WA Week 24 - 20 YEARS

As of Saturday, I have officially been on the earth for 20 YEARS.
Gahh! By the end of the year I always feel so content being the age that I am that I always get sad about turning the next age.
19 was such a good year for me. I did a lot of things that were really hard and scary, but I learned that I really AM capable of doing hard things.
I finished my first year of college, went on a life-changing trip to Africa, and hardest of all ... dropped everything and said goodbye to everyone for 18 months to serve the Lord.
And it was the best decision I have ever made.

I'm looking forward to this 20th year being one fully dedicated to God as I serve the people here in Washington.

My birthday was everything anyone could want in a birthday -- full of awesome people, sweets, and good Chinese food.

The next day was VALENTINE'S Day, so we decided to knock doors on Loves Court of course! Ironically, we were not feeling the love from the people of Loves Court.

Oh well, what are you gonna do?

It's been a trying week for us. Last week I said that we dropped pretty much everyone that we've been working with so that we could start fresh. It's been pretty difficult since then. We've knocked a lot of doors and haven't seen a lot of fruit from our efforts yet. We're really trying to find some way we can get our members more involved to help us out. It's kind of felt like we've been finding and teaching all on our own. There was a statistic we heard at zone conference that was something like: "1 in 1000 doors missionaries knock on will yield a baptism. If a member invites a non-member to hear the missionary lessons in his home, the odds of a baptism are 1 in 12. If a member invites a non-member to church, and then to hear the missionary lessons in his home, the odds of that person joining the church are 1 in 3." Aren't those incredible statistics?! Members-- you are SO, VITALLY IMPORTANT in missionary work! This gospel is not meant for you to keep to yourself; it's meant to be shared. You were put in the place that you are now for a purpose. I have a testimony that there are people around us that are being prepared to hear the gospel, and they are going to be much more open to receive it from someone who they care about than from two strange girls in dresses knocking on their door.

 "For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory." -Alma 13:24

I know that the more we get members on our side, the more success we will see. It's just been difficult building back the member trust that former missionaries damaged. I have faith that we'll get there though!

The amazing thing about this week is that every time things got hard and I was just holding on to a thread of hope that things would get better, we'd see some kind of tender mercy. Yesterday was really hard. We were knocking and knocking and people were just mean, and then we had a sweet experience visiting a lonely old woman with terminal cancer in a nursing home. We read the scriptures to her and she just started crying and thanked us over and over again for coming to see her.

It's moments like that that assure me that the Lord is there. Even though things can get hard, He is always there, shoulder to shoulder with us, willing to take the burden from us.

 "But behold, I ... will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." -1 Nephi 1:20

I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord that I have been privileged to see every day. They're what carry us out here.

I know that if we keep pushing on and have faith, the fruits will come.

Next week, hopefully I'll be able to write about some of those fruits! But if not, I know that I'm doing the best I can, and that's enough. I'll talk to you next week!

Sister Skousen

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