Week 13 - ILLUMINATI

It's been a crazy week. I'll start by taking you back to Monday night, after P-Day.

Our Mondays are usually pretty busy. After P-Day ends at 6:00, we go to our YSA Branch Missionary Correlation, and then we go to FHE at our branch president's house afterward. Correlation was cancelled, but we had a lesson with a new investigator at the church instead. It went really good! I'm not sure how interested she is but she was nice and is going to meet with us again. When we went outside after the lesson I was thrilled to see it was SNOWING! It was beautiful! Right after that, we went to FHE, which is where our week got weird.


This picture perfectly captures both of our feelings towards the snow.

We talked to this CRAZY girl who told us all about how serial killers and the Illuminati have been following her around and how she's had visions of the Second Coming and lots of other things like that ... And so everything that happened to us this week, we've blamed on the Illuminati. They're out to get us after talking to that girl!

The first thing that happened was our power steering went out when we were driving home in the snow! It was pretty sketchy but we made it home. We didn't realize anything was wrong with the car until the next day when we tried to take the car out again. We pretty much weren't able to do anything until dinner that night because we had so many issues talking with the mission office and having someone come look at the car. So all week we've been walking around in the cold, but it's been fun!




Then Sister Christensen got the flu on Wednesday night, and was sick all day Thanksgiving. I felt so bad for her. Luckily we were just going to eat with the Lewises (the members we live with), so I just stayed home and studied, watched the Testaments, and talked to the Lewises. The Bishop felt bad for me so he sent his kids over to talk to me haha. Luckily, Sister Christensen was feeling much better the next day.

These past couple of days we've been working hard and doing LOTS of walking to try and make up for the days we were out of commission earlier in the week. We're super excited about the church's new Christmas video, "A Savior is Born," at christmas.lds.org. We have pass along cards that we're going to be passing out for the next few weeks. It's an awesome finding tool. I think people's hearts are softened more at the Christmas season, so we should see a lot of miracles this month.

And the last crazy thing that happened this week was TRANSFER CALLS!!! We found out that Sister Christensen's going to be transferred to Othello and I'm going to be staying here and training a new missionary!! I don't really know how I feel about that ... It's going to be an adventure!

It's an exciting time to be a missionary in the Washington Yakima Mission. I'm never bored!

I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving! I was reading in Alma the other day and found this scripture that was perfect for the season:

"Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen."

It's so true. We have so much to be thankful for--which shows that God really is mindful of every single one of us.

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas season and pay more attention to His hand in your lives.




QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

Sister Christensen, telling our district leader about someone we found: "We were the leprechauns and he was the pot at the end of our rainbow!"

Our discussion with Nick, an investigator who speaks in metaphors:
"Nick, why do you think Heavenly Father would want us to become like Him?"

"It's like when I have a really cool video game and no friends to play it with ..."

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!

Love,
Sister Skousen

Week 12 - A Week of Miracles

Hello, everybody! I hope you're all having a happy Monday. I'm going to start off this email with the BEST NEWS EVER! Aldo got baptized!!! I'm soo bummed because my camera's not working on this computer so I'll have to send pictures next week!

It was so great to see him again and to see how far he's come. Even better was seeing all of the members there who had fellowshipped and become great friends with Aldo. It's so important to have members involved in bringing new people into the church because they're the ones who provide support to new converts after baptism. It's so sad how many people are baptized and then go inactive after a few weeks or months in the Church. I could tell that all of the members there have really come to love Aldo. His baptism was the most spiritual baptism I've ever been to. The speakers were amazing and kept their talks really scripture and doctrine based. Usually converts are confirmed the Sunday after they're baptized, but apparently they got permission to do it that day since Sunday was stake conference. Aldo was emotional the whole time. His family hasn't been super supportive so it's been hard for him, but the fact that he's going through with it shows how much his testimony's grown.

One cool miracle that happened at his baptism was that after he was confirmed, the ward mission leader was like, "I feel like deviating from the program a little bit. Aldo, will you get up and share your testimony?" So when he stood up and started speaking, he got this astonished look on his face when he saw this lady sitting in the back. He said, "I can't believe you're here! Thank you so much!" It turns out that this lady was like his second mom growing up. She's been taking lessons from some elders in the stake and both of them had no idea the other was investigating the Church. After the baptism Aldo went up to her and gave her a huge hug and talked to her for a long time. It must mean so much to him to have someone close who he can go through this transition with. We asked the elders afterward about her, and they said she's been investigating for awhile and has just been waiting for some sign before being baptized. Maybe this was her sign! It was so awesome. Aldo was like, "You're next!"

