Thursday, 27 February 2014

Transfer Calls!

This past saturday we got the first transfer calls! Transfer calls happen every 6 weeks and they tell you if you are getting a new companion, staying in the same place or if you are moving to a different area in the mission.  Elder Brown, my trainer, and I are both staying here which is good because we are starting a few good things such as teaching lessons in Family Home Evenings. 
(This means that we also get fed on Mondays now since we didn't before :) ) We just started the sign up sheet for that, us going to FHE's, and we already have the next month filled out for that. We are getting fed a bunch!!
On Monday after emails, we had a district activity! We went to a pizza place and a random member shows up out of nowhere and paid for us! It was fun being able to hang out with the district members. We then went to Cold Stone Ice Cream and we got a super massive discount! It was a lot of fun.
Once this week I nearly crashed :( ! I was on my bike and I was busy thinking about something else. I was turning left and I looked behind me, seeing that there were cars behind me I started to cycle faster turning towards the left when all of a suden my bike changed direction by itself. I wondered why and I then saw a really fast car zoom past me and it would have hit me if my bike did not turn direction. It builds my testimony that I am out here for the right reasons and that I still have work to do.
We did some service on Saturday when the sun was strong. We went on the Iron Horse Trail and handed out water to people. A few people stopped and we were able to talk to them about the Gospel and also why we were giving out free water. One man stopped and offered us $10 and we told him that we don't accept donations, but it was nice to see.
We talked to a total of 71 people this week, which is our record as a companionship. I start most (about 85%) of the conversations and I find it fun talking to people. A lot of people here are Christian or Muslim, so we have had to come up with some good open ended questions to talk more. Our goal is to talk to 10 people each per day.
We decided to go to a Youth Standards night (Sunday evening) last night so that we could talk to less actives, but when we arrived at the stake center we both felt that we shouldn't be there and so we left to go back. Instead of being there, be talked to a few more people.
 Does anyone from Holland know Martijn Scherk ? He's on a mission in SLC East mission with my friend Emily. 
This past Sunday we also tried a few new things including sitting next to members so that we can gain more trust and build better relationships. It is important to build relationships with the members so that they can trust you with their referrals. So far we have had a lot of referrals from the youth. We welcome people to church and also gave out the sacrament meeting programmes last Sunday. One more thing that we tried out while in church was to see all the late comers and the new faces (those who sit in sacrament meeting and then disappear). I saw a few new faces at the back and went over to them as soon as I could. It was a man and his daughter. He was from Russia and he told us that he knows about his church, but his daughter does not and he wanted to introduce the church to her. They seem very nice and it seemed like they will be back next week :-)  
Well here comes another week! It is really starting to get hot over here! Though it is supposed to rain a lot starting Wed. Hope everyone is doing well.
I know that this is the true church, that Heavenly Father really does look out for us and that He loves each of us super much.
Elder Kloosterboer

Thursday, 20 February 2014

New Mission Training Follow-up

This week has been busy kinda. 

On Tuesday we had a zone conference where we were talked about questions of the soul and how to use the Book of Mormon to answer those questions. That took a few hours but the spirit was strong in the room the whole time. I plan on keeping a small book with these questions on them with references to the Scriptures since I don't memorize Scriptures well. Afterward, since my companion is a district leader, we had another meeting that lasted only an hour. We talked a lot about rules and how we could better talk to people that we see. 

Going through a tunnel!
On Wednesday I got to drive! We went to Oakland near the mission home because we had to attend a new mission training follow up. It was a lot of fun, because I was able to see all the elders from my MTC district. After about 4 hours of meetings I got to drive us home! The sisters let us use their car while they car pooled with some other sisters. Since the other sisters' car did not have a TIWI, which keeps track of everything you do including the revs, they were speeding all the way back! I was driving and it kept telling me to slow down! When we got in a tunnel we were able to speed because the GPS signal was lost! (Not really, it was rush hour!)

