Monday, December 30, 2013

"I Am So Blessed!"

Dear Family-

Hey! So the college library we usually go to is closed today so we only have an hour to email. Next week I will tell you more about this week but I just wanted to thank you for the presents! I loved them. The Duck Dynasty shirt is awesome and the boots are cute. I've already worn all my shirts! :) Thanks for being the best and thank you for "H". I got her package for her too and she loved the rose. She was just so touched and just awestruck we even could give that to her. So, thank you for being a little miracle to someone else on Christmas that you have never met. Um, I don't really know what to say about this week except that it was the greatest gift in the world to be able to talk to you guys. Man, I promised myself I wouldn't cry but I could not hold it together. I am even getting teary eyed right now! But, I just want to thank you for being the best family ever. Don't know how I would ever get by out here without the support that you give me. Anytime things get hard I just remember who I've got on the sidelines so to speak and I just keep on keeping on :) Right, Mom? I love you guys so much and I just need you all to know that.

We had to teach gospel principles this week. Man, I feel like I am not a very good teacher. I don't know....it was just weird especially since Sister Richardson and I don't really know how to work together yet and if the Elders hadn't been there I don't think I would have been nervous at all. But, I look up to Elder Banks and Elder Wonderli so much. They are amazing missionaries. But ya it went well, I think, but I almost had an anxiety attack right before but "H" helped get everyone participating.

I have been having a hard time a little bit. The work has been slow and...uhhh...it just has been really hard putting in a lot of work that doesn't ever show. We had a correlation meeting this Sunday with the assistant ward mission leader and after we reported on our week he was like "How can we help you do better because you used to have a lot of investigators and essentially you now have hardly any." I just laughed and said I was sorry but many of our investigators got baptized or moved into the other ward because of the boundary change. I feel like Sister Fisher left and then it just looks like I lost complete control of the area and I don't really know what to do, I guess. Like, I can keep being obedient and we can knock on all the doors and visit all the people we want and do all we can but...I don't know. It's been a struggle. But, I'm happy and that's the thing. Deep down I know I am happy and I didn't think I could ever love people so much. That love for people has really spread to just realizing how much I love you all at home as well. Even though I wasn't with my family on Christmas and I didn't get to open presents on Christmas and watch "It's a Wonderful Life" for the 100th time, (haha) it was the best Christmas I have ever had because I know what really matters now. Like, I got it. I've figured it out and I'm still working on getting the whole meaning of Christmas but man, it's been such an amazing year. Look how far I've come! I'm realizing my love for my Savior more and more each day. I AM SO BLESSED!

I love you all so much and I can't wait for this new year and all the fun that is to come!

Love your daughter and missionary-

Sister Lundskog

Monday, December 23, 2013

"These Are My People"

Dear Family-

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Can you believe it is Christmas Eve tomorrow? What? Where did the time go? Well, I wish I had a lot of cool, exciting stuff to tell you from this week but this week was actually worse than last week. Funny how that works. But, I am still happy to be a missionary and I love everyday being here, no matter how hard it gets.

So, I will start with Monday. Monday after we were done emailing, Sister Fisher and I were not feeling good but we had sooooo much to do. We went back to our apartment because Sister Fisher had to pack all of her stuff up and I had to pack all of mine because we were going to be moving apartments. We got to the apartment and Sister Fisher went into the other room and laid down on the bed because she did not feel good. I wasn't feeling good at all but I felt a lot more overwhelmed than her because I had to have everything of mine packed as well as everything in the apartment ready to go by Wednesday for my new companion to move into. I would pack and then I would have to stop and rest for a bit. I had super bad chills and my body hurt and I was so nauseous. I felt like I was getting strep all over again like last fall in Utah. It was horrible. Then, finally Sister Fisher got up and I couldn't take it anymore so I went and laid down for a half hour while she packed her stuff. To make things worse, when we left the STLs apartment that morning we accidentally grabbed their phone and left ours in their apartment. So, we went to Sister "M's" and called the AP and got permission for me to drive because Sister Fisher looked like she was going to pass out and I didn't care that I was sick too. I didn't want her to drive. It was a good thing because we would have been dead cause she was back seat driving me the whole time but everything she was saying was wrong. haha We weren't able to get a hold of the STLs but we left a message and we drove to their apartment and tried to open their sliding door but it was locked and they weren't home. So we slept in our car for three hours. Well, Sister Fisher slept and I couldn't sleep because my whole body would not stop shaking and we had like no gas left so we couldn't keep the car on and I just wanted to die. Anyway, the STLs finally came home and we went inside and went straight to bed. We just passed out. We took some medicine that helped and on Tuesday the STL took our phone and canceled all our morning appointments for us and made sure we slept so we slept in till 11am which was so needed. We were feeling a lot better and I still don't know what it was we had but we were able to finish all of Sister Fisher's packing (this girl brought her house with her....hahaha...SO MUCH STUFF). Then, we went out to dinner with Sister "M" and the STLs for Sister Fisher's last night here. We went to some restaurant that makes their own sodas. Sister Fisher and I had not eaten since Monday morning and I initially thought "This is awesome. I feel great." NO I didn't hold any of my dinner down. I know that's gross (Sorry) and Sister "M" is the craziest driver. Super fast and jerky. I finally had to yell out to her "Sister M, if you don't slow down, you're gonna have throw up all over your car." She laughed but she slowed down which was nice and then the rest of the night I felt awful again. But, I am good now! YAY!
Dinner with Sister "M" and the STLs on Sister Fisher's last night
Sisters for life
Goofing around with the STLs
On Wednesday, we had transfer meeting which was cool to go to one where I wasn't the greenie. There were lots of people there that I got to see. I had fun and I met Sister Richardson. She is from Price, Utah and she went to the University of Utah and she is 21. I kept losing both Sister Richardson and Sister Fisher. I forgot how crazy the parking lot is after everyone is trying to move their stuff from one car to another and especially the sisters. Holy cow, did you need to bring your whole house? Seriously, girls pack a lot and I am soooo glad I was a light packer. Anyway, I definitely cried saying bye to Fisher and I miss her like crazy. She was such a good friend to me and we are going to be sisters for life. That is so true. I hope all is well with her out in Fayette. She is driving a truck now and is in a branch instead of a ward. haha

Anyway, Sister M took Sister Richardson and I out to lunch after the transfer meeting and I ate a little and then I decided that wasn't a good idea. We had to go back to our apartment and move all of our stuff to the old elder's apartment. I am still in the same apartment complex, just a different building. The assistants had the mission van and they just came over to help us. They are the coolest guys. They are so nice and help us out so much. Of course, Elder Banks is always making fun of me but it's okay cause I give him a hard time back. This is his last transfer! Anyway, it took forever to move everything over because we had to take all the beds and the microwave and everything. Then we went and had to go grocery shopping and then came back to clean the apartment. Let me tell you, I will never move into an apartment that elders used to live in ever again. Seriously disgusting! Like, come on, that's so gross. We spent three hours cleaning and hardly got anything put away before it was time for bed. I was so annoyed.
Our new apartment

Sister Richardson and I in our new apartment
On Thursday, we had four appointments scheduled and every single one of them got canceled. What made it so hard is that Sister Richardson came from an area that had 21 investigators to our area that has 4. She let me know how she felt about it and man, I got so defensive of my area. These are my people. They may be a little rough around the edges and come off as hard to love but look at their lives. Most people here are working 2 or 3 jobs just to feed their family. All they know is drugs and gangs and honestly I bet at least 1 or 2 out of five people here know someone who has been shot. Most people here don't have good families or any support system. Life is hard. There are no jobs and things don't come easily. This isn't Poplar Bluff where everyone just lives on government money and lives in government paid homes and don't have any jobs so you can stop by at anytime and see them because everyone opens their door in the country. I didn't realize how much I loved these people until I felt like it was being threatened and I did get a little feisty in my retort. But, it wasn't too bad, no hard feelings. We went out all day Thursday and all day Friday and all day Saturday knocking on doors. We would go to a less actives home and try to visit them. Then we can knock on all the doors around their home. Then, we went to the next less active or part member home. We tried to visit all our referrals. No one answered their doors. No one is home for the holidays. No one wants to talk to you during the holidays and for most people here it's not different than any other week and they are just at work and not home. So, that was fun....but I kept a positive attitude. We spent a lot of time with recent converts and tried our best to see all those we could. It's gonna work out, it always does. I know without a doubt that Christ is right there with us. When I get on my knees at night to tell Him about my day and how frustrated I am, I know He gets it. He is there and He gets it. I don't have to worry. I can sleep at night now because I gave what I could and I know that something will come of every effort we make. Maybe something won't come as in a new investigator or a baptism down the road. Maybe what will come is a stronger testimony of hard work or maybe it will make us better companions or maybe we will get better at door approaches or maybe nothing will come but freezing fingers and toes and zeros for our numbers at the end of the day. But, man, I do love being a missionary. What could be greater than this? I love these people so much and I don't want anyone to feel alone this Christmas. I am so thankful that you sent that rose for "H". She is going to be so happy. I told her that you guys were sending something and she got excited and she said "that will be my only Christmas present this year."

