Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's the FINAL COUNTOWN!! (aka what happened my last week that I didn't email about)

My last district

We sort of tried to do the big dance?

My final pday

My mission president and wife, President and Sister Eaton.
This was after my exit interview.

Myself, with Brother and Sister Schoenfeld. 
They would do cleaning checks on our apartments

The Jamias family 

The Coleman family

Princess and myself :)

This is the Angelo family from Fedway--they came up to Kent and surprised me on my last Sunday in Washington. 

Kartchner came up to Kent too!

Bishop Welch from the Clark Lake ward
and some primary kids. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dead Men Tell No Tales‏

First and foremost, I need to publicly apologize to Sister Choi for all the crap I gave her (and helped the members giver her) when she went home. Karma really does come back to bite you.

Second, anyone else shocked/mindblown that my mission is almost over?? Anyone else feel like I just left?? Those are my only thoughts today. I remember at the beginning of my mission all I wanted was for time to fly by. Now, like most missionaries in my spot, there isn't a lot I wouldn't give to make time stop. Unfortunately "this too shall pass" applies equally to good and bad times. To avoid getting sappy or dramatic or crying at the library (that last one was a joke) I decided to share with you all a couple of things I have learned on my mission. I call it 10 things I've learned/been reminded of on my mission. Some are dumb, others are cool, and they are in no particular order.

1. If something is important to you, you'll make time for it. If not, you'll make an excuse
I can't even begin to describe how many people I've taught who would say that going to church was important to them, but then would never come. They would say that reading the scriptures is important, yet we would always get an excuse for why they didn't read or pray or come to church. I have also been blessed to meet people throughout my mission who say something is important, and they show it too because they actually do it. As Sister Sonasi always says, "we need to throw all of our excuses out the window" because in all honesty, they really aren't that good.

2. The little things are the big things
I started collecting change fairly early on in my mission. Reactions from people were various. I had some companions think I was weird, some helped me out, and one started competing with me. Whenever I told someone though, I always seemed to find someone who would tell me I was wasting my time and my efforts wouldn't add up to anything. As of when I counted last, I have collected $40.41 in change over the last 18 months. Diligent effort in the little things adds up. Spiritually speaking, weekly church attendance, daily scripture study, and daily prayer seem like little things that don't matter, but over time and in the end they add up to a very significant result.

3. The Spirit is the same in every language
This one I learned most powerfully in the Korean Branch (who would've guessed right?) In a language and culture I didn't understand even a little bit, I was still able to feel God's love and the Holy Ghost testify to me. On the flip side, I have also taught a lot of people who's first language isn't English. The Spirit still testifies. "Proficency in [the language of the Spirit] permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart." (Thomas S. Monson Preach My Gospel p. 133) I may not have mastered Korean or Marshallese or Samoan or Tongan or Arabic; but I do know when the Spirit is there. And when the Spirit is in a place hearts are touched and lives are changed.

4. There is no comfort in the growth zone, and there is no growth in the comfort zone
A mission doesn't just push you gently out of your comfort zone, it throws you outside and then locks the door so you can't come back inside. It's painful and uncomfortable, but those times in my mission were the times I look back and see the most growth in myself. I'm pretty sure part of the reason they make missionaries go home is because you get comfortable with all of this and need to grow again.

5. There's life after Ridgecrest
Credit for this one goes to Sister Bryan who told me when she was released from teaching seminary she learned that there's life after seminary. When I left Ridgecrest my world seemed to be shattered and I KNEW for a fact that I would never love an area as much as I loved it there. Life continued on, and I fell in love with Federal Way and then Kent. It was just another opportunity to grow.

6. The power of prayer
I have spent more time on my knees in the past 18 months than I have ever before, and there is a difference. Through those hours and conversations with Heavenly Father personal revelation has come. Testimony has been solidified. Comfort has been given, and perhaps most importantly I've come to truly know for certain that I am a daughter of Heavenly Father whom I can converse with at any time, and in any place. And an answer will come.

7. "VerHoef" is hard to say
I'm pretty sure it's the "hoef" part that throws everybody off. I have had maybe ten people my entire mission say my name right on the first try without me helping. My first zone leaders said I was "greenie" on their board for my first transfer until they finally learned how to say my name. The best part about my name though: It has lead to a TON of conversations about family history. The conversation usually starts out with "where is your name from?" or "Is it German?" And we proceed from there. Cash flow money.

