WA Week 52 - A Year as a Missionary

Greetings from Moses Lake!

Summer is winding down here. Kids are starting school this week WHICH MEANS that hopefully everyone will be back home from summer activities,

A few highlights from this week:

-Sister Rasmussen and I started INSANITY. We are going to be super buff by the end of this transfer.
-We were privileged enough to meet Taco, the cat-- a Moses Lake must see.

-We talked to a nudist ... on the phone.
-We moved out of our apartment and into the Smiths' house! At first we were sad to leave our apartment but we love living with the Smiths.
-Had a super inspired visit with a less active lady on Friday who's been going through a lot. Then she asked if she could come out with us! She taught lessons with us for a few hours the next day and we taught lesson after lesson after lesson. It was awesome.
-I HIT MY YEAR MARK. Sooooo crazzzzyyyyyyy.

We also had a really good week with our investigators. I thought it might be a good idea to give you a rundown of a few of our major people.

-James: the 12-year-old grandson of a less active who's coming back to church. He's accepted a baptismal invitation but still has to get permission from his mom, who lives in Oregon. He came to church for the first time yesterday! It's so cute seeing how happy his grandma is that he's coming to church. We're going to try and see if we can start meeting with his older sister, too.

-Alicia: A super awesome member referral who is so sweet and so prepared for the gospel, (even though she doesn't realize it yet). She has been reading the Book of Mormon and feels the Spirit really strongly but she hasn't been able to come to church because she takes care of a 90-year-old lady on the weekends. :( Hopefully we'll be able to figure out a way for her to come soon! I know the Lord will provide a way.

-Katarina: the 10-year-old granddaughter of a less active member. (I'm telling you-- finding investigators through less active, part member families is the way to go.) She is SO much fun and we've been teaching her with lots of cool object lessons. We've been trying to get her to church too!

-Diego & Ashley: Diego's a less active member who hasn't been to church in years. Ashley's his girlfriend. They are super cool and want to feed us every time we go by. They are Christians but aren't sure if there's one true church. We've been reading the Book of Mormon with them and we're hoping that gaining testimonies of the Book of Mormon will help them to gain testimonies of all the other parts of the gospel. They've been loving it so far.

Hopefully we'll be able to help all these people progress this week! I can't believe that I've already been on my mission for a whole year. I've learned so much about myself this past year and I can't imagine where I would be if I had spent that time any other way. Serving a mission has been the best decision that I've ever made.

Thanks for all the love and support! I'll talk to you next week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 51 - A More Excellent Way

Hey everybody! I hope that you all are having a great day!

It was transfer week here, so it was sad saying goodbye to everyone.

We're excited for all of the new missionaries in our zone though! Transfers are always nice because everything always feels new and refreshing again. One thing that has been super sad is that the hermanas that lived with us were doubled out, so we've had our apartment all to ourselves. But then we found out that we're going to move to live with members! We're sad about leaving our super nice apartment (seriously, the nicest missionary apartment ever), but excited to be living with an awesome family!

This week started out kinda slow. We haven't been working with a ton of people, but one thing that's been really cool is that golden people have kind of come out of nowhere. We were teaching a less active sister last week whose grandson was visiting, and we taught the Restoration. We didn't think anything of it really, but the next time we saw her she told us that her grandson was interested in meeting with us and coming to church!

There was also a lady that we had dropped a couple weeks ago because it was impossible to get in with her, who texted us last night and said that she wanted to meet with us again.

I feel like Sister Rasmussen and I have really been figuring out how to do things lately. At the beginning of my mission, if I wanted to find people to teach I would go tracting. I was so focused on the numbers defining my success, and did things the way other missionaries did them because I thought that's what you were supposed to do.

Sister Rasmussen and I have been an awesome team because we're both not afraid to go against the norm.

One thing that I've figured out is that there are so many things missionaries do just because it's what all the other missionaries do, but sometimes those things aren't effective. 

I feel like there is so much more that could be done with our time if we not only work harder, but work smarter. I've found that if we're doing everything we possibly can, Heavenly Father will lead those people He's preparing straight to us. 

When we're working hard, some of the most golden people just find their way to us. It's cool how things work out that way. Man! I hope that I get another chance to train, because I feel like I'm finally starting to figure things out.

Anyways, I hope that you all have a great week, and I'm looking forward to writing about lots of miracles next week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 50 (!!!!) - Only The Gospel

Holy cow! 50 weeks in the mission field. It's so weird to be coming up on my year mark. The season's getting to be what it was when I came into the field, which really freaks me out. The nights are getting darker faster, which I'm super bummed about. FRUIT SEASON is in full swing.

This was all the fruit people have given us. We've gotten even more since I took this picture! We've been having lots of smoothies and fruit for breakfast. Ain't nothin' like Washington fruit.

This week we finished our last two exchanges for the transfer. We've been in mega finding mode lately. Our area is kind of small so it's been tracted by missionaries so many times. We've been trying to find through less actives, part member families, and member referrals, and we've been slowly finding people. It's been fun working with less actives. We've had lots of less actives coming to church lately!

This is a lady that hadn't been to church in like 30 years, and now she's come like 4 times! This area has really taught me to love working with less actives.

... patiently waiting for the voicemail from President ...

