Monday, July 14, 2014

Alma 37:14

Mum, PahPea, Family and Friends!!!

What an INCREDIBLE last week!!! ah man, it's weird it's about that time, but my goodness, I am SOOOO grateful for all of you!! I love this work so much and have had so many sacred experiences in his work. SOOO grateful. :) I would share them all, but I'll do so as time continues...if the Spirit tells me to. :) I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!! seriously. like so much. :)
ALSO!!! happy birthday NINA MAE!!!! you're SOOO big. happy puppy-having birthday!!! :) LOVE YOU GIRLY!

Janelle's niece, Nina, who turned 6 on Sunday, holding "Nala", her birthday present  :0)
1.  What are your plans for the remainder of this P-day?
clean, pack, clean, eat, pack, clean. yeah, that sums it up. :)
2.  How are your investigators progressing?
Super well! Melanie made plans to be married and baptized in August! :) We're so excited for them! We were able to meet with them this week and understand the blessings of the temple and are excited to be sealed together one day! :) They're so sweet, we love them so much! Ruth is doing well, unable to come to church yesterday as she broke her back :( please continue to keep her in your prayers!! Thanks so much!!!
3.  Anyone new that you are teaching?
not really. we're cleansing the waters for the new sisters! eyup...we're getting white washed out by Sister Hansen and Sister Wanlass, the new sister training leader I went with last year! :) They're both FANTASTIC!!! :)
4.  Do you know Sister Fisher's new companion?
Sister Felix in Brantford North :)
5.  What (if any) meetings/correspondence/etc have you had with the Clayton's this week?
Nothing...:( BUT! they emailed us. and they're doing great. :)
6.  What time do you need to be at the Mission Home tomorrow?
oy...8am. :) bright and early!
7.  What is on the agenda once you all arrive there?
to be idea. ha I just know my interview is at 8 and then we go to the Brampton Stake Center where we watch transfers unravel and the temple in the evening and testimonies. other than that...not really sure! haha
8.  Where will you sleep?
9.  How are you feeling about the end of this "full time missionary" chapter?
I'm a bit nervous, I'll be completely honest. Like Amber felt once upon a time, I just kind of assumed I'd die on the mission because this is all I planned for...I'm realizing life actually continues!! hah So I'm sad to leave this incredible sacred place, but I will not resist progressing  as the Lord wants me to! :)
10.  How are you feeling about the beginning of a new one (chapter)?
like I'm doing the polar plunge all over again. I know it'll be a complete shock to my system, but I'll live. :)

11.  This past week was filled with tender mercies, not the least of which was....
Melanie and Chris setting a marriage and baptismal date :)
12.  I felt the Spirit so strongly as I studied....
Prayer :)
13.  Sister Fisher and I bonded over...
sharing miracles after exchanges this past week! SOO incredible!! The guidance of the Lord is incredibly REAL!!! :)
14.  Exchanges included....
Sister Griffin in Oshawa and Sister Mak in Bayview East-mandarin speaking area. yeah. I don't speak mandarin..that one was tough!! hah
15.  I have been so excited to share....
that I saw a piece of my setting apart blessing fulfilled this week. So sacred and I am so grateful. (!)
16.  Did you know....?
that I've gone on 81 exchanges with 50 different sisters? and I've learned SOOO much from every single individual!! I am ever so grateful!!!
17.  "Opposition in all things" has taught me...
that Satan is real, but he only has as much power as we allow him. I love the reality of the Plan of Salvation!
18.  Something I've learned while serving a mission, that I hope I never forget is....
how to live the law of consecration. That lesson is so precious to me! I am so grateful!!!
19.  I will be forever grateful for...
this opportunity to serve the Lord!
the inspired leaders I've learned from
The atonement of our Savior and Redeemer
becoming a missionary rather than just serving a mission
the Book of Mormon. that book is incredible.  :)
Well, I must head out, but I wish for all of you to feel how joyful I am in this work!! It's true, all of it! I know our God is a living, loving Father in Heaven who, because He loves us, sent His Son, Jesus Christ to atone for the sins of the world so that we may, through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, be able to return to His presence with our families, in peace and joy, for eternity! I know that these things are true because I have read the evidence of this restored Gospel, the Book of Mormon, and I have prayed and asked my Father if it is true, and He has witnessed it to me by the power of the Holy Ghost. This is true, I know it to be! and how GRATEFUL I am for this knowledge! how Great is our calling to share that this restored gospel is upon the Earth at this time! Let us share it with all! :)
Love for now and for ever,
Sister De Groot :)
Missionary Invitation: Share your love of the Book of Mormon with someone who is going through a hard time and share your testimony about how it has helped you in your life throughout all hard times. You'll be surprised of their interest in receiving peace through scripture :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Moroni 10:3-5

Mum, PahPea, Family, and Friends!

