<![CDATA[Long Beach Ahead - Letters]]>Tue, 01 Dec 2015 22:34:44 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Week 104:  Home!!]]>Mon, 09 Nov 2015 20:52:40 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-104-homeHello again! Here is my real email per se! The one to which I will recieve all message. Haha that was so formal.
Well this week has been a "blast from the past" I think they would say. Life has been super busy from haveing 3 connecting flights from long beach to chicago I made it home sadly here is a picture ,with my school little souviner I picked up before I left the mission.
As you can see my first name :) it is crazy to be bac in chicago the weather has been really good this week cold at night and about 50 during the day :) just good enough to ware a thin sweater. It has been a lot of fun applying what I learned on the mission and now moving forward. My parents were here the first 2 days and my brother and sister came a few days later from Utah and BYU IDAHO. THAT added to the craziness! Then the next day went fishing with my brother and dad in the morning for about an hour got a great new drivers licence. I have to say it turned out pretty good :) then took the idea my siblings had and we went to chicago right after taking the train in. Having Geridonos deep dish Chicago style pizza super good! It had been so long. Then my parents left the two siblings and I do fend for our selves be in the wilderness....not really just to walk around Chicago and spend time together. We spent about an hour at a McDonald's talking about or missions having a warm discussion about how to plan the best on a mission. Sibling rivalry. :-) Well there we each got an apple pie ,mainly because my sister had a gift card . We wanted to go to the magnificent mile but found we should get back. And literally after walking outside the door this younger lady probably 30 asked us about directions trying to figure out which way was a specific street on her phone. We help her out and continued to walk when all the sudden this guy contacted us (see picture below) . His name was or is Theron. He preceded to have a quick chat almost as though o were a missionary again be contacted bit just general conversation. He asked us after saying hi how do you think my name is spelled. I heard him say, "thah-Ron" but was spelled the Ron . He made us laugh and said that he had just talked to another person who thought he was struggling and need some food so the man gave him a hamburger. Theron said,"hey ill take what I can get" but he continued "as you can see I have got some money but my car got booted and I am trying to make it to my grandma's birthday. I'm looking for 12 buck to get a train ticket there " so we had a dollar on us and gave it to him so worth it. And of course left him with a because He Lives card :) #aftermissionlife #rm (these seemed to fit well). Great moment to end of our night before heading back on the train. It was a little chilly that night and into Sunday but had a great time at church had the opportunity to speak to the youth the third hour block since there was a primary program and see ny dads side of the family as well as members I knew before the mission!
Side not had a lot of fun on the way home. In the salt lake air port there were missionaries just leaving for their missions to the Brazil mtg or heading there after a few weeks in Provo MTC and now have their visa's. So I thought well might as well challenge them I had a few pamphlets left and because he lives cards so I gave them the ones I could a card or pamphlet and challenged them to pass it out they were excited a few surprised but I'm going to email them this week and see what happens :) ill let tall know what funny or good experiences they had :) (on their 114 hour flight ;) ) then it came to Sunday night and my brother had to go back to school but my sister and mom are leaving today actually in an hour or so :p but we watched " The Saratov approach " first movie and really even tv per-se that I watched it was super good! Definitely a great spiritual message.  My first day back I was able to right in my journal took me a while had so much time I ended up typing a 3 page essay pretty much :p nothing like that ever would have happens before the mission. Then had the opprotunity to run for almost 20 minutes and study for a few hours hours reading different articles and the scriptures it makes such a difference in the day and the spirit you feel being able to study and teach remember this it is so good and to focus on the most important things when I came home I felt the difference watching tv or doing social media related things could do if it wasn't with purpose. Missions change you and pray for the ability to change from your mission and using the skills of visions goals and plans and accountability after the missionary it will bring you so much joy I never could have stayed focused and accomplished so much of what I have so far with out it.  I don't get distracted as easily etc. I love being back and having been able to serve a two year mission. Praying always is a bug facto have a prayer always kneel that thought of "help me...." In your mind . It changes everything thew way you talk etc. Love you all keep up the work of God on your missions know that all a mission is is a calling help me prepare for going home because all callings have an end. You'll know you did well. !
~ Chris <------ weird right?!
Oh I almost forgot I drove 6 hours to st Louis and back and well there went to the temple super great then 6 hours back in under 24 hours try that after being home 1 day and a half :p 
Then the other photos are of me today going to cosco and they had gigantic stuffed bears and then went to a place called portillos which has chocolate cake shakes. They take their own chocolate cake they make and put ice cream and whatever in a blender and you get a shake super good!

