Monday, January 27, 2014

Transfers, Little Allie, and Paint

Dear Family-

Hey, Family! I miss you guys! This week has been one heck of a week. A lot of downs but a lot of ups coming our way. I guess the most exciting news would be that I am no longer staying in Carondelet. I will be transferred to Highlands, Missouri and I will be follow up training Sister Robertson. I will be in Sister Fisher's zone. Sister Richardson will be staying here and will be getting Sister Hansen who I guess came out with me but I don't remember her because she came from the west campus at the MTC. Elder Banks is going home and the new assistant will be Elder Francis. Elder Wunderli will stay here. So, lots and lots of changes but I am excited for the future. Bitter sweet leaving my first area but I have nothing but an exciting future to look forward to.
Sister Richardson, Me, Elder Wunderli, and Elder Banks

This week we went to have dinner with the Kam family. It was the first time I have been to their house but they have a little girl and she is maybe 1 1/2 years old...maybe two. She looks exactly like Allison did when she was little. I don't even know how to describe it but it was the cutest thing ever and it made me miss my sister a lot! She was the cutest thing with the chubbiest cheeks and eyes just like Allison. She talks and acts just like Allison did. It was the weirdest thing. I found her twin!

Then this week, we and the Elders went over to "H's" to help paint her apartment. We didn't realize how long it takes to paint so we only got one room done...haha. We had a blast. It was so much fun to just paint her apartment and hang out with the Elders since Elder Banks is leaving. He made fun of me the whole time but it's ok.
Painting "H's" apartment with the Elders


This week in regards to missionary work was very rough. Although our numbers were practically all zeros, we stuck by every goal we had every day and we worked hard so I can at least know that even though it felt like nothing happened, it wasn't because we didn't try. It is just the timing of the Lord. "S" hasn't talked to us in a week and we are going to try and stop by her house this week or give her a call and just see how she is now and if she is still mad at whatever it is she is mad at. We were finally able to contact "R" again which makes me so happy because I will miss her the most out of our investigators I think just because she has so, so much potential. We were able to see her and have an appointment with her tomorrow. "J" told us to come back in three weeks a few weeks ago so we will be seeing her next week. We were finally able to see "L" again so we have an appointment with her as well tomorrow. I am excited and hope that she will start progressing more and more and will gain a deeper testimony of what we are teaching her. We called "A" the other day to see when we could come visit her and she told us her husband no longer wants us to come over. That was really hard because she is halfway through the Book of Mormon. She said she was going to pray to know if it was true. She could be so blessed by this gospel but because her husband said no we can no longer see her. That broke my heart. It made this week really hard. But, I know it will all work out. We did what we could and someday she will have the chance to receive this gospel. It's just not the right time.

Well, that was pretty much my week. Long week with really not many exciting things to talk about. We said goodbye to Elder Banks yesterday. He was one of the best missionaries I know and I was so lucky to learn from him. Hopefully I can remember everything I have learned and take it with me as I leave Carondelet. It has been the biggest blessing serving here. These people have taught me what it means to be a missionary more than anything the MTC taught me. This will always be my home. I love the people here. I have been so extremely blessed to meet the people I have met who have changed my life. I am so excited for the next chapter. I am excited to see who I get to meet and who I get to learn from. I am ready for more laughter and more excitement. Thank you to all those who helped get me here. You are much appreciated.

I love you. Hope this week is a good one. Send me pictures and keep being missionaries!

Love-

Sister Lundskog
Sister Richardson and I in our matching mission aprons

Saying goodbye to Sister Miller's daughter at church

Sadness as I finally take down our little Christmas tree

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"P" Days and Prayers

Dear Family-

Sorry that this is a day late. We couldn't email yesterday because all of the libraries and schools were closed for Martin Luther King day.

