WA Week 47 - A Work in Progress

Happy Monday afternoon, everyone! It's been a good week here in Moses Lake.

I'm gonna start out with a story.

We live with two other sisters, and on Tuesday night we got home and saw that they weren't home yet, so we decided to have some fun.

We parked around the corner of the apartment so the hermanas wouldn't know that we were home. Then we left all the lights off and hid in the bathtub of the bathroom. We thought one of them would probably have to use the bathroom when they got home. We waited for twenty minutes before we heard them come home. Our hearts were pounding so hard.

But then, the sisters didn't end up going to the bathroom. They started planning! Stinking obedient missionaries.

We waited in the bathroom for another half hour, and then we started getting impatient, so we started banging on the walls to try and lure them in. Sister Rasmussen made these crazy cat noises that I didn't know any human could make. (They're in the video that I attached.) After a few minutes, it was completely quiet.

Sister Rasmussen was like, "Sister Skousen, I think they're gone!" And I was like, "Nahhhh they probably know it's us and they're hiding so they can scare us."

We waited a few more minutes, and still nothing happened. We finally decided to go out and investigate. We looked under all the beds and in the closets and we couldn't find them anywhere. Then we started freaking out because we were nervous that they left and called the cops or something.

We called them and were like, "Sisters, where are you?!" And they said, "We're at the elders' apartment! Do you know that there's a stranger in our apartment?"

Then I said, "Are you sure it's not just Sister Rasmussen?" Then they hung up and came back. It was sooo funny. So much better then we had planned.

When they left, they took a picture of Christ and a Title of Liberty for protection.

This week we also got to rescue a dog for a recent convert.

And on Wednesday we had a super MLC with some people from the missionary department in Salt Lake City. It was so good and a bit mind blowing. They gave us soo many ideas about tons of different aspects of missionary work. It was a little bit crazy because there are so many different things we could improve but I know it's not going to happen all at once, so right now we're just trying to figure out how we can slowly start applying the different principles we were taught. It's a work in progress, but what isn't, right? Life is a work in progress.

Our focus with member missionary work is starting to pay off. Some previous missionaries ruined a lot of member trust a few months ago, so we've been trying to build that back up, and we're starting to see some awesome things happening! There was a lady in the ward that texted us and told us she had a friend that had agreed to meet with missionaries, so on Fridayat the ward's Pioneer Day celebration we met her and set up a time to meet with her. I felt like passing out. We've also been getting other solid referrals and the members have been volunteering to help us. It's been so great seeing how far the ward has come since I first got here two months ago.

And get this --- our golden investigator Dori is going to be getting baptized THIS WEEKEND! We're going to be meeting with her every day this week to get her ready. It's going to be a busy, busy week. But busy is good!

I hope that you all have a wonderful week! See you next time.

Sister Skousen

WA Week 46 - M&Ms

 Hey everyone! I hope y'all have been having another great week.
It's been GREAT here. The weather's been gorgeous, and we've had lots of good things happening.

For one thing-- remember that lady I talked about last week who said she wanted to be baptized? She's on date for August 6th! We asked her how she was able to get her answer and she said that she was at Mount St. Helens and reading the Book of Mormon and she just knew. She came to church on Sunday and things have been great.

It's been fun showing Sister Rasmussen around Moses Lake. Moses Lake is a fun place. This week we saw a lot of interesting things. Here are just a few ...

Is this a sign?
I love being able to see all the classy decorating ideas at the houses we visit. #whoneedspinterest
This was the manual to our new DVD player. (Please read the whole thing.)
My favorite thing that happened this past week happened last night! Last week I talked about the focus our mission's been having on M&Ms (members and missionaries ;) ). We have seen so many miracles from doing it just this week!

Last night we visited this awesome member family, the Chivers, and had a lesson with them. They told us about the Garcia family a few doors down that they want to share the gospel with. Right after that lesson, we visited another member family, the Rippys, who live around the corner. We were following up with them on who they'd prayed about that they could share the gospel with. They told us about how their 9-year-old daughter took our challenge to heart, and fasted and prayed about who she could send the missionaries to. Her friend, Marielle, came to mind, and she said that she could envision us visiting her family. The cool thing about this is that Marielle was from the same family that the Chivers told us about a few minutes earlier! We told the Rippys that we were going to try by the Garcias and then come back and tell them how it went. When we went by, the parents were outside. We told them that the Rippys and Chivers sent us to share a video with them. I think they were a little weary of us at first, but they let us in and opened up a lot when we told them who sent us and after we showed them the video. We talked to the mom about her faith in Jesus Christ, and about how we have that in common with her. She was so closed off when we first met her but after talking with her a few minutes she actually agreed to have us come back on Friday

