California Fresno Mission May 2013 to November 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Semana 36 en Kerman . . la ultima semana!

Hermana VanWie wrote this as her final mission email today, November 17, 2014. Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers in her behalf over the past 18 months.  She will be speaking in church this Sunday, November 23rd, at 11:00 am and will share some of her mission experiences.  We would love to have you join us.  It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located next to the D20 Stadium.  We will also be hosting a "welcome home" open house for her this Sunday at our home, 3865 Orchard Dr. from 4:30 to 6 p.m. We hope you can join us!

  Querida Familia y amigos --

Sorry this letter is a little late.....we went to part of Yosemite today with some members.
                I loved this week! I love being a missionary! I love teaching with the Spirit! I love watching the light go on in people's eyes when they understand and they just "get it." I love speaking Spanish! I love my companion! I love being in the California Fresno Mission! I love watching people's spiritual progression and recognizing my own! I love the temple! I am so grateful for this week! Truly all the things I love about the mission were all combined into one week!  There were a few main experiences that highlighted my week: J, M, and going to the temple.
               J told us on Monday and Tuesday that he wants to get baptized as soon as possible!! He invited his mother to be baptized with him, which was super exciting! They said they will talk, think, and pray about it. They will tell us for sure tonight (they just got back from Mexico). I am so grateful that the Spirit has worked in his heart as he has attended Primary. Truly attending Primary is what has aided him to be ready to be baptized. As I have played in Primary occasionally, I have come to know as well that the Spirit in Primary is very special and that we are taught sacred simple truths there.
                We had a miracle with M this week. We found M by going to visit some members that had been coming to mind recently. When we arrived she was there taking care of their father. The two sisters quickly invited her to join us and we began to get to know her and talk about the Restoration. It was a Spanglish lesson, but the Spirit was so strong. At one point, M began to cry. She was so filled with emotion and happiness. I know that the Lord placed her in our path and as we did what the Inspired Vision of the mission is, we were able to find her.
                  I loved going to the temple! I came to understand even more what my Heavenly Father thinks of me and how happy He is with the work we do as missionaries. I felt so loved and that He knows me so individually. I know that He knows me and that He loves me. As I sat in the temple I came to understand a quote, "When a missionary is placed in a mission environment of order and discipline where all that is done there is in harmony with the Spirit, the missionary experiences a great transformation. The heavens open. Powers are showered out. Mysteries are revealed. Habits are improved. Sanctification begins. Through this process the missionary becomes a vessel of light that can shine forth the gospel of Jesus Christ in a world of darkness." -Elder Bradford (Oct 1981). Reflecting on my mission in the temple, I was able to identify parts of this quote in me and that I have come to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father and learned to do their work.
I know that God is our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is His Son. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the World. I know They live. I know They love me. They love you. I know because They love us, they created a plan that allows us to not only return to live with Them again, but to live with our families for eternity. I know the way we can do that is through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (the teachings) of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he restored the church of Jesus Christ to the earth once more. I know that the church is led and guided by a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I know he has been called of God. I know the Holy Ghost testifies of truth and because of the Holy Ghost I know that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw when he said, "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" The feeling that comes as those words are read and/or said is the Spirit. I know through that same Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of God and testifies of Jesus Christ with the Bible. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I know as we live the principles taught within its pages we can draw closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. My testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ has been strengthened as I have studied it in the scriptures, heard about it from Apostles and Prophets, taught about it to others, and as I have learned to apply it in my life. I know with all my heart and soul that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He lived and died for me and for you. He knows me and understands me perfectly. He know how to help me overcome my challenges. He will lift me up when I turn to Him. His Atonement is Infinite and Eternal. It cleanses us from our sins and from our short comings. It allows us to forgive ourselves and others. But even more so, it allows us to become the people that our Heavenly Father sees us becoming. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and we can reach our divine potential. We can do hard things. And we can become better everyday. I know that the way we can apply the Atonement is through understanding who God is and who we are to Him. I know we are His children and He loves us. Because of this I know that this life is a time to learn and grow. As we learn and grow we make mistakes and as we realize these mistakes we also come to realize the necessity of a Savior. I know as we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we begin to change because we want to be more like Him. As I have taught and studied about the Atonement I have learned that is enables us to do good and serve beyond what we think we can. I know the Atonement allows us to change and do hard things. I am so grateful for the Atonement. I love my Heavenly Father! I love my Savior! I love the Book of Mormon! I love this work! I know it is the work of the Lord and I know as we share the blessings of knowing the teachings of Jesus Christ with those around us we are more fully filled with love from our Heavenly Father and Savior. How grateful I am that we can share these blessings with others for all of our lives as member missionaries and not just as a full-time missionary.

                Que tengan una semana maravillosa! y que Dios les bendiga! Les quiero mucho!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana VanWie


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Semana 35 en Kerman -- 2nd to last

On Monday, November 10th, 2014, Hermana VanWie shared this great email .  It is her 2nd to last as she will return home next week.


Querida Familia y amigos.

