Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving - Testimony of a Missionary

Hola everyone!!! Can you believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow?? I am super excited and the MTC has a way fun day planned for the missionaries to celebrate!

So much has happened this week but I don't have tons of time so I am just going to keep everything brief!!

Dallin H. Oaks came to our Tuesday Night Devotional last night and talked to us all about missionary work.  I was in the choir and we all got to sing 'Nearer, My God to Thee' to one of the 12 apostles, it was AWESOME!  My favorite part of Elder Oaks talk was when he asked us two questions. Why are we missionaries? and How are we being missionaries?  I love these two questions because not only do they apply to missionaries, but they also apply to members in the church.  Why are we members? and How are we being members?  I don't know about you, but these questions really get me thinking and remind me that I should have an answer for both.  Do I have a testimony?  Why am I a member of this church?  Am I being a member missionary and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone through my words and actions?  Anyway, just a little thought!

Thanksgiving is going to be wonderful in the MTC.  Our schedule for the day is: breakfast, choir practice, devotional with a General Authority (we don't know who yet but I am super excited), Thanksgiving lunch (yes I am praying for some gluten free Thanksgiving food), time for letter writing, Humanitarian Center program, Thanksgiving music program, dinner (we get sack lunches for dinner...), humanitarian service project, movie!  Rumor has it that the movie will be Meet the Mormons but who knows!! Either way I am super excited for tomorrow and I feel so blessed to not only celebrate Thanksgiving, but do a service project for people in need!  For the General Authority devotional, the choir is singing 'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.'  We practiced it yesterday and it is going to be INCREDIBLE.  The spirit flooded the room right as the organ began playing and it was just the practice!  I can only imagine the power of the Spirit when we sing it for realtomorrow.  It is an 8 part song, I am singing in the second soprano section (I don't know much about singing and to be honest I could be an alto for all I know...but I just take a seat, smile, and sing), and it is absolutely amazing!  Look up the lyrics, they are powerful.

We got our flight plans last Friday!!!! Literally it was like Christmas. We all ran to the mailbox, and then read our flight plans all together in the classroom!  Such a happy moment and we are all going to our countries!!! Woohoo no one is being sent to Kansas or something like that because of visas. Yay!  Our plane leaves December 1 at 11:45 and we fly to Atlanta, Georgia.  After that four hour flight, we have our second flight which will be 13 hours, and then we will land in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 2!!  Then comes the fun part, we aren't sure, but from our research we think that we will have a 17 hour bus ride to Neuquen after, booya!! Two days straight of traveling.  Good thing I like to travel.

Last week we had our last lessons with our investigator, Marco.  I wish I could tell you all more, but I just want to say that he is one of the most incredible people I have ever met.  Such a strong disciple with a beautiful heart and testimony.

One of the highlights of the week was when we got to Skype with members from other countries!! Hermana Houston and I got super lucky and we had the opportunity to Skype with Sebastian and Veronica who live in Neuquen, Argentina!!! They were so so sweet and we shared a message with them about how we can be converted to the Gospel, not just have a testimony.  At the end of our Skype lesson, Hermana Houston and I were smiling from ear to ear.  It was SO awesome and it made me even more excited to go serve in Neuquen!!!

Alrighty well I am almost out of email time and I need to get packin my bags! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I hope that we all take the time to tell the people we love how thankful we are for them in our lives.  Also, don't forget to take a minute to think about all that our Heavenly Father has given us.  Because of his son Jesus Christ, we too can one day return with our  Father in Heaven, with our families, in never-ending happiness.  I am so thankful for all of you.  Truly.  I am thankful for your love and support and I feel your prayers each and every day.  I am thankful for my family.  I'm sure you are all surprised that I didn't run away from the MTC because I miss and love my family so much.  I'm surprised.  Still here though :)  I am thankful for my friends.  Both my friends serving in the mission field, and my incredible friends at home.  I am thankful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary.  I love it.  I am already 1/18 of the way through and it is already going way too fast.  I am thankful for my companion, Hermana Houston.  She has taught me SO much and I have been blessed with such a devout disciple of Christ by my side.  I am thankful for this Gospel.  I love it with all my heart and I cannot wait to share it with the people of Argentina.  I am thankful for my Savior.  I know that he suffered for me and through him, only through him, I can live with Heavenly Father again for all eternity. I am thankful for each and every day, because I know that each day is a new start, and a second chance to become more like my Savior, Jesus Christ.  One more time, I am thankful for my eternal family. My family is the biggest blessing I have been given in my life and I love them with everything in me.

