Monday, September 29, 2014

Close the Umbrellas

Dear Family-

I MISS YOU GUYS! I love conference and everything (it's great) but it sure does make me homesick! But I am excited to get to hear from the prophet next week and am definitely ready to get spiritual inspiration. Aren't we so lucky? Do we even understand how blessed we are to be able to receive inspiration from the Lord directly?

I don't even know what happened this week but this week is now over... haha What? Where did it go! We were pretty busy this week. We had some good lessons and we found a new investigator this week. Well, he found us! His name is Barry White and, no, he is not black haha. He is white. He lived in California and he was taking the lessons there but then stopped and he moved here. So he works with a member and he said the gospel kept popping up so I thought I needed to get back into it. TALK ABOUT MIRACLES PEOPLE. God is moving his work forward and if we can't find them, He will have them find us!

I want to share my what I learned this week right now. Elder Rose asked me to give a training on the invitation to be baptized...the how, when, and why. Ahhh--a training. But I am super glad I was asked to do it because I think I learned more than I taught. I wanted to focus mostly on the why. Why we do we invite people to be baptized? It's not for numbers. It's not for more members in the church. So in the bible dictionary they talk about when someone is baptized they receive a remission of sins. The definition of remission is forgiveness, or pardon from sins or mistakes. So when people have not been baptized by the proper priesthood authority, they do not have access to the atonement. It gave me a whole new perspective of why I am here and the reason we invite. Can you imagine your life without the atonement? I had everyone in our district write down what the atonement meant to them and I had them share it out loud. Then I took their papers and I tore them up and threw them away. How can we sit here being blessed with the atonement, to have access to it everyday and not do everything in our power to allow others to have that? So take a second, take a step back to realize the beautiful blessing you have in your life and stop taking it for granted. WE ARE SO BLESSED.

We have the deaf school here in Fulton so we have a lot of people that know sign language and this week I learned how to say D&C 4 in sign language! Hopefully I don't forget it and I can show you guys in a little less than 6 months.

I am really excited for this transfer to be over. It has been great but it has been hard being with someone who is going home. Even if she wasn't trunky at all it still makes me trunky because I can't wait to see my family and friends again. And wear pants. But it is not my time to go. So I have been trying to stay focused and have patience with my companion. She has definitely checked out so it has been hard to do missionary work. We are still doing a pretty good job but I am ready to really hit the pavement hard with my next companion. This area has so much potential to tap into let me tell you! But, I'll just keep working and holding out until next week!

Man, that is about all I can remember from this week. I have been doing something the last two weeks, I have been writing down a tender mercy from each day and man my eyes have seriously been opened to the blessings I receive every day from my Father in Heaven who loves me more than anything! This Sunday I had the opportunity to bear my testimony and I talked about what President Uchtdorf said in his talk at the General Women's broadcast (which was really good!). How he talked about that we have this misconception that Heavenly Father puts all these blessings in this big cloud and He locks them up and He won't give them to us until we are absolutely perfect. But in reality He is constantly pouring blessings upon us, pouring them. But it is our fear, doubt, and sin that are like umbrellas blocking out the ability for us to receive the blessings He is so willing to give us. So let us close our umbrellas and let our Father shower us with blessings!

I LOVE YOU GUYS WITH ALL MY HEART. You are in my prayers and I hope all will go well this week. Love you!

Sister Lundskog

I broke the blinds so I made a contraption to fix them
A guy we visit collects swords

Monday, September 22, 2014

Prayers and Prisons

Dear Family!

So I can't remember this week at all but I will do my best to fill you in!

Last Monday we had a new policy come out that Elders and Sisters can no longer hang out on Pdays. It has been really hard on everyone, especially the sisters because we take the brunt of it. Most sisters are not close enough in proximity with other sisters to hang out but elders are always close to each other so they are alright. We have been trying to get creative. We don't like the policy. I personally think it is stupid but I can't change it and I am not going to let other people determine my happiness on my mission. So we are just trying to make the best of it. On Monday we went with a young couple in our ward to the old Missouri State Penitentiary. It was really fun! Kind of creepy but I thought it was really fun. We took a two hour history tour. Then we went to this shop called Ozarkland. That is where I got the stickers that I sent to you! It is just a tourist shop kind of. But today we don't have anything planned so who knows what we will do.

