Monday, August 25, 2014

God Has Been So Good to Me

Dear Crazy Hectic Family!

I hope you are all surviving the move, Portland to Coast, a reception, a 12 hour drive and a first day of school!!!! I hope all is well and that you are doing alright. Wish I could be there to help and know I am praying for you every night.

So, exciting news to start out the last week. On Monday we picked up two new gators!!!! They were former gators and they called us on Saturday because they wanted to give us our books back (Books of Mormon) so we set up a time to come see them to "get them back". They let us in and they are like super old by the way, and we ended up having a good discussion and we told them the books were for them to keep. It was theirs and they were so happy. They didn't know they could keep them and they invited us to come back. It was a really spiritual discussion and it was cool to see that the Lord can work with even those who have thought/been/acted a certain way all their life. There is room for the gospel in anyone's heart. They just have to make room for it!

This week was a little rough. Unfortunately all of our appointments fell through.... so we didn't get to see Natalie or Tobey (which was a huge let down) and we didn't get to see Brother SC either. Also we had a lesson scheduled with Daniel and he was bringing five friends who were interested in learning more. But, guess what happened? We got hit by a massive storm. I was so mad yet so happy! It was just pouring and then it started hailing and we were out driving and it was raining so hard you couldn't even see! Like all of the streets in Jackson flooded. I thought our window was going to crack from how hard the hail was coming down! We drove through this part of town where there was so much water that as I drove through it, it sprayed up and on top of our car. We have a video of it but it is too big to send so it will just have to wait till I get home. IT WAS SO EXCITING!

Well anyway... that was the last cool weather we have had. This week was so flippin hot and the humidity was killer. It was bad. I have a story. This transfer our theme was trailblazers because we are like our ancestors...blazing a trail for those to follow us. They decided to have a day where everyone's cars were parked and we were going to spend the whole day walking and the goal was for everyone to find two new investigators. Well, it just happened to be last Saturday... the hottest day of the summer so far. The heat index was 111 degrees. But Sister Hansen and I did what we were asked. The first two hours of the day we only had two people open their door the whole two hours. We didn't find a single new investigator let alone a single new potential. But we gave it our all. We showed our dedication and support for our leaders even if we felt like it was stupid and uneffective and we stayed out all day. Let me tell you I got sun-burnt on my back and it was a pretty decent burn. We had some awesome people give us some water. This lady, she filled up Gatorade bottles for us and she put a ton of ice in it. Five minutes later the ice was gone and another five minutes later the water wasn't even cold anymore. So we celebrated our success and dedication with a stop at the dollar general and spoiled ourselves for the night! It was in a weird way a really fun day and I was blessed to have a companion who I was still able to have fun with when really we should have been miserable.

But here comes the most important news for the week. Transfer calls. I am leaving. Yep, I am being transferred to Fulton MO. Going back to my last zone, Columbia Zone. I will be 30 minutes away from my last area. My STL will be Sister Fisher again and I am going to be the junior companion. I am trying to be as positive as I can. I knew that when I got here and hated it that I would hate leaving just as much. I gave so much of myself to this area. Maybe we didn't have any crazy miracles. Maybe I do still really hate this place. My apartment sucks, our area is huge, and we don't have the capacity to take care of it. We are out searching all day and receive a ton of rejection. I could go on and on about everything that stinks here. Don't get me started on the mosquitos and spiders. But I took an area from zero investigators to five. I cleaned up all the paperwork and saved a lot of time and effort for missionaries after me to come in and know where to start, I fell in love with the people and, for the first time on my mission, had members that when I walked into their house I felt at home. I have made friends left and right. I have strengthened the faith of those around me as well as my faith. I got to catch fireflies in mason jars and sing at a fair. I got to get crazy lost on country roads and see amazing sunsets, I took the time to slow down and realize what truly makes a person happy in life. I prayed and I cried but I got up and I worked from sun up to sun down and if I didn't touch anyone's lives, I know that through everything I did this area touched mine. I made a life time friend through a companion who always had my back. She pushed me to be the best missionary I could be. To look for God's hand through every trial. She blessed me with the desire to be better to never give up and that, yes, there are still good people out there who when they say they care they actually mean it. GOD HAS BEEN SO GOOD TO ME.

