WA Week 38 - His Grace is Sufficient

Oh man. I don't even know where to begin this email. So much has happened.

I guess I'll start with Monday.

With the weather being so nice, we had P-Day at a park. It was so nice!

With Sister Whitlock leaving on Friday, the first few days of the week were spent saying goodbye to people and helping her pack. On Friday morning, President and Sister Lewis, her family, and the other missionaries in Sunnyside all met at our apartment to send her off. We were frantic making sure everything was super clean and tidy! I think Sister Whitlock was sad about leaving, but super excited about seeing her family again. She'll head off to the MTC on Wednesday!

Once Sister Whitlock left, I was left to be in a trio with the hermanas, Hermana Garcia and Hermana Parry. We have had a blast! They've been teaching me some more Spanish, and we've been hopping from English lessons to Spanish lessons and found a few cool people! 

All the missionaries were getting pretty anxious for Saturday, because it was the day of transfer calls! For days before transfer calls, I literally prayed morning and night that I would get to stay in Sunnyside for another transfer and get a companion that would work hard. I absolutely love Sunnyside, and there is no other area that I'd rather be in right now, but sometimes the Lord has other plans.

When I was studying yesterday morning, I got a phone call from President Lewis, telling me that I've been called to be a Sister Training Leader in Moses Lake with Sister Hirsche. I was so overwhelmed and mostly sad because I'll have to leave Sunnyside, but I know this is what the Lord needs me to do.

Sunnyside has been the best area. I am so lucky and blessed to have served here for three months and to see so many miracles and to have met so many wonderful people. The missionary mindset and fire that I've felt here will motivate me for the rest of my mission.

As a sister training letter, I'll be going on exchanges with 8 companionships of sisters and mostly just acting as a help and leader for other sister missionaries. I feel pretty humbled by this call. I know that I, myself, have so many weaknesses and mess up ALL the time, but the Lord calls the weak things of the world to accomplish His work. I am definitely a testimony to this.

 "Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

I am grateful that even though I have so much to work on, the Lord will make me strong where I am weak. Even though I'm so sad to be leaving Sunnyside, I'm excited for the new adventures I'll be able to have in Moses Lake!

Thanks for all of the love and support, and I hope you have a great week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 37 - Just Rolling With It

It's been another full week here in Sunnyside, Washington. 
We've had some really hot days ...

and really wet days ...

We got some good community service in ...

This was at the food bank we go to every week. We also helped out a ward member assemble those huge wheeled sprinklers that water alfalfa fields. That was intense.

The best part of the week was going to the temple on Wednesday!

Every time I walk into the temple the Spirit just hits me and I know that the Church is true.

On Saturday, we went up to a neighboring town called Zillah to work a missionary booth at a carnival. The elders up there rented out a booth for us to hand out pass along cards, scriptures, and to show Bible videos. It was a lot of fun! The elders kept track of how many people all of the missionaries talked to, and by the end of the day, I think the number was around 160!

This weekend we also got a call from the mission office for Sister Whitlock. Sister Call at the mission office was like, "Sister Whitlock! There's a big white envelope here for you!" Her mission call! Sister Call drove down to Sunnyside to give it to us. We opened it up and read that Sister Whitlock's been called to serve in the Alabama Birmingham Mission! The kicker is that she's supposed to report to the MTC next Wednesday (the same day as transfers)! President Lewis told us that Sister Whitlock will be released on Friday. I'm not sure what's going to happen with me yet! When he was on the phone with us, Sister Lewis was listening in. She was like, "I'll be your companion!" I thought she was joking at first but now I'm wondering if they were serious.  That would be so fun.

I think I should find out today what's going to happen. We're going to go up to Yakima for P-Day and to get some departure stuff done for Sister Whitlock so we'll get to see President. It's going to be such a crazy week!

On my mission I've definitely had to learn how to be flexible and to welcome change. There are so many missionaries that get stressed out when things don't go exactly the way that they've planned. I've really had to just go with the flow and trust that everything is happening for a reason. Every area and every companion that I've had have taught me so much. I know that the Lord is guiding my mission and that different obstacles have been put in my path so that I can be molded into the person and missionary He knows I can become. If there's one thing that I've learned since being in the mission field, it's that I can do hard things. I'm excited for the changes that are going to be happening!

This week, I hope that if things aren't going the way that you've hoped or planned, just know that it's okay. The sun is still shining, God is still there. By the end of the week it won't matter anyway, and looking back you'll realize that everything turned out exactly the way it was supposed to. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 36 - The Errand of Angels

Good Monday, everyone!. What a fun week it's been! Almost half the week was a holiday.
I hope that you all had a great May the Fourth Be With You, Cinco de Mayo, and Mother's Day!

On May the Fourth I got to spend the day in Yakima on exchanges with the awesome Sister Smith. Sister Smith and I came out to the mission field together so it was fun to be with her again. Exchanges are some of my favorite days of the transfer. It's so great being able to learn from other sisters and receive revelation and ideas about how I can help my own area and investigators.

Cinco de Mayo was really big in Sunnyside! The main square of town shuts down, and there's all kinds of games and shops and a carnival that are set up.  On Friday night, before we went in, we went and got some carnival food. 

Saturday was awesome because we had zone training meeting in Yakima, 
and then came back to Sunnyside for Esther's baptism!

Look at all of the missionaries that got to be a part of it!

