Monday, June 30, 2014

Everyone Has a Story and it's Our Job to Listen to It

Dear Family-

Well, this week was awful, to be quite honest. But, it is over and I have another new week to look forward to.

This week we had exchanges. I stayed here with Sister Webster (she trained Sister Robertson). It was good. It was a long day and really frustrating that we didn't have a teaching pool to show her all the work we have been putting in. But, we contacted a few people and set up some return appointments so next week will be good.

We had a flat tire this week when we were coming home so Elder Bachelor at the mission office had us have the elders come over and change our tire and then we took it to the shop. But, everyone in the mission office goes to the temple all day on Friday so when we were calling to try and get the card number so we could pay for a new tire (they couldn't patch the tire), we couldn't get a hold of anyone. The shop was closing so we just had to leave our car there and walk home. We were walking into our apartment complex and realized that the shop had our keys and we have no way into the apartment. We had to call the elders again and they came and broke into our apartment. We now owe them cookies for making them drive all the way here twice. haha So that was a fun little event.

Sister Rudd had a meltdown this week. I learned a lot from her this week. She really has been put through the ringer on her mission and has definitely received the short end of the stick. I had a big change of heart for her this week. It is funny how when you learn someone's story, you understand so much more of why they do what they do. I get why she is just burnt out after having had so much thrown against her. You can only take so much before you break. So, here I go for the next two weeks to try and do my best to love her with all I've got. To help her see what God sees in her. To push her to become who she is supposed to be. To not give up on her or get mad at her for the weaknesses she may have. She is a pretty cool girl and maybe being companions is hard for us to be together but I know she is a good friend and she has helped me get through this transfer that is for sure.

Sorry the email is short. Honestly, I don't have much to say. This week was hard. I haven't liked being here and I know no one wants to read a negative email but I did learn some really valuable stuff this week.

1. Everyone has a story and it's our job to listen to it.
2. It is the hard times, not the good times, that help build our character
3. I did not sign up to serve a full time mission for the Lord and expect it to be easy. I came on a mission to work and to work hard. I expected to be pushed past my limits and to be changed. I came to love those that would hate me and serve those who could never repay me. I gave up my life and everything I loved to be at the Lord's beckon call. I have had discouragement and disappointment almost daily and yet I signed up to be here because I know of the infinite blessings of the Savior's atonement. I knew it would be worth it, not for me but for those that I am able to serve, however many that may be. The ups and the downs are what make a mission a mission. For how else would I be able to look back and see the joy from this year and a half if there was no pain? How else would I know of God's infinite love for His children if I was never asked to grow? Are we not disciples of Christ? Then why should I expect to never have to go through a small part of what he went through? How else would I ever be able to comprehend the sacrifice that He has so willingly made for me if I did not in some way understand, to the small degree that I can, what He went through? Sometimes I am human and I want to quit. Sometimes I am too narrow minded to only see the here and now and not look at what is to come. I make mistakes. I cry and get angry. I ask why, why is this happening to me. But, tough times don't last but tough people do. If we only have faith in God...we will make it through.

I love you guys. Have a wonderful week.

Love-Sister Lundskog

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tough Times Don't Last but Tough People Do

Dear Family-

Can you believe I am heading into week four of this transfer? Where has the time gone? Crazy!

So...a fun little gross story. Last Monday for P Day we played sports with the Elders and some of the YSA kids who showed up to play soccer and basketball in overalls and steel toe cowboy boots. Okay.... Anyway, we played all different sports straight for four hours. You know how I have an ingrown toenail that I have had for years because of dance? Well, when I took my shoe off my toenail was split in half. So, I soaked it in warm water and then just ripped it out. Finally, after six years it is gone! But, I lost part of my toenail too, though, so it looks a little gross but, oh well.

This week was a tough one but I have been anxiously making the effort to have a good attitude no matter what the circumstances are. We were able to get a lot of help from members this week and finally started to get to visit people. We saw eight less actives this week and two of the families we visited came and stayed for all of church and one came just for sacrament. It has been realty rough because our teaching pool is at zero. We don't really have anyone to teach and we have been struggling to find people. Sister Rudd keeps making excuses so that we don't have to tract which has really been frustrating me. I do believe, though, that we were called to hep this ward more than to find people to teach. The Lord isn't going to condemn his children by having us find people when the ward is not prepared enough to handle them. The ward has 320 people on the list but less than 100 come to church on Sunday. We have come up with this new plan with our Ward Mission Leader. It would be too hard to explain our plan but I have never had so much faith in a plan like this my entire mission. Pretty much the them is to start a fire. We are going to bring the heat. This ward needs to get their act together. We came up with the 1-1-1 plan for the ward mission plan. Every family is just going to focus on one, one person to introduce to the gospel, one person to reactivate and one name to take to the temple. If every single person were to bring just one person back, that would be a ward of 200, right? That is possible if we look at the problem as one person at a time rather than 300 people. It seems possible to succeed.