I can't believe how fast time flies!!! This week was a great week!! We had 5 investigators at church and we had a family we are working with come and see a baptism! The S family came to a baptism of three little girls and loved it! Their youngest son, in the middle of the baptism, turned to his mother and said, "Mom, I will be there too very soon!" as he gestured to the baptismal font. We had a lesson with them immediately after the baptism at the church with some members and A is now for sure that this is what she wants. She explained to us that she now knows that this is what she has been searching for. She said, "Ya encontre lo que estaba buscando." As she said that the Spirit filled the room. Sunday she talked to us and wants us to set a baptismal date with her son, Jl. She explained that during the baptism and during Sacrament Meeting he was explaining to her the importance of being baptized and what it means. She was thrilled!! She has been searching for a church that helps children understand the importance of promises with God and know what they mean and she has found it. The S family is continuing to progress! This week we had a fantastic lesson with them and they invited a friend. J explained everything to him! As he taught we could see that his testimony is growing as he is studying and praying. He explained the importance of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost to his friend. I was stunned! He explained as well as any missionary about this important member of the Godhead. I know that it is because he is studying it out in his mind and in his heart and going heavenward for understanding and not just into books. I know that as we help others go heavenward their testimonies grow and strengthen even more. I am grateful that he came to this realization this week.

We had a wonderful district meeting this week! We talked about the Inspired Vision for the Mission and our purpose as missionaries. We broke down our purpose by the words Invite, Everyone, Come, Christ. It was a revelatory experience!

We were truly blessed as we worked this week because we were able to find and teach several less actives that have slipped "under-the-radar." They want us to be in their home and have invited us over for dinner this next week. We have also been working with a lot of recent converts and less actives this week. We are helping them set their sights on the temple. We are excited that the mother of one of our recent converts is going to go to the temple by the end of the year.

We also had a wonderful training about family history! One of the Senior couples are specialists in family history! We learned so much about how to help people who have records in Mexico. I am excited to help our recent converts understand how they can find more of their ancestors and continue in this part of the work of Salvation!

I love this work!! It is a never ending process of finding, teaching, baptizing, retaining, and repeating, yet it is so rewarding! How grateful I am that we are able to be here serving as representatives of our Savior, Jesus Christ! I love Him!

Gracias por todo lo que hacen para ayudar en esta obra! Los quiero mucho! Que tengan una semana maravillosa!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana VanWie


Semana 34 en Kerman -- Happy Fall and Halloween!

On November 3rd, 2014, Hermana VanWie shared the following in her email to her family and friends:
Querida Familia y amigos --

Happy Fall! And Happy Halloween!! 

On Monday we spent some time with some other sisters and carved pumpkins. It was our "American Culture Day." Sister Jimenez and Sister Reina had never carved pumpkins before, so that was fun and different for them.

Halloween was spent in MLC. I loved MLC! (Mission Leadership Council) The theme of the day was "If We Always Do What We Have Always Done, Then We Will Always Get What We Have Always Got." We talked about the Lord hastening His work and how we must keep pace by doing His work in His way.

This week can pretty much be summed up by Sunday. A,,J, J, J, and J  came to church. It was fast and testimony meeting. I have grown a huge love of fast and testimony meetings and this Sunday was one of my favorites! J bore his testimony in Sacrament Meeting about how he has seen a change in his life since we have been passing by but more specifically since Wednesday. On Wednesday we had, what we thought was,a horrible lesson.  However he explained that ever since then he has been able to identify a change in his life. L and her girls also came to church! It was the first time in 2 months! G and his family also came to church! S came and brought a friend! AND M and M and another brother came as well. It was a wonderful day at church!! (Even though the fire alarm got pulled during third hour and we all had to evacuate the building and then the electricity went out all over the city). But the work of the Lord went on without electricity. After everyone went home, M received the priesthood. His uncle ordained him and gave him such a special blessing that included things that were exactly what he needed to hear and what his mother needed to hear. I love Priesthood Blessings! Right after he was ordained, the YM's president came up and started making plans to help M and his mother to get to the temple. I would have been completely content if the day had just ended there!! But it continued on....

We had a great lesson with a recent convert and then as we were heading back toward Kerman we felt like we should go see a less active. I wasn't sure if I would be able to find her house, but miraculously we found it. It turned out that she had just barely had surgery and she needed some help in her home. I know that we were supposed to find her that day.

During the evening all of our plans fell through and Hna Jimenez and I could not get A and her family out of our mind, so we decided to go visit them. As we began talking with them, we weren't really sure what we were going to share with them, but we knew we needed to be there. Just as we were about to start the lesson, there was a knock on the door--it was their conpadre (godfather of their children) who they actually had given to us as a referral. Now, they began to teach him about the church and explain the things they like and about Joseph Smith and the importance of families in the church. As they explained and taught we were able to also teach, but more importantly we were able to understand where they are at in their spiritual progression and their understanding. As J talked to his conpadre he explained that he realizes that this is what he wants in his life and in his family's life and that in order to have his family have it, he needs to accept it and apply it into his life as well. What a tender mercy of the Lord!! We were so grateful that the Lord allowed us to have this glimpse into what J was thinking and feeling by listening to and heeding the promptings of the Spirit.

I know that this is the Lord's work. His hand is in it. He will tell us what to do as we listen to the promptings of the Spirit. I know that in order to keep pace with the hastening of the work, we must become more converted to His gospel.

