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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meeting Aunt Emily

December 25th, 2012
On Christmas Day we took Alice to go and meet Aunt Emily. We love being able to visit family on the holidays, especially being here in Arizona. I will be very sad when Emily goes home on March 12th, but will be thrilled to be able to talk to her on the phone and see her when we come to town to visit.

January 23rd 2013
Alice and I went and saw Emily again about a week ago. We went to pick up some boxes she wants to send home with my parents. I loved being able to visit with her. We wish she could come to Alice's baby blessing this weekend, but appreciate and admire her hard work. She said to tell everyone hi and that she loves everyone.



What really goes on in comp study . . .


Part 2

Part 3
This is what happens when the junior companions don't listen.

Letter: 1/29/2013 ~ Canceled Appointments

Sister Kranendonk with little Kayla.  She is the cutest little girl.  I love her bright smile.  She always calls us Angel Girls.  We are outside waiting for our mission president to interview Jacki her mom.
Silly sister missionaries. . . funny faces are for kids.:)
It was Sister Livingston's birthday yesterday.  We went out to lunch with her for her birthday.  We enjoyed Nielsens' Custard.  We had great fun in being with her,  She was so nice and bought us lunch.  She is so good like that.  :) Happy Birthday Sister Livingston!!!


So this past week has been really really wet. :) Thankfully I have a car and not riding bikes. Because having a wet patootie all day long is not fun. Let me tell ya... :) Although yesterday morning I finally had to jump in puddles. So on our way back from exercising I had to enjoy stomping in the puddles. It felt very refreshing. Any way that is not what this email is about. :)

Things have been crazy this past week. I was definitely stressed to the max to the point I felt like shutting down. I was overwhelmed and not happy. The Kumars canceled on us. So we won't be going back there. I feel like I have lost dear dear friends. But yet there isn't much I can do as a missionary because that is not my purpose. I am sure they will want to hear from me when I go home. But I don't know what to do. The Lord is aware of everyone. I know this.

Also things have been crazy with Jacki. We haven't seen her for almost for a week. Since we had to postpone her baptism she is not happy with us. At least that is how I feel. She cancels every appointment we have set up with her. Its so frustrating because we do so much for her and yet it feels like she is throwing it all away. I hate the unknown sometimes. But I realize I just don't understand the whole picture and that I have to trust that the Lord is going to take care of it. I want His will to be done more than anything. I have seen that happen this week. Its the reason why Jacki did not get baptized. I am so invested in Jacki that it hurts.

I understand a bit of a taste when the prophets in the Book of Mormon sorrowed over the loss of their people. Because they desired the eternal welfare and when they refused it, destruction happened. Destruction is not happening here in Mesa Arizona. But it is all good. I am being dramatic I feel. Since I have been feeling down, I was thinking to myself what can I do to rejuvenate myself. I have only a month and a half left and I want to finish out strong. Just as I was thinking the words popped into my head... THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST. This is exactly what I need. This is the only way I can truly feel rejuvenated. Christ will do it for me. He will lift my burdens. I know that He can heal me and make me better than what I was before. Why do I always rely on myself? I think I rely on God but I don't because here I was looking to myself for what I could do. What I really need to be doing is looking to Christ. He knows me better than any one else. He knows what I have need of. Its time to spend more time on my knees.

As I was thinking, I also realized I needed to forget myself. Last night we had an amazing lesson in teaching a little family about the purpose and importance of the Book of Mormon. I know that as I shared my testimony and taught I felt better. I wasn't thinking about myself. I was thinking about the family and how they can see a need for the Book of Mormon.

There was one night this past week that we had a lesson with a lady named Maggie. She ended up canceling the lesson. As we got into the car, we sang Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to ward. It helped us to be happy. We were feeling frustrated at first because the last ten appointments we made had all canceled in the last couple of days so to have another one was hard. But we just sing hymns and keep doing what God wants us to do. This is a time to show God that we love Him through our diligence, obedience and faithfulness. I need to let faith be my guide in my life. We are happy and doing great. Sorry I sound so negative but I am happy because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful to be a missionary. I am thankful to be where I am at. I love the work and I love God. I love you all. Take care.


