WA Week 21 - The Why

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week.

One of my favorite parts of the week was a worldwide missionary broadcast that we were able to watch on Wednesday morning. It was wonderful! As a missionary, sometimes we get into these slumps. There's a roller coaster of times when the area is booming and we're teaching tons of lessons, and then times when it seems like we aren't finding anyone and we're not doing any good. Right now, I kind of feel like we're in a little slump. We've got a great ward, and we've been teaching a decent amount of people, but none of them are really progressing all that much. That's why I lovehaving conferences and broadcasts where we can strengthen our faith that Heavenly Father really does have some great things prepared for us. They just pump me up!

We got to listen to several general authorities on the missionary general board as well as Elder Anderson, Elder Bednar, and Elder Oaks. The theme of the broadcast was to "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts." I loved the emphasis to teach repentance, to encourage people to change their lives to be more in harmony with Heavenly Father's will. I've found that there really are a lot of "hard hearts" and "stiff necks" in the world. A lot of people don't give the gospel a chance because they aren't willing to change their ways. But we can't define our own truth. Our ways are not God's ways, and no matter how much we want to be happy living our lives the way we want to, we just can't. Heavenly Father's way is the only way to happiness and eternal life, and teaching people His Way, His Gospel, is what defines our purpose as missionaries.

Getting people to understand our purpose is one of the most frustrating things I wish people would understand. We don't have a hidden agenda. We don't try to baptize people to increase the church's numbers, to get brownie points, or whatever ... We do it because we really believe thateveryone needs the Gospel.

The Book of Mormon says it best:
 "Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise." -2 Nephi 2:6, 8

That's why we give up 18 months to 2 years of the prime of our lives. That's why we are up at 6:30every morning until 10:30 at night -- studying, praying, teaching, knocking on door after door after door, getting rejected time and time again, having people threaten to call the cops on us ... because we know that there are people out there who are searching for the gospel. That's what makes it all worth it.

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be a full-time missionary, and I will be grateful for this short time for the rest of eternity. The gospel has changed my life.



I love you all, and I'm so grateful for each of your letters and emails! I'm sorry if I don't respond back to them all. I only have a limited amount of time every week to write, but I really appreciate them. So keep 'em coming! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Talk to you next time!

-Sister Skousen

WA Week 20 - Yielding Our Hearts to God

Hello everyone! It's been a great first week of the transfer. Lots of fun stuff is happening. 





I swear, our zone has the best sisters in the mission. I had so much fun with the Eastmont sisters for a couple days. They were in heaven driving around in our car. It was fun getting to see all the Eastmont people again. I got to teach Aldo and he's doing great! I'm really hoping that he'll get to go to the temple later this year so that I'll get to be there.

We had a weird situation with an investigator named Louie who's on date to be baptized. Because of the Law of Chastity, President Lewis told us Louie would have to move out of the place where he's living with a female roommate. We were a little nervous about telling him and about how his roommate would respond, since we were thinking they were living together for financial reasons. But then we got a call from the bishop that the roommate kicked Louie out! The Eastmont sisters and I went and met with Louie at a Motel 6, which Sister Van Orden said was something that was on her mission bucket list. We can now say that we taught someone at a motel.



So we dodged that bullet, but the bad news is that Louie moved down to Yakima so different missionaries are going to be teaching him :( BUT, if we can get a ride down there, I'll be able to attend his baptism! So things should work out.

This is my new companion, Sister Torman ---



She's so sweet. She actually just came from being trained by Sister Wilson in Moses Lake. She's a little sad after leaving her first area. I'm technically "greenie-busting" her. 

It's been weird after all this crazy stuff that's happened last transfer ... emergency transfers, holidays, Sister Danger going home, STLs living with us for a week ... Things are starting to slow down and I'm just now realizing how much I need to get back my focus. On Saturday we went down to a baptism in Moses Lake that took up most of the day. When we came back we went straight to dinner, and then afterward we were going to knock on some doors, but neither of us wanted to at all, so we decided to go try an old investigator instead. We ended up meeting with her and things worked out, but something about deciding not to knock those doors really made me feel guilty. I felt like I put what I wanted to do in front of what the Lord wanted me to do. The next day at church, I thought a lot about that, and resolved that knocking on those doors, no matter how much I don't want to do it, should be my offering to the Lord. This mission shouldn't be about me, after all. Right after church, we went to a street to tract before dinner, and even though we didn't really want to, we did it. And a miracle happened! The second door we knocked on was a lady who seems totally prepared to hear the gospel. She let us in, and told us that over Christmas an old boss of hers (who's a member of the Church) gave her a book written by an LDS author that she loves. She's been through a lot of difficult things and has a lot of faith. Before we even knew what was happening, she was inviting us to come back later this week. I felt like I was walking on clouds. It was a testimony to me of how Heavenly Father always gives us another chance to follow him, no matter how many times we mess up or how far from him we are. The blessings of peace that come from the Atonement are available for us as soon as we give our hearts to Him.