I love "H" so much. Honestly, her story and what she has done for me and for others and I don't ever want to hear someone ever say that they won't accept the gospel because of something bad. "H" had every horrible thing that could possibly happen in this life happen to her and she still believes in God and she accepted the gospel. You should see what it is doing for her. You can not deny the love of Christ that comes from this gospel. It changes lives. It is changing mine and I am so happy. No matter how hard it gets, I am happy.

We also finally got that Arabic Book of Mormon in! We put a little bow on it and took it over to "A's" home. We gave it to her and she looked so happy and she asked if we could come back later. We did and we were finally able to have another lesson with her! It was so awesome. We just had a lesson on the Book of Mormon and her 14 year old daughter translated for us. We asked her to read and pray abut it and she said that she would. She told us that she had already started reading it since that morning and I just love her family. She has a son that is Justin's age and one that is 11 and they are so funny. We invited their family to church (they didn't come) but they were so excited to come. I really hope we can find a way to overcome this language barrier. I want her to have the gospel so badly! Crazy how quickly you fall in love with people!

So funny story of the week. We were getting home Thursday night and we were walking up to our apartment and there was this guy there and I just said hello and we went into the apartment. Twenty minutes later, there was a knock on our door so I answered it and it was him and he was so high it wasn't even funny. He asked if he could borrow our phone to call his friend. I gave him our phone and his friend didn't answer. I started saying goodbye and shutting the door and he said "Wait, by chance do you have a boyfriend?" I just started laughing because I was so caught off guard. I said "No, I don't but as missionaries we don't date anyone." He laughs and said something along the lines of "I didn't say anything about dating" or "We don't have to date". I just laughed and was like "Sorry, Dude, I'm serving the Lord and only the Lord right now" and he just laughed and said "Aw, I see". I said goodbye and shut the door. Thirty minutes later he come back but we did not answer the door this time. haha I was laughing forever after. I thought it was the funniest thing and I am so glad he was high so I won't have to deal with him because he probably won't remember our encounter.

Also, I got an email this morning from some random missionary. He is serving in England and he saw my profile on Mormon.org and thought he would email me. This is the third time that has happened! Oh my lanta!

I can't wait to see you all in two days! Yay! I am so excited to Skype and get to talk to you. You guys are so awesome and I hope all is well and I will hear from you soon!

Love-Sister Lundskog

PS. Oh, you asked why I sometimes sign "Sister Lundy". Some members here call me Lundy because no one can ever say my name. They call me Lundy or they just point at me and say "You" or "Sister" so that is fun.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Leaky Ceilings and Learning to Follow

Dear Family-

It is so good to hear from you and I am so happy everyone is doing well! Sounds like Allie is having a blast and you guys had a great time in Mexico! I am really happy you got to have a fun vacation. I bet it was warm. I'm so jealous. We got 5 inches of snow this week and it's been really cold. I know five inches isn't a lot but if you add humidity and wind chill, it's a whole other story. It's really hard to stay warm in a skirt!

This week has been extremely rough. Honestly struggled a lot. One thing after another fell apart. The week started good. On P-day we were supposed to go ice skating but the zone leaders (this is why guys shouldn't be allowed to be in charge of activities) didn't plan very well and the ice skating rink didn't even open till 4pm and P-days end at 6pm. We played games at the church instead and then all of us sister missionaries spontaneously decided to go ice skating. It was fun. It was Sister Fisher's first time and I have some pretty funny pics and videos. SHE FELL ALOT! haha I only fell once and that was because Sister Scott skated into me but I actually did pretty good for how long it has been since I've skated.
Ice Skating with my zone sisters

Sister Fisher and I are best friends!

This is how Sister Fisher spent most of her time at the rink  :)
The one good thing that came this week is we got a new investigator. Her name is "S" and she is from Africa. She has been in the US since 2001 and has lived everywhere! Florida, Cali, New York, North Carolina. She has visited Portland. A member brought her to church which was awesome and she totally wanted to meet with us. The bad thing is that when we came for our second lesson she was sick so she didn't really want to listen to us so we kept it super short. It was just kinda sad cause we were pumped cause our first lesson had been such a powerful lesson. But, I guess that's the way it works sometimes.

So, here's the embarrassing story of the week. We had a dinner appointment with the elder this week. Remember that the elders in our ward are the APs. So we were at this tiny table and Elder Wunderli was sitting next to me and we were sitting super close and Sister Fisher was on my other side. Anyway, I was brushing off my skirt and I touched his leg. Inside, I was freaking out. I mean, everything went through my head....completely unlikely stuff like "Oh my gosh they are going to send me home!" I was panicking because they already make me kind of nervous. After, when we walked out I was like "I am so sorry for hitting you" and he just busted up laughing. Ya, they just made fun of me but I felt really bad. haha

This week we lost almost all of our investigators and potentials. Three moved. One's wife told us if we came back she would call the cops on us. One of our investigators, "S" is going to the Elders cause he is actually in their area. His baptism was supposed to be this Saturday but it fell through again. We have been doing so much contacting of less actives and part members and no one is ever home. Every appointment we set fell through. Our numbers this week made it look like we hadn't done anything all week but we tried. Then I found out that my best friend from the MTC went home because she was super sick and that broke my heart. It was just super rough and then it snowed which made it cold and it caused some problems in our apartment.
Helping Sister "H" decorate her tree
On Friday, our ceiling started leaking. It was leaking from the light fixture right over my bed. So we hurried and moved everything. My bed was soaking wet and so we called maintenance. They came over and the water in the light was super hot so he could not get the light off so he just told us he would come back once it cooled down but that no one would probably be there till Monday. He leaves and never comes back. On Saturday, our ceiling and the par where the walls come together started to bubble and now water was leaking from there. But, it hadn't gotten too bad so we thought we were okay. Anyway, we left the whole day and then we came home at 7 or 8pm and we opened the door and our bucket is overflowing. We freaked out because there was a steady stream coming from the light and dripping from the ceiling and the walls are soaked. We hurried and emptied the bucket and called the on call dude and he said he would be there in 20 minutes. In the meantime, we were talking to "H" who is like our mom and she freaked on us. She told us we needed to turn all the lights off now and unplug everything. She said that we were going to have an electrical fie from the water being on the exposed parts of the wire. We then called the mission office and they told us to pack to leave and take all our valuable stuff because the apartment could really go up in flames if anything sparked it. So we packed frantically in the dark getting the clothes that we could and then the maintenance guy came and said he couldn't do anything till Monday and we couldn't stay there. He turned off all our electricity and stuff. All our food has probably gone bad in our fridge now. Just a really, really stressful day. We are now staying with the STLs at their apartment. It has been fun living out of half a suitcase and sleeping on the floor.
Our little leak on Friday became....
...a larger leak on Saturday.
Saturday night was transfer calls but we were already with the STLs so they just told us. Sister Fisher is going to Fayette, MO and her companion will be my companion from the MTC, Sister Rouse. Sister Fisher's companion from the MTC will be my new companion, Sister Richardson. She will be the senior companion. I didn't take that very well at all. I am a little upset that I couldn't stay positive but I honestly wanted to be called as a trainer. I felt like if I were called as a trainer then that meant I was a good missionary. Not being called as a trainer and having someone new come in as the senior companion made me feel so inadequate. I felt like I had not been a good enough missionary and I was upset. Sister Fisher had trained right after being trained and my "grandma", Sister Minyard, had trained right after being trained and all the way up my line and I seriously felt like a failure. I know this is super stupid and you probably won't all understand why I took it so hard but I have always been hard on myself and I wanted to be the best missionary ever. I just felt super inadequate. It's hard and super humbling to try and have faith that Heavenly Father is still proud of me and that He has a plan but I just want to be someone that is inspiring. I've always greatly admired those people and wanted to be one and that is hard for me to take. I guess Heavenly Father wants me to learn how to follow before I can lead. It's been an interesting and a hard experience trying to figure out what my strengths are. I see my weaknesses all the time but I can never see anything that I am good at. Having to go to church and having to tell everyone was hard. I guess it was a blow to my ego and I need to get over that....haha. I care too much about what people think of me.