Hello hello! My goodness, what a beautifully sacred week Sister Fisher and I have had together. It's one of those experiences that an email cannot do justice in explaining adequately. I say that a's because it's true. :) So Wednesday was the July MLC, which means it was mine and 8 other leaders from MLC's last it was rather bitter sweet. We were were instructed by President and Sister Clayton in the mission home and it was incredible. The Spirit was so strong, especially when we listened to the departing testimonies. I am literally unable to express the joy that I have in this mission, working alongside these incredible missionaries and serving the incredible people of Ontario. Thursday was a spiritual feast where the Spirit led us every possible second; all of our appointments fell through in the morning and so we were driving back to finish our weekly planning when the Spirit whispered to turn around and knock on a door that looked incredibly familiar. So we did and!....they weren't home. :) So we left a card with our mini testimony on it and turned around to find a lady across the street who is probably one of the most prepared people I have ever talked with. Daria. She's working on talking with her husband and convince him to come with her when she comes to church this Sunday. Needless to say, Sister Fisher and I were overwhelmed by the Spirit, especially as we were listening to a recording of a song that Sister Hansen, Sister Felix, I and Elder Romrell sang together for MLC. It was one of those moments that you're so filled with gratitude and the Spirit that you need to weep and pray for thanks. So that's what we did. :) but the guidance didn't stop there. We were then led to a less active who committed to read the Book of Mormon which she has refused to do for a while, meet with the Bishops wife who shared an experience that was solely for me to hear, pray before leaving the car and then opening our eyes to find Dave, a new investigator just outside our car who was looking for a church to go to and help to become fully sober, and meeting a group of sweet ladies who needed to see us in their difficult day. Then Friday, just as my head was blown up with Spiritual experiences, we have 'meet the president' and zone training. Bring on the Spirit. followed by an exchange with Sister Wise who's absolutely incredible! spirit. then Saturday we met with an investigator, Melanie and her returning less active boyfriend Chris, from Belleville who has been being taught since December and we're just waiting for them to be married so they can be baptized. Long story short, the spirit was working with them like crazy and they said if his sister can come into town, they would get married on Saturday and baptized on Sunday. right now, we're really not sure what will happen, but we're praying and helping them along! :) Then last night we had a music thing in the park where i was asked to sing with Elder Mangakahia, an Elder from our ward, and it was the most terrifying thing of my life, but I did it anyways! I'm just overwhelmed with the Spirit right now, I love it! :) yeah, my description didn't do justice but I tried. :) Just know; it was a GREAT week. :)

1.    What was your first impression of President and Sister Clayton?
They carry the Spirit with them constantly! From the first moment I met them, I realized they have so much joy and SO much charity. They're absolutely incredible!
2.    Did you tell him about our “connection”?
I tried...but I messed up...and he looked at me funny. :) But I told him I'd just send him what you sent me because I obviously have the retention span of a peanut. :)
(NOTE FROM SHERYL: Janelle's new mission president - President Clayton - is the brother of Whitney Clayton, a member of the First Quorum of 70.  Elder Clayton is married to Cathy Kipp Clayton, the older sister of a dear friend of mine (the late Amy Kipp Muir) from Irvine, California. Amy's children were the best of friends with my children when we lived there (Erin/Emily, Michael/Kipp, and Amber/Lindsey).  Whitney and Cathy also lived in Irvine during that time, and we were blessed to know them as well.  Such a SMALL WORLD!!) 
3.    Were you interviewed by him, or just in a meeting with him?
BOTH! We were able to meet him previous to our interview day because we had MLC with them at the mission home, it was such a tender afternoon for all of us!
4.    As dad and I are going to attend the Scott’s Homecoming this next Sunday, is there any message you would like us to relay?
WE LOVE YOU!! Please just let them know how grateful all of us in the great CTM are for them! We love and miss them, but we promise, the mission is in good hands! if you wanted to tell him I still like his haircut, and that I'm completely serious, that'd be ok too. :) 
5.    Any RM’s in particular (that may be there) that you would like us to meet?
Well you'll probably meet a LOT! :) In particular, look out for Sister Williams, Sister Arksey, Sister Messer, & Sister Larsen :) I think they're pretty great :)
6.    Any message for Papa, as he celebrated his 80th last Thursday?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA!! So I just bragged about you and your cute self to all of my fellow missionaries here. (FROM SHERYL: I sent his birthday party pictures...Michael's "photo bomb" and all!)  You're just so cute and happy and just down right wonderful! :) I love you!!! happy birthday!!!