I'm in prison!

Sister Corders and I
This week we had exchanges. I got to go with Sister Fisher. She is awesome. She's one of the strongest people I know. Keep her and her family in your prayers, they really need them right now. But we found a new investigator when we were on exchanges. It was great!

His name is Christopher. He is a less active member's nephew and he is 21 or 22. He has a really rough family life. His brother and mom won't even acknowledge you if you are Mormon. It is really awkward but he has a sincere heart and he wants to learn and he has kept all the commitments we give him. We actually had an awesome lesson with him and his aunt (she is the less active) on just the first principle of the first lesson. He knows there is a higher power but he doesn't know if he believes in God cause he said he has prayed and hasn't received answers and throughout his life he finds it hard to see God there because of all the crap he has gone through. It was an opportunity for me to testify that prayers are truly answered. I felt like I was talking to myself almost! I know sometimes we don't understand why He does what He does and there are times when we really don't see the answers. But I think that is the way that God intends it to be. But like it said in the Bairds' home, "When you can't see God's hand, trust His heart." I know that prayers are answered and I promised Christopher that if he just tries it, he will receive an answer. We are so blessed to be able to communicate with Him at any time and in any place.

This week was kind of a bummer. A lot of our gators were busy or out of town so we didn't get very many lessons in but somehow we were still crazy busy this week! The ward has been a little bit frustrating and working with my ward mission leader is hard but we are about to change some things up here! If we could do it in Jackson, I am sure we can do it here.

I hope all is well. I love you guys and miss you!

Love - Sister Lundskog

Monday, September 15, 2014

Touch of the Master's Hand

Dear Family and Friends,

I don't have much to say about this week. But, I do have something that I have learned this week that I wanted to share with you.

This was an answer I received to a prayer this week:

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile; "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried, "Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!" "Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three.." But no, from the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow. A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? Two thousand! And who'll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and gone," said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not quite understand what changed its worth." Swift came the reply: "The touch of a master's hand."
Many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. "He is going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.'

We may be battered and scarred but through the touch of the Master's hand we can be come so much more. We were not designed to fail and the scars and bruises we carry with us from our life lessons are what make us beautiful. We are masterpieces in God's hands.

Hope you have a good week. I love you!

Sister Lundskog

Monday, September 8, 2014

He Isn't Asking Me to Be Perfect

Dear Family,

This week was extremely busy. It was a hard but satisfying week and as I looked for the positives I was able to see the good through any of the bad that happened this week.

We had a lot of meetings this week that kind of made it hard to do missionary work. On Wednesday we had a Sisters weekly planning conference with all the sisters and STLs in our zone. It was alright. It was from 10:30 to 2:30pm and it was good and I appreciate what was taught but I didn't really feel like I learned much and felt like there could have been a better use of our time. But I got to see people which was fun and we had lunch together and stuff. It was good.

Then on Thursday we had President Interviews. It went alright. I don't enjoy interviews with him because he doesn't talk with you, he just talks at you. He didn't even ask me how I was doing. He spent the whole time talking about my companion and how much he respected her (which I don't mind that at all) and then about my area but he didn't ask me how I was doing or how things were going in my life. I just find it hard talking to him because I have had a hard time lately finding respect for him in how he is handling situations in the mission. I am trying to find that respect because I really do feel bad that I can't say I love my mission president like a lot of people I know can say. But I have determined not to let the agency and the actions of others determine my mission or my happiness. So things have been easier day by day when I have just let go about worrying over things that really don't matter at all. Just trying to stay here in Fulton and stay focused on the area of the mission that I can make an impact on.

