Monday, October 14, 2013

Amazing People, Great Food, and Massive Trees

Family!

Okay, so throughout the week I have been making a list of things that I need to tell you about and then when I read your emails I write your questions down to remind myself. So I'm sorry if I forget to answer a question (Dad, I am answering your questions on here).

Sister Fisher and I thought of something creative. Please don't send anything to this address. Still send it to the mission home cause if I move then I won't lose any mail. But, we thought if I sent you my address, you could go on google maps and then see where I am living. You could get a street view. I won't be able to tell if you are accurate and I don't know what season you are seeing compared to me but it might be fun for you to see or anyone to see what I see everyday. My address is 7004 Nottingham Place, Apt 301, St. Louis, MO 63119. So try that and see what happens!

Alright, since I have been on my mission I have had three different Elders (who I do not know) contact me through mormon.org. In the MTC, I got an email from some elder and he was like "Hey, you're pretty cool, I am in the MTC too." It was weird and I just said hey back and then didn't respond again. haha. Then, when I got here I had a letter from two elders from Alaska. Alaska!!! One of them is from Oregon and I don't remember his name but he thinks he knows me and I have never seen him. They both wrote me this long letter asking me all these questions about me and totally not focusing on what they are supposed to be doing right now. They also made a collage of pictures of themselves to send to me with the letter. What are they, teenage girls? Haha It made Sister Fisher and I laugh. Then, I got another letter from some elder in the San Diego mission. His wasn't that bad. He just thanked me for my testimony on mormon.org. I don't know. It was weird and he sent me a picture of himself, too. Haha....all these elders need to get to work!

Mom, you would have LOVED the basilica. Maybe I can send some pictures if I have time. What we saw in Ecuador times 20. Oh, there is a member here who is in college and married but he served in Ecuador and they made a book and it was really cool cause he went to the church we went to and zip lined where we went and stuff. It was cool. Anyway, every wall and ceiling at this basilica is made as a mosaic. It is amazingly beautiful. We were kinda laughing though because they had little stories from the bible in the walls and there is a picture of Jesus being baptized by John and they are standing in the river that is dried up and he is pouring water on his head. The tour guide there is awesome. He knew so much about missionaries from a lot of us always visiting there and he was very informative. He joked about us sneaking him into the temple so he could have a peak. Haha
At the entrance to the St. Louis Basilica with Sister Juliann Fisher
Last P-day when we went to the grocery store we bought cheese to make quesadillas. We did not realize that the cheese was taco flavored cheese. It was super awesome. When you have a quesadilla now it tastes like a taco. It's weird. Haha Things like this that make a mission fun. Sister Fisher and I could not stop laughing. It's not even that funny and we were crying.

This week Sister Fisher and I have been blessed beyond measure. At one point this week we had five potential investigators. So I am going to go through and name each of our investigators and tell you a little about all of them cause they are amazing. So, Dad, we have nine in our teaching pool. We had 12 but we had to drop (I don't like that word) but we had to put them as formers because we haven't been able to teach them for months.

Stephen:  Stephen is amazing. I love him. He has had a very hard life. He has like 18 brothers and sister and he and all of them are all adopted. His dad was his hero. His dad ended up getting cancer when he was like 14 and none of his other siblings did anything to help. He was the one left caring for him every day and it was so hard on him. Stephen was born with some learning problems so he is a little slow but I love him. When it got too much for him to handle he left his home for like a week and his dad died when he was supposed to be watching him and after that he just went off the deep end. Got way too mixed up with drugs and alcohol. We were actually planning to baptize Stephen a week ago but we found out he had been to jail and now we have to answer some questions and send a letter to SLC to get him approved for baptism. Pretty much he has bailed on every lesson we have tried to have with him and he might be moving at the end of the month. This has been really hard on me cause I love him and I want him to feel the peace of the atonement but Heavenly Father will take care of everything.

Debbie: Debbie is awesome! She would fit perfectly in our ward with all you cute moms! Her husband is less active and she just got married this weekend. Now she can get baptized. So we just have to set a date with her.

Liayou: Liayou is from Africa! She is awesome. She has a 6 year old named Jessica and a new baby. She has the thickest accent though. I swear we are blessed with the gift of tongues during lessons cause she is almost impossible to understand. Right now we have to get her married first before she can get baptized but she really wants to be baptized. We have a hard time with Liayou cause she has amazing faith but because of the educational level it's hard for her to comprehend things. But, Joseph Smith only had an education level up to like third grade....right? So it will all work out.

Deondrea: Haha....he is awesome too! He is a brand new investigator. He is black and freaking awesome. Like a totally typical black guy. He is the biggest sweetheart. So accepting of everyone and he is so fun to talk to. We talk about football and Call of Duty all the time. We have met with him twice and you can tell he just wants more in his life. He wants to have his life be worth something.

Karim: So the second time we taught Deondrea his friend, Karim, was there. Karim is awesome. He is Muslim. I don't know much about Muslims at all so that was interesting. But while he was in jail he read the Bible and the Koran so he was really interested in reading the Book of Mormon. He says he is a spiritual being. The biggest problem we have here is that everyone is very religious but a lot of people hate organized religion. Ya it's frustrating so hopefully we can see him again and teach him more about Christ.

Martin: So Martin is married to a less active. He looks like Santa but has the mouth of a sailor and I love him. They love missionaries. They have this book they have you sign when you come over and it has like 30 different missionaries that have signed that book. You can tell that Martin is a very slowwwwwww progressing investigator. But he is progressing. Things in his life and the way the world is have turned him almost atheist. So we are working on him to believe in Christ. Last time we met you could feel the Spirit so strong. He has a problem of cracking jokes and trying to get rid of the Spirit when he feels it. But we won't let him deny that he can feel it. He can be kinda scary cause he gets mad easily and yells but I'm not scared cause I can see through that mean exterior and we get along great.