Another miracle that happened was yesterday when we were in the hood tracting. We were about to go knock on this door but we saw this Hispanic guy walk by us who kept glancing over. We went up to him and he got this huge smile on his face when he realized who we were. He didn't speak much English so we communicated with Spanglish and a lot of charades, but what I think he was telling us is that some elders knocked on his door the other day. His girlfriend has a really messed up leg, and they prayed that she would feel better. As soon as they left, her leg was healed! So now he wants to meet with missionaries! It was so awesome, but a bummer because we had to refer the Spanish elders. :( We keep finding tons of awesome Spanish people! Where are the English?!

Stake conference was yesterday and was incredible. My favorite part was the stake president's concluding talk. At the end of his talk, he got really emotional and said, "I am so grateful for our missionaries ..." He went on to say that this past week the missionaries had more lessons in this area than they've ever had before. 21 people are on date to be baptized! That's amazing! I am SO lucky to be apart of this mission. President Lewis is so passionate about the work that is taking place, and it's super exciting being in a mission with such an amazing vision. 

One thing that I've seen this week and that the stake president emphasized in his talk was to pray for miracles. So often we feel like we're not worthy of God providing us with miracles. We don't even ask because we don't think it will happen. I know that God is a god of miracles. He is willing to grant us so much, but often it's conditional upon us asking for it. If we have a worthy cause and the faith that miracles can happen, I know that He will bless us with them.

This week, I invite you to pray for miracles. Be specific. Watch for them. They will come.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

Love,

Sister Skousen


WA Week 11 - He's in the Details


Hello everyone! What a week it's been! It's been so eventful but productive. On Wednesday we got the chance to go to the temple with our zone. We took a big van down to the Columbia River Temple. It was a pretty much day long trip. We had lots of fun! That temple is SO PRETTY!








 
We had a lot of success this week. There was one day in particular where we went down to the ghetto part of our area with some awesome members to visit this referral we got from the Spanish elders. He wasn't home, but there was a girl sitting on her front porch right next door. We went over and talked to her and she told us that she had actually met with missionaries before in Everett a few years ago, and was really close to being baptized, but she wasn't willing to give up smoking. She said that now she might be willing to give it up. She really connected with the members that were with us and she gave us her phone number and everything so we can meet with her this week! We were so psyched after that. We always hear about how people in our areas are being prepared to receive the gospel, and we just have to find them. She felt like one of those people! We're so excited about that. Another awesome thing about finding people is that often the person we're meant to see isn't the person we're aiming to see at first. There have been so many times where we go to try a potential, and they might not be home, but there's a neighbor or someone walking down the road who we'll start talking to and who will agree to meet with us. So sometimes even when things don't work out the way we plan, I know Heavenly Father always puts us exactly where we're needed. Sometimes we just have to try and figure out why he sends us to the places he sends us to. But there's always a reason. Just like I always say, He's in the details. It's pretty incredible.

"Behold, will send for many fisherssaith the Lord,and they shall fish them; and after will send fomany hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountainand from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." -Jeremiah 16:16

Including that girl we found on the porch, we got four new investigators this week! We've been doing really good at getting new investigators lately because we've gotten better at just teaching people the Restoration right on the doorstep. I've come to LOVE going to the ghetto to tract. The people there are so humble and friendly. Rich people are mean.

One of the investigators we've been working with is named Nick, who's in our YSA branch. The missionaries found him a couple of months ago and he is totally converted. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to be baptized because he smokes. A highlight of this past week is that we presented this 15 Step Program to stop smoking in 7 days. That was on Tuesday night. Nick hasn't smoked since then! It's been amazing. We know that Heavenly Father has been a huge part of his success. If everything goes well, he'll be baptized on the 28th! Speaking of baptisms, ALDO'S GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! We're so excited. I'm so lucky to still be in the zone so that I can go to his baptism! It's going to be awesome.

