Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of exceeding joy of which I taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. ~ Alma 36:24







Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Letter: 7/31/2012 ~ Inviting People to Come Unto Christ

Sister Andersen & Sister Kranendonk
Dear Family,

Hello... how is every one doing? I hope you are all doing wonderful. I can't believe July has come and is gone. Time is going by way too quickly. This past week has been pretty good.

I met the most prepared and amazing woman this past week. A member came in and referred her. I called her a few times and couldn't get a hold of her. But then we were able to talk on the phone. I invited her to come to the visitor center. We had a wonderful visit. She talked about the many trials that she has faced in her life. She said the man she almost married brought a lot of negativity into her life and turned her to drinking to cope with everything. She realizes this is not good and this is not where she wants to be. She also made an interesting comment that maybe if her faith in the Catholic church was strong enough then maybe she wouldn't have fallen so hard. She said I am starting over. I am willing to open myself up more for something new. As I talked with her I felt the spirit testify to me again and again how prepared she is to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. She talked about how she felt God preparing her. Her heart was softened towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is meeting with the missionaries in her area and I will continue to teach her over the phone. Myra Angle is an amazing woman.

I also talked to another woman on the phone. She is not a member of the church. She lives in California. She was talking to me about how Jesus Christ is her constant companion. She asked if I knew if Jesus Christ knew me before I came to earth and knew me by name. I said yes that is true. We believe in that. :) She said Really? You do? I said yes we do. So we set up another time to talk about the Plan of Salvation. She is super excited about it. I loved being able to testify to her about how we lived with God before we came to earth. It was such a special moment for me. There is great power when bearing testimony. I love to share my testimony with other people. There is nothing that can tear that down for me except myself and I allow other things to do so. But I am not. Even when I have negative experiences with people and they don't believe what I have said I know in my heart that what I have said is true. Those experiences were for me and me alone. Heavenly Father is strengthening my testimony daily.

I want to invite you all to pray for missionary opportunities. It doesn't have to be handing out a Book of Mormon. There are lots of ways of inviting people to come unto Christ. I want to hear all about it.

I love you tons. I miss you lots.

Love,

Sister Kranendonk

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Letter: 7/24/2012 ~ Creepy & Awkward

Hello...

How is life? How was the baseball game? I heard it was a lot of fun. I wish I could have been there but its all good. I am thankful to be a missionary. There will be many more years to come that I will be able to go. So don't worry about me being homesick. :) I love hearing what is going on and what everyone is doing.

So sometimes as a missionary you end up doing things that are creepy and awkward. At times you begin to wonder if you are stalking people. That definitely is not my purpose and nor do I try to be creepy or awkward. It just happens. There was one time this past week my companion and I were sitting in our car making phone calls. We were parked in front of someone's house. So a woman came out and walked over to us. I thought, "oh man what now?". I rolled down my window and she asked may I help you with something. I said no we are fine we are just making phone calls. She said her husband noticed us and sent her. I thought, "I don't understand why you're husband just sent you out and not himself". Oh well... we left and parked somewhere else to finish our phone calls.

One of my goals this month is to work on seeking and receiving revelation. I want to master that skill. I have been striving to follow promptings and be more in tune with the spirit. Some thoughts came to me this past week. I realized that I miss promptings when I am not focused on what I need to be focused on. Or when I am selfish I miss out receiving promptings to help someone else, because I am too busy thinking about myself. As I am more focused on the Savior and the people I am helping I am prepared to help people. I also love how when I am reading the scriptures thoughts of inspiration come to me even though they may have nothing to do with what I am reading but I know its the spirit. Sister Anderson and I facilitated a discussion at our Zone training meeting. We talked about being a successful missionary. One of the ways we can know and feel that we are successful is feeling the influence of the spirit. I feel that can be applied to so many different aspects in our lives. When we feel the spirit we know that what we are doing is what we should be doing.

I love you all tons. Hope you all are great.

Love,

Sister Kranendonk

Letter: 7/16/2012 ~ Missionary Work is Missionary Fun

Dear Family,

How is everyone doing?  Man I felt extremely loved this past week because I received so much mail.  I had something come almost every day.  It definitely has made other missionaries jealous.  Thank you for thinking of me.  It helps me to keep pushing forward and doing the best that I can.  It also rained a ton this past week.  There were rivers going down the roads.  It was amazing.  We were absolutely soaked. Missionary work doesn't stop for bad weather that's for sure.  We enjoyed the rain. 

