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!!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

We should accept truth no matter where it comes from.

Mum, PahPea, Family, and Friends!!
Hello Hello! Greetings from Oshawa, the blessed land of Ontario! :) I love it here so much. Like really. Miracles are unfolding everyday in the simplest ways in other's eyes, but tremendous in ours. Because of the Father's Day weekend (**HAPPY BEST FATHERS DAY TO THE BEST FATHER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD**), everyone was out of town and were unable to meet. Sad day, but it's alright, happenings are looking up for this week! We keep meeting incredibly prepared people that just recently moved in within the past 3 weeks and they've never met missionaries before so....woohoo!!! :) I'm SUPER excited for this week. We are focusing on helping our investigators to attend sacrament meeting this week, so if you could pray for the Oshawa Zone, that would be greatly appreciated! :) Prayers are being offered on your behalf as well, from over here, I hope you know! If you need anything you need me to pray for, please let me know or else, well...I won't know! haha
I wanted to share a quote from C.S. Lewis that was included in President's email this week. From it we gain insights as to how Heavenly Father shapes and refines us into far more than we ever could have imagined we could be. He said, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan Co., 1960, p. 160).
How about we answer some questions. eyup. let's do that. ready go.
1.  Alma 59:15-16 (your subject line last week) doesn't exist.  What was the scripture you meant?
woops. I meant chapter 39. ah man. that was probably super anticlimatic wasn't it? hmm. next time.
2.  Any FATHER's DAY message for your dad?
I LOVE YOU PAHPEA! happy father's day!!! I hope your day was incredible and you feel the love and the joy that I have knowing that you're my daddy! You've taught me SOO much, one thing in particular that I will love you forever for, is teaching me to love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. You leave your hometown and your eyes are opened to the reality that Satan truly has hold upon many families throughout the world, convincing them that families are not important. You, on the other hand, help me experience the joy of family and that it's an eternal unit through the power of the Priesthood. and for that, I will be forever grateful. I love you dad!!
3.  G'ma DeGroot's birthday is on Thursday.  Anything you'd like me to pass on to her?
Happy Birthday Grandma!!! I keep thinking how close (in distance) I am to you, and that allows me to reflect on the incredible selfless example you are to me!! I love you dearly and hope you have the greatest birthday ever! I love you and pray for you daily! LOVE you Grandma!
4.  How are things going with Dominique?
She is ignoring we meet with her, we'll let you know! haha
5.  Ligia?
she wants to meet with us so badly but is consumed with finding a place to live by the end of the month that she can't. So if you could, please pray that circumstances will allow her to meet with us, thanks so much! she's doing great reading and praying though, that's for sure! :)
6.  Tunde?
doing well, was able to come to church yesterday and received a blessing for her back - she was in an accident last year and she's still feeling pain. The poor woman. Prayers are deeply appreciated and of course felt, thank you!
7.  Vincenzo?
one of those Father's day traveling investigators. We'll for sure meet this week though!!
8.  Have you received an update on Robert?
not yet 
9.  What about Kresho?
10. Anyone else I'm missing???
nope haha

11. This past week, Sister Fisher and I bonded over....
nightly lullabys. she literally will not let me go to sleep until I sing to her the song I sang at this past MLC with Sister Hansen, Sister Felix, and Elder Romrell. she really liked it. ha. she's so cute. :)
12. Did you know that....
I love you?
13. I could hardly wait to tell you....
that I love you.
14. Something I would like to improve on this coming week is...
100% not thinking of myself. Obviously I need to improve and do better, but I sometimes tend to focus on those things and lose track of the most important things that I am doing.
15. A companionship goal for this week is....
to role play 5x throughout the day in the car to receive revelation for our investigators :) oh role plays. gotta love them. :)
16. This week's exchanges included (   place   ) with (   sister   ) and sharing the gospel by (   method(s) used   )...
Sister Stats in Richmond Hill North, and Sister Hennessey here in Oshawa by focusing on Alma 7 and Almna 57, focusig on the Atonement of our Savior and thriving in the areas we feel the most uncomfortable in missioanary work. AKA: thrive in awkward situations! :)
17. My favorite study session this week centered on....
Justice and mercy
18. Something I am really looking forward to this week is....
19. If I could talk face to face with the Savior, I would ask Him...
Why am I so blessed?
20. I am so grateful for...
my daddy
Preach My Gospel
Sister Fisher
the sacrament
Well, I am off! I love you all so so much and want you all to know that I know this Gospel is true. I know that our Father in Heaven is, indeed, there! Jesus Christ was not only necessary in God's plan, but He lives today as a witness that He was crucified and resurrected for our eternal progression! I know this to be true, and I know it through the power of the Holy Ghost! How GREAT is our calling!
Love for now and for ever,
Sister De Groot :)
Missionary Invitation: Study the simplicities of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then share it. Start with Faith this week in Preach My Gospel. What does faith mean to you? now go share that with someone :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Alma 59:15-16 our calling :)

Mum, PahPea, Family and Friends!