I love the Lord. I am grateful to be doing His work!  Les quiero mucho!! Que tengan una semana maravillosa!!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana VanWie


Semana 33 en Kerman -- Primary Program and more

This is the email from Hermana VanWie on October 27, 2014.  She loves the work she is doing! Thank you for all of your prayers and support for her. 
Querida Familia y amigos--
        We started out the week with going to the zoo!! It was a lot of fun for Preparation Day! Then Sister Jimenez and I were asked to give a training on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion in Zone Meeting. Even though we only had a few days to prepare for it, the Lord blessed us in our efforts and everything came together including doing it in English. Sister Jimenez did wonderful! I was so proud of her! As we studied we felt like we needed to address personal conversion and how we allow the Holy Ghost to touch us and change us and help us become more converted. As both President Clark and President Gelwix have taught, we first must be converted to help others do the same. As we studied we also found a connection between exact obedience and the miracle of conversion. Like the mission culture says, "We know exact obedience brings miracles and we desire the miracle of conversion--for self and for others." We know that as we are exactly obedient to the laws of God and to the mission culture we increase in faith. With this increase of faith we can have an increase of the Spirit in our lives. And this increase of the Spirit allows us to have a personal conversion which then allows us to see the miracle of conversion in others. I love what Elder Richard G. Scott says about conversion, "Stated simply, true conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and responding to it. You will receive from the Holy Ghost a confirming witness of things you accept on faith by willingly doing them. You will be led to repent of errors resulting from wrong things done or right things not done. As a consequence, your capacity to consistently obey will be strengthened. This cycle of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience will lead you to greater conversion with its attendant blessings. True conversion will strengthen your capacity to do what you know you should do, when you should do it, regardless of the circumstances....I bear testimony that as you pray for guidance, the Holy Ghost will help identify the personal changes you need to make for full conversion. The Lord can then bless you more abundantly. Your faith in Him will be fortified, your capacity to repent will increase, and your power to consistently obey will be reinforced. The Savior lives. He loves you. As you do your best, He will help you." I know this is true! True conversion comes over time and it is a consistent effort.
We had two wonderful lessons with A and J this week. J is reading the Book of Mormon and wants to know that it is true--He is seeking for true conversion. He is asking more questions of things he does not understand and is opening up more to us and allowing us to more fully address his needs. As we were leaving our first lesson with them they addressed another question they had and so we knew exactly what we needed to teach them the next time. We talked with the members who are friends with them about the lesson and they then invited the whole family over to their home for the next lesson. It was wonderful! The next lesson we started teaching, but soon it became the members teaching and it just seemed like a normal conversation. As we listened to the members explain what they do in their lives to obey the commandments and why it is important to them I could feel the Spirit bear testimony to me that indeed the hastening of the work is more about the members than it is the missionaries--it is about member missionary work!
This week I went on an exchange with Sister Henderson in Madera. She did a great job leading her area!! She is a great teacher! She is so full of love and compassion to others. She radiates it as she teaches and helps others. I was so glad I got to work with her!
Sunday was the primary program (Primary is a children's group at church.  Children learn about the Savior through lessons, songs and activities.  Hermana VanWie has been playing the piano for them.  They have a yearly program to share what they have learned.). I have said this before and I will say it again....I LOVE Primary!!! It was wonderful to see J and J (the children of A and J) up on the stand singing all the songs as well. The Spirit was so strong and A was very touched. Truly the simple truths taught in Primary are what the foundation of our testimonies are based on. There were two musical numbers that were especially touching: "Soy un hijo de Dios" (I am a Child of God) (everyone sang it in Spanish) and "Love is Spoken Here." As a group of boys and a group of girls sang it as a duet the investigators we had there were very moved. As I listened to the lyrics and felt the sweet Spirit there I realized that the home that the children were describing is exactly the type of home that we are striving for our investigators and ourselves to have. I loved Sunday!!        Yo se que esta es la obra del Senor. El esta encargado de ello y El siempre va ayudarnos. Yo se que El vive. Y que nuestro Padre Celestial escucha nuestras oraciones y que El siempre va contestarnos en Su tiempo y en Su manera. Yo se que Ellos nos aman! Los quiero mucho! Que tengan una semana maravillosa!
Con amor,
Hermana VanWie


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Semana 32 en Kerman - Spiritual Feast!

On October 20, Hermana VanWie shared her great experiences:
Querida Familia y amigos -
                I loved this week!! I feel so spiritually fed! This week I have been learning a lot about obedience both in Conferences and Trainings and also in personal and companionship study.

As Sister Jimenez and I talked about what we learned as we prepared for our training this week, we realized that we are obedient to keep the Spirit with us and as we are obedient we develop more faith. I know that we must have the Spirit to be with us if we are to teach. Only the Holy Ghost can change hearts. And the only way we can have a hope to change hearts and lives and bring people closer to Christ is if we have the Spirit with us. And the only way to have the Spirit with us enough to experience this miracle of a changed heart is through being exactly obedient. From trainings from Elder Nielson I also learned that it's not about what is in the white handbook, but it is about discipleship. I loved that he emphasized that obedience keeps us safe and free and that "Obedience is the key to the enabling power."

I loved the trainings that we received from President and Sister Clark, the Assistants, and Elder and Sister Nielson! I loved the training we received in Leadership Training about Divine Centered Leadership and serving with the motive of love and getting to know each heart, serving others so they may act, modeling the Way, the Truth, and the Life, challenging unrighteousness, and sharing an inspired vision. The thing that stood out to me that most was getting rid of the disconnect between what we believe and how we behave. As we internalize the principles we teach and are being taught there will truly be a shift from knowing it in our heads to knowing it in our hearts and letting this knowledge govern the way we act. I loved the focus about the Atonement and using the enabling power of the Atonement as a missionary and as a member of the church. As we have faith in Jesus Christ and strive to be sanctified "through a life filled of service to the Lord," the Grace of Jesus Christ (or His divine help) is sufficient for us to be sanctified and to do hard things and do the Lord's will.

I loved the thoughts on Hastening the Work as well. There are only 286 missionaries here in the valley but there are 40,000 members here. Truly hastening the work is much more about the members than it is the missionaries. He showed a wonderful video called "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" that shows how sharing the gospel can be part of our everyday life.