It was a rough night cause I only had that small purple blanket that isn't long enough to cover me all the way so I laid on their floor curled up in a tiny ball just freezing to death! I did not sleep at all on Saturday night and then on Sunday I felt so sick. Right now I'm trying to fight a cold but I also have been getting nauseous so let's pray I am not getting sick!

I love you all so much. I am glad you are all doing well. It makes me so happy to hear. Thanks for having my back, especially when times get rough.

Love-

Sister Lundskog

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Nothing will stop the work of the Lord"

Dear Family and Friends-

This week has been good but kind of slow. Our numbers were low so it felt like we didn't accomplish anything but we actually really worked hard this week. Everyone has their agency and we can only do so much for them. But, we did find new investigators this week. We are trying to organize our area and find all the less actives and part member families and figure out who everyone is and start cleaning out our ward list. We have been doing a lot of organizing and paperwork the last week or two and we finally have all of our lists complete. So, we started off at the top and went to go contact people which I have decided I hate doing. I am not very good yet at door approaches or first contacts with people. I just really struggle which was really frustrating this week but I am glad Sister Fisher is really good at it cause she has helped me out a lot. I don't know what I will do when she leaves. Anyway, we went to knock on this less actives door and this lady answers and she speaks hardly any English. We ask her her name and it is not the less active at all. Sister Fisher, bless her determined little heart, tries to start sharing a message with her and this lady is just not getting it. She hardly speaks any English. But, we were able to set up an appointment with her for later that day when her daughter would be home who could speak English. The whole time I was trying not to laugh. I mean....come on she wasn't understanding anything! I thought it was going to be a waste of time to go back. (You are obviously getting where this story is going and shame on me for lacking faith!) Anyway, we leave and go knock on some doors. I forgot what it is called but when you go visit someone you are always supposed to knock on the house next door on both sides and the three across the street. So, we did that. Oh, did I mention it snowed this week? It was 20 degrees with 90 percent humidity plus it was windy and I wanted to die. I didn't like it at all but I suggested we keep knocking on doors so we did. Anyway, we left and went to our other teaching appointments and came back to her house at 5pm.

She let us in and her son came out (he is 10) and he started translating for us. Then, her 16 year old daughter came out and was the translator and we learned their story. They are from Iraq and are Muslim. I was thinking "freak, this is going to be a hard lesson because Muslims are super solid in their faith. Anyway, we started teaching the restoration and it was a super powerful lesson. I felt like the 16 year old daughter, Nora, who claims she is not religious in any way actually seemed intrigued by the end of the lesson even though she tried to hide it. We then taught them how to pray and it was kind of funny because the daughter said "I'll do it" and we said "Awesome" and we taught her and her mom how to pray. We thought they were going to say it out loud but they said them in their heads and it was awkward. After the prayer, the mom said "I feel relief and I have goosebumps on my arms." That was the greatest testimony to me that regardless of who we are, we all deserve to be taught the gospel and nothing will stop the work of the Lord. Regardless of language and cultural barrier it will move forward and there are people who have been waiting and have been prepared to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ at this time. I fell in love with that family. Her two sons (8 and 10) were jumping up and down just pumped to come to church and the daughter was actually more receptive of the message than she really showed. It was a small and simple experience, yet was so powerful and extraordinary.

We were also able to pick up two new investigators this week. One of them is named Cornilles but he goes by Corn....funny right? Anyway, we are going to transition him to the elders because he is being just a little bit too flirty.  :) But "R" bailed on us on Sunday but we have an appointment with her tonight so hopefully all goes well! Her daughter lives on the other side of the city and is getting baptized so she could be super solid. I am excited.

Also, thank you so much for the Christmas decorations! We put our cute little tree up and put up all the ornaments and the little star. You seriously are the greatest! We still need to put the lights up around the window. This week has been crazy so we haven't been able to put them up yet. We will do that today.

This week I had my first zone conference. Yay....exciting! I guess five year ago they did a survey here in our mission and the survey is what helped create these books for stress management worldwide for missionaries. I guess our mission for some reason has the highest depression rate of any mission. We retook the survey because of the influx of girls (Sister Missionaries). In the survey before, they only had like ten girls represent it. So, I got to take the survey which is cool cause this survey is going to represent missionaries everywhere. They are really working on ways to help missionaries with their mental health these days, I guess. I am doing just dandy though so that's good! The conference was really cool. I love being with other missionaries. They are like your family. It took up almost the whole day though which was a bummer but it was nice we learned a lot.

Also, can you thank the Peters and the Tafuas for the birthday cards! They were so nice. The Peters also sent Sister Fisher one which was really cool of them.

Today we are going ice skating for a zone P-day which I am sooooo excited for. Also, it is super cool working alongside the APs. They have so many resources and they are always helping us out. They are the coolest guys and are really good missionaries. It's Elder Banks and Elder Wunderli. They are both from Utah. Elder Wunderli is actually from Alpine, Mom. Anyway, that has been fun learning a lot from them. They still intimidate me a little but that's okay. Also, can you believe this Saturday we get the transfer calls?! I am so nervous for what is going to happen! It's almost a guarantee we will be affected and I don't know if I am ready. At the same time, I cannot believe I have been out for three months. Seriously? Where has the time gone?

Anyway, I love you all so much. I hope all is well. You all amaze me and give me so much strength. I brag about having the best family all the time.  :)

Love -

Sister Lundy

PS. You know that gold rose that Dad got from his work? Does that have any sentimental value to you? We have this recent convert that we taught a little before she was baptized. She was in the other ward and then came to our ward with the boundary changes. Her name is "H" and we are super close to her. She has the most amazing life story ever. She was put into sex trafficking when she was around five in Mexico. She came to the USA while still in the trafficking and has had horrible, horrible things happen to her. She watched her dad murder her mom in front of her. She has been beaten and raped many times. She had five kids who were all murdered by her ex because he did not want to pay for child support. He is now St. Louis's most wanted and he is still not in jail. Because of Missouri laws, she went to jail for assisting in the murders because she "put them in danger" because she knew him. Her native American name is Sweet Rose and she made me some earrings that are dream catchers (she makes jewelry). She said it was to catch all the good things people say. I wanted to give her a gift and it would be cool to give here that rose but I don't want to do that if you guys want it or anything. It's just a thought.
Sister Fisher and I were given matching Superhero pajamas
"D's" husband is a mailman and he wears these boots that are super warm and waterproof. 
Heading out on our P-day to see Paint St. Louis...three miles of spray painted
graffiti walls!!

Paint St. Louis
Snoopy!
Look how big some of them are!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ukuleles and Peace

Dear Family and Friends-

Can you believe it is already December! Like hold up...Thanksgiving was this week? It feels like it was a month ago. Time is flying by and now I am officially old. Woo hoo to the new 20 year old on the block. I can no longer say I am a 19 year old missionary. Sad day!

