Monday, February 24, 2014

Simplicity, Small Intestines, and Solving Problems

Dear Family-

Well, this week was one heck of a week. I learned a lot but I am glad it is over. On Monday, we had our Zone Pday and I was really nervous because our zone is super awkward and I have a hard time with some of the sisters in our zone. But, it turned out really fun. Sister Fisher was there and her companion, Sister Heaps, is the coolest. The four of us had a blast. I got everyone to come play around the world ping pong with us and it was so much fun. The elders weren't being awkward and everyone was playing a game TOGETHER instead of being in groups and we had a ton of fun.
This is a pic of Sister Robertson and I hiding in the back of Sister Fisher's truck so we
 could scare her after our Zone Pday! We got her good!
Awkward story of the week. We had a dinner on our dinner calendar with a family and Sister Robertson hates calling members so I had to do it. We called the number on the ward list and the husband answers and I introduced myself and yada yada. He said, "Oh, you must need my wife. We are getting a divorce." He then hung up on me. Sooo awkward. Ugh!

This week we worked a lot with the youth and that was super cool. This ward has a really good youth group--over 100 kids in Primary. It's a lot like our ward at home. On Tuesday night, we helped with the activity day girls. They all came with a question that they have been asked by someone at school like "How many moms do you have?" or "Why don't you wear tank tops?" or "Can you play with me on Sunday?" We helped them come up with good answers to respond with. I was shocked at the questions these girls get asked! Oh my goodness. It was cool though cause then we did a day in the life of a missionary and we talked about what we did and how we can prepare for a mission and we asked them if they were planning on going on a mission. Almost all 15 of them raised their hands. How cool is that? It was just really cool to see how many girls are wanting to serve missions and are preparing for it.

Then, on Wednesday we worked with the Young Men and the elders and this activity was super. The point of the activity was to help prepare them to be missionaries and to help them see a little bit of what it is like to teach. The elders started off and did a role play to show how we teach just one principle. The elders did the Book of Mormon. We had them split into groups of three and they taught us and their leaders. I had the funniest three boys. One of them starts off and just goes all into the whole story talking about the ghost of Moroni and just how many years it took and the other two just sat there and stared at us. We paused the role play and we talked to them about simplicity. We broke it down like this. If you could use one sentence to tell me about the Book of Mormon, what would you say? He answered that it's a record about the ancient people of America. I said good but if you could say in one sentence what the point of the Book of Mormon was, what would you say (hint, hint...it is on the cover of the Book of Mormon) and he replied "Another Testament of Jesus Christ". We helped them realize that they don't need the whole shebang. They just need to know of its divinity and its testimony of Jesus Christ. Then, we redid the role play and it was awesome to see them be simple and bear testimony and then invite us to read it. We have some awesome future missionaries in this ward. Then, we had to get up in front of all of them and we had to show an example of bearing testimony and inviting and promising blessings which was neat.

Our lock on our front door is broken. The other day it wouldn't turn. We were locked in our apartment! haha Luckily, we have a sliding door so we were able to get out. But it was funny. Also we had the biggest and most disgusting spider on our wall. I don't know if I said that in my last email but it was gross. Sister Robertson killed it and there is still a shoe print on our wall. She is my hero!

This week we are running really low on miles so we walked everywhere and we visited a lot of less actives. We visited this one less active whose name is Cuquee. I wanted to punch her. She was just saying the worst things about the church. She asked for a ride somewhere and we told her we can't give people rides in our car. It's a mission rule. She said "I bet if a general authority came and you didn't give him a ride in your car then your membership to the church would be questioned"....haha, ah no. She said all our tithing goes to pay to build huge malls all over the US and huge hotels by temples and stuff. She asked us if we are tracting and we said yes but we are also trying to work a lot through members. She said that she was going to have to write to President Monson and tell him to fix this. She was crazy and I was getting really irritated. So, we decided that it would be a good idea to leave.

It rained! We had a huge lightning storm and you know I just loved that. We made smores and watched it from our patio. It was pretty awesome and the rain reminded me of home.

