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Saturday, January 25, 2014

I have 1 Year Left

This week we ate some great Tongan food at a place here in Salt Lake City.

I have one year left. And that is completely weird to me!! It feels like I just got here and that I have a long way to go to be the kind of missionary I want to become. 
We had mission-wide fleet training this past Wednesday, and it was a success! Sister Davis and I created a kickin' video which entailed Sister Davis and I rapping about problems we are having with the cars and with sisters and spoofing it. Who knew we could still be straight up G's while on a mission? We had a companionship help us out with filming, and one of the sisters, Sister Fiquet from France was a great addition to our rap, not to mention her incredible beat-boxing skills!!

So we had a disappointing event happen last week. Last letter I wrote home, I had mentioned that Sister Davis and I are doing a 21-day sugar fast (so not even yogurt or brown sugar oatmeal in the morning!) for one of our investigators who told us he would give up alcohol. Well we got a defeated text last night saying he drank an ENTIRE bottle of alcohol Wednesday night, and was ashamed to tell us. We were so sad, and almost felt as if we did our sugar fast for nothing. But we realized his efforts weren't in vain and told him we are going to continue our sugar fast until it has reached 21 days. We will be successful! We want to show him that we have faith in him that he can do it. It also reminded me a lot of the atonement. Christ has paid the price of our sins. Whether we accept his gift or not, he has still paid the price.
We taught our investigator, Millie, today. I have been teaching Millie since my first transfer back in September. Last transfer we were going to call and drop her, because she wasn't progressing, but lo and behold, she is progressing! She loves it when we give her assignments to read in the scriptures. We called her an hour ago, and she said she had gotten "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" in the mail the other day and decided to watch it and LOVED it. She felt she could relate well to Joseph Smith in not knowing what church is true. She is still very much intrigued with the idea of the Plan of Salvation, and continuing to live on past the grave. I know she will come to the fulness. The next step is prayer!
So we went to a baptism this past week for a man named Yao-weh. He is Chinese. He is actually living here but returned to Sweden where his job is taking him. I hope he is proactive in finding a building out there! Sister McQueen (from New Zealand), Sister Yeung (from Hong Kong, China) and Sister Davis and I sang "Joseph's Smith's First Prayer at his baptism.
For our assignment each Sunday this transfer, we are in charge of standing by the flag pole while people exit the Tabernacle after music and the spoken word and taking any tours in English for people that are interested in learning more. We took these two men on a tour of Temple Square, and ended up talking to them for an hour about our beliefs- word of wisdom, law of chastity, eternal marriage, high standards, obtaining faith, and the scriptures. We gave a Book of Mormon to one of them and hope it affects his life as much as it affects ours. That is the part about of mission that makes it hard not to know what ever happens to people I meet on the square, but I know that God is looking out for them. They are in good hands(:
A chapter I had come across this past week was Helaman 11. To me, it shows that we have to make the choice to follow Christ and to have faith. Once that faith becomes unwavering, we are entitled to as much revelation as needed because it is for the building up of the kingdom of God. Helaman 10:5 states: "...I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that aall things shall be bdone unto thee according to thycword, for thou shalt dnot ask that which is contrary to my will." Nephi, Helaman's son, has perfect faith, and Heavenly Father therefore knows that Nephi will NOT do anything that is contrary to his will, thereby endowing him will power. God will trust us with his power if we trust him to guide us to become better than we were the day before.
Well, I love you all! Remember to send me an email:

Sister Steenhoek

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hey friends!