So, here I go to start a new journey, a new adventure. My faith has been strengthened, my courage has grown, and my hope has been renewed. Life is a journey, a crazy one to say the least but it is so worth every moment of heartache and disappointment to get up and keep going. Cause one day we will look back and see how far we have come, how much we have changed, and how much more we can go. My testimony has grown so much. How blessed are we to have a Father that loves us unconditionally. We are His and we were not designed to fail. I love my Father in Heaven, I love my brother, Jesus Christ. In my setting apart blessing I was promised that in times of trial "I would feel the Savior's arms around me." Well, here I am and I feel so loved by everyone he has put in my life. I was a fool thinking I would actually feel Him and never realized it was those He put in my life to help me feel loved. He is taking care of us and I am so happy to be serving Him.

I have a minute before my computer shuts off. I love you! Love you sooooooo much,.

Sister Lundskog

Monday, August 18, 2014

"These Kinds of Things Just Don't Happen!"

Dear Family-

I really need to start writing lists again of what happens in my week that I need to tell you about because when I sit down at the computer I don't remember anything at all. I want to start out this email with good news first because this is the only news that really matters about my week.

We had two miracles happen this week. Woohoo! This has been such a have no idea! We found two new gators! We went back on Thursday for our appointment with Natalie. She is the girl we found with Jaycee on the mini missions. We had Sister Snipes come with us and we got to their house and they were waiting for us out on the porch. We had a lesson with her and her boyfriend. First off, my teaching is super rusty but, thank goodness, we rely on the spirit and not ourselves, right? It was just an awesome lesson and her boyfriend the whole time was saying "Ya, I'm diggin this!" It was just really cool to see how open their hearts were. They weren't wanting us to baptize them or anything but there are so may good people out there who just want more of Christ's light in their life. They don't even know that they do but they do. Anyway, the best part was at the end of the lessons (we had handed each of them a Book of Mormon), Tobey (the boyfriend) asked if he could keep it. Natalie said, "No way, that is theirs?" and we replied "Yes, you can. These books are yours. We brought them just for you." Tobey was like RIGHT ON! Natalie looked so touched that we would let them have them. It was just a really cool experience. Miracles, I am telling you, are everywhere!

Second miracle. There is an Elder from the Jackson Ward serving in Arizona right now. He sent me an email a week or two ago with ten names of friends that he wanted us to contact. So, Sister Hansen and I have been working hard to contact all these names. But, it has been almost impossible since we can only get out to Chaffee once a week and they are all college kids with crazy schedules. Anyway, Sister Hansen was like "Let's just text them all and if they don't respond we can give them a call and still keep trying to see them." So we text them all. The next day we get a seven page text message from one of them. This is what it said: "I don't want to bombard you all so I was wondering if it would be a big deal if I had a couple of my friends with me when we meet? We all want a better understanding of the message that you all are sharing. Me and my friends are followers of Christ and would love to listen and discuss things as well. I don't want you all to feel overwhelmed or bombarded that's why I was giving you a heads up and wondering if that would be alright. You can bring more than just yourselves too if you would like. I think it would be a great thing."

These kinds of things just don't happen! It was the greatest day ever and we got another response from one of his friends that talked about how he is sick of being stuck around kids that just don't care. It is all about the parties and the drinking and there is nothing to their lives. It is cool to see, especially kids my age, that really do want to have Christ in their life. They want a purpose and they want to have a life that is full of something so much more. It was such a blessing to have that this week and we will be meeting with them tomorrow and I am really excited!

It is funny because Sister Hansen and I were talking about how we work all day. We are out long hours tracting and trying to contact people and we are usually not finding any success at all. But, for some reason, the more we work the more referral we have from people. We received ten referrals from the Elder in Arizona and he sent me three more today. There was a guy who is only going to be in this area for two weeks who is selling Direct TV and he found three people for us. We have had three other members give us referrals to try and contact this week and they know that we are coming. We are swimming in referral right now and are trying to stay on top of everything so we don't lose anyone. But, hey, I am not complaining! Sometimes I wish we could find some people for once. But, we are trying!

Brother SC cancelled on us again this Sunday. The "B's" are back in town and we were really excited to see them. This coming week should be a good week. On Saturday, our zone is doing what they call "the Great American Cape Crew Odyssey" which translates to all cars being parked for that day and all we are supposed to be doing is finding. Well, this is much different than we do any other day but now we don't get breaks in our air conditioned car. All is well. Transfer calls are this week and I am really nervous to see what happens but it will be good I hope! I got absolutely eaten alive by bugs this week so my legs are gross.

