WA Week 77 - Every Good Thing

Good morning, everyone! I hope you're all having a great Monday!
The weather has been way nicer this past week. Things are finally starting to melt around here. Hopefully the temperature stays up. I'm so ready for spring!

Things flew by this week. On Tuesday (Valentine's Day ❤) we went to the Olsons for dinner, and they fed us a five course meal! I think it was probably the best meal of my entire mission, and I've eaten some good food these past 18 months.

On Wednesday, we had dinner with a recent convert named Melvina. While we were sharing a thought after dinner, her friend knocked on her door, and Melvina was like, "Hey, do you want to have a study with us?" And the lady was like, "Sure!" We read some scriptures with her, and then asked her if she wanted to learn more. She said yes! The next day we went back to Melvina's where we taught her friend the Restoration and she committed to being baptized! Recent converts are the best. The only problem with this lady is that she's kind of homeless so it's been hard to contact her haha. Hopefully we'll be able to get in touch again this week!

We saw a potential that we met last week named Karen. She remembered our return appointment (which is a good sign, since that happens about 10% of the time), and seemed pretty serious about meeting with us! So that's good news.

Things are finally starting to happen in Eastmont. Our ward council yesterday was the most missionary focused ward council I've been in on my mission. Almost the entire meeting was focused on how the members can be more involved in missionary work.

On another note, one thing that I've been studying a lot lately is the Atonement. Probably the most quoted line in Preach My Gospel  is: 

"As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase."

I feel like I've been able to pinpoint the redeeming power of the Atonement in my life, but lately I've been wanting to better understand how the enabling power of the Atonement works in my life. I know that there are obvious moments when I've been able to say, "There is no way I could have done that on my own. That was totally the Atonement." But I've been wanting to recognize the more subtle ways that the Atonement affects my life every day. The Atonement comes into play in our lives when we exercise faith and repent-- in other words, when we are living the gospel. I realized that everything good that has been happening to our area has come because we have been doing what we are supposed to.  I've been noticing that we have been finding people who are receptive to the gospel because we are in exactly the right places at the right times. I know that there is no way that we would have found these people or seen these miracles without God's help. It's been cool recognizing that all of this happens because of the Atonement. Every good thing that happens is because of the Atonement.

This week, pay attention to the moments that you are able to feel the Atonement in your lives. As you do, you will be able to feel greater love for God and for those around you. 

Love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 76 - Walking, Knocking, & Talking

Helloooo everyone! Thanks for all of the birthday wishes! They made my day. I can't believe how old everyone has gotten! (I mean the kids.) :)

 It weirds me out sooooo much that I'm 21. Gross. Gross. Gross. I do NOT fell like I've been around that long, but I guess it is what it is.

It's been another good week! The beginning of the week started out with another snow storm.

Usually snow storms make missionary work more difficult, but this past one gave us a lot of great opportunities! There were some snow shovels at the church, so Sister Heffernan and I decided to take the shovels and just walk around town shoveling random people's driveways. Everyone was so grateful, and it was cool that people recognized us as the missionaries they see walking around town even when we weren't wearing our usual skirts & dresses.

We met one lady named Lori who was shoveling the sidewalk outside her house. We started helping her and she talked to us about how she almost became Mormon once. She said that she loves how wholesome and family-oriented Mormons are. And then it was funny because she was like, "The one problem I have with Mormons is that they have multiple wives." We quickly explained to her that we aren't polygamists, and she was like, "Oh really? Well, I really need to learn more because I have a lot of questions. Do you guys baptize? Can you come back sometime and answer some questions?" Ummmm ... yeah! We're going back to see her tomorrow. It's been cool to see on my mission that while sometimes we are led to people who need us, often Heavenly Father leads them right to us. If we hadn't stopped and started helped her, we would have passed her by!

Later that day, we tracted into a woman named Karen who let us right in and we taught her the Restoration. She said that she has been looking for more meaning in life. She has a lot of health problems and she said that the only thing that's causing her to fight for her life right now is her stubbornness. She's looking for a more meaningful reason to live. We're going back to see her on Wednesday!