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<![CDATA[Week 103: Charity and Joy!]]>Tue, 03 Nov 2015 01:53:26 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-103-charity-and-joy​WOW THIS WEEK HAS BEEN A BLAST!  Hey everyone this week has been great! I really had a great last week.

On Tuesday I got to go to the Temple in LA.  Had some Papusas and really loved the Opportunity to Work and go do the work! I have really loved the last week! Then we had District meeting and while I was on the way to the temple I secretly got a hold of a member to work with others in bringing food for our zone the following day and  lay it out. Then right after our district meeting we came out and lead them to the room it was in and had a great zone opportunity!  Then we had the  opportunity today to go to the beach for a minute and enjoy the breeze.  It was a great Monday... very laid back !

We have seen a lot happen this week working with members in the ward and a few had experiences to know that you can go and serve!  If you want to leave happy have charity for others.  Love them in each moment so that you have joy.  If you don't see them again you will not have anything to regret because you had JOY! Look for the small and simple things! I love California and am super happy! 

LOVE ELDER VAN KAMMEN!
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<![CDATA[Week 102:  GOD Loves His Children]]>Tue, 27 Oct 2015 00:24:46 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-102-god-loves-his-childrenLast week of the mission!  This week has been great and found miracles happen.  Sorry so short on time, but I will fill you in more this coming week!

This week we brought Mary Smith to Church and she has a baptismal date for November 7th. I really look forward to hearing about this.  She has come to church for almost a month straight and has not missed a Sunday since we started teaching her! She is giving up coffee and given up smoking just before we started to teach her. Ceci Baldwin was baptized last week.  The long awaited time came! I feel bad I forgot to invite Elder Shaffer. I kept trying to remember and forgot anyways. It was really good to see it all work out and we have Jimmy Osborn who has given up every addiction he has and turned his life full 180.  He is now reading the pamphlets we left with him and for the first time in the 9 months I have been teaching him, on and off.  We'll be hopefully meeting him at church tomorrow for a church tour and inviting him to a baptism this Saturday for him to see . Oh and Mary even saw the baptism of Ceci baldwin. 

Crazy miracle when we had about 20 minutes left Friday night and not really sure what to do we said a prayer and I asked is there anything else we can do and the thought came to mind of Joyce Osborn.  An 89 year old former who we just stopped going by more recently. We called her up and invited her to the baptism and she surprisingly said she would love to come! And thanks to Sister Ercanbeck and Nezlen she was able to make it.


Love you all!
Elder VanKammen

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<![CDATA[101:  The Final Countdown!]]>Mon, 19 Oct 2015 21:06:51 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/101-the-final-countdownWow this week has been pretty crazy! We taught a lot! Learned a lot and found a lot of people to teach! We have 2 people deciding/ being baptized the next two weeks ! This week Saturday and next week Saturday October 31st! Ceci is this week and Mary is next week. Then we are teaching a member's daughter Montana. She is really open to learning and is already read 9 chapters of the Book Of Mormon this week. Jimmy someone we have taught off and on has given up Cocaine for good he decided! Which is great and is so humble now wanting to learn and do more.
 

Mary has been prepared. She is making such changes in her life and comes to church on her own! Over the last two weeks, since we started to teach her, she has begun to understand the Book of Mormon! Because of dyslexia and other stuff, it is very difficult to comprehend what she hears and reads but she understands the Book of Mormon and what it says as she prays and reads before and after! Members come and introduce themselves to her and already know about her baptism on the 31st!
 
This week has been such a growing experience. God Will help you no matter what your weeknesses are as he did with Mary! You can Change Just start somewhere.
 
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/living-the-gospel-joyful?lang=eng

Then To know that YOU can grow as you study Gods word! To change our hearts all we have to do is serve! When we serve God we are serving others!  This has been something I have learned and goals help us achieve things by the plans we make and when we achieve our plans we are doing things and feeling success!  Also, When "Gods thought's are not our thoughts" Pray to know your weeknesses! A quote that stuck out in district meeting this week is "look at everyone as though they are perfect. We are all perfect, just progressing!" "The heart will follow as the mind changes!" So seek knowledge to change  your thoughts.