Everything about that experience was perfect. I know that it was the simple faith of that 9-year-old that softened the Garcias' hearts, and the good examples of the Rippy and Chivers families that opened them up to listening to us. If we had just knocked on their door tracting, I know that they wouldn't have let us in and especially wouldn't have let us come back. This experience was a testimony to me of how important it is to work with members. We're strangers to Moses Lake, and we have no idea who's ready for the gospel and who's not. But the people that live here DO know, so it's so much easier to work with the members than to knock every door in town trying to find them.

I'm excited to see more miracles from working with members this week.

I'll talk to you next week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 45 - All Good Things

Happy 7/11 everyone! I hope y'all are having a great week.
It's been another crazy one. I feel like each week flies by faster and faster and I'm always in shock that it's already Monday.

This week seemed to go by super fast because of transfers. Monday and Tuesday were full of goodbyes and packing. Wednesday I got SISTER RASMUSSEN!

She's awesome and so much fun. When she volunteered to go dumpster diving for Hermana Oliva on her first night in Moses Lake, I knew that this would be a great transfer.

Friday we went down to Yakima for MLC, which took pretty much all day long.

It was so good. A big focus at MLC was working with members. I definitely needed it, because it's something I've really slacked on. It's so much easier to try and do things ourselves, but working with members is way more effective in the long run. I'm super pumped about all of the ideas to get members more involved. We're going to try focusing on that a lot this transfer.

The rest of the weekend we had a lot of meetings, went to a baptism in Sister Rasmussen's old area, and planned.

We were so dead by the end of it all.

The best thing that happened this past week was that last night one of our investigators randomly texted us a question about baptism. She said, "If and when I get baptized ..." We freaked out! We were like, "Are you thinking about getting baptized?" And she said, "Yeah I am :)"
Ahhhh! It totally made our night. That never happens. Fingers are crossed that everything works out and that she still wants to get baptized when we see her this week.

I am so excited about this transfer. I feel like this new focus on member missionary work is exactly what this area needs, and I love Sister Rasmussen.

Lots of good things are happening here.

I know that there are a lot of crazy things happening in the world right now, and I'm so grateful that I can be apart from that and just focus on the good things. There really is so much good in the world if we take the time to look for it.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week and spend time looking for those good things!

I'll talk to you next week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 44 - Happy birthday, America ... Happy birthday, WYM!

Today, I feel grateful to be from the USA. I'm so lucky to be able to serve a mission in the greatest country in the world.

This morning we were invited by a member of the stake presidency to have breakfast at his house. We sang patriotic hymns and said goodbye to Elder Haymond and Elder Spackman, who are going home today!

I also saw this car! These people know what they're doing.

 This week was also exciting because it was the Washington Yakima Mission's first birthday! 

I can't believe it's already been a year. It has been so much fun being a part of a pioneering group of missionaries in this mission. We've been able to create our own vision and mission culture and seen miracles happen as the work rolled forth. The Lord's hand is definitely over this part of His vineyard.

We also went on four exchanges this week! They were so much fun. I left the area for three of those.

My first exchange was with Sister Parry, who served with me in Sunnyside! 

The next one was with Hermana Juarez in Ephrata. Ephrata is the cutest town. It kind of reminds me of Sunnyside. I got to bear my testimony and read some scriptures in Spanish, so that was fun!

And then on Saturday I got to go with my MTC companion, Sister Averett! It was crazy reminiscing about the MTC and working in the mission field together. We have both grown so much. It was cool to see. My favorite part of that exchange was that we did something called a "power hour." We called a member that morning and asked her if we could come by around 2:30 to try something with her. When we went over we told her that we were going to read some scriptures with her. We read some scriptures about how we need to fast and pray for the work, and that the Lord answers our prayers according to our faith. We asked her if we could combine our faith with hers, and told her that we would say a prayer with her, and then she would tell us where we needed to go for the next hour. We said the prayer, and she told us that she had the impression that we needed to go to Judith Street. We told her we would go there and talk to as many people as we could in the next hour, and then come back and follow up with her on how it went.