7.    Any message for Grandpa DeGroot, whose b’day is today (7th)?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY G'PA!!! I am super duper excited to see you in a few weeks and hope you feel my love and prayers on your behalf! I love you so much and hope you have the greatest birthday ever!!! I waved to you last week when I was in Brockville and could see New York across the water! :) I love you!!! happy birthday!
8.    Any message for Nina, who turns 6 on Sunday (13th)?
6????? seriously right now?? My goodness missy, happy birthday!! I hope the day is tremendous for you!!!  eat lots of cake and have lots of fun and Know that I pray for you each and every day! Love you sweetheart!!! Happy birthday!
9.    Who is Marvin?  (you sent me pictures of you with him….a cute older man….am I supposed to know him?)
oh sorry!! haha I went to Sister Edwards old area and taught her recent convert :) He's adorable and thought you'd like to see how sweet he is :) haha
10.  What is your focus for this coming week?
Exact Obedience. Pure in Heart. Preach My Gospel. :) making each moment sacred so that all those who we come in contact with will recognize us as powerful, dedicated, servants of the Lord
11.  Have you received your “final package” yet?
I sure did, and it definitely caught me off guard!! hhaa but I can't lie....all those fruit snacks that were supposed to be for the plane right home....we've basically already eaten them all. uh...sowwy. but I'll buy more to share, I promise! :)

12.  The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is…
think of how blessed I am and then kneel down and tell the Lord all that I feel :)
13.  One area I am thankful to have improved in is...
my conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had a spiritual witness that these things were true when I came out, but now I have a spiritual and intellectual conversion. I have grown in my love for the Savior and my ability to show that Love to Him through how I conduct myself. How grateful I am for this incredible experience that has helped me start on my journey to become like my Savior!
14.  I think it will take my entire lifetime before...
I begin to understand the blessings of the temple.
15.  My testimony grew so much when...
We experienced the most spiritually filled week this week. I love the guidance of the Lord!
16.  This week, I loved studying about...
Charity. President and Sister Clayton are all about Charity and I loved studying the examples of charity throughout the scriptures. what truly compels you to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? it's His pure and perfect love; charity.
17.  Something I wish I had understood BEFORE coming on a mission is...
the joy of weaknesses. I stressed a bit too much at the beginning that I wasn't doing enough or didn't do it as good as someone else or didn't know the doctrine enough. I have now realized that we all have different talents and hyperventilating just really doesn't make it any better. it's one of those things I knew in my head, but didn't quite get it in my heart now. I do now. :) well...I do MORE now than before :)
18.  This weeks exchanges included ___________ with ____________.
going to Ajax with the infamous Sister Wise. what an INCREDIBLE missionary!! holy bananas. She's just so great. FULL of charity :)
19.  I laughed so hard when....
Sister Fisher and I tried to take jumping pictures for Canada day and the 4th of July. yikes, we're bad :)
20.  An experience I had that I grew a lot from was...
having the responsibility and blessing of going on so many exchanges. :)
21.  Kaffi/Shonteya, Ruth, Laurie/Derek, and their children are.... (DETAILS!!!)
oy...we were dropped by all except Ruth this week. So Ruth is doing GREAT! She is continuing to read the Book of Mormon and says that she's feeling her faith grow little by little. She said she doesn't know for sure if it's true yet, but we're helping her connect little by little to the workings of the Spirit.
22.  I am SO grateful for…
My Savior
This work
my nametag :)
Future experiences!

Well, I'm off! I love you all so much! This work is true, never forget it! :) I know Christ lives, I know God lives, and I know that my calling is real, I am a true representative of our Lord, Jesus Christ, how great is my calling!
Love for now and for ever,
Sister De Groot :)

Missionary Invitation: study Chapter 5 in Preach My Gospel and strengthen your testimony of the Book of Mormon. Take note of the only way that any can come to know that the Book of Mormon is true :) continue/start the conversion! :)

ps I'd send pictures but it's not working...SORRY!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Diligence in missionary work is an expression of your love for the Lord and His work. PMG pg 121

Mum, PahPea, Family, and Friends!