Another cool thing this week. I saw someone's intestines! Carrie is a member of our ward and she is bipolar and has ADHD so she is a little different. I had a hard time with her at first but now I love her. Anyway, she has been having problems with her small intestines and she got super stressed and overworked the other day because of family problems that came up and her small intestine just came out of the side of her stomach. I don't even know how to explain it. So we went to visit her at the hospital and she had us look at her small intestines coming out of her stomach. I thought Sister Robertson was going to pass out! But, I learned something cool. The reason they came out was they were swollen and so they had to shrink them to push them back in and stitch her up. If you put sugar and ice on them, they will shrink! So she didn't even have to get surgery. It was pretty cool. haha

Sister Robertson and I had a really hard time together this week. I don't really know why but I think we just started to see the opposite parts of our personality conflict. We do have a lot in common and we get along great but until this week we haven't seen the opposites in our personalities play out. I have come to the conclusion that I don't know how anyone gets married. Oh my lanta. It is so hard dealing with another person sometimes and we can't get away from each other and it just....uh. I love Sister Robertson. We get along the best out of all of my companions and we have talked about rooming together in college and everything. But, man it is hard to try and make things work sometimes. I guess she was really struggling this week with things and I knew she was but when I would ask her she wouldn't tell me. Oh my lanta, it was so hard to try and help someone you didn't know how to help because she wouldn't confide in me and it created problems with different things not even related to the main problem. That was hard but we worked it out. We had a good heart to heart conversation. It was good to finally have her talk to me even if she was telling me all the things she couldn't stand about me cause then at least we had somewhere to go from there. I could fix things and try and help her and we could resolve the problem.

Man, can you believe in two ish weeks I will hit my half year mark? I will be 1/3 of the way done with my mission. It is crazy how time flies. So many changes and so many more to come but at least we know our Father in Heaven is taking care of us on each and every step.

Things I learned this week:
You cannot pick and choose the parts of the gospel you do or don't want to follow. It doesn't work like that.
Being married sounds like the hardest thing in the world.
If you are feeling low visit a family with a dog.
Change is hard. It always will be but if the Lord is in it, we need not fear.

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! I hope you all will have a good week. I hope you know how much I love you and how much I love this gospel. This really is the greatest work that could ever be done. I love being a missionary!!

Love-

Sister Lundskog
I got to hold a member's python snake. It will get to be about six feet long!
Me and my awesome companion

I came around the corner the other day and Sister Robertson had fallen asleep
while folding her wash. Missionary work is tiring, folks!

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Whoever Said That Sunday was a Day of Rest was Never a Missionary!

Dear Family-

So this week was a great week! We have been working hard and let's just say this week was a black and white difference compared to last week!

First off, we got a new investigator this week. Whoohooo! Her name is Erin and her husband is a less active in the ward. They are not married and they have the cutest baby twins ever. We went and taught her the first lesson and she is the one in the family that works. She does everything. Her husband is somewhat lazy. I have a problem with her husband. He is creepy and gross and makes weird comments and lies and tells us she is home and when we come in she is not. Anyway, when we were teaching her she kept nodding off in the lesson because she was just so tired from working and taking care of the twins. She seemed interested and accepted all of our invitations and so we will be seeing her again tomorrow.

Can y'all believe I hit my five month mark this week! What...that's crazyyyy! I don't feel like I have been out for five months at all! By the end of this transfer I will be 1/3 of the way done. That's cray cray!

Funny story. We saw Hammad this week and his lessons aren't really lessons. More like "interfaith discussions", I guess. He is Muslim but a totally different Muslim than Abeer and her family was and this other family here that we teach. It's confusing. He tried explaining it and he thought it was cool how organized we are. We explained to him that it doesn't matter where you are, the doctrine of the church is the same. It is not influenced by culture like he explained that his faith is. Our conversations are always so interesting and it always strengthens my testimony more and more of the truth of our gospel. When we got there he said that he had looked up our dietary facts. He said he found out that we could have chocolate and he said that he found out that we thought orange juice was good for us....haha. I thought it was the funniest thing. Who knew that you could look up the dietary facts of a Mormon? Learning something new everyday.