Sister Kranendonk

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sister Beckstrands' Blog: Smile

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

Elder Beckstrand entered his office a couple of weeks ago and found an unusual sight awaiting him. Almost every surface was pasted with smiley faces and balloons sporting BIG smiles. One balloon contained the slogan, "Don't worry - be happy! Sister Kranendonk has been encouraging Elder Beckstrand to smile more often - (he sometimes looks rather stern.) Since the girls don't want their director to look like 'Grumpy Gus' they decided he needed a motivation to smile!

There was some quality time spent on this activity. Every balloon had a smiley face that was a virtual work of art!

Pictures of the sisters and couples demonstrating the difference between a cranky, frowney face and a happy, smiley face made us laugh with delight. Some of these sisters had a very hard time coming up with a convincing frown.

"Am I going to let them get away with this?" ponders Elder Beckstrand.

The balloons didn't answer him. Their facial expressions said it all!

Sister Avila and Sister Lewis added their 'in person' encouragement to look happy. Yes, missionary work is a great reason to be happy. Making it through Christmas Lights is another reason to be happy. We were able to get a TON of referrals - now that's something to smile about!

These Sisters (Cottrell, Kranendonk, Smith, and Hollady) received lots of smiles when people at the Visitors' Center saw their look-alike outfits. The navy polka-dot was planned, the turquoise and black was quirky coincidence. It certainly seemed like we were seeing double all day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Letter: 1/21/13 ~ Working Hard

Hey Everyone!

Wow another crazy week come and gone. Time is flying. I know I say this a lot but it's the truth and I have to face it. Most of the time I feel like a chicken running around with my head chopped off. My mind is going a million miles an hour. I don't sleep at night because I am anxious in getting everything done that needs to be done. It's always crazy when you have a baptism at the end of the week that there are lots of preparations left to do. But most importantly I know that it will all be taken care of by the Lord. He will help to make it all happen. If its not meant to happen then it won't.

Our little India family have dropped us. They don't want contact with the church any more. I am sad but all is well. I know the Lord is preparing other people for us to teach. Jackie will be baptized this Saturday. She is so awesome. I am super excited for her. She truly understands what the gospel is about and is progressing. She is ready to be baptized. Her husband will be coming to the baptism and then Church to see her confirmed. He wants to see her really commit to this and then he will think about learning more.

I am so thankful to be working hard. I am grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed be with that ability. Sometimes I feel that is all I am good for at times but its needed. I pray all the time for the strength to be sustained. I only care about being a worthy and clean instrument in the hands of the Lord. I don't want to be a hindrance to the work. I want to help out as much as I can. I know I am a successful missionary when I can feel the spirit work through me. Also when I see people changing as a result of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are not living up to your potential or fulfilling my purpose. This can easily be changed with starting a new day and starting over. Jesus Christ makes all of that possible. I know He can change the weakness in us. The power of the Atonement is incredible. As many of us know but its a power that can be utilized every single day of our lives. We don't have to wait for a spiritual experience to know whether or not it is working through us. So often we feel things have to be complicated and crazy and just the right circumstances in order for the Lord to work in our lives. But its not true. He is working in our lives. He does it simply and sometimes out in the open that it is obvious. We can get caught up in looking beyond the mark because we are looking for something big and different. When really it is simple. Wow I feel like I have talked a ton. I hope this all makes sense if not, email back with questions. Ha ha ;)

I love you all! I hope you are doing well.


Sister Kranendonk

Mesa Temple Tour

Announcement: 3 October 1919

Site Dedication: 28 November 1921 by Heber J. Grant

Groundbreaking: 25 April 1922 by Heber J. Grant

Public Open House: Tours offered during the last two years of construction

Dedication: 23–26 October 1927 by Heber J. Grant

Public Open House: 19 March–3 April 1975

Rededication: 15–16 April 1975 by Spencer W. Kimball

Site: 20 acres.

Exterior Finish: Concrete reinforced with 130 tons of steel. Exterior is faced with glazed egg-shell colored terra cotta tiles.

Ordinance Rooms: Four ordinance rooms (stationary) and seven sealing.

