Monday, March 31, 2014

"You Can Lead a Horse to Water But You Can't Make It Drink"

Dear Family-

Sounds like you are all still crazy busy this week. I hope you can let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I know there isn't much but if there is anything at all, let me know.

This week was a good week...a little bit frustrating...but good. We had zone Pday on Monday and we went rollerblading. It was okay. We made the best of it but I cannot roller blade. Sister Fisher ate it hard core, too, and it was one of the funniest things. She is okay though and we laughed at her out of love.

This week we taught Chris the first lesson. We weren't able to get through very much of it because she likes to talk a lot. But we were able to find out about a lot of her concerns which was really good. We know what she needs and how to help her. She has been kind of difficult though because she commits to things but then doesn't follow through with them. We were able to get her to come to the General Women's Broadcast. But, she just wanted to sleep the whole time because she works night shifts. She said that if she went home and slept she would be able to come to church. Well, she just dropped the kids off and went home. That was frustrating. We will just have to keep praying and doing what we can to help her.

We were supposed to have exchanges this week but they were canceled again and moved to another week so we now have a ton of miles which has been a huge blessing. We can visit more people and are more effective with our time because we don't have to walk. So that was a blessing in disguise.

Now, the bad news of the week. Erin and Michael went to Florida last week. Well, we went to see them when they returned and Erin is gone. Erin is in rehab in California for 60 days. Michael ended up telling us that when they were in Florida he was out smoking and Erin was asleep. Her parents went through her bag and found drugs. When Michael got back all of his stuff was outside with a note that said to find his own way home to Missouri and if he knocked on the door they were going to call the police. They took the kids and sent Erin straight to California. They were just too mixed up in drugs and they needed help. It breaks my heart that we lost her but she is on the road to fixing her life. We were able to get her address so I am going to write her and send her a Book of Mormon.

This week there was a tornado warning!! I was so excited. There was a huge storm and thunder and lightning and hail and the whole shebang! I loved it. But, we had a dinner with a member so I was stuck inside and could not go follow the storm (I know, you are probably happy, Mom...haha). But, I was pretty sad I missed most of it. That was definitely the highlight of my week.

We had an amazing lesson with Diane finally. She is slow and steady. The blessing is that she is earnestly seeking for truth and light. So, although it is hard and she argues and they are very small breakthroughs, they mean a lot to her. She takes what she learns and feels and actually applies it which is the best you could ever ask for.

On Sunday, I almost had a breakdown. Like I said, Chris did not come to church. The boys said they would come sit in the chapel with us but because Shyanne and her boyfriend were sitting out in the foyer, they wanted to sit there also. Anyway, we got Lance, Logan, and Alan inside sitting down. Then Alan sneaks out during sacrament and it went just downhill from there. Lance was crawling over me to sit on Logan's head. Logan was asking every three seconds if he could leave. I just kept telling him to please wait until Sacrament was over. We need to be quiet and reverent. It was so hard cause we are not their moms. We are missionaries. We can't pick them up and sit them down and tell them to stay. Finally, sacrament is over and Logan and Lance like tackle each other on the bench and run out and I was just done. I can't make them want this. I can't make them see the importance. I can lead by example but I can't make them care.

But, I learned a lot of valuable lessons this week:

You can lead a horse to the water but you cannot make it drink.
The biggest thing people lose when they walk away from the church is hope.
I never want to be a burden on my companions, as a missionary nor as a spouse. (After cleaning the entire apartment by myself this week because my companion is so messy and doesn't clean up)

Anyway, I love you all so much! I'm learning so much. Patience and hope in every situation. When it gets too hard I just have to get on my knees and pray. Keep on keeping on, right Mom?

Love you-

Sister Lundskog

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hope in Every Situation

Hey there, crazy family! I miss you guys like crazy and I hope all is well. I know you have been really stressed with moving and doing college visits and Dad working at his new job. Wooohoo! Makes me glad to be a missionary and only focusing on the Lord.

This week was a little rough. We only taught three lessons to investigators this week and didn't hit any of our goals. We were dropped by two investigators so it's been rough. Isabella had set a baptismal date and everything and now says that she wants to wait until her dad is out of prison to get baptized and that won't be for a year. We don't really understand why she wants to wait or what the point is to that but that's what she wants so we have to respect that. That was a little heart breaking.