This week I went on an exchange with Sister Reina in Madera. She is a wonderful missionary! She is a solid teacher. She knows how to teach by the Spirit. She is exactly obedient! She is doing great work in Madera and is helping Sister Henderson to understand the importance of being exactly obedient.

We have been working more closely with the ward recently. Last week we were asked by the Elders' Quorum President to go and see a less active and his wife who just had a baby. This week we were able to find them at home and we had a wonderful lesson with her. She is so excited to learn more! She explained to us that she has had a Book of Mormon for quite some time but has never had a desire to read it. Now, after teaching the Restoration to her, she has a thirst to read the Book of Mormon and to learn more about the message of the Restored Gospel. The ward is really working more with less actives as well and because of that we had many less actives and investigators at the Relief Society Activity on Thursday night. It was wonderful!

We experienced several miracles this week! One of the most amazing was on Sunday. My testimony of receiving revelation through Church attendance grew. We have been working with an investigator named J for quite a while now. His wife would always read the Book of Mormon and pray, but for some reason, he never seemed to have a desire to read the Book of Mormon. We taught several lessons about it, but for some reason the importance of the Book of Mormon just did not seem to sink in. Sunday in Sacrament Meeting a member gave a talk about the history of the Book of Mormon. Although it did not spark my interest to read the Book of Mormon nor did it teach doctrine from the Book of Mormon, it was exactly what J needed. As soon as the meeting ended, he practically ran back to us and asked if he could have his own Book of Mormon (before he had insisted that the family only needed one and would not accept more than one). He was so excited to have it in his hands and throughout the next class he held unto his Book of Mormon tightly. He expressed so much excitement to read it! Because of his excitement, the lesson we had with him and his family later was wonderful. We reviewed the Restoration and began teaching his children as well. All of the family committed to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to know if it is true. I know that because they now have a desire to know if it is true, they will receive an answer!

                It is such a privilege to be a missionary! I love this work! I know that this is the Lord's work and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God! I know it! I can feel the Spirit testify of that to me as I read and study its pages and apply it to my life. I love the Lord! I love all of you! Que tengan una semana maravillosa! Los quiero!

Con amor,

Hermana VanWie


Semana 31 en Kerman - Open Your Mouth

On October 12 Hermana VanWie sent this great email:

Querida Familia y amigos

This week has been a wonderful week! We got to have Hermana Gacio with us for a few days before she goes home. She is a great missionary who has given her whole heart to the Lord. I am grateful for her example and for her service her in the California Fresno Mission!

This week we had three investigators at church--A and J and their family and J. J was a miracle this week. We have been doing new member lessons with S and her grandfather. As we have reviewed the lessons we taught before, S and her grandfather have both gained even more of a desire to share the wonderful feelings they have at church with others. Her grandfather recently told us that he is friends with J and her mother and as we finished the lesson asked if they were planning on coming to church. We told him that we had just come from talking with them and that her mother had said no they were not. However, he called her then and there and invited her to come to church and told her that he would stop by at 9:45 to pick them up. Through his invitation and boldness J came to church. S was so happy!! It has been wonderful to see her joy and her grandfather's joy as they invite their friends to come unto Christ!

This week we have also been emphasizing talking with everyone! I'm grateful for the opportunity that Hermana Jimenez and I got to do Open Your Mouth again! Every time I have done it, it has amazed me how many prepared people are put into our paths. Truly the experiences these new missionaries have are important to the Lord. Yesterday as we were doing this we found a woman named R. As we said hello to her and got to know her we found that she had been taught by missionaries before and is very willing and wanting to learn more. I know that we talk with everyone we will find people that have been prepared by the Lord.

We have also been doing a lot of less active work as we look for new investigators. We know that as we work on bringing others back and helping them progress again that Heavenly Father will bless them to know which of their friends and family members are ready to be taught and accept the gospel. 

This week we had a lesson about the Word of Wisdom (or the Lord's Law of Health). The question was brought up about the why of not drinking coffee. As I reflected on this lesson a quote from PMG came to mind: (Chapter 6 of PMG) "Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith. You may sometimes be required to do things you do not completely understand. As you obey, you increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom." I know that as we are obedient to the commandments and mission rules, we are blessed with these things. 

Tomorrow we are going to have the opportunity to hear from Elder Nielson and his wife (Elder Brent  Nielson a church leader) We are going to be talking about the Atonement. Studying the Atonement is something we are really focused on as a mission. I am learning so much!! As I was studying the talks in preparation for the conference, a quote I recently received from you came to mind: "The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time" (Brad Wilcox "His Grace is Sufficient"). Thank you for sending that quote!!

I know that the way we can apply the Atonement into our lives is through understanding who God is and who we are to Him. When we understand that we are His children and He loves us, we can also understand that this life is a time to learn and grow. As we learn and grow we make mistakes and as we realize these mistakes we also come to realize the necessity of a Savior. As we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we begin to change because we want to be more like Him. I am grateful to learn more about my Savior and His Atonement and to teach others about it as well. As I have taught and studied about the Atonement this week I have learned that it enables us and, as Elder Bednar says, we can put off the natural man and be strengthened to do and be good and serve beyond what we think we can. I am grateful for the opportunity that the Atonement gives me to change and to do hard things and to gain "spiritual traction" from them.

