Sept 8, 2014

Dear Family & Friends:

Here’s this week: We spent a lot of the week up in Franklin. We spent Tuesday up there seeing our investigators Sue and then Anthony. We also saw a less active member Bro. Couture. He has this massive cat. His name is Nielson. On Wednesday we were up in Franklin helping Anthony’s friend Michael move. Sister Jensen and I amazed them with how much we could do. It was pretty funny.

Thursday we had interviews with President Stoker.
Friday and Saturday we had exchanges with the Laconia Sisters. I got to go back to Laconia and see Judi, the Swains, Sam, the Ortons, and many other people. It was fun to see what Laconia looked like in the summer. It’s alive! Laura May finally got her horse she was promised at Christmas. His name is Dreamer.
This week is going to be crazy. We have a meeting in Manchester tomorrow, District meeting in Concord Wednesday, and have exchanges with the Manchester Wednesday night to Thursday. I get to spend a lot of time in the great land of Manch-Vegas this week! Luckily I’ll be in my area for the end of the week. Next week we start our of zone conferences so I won’t be in my areas at all.  We have to go to two of them, so my last week I will only be in my area for some of Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Jessica sounds so happy and excited – Sprinting with the Spirit!! – She’s not counting, but I am – TWO MORE WEEKS!!    AWESOME!

Beginning of the End

Q:  How are you feeling about coming home?
A:  I’m feeling fine about coming home.
Q:  How was your week?
A:  Last week we did our first round of meetings. We had interviews for one of the zones we’re over. During those we do a zone meeting, so we got to teach about Christlike Attributes. We get to do the same thing this Thursday, but at least we get to have our own interviews this week. We got to go on exchanges with the Sisters in Hanover, NH. This was the first time I stayed in my area and I felt like a crazy person! Plus we were low on miles so we just walked to contact less active members in Boscowen and Penacook. It was actually really fun! While we were walking I saw a couple of churches that do soup kitchens or food pantries, which is perfect because we’re trying to find places to do service near us because we’re getting Elders again in our area and they’re getting the service opportunities we do. One of the churches we saw was the “Immaculate Conception Church” I don’t really know what to think of the name of this church.

On Saturday we found a new investigator! We said hi to this lady as we were getting out of the car and she immediately started talking to us. She had been going through some rough stuff with her dad being sick and finding a place to live in NH so she could help him (she just moved from South Carolina).  We get to meet with her tomorrow!
Q:  What are you doing for Pday today?
A:  We’re just going to take it easy. I lost one of my Maine pins so we’re going to see if we can find one at the flag store in Concord. Would you and Dad like any New Hampshire souvenirs?   (of course)  So laundry and grocery shopping it is…
Q:  Shall we do some of your NH favorites at the open house like:  is it peanut butter and fluff?
A:  I can’t eat peanut butter so we can pass on the fluffernutter. I don’t really want any NH favorites.  (I know she has loved the food and company so I take this to mean she really is ready to come home)
So, for any friends who might be reading this:
Sister Vanderhoef will be flying into the Salt Lake City Airport on Wednesday, September 24th at 7:25pm.  We will drive to the Stake Center so she can be released from her mission.  Our bishop said he received an amazing letter from Jessica’s mission president this past week stating how wonderful she has been and what a wonderful job she has done.
Jessica has been invited to speak at sacrament meeting on Sunday, Sept 28th
Our ward (Lehi 1st)  meets at 9:00am (200 North 200 West, Lehi, Utah)
Please join us, we will have treats afterward at our home – come by and say hi.
Ok, happy Sept 1st – I am off to take a link off the ‘Jessica is coming home paper chain‘ the nieces and I have made – Love you all – the mom.

Catch up – Again

Sorry I am so slow – unlike Joseph Smith, I had to go back and see where I left off.  July 21st, that is so embarrassing, over a month.  Oh well, here you go:   If some of this is a repeat – I am sorry for that too.

On Wednesday we went to go contact a less active member that Brother Parker home teaches. Well, she moved, but we found this little neighborhood that we had never seen before. It was really cool. We spent some time down there tracting. We didn’t find anyone who was very interested, but we were happy to find a new little part of our area.