What an incredibly humbling week! President and Sister Scott have now returned home to their families and we love them so much, and we are SO excited to have President and Sister Clayton here!! Sister Fisher and I will be able to meet them on Wednesday for MLC and then again on Friday with the zone, we're excited to be around them and get to know them better! :) What a blessing! We saw so many miracles this week, especially with the blessing of finding people to teach and teaching our investigators even though we had zone conference, and an exchange completely out of the area! Our Father in Heaven is so aware of all that we do and what we can do with the time and resources that we have! How merciful He is!! :)

Let's do a little shout-out to the birthday girl...HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!! I wish I could adequately express how incredible you are and all the things that you have taught me, but really, only the Lord knows that. Maybe you'll know in the Millennium. :) I hope you have the greatest birthday ever and know that I'll be praying for it! and I may or may not eat cake just for you!! ;) Have a wonderful birthday and know that I love you dearly!!! You're the greatest mom in the whole wide world, that's for sure!!! :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

***ok, so...I've been required to answer all of the questions but I have limited time so I apologize that these answers are quite short, but I'll do my best! :)

1. Have you received any mail since you arrived in Oshawa (packages, letters, etc)?
Sure did! got the American package I mentioned last week! Picture will come from the 4th of July!:)
2. How are your investigators doing?
Right now the people we are teaching are Kaffi and Shonteya, a mother and her 9 year old daugther who are preparing for baptism in the middle of July! I haven't been able to teach them because I've been on exchanges when they've been taught but apparently they are AWESOME! ahha I've met them and they are so sweet! Kaffi's little boy got sick yesterday so they were unable to come to church but they said they'll come this next week! :) They were VERY excited to hear that God has called a prophet again to the Earth and are excited to read the Book of Mormon to come to know its truthfulness! Laurie and Derek were also taught with Sister Fisher while I was on exchange again this week, Laurie is doing very well, wants to be baptized but is waiting for her boyfriend to marry her. He has issues with the government. This week we will be teaching them the joy of commandments and teaching him the lessons as well, because apparently when they were being taught in the past, he wasn't really involved. So this week, we're going to help him feel the Spirit to have a desire to change! That's the only way the work continues! :) Ruth is doing very well as well! She's an absolute sweetheart, an older lady who has many physical disabilities but an incredibly strong faith in Christ. We were able to teach her the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ yesterday and at the beginning, she didn't understand why we were inviting her to be baptized again, but we invited her to listen to the Spirit whisper to her why as we taught. As she did, there was one part in the lesson, towards the end when we were talking about the appearing of John the Baptist to the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore the priesthood by the laying on of hands, that something just clicked in her eyes. The Spirit flooded the room. and she understood. she said she's going to pray about what she felt after we left and let us know when we see her on Thursday, so if you could, please pray that she'll recognize that all good things come from God. She's a very special person, and would truly appreciate the prayers for that as well as strength to fight the physical pain she is in daily. Thank you so much! I love you all so much!!
3. Any plans to sing, etc in church in the next few weeks?
I was actually asked to sing at a missionary night in the park we're having next sunday evening, and so because I don't sing solo, I asked an elder to sing with me, but because I'm not creative, we're singing the same song that I was asked to sing with an elder at zone conference last week. I don't know how it sounded. but boy, did I feel the Spirit. I was so immensely grateful.
4. Does Sister Fisher sing? Soprano, Alto, or both?
Soprano (well, the melody), but in Alto range. She can sing so low it's AWESOME!!!! I tried to have her teach me. uh. that didn't go very well. ha! :)
5. What was the last thing you cooked to eat?
omelets :) mmhmm!
6. What are your plans for the remainder of Preparation day today?
lots of cleaning and practicing musical numbers! The assistants are having 4 of us missionaries sing 2 musical numbers at MLC on Wednesday and then they want to make a CD of musical numbers that have been performed. lots of practice! haha!
7. If you had 3 extra hours each day, how would you fill them? 
Well naturally, we'd perform our Book of Mormon Musical-the TRUTH (not the south park one. heard too much about that one....yikes! haha) and then we'd perform it in the park and invite people to see the lessons in action. :) it's bound to be incredible! :)
8. Besides the people, and missionary work, what do you like most about Oshawa?
the fact that it's GORGEOUS!! oh my goodness, it's like a clean London, Ontario! I LOVE IT!!! also. I contacted 2 people that were of the Hindu and Muslim faith and I got SOOOO excited!!!! I haven't really talked with many people from those faiths since Mississauga and I was SOOOOO happy! I love bearing testimony of my Savior! ah. ask Sister Fisher. I was so happy I was close to tears. like really. :) hmm, I love this work!!
9. How did exchanges go this week?
SOO good! Brockville with Sister Lee, the sweetest sister in the world! so bubbly and happy! and a trio in Belleville with Sister Ogden and Sister Hadley! and get this?! The place they live has our name on the mailbox!!! I WAS SO PROUD!!! :)
10. What was your favorite thing that happened at church yesterday?
partaking of the sacrament. It's incredible the literal feeling of being cleansed when you prepare adequately! :) 

