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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Letter: 11/26/2012 ~ Answer to prayers

Me with Allie.  It was fun to see her.
Here are some of the sisters at the end of our shift on Thanksgiving Day. The visitor's center closes at ten and then we are to be in by eleven thirty. We are allowed to wake up at seven thirty. It has been a good change, but still an adjustment. It is great.

Dear Family,

This week has been an interesting experience. I wrote about my experience with dealing with my feelings about Grandpa this past week in the letter home. I have to testify of the reality of the plan of Salvation and that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of this plan. I know in whom I trust. He is ever loving. It is sad to lose a loved one. We definitely miss them here on earth but the Lord needs them else where. God is over all.

Christmas lights here at the visitor center are full of miracles. I am constantly praying for miracles to happen. I was in the back area of the visitor center. I am standing amidst all the crowds and trying to figure out who to talk to. There are so many people and I am not sure who I can help. I was praying for a miracle to happen. Then a few minutes later I had two girls walk up to me. The one girl was a member and while pointing to her friend she said she wants to know how she can get baptized. Her other sister is here to and wants to be baptized as well. Boy! Heavenly Father truly answers prayers. I can't believe that quick response I got from Heavenly Father. Thank you!

The girls have been going to church for two months now. They also said they wanted to be baptized before the 25th. I think that is awesome. I love being a part of miracles. The Lord works in mysterious ways. He is preparing His children. It's interesting to think about how all that God does is for the saving of His children. The way He spends His pleasure and leisure time is doing something for us. He takes such great joy in helping His children. I know God is our loving Heavenly Father.

I also have run into so many people that I know. I ran into Uncle Rick's sister. I can't remember her first name but Jensen is her last name. Then I ran into Nathaniel's wife's family. They recognized me. I also ran into the Ratliff family. Geri Shaffer came into see me, but I wasn't there when she came. I also ran into Allie who knows Rob. I am amazed by all the familiar faces I have seen. I am so thankful for them. I am thankful for friends and family.

I have to get going. I love you all.


Sister Kranendonk

Christmas in Mesa

Sister Kranendonk & Sister Carlson
The Mesa Temple Visitorss Center is now open until the New Year from 10:00am to 10:00pm, seven days a week!

Thanksgiving Day!

As you can see by the last picture I was able to see Sister Kranendonk on Thanksgiving Day.  This is the first day that the Christmas lights are officially up and turned on.  This is the busy time of year for the sister missionaries.  They put in many hours at the Visitors' Center.  Sister Kranendonk said that she had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  A sister from Brazil made them dinner.  She is in the first picture with Emily.  Her husband is from Peru.  There were several other people there, but Sister Kranendonk and her companion were the only Americans there.  



Picture Update: Fall Leaves

When I last saw Sister Kranendonk she gave me the sim card to her camera and told me that I could post some of her pictures on her blog.  She hasn't been able to email as many pictures since her email time is so limited on her P Day.  So I will be posting Picture Updates and adding pictures to some of her past posts. 

Mesa doesn't really have a fall season.  And the changing colors of fall leaves is something that any native Utahan misses.   My parents sent Emily some leaves that they picked when they visited Milcreek Canyon.  Emily loved and appreciated the leaves.  She and Sister Carlson said they smelled like Utah.  She loved a little piece of home.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shirts Baptism

Cooper Ward 
Bishop Shirts and Sister Shirts had their son baptized. They were such a fun family to get to know.  Their friend Susan (above) is their neighbor.  She is not a member of the church.  She is a sweet lady.  She loves those kids.  They try to show her how the gospel blesses their families. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Letter: 11/20/2012 ~ Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Everyone!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! Man life is good and as a missionary its even better. Can I just say this past week has been full of tender mercies from the Lord?!

Tender mercies from this past week...