On Thursday
 we had a baptism where we helped set up. We taught the first lesson, the Restoration of the Church, in front of everyone who was there and it was my first time going through the whole lesson! Somehow we both did really well and had people thanking us at the end. (I was super worried because in the practices I kept on messing up-and so I practiced a ton while we were setting up!) We also helped confirm after the baptism.
Near the Iron Horse Trail

On Friday we had our first set appointment with the mission president!  It was good and I was complimented on me wanting to learn more. President Meredeth said that I just had that face, to learn more. And it is true, I don't know why, but I just want to learn and learn! 

On Sat, we decided that we would talk to people. Since most people don't work on Saturdays, we were able to have a few good long conversations with people on the Iron Horse Trail! We did that for a few hours and I felt super tired when we took a dinner break. After dinner Elder Brown felt sick and so we stayed in for a bit longer but then went back out to talk to even more people and exceeded our goal to talk to 20 people. (Super cool!)
View out of my apartment

This week, we have a few appointments set up which we are super excited for! One of which is Anthon. We met him on the Iron Horse Trail right after a long day. I might have mentioned him last week, but he has been praying for a sign and we showed up. We were not going to talk to him but I felt that we should, and we turned back and talked.  He went to a Christian missionary church in the Philippines for 2 years, so he knows a bit already.
We also got 4 investigators to come to church this week which was super cool! 

I always feel like I leave something out! So much happens in a week! But that is it for now. 

My bishop knows the Boom family from Holland!  His name is bishop Herring.  Small world.

We have a Costco and a Target within our district but no Walmart which is a shame as I like to buy things from there.

Just a few sentences on my companion. His name is Elder Brown and he is a district leader.  He is a super nerd and is introverted. He was home schooled and wants to be a computer game designer. We are both learning from each other and we both like HTML! 

We taught a lesson in church to the Little Family (Investigating the church for a year now) and we talked about how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and how it has a history in it. But it is so true that when you know that the Book is true, that you know the church is true too. And I know that this is the restored church on earth and that everyone is welcome to find out for themselves.

We have transfers on Tuesdays and the next one will be Tuesday 25th. I think I'll probably be staying here though as I'm on a 12 week training programme, but we'll see. You hear the Saturday beforehand if you will be transferred.

See you next week!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Elder Cook at Mission Conference; Investigators

Hello Everyone! :-)

This has been a good week. A few things have happened this week that I would like to tell you about. Before I do that I would just like to say that I am enjoying this experience as a missionary. It is so nice to be able to bike around to look for people to help. I am getting buffer with all the biking we do and since the church is on a hill it takes us about 30 minutes to cycle each way! The members here are starting to trust us more and are definitely inviting us over way more for dinner :-D The benifits of a missionary are innumerable hehe. We have the rest of the month full with even a few lunches sorted. Today we are going to Costco with a member from the other ward who likes to take us there. She also likes to help pay for some of the items and takes us out for lunch. That is what I will be doing after we finish emailing today :-) The weather here is super nice! But it has been raining the last couple of days and we are back on track to get out of the drought. The only bad thing with the rain is that my bike doesnt have any things to cover the wheels yet. (We plan to fix this today) Talking about bikes, my companion's bike broke (Hahaha). He got a puncture in his wheel just after we visited a members house right on the border of our mission. It was raining and we walked back. It took just under an hour but it was a lot of fun as we talked about games and such. We got a member to fix it as we had no tools. We had a mission conference on Friday.

Elder Cook came and talked to the whole mission! We went over the bridge because the meeting was near San Francisco and we actually went through a bit because we took the wrong exit at one point which was fun because it was interesting to see all the people there. This mission conference took up the whole day and it was a good experience. 

Just before it started a sister, sister Mitchell, came up to me and said hello. Then she went on to say, do you remember me? I said hmm no. She then said that she was the one who I told to shut up in front of the whole class! I then rememberd her since we were in the same business class a year ago! I did tell her to shut up in front of the whole class because she was flirting with a guy and I was teaching the class, and I asked her to be quiet so that I could teach. She has been out on her mission for 8 months. 