I was kinda shocked because I've never stayed in an area for three transfers or with a companion for more than one! It's gonna be weird, but I'm excited. 
We're gonna tear this place down.
Something I've been thinking a lot about this week is this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:
"Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family."

Before my mission, I studied Global Security and Intelligence Studies, and learned about all of the problems in the world today. I went into that program because I wanted to help fix things. I wanted to find a solution for everything going on. I thought there had to be some kind of strategy or something we could do that would make everything better, but I learned that things going on in the world are way more complicated than any human can fix. 

This quote by President Benson really struck me, because of course THE GOSPEL is the only solution to the things going on in the world today. There's literally nothing that will make things better except for the gospel. There may be temporary fixes, but the gospel is the only solution for everything. I know that there's some ca-raazzy things going on in the world right now and I'm glad I don't have to hear about them too often, but I hope that all you folks in the real world remember that. 

I'm glad that right now I get to be apart of the cause that's going to fix the world.

Thanks for following along on my journey this past year! I'll talk to y'all next week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 49 - Moses Lake is On Fire

Literally. Things are better now, but it's been so smoky!

On Tuesday, we went to MLC, and it was sooo good as always. We talked a lot about proper Preach My Gospel planning. When the missionary department trainers came a couple weeks ago, they told us that if we're ever struggling finding people or helping them progress, it's because we're not planning right. Ouch!

When we go down to Yakima for MLCs, we drive down with a couple companionships of zone leaders. My zone leaders are Elder King and Elder Roe, so naturally we ate at King's Row on the way back from Yakima. Not a great move! I think I ended up getting food poisoning from there, so I was sick the next morning. It was a super inconvenient day to get sick on because we had a mini missionary (a 16-year-old young woman) that was supposed to come out with us. I stayed in most of the day and we went on a mini exchange with the hermanas so that Sister Rasmussen could still go out with the mini missionary. I was all good by the end of the night though, and good enough to give a training at ZTM the next day!

Another exciting thing that happened this week was ...

We got to borrow the elders' bikes! Woooo! I've always wanted to ride bikes on my mission.

One of my favorite things that happened this past week happened on Saturday night.

We had some time left before we were supposed to go in, and we had gone by everyone that we wanted to see, so we decided to go through our ward directory and track down some less actives. We randomly picked a family who lived nearby, and when we knocked on her door, she said, "Oh my gosh! You're from the LDS church? We haven't had anyone from the church come by in 10 years!" She let us in, and told us about how she hadn't been to church in 10 years and no one from the church had stopped by in all that time. She got a couple letters from visiting teachers, but that was it. It turns out that she had gotten offended and stopped going, but the wound was made deeper because she felt like no one cared enough to reach out to her. She has a 10 year old granddaughter that lives with her, and we said, "Would it be okay if we came back and taught Katarina the lessons?" The lady's face lit up and she was just like, "Really?! We would love that!" Right before we left their house, I remembered I had a little knit heart in my bag, and I gave it to Katarina. The lady was crying when we left. It was such an incredible experience and my heart felt like melting.

Morals of the story?
1. DO YOUR HOME AND VISITING TEACHING! Seriously. My testimony of home teaching and visiting teaching has grown times a thousand since I've been on my mission. There ARE SO MANY PEOPLE who would be at church if everyone did their home teaching and visiting teaching. Scratch that. The second coming would have probably happened already if everyone did their home and visiting teaching.
2. Sometimes the Spirit is guiding us and we don't even know it. Sometimes we find out afterwards, but I'm sure there are so many times the Lord is using us and we don't even realize it. It's important to be doing the things that we're supposed to be doing so that we have the capacity to be led.

I know that the Lord puts us exactly where we're supposed to be to bring about His work. I hope you all realize this and do some good this week! Thanks for reading!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 48 - Finding Dori

Hey everybody! Happy August! It's been a G-R-E-A-T week here in Moses Lake 2nd Ward.

It's also been a pretty hot one. On Wednesday we decided to bake cookies in the sun. (It worked.)

I left our area twice for two different exchanges. Poor Sister Rasmussen's been holding down the fort. This week we're excited that we'll have no exchanges, so we'll be together all week. Yippee!

This past week we also met with Dori every day to prepare her for her baptism on Saturday. It was pretty crazy getting all those lessons in, and there was some drama on Friday night, but it all worked out and she got baptized!

Right before she went into the font she started crying, and said, "I don't know why I'm crying. I'm so happy!" It was such a powerful moment, and it's moments like that that help me see the big picture of what the Lord is accomplishing through missionary work. His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, and the fact that I was able to be a tool for Him to do that with Dori is amazing.

Another of our highlights this week was church! I've talked a lot about how we've been trying to push the work with less actives and members in our ward, and yesterday we had six individuals/families come to church that are less actives, part-member families, or recent converts that we've been working with. We're trying to be a positive presence in the ward, and I feel like the members are so much friendlier and willing to help us, especially now that they're seeing all these people coming to church! It's been incredible to see.

Our teaching pool with investigators isn't huge right now, but the people that we've been teaching have been pretty solid. With Dori baptized, this week we'll have more time to find people. It should be pretty good.

I hope you all have a great week!

Sister Skousen