We also met with Debbie, Allen and Aaron that day. They’re so funny. They all live in the same apartment complex. We taught the Plan of Salvation with Brother Colby. He reminds me of Dad. Him and his wife joined the church about 5 years ago. Before our lesson we were talking about how to invite the three of them to be baptized. We got to our lesson late and slightly frazzled so we did a terrible job preparing Brother Colby for the lesson. Luckily he just went along with it all. At the end he bore a powerful testimony about eternal families and eternal families. Sister Tyler jumped in on that and brought up baptism, then I asked them the baptismal invitation. They said they want to be baptized, but are confused why they would need to be baptized again. Our lesson had already ran on too long so we set up an appointment to talk about it on Friday. Sadly we haven’t gotten a hold of them since Wednesday. We’re hoping everything’s okay. It’s not like them to cancel on us. For some reason we kept getting our times and days mixed up with each other. Boo!

We got to garden with Brother Gratton again this week. I am becoming the expert bug squisher! Their garden is so cool! Sister Tyler and I weeded the peas and helped them climb up the teepee thing they have. It was really cool. Their daughter Rebecca has it so she can sit in her teepee and eat peas. All she has to do is reach out to grab one. It thought that was a cute idea.

When we were leaving I was trying to wash the dirt on my hands. Well the hose they have is like the length of my foot so you can attach other ones to them. Well…I went to go turn it off and instead turned it ALL THE WAY ON! Yeah…I sprayed Sister Tyler. She was really wet.

After Sister Tyler changed we went and helped Sister Maurice to move some furniture.  She’s this cute Filipino lady. I love her! She had just gotten back from the Philippians so she was still getting over her jet lag. She spent the last 2 months over in Manila visiting her family. She showed us the pictures after we helped her. They’re so cool! She told me I should go with her on her next trip. I wouldn’t mind :). With her and Judi I could have some exciting adventures traveling random countries.

On Saturday the Elders gave us a referral for someone they had talked to in downtown Burlington that wanted to learn more, but lived in our side of the area. It worked out perfectly because they happened to be on the same street we had already planned to go contact a former investigator there. I don’t know why we didn’t realize, but it was the same person! When I put the address in my gps I thought, “this looks really familiar” yeah it was the same one. We talked with her for a second, but she was cooking so we’re going back next Saturday.

On Sunday we met with Jordan and Gabe and Gabe’s family. We actually had the lesson at his parent’s, the Bosen’s, and taught the lesson with his dad, Jordan and Gabe. It was really good. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We read through the pamphlet then talked about the different parts of it. We don’t normally do that, but felt Jordan would like that. We asked her about baptism again and this time she said,”not yet”. She seems to like it more each time we meet with her. She’s so sweet.

Yesterday at church we had a pot luck after church. Micalea, one of the college students that just came back for school came and sat by us. We were talking about the usual stuff. Where are you from, where did you go to school, you know. Well she went to BYU Hawaii. I mentioned how I had friends who played soccer out there. She got excited and said wait who? As soon as I said, “Makelle” we both said “you know Makelle Yates!” She lived with Makelle and know Chanise and Kammi. How crazy is that! Small world. She texted them right then. It was so weird to think she’s actually talking to them haha. Isn’t that so crazy!?

That’s kind of it for exciting stuff. I have two tomatoes that are red. My other ones are working on it. I moved more in the bathroom. And yes, I sing to them haha.


August 4th

We got to go to the Joseph Smith Memorial for Zone Conference on Tuesday. It is so wonderful there. There’s a quote in one of the houses there by Elder Worthlin that says there are angels in the trees watching over it. Members out here have told me if they can’t get to the temple they go to the JSM. It is so nice a peaceful there. Definitely not Burlington, VT haha.

Guess what!? We have a new investigator! She is a college student at UVM. She went to the Hill Cumorah pagent (I forget Palmyra is like across the lake from me) and just loved it. She went with one of her good friends, who is a member. We met with her on Thursday and she is so excited to learn more. She even came to church! I haven’t had an investigator come to church in over 4 months. I was really excited!
Do you remember Mrs. Ogden from Willowcreek? Well she is serving at the Joseph Smith Memorial. How crazy is that?
Things are good here. We find out about transfers this week. We’ll see if I’ll stay or not. It’s crazy to think that next week starts my last transfer. Weird!