  • Our appointments held and we were able to teach people.
  • A sweet lady walked up to us today at Walmart and gave us 10 dollars.
  • We received chocolate chip cookies from a member.
  • A member family feds us each day.
  • Every time I go into Nielsen's Custard someone always pays for us.
  • I have an awesome companion that I can laugh and have fun with.
  • I get to see the Christmas lights every night.
  • The bread people stopped us this past week and gave us a loaf of bread. Now it's not just any bread. It is incredible. I love eating this bread.
  • The Lord blesses me with strength daily to ride my bike.
  • He gives me strength to be happy and excited even though I am tired.
  • Learning new things from the Book of Mormon.
  • Realizing that the riches and treasures of eternity are sharing the gospel with people.
  • Talking to people on the phone who are excited to learn more about the gospel.
  • Members who take time to give us rides.
  • Because of the gospel I have many answers to the questions the world does not know where to find or get. I am blessed to share it with them.

The list goes on and on. I have so much to be thankful for. I am sad to say that I am not always as thankful as I should be. But I can repent and be more grateful for how good the Lord is to me. Life is so much better when you are grateful.

The Lord is so good to His children. Sister Carlson and I had a busy day yesterday. We spent a lot of time on our bikes. We rode almost 20 miles yesterday. It was crazy busy. The way our appointments lined up we were at one end to the other and then back. I truly feel the influence of the Lord. I feel the influence of the spirit. No matter what your circumstances are and that you can feel the spirit, life is good. Feeling the spirit makes life so much better. I can feel the Lord is pleased with us and the work we are doing. We have been inviting many families to have a mission plan as to how they are going to help their loved ones come close to Jesus Christ. It has been good. 

 We have also been teaching our little India family. They are so cute. The family came to the visitor center this past week. The dad was so happy and loved being there. Within a matter of minutes he talked about how peaceful it was at the visitor center. He said, "It's like heaven being here." I have to agree with him, being at the visitor center is like being in heaven. It is the next best place next to the temple. I love that I have been blessed with the privilege of serving here. I don't know how I got to be so lucky. Except that the Lord brought me here and needed me. The little boy told us on Sunday he wants to be baptized. He is 10 years old. He takes his Book of Mormon to school and reads it. He knows that the Book of Mormon describes who Jesus Christ is. It is so cool how he knows that. Because it is true. The dad also said that God changed his mind and that he wants to be baptized too.

It's funny how many people ask me where I am from and then are disappointed to find out I am from Utah. The only cool thing I have going for me is that I have a crazy last name. When someone this past week asked me how to pronounce my last name, I told them they could also call me Sister K if they felt more comfortable with that. Then their response was oh like Special K. It reminded me of how Rob got that nic name on his mission. :) Or at least I thought he got that nic name on the mission.

On Christmas day the Sisters in our mission will get to sing in a concert for a few songs. I am so excited. I love singing Christmas songs. I love the chance we have to reflect on the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is incredible to be taught by the spirit about our Savior's life. It is wonderful.

Love and miss you. Take care.

-- Sister Kranendonk

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sister Beckstrand's Blog: Saying Goodbye Again

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

Welcome to our home! We're excited to host the Farewell Breakfast for our four lovely, seasoned missionaries who will be going home at the beginning of next week.

The early birds, (Sister Lewis, Snodgress and Miller) are the first to offer their help in the final breakfast preparations.

Sisters Burton and Gordon have enjoyed being companions during Sister Burton's final transfer.

Sister Cottrell is an expert trainer for Sister Valladares.  They are doing such a great job!

Everyone come and get it! Sister Mackenzie leads the way, with Sisters Avila and Aranda coming up behind. We had a breakfast casserole with fruit, orange rolls, and juice. The sisters seemed to enjoy the food, and I enjoyed having them in our home.

Sister Holladay gets a roll while Sister Avila helps herself to some casserole. We've got 28 in our VC group this transfer - our largest number yet. In order to have that many sisters, we're borrowing five full field sisters to work with the VC sisters.

A quick pic of the sisters as they finish their breakfast.

