WA Week 61 - Nostalgia

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE! Fall is in full swing here in Yakima. I am IN LOVE with the fall colors and not excited for all the leaves to be falling, so we've been enjoying the views while we can.

It's been a really good week! On P-Day we went with Selah zone to an investigator's place. This guy is so legit. He became a millionaire working at a fish hatchery in Alaska for two years, and then came back and built this crazy underground doomsday shelter that's attached to like 25 of these yurts that people can come and stay in for free. He has enough food for 2 people to survive for 50 years!

So Crazy!
We've knocked on loooootttts of doors this week. I've learned that some areas are better for tracting than others, and this is definitely an area where we've seen some cool things happen tracting. 

The best thing that happened was on Tuesday night. It was at the end of the night and we had just been knocking at some apartments. We were heading back to our car, and we saw a lady in the parking lot walking towards an apartment. We waved to her and said hi. Then we kept walking and Sister Michalek pointed to an apartment ahead on the left and said, "I feel like we need to knock this one." We knocked on the door, and no one answered, so we were about to leave, but then we saw the lady we had just said hi to walking towards us. Apparently that was her apartment. We started talking to her, and soon the lady started crying. We found out her name was Valerie. Valerie had just become a Christian a year ago, and has had some really difficult things happen in her life. She had just said a prayer asking God for help and direction, and when she saw us say hi to her she said that she knew we were going to knock on her door. She took it as a sign from God, and she knew that whatever we had to tell her was the answer to her prayers. We told her about the Book of Mormon and about how Jesus Christ's gospel has been restored. It was so powerful to teach someone who completely opened her heart to the Spirit. 
We are so excited to see where this goes with Valerie!

This week has also been very nostalgic for me. I got to go on exchanges with my old companion, Sister Torman, and then I got to go to one of my FAVORITE PLACES IN THE ENTIRE WORLD ...


And I got to see Esther!

Being back in Sunnyside, I felt like no time had gone by. I could still remember the streets and where everyone lived, but it was weird because they were teaching different people and there were different missionaries there. It just felt different so it was kinda bittersweet. I was excited to go back to Yakima though. I loved reliving my Sunnyside days but I realized that there really is a time and a season for everything and you can't relive the past. We just have to keep looking forward or we'd feel super depressed. It was a good reminder for me to not take time for granted!

Alright, well it's about time for me to wrap this up because I have to finish college applications. Yuck!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and stay safe tonight!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 60 - When in Washington ...

Last week I didn't send too many pictures, so this week I'm going to make up for it! Hopefully they can all fit. It's been a super crazy week, and I feel like I say that every week but this one was seriously crazy.

First of all, look at what we got to drive the first few days of the week!
"The Silver Bullet"

 It was so much fun. We were super sad when Elder Thompson called us on Wednesday and told us our little Corolla was ready to be picked up from the shop. :( It was super fun while it lasted though.
We also got to have interviews with President and Sister Lewis, who are two of my favorite people on the planet! Sister Lewis is one of the coolest ladies I've ever met. She's such a spiritual powerhouse and whenever we have interviews with her she gives us kind of a one-on-one training about things that she's been thinking about. This time she talked about the Spirit and how it works differently for each of us. I've come to understand more about how the Spirit works on my mission, and I am growing more and more thankful that Heavenly Father has blessed us with such an amazing gift of guidance and comfort.

I also had a really great interview with President. He just gets me. This past week I've had to work on applying for school and thinking about what I want to do with my life after my mission. I hate having to think about that on my mission because I want to just focus on the work, but I know that it's something I have to take care of now. President Lewis gave me a lot of advice and direction, which I'm super grateful for.

This weekend I was also blessed to see a few old friends.
Sister Whitlock came back to visit, and I got to see a couple of other RMs that I worked with when I was in Sunnyside. So many flashbacks this weekend. I love being in a mission where missionaries become such great friends.

On Saturday with the YSA, I got to press apple cider for the first time ever! Before my mission I knew that wherever I was assigned to serve, I wanted to do all of the local things. Since I got called to serve in the apple capital of the world, I feel like pressing cider is one of the most local things I could do. It was so much fun, and the cider is one of the most delicious drinks I've ever tasted!

We pressed 73 gallons of cider! So good.​
As far as the work goes, we have a lady named Lexy in Randall Park who's pretty solid. She's been coming to church pretty consistently, but wants to finish the Book of Mormon before she's baptized. Luckily, she's already in Helaman, so hopefully she'll make up her mind soon!

Maggie, the golden investigator in YSA that I talked about a few weeks ago, is also super awesome, but she's been sick and super busy so we haven't been able to see her lately. Other than that, we don't have anyone super solid, so we're going to get a lot of finding time this week.

I'm super pumped because we got a new ward mission leader in Randall Park who's a young guy that taught in the MTC. He should be great to work with. I've seen ward mission leaders and bishops have a huge influence on the culture of missionary work in wards. I think exciting things are on the horizon.