Linda: She is our newest investigator. She was a referral from church headquarters. Her brother asked that missionaries go to her home. When we got there she was like "I knew you were coming. I just didn't know when." Haha. She is amazing. Absolutely amazing. She is in her 60s and has tremendous faith and really knows her Bible. The problem with her is the same as Karim. She doesn't believe in organized religion because she says it's hypocritical. We will see because we have another appointment with her this week.

We gave Deondrea, Karim, and Linda a Book of Mormon so pray that they actually read it!

Okay, so her is the miracle of the week. We were heading to a dinner appointment at a member's home and we were like 30 minutes early. We decided to go street contact or knock on a door or two. We drove to the house and then just passed it and went further into the neighborhood. We came to a three way stop and Sister Fisher asked me which way and I didn't feel impressed or anything even though I was really trying to listen so I just said "Straight". She went like halfway down the street and then pulled over and parked. I was looking at the home we parked in front of and there was a "Families Are Forever" plaque outside the door. I asked Sister Fisher "Does a member live here?" and she was like "I don't know. Let's go see." So we started walking to the door and this lady came out to get her mail and so we said hi and started talking to her. We asked her about her plaque. She had bought it at a garage sale! We shared our message with her and set up another appointment and gave her a Book of Mormon and it was just the greatest experience ever!! It was so awesome. We really connected with her. It was just one of those missionary experiences you hear everyone talk about. Anyway, we found out she isn't in our area. The elders have really, really been struggling trying to find investigators so even though I want to teach her we are going to let them teach her and see what happens.

So someone asked about the temple. We get to go at our halfway mark and then we get to go if an investigator of ours that we played a SIGNIFICANT role in their conversion goes to the temple. So we don't get to go quarterly. Just halfway and then right before we leave.

That is a cool story, Dad, about the less active. We work with so many less actives. This ward we are in is probably 75% less active. It is amazing to see a less active come back to church. It's like a lost brother or sister coming back. You just love them so much because it takes a lot of courage to come back.

We don't ride bikes. We actually have a car. It is a 2013 Toyota Corolla and it is white. It is super nice....way nice. We are so spoiled.
Washing the car on P day
Sister Fisher and Sister Lundskog on P day
One of the nicer streets in our area
Today we are going to play soccer under the arch with our zone and another zone. I am so stoked! Guess what? The arch is part of a national park so it has been shut down so you can't get inside of it which makes me way mad because I'm as close to St. Louis as I'll probably ever get for the rest of my mission. It's stupid cause I probably now won't get to go in it. Uhhh! I probably won't get to go to a Cards game. It's really cool here because the Cardinals are such a cultural thing here if you are with an investigator you can watch a game on TV or go to a game with them. It's crazy....on game day everyone is wearing RED.

Yes, Mom, we do exercise....haha. At least we try to. Lately, we have been sooo tired cause we are not sleeping all the way through the night. First off, the guy downstairs is always having a party and his music is so loud. But we get up and go run outside. I don't know what we will do when it gets cold though.

You asked what I want for my birthday. I just want my new scriptures you sent and music. We are allowed to listen to anything that brings the Spirit and we only have like 2 cds and I am going to lose my mind if I listen to those songs one more time. Appropriate songs from Les Mis are allowed and Josh Grobin if it isn't a love song. We have a cd of his and all the ones in English are love songs so we just listen to all the Spanish ones. Haha. Um, any songs that you can find on the LDS worship station on Pandora or cool versions of hymns. Christmas music!! That would make my day. Oh, the EFY cds! I own like four of them. Maybe some of your cookies though would be awesome. :) Except that I am getting so fat here. Everyone keeps feeding us all this stuff and giving us leftovers cause they think we are starving or something. Man, I'm getting a double chin. It's awful! Oh well, it's not like I'm trying to pick up any boys while I'm here so I might as well enjoy it!

I know you told me I could tell you if I am struggling. It's amazing because everyday isn't always a great day but you can find something great in everyday. I can't say that I have had a bad day or a good day on my mission because it is so up and down on what is happening all the time. You learn to go with it. It depends on exactly when you would happen to inquire. I know I sound happy but this has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I miss my ward and I miss Oregon. I miss the smell of clean air instead of the smell of cigarettes. I miss my family more than anything and I miss my bed. Sometimes, I find myself daydreaming about the future and sometimes I am stuck thinking about the past and what I have left behind. But, I have learned to live in the moment. Life is so short. I realized that the things I miss are so amazing because the gospel has blessed my life. I even miss Utah and the MTC because I miss the spirit that is there and the Mormon culture almost. But, there is a quote I used to have that says something like "Oh how blessed am I that I have something so amazing that it makes saying goodbye almost impossible." I want others to have something so amazing they can't say goodbye too. I am learning to live in the moment, to stop thinking about what is to come and what I left behind. I have been so blessed. I am truly starting to love every moment of being here. Anytime I have had a really hard time, I always look up at the sky here. The sky is the best part of Missouri. You can see for miles and miles and you cannot look at that sky and not believe there is a God. Anytime I feel like crying I just look up at the amazing trees here. They are massive trees. They spread out as wide as our evergreens are long. I look at the sunlight on the leaves and realize how blessed I am to be here. The trees remind me of the poem Dad sent to me in the MTC. It was quoted in General Conference. I will not live and die a scrawny thing because I can do hard things.

I love you with all my heart!

Sister Lundskog

PS. Sister Fisher's first name is Juliann

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