Pictures! 
I had Arby's this week! 
Then We had a zone activity with throwing water balloons and EGGS!
OH AND I SAW A GREAT BLUE HERRING! I didn't know they were out here!

Love you all ! 
2 weeks left!

November 3rd I get home.  That will be a great day and sad day but I know that a mission has changed me! God has changed lives! Always seek to have faith and learn more about it! Remember that God love's You no matter what because you are his CHILD!

Family HISTORY IS SO IMPORTANT! FAMILY SEARCH.org you can find out where you came from!

Love,
Elder VanKammen
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<![CDATA[Week 100!:  Miracles!]]>Mon, 12 Oct 2015 18:36:00 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-100-miraclesWe have had many opportunities to teach this week! We were able to teach Mary who wasn't sure at first if she would be able to make it to church on Sunday because of her grandson who visits every 2 weeks. We were able to persuade her to come and give it a shot. She prayed about it at the last lesson and then we met with her briefly the day before to confirm. When she got there we were in a meeting and thanks to the Cordata Park sisters they said Hi to her and watched her and her kid while we were in the meeting (which she got there earlier then expected).  God helped out so much. When we found her and brought her into the chapel, we found a spot towards the front for her to sit and then went to find a member that could sit with her. The one was inspired.  It was a younger girl about 19 with her grandmother visiting from a prior ward time. They said great.   Emma, 19 year old, saved the day playing with the grandson during sacrament meeting with the help of Mary's Daughter, Kendal!

This week was great!.  Sorry it is a little short today but I really enjoyed the time I had and we got to grill one of our meals this week.  Super good steak with our recent convert!

Elder Van Kammen]]>
<![CDATA[Week 99:  God Loves His Children!]]>Mon, 05 Oct 2015 22:52:14 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-99-god-loves-his-childrenWe have been making a lot of changes in the mission here! Trying to really focus on teaching people helping them Act on faith. We had some great moments teaching people! As we taught A member in our ward this week her roommate,Mary came out, We have been able to help Tamara, the member we were teaching, become more active and involved lately and pray on her own. As Tamara has applied the Gospel in her Life by praying more she has become happier and more focused. Mary has really seen this and wanted to know more of what we teach. It started 18 month ago when her son passed away. This last week we were able to meet with her twice! She is so committed she watched General Conference on her own, read 2 chapters we left her and took notes on them. She has a learning disability and has to re-read to comprehend what she reads, but with this she gets so much out of it. She said that she wants to continue to learn and loves it because she is able to open up about what happened with her son and feelings she has about the situation.

Then we were able to talk with Ceci yesterday! She is preparing to be baptized on October 24th. As we started the lesson we needed to know what to talk about with her and not really sure on specifics. Ideas came to mind as we said the prayer in the beginning and it was exactly what she needed  :)
We had a good week I went on Exchanges with another missionary in a ward for Single men and women over the age of 31. Just before we were about to go in we had a feeling to go somewhere that felt good and just as we got out of the car were able to talk to someone who wanted to learn more about god and really struggling!

As we take every opportunity to talk to people and serve them it makes such a difference. In Preach My gospel The manual we study as missionaries there is a section about Christlike attributes! That teaches about charity and virtue and diligence and knowledge. As I have studied these it has made such a difference to gain Knowledge it changes our desires and Hearts!

Love you All!

Elder Van Kammen]]>
<![CDATA[Week 98:  BIKING: THE FINAL STRETCH! (epic music)]]>Mon, 28 Sep 2015 22:42:03 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-98-biking-the-final-stretch-epic-musicWell this week has brought a much different perspective to the work! I have forgotten what it was like to bike as a missionary and to make plans with no  car. We talk to a lot more people being on bike and really helps you to plan with a path in mind :). It feels great.  The first few days were rough.  My legs were stiff and we run 20 minutes every morning so trying to get out of bed in the morning was fun :)!

We found quite a few new people to teach this last week! 