It has been really exciting being in this area. It has its difficulties but I feel like it has so much potential. I have been trying really hard to draw from all those I have learned from on my mission and have started pushing to get this area going. The ward has so much potential. If they could have even half of the drive that the members in Jackson had we could do miracles and so I have been taking things that Brother Baird taught me and have started implementing them in this ward. It is time to shake things up. I have come to the conclusion that I struggle with trusting Heavenly Father. I feel like unless I am perfect I can't talk to him and I can't expect to receive any blessings or any miracles which I realize that that is a stupid statement. For the past two weeks or so I was like super depressed. Really bad wanted to come home all that jazz. I realize that I had lost my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I was trying to do everything on my own and when I would fail at being perfect or obedient to this or that I felt inadequate to talk to him. Isn't it funny how one of Satan's biggest tools is to make us feel like nothing. The more we feel like nothing the more we feel like God thinks we are nothing and the more we pull away from Him and soon we are left trying to fight this battle all alone missing our key soldier. We can't do anything without the Lord and it is so silly to think that we could ever be below His love or understanding. He isn't asking me to be perfect. He is just asking me to try.

Last Friday I actually had the blessing and opportunity to go to the temple because this is Sister Corder's last transfer and the temple is closed for cleaning the rest of the transfer. It was a huge blessing. Definitely gave me the strength to handle so much more everyday. I had been feeling like physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted and I felt like the Lord gave me so much more strength to handle all of it. It was awesome and I wish more than anything Sister Hansen could have been there.

In closing what I learned this week was actually from a Mormon message we watched with a family this week for a lesson. It is called the "Hope of God's Light". I have watched this video over and over because I feel like I can put my life in his story. But what really hit me this time is near the end. He talks about how God does not always answer our prayers until we are humble enough to receive them. The Lord understands our hearts in a way we will never comprehend. He talks about how it is part of our condition as mortals to feel like we are surrounded by darkness. But He is always there to light the way. He will nurture little by little a questioning and hurting soul until the moment we are ready to finally see. He has promised to be there every step of the way and He is. We just need to realize that it comes through small and simple ways until our heart is ready.

I love you so much and I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank you to all my family, friends and mission family for the love you give me every day. Couldn't make it without you.  :)

Love- Sister Lundskog
This is a cicada. They look like flying frogs and they dive bomb your face and they are annoying and loud

I just went home for a bit...haha

The Missouri River

Sister Corders

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Penitentiaries and Aliens

Dear Family,

I can't believe you are already moved in! That was only on Monday that you moved. That is crazy! I am glad you are all loving the house and I am happy that you got to do your Portland to Coast race one more time, Mom! Thank you for sending me all the pictures of Madelyn's wedding. She looks beautiful! I am so sad that I missed it.

Well, I guess I will just go through each day this week because a lot happened. I am exhausted! So on Monday and Tuesday it was kind of my last goodbyes to everyone in Jackson. I must say, especially coming here, that I was extremely blessed with the members I had there. I don't miss the area so much but the ward I miss tremendously. There are some solid members in that ward. I said goodbye to as many people as I could but it is hard when they are all so spread out! Tuesday, with the amazing help of a wonderful companion, I was able to pack pretty fast... I had to buy space bags because I have too much stuff so by next transfer you will probably get a package of stuff that I will be sending home. We did our last team up Tuesdays as a group. We went up to Perryville and we went with the Snipes, Bairds, and Davis's and it was just such a cool experience to see their dedication. It was the Bairds' anniversary....and they chose to come out and do missionary work. It was such a huge example and testimony builder for me that this is real life. We should be moving God's work forward at all times. It should be the center of our lives and not on the sidelines.
The Baird Family

Sister Hansen and I at transfers

The girls in my district

Anyway, transfer meeting was good. I got to see everyone. That was a huge refresher to see everyone and get to talk to them and see how they are doing. Sister Robertson is awesome. I got to ride back with Sister Fisher too. She is my STL again and I go on exchanges with her next week.