Table 2 - Everyone looks happy and wide awake for 7:00 am!

Table 3 - Yes you're beautiful also.

Table 4 - Elder and Sister Jenkins are keeping Sisters Aranda and Schwartz in line.

Sister Kranendonk shares memories of serving with Sister Anderson.

Sister Burton tells us some of the things she learned from Sister Parker.

Sister Dashjav shares fond memories and experinces while serving with Sister Burton.

Sister Schwartz shared a very touching tribute to Sister Falcon. She paid me NOT to show her crying on the blog - she said that's not her usual demeanor. She's usually all smiles.

Following breakfast, and hearing the beautiful testimonies of our departing sisters, we adjourned to the Christus for a final group picture . What a beautiful group of young missionaries !! (That's including the couple in the middle, of course.) Our four departing sisters are sitting in the front: Sister Falcon, Sister Anderson, Sister Burton, and Sister Parker.

The next thing on the agenda was the traditional singing of 'God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Letter: 11/13/2012: Laughter In Awkward Moments :)

This is a picture of us at a Halloween Party.  Sister Carlson and I were teeny-boppers, having a sleepover for Halloween. We weren't able to buy anything, so we had to come up with it on our own.
This is a picture of me and Sister Carlson listening to a primary
class pass off one of the articles of faith to us.

You know I have the best family ever. The emails I received today have uplifted me so much. I have needed a pick me up. NOTHING replaces hearing from my family. I miss you all a ton. But I love being where I am at. I am so thankful for each of you.

Molly I absolutely loved the pictures of dad's head being painted. Honestly there is that temptation to paint someone's head who has no hair. So tempting and when its in front of your face you can't pass it up at all. Crazy. I can still picture being under the sundeck with dad. I shared some stories with Sister Carlson about dad and we were laughing ourselves silly. They are just great stories to share.

Life is good. Yesterday two of my companions went home. Sister Parker who was my trainer and Sister Anderson my companion. It is crazy to say good bye to them. I will surely miss those sisters. They are so special to me. Has got me thinking and realizing that I do not have hardly any time left. I go home on the 18th and not on the 19th. My little card said the 19th but that is actually the transfer day so I go home the day before. So the 18th it is.

I am with Sister Carlson again this transfer. I am super excited to be her companion. We are trying to improve every day and hitting the ground running. There is no time left I feel and there are so many who are in need of the gospel. You just can't pass up the opportunities to share the gospel with those around you. There are reasons why we cross paths with the people that we do. Heavenly Father is more involved than we ever realize.

Sister Carlson and I spend a lot of time in ghetto apartments. There was one guy that we came across. He had tattoos and was smoking. We were inviting him to come to the Christmas lights. He said that he was mormon and that his parents were active. He said he didn't want to have anything to do with the church. So we kept on walking. Sister Carlson made the comment well here we were trying to be answer to his parents prayers and he denied it. Heavenly Father is trying to answer our prayers but sometimes we just don't take it. We think our prayers should be answered in a certain way and when it does not come in the way we think. We begin to believe God does not answer prayers and does not listen. When He is doing all that He can to answer our prayers. He is not going to go against our agency. It caused me to reflect and think about how I deny myself answers to my prayers. I know Heavenly Father answers our prayers in the way that is best for us.

As missionaries we catch people in such awkward moments. Where at the beginning of my mission, I absolutely hated those moments. But now I find laughter. I think it is so great. There was one guy who we were trying to contact and he wouldn't answer the door but yet we could see a faint reflection of him in the window. We knocked a second time and he asked who it was. We said, "It's the sister missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." He said okay. We told him why we were there and asked if we could talk to him in person. He said I'm not dress appropriately. We asked if we could come back later. He said yes. Oh man... these awkward moments happen too often sometimes. But it makes life as a missionary hilarious.

