Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Fun

Dear Family-

I hope you all had a good Christmas!!! My Christmas was great, the best part being that I got to talk to my wonderful and amazing family! It blew my mind to see how tall Justin is and Allison is looking more like an adult everyday. You're so pretty! Of course it was great to talk to you, Mom and Dad. You guys are amazing. Thank you to everyone who sent me a card or package or email for Christmas!!! It meant a lot.

So this week was kind of slow. It's hard to see anyone during the holidays but we were able to see Dusty and Brianna on Tuesday and had a really good lesson with them. It breaks my heart to see how poor and heartbroken they are from the experiences they have been through in life. But we shared "He is the Gift" and man...seeing Dusty's face light up was just wonderful. She understands that He is always there for her. They have been reading the BOM and have been praying, which is amazing, even when they were super sick this week. Miracles are happening in that family, that is for sure.

Christmas eve we spent the whole first part of the day handing out the rest of our He is the Gift cards. We had like 50 cards left to hand out and we HANDED OUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! It was such a good feeling even though it was freezing and raining and we were wet and I couldn't feel my toes and everything else. It felt good just having the Christmas spirit around.

We spent Christmas eve with our branch president and that was awesome. They are an amazing family and we had a lot of fun! Christmas day we had Christmas dinner with our branch mission leader and his family and it was so good! We had duck and ham and a ton of stuff! Definitely spoiled this Christmas. Then we went to Nichole's house. She is the only member in her family and she is about 23 and we watched "How to Train Your Dragon 2" and "Despicable Me 2" and they were soooo funny. It was really nice. But then we watched "God's Not Dead" and, oh my goodness, I was an emotional wreck through that whole movie. You guys should watch it if you haven't seen it. It was so good. There is a boy in the movie though that looks a lot like Justin with long hair and that's what did me in. After that I was an emotional wreck. But it's really good.

The rest of the week was alright. Everyone has been sick because the weather goes from 50 and sunny to 20 and raining the next day. It has been a little hard. We also got transfer calls. Sister Willmore will be leaving to St. Peters and I am staying here (yay!) and will be getting Sister Rouse. She was my MTC companion. So that will be interesting. Hope this transfer goes well!

What I learned:
Family is and will be the most important thing in your whole life. It's as simple as that.

I love you guys! Thank you for making my Christmas so special. I love you to the galaxy and back.

Sister Lundskog

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Investigators

Dear Family-

Well, this week has come and gone. We worked hard and tried to do our best with the little area we have here to tend in Paris.

It was hard to visit with investigators this week. One, because it's almost Christmas and two, everyone is getting super sick. So that was a bummer. It was freezing this week and if the forecast is accurate we should have a white Christmas. Anyway just real quick I'll tell you who all my investigators are:

Dusty and Brianna: Dusty is the mom and Brianna is 13. They live in a small town called Kansas that we cover. They are very poor and have no car and there is only one other member that lives in Kansas. So the hardest thing has been getting them to church; one for rides and two because Dusty doesn't feel ready. But they are doing great.

Rosa: She is the one that had a baptismal date but has been hit with a ton of medical problems and has had to go in for a lot of surgery. She also has a lot of drama with her family and no support from them either. So we have postponed her date just to help her get her life settled so she can make an honest and ready commitment to the Lord. She is about 23, I think, and awesome. She is sassy and has a lot of personality.

Karen: She lives in a town called Marshall that we go to once a week. She is extremely smart which makes teaching her a little difficult sometimes. She knows her bible backwards and forwards and she has investigated so many religions that sometimes it is hard to teach her because she doesn't have a solid foundation for where her truth comes from. Does that make sense? She mixes up a lot of religions. Last time we met I got in a huge debate with her about the trinity. She believes they are all one. Haha, it's okay, we are just both very red personalities and I respect her a lot. She is investigating cause her daughter in India just got baptized so I don't really know what her motives are behind everything...if this is just fun and informational, you know?

Tena: So I love Tena. She is in her late 40s. She is a little bit out there with some of her beliefs sometimes but she wants to be baptized sooo bad. Right now her family life is just crazy. She is super poor and her kids are making a lot of poor choices. She has had a lot of heartache in her life. We just need to teach her the lessons again and make sure she understands everything and help her get to church and then she can get baptized. I don't what it is but I just love her. She has such an amazing spirit about her.

Brittany: She is a new investigator and we haven't really sat down with her yet. She is way cool though. She is really interested in God. She is in her 20's and she has a little girl who is super cute! She lives in super poor circumstances right now as well and has a lot of family issues so she is just trying to sort that out.

Paris is a super poor area and so that is really hard to overcome lately with all the difficulties that come with a low income lifestyle and just a lot of problems with families. Almost everyone we teach is having some issue with a member of their family so that has been really difficult. Anyway, this week I got asked to give a talk this Sunday. That made church a little different for Christmas and I was really nervous and was up till midnight Saturday night trying to get it all figured out. I think it went alright. I felt like it was more for me than for anyone else but I guess that is how it works sometimes. This was a rough but good week... gained a lot of patience with my companion. Just worked my absolute hardest and I am praying we start to see some miracles in this area.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Remember what it's really all about. Can't wait to skype! Love you with all my heart.

Sister Lundskog

Monday, December 15, 2014

"The Three Trees"

Dear Family,

Well, I am so glad this week is finally over to be honest. This was a rough week to say the least but it's always for our benefit, right?

If I am being completely honest, my companion is driving me up a wall. I have lost not only patience but even the desire to have patience with her. I don't understand why she is on a mission. Everything is always drawn in, always ends up focusing on herself. It is extremely, emotionally draining to be with her everyday 24/7. But I haven't stopped praying for a desire to love her and I actually just finished her Christmas present this morning. It's nothing fancy but it gave me something to do when I didn't want to talk to her. I had President interviews and I don't know if the last 4 weeks just finally caught up to me but I burst into tears as soon as I walked in because I finally had the opportunity to talk to him about my companion. I gained a lot of respect for him in my interview this week, I don't think I will always agree with the things he does but I know that he is trying his very best and yes, unfortunately, he is human. But aren't we all? I read President Uchtdorf's talk from priesthood session "Is It I" and it hit home for me. It is so easy for us to look at others and know how to fix all their problems and to say "I could do it so much better than they are." But then when it comes to ourselves, we can be so quick to pass over all of our faults. So I guess I had a change of heart and I am trying to give my leaders the credit they deserve. I know that they will make mistakes and are wrong and human but I don't have to worry about it if I just do my thing. God's got it all under control.
The Christmas gift I made for Sister Willmore.

I feel like that is what I have been saying to myself over and over this whole week: God's got it all under control. And I've been reminding myself what Kelly said, "Now does not mean forever." We went tracting on Sunday. There was a stake Christmas devotional but we weren't allowed to go unless we had an investigator. Well, none of our investigators have a car and we are extremely far way from the stake center and no one in our branch was going so we weren't able to go. I know I shouldn't have been upset but I was. All our plans fell through so we spent 2 hours in the freezing rain tracting. Do you want to know what aggravates me? All the time we have people open the door and say "Oh, not interested" and slam the door but it really gets me when they open the door, see you and say "Oh, not interested. Have a Merry Christmas" and slam the door. What is sad is all we are asking them to do is watch a video about Christ being the center of Christmas. I got super depressed this week. It's sad to feel so stranded during the holiday season and the frustration of people rejecting our message.