Wanda has been absolutely amazing. It's gonna take a lot to help her find the truth in this church cause she has some deep roots in her church now. Her brother is the pastor and her sister is a missionary for that church. But, she takes our lessons very seriously. It has been the coolest experience working with her. You can feel the spirit so strong when we have lessons with her and I have faith that her conversion is all in the hands of the Lord.

So, last P-day we played soccer, basketball, football, and a ton of different games for five hours. I could not walk the next day. It was so sad! I am so out of shape! But, it is slowly starting to warm up (except they said that we are gonna get snow today) so I can start running in the mornings which would make my mornings better! However, Sister Tonnies is not sporty or athletic at all so she said she will sit and stretch on our back porch and I can run back and forth in the parking lot across the street. I'll take what I can get. Haha

This week we are soooo short on miles so we have done a lot of walking and a lot of tracting! But, man I totally feel like the classic missionary when I am walking cause that is always what I think when I think of missionaries...they are walking. I tried really hard to keep it fun cause Sister Tonnies is still having a hard time adjusting to missionary life a little bit. She can't take 40 minute showers anymore cause she only has an hour to get ready and I would like warm water. She can't sit and sing in the bathroom when I'm trying to study cause then I can't study. We can't just drive around whenever we have miles. We have things we have to stick to. Sometimes she is a little spoiled which is probably exactly what Sister Fisher thought about me. So, I just tried to keep it fun by chasing squirrels and asking her random questions. It was good. I loved to be able to be out and about.

This week was a little rough as I got more accustomed to my new companion. It's hard when you first come out cause you're kinda spoiled back at home. You all of the sudden have to be very aware of everyone you affect. It's been cool to see her slowly change to focusing more outward than inward. I have had to say a lot of prayers and ask for a lot of patience this week. It is hard sometimes because we just think so differently and have been raised so differently. Sometimes, I just get frustrated even though I understand why she does things the way she does but it is still hard to tolerate sometimes. But, I have just worked hard to find things we do have in common or things she loves and interest her and be engaging with those things so that she feels included and loved while she is here. I don't ever want her to feel excluded even if sometimes I just can't get along with her. I remember a friend gave me advice before I left on my mission. Well, he didn't really know he was giving it to me but what I learned from him is that you can make it work with every companion you are with. Even if you don't really like them you can have fun and learn to respect and love them.  It is all about if you want to or not. You have to try. Sometime we have this misconception that love and tolerance comes easy but it doesn't. It is only through Christ that we learn to have charity. Sometimes you actually have to work to love someone. I'm just praying and doing my best. I have those times where I just want to run away from her but it can be a great two transfers if I turn outward and not inward.

Anyway, this week has been awesome. I hope you all have a fabulous week as well!

What I learned:
Sometimes you don't realize what you have until it is gone
Be the bigger person even when you don't want to be
If you look for the negative, you will find it. If you look for the positive you will find it. It all comes down to your outlook on life. What are you going to search for? The good or the bad? The gospel teaches us to have hope, hope in every situation. We must never give up hope.

Love-Sister Lundskog

Monday, March 17, 2014

Finding Joy in Every Season

Dear Family-

I will have to be fast this week because the library was closed due to remodeling so we are at the family history library at our church.

Sister Robertson left this week and as she was leaving she started crying and I miss her. She has been the best companion I have had my whole mission, and I know that I haven't had a lot of companions but she impacted me more than even my trainer. I hope she is doing well in her new area. When we were packing all her stuff I saw she had a shoe shining kit that her brother gave her. Of course I shined her shoes for her before she left. It was funny cause I didn't really know what I was doing but we just had a blast messing around for the last day she was here.
Shining Sister Robertson's boots
I can fit into Sister Robertson's luggage

Just so you get a little idea of Missouri...on Tuesday, it was 80 degrees. On Wednesday, it snowed. Welcome to the most volatile state ever. But, guess what? We are entering tornado season. Don't worry, mom. Columbia never gets tornadoes because of where it is located.