The story below is one of the many reasons why I chose to serve a mission.  I love this story. I cannot wait to find my friends in Argentina, the ones I promised in Heaven, that I would one day share this beautiful Gospel with them.  I love being a missionary. 

Testimony of a Missionary

The following event took place in a ward in Salt Lake City in 1974. It occurred during a sacrament meeting and was told to me by a Regional Representative of the Twelve who was in the meeting. A young man, just before leaving on his mission stood in sacrament meeting and bore in essence the following testimony:
Brothers and Sisters, as you know, the past two weeks I've been waiting for my mission call. During the time I was waiting I had a dream. I knew it was not an ordinary dream. I dreamed I was in the pre-existence and awaiting my call to come to earth. I was filled with the same anticipation and excitement that I had before I received my mission call. In my dream I was talking to a friend, and I felt a special closeness to him, even though I've never met him in this life. As we talked a messenger came and gave me a letter. I knew it was my call to go to earth. In great excitement my friend and I opened the letter. I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud. It said: "You've been called to earth in a special time and to a special land. You will be born to the true church and you will have the priesthood of God in your home. You will born into a land of plenty, in a land of freedom. You will go to earth in the United States of America."
My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call, and while we were rejoicing the messenger returned. This time he had a letter for my friend. We knew it was his call to earth. My friend gave me the letter to read aloud. His letter said: "You've been called to go to the earth in circumstances of poverty and strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will attend your life. Your land will be fraught with political and social difficulties - which will hinder the work of the Lord. You will be born in Costa Rica."
We wept, my friend and I, as we read his call. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes, and said, "When we are down on earth, you in your choice land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, please come and find me."
The this young missionary, with tears in his eyes, said, "Brothers and Sisters, I have received my mission call. I am going to Costa Rica."
There is a sequel to the story. About a year after the sacrament meeting, the bishop received a letter from the missionary in Costa Rica. The letter had one sheet of paper in it and on that sheet written in capital letters were four words:

the end

Hermana Van Boerum

My Incredible District
Elder Urmton, Elder Brazell, Elder Fuga, Elder Skousen,
Me, Hermana Houston, Hermana Eppley, Hermana Taylor

Best Day Ever!!! Flight Plans :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


​Not too much happens in the MTC but I still love it here!! I am learning a ton. Time has flown by and I have a lot of things to look forward to in the next couple of weeks! In 3 days I will have officially bee on my mission for a month!  Friday I get my travel plans for Argentina.  Next Thursday is Thanksgiving AND the MTC Christmas lights will officially be turned on that night!  A General Authority is coming to speak that day and i am super excited.  12 more days until I leave for Argentina and 12 more days until I get to call and talk to my family in the airport (get excited mommy)! WOOHOO!