We went to this restaurant called Lambert's. If you ever come with me to visit my mission I'll have to take you there. They are known for their rolls and they throw them to you. Yep, they throw rolls at you and you have to catch them. It's a BBQ place but like good BBQ, not western BBQ. It's cool cause the place is just covered in license plates and cool photos and their is a shirt and a tie with a ton of missionaries names on them that you can sign and they hang it up in their restaurant for us. I got a shirt, I couldn't resist. It is camo and says "On the hunt for throwed rolls". haha It was really fun.

What I learned this week:

God places very specific people in our paths so that we can learn to become our greatest self.

I have been so blessed with the people I have had in my life. So blessed. The people that have helped me get where I am today. The people back home and the people here. You know who you are and you have changed my life.

I love you all so much!

Sister Lundskog
We found a turtle and made it our pet for the day.

Tracting the roads of my area

Cool pic of Sister Hansen and me tracting

Monday, August 11, 2014

Finding Faith

Dear Family-

Well, this week went by in a blur. To be honest I can't really remember anything. We are still working and praying for miracles every day.

This week we had mini missionaries. Mini missionaries come and stay with you for a couple of days. We actually ended up having Jayce, our ward mission leaders daughter, with us. That was kind of weird because we were visiting members and less actives she knew but it worked. It was a little surprising to be with a high schooler again. I realized in a weird way how much I have grown in the two years I have been out of high school. Isn't it funny how we think we know everything as teenagers, right? It was cool though cause she did actually teach me some things as well. We made her do some tracting and different things and it was cool to think back about the first time I went tracting or the first lesson I taught and to see where I have come from because sometimes we don't see the growth or the change because we get so busy.

While Jayce was with us we actually had a little miracle. We were tracting some houses and in-between two houses Jayce asked "What happens if they say yes?" and I just looked at her and said "Well, we would go in and have a lesson or schedule a return appointment. But I wouldn't really know because I haven't really had that experience at all on my mission." I have never really found a solid person through tracting, that hasn't really been the way the Lord has lead me to people on my mission. Well, we walk over to the next house and there is a girl outside and Sister Hansen asks if she can give her a card and the girl said "Of course, what is it for?" and Sister Hansen said "Well, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints and we share messages about Jesus Christ. Is there a time we can come share this message with you?" She said, "Yes, come on in." Haha We didn't even know what to do with ourselves. Literally five seconds before I was telling Jayce that I have never had a miracle like that and then it happens. I think God has a funny sense of humor sometimes. We just talked to her for a little bit and invited her to church and set up a return appointment. Unfortunately, she did not come to church and that was a hard blow to take but we still are hoping she will want to meet with us this week.

Besides the mini mission, not much happened this week. We worked and tracted and contacted and tracted and tracted some more but didn't receive too much success from any of that. Sister Hansen and I did have our first argument...haha. We sound like a newlywed couple. We have been struggling to find ways to find people here. Ways that will help us find those who are waiting for us, to love the people and to find ways to connect with them. I think the frustration just built when we kept asking the same question to each other..."There has to be more we can do. What should we do?" Well, neither of us has the answer and I think we just kept getting fed up of spinning in circles with this area. You would think in an area this big that surely there would be someone somewhere who needs the gospel. As we keep finding rejections we start to believe that it is us and our lack as missionaries. That we are not good enough to be stewards over this area. But, nonetheless, we keep trying. At least we can show the Lord that we love Him if we are out working everyday. It will show our loyalty and determination, even if we never find anyone.

This week we finally were able to have a lesson with our only investigator, Brother SC. It was the most stressful lesson. He is so analytical and he is extremely picky about the use of words so if you do't use the right words to explain something, you have to spend ten minutes unfixing the new problem he now has. We decided to teach him the plan of salvation and the only part we got through was the premortal existence. So right now his deciding factor to believe in the church is that Satan and his followers will not get a second chance. He believes that anyone can go from good to evil and evil to good which is true. But, we tried explaining to him that even if they had a change of heart they cannot change their consequences. We can make a choice we want but we can never pick the outcome and he could not believe that. He said that we were undermining God if we said that. I don't know, it was just a really hard lesson and I was so frustrated because being able to teach is something that I have worked really hard to learn and be good at and I feel horrible when teaching him. I speak simply and I focus on the things that matter. As his wife said to him, does it really matter that your faith hangs on the balance of a choice you didn't make? Focus on you and the choice you made and you will find the answer later. But, he just can't wrap his mind around that, I guess, and it's hard because it really doesn't matter. Well, that is how I think at least.