Elder Cook came in and shook everyone's hands! It was fun and it was also fun to see everyone's smiles at the end of shaking the hands. Many things were talked about and the spirit was strong. But I would like to write a few things about what meant the most to me. When the Apostles decide where you go on your mission it is because they got strong feelings. There are three reasons why people go to a certain place. 1. It is to learn from the mission president and his wife. 2. Because of the people 3. Because of the influence it will have on your future life. I left my notebook at the apartment, and would say more but I write too much. Afterwards I had to meet with Elder Taylor becuase I did not pay my taxes for a gun show that I and a few friends sold at. The mission president gave me permission to call home to get certain numbers! Man! Unfortunately I forgot my mum's phone number and my old phone number was transferred to someone else. So if you want to call home just don't pay your taxes! - don't do that though. On the way home it took like an hour to move a mile! We got home way late.

This week has also been good. We have been talking to a lot more people and we are starting to ask good questions. A few weeks ago, we went to a potential investigator's home (someone who might be interested in the church so that we can teach them) and so we talked to this man. In the process of him telling us that he was not interested, I interrupted and asked if we could come by anyway because I need to practice teaching lessons. Funny, he accepted to help us. Now we get to teach him! We plan on visiting him soon. On another day we were having a hard day and everyone we talked to just was too busy or not interested. We decided to press on and keep going. When it was time to go home we went on the Iron Horse (a long trail we use a lot) and there was one man on there. We rode past him and it just felt wrong not to speak to him so I stopped and told my companion that we were going to talk to him. I started by asking if he went to college, and the conversation started. We got his phone number and he texted us later that night telling us that he had been praying for a sign... We were happy that we stopped and talked to him :-) The next morning we were cycling and a man shouted, "hey!" We stopped and he told us that he had a dream about going to church the night before. He had been to the church before in his life and told us that he wanted to attend church this week! he told us that he knew he was welcome, as is everyone to go to church.

We visited a less active member (someone who is still a member, but doesn't come to church). His name is brother Banks. There are two families that live in his house. Oh goodness! What an interesting man. He kept on talking about politics and people and thinking and all this kinda stuff. I am not here to be taught, I am here to teach. After like an hour of him talking and saying all these "pun" jokes all the time we shared a scripture about us being free according to the flesh. Of course he decided to test us. It was interesting and I learned how to better tell what that scripture said.

We also visited a man called Victor. He is a solid Christian. But he has been reading the Book of Mormon and has been comparing it to the Bible. He let us in and we had a lesson. It was my first real lesson and it was nice to feel the power that comes through as we taught him. We also visited the Little family who live way out there. They have been investigating the church for about 1 year now and we were able to get a feel for what they need. It was good and I think I am gaining weight! I mean they gave us a ton of food!

I have written too much! Last week we went bownling for a zone acitivty, it was good but it takes so much of your P-day! Oh yea, we also did a service project this week pulling weeds and making a chicken coop thingy. Elder Brown ate his first omelet! Well that is it for this week.

Till next week! (Hopefully I will be able to make these shorter and get more pictures)

Elder Kloosterboer

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Time seems to be really strange on the mission. This week has been good. Last week Wednesday I cut my own hair for the first time in my life and I think it looks great! Elder Brown, my companion, did his own hair and he missed a massive spot at the back! So I thought I would help him. We have been making a few signs because we would like to teach more people. I have only taught one lesson since being out in the field. I have learnt that success is not the amount of people being baptized, but rather it is doing the best you can, just going for it. 

We are visiting some people who the ward and other missionaries having been working on for a long time and they are going to be baptized soon. Then another person is going to be baptized soon too!

This is the church, its pretty big inside.

I decided to write, "You are a Child of God" on one of the posters. We have plans to try it out this week and on another sign we are making we are making a really simple plan of happiness diagram.  At church last Sunday I really liked it when a primary person went up and shared two lines. "I know god loves me, I know this church is true" and it just brought the spirit and it was nice to hear. 

This past Friday to Saturday I went on 
exchanges with the zone leaders. It was really good and lasted 24 hours. Though the worst part was that
they had like no food in the apartment so we went out for lunch. While at lunch my companion, Elder Collard - or something - went to the bathroom and while I was standing there I started to to a lady who was drinking coffee. I talked to her and then left her with a pass along card which see really seemed to study. We left and talked to a total of 24 people or so that day. Luckily for me the zone leaders are in a car area so I got a rest from biking! I love biking though and we do a lot of miles each day! 

We were able to go to the temple last week and it was really good.