Total Floor Area: 113,916 square feet.

Temple Locale:
Located just east of the original Mesa Town site, settled by Mormon pioneers, the Mesa Arizona Temple anchors a historic district, which has predominantly retained its residential character. A public visitor's center shares the meticulously manicured grounds of the temple, which feature a cactus garden and large reflection pools. The Easter season brings thousands of guests to the temple grounds every year to watch Jesus the Christ, the largest annual outdoor Easter pageant in the world. At Christmas time, the grounds are converted to an exquisite Nativity display accented by hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights.

Temple Facts:
  • The Mesa Arizona Temple was the first temple built in Arizona.
  • The Mesa Arizona Temple was the first temple to present the endowment in a language other than English. (The first non-English session was presented in Spanish in 1945.)
  • The Mesa Arizona Temple was the first temple to reopen to the public for an open house prior to a rededication.
  • The Mesa Arizona Temple was originally named the Arizona Temple.
  • Before the Mesa Arizona Temple was constructed, Arizona members performed temple ordinances in the St. George Utah Temple. Because of the numerous bridal parties that traveled the wagon road between St. George and Arizona, the well-trod path became known as the Honeymoon Trail.
  • The architects chosen for the Mesa Arizona Temple had recently designed the Utah Capitol Building.
  • The Mesa Arizona Temple was designed around a grand staircase that leads to the Celestial Room, occupying the highest level of the temple.
  • The Mesa Arizona Temple is one of three temples built with no towers or spires. (The others are the Laie Hawaii Temple and the Cardston Alberta Temple.)
  • Carved friezes decorate each corner of the top of the temple, depicting the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy that the Lord would gather His people in the last days from the four corners of the earth.
  • The Mesa Arizona Temple features murals on the walls of its originally progressive-style ordinance rooms.
  • Instead of a formal open house, tours were offered during the last two years of construction of the Mesa Arizona Temple to any interested visitors.
  • The Mesa Arizona Temple was closed in February 1974, for extensive remodeling that equipped the ordinance rooms for motion-picture presentation of the endowment and that added a new entrance and an additional 17,000 square feet, providing much larger dressing rooms and increasing the number of sealing rooms.
  • For many years, the Mesa Arizona Temple was known as the "Lamanite Temple," as it was the destination of annual temple excursions for Hispanic and Native American members of the Church, especially the Mexican Saints.

"Just as our Redeemer gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for all men, and in so doing became our Savior, even so we, in a small measure, when we engage in proxy work in the temple, become as saviors to those on the other side."
—Gordon B. Hinckley

"To you who are worthy and able to attend the temple, I would admonish you to go often. The temple is a place where we can find peace. There we receive a renewed dedication to the gospel and a strengthened resolve to keep the commandments."
—Thomas S. Monson

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Best 18 Months FOR My Life!

I was looking on Facebook and I saw this great photo album entitled "Best 18 Months FOR my Life".  Sister Anderson, one of Emily companions posted some great pictures from her mission.  I loved the pictures she posted of the two of them together. These are some pictures I had never seen before.  They are so cute!

This day was a very wet and rainy day.  There were many days that Sister Anderson and I would pray for rain. We absolutely loved it. There were a lot of times that those prayers were answered.  

Zone Breakfast for the Fourth of July.  We tried to match the holiday as much as we could with what we wore that day, if you can't tell. 

Elder Tomlinson, Elder Rogers, Elder Biddle, Elder Samuels
Sister Kranendonk, Sister Anderson, Sister Marriott, Sister Orton, Sister Schwartz and Sister Holladay

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Letter: 1/15/2013 ~ Knocking on Doors

Hello Family!

It was so fun to read everyone's emails this morning. I am so excited to hear about everything that is going on. Sounds like everyone is doing well. I am working on staying focused. It is hard a little bit because I am so close to going home. Two months really is not that long. I still have a lot of work to accomplish and do before I come home. I love my mission more now than I ever have. The life of a missionary is wonderful. But I am human and so my thoughts wander home. But I am studying diligence and enduring to the end and enjoying the journey. Studying these topics in the scriptures have helped to motivate me a lot.