So I don't remember the girl's name that Uncle Bill met at BYU but I do remember her. I was on splits with the Webster Grove sisters and she actually knew a bunch of the girls that lived next door to me at college. The sisters actually just told me her story a couple of weeks ago and I totally forgot about it. She was cool. She was going to church for like three years but couldn't get baptized until she moved out of her mom's house so she probably went to BYU so quickly because she had such good examples as friends.

The train ticket you asked about was actually to go up in the arch. We went with a bunch of sisters from our zone (Crystal City, Oakville, and Sandy Creek sister missionaries). We all went to the arch together on our P-day last Monday and it was way fun. You get in these tiny white pod things and ride up to the top and it was cool but I got bored. Then we went to the museum underneath the arch explains about the westward expansion. It was nice but we stayed there for so freaking long. I am emailing you some pics.
We didn't have someone to take the photo so we all set our cameras on timers on the stairs. I started them all and then ran and jumped in.
Sister Scott
Sister Herdman
        Sister Richardson & I in the elevator pod         
Indians would wear bear skins when they went hunting
to blend in. Do I look like an Indian?



Oregon on the Lewis & Clark Trail
Good news. After Sister Richardson and I spent all week working really hard to knock on every door and to talk to everyone we saw, we got a call Monday morning with three new referrals. Although no one wanted to hear the message we had to share and shut the door on us, we were still blessed because we showed the Lord we were willing to work. The referrals actually lead to our new investigator this week. Kinda a bitter sweet experience. Her name is "N" and her sister referred her. Her sister had the same lifestyle as she does and then was baptized into our church in another ward up north. "N" was into drugs and actually had her son taken away from her. She went into rehab for a month and she has been working with sponsors and doing AA and just trying so hard to get her life back together. Our first lesson was just awesome and we got her a ride for church and everything so she could come. Then she told us that her aunt and niece were coming too because they wanted to learn more and we were just pumped! Then Sunday comes and she isn't there and she hasn't answered any of our calls which was hard but we will try and contact her this week and pray that she will open her heart up fully to the gospel.

A lot of our investigators pretty much are too busy to want anything to do with us right now. We can't really help them because they won't even answer us or let us come over so I think that this transfer has helped me learn the amazing virtue of patience that's for sure. We were able to meet with "A" this week. She is halfway through the Book of Mormon. Can you believe that? She just loves it. But her husband told her she wasn't allowed to attend church so we have no idea what we are going to do. That is going to be a huge obstacle to overcome but she said she is going to pray to know if it is true when she finishes it. If it is God's will I am pretty sure He is going to move mountains for her to be able to come to church. We just have to trust in the Lord and his timing.

This week we had President interviews. Not counting my incoming and exiting interviews, I will have six with him. I now have had two. We really didn't talk much. It's always awkward in interviews with the President. I never have anything to say because I am always pretty content with life. I hope that he thinks I am a good missionary!

For our P day yesterday we went to the City Museum. I can't wait to take you guys here sometime! I don't really know how to explain it but they took a huge building and literally made a giant jungle gym for adults. It was just the craziest thing ever. You go through all these caves and places where you are crawling and on your stomach and there is a ten story slide and you climb up rope swings. I just had a blast but now my knees, hips, and elbows are just covered in bruises and my arms hurt from pulling myself up everywhere. Justin would love it and I can't wait to show him that place someday. It was really fun because it was the last P day with Elder Banks. He leaves next Monday and I look up to him so much. He is by far one of the best missionaries I know and he has given so much of himself to this mission. We get along really well and we promised that when I get off my mission we are going to go do outdoorsy things because his family never did and so he never did. He is missing out on so much in life. It has been a blast serving with him. The city museum was fun because I got to hang out with Elder Wunderli and Elder Banks as well as Elder Jones and Elder Rouch and Sister Scott and Sister Herdman who are all in my district.
The City Museum with the St. Louis North and South Zones

Sister Richardson & I in our matching companion T-shirts
The other day, Sister Richardson and I were so tired we accidentally fell asleep during our morning prayers. It was for only 10 minutes but I had fallen asleep still sitting on my knees. I somehow woke up (I think because all the circulation was getting cut off to my feet). I realized what time it was and I tried to hurry and get out of bed but it hurt so bad. haha I haven't fallen asleep in a prayer for a really long time but this week was long and we worked so hard.

