WA Week 69 - Christmas All Year Long

Hello, everyone! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful day. We had a great week. Mission Christmases are the best!

We worked hard this week, but are still working on finding people! We met a few cool potentials that say we can come back after the holidays are over. I love Christmas-time and sharing the Christmas initiative with people, but people's schedules are one thing I'm not a fan of during the holidays. Hopefully once life calms down for everyone will be able to start meeting with people regularly.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas we weren't supposed to tract, but to focus on doing good and visiting members and people we're teaching. 

For Christmas Eve, Sister C. and I were invited to some members'  house in Zillah for brunch. We got to listen to my cousin Cleon Skousen's talk on the Christmas story on tape! Then we visited a less active member, made treats to take to the other sisters in the area, and had dinner with the stake president. We finished the night out with some Christmas caroling with the other missionaries.

On Christmas day, we woke up, went to Ahtanum Creek ward at 9 (which was only an hour), and then opened presents with the Randall Park sisters!


At 1 we went to sacrament with the YSA. Then we finished delivering treats to the sisters, and got to Skype our families!


I don't know how many of you know this, but my brother's getting married in two weeks, and I got to meet my future sister-in-law yesterday. She's super awesome and I'm so excited for them!

That was most definitely my favorite part of the weekend!

We finished out Christmas eating dinner with members and going Christmas caroling. Most definitely a wonderful weekend!

I have to say, in years past I think December 26th has usually been the saddest day of the year for me, because Christmas is over! I hate how there's so much buildup and I get so excited and then it's over before I know it. This year, though, I had a different take, thanks to an article my Mom sent me called "The Three Levels of Christmas." It talks about how we can make Christmas last all year by focusing not only on baby Jesus, but on the adult Christ, because that's when He became the Savior and performed all those wonderful acts that shaped us and our destinies forever. I love that. I feel like I'm going to try and take all these good feelings and reminders that I've felt over the Christmas season and carry them with me throughout the year.

I hope that you can all take that Christmas spirit with you too and remember what Christ became after the night in the stable all those years ago. I hope you all have a great last week of this holiday break and wonderful last week of 2016!

See ya next year!

Love,
Sister Skousen

WA Week 68 - GREENIEFIRE

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you've all had a great week.
This week was the coldest week of my mission. It got down to 2 degrees on Saturday.

We've been feeling like bag ladies walking around all layered up, but we don't even care because it's so cold.


It has been A BLAST serving with Sister Christensen again!

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- 2016 -
Sister Christensen and I served together when we were only a transfer old, and she's one of my favorite companions. When I got the call that we were serving together I was in shock! It's not very common for companions to serve with each other again.

Being together again has rekindled the "greenie fire" in both of us. We both have a huge desire to get a ton of work done and to become the best missionaries we can become. I almost wonder if we were together our second transfer to prepare us for these last transfers of being together, when we're at our peaks. We both feel like the renewed greenie fire coupled with the skills and wisdom we've developed over the year will lead to some amazing things. I feel like we're going to see miracles happen this transfer. 

It's also been fun being doubled into the Ahtanum Creek ward. I love doubling in, because both companions are on the same foot figuring out everything that's happening in the area and getting to know everyone.

The Ahtanum Creek ward is amazing! All the members we've met so far have been so incredible and so missionary-minded. The ward is really strong and there are a lot of families, but the missionary work has been slow. We don't have any solid investigators right now. The ward really wants to fix that. Hopefully the freshness of sister missionaries will help things get going, not because I think we're better than the elders but I think that there are definitely people that are influenced more by elders and people that are influenced more by sisters. Hopefully we'll be able to find people who are willing to listen to us that haven't been willing to listen before.

This last week leading up to Christmas, I hope amid the chaos of family get togethers and last minute Christmas shopping, you'll all remember the One who gave us the greatest ever given. We have nothing to give back that will ever repay the debt. He's given us our families, our talents, and every breath we breathe. The only thing we can give Him that He doesn't already have is our hearts. I hope that you'll all resolve to more fully give Him your heart as a gift this Christmas.

I love you all and hope you have the merriest of Christmases!

Love,
Sister Skousen

WA Week 67 - For God So Loved the World

Something I've been thinking a lot about lately is how grateful I am to know that God is truly our loving Heavenly Father. That principle is the first principle that we teach to people, and I had an experience this week as we were teaching Richard that reminded me of this.
I've mentioned before that Richard has been doing everything that we ask him to do. He's been going to church, reading the scriptures, saying his prayers, and keeping the commandments, but he's still been struggling recognizing his answer. We've been praying and really trying to figure out how we can help him receive an answer, and yesterday after talking with him we figured out one of the big issues.

He believes in God very strongly, but he doubts his own ability to receive an answer because he believes his faith isn't strong enough. Because of that, he thinks that it will take him awhile to get an answer. I felt prompted to tell him that I know that God loves him more than he can comprehend. There are incredible blessings that come from being baptized and I know that God wouldn't withhold those from us because He loves us. He would want us to have them as soon as possible. It's up to us to do our part and open our hearts to Him, because His arms are always extended out to us.