We have been sharing this story "The Three Trees" with people these past two weeks. This is what I learned. Sometimes God puts us through hard times. Sometimes we have to go through weeks where we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders; when we feel like we are just being kicked when we are already down. We watch our plans fall apart and we are frustrated as we deal with the aftermath of others' stupid actions. This life is full of heartache, pain, and lost hope. But there is beauty in the challenging times because they shape us into who we are. We are standing where we are today because of God's hands shaping us into masterpieces. We never know what we can become with the help of God.

The Three Trees:
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!" The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world! The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.
Years, passed. The rain came, the sun shone and the little trees grew tall. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first wood cutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall make a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" the first tree said.
The second wood cutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It's perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. " I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"
The third tree felt her heart sink when the last wood cutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the wood cutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax, the third tree fell.
The first tree rejoiced when the wood cutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, or treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the wood cutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and awed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the wood cutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. " All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."
Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make a cradle for him." Her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. " This manger is beautiful." She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She new she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awoke. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten wood pile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hand to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you wanted, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

I love you with all my heart. I am so glad I have such a big family of people who have my back.

Love-Sister Lundskog
This is my investigator, Kelly's, cat. Every time we go over she sits on my lap
and I walk out with swollen eyes and I can't breathe.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Service is the Best Way to Heal Yourself

Hey Family!!!

This week has been crazy and I might actually run out of time to write this email because all the sudden a ton of people have come in so I might get kicked off!

When we met our ward mission leader for correlation yesterday, he was so proud of all the work we were able to do this week. It made me feel good cause I worked my butt off! I want to see this area change; I want to see it grow. I don't know what it is about Paris but it feels the most like home than any area I have served in and I feel like it has become the saving grace for my mission. I love the people here and I can see so much potential.

Our biggest challenge right now is getting everyone to church. Paris is a very poor community and because it is a branch we have limited resources and we cover a pretty big area. A lot of our investigators don't have cars. We are also dealing with a lot of family problems. A lot of our investigators have family who are very against the church and we aren't here to destroy families. Finding the balance of giving them the gospel and sometimes having to step back to let the Lord take care of a few things first in order to prepare them for the opportunity to have the gospel later is hard.

With our ward mission leader and ward missionaries we have come up with some awesome ideas to help bring people back and into the church. I love my group that I get to work with. They care so much for their branch and want to bring people back. Sister D is awesome, she has a very similar story to my life and she came to our meeting with the idea of starting an institute here to help save the people who are younger and single. We both could testify of how institute helped save our lives. We also came up with some fun Christmas ideas with our investigators and the ward to help them meet more people. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.

We had exchanges this week and Sister Barrett came here to be with me and I am pretty sure the Lord is trying to teach me humility more than ever this transfer. Sister Barrett served here only a few months ago and having an old missionary come back to their area especially when you have only been here three weeks is very threatening. And yes it was super hard. I felt very, very unwanted and she kind of came in and walked all over my plans and adjusted it to suit her but... I learned that it is not about me. I am not here to get recognition or love or "fame" so to speak. I am here to serve others. That's why I came on a mission. If I had wanted love and attention and recognition I should have stayed home. I realized that humility and the ability to back down is not a sign of weakness but a sign of immense strength. The ability to lay down our selfish desires and to control the natural man takes a crazy amount of self-control and diligence and patience. So I am thankful that the Lord has made opportunities to help me learn humility. It's not easy and I would much rather not go through it haha but how else am I supposed to become who He would have me be?

What I learned:

Service is the quickest and best way to heal yourself. I have realized as I have given more and more of myself everyday, the more and more I feel an inner happiness. It doesn't matter what position I hold or what area I am in or if people know who I am but the more I love and serve others, the more truly happy I feel.

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Don't forget it and I will talk to you guys next week. Have fun but not too much fun without me!!!

Love - Sister Lundskog
Helping Kelly, a recent convert, decorate her tree

A selfie

Monday, December 1, 2014

He Is The Gift!

Dear Family!

Well, I am slowly getting adjusted to Paris! This area has so much potential and I can't wait to see what we can do this wonderful holiday season!

We have a good teaching pool but we have faced some difficulty this week. With the holiday it was hard to see a lot of our investigators and one of our investigators and her two daughters (I never met her) was with family this week and were pressured into not meeting with us anymore. Their family gave them no choice. It makes me so angry to see others destroying the opportunity for a loved one to bless and enhance their life. But they will reap what they sow and just as Aunt Kelly taught me today, now DOES NOT mean forever. The gospel is always within reach. Are we going to make the step is the question.

Our two baptismal dates will have to be pushed back. One has to be interviewed by president and the other is just struggling to make a consistent, committed effort. I just want to take a second to say how much I HATE cigarettes. They destroy people and is one of the hardest things to get our investigators to overcome.

This week we had ZLT on Wednesday so we were up in Campaign. The zone leaders gave a really good training that really hit home for me. But, also half of our day was wasted not in our area because it takes eternity to get there and back. We did have an awesome lesson with Dusty and Brianna. Dusty is the mom and Brianna is 14. We were at a members home (they are less active but they are the only members in this tiny town called Kansas). It was awesome. She was upset talking about why God would let her suffer and worry about making ends meet from week to week while He let others drive big black Cadillacs. We talked about the refiners fire and the beauty that comes from the hardship. Those who suffer the most know the deepest sorrow but they also know the greatest joy.

We had Thanksgiving at our ward mission leader's home, the "R's". They are awesome. They have two sons who are married in our ward and one son on a mission as well as their nephew that lived with them who is on a mission. Then they have 3 more sons. I think one is my age and then a junior and a freshman. They all played football and grew up here in Paris and have stayed in Paris and they hunt. They're just this awesome family and I have a lot of respect for them. Brother "R" has the coolest conversion story ever. Guess what...I GOT TO WATCH FOOTBALL! The food was wonderful and it was nice to have a little break.

Thank you for your package and all the letters! It made my day. You are all so wonderful! So Saturday Sister Willmore had a recent convert go through the temple to get his endowments out because he is going on a mission. So I got to go to the temple and let me tell you how much of a blessing that was. Now I know that I am still learning to love the temple and still getting over always being nervous when I am there. But it felt like going home. No matter where you are, what country or city you are in, the temple is always that home for you. I put all of your names on the prayer roll; all my loved ones so hopefully that helps.
At the temple with my companion, Sister Willmore
Really fast I just want to talk about the Christmas Initiative. If you have not watched "He is the Gift" you need to go watch it right now. It's on christmas.mormon.org. It is so good. What a blessing to be a missionary right now during the holiday season. We have been given these special "He is the Gift" pass along cards and we have to give 10 away a day and I have never felt so dedicated in my life.