11. Something new I learned about Sister Fisher is...
She has the coolest middle name of ALL time! and I still can't pronounce it! ahah "tikoimereke" try that one out!! haha
12. I couldn't believe it when...
President and Sister Scott allowed us to hug them at the end of our Zone conference because they were going home! I love those two so much, I can't even express. 
13. Something I will always be grateful to President Scott for is...
the spirit he carried and the love they showed. They literally help you recognize your eternal potential, and then wouldn't let you settle for anything less, because they loved you too much. and how eternally, and inexpressibly grateful I am for that love!
14.  Did you receive any last minute counsel?
We actually did! in zone conference, we received "life lessons from President and Sister Scott" :) yeah I was SOO excited. one of them was "live to serve and serve well" Missionary work is meant to be eternal. not time limited. :)
15.  What would you consider your most profound moment of the week?
teaching Ruth was absolutely incredible. The Spirit was so strong. As well as singing at zone conference. I don't know how the Spirit got there so strong. but I literally tongue tied with the power of the Spirit. God loves us. that's all. :)
16.  I am so grateful for....
My family
The Spirit 
The Book of Mormon
The Sacrament
Our Savior
You. yes. you. :)

I'm sorry, but because tomorrow is Canada Day, all the libraries are closed and so all the missionaries in the surrounding area need to come to the church and use the computers, so I apologize for the lack of answers, I'll try to answer the rest next week, but at this time, I would like you to know of the immense love and joy I feel for this work and for my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He died for me, and I know that He died for you. But one greater than dying for you and I is rising for you and I. He lives today. I know it. I know that He and the Father have not ceased working miracles among our Father's children, for I know that He has called a prophet again in this last dispensation, the Prophet Joseph Smith, to prepare for the second coming of our Savior and Redeemer. How incredible that message is!! A prophet of God living upon the Earth! How INCREDIBLE! And to come to know for ourselves, all we need to do is read the evidence, the Book of Mormon, and pray and ask the all knowing, Almighty God if it is true. I know these things are true! and I love the calling that we have to declare it, unceasingly, and joyfully with our brothers and sisters! How GREAT is our calling!!

Love for now and for ever,
Sister De Groot :)

Missionary Invitation: Read "Your Four Minutes" by Bishop Stevenson from the April 2014 General Conference, and record impressions that come to your mind of things you can do to make the best out of your 4 minutes :) I love you dearly!

