Monday, July 28, 2014

Homecomers!

Dear Family-

Well, I never know what to write about when Monday rolls around because missionary work is very slow. Brother SC cancelled on us so we didn't have a single lesson this week. We were only able to see four less actives this week. We spent alot of hours in the heat this week trying to contact people and find anyone anywhere who is ready for the gospel but no such luck. It's alright. There is always another week, right?

Wednesday was the Jackson Homecomers fair and we were blessed to be invited to sing with our ward mission leader and his family. It was a way we thought that we could get the church out into the community and maybe help us find more people to teach. The "B's" sang "Come Thou Fount", "Amazing Grace", and then they sang this really cool version of "If You Could Hie to Kolob" and he introduced it as an old English song that some audience members might know. The people seemed to enjoy it. Then, they sang "Down by the River" and Sister "B" had her own song and then we sang "Amazing Grace" with Jayce (17) and Benny (15). It was awesome. The family finished with two more gospel songs and the crowd loved them. It was cool cause the lights were so bright that you couldn't even see anyone in the crowd. It made me miss dance and performing and brought back a lot of good memories. Then we got to play at the fair with the members. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! So, even though I didn't get to go to the Cardinals game, I got to go to Jackson Homecomers and ride really sketchy rides that looked like they were going to fall apart. It was a blast. I see it as a tender mercy from Heavenly Father to let us be kids for a couple of hours.
Jackson Homecomers Fair


Riding the Ferris Wheel

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Holding a baby bunny
The next day we had to get up at 5am to leave here by 6:30am to make it to O'Fallon, Illinois by 9am for zone conference. It was a good zone conference and I got to see Elder Buhler and Elder Pickett. It was so good to see my friends. It made me realize how good I had it in Columbia. Funny, huh? It takes life moving on to realize what you had and to remember that there are always more good things to come. If I learned anything from my friends it's to make the best of everything we have. You control your circumstances, no one else. Go out and make the adventures. Life is too short and if you ain't livin on the edge then you are takin up too much space. I am finding the adventures left and right out here. I think I was trying to be too much of a grown up that I was forgetting to just enjoy the moment. I am going to keep being a kid at heart and ride ferris wheels and chase fireflies and sing good ole country music as I'm tracting in 100 degree weather.

This week was hard to be honest. No such luck or any progress on our missionary endeavors. Sister Hansen and I have been trying to get permission to go to the temple because we have passed our halfway marks. For the second time, we both got denied because we were told that we were too far away from St. Louis to go. We will be at a year before we are allowed to go now. We have already had like everyone in our ward ask if they can provide a way for us to go so I emailed the president telling him that I needed the blessings that come from the temple. Especially in this area. We are brainstorming and praying and fasting for help and we need the inspiration that comes from the temple to help bless the people here in Jackson. I need to relight the fire to why I am here because sometimes you forget. You can't see why you are here anymore. But, we will see what happens. We always have a choice to make the best of what we have.

What I learned this week:

I was reminded this week that when we get knocked down, as much as we would like to stay down, that is not allowed. When we fall we must ALWAYS get back up on that horse. There is no room for no's or maybe's but to only square your shoulders and to keep moving. Quitting is not an option in this crazy world we are in. Get up and try it again because it is not about what we make. It's not about the score, the money, the baptisms, the likes. It's about what we become from the life we live. Heavenly Father isn't gong to search us for scars and medals and diplomas but he is going to look at our hearts and who we have become because of the falls we have taken. We always have to get back on that horse and just imagine the heights we will be able to reach comin up from the bottom. The harder we fall the higher we bounce.

I love you guys with all my heart. Keep being awesome and don't forget YOU ARE LOVED BY SO MANY.

Love-

Sister Lundskog
My awesome comp and Brother & Sister S

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Harder You're Thrown, the Higher You Bounce

Dear Family-

Well, man this week flew by. I can't even remember half of what happened. But I am so excited you found a house and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALLIE BO BALLIE! Justin, I cant believe you caught that fish. It was huge! So proud of you kid.

This week was transfer week! I got the opportunity to go to the transfer meeting even though I wasn't transferred which was a huge blessing. I got to see so many people that I haven't seen in awhile! I saw Elder Pickett and Elder Timothy and Sister Tonnies. Sister Fisher came up to me and gave me a huge hug and I just started crying haha. I have no idea why but it felt so good to just talk to her for a little bit. Man that girl has done so much for me and I will never be able to repay her.
Sister Fisher, Sister Lundskog, and Sister Minyard at transfers