8. I have never regretted following a prompting of the Spirit, and I have always regretted not
The first part of my mission was me learning how the Spirit works/is this prompting coming from the Spirit or myself? Once I understood those, it turned into working up the courage to follow those promptings. I'm nowhere near perfect at it, but the confirmation I get each time I follow one is one of the sweetest things I've felt my entire mission.

9. Men in Kent got no game
'nuff said. The pickup lines guys tried to use were the best in Ridgecrest. Fedway was decent. Kent is just sad and gross.

10. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church once again established on the earth
This one I knew before my mission--I wouldn't waste a year and a half of my life talking about it if I didn't know it. But I've had it reaffirmed to me over and over as I have taught the restoration hundreds of times. I'm all out of doubts; it's true. I've got a TON of questions all the time, but my doubts about everything have run out. Jesus Christ is the head of this church. We have a prophet and apostles who lead us today and point the way to Christ. The Book of Mormon and Bible are true, and combined with sincere prayer is how each of us can come to know these truths for ourselves.

I love my mission. Alma 28 describes in one sentence the best description that I've ever heard. "And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi, their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy . . . ." You love big and you hurt big on a mission. I've never had my heart broken so many times or experienced so many sorrows, but all of that can't even compare to the joy that has come to my life as well. I've seen miracles day in and day out, and I've come to truly know who my heavenly Father and Savior are--which I would say is the crowning event of my entire mission.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way the past 18 months--especially my parents. I wouldn't be here without you two!

I've gotta sign off now (this is the really weird part). I love you all. I'll be seeing some of you soon.

For the final time over email,

Sister VerHoef

p.s. for missionaries still out, my home email is

So once upon a time there was a ward in Kent named Clark Lake.
And there were 8 missionaries serving in it.
At the same time.
Sister Peterson, Sister Henderson, Elder Graham, Elder John, Elder Ludlow, Elder Wilcox,
Sister Sonasi, Sister VerHoef
 Okay. This one deserves an explination.
So Sis Sonasi makes this face ALL THE TIME in almost every picture she's in.
We were taking a zone picture after (my last) zone meeting and someone said,
"we should make Sister Sonasi's face!!"
Elder: Hilton, Alcazar, Tavo, John, Graham, Wilcox, Ludlow, Garr, Patchett, Anderson, Oliphant
Sister: Sonasi, Frischnecht, Biggs, Peacock, Baxter, Halford, Henderson, Peterson, Kirschner, VerHoef
This is Sister Lee.
She is from Korea.
They keep showing up in my life.
I love it.

Some people in Clark Lake that I was blessed to work with for 3 transfers:

I finally got the Anthony's to take a picture with me!

Namin Akeang & myself

I know John from Fedway but I kept seeing him in Kent
like once a week.

Agnes would always call me a Samoan at heart
has a husband picked out for me


Monday, November 24, 2014

"We grew our own turkey for Thanksgiving. And we named him Dinner."‏


In all honesty I have no idea what to say about this week. I was mostly focused on my talk so I slacked on journal and prep for today (don't hate). This week was good though. We had some highs, we had some lows, we had some rain, we had some sun. And through it all we did missionary work with smiles on our faces :)

I went on an exchange to Renton last Tuesday. I'd call it mas o menos. I wasn't really feeling Renton while I was there, and it felt really good to come back to Clark Lake. And that was when I realized that Kent has become home to me. And so has Federal Way and Puyallup. Which is CRAZY!!! I remember my very first day in Washington when I was sitting in the Del Solar's home. I looked out the window in their kitchen and saw all of the trees and had this overwhelming feeling of "what did I just get myself in to?" combined with "this place will never feel like home to me." My mission prep teacher said once that we would find ourselves and personality traits in cities we've never even heard of, and I can testify to that. I've learned so much about myself here and I have loved everywhere that I've served. Each of these cities will hold a place in my heart forever. 

Enough of the sappy stuff. I'm pretty sure Brother Ortega was inspired to ask me to speak on gratitude because it was something that I needed to study and learn more about. I'm not going to send my talk, but I did want to share a few things that I learned while preparing. 

There are a TON of commands to be grateful all throughout the scriptures. I started to ponder why, and then started to think about my perspective of gratitude. If I do something for someone and get a less-than-thankful reaction from them, I'm less inclined to do something for them the next time. I had a hard time believing that God was like that though, because He's perfect, and I'm not. President Uchtdorf in his talk Grateful in Any Circumstances said, "All of His commandments are given to make blessings available to us. Commandments are opportunities to exercise our agency and to receive blessings. Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness." I can't believe I never realized that! We're commanded to be grateful JUST BECAUSE Heavenly Father knows that it will make us happy. He is so great! 