I just want to bear my testimony on what this gospel means to me. I am here today because of my Savior and everything he has done for me. Can you imagine going through this life never knowing that someone sacrificed their life for you so you didn't have to go through this alone? How blessed am I to know this and to have the power to share this. How blessed are you? To know that He lives, why we celebrate Christmas, and why we will always have hope. So now is the time to share it. There are so many people around the world who are spiritually dying and they are right within your grasp. Let's get up and let's open our mouths. We have the opportunity to change lives. Can't you feel it? The adrenaline is just in the air; you can literally feel the Savior's love all around and all we have to do is open our eyes and our hearts.

I love all of you so much. I AM SO GRATEFUL for the beautiful family the Lord has provided for me. I would never trade it in a million years and as it has been said by lots of others - I AM SO GRATEFUL I GET TO LEAVE MY FAMILY FOR A YEAR AND HALF SO THAT OTHERS CAN LIVE WITH THEIRS FOR ETERNITY.

Love-Sister Lundskog

I walked where Joseph Smith walked!
The massive tree they have in the town square

In front of the world's largest wind chimes in my new skirt
Note from Jeri: Here is the link to the "He is the Gift" short video that Corinne was talking about:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Living the Small Town Life

Dear Family,

Okay, so I am officially in Paris! Here is my new address everyone since the mission home can no longer forward our mail. Just send it here unless it is transfer week. If it is transfer week, send it to the mission home address.

516 Walcott St.
Paris, IL 61944

We only get an hour to email here so hopefully I don't run out of time. I only have like 5 minutes left so sorry in advance if I can't always answer you guys or my emails are short. Know that I care but I am just limited on my time.

So Paris... haha I am on the very edge of the mission. I could walk into Indiana from here. Our phone actually runs on Indiana time because we are so close so it is an hour ahead. I am in a branch...a very small branch that is struggling a little bit. There are not enough priesthood holders here so they have a family or two out here on assignment. It's a town that is slowly falling apart. There used to be a lot more people here than there are now. Everyone in the branch is related to each other. But I love it. My ward mission leader shot two deer on Saturday and cleaned them up and had them in the freezer and then even made it to stake conference on time. Everyone wears camo and they have their own country language so I am feeling at home more and more. We have a big teaching pool and it's been a while since I have had that. I felt a little overwhelmed at first. But we have two baptismal dates already so that should be awesome. It has been a long time since I have seen success in that way and I am sure God has a plan for me and it will all work out. I am here for a reason. I just have to figure out that reason.

I miss Fulton and I miss the "B's" and Sister Lynn like crazy but I love my new ward mission leader and I am really excited and am trying to stay super positive. It is kind of hard being stranded. Our phone rarely ever has service so we are really stranded and our district is forever away as well. But we just move forward one day at a time and trust in the Lord.

I love you guys and I'm praying for you and hope this week is good with Thanksgiving. I hope you know I am so thankful and so grateful for the family I have and the family I have made. You mean the world to me. Love you!

Sister Lundskog

Monday, November 17, 2014

Off to Paris!

Dear Family,

Man, I can't believe this week is already over! Well, I guess the most exciting news is transfers. I will be leaving Fulton, unfortunately, but that is okay because I am going to PARIS! Haha...that is right. I am going to Paris, Illinois. I guess there is a first for everything. I will finally be able to head over to Illinois just in time before I head home so that will be exciting!

It was a decent week. It has been freezing!! Like today the high is in the 20's and the low is 9 but you add the wind chill and it is in the teens and close to 0! It finally started snowing too. It is going to be a long, cold winter! Maybe Illinois will be warmer.

Probably the most exciting part of the week besides transfer calls was the fact that we gave talks in church this Sunday! Yep, it was the first time I gave a talk my whole mission which is really crazy because usually you give talks all the time. Sister Lynn and I and Brother B, our ward mission leader, talked and we talked about missionary work to help the ward catch the vision! It went really well. I have never been that comfortable giving a talk like that before. I prayed and knew that what I had to say was exactly what they needed to hear. I shared with them the story of me sharing the gospel with my friends in high school. I shared the wonderful advice mom gave me that helped me have the courage to share the gospel and share who I was with my friends. You told me that one day at the end of this life I will go to heaven and be comfortable because I had the truth. I might have a good friend of mine in this life come up to me and ask me "Why? Why did you never share this with me? You had it all along. You knew the truth that could have saved me and you kept it to yourself." How would you feel? In every class after sacrament that day everyone was quoting you, Mom. I saw that when I prayed, Heavenly Father helped me say exactly what I needed to say to impact those I was talking to. They were impacted because you impacted me. I have always kept that to heart my whole mission. We are placed specifically in people's lives because the Lord trusts us to do this work for Him. After this life we can look everyone in the eyes and know we did everything we could to share the truth with them.

Thanks for sending Sister Fisher a bday gift. It meant a lot to her.

I love you so much and I'll send you my new address as soon as I have it. Love you all!

Sister Lundskog
My district in front of the capitol building. I'm in the center.

Sister Lynn

Sister Lynn & I

Some of the Sister Missionaries in my district

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Most Precious Think in All Thinking

Dear Family,

I know that every time I email you guys that I can't ever remember what happened this week but I just really can't remember the week by the time Monday gets here!

This week was another rough week with investigators. We had a teaching pool of seven but now we are at two. It was a sad week but we stayed super positive. The Lord knows where their hearts are, not us, and He knows when they are ready. Our job is to just invite and to never give up. So Barry and Mallory are our only gators right now and they are doing good. We were unable to meet with Mallory this week and Barry might be moving... but not till March! So we are still going to help him progress towards baptism.

Carolyn had a baptismal date but she moved over to Moberly's area so the elders over there just got a baptismal date. Last Monday for part of our Pday we went to help her pack up some of her stuff into her RV. She had no idea how to do anything and so it ended up being Sister Lynn and I doing everything for her. I UNHOOKED HER SEWER! Gross...she didn't know how and her hands couldn't fit to unscrew it so Sister Lynn grabs the flashlight (it was dark outside when we were still helping) and she was like "I'll hold the light!" haha So I had to do it. Its okay all we do is serve and we don't question what it is they need help with. But then she wanted us to help herd her 30 cats into the back room. I was in there for 15 minutes and my eyes started swelling up and I couldn't breathe so I left Sister Lynn in there by herself to help get the cats in the back. It was a good Pday I guess.

We had district meeting this week. I got asked to give a training on hope. It was funny how much of a blessing it was for me to get to study this topic. I guess I needed it more than anyone else. I put a ton of time into it and I prayed that I would be able to know what to share to help bless those in my district. Again. without fail, Heavenly Father helped me know what to train on. It is an amazing feeling to feel Him work through us to help left others. My training was about seeing God's hand in your life. God loves you and we have to have hope and keep our eyes open to His love. Always.

Okay so this is what I learned this week:

We made a poster for the STLs this week because we kind of butt heads on some things this week and we wanted to show them that we do respect them and love them. We went and got them a little present and decided to make a poster. I wanted to do something to let them know how important they are cause I know as a leader it must be hard sometimes because it feels like people hate you. I was looking through my quotes and this is the one that I picked: "I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of. For to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the most precious think in all thinking" I realized that this was something I needed in my life. I realized that sometimes the reason why we have contention and disagreement and why we fight with others is because we think that because we are not like them, we are wrong. I realized that I thought less of myself because I didn't hold the same qualities as Sister Lynn. I felt inadequate cause I didn't handle situations like Sister Fisher and that I am not as pretty as Sister Utah'i. But to know that I was "born in God's thought" gives us a whole new perspective on who we are. I am a masterpiece created by the God of the universe. As I come to love me, imperfections and all, I can love others, imperfections and all. So we just need to open up our eyes to the beauty within us and within others and life becomes SO MUCH MORE COLORFUL!