Fun little facts about my area here. We serve at the food pantry on Thursdays. The four big cities we cover are Jackson, Marble Hill, Chaffee, and Perryville. Perryville is an hour away. Marble Hill is 45 minutes the other direction, and Chaffee is 30 minutes the other way. We went to the Relief Society activity this week where we helped volunteer at the old folks home in Jackson. We got to paint a bunch of old ladies' nails and it was really funny to just talk to them and they looked all cute with their nails painted.

THERE WAS AN AWESOME STORM THIS WEEK! It looked like a tornado but it wasn't. We were at the "B" house for a game night that a potential investigator was supposed to come to. We were outside playing four square and out of nowhere this massive storm was there. It was so cool. We all ran inside!
The storm rolling in

The sunsets are really cool!
That was my week. It was really tough. I wanted to kill my area and my comp but I learned to have fun.

What I learned this week:
1. Letting other handle things you could do is not a sign of your inadequacy but rather an opportunity to let others grow. There are many times where it would be much easier to do it yourself. But, it is not about you.
2. It is time to bring the heat. We are going to be the spark that starts the fire in their hearts.

3. I saw what a lightning bug looks like in the daytime. They look really weird.

The thing that hit home the most this week was this: Do all that you can do and then a little bit more. We are not put here on this earth to fail. Nor was I put in this area to not succeed. Life moves so quickly. People and places change, and when we get to the end of this life are we going to look back and regret that we didn't give just a little more or try just a little bit harder? When I look back on my mission or even just on this transfer, am I gonna say "If only I had tried a little bit more..." or am I going to look back satisfied with all that I did, knowing that I gave it my all. That I didn't quit. That as the road go harder, I got tougher. Because tough times don't last but tough people do. We were not born to fail, but to succeed.

I love you with all my heart,

Sister Lundskog
Typical of my area....fields!!

Sister Rudd making the trek up the driveway

Saying goodbye a couple of weeks ago to my district & area

Monday, June 16, 2014

Red People and Golden Tickets

Dear Crazy Family and Friends-

Man, it sounds like you guys had a crazy week! I am glad everyone is safe and sound, even if you are split up. I have to say the more I hear of you guys getting closer to moving, the more homesick I get for Oregon. I am gonna miss that home like crazy but I know this move will be good for our family!

Funny, I think God is trying to teach me to like change. You all know how much I hate it. I've never been good at it and it's funny how He likes to teach us sometimes. This week was still really rough but it ended on a good note and I have decided to have a new attitude about things.

This week started with President interviews. My interview went a lot better with him than they usually do. He actually talked to me and I was able to tell him that I was struggling a little bit with this change. He told me that he really felt like this place, Jackson, needed me. As much as I would love to argue that, I can't. I trust that the Lord has His hand in all of this. Even if, say, my President or our leaders were not listening to inspiration, I know that Heavenly Father is going to take care of me. The funny thing is that I have felt Him trying to make me realize I need to be here. I bet He is like "Come on, Corinne. Do I need to hit you with a 2 x 4?" Haha Actually, what hit home the most is that the first two weeks I was here it was raining just like at home. I realized how many times Heavenly Father has realized that I am having a hard time, He sends me a little piece of home. Just like when I was driving through Provo Canyon. I wanted a hug more than anything but instead He sent me some rain. Just like then, He has been trying to tell me, "Sister Lundskog, this is home. I'm aware of you." Sometimes we have to humble ourselves enough to let God change us.

Besides my new attitude change, I am really upset. You know how I told you that we were all going to go to a Cardinals game as a mission for Mormon Night? Well, I guess President announced it before getting permission so out of the 8 zones, only 4 zones---the ones closest to the city--get to go. I am in Cape which means I am probably not going to get to go to the game! Do you know how upset I was about that? I love baseball. So I am trying to keep positive even though I am really bitter about it.