This week we also had to get checked for lice. I guess that there has been lice over in the eastern side of the mission and now they are just having sisters everywhere get checked to make sure that it isn't spreading. None of us in the south zone have lice so we are totally good. It was a waste of time.

We tracted into this guy the other day and we gave him our card and we got a text from him on Sunday. We got really excited because getting investigators from tracting is hard. Well, pretty much he just asked us to hang out and was asking us where we lived and our age and what we were doing and totally just wanted to talk to us because we are girls. We had to inform him that we don't "hang out" because we are missionaries 24/7. He didn't like that but he stopped texting us so we are all good there.

I love you all a lot. Your story made me laugh so hard. People were looking at me like I was weird here in the library but thank you for making me laugh. It felt good. I miss you guys a lot. A lot, a lot. I hope all is well this week and you know how much I love you. Remember our Father in Heaven hears every prayer we pray....no matter how small. Sometimes we don't even need to ask him anything. Sometimes our burdens can just be lightened as we sit and talk to Him. He is our best friend. I know this to be true. I know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and I know He answers our prayers. I know because He answers mine and I can always count on Him. I love you and hope you have a great week.

Love-

Sister Lundskog

Monday, January 13, 2014

No Strangers and No Outcasts

Dear Family-

Thank you so much for the "warmth" package. You went way overboard! I loved everything in it. Thank you for the tights. The brown made it possible for me to wear more of my other skirts and stay warm and match so that was good! It sounds like we might have another storm come in so thank you for the extra warmth.

This week was absolutely crazy! On Sunday we had 10 inches of snow. On Monday it was -4 degrees. Today it is 50 degrees, sunny, and all the snow is melted. St. Louis is so bipolar! But people here tell me that is because we are in the middle of the US and so we get all the winds that come from all over. Right ow we are just having a warm front move in and then we should are supposed to get hit with another cold front so that should be fun. I just hope I don't get sick again. I have been taking lots of vitamin C.

This week was an amazing week for service opportunities but not so much for teaching opportunities. We spent the whole first part of the week pushing people out who were stuck and shoveling homes. It is funny cause St. Louis always gets snow but they haven't had this much snow for like years. But they always get a little bit. This is by far the most unprepared city for snow in the world. haha They do not have enough snow plows to get around to all of the city. The main big streets (Grovis, Morgan Ford, and Chippewa) were not even plowed until Tuesday or Wednesday. But, the little tiny streets do not get plowed. We had to go into the city to work on Tuesday and the two people we were trying to visit weren't even home but we ended up spending 2-3 hours driving around and just pushing people out who got stuck. It was so much fun. I don't know why I thought it was so much fun but I literally had a blast! It was freezing and our feet were just soaking wet but I was so happy. A lot of people turned us down cause we were girls and we actually helped a lot of men but they were like super embarrassed. It was funny! Embarrassing story...we got out to help this guy and he didn't even really want to acknowledge us but Sister Richardson told him what to do because she is from Utah and knows how to drive in the snow. (Another blessing: good thing I wasn't senior comp cause I would not have been able to drive in what we had. I had so many mini heart attacks when she was driving. The Lord knows what he is doing!) Anyway, we run to the back of his car to push him and, in my defense, the spoiler was already broken and had been fixed super crappy. I pushed on the fin or spoiler or whatever you call it and it broke again! It snapped off! I was freaking out. I felt so bad but he just drove off once he was unstuck so I couldn't say anything! But, we did help a lot of other people. This one lady kept getting stuck every time we walked away so we literally pushed her up a whole street. haha It was great. Man, if you want a good work out, go shovel some snow. That kicked our butts into shape!