We were biking later in the night and saw this Filipino man, I think maybe Vietnamese, sitting in a folding chair out on his driveway and decided to talk to him. His name is Danny and moved to america about 40 years ago got married and I think has 2 kids in their 20's. As we talked with him we shared the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and By God through Joseph smith  the Book of Mormon was translated into English. He has such an Open mind has wondered how we have so many religions and that they all teach so many different things from Buddhist to Christian and all must have come from somewhere! (Which is a really cool thought) He shared his beliefs and felt to give him a Book of Mormon. He showed such desire to take care of It! He is going to Florida for a few weeks so we wont be able to meet with him for a little bit but he said he would start to read the Book of Mormon well he is out there. :) hopefully we can catch him in October !

Then We talked to Elizabeth again! We were going by a member in our ward, passing her apartment on the way, when she came out :)! It was a short visit but we had not seen her for a few week and was great to be able to say a prayer with her before she left :)! 

Another person we met lives with a member, Sister Curtner, we visit every Thursday. Her name is Leah. She is 19 and living there for some time. She has a really open mind and found a Christianity as apart of her life about 2 years ago. We were able to share and answer a few questions she had. Then Talk about the Book Of Mormon. She is a youth leader at her church so she has the opportunity to work with Young teenagers in helping them set standards and This last week they were talking a lot about Drugs which was awesome because, Sister Curtner just happened to have a for the Strength of Youth pamphlet/ booklet. This is a booklet made for youth and members that talks about having standards such as modesty, dating, drugs, and preparing for the future.we are going to talk to her again when we go to Sister Curtner;s this Thursday. Another great part is that Sister Curtner, who has become more active over the last 6 months and as she works with Leah her testimony will strengthen. 

Here is a link to it to read it: or know more what it is :https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth?lang=eng

Check it out its pretty cool!

Then we Visited Dennis someone who the Spanish missionaries passed off to us because they teach specificly Spanish speaking people and we focus on English speaking people. Dennis Is about 40 and has another Roomate Jerry who when we went over to see Dennis and noticed I had talked to him twice on the street around well walking around this complex they live in.We got to answer his questions and share a little bit more that the Spanish missionaries covered. HE is looking for answers about why we are here and how Animals fit in to the plan on this earth do they have souls too? etc. The cool part was earlier in the day I saw a dvd in our apartment just as we were walking out and had the thought to grab it thinking we could watch it with someone that day. Well we ended up giving it to Dennis !

Then we got to Teach A young Couple Eric and Alex again this week :)! We were able to give Alex a Book of Mormon this week. Since she is There for the lessons alot more recently. Then She really makes the lessons! She asks a lot of Questions that Eric who is very logical and not seeking as much as Alex. We had a break through moment too! It is hard to teach sometime because they believe that God the father and the son are one person and not 3 different people. But Alex began to talk about it and It allowed us to come to level ground to teach and be able to share with them the way they can know for them selves if what we teach is true! If Joseph Smith really  translated the Book of Mormon and if God Continues to call prophets today!. 

This coming week Is General Conference where we get to hear from people God has Called to share truths with us and help us be happy in this life by teaching simple principles we can live!

Here is a link to watch it there are 4 opportunities to watch it ! 
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/?lang=eng


 I learned something really cool this week about the Scripture. "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass". The small things of this life can be truths. Simple Truths are simple and "small" per-se. simple truths are what change the heart! When we learn it is because we have been taught simple truths! The heart is changed by Small and simple things!
 
 Alma 37:6 
Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

Pictures of us Biking and A cool sunset (thanks to biking :)  )!

Love you all!

Elder Van Kammen
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<![CDATA[Week 97:  Miracles!]]>Tue, 22 Sep 2015 02:48:20 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-97-miraclesWe had such a great week! Miracles happened this week.  As we went throughout this week things fell into place ! Someone was baptized and we found some new people to teach :).  Judy Green is so happy now from before to after the baptism!  She already wants to go to the temple too! Then we taught  Jon and then Melissa, Judy's daughter.  Jon, short for Jonathan is 17 and a senior in High School. Within the first time meeting with him he was super open and willing to say  a prayer with us before we left :)

Then we had transfers this week I will be staying in the area for another 6 weeks (till the end of my mission) and we are back to biking our whole area :)

Love you all!

Elder Van Kammen

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<![CDATA[Week 96: Great People!]]>Tue, 15 Sep 2015 00:58:36 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-96-great-peopleThis Week was a hot one over 90 most days! The gospel is simple and plain! 
We contacted a lot of people this week and 3 of them really stuck out.