So I’m getting transferred. I’m going to be a Sister Training Leader again, which means I’m going to blink and this transfer will be over before I know it. It’s going to be crazy! I’m excited though. I can feel I’ve done all I can in Burlington. I’m sad to go, but I know it will be okay. I’m probably going to Maine or New Hampshire. There is only one Sister Training Leader area in Vermont, and I know I’m not going there.
August 11th:
I’m in Canterbury, NH now. I’m right next to Laconia!
Here’s Sister Jensen, my companion

August 11th

Here’s a picture of Ann. She was really excited to hear back from you. That was a very sweet email she sent.

She was so excited you told her my first name. She’s so funny.
She gave me this as we left (the wooden smiley face)

August 18th
Yesterday, we had a lesson with a recent convert Cheryl. She was baptized a month ago. When we got there she had her book of mormon open to 2 Nephi with her bible on the left side open to Isaiah and another bible reference book on the right side. She told us she is determined to figure out what in the world Isaiah is talking about! She wants to understand it so bad!
We went through the restoration with her. It was so cool to hear her bare her testimony of her conversion with each thing we talked about.
When I was on exchange in December with the Cantebury Sisters, we actually taught Cheryl, so it was SO cool to see her again. It’s weird I pretty much already know this ward from all the exchanges I’ve been on here.
On Saturday we saw this sweet old lady who lives in the Veterans home. We read 1 Nephi 2 with her. She told us, “don’t make your soup! Just leave! You don’t have time to make your soup and pack up you just have to leave when the Lord tells you to!” And then she told us to eat her grapes. I love reading scriptures with old people!

Oh yeah! Brother Couture is teaching us how to speak “New England”

August 25th:
This week has been good. It’s a little frightening that I’ll be home in less then a month. It’s kind of crazy!
I got to go to Wolfboro on exchange. That was fun.
Here’s an update on our funny investigators. Our investigators Joey and Anthony accepted a baptismal date for Oct.12. We have a few things to follow up with, but we were really excited about it because they brought it up themselves. We read 2 Nephi 31 and then Anthony told us he wants to be baptized! Their friend Michael is slowly becoming interested. We invited him to join us at the picnic table we always meet at. At first it turned into I’m here for moral support, then he was almost talking the book of Mormon out of Anthony’s hands. We met with them twice a week and on Saturday Michael came down with us like he was supposed to be there haha. It was pretty funny.  We’re going to help Michael move next week. He’s actually moving closer to us which is good. We won’t lose him. Anthony told us dinosaurs are in the bible. It’s in Job 40:15-24. It could be…or a hippopotamus if you look at the bible dictionary. You know same thing haha.

Ok, that is it for now – caught up – we shall see how we do today!  Love you all, Mom

September 1st, 2014 – 24 more days!

Wow, days, we are talking days!  This is so strange.  This is one very proud mother. I know this is meant to be a place to share Jessica’s thoughts and letters, but still, you have to put up with a few of my own.

Two years ago, a mission was just a fleeting thought – then it became a possibility and then a reality and now it is very close to becoming a remembered and valued experience.  My dear Jessica, as you go back and read this blog for what it contains and what you will yet add to it,  please remember always the overwhelming love you have for the Savior and your appreciation for the work and sacrifice that He put forth in our behalf.  You have been such a vital part of that work – you have shared so much, but in return, you have received so much.  You have worked with amazing companions, wonderful members and memorable contacts.   The conversion stories will never be forgotten and the lessons you have taught and the lessons you have learned about working and sharing and caring about others will impact every relationship you have from this day forth.

Most important of all, the challenging moments you have experienced, with health, communication, and/or understanding yourself, will strengthen you through the hard times that lie ahead.  We wouldn’t be here if we did not have reason to grow, or help others to grow – always closer to our Heavenly Father.   Jessica, remember always what you have learned about ‘Sprinting with the Spirit’.

Your 18 month mission in New Hampshire may be almost over, but your lifetime mission is  just beginning.  You have a lifetime of joy ahead – another phase of study, planning, working and expanding the limits of your love for others and your dedication to share the good news of the gospel.  We have yet to witness the full power of Heavenly Father’s plan in your life – a life of caring about yourself, your family and those whose lives you will impact daily by your determination to live as you have been taught.  If you don’t remember anything else, please remember how much your mother loves you and that I KNOW that you are capable of greatness.

            If you believe it – you can do it!  With God,  patience & wisdom, all good things are possible!