale...and if that is all i can do then so be it. Weeks like these that are so slow are honestly in a weird way some of my favorite weeks because i know that i did possibly everything i could to find and teach people and when nothing comes of it i know that it is the lords will and that i did everything i could and that is what true success is... knowing that you gave it your all with no regrets.. and that is all that the lord expects not just of his missionaries but of everyone. he wants us all to do our very best in living this gospel and keeping the commandments...we of course, will all mess up but what is important is recognizing that we did mess up and that we can fix it and be forgiven.
I love the story in matthew where Christ is walking on water and peter is in the boat watching him and listening to christ tell him to come and walk on water with him. I like to imagine that happening and picture peter mustering all of his strength and clenching to the boat as tight as he can to get the courage to step onto the water.... it must have been a huge leap of faith for him to do that and as he walked on the water toward the savior he kept his eye focused on him but as soon as he took his eyes off of the savior and started paying attention to the things around him... he started to sink. I love that because it is a testimony to me of how important it is to always remember the savior jesus christ. he has done so much for all of us and it isnt always easy to remember him and his sacrifice... sometimes it is easier to pay attention to the worldly things going on around us and get caught up in the things of the world but the thing is... just like what the savior did for peter... when we all start to sink.. he will be there with his arm outstretched waiting to help us up and to fix the messes we have made. That is why he died for us. To bring us back when we have fallen or when we are sinking. He paid the price for us because he knew we wouldnt be perfect and that we would mess up. Just think.... someone died for YOU. ALL OF YOU. Heavenly Father loves each of his children so much that he sent his son to pay the price... to make up the difference for the places that each of us lack. But it is still important to remember that He will always let us sink a little.... he lets us sink so that we can grow. So that we can increase our testimony of how important it is to keep our eyes on the savior and to increase our faith in him and never forget what he did for us. the trials and hardships that we all go through in life are for a reason and they are to draw us closer to the savior. no matter how hard or unbearable or lonely things seem to get... Heavenly father and jesus christ are always there to lift us up and to bear our burdens. they are on our right hand and our left... with angels sent to bear us up. i know that to be true. I know that it is so important to align our will with gods and when we do that things in life get easier... even things that may seem hard are lightened because we are striving to the will of God. We will be happier.. and soo blessed.
I just want yall to know how powerful you all are in the church. Yall are so blessed to have the testimonies that you do and to be members of the one and only true church. No matter your calling, no matter how strong your testimony, no matter your ward and even if you only have just a belief... hold onto those things that you have. Take a step back and recognize how far you have come in your life and the things you have accomplished and the testimony you have grown. What i have learned this week is how important it is to lose ourselves in the service of others. Service is what got us through this week (ive never raked so many leaves in my life haha ) and although it was slow with our numbers.... we were able to turn our hearts towards service and receive the joy that comes from losing ourselves in the service of others. Anytime you are feeling bad about yourself or if you feel lonely, upset, angry, anything... try to serve someone as quickly as you can. no matter how big or small it is... but i promise it will make the biggest difference in your life and will completely change the outcome of any situation you are in. I know this church to be true! I'm so grateful to be here serving the people of virginia and teaching and any opportunity i have! This gospel is amazing and everyone needs to hear it and i'm doing all i can. Thanks for all of your support. Ya'll are amazing and the lord loves you! Have a good week! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal
pic is at a bday party for a member they are amazing!

October 21, 2013

Thanks for all of the letters this week! Wow, i'm impressed! It was so good to hear from ya'll! Letters definitely make my whole day. You guys are great, i really appreciate all of the support i have from my family and friends! I couldnt do it without ya'll! 6 months down... guess what that means? I will see you all in exactly a year from today. Freaks me out! It is going by wayyy too fast!! Haha. I got lots of work to do in just a year!