When we got in the car to go to Judith Street, Sister Averett told me something interesting. She said that two transfers ago she and her companion read a talk about how we can pray for angels to prepare people to receive the gospel. She and her companion felt the prompting to pray for angels to prepare people on Judith Street. For four weeks, they would pray every day for Judith Street, and then they went there and not a single person was willing to talk to them, so she thought it was interesting that this member would have the impression that we should go there. But we went there anyway, and we ended up talking to a member who was depressed and who really needed to see us, found a man who said we could come back, and then talked to a guy who was about to shut the door on us but when I said I was from Prescott, Arizona, he came outside and talked to us for like 20 minutes. It was so cool to see the change in people from the time that the missionaries talked to them a couple months ago to now. It definitely showed me that the Lord prepares people in his time. Just because we might have tracted an area doesn't mean we're done there.

It was also amazing being able to work with the members and share with them the miracles of missionary work. I'm definitely going to be doing "power hours" more in my area!

On Saturday, we also got transfer calls!

I'm going to be staying here in Moses, and Sister Hirsche's getting released to train a new missionary up in my old area, Mission Ridge! My new companion will be Sister Rasmussen. I've heard great things about her, so I'm really excited. I'll let you know next week how things go.

I hope that you all have an amazing 4th of July!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 43 - It's True or It's Not

Yesterday marked 10 months since I entered the MTC. It's crazy how fast time's gone by.

One of my favorite things about serving in Washington is all of the fruit! 
It's cherry season right now, and I'm not normally a fan of cherries, but fresh Washington cherries are soooo goood.

This week has been pretty good. We haven't had a ton of incredible things happen, but it's been pretty solid. Sister Hirsche's felt a lot better so we were able to go out and work! It's felt like we've just contacted a lot of people this week. It was more of a scheduling week than a teaching week. BUT, the great thing about it is that we've got a lot of return appointments set up for this week. Except we're going on FOUR EXCHANGES this week! 
We tried to spread them out over the course of the transfer, but for one reason or another sisters have had to reschedule, so this last week of the transfer I'm going to be out of my area more than in it.

Another interesting thing that happened this week is that Hermana Oliva got an ulcer! It was right after Sister Hirsche started feeling. The poor hermanas have stayed in allll week.

 There's been some cabin fever going around our apartment and things have been pretty crazy, but it's been fun.

We had a lesson with a lady named Beatrice and an awesome member who was out teaching with us. When we were teaching her about how Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ, she said, "Wow. Doesn't it say in the Bible that no man can look upon God?" Immediately my mind went to scriptures that support this happening, but before I could think of what to say, our member just said, "It's a pretty bold thing to say isn't it?" 
"Yeah," said Beatrice. And then our member said, "And it's either true or it's not. It either happened or it didn't. And wouldn't you like to know if it really did happen?" Beatrice was just like, "Wow. Yeah, I guess I would." I was amazed at the simplicity and power of that statement. It wasn't about getting it to make logical sense to her. It was about helping her gain a testimony, or at least helping her have the desire to gain a testimony.

It's so true. People are going to argue about whether or not Joseph saw what he said he saw. People are going to argue about whether the Book of Mormon is legitimate or not. But it's either true or it's not. And my testimony is that you CAN find out that's it true. You CAN find out that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the universal plan for all of God's children to be happy, has been restored in its fullness to the Earth by a loving Heavenly Father through a living prophet. It's true. I know it is, because I've read the Book of Mormon, I've spent hours studying it and praying about it, and I've gotten my answer. And I know that there's no way that the Book of Mormon could have been brought forth unless it was brought forth by the power of God. Do you understand how powerful having a testimony of that is?! No argument or excuse or critique will shake that knowledge that I've received from God. Because I know that it's true, I don't have a single question about any other doctrine in the Church.

I have a testimony that if there's any doctrine you have a hard time wrapping your brain around or agreeing with, study the Book of Mormon. Trust the promise in Moroni 10:3-5 that you can get an answer if you study and ask with a sincere heart, faith in God, and real intent. I can promise you that strengthening your testimony of the Book of Mormon will carry you through all of the questions that you might have, "that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." (Helaman 5:12)

I know that as I maintain my relationship with God and my testimony of the Book of Mormon, I won't fall. There's no way, and it's comforting to me to know that. I hope that if any of you are struggling or trying to figure things out, please read the Book of Mormon, and trust that God will answer your questions.

If you don't really know what the Book of Mormon is, please go here: https://www.mormon.org/beliefs/book-of-mormon. It will change your life.

This email went a little deeper than I thought it would, but it's just what I've been thinking about and for some reason it's what came out today. Thanks so much for letting me email you and I hope that you have a wonderful week!

I'll talk to you next week!

Sister Skousen