I love you!

Love - Sister Lundskog
Sister Lynn and I
Our poster for the STLs. I think it turned out nice!

A few weeks ago in Ozarkland with Sister Utah'i

Monday, November 3, 2014

When We Cannot See the Lord's Hand, We Can Trust His Head

Dear Family-

Well, this email will probably be short. Sorry. This week was really rough. I felt like every aspect of missionary life was tested for me this week. But, it is okay because it is a new week and it is Pday and I can enjoy the tender mercies like wearing pants :)

This week we had a lot of really tough appointments with recent converts, less actives and gators in resetting expectations and helping them progress. That has been a challenge for us lately is helping those we are working with to keep progressing. People are just comfortable with who they are and we can't ever be  comfortable. That is what heaven is for, we don't have time to waste right now. We had some hard lessons and a lot of energy sucked up in praying and planning for them. I know we did what the Lord needed us to do. He won't ever ask you to do something without providing a way as well as blessing you for doing what he needs you to do. We found two new investigators this week which was a huge blessing. One was a former and one was a referral from a member. So we are doing alright.

Sister Lynn and I are doing good. But I know the Lord has put us together to learn from each other. This transfer has been exhausting working with her but I feel so grateful and accomplished because she and I have both exerted all we had to make it work. We may never see eye to eye, but we respect each other enough to talk it out and find a solution. Sometimes the talking it out turns into some pretty hefty battles but at the end of the day we can know that we gave it our all to understand each other. When you show the Lord you care enough to make it work He does a real good job softening your heart and allowing respect and trust to exist. I don't know if Sister Lynn would necessarily be someone I would lean on or go to in a hard time. But I can walk away with a lot of respect for her and who she is and know that even if I don't agree with her I understand why she thinks that way cause I took the time to care enough about learning her story and seeing her for who she is. We got in a pretty big fight this week, probably our biggest this transfer but when other things got thrown into my life that day, she dropped everything to be there for me which I appreciate a lot more than I think she will ever realize. We may fight it out all day and, ya, we won't back down from our beliefs and values but we know that it really doesn't matter at the end of the day so I have really learned to let things go!

We had stake conference this weekend which was awesome. Got to see everyone and hear great talks.

What I learned this week:
Well, sometimes we have weeks where we learn a lot and sometimes we have other weeks where we feel like we learned nothing. Well this was one of those weeks but when I sit down to tell you about my week I always realize how blessed I am. Sometimes in the moments of life when everything feels like its falling apart are the moments we can feel the Saviors arms around us. It is through the hard experiences in life that we gain wisdom and build character so that when hard times come again we can take those situations head on with hope because we have been there before and we made it though. The scars and dents we pick up in this life are a reminder to us that we survived...we made it out. We were not designed to fail and when we can not see the Lord's hand, we can trust His head.

I love you guys so much. Don't ever forget how much I love you and how much the Lord loves you. We are in it for the long haul, come hell or high water. Have a wonderful week.

Love Sister Loony Lundskog

Monday, October 27, 2014

Which Way Do I Face?

Dear Family and Friends,

Before I get into my week I just want to say thank you to all of you that support me. I got so many emails today from family members and friends telling me how much they love and support me. This week was a little rough on the self-esteem and you don't know how much those emails did to help me. So thank you!

This week was a huge learning experience. Extremely beneficial, but very tough. A good thing though is that our new ward mission leader is amazing. The B's have already helped us sooo much! His phrase is "I want to be the ward mission leader that actually does things." It has been such a blessing because I think the reason this area wasn't exploding is because we weren't working with the ward the way we needed to. But since we have had his help and have started getting more engaged in working with members, we are starting to see a huge change in our area!

This week we had exchanges. Oh man. They were beneficial and taught us a lot. But they were exhausting and very demoralizing. It's like the STLs have to seek out something wrong and if there isn't something wrong we are doing then they make things up. I never thought that when I was on a mission my integrity and my values would be questioned by other missionaries. They were asking me to agree with their opinions like their opinions were doctrine. I know that their intent is good, they are trying really hard to help the mission and they are good missionaries. But their actions aren't lining up with their intentions all of the time. I have been praying like crazy to know where the Lord is and to know when I am pressured to think or act a certain way if it is coming from the Lord or from man. We spent a long time talking about our mission and how to help the missionaries here because a lot of missionaries are falling apart. A lot of them are losing hope. It was interesting because I finally realized the impact I have as a missionary. Just naturally I have an impact on others, we all do, and I realized that I do need to help the leaders in helping other missionaries. We had a long conversation and I was talking about how the STLs are focusing too much on the problem: disobedience. When actually disobedience is the side product of other things like the loss of hope or purpose, being hurt or healing. People act out when they are hurt or don't understand who they are. That is where the problem needs to be addressed, not drilling obedience because no one is ever going to change if their hearts aren't open to hearing it. I thought it was super beneficial for me in learning what I need to do, what I don't agree with, and who I am and who God wants me to be as a missionary. I don't need to be a leader to make an impact. In fact, I can make more of an impact being just who I am - a disciple of Christ.

After exchanges my companion had an emotional break down, Sister Lynn doesn't cry. She is very unemotional. But they were so hard on her she just broke. It made me feel super protective of her. She is a good person. Sometimes she is a little judgmental and self righteous but she loves God and she never backs down from what matters most to her. She is a strong girl and takes everything that is thrown at her with so much grace and patience. I am so blessed to have a companion who pushes me to be better and helps stay true to her values as well.

We found a new investigator this week! It is one of Brother B's friends from Westminster College. Her name is Kaitlyn and she is awesome. She has a lot of amazing questions and is truly interested in the "welfare of her soul". It was a good lesson and we can't wait to see where we will go.

Well I am running out of time at the library but I want to end with what I learned this week.

Do you guys remember the talk from conference, "Which Way Do You Face"? Well, that is what I learned this week. Which way do I face? I have come to the realization that throughout the rest of my life I will always have people pushing me to back down from my values and who will question what I stand for and seek to destroy the integrity I have. This is nothing new and it is something that won't leave any time soon. But when the day comes to an end and I get on my knees, there is only one person that I report to. And when I wake up in the morning there is only one person I have to look in the face. I know that feeling of emptiness at the end of the day for changing who I was to please those around me and I know the deep confusion it brings till I am left alone and broken. So regardless if it is those that do not share the same faith as me or even those who do, at the end of the day what matters is that I still have my integrity, that I did not falter in the face of intimidation. Because when all that is said and done, I want to love myself as the Savior loves me. He truly sees the divinity that is within me and if I face him and move forward with faith, one day I will be able to look him in the face and be proud of who I am and who I became.

I LOVE YOU! Don't ever forget that.

Love - Sister Lundskog

Monday, October 20, 2014

Investigators and Tender Mercies

Dear Family-

This has been such a great week! Definitely did some growing, a lot of growing but it has been a good experience for me. You asked me to talk a little more about my investigators so you can know what I am doing out here.