So, I guess I'll start out with the beginning of the week. On Monday, our plans were cancelled and so we texted the STLs to see if they wanted to go out to lunch with us and they were down! We went to Panera, except I guess Panera was started here in St. Louis and it's actually called St. Louis Bread Co. here. Everywhere else it is called Panera. It was fun because they had Christmas decorations up and we got hot chocolate. AH, THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! We still have to take down our Halloween decorations in our apartment.

Also, I want to apologize because I did something kind of impulsive. I bought an $80 ukulele. :) I will send a picture but I am teaching myself how to play it and I love it but it is way harder than I thought it was to learn. Also, our mission cards for some reason were getting declined at the grocery stores last Monday. We still have to talk to the office about that cause we don't know why so I bought our groceries on my debit card. (I have more money than Sister Fisher and I kind of have a habit of using it but I paid for it so she didn't have to.) Sorry about all the crazy money spending lately but I promise I'll become a better budgeter. Sister Fisher has taught me a lot, trust me. I am a pro grocery shopper now!
My new ukulele
The other day we went and visited a less active named "M". She is from Germany and has had a really rough life. Her husband was in the military and was killed and her son committed suicide. Then her daughter took her name and information and racked up hundreds of dollars in debt and fraud. She is an amazing woman but is so afraid of the world and of people but she let us into her home and it was the most beautiful home. She makes EVERYTHING in her home. All the tables, chairs, couches, paintings, clocks, etc. Just beautiful work. Everything is beautiful vintage looking. She makes her own shoes too!! It was breathtaking to see how hard life has been to her yet she still praises God. It is such a blessing to know that the atonement can correct all things that are unfair in this life. Aren't we so overly blessed to know that? Doesn't it just make you want to share it with everyone?

Anyway, we potentially have a new investigator. His name is "A" and he was a referral from the elders. We have an appointment with him tonight which makes me super excited. I hope it is solid.

Thanksgiving....that was this week, right? Crazy how time flies. First off, we got up at 5am. Yes, you heard me correctly. We went to a breakfast at a less actives home. Her husband, "M2" used to be our investigator before the boundary changes. It was lots of fun. We got to meet a lot of people and she just kept feeding us and it was crazy. At one point, there were probably 40 people there (it was a come and go as you please kind of an open house) and her home can not fit that many people. But, we had fun and she made me eat way too much food and I wanted to die by 8am and we still had one more appointment to go to. Anyway, we helped her clean up once everyone was gone and then went home and took an hour nap and we were off again. We had our Thanksgiving with "L" who actually is an investigator we are trying to transfer over to the Webster Sisters but we are super close to her. She is the first investigator that Sister Fisher and I found together so she invited us over for Thanksgiving. It was amazing and she is an amazing cook. We had the classic turkey and mashed potatoes and everything and I loved it! Not as good as at home. Your Thanksgiving dinner will always be the best, Mom. :) But she did make Rhodes rolls...which I love. I also got to watch like 10 minutes of football which was great. Her brother was there who is a member so we had lots of fun talking to him and her son was there and was asking them all these questions. "L" is a solid investigator and I feel like her son would be a solid investigator too. It was a lot of fun to just enjoy being there and being friends and she was so grandmotherly. I just loved it. I was happy. I got my turkey and my rolls and some football. Perfect Thanksgiving.

Sorry, Mom. I know you wrote to not open the package until my birthday but I opened it the night before. Haha I couldn't wait and I knew we would be up and out of the house on Thanksgiving and so I wouldn't get to open it forever. I loved everything in it. Thank you so much! The cookies are already gone and Sister Fisher is wondering if she can have the recipe. She thought they were amazing. I love the sweater. I need sweaters now that it is getting cold and I'm running out of options for changing up all my clothes. I love the skirt too. It is a little big but that's alright cause I might gain some weight soon if people keep feeding us like they are now! And I love the picture book you made. It means a lot to me and I hope you know you could have just sent pics and I would have been fine. Thanks for making it all special. I carry it around with me. Anyway, it was a great bday. I missed y'all a lot but it was good and I was happy. The zone leaders, Elder Ray and Elder Southern, called and sang me happy birthday and the STLs, Sister Errington and Sister Minyard, took me out to ice cream on Saturday night. Well, they took me to Ted Drewes which is frozen custard that you can only get in the city of St. Louis and it is really good. It is really popular, I guess. There were A LOT of people there. Not as many as good ole Voodoo in Portland, though.  :)

Anyway, onto the most exciting thing of the week. "C" got baptized!!! Coolest experience ever. We never really taught "C", the Elders did. But when the boundaries changed she was now in our area and she already had a baptismal date set so really we just worked to keep preparing her for baptism. She didn't really need to be taught anything else. She is 21 and has an inspiring life story and I just love her to death! She is sassy and funny and her son, "B" is awesome. He is one and a half years old and a very dramatic child. I love playing with him. Anyway, when we went into the bathroom and she was getting ready to go into the font she started crying and said how she couldn't believe that all these people had come for her baptism. She didn't have really any family at all growing up. We saw how much it meant to her. I realized how the gospel is for people as a whole but it is also for the individual. We each find that part that alters our lives in such a way that we want to follow Christ. I truly saw how much God really loves each and every single one of us when "C" got baptized on Saturday. She was so anxious and so nervous and was scared but when she came back out of the water she cried and said, "I feel at complete peace." Isn't that the most wonderful thing about the gospel? The peace it brings to our lives in any moment and in any situation is remarkable. I mean, if you look how many times Christ say in the scriptures "Peace be unto thy soul". It's hundreds of times. We need not fear or be afraid. We don't need to be worrisome or nervous for the Lord is with us at all times, in all things, and in all places. Seeing the peaceful feeling taught me to allow myself to be at peace. I have finally come to the point where I don't want to go home. I am at peace here and honestly don't know how I will ever go back to living a normal life. I don't know how people do it. I am not ready for my mission to end and I already feel like I have such little time left and I've only been out three months! It is crazy the miracles our Heavenly Father works within us.
C's friend, "C", Sister Fisher, and I at "C" baptism

Two weeks ago I felt like I needed a blessing. But, as you know, I will refuse to ask for help from anyone and so I pushed the thought aside. But, this past week something felt really off. I was having a really difficult time breathing. When I stood up too fast, I would almost black out and when I would lie down, my feet would get all tingly like the circulation wasn't really working. When we were running from someone's house back to our car cause we were going to be late, I had the weirdest feeling in my arms. Like it was super painful and it felt like the blood wasn't circulating in my arms. On Sunday, I was really struggling to breathe and I just felt off and so finally I asked Sister Fisher if there was anyway we could ask someone to give me a blessing. So we asked the APs to come give me a blessing and I was extremely embarrassed and felt super silly but I knew I needed one. They probably thought I was crazy when I told them I was having trouble breathing. But, I had to let go of my ego because I needed a blessing. The minute he started talking the weird pressure and feeling in my chest left and I felt so relieved. I could breathe perfectly and it felt so much better and I knew how much I needed that and I wish I hadn't waited that long. It is funny because I feel like I trust my Heavenly Father but then I realize I have so much more to go. it was a really cool experience and definitely a faith building one...that's for sure.

Anyway, that's all I really have to share. It was a very slow week for teaching but our area is finally all organized! Yay!!

I love you all so much. Oh, here is a quote my ward mission leaders said the other day that I love.

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall."

Love-Sister Lundy

Monday, November 25, 2013

Self-esteem, Flannel shirts, and Pantless Bosnians

Dear Family-

I had to cut my last post shorter than usual last week because Elder Curtis was leaving and he is like our brother so we went to lunch with him and some other missionaries to say goodbye.