This week, I'm going to try focusing on this scripture a lot more -

"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." - Helaman3:35

I'm going to work harder to forget myself, and I know that more miracles will come!

Thanks for following along on this journey of mine. Until next time ...

-Sister Skousen

WA Week 19 - Danger Drop Off

Howdy y'all. This morning I dropped Sister Danger off at the church. Tomorrow she'll take a flight back home to Michigan. So she ended up not going home immediately, which is good because we were able to work super hard her last week in the mission.





I'm sad that she's cutting her mission short, but I feel confident that she made the decision that Heavenly Father wanted her to.



This week is transfers! This will be the start of my 4th transfer and I'm already a quarter of the way done with my mission. After this transfer it will be one-third! Ahhh!

It's so funny getting emails from missionaries in other missions who are like, "Yeah, transfers are coming up, but probably nothing will happen ..." You can never say that in the Yakima mission. You never know what to expect! There are always new areas and crazy changes. Luckily for me, this transfer shouldn't be too big of a change. I'm staying and my companion will be a sister named Sister Torman. She just got done training, so I'll still be senior companion. It should be fun! I definitely feel like there's a lot of potential in this area.

One thing I've been thinking a lot about with Sister Danger going home is how much good I've done on my mission so far. I can't even imagine going home now because I feel like my work here isn't complete. But I've realized that I should make every day count, so that at the end of my mission I'll be able to look back and feel like I've done everything Heavenly Father asked me to do. I don't want to finish my mission and say, "There was so much more I should have done." I know that there are people out there in my area who are being prepared to hear the gospel, and it's up to us to be worthy of the Spirit and to follow His guidance so that we can find them. Otherwise the good that I should do on my mission will go undone, at least by me.

I'm thankful to start off this next transfer with that in mind. We're going to see miracles this next transfer, and I'm so excited about it!

I'll talk to you all next week. Thanks for reading!

Love,
Sister Skousen

WA Week 18 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hello everyone and HAPPY NEW YEAR! It's crazy that I won't see any of you at all in 2016. Even though we weren't able to proselyte at all on New Year's Eve or New Year's, we actually had a pretty good week. We were able to see a lot of people, especially less actives, and we found a couple investigators.

I know y'all are never going to believe this, but something crazy is actually happening again. 

I've been out for almost 3 transfers, and I've already been in 3 areas ... all of the sister areas in the Wenatchee Zone.
I'm on my 4th companion already.
And things are going to get even crazier!

On Wednesday we were on exchanges, and when I got back Sister Danger told me that she talked with President Lewis who was visiting Wenatchee. Her mom, who's in her eighties, fell and hurt herself really bad. She doesn't really have anyone to take care of her, so Sister Danger's decided to go home to take care of her mom. It was a super difficult decision for her to make. We're not sure when she'll be leaving, but it'll probably be in the next few days. So I'm thinking I'll probably be in a trio with the Eastmont sisters for the rest of the transfer and we'll cover both of our areas. Transfers are next Wednesday, so it won't be too long. Isn't that crazy though?! I swear I'm not chasing all these companions away, I just get stuck in the middle of the weirdest situations. If I ever go through a transfer without anything weird happening, I don't know what I'd do with myself. 

So this is going to be an interesting week!

Does anyone have any cool New Year's resolutions?! One thing I'm trying to work on is becoming a more consecrated missionary. The mission is a strange time when we are COMPLETELY focused on the Lord. It's so weird, but I find that even when my mind's on things other than the work, even things that aren't necessarily bad--like future plans, school, or anything else--I'm not being an effective missionary. It's only when I'm totally focused on missionary work, and serving with my whole heart, might, mind, and strength, that I see miracles. The most valuable thing that I've learned on my mission so far is what it means to truly live the law of consecration. The more I realize what it means to be consecrated, the more I realize how much I need to work on it. 

So that's my goal for the year!

I hope that you all have a wonderful week and do some amazing things in 2016.

Talk to you next week!

-Sister Skousen

We've gotten so much snow here!
This was last week, and this morning we woke up to another foot of snow!