So first is Carolyn. Carolyn has a baptismal date for November 15th but she still hasn't come to church yet. She is an extremely intelligent lady and she is crazy! But I love it. I always walk away learning something new. We are just trying to help her take the testimony she has and turn it into conversion. Help her take her faith and turn it into action.

Howard is doing awesome. We had a lesson with him this week. Actually, he is praying for a baptismal date. We taught the word of wisdom and he was like "I am 76 years old and I sure love my coffee and tea." We are working with helping him gain a testimony of the things God asks us to do, sometimes when it doesn't make sense. We invited him as Alma did to experiment on the Lord's words. So pray that he can see the Lord's hand in his life because it is there. We just sometimes miss it.

Next is Stephen who is way awesome. He is pretty much a Mormon already haha. He comes to church and he is now teaching us the lessons but until he can find acceptance from his parents he can't move forward. He went and saw "Meet the Mormons" with our new ward mission leader, Brother B, and his wife. He loved it and his goal is to get his parents to go see it! So pray that his parents will soften their heart to Stephen's desire to come closer to Christ.

And last is Barry. We haven't seen Barry in awhile but he is just starting the lessons so we are planning on teaching him lesson 2 on the plan of salvation this week. I am excited and I think it will answer a lot of his questions. He has a lot of questions!

I forgot to tell you that I got to see "Meet the Mormons" at mission conference! It was awesome. The football coach was my favorite. What was your guys' favorite? It had so many views here that they extended it for another week!

Brother B is part of the interfaith group at Westminster College and he invited us to be there for his presentation on Mormons. He did an amazing job; he is a really good member missionary! He had to work really hard to get permission for us to come and it is really funny cause people don't really understand what proselyting is. They were like "Ya but they can't bash any religions." Who has ever been successful in proselyting by bashing other religions? Anyway, they couldn't grasp the concept but they let us come and just be there so that was cool. They then brought three of their friends (who were all at the presentation) to church! Woohoo!!

Christopher dropped us this week. Sad day but it's okay cause he has to be there to support his family right now. They are going through a rough time but he still is an awesome guy and has a very open heart so in time the Lord will provide a way.

What I learned this week:
Something I have been doing every night is writing down a tender mercy I had seen that day. Part of the reason I was doing this was to start trusting in my Father in Heaven. I realized that the trust issues that I have been trying to work through somehow have included my Father in Heaven. So I sought to find His hand everyday in my life and as I was able to see Him truly there everyday it helped me realize that He IS there everyday. Sometimes we can't always see Him. Trust me...there are some days when my tender mercy was that I woke up that morning. It was that bad of a day haha. But the Lord is very aware of us and Satan will do anything to make us feel insignificant or small and unimportant to the world and to our God. But I have learned that we are such fools to every believe something so silly as that. He created us, and He is doing all in His power to remind us how much He loves us.

I love you guys and I can't wait to hear from you next Monday. Have a wonderful week and don't forget how important you are to God and to me!

Love you-

Sister Lundskog

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tough Times Don't Last but Tough People Do

Dear Family-

Hey! So this has been a great week! Super busy. Sister Lynn just came from my old area in Highlands!! Haha So we know like all the same people. It has been awesome. She has been out only 3 months and she just finished training so I am follow up training her. She is great. She is a super strong missionary. She works hard and has a lot of greenie fire! She is from Mona, UT and she has been an answer to a prayer that is for sure. I prayed for a strong companion that would help me be strong as well because honestly these last few transfers I have felt like the only strong one and it is wearing me down thin. But it is alright because the Lord takes care of us.
This week was a little rough number-wise. All of our appointments canceled but that is alright because we still had some amazing lessons. We met with this less active lady, her name is Sister M. We had a lesson with her and we had her share her favorite scripture. She was talking about how she loved the bible and was glad we shared favorite scriptures from the bible as well so we asked her what her feelings were with the Book of Mormon. She told us that honestly she didn't know if she believed in the divinity of Joseph Smith and so that it was hard for her to believe in the Book of Mormon. I felt prompted to say, "Well, the question is do you want to? Do you want to believe; do you want to know? She responded with yes, I do. Man, you could feel the spirit in the room and it was a testimony builder to me that the Lord really does work through us. Sometimes we don't realize until after we have left that the things we said and did were prompted by the Lord but that is where you see His hand the most in your life is through the interactions we have with people. The mission may be hard but I would never trade it because it is these small moments that help strengthen my testimony to weather any storm.
We are getting a new ward mission leader in our ward soon and 8 ward missionaries! I am so excited. I am so ready to dedicate myself to this ward and this work. I can feel that good things are coming.
Reunited with former companions

My old district and companion
Okay so most exciting news! Mission conference was yesterday!!!! It was so amazing I got to see all those that I loved and they were all in one place!!! We had a reunion with the dragon district from back in Highlands area and it just helped give me so much strength to see the support and love from all my friends, past companions, and just everyone. Heavenly Father truly loves us, doesn't he? He gives us exactly what we need the moment we need it to help us move forward. We had a member of the Seventy come talk to us. He is from Africa and I am sorry I have no idea how to spell his name haha. He was awesome. My favorite part of the meeting was when he was talking to us about our heroes. He asked us who are heroes were and why they were our heroes. I thought first of mom and dad of course. Man I can't even begin to explain how much gratitude I have for the two of you. You have made me into the girl I am and I have been so blessed to have such amazing parents like you. I thought of some other people like Spencer and what he has done for me. I thought of all the amazing people that have inspired me on my mission: Buhler, Picket, Fisher, Hansen, Robertson. For people like Coleen and Mark and Julie. For my amazing grandparents and the wisdom they give. I have been so blessed with heroes in my life. The Lord has blessed me with rocks that support me. Like once was said in Conference (it might have been last conference)  "I stand on the shoulders of giants." Thank you! I just cried cause I realized how blessed I am and I hope all of you can feel the gratitude. He asked us to think of a scripture that would explain each of our heroes so that is going to be what I do this week. Find a scripture that makes me think of you guys. Remember, I am always looking up to you, always. Whether you're in Oregon, Utah, 1,000 of miles away, or just a few cities over.

Here is a quote I wanted to share with you that I heard this week:

"With even your strongest faith, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you, when it will yield the greatest advantage. Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. That causes your faith to increase and your character to grow.

Tough times don't last but tough people do. Thank you for everything. I wouldn't be who I am without such an amazing family that has grown to reach so many more people than just by blood. Mom, I love you more than anything. I hope you know that. I look up to you in so many ways. Don't you ever feel inadequate or unimportant. You are a rock and you can do hard things :)

I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, your baby I'll be.

LOVE YOU!

Sister Lundskog
These are the creepy bugs that are in our apartment all of the time

Monday, October 6, 2014

God Speaks to Us in Our Language

Dear Family!

Oh my goodness this week is over! It was crazy and it was a very hard week with many blessings in it as well! I will try and tell you everything I can remember from this week!