 YOUR FOUR MINUTES by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson
The recent Olympic Winter Games enthralled the world as athletes representing 89 countries competed in 98 different events. Remarkably, 10 of these athletes were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3 of whom earned medals recently highlighted in theChurch News: Christopher Fogt, Noelle Pikus-Pace, and Torah Bright.1 We offer our congratulations to all of the athletes who competed. Well done!
I speak of these games this morning directing my thoughts to young men, young women, and young single adults—you who are in your critical years which set the course for your life. I feel a great sense of urgency in addressing you.
For you to feel that urgency, I first share the story of Noelle Pikus-Pace, one of those Latter-day Saint athletes. In Noelle’s event, the skeleton, athletes build momentum as they sprint and then plunge headfirst on a small sled. With their faces inches above the ground, they race down a winding, icy track at speeds that top 90 miles (145 km) an hour.
Remarkably, years of preparation would be considered either a success or a disappointment based on what happened in the space of four intense 60-second runs.
Noelle’s previous 2006 Olympic dreams were dashed when a terrible accident left her with a broken leg. In the 2010 Olympics her dreams fell short again when just over one-tenth of a second kept her from the medal stand.2
Can you imagine the anxiety she felt as she waited to begin her first run in the 2014 Olympics? Years of preparation would culminate in only a sliver of time. Four minutes total. She spent years preparing for those four minutes and would spend a lifetime afterward reflecting on them.
Noelle’s final runs were virtually flawless! We will never forget her leap into the stands to embrace her family after crossing the finish line, exclaiming, “We did it!” Years of preparation had paid off. We saw her Young Women medallion around her neck as the silver medal was placed there beside it.3
It may seem unfair that Noelle’s entire Olympic dreams hinged on what she did during just four brief minutes. But she knew it, and that is why she prepared so diligently. She sensed the magnitude, the urgency of her four minutes, and what they would mean for the rest of her life.
We also remember Christopher Fogt, a member of the team that won the bronze medal in the four-man bobsled race. While he could have given up after a devastating crash in the 2010 Olympics, he chose to persevere. After a fantastic, redemptive run, he won the prize he so diligently sought.4
Now, consider how your pathway to eternal life is similar to these athletes’ “four-minute performance.” You are an eternal being. Before you were born, you existed as a spirit. In the presence of a loving Heavenly Father, you trained and prepared to come to earth for a brief moment and, well, perform. This life is your four minutes. While you are here, your actions will determine whether you win the prize of eternal life. The prophet Amulek described, “This life is the time … to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day … to perform [your] labors.”5
In a sense, your four minutes have already begun. The clock is ticking. The words of the Apostle Paul seem so fitting: to run the race, that you may obtain the prize.6
In the same way that certain steps are essential in the very brief performance of an Olympic athlete—jumps or maneuvers for ice skaters and snowboarders, negotiating the turns of a bobsled run, or carving through the gates of a downhill slalom course—so it is in our lives, where certain things are absolutely essential—checkpoints which move us through our spiritual performance on earth. These spiritual markers are the essential God-given ordinances of the gospel: baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordinations, temple ordinances, and partaking of the sacrament each week.
“In the[se] ordinances … , the power of godliness is manifest.”7
And in the same way that the discipline of training prepares an athlete to perform elements in his or her sport at the highest level, keeping the commandments will qualify you to receive these saving ordinances.
Do you sense the urgency?
My young friends, wherever you are in your “four-minute performance,” I urge you to ponder, “What do I need to do next to ensure my medal?” Perhaps during this conference, the Spirit has whispered to you what that may be: to prepare more thoughtfully for an ordinance in your future or to receive an ordinance that you should have received a long time ago. Whatever it may be, do it now. Don’t wait. Your four minutes will pass quickly, and you’ll have eternity to think about what you did in this life.8
Self-discipline is needed. Daily prayer, scripture study, and church attendance must be the foundation of your training. A consistent pattern of obeying the commandments, keeping the covenants you have made, and following the Lord’s standard found in For the Strength of Youth is required.
Perhaps you’re aware of things in your life that are threatening to slow or stop your spiritual progress. If so, follow this scriptural counsel: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”9
It is not yet too late to repent. But it soon may be, because no one really knows when your four minutes will be over.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “I already blew it. My four minutes are already a disaster. I may as well give up.” If so, stop thinking that, and never think it again. The miracle of the Atonement can make up for imperfections in our performance. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught:
“To those of you … who may still be hanging back, … I testify of the renewing power of God’s love and the miracle of His grace. …
“… It is never too late so long as the Master … says there is time. … Don’t delay.”10
Remember, you are not alone. The Savior has promised that He will not leave you comfortless.11 You also have family, friends, and leaders who are cheering you on.
Although my remarks have been directed to the youth of the Church, for parents and grandparents, I offer the following:
Recently, Elder David A. Bednar described a simple way to conduct a family assessment to mark progress on the covenant path by essential ordinances. All that is needed is a piece of paper with two columns: “name” and “plan for next or needful ordinance.” I did this recently, listing each family member. Among them, I noted an infant grandson, soon to be blessed; a six-year-old grandson, whose preparation for baptism was essential; and a son turning 18, whose preparation for the priesthood and temple endowment was imminent. Everyone on the list needed the sacrament ordinance. This simple exercise assisted Lesa and me in fulfilling our role to help each member of our family along the covenant path, with an action plan for each of them. Perhaps this is an idea for you which will lead to family discussions, family home evening lessons, preparation, and even invitations for essential ordinances in your family.12
As a skier and a snowboarder myself, I was deeply impressed with the “four-minute” silver medal-winning performance of Australian LDS athlete and snowboarder Torah Bright in the half-pipe competition. She dazzled the world as she finished a virtually flawless run culminating in a backside rodeo 720. However, even more impressive and surprising to the world was the way she reached out and demonstrated Christlike love to her competitors. She noticed that American snowboarder Kelly Clark, who had a bad first run in her final round, appeared to be nervous about her second run. “She gave me a hug,” Clark recalls. “She just held me until I actually calmed down enough and I slowed my breathing. It was good to have a hug from a friend.” Kelly Clark would later join Torah on the winners’ podium as a bronze medalist.
When asked about this unusual act of kindness toward her opponent, which could have put her own silver medal at risk, Torah simply said, “I am a competitor—I want to do my best—but I want my fellow competitors to do their best, too.”13
With that in mind, is there someone who needs your encouragement? a family member? a friend? a classmate or fellow quorum member? How can you help them with their four minutes?
Dear friends, you are in the midst of an exhilarating journey. In some ways, you are racing down the half-pipe or sled track, and it can be challenging to perform each element or navigate each turn along the way. But remember, you’ve prepared for this for millennia. This is your moment to perform. This is your four minutes! The time is now!
I express my utmost confidence in your abilities. You have the Savior of the world on your side. If you seek His help and follow His directions, how can you fail?
I conclude with my testimony of the blessing we have in a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and of Jesus Christ and His role as our Savior and Redeemer, in His holy name, Jesus Christ, amen.