OSHAWA!!!!! man. I love it here! seriously, the people, the missionaries, the investigators, my companion, these sisters, this work. everything and everyone!!! I just love it! Let's just jump in, eh? yup. let's do that. :)

1.  Were you able to say your good-byes in Mississauga?  (How did that go?)
um....not really. I just kind of left haha! I mean, I told a couple people, "mama" included (sister ennever, this adorable jamaican lady that feeds us all the time) and she cried on the phone. man, that broke my heart! We called Robert to let him know and he was SOO funny! He goes "wait, you're leaving?? why? it's ok, God needs you there, but is it ok if I continue to learn from you two before you go, just like shadow you when you talk with people? I want to learn everything there is to learn about this church! if you go to a park to talk with people, can I come? I can just fly a kite in the background, can we fly kites? is that ok? we can even go kayaking, let's do that, can we do that?" ah man Robert. he's one of my favorite people ever! haha I am waiting to hear the update with him from Sister Stoddard, so we can see how he's doing! :)   
2.  What were your first impressions of Oshawa?
IT'S LIKE A CLEAN LONDON!!!!! seriously. I love it so much! love. it. 

3.  What can you tell me about Sister Fisher (other than she's from Fiji)?
she's so much fun, has an INCREDIBLE testimony, so consecrated, oldest of 5, 22 years old, laughs all the time, and makes me sing her to sleep. ha!

4.  How are you two getting along?
super duper well! I've gone on 2 exchanges with her in the past so it's awesome to have her as a companion now!!! :) We LOVE working together!!!

5.  Describe your living conditions...
basement. homey. hard wood floors. not much lighting though...we say we live in the cave. :) (working on that...) clean. have to be quiet because there's a baby in the room above ours. yeah that's hard....but it's just so great!
6.  When you open up the front door to your new home, what is the first thing you see?
the backyard. :) and a nice tree that I've hit myself in the face with like 4 times already. :)
7.  Any updates on Kresho from before you left?
we were able to meet with him the night before I left and felt like we've been going in circles with him, to be honest. But Sister Stoddard said they've made some progress this past week, we didn't have a lot of time to discuss it before our MLC, so when I find out, I'll let you know!
8.  What about Robert?
HE WENT TO CHURCH (apparantly...)!!!!!! ah. He's doing great, said he's now listening intently on the discussions!! I love it!!! :)
9.  How big is your new ward/branch?
huge. like seriously Ginormous. about 240 active. That may seem small for Utah, but here, it's huge, well at least in comparison to the wards I've seen in. :)
10. Did you and Sister Fisher replace Sisters or Elders?  (And how many are serving in your new ward/branch?)
we replaced sisters, Sister Zerkle and Sister Felix actually. the whitby sisters just whitewashed elders in our ward as well as 2 other companionships in the zone, including the zone leaders. 3 companionships are in our ward, us, sister harwyluck, sister clark, elder crutchfield, and elder mangakahia. our ward. :)
11. Did your "ORANGE" package arrive before you left Mississauga? (if not, how does it work for you to get it?)
sure did!!! thank you SOOO much, you are the sweetest!!! I LOVED everything in it!!! hey mom, how are you so clever? haha my companions know you're the most creative missionary mom in the world! :) LOVE YOU!!!


