Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Okay so a little more info about my area. Like I said we are in a branch. There are a TON of members here, enough to have a ward.But only 25ish of them show up. They've had a lot of struggles, but we are trying to build them back up. Right now they are dependent on the missionaries, but we are trying to make them independent. Right now I'm focusing a lot on learning the language,the names of the people, who is less active, an investigator, ect. But, so far so good. The area is nice, it's a tiny town in the countryside. Hermana Bowen and I are literally the only white people in our district and town. Which means we get a lot of cat calls and marriage proposals. Some guys said they wanted us for Christmas. Which is a joke they have here in our zone because you'll sometimes here the men say to the white Hermanas "Bye bye my visa", because they want to go to the states.
For the most part though the people here are very sweet. Because I don't know the language very well I don't speak a whole lot. When we go in to appointments my compaion will ask them who they would want to say the prayer or explain something to them and they always choose me and say, "I want here (and they point to me) to say it because she doesn't talk very much". Or the other day some girls stopped by on the street and said that our eyes are pretty and then said to my companion, "Why doesn't she talk a lot". haha it's kinda funny, but I'm learning a little bit more everyday. Sometimes it feels like drinking out of a fire hydrant, but it's coming. I'm learning a lot more here than at the MTC. So just make sure to keep me in your prayers that I'll continue progressing with the language please, because your prayers are super important. 
Okay, last story for you before I head out. So here are some pictures for ya'll. Most of these are from the MTC. I'll take some more of the area soon, but there is one picture of me with this dog. So a little background info. there are a LOT of stray gatos and perros here. It's really sad to see because a lot of them will have broken legs or mange,ect. But, here's a picture with my little friend Joe. Joe is this grey chiuaua that is a stray. He will literally follow us to EACH appointment and wait outside the door for us until we are finished and pick back up walking to the next appointment. When we lock the gate to our appartment at night he'll just stay outside and whine and wait for us the next day. He actually slipped through the gates and waited by our door one night. So we have to swap him with our books sometimes so he doesn't do it again. But, I like to think of him as our little pal. Super cute. So if anyone needs a dog in the states I reccomend him ;). Anyway times up ,but I love ya'll and pray for you all the time!
Hermana Van Woerkom
On Splits by the beach.