We had a huge surprise this week. We were scheduled to have exchanges the last week of the transfer which is in March. But we got a call on Wednesday and the STLs asked us if we could do it the next day. We told them yes but that we couldn't promise we would have anyone to teach (They always ask us to have as many progressing investigators planned for the day as possible when they come). Well, we had already seen like 2/3 of our investigators and had already scheduled all of our other appointments so we had nothing planned for Thursday when they would be here. Sister Robertson went with Sister Woodward to their area and Sister Felt came her to our area. Well, I have only been here three weeks and had only been to church once because of the snow so my knowledge was super limited. I told her that we could do whatever we needed to cause we know how stressful exchanges are. We sat down and tried to plan out a whole day and on Thursday everyone Sister Felt and I tried to see was not home except for one. We went to visit a less active of the ward and guess what? Her ten and almost nine year old granddaughters are the only ones in the family that have not been baptized yet. She told us she needs to get them ready and I was like "Hey, what do you know...that's what we do!" So, we picked up one new potential investigator. Yay...good day. Let's just say I was so tired by the time we got home I fell asleep faster than I have in months. We worked super hard and I felt like my brain was gonna explode trying to make things work and get creative and do things I have never done before. But, if I have learned one thing from exchanges it's this:

No matter how cool the STL is you will miss your companion. I was soooo glad to have Sister Robertson back! She is seriously the best. The closest companion I have been to on my mission and we have already talked about being roomies at college and stuff and it's great to have a friend like her. Seriously, though. She is the greatest and if she isn't already, she will be one of the best missionaries in our mission. Oh and I don't know if I told you, Mom, but she did theater in high school and she was the lead her senior year in the musical. She played Belle in Beauty and the Beast! She is so funny. I love her!

Because we had surprise exchanges, we are kind of way tight on miles. Actually we have like none cause we weren't planning on having to use that many miles this month so we have done a lot of walking. But, we have found a way to make it fun. We sing!  :)  The other night we were singing "Hairspray" and "Pitch Perfect" and we threw a few hymns in there. It was fun!

Our lesson with Diane went great. What I learned is that you get blessings when you pray and specifically study for a specific person. We taught her the plan of salvation and I studied it all week (and I hate studying the lessons. I know that sounds bad but it's hard for me to focus). Anyway, our lessons were good. You can tell that she is honestly seeking for truth in her life and she is finally reading the Book of Mormon and she is realizing that some things just don't add up in her church. It was a really cool experience. God does answer prayers, that's for sure!

I had church again this week. Let me just say that Sunday is the most exhausting day. We are constantly running around taking care of people. I feel like a mom with 20 kids. You would be surprised how sometimes even grown adults have no idea what to do and so they just ask the missionaries cause we somehow are supposed to know everything. Anyway, this ward is kinda hard for me. I feel judged all of the time. Don't get me wrong, I do love the ward. There are some great people. It's just a very well to do ward and they all seem kind of caught up in everyone's business. It's been a big adjustment fro any ward I have ever been in before but I am trying. It is going good but man whoever said Sunday was a day of rest was never a missionary.

We have a teaching pool of nine investigators and with all of the potentials we have lessons with by the end of the next week we should have 13 in our teaching pool! Yay for missionary work! Life is so good.

What I learned this week:

Sundays make you homesick
It feels good to be good!
Don't try running up the side of a canal when it's covered in snow. You will fall on your face. (I learned from experience)
When the day is hard, come home and make smores--even if it's just with a fork and an open oven. (It's my favorite thing to do with Sister Robertson)


Love-

Sister Lundskog
With Christina before transfers in January

Christina's cute son

At transfers in January with Sister Richardson
Tucking in Sister Robertson at night
Keeping it fun. Acting like an Indian. Can't remember why

Monday, February 10, 2014

Keep It Simple

Dear Family-

So this week was a rough one and I have to be honest, I am glad it is a new week! But, I did learn a lot so that is good. We had more snow storms this week and the cars were grounded. My days are kind of mixing together. Sister Robertson and I decided it would be awesome if we could have a crystal ball to see what all the other missionaries were doing in this weather. All of our appointments canceled Tuesday and Wednesday so it was really rough trying to figure out what we could do. But, I finally met some of our investigators.