Last Monday we had exchanges. I was kind of nervous because the new STL is Sister Minyard, who was Sister Fisher's trainer and last companion. I was worried for no reason, of course, but I was nervous that she wouldn't like me. She is super cool and nice so I didn't need to worry about anything. I guess I was nervous with her coming back because it took so long for all the members and investigators to get over her leaving and I finally felt like I had established good relationships with all these people. It is all good. Sister Erington is just awesome. She is actually younger than me. She is 19 and literally came out right after the age change so she has less than a year left but she is already a STL which means she is a great missionary. On Tuesday, I went with Sister Erington and Sister Fisher went with Sister Minyard and I just had a blast. Her personality is a lot like mine and it was good cause I felt like I was 100% myself for the first time in a long time and we laughed the whole day. We got a lot of work done too and I just had an awesome day. Then they gave us some training and they talked to us about self-esteem. They told us that we need to believe in ourselves. They had us write down 10 things we wish we could change about ourselves or our past. After, they asked us how many things on the paper we could control. I only had two things on mine that I could control. Their point was to get us to see that we have to let go of the things we can't control. We can't control now what happened in our past. It's in the past but we can control what will happen right now in the present. We then ripped up the paper and threw it away. I realized how much I feel like I need to control everything in my life sometimes. Because it is so hard for me to trust people I feel that if I have more control, I can prevent getting hurt. But this puts so much stress on me that I am not able to have a positive outlook like I should. Once I let go of the things I cannot control, I am able to have a lot more fun with life. I am getting better (slowly) at just letting things roll off my back and I am trying to stop fighting everything and everyone. I am realizing that everyone is not out to hurt me or betray me. I had a huge wake up call with my lack of ability to trust and I realized that I need to keep trying to change that because it also reflects how much I trust my Heavenly Father.

The STLs ended up just staying another night, which was not planned, and coming to our district meeting the next day. I got asked to give my first training. I was SUPER nervous. But, it went really well and I felt good about the training I gave. I talked about finding investigators through faith and I shared that poem you sent me, Mom. The one about how God doesn't call the qualified but he qualifies the called. I explained that in order to find people, we must open our mouths and share the gospel with everyone we meet with everyday. In order to have the confidence to open our mouths we must believe in ourselves knowing that God called us for a reason. It was good.

Oh, and speaking of "Steak and Shake", if I eat at Steak and Shake again I am going to throw up. I am sick of it now cause we always go there for district lunch all the time. I know y'all love it so sorry to break your hearts but it gets gross after eating it three weeks in a row.

This week has been the hectic, busy week. We had so many teaching appointments it wasn't even funny. But, we also had to see Debbie every day that week because....guess what....Debbie got baptized this Saturday! Aaaaah! Can you believe it? It was the coolest experience ever. Sister Fisher and I had no idea what we were doing and it was really stressful. I did not know how much work goes into making a baptism possible but she made it and the baptism was perfect. We got to be there with her right after she came out of the font and she was just GLOWING! I wish you all could have been there because I can't even explain it. Debbie said it perfectly. She said it was simply amazing. I couldn't even cry cause I could not stop smiling! It was a good day to say the least.
Me, Debbie, Debbie's husband, and Sister Fisher at Debbie's baptism
Sister Fisher had a great birthday. I made her breakfast when she was in the shower and she loved your gift, Mom. Perfect color and she loves wearing necklaces so she just loved it. Tell Justin she loved the gum....haha. Thank you, it meant a lot to her. We then had dinner with Sister M that night and she made her a birthday dinner and gave her a present and I gave her the awesome present of....socks and gloves. :) That's all she would let me get her. But, she says she loves them so that's good.

Also, I just thought you should know that your email not going through was definitely the Lord's timing. I needed your letter the day it came. Honestly didn't think I could make it the rest of the day and I got your letter and I just bawled. Man, I am so emotional as a missionary! I hate it. But, I truly needed your letter the day it came. I have been crazy home sick this past week and I think it is just because the holiday season is coming and I have truly realized how amazing my family is. You guys are the absolute best. You always have the best advice in the world. I just thought you should know. I bet a lot of people say that about their family but honestly, yours is the best.

Now, to answer all of those questions in your letter. Sorry about the money. I bought a flannel shirt at Target and this is going to sound super little kid but I sleep with it at night and it makes me feel more at home. That sounds really stupid but it has helped with the home sickness. You asked if we ever get naps. No, unless we use our hour of lunch to take a nap which we have every once in a while. But, this week we didn't even have time for a lunch some days...until Saturday when I had to tell Sister Fisher that we had to take a nap or I couldn't keep going that day. Sister Fisher can literally run off of no sleep. I cannot do that. I can run off of no food fine though and she can't so we just have to help each other out sometimes. Don't worry about the GPS. I just have to have it when I am the senior companion or we are gonna be in trouble.

Sister Fisher and I love to quote Kid History. I hope you have seen it. Our favorite is the car one when that car in front of him won't go so he keeps yelling "It's green!" So, I always yell that at her when the light turns green and "You're gonna get kicked in the head" and (our favorite) "Do it Bendy. Do it!" Anyway, that's what we quote all the time.

Yes, the new scriptures are awesome. It is a pain transferring everything over though but I love them. It is hard hearing all the things that are going on at home and I feel frustrated that I literally can not do anything about it. It's hard hearing about friends and family that are struggling and being absolutely helpless.

Yes, we do have a bedroom but the heater and the AC are only in the living room so that's why we sleep on the floor in the living room because we would freeze to death in the bedroom. I don't know what weather you have been looking at but it has been in the 20's at night this week. It has been way, way cold. I hope I got all the questions answered.

We have a new investigator named R (Note from Jeri: she asked me to not put first names of investigators and members from now on per instructions from her mission president). The other day we had a lesson with her and she was talking about how she needed to move because there were too many bad memories in her home. She has a friend who is a member that is always there with us at lessons. She told us that after we left the other night, she was talking with him and that he looked like a different person. She said it was super weird like someone else was sitting where he was sitting. Of course, we asked her if it was a negative thing or a positive thing. She said no....it wasn't bad. Nothing happened. As she was sharing this I just had the scariest feeling ever come over me. I don't know what happened in her house and I don't want to know. But, there is definitely something not good about her home and what has happened in it. When we were about to leave, the feeling got even worse. When we left her home and she couldn't see us anymore, we ran as fast as we could to our car. I have not been that scared my entire mission. It was the weirdest feeling cause nothing happened but you couldn't deny that something was wrong. I don't really know how to explain it but Sister Fisher had the exact same feelings and thoughts. But, it is a good thing R is looking for a new home to move into so hopefully that happens soon cause I don't want to go back there. R is super cool and super nice and she is a solid investigator. I don't know. It was a crazy experience.

On a more happy note, we went to this Bosnian home for dinner. She is a member and she is this cute old lady that doesn't speak any English. I don't know if I told you but Bosnians are one of the biggest ethnicity's here. St. Louis is a melting pot. We have so many different cultures here it's not even funny. We knocked on the door and her little old husband came to the door. I was looking at the ground so when he opened the door I got an awesome look at the fact that he had no pants on.....hahaha. All he had on was a shirt and we did not look close enough to see if it was covering anything. But, he doesn't speak any English so it was super awkward. But, we were finally able to figure out that his wife was not home and we just busted up laughing when we got in the car. Good times.

Well, I think that is everything I wanted to share. We were going to go to Paint Louis (miles of street art on these huge walls--look it up---I heard it is way cool) but that got pushed to next P-day because today we are going out to lunch with the STLs and taking a relaxing day off!

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Sis. Lundy

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Missionary Work is Hard"

Dearest Family and Friends-

Wow, what a week! Let me tell you something---missionary work is so hard. Seriously. But the blessings you receive are far greater than any challenge you have to overcome. I can promise you that.

So first off, I don't even know where to start. This week has been amazingly wonderful and absolutely awful. Remember that last week every single one of our lessons fell through...which was just awful. This week we had so many lessons we were so overwhelmed. haha This week an investigator from Webster Groves Ward who moved into our ward was baptized. It was the coolest thing ever. Honestly, I didn't really even know her and I wanted to cry. Seeing someone accept the gospel is one of the greatest things we can witness in life. Now Sister Fisher and I have the opportunity to teach her the new member lessons and she is super cool. I've only met her twice but she is great.