Anyway, we had a great week this week! A ton has happened with Tom and Chris! Gah, they are just amazing. We met with them a lot this week and each time i could see and feel them becoming more and more converted. So i cant remember what i told ya'll about Chris but basically in all the lessons she just sits back and plays with the baby and doesnt really participate much in gospel discussions and when she does she tries to speak for tom or she is trying to convince tom and clear things up for him and almost always she has a funny random comment to add in to whatever we are talking about. Haha she is really funny. She just speaks whatever is on her mind which is kinda hard to keep the conversation on one course haha but she is the best. Anyway, we were a little concerned about her cuz she wasnt reading or participating and stuff and come to find out that when she met with missionaries before in about 2008 she was going to get baptized and really wanted to but Tom was holding her back cuz he didn't feel good about it. So then it all kinda clicked for us in why she just sits back and tries to help tom out cuz she already knows it is true. She asked us a really interesting question this week she said "What if one of us is moving faster than the other one" so we asked her what she meant by that and she told us that she has already done her studying and praying on the church years ago and that she has been wanting to join for a really long time but doesnt want to without tom. It totally caught us off guard. I cant even explain to you how hard it was for me to not just smile. I just couldnt hold it back. I have never felt so much joy in my life EVER. It was the bigget comfort to me and assurance that they were going to make it. It was so good to hear and see and just know that she knows it is true. She always has. We had no idea that when she met with missionaries before that she had gotten that far. So we all knelt down and prayed and we had Chris pray to know if the church was true. The minute she started praying she just started crying. She could barely get through the prayer. I have never seen her like that and i have never felt the spirit so powerfully before. It just took over her and i know she got her answer once again. We met with them so much this week that all the lessons just blended together so sorry if this is all over the place but Tom is really coming along too. Both Tom and Chris got a priesthood blessing last week to help them stop smoking. After they got the blessings they kept telling us how much happier they were and how much easier it was for them not to smoke! After one of our lessons with them tom told us "We are coming over to your side, it is just a matter of when" and he kept saying "consider us your first converts, we are going to make it" AHHHHHHH. I died. Seriously i never thought in my life that one cute little family could bring me so much joy. I cant even imagine how happy that makes heavenly father. It has been incredible to watch them change sooo much over these past couple months. They have come so far i cant believe it and although it is taking them a little while to get there, i know they will eventually! This last week we just stopped by to see them and werent really planning on having a lesson but we ended up having one and we didnt have anything planned at all and the spirit just prompted us to talk about baptisms for the dead. Usually you dont teach that before baptism but it was the most overwhelming feeling to talk to them about it especially with all of the deaths they have had to deal with in the past. They were blown away. We werent exactly sure why we were prompted to teach them that but it was all cleared up on why when we got a call from them saturday afternoon telling us that tom's mom had passed away. Let me tell ya, they cant catch a break from anything lately and satan is really working on them! Every saturday satan throws something at them to prevent them from coming to church its ridiculous but I know that this all happened for a reason and the knowledge of the gospel and the testimony that they have will get them through it. Especially the knowledge they have of the after life and especially baptisms for the dead. I know and feel comforted that this experience will draw them closer to the gospel and i know they will make it in the Lords time! Im just so grateful to be here in this area and to have met them! I know they are a reason why i am here. I cant even imagine what it would be like to never meet them! They are so amazing and i have loved the experiences i have had with them and have loved seeing them become converted.
Well other than tom and chris we have a million other investigators that either dropped off the face of the earth, are too busy, or just arent progressing. As it says in the scriptures how we must find and teach the elect... well that is what we will be focusing on is the elect! We are starting off fresh and dropping all those that never show up for appointments or are wasting our time. Its hard cuz we love them but we are on a search to find those that are ready and prepared. We set up in the ward a "40 days of fasting" we have asked 40 different people or families to fast just one day for missionary experiences and at the end of the 40 days to have a baptism. I'm so excited to see the miracles that will come from the missionaries and the ward being equally yoked together. We cant do this work without the members and i know as we become unified in this together that we will truly be blessed with miracles!
This gospel is so important! We should all be soo grateful that we have the knowledge that we do! Yes we are all sooo different from the world but that isnt anything to be ashamed of! Rejoice in it! Rejoice in this gospel. Think about some ways that you feel motivated for anything and especially to live this gospel. There are so many different things like family and friends and even praise that motivate us but our main source of motivation should be in jesus christ! He will give us anything and everything that we need to not just live this gospel but to share it. as we put our faith and trust in him he will truly bless us with miracles in our lives to get through whatever we are going through. Draw your motivation from him. always remember him and if we do that we can overcome and get through anything... even anxieties and fears to share the gospel to those around us! This message needs to be shared to everyone. I look around the area im serving in and see all these different living situations people are in or just other hard things they are going through and the only thing that can truly help them through that is the gospel! I know it. It is such a comfort to have the knowledge that we do. We dont want to get to the next life and have our friends come walking up to us saying "you knew the whole time and you didnt tell me, why?" I know i for sure dont want any of those i love and are close to me and even people i pass on the street coming up to me and saying that to me. This knowledge we have needs to be shared and as long as we have the spirit we dont need anything else... regardless of our talents and abilities the spirit is key. I love you all so much and i'm so blessed to have the family and friends that i do! Im grateful to be here in virginia. Its going by way too fast! I have so much work to do! Love you all! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal

October 15, 2013

Hey everyone!