On Wednesday, Elder Banks, Elder Wunderli, and Elder Jones (my district leader) were all sick so that $33 at Target that you asked about was all medicine and soup and stuff for them. They called and just asked if we had anything and so we went out and bought them a bunch of stuff. Anything I can do to help and make their lives easier. They are much better now which is good!

Then, we shoveled more snow cause it snowed again. Since then, Sister Richardson and I have been tracting like nobody's business. We are determined to find new investigators and get some more teaching in. We now have two potential investigators from tracting and we received two referrals and one of them is now an investigator!

Her name is "D" and she was friends with some members who actually moved to Texas. But, she has read the Book of Mormon all the way through and is now reading it for the second time and is using the institute study guide. She has been to church a couple of times and drove all the way to Texas to see the member's daughter get baptized. She has also watched conference. The only thing that would keep her from getting baptized she said was that she would have to wait until her dad passed on because it would absolutely break his heart that she would become Mormon. We asked if we could just add to the knowledge she already has and she was totally good to have us teach her. Yay! New investigator!

You have been asking a lot about our investigators and right now, "S" is probably our most solid. With the snow we were not able to meet with a lot of our investigators but she has been coming to church almost every Sunday and has been reading and she is praying to know if this is the right church. She has a lot of faith and I don't worry at all that she will receive her answer. I just worry that she may deny it. But, she is an amazing woman and I know that great things will come from her and even if she doesn't get baptized we are helping her come closer to Christ which is important.

We haven't been able to see "R" either because she has a bunch of family in town right now but I feel like she is really solid. Right now, she seems to be interested because of Mark, her member friend, so we just have to help her realize that this is for her. This will bless her life. She is awesome but really hard to meet with.

Those are our most solid investigators. We haven't been able to see "A". We scheduled an appointment with her and when we showed up she wasn't there which was a bummer but we are going to try again this week.

We have some other referrals and people that we have been trying to contact that we just haven't been able to reach. It's been impossible but I guess the Lord doesn't want us to meet them yet, right? Everything is in the Lord's timing.

I just wanted to share something I learned this week. I have been reading a conference talk a day for my morning studies so I can hear them all again. I can't remember who this is from but he said "In this church there are no strangers and no outcasts". I loved this. Just because someone is a different race or social status, a different age or has a different lifestyle than us does not mean that we have the right to exclude them at church. Regardless of how much we have in common with someone or not, they are our brothers and sisters and it is our job to take care of them. We sometimes fall into a routine of associating with just our friends at church, forgetting to talk to others. This just made me think of the times you would always tell me to say hi to someone because you never know if you would be answer to their prayer or not. That just really hit home as I reflected on those who took time to say hi to me. I just wanted to ask you to go out of your way to talk to someone at church. You never know if they are praying for someone to say hi to them. I remember crying in the car on the way to church praying that Heavenly Father would just give me one person to be my friend. Let us never forget to love our BROTHERS AND OUR SISTERS.

I love you all so much! Thank you for all the support you give me. I couldn't make it without you. I love you!

Love-

Sister Lundskog
Sister Richardson and I making pizza with Carol

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snow, Cockroaches, and Finding Strength

Hey, Happy New Year! Sorry it is a little late. We couldn't email yesterday because all of the libraries and schools were closed due to the amount of snow we received.

So around 5am Sunday morning it started snowing and it did not stop until around 8pm Sunday night. We just got rocked by a huge snow storm. It was negative 4 degrees on Sunday and Monday. I know I was in much colder weather in Rexburg but it somehow does not even compete with how bad it was here. I wanted to die...haha.

On New Year's Eve we did nothing fun. We stayed in our apartment and watched the Joseph Smith movie (again). It is my favorite movie ever. I love it! But that's all we did and then we went to bed early. It was really, really nice to get some extra sleep.