Gracias por todo lo que hacen! Los quiero!
Con amor,
Hermana VanWie

Monday, October 6, 2014

Semana 30 en Kerman

On October 6 Hermana VanWie shared these thoughts with us.  She returns home November 19th --
Querida Familia y amigos --

We received our transfer calls this week! Drum Roll......Hermana Jimenez and I are staying together another transfer here in Kerman!!! YAY!! This week we had some wonderful opportunities to be taught by the Spirit and help others be taught by the Spirit.

We received a surprise phone call from A and J this week. They invited us for dinner and we had Posole!! It was amazing!! It was Posole Verde. I had never had it before but it was wonderful! While we were there we taught about the Holy Ghost. Because we had been in their home serving them this past week, their children have become more comfortable with us. Their 6 year old daughter Jtalked to me all of dinner and then was very excited to help with the lesson. It was amazing to see her awe when we explained the role of the Holy Ghost as a protector using water and pepper and soap. It was wonderful to be able to have the whole family involved and understand.

We also had a member home lesson with two new investigators. It was wonderful to see the children of this member family teach about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. There was a sweet Spirit there as the 9 year old bore simple testimony of the truths he had come to know are true.

We had a wonderful opportunity as well to watch the new movie "Meet the Mormons." It was fantastic! It follows the lives of 6 people/families: A humanitarian in Nepal, a football coach of the Navy football team, a missionary mom, a bishop in Georgia, a fighter in Costa Rica, and the candy bomber from WWII. It was so uplifting! It showed how global the church is and how the gospel of Jesus Christ is part of their everyday lives. It did not preach church doctrine, but it showed how the gospel of Jesus Christ is an essential part of their lives. We are so excited to be able to have other people see it starting on October 10. You should go see it!!!

We had a wonderful lesson with a girl named S this week as well. She is from India and a non-Christian background. We have been teaching her for some time now. This week we finally found her again and had a powerful lesson about prophets and how we can know the Book of Mormon is true. It was wonderful to see in her eyes the desire to know for certain. As we testified and promised that she would receive an answer, the Spirit was very strong and she committed to pray and come to General Conference.

General Conference was definitely the highlight of the week! For missionaries, it is like the World Cup in Soccer or the SuperBowl in Football!!  (General Conference is broadcast via internet and television and people all over the world got to hear from our prophet, apostles and other church leaders. They broadcast the conference online and via satellite. This link will take you to the talks she refers to: ) I love General Conference! We had 3 investigators come to General Conference: A, S, and A and her children. We were able to watch one of the session with the Bishop and his family and then they also had A and her family there for one of the sessions! Some of the highlights from General Conference for me were: Sister Esplin's talk on the Sacrament and how it is not only to remember the repentance part of the Atonement, but the enabling part of the Atonement; President Uchtdorf's talk on how to know if the Book of Mormon is true and how gaining a testimony (or gathering spiritual light) is a quest of a lifetime and if we do our part, the testimony will come; Elder Callister's talk on the importance of a Christ-centered home; Elder Scott's talk on 4 tools to secure our lives in the Atonement of Jesus Christ; Elder Godoy's talk about how to back decisions in our lives; and Elder Bednar's talk addressed to those who are not members of the church but also to those who are members on how to be more missionary minded--feeling the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives.

My testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ has been strengthened as I have studied it in the scriptures, heard about it from the Apostles and Prophets, taught about it to others, and as I have learned to apply it in my life. I know with all my heart and soul that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He lived and He died for me and for you. He knows and understands me perfectly. He knows how to help me overcome my challenges. He will lift me up when I turn to Him. His Atonement is infinite and eternal. It cleanses us from our sins and from our short comings. It allows us to forgive ourselves and others. But even more so, it allows us to become the people that our Heavenly Father sees us becoming. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can reach our divine potential. We can do hard things. And we can become better everyday.

I love my Savior! How grateful I am to be doing His work! Gracias por todo lo que hacen para mi y los otros misioneros!

Que Dios los bendiga y los cuida!

Los quiero mucho!

Con amor,

Hermana VanWie

Semana 29 en Kerman

On September 29th Hermana VanWie wrote this email –

 Querida Familia y amigos--

             This week was wonderful!! We had interviews with the mission president this week. I love President and Sister Clark!! I felt so loved by both them and my Heavenly Father.

We had another wonderful lesson with A and J this week! We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the importance of baptism. J immediately responded that he would be baptized which stunned us and A also agreed, but was a little more hesitant than her husband. As we asked her what her doubt was, she began to explain to us what she had been searching for. She said that she felt like there was a hole in her heart/spirit and has been searching for something that would fill it. Now, she says that when she reads the Book of Mormon and comes to church and talks with us, she feels like this hole is filled. As she told us this she began to cry. She had not realized that this was an answer to her prayers. As we helped her identify what she was feeling was the Spirit, more tears came (from her and from us) and the Spirit was very strong. She now recognizes that this is an answer to her prayers. It was a wonderful lesson! They are so excited to learn more. 

We also had the opportunity to do service them. They were repainting their house (they told us this on Wednesday at their lesson). When we heard this we immediately volunteered to help. A little unbelievingly, J agreed to let us come. When we arrived at their house on Saturday in our service clothes, he was shocked. He couldn't believe that we actually were going to help them. It was a great experience. Throughout the time we spent with them his trust in us grew, we got to know their children, and we got to know Arcelia more as well. I LOVE service!! I know that as we serve members and investigators and less actives we come closer to them and they are more able to feel of the love we and our Heavenly Father have for them.