We bought a MICRO usb to usb so I can now upload some photos although the computers at the library are very old and slow. I was finally able to catch up on some emails but still not able to do it all as I didn't have much time last week and then this week it was difficult to get on the computers at the library. Hopefully we'll get ipads soon. That would speed up the work - everyone here is connected lol.
I am enjoying this experience. It rained this week for the first time and I was able to use my rain coat which was cool. Sun now and I am in a short sleeved shirt. This week marks my one month birthday of my mission! See you all next week!
Love, Elder Kloosterboer

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Visit to Oakland

My homesickness has gone! Just miss not being able to flirt! haha. 

Oh yea!! the last Tuesday in the MTC Elder David A Bednar gave a talk and it was so good!!! We only had an hour, but I could have listened for another 6! The last time they came they asked us to ask them questions and so they got thousands of questions! They, him and his wife, gave us answers to 6 of the questions and they were so good!!!!Oh man!!!!

One of the things he talked about is the priesthood and women. The priesthood is not only for males. We are all equal but that doesn't mean we are the same. Women and men compliment each other. The priesthood is like an umbrella, it's there for everyone and the man is holding it up.

I have a lots of emails today that I haven't got to, so luckily I can email more on Monday.

This week has been interesting and good! We had our P-day moved to today (Wed Jan 29th) because we had the opportunity to go the the Oakland Temple! It is so huge! I really enjoyed it but it took like 4 hours in total with traffic jams along the way home. Unfortunately the computer here, at the Library, does not have any SD card slots and so I will need to send pictures next week.. or when I am able to buy something to transfer the pictures.

So I am serving in San Ramon and everyone is rich. We see loads of crazy cars here and last night, we cycled up this massive hill for dinner and we walked outside to the back yard and a massive RV was just parked there! I thought that was crazy, and the view was amazing! The members are great here and they also feed us a lot. We only cook a few nights in the week which is really nice!

Here are some google map pictures from around where I live now.  This one is looking East from San Ramon. My apartment is just below the swimming pool you can see there.

The one below is looking north from San Ramon.

This one is looking south from San Ramon.

This one is looking west from San Ramon. Over the mountains is Oakland and the Bay Area.

Some of the things that we have done this past week are that we went tracting for the first time and it was ok. My companion Elder Brown and everyone else here has seen no success from tracting. I told him that I wanted the experience of someone slamming the door in our faces. So we went to the first door and a women answered, no luck. Then we talked about what we could do to improve and as we were doing this a man was walking his dog on the other side of the street so we started to talk to him. We found out that the last missionaries had talked to him before and he says that he is solid in his faith.  Anyway, we had a 15 minute conversation and left him with a Book Of Mormon.

We have a goal to open our mouths to people where we have a conversation about the gospel and where we leave with a commitment, so far the mission as a whole is seeing lots of miracles. This is interesting, we were cycling around when we stopped at an intersection. A woman was carrying a few bags and they broke during the intersection right in front of us, so we helped her and we found out that she lives in the same apartment complex as us. We walked her home and talked about the Church, In fact she was the one who brought it up. The next day we went to the Hospital to see if we could do anything there and on our way back we saw the same woman! We talked to her and then left her with a pamphlet. Though she is not in our ward boundaries (because we live outside of the boundaries) we referred her to the sisters. We had no idea how this transition would work and then she needed help cleaning her apartment, so we did and now the sisters are able to teach her.

There is so much to write and just a few more minutes left! We were able to do a service project for an older woman in our ward, we pruned some rose bushes. It was fun but we were so exhausted afterward. Each day we are super exhausted at night. We cycle so much here and everything is on a hill - even when you think it is flat it's not.

Most people here are white, the first Sunday was good and lots of people are getting to know us. We were able to add 3 new investigators this week, a family of three, because one of the young men in the ward referred them to us. Hoping that it will go well. We also spoke to a man called Victor who is very strong in Christianity. We talked to him and asked about his religion. In the end we were about to leave when I just bore testimony to him that the Book of Mormon is true. We then set up an appointment which is in a week or so.

I know God loves us! I know for sure that the Book of Mormon is true and I know that this is a good work.

Love you all!