I am working harder than ever and this is part of being a missionary serving faithfully unto the end. Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy the journey but continually doing what we know to be right. Sometimes we get tired of the routine of it all. We get caught up in wanting to do what the Lord wants us to do that we forget the why of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is important that we live the how and know the what because it helps us stay on the path but we forget why. When we forget the why, living the gospel can become a burden. We lose the fire of it all and the joy of living the gospel. It is through remembering and being thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that brings us joy in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we give our heart, not just open it, but give our heart then we feel the fire of the gospel and the joy. Sometimes it requires doing things that we don't enjoy or that we need to repent more. Repenting in the sense of getting back on track of what we know is right. It doesn't mean we are bad people because we need to repent. It means that we are becoming good through repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Lord rejoices more out of any one when a soul repents. Repenting is bringing our will in alignment with God's will and our lives in harmony with Him.

Our little India family is.... I am not sure how they are doing. They don't respond any more. I am so sad. I feel I have lost precious friends. I am sad they don't want to come to church any more and don't want to visit. It is hard when you don't know why. But I know the Lord is aware. He surely loves us. He will help the India family to come unto Him through other means. Its not just us missionaries.

Chris was baptized this weekend. It was wonderful to be a part of it. After he was baptized, our ward mission leader asked him how he felt. He said, "I feel like a million bucks." It is a great feeling to know that you have been cleansed from all your sins. Which is why I am so thankful for the sacrament because we are cleansed from sin. We can leave church feeling like a million bucks when we have come to the sacrament table ready to repent and change. There is no greater feeling than knowing you are forgiven of the wrong you have done. We don't have to feel the burden of sin anymore. Too often people carry the burden of sin because they don't want to repent yet for many different reasons. But if we repent sooner then we can enjoy more time being happy. The Lord wants to help cleanse us from sin. He wants to make us clean. He has desired this for us since the beginning when He gave the world His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. I know through the conditions of repentance we can be made clean and whole again. Even when it is our own fault or the choices of other people.

Sister Smith and I have been knocking on lots of doors and no one is home. We decided that we would try to make our knocks more friendly to help people want to answer the door. So we knock the beat of a hymn. I am not sure if it really sounds like the hymn. We burst into laughter afterwards. So maybe if they hear us laughing they will want to open the door. No worries we try to stay as dignified as possible. :)

Sis. Smith and I taught young women's last week in the Cooper ward. It was so much fun. I hope to be a young women leader some day. I absolutely love the "Come Follow Me" program. I think it is incredible. It was fun to see how they worked to help one another better learn and understand the pure doctrines of Christ. You could see a difference in the laurels compared to the beehives. But the laurels stepped up to the plate and helped the beehives.

I had an interview with President Ellsworth. He asked me what I have learned from my mission. I didn't even know where to begin. I have learned so much. I don't know if there is just one major theme of my mission. I am going to reflect on it more in what little spare time I have.

As it gets closer to the end of my mission it is easier to give up my selfish desires in order to help someone else. I am more willing to give up my lunch break and other times that are usually for myself. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to eat. It takes too much time away I feel. Any way....

Things are great. I love you all. I miss you. Take care.


Sister Kranendonk

Monday, January 7, 2013

Letter: 1/7/2013 ~ Remembering Him as He remembers Us


This past week we have been preparing Chris for his baptism this coming Saturday. He is such a great guy. I love his enthusiasm for living the gospel. When we taught him the Law of Chastity, he prayed at the end. It was the best prayer ever. He said, "I Christopher (said his full name) covenant to keep the law of chastity." He always says the best prayers. I love hearing him pray, it is incredible. He can't wait to be baptized. Chris had some nightmares. One night and he woke up and prayed and then spent a little bit of time reading from the Book of Mormon. I love how he turned to the scriptures for comfort. I know we can be comforted and find peace as we read the Book of Mormon.