I love you all and hope you have another fantastic week! Don't let the little things get you down.

Sister Skousen

WA Week 59 - BROKE

Good morning, everyone! It feels like I just barely wrote, so I don't know if I'll have too much to say this week.

One of my big lessons of the week happened when I lost my wallet. I now know what it feels like to lose everything for the gospel's sake haha. #consecrated

For reals though, I literally have some pennies and that's it. Thank goodness for companions, awesome mission office people, and old missionaries that leave weird food in their old apartments!

The good news is that:

 "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof." (-3 Nephi 13:32-34)

So it's all good!

On another note, this morning Sister Michalek and I took our car into the shop. Before I got here, the car was involved in a hit and run, so we had to take it in to get the dent fixed. We were thinking that we were going to have to be walking for a few days, but thanks to the BEST mission vehicle coordinator in the world, Elder Thompson, we upgraded to a Chevy Silverado for a couple days! The elders are super jealous.

Another highlight of this week was that I got to go on exchanges with SISTER CHRISTENSEN!!!! We had SO much fun. We took a drive down memory lane the entire 24 hours. I can't believe that it's been a year since we were together! We remember things that happened like it was just yesterday.

AND we got to reenact some old pictures we took.

Aren't the leaves beautiful?! I can't believe it's already that time of year. I'm a little sad about it but it's kind of fun thinking that the holidays are around the corner, and it's so much fun being a missionary over the holidays. The Spirit really works on people this time of year.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week and eat lots of apples for me! 
(They are so good right now.)

Sister Skousen

WA Week 58 - "We're gonna hit the pavement, my friend."

I can't say this very often when I write so I'm going to say it now ... Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Our P-Day was moved to today because it was our temple day! We only get to go to the temple every six months so it was super special.

This week has been craaazzzy. So much has happened that I can't believe it all happened since I last wrote. We were super busy.

On Monday, for P-Day we went on a hike through Yakima.
 It's so weird being back in Yakima zone with completely different missionaries. I've been seeing some people that I saw when I was in Sunnyside and it's so weird because I feel like Sunnyside just happened and my time in Moses Lake was like a short dream. Why is time so weird?!

This past week was our big meeting week of the month. We had MLC, zone leadership meetings, and zone training meeting! 

And then guess what happened on Saturday ...
I have never seen someone so excited to be baptized before. The spirit was so strong and her grandma, Debbie, was in tears the whole time. It was so much fun going back to Moses again.

This past week Sister Michalek and I have been talking a lot about our goals for this transfer. We only have a few transfers left and so we really want to be the best missionaries that we can be before we go home. 

There's these missionary training DVDs that the church makes called The District that's basically a missionary documentary. At the end of The District 2, Elder Bott says something like, 

"When I get a new companion and he asks me what we're going to do this transfer. I'm gonna tell him, 'We're gonna hit the pavement my friend. We're gonna find, we're gonna teach, and we're gonna baptize.'"

I've always loved that line and Sister Michalek and I decided that that's going to be our motto for the transfer. We've already seen some cool things happen. Like yesterday we met the most GOLDEN YSA investigator named Maggie, who we put on date to be baptized for November 5th!

I'm looking forward to seeing many more miracles like that this transfer, and the rest of my mission.

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

Sister Skousen

WA Week 57 - Back to Yak!

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you all had a great general conference weekend. I loved all the talks, especially Elder Oaks's about missionary work! Everyone knows that missionary work is important, but sometimes we wonder what we can do to be better member missionaries. I loved how Elder Oaks gave solid examples of easy things we can do to be more missionary-minded. No more excuses!
This week has felt really long because of all that's happened. I can't believe that a week ago I was in Moses Lake!

It was super sad saying goodbye to all these incredible people, but I'm thankful for Facebook and modern transportation so that I can stay in touch and visit someday!
The Andersens! Brother Andersen was our ward mission leader.
The McCombs! This is a recent convert family who are preparing to go to the temple next month.
Diego, Ashley, and Anthony! We love them so much.
The crazy Smith kids! These are the members that we lived with.

There's something about being really close to mission headquarters that is really exciting and it seems like there's a greater sense of urgency than other places I've served that were further away.

My companion is Sister Michalek and she's from Missouri. She's so awesome! 

The wards I cover are Randall Park and YSA. And this is super crazy .... but for those of you that don't know, last summer before I came on my mission I went to Africa and met some awesome people named the Finches that were from Yakima. I got my mission call a week after I got home from Africa and when I found out I was going to Yakima, I thought it was so cool that I'd be going to where the Finches lived, but I knew that the odds of seeing them were pretty slim.
Well, it turns out that Brother Finch is actually the branch president of the YSA where I'm serving! So I'm going to see him and Lezli all the time. Such a small world!

I'm so excited for this coming week and getting to know the area a little bit more. If you didn't get the chance to watch general conference, do it! How lucky are we to be able to hear prophets speak? Don't take it for granted!

I hope that you have a great week!

Sister Skousen