I got your package! Thank you so much. I loved it! Oh...Sister Tonnies' sister sent me a package of 7 Cd's with cool MoTab music on it! Isn't that so nice of her? Now I have cool MoTab music.

You asked about my companion. I am sorry, I actually haven't taken any pictures with her yet or of the area or of my apartment. I know, I am slacking....sorry. She is from Layton, Utah and she is pretty cool. She is extremely red. She took the color test cause I have it with me and she was 30 red, 13 blue, 2 white, and 3 yellow. she is very, very red. I am really red, too. I'm a 22 red so I understand her and we get along. But, the problem is that we are different in where we are red if that makes sense? She is kind of bossy and a little controlling and we all know how well that goes over with me. We have kind of the same humor so that is fun and we haven't fought or disagreed about anything yet. I think she is pretty cool but I have had a little bit of a rough time adjusting to her. She has been out for 15 months so I think she is getting super trunky whether she wants to admit it or not. She has been waking up super late and she will say she doesn't feel good and stuff and I haven't been perfect cause I have woken up at 7am a couple of times this week but I made this whole game plan to help get myself up in the morning. You would think by now I could get up but I still struggle. I have been doing a lot better but she sleeps in late till like 9am, she doesn't really study, she takes up my getting ready time. She is kind of lax on a lot of rules cause she has had kind of a hard track record with this mission. She has been to President's office twice. Mostly for the problems with her companions. But, she is a good girl. She came out for the right reasons and just kinda was handed the hard lot in this mission so I think she is just a little burnt out. But, we set new goals this week and I explained that if we want Heavenly Father to bless us with help in this area (which had a baptism a year ago) then we need to do everything we possibly can so that He has no choice but to bless us.

This area has been rough. We met with our Ward Mission leader and we came up with a sick plan to revive the ward and this area in missionary work. This ward has like 320 people on record and like 85 attend and most of the families that are not coming are part member families. We have come up with a plan to light a fire in this area. We are going to bring the heat. It's time to start harvesting. This area has been planted enough. We now have a game plan and it is now just time to execute it.

Anyway, sorry that I wrote a lot this week. I just learned a lot. I can feel myself growing into what Heavenly Father wants me to be. I have finally got my footing and now I feel like I can be myself so GOOD THINGS ARE TO COME.

What I learned this week:

I can do hard things
If you don't want to accept change, you don't have to--but it is gonna happen anyway.
Sometimes you gotta laugh to keep from crying
And lastly...
I read a talk by Elder Uchtdorf called "Forget Me Not". (You should read it. It's really good). In it he talked about Willy Wonka and the Golden Ticket and how everyone is waiting for that golden ticket. Their whole life and happiness depends on getting that ticket. He compared it to us in life and how we say things like "When I'm married, that's when I will be happy" or "When I have this, I will be happy". We are wasting time waiting for our golden tickets. Why can't we be happy now? No matter what life is like we can always find happiness. I can be happy now. I am going to be happy now.

Love you with all of my heart-

Sister Lundskog

Monday, June 9, 2014

That's Not An Address!!

Dear Family-

I'm in Hill Billy Hell! that movie!

I am out in the country for the very first time. Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday were a little bit stressful as I had to say goodbye to everyone and clean the car and apartment. But we did it. We ended up caravaning to transfer meetings and I was with a member in the car behind the Elders which was awesome because they were able to help us. (Sister H came down from Fayette and rode with me to transfers) with all of our massive suitcases. Seriously, you accumulate so much stuff it is not even funny.

I think this has been the hardest transfer of my mission, including from the MTC to the mission field. I know that I haven't had that many transfers but I was fighting back tears the whole meeting. I will always love Carondelet because it was my first area but Columbia became my home. Not in the sense that the place did but the people that were there. My district was my family, my investigators and my members were my friends. I could be myself at all times and not have to worry about keeping up a certain image. I learned more on how to be a good missionary than anywhere else. I loved the people to a degree that I never thought I could. I found myself in Columbia. I have struggled a lot in my life trying to figure out who I am and what I am good at and finding my "niche". I was always so frustrated because I didn't know what I wanted in life and I didn't really know how to love who I was or am. But these people helped me find myself and made a place for me to belong. They were straight up a family and I knew where I fit in.

But, due to the way a mission is set up we must put God's desires above our own. So, I put on a smile and tried not to cry as I headed down to my new area. First off, I was with this guy who was old and we almost died so many times from his driving. It was a huge blessing that we even made it to our area in one piece.