"H": "H" is Muslim but not really practicing. ? I don't really know how to explain it but he is cool. He is in his late 20's and has a wife and a baby girl. He is super intellectual. He kind of met with us on the pretense of interfaith relations kind of a thing. He has done a lot of that and has worked with a lot of other religions and he loves how much Mormons serve. He asked lots of cool questions and he shared a lot about his faith. It was cool cause it was very interactive and he is approaching it in such a logical way. He was like "Hey, I have tons of friends that would totally be down to meet you and I will invite them". So, next time there might be a ton of friends at his home as well...which would be awesome.

"F": He is from Africa. I don't remember where but he speaks English and French. He is in his 20s and he is so cool. He seems genuinely interested and he has a very simple knowledge of Christ. Funny story...his friend lives in Fayette and Sister Fisher is teaching his friend right now. So she is teaching his friend and I am teaching "F" which is kind of cool!

"D": "D" is in her late 40s to early 50s. She is a piano teacher and she is Catholic. She thinks Joseph Prince receives the word of God and thinks he is the greatest man to ever walk the earth. Anyway, she just like attacked me. It was the worst lesson I have had my whole mission. The elders that used to teach her for some reason told her about Michael becoming Adam and she just was asking me all of these deep questions that I didn't have the answer to. It made me so frustrated. Then she was asking about the temple and why we exclude people and then she was asking about wine and why we can't drink it. I said it was a commandment from God. She got all mad and said it wasn't and was pulling out the bible (which wasn't the King James version) and I was so thankful for Sister Robertson who took control of that lesson. I just got quiet. She is one of those who has to know the answer to everything and it frustrates me because I have never been like that. You don't need to know the answer to everything people! Anyway, she is a daughter of God and I am studying like crazy this week to teach her the plan of salvation and to use everything from the Bible.

"F" Family: We are teaching LF who is 9 years old and they are just an awesome family. I love them. The mom, who has a different last name, was married to a man who was LDS and so her 16 and 11 year olds are both baptized. The husband molested the daughter and so her is in jail now. Sister Robertson and Sister Webster found the mom and started teaching her but her kids were in foster care in California at the time. She wasn't progressing but when the kids came she wanted them to teach and baptize her 9 year old son. She takes all of them to church every Sunday. During the last lesson she was actually participating in the lessons with us. There is something special there. Sister Robertson says you can see a change in her. I just love them though. It breaks my heart though because at church we saw the daughter with the young women and she looked so alone. None of them would talk to her. She is a little different and she isn't rich like the rest of the girls in the ward but I just want her to have friends. She needs to feel welcome.

"C": She is 22 and she is marrying a less active who is reactivating. They are interesting. He has already been married and has two kids and is way older than her. I only met her once and we didn't really get to teach her but she is super nice. Really pretty. She kind of seems interested for the time being but she doesn't seem to have a solid testimony. I hope we can help her gain one.

So, those are the investigators that I have met so far this week. I felt like it was an awesome week because with the investigators and with the less actives we had 10 lessons which is more than I had in my last area every week but Sister Robertson says that they roughly average 20 lessons per week. This is what we are supposed to have every week. But we met a lot of people this week who are potentials and we worked well for what the weather gave us.
Sister Robertson all bundled up to go
Sister Robertson & me in the car
This week we also had a zone conference. It was so awkward. I went from a zone where we were all super loud and really good friends to a super quiet one where no one really talks to each other. It made me frustrated. I didn't like feeling like a stranger and everyone was just so....I don't know how to describe it. But, we also had a big change. President Morgan changed the music policy which was annoying but is all good. We now are only allowed to listen to MOTAB during the week and on Mondays we are only allowed to listen to music found on LDS.org. So that awesome CD that Allie made for me I can no longer listen to. Sister Robertson and I have been listening to her Christmas CD that is MOTAB but also has David Archuleta. We have been doing a lot of singing. People were really upset about the change which, I mean, I wasn't happy about but it's just 13 months. I think I'll survive.