I was talking to another missionary about gratitude and she shared something interesting she learned in a communications class. Apparently if you want to build a relationship with someone, the fastest emotion to do that with is waitforit . . . gratitude. When you show gratitude you're telling the person that you notice and appreciate what they do, and they feel that you actually care about them and what they do. And thus a relationship forms between two people. That brought a new light to me as to why we should express sincere thanks in our prayers, because as we do that a stronger relationship is forged between us and God. 

To finish off, I found a quote this morning during my personal study that I fell in love with. The Spirit prompted me to share it with yall and I know someone needs to hear it because it has nothing to do with what I have been talking about even a little bit. 

"If you have determined to live righteously, don't become discouraged. Life may seem difficult now, but hold on tightly to that iron rod of truth. You are making better progress than you realize. Your struggles are defining character, discipline, and confidence in the promises of your Father in Heaven and the Savior as you consistently obey Their commandments."
-Richard G. Scott
The Transforming Power of Faith and Character
Ensign, Nov. 2010

I love you all! I hope each of you notice this week all the little blessings we receive daily and express gratitude for them. 

Sister VerHoef

My last exchange
Justina: You want to try on my mumu?
Me: Absolutely. 
Sonasi: Eh . . .
And thus we see:

Monday, November 17, 2014

"The Book of Mormon is blue, but it's meant to be read"‏

Yokwe! It feels like I just emailed you all on Wednesday . . . wait.

The last four days have been pretty great! A few highlights from my week:

Yes our power finally came back on
Yes it's still freezing up here

Sister Sonasi tried to throw me under the bus at a member's house by volunteering me to sing for an old lady. I was having none of that, so I made her sing with me and . . . it was pathetic. We all felt awkward and I made the mistake of looking at Sister Sonasi during the song which made me start laughing, which made her forget the words. So we both just stopped and promised that we would send the classically trained elder serving in our ward over to sing. And then we left.

We also had a cool experience with a member this week! We went to an appointment, but it ended up falling through. As we were walking back to our car there was a guy outside that we talked to briefly and shared the gospel with. When we were driving Sister Coleman home she started asking questions about how she could do that in a normal conversation during her day, we practiced some ways with her, and then when we were passing through security with her to drop her off at home, she talked to the security guard and gave him a card! It was awesome! The coolest part of that whole thing was that missionaries had stopped by his house a couple of times in Tacoma.

We stopped at a bus stop while contacting to talk to the people there (bus stops are my favorite because people can't leave). Sister Sonasi talked to a really nice and prepared kid from Guam, while I got a person who is Seventh-day Adventist, and yelled at me for going to church on Sundays and being white. Fortunately, Sister Sonasi was able to pull the "I'm colored and a mormon" card and got that guy to be quiet. And that is why we have companions on missions.

We also had a ward talent show and they made all the missionaries sing. Fortunately there are eight full-time missionaries in Clark Lake so you couldn't really hear any specific person, but they still haven't learned apparently that we don't sing. Maybe next time.

I made it to 18 months! To celebrate we did missionary work.

We had the usual meetings and church, but this Sunday I went to my last mission devotional. Which is crazy! I feel like it was just last month that I was going to my first one. Time flies.

I've got to get running though, places to go and people to see during my limited time left here in Washington. I love you all and hope you have an awesome week!

Bar lo yuk!
Sis VerHoef


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I feel like I should make a wednesday/windsday pun today.‏


(Look at how great my marshallese has gotten!)

I will just apologize in advance, I have like zero time to write today.

Mission tour with Elder Hamula was FANTASTIC!! My list of things to improve on is a long one, but I'm excited to get working on it.

I got cornered by a member of the bishopric to speak in 2 weeks on gratitude. I can't bring myself to be grateful for it, but if anyone has any thoughts on gratitude email me and I will be forever grateful to you.

We were blessed with a bunch of amazing miracles this week, but I don't have time to write them all. Actually any of them, but know that the work of salvation is pressing forward in Kent. I am so blessed to be a part of it all.

There was a gigantic windstorm last night and the power is out at our apartment currently. We got to plan with flashlights last night (I felt like I was at girl's camp), and we also got to freeze with the heater not working. I kept thinking about emergency prepardness during the night. I'm grateful for the supplies that our apartment did have, but there were some things that we wished we had. My lecture of the week: prep for emergencies. You will be glad you did.

The library has been absolutely insane this morning, and I'm sick of writing. So I'll be signing off. I hope you all have an awesome week!