Transfer meeting was kind of stressful. I have never been so nervous. There were two 30 year olds in this last transfer. My new companion is Sister Tonnies. She is my age (both born in November), she went to UVU and is getting a PhD in creative writing cause she thinks it's funny they have a PhD for that. She grew up in Cali but has lived in Richmond, Utah for the past six years. She has six sisters. She calls herself a nerd and gives me long analytical speeches about Lord of the Rings and she is always analyzing stories because she is a fantasy writer. She has a book in editing, I guess. All I know is that she never stops talking. She is like Justin. She hates sports. She has never had a boyfriend or has any guy friends. She did drama and is very theatrical when she talks. So, essentially we have zero in common except that I have read Harry Potter. She went on for hours on the writing style and I just thought "Hey, it was a good story". She is doing great though for a new missionary. She is pretty confident and isn't scared to teach and participate which is way awesome. I think she will be a good missionary. Always look for the positives in every situation and you will always find them.

Hey! We saw the "F" family this week and we taught them how to do FHE. It was the funnest lesson. We did classic song, prayer, lesson snack, song, prayer, and then activity. I went out and played football and soccer in a skirt and it was awesome. It was the third day Sister Tonnies was here and it was fun watching her join in. They accepted her really well so it was good. I just love that family!

We picked up a former investigator this week. Her name is Sarah. Our lessons have been hard with her cause she is Catholic and always has something to argue about. She gets very distracted by her one year old daughter. We will see what happens.

This week we got to help the "R" family. They are moving and so they are remodeling their house to help it sell quicker and they are really stressed because they are under a tight deadline. We went over and did a lot of service for her. The elders were there too. (Cleaning and stuff like that) It made me think of you, Mom, and I hope everything is going well with getting ready to move. Please accept people's help! Put the missionaries to work. They need service and it gives us an excuse to wear pants :)

We had a lesson with Wanda on Sunday. We have not been able to get in contact with her in forever. It was an amazing lesson. We just read from the Book of Mormon with her and talked about it. She can't read right now because she just had surgery and the medicine affects her eyes. When we were reading I totallly thought she was falling asleep on us. So, I kept stopping and asking questions and engaging her more and she was actually really pondering what we were reading. We just talked about the Holy Ghost and how he answers us and she started crying when she was bearing her testimony about it. It was just such a powerful experience to see how much Heavenly Father loves us by giving us the Holy Ghost. Coolest lesson.

Anyway, that was my week. It was a blast. Life is good. I got to pet some horses and play with a dog which of course made my week. I learned that I definitely need to work on patience. That you come on a mission to serve others not to do things to make you happy. We must find joy in every season.

I LOVE YOU! Have an amazing week.

Sister Lundskog

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sock It To 'Em!

Dear Family,

Hey there! I hope everything is going well with the move and all the craziness I am sure is going on at the house! My week was pretty crazy as well. But, it was good. First off, it is finally warm here. It is 60 degrees outside and guess what....I am not wearing tights! Wooooohoo!!

This week we had Zone Leader Training which was good. They gave some awesome training and we all went out to lunch for the last time as a district. It was fun!
My district
Coolest experience of the week. We invited Erin to be baptized and in a way she said yes. It was a soft invite. We just asked her if she came to know these things were true would she be baptized? She had a huge smile on her face and said "Ya, of course" and she started laughing and added "but I don't think I'm worthy." She asked if there were things that she had to be doing or following. We told her yes but we can teach you all of those things and she just was so happy. She asked if she could come to church next Sunday without us even asking. It was super exciting because you could literally see her change of heart. Man, I love that family! I am so excited to see what she can become!

So guess who asked if she could take the lessons? Chris! Logan's mom told us she has been trying to quit smoking and that she now would love to have the lessons again. Can you believe that? We are watching her slowly change for her kids and for her family and for herself. I am excited to see this family grow. This week we had a sock party with Logan, Alan, Shyanne, and Chris. They bring all of their socks in the whole house and put them in a huge pile and you match them. It was crazy and what's even more crazy is how much I have come to love their family. It is the coolest thing to see Christ's love work through you and how much you genuinely care about these people no matter how crazy they are.
Sock Party

Woot woot....I won
The other day we were trying to decide who to visit and I suggested we visit Sister G. No feeling or anything. I wasn't using any logic but just thought of her. We got to her apartment and we knocked on her door. The first thing she said was "When I heard that knock on the door I knew it was you." Sometimes the Holy Ghost will give you promptings and you have absolutely no idea that it is a prompting. You always have to be doing your best to be worthy to have the Holy Ghost work through you!
Having fun with the kids