My companion is Sister Corder and she is awesome! This is her last transfer so I am with a seasoned veteran I guess you could say. She is from Caldwell, Idaho and she went to BYUI before she came out. She is really chill and doesn't ever pull this way or the highway. She has been down to try new things or anything I suggest which has been awesome. She hasn't made me feel inadequate the entire time I have been here which has been really nice because I have really needed it right now. Definitely been struggling a lot with homesickness this week and just being a missionary so she has been a great example since I can't really turn to the friends I love right now. She has been good at being a friend without it seeming forced. Her dad died about five months ago and so it is a huge example to see her finishing her mission strong and I know I am going to learn a lot from her.

I have had more lessons these past few days than I think I had all together for 3 months in Jackson. We have 3 gators here--Stephen (who is 21), Howard (who is married to a member and has faithfully come to church every Sunday to support his wife), and then Carolyn who I have not met yet but she apparently has 30 cats and lives in a trailer. Howard and his wife remind me of Grandma and Grandpa Christensen. Their house even smells like theirs. We have about 6 recent converts we are working with and we see about one to two less actives a day. People are a lot more friendly up here and members feed us almost every night.

Some fun facts about Fulton. Winston Churchill's famous "There is an iron curtain descending over Europe speech" was given here of all place. We have a famous church from Europe that got bombed out and they moved it here and fixed it up. Also, we actually have a part of the Berlin wall here. So that is pretty cool. We also have the state penitentiary for Missouri here. If someone needs to get sent to prison, they are all sent here to have their mental health and forensics checked and then once they determine their status, they send them out to different prisons in Missouri. In Jeffy City, they have the old penitentiary. It started in 1836 or something and was closed in 2004. You can take different tours of it and it is super creepy. Around 1967 Times Magazine said it was the bloodiest 50 acres of America because there had been about 550 serious assaults there. Also, there was like an epidemic that broke out and killed a whole bunch of prisoners so they just buried them out in the front which is now where the parking lot is. You can take a ghost tour at night and the History Channel has actually come here and done a thing on how it is haunted. There is also a gas chamber you can go in and look at. Fulton also has the state mental health hospital here. So pretty much there are just a ton of scary big buildings that are all fenced in here. But its good, I like it. There is a University and a college here. They are super small. The school for the deaf is here as well.

Our apartment...I forgot to get a picture but I will send it to you next time. We live in an old a really old school that they turned into apartments for some crazy reason. It is super old and kind of weird but we have a ton of space. But we have a bug problem. There are these millipede/centipede things. I don't know what they are. They have skinny, flat bodies and hundreds of legs that are long long long (like a spider's) and they appear out of nowhere! We have named them "the aliens". We are gonna ask our manager to bomb the apartment for us because it is really bad. We had 3 in our room last night and seriously these things might be worse than spiders and you know how I feel about spiders...

I feel like I am rambling on. The area is good and I am liking it. I really do miss Jackson though. I am sure the Lord is like...Seriously?!? You weren't happy there and now you want to go back? I miss Sister Hansen a lot. She was such a good friend. I am going to ask president in interviews this week if we can be comps on the flight home. Anyway I can't think of anything else to tell you. My mind is on overload this week. We did have an awesome thunderstorm last night and it rained all night which never happens in Missouri. They usually move super fast but it was so nice to fall asleep to. It was like home :)

What I learned this week:
I miss the example and the dedication of the members in the Jackson ward.
We must not forget why we are here. Whether that is in the sense of a mission or our mission here on earth. When things get hard we cannot forgot the times when we have felt our prayers answered or seen the Lord's hand. We must always hold strong to our testimony, no matter how small it may be. Like it says in the Baird's home: When you can't see the Lord's hand, trust His heart.

I LOVE YOU! Hope you have a great week. Allison and Justin you should try emailing me... I would like to hear from you :)

Love- Sister Lundskog
Remember Christy, my investigator in the Highlands? She got baptized!! Since I was so close to her I got to go to her AWESOME!