First Day!

First Days are so exciting – today is the first day for Jessica, Sister Vanderhoef that is, to wake up in the Mission Field.  New Hampshire, Manchester mission.  She was able to call us from the airport yesterday, it was so good to talk to her.  She sounded happy, excited, READY!  Yesterday she met the mission president and his wife, who by the way, already knows Casey.  The mission president is from Lehi, Casey ran track with his son.  I think Jessica meets her companion today and finds out where she will be assigned.  We should get an email on Monday and hopefully a letter somewhere in between.  I will post more when I find out where she will be and her new address.  For now, it is the address we already posted in Bedford.  So, have a great day, as shall we, knowing Jessica has arrived safely and is excited about the work in which she is about to embark. 

Mom’s comments

So, here I am trying to be a great blogging person – not!  I like that in her email Jessica asked me to ask Cathy to publish her address on Facebook, which I already did by the way – I guess she does not have much confidence in her old mother – an opportunity I suppose I have earned.  But in spite of the past, I shall try to move forward, in an effort to regain her confidence.  I shall serve her as she serves the Lord.  I will try my best to keep you up to date on what is happening, at least as much as she tells me, which by the way, has not been much.  From the day, exactly one month short of 6 months ago, President Monson lowered the age for Sister missionaries and Jessica decided she wanted to serve, it has been a whirlwind tour. From the first appointment with her bishop in Logan to being dropped off at the MTC, things have happened so fast that I have had to stop and reflect on what happened before I can even talk about it.  As her mother, the person who first felt her presence on this earth, I am overwhelmed at the joy I feel.  Jessica embraced the gospel at an early age, she was the one who reminded us that we need to sit down and be quiet so we could listen to conference.  She was the one who put her head on my shoulder and cried as we sat in the tabernacle because she could not hear Sister Tanner, due to the many young women and their mothers walking on the hardwood floors.  And now, as you read in her email, she has allowed the Holy Spirit to enter her heart and mind as she prepares to teach the gospel in the Lord’s behalf and at His request.  I love her so much and I will try to keep you up to date as she shares with us her experiences in the New Hampshire, Manchester Mission.  If you would like to write her, the address, at this moment is

Sister Jessica Vanderhoef;  New Hampshire Manchester Mission;  2 Bedford Farms Drive, suite 208;  Bedford, NH  03110-6525      I will update if this is changed.  The mission president sent us a letter reminding us that short letters of encouragement that are reassuring and uplifting are best.  He suggested that we avoid writing about problems that may cause undue concern. So, I pass that on to you with love and gratitude that you would take time out of your busy lives to share some kind words of encouragement with my daughter.  Thank you – happy day!!

Jessica’s first email

So we leave on Monday, Our flight leaves at 7:15 from Salt Lake and we have a lay over in Detroit at 2:15.
The MTC hasn’t been too bad. It’s not my favorite place in the world, but for two weeks I can handle it. I just don’t like the food.
My teachers have been great though. They were Brother Reddish and Brother Lewis. They would each teach us in three hour segments during the day. They would just teach us how to teach using the fundamentals of the Gospel.
I have found that I am a terrible teacher. I have no idea how I am supposed to make a profession out of it one day. At least this is a different situation. I have gotten better as the days go on. I’ve gotten better at paying attention to the Spirit’s promptings on what to say. I would be the world’s worst teacher if the Spirit wasn’t helping me out.
We had a devotional on Tuesday. Scott Whiting and his wife spoke.  He spoke about how the Spirit can help us as we keep ourselves worthy of his presence. It was a really good talk.
On Sunday, we watched a previous talk that Elder Bednar had given while he was in the MTC.  He told us that we need to turn to others and serve them, instead of being selfish and only caring about ourselves.
I had to get a stinky tetanus shot yesterday. My arm is still sore.
I saw Hillary or Sister Brown and I made sure to take a picture with her before she left for Germany.
I met this little old man, who  I spoke with after getting my shot yesterday. He was so sweet. I cried when I talked to him and when I told my companion and roommates about him. Oh and Sister Rasmuson. She’s a Sister in my district that is so sweet. Last Saturday, I really felt down in the dumps, but we role played teaching the first vision. At first I struggled. I was shaky and I thought James 1:5 was really John 3:7. Don’t ask, I don’t know what I  was thinking. Anyway, once Sister Rasmuson helped me find the right scripture I moved on the to the part where Joseph Smith was praying. The Spirit was so strong and that was honestly when I got my answer about the Book of Mormon being true. We both ended up just being in tears when I finished. After that Sister Rasmuson and I have been great friends. I am going to miss her after the MTC. She’s going to Washington. Hopefully, through email, I’ll still be able to stay in touch with her.
Last night, I asked one of the Elders for a blessing. I asked Elder Whitehead, just all day, I felt like I needed to ask him for a blessing. Well, that ended up being the first blessing he had ever given. All the Elders were in the circle and Elder Whitehead gave me a beautiful blessing. He was SO nervous, but we were all so proud of him for doing such a great job.
In my personal study I’m reading the Book of Ether. Today, Sister Talbot and I were reading the end of Mosiah for companion study and we actually read the chapter when King Mosiah was translating the Book of Ether. I got really excited about it. I think she was getting a little weirded out, but whatever. I need to go read more of Ether though.
I love you and hope things are going well!
Love,
Jess or Sister Vanderhoef (that’s still weird)