Anyway, this week was long but it hasn't been too bad. Just learning why I am here has been a little frustrating. I have felt far from Heavenly Father lately. That's maybe my fault, throwing up walls when I feel like someone is walking out on me. But, trust is something that takes time to learn and understand and so that has been my focus this week. Throughout the day I have made a big effort to talk to my Heavenly Father. Not to talk to Him in the official formal prayer but to truly open myself up and have a conversation with Him throughout the day. Sometimes I find it hard at night to pray to Him because I feel like my boat is sinking and He is just standing by. But, we must rely on the times that the Lord has answered our prayers and believe He will answer them again. I can't see the big picture nor am I going to pretend I can. I don't have all the answers and just like Brother SC, I can ask the whys all day long but the truth is that I am not gonna understand everything in this life. Because if I did understand everything then what would be the use of faith? What would that accomplish me to know all the answers and still be here. I wouldn't learn anything. I wouldn't grow to become who I am supposed to be.

So, I am in the process of figuring out who I am supposed to day at a time.

What I learned this week:
Faith and fear cannot reside in the same place at the same time.

I love you guys and I hope you have a better week.

Love you-Sister Lundskog

P Day with Sister Hansen

Monday, August 4, 2014

He Sees What is in Your Heart

Well, to be honest, I don't even know what to start writing about. My week has flown by and not much happened. We got a call last minute on Monday from the Sister Training Leaders (STLs) asking if we could do exchanges that Wednesday. We were a little frustrated because it was the end of the month so we were out of miles and so we had to ask a member to drive us an hour to Perryville to drop one of us off and then just drive back home. That is a lot to ask someone and we had to do this on Wednesday and Thursday. This meant that we were walking on Tuesday which turned out to be a really good day. We saw three less actives and we felt super good out walking around. We were blessed because it was very cool that day. We have made it a goal to try and walk more and not just drive from house to house but get out and see as many people as possible.

Exchanges were alright. I was up in Glen Carbon with Sister Huppi. They have a crazy area. They have about seven baptismal dates, four for the 10th of August. It was extremely hard for me actually to be there but I tried to have fun. I have such a hard time with STLs. Ninety percent of the time I knew that Sister Huppi wasn't even listening to me and I thought it was so sad how they are really busy but it's almost like they make themselves even busier when they don't need to be that way at all. They are missing out on so many of the wonderful parts of being on a mission by getting distracted with the schedule and the appointments, the logistics and the numbers. It just made me really appreciate what this area has taught me. It was like an overnight change for me from hating Jackson to loving it. This area has taught me the beauty of the simple moments in life and truly how to enjoy the small and very mundane tasks in life. I AM SO BLESSED! We cannot lose sight of the moments that matter most. 

This week Sister Hansen and I worked really hard. We went to Chaffee, Marble Hill, and Perryville and spent the whole day in each area. Guess what? We have a solid number of potential gators! This week we are hoping to follow up with all of them and hopefully start teaching them the gospel. Our spark has started and we are about to set Jackson up in flames.

Anyway, that was pretty much our week. Just knocking doors and doing what missionaries do best. Brother SC cancelled on us again so we didn't have any lessons. But, we did see eight less active members or families so that was awesome. Fun thing....this week we are getting a mini missionary from our stake and she will spend the whole week with us. I feel like it is going to stress me out a little more with this area but, whatever, we will have fun with her I hope!

What I learned this week:
Our leaders challenged us to make a bucket list for this transfer and so one of the bucket list goals Sister Hansen and I came up with was to write down a miracle that happened to us every day. This has been the biggest blessing in my life. I truly have learned to look for the beauty in everything around us and to learn to trust in God. He is aware of me but sometimes I miss it because I am too busy looking for the angels and fire coming from the sky that I miss the tender mercies that he sends just to me personally every day. What I have realized is that those small miracles show more of His love than if we were to hear His voice or see angels because you realize how much He is always thinking about you and how well He knows you. He sees what is in your heart and knows the best things you need.

I love you immensely and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Love-Sister Lundskog

Sister Hansen and I in the good ole corn fields

Fun with Sister Hansen
Little Karen, my best friend here. They call her KD, the initials of her first and middle names.

A little piece of my home in Jackson