This week my testimony of the Book of Mormon, my Savior Jesus Christ, and the Atonement has grown immensely.  It amazes me how a true testimony of one of these things can flood the room with the Spirit.  In our lesson this week with Marco, we taught about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The lesson went really well and Marco started to cry as he bore his testimony of his brother, Jesus Christ. The sacrifice Christ made for us was so great and he did it all out of love.  Yesterday i was reading 3 Nephi 17.  WOW this chapter is awesome.  As I read this chapter, I tried to imagine myself as one of the Nephites and truly feel as they did.  Verse 5 & 6 say: And it came to pass thawhen Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tearsand dilook steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarrlittle longer with them.
 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.
I love these two scriptures.  They truly show how much the Nephites loved their Savior and how they wished he would "tarry a little longer with them."  Christ then says how he is filled with compassion for them, and I know that he is filled compassion for each one of us as well.  He knows how hard it is for us to live on this earth, and how we all wish we could tarry with him.  He wants to be by our sides, to help us through our lives.  The thing that I love about my Savior and the Atonement is that he truly is tarrying with us every second of every day.  Through the Atonement we are blessed to have relief, hope, and comfort.  I know that if we have the desire and true FAITH in Jesus Christ and the power of His Atonement, we can receive the blessings of Salvation.  not only can we feel clean and forgiven, but we can also have hope that our Savior is tarrying with us every step of the way.  I also really like verses 14 & 15 which say:14 And it came to pass thawhen they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, atroubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.
 15 And when he had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and ththings which he prayed cannobe written, and the multituddid bear record who heard him.
Christ kneeled for the Nephites and cried for them.  I know that every day our Savior Jesus Christ is kneeling for each and everyone one of us, praying to our Heavenly Father.  He is troubled because of the wickedness in our world and he is crying for the salvation of all his brothers and sisters on this earth.  I love this chapter of the Book of Mormon and i challenge all of you to read it and feel of your Savior's love.  
The Book of Mormon is amazing.  Read it, study it, feast upon the words of Christ.  When I first got the the MTC, my second day here the Mission President challenged us all to finish the Book of Mormon in the 6 weeks before we leave to Argentina.  I have absolutely loved this challenged as I have read for about 30-45 minutes every morning to start my day.  The power of this book is almost tangible.  I am drawn closer to my Savior the more and more I read it and I cannot wait to see the true power of this book work in the lives of people in Argentina.  If you aren't reading this book, read it.  And if you are, read it even more.  In our Sundaydevotional this week, Richard I. Heaton (MTC administrator) spoke about the power of the Book of Mormon and how we should never lose sight of our testimony.  He said, "Christ does not want to lose any of his sheep, but he definitely doesn't want to lose any of his shepherds."  Never lose sight of your testimony whether it is of Christ, of the Book of Mormon, or of the happiness that can be found when we are doing what is right.  Hold fast to your testimony and strengthen it each and every day through the power of the Book of Mormon.
I love you all and am thankful every single one of you!  
xoxo Sister Anika Van Boerum
P.S. Big shout out to the Reinemers and the darling package you guys sent me!! THANK YOU!  I love it so much and it made my day!  You will be getting a letter from me soon!  My district loved the candy, signs, and sticky window snowflakes. They all say thank you as well!!
Funny moment of the week: In our lesson with Marco, I was trying to say "Also, when..." which in Spanish you would say, "Tambien, cuando..." but for some reason I mixed the words together and instead said "Tambo..." Marco replied with a sarcastic comment and said, "are you from Africa?" Super embarrassing moment (I have these all the time) and Marco couldn't stop laughing for the entire lesson.  I love being a missionary and I am learning from all my funny mistakes! Have a good week y'all, Tambo!
Picture #1: we celebrated the birthday of our teacher, Hermano Stevenson, with balloons and cupcakes!  He loves to play Dungeons and Dragons and makes us laugh all the time.
Picture #2: this is my zone! Too many people to type all the names, sorry!
Picture #3: my cute district and my temporary family.  top row from the left: Elder Fuga (plays football for BYU and is from Huntington Beach, California), Elder Brazell (from Logan, Utah), Elder Skousen (from Chico, California), and Elder Urmston (from Benjamin, Utah)------bottom row from the left: Hermana Houston (from St. George, Utah), me, Hermana Taylor (from South Carolina), and Hermana Eppley (from Elkridge, Utah)      


My District with the District that left on Monday!

Me and Mi Companera!

The First Snow Day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Halfway Through the MTC!

I can't believe I have already been here three weeks. Time is flying by and
I already cannot wait to be in Neuquen, Argentina!!

This week we got two new districts in our zone.  One district consists of
three sisters and the other district has three sisters and two Elders!
They are all so awesome and so much fun.  It is nice not to be the
"newbies" anymore!

Here is a little run down of my daily schedule for all of you that are
wondering.  Also a reminder that this is my schedule every day except for
Sunday!  Yes, Saturdays we study for 9 hours as well.  We wake up at about
6am, study for an hour in class, go to breakfast and gym, go back to class
and study for three hours, go to lunch at 12:50, then go back to class and
study for three hours, go to dinner at 5:45 then go back to class and study
for three more hours.... LOTS and LOTS of studying!! I am learning so much
about the gospel and Spanish.  Studying that much is tough but sometimes my
district and I take little breaks because the Elders tell us that they
can't handle all of that studying.  So then we get into deep discussions
about our lives, the gospel, and sometimes (actually all the time) the
Elders like to tell us all about their girlfriends!  The Elders are all so
funny and they are like brothers to me!