12. Preparing for a transfer entails....
planning in 3 different ways-for you staying, for you going, or for you being whitewashed out. good times. :)
13. The first thing I did when I arrived in Oshawa was....
call the auxiliaries, investigators and begin dropping by the members! I LOVE WHITEWASHING!:)
14. I'm excited about this new ward because...
They are so missionary minded! On sunday, we had an investigator there, it being her first time, and we didn't even have to ask for anyone to go talk with her or sit by her, EVERYONE wanted to meet her and a few sisters volunteered to sit by her. wow. this is incredible!!!! :) also, mom you'll be happy-we're getting fed EVERY night this week. yup. how we're going to do exchanges with these dinner appointments is beyond me! haha
15. Sister Fisher and I have set the goal to....
Focus on the Savior in all things. take it back to the basics-pure in heart. exact obedience. preach my gospel, find, teach, baptize! I love June!! HARVEST MONTH!!! :) Also, we are going to work with the members like crazy this transfer! There is a better way to do missionary work, and that way is through the members. (President Hinckley) We're so excited to work with them!
16. Those in our "teaching pool" include....
Dominique, Ligia, Tunde and Vincenzo-the last of which we found this week. ah man, you know those prayers you say to find someone who needs the gospel most of all and then you open your eyes and there they are, right in front of you? well. Vincenzo. He's incredible! so ready for the gospel, he's wanting to change his life around after his failed marriage with his wife. The poor guy is hurting, and he's ready to feel the healing of the Atoning sacrifice! Prayers to help him stop smoking and prepare to be baptized on June 29 would be greatly appreciated!! :)
17. Exchanges this week were......
none, we were ensuring that we know our way around the area a little bit, so we smooshed them in to the next 5 weeks! :)
18. Because Friday was Grandma and Papa's 61st anniversary, I would like to tell them....
happy happy anniversary!!!!!! like really. I hope it was great and that you had the greatest anniversary ever! :) LOVE YOU!!!
19. My favorite study session of the week centered on....
The light of Christ and the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. SO great! I would tell you more but I have to go!! for last. I'll start this earlier! :)
20. I am so grateful for....
sister fisher
Oshawa ward!
unity-it's necessary to progress!

Well, I'm off! I know this church is true, no matter what anyone says! It's true, for the Lord has witnessed it to me! how great is our calling!!

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

Missionary Invitation: Study "companionship unity". whether it's your marriage, your coworker, or whoever, build the unity! Love you!

Monday, June 2, 2014

transfers are here....and I was not expecting this at all...(!) :)

Mum, PahPea, Family and Friends!!

JUNE IS HERE!!!! that's CRAZY!!! haha it's absolutely beautiful!! and hot. but BEAUITFUL!!! :) this week was incredible so I vote I just jump in and share it with you. sound good? awesome. ready go. :)

1.  Any message for this weeks little graduate?
happy graduation little Lia!!! that's so exciting sweetheart!! as you're getting older each and every day, remember these things: your Aunt J loves you! The Gospel is true! Your Heavenly Father LOVES you! and your mommy and daddy love you! so take that love you feel and share it with your friends! :) I love you little one, happy graduation!!
*this is kindergarten graduation we're talking about, eh? .....:)
2.  TRANSFERS.....what's the scoop?!?  (details, Details, DETAILS!!!)
Mark this day in history, my friends, because I'm leaving the Weston Zone! WHAT?! I've been transferred to Oshawa, white washing in with a new Sister Training Leader, Sister Fisher who I love and adore SOO much! She's from Fiji and just so great! :) Sister Stoddard is staying here with...guess who's coming back?!...SISTER EDWARDS!!! ah. greatest powerhouse of a companionship those two are going to be!!! 
3.  How do you feel about the way transfers have panned out?
I'll be honest, initially, I was super sad, I LOVE weston, I've been here for 7 transfers (10 months)!!! but I know it's where the Lord wants me and I'm super excited to jump right into the new area and get to work!! :) woot woot!
4.  How is Krusho progressing?
surprise. his name is kresho. woops....he JUST corrected us this week!! haha the goob. he's doing really well, he's praying every day now but says he's still not sure how to recognize answers and how the spirit works, so that's what we'll be focusing on more tonight. Any other ideas how to help him recognize the Spirit? RM's insights needed! :)
5.  Are you teaching anyone else now?
ROBERT! ah man. He is SUCH a miracle!!! So on Friday, Sister Stoddard and I were taking inventory of the transfer and feeling a bit down on ourselves that we're struggling to help our progressing investigators take the step of baptism and then, in the moment we needed it most... I looked at the phone where we had a media referral in our inbox!!!! WAHOOO!!! These are the best :) Here is what it said :) 
"Robert... Temple square visitors center...Please visit him. He wants to be baptized as soon as possible! He is Golden! Please! Please!" I was so excited I might have started crying :) So we call him up and he. is. the. funniest. person. we. have. ever. met! He talks to us for like... 20 minutes! He went to Temple Square 2 years ago! Why we just got his info? I don't know :) He is SO excited to meet with us! He tells us how he knows and has searched through EVERY religion... even satanic cults... scary I know... He has about 12 versions of the Bible and has read them all! He even has a bible that has historical evidence going along with everything it says... he is intense. So we rush to get a member and go to the church :) The Chinese Elders are there prepping for a lesson too! So we step outside. Both of us lock ourselves out of the church! OH NO! Robert was there! So... we walk around... and a door was miraculously open! An angel opened it up I'm sure :) He. Is. AWESOME! He's from England. He is solid. So, we have to end our lesson short because we need to drive to Toronto! We call him the next day. After our lesson he parked in a random parking lot under a street lamp and stayed up until 4:30 reading! He read the whole gospel principles book and a ton of the Book of Mormon. HOLY COW. He is SOLID. He was going to come to Stake Conference, but on his way he saw an elderly lady that needed help. How can we get mad at him for that? He is GREAT! He has stayed up that late just about every night reading! He is great. He has a TON of doctrinal concerns though... PRAY FOR HIM! Pray oh pray for Robert! He has so much real intent it's insane!! He calls us multiple times a day super excited about something... or with a question about something else! If only I could continue to teach him, but Sister Edwards is needed with him! ah man, he's just so great! :)
6.  What was the HIGHLIGHT of your week?
Robert. definitely a prayer answered. :)
7.  Did you eat anything unusual this week?
I don't think so...kind of a let down, eh? :)
8.  In your everyday routine, what is something that you really look forward to?
teaching appointments with members!!! ah, the power of a members testimony is miraculous!! The Spirit is so strong when they testify to our investigators and their friends!! LOVE it!!! :)
9.  Did any mail and/or packages arrive this week?
SURE DID!! ah man, mom, thank you SOOO much for the picture book!!! I loved seeing the updated pictures of my family! I may or may not leave it by my bed so sisters on exchanges can see how cute you all are! ;) and the hi-chews?!?! thank you! they might be all gone...:)
10. What is something that you are really looking forward to, this coming week?
Whitewashing a new area with a new sister training leader, Sister Fisher!!! man. this is so crazy, I've forgotten what to do in a new area! haha