I am so thankful when the Lord allows me to help answer a prayer of one of His children. I think it is incredible. We have started calling people who have been referred by members. I taught this woman named Emily. She is 79 years old. She loves to watch the BYU channel. She feels so good when she watches it. As I talked to her, she said that she wishes some one would have knocked on her door sooner. She wishes she had the gospel sooner so that she could have taught her children better. She said our lives would have been better. My heart ached for her because of her wishing she had it to have a better life. I just think of all the people we interact with and how badly they need the gospel and we don't share it with them. More often than not people want it. They are being prepared.

I talked to another woman who lost her baby last year. I was blown away by talking to this lady. I just thought of the doctrine taught in Moroni 8 where it says children are alive in Christ. How true that is! She has found great comfort in that. She was being taught by missionaries but got too busy with life. She now wants to have missionaries again. I think it will be awesome for her to be taught.

Sister Smith taught a man named Rick. Oh it was so cool teaching him. Everything he said brought to our minds principles and doctrines that we could testify of. You could tell by what he was saying that he is prepared to receive the gospel. He is searching. You can feel of the intent and sincerity he has to accept the gospel. He is ready to act and change his mind. It was even better to hear his girlfriend testify of the gospel and of her experience in coming to know the truth. It touched his heart to hear it.

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." Isaiah 49:16. I have always loved this scripture. I love how it teaches us that our walls, challenges, weaknesses and struggles are always before the Lord. He is on the otherside helping us to overcome them. I also love how the Lord remembers us. He truly remembers us. We need to remember Him like He remembers us. It is interesting to think about what the Lord went through to remember us. He has never forgotten us. His purpose is about us and our happiness. I testify of Christ for He truly lives. I know He remembers us. I know its all because He loves us.

I love you all. I hope you have a great week. I hope to hear from you soon.


Sister Kranendonk

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sister Beckstrand's Blog: The Magic of Christmas Lights

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

The Andersons from the Bountiful 17th Ward enjoyed having Sister Kranendonk show them the nativity exhibit. What a surprise to see them here in Mesa!

Our new English-speaking sister is Sister Smith from St. George, Utah. She was a dancer growing up, but now she'll be using some of her other talents in her role as a missionary.

She is lucky to have the very capable Sister Kranendonk as her trainer.

Letter: 1/1/2013 ~ Enduring to the End

Hello Family!

I hope every one had a wonderful Christmas. It was awesome to skype. I enjoyed seeing everyone. I can't believe I have been out two Christmases. This is so crazy. Time is going too fast.

I am so thankful to be training Sister Smith. I feel like it will help me to stay strong to the end because I am helping to shape her mission. I know the Lord is helping me. Lately I have pondered about how enduring to the end as an eternal principle. There really is no end because death is the portal to the spirit world. Enduring to the end is doing what you know is right even when you are tired and think it does not matter or that you have done it enough. Its easy to think at the end of something how we can let things slide when in reality that shows a little bit of our character that still needs developing. So I am trying so hard to not cut corners and do things the way the Lord would want me too. I need to be obedient and faithful right up to the very last minute. There are lots of crazy things coming up in the next month. It will be good to be busy. There is much to be done. So hopefully I won't be focused on home.

I loved the Christmas lights. It was so special to serve at the visitor center because of the special spirit that was there. Little miracles were happening all along the way. I love how Heavenly Father leads us to those individuals who are in need of help. Who don't offer a prayer because they don't feel they are even worthy to do that. But thankfully we have a loving Heavenly Father who loves us and knows the desires of our hearts. So often I was an instrument in the Lord's hands in saying the things people need to hear. It was incredible to feel the Lord's hands working through me.

I love you all,

Sister Kranendonk

Christmas Day Performance

Sister Kranendonk is on the last row, third from the right.

Sister Kranendonk and some of the other Visitors' Center sister missionaries sang together on Christmas day.  All throughout December there is a variety of performances at the Visitors' Center.  The sisters all sang well.  I tried to record some of the songs, but I am having a hard time getting them off my camera.  Hopefully I will be able to post the performance soon.  

Sister Kranendonk said that she had a lovely Christmas.  She and Sister Smith spent the morning watching each other open up their Christmas gifts.  In the afternoon they were able to go Christmas caroling and then spent the evening at the Visitors' Center.  She loved being able to call home and talk to our family.  

Merry Christmas!