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