So Monday we had a Sister's Pday. It was alright. Not that many sisters came but, hey, we got to leave Fulton and see other missionaries which is a big blessing. We went to Devil's Ice box. I have already been there. It is that cave in Columbia that I went to with my district when I was serving in the Highlands. It was fun and we enjoyed it. I have learned to have a lot of tolerance for sisters and to find ways to have fun even if I have nothing in common with the majority of them. But the minute they start talking about fashion...I give up haha.

Tuesday was an awesome day. We had a lot of appointments. We had an awesome lesson with Barry. He is our newest investigator. We just talked about the Book of Mormon and how we feel when we feel the Holy Ghost. I love hearing all the different ways that the Holy Ghost or the spirit talks to people. It just proves even more how loving our Father in Heaven is when He comes down to our level and talks to us exactly in the way we need. He doesn't talk down to us or in ways we won't understand. He speaks to us in our language, whatever will touch our heart the most. We then saw Howard, our other investigator. He is the sweetest old man. We had a super powerful lesson where we talked about baptism and why we needed it and we invited him to be baptized. He said yes and he is going to be praying for a date this week. It was really cool, I think, also for Sister Corder to have that experience. One last opportunity to invite someone to accept Christ and it was really emotional for her. It was great! The rest of the day we just had awesome lessons with LA, RC and even met with a part member family. It was cool because we talked about church with her and why it is so hard to go to church and to get back in that habit. It made me really reflect on my life and it is weird because even when I wasn't following some of the church's teachings, I never once skipped church. Whether you believe in this church or not you cannot deny the feeling that you have when you are there. Our souls or our spirits seek for that feeling. I was able to testify to her that, ya, maybe it is a hard habit. Ya, maybe it takes a lot of time out of your day but if you truly understand that the reason we go to church is to have that one on one opportunity to learn from our Savior, none of those excuses would matter anymore. I remember when I was in Heber and I would go to church every single time by myself and sit by myself. I never felt alone because I know that the Savior was sitting there with me. How blessed are we to have that opportunity every Sunday?

So this really frustrated me this week. The STLs wanted to do a second exchange this transfer. It was really, really stressing Sister Corder out. I was supposed to stay in Fulton on Wednesday and Thursday and Sister Mendenhall would come down and Sister Corder would go to Columbia with Sister Fisher. Well, Sister Corder was super upset cause she was going to miss the opportunity to say goodbye to some people (which is understandable) and she was just stressing out for no reason about packing and everything. So she called the STLs and was trying to cancel the exchange but Sister Fisher wouldn't let her (which made Sister Corder really upset and I had to hear about it all night) so Sister Corder stayed in Fulton and Sister Fisher came down and I went to Columbia with Sister Mendenhall. Here is why I am upset. We had a massive storm come in, it was a really, really bad storm. The worst one I have seen my whole mission. Tornado sirens went off, the power was out, lightning and thunder everywhere, it was raining super hard. Well, guess what? Sister Corder got to see the sky go green which is something I have been waiting for my whole life pretty much.. The tornado almost touched down in part of our area. The funnel for the tornado formed and everything it just didn't touch down. I was so upset I missed it. I know that sounds crazy and stupid but it has been just a huge thing for me and you know when you just are so excited for something and then it doesn't happen and you know you shouldn't be upset because that is silly but it just makes you so sad. That is how I felt and I know I shouldn't have been bitter but the whole week, well a lot of the transfer really, was all revolved around Sister Corder cause she was going home. Which is fine. I understand but I was just really sad. But it is okay, I will get another opportunity. It was a crazy storm though and it lasted forever. We had thunder and lightning for two days and usually storms blow out super fast here but this one was a big one! Anyway, exchanges were really good. I really like and have a ton of respect for Sister Mendenhall. She is a lot like me, just very calm and not girly at all haha. We got along great and she has already gained my respect for her as a leader in how she handles everything. She is very real. I was actually a little disappointed in Sister Fisher this week. I feel like leadership is changing her. She just said some things to Sister Corder that just wasn't right and has made some judgement calls on some people recently that have been way off. It gets hard having to try and defend her all the time to everyone in my district and other missionaries. Missionaries just really don't like STLs. They have a bad name for themselves in how they interact with everyone. But it is alright. Can't do anything about what they do, just how I will react :)

When Sister Corder was on exchanges she set a baptismal date for November 15th with Carolyn, our gator. SO THAT IS SOME EXCITING NEWS! Carolyn is crazy...haha. We have a lot of work and teaching to do before she can be baptized but her heart is in the right place.

So...Conference!!! That was amazing. Exactly what I needed to hear. On Saturday we watched at the church and the Mexico sisters came down and watched it with us. We had the whole chapel to ourselves and we ordered pizza and brought blankets and just enjoyed it. I TOOK SO MANY NOTES. What do you think the theme was this year? I feel like there were a lot of talks on trust. At least that is what I got out of it. Trust yourself and your decisions; trust in the Lord and that He is our Savior; trust in your leaders and in the gospel which is something I think I really needed to hear. Trust is such a hard thing for us as humans to do sometimes. It takes a lot to just give everything and fully trust someone. But, we can have perfect trust in the Lord. My favorite talk was by that Jorge guy (haha I don't remember his name). He talked about the 6 steps to have spiritual confidence. I really needed to hear that. President Uchtdorf always gives amazing talks and I loved the story Elder Bednar told. D. Todd Christofferson gave an amazing talk. THEY WERE ALL SO GOOD. On Sunday we went over to the "B's" house. They are a young couple in our ward and they fed us breakfast and lunch and it was the first time my whole mission that I watched conference at a member's home. It was so awesome and really helped out with the homesickness. They made us crepes :) So good. It made me think of the time our district in Highlands made crepes for conference. These were a lot better haha.

Well, I have written a lot and I think my mind is officially fried. Oh, next week on Monday we have our Mission Conference so my Pday will be on Tuesday. So I won't be ignoring you. I just won't be online :)

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Keep being amazing and know how much I love all of you. Mom, Dad, Allison, Justin, extended family, friends, mission friends...you all know who you are and you all know how much I love you. Thank you for being the strength to keep me going. I couldn't do it without you.

Love - Sister Lundskog

Monday, September 29, 2014

Close the Umbrellas

Dear Family-

I MISS YOU GUYS! I love conference and everything (it's great) but it sure does make me homesick! But I am excited to get to hear from the prophet next week and am definitely ready to get spiritual inspiration. Aren't we so lucky? Do we even understand how blessed we are to be able to receive inspiration from the Lord directly?

I don't even know what happened this week but this week is now over... haha What? Where did it go! We were pretty busy this week. We had some good lessons and we found a new investigator this week. Well, he found us! His name is Barry White and, no, he is not black haha. He is white. He lived in California and he was taking the lessons there but then stopped and he moved here. So he works with a member and he said the gospel kept popping up so I thought I needed to get back into it. TALK ABOUT MIRACLES PEOPLE. God is moving his work forward and if we can't find them, He will have them find us!