This morning we had a really fun P-Day. In our zone, there's this really cool town called Leavenworth that's a Bavarian-themed village. We went on a hike this morning that was super intense, but was well worth it because the view was BREATHTAKING. Afterward we went and got pumpkin waffles and then walked around the streets. It's super touristy, but it was really neat to visit all of the cool shops. I felt like I was in Frozen! It made me so excited for Christmas!







The Danish blood in me felt right at home.

That's all for now! Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful week!


Love,
Sister Skousen

WA Week 10 - #Greeniefire

Every week I start these emails and I don't know where to begin! A lot has happened this week, but it's gone by really fast. It feels like I was just writing my last email. But it's been good. It's pretty rainy and cold up here, but I like it.

We've been tracting a lot this week, but it's been pretty successful. We got 4 new investigators! We've seen a lot of miracles.

Wednesday was an awesome day. We got a call from the elders the night before who told us we were going to be getting a new car, so Wednesday we were going to have to walk. Because we were going to be walking all day, we had to change our plans, and it turned out to be divine inspiration.

That morning we prayed for two new investigators. We were tracting a couple streets from where we live, and after we had finished knocking all the doors on the street, we saw that a lady whose house we had already passed had gotten home. We almost walked past it, but we decided we would try her. It ended up being this southern lady who said she'd been saved when she was young, but then she said she hasn't really gone to church lately. We invited her to our church and asked if we could come back and if we could pray with her, which she was really touched by. After we said the prayer, she had tears in her eyes, and I knew that she could feel the Spirit. We're so excited to go back and teach her this week! That day our prayers were answered and we were able to find another investigator at the last door we knocked on, who we're going back to visit tonight.

Another miracle happened last night. We had gone to visit a potential investigator but they weren't home, so we decided to knock on the house next door. The lady who answered was super rude, and Sister Christensen and I were both feeling gloomy afterward. But we prayed that we would know what to do and that we would be able to find a new investigator. Even though neither of us wanted to, we both felt like we should tract a certain set of apartments. We started walking there from our house, and as we were walking there we passed by some condos. Suddenly I felt the overwhelming feeling that we needed to go to those condos. I didn't know why and I didn't know which one we needed to knock on, but we went. We knocked on a couple doors and they weren't interested, but then we knocked on one and a teenage boy opened the door. On the doorstep we normally talk about the Restoration because it's our unique message to the world, but Sister Christensen started talking about the Plan of Salvation, and I was amazed because that's what I was thinking he needed to hear too. We told him that there is a purpose for him in this life, and as we testified to him I could see in his eyes that he could feel the Spirit of what we were telling him. He's who we needed to see that night!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: so much of what we do is influenced by the Spirit. I've realized that we need to stop questioning whether it's a prompting or whether it's just us. It's usually the Spirit. And we don't lose anything by following that impression. Sometimes the Lord just gives us promptings to see if we'll be obedient to them. I'm still working on being more obedient to the promptings of the Spirit, but I've seen that the more I obey those impressions the more I am able to receive direction from the Spirit.

This coming week is going to be busy. Tomorrow we're having interviews with the mission president and on Wednesday our zone will get to go to the temple! We're so excited! Thanks to everyone for the prayers, emails, and letters! They always make my days better.

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,
Sister Skousen

I forgot to take pictures this week and I feel bad not sending any, so here's a picture of us emailing!

And here's a picture of a deer that was following us when we were tracting last night.

Daylight Savings


What a week! I don't even know where to begin. Exchanges, Halloween, Daylight Savings Time ... We've been busy! I hope you all had a great Halloween! We had to be home by 6:00, but it was fun watching old Brother Lewis scare the trick or treaters. :) On Halloween night I lived through my first daylight savings time and it sealed my testimony that Arizona is the smartest state because I think turning the clocks back an hour is so dumb! I definitely appreciated the extra hour of sleep, but it gets dark sooo early and it makes people angry when we come to their doors when it's dark. It'll be 6pm and we're knocking doors and they'll be like, "Why are you out so late?!" It's a struggle. 