My new companion is Sister Hansen! She is from Bountiful, Utah (but she lives in North Salt Lake). She went to the same high school as you Mom, so that was pretty cool. She came out the same time as I did but she was on west campus so I never really got to know her but I have seen her around so I knew who she was. She is super tall and she played volleyball and she was a swimmer. Her brother served in the same mission as Dallin! I asked him today if he knew her brother. But the weirdest thing ever happened. She was looking through my pictures and she came across a picture of Mads and me and asked "You know Mads?" She was Madelyn's neighbor at Utah State and then we realized we have already met before! We met each other before the mission! Cray Cray haha. But she wants to work hard which is such a blessing and it gave me a lot of hope that this is going to be a solid transfer. BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!
Sister Hansen & I in front of an awesome truck on transfer day

Um...something fun and exciting. Jackson has this huge festival every year called the Homecomers (because people come home for it) and it's like a make shift fair. Anyway our ward mission leader's family has 7 kids and they are all super musically talented and they got asked to perform at this fair. There are going to be 3000 people at this fair and it will be blasted on the speakers through every bloke so even if they aren't by the stage they can still hear them. It's a gospel night and so she said she knew we were Christian and it is an open mic. Go ahead and share your beliefs and guess how they are doing that? They are having me and Sister Hansen coming on to sing a song with them. haha I am singing "How Great Thou Art" in front of 300 people!!! WHAT! I guess I will have to thank Elder Buhler for making me start using this talent. Hope all goes well! Pray we can make an impact on someone so they will want to hear from us. Making every moment a missionary moment!

So we had our first lesson with Mike "SC" and let's just say that was a super interesting lesson. He is going to be a hard investigator for me because I don't think like him at all. He is super analytical and thinks a lot and I just look at the simple things so we will see how this goes. He has made it very clear what he wants to learn so we know exactly what to study and teach him which makes me really excited! So pray his heart will be opened and we can keep teaching him.

Sister Hansen had this poem that I loved and kind of hit me and I wanted to share it with you guys:

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
with a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
with a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
or a trouble is what you make it
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that?
Come up with a smiling face
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there-- that's disgrace.
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts;
It's how did you fight and why?

And though you be done to death, what then?
If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
But only, how did you die?

My favorite part is "The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce."

What I learned this week:
Trust God's bigger picture
It is not so much what you can get but who you can become
THE BEST IS YET TO COME! We were not built to fail and we will never give up.

I love you guys with all my heart. I don't know what has changed me but I have so much hope and I am going to start believing in miracles because they do happen and they are happening here. We just need to open our eyes so we can see them.

Love - Sister Lundskog
Sister Rudd & I last week on Pday

Monday, July 14, 2014

Peace, Be Still

Dear Family-

This week's letter is going to be really short. I'll tell you the good news of my week and then the bad news.

WE FINALLY PICKED UP A NEW INVESTIGATOR!! WOOOHOO! Our teaching pool is now at one. haha It is a part member family and the husband has taken the lessons before but we went over with a member and he totally accepted learning again. Seriously, you do not understand the power that a member has at changing the outcome of someone's spiritual progression. It felt so good for the first time in six weeks I got to teach a lesson. So, that was an answer to prayer.

We got transfer calls this week...and I am staying here. To be quite frank, I am not happy at all. As soon as we got the call I just broke and cried my eyes out for 30 minutes. Then, what do you know all of my friends from my last district started calling me. By the end of the night they all had me laughing and that is exactly what I needed is just my mission family here to step in and help me out. It was cool to see that they had no idea what was going on but Elder Buhler and Elder Pickett made sure everything was alright. I am still going to be stuck here in Hillbilly Hell with hardly anyone to teach. But, I just have to give it time, I guess. I don't know who my companion is so we will see. I came out with her but she was in a different part of the MTC. Hopefully, she at least will want to work like crazy. I want to work. Sister Rudd is leaving to Columbia, Illinois and she is actually going to be in Elder Buhler's district and she gets to go the baseball game. I'm bitter that I can't go to the baseball game. haha I know that really isn't that important but it meant a lot to me and I actually used that as my motivation to get through this transfer.

What I learned this week:

It is actually okay that I am not always positive penny and the bigger person. It doesn't mean I am any less of a person because I once in a while need to have a breakdown. The important thing is that I get my act together and keep getting back up and keep going.
True friends are the ones that help lift you up when you are down.

Here is the biggest thing I learned this week. We were sharing a spiritual thought with a family this week. We shared the story in Mark where the disciples and Jesus are crossing the sea and a huge storm comes in and their boat starts to fill up with water. The disciples are freaking out because Jesus is just taking a nap so they wake Him up. They say something like "Lord, do you care we are about to perish?" Christ then stands up and says "Peace, be still" and the storm ceases. He turns to them and says "Oh ye of little faith". As I was sharing this with the members I thought of how many times in my life that my boat was taking on water and I have turned to Christ asking Him, "Where the freak are you? Hey, do you care that I am sinking? I am drowning...where are you?" To then hear Him say "Peace, be still". He is always there even when we don't think He cares or is aware of what we are going through. He holds the storm in His hand and He can see the bigger picture. We must not have little faith but trust that He has us in His hands. So, even now when I honestly am thinking "You know how much I hate it here. I feel like I'm drowning. My boat is taking on water." I can know that He is there but I have got to trust that He sees the bigger picture and when I can't stand it anymore I will hear him say "Peace, be still."