My new area....Jackson, MO. Haha...I am in the country. Now, don't get me wrong. It is beautiful. I love the country, you guys know that. But, as a missionary, I only know how to work in the city and not only that but that is my favorite kind of missionary work. It is two hours from the top of my area to the bottom. You can't get to certain people's homes unless someone takes you because their address is like this: 240 Route Kk PO Box 64...What the freak is that!!? That's not an address. Haha...come on people! but the area is beautiful. There are rolling hills everywhere with big red barns. Hey, remember when we went to Hannibal, MO and we were up at that lighthouse and we were looking at the river and all the trees that surrounded it? That's what the forests look like here. They are kind of like a jungle but a Midwestern one. There are just huge forests everywhere which I do love but it makes finding your way around impossible.

The Elders left us very, very few notes and it has made things extremely hard. We have already been dropped by two of their investigators. The ward is SO SMALL. People hold multiple callings. It is crazy. There are less than 15 people in the Relief Society.

My comp is cool. Her name is Sister Rudd. She is from Layton, Utah. She came out with Sister Minyard and Sister Errington. She has three months left of her mission.

Man, I honestly can't think of much else to tell you about this week. Oh, the lightning bugs or I guess the fireflies are out now which is awesome. Anyway, it's just been kind of a roller coaster and I'm trying to be positive and take what comes and run with it. I can do hard things, right Mom?

What I learned this week:

Change is always hard
The country is beautiful
When there are times in your life when you feel that God is not there, all you can do is hold to the times when you knew He was.
Come what may and love it or at least endure it.

I love you with all of my heart-

Sister Lundskog

Monday, June 2, 2014

Miracles Do Happen!

Dear Family-

Man, I don't even know where to start with this week. It just flew by. I guess I emailed you guys on Tuesday last week so you know that we had a ward Memorial Day BBQ. The only important thing that happened this week is that LOGAN GOT BAPTIZED! It really happened. I never thought I could care this much about a family before in my life but I do. I just adore them. We had his baptism and I was freaking out because I was scared they wouldn't come but they did. It was awesome. We had amazing talks and Elder Timothy and I sang "A Child's Prayer". Sister Tonnies and I had made a ton of cookies and brownies for his baptism and we bought him a present. We wanted it to be super special because I remember when I was baptized as a kid you guys made it really special for me. I wanted him to be spoiled as well!
Logan, his siblings, Me, and Sister Tonnies

Logan and I
Me killing a huge spider before we filled the font

Something I truly learned this week is that miracles really do happen. Chris (Logan's mom) told us Saturday that she got called into work and she asked us if someone in the ward could pick up the kids on Sunday. The ward had already said no because they feel like it is a liability. I told her that and she asked if it would be OK if she had a co-worker go with them too. The co-worker can't drive but then there would be an adult present. We told our ward mission leader and when he brought it up in his meetings, the ward decided that they didn't think it was right for him to be picked up. They said that we needed to set a precedent and that his mom needed to know that she needs to be there every Sunday. Additionally, they wanted her to know how important it is that he receive the Holy Ghost right after being baptized. We had to tell this to Chris and she didn't answer our texts. Anyway, church had just started when I got a call from Chris so I got up and walked out to answer it. Chris and Shyanne immediately had gotten work off as soon as they could and came straight to the church and Logan was confirmed. I think it humbled some of our leadership that just thought that Chris didn't really care when in reality it's just their life circumstances that are making it so she has to work all of the time. It was a definite miracle and it changed my mindset a lot.

Transfer calls came Saturday night. I am going to be going to Jackson, Missouri which is about two hours south of St. Louis I am told. I am going to Cape Zone which everyone calls outer darkness because no one ever wants to be sent there. So that's a joy. I am going to be co-senior companion with Sister Rud. I don't know who she is but I know she has been out longer than me. We are white washing which means they are taking the missionaries that are there and taking them both out and bringing us in. It was an elders area and now it is sisters. I think that this is going to be the hardest move of my mission. My current district has become this family and I have grown so close to our investigators. But, come what may and love it, right? Elder Buhler always says...come what may and endure it.

What I learned this week:

Miracle do happen
God is very aware of the people He puts into your path
Life is short so love and enjoy every minute of it!

I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week.

Love-Sister Lundskog

Missouri's apocalyptic clouds....we get all the kinds of clouds at once!