Bar lo yuk!
Sister VerHoef

Monday, November 3, 2014

"I always wonder if a black cat is a person under a spell"‏


You know you've been in Washington too long when someone says "you'll never become a good mariner by sailing calm water" and your first thought is "what does water have to do with the baseball team?" #fail

And then if that wasn't bad enough I saw a license plate frame this week that said "and on the 12th day, God created the seahawks"

Oh seattle, you kill me.

A miracle:
We met with our bishop last Tuesday and got a name of a family whose records moved into our ward but bishop wanted verification that they were actually there. We went there Wednesday morning and found out that they weren't actually there, but as we talked to the guy there he told us that he was catholic, but didn't feel like he ever got his questions answered there. He started going to a christian church with his wife and felt like he got more of the questions answered, but still not all of them. He also said we could come back and teach his family and see if they can finally get all of their questions answered. Miracles!

Halloween was great! We had a lot of fun, and saw a lot of miracles as well. Our ward had a halloween party which consisted of a chili cook-off, so. much. food., trick-or treating, carnival games, and a MIRACLE!!!
Our goal for this week was to really push the Halloween party with the members here--since it's the greatest and easiest missionary opportunity. I relearned a powerful lesson this week as we did that: less-actives are not exempt from doing missionary work even a little bit.

A less-active family ended up inviting their neighbor to the party on Halloween. It was a miracle they came in and of itself, but the neighbor that they invited is one of the most prepared people I've ever met. She went to church from age 5-15, but never got baptized. One of her parents and two of her siblings are members (less-active now), and she told me that she absolutely loves the church. Bye the end of the night, she asked us when we could come over and talk to her and her family!!

Fact: I've really grown to hate cats on my mission. And they love me. We were in a lesson with a less-active member and her cat kept bugging me so when she turned her head I gave her cat a light tap/push to get it away from me. Sister Sonasi will say that I punched it, but it was more of a backhand swat because my fist wasn't technically closed.
. . . I feel bad that I don't feel bad about it. #sorrynotsorry?

A dog also peed on me this week. Let's just say with this wasn't my favorite week where animals were involved.

On a logistical note, next pday will be on the 12th for us because Elder Hamula of the seventy is coming to our mission.

I gotta run, have an awesome week!

Sister VerHoef

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

And to think I could have flown home yesterday

sure dodged a bullet on that one!

I started getting a little anxious about transfers on Sunday night so I went and brushed my teeth and was comforted by a box of bandaids.

Thanks Heavenly Father, I appreciate it.

And the verdict for my final transfer is: I'M STAYING IN KENT!!!! WOOOOOO!!!!!! Sister Sonasi will be killing me off too!!!!! Wooooo!!!!! I was so excited to find out on Sunday night that I started dancing around and accidentally kicked a door frame.
So now I have a bruised toe but it's totally fine because I'm dying in Kent.

So many amazing miracles happened this week, but I only have the time (and memory) to tell you about one.

We were going to see a bunch of former investigators in an apartment complex on Wednesday and saw basically nothing come from it. We were going to start heading up the hill so we would be on time for our dinner appointment, but decided to try a few more in one last building before we headed up. That thought obviously came from the Spirit because we knocked into a less-active who wants to come back to church. She told us that she tried to come to church last Sunday but wasn't able to get a hold of anybody to find out the time, and lost the missionaries phone numbers so she couldn't call them either. Then she told us that she prayed that missionaries would come by so she and her family could start coming back to church, and then God led us there.

Moments like those are why I get sick to my stomach every time someone mentions how long I've been out. I love this so much.

And of course, what's a week without something awkward or hilarious happening to me or my companion? Some of the humorous highlights included:

A guy complimenting my on my kid.

The story: A little girl was scootering down a hill and I was laughing because her face was pure and UTTER JOY. A guy walking the other direction yelled, "hey! I love your kid!"

"Thanks! She's not mine though!"

". . . oh."

I didn't want him to keep feeling dumb so we shared the gospel with him and his friend.

(This one just about killed me)

We were eating dinner at a recent convert's house and we were trying to figure out who her visiting teachers were. She gave us a vague description and we thought we knew who it was, but Ruth didn't know the name. Sister Sonasi was asking a bunch of descriptive questions and finally went "Is she black? Oh wait--sorry you're color blind." Ruth gave her the most confused look I have ever seen a person give, and I almost fell out of my seat laughing. In between breaths I had to tell Sister Sonasi what color blind actually meant, and for the first time since we've been companions I saw her face go red ha ha ha ha!

I love you all! I hope you have an awesome week!


Sister VerHoef

Some of Sister VerHoef's Marshalles Friends