So we had a busy week! I think that is how all my letters start, but the work is busy! Something that was a testimony builder for me this week was thinking about the purpose of having missionaries, rather than Heavenly Father himself just planting inspiring thoughts into peoples' minds to learn more about Christ's restored gospel. God not only knows that hearing encouragement from peers is helpful, but that it also allows us as missionaries to have invaluable experiences that help our testimony be more grounded. If we don't work hard, we will not grow as human beings, and this goes for anything. After a high school junior finishes a school paper, they are glad they have completed it, but they also are proud of the hard work they put into it to make it worth the time they spent on it. The same goes for the work of salvation, only we need to give up the pride, and just like Jesus Christ giving all the glory to the father, we need to do the same as we do his work. We need to study our hardest, work as long as we can each day, and be spiritually minded as much as we can each day, but then recognize that our Father in Heaven is the one who is endowing us with the opportunity to learn and grow. Once we realize that, our progression will become much more rapid.
To go along with this, Sister Workman, a woman who works in LDS family services, came to talk to our mission in Relief Society about stress management. She mentioned how 10% of what happens in your life, you cannot control. The remaining 90% is up to you wit how you choose to react. Heavenly Father gives us QUITE a bit of agency. He is so generous! But how do we use it? How do we react to a calling that is given us from the Lord? How do we react to a snide remark?

We talked with a man named Daniel by the Christus statue the other day, and he was contemplating many things, one of such was his relationship with his spouse, and how his spouse was wanting some permanent, detrimental changes to happen in their marriage. He came to the Christus for some guidance on how to handle the situation. We, as missionaries, are not marriage and family counselors, but we do invite others to come closer to Christ. We invited him to join us in a word of prayer off to the side. As I said that prayer, Heavenly Father allowed me to feel a small portion of love that he felt for his son that I was praying for right then. I might not understand what people are going through, but I do know that the gospel is a plan that is for EVERYONE.

Well yesterday, Thursday, was President and Sister Gillette's last day as our President and his wife. It was a bitter sweet moment. They were so kind to each one of us, and definitely brought us immense joy! This mission is special because we are able to become so close with our mission president through seeing him on a daily basis. It was a sad moment, but I know we will see him again!

We had a meeting with President and Sister Poulsen today, and they are very sweet. President Poulsen is a very obedient and prompt man. He was an international businessman, and has been all over the globe. He was formerly the mission president for The Johannesburg South Africa mission. We had to discuss Fleet business with him and I can tell, it will be a pleasure working with him and Sister Poulsen. 
We did a session in the SLC temple this past tuesday, and as we were walking down the stairs, we ran into Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 apostles! That was the coolest experience!!
Also, on Monday, I had the wonderful fortune of participating in temple service for the Salt Lake City Temple. I worked with Sister Bennett from Tahiti, and we got to vaccuum out the large sealing rooms. I vaccuumed the sealing room that Amber got sealed in! Even when we were just vaccuuming, I could feel the spirit so strong. We are able to do Temple Service twice in our mission, so I will do it again at the end.

So Sister Davis and I started our sugar fast on Monday, so it has been 5 days! We will be doing it 21 days in all, so I think we are doing pretty well! We have been eating soo much healthier. When we were having a particularly off day, we came across sugar-free candy! Woah-hoah! I mean, it isn't the healthiest thing on the block, but when we are craving some serious chocolate, that'll do the trick! Let me just say, sugar-free Reese's tastes the exact same!

Well to end, I would just like to share a talk and a video that hit me hard:

The talk is "The Best Time to Plant a Tree," the first presidency message for this month.

The video is a Mormon Message Called, "His Sacred Name," and Easter devotional from a 2010 address by President Monson.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Sister Steenhoek

Monday, January 13, 2014

Training in fleet is so crazy! I am now the senior companion to my wonderful compy: Sister Davis from St. George Utah. Transfer was stressful sending everyone off to their outbound missions, picking sisters up from their outbound missions, receiving the new sisters, and sending the departing sisters back to their homes. Our day started at 3am, and didn't end until late at night. Both Sister Davis and I sent our companions off to their outbounds! My companion, Sister Park, went to the Louisiana, Baton Rouge mission, and Sister Esquivel, Sister Davis' compy, went to California. They will both be warmer over the winter time that is for sure! Well overall, transfers was crazy, but that was to be expected. We had a few flight delays because of the East coast weather, but what is a mission without some adventure?? In SLC, we had a wonderful snow storm. The roads were scary, and in made me nervous to send any sisters out in the storm, but it had to be done!