NOTE to Janelle from Sheryl (sent last Monday, upon realizing she did not get my weekly email):
After seeing that you didn't answer any of my questions, I looked in your inbox, only to discover that you never got my email!!  I feel just terrible!!!  Know that I would NEVER forget to write to you!!

Janelle's reply (received today):
don't even worry mom!! haha I figured that's what happened anyway! haha

Feeling VERY relieved that she took it all in stride...  :0)

Monday, June 23, 2014

After all that has been said and done, the most important duty is to preach the gospel. -Joseph Smith Jr.

   You'll notice that this weeks letter from Sister De Groot does not include a "Question Time/Finish My Sentence" portion.  Why, you might wonder?  Well, here's the story...
   Last Sunday evening I sat down to write an email to Janelle, as I have done every Sunday for the past 18 months.  After writing and hitting the SEND button, I ALWAYS go into her account to double-check that the letter was received.  "ALWAYS"....except for last Sunday, when I was extremely tired and decided that "of course!" it was in her inbox....after all, wasn't it ALWAYS?!?  In spite of the nagging "you'd better make sure!" feeling that I had - over and over - I decided that checking my SENT box was adequate.  BIG MISTAKE!!!
   You can imagine (if you're a missionary mom, that is!) how TERRIBLE I felt when I discovered mid-Monday (after teaching swimming lessons, which is why I didn't check her inbox earlier that morning) that she had NEVER RECEIVED MY LETTER (my SIL, Janice, did instead....OOPS!!!)  :0(  
   I quickly wrote a note to the mission secretary, explaining what had happened, and asking her to inform my sweet daughter of the mishap "if she happened to talk to her".  (Naturally, I really meant "PLEASE CALL HER ASAP AND TELL HER!!!!")  Well, she "happened" to talk to her on Tuesday and relayed my message (THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Sister Green!!).  The message I received back (from Janelle, via Sister Green) was "CHERRIES", which means...
"I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, always and forever, whatever you say PLUS A CHERRY ON TOP!!!"  
Well, Jay, CHERRIES back to you!!!  I hope you enjoy reading TWO weeks of letters next Monday!!  :0)

Mum, PahPea, Family, and Friends!
Hello there! I simply need to express how grateful I am for this wonderful work, yet there truly are not sufficient words to describe it. (how many times have I said that? probably a lot....:D) President and Sister Scott return home at the end of this week and it's weird to see them go. I appreciate President and Sister Scott so much. Actually, appreciate is not a good enough word. Love. Love fits better. eyup. I love them dearly. I love the examples that they are to all of us missionaries and everyone they meet, the admiration they have for our Savior and our Father in Heaven's plan, the sweetness of Sister Scott and how the soul is being pierced by the Spirit whenerver she talks with someone, the love they show for each other, the level of expectation they hold for us to live up to our eternal potential, and simply everything about them both. I thank them both so much for the miracles they have spearheaded in this mission by the power of the Holy Ghost. They are seriously INCREDIBLE instruments in the Hands of the Lord. Definitely molded to fit perfectly in the Hands of the Carpenter. They've shown me the importance of living up to your potential, no matter what, to always take the calling that our Father has commissioned you to do and run with it with a smile on your face! :) goodness, I love them. ok. my Scott ranting is over. thanks for bearing with me. :)