This week, especially with night time coming so early, we've really had to work on how to make the most of our time. At the very start of my mission when we would tract I would be counting down the minutes until we could do the next thing we planned because I dreaded it so much. But then I heard a quote about how missionaries that are really changed by their missions "don't count time, but make time count." This really helped me change my perspective and made me want to learn to enjoy tracting more. I still don't LOVE it, but I've grown to be a lot more fond of it and work on making those doorstep conversations more meaningful. When you knock on a door you never know what you're going to get! It can be quite entertaining. I've really grown to love talking with different people. 

We're still doing lots of finding and contacting and getting lost, but that's okay. Slowly but surely we're making progress. We're living with members which is super fun. They're an old couple named the Lewises and it's nice to live in a home and have homemade cookies available for us whenever we want. :)

We have a couple people we're working with but no one who's progressing a ton. There are a few people that we've been able to contact who we're hoping we can meet with this week and turn into new investigators. 

The best experience we had this week happened last night, and it was another miracle that strengthened my testimony of the Spirit's guiding influence. At district council this week we all agreed that our main goal should be finding investigators, so we all made it our goal to find two new investigators by the end of the week (Sunday). Sunday came and almost went and we still hadn't found any new investigators. We both felt strongly for some reason to try someone we had in our area book who lived on Utah Street. 

When we got to the house we saw that no one was home, but we decided to knock on the neighbor's door. A girl opened the door and immediately said, "Come on in! It's cold out there." She was super warm and friendly even when she found out who we were. She let us teach her the Restoration and leave a Book of Mormon with her and she agreed to let us come back on Thursday! That never happens! She was the only new investigator we found that night so we didn't meet our goal of two, but we didn't feel too bad about it because we knew that we did everything we could to reach the goal, and because of that, the Spirit led us to that girl's house. I know that if we hadn't have been working hard and doing all that we could, Heavenly Father probably wouldn't have trusted us enough to lead us to that girl. Miracles can happen if you make the time you've been given count. It's something that I'm working on constantly, but I have a testimony of it.

This week it's my challenge to all of you to make the time you have count! We're only given so much time.

Hope you all have a wonderful week as always.

Love,
Sister Skousen

Washington - Week 8



Hey everybody! Hope everyone's had a great week! I'm thinking I got off on my week counting because this Wednesday will be 7 weeks since I've been in the field, but I'm just going to say it's week 8 anyway. :) It has been such a crazy week with a lot of adjusting in the new area. Last week I said that amazing things happened to end the transfer. Another amazing thing happened on my last night in Eastmont Ward! Aldo committed to a date to be baptized! We were sooooooooooooooooooo happy. He has changed so much in the six weeks that we've been working with him. Ending the transfer that way was amazing because it felt like we finally came full circle with Aldo. I really hope that he can keep progressing so I can come to the baptism in a few weeks!

It has been so fun being with Sister Christensen! We have a lot of fun together. We're going to have our work cut out for us though. We cover a family ward as well as a YSA branch. We have one girl in the YSA on date to be baptized in a couple of weeks but she's our only investigator right now, so we're in finding mode again. Luckily we have a big list of potentials and formers that we're going to try and visit so we'll hopefully have more people to teach. I haven't been in the area for very long, but I get the feeling that the family ward isn't as involved with the missionaries as my last ward was. We're going to really try and work on getting them to help us more. Members are SO important in missionary work!

One experience that was really cool was that we've been praying for a family to teach because the ward has a really small primary. On Saturday we had a stake service project, and a lady came up to us out of nowhere and said that she found a new investigator for us. She introduced us to her friend named Crystal, who was just like, "10:00am is a good time for me to meet," and she had little kids running all around her. So our prayer to find a family to teach was answered! We're going to visit her on Thursday! One thing that I've learned on the mission is to be specific in prayers. Instead of just asking for new investigators, if we specifically ask for the amount of investigators we want, a lot of times we'll find what we ask for if we put in the effort.

Well, I feel like I had more stories to share but P-Day brain has been getting to me and I can't think of any! It has been such an exhausting week but I'm so excited to help Castlerock Ward and Wenatchee YSA catch the fire of missionary work. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sister Skousen
Look out, Wenatchee!



It's been raining a lot lately, and we were tracting in the rain, hoping people would see how pitiful we looked and let us in, but that didn't happen. We decided to take a picture to see how we looked and we realized that people aren't letting us in because we look terrifying.