We've also been trying to be more creative in our finding. We've been trying out different doorstep approaches -- asking people if we can teach them how to hold a Family Home Evening, inviting people to learn about family history, asking people if we can show them the Restoration video, etc. We've also contacted the stake public relations person and asked her about getting an article published in the local newspaper about missionaries in Wenatchee. She was doubtful that we'd be able to get anything published but she said she would ask. Well, we got a call from her this week and she told us that she talked to a guy from the newspaper, and he said that he had actually been wanting to write an article about people from out of town that came to Wenatchee for service, and at the top of list of people to write about is Mormon missionaries! What are the odds?! So we might be in a newspaper article soon. We'll see!

My philosophy for missionary work is that if we do everything we possibly can within our power, Heavenly Father will make things happen. We can't make Him do things, but because He loves us, He'll usually bless us with miracles. It's been a cool thing to experience.

One of the best things that happened this week was that the sun came out!

I forgot how much I love the sun. The weekend we've enjoyed 40-something degree weather and it's been wonderful! People have been happier, missionaries have been happier, and everything has been happier. I am so ready for spring!

I'm hoping for a week of wonderful weather and more miracles!

I hope you all have the same.

Sister Skousen

WA Week 75 - Homecoming

Helloooo everyone! It's been a super eventful week here.

The first couple of days were spent saying goodbyes and packing. Super sad. :(

THE FINCHES! This is the lady that I met in Africa. :)
Monday night the YSA had the best FHE. We went bowling, and Sister Christensen got 4 strikes in a row! She's been holding out on me.

Going our separate ways :(
I got to East Wenatchee on Wednesday and Sister Heffernan filled me in on everything. The work in Eastmont has been super slow lately, which is about how it was when I first came into the field, so I'm ready for it! We're a walking area and it's been snowing about every day.

This is how much snow accumulated on my head last night ...

 We've met some really weird people, which has been fun.

On Friday, we went back down to Yakima for Lexy's baptism! It was so good. Lexy's fiance baptized her and then they got married later that day!

Even though I was only in Eastmont for a transfer, I've been surprised at how many people remember me. That's been nice. Walking these streets again has brought back so many memories of people and places. It's been so weird going to church and seeing babies born who weren't here before, hearing about people who've died, seeing new people in new callings ... It's kind of felt like a mini homecoming. It feels good to be back!

Sister Heffernan is awesome! I'm so happy that I have a companion as easygoing, funny, and hardworking as her for my last transfer. I really think some amazing things are going to happen.

My favorite thing that happened this week has to do with Aldo. Aldo was baptized in November 2015.

A couple other sisters and I have been writing him letters but have never gotten any responses back, and whenever we asked people about how he was doing they wouldn't ever tell us very much. When I got to Eastmont, I asked Sister Heffernan about him. She's been here for 6 weeks, and she had never met him before. I looked through old records and I saw that he hadn't been visited since July! I was pretty upset about that. We'd heard that Aldo has been working a lot, so he hasn't been to church in awhile.

Last night, we went to his apartment and knocked on his door. He opened the door and was shocked to see me there. He went inside to get his coat and we stood outside on his doorstep and talked to him for a long time about how he's been doing. Aldo has never had any support from his family since he joined the church, and it's hard for him coming to activities and things by himself. Apparently his wife decided to quit her job to stay home with the kids, so he's had to take a second job. He said that's when things got hard and he stopped going to church, but he really wants to figure out his life and come back to church. He knows that the Church is true. We set up a lesson tonight at the church so that we can help him get back.

I really feel like Aldo is the reason that I came back to Eastmont. Aldo's one of those people that I know I came on my mission for. I know that if I hadn't have come back, the sisters wouldn't have gone by to see him.

I'm excited to figure out the other reasons I'm in Eastmont this transfer!

The Church is true, everyone. If you're questioning, take my word for it. It's 100% true.

As always, thanks for reading! Have a great week!

Sister Skousen

WA Week 74 - The News that Shook the World

Okay, maybe the title of this is a little dramatic, but it was all I could think of.
I don't know if y'all have heard, but missionaries around the world had some pretty big news this week that will completely change our world.

The first major announcement had to do with our schedules.

