I got a letter – July 11, 2014

Dear Mom & Dad,

Yesterday, (Sunday) we were in Charlotte and we saw this small fox running on the side of the road.  It was Crazy!   He was so cute!

We were actually in Charlotte because we have a new investigator!  Her name is Jordan.  She is actually dating a member in the ward.  Jordan has been teaching primary with Gabe for awhile.  About a month ago we asked Sister Olsen if she would invite Jordan to take the lessons.  She said she would think about it.

On Saturday I had the thought we needed to call Gabe and see how Jordan is feeling about it.  Next thing we know, Gabe asks us if we can do a lesson Sunday at 5.  We were shocked but so excited!  That was definitely a prompting not just a thought.

Last Tuesday or Wednesday, I can’t remember, we went to the dentist for Sister Tyler.  It was weird not being the patient for once.

(Jessica sent us ‘802’ stickers)  The 802 stickers are actually our area code.  For some reason everyone out here has them everywhere!  On their cars, in business names, you name it and you will most likely see it.  Well, I’m going to take a quick snoozer – I love you, I hope you have a great week.

Love, Sister Vanderhoef   (I love that she signs it ‘Sister Vanderhoef”


July 9th, 2014 – 11 weeks to go

Did I mention?  Sister Jessica will be showing her beautiful smile at the Salt Lake Airport on September 24th – we don’t know any times as of yet, but will be excited to hear.  She wrote  a wonderful card to her Dad last week – it made me smile when I read it – I know we shouldn’t read other people’s mail, but I think missionary daughters should be the exception:

Dear Dad,

I hear you have become quite the soccer fan, I can’t wait to re-watch those games with you!  We have been busy in Burlington lately!  We’ve been staining a lot of porches.  I think we’ve done one a week.  I’ve enjoyed it though.

We have also been taking the bus a lot more.  I like it.  We took it down to Shelburne last week to see a less active member.  We decided to spend the next two hours tracting or just finding new investigators.  Well,  we didn’t have much luck, but someone game me a popsicle (it was sealed and came from the box, I promise it was safe).

We decided, since it’s Vermont, there are probably more people on trails then on the sidewalks.  Nope, we were wrong.  We start walking and about an hour later we’re getting restless because we seem to be stuck on this never ending trail!  We didn’t now where we were, but then we found Shelburne Bay.  After about another mile, we finally found the main road again.  Luckily we go there right as the bus was pulling up.  It was Crazy!  We met this sweet Asian lady who said we could stop by when we’re in the area.  It was a fun adventure.

My birthday was so great.  I had such a good day.  I don’t know why but I actually do feel different.  That’s never happened on a birthday before.  I just feel like I’m actually becoming who I want to be.  In December, President Stoker told me to set a goal for what I want to do for the rest of my mission.  I decided I want to be happy and confident, like truly happy and confident.  On my birthday, for some reason, I could feel that I was happy and I am confident.  Even though I have 2  1/2 months left, I don’t have to be scared or nervous about going home.  It was like all those mini fears went away.  I just feel more me and I’m starting to begin to see myself the way Heavenly Father sees me.  (and isn’t that what a mother who believes we can have all the blessings our Heavenly Father has in store for us if we are willing to see it His way, wants to hear?  I know it is hard to make these choices – sometimes we allow ourselves to be  more influenced by the people we want to impress than the teachings of our Heavenly Father and Jesus – but what great joy when you realize that your children ‘Get It’  )

I love you Jessica, I am so proud of you!  (Mother’s are allowed some ‘parent pride’ moments)   Happy Day!!!!!!

Its the 4th of July, almost

Dear Jessica, as you read this you will see a bit of a gap in the postings, again.  I am so sorry, I lost the log in information, and then, wonder of wonders, I remembered!  So, lets get caught up.  Today is actually the 3rd of July, you come home in 12 weeks.  Wow, sometimes you seem so far away and then, like magic, you are coming home – it really has gone quickly.  I love reading your letters – you sound so happy. 

Jessica was transferred to Bath, Maine and was getting all settled when she got a surprise phone call, pack your bags, you are headed for South Burlington, Vt.  and now I quote:

I think I’m finally settled in So Burlington.  One of the less active members we met with is from Sacramento (Calif)  She was sealed in the Oakland temple.  I think it was around the same time you did.  (we were sealed in 1979)  She is really sweet, her name is Sister Pratt.  She is new a little nervous to come to church because she is new to the ward, but we’ll help her with that. 