My new companion is so great. Sister Davis is a singer just like me, and she also plays the uke! She actually has one here, so that is pretty fun being able to play again. We've only been together for a few days, but I can already tell that we will be working so hard. Amidst another crazy day yesterday, we were able to teach 2 lessons. One of those was an investigator of Sister Davis. He used to worship Satan, but is now a Christian. He definitely still feels the affects of his old practice because of lots of unwelcome visitors. He had a baptismal date, but cancelled. We were talking to him last night, and he was talking about how he is quitting tobacco and is slowly trying to give up alcohol. He told us that he feels God is just waiting for him to do something. *hint hint* I told him: "Austin, God knows you can be so much more. You are an heir of God. You have SO much more potential than this. You know what is right and what you can do to complete his will. But you have to make the choice to receive those blessings that are in store for you." The mission has made me bold. But there is a difference in being bold because you want to, and being bold because God wants you to. Austin has agreed to give up alcohol if we give up sugar for 21 days. Did you know that doing something for 21 days starts a habit?(: We hope this will be a new change for him.
We will be getting a new mission president this coming week. He sounds so nice! I will miss President and Sister Gillette so much.

Well, I hope all is well friends and family! I want to end with a scripture in Alma 60: verse 24 says, "begin to be up and doing." And that is exactly what I want to do. But I want 'to be' and 'to do' for the right purposes. "I seek not for the honor of the world, but for the glory of my God." (Alma 60:36)
Sister Steenhoek

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The last night of Christmas lights at Temple Square this year.

We had the pleasure of seeing Sister Angelique at Temple Square and got a personal tour!
Shown here is Sister Steenhoek, Grandpa Hank, Dan, Pam and Sister Park.
Transfers at Temple Square are quite busy. If I thought transfers in the past were busy, boy was I sooo wrong. We feel over our heads with all we have to do as fleet this transfer. We are coordinating travel plans for people, getting sisters (50-60 of them) to and from the airport on Wednesday at the right time with our 9 cars, doing our missionary work, as well as Sister Park preparing for her outbound experience! She is leaving to another mission in the US this coming week. I am so excited for her, but I am so sad the she is leaving. I know she will be a wonderful proselyting missionary.
Quite a few stories for this week.
Also, as we were riding the Trax last night (SLC railway system), a man by the name of Michael sat down by us and wanted us to teach him! It was a wonderful opportunity because he had such a strong desire to gain more faith. We received his contact info and are going to meet him on the Square in the near future. The Lord puts people in your path who you personally were meant to talk to.
This past Monday, our mission president allowed us to go to the sealing for my cousin Amber. It was incredible and the Spirit was present. God promises us wonderful blessings if we only do what he asks of us.
The lights on Temple Square have turned off, and it has slowed down quite a bit since last night. As we go to the next transfer, teaching at the Teaching Center on the phones will be a lot more prevalent since the square will be quiet. I am so glad to have fleet next transfer to keep me busy! 

Yesterday, the mission is had a field trip to Provo. We took the Front Runner down to Provo, UT, and had MTC shuttles pick us up and take us to the BYU campus. We were fortunate enough to see the exhibit of paintings by Carl Bloch, a world renowned artist who depicts various events in Christ's life, as well as Franz Schwartz. It was incredible to see the originals in person. Art has such a remarkable place in my heart because of my love for oil painting. We were told that this is the first and probably last time the curators of the museum/castle that it belongs to (located in Denmark) will let the famous works of art leave their sight. They made an exception for the LDS church because of our love for Bloch's depiction of the savior. So the Temple Square sisters were quite lucky to see these pieces! Afterwards, we walked around BYU campus, which was way too weird to be there while on a mission, and then went to a stake center for some lunch.
Just one last thought to end: when you are stressed, maybe even overly stressed at times, focus on others instead of yourself, and God will help you complete everything you need to get done.

Well family and friends, keep up the great missionary work! 

Much love,

Sister Steenhoek