Hermana Jimenez and I had the great opportunity and privilege to see the end of a process and the beginning of a new journey--S was baptized! It has been such a wonderful journey for us and for her! We have been privileged to see the whole process: to find her grandfather, receive her as a referral, help her progress through teaching her, and watch her be baptized and invite her friends to also learn more. It has coincided exactly with the 12 week program. Everything we have been learning every week has applied exactly to what we were doing every week. It truly has been a tender mercy of the Lord.

During all of church on Sunday, S could hardly sit still. I was in primary playing the piano, and every 10 minutes she would come over and ask what time it was and when her baptism would be. Her baptism was very special--her grandfather was just beaming!! He said a wonderful prayer at the end. A family friend baptized her and confirmed her. The confirmation was wonderful and even though the member that did the confirmation was a little worried about his Spanish, the gift of tongues came into play and he gave a wonderful blessing. I am so excited for her to begin preparing to go to the temple! I loved how the Women's General Conference was centered on that!

                I am so grateful to be a missionary! I love this work! This is the Lord's work! Gracias por todo lo que hacen!

Love you!

Con amor,

Hermana VanWie


Semana 28 en Kerman

On September 22nd, Hermana VanWie shared these great experiences:
Mi querida familia y amigos -- 

This week has been great!!!!  This past preparation day our zone had the great opportunity to see the DVD, The Saratov Approach. It was wonderful! As I reflected on it, it helped me realize how much my perspective has changed over my mission. I know am learning spiritual things in everything I do. As we watched the movie, I learned more about the Savior and our Heavenly Father. It was reaffirmed to me that Jesus Christ did not want to suffer. In Luke 22, He prays to the Father and asks if there is not some other way. But then He shows us the perfect example and submits His will to that of His Father's. As He submitted His will, He showed His love for His Father and for us. He taught us what real love is and how we can and should submit our will to our Heavenly Father. As I pondered this I imagined what it must have been like for our Heavenly Father to hear His Son ask if there was not some other way. Our Heavenly Father did not want Jesus to suffer and die. He had the ability to prevent that. Yet, He permitted it to happen because He knew it was the only way that we could be saved. As I realized this, I could feel the love that my Heavenly Father and Savior have for me. How much They love us! How grateful I am for Christ's decision to submit to our Heavenly Father's will and for Heavenly Father's decision to permit it to happen so we can have the opportunity to return to live with Them again someday.

We had an amazing Zone Conference this week as well! There was a wonderful Spirit there.
We talked about the importance of focusing on the temple and becoming complete missionaries. I know this will help us retain our converts. We also learned that some of the most powerful teaching moments can be while eating dinner as we share experiences. After Zone Conference we had dinner with a family and as we talked we started sharing some our experiences from the week. These members asked if we had seen the Saratov Approach and we told them we had. Then as we talked about it with them, we began to testify of the truths that we learned. As we talked and testified, the sweetest Spirit came into the room and this wonderful brother opened up and openly talked about his mission and his experiences, why he went, and how it changed his life. In the seven months I have been here, I had never heard him talk about his mission like that. Sharing during dinner and using personal experiences truly helps us teach to people's needs and allows us to get to the next level of communication. 

We had some wonderful lessons with S this week! She is so excited to be baptized! We talked about the temple this week and she is so excited to go! She can hardly wait for the next 3 years until she can go. As she expressed her desire to go and her excitement for the gospel, her grandfather began to echo the same enthusiasm. By the next lesson he was reading is scriptures and praying every day and now has a goal to get the priesthood, have a calling, and be able to bless and pass the Sacrament and to go to the temple. It has been amazing to see how much he as changed because of his granddaughter. They both came to Stake Conference and they loved it! S even brought a friend! She has taught this friend how to pray and her grandfather wants us to start teaching the friend's family this next week. We love Samantha and her grandfather!

Stake Conference was amazing as well! Elder Baxtor of the 70 was there and he did a Q & A Saturday night which was really neat. He talked about the importance of realizing that we are not perfect and how we can use the Grace of Jesus Christ more in our lives and the importance of being patient with ourselves and slowing down a little. But more than anything over the two days, he talked about the temple and how much our Heavenly Father is aware of us. It was wonderful! 

We also had a wonderful lesson with A and J this week. We had the Bishop's wife (a friend of their family) with us. It was a great lesson! We taught about the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit was so special there and the member we had with us did a wonderful job explaining parts of the lesson. It was amazing to see A and J get excited about being a family forever through the temple and to help their relatives who have passed away feel the same joy and happiness they are experiencing right now.
I am so grateful to be serving a mission! I know this is the Lord's work! I know His hand is in it. How grateful I am for the love and support I can feel from you!  Gracias por todo lo que hacen. Que tengan una semana maravillosa!

Con amor,
Hermana VanWie

Semana 27 en Kerman

On September 15, Hermana VanWie sent this email:
Querida Familia y amigos –

This week has been great!!!! And we had some amazing lessons! We had a great lesson with M (a recent convert) and his brother and mother. We talked about the second half of the Plan of Salvation and doing temple work. The Spirit there was very strong. As we talked with them about the Plan of Salvation, a light came into their eyes and by the end of the lesson they had a fire to do family history work and temple work for their ancestors. They are both preparing to go to the temple and do work for their family members. Before the mission, I knew that temple work is important and I knew that the Spirit World excited. But now, I know in my heart without a doubt that the Spirit World is a real place. Our ancestors are there. They are waiting for us to help them to continue on their journey to come closer to our Heavenly Father. I love the Plan of Salvation!

We had 3 people in church on Sunday: S, A, and J and their family. S is solid. She is going to be baptized on the 28th. We are teaching lesson 5 to her this week. She loves Primary and she is really setting a great example for her grandfather. Through her, he is coming back to church and changing his life.