So there is a member who introduces himself as Porter Rockwell to everyone.  He even has long hair.  He is really funny.  His name is Brother Carpenter.  I think you would like him Dad.  On his first trip to the temple they had to go to D.C.  During one of the days he was browsing a bookstore and found a book on Porter Rockwell.  I told him about Porter’s Place in Lehi and he said, “I know I’ve been there.  Its named after me you know.”  He hasn’t really been there.   (We sent him a copy of the biography of Porter Rockwell – he loved it) 

The next letter spoke of Jessica’s excitement when she found 3 new investigators,

“Last time I found 3 new investigators in a week was last summer!  2 of our new investigators are Judie and Kramer.  We stained their porch last week.  Their son is a member in the Essex, Vt ward.  On Friday we helped him stain a porch.  We’ve been staining a lot of porches lately.  Our other new investigator is Aaron.  We had a lesson with Debbie this week.  Debbie is an investigator the Elders taught but she wanted sisters so we met her last Wednesday.  When we went to see her again on Sunday she invited Aaron over!  He lovedthe restoration and is so excited to read the Book of Mormon.  We’re going over on Tuesday to read with them. 

Last Thursday at district meeting I played the piano like at every other District meeting but this time I played with both hands.  I haven’t done that since we left Alpine.  I played ‘We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet’ and ‘I Believe in Christ’  They were in the simplified hymn book of course, so it wasn’t that impressive (her mother thinks it is)  I’m just happy I was brave enough to do that when people were singing.  In Bath, I relearned how to play with my left hand but last week I actually did it.”

In this week’s letter, Jessica spoke of her birthday.  She was so excited and happy to receive so many cards and emails and packages.  She even got an ecard from Judie. 

“This week we had an amazing lesson with our investigator Hazel.  A member, Sister Wallace came with us.  We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Hazel is so close!  She just needs to come to church.  She knows the Book of Mormon is true.  She agrees and is willing to follow all the commandments we’ve taught her from lesson 4.  She just needs to come to church.  I think she’ll come to church by next week. 

Its finally summer here The humidity is beginning to set in.  The crazy part is it will only be super hot for July, then August is perfect weather and it begins to cool off by September.  It is so strange.  There’s as Elder in my district who’s going home the same time as me.   We always joke that it could still be in the 60’s or 70’s for us by the end of September.  New England is so much chillier than Utah & California.  It sure is beautiful.  I love looking at the trees and seeing the cardinals and blue jays.  It is so pretty! 

This is from June 9th:

This week was good. Crazy but good. We met with Rae Palmer this week. She’s a less active member in our ward. She used to live in Lehi when she was in 9th grade. Her family moved to San Francisco after that. It was during the war, I think she said it was in 1941. I told her she would not even recognize Lehi anymore. 
It’s really starting to warm up. It’s so nice! We have to figure out the bus system this week. Our car is getting fixed (before I got here someone hit the Sister’s car) so we get to walk around and ride the buses. It will be an adventure, but it will be an adventure that’s good for us. 
This weekend we’re going on exchanges with the Montpeiler sisters. We’re going to meet them in Waterbury so I might get to go to the Ben and Jerry’s factory for a snack :). I’m excited. 
So, on June 16th, I emailed Jess about Emily’s wedding:  I told her Her dad was the first in the line, honestly, I did not recognize him at first – and as I am thinking I don’t know anyone but the couple and yes, even at 62, you still have that moment of what would I say?  He looked at me, asks, are you Jessica’s mother?  and says, may I give you a hug?  I love that girl!  Then he turned to his wife and proudly said, This is Jessica’s Mom!  Then  Emily turned from the people she was talking to and the three of them spent the next very cherished moments talking about how amazing you are and how much they love you and how, even in your absence, your are part of their lives and part of their day.  Emily did, in fact, wait until that morning to read your email – it meant so much to her.  and as I said, she will be by your side when your special day arrives.  You are so loved by these people, Jessica.  Emily did promise me that she will have lots of pictures for you.  I told her you love your mission and that you are so grateful for the opportunity but that the 2 hardest days for you were the wedding days of your best friends.  Then Jessica wrote back:
“Wow, I didn’t know I meant that much to them. Thank you for telling me that. This may sound funny, but I’m starting to realize that I mean a lot more to people then I think. The last few days people have told me things similar to things like this and I had no idea I meant that much to people or that people saw me that way. I just always feel I’m as crazy and spastic as my curly hair is. It has just been very humbling to hear people saw these things. Thank you so much for going to Emily’s wedding. It does mean a lot to me that you went.

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I know this is all a little random – but I love my missionary – and she loves her mission.  Thanks – have a great day!!

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