I had Church this Sunday! It was awesome to be able to finally meet the ward. It is a big ward and it reminded me a lot of our home ward. A good mix of families and lots of super active members. Half of the women are returned missionaries. It was just really different from Carondelet. I don't know how much I liked it but I know I'll grow to love them. I didn't like Carondelet at first either but now I miss them so much! It just takes time. But, it is a really good ward with so much potential for missionary work.

It snowed when we were in church and the exit has like a mini slope. I pushed on the brakes and the car did not stop. So I started tapping them but it was just not stopping. Somehow it stopped like a cm from the car in front of us. That was such a blessing. That would have been horrible if I had hit a member's car. Later that day, we got stuck. We were at a member's home for dinner and they had to come push us out. That was super embarrassing! Also, Sister Robertson broke our toilet...well, one of them...and it was overflowing all over the bathroom. haha
Toilet probs
























Here are some things that I learned this week:

Sister Robertson is a good friend
Stay true to yourself. That is what matters at the end of the day
We are more durable than we think!
Prayers are always answered

and lastly....The gospel is simple. So keep it simple.

Love-

Sister Lundskog
Carondelet's Ward Mission Leader & his wife

I found Oregon Street



Monday, February 3, 2014

Moses 1:39 and Ice Storms

Dear Family-

Hey there, family! I hope all is well. I hope you are staying warm cause it is so cold here! Oh my goodness, I hate the winter! It's the adversary of missionary work. Anyway, this week has been crazy and I hope I can keep all my thoughts straight cause I kind of had a rough week.

Monday and Tuesday nights, I didn't sleep at all cause I was just crazy nervous. But, we got to transfer meeting on Wednesday and we come around the corner and the first person I see is Sister Fisher! So that made my day. I just ran and gave her a huge hug! Man, it was like we were companions again. We just stayed together the rest of the meeting. She is training this girl from Utah. She is super pretty...intimidating pretty. She seemed nervous and I tried talking to her. I hope she loves Sister Fisher like I did. She really is an amazing trainer.

My companion actually wasn't at transfer meeting. So I had to find her companion and her companion helped me find the member that she rode there with so I could ride back with her. It was so sad saying goodbye to everyone. I was trying so hard not to cry and I felt really stupid for having a hard time in the first place. It was bitter sweet because I was really excited to go somewhere new but Carondelet will always have a special place in my heart. That was home to me for so long so I was just really nervous. But, I said bye to everyone and Elder Wunderli and Sister Moen. The ride here took about an hour and 45 minutes. We stopped at Steak and Shake with some other missionaries. They all knew each other and I felt somewhat unincluded and one of the sisters kind of made fun of me so I just sat there awkwardly by myself and just talked with the members who gave us rides. Maybe I was just a little sensitive because I was out of my comfort zone. But, then I slept in the car all the way to our area. I hope the member didn't mind cause I just passed out. I was so tired.

My new companion is Sister Robertson. Oh my goodness, I love her so much! We are going to have a blast this transfer. I am pumped and so blessed because she made the transfer so easy from an old area to a new area. She is the funniest little thing. She just graduated last year and she turned 19 last September. She is way young. She is from Ogden, Utah. I just love her. I don't even know how to describe her except that she is one amazing missionary. I feel like I just got done with training and she is follow up training me. I am excited for this transfer!

So, unfortunately, church was cancelled this Sunday because we had a huge ice storm so I can't really tell you what the ward is like. But, I am in Columbia and Highlands is just...I don't know how to describe it. I was in St. Louis City but I was in the Carondelet area and there was also Shrewsberry, Maplewood, and Webster Groves areas. This is Highlands and there are a couple of other areas in Columbia. We are right next to Mizzuo. I am living in a college town right now. We aren't assigned in the YSA Ward so I am not working with the college kids. We are working with the families that live here. But, we live around a ton of college kids and WalMart is crazy. It's like being back in Rexburg except they aren't as nice as the kids there....haha. All I know is that our area and ward is middle class to upper class. They are super into missionary work so I am excited. I can't even remember how many investigators we have. It's around 8 or something which is way cool and I am excited to get to start teaching again.