This week, we were actually able to set three baptismal dates with three of our investigators. I am so excited and happy for them but I am also super nervous they won't go through with it. All I know is that I have to trust in the Lord, do my part, and know that my investigators have the opportunity to make the decision in the end. But, with the way that everything has worked out, we will have a baptism on every Saturday until December 14th. The elders have one investigator who is getting baptized on December 7th which is amazing. We have been so absolutely blessed by the Lord...it's not even funny. Honestly, knowing how much he works with our weaknesses...it's amazing that anything ever gets done sometimes. We are only 18 and 19 year old kids but the Lord calls us with our weaknesses and qualifies us for His work. What a blessing to be a part of something so great as this. A member was telling us the other day that this is an era of missionary work as life changing as the Book of Mormon coming forth. Doesn't that just give you chills knowing that we are part of such an amazing era?

The hardest thing about this week....Sister Fisher got to go to a training meeting but I couldn't go. So she went with the STLs to the training and I went with the Webster Groves sisters. Let's just say I have nothing in common with one of the sisters and by the end of the day I was frustrated. It was one of the most humbling experiences as I learned to truly love others. Sometimes we forget as missionaries that our love doesn't stop at our investigators, the members, or our companion. We must love everyone as Christ would. I tried way hard and I think I made the best of it and had fun and just tried to laugh the whole day. It was hard but it was possible and I think I gained respect from that sister and grew in my ability to control my emotions a little better. However, let us pray I will not be companions with her. I don't know how well that would go. But, I will go wherever the Lord wants me to go and do whatever He wants me to do.

We also had a new investigator this week. She is amazing and we had a powerful first lesson with her. Her friend, Mark, who is a member was there and....man....I don't think you realize how powerful it is to have the members present. Just because you don't wear a badge doesn't mean you can't share the gospel. This is the time to hasten the work!

Sad story. The elders in our ward got a call from the Mission President this week telling them that they are moving to Jefferson City. We were so sad! Elder Curtis is so awesome. We were all such good friends. But, I guess two elders waiting for their visas got their visas and they had to leave immediately. They took the two companions of the "visa waiters" and put them in one area and then they are bringing Elder Curtis and his companion who has been here two weeks to Jefferson City and they are now moving the assistants to the President to our ward. I guess throughout the world the church is trying to move all the assistants to have their own proselyting area because most don't right now and also decreasing their job assignments as assistants. They should be here 80% of the time but we will see how that actually works out. But, honestly, I am nervous as heck. They scare me and I don't want to be teaching around them because they are such awesome missionaries. It's sad that that makes me nervous but it does.

Anyway, I thought I would share this poem with you. This came from one of the sisters in the Webster Groves area and I loved it. It explains missionary work to a "T" and this week. This week was extremely difficult. Sister Fisher and I had a misunderstanding and, you know me, I just shut down and stopped talking to her. When she has a hard time, she gets bossy. The minute anyone starts telling me what to do, I will do the opposite. It doesn't go well. Anyway, we were ready to explode so we actually had comp inventory this morning and sat down and actually talked everything out and it helped so much. Sometimes we don't understand why people do the things they do because of the things they have gone through in life. One day can be awesome and the next day can be just the worst. If we don't have someone, like a companion, to rely on it is nearly impossible to get through the day. Anyway, I love Sister Fisher to death. She is the best and I know we will be friends for a very long time. We needed to be companions because the Lord knew what I had was what she needed to be taught and what she had was what I needed to learn.

Here is the poem. It is called "The Mission":

A mission is a strange experience.
It is a trial and a test.
A mission throws you at the worst
Yet it teaches you the best.
I've never been so happy
I've never been so depressed.
I've never felt so forsaken,
I've never felt so blessed.
I've never been so confused,
Things have never been so clear.
I've never felt my Heavenly Father so distant
He has never been so near.
I've never been so discouraged
I've never been so full of hope
I feel I could go on forever
I think I've come to the end of my rope.
I never had it quite so easy
I've never had it quite so tough
Things have never been so smooth
Things have never been so rough.
I've never traveled through more valleys
I've never ascended more peaks
I've never met so many nice people
I've never met so many freaks.
I've never had so many ups
I've never had so many downs
I've never worn so many smiles
I've never had so many frowns.
I've never been so lonely
I've never had so many friends
Boy, I hope this is over
Gosh, I hope this never ends. 

Just remember how much I love you. Remember that just as sure as the sun must come up in the morning, we will find joy at the end of our trials. Good timber does not grow at ease....right, Dad? You can do hard things. I love you all and pray for you so much.

Love-

Sis. Lundy

Monday, November 11, 2013

Paperwork, Promptings, and Blessings

Dear Family-

So this week has been a very rough week but we have also been able to see all the amazing blessings from the Lord. He always sends a tender mercy when you feel like you can't feel any lower than you already do. Always stay positive and take everything day by day.

On Monday we went to the Science Center. It wasn't that cool, actually. Kind of a waste of a P-day but it was the last P-day all together as the three Carondelet missionary companionships so I enjoyed that. Now, we only have two sets of missionaries in our ward and our district leader, Elder Vincent (who was awesome), left. Elder Curtis is training and his greenie is named Elder Ivey. He is cool, a little bold for a greenie, but I guess that is good. haha

So with the new change in areas and everything we have been swimming in paperwork. We were given half of Webster Groves area and then we were given what used to be Carondelet 1's area book plus ours. We have been very overwhelmed because we have been bombarded with referrals and investigators and less actives to take care of now. We are doing our best to stay on top of it. Our less actives number shot up so now we have even more and they are all in our area so we are just....we don't know what to do. But, we are going to take it one day at a time. The Lord will provide a way for us to get everything done we need to. We just have to trust Him. Sometimes, I forget to remember who I am working for and that my "boss" isn't going to ask me to do something and not provide a way for it to be accomplished.
Swimming in new paperwork
This is our whiteboard. We write down everything that we are going to do for the week when we weekly plan. We started from scratch and I wrote all of this.
The good thing about the changes is that some of the less actives have been coming back. The new change has helped spark our new ward with new leaders so missionary work is just jumping leaps and bounds. We will now be having two baptisms this month. They are two investigators from Webster Groves that are now in our ward and both of them are awesome. They are both girls and I've only met each of them once but we should be transitioning to teaching them soon. One is getting baptized on the 16th and the other on the 30th.

We are hoping to set a date for one of our investigators on the 23rd and we set a date with Stephen! Guess what? We had been told wrong by our zone leaders and we found out from the assistants that Stephen didn't need permission from the First Presidency. So, we set a date for December 14th. Hopefully, he will be moved out of his apartment by then. I am so happy it's not even funny! So you asked me what I bought at Goodwill. Well, it was his birthday this week so we bought him two ties and were able to get some white shirts for him. Haha We were so excited to give it to him. He is so awesome! I love him.

We visited a new less-active this week who moved into our ward and I don't know how to spell this. The Webster sisters would go over and crochet? The thing with the needle and yarn. They would go do that with this lady every other week. OK....you know me....I don't do stuff like this. I don't do girly and I ain't a grandma yet (haha) but I just decided to have fun with it. Sister Fisher already knew how to do it but I think the Sister wanted to punch me because I just couldn't get it. It was so difficult and I wanted to just quit but she wouldn't let me. I was asking for help like every five seconds. Man, that is just not my thing. But, it made her happy and now we have a way to start talking to her to get her to come back to church. So many people have the belief that as long as they are spiritual or have been baptized then they don't need to come to church. They are "spiritual enough". If anyone has any suggestions on how to help investigators and less-actives see the importance and need for church I would love some advice. We have tried everything but maybe we just need a different angle.