Sundays are one of my favorite days because they are a lot more relaxing
and they are SO spiritual.  The devotionals are awesome and relief society
always has great messages for the Sister missionaries.  Before Relief
Society, we get to watch Music & the Spoken Word.  This is my favorite part
of they day.  Mom, you would absolutely love watching it so Google it and
watch this Sunday's episode!  The music is beautiful. The Spirit flows into
the room the minute the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings.

This week Hermana Houston and I got to lead the Sunday discussion.  Every
Sunday a companionship is chosen to lead a discussion within this district
about the topic of that week.  We had the opportunity to share a message
about Faith in the Atonement and the Spirit was so so strong.  Almost
everyone was crying (including the Elders) and it was such a blessing to
remind us all of the beauty of the Atonement.  Often times when I think of
they Atonement, I think, "How much blood was shed for me?"  Just an
interesting question to think about.  I love the Atonement and I love my

Last night at the Tuesday devotional, Bishop Dean Davies who is the second
counselor of the Church Bishopric spoke to us about patterns and the Holy
Spirit.  He shared a couple really neat stories but my favorite part was at
the end when he and his wife stood together at the pulpit and sang "Love
One Another" to us.  In that moment I felt so loved by these two people who
I hardly even know.  After they sang, they asked us all to join in and sing
with was POWERFUL.  Hermana Houston and I talked after about how
often we have sung this song and never truly thought of the words.  The
lyrics are at the end of my email, read them for yourself and see if any of
the words speak to you.  I love the first part, "As I have loved you"
because it is such a sweet reminder of the love that our Father in Heaven
has for each of his Children.

I love you all so so much.  Sorry that my emails are so scattered and
sometimes don't make any sense, I don't have much time!  I still love being
a missionary.  I am constantly "cansado" (tired) but I am constantly happy
as well.  Why endure to the end when we can enjoy to the end?  If we are
doing what we are supposed to, we should be happy and "enjoying to the
end."  Anyway, I love you all and am so thankful for all of your prayers.
Have a wonderful week!!

Hermana Van Boerum


*Love One Another*

   1. As I have loved you,
   Love one another.
   This new commandment:
   Love one another.
   By this shall men know
   Ye are my disciples,
   If ye have love
   One to another.
2. *Amad a Otros*
    Como os he amado,
    amad a otros.
    Un nuevo mandamiento,
    amad a otros
    Por esto sabrán quesois discípulos míos,
    si os amáisunos a otros
Lucky me look who I sawn my temple walk!!
Sarah Burgoyne and Abbey Brewer from my high school.
So much fun seeing them.

On the left: Hermana Taylor and Hermana Eppley (both in my district and in my room)
In the middle: me and my companion, Hermana Houston
On the right: Hermana Hein and Hermana Nakken who are both in my zone!

All of the cute sisters in my zone!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

All is Good in the MTC Hood!

Hello everyone!  Hope you all had a great Halloween.  I got to celebrate
Halloween by eating candy before I went to bed...not too exciting but it
was a beautiful day!

First off, fun fact:   I am in the MTC choir.  I bet none of you knew I
could sing huh?  Well I actually am an awful singer but I am trying to take
advantage of every spiritual opportunity in the MTC and nothing brings the
Spirit more than beautiful, uplifting music!  We sing at the Tuesday night
devotionals and I wish you could all her us sing, it is so powerful!

The MTC is so much fun.  My district has become my family and my zone is
AMAZING.  So many strong elders and sisters.  The Elders in my district are
like brothers to me and both them and the sisters in my district make me
laugh constantly!  We work so hard here, but we are constantly laughing all
throughout the day.

I am not sure if I mentioned anything about my investigator, Ulises, last
week, but surprise surprise Ulises is now my Spanish/language teacher!  We
were in class last Thursday and then all of a sudden Ulises walks in the
room in church clothes and tells us that he is now our teacher.  We were
all quite embarrassed because he was our very first investigator and our
the lessons we taught him were pretty awful...because we didn't know much
Spanish nor did we know how to teach yet!  But now he is able to teach us
and help us with the things that we struggle with in our lessons!! It was a
really great learning experience to teach him as an investigator and now
have him as our teacher!

Yesterday we went to a BYU devotional and it was our first time off the MTC
campus other than our Sunday walks to the temple!  David F. Evans of the
Seventy spoke about tenacity and missionary work.  We also had a second
devotional last night where Christoffel Golden of the Seventy spoke about
the power of missionaries.  My favorite quote of the night was a quote from
Henry B. Eyring that Elder Golden used:
We will become what we want to be, by constantly being what we want to
become each day.