Adam - I had contacted him before about 2 months ago and have not really seen him walking his dog to be able to talk to him again. He is a service manager/Janitor at a nearby school. He has a good friend who is LDS. We contacted him with a member from our ward, Franky , who is 17 a senior in High School. Had a great talk with him about these new video's that just came out on mormonchannel.org based on the 12 step program, but has people's testimonies of each step as well as inviting him to the 12 step Addiction Recovery Program run by our church in Huntington Beach. 

Sarah- Right after the previous contact, talking with Adam, we talk with Sarah. She was just down the street walking her dog and we asked what her dog's name was and she asked if we were Mormon. We asked if she had any questions at first or would like to know more. She didn't have any questions, but now really wants to read if we left something with her. Then just as we were going to say goodbye. The Idea to say a prayer popped into my head. She said she would. After the prayer all the sudden she said I do have one Question: " What is the most difficult thing for you guys, in your belief?"  We asked her what she meant and pretty much shared what we believed from one of us and the other sharing when someone slowly lost their Faith in God. She said," it is interesting you mention that.  My friend, who believes very strongly in God, has begun to fall away from a belief in God."  From this she asked us about 3 Heavens, The Plan Of Salvation. Then we were able to leave her with a pamphlet that she would read and then a website to visit!  She said a prayer before we left :)

Then the last one we had just gotten out from lunch and our afternoon study for the day and walking around an apartment complex to go see a member in the area. Elder Garcia and I just walked into the area and smelled something amazing!. BBQ! as we entered the area we saw a guy in the complex court yard BBQ ing. Elder Garcia said that smells Amazing! NEXT thing we heard was "do you want a Hot Dog!?" We both looked at each other and said YEA :) . We spent another 20 minutes talking with this man, Greg, about his friend Kelly who he would go with him boating, fly fishing and other trips back in Utah. Kelly is a member of the Church. It made such an impression on him, but unfortunately he passed a way a little bit ago. It was really fun! The Hot dogs were really good :) He thanked us for reminding him of his friend Kelly and for that reason made it a great day for him!

https://www.lds.org/topics/plan-of-salvation?lang=eng 

WELL, LOVE YOU ALL! 
keep in touch 

Elder VanKammen

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<![CDATA[Week 95:  Power in Prayer]]>Tue, 08 Sep 2015 00:41:56 GMThttp://longbeachahead.weebly.com/letters/week-95-power-in-prayerWOW ! This week has been crazy! We had our "Temple P-Day" today. Because of this we have our P-day and emailing on Tuesday. We had some great contacts and really learned a lot! 

Last week we had a great lesson with Judy! Judy has been taught for about a year now but for the last 6 months has been in the process of moving. Since she was moving she became so busy she needed to just focus on that. She is all moved in now and wants to be baptized! Baptism is making a covenant or promise with God. She wants to prepare to go to the temple ! The temple is where we go to learn more about God and do ordinances, such as baptism, for those who did not have the opportunity in this life to learn about the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is where doing our family history, who our ancestors are, comes in finding their names and if they were married etc. 

Time is short! Use it wisely. Faith is powerful! I learned that all we really have to "fear is fear itself" (As a famous president once said).   Heavenly father doesn't want us to fear. When thoughts come that we feel fear ask God for help, say a prayer :)

As we went out to work this week. It was so cool! We were going by someone whom missionaries had talked to before. We pulled into the parking lot of the apartment complex right next to a car where a young man was sitting in with his window down. A fun thought came to mind to talk to him so we did. His name was "Skraggy" we were able to share about the restoration and how Heavenly Fathers wants to talk to us still today :) through prophets and prayer . Then got to share a copy of the Book of Mormon!  Then just before we were going to leave he gets a call from his friend and finds out he has been in the wrong parking lot for 45 minutes. He lives out of our area but hopefully he will be able to read the Book of Mormon!

We walked away and headed around the corner but found we could't get into the complex. We decided to head back to the car and ran into 2 girls.  Probably in their 20's one of them had a 1 year old kid running around :) We talked with them.  They had talked with missionaries before and the one that lived at that complex as we asked if there was a time we could come back asked if there was a church she could go to in the area!  She invited herself :)

It was a good week to  talk to people.  Love you all!  Heavenly Father wants to talk to you and loves you soooo much !  

Reading the scriptures is the way God can talk back to us, They are his words! :) 

Love 
Elder Van Kammen!
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