Getting attacked

We also had a new investigator this week. Her name is Isabella and she is one of the member's granddaughters. Holy cow, talk about a crazy family. Sister M is a less active but only cause she has this disease that makes it difficult to walk sometimes. She and all of her kids are members but I am pretty sure not one of her kids is active. I know one or two of her sons are in prison. She has custody of almost all of her grand kids. Every time I go over there I have no idea who is who cause there are a ton of kids and I don't know where they all sleep in that little house. It was the funnest lesson I have ever had. All of the teenagers, ages 13, 14, and 15 participated in the lesson with us. I only ever see one of them at church so I am excited to work with them as well cause they have a lot of potential to be just amazing. Then we are teaching Isabella who is 10 years old and her sister Sekenna who is 8 but she will go through the bishop because she isn't older than 8. They just love the gospel. However, getting them to follow all the commandments might be hard.

Unfortunately I was sick last Saturday. The sickest I have been on my mission. I just woke up Saturday morning and was throwing up. Yay....but I don't know what it was that I had but I didn't feel sick but I couldn't eat or drink anything because it wouldn't stay down. It only lasted for one day. That night, we went to our ward party and we watched the Joseph Smith Restoration video, the really long one. I was kind of disappointed. We had worked so hard all week trying to invite everyone, all of our investigators. We invited so many members and left them a commitment to bring a friend and not very many people showed up. But, Damara did come. She thought it was amazing. She loved it! But, she just doesn't get it. We will just keep praying and relying on the timing of the Lord.

Transfer calls were also on Saturday night and Sister Robertson is going to Covington, Indiana! She will be follow up training someone. Sister Robertson is going to be in a different time zone!

I will be staying here and will be training. I am excited but a little bit nervous. There are 21 missionaries coming in this transfer with one visa-waiter. I don't know how many are sisters but it will be exciting.

What I learned this week:
People can always change
I would have missed out on so much if I had never served a mission!
It is easy to say you will die for your beliefs but will you live for them?
Missionaries get excited about weird good pens

Love you all so much! Hope all is well!

Sister Lundskog
Our happy meal toys

You can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl!

Monday, March 3, 2014

"We Must Hold Onto What We Know"

Dear Family-

Whew this week went by so fast! I don't even know what happened. But, I am grateful that it is over. It was a crazy awesome week.

Last Monday we did nothing cool for Pday. I am pretty sure we slept all day but I don't remember. But, I finally got to meet one of our investigators. It's the "J" family. They are Muslim and are from Afghanistan and Russia. So they speak Farsi and Russian and very little English. A member of our stake found Elders in Canada that speak Farsi. I have no idea why they are in Canada but they are. The Elders skype the "J" family and teach them but we sit there with them for moral support and try to talk to them a little bit after their lesson. The Farsi elders tell us how it went and what we can try and talk to them about. But, they hardly speak any English so it's interesting! The mom saw my CTR ring and I guess it looked like it was on my ring finger so she asked me if I was engaged....haha. Sister Robertson just started laughing. I love how many different people I get to meet here. I didn't need to go on a foreign mission!

We have this awesome family in our ward and they have a daughter who is mentally handicapped. She is 26 but thinks at the level of a first grader. She asked us to come teach her. She has been raised in the gospel all her life but her mom said she is struggling a little bit. It was cool to get to teach her but it is really hard. She doesn't really open up much. So, we just talked about God and how much He loves us and how He blesses us with our families...the first two principles of the first lesson. She told us how much she loves Disneyland so we are going to relate all of our lessons to Disney from now on. I am excited for this challenge!

We had dinner with the "H" family. They are one of my favorite families in the ward. They are soooo down to earth and just so awesome. I love them! Anyway, they have a son name Credence who is 5, I think. He said the opening prayer and this is what he said. "...please help that we won't get stabbed to death and that we won't drive off of a cliff." We were trying so hard not to laugh cause he is really self-conscious of his prayers and we didn't want to make him feel bad. He is in that stage where he is always asking the why questions. He was talking about drugs and if someone gave him drugs, he would throw it out the window. But, his dad looks at him and he said "Hey, what if someone gave you a PB&J drug sandwich? What would you do?" He pauses and says, "Oh well, I really do like PB&J sandwiches."  hahaha That made my week.