Anyway, I have some good parents that taught me that quitting was never an option. I have always been a fighter and right now isn't the time to stop being one.

Love you-

Sister Lundskog

Monday, July 7, 2014

Heart to Hearts and Lightening Bugs

Dear Family-

This week was a very up and down week. I had a very hard week with Sister Rudd but we had a good heart to heart and were able to straighten a few things out. But, first I'll talk about the fun stuff!

This week was the fourth of July. Of course, I was so excited because it is my favorite holiday ever! We got to listen to patriotic music all day long. It was awesome. Elder Christensen and Elder Smith made us a CD of awesome music. I got to listen to country music and, man, do I miss music! We then had to have our cars parked at 5pm and the "B's", our ward mission leader and his family, had a huge BBQ and they invited all of the elders too. The "B's" are seriously the coolest family I have ever met. They have 7 kids and when they moved here they wanted to buy a small home with some land but they felt prompted to buy this house instead so that they can have others in their home who do not know about the gospel. That's what they do. Every Sunday we go over for dinner and they have someone over who is a friend or a neighbor who are not members of the church and it has been so cool to see them totally embrace hastening the work. They do so much for us and I love them. Anyway, we went over and there was a huge BBQ and we played lots of games and then we all drove down to the center of town and watched the firework show. We didn't have to be home until 10:30pm. That was awesome. It made me a little homesick though cause nothing could ever top our neighborhood. haha It was a great release to wear pants and hang out with the people we love. It helps give you a boost to keep being a missionary.
My St. Louis hats

My district on the 4th of July

This week Sister Rudd and I kind of had a go at each other. Sister Rudd has been having a hard time trying to accept and love herself for who she is. She has been working on being who she is and loving it which is awesome. She needs to love who she is but it becomes a problem when it turns into "that is who i am and you're going to have to deal with it" kind of attitude. It's my way or the highway kind of thing. Anyway, we were driving somewhere and she has made comments lately that sound like a compliment but really are a put down. Like she was talking about her friend who has season passes to Utah football games and how it would be fun to go and I was like "Oh, can I come?" and she said "No, cause you are too pretty". Who says that to someone? Anytime we are around the elders or people I can feel the tension of her needing the attention. If I am talking too much and we leave, she won't talk to me. So I finally asked her if I was doing something to upset her around the elders or anything. Instantly, she just went so defensive. I told her I was not accusing her of anything. All I was doing was asking if there was anything I could do. She pretty much told me that she had always been the friend of the pretty girl and she just can't trust me. Sorry. She told me I'd just have to deal with it. So, I just let it go.

On Saturday, we had a little heart to heart. Let me just tell you, it is funny how Heavenly Father works sometimes because I ended up opening up to her and telling her a little about my life, who I am, and why I am the way that I am after which she apologized. She apologized for not taking the time to really get to know me this transfer and for not working hard. You know, I might hang out with her after the mission. I feel kind of protective of her for the things people have done to her but I hope I will get a new companion this next transfer. But, I will say this. Although she has frustrated me beyond belief, I have found that Heavenly Father put me with her to learn some very specific things that I need to learn and learn only from her like how often we place such high regards on looks and outward appearances when we have no idea that our judgement of that person could be so far from right. The person you have just judged might feel the exact same way that you do. Everyone has a story. Everyone is a daughter and a son of God...nothing more and nothing less.

On a happy note, guess what I did last night? I caught fireflies or lightning bugs with the "B's" kids and we put them in a mason jar. I felt just like a little kid. They are so magical. This is my favorite thing about Missouri and I am definitely going to miss those little bugs. Nothing is better than being a kid again.

So, my what I learned this week is actually a scripture that I came across when I was really frustrated with Sister Rudd and felt like I couldn't be myself. I didn't want to be here in this area anymore and I didn't want to keep working with her and I was just being a little girl. I thought that I needed to get my act together and I was reflecting on when I was living in Heber and read a chapter from the Book of Mormon every night. I never realized how much peace and strength that gave me. I went into the office and shut the door and sat down to read a chapter. I am in 3rd Nephi Chapter 20. As I was reading, I came upon this line that says in verse 37 "Shake thyself from the dust; arise." That just hit me. It is time to get up and to not give up. I am a daughter of God and I was not designed to fail. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and we are not the losing team. I was born with the ability to love and to be loved and I was raised by parents who taught me that quitting is never an option. We Lundskogs are not quitters, right Mom?

I love you guys with all of my heart. I fasted this Sunday that our house will sell and that you will feel Him there helping you out.

Love-
Sister Lundskog
Our dining room table and whiteboard

Selfie...do I look blonder?