The last thing I want to share with all of you is my favorite missionary
experience since I have been in the MTC.  Last Friday Hermana Houston and I
taught our TRC (teaching resource center) investigator, Marco.  Marco is
one of the sweetest people I have ever met.  He has polio, so he uses
crutches to get around, but he is ALWAYS smiling and so kind to us.
Although he is already a member of the church, he volunteers as an
investigator at the MTC so we get to teach him lessons and treat him as if
he were a real investigator!  Instead of telling you what happened in our
lesson Friday night, I am just going to share with all of you my journal
entry from that night so you can hopefully feel the spirit that was felt
that night:
"October 31, Hermana Houston and I had such an incredible experience
teaching Marco tonight.  This was the first time I realized the power of
missionaries.  In this lesson I caught a glimpse of how incredible the next
17 months of my mission are going to be.  We taught Marco the importance of
the Book of Mormon but especially how he can use it to answer questions in
his life.  We did this buy showing him how Mosiah Chapter 2 can apply to
his life though the story was from so long ago.  We based Mosiah 2 off of
the question: How can I unite and bring happiness to my family?
The scriptures we used were verse 5,6,16,17, and 41.  We explained how in
verse 5 and 6, the people listening to King Benjamin's words turned their
doors and faced them toward the temple.  Applying this to Marco's life, we
want him to face his life towards the goal of the temple.  The next
scriptures were about when we are in the service of others, we are only in
the service of our God.  As we read these scriptures, Marco began to tear
up.  After that, we asked him how he felt about those scriptures about how
he can make the temple a goal for him and his family..Marco began to cry.
He said how important it is for him to make his family happy and bring them
together in unity because he loves his family so much.  The Spirit was so
strong, burning within me.  At this moment I saw the beauty of bringing
others unto Christ.  This is a feeling a hope to never forget.  We then
proceeded to teach Marco by using verse 41 and we told him how the one
thing that Heavenly Father asks of us is to follow His commandments and
through this, we can receive never-ending happiness.  We explained to Marco
that we aren't trying to convince him that our church or gospel is the
best, but that the feelings he felt today were from God, not from us.  We
are only instruments in His hands.  I told him that my goal for him isn't
to just be baptized, but my goal for him is to one day go through the
temple and be sealed to his family for all eternity.  I testified to Marco
my love for the temple and how grateful I am to be sealed to my family.  We
also explained to him the Holiness of the temple and related it to the
story of Moses in the book of Exodus when God asked Moses to remove his
shoes for he was walking on holy ground.  But I explained to Marco how it
isn't the ground of the temple that is holy, it is what is happening INSIDE
of the temple ON that ground that makes it so holy.
I bore testimony and promised Marco that if he faces his "tent door" toward
the temple, one day he can go through and make the covenants with his
Heavenly Father that will allow him to bring "never-ending happiness" to
him and his family.  The Spirit was so strong and I know Marco felt it too
through the sincerity of his love and tears for his family.  We finished
the lesson and I was able to close with a prayer where I said things that I
know were brought to my mind only through the Holy Ghost.
The lesson was over and Marco decided to break his "investigator character"
so he could truly share his feelings with us about our message because he
loved it so much.  He asked to take a picture with us and then asked for
our mission email address.  Marco then told us that he knows we have to
write our families but if we could ever update him on our mission or about
how are investigators are doing, it would make him so happy.  He then
mentioned that if any of our investigators in Argentina were struggling
with their conversion, he would love to help us and them but writing his
testimony in a letter and sending it to them.  Marco is amazing.  Before we
finally left he thanked us for working so hard to bring those we teach unto
Christ.  He said that our lesson tonight was truly inspiration and that
even though he is a member, he is still a progressing investigator just as
we all are, as we do all that we can to come unto Christ.
I love being a missionary."

I really do love being a missionary.  It is hard work but I can feel the
help from my Father in Heaven every single day.  yes the Spirit in this
lesson with Marco was so strong, but we also have some "not so great"
lessons which is okay as well.  Either way, I hope to feel that feeling
again of having truly brought someone closer to Christ.  It is amazing.  I
challenge you all to read Mosiah Chapter 2, you will all love it.

Hermana Anika Van Boerum