This week we had -0- teaching appointments. Really made me feel for those missionaries that have like two teaching appointments their whole missions. We had 8 appointments that all fell through....every single one. It was an extremely rough week. But, like I said, the Lord will always provide blessings to those who give it their all. I'm going to go on a tangent but it will lead back to this, I promise. So, Rob came and visited which was awesome. Sister Fisher thinks he is the coolest ever!! Tell them thanks again and again for the birthday present and for taking us out to dinner. (Especially good food, not fast food) haha It was an Italian/Spanish restaurant and this little old lady, the owner, just freaked out when she saw us. She was so sweet. She saw our badges and she could really speak very good English but she kept saying "Sisters! Sisters!" I don't know why but I felt prompted to give her a Book of Mormon but I didn't. I'm sorry....I know, I know....I'm a horrible missionary! When we left the restaurant she hugged us and gave us kisses and Rob took a picture and I felt like we needed to share the gospel but I didn't. I am such a bad missionary! Then, when we were driving home, Sister Fisher said she felt prompted but didn't do anything so then we felt horrible. We were thinking that Rob probably thinks we are horrible missionaries. So, we prayed and we said we were sorry and we asked for another opportunity to be able to share the gospel with her. The next day, we went back to that restaurant and she was there and was just so excited to see us. She gave us huge hugs and was just so happy. I gave her a Book of Mormon and shared a small message with her and she almost started crying she was so happy. She acted as if no one had ever given her a gift before. When she opened the book and saw the picture of Jesus she kissed it and was saying thank you and kept hugging us and we just felt so blessed that we had a second chance. Today, we are going to call the office and ask the Spanish speaking missionaries to go visit her and her husband because we feel like they could help her more than we could. It was amazing how the Lord blessed us in such a way, even when we ignored those promptings.
Rob with Sister Lundskog and Sister Fisher at the Spanish/Italian restaurant
Sister Fisher and Sister Lundskog with the kind matriarch owner of the Spanish/Italian restaurant
Another tender mercy....we were given a referral from the office elders who got it from a member. We stopped by and she wasn't there so we decided to try again on Saturday night. We kind of missed her house so we got out and were walking and we saw this lady and she looked like she was going to go walk her dogs. She acted like she was scared of us and it didn't surprise us cause it was dark and the city is dangerous but I asked her if I could pet her dogs. I think she then realized that we were girls and didn't seem as scared. We were talking with her and petting her dogs and all of the sudden she said "Wait, are you missionaries?" She was looking at our badges and she actually happened to be the girl we were looking for. It was a small miracle. She asked if her friend had sent us and after we said yes she said "I knew it." She was so happy to meet us and we were able to set up an appointment to come see her. Before we left she said, "Man, it is a good thing I was outside cause if I had been inside I wouldn't have opened the door because I don't trust the city at night." She said that as we were walking towards her she was retreating to go back inside cause she didn't know who we were and when I started talking to her to pet her dogs she realized we were girls. It was amazing to see how the Lord had put us there precisely at that moment. Both of those moments happened one after the other and then we ended up sharing the gospel with one more person that night. We felt so blessed. They all happened on Saturday. The Lord blessed us at the end of that horrible week full of cancelled appointments. Man, I feel so blessed to be a missionary! I feel so blessed to have Sister Fisher as a companion. I honestly know we will be friends forever. We needed each other at this exact time in our lives. I have learned so much from her. She has truly blessed my life. We took that color book personality test and Sister Fisher was a 22 for blue. Haha. I think the mission has mellowed me out because I was a 16 for blue and a 14 for red and my yellow went up a little. I don't know if this will make sense to anyone but I know it will to you, Mom and Dad.

Anyway, I love you all. Keep sharing the gospel. It is the greatest way to find happiness and blessings. Quote that would encompass this week: When it gets too hard to stand, kneel. Remember your greatest tool to problem solve is to pray. He is our brother and our best friend and best friends always have each other's backs.

Love-

Sister Lundskog


PS. Here are some photos that Sister Fisher took with her camera. Some of them are from a few weeks ago. We helped the elders move to a different apartment the other day and they were given permission to take our car. We gave them the keys and they started to drive away. All of the sudden Sister Fisher says "They have our apartment key." She didn't even try to run that fast but she ran after them yelling "Wait!" and they peeled out and drove off. I, for some reason, thought it was the funniest thing ever and had to sit down in the middle of the parking lot cause I was going to pee my pants because I was laughing so hard. Sister Fisher thought it was funny so she took a picture of me.
Our Fall photo shoot....haha
Tree hugging
A few weeks ago at the Arch park on P-day with our zone, we found a large hole that I could fit in. Everyone had me get in and then they took pics :)
The arch was closed so Sister Fisher wanted to get a picture of me touching the arch....haha
At the trunk or treat with Mom's toys

Monday, November 4, 2013

Of Mice and Men and Women

Dear Family-

You guys are so awesome and I miss you so much! I, also, very much miss my ward family, too. I am sad I am missing the fall in Oregon but, man, it is so pretty here! Everything everywhere is oranges, reds, and yellows. It is stunning! You would absolutely love it, Mom. Just breathtaking. I wish so badly I was out in the country, though, because I bet it is even better there and that you can actually see the stars. Here you can't see any stars and I am already getting sick of the city....it's not even funny! But, I will go where the Lord wants me to go and I will find all the ways I can love it.

So, last Monday we went to the zoo. Probably the best P-day ever. We went with the other two sets of elders in our ward and we had a blast! I took charge of this activity and I lead the group to all the exhibits. They told me it was not possible to get all of the zoo done in three hours (by the way, the zoo is free) but I told them I could. I moved them along and we saw everything but the giraffes. I just loved it. It was cool to do something that I totally loved and made my week a lot better!
Enjoying the St. Louis Zoo

They made me be the spider! haha

The Elders of Carondelet...sometimes we like to be little kids
 Also, before I forget, if you could add all the friends that have added me on Facebook from Missouri that would be awesome. There are some members that sent me friend requests! Also, I was told to tell you that Eshakti.com is an amazing website for modest clothes. You put in all your measurements and none of the skirts or dresses go shorter than your knee. Plus, you can ask to put on sleeves and they give you all different kinds of choices. So, if you want to check that out that's cool. Um, also we were told to be more careful with the names of investigators, members, and such in our emails home. So, I am going to be more careful to not put people's names. If I somehow forget or want to tell you as a family the names, you should take the names off of the blog.

This week was a week of many first experiences. I went tracting for the first time! Haha. I was like "Wow, now I feel like a real missionary." We only went to a couple of houses and I mostly watched Sister Fisher since she is really good at first approaches. It's not my strongest quality but I'm working on it. We met this guy and, wow, he was interesting. He is a Baptist and he had kind of a discussion with us. He was one of those people that kept telling us we were wrong and leading people astray but like super nicely so you didn't really realize he was insulting you until after. But, we gave him a Book of Mormon and we actually came back to visit him at the end of the week. We had another kind of gospel discussion again but this time I wanted to punch him. That was the first time I have been actually angry at anyone since being on my mission. He knew his bible really well but he would never let us talk. He would say things and then ask questions and we would try to answer and before we could finish anything he would go off on how we were wrong. Then he had the nerve to tell me that I was a 19 year old girl who could not know these things were true because I was too young and my brain wasn't developed yet and that Heavenly Father wouldn't talk to me because I wasn't old enough. He told me I needed to go pray to make sure I know what I am saying is true and that Satan can take the form of an angel. Everytime I tried to bear my testimony or anything he would cut me off and tell me that I didn't know what I was talking about and that he was so much more spiritual than me because he is 30 and has "seen things". I am very blessed to have Sister Fisher because she was able to get us out of there. I was seriously so angry and I can't remember the last time I was that mad. Looking back now it makes me laugh because I feel bad for Sister Fisher. haha. I just chose to pretend like we never met him and to just let it roll off my back because this gospel is so simple and so powerfully true. That's all I have to say about that tracting experience.

Oh, something funny happened like two weeks ago but I forgot to tell you. It was the night before our President interviews and Sister Fisher and I were having such a hard time falling asleep and were super hyper. Anyway, we finally went to bed and about 3:30am I got up and went to the bathroom. I came back in and jumped into bed and Sister Fisher gets up and gets on her knees and starts praying out loud. I was so confused so I just kinda laid there ackwardly and thought, you know, a prayer at 3:30 in the morning doesn't hurt. We can always use more prayers. Anyway, she finishes the prayer and then just sits on the ground and doesn't get back in bed. I am so confused so finally I just ackwardly asked her why she just prayed. She was like "Isn't it time to get up?" I just busted up laughing. "Sister Fisher, it's 3:30 in the morning!" Haha...it was so funny. She has actually done that twice now.