11. I've been really looking forward to telling you....
about white washing. and robert. and sister fisher. and that I love you. 
12. My favorite study session centered on...
The reality of the testaments molding into one-the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and modern scripture from the words of living prophets and apostles. ah man. SOOO cool.
13. Did you know that....
Oshawa has to drive 3 hours to get to exchanges sometimes? ah man...I'm a little nervous for my sanity...ha! bring on weekly planning in the car! :)
14. An area I would like to improve on is...
using members MUCH MUCH more! They are so vital in these individuals progress into the restored church, and we leave! but they don't! :)
15. My favorite teaching moment was...
Robert. man. He is literally desperate for this knowledge, it's incredible to see and feel!
16. I was so surprised when...
I got transferred. like so so so so so surprised. it still doesn't feel real. ha!
17. Although I feel my Saviors love daily, I felt it especially strong when...
we role played teaching Kresho this morning. I can't even describe. I recommend role playing when you don't know what to do. warning: the Spirit will probably slap you in the face in a very gentle manner. :)
18. As I look back on this past transfer, I can see that Sister Stoddard and I improved by...
Trusting the Lord with everything in us and going to work, and there is indeed a huge difference between missionary work and merely doing missionary things. the latter is not nearly as fulfilling. It is so incredible. and Sister Stoddard? Yeah. She's incredible. I have learned so much about consecrated work, using all time effectively, positive thinking, energetic working, and looking forward with an eye of faith. Do I love her? absolutely. (!) :)
19. I enjoyed going on exchanges with __________ in ____________
Sister Ormond, Mississauga South
Hermana Aparicio, Black Creek Central
Sister Anderson, Weston South
20. One of my favorite things about being a STL is...
learning more and more about how the Lord's house is truly a house of order and being able to help in that order. These sisters are so incredible and my love for them is unmeasurable!!! :)
21. I will be forever grateful for...
the mission
Sister Stoddard
the scriptures
our Father's Plan of Happiness

Well, I know this work is true!!! I love it with all my heart and I am so excited to learn in the service of my Father in Oshawa! woot woot!! :) I know our Savior Lives, I know that this is His work, I know that the church of our Savior was restored to the Earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith! I know it all, and I know so through the power of the Holy Ghost. How great is our calling!

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

Missionary Invitation: Study the Role of the Book of Mormon in teaching, chapter 5 in Preach My Gospel and then go on a study of how the Book of Mormon and the Bible connect to testify of our Savior and what we must do here to receive salvation. in.cred.i.ble. :)