We almost ran out of miles so we walked a lot this week. Getting in really good shape walking! I feel more like a missionary when I walk cause that's what you picture missionaries doing when you were little. They were always walking. I think I was annoying Sister Robertson though cause I have this bad habit of having to always be kicking a rock while we are walking. I don't know, it keeps me happy. so one of the days we were walking and there was this moving truck and there were two guys in it and as they drove past us the one yelled out, "You girls are lookin beautiful today!" It made me laugh cause Sister Robertson got so uncomfortable.
Isn't Sister Robertson so cute!
Erin. Man, we had the best lesson with her! We taught her the plan of salvation and focused the whole lesson around her two baby boys. It was just a great lesson. The smoothest lesson I have ever had on the Plan of Salvation. She asked us deep questions which means she understands the basics. This family has so much to overcome but I can just see her potential. I am so excited for her. We are going to try and set a baptismal date with her at our next lesson which is tomorrow.

We almost got in a car accident this week because of some stupid elders. This elder thought he could pass by our car when I was pulling forward. He went up on the curb and my theory is that an angel jumped in between the two cars because we should have hit! Wouldn't that have been fun to explain to Elder Bachelor! I guess there has been four accidents this transfer due to bad weather conditions and three of the cars have been totaled. I guess we have more cars than our mission is allowed so President said we have to sell five of them before the next transfer. I am scared that we are gonna lose our car cause we have a small area. It's a three hour walk to the part of our area that has all of the work. Pray that we get to keep our car!

This week we got to participate in a prank. A bunch of missionaries from different districts all pranked the zone leaders cause they were being punks, I guess. Anyway, we just pretty much showed up to see what they did. They moved everything in their entire apartment into one room, filled their bathtub with goldfish, filled another whole room with cups full of water, and then sticky noted the walls. It was funny. Elders are hilarious.
Pranking the zone leaders

We had to drop Damara this week. She pretty much told us she 100% believes our church is true and she loves how she feels at church more than any other church and she loves the people but she feels like God is calling her to minister at her other church for right now. How do you tell someone isn't telling you to do that. Ugh! I have never prayed so hard that he would just give her an answer that she was wrong. But those are the times when we cannot doubt Him. We must hold onto what we do know. The parts of our testimony that are sound and just have faith that this is right and trust that He will help her realize in His own time where she really needs to be.

We picked up a new investigator this week. Her name is Wanda. She is this old black woman. She says things like "Hey, Girl...let me just tell ya" and "Praise the Lord" and "Hallelujah!" I love her. She has seven stints in her heart. She has four daughters and a son. We taught her the first lesson and it was great. She had a hard time understanding the priesthood though. Everyone does. That is the hardest thing to teach and usually what holds everyone up. But, I am excited to keep working with her!

The "F" family....Logan and Chris. They are really struggling. I guess Syhanne, the 16 year old, is acting out. She stole $300 from her mom who is a single parent and can't afford to lose that money. She keeps running away. Since she was molested by her dad she is just struggling with feeling impure even though it wasn't her fault. Chris said she just had a miscarriage and she is getting sick cause of her asthma. We asked if we could start teaching her again and she said yes. Man, my heart just aches for that family. I love them so much. Just breaks my heart to see what they have to go through and Sister Robertson was talking about it with a member (Sister "T" came to the lesson with us). Sister "T" said something really profound. She talked about how in the world 18 and 19 year old missionaries are supposed to help everyone. But I have no idea how to help some with their problems. She said that is why God calls us....because we don't know anything and that's why when we testify of Christ it can be so powerful. It's not our job as missionaries to solve people's problems. It is our job to bring them to Christ and let him solve them.

Church was canceled yesterday and I was so mad! One, we had a lot of investigators that were going to come to church and two, that's a week when I don't get to take the sacrament which makes the week so hard. But, it's alright. Hopefully, this is the last week of bad weather because I am so done with winter!

What I learned this week:
We should pray like kids do--with complete confidence that our words are being heard by God
Police officers kind of have jobs like us. They hunt people down too!
Skin like an elephant!
I miss my mom and her amazing advice.

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Hope you have a wonderful week!

Sister Lundskog