Thanksgiving at the MTC

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dec. 3, 2014

First off, congrats Corey and Kristie on Little Charlotte! She´s a cutie! Give her lots of hugs and kisses for me! So I´m officially in my first área Bonao! My companions name is Hermana Bowen from Utah.We are right underneath the mountains. THEY ARE SO PRETTY! Definitely notApalachian or the Rockies, but they are SO GEORGEOUS! It reminds me of the mountains from the TV show LOST. So I´ll be serving in a branch. My companion and I are the only hermanas in our District. They have very VERY colorful houses here which is super fun. Um, yeah I just got here today so I don´t know very much about it, but I´ll give you more details next email. Last week we had an AMAZING Thanksgiving. It was super special. They prepared an amazing meal and I got pumpkin pie which was the best! I´m glad to hear ya´ll had an amazing Thanksgiving as well! We had our dinner as a District and have gotten so close that it felt like having Thanksgiving with family. I won´t be able to send pictures this email, but next week I´ll be able to hopefully. Today´s just been kinda busy. We got our assignments last night at 1130PM and got up this morning at 5. Then we left around 6 to the área where we were all getting ready, organized, and transferred. So our District all left slowly one by one which was kinda sad, but we get to meet up again in two weeks. I was the second to last to head out and we left around 3. So we were sitting at the stop for a while. Santiago is about 3 hours away from the CCM and we drove an hour back towards the CCM where Bonao is. You´ll have to look it up on a map. But, yeah it´s definitely weird starting over again, but it´ll be great! I´m excited to see what´s in store here!
con amor
Hermana VW 
Feliz Día del Gracias! I can't believe it's Thanksgiving! It definitely doesn't feel like it here! Obviously it's not a holiday they celebrate, but it's super sunny outside, humid, flowers in bloom, we are eating summer grub. It just feels like summer. You know #justanotherdayinparadise ;). With that being said today is the day of many lasts before I start many first experiences all over again! So today is my last P-day which means last temple trip at the CCM, last Pday together with my companions, as a district, and last letter you'll get from me ever (okay just the CCM).  I know I say this a lot, and I'm sure that I'll be saying this throughout my whole mission, but seriously where has the time GONE?! I remember like it was yesterday that I got off the plane, told by these people at the airport to hop a ride in their van with all of our stuff to the CCM, assigned companions, teaching our very first investigator in Spanish, and being assigned to bear my testimony the first Sunday there.  It's been an amazing experience so far and I can't wait to make more memories here!
Okay, lets start with last week. So last Friday we got to go out on splits with the Hermana's out in the Santo Domingo Oeste Mission. District Alma and Benjamin squished into this van and went to the church building a couple miles from here. From there we met up with the missionaries, divided up and then my companion and I (I can't remember her name at the moment, but I'll get back to you on that) left for the metro. She's from DR Este, speaks some English, and is a super amazing missionary. We were around the temple area, University, and Park which I was kinda disappointed haha but it was a good start. She told us we would be in the wealthy areas where a lot of business people worked. For the most part we were in what would probably be equivalent to gated communities but it was just separate gated apartment buildings. A couple appointments fell through with investigators which she said is common in these areas due to the fact that we were in the wealthier part of the city a lot of people (not all) have the mentality that they are exempt from religion (to put it nicely). So with the time we went to the Park (literally right across the street from the CCM (I know I was way deep in the city) inviting people to church on Sunday. For most of our time we visited less active. Which I have to say was probably my favorite part of the whole experience. Less actives are just as important as those who haven't heard the gospel. One lady we visited who was less active had a pretty bad accident where she fell down the stairs and hurt her ankle really bad. So we sat with her, sang a hymn, shared a scripture, and just listened. Which I think is what she really needed, just a friend and someone to listen to her. My companion was amazing though she really taught me through her example how important it is to just be a friend. She was very good at listening to the things she was struggling with, asked her about her foot, helped her put her sock back on (which for me that truly is friendship status because you know I'm not a feet person), and was just there to help in any way possible. If I could be half the missionary she was I'd be happy. Then after that we walked back to the metro, bought peanuts from a Haitian vendor, and made it back to the church building where I met up with my District again. We each had very different stories and experiences, so that was fun to hear. Like I said the area I was in was considered by my companion a wealthy area, which to me seemed like Alexander Apartment status up at BYUI. Hermana Bradford was in the wealthier part as well. For everyone else they were in much more humble circumstances. But all in all it was amazing. I'm glad it was good because that's what I'm going to be doing for the next 17 months haha! 
Okay so back to today, we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Bednar at a live Devotional. And it was amazing! It was a question and answer so we were able to email him our questions and then he would respond. But, it was all the MTC's around the world. There's so much that we talked about in the devo, but I'll highlight the points that I liked. I asked him how we could get members excited about missionary work and have them play an active role. There was a similar question that was asked and a quote that stuck out to me is that we have 18 months to work, serve, and bring others to Christ and will have the rest of our lives to think about it. Um, no pressure haha. But, I will eventually get set apart and when that day comes I'm going to be a member missionary again. And when that happens I hope I'm that member that actively participates in whatever calling I'm given, and whatever else the Lord asks of me. Second point, there was a Senior couple that asked for comfort and advice on what to do when your away from loved ones on Holidays. He said that it's good to be away for a season, and then he said again just a season. We are only going to be gone for a little bit. Then he said that our absence for that little bit will impact and bless those who are in our lives more than they would if we were there. And it will also bless the generations hereafter. 
It's almost time for me to go, but since it's Thanksgiving I want to share why I'm sooo grateful for all of you. Mom and dad: I love you SO much. Like you said before when I was a stubborn teenager that I'm going to look back and say "you're right". I haven't said it yet, but I will now you're right about some things (no everything) :). Kellie: You're the oldest, but that doesn't make you the wisest haha jk. No we are two peas in a pod and I'm grateful for the example that you've been to all of us. You've kept us in line. And you're super good at inhaling food so you've taught us survival of the fittest really well ;) haha jk. I love you so much too. Lonnie: You're the favorite because your paranoid ;). Okay there are many ones in the family and you are just that one. I'm grateful for your example. You set the bar for me and I'm so glad you served a mission. You've helped me so much by your example. Lindsey: You're paranoid too, but not as bad. haha Maybe that's why you and Lonnie are twins. Although you are my older sister you let me tease you like a little sister, and you let me do you hair haha. I'm so grateful you in the family because your my go to when I have a problem or question (not that I don't ask everyone else cause I do), we are a lot a like and I'm so grateful you were there to "bail me out of jail" when I got my wisdom teeth out. I'm grateful all of the memories we've had and I can't wait to make more :). CASEY: You are the most annoying, nasty, pain in the butt kid I have EVER MET. But we torment each other so I guess we are even. I love you a little as well :) (Okay a lot) I'm so grateful for the memories we have to and can't wait to make more crazy ones. I love to laugh and both you and Lindsey (and the rest of you too) help me do that every day. I'm so glad we have just fun little memories of us taking a couple classes together at BYUI. I mean how many people can say they took a class with their brother? COREY: You seriously are the best even if you don't think so! You get more credit than you think. We get along in so many ways that you have NO IDEA. All of the siblings point it out ALL THE TIME. We know what we want in life and I know that when you set your mind to it you always get it. We both LOVE laughing sometimes over the dumbest things. We both love country music (oh no wait that's Kristie and I haha) but you'll get there soon. I can't wait to get back and make many more memories. I don't say it a lot to any of you, and especially you, but I really do love you. I can't wait to see my little niece and I need you to take lots and lots of pictures of her when she gets here. And maybe some of Oakly and Dessy too. I mean you could throw a selfie or two in of you and Kristie ;) haha. 
Okay I'm so grateful for all of you, thanks for being who you are always
con amor
Hermana Van Woerkom