A and J and their family also came to church on Sunday. Although we were not able to have a lesson with them this week, they came to church and they loved it! They are so prepared. In Sunday School they talked about Tithing and Fast Offerings. As soon as church was over, A went up to the Bishop and paid her tithing. A also explained to us how her friend, the member that introduced us to her, gave her a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and she loves it! She said, "This is what I believe! This is what I want for my children!" She also explained to us that she and Jesus have been praying together every night and studying the Book of Mormon every night together. Later, her young son, J, told us that he has been reading the Book of Mormon with his father and he loves it! This family is a prepared family! We did not ask them, nor did the members, to study together every night or to study with their children. We are so excited to continue working with them.

Gracias por su ejemplo hacia las personas al redendor de ustedes! Gracias por su apoyo y amor! Que tengan una semana maravillosa!


Con amor,

Hermana VanWie

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Semana 26 en Kerman -- another miraculous week

On September 8, 2014, Hermana VanWie wrote this email:

Querida Familia y amigos --

This week has been wonderful!! We saw miracles this week! We set a baptismal date with S this week! She is solid! We love her! We are grateful for the change we have seen in her and in grandfather over the past 5 weeks. She came church on Sunday again! She loves church! We taught her the word of wisdom this week which she readily accepted. She was so proud on Sunday when she told us, "I stopped drinking coffee!" We are so excited for her to be baptized on the 27th!

We also had A and J at church this week! They brought their whole family! They stayed for 2 of the 3 hours and loved it! We have seen A progress so much in the past week. We had a lesson with a member earlier this week and she told us that she has been reading the Book of Mormon with her children and making sure they are praying. We have only been teaching her for a week and a half. She is amazing! We are excited to continue to see them progress as a family!

I become more a more convinced that we serve in areas not only for investigators and companions, but because of the members that are there. I am grateful for the members here! I learn so much from them! 

I love being a missionary! I love seeing people change and becoming changed!  I am grateful for this gospel! I know it is true! I know my Savior lives! I know He loves me! I know His Atonement applies to me and allows me to change and become the person that He wants me to be! How grateful I am for that! Thank you for all that you do for me and for member missionary work!

Los quiero mucho!  Que tengan una semana maravillosa!

Hermana VanWie


Friday, September 5, 2014

Semana 25 en Kerman

On September 1, 2014 Hermana VanWie shared this:
Querida Familia y amigos --
Esta semana ha sido buenismo!! We saw wonderful miracles this week! One was through working with members.  We are getting really excited by all the progress that is going on in the ward. This past Sunday was had a meeting for a mentoring program that the ward is going to be doing with recent converts. It is amazing! As we went through the packet we all felt that this is what is going to help our recent converts stay active in the church. I am so excited to see how this program helps them progress!
We are trying to have more team-ups with the members and for the past few weeks we have been doing pretty well with getting sisters to come out with us. This past week, after having a really good experience on the previous time she came out with us and Sister F took us to go see two of her friends. The first one wasn't really interested, but Sister F had the opportunity to have more of a gospel centered discussion with her which was wonderful! And then we had an even larger miracle! We went and saw her friend named A. She immediately invited us in when we knocked on her door. We got to know her and she told us that she had actually been thinking about Sister F that morning even though she hadn't seen her in months. As we talked, we learned that her son had gone to Cub Scouts at church a few years back. Then Sister F explained who we were and that we talked about the church. A then surprised us all by saying, "I always wanted to go to church there!" When Sister F asked why she hadn't, she simply replied, "Because you never invited me." All that was needed was an invitation. I know that there are people that are prepared by the Lord for us--for missionaries and for members.  
Later in the week we had a lesson with A and her husband and her sister-in-law. At first we were a little worried because her husband and her sister-in-law kept on trying to take over the lesson, but as we began teaching we no longer felt worried and for the first time in my mission I think I finally understood what the scripture my bishop gave me when I left home meant: 1 Peter 3:14-15 "But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." This is what it meant to me: If you do this work, (and although what I am asking you to do it not easy), you will be happy and will not need to fear or be troubled. But sanctify yourself--be clean, pure, committed, obedient, worthy, and focused, and give your whole heart to the Lord and be ready to open your mouth to give an answer. When you have sanctified yourself, you will not need to fear what to say, it will be given to you as you are humble and willing and ready to answer the questions people have. 
This is what happened during the lesson, we were given exactly what we needed to say and A was touched and changed by the Spirit. As we said the First Vision, a sweet Spirit came into the room and she recognized it. As we asked her what she felt she said that she felt peace and that she felt good because she has found something different that she cannot find in her church. She is very prepared! We are so excited to keep working with her!
Hermana Jimenez gave a talk in the English Ward on Sunday! She did great! I am so proud of her! Her English is getting better every day. We also got to be in Primary on Sunday for singing and sharing time. (I was playing the piano) It was such a special experience! There is such a sweet spirit in Primary.  The basic truths that are taught there in songs and activities are true! We could feel of that as we listened to the children sing and as we taught a lesson the day before and used "I Feel My Savior's Love" to teach of the love that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has for us and what we can do to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again.
I know that our Heavenly Father and our Savior love us! I know that They live! They want us to return to live with Them again. I know that we are the Lord's hands here on this earth and that as we open our mouths, they will be filled with what we need to say to touch the hearts of the people the Lord has prepared.
Gracias por todo lo que hacen para mi y los misioneros! Que disfruten su dia de Labor Day! Los quiero muchismo!
Con amor,
Hermana VanWie