Sister Anderson and I now cover four wards Avalon, North Point, Salt River and Highgroves YSA wards.  It is so fun.  I have loved being in the YSA ward.  It has been a fun thing so far.  We went to the Highgroves ward on Sunday.  There was a guy that we met.  His name is Jeff.  He is not a member yet he has been coming to church for four weeks now.  We met with him last night and set a baptismal date for next Saturday.  I am super excited for him.  He is 22 years old.  He said he is pretty excited.   So we will see what happens over the next two weeks. 

I love being able to teach over the phone.  I feel I am better at that than other situations.  I have had some interesting and precious moments teaching on the phone.  I find myself always working more with less active people than anything.  I feel I can relate to them better and help them to find their way back.  There is a girl who I have been teaching on the phone.  At first when I talked to her it was awkward and I was never sure if she really cared to talk to me.  I wasn't sure if I should keep calling.

One day I decided to call her.  We started talking about how life was for her.  She works for her aunt in running coffee shops.  She lives in Kentucky.  She comes from a blended family.  We talked about prayer.  She said she didn't pray much.  She also felt that she doesn't understand the bible at all.  She said I wish someone would sit down with me and explain the bible to me. I told her that I could teach her over the phone.  Then she told me that she was too busy with work and school.  I said I understand what it is like to be busy and not feel like you have any time.  I told her about how I had two jobs and went to school full time and that was not easy.  I told her that for me in the mornings it was a matter of do I wear make up or do I read my scriptures.  I said most days I went without make up.  I knew that if I put the Lord first in my life then He would help me.  I knew that He would strengthen me.  And He did.  I gained a strong testimony of that while going to school. I said I know the Lord will do the same for you if you put Him first in your life.  Somehow she was led to ask well how do I get over what happened when I was little.  I remembered a story that I had read in the Ensign last month which I asked her if I could read it to her and I did. http://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/06/finding-peace-through-forgiveness?lang=eng 

I particularly shared these two paragraphs with her.

"Time passed. In response to much fasting and prayer, Heavenly Father helped me heal. But healing was a gradual process, not an overnight miracle. Some days I felt peaceful and forgiving. Other times I wrestled with rage or despondency. As I drew near to Heavenly Father, however, He helped me think more as He did and see others more as He saw them—through eyes of mercy. As time passed, I experienced promptings that helped me understand, empathize with, and finally love the person who had hurt me. While it would be premature to say I’m now completely at peace with the past, I do feel more connected to God than I have ever felt before. That’s an invaluable blessing.

"President Faust closed his conference talk with this testimony: “With all my heart and soul, I believe in the healing power that can come to us as we follow the counsel of the Savior ‘to forgive all men’ (D&C 64:10).”7 I share this testimony. Healing does come. In fact, it’s my experience that the Savior doesn’t heal souls by simply restoring us to our former state of wellness. When He heals, He graciously overdoes it. He makes us healthier than we ever were before the onset of the affliction. His objective is our happiness and peace."

It was amazing as I read this story to her I could feel how much she needed this story.  The spirit testified so strongly to me that all that I was reading to her was true.  I knew I felt the influence of the spirit.  My heart was pounding and I was so excited and happy to share this with her.   At the end you could tell that she felt the spirit because even her tone was more gentle, loving and hopeful.  She made the comment, "I better start reading then."  It's amazing how reading the scriptures can bring such a power into our lives when we do read and study from them.

I know we can be healed through the Atonement.  Christ is going to leave us better than we were before.  That is what the atonement is all about is strengthening us, giving us enabling power, cleansing us from sin, and redeeming us.  I know God's objective is our happiness.  I have seen this time and time again.  Everything we have in the gospel is for our happiness. I also have a strong testimony of reading the Ensign.  There is such a sweet spirit when we do read it.  It is what Heavenly Father has to say to us today and now.  I feel the spirit so strong when I read it.  There are so many treasures found in them.  I know and believe in modern revelation through prophets and apostles.  God does speak to us today and the heavens certainly are not sealed.

I want you to all know how much I love you!

Love,

Sister Kranendonk

Monday, July 9, 2012

Letter: 7/9/2012 ~ 9th Month Mark

Citrus Heights District end of transfer picture.
Sister Orton and Sister Kranendonk at Zone activity

Dear Family,

How is life? How is work? I love to see the blogs. I can't believe how much those little babies are growing and changing. Layla is a beautiful little baby. Jacob is so cute. I loved the pictures Elizabeth sent me. Thank you for the letters I received this past week. It was awesome. My companion is a little jealous. I got so many this past week. I heard from lots of friends this past week.

Transfers are coming this week. But Sister Anderson and I are staying together in the same area. The only thing that will change is that we could end with four wards instead of two. So we will find out.

This past 4th of July was fun. It was cloudy and rained. It was actually nice but it was humid. I spent the morning in the visitor center and not a lot of people came inside. Then we did service for a member in the Salt River ward. They are an awesome family.