Our apartment is super nice. Way nice but we have a problem with spiders. I say a prayer every night that there won't be any spiders in our apartment and there has not been one since I have been here. haha

This week I was sick. Starting Wednesday, actually, I wasn't feeling good. But, I just had a cold and a cough but I couldn't sleep and I was just dying. I couldn't breathe and couldn't stop coughing and I was just exhausted and so Sunday I just felt like a horrible missionary cause I just couldn't do it. Saturday night, we were able to go get me some medicine. I took NyQuil that night and just passed out and slept for half the day on Sunday and then we went out and worked that night. It was so hard though because of the Superbowl . No one wanted to talk to us. But, hey, I am not sick anymore! I just needed to sleep for a little and take medicine and then I was good.

As I said, we had a huge ice storm like the one we had in Washington that one time. Apparently, they get that a lot here. Everything everywhere was covered in an inch of ice. It was crazy! We had to have cars parked until noon and so we went tracting on foot and I fell a lot. My body just hurt. It was embarrassing. My companion has these awesome ice things you put around your shoes that have picks on the bottom so you don't slide and she just pulled me everywhere. It was great. We had parked in our apartment parking lot and it was on a hill. There were two rows facing away from each other. We had to drive somewhere but first we had to chisel our car out of the giant ice cave it was encased in. We had to hold onto the car because if you didn't you would slide down the hill. Let's just say I ate it face first into the concrete. I have a beautiful bruise right on my chin! It was embarrassing and I kind of just slid down the hill on my stomach. My companion said "One minute you were there and the next you were gone!" I had to back the car out on this hill. I was way nervous. I was saying prayers like crazy. I start backing down this hill and I push on the brakes and they wouldn't work...it was too icy. My foot is all the way down on the brake and I am just sliding down this hill towards the cars that are parked at the bottom and I was praying. Oh my goodness, I was so scared. I mean they let me drive the mission car finally and I thought I was going to crash it on day three. But, it was such a miracle. It stopped like an inch from hitting the parked car behind us. Miracles really do happen! Let's just say I drove like a grandma for the rest of the day. I made people go around me. No more scary sliding stories since. (Editor's note: Many people, including us, have now given her instructions on how to pump the brakes)

That's all I can really think of that happened this week. I met my district and they are the most awkward set of missionaries ever. I don't know if any of them have worked with sisters before because they don't know how to act with us around. We are like a weird species to them. Sister Robertson said they always exclude them from everything. I told her we are gonna change that. But, there are a ton of missionaries here. There are like 20 here at the library today. I am excited because we have zone conference this week.

Anyway, I love you guys all so much! I hope you are all well and keep being awesome missionaries. I have started a journal and it's my "What I Have Learned" journal. I just want to share a few that I have written so far.

Freezing rain is exactly what it mean. Freezing rain.
Take everything one day at a time.
SAY LOTS OF PRAYERS
You feel the Spirit the strongest when you are laughing
Sleep is a beautiful thing

God said "This is my work and my glory to bring to pass the eternal life of man". As missionaries we are doing the exact same job as God himself. That is a beautiful thing.

I love you all! You're in my prayers and I miss you lots! xoxoxox

Sister Lundskog

PS. Oh! I almost forgot! I was kind of having a hard time and we were at a recent convert's house. She is super interesting. She has ADHD and is bi-polar so she is a little different and I was feeling a little homesick for Carondelet. But, I was trying to be engaged and so I was talking to her about her favorite hymn. She pulls up this Mormon message. It's the one about "I Am a Child of God". I'm just watching it, you know, and guess who is in it? Grandpa and Grandma Lundskog!! Can you believe it? They are in the Mormon message. I just started crying. I was like "That's my grandpa and grandma!" Oh my goodness, I just couldn't help it. I just started crying. Isn't it crazy how Heavenly Father will send little tender mercies to remind you why you are here?!