Semana 24 en Kerman

On August 25, 2014, Hermana VanWie shared:
Querida Familia,

Transfer calls were on Saturday night, and I am staying in Kerman again with Hermana Jimenez! YAY! This week we had the wonderful opportunity to work in the Church’sVineyard in Madera. (They grow grapes for raisins that are then sent to areas with humanitarian needs throughout the world.  See video about the Vineyard project:

 It was amazing! It was hard work, but it truly was a revelatory experience! My testimony of the 25-25-50 matrix increases each time I receive revelation. Hermana Jimenez and I made a point to talk about the references in the scriptures that talk about the Lord's vineyard before we went to work in the vineyard. We read in John 15:1-16 specifically. As we were at the vineyard, we learned through analogies of how we can work more effectively and harvest more people: There are a lot of different types of grapes--those that are really easy to find and others that are harder; others that are ready to pick and others that have gone bad. It is like us and our investigators when we are working in the Lord's vineyard of our mission. At times it is really easy to find prepared people, but other times it is harder and we find a lot who are not ready. There are also times that we have to work really, really hard to find those who are prepared, but it is worth it. 

There are other grapes that in order to find them we have to get dirty a little bit and give all of our effort to find them and bring them in. Most of the time, other people may have passed over them or did not see them. Others may look small and insignificant, but we should seek them out and rescue them as well. Sometimes, in order to help, we need to be at a higher level to know how to grab the grapes. In other words, we need to have our own conversion first in order to help and elevate others to this level of conversion. But, there are also others that require us to be at a lower level in order to see and help them. We must have humility in order to touch their hearts.  I loved working in the vineyard. I love working in the Lord's vineyard, here in the California Fresno Mission!! I love being a missionary. 

One of my favorite things about being a missionary is helping others to learn about the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that they can use it and change. We had an amazing lesson this week with a woman who we have been helping reactivate in the church again. We helped her son get baptized and she comes to church every week now. When we came to teach, she was glowing! As we talked and discussed how she has been doing, she told us the most exciting news! She is preparing to go to the temple to receive her endowment!!! She is so excited and so grateful that she is able to do that now. Words cannot describe how happy I was! I love seeing people progress in the gospel! I love families helping each other get on the right path and progressing on it. How grateful I am to have been able to witness this change over the past 5 months.

We also had a miracle on Sunday! One of our investigators, S came to church! And she brought a friend! And her grandfather stayed for Sacrament meeting. Then she stayed for all 3 hours and absolutely loved Primary! Her grandfather later explained to us that he originally only came to church for his granddaughter, but as he stepped foot into the church, something came over him and he felt more peace and happiness than he ever had in his whole life. He didn't want to leave. In this moment, his attitude changed. He then told us that they will be here every Sunday and he is not just coming to church for his granddaughter, but for himself.

I know that the Spirit testifies of what is true. I know that the grandfather felt the Spirit testifying that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church here upon the face of the earth. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and that he receives revelation from God on how to direct His work here on earth and in His church.
I know this is the work of Salvation! How grateful I am to be a part of it!

                Gracias por todo lo que hacen para apoyar la obra misional! Gracias por sus testimonios tambien! Los quiero mucho!  Que tengan una semana magnifica!

Con amor,
Hermana VanWie

Semana 23 en Kerman

On August 18, 2014, Hermana VanWie wrote this:
Querida Familia y amigos --

This week was a great week! We were busy busy busy! But a busy missionary is a happy missionary. We had exchanges this week. My companion is wonderful! She is such a natural missionary. She led the area for the first time and when I came back we had a baptismal date with L! We later had a lesson with L and she is so prepared! We talked about church attendance, the sacrament, and how we can receive revelation when we go to church as we feel the Spirit just like we do when we pray and read the scriptures. She then told us that she wants to be a missionary someday and we were able to help her set that goal. She then shared with us that ever since she met us and has started reading the Book of Mormon she has had experiences of God speaking to her through the Scriptures and she has been sharing the Book of Mormon with all of her friends. She is amazing! We can't wait to get her to church!

We also had specialized training this week. Out of all of the things we talked about, two things stood out--our mission statement and the role the Atonement has in missionary work. Our mission statement in the California Fresno Mission is 1. We serve because we love Jesus Christ. 2. We know that complete missionaries are worthy, obedient, committed, and focused and serve with no regrets.  I love my mission! I love my Savior! How grateful I am to be able to serve Him and do His work. 

One of the things that Hna Jimenez and I did this week was we did language study with a member. It worked wonderfully! It helped us to get to know the member, we became better missionaries because we got feed back from the member of how we can improve our teaching, and Hna Jimenez got to practice her English. It was a wonderful experience. We plan on doing that about twice a week.

Yesterday we had a wonderful lesson with a woman and her daughter who do not have a Chrisitian background. A member came with us and she connected really well with them. We talked about who God is and His relationship with us. As we focused on helping them understand this, we could see a light of understanding come into their lives and they then asked the question that is so important--why are there so many churches.  It was so amazing to me that eventhough we had explained this before, they could not understand it because they did not fully comprehend who God is and how much He loves them. It was a powerful lesson. It was the best lesson we have had with them.

I know that God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. He loves us! I love Him! I know that He loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come to the Earth to suffer and die for us. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ!I know they are always there for us, to listen to us, to comfort us, to guide us! How grateful I am to be able to communicate with them through prayer.

Thank you for all the love and support you give me!Que tengan una semana maravillosa y llena de milagros!

Con amor,

Hermana VanWie