There is a guy named Ed who I have been teaching at the visitor center. He is in his 50's. He is so awesome. I have loved teaching him over the phone. He came into meet with Sister Anderson and I. We are addressing his concerns. He already lives his life like he was a mormon. He doesn't drink or smoke. He doesn't agree with it. He is on his third time reading the Book of Mormon. He is so nice. I am so thankful for the privilege I have of teaching him. I am pretty sure he will get baptized. He knows that is the end goal.

Sister Anderson and I have been doing a lot of service lately for people. We try to serve as much as we can. One night we went out to clean up this less active family's yard and it was cool because there were two neighbors who let us borrow their shovel and garbage bin to help clean up. It was a good opportunity.

Sister Anderson and I have been better about setting goals together as a companionship. It has been very good for us. Last transfer our goals were to have prayers of faith, exact obedience and focus our thoughts and conversations more on the Savior. It has been good. We have made some progress. This transfer we are going to focus more on the needs of other people. We want to be more selfless, make sure our study time is used to seek revelation for those who are we are helping. We want to work on better receiving revelation. I need to work on being more selfless. So those are our goals for this transfer. It will be super good. I am excited for it.

I can't believe I have hit my 9th month mark. I am on my down hill slope now. It is crazy. I am thankful I have so much time left because I have a lot of changing and learning to do before I can come home. But I do look forward to the day when I can hug each one of you. I love you all so much. I am thankful for my awesome family. Remember how much I love each of you. You mean a lot to me.

Love,

Sister Kranendonk
 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sister Beckstrand's Blog: Service In The Sunshine

This post is brought to you by Sister Beckstrand.  To see the full post click on the link bellow:


Sister Kranendonk is on the first row wearing blue.
On Thursday, June 28th, all of the sisters in the mission were invited to the Visitor's Center for Sisters' Training. Some of the young sisters who arrived early got out their scriptures to study while we waited for the others to arrive. In all, we have 40 sisters serving in the Arizona, Mesa Mission.

Sister Slater played some beautiful prelude hymns while we waited for the President to arrive. It was a wonderful meeting and we enjoyed cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit following the training. Yum!


Our next activity was a gardening service project on Monday morning, July 2nd. These early birds got up at 5:30 am to be here by 6:00 to start working. I'm impressed!  Our assignment was to remove all of the ground cover that had turned yellow from the excessive heat in an hour. 

Emily is in the back, wearing a navy blue t-shirt.
Emily in the back ground working hard.
I had sister Kranendonk take a picture to prove that I, Sister Beckstrand was also there, but I'm usually behind the camera, not out in front. Our Sister Avila came looking gorgeous enough to enter a beauty pageant, but it didn't stop her from working just as hard as the others.


We called everyone together for one last 'group' shot, but a few of our young women had already escaped. It has been such fun to start our week doing service for the temple gardeners. We also appreciated the overcast skies which kept the temperatures cooler than usual.

All in all - a great beginning for this new week and new month. To all you Americans out there - Happy Independence Day on Wednesday!

Love,

Sister Beckstrand

Letter: 7/2/2012 ~ I'm in love with a clown!

Dear Family,

So the reason why there was no email last week was because it was saved as a draft and some how I forgot to send it. You will get two emails from me this week. How has this week been for everyone? Sounds like good things are happening all around.

Heavenly Father is truly mindful of His missionaries. I know that He strengthens us to withstand the heat. It's funny how I think that a cool day is 105. But we always pray that we will be fixed on our purpose. I just get use to feeling the sweat roll down my back. :) It's great.

We have been meeting with a lot of members to do lessons. We haven't been doing a whole lot of teaching which makes missionary work not a lot of fun. Missionary work is better when you are teaching. It has been good. This way we help to strengthen the faith of the members and help them to be excited about missionary work. It helps me to be excited.

We met with this guy last week who is a member of one of the wards I cover. His daughter-in-law is not a member of the church. They are members of the Unification church. They have completely different beliefs. They are focused on families which is awesome. But they believe Christ failed and that His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane was Him repenting for not having enough people follow Him. I was blown away with the things he was saying. For I truly do know that Christ did not fail. His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane was for each of us individually. I know He is our Savior and Redeemer. He suffered so we could have peace and comfort in this world. He also talked about how Jesus talked to him and said that his purpose was not to come to earth to suffer for us but to show us the perfect example of marriage and how to have family. Yes, Jesus Christ's teachings are to show us the way to build our families and to have happiness. But I just can't believe they think He failed. I know that He did not fail in any way. I am thankful that this experience helped to strengthen my testimony of Jesus Christ and the Atonement. I know that we have a fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know we have the truth. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

So the one night Sister Anderson and I were out on Caballero street which is a drug street so to say. I saw a lot of garbage cans spilled over. I suggested the idea that we go pick up the garbage cans. Sister Anderson thought I was kidding but I wasn't. :) I think you all remember my crazy ideas like that. Like the time I said maybe we have to get in a car accident to share the gospel with someone on our way back from Vernal. We were running around in our skirts picking up the cans. Towards the end of the street we met a man who was very interesting. He was super nice. He has met with the missionaries a lot in the past. He told us that he wasn't ready to be a mormon yet because he liked having three girlfriends. But he thinks we are nice and do a lot of good things. We won't be going back to teach him needless to say. :) He'll come around one day.