Sometimes I think about what life would be like if that wasn't true-- if God was cruel or indifferent or put us here for His own entertainment. Many people have believed and do believe that. It makes me so happy, comforted, and hopeful to know that God is a perfect, loving, all-powerful Father and that He knows me personally and knows what I can become.

I'm grateful to know that trials I face aren't punishment for things I've done. I know that trials are the result of living in a fallen world, but that they're necessary for me to learn what joy is and to grow. Heavenly Father knew that life would be hard for us, and that's why He's given us so many things to help us through the hard times. All we have to do is to be obedient and we can come out on top of anything.

I love that I can share this with other people!

I've been able to see God's hand in my life a lot this week.

First, we had our mission Christmas party and it was great getting to see everyone!


We also got our first snow of the season, and I got to go on exchanges with my sister, Sister Robalin!

And I got to go on exchanges in Sunnyside again!

On Saturday we got TRANSFER CALLS! Right now we cover a family ward (Randall Park) and a YSA and at the beginning of the year they're going to be meeting at the same time on Sundays, so we had a feeling our area might be changing. We were right!

We found out Sister Michalek will be going to Ellensburg and YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME!!!!

I'm going to be staying and continuing to serve in the YSA, but instead of Randall Park I'll be serving in the Ahtanum Creek ward. I'm sad about leaving Randall Park because I'll have to leave Richard and Lexy. :( But I'm excited to double into a new area with ...

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SISTER CHRISTENSEN!


I AM SO PUMPED! We are going to have so much fun.

Exciting things are happening in the WYM!

I hope you all have a great week and see Heavenly Father's hand in your life!

Love,
Sister Skousen


WA Week 66 - The Season of M I R A C L E S

It's the most wonderful time of the year!


I know that a lot of missionaries say that the holidays are hard, but I seriously love the holidays as a missionary. The work is so much more fun.

This week I got to do a lot of Christmasy things. We've been allllllllll over the Light the World initiative and telling everyone about it. The Yakima Stake had an incredible live nativity musical that we invited everyone to and got to usher for a couple of times. We had a ton of non-members there. AND we had some awesome members bring us a real Christmas tree!

This week was also our big meetings week! We had MLC, some zone leadership meetings, and zone training meeting. 


One hard thing that happened this week was that Sister Michalek was pretty sick, so we didn't get as much done as we wanted to. :( As you can see in this next picture she was pretty out of it hahaha.


Luckily she's feeling a lot better now and hopefully we'll do some good work this week.

Richard and Lexy are both kind of in the same place as they were last week. They're both doing everything members would do... keeping the commandments, reading, praying, going to church ... They're just waiting for their answers that the Book of Mormon's true. 

Richard's just struggling understanding the language of the Book of Mormon. He says that he feels good when he reads it, he just doesn't understand it. We've been trying to help him see that we don't have to understand everything. That good feeling is the most important thing, because God wouldn't let us feel the Spirit if we were reading something that was bad.

Lexy on the other hand is a very analytical person, and even though she feels pretty good about everything in the church she feels like she has to be completely sure and understand everything before she commits to joining. I think that once Lexy commits, she will be all in.

Prayers to help them get the answers they're looking for would be much appreciated! They're both so sincere, and I know that as long as they continue doing what they're doing they're going to get their answers.


December 2nd marked 1 year since the time that Sister Holmes came to me fresh from the MTC! So awesome that we get to be serving in the same ward again and living together one year later. I'm still praying that we get to be companions again!

A couple of other cool things that happened this week ---

On Saturday night we got a call from the elders about this YSA-aged girl that has been trying to get in touch with the missionaries. She didn't know how to contact anyone so she just wrote a note and stuck it under a rock at the church. It turns out that she's this 18 year old girl that just moved from Ohio all by herself because of a bad situation. She was baptized awhile ago but went less active because she had a lot of unanswered questions. She's been wanting a fresh start out here in Washington and decided that she wants to start over and try the Church again. We're going to be meeting with her this week to help her answer some of her questions! We're pretty excited about.

We've also been doing this 21-day challenge with some members in Randall Park. The challenge is to come up with names of people that they want to share the gospel with and for 21 days to pray for them by name morning and night, as well as to read certain scriptures every day. By the end of the 21 days, we promised them that at least one of the people they prayed for would be prepared to receive missionary discussions.

One of the members that we did this with finished her 21 days, and decided to invite one of the friends that she'd been praying for to the Live Nativity. She ended up coming, and the member took her on a tour of the church. She LOVED the Nativity, and afterwards told the member, "I have a lot of questions." The member told her that she could help answer them but that there were missionaries who could answer them better. She said that she was open to meeting with missionaries! SO AWESOME! Unfortunately, her friend lives in another ward, so we won't be teaching her. :( But seriously, how cool? There's this quote I LOVE that I think all of you should remember.

This is a promise from Elder Neil L. Anderson, an apostle of the Lord:

 "I promise you, as you pray to know with whom to speak, names and faces will come into your mind. Words to speak will be given in the very moment you need them. Opportunities will open to you. Faith will overcome doubt, and the Lord will bless you with your very own miracles."

And Christmas time is THE time for miracles..

I hope you all have a great week and experience miracles! They are real!

Love,
Sister Skousen