Our daily schedules are super structured. This is what every day of my life for the past 17 months has pretty much looked like:

Missionary Daily Schedule

6:30 am
Arise, pray, exercise (30 minutes), and prepare for the day.
7:30 am
8:00 am
Personal study: the Book of Mormon, other scriptures, doctrines of the missionary lessons, and other chapters from PreacMy Gospel, the  MissionaryHandbook,  and the Missionary HealthGuide. 
9:00 am
Companion study: share what yohave learned during personal study, prepare to teach, practice teaching, study chapters from Preach My Gospel, confirm plans for the day.
10:00 a
Begin proselyting. Missionarielearning language study that language for an additional 30 to 60 minutes, including planning language learning activities to use during the day.
Missionaries may take an hour for lunch and additional studyand an hour for dinner at times during the day that fit best with their proselyting. Normally dinner should be finisheno later than 6:00 p.m. 
9:00 pm
Return to living quarters (unless teaching lesson; then return by 9:30) and plan the nexday’s activities (30 minutes). Write in journal, prepare for bed, pray.
10:30 p  
Retire to bed.

We had a huge announcement on Wednesday that made our schedules much more flexible. Each mission president has the ability to adapt the schedule to meet the needs of the mission, but this is a good example of what our new schedule could look like:

Inline image 1

So crazy! What I'm most excited about is that instead of planning right when we get home, we'll be able to immediately get ready for bed and plan in the morning. That's going to be so nice. And my favorite thing about the schedule changes is that P-Day will start at 8am on Mondays instead of 10am. So that's two more hours of P-Day! WOOOO!!! 

The next announcement that I think will completely change the way that we work has to do with our key indicators. Key indicators are numbers we record and report at the end of each week that are meant to help us focus on our purpose to invite people to come unto Christ. These are the key indicators that we've recorded and reported my whole mission:

Key Indicators to Record and Report

Investigators baptized and confirmed

Investigators with baptismal date

Investigators who attend sacrament meeting

Lessons taught to investigatorwith member present

Other lessons taught

Progressing investigators

Referrals received and contacted

New investigators

Lessons taught to recent converts and less-active members

And in my mission we've also recorded and reported lessons taught to active members and the number of times we talk to new people about the gospel.

The Church has changed it so that these are the only key indicators we'll report from now on:

Investigators baptized and confirmed
Investigators with baptismal date
Investigators who attend sacrament meeting

New investigators

It's already been so crazy not counting all of the lessons we teach and people we talk to. It allows for much more freedom on our part, because there won't be as many numbers to show that we're working. I've always loved key indicators because they've motivated me to work harder, but it'll be nice focusing everything around these key key indicators. We'll see how it changes the mission!


Besides that huge announcement, we've had a pretty exciting week!

I was super surprised and excited to get a call from the Randall Park elders telling me that my old investigator, Lexy, is going to be baptized on Friday! Yay! She and her boyfriend, John, will be married in the morning and then she will be baptized right after.

Tyler, our investigator we passed off to the YSA elders, was supposed to be baptized this Wednesday, but he has some problems he has to work through so he won't be baptized this week. We're hopeful that he'll be baptized soon though!

Saturday we also got TRANSFER CALLS. And it was crazy. I swear I can't have a normal mission. Sister Christensen and I knew that there was like a 95% chance we wouldn't be staying together because we both go home at the end of this transfer. I was also like 95% sure that I'd be released as an STL since I've been one for awhile and all of the English STLs go home with me, so this transfer there would have to be new ones called.

Sure enough, we got a call from President on Saturday, and we found out that I am getting transferred and I am getting released as an STL. It's been fun, but it'll be nice to have less things to worry about this transfer.

Something super exciting and crazy is happening to me! I'm going to be transferred back to my greenie area, Eastmont, in East Wenatchee! So I'll finish my mission in the area where I started it. I'm so excited. It's rare for that to happen, but President said he felt the Spirit really strongly that that is where I'm supposed to be. I'll be serving with an awesome sister named Sister Heffernan, and I'll be back in a walking area. Woo! One of my converts, Aldo, is in that area, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to help prepare him to go to the temple this transfer! I'm pretty excited, but so sad to be leaving Sister Christensen and the Yakima zone.

The Yakima Zone has a special place in my heart, but I'm excited to go back to the land of my birth these last 6 weeks!

I'm determined to make this the best 6 weeks of my mission, and I'm looking forward to finding lost sheep to bring into the fold. :)

I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Sister Skousen