How ya'll doin? We had a great week here in Virginia, i'm not sure where to even begin. But things are going really well it has been interesting to learn this week how the Lord has his hand in everything and that we must trust in his timing. This week I learned a lot about what it means to have true success as a missionary. This work is so hard. Ha if I would have known truly how hard beforehand I probably wouldn't be here right now! Haha just messin. Not true. But I just know that true success as a missionary doesn't lie in the numbers... how many investigators at church, how many lessons taught, and especially how many baptisms. True success as a missionary is how hard you are trying to align your will with Gods will and what you are willing to do to lay everything on the altar of sacrifice to give everything you possibly can to him and do what he has asked by being obedient and working hard all day every day talking to as many people as you can. Maddie wrote me something this week that got me thinking haha she told me that I better be representing our family out here in a good way. (No pressure) But that is something I think about often. I want to do everything I can to make my family and friends proud out here in the mission... but not only that.... more importantly to make the Lord proud of me as a missionary and to be representing him in a good way to those people that I come in contact with. Our Heavenly Father has given us so much. He sent his son here to sacrifice for us so we can not only be forgiven of our sins but so we can also overcome anything in our lives... any addictions, temptations, opposition, and trial. He came so that we can find peace and comfort through the power of the atonement. I know that to be true. I know the atonement has so much power and i'm only beginning to truly understand how powerful it really is. I know it can help us through anything as long as we put forth the effort to access it fully.
Remember Crissy I was tellin ya'll about last week? Well, she completely tore our hearts in half. She texted us a big long text telling us that she couldn't meet anymore cuz her husband isn't in agreement with having to live the word of wisdom and doesn't want crissy living it either and giving up those things. I think it was the biggest heartbreaker for us because she knows it is true and she wants to meet with us and be baptized but her husband is just holding her back. Dont worry it gets better... i wouldn't tell ya'll about this if it didn't :) haha so we haven't been too sure what to do or how to approach the situation and this morning she was just on my mind constantly. I couldn't focus on anything and we actually had a lesson fall through so we decided that we should go and see her not even knowing if she would be home or not. When we got there, she answered the door and was more than happy to see us. I was so surprised. She is amazing! I cant even believe it. She recorded all sessions of general conference and has been watching them. She is still reading the book of Mormon and yeah it gets better... she leaves the book of Mormon in places where she knows her husband will see it and she has caught him reading it more than once. Talk about being a missionary without even being a member of the church yet. She just told us that right now her husband has a lot of anger cuz his mom just died and he is going to need time and she is planning on working on him and teaching him the plan of salvation and slowly softening his heart to where they can both meet with us again. Gah. She still wants to be baptized and she still knows it is true. We are just trusting in the Lords timing on this one and whether or not the time is for when we are here or someone else I know that they both, especially Crissy will make it!
We are still teaching Tom and Chris and they are progressing more than ever. They are sooo great! It is just amazing how the Lord has had a hand in us teaching them and how He has been preparing them over the years. They are the ones who are older and have a one year old baby and Chris has actually had 4 still borns before and then had a son who got in a motorcycle accident when he was 20 years old. She has been through a lot and their new baby, Tommy is just the biggest miracle for them. They are meeting with us because of him cuz they want him to have the best life possible and they don't want him to have to grow up around his parents smoking and everything. They have mainly just been meeting with us cuz they want the best for him but I can see them converting. They know that its true and know its the right path and just this last week was when I noticed that cuz they are willing to do anything that they need to so they can be baptized. They are willing to stop smoking, drinking, and coffee. They are willing to come to church and to read the book of Mormon. It has finally gotten to the point where they want to come to church not because we are telling them they need to come. They are reading and praying because they want to and they recognize the blessings that are coming from it and it is not because we have been asking them to. You can tell they are doing it because it is what the Lord has asked them to do and needs them to do. They know getting baptized is what needs to happen and they are set to be baptized in november. I have more faith than ever in them that they will make it and that one day they will be able to go to the temple and be sealed forever. I can see that potential in them every time i see them. I can see them dressed all in white entering the waters of baptism and eventually going to the temple. They are the best and i'm so grateful they are a part of my life. I wouldn't trade not meeting them or any of the other people I have met for anything in this world. I am so grateful to be here and I am grateful for the experiences I have had. I know that this is the true church and that I am here for a reason and we all are where we are at this time in our lives for a reason. The lord has a plan for each of us and is sooo aware of us all. I know that to be true!
I love you all! Have a great week! XOXO
Sister Roosendaal
our washer just hooks up to the sink.... its fine. at least we have one right? :)
I was trying to jump but failed miserably. thought you might enjoy that. haha
i'll send better pics next week