Our little family from India are doing so well. They fed us Indian food. Oh man was it spicy. Our mouths were on fire, noses were running, and eyes were tearing up. It was still good. We asked Saadil how he was doing in reading the Book of Mormon. He said it basically describes who Jesus Christ is. He is only ten and already knows so well the purpose of the Book of Mormon.


     Sister Kranendonk

Busy Saturday at the Visitors' Center

I have had a really hard time pinning down Sister Kranendonk's schedule.  So it has been several months since I last saw her.  I couldn't resist when I found out that she was going to be at the Visitors' Center this past Saturday.  I love going to the Visitors' Center and getting a taste of what life is like for Sister Kranendonk.  

Of course the Visitors' Center was busy with many visitors.  Already the Christmas decorations are going up and the cool air does make it feel more like the holiday season.  Here in Arizona you have to settle for 65 degrees as being chilly.  These two ladies stopped by and asked Sister Kranendonk about preparing for a mission.  Obviously with the change in the age requirement has many sisters considering missions.  Sister Kranendonk is thrilled by the change.  I was impressed with the advice she gave them.

All the sisters are gearing up for the many visitors expected to come and see the Christmas lights.  The lights will be all up and ready the evening of Thanksgiving.  Sister Kranendonk is doing very well.  I admire her dedication to her mission.  I can't believe that she will be going home next year.  For now, Sister Kranendonk is loving her mission and keeping busy.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Letter: 10/06/2012 ~ Are you guys missionaries? That is awesome!

hello my friend,

life is so wonderful. i find myself counting my blessings. there is much to be thankful for. the shift key on this keyboard does not work.

this week has been a week of miracles. i have truly come to see that i am nothing but an instrument in the lord's hands. i am nothing without my father in heaven. he is my strength and my song. i am who i am because of him. i have really come to learn that i am a representative of jesus christ. i am his hands here on the earth for the little area that i cover. these people don't know it but i am here to bring the gospel. i don't look like what they think i should. i know that honest truth seekers can come to see in his representatives that his countenance is engraven in ours.

we are teaching a family from india. they are so humble. their son saadil told his mom that sister carlson and i looked like angels. rajesh said that he knows god loves his family because he sent us to his family. i know god has led them here to america to learn of the gospel to take it back to their country to share it with their people. this family is so respectful. the son served us water on a platter. they felt bad that they didn't have any furniture for us to sit on. so we all sat in a circle reading from the book of mormon. it was one of the most beautiful experiences. what made it beautiful was the spirit. its because of the gospel of jesus christ that bring us together.

i have had many special, miracle moments this past week. i have had moments where i could really see the hurt, the pain, the ache, the sorrow of people's hearts and souls. i am thankful to be a part of their lives for a small moment. the lord helped me to say the very thing that needed to be said. i can't take any credit for it in the least bit. i am nothing but the conduit in which he works through. and along the way i am strengthened and made better because of it. the thing is that these feelings are not unique to me. it comes because of the spirit. as we desire to help and serve we can be an instrument in the lord's hands. sometimes pride gets in the way of helping others or us learning what we need to be learning from life. i see how our own pride ruins relationships. the bad part of it all might be that we don't recognize it. satan is cunning in the way that he can get us. i have come to receive a witness from the spirit that the lord's promises are sure. i know god loves us because we don't have to suffer like his son jesus christ. he makes it so we don't have to suffer as much. i am learning to apply the atonement more in my life. how blessed we are to be baptized in the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints where we have full and complete access to the atonement of christ.

i have spent a lot of my mission working with those who have strayed from the path. it breaks my heart when they leave because of the loss of blessings they could have. the church is perfect but the people are not. i think that is why we need to remember the savior more because when we do we remember that he was patient, loving, kind, understanding and forgiving. we all love it when people are kind and loving and forgiving of us. i have come to appreciate when people treat me as such. but i have learned it takes strength of character to show these christlike attributes to those who do not show them to us. i know christ lives. i know the atonement is real.

love you all,

sister kranendonk