Then this week we had Zone Leader Training. Everyone in the zone met for a big meeting and a lunch after. It was a good meeting and we played some fun games. That was the most exciting thing that happened this week.
My district leader and Sister Scott. Sister Scott and I might room together when we go back to BYUI.
OH! WE ALSO GOT A NEW INVESTIGATOR! We tracked into her and her name is "J" and she is a 71 year old lady who was raised Pentecostal and Baptist and she has some mighty fine opinions. We knocked on her door and she asked if we were Jehovah Witnesses. We said "No, we are Mormons" and she said "Oh, but you Mormons don't believe in the King James Bible. We said "Actually, we do believe in the King James Bible. We have it right here." Then she proceeded to invite us inside. It was great. We taught her the whole first lesson and she told us that she has been praying for some friends because all her friends are passing away or going to nursing homes and we were an answer to her prayer! I just thought it was the coolest thing. She is a little crazy when she talks but for some reason I just loved that woman so much. When I was bearing my testimony to her I just was almost in tears. It was crazy. I just hope she keeps progressing. My only concern is she believes in the power of tongues and the power of healing and of casting out devils. We told her we believed in those too...just probably a little differently than her.

Then we had exchanges this week. On Friday, I went with Sister Minyard (my grandma) to her area in Fenton and Sister Richardson stayed with Sister Errington in our area. Guess what....I GOT TO DRIVE THE CAR! Woo hoo that was so much fun. I loved driving. The roads are crazy and stressful here but I loved being in control of the car for once. So that's what I got out of exchanges. (Just kidding) They gave a really good training and gave us a lot of good advice to help us find more people in our area so I am excited!
Exchange day
Oh ya, we helped a member of our ward move. I can't remember if I already told you but they are hoarders and it was the most disgusting thing of my life. Literally trash just piled all around the house and cockroaches everywhere. Anyway, we helped her move and then she asked us to come over and move stuff around the apartment for her. Just so you know she just has piles of crap all over her house. The elders were there, too, and we moved stuff to different spots in her house. She asked me to grab this clock like thing to carry over to a neighbors and I went to pick it up and it was covered in cockroaches! She left the room and I looked over at the elders and just was like "Help me". The elders were on exchanges so Elder Anderson who is from Ontario, Oregon sprayed it and kicked it and together we killed them all before she came back in the room. SO GROSS! But, hey, we helped her out, right? We can't really complain.

Then, this snow storm came in and church was cancelled and we had to park our cars but we had to keep working so that was super interesting. We were also told we had to somehow get the sacrament. Half our ward is still gone on winter break but most of the members live close to the church and the elders were at the church. So, we just walked there and we were all gonna go find someone to visit but we ended up just shoveling the church sidewalks and taking breaks to have our clothes dry off and our bodies thaw and that was pretty much our day. We got nothing done cause we were stuck pretty much and that was the coldest walk home of my life. We got snow burn on our faces because the wind was blowing so hard.
 
You can't tell but I was soaking wet here after walking home

This P day we just went to Sister "M's" and did laundry and we watched the movie Emma. Soooo good! If you have not seen it you must watch it. It is the best movie ever. So powerful.

Anyway, I just want to let you all know how happy I am to have been able to talk to you on Christmas. I know you probably believe me when I say that was the best Christmas gift I could have ever received. It's true. Being able to talk to my loving family who has inspired me and has helped me get through every day out here on my mission. Man, aren't we so blessed to have the gospel in our lives? Even when we are away from each other we know that we are sealed for time and for all eternity and nothing can separate us as a family. I am so happy to be a missionary! I just want to share a quote from the "Emma" movie that has really impacted me. She says, "Strength isn't something you just have. It is something that our Father in Heaven helps us find. Sometimes we have to find it day by day."

I love you to pieces!

Love-

Sister Lundskog
This is Stephen. He moved to Akron, Ohio last week....so sad!!
The arch at dusk. We took a couple of wrong turns and wound up in East St. Louis in Illinois. Sister Richardson gets lost a lot but it's ok cause it makes for cool pictures