I want to share my what I learned this week right now. Elder Rose asked me to give a training on the invitation to be baptized...the how, when, and why. Ahhh--a training. But I am super glad I was asked to do it because I think I learned more than I taught. I wanted to focus mostly on the why. Why we do we invite people to be baptized? It's not for numbers. It's not for more members in the church. So in the bible dictionary they talk about when someone is baptized they receive a remission of sins. The definition of remission is forgiveness, or pardon from sins or mistakes. So when people have not been baptized by the proper priesthood authority, they do not have access to the atonement. It gave me a whole new perspective of why I am here and the reason we invite. Can you imagine your life without the atonement? I had everyone in our district write down what the atonement meant to them and I had them share it out loud. Then I took their papers and I tore them up and threw them away. How can we sit here being blessed with the atonement, to have access to it everyday and not do everything in our power to allow others to have that? So take a second, take a step back to realize the beautiful blessing you have in your life and stop taking it for granted. WE ARE SO BLESSED.

We have the deaf school here in Fulton so we have a lot of people that know sign language and this week I learned how to say D&C 4 in sign language! Hopefully I don't forget it and I can show you guys in a little less than 6 months.

I am really excited for this transfer to be over. It has been great but it has been hard being with someone who is going home. Even if she wasn't trunky at all it still makes me trunky because I can't wait to see my family and friends again. And wear pants. But it is not my time to go. So I have been trying to stay focused and have patience with my companion. She has definitely checked out so it has been hard to do missionary work. We are still doing a pretty good job but I am ready to really hit the pavement hard with my next companion. This area has so much potential to tap into let me tell you! But, I'll just keep working and holding out until next week!

Man, that is about all I can remember from this week. I have been doing something the last two weeks, I have been writing down a tender mercy from each day and man my eyes have seriously been opened to the blessings I receive every day from my Father in Heaven who loves me more than anything! This Sunday I had the opportunity to bear my testimony and I talked about what President Uchtdorf said in his talk at the General Women's broadcast (which was really good!). How he talked about that we have this misconception that Heavenly Father puts all these blessings in this big cloud and He locks them up and He won't give them to us until we are absolutely perfect. But in reality He is constantly pouring blessings upon us, pouring them. But it is our fear, doubt, and sin that are like umbrellas blocking out the ability for us to receive the blessings He is so willing to give us. So let us close our umbrellas and let our Father shower us with blessings!

I LOVE YOU GUYS WITH ALL MY HEART. You are in my prayers and I hope all will go well this week. Love you!

Sister Lundskog

I broke the blinds so I made a contraption to fix them
A guy we visit collects swords

Monday, September 22, 2014

Prayers and Prisons

Dear Family!

So I can't remember this week at all but I will do my best to fill you in!

Last Monday we had a new policy come out that Elders and Sisters can no longer hang out on Pdays. It has been really hard on everyone, especially the sisters because we take the brunt of it. Most sisters are not close enough in proximity with other sisters to hang out but elders are always close to each other so they are alright. We have been trying to get creative. We don't like the policy. I personally think it is stupid but I can't change it and I am not going to let other people determine my happiness on my mission. So we are just trying to make the best of it. On Monday we went with a young couple in our ward to the old Missouri State Penitentiary. It was really fun! Kind of creepy but I thought it was really fun. We took a two hour history tour. Then we went to this shop called Ozarkland. That is where I got the stickers that I sent to you! It is just a tourist shop kind of. But today we don't have anything planned so who knows what we will do.

I'm in prison!

Sister Corders and I
This week we had exchanges. I got to go with Sister Fisher. She is awesome. She's one of the strongest people I know. Keep her and her family in your prayers, they really need them right now. But we found a new investigator when we were on exchanges. It was great!

His name is Christopher. He is a less active member's nephew and he is 21 or 22. He has a really rough family life. His brother and mom won't even acknowledge you if you are Mormon. It is really awkward but he has a sincere heart and he wants to learn and he has kept all the commitments we give him. We actually had an awesome lesson with him and his aunt (she is the less active) on just the first principle of the first lesson. He knows there is a higher power but he doesn't know if he believes in God cause he said he has prayed and hasn't received answers and throughout his life he finds it hard to see God there because of all the crap he has gone through. It was an opportunity for me to testify that prayers are truly answered. I felt like I was talking to myself almost! I know sometimes we don't understand why He does what He does and there are times when we really don't see the answers. But I think that is the way that God intends it to be. But like it said in the Bairds' home, "When you can't see God's hand, trust His heart." I know that prayers are answered and I promised Christopher that if he just tries it, he will receive an answer. We are so blessed to be able to communicate with Him at any time and in any place.

This week was kind of a bummer. A lot of our gators were busy or out of town so we didn't get very many lessons in but somehow we were still crazy busy this week! The ward has been a little bit frustrating and working with my ward mission leader is hard but we are about to change some things up here! If we could do it in Jackson, I am sure we can do it here.

I hope all is well. I love you guys and miss you!

Love - Sister Lundskog


Monday, September 15, 2014

Touch of the Master's Hand

Dear Family and Friends,

I don't have much to say about this week. But, I do have something that I have learned this week that I wanted to share with you.

This was an answer I received to a prayer this week:

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried, "Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow. A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not quite understand what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch of a master's hand."
Many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.'

We may be battered and scarred but through the touch of the Master's hand we can be come so much more. We were not designed to fail and the scars and bruises we carry with us from our life lessons are what make us beautiful. We are masterpieces in God's hands.

Hope you have a good week. I love you!

Sister Lundskog

Monday, September 8, 2014

He Isn't Asking Me to Be Perfect

Dear Family,

This week was extremely busy. It was a hard but satisfying week and as I looked for the positives I was able to see the good through any of the bad that happened this week.

We had a lot of meetings this week that kind of made it hard to do missionary work. On Wednesday we had a Sisters weekly planning conference with all the sisters and STLs in our zone. It was alright. It was from 10:30 to 2:30pm and it was good and I appreciate what was taught but I didn't really feel like I learned much and felt like there could have been a better use of our time. But I got to see people which was fun and we had lunch together and stuff. It was good.

Then on Thursday we had President Interviews. It went alright. I don't enjoy interviews with him because he doesn't talk with you, he just talks at you. He didn't even ask me how I was doing. He spent the whole time talking about my companion and how much he respected her (which I don't mind that at all) and then about my area but he didn't ask me how I was doing or how things were going in my life. I just find it hard talking to him because I have had a hard time lately finding respect for him in how he is handling situations in the mission. I am trying to find that respect because I really do feel bad that I can't say I love my mission president like a lot of people I know can say. But I have determined not to let the agency and the actions of others determine my mission or my happiness. So things have been easier day by day when I have just let go about worrying over things that really don't matter at all. Just trying to stay here in Fulton and stay focused on the area of the mission that I can make an impact on.

It has been really exciting being in this area. It has its difficulties but I feel like it has so much potential. I have been trying really hard to draw from all those I have learned from on my mission and have started pushing to get this area going. The ward has so much potential. If they could have even half of the drive that the members in Jackson had we could do miracles and so I have been taking things that Brother Baird taught me and have started implementing them in this ward. It is time to shake things up. I have come to the conclusion that I struggle with trusting Heavenly Father. I feel like unless I am perfect I can't talk to him and I can't expect to receive any blessings or any miracles which I realize that that is a stupid statement. For the past two weeks or so I was like super depressed. Really bad wanted to come home all that jazz. I realize that I had lost my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I was trying to do everything on my own and when I would fail at being perfect or obedient to this or that I felt inadequate to talk to him. Isn't it funny how one of Satan's biggest tools is to make us feel like nothing. The more we feel like nothing the more we feel like God thinks we are nothing and the more we pull away from Him and soon we are left trying to fight this battle all alone missing our key soldier. We can't do anything without the Lord and it is so silly to think that we could ever be below His love or understanding. He isn't asking me to be perfect. He is just asking me to try.