I love you tons. I am so thankful for all of you. I miss you tons. Thanks for everything. I loved getting the package with my clothes and my debit card. The gummy bears weren't too melted when I got them. They were great.

Love,

Sister Kranendonk


P.S.

These pictures were taken at a dinner with the Sandall family. We had way too much fun. We were laughing and having a good time. :)

Me and Sister Anderson

Letter: 7/2/2012 ~ Happy Father's Day!

Dear Family,

How is everyone doing? I hope you had a great Father's day weekend. Happy Father's day to Dad, Eric, Phil, Rob, and Brian. How fun to have so many dads in our family. We are truly blessed to have worthy men who hold the priesthood and bless our families. I am thankful we have a loving Heavenly Father who loves us and desires to bless us.

This week has been good. It is getting warmer and warmer every day. I am thankful Heavenly Father helps me so that the heat doesn't bother me. That is one prayer I ask daily. :) It simply teaches me how to trust in God. I was studying in Jesus the Christ. It said that the way we are to pray is what we stand in need of on that day. We don't pray for everything we need all at once. But when we pray for what we need that day it shows us that God is the source of all of our wonderful blessings and it reminds us to be humble. President Ellsworth said that if we only learn one thing on our mission, he hopes that it is that we learn to trust in God. The greater the trust the greater the Lord can help us. We tie His hands when we say things are impossible. But nothing is impossible for God. :)

Every day we are praying for miracles. We are to expect and facilitate miracles as servants of the Lord. Every time someone lets us talk with, pray with and teach them is a miracle. It truly shows me the work of the Lord and how grateful I am for Him. This is truly His work. Even if all He asks is for me to push against a rock then I will. And sometimes that is all that He asks is for me to push against a rock.

 There is a painting by Liz Lemon Swindel of Mary and baby Jesus. I love looking at it at the visitor center. But there is a scripture that goes along with it that Mary's attitude was Be It Unto Me. She trusted in the Lord and look what He made of her. She was the Mother of the Savior of the world. She was clean, pure, and chaste before the Lord. I pray that my attitude is like that. I want to be more submissive to the will of the Lord. I want to be and not seem to be. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you of what I think about during the week.

Sister Anderson and I laugh a lot. We are usually doing silly things but still try to remain dignified in public. :) It is pretty funny. I am sure people think who are those weird girls dressed in skirts with black name tags, walking around in this crazy heat, laughing. It helps us to get through the day.

I love to see people feel the spirit and experience the power of the Atonement in their lives when they are in the visitor center. It truly is amazing. There was a woman who walked into the visitor center this past week and she said that as soon as she stepped in the visitor center she was overwhelmed with feeling the spirit. She knew it was good and wanted it. She knew that it was the feeling that she was searching for and wanting in her life.

Love you all!

Sister Kranendonk

Another day at the Visitors' Center

Here is Brian in his usual spot, waiting for Emily to get off phone. 
Emily had a bunch of stuff for us to pick up to take home.
Thanks to Sister Anderson I picked up wooden toys for all the
nieces and nephews in our family.  I can't wait to mail them.
Amber, Sister Pine, Sister Avila, Sister Kranendonk and I 
During this visit Brian and I got to meet a lot of new people.  Much to our surprise we were able to meet Sister Kranendonk's previous companion Sister Avila.  She was there with her two other companions and Amber.  We were happy to hear that Amber has set a date to be baptized.  Sister Kranendonk helped teach the first two lessons to her and is very excited to see Amber get baptized.  Brian and I also got to meet Sister Shurtz for the first time.  I can see why Sister Kranendonk loves her.  I also really enjoyed meeting Sister Anderson.  I love meeting all the people Sister Kranendonk talks about in her letters.  She told me more about the toys that her dad makes.  He has a blog,  here is the address for any of you who would like to check it out:  http://papaswoodentoyshop.com/

As always it does my heart good every time we get to visit with Sister Kranendonk.  I can honestly say Sister Kranendonk loves her mission.  She is very happy and loves the gospel.

Until next time,

Katherine