There is something I want to share with you all. A friend emailed me a couple of weeks ago and he was talking to me about less actives and he was referencing a talk given by President Monson and I want to quote what he said to me. He first gave a quote from President Monson who said that the most important thing we can do for less actives is to love them. Then he shared a story of how this man fell away from the church and he talked about the gospel. My friend then said, "The gospel was still in his heart but not in his life. I think that is true with everybody, members and less actives. They have all accepted the gospel and have it in their hearts but just need it in their lives and that's what we are here for. Those people need you out there and you're there to give them the greatest gift of all, the gospel and the way to eternal life." I have been thinking about this for weeks now. How important it is to just love them. That is simply the answer to everything, love. I realized why I was struggling the past week or two. One of the reasons is I have never been one to write goals out. I'd rather figure it out last minute and I have always had goals in my life but not in the sense of super structured goals. We write out so many goals as missionaries and we have numbers we plan for everyday. How many lessons we want to teach, how many investigators we want, blah blah blah. It was really starting to get to me because I hate seeing these people as numbers. I hate the numbers. I hate setting them because sometimes the way we do things is so robotic. We had to open and close with a prayer and teach a principle and leave a commitment with everyone we visited or it wouldn't count as a lesson and we, therefore, would not reach our goals. I felt like the love was missing. It made me think of the people that have impacted me in my life and that helped me come closer to my Heavenly Father. I also thought of Beau, Dallin, and Sean. How much they impacted my life and they didn't sit and have lessons with me or anything like that. They impacted everyone around them because they loved people. The way they treated me and the way they carried themselves taught me more about Christ than any lesson I have had. They had an impact on me because they lived it. We need to live what we are teaching. We need to walk into a home and treat them as Christ would. We shouldn't sit down and go through a planned lesson just to reach a goal. They are not numbers, they are people. I think that is the difference in Sister Fisher and I sometimes. She is so goal oriented. Just amazing at making goals and keeping them but she sets them so high and it becomes so robotic that it is hard for me. When we finally talked about it, it just made all the difference in the world. We have slowly been able to work together using our strengths and weaknesses to help each other out and to truly see these people in a different light. It has made all the difference for me and my attitude. So remember, don't let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. We must love them as Christ would. That's what heals broken hearts and breaks the walls that people build.

So the Joseph Smith movie, the long one, has become my new favorite movie of all time. I watch it any chance I can. I think it is so inspiring and it just amazes me. First off, I want my husband to be like Joseph Smith. I will not settle for any man that does not hold the priesthood or fulfill all his priesthood duties. That has become so important to me, especially with the families here that I work with that don't have the priesthood in their homes. It breaks my heart to see these mothers trying to raise their families without it. They are amazing and are some of the strongest women I have ever met and it truly has helped me see how much I was taking the priesthood for granted. Anyway, that was kind of a tangent. The favorite part of the whole movie is the blacksmith. I still don't know his name and I wish more than anything that I could study the early history of the church because that has become my new favorite thing. I love the Doctrine and Covenants and I don't know why I hated reading it because it has amazing stuff in there. I just love it. Anyway, the blacksmith is my favorite person in the movie because to me he seems so real. He, to me, embodies true faith. He struggles to stay strong and he questions so many times. Even though he hates what he is being asked to do and even though he is angry and bitter, not once does he turn his back on the church and walk away. Struggle after struggle he keeps going even though he feels like his faith no longer exists. Then, when he feels like he can't trust God anymore he brings his dying son to Joseph and Joseph heals him and you can see it in his face how badly he wants to believe. You can see he is holding on. It makes me think of the story on the bible of the man that brings his son to Jesus and Jesus asks him if he believes that he can heal his son. The man says "I believe, help thou my unbelief." I know Elder Holland gave a talk about this also but I just love this movie and seeing this man try so hard to believe and he never gives up. When he comes to Joseph the look in his face says help thou my unbelief....and I just cry like a baby through the whole part because I just love how real he is! So many people believe they have weak faith because they are struggling, but it is in our struggles that we gain strong faith. When we question and we challenge God is when we truly learn how much He does care and how much we can let go and trust Him. I remember the first time that I actually prayed to Heavenly Father asking Him if He was really there. My faith felt shattered and it was through that experience that I gained real faith. We cannot have blind faith. Just because we go along with everything and never question anything doesn't necessarily mean our faith is strong. It is when we truly align our will with God's will that we have true faith. I don't know if any of that made sense but it's just been on my mind lately.

For Halloween, we actually had all of our plans fall through. We had to have our cars parked by 6pm. We could be with a member if they picked us up and drove us but we ended up staying in the apartment and watching movies. It was so relaxing and nice. We also tried going tracting because appointments fell through but it was a super stupid idea cause it was 5pm and everyone opened their doors because they thought we were trick or treaters. But everyone was busy and didn't want to hear a message. Also, it was pouring rain and we were soaked....but I had a blast. It made me homesick a little bit and I felt like the rain was a blessing from God. :)
The missionaries of Carondelet (now called St. Louis Hills) at the Ward Trunk or Treat Party
Playing with the toys that Mom sent
So....transfers. We are staying here!! They just rearranged our boundaries and surprisingly, Sister Fisher and I will now have part of the city. That is why we thought we were leaving because sisters are technically not allowed in the city. We have part of the inner city in our area. Not as much, they gave most of it to the elders but we do have some of it. Our whole area used to be the county but the county now went to the Webster Groves sisters so we don't have that anymore. I joked around all the time in the MTC how I would be the first sister in East St. Louis and, although that will never ever happen, I am the first sister in the city. But, I was kinda hoping to go country but that is okay....I still have a long time.

We had a lesson with Debbie this week (you can leave her name) and we had a short lesson because she just got home from her honeymoon. We listened to President Monson's Sunday conference talk and I think I needed to hear his talk more than she did. In his talk, he quotes a poem. When I was struggling in the MTC (before General Conference), Dad sent me the poem. I have printed it out and I carry it in my scriptures and every morning I have been reciting it because I want to have it memorized. I just want to end my letter with the poem because it inspires me. I can do hard things, right Mom?

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man,
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow at ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

I love you all so much. Keep sharing the gospel and feed the missionaries!

Love - Sister Lundskog

PS. Oh, I totally forgot to tell you guys about Wednesday. We are given a certain amount of car miles per month. We ran out of miles which meant we were walking....everywhere. There is a reason why our area has a car. We cannot get anywhere without a car. This is a picture of us walking and feeling like typical missionaries. This was the worst day of the week. You know how in Doctrine and Covenants it talks about how you don't need to worry where you will sleep or how you will eat or anything....just trust in the Lord and move forward? The Lord provided for us. We were somehow able to make it to every appointment whether we walked or were blessed with the ride of a member. But, we underestimated later that night how far away a less active's home was when we went to decorate cupcakes with her. They are redoing the sidewalk so there is only mud there now. We walked like five miles in the mud in the dark to her house. We thought we could cut through this park into her neighborhood but when we got to the other side, we were fenced in. So I told Sister Fisher we were jumping the fence. She has never jumped a fence before....haha. Oh man, it was the only time I laughed that whole day. She is like the most obedient person in the world and always has been. I helped make her a little bit of a rebel.
Walking because we hit our "mile limit"
PPS. Oh, I totally forgot this, too! Mom, you will love this. We were having a ward correlation meeting with the three sets of missionaries and we were talking and all of the sudden this little mouse runs out from under the curtain in the Relief Society room. Sister Fisher starts screaming...hahaha....and then we spent like a half hour trying to catch it! There was one point when the mouse ran over her foot and I thought she was going to die! That's when she stood on the chair until they got it. She took pictures for me while I tried to help the elders catch it. Elder Curtis ended up just stepping on it and we are pretty sure he killed it.
The Mouse Hunt

This is me trying to help