Last Friday I actually had the blessing and opportunity to go to the temple because this is Sister Corder's last transfer and the temple is closed for cleaning the rest of the transfer. It was a huge blessing. Definitely gave me the strength to handle so much more everyday. I had been feeling like physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted and I felt like the Lord gave me so much more strength to handle all of it. It was awesome and I wish more than anything Sister Hansen could have been there.


In closing what I learned this week was actually from a Mormon message we watched with a family this week for a lesson. It is called the "Hope of God's Light". I have watched this video over and over because I feel like I can put my life in his story. But what really hit me this time is near the end. He talks about how God does not always answer our prayers until we are humble enough to receive them. The Lord understands our hearts in a way we will never comprehend. He talks about how it is part of our condition as mortals to feel like we are surrounded by darkness. But He is always there to light the way. He will nurture little by little a questioning and hurting soul until the moment we are ready to finally see. He has promised to be there every step of the way and He is. We just need to realize that it comes through small and simple ways until our heart is ready.

I love you so much and I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank you to all my family, friends and mission family for the love you give me every day. Couldn't make it without you.  :)

Love- Sister Lundskog
This is a cicada. They look like flying frogs and they dive bomb your face and they are annoying and loud

I just went home for a bit...haha

The Missouri River

Sister Corders



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Penitentiaries and Aliens

Dear Family,

I can't believe you are already moved in! That was only on Monday that you moved. That is crazy! I am glad you are all loving the house and I am happy that you got to do your Portland to Coast race one more time, Mom! Thank you for sending me all the pictures of Madelyn's wedding. She looks beautiful! I am so sad that I missed it.

Well, I guess I will just go through each day this week because a lot happened. I am exhausted! So on Monday and Tuesday it was kind of my last goodbyes to everyone in Jackson. I must say, especially coming here, that I was extremely blessed with the members I had there. I don't miss the area so much but the ward I miss tremendously. There are some solid members in that ward. I said goodbye to as many people as I could but it is hard when they are all so spread out! Tuesday, with the amazing help of a wonderful companion, I was able to pack pretty fast... I had to buy space bags because I have too much stuff so by next transfer you will probably get a package of stuff that I will be sending home. We did our last team up Tuesdays as a group. We went up to Perryville and we went with the Snipes, Bairds, and Davis's and it was just such a cool experience to see their dedication. It was the Bairds' anniversary....and they chose to come out and do missionary work. It was such a huge example and testimony builder for me that this is real life. We should be moving God's work forward at all times. It should be the center of our lives and not on the sidelines.
The Baird Family

Sister Hansen and I at transfers

The girls in my district

Anyway, transfer meeting was good. I got to see everyone. That was a huge refresher to see everyone and get to talk to them and see how they are doing. Sister Robertson is awesome. I got to ride back with Sister Fisher too. She is my STL again and I go on exchanges with her next week.

My companion is Sister Corder and she is awesome! This is her last transfer so I am with a seasoned veteran I guess you could say. She is from Caldwell, Idaho and she went to BYUI before she came out. She is really chill and doesn't ever pull this way or the highway. She has been down to try new things or anything I suggest which has been awesome. She hasn't made me feel inadequate the entire time I have been here which has been really nice because I have really needed it right now. Definitely been struggling a lot with homesickness this week and just being a missionary so she has been a great example since I can't really turn to the friends I love right now. She has been good at being a friend without it seeming forced. Her dad died about five months ago and so it is a huge example to see her finishing her mission strong and I know I am going to learn a lot from her.

I have had more lessons these past few days than I think I had all together for 3 months in Jackson. We have 3 gators here--Stephen (who is 21), Howard (who is married to a member and has faithfully come to church every Sunday to support his wife), and then Carolyn who I have not met yet but she apparently has 30 cats and lives in a trailer. Howard and his wife remind me of Grandma and Grandpa Christensen. Their house even smells like theirs. We have about 6 recent converts we are working with and we see about one to two less actives a day. People are a lot more friendly up here and members feed us almost every night.

Some fun facts about Fulton. Winston Churchill's famous "There is an iron curtain descending over Europe speech" was given here of all place. We have a famous church from Europe that got bombed out and they moved it here and fixed it up. Also, we actually have a part of the Berlin wall here. So that is pretty cool. We also have the state penitentiary for Missouri here. If someone needs to get sent to prison, they are all sent here to have their mental health and forensics checked and then once they determine their status, they send them out to different prisons in Missouri. In Jeffy City, they have the old penitentiary. It started in 1836 or something and was closed in 2004. You can take different tours of it and it is super creepy. Around 1967 Times Magazine said it was the bloodiest 50 acres of America because there had been about 550 serious assaults there. Also, there was like an epidemic that broke out and killed a whole bunch of prisoners so they just buried them out in the front which is now where the parking lot is. You can take a ghost tour at night and the History Channel has actually come here and done a thing on how it is haunted. There is also a gas chamber you can go in and look at. Fulton also has the state mental health hospital here. So pretty much there are just a ton of scary big buildings that are all fenced in here. But its good, I like it. There is a University and a college here. They are super small. The school for the deaf is here as well.

Our apartment...I forgot to get a picture but I will send it to you next time. We live in an old school...like a really old school that they turned into apartments for some crazy reason. It is super old and kind of weird but we have a ton of space. But we have a bug problem. There are these millipede/centipede things. I don't know what they are. They have skinny, flat bodies and hundreds of legs that are long long long (like a spider's) and they appear out of nowhere! We have named them "the aliens". We are gonna ask our manager to bomb the apartment for us because it is really bad. We had 3 in our room last night and seriously these things might be worse than spiders and you know how I feel about spiders...

I feel like I am rambling on. The area is good and I am liking it. I really do miss Jackson though. I am sure the Lord is like...Seriously?!? You weren't happy there and now you want to go back? I miss Sister Hansen a lot. She was such a good friend. I am going to ask president in interviews this week if we can be comps on the flight home. Anyway I can't think of anything else to tell you. My mind is on overload this week. We did have an awesome thunderstorm last night and it rained all night which never happens in Missouri. They usually move super fast but it was so nice to fall asleep to. It was like home :)

What I learned this week:
I miss the example and the dedication of the members in the Jackson ward.
We must not forget why we are here. Whether that is in the sense of a mission or our mission here on earth. When things get hard we cannot forgot the times when we have felt our prayers answered or seen the Lord's hand. We must always hold strong to our testimony, no matter how small it may be. Like it says in the Baird's home: When you can't see the Lord's hand, trust His heart.

I LOVE YOU! Hope you have a great week. Allison and Justin you should try emailing me... I would like to hear from you :)

Love- Sister Lundskog
Remember Christy, my investigator in the Highlands? She got baptized!! Since I was so close to her I got to go to her baptism....so AWESOME!