I don't know if I explained this before, but Esther was the very first person Sister Mork and I talked to in Sunnyside. That first day, we had no clue where we were going. We didn't even have a map. We just went outside and walked around and saw Esther outside her apartment. We started talking to her, she came to church the next Sunday, and the rest is history!

Now that Esther and Brittany have been baptized, we are having to focus on helping our current investigators progress and finding investigators who are ready to progress. We've been able to meet and get referrals for a few different people this week who seem really solid.

One of the best moments of the week was when we met this lady named Lori. We knocked on her door, she let us in, we taught her a brief overview of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, she agreed to have us come back, and we asked her if we could say a prayer with her. After we said the prayer, we opened our eyes and saw that she was in tears. She said, "It's funny that you showed up when you did. I've been having a really tough week and today was especially hard." We went back and saw her on Saturday and she told us that the reason she was so emotional when we went by is because earlier that week, she and her kids left her husband of 19 years because she had been wanting to grow closer to God and he was against it. It was an amazing thing to witness God's hand in leading us to a lady who is so prepared and in need of the gospel.

Yesterday was a fantastic day because it was Mother's Day, which meant that I got to Skype my family! It was good to see them again. We also had an amazing church service. I was reminded how lucky I am to have such a wonderful mother and great examples of women in my life. 

We sang the song, "As Sisters in Zion," and I love the lyrics:

"As sisters in Zion, we'll all work together;
The blessings of God on our labors we'll seek.
We'll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor;
We'll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.
The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:
To do whatsoever is gentle and human,
To cheer and to bless in humanity's name.
How vast is our purpose, how broad is our mission,
If we but fulfill it in spirit and deed.
Oh, naught but the Spirit's divinest tuition
Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed."

I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to serve as a sister in Zion and to be on the "errand of angels."

Thanks for following along on my journey. I'll talk to you next week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 35 - The Golden Biscuit

Hello everyone! I hope y'all are having a great Monday. It's been a great week but has felt super long for some reason. Things are on fire here in the WYM. There's a record amount of people on date for baptism, and we're super excited that Esther is getting baptized this Saturday! She's gone two weeks without smoking after smoking for 30 years. Such a miracle! We were able to find lots of new investigators last week and our fingers are crossed that they'll be solid. The missionaries here call Sunnyside "the Biscuit" because it's like a good biscuit-- golden but flaky. I'm not complaining though! I like biscuits!

This past week was super fun because we had a Latino Night at the church that we've been planning for a long time. The idea was to have an activity for the Spanish branch and English ward to get together to invite their non-member friends to. We did a tour of the church, had authentic food from Mexico and South America, and several of the members performed. It was a lot of fun! I think we had about 30 non-members there.

I have had more Mexican food in the past two months than I've probably had my entire life. It's so funny because I would have never thought a little town in Washington would have so many Hispanics! I feel like I'm in a different country most of the time.
Nacho and Esquilito????
There are so many dogs roaming around! I have grown a strong dislike for chihuahuas ... Sometimes we have third companions walking with us.

I think this one is my favorite!

And Sister Whitlock and I have gotten in touch with our gangsta sides.

We are loving every bit of Sunnyside, and excited for everything that's going on! Thanks so much for all of the love and support. 

I'll talk to you next week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 34 - Things are Happening

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you've all had a great day so far. Mine's been interesting. For lunch I ate pig skin from a pig that was slaughtered yesterday. Yummm .... 

It's been such a great week!

I'll start out with the best thing that happened ...

Brittany's baptism!!!
 I had to test the water temperature when we were filling the font.
(This is the closest I'll get to a swimming pool this summer so I had to enjoy myself.)

So much happiness in this picture! Brittany started meeting with missionaries five years ago but never got baptized because she had a phobia of water. But everything lined up just perfectly and she finally was ready to take the plunge. She was really nervous about it but when she got to the church on Saturday she told us her nerves were gone and she woke up that morning at peace. We were crossing our fingers up until the time she actually got baptized that she wouldn't kick the guy that was baptizing her. Everything ended up working out and it was a beautiful, spiritual service.

A couple of other spiritual moments we had this week were the "Doctrine of Christ" meeting that we had at the mission home and interviews with President Lewis. "Doctrine of Christ" is what all missionaries and their trainers go to after their first transfer in the field. It was so great. It's crazy because with all of the teaching and role playing and studying we do of the lessons, I was reminded again just how much I can work on. 

Interviews with P. Lew and Sister Lewis were amazing as well. I love them so much. It's definitely true -- missionaries are called to their mission presidents. I feel like President Lewis just gets me.

We also had a fun experience tracting a part of our area that we hardly ever go to. Our area is mostly flat except for this giant, steep, formidable hill that has a ton of houses on it, but we don't really go there that much because we'd have to walk up the hill, and most of our success was coming from the areas surrounding it. But we've been trying to find more investigators, and so we decided to venture into uncharted territory and take on the Hill. After dinner Tuesday night, the hermanas dropped us off on the top of the hill and we spent the three hours we had left of the night making our way down and knocking doors. It was awesome! Everyone we met was so nice and the first person we talked to turned into a new investigator.

So yeah. It's been a good week. We got to do a lot of exciting things and capped it off with the baptism. We're excited for what this week will bring.
I know I say it all the time, but this work is so real. I thought I'd be leaving the real world coming on my mission but I actually discovered what is real and what is important and where happiness really comes from. It's the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week.

Thanks for reading!

Sister Skousen