Sister De Groot with President and Sister Scott  :0)
So....This week! It was great. We found a few new investigators that came to church on Sunday! Laurie and Derek and their 3 kids all under 8. they're adorable. :) Tunde also came to church after sacrament meeting and apologized profusely for missing the first hour. ah man. She's just so cute :) She's expressed desires to be baptized a bit down the road because of the difficulties she's going through, so our plan is to help her see the blessings of baptism and the peace that comes now from living the Gospel. I love the blessings of the Gospel that flow to us as we sincerely live it, it's astounding how instantly that happens. What a miracle. :) I haven't heard an update on Robert or Kresho in Mississauga, all I know is that they weren't baptized this week! Hopefully I can hear soon about their progression so I can let you know, rest asured, I'll let you know when I know as well! :)
Our area has been progressing little by little each day, and I love it! I was thinking about how it connects to light and darkness-something we, as a mission are studying in preparation for tomorrow's zone conference-and how sometimes we feel we are moving at a snails pace, desiring to move much faster, when in reality, there is no other way but to move at that speed, for the snail cannot move any faster, that's the speed the Lord has blessed him with. When we're in that moment, we feel there is no possible way to get to where we need to go at the time we planned to get there, and pray helplessly for guidance and direction. We receive it and follow it, feeling that it hasn't really made a difference, but he hikes up to a rock anyways, where we feel like giving up. When in reality, our Savior guided him there so that someone bigger could lift the rock he sat on and take him to where he needed to go, much quicker than he could on his own. That's the whole point. we don't understand why sometimes, we just do it and trust that the Father will allow all things to work out, if we allow it to. How humbling this experience has been for me. For it I will be forever grateful, helping others learn of the same life lessons through the sharing of the Restored Gospel of our Savior.
Sister Fisher and I are getting along SOO well. We have so much joy in this work! :) We changed our alarm to this quote by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as he addressed missionaries in the Missionary Training Center, "Elders and Sisters, don't you ever quit. don't you ever give up, don't ever talk to me about going home. I've said from this pulpit before I am manifestly the wrong man in this world to talk to about whether you want to go home, you better talk to somebody else. Because I am absolute, totally, and completely biased, I am insufferable on that subject. I would wrestle you to the ground, I would grapple with you all the way to the airplane terminal, I'd get into your backpack and go with, you will never get rid of me! You try to go home, you look up in the middle of the night of your bedroom window and I'll be there! and I might scratch. I might make sounds. Just don't you ever turn away from this greatest experience of your life." Amen. :) I love elder Holland so much! The mission truly has been something that I needed to experience for my growth and for the growth of my investigators I've had the privilege of teaching. For those of you who are questioning whether you want to serve a mission, I ask you, why question it? Why even contemplate it? Why second whether you would like to sacrifice 2 years or 18 months to be in the daily, full time service of your Father in Heaven? Being exactly obedient to the work of the Lord to allow the Spirit with you constantly so that you can truly be an actual instrument in the Hands of the Lord to aid in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man? This is real, brothers and sisters. If you haven't served and you know you need to, please serve. for those who have served and have lost the vision of their calling, I invite you to allow yourself to be reawakened. I love this Gospel too much to not invite you to make changes in your life, as I am doing in mine to be in closer harmony with the Savior's teachings. I don't know why I went on this rant, I wasn't intending to, but the Spirit led, and I followed. How grateful I truly am to be in the Lord's service. This truly is the greatest work of the Almighty God. and I just love it! :)
Thank you for all you do. thank you for your love of the Savior, for your dedication to His work and your commission, thank you for praying for all missionaries throughout the world, thank you for praying for those who do not yet have the restored gospel in their lives, thank you for choosing in the preexistence to come to this Earth and go throughout these experiences. Thank you. I love all of you so much and hope you feel of my gratitude and love toward you all! This Gospel is true. I know it to be! and how grateful I am for the opportunities we all have been given! How great is our calling!
Love for now and for ever,
Sister De Groot :)
Missionary Invitation: write down what you believe is your commission. come up with your title of liberty. and then put it somewhere where you'll see it daily to remind you of the great calling you accepted before you even came here! do so prayerfully. I'm sure it'll be inspiring to you. :) PMG pg V! 
Pollyanna and her adorably pregnant self, received her endowments last week and is having a baby very soon!!! isn't she cute??? :)
 and another MLC picture!
p.s.s. mom! thank you so much for the package, you're the greatest! you'll get a picture when it's the 4th of july!!! :) I LOVE YOU!!!!!