Monday, September 23, 2013

Just keep swimming....

Hi Family!
This week has been exhausting.  It's so frustrating when people make promises to the Lord and to you and they don't follow through. That was pretty much the story of our week.  In other news, we found a bunch of new investigators. We felt prompted to knock a few doors in a particular area the other day, and we found this guy named Patrick. We taught him the restoration and it went really well. After we got done at his doorstep I just knew that he was the reason we went over there and needed to knock doors in that area. So that was kinda cool.
We volunteered at a 5k race in the community Saturday morning, and I decided to pull some back flips in the bouncy house... and I totally threw out my back. I was in lots of pain... I was having a hard time walking and everything I did just put me in a world of hurt. I was about to call it quits because I just couldn't handle it anymore... then I remembered this story mom sent me a while back:
" went down to the apartments and the plumber was supposed to show up, but never did.  So, dad went up and down those 3 flights of stairs on his crutches but managed to fix the leak himself.  He had to go up and down about 3 times, so he was hurting a little today.  He is such a trooper.  One thing I know you have a great example of in your excuses.  Just get the job done, no matter how hard, and no matter what it takes."
And since dad and me are made of the same stuff, I figured I could push through too. And we continued working through the rest of the day and found some new investigators as a result.  I think we grow the most when we do things that we really don't want to do... or think we can't do. I learn so much every day.  Thanks for all the love and support from home... I love you guys so much.
See you in three weeks!
Love Sis Skousen

PS The pic is a couple of us saying goodbye to sis Reeves, the office missionary. She went home last tuesday.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dear Family,
I can't believe Josh is home... it's killing me a little bit, I'll be honest. But I guess it's just four short weeks and Ill be the one wearing the tag in the airport. Crazy.
It's been an eventful week here. First of all, we got to go on exchanges with some sisters in one of my last area's and I was able to visit and teach some recent converts who I love - Theresa Delgado and her family... if you remember.
We have an investigator set for baptism on Oct 12th, her name is Patricia. We taught her the other night out on her porch. Apparently it was prime feeding time for the bugs, and I was number one on the menu.  I counted 115 bites on my legs. My feet and ankles and legs were really swollen and it hurt to walk. The bugs here are relentless! I have a picture but it's pretty gross, so I don't know if I'll send it. If I do... just don't post it on the blog ok? ha.
In other news, do you know who is from Mechanicsville...?!?! JASON MRAZ. And he dated a girl in our ward when they were in 7th grade. haha. Apparently he's in town a lot because his family lives here... I asked the member if Jason would like to meet with the missionaries because I guess she talks to him a lot.  She said probably not. I tried. I'm just hoping I'll run into him in the next 4 weeks...
I got to be a part of something really special on friday. There is a sister here who I've worked with a lot, and she's amazing. Her brother was her best friend... and he committed suicide a year ago on the 14th. She's here on a mission using the funds that would have sent him on a mission. The story is altogether pretty heartbreaking, and she is an example of strength and faith.  I can't imagine going through some of the things she's been through.  We had a special memorial service on Saturday for him, and she asked me to play a musical number.  Her favorite was "I need thee every hour", so I played that song and arranged it in a little different way, and I added an additional verse at the end. I was really honored to get to do that. The spirit in the memorial was so strong. 
We also had a lot of success in contacting people.  Our timing was just blessed. It was wonderful. We have a lot of potential here right now.
So this week was a good week, and I learned a couple things:
  1. The world is full of broken hearts. And sometimes the Lord allows our hearts to be broken.  Because it's when we are broken that we realize our need to be carried.
  2. We can't give up.  If we give up, then we are showing that we don't trust the Lord. It's when we push through, even though we don't know how it will work out, or how we are going to do it, and we plead for help from our Maker, that we allow ourselves to access and feel the power of the Atonement in our lives. No matter what the trial is, no matter how difficult emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically... This life is about learning to trust God, and act on that trust.
Something kinda cool also happend on sunday. A new stake high counselor was called and he was from my ward in my last area.  We had taken him to a few lessons and so I know him pretty well.  He spoke in Mechanicsville Sunday, and at the end of his talk, he gave me the best shout out I've ever recieved.  He just announced to everyone how he knew me, he knew about my conversion to the gospel, he know about my teaching, and he just promised everyone that if they would trust their friends to me that they would be in good hands.  It made me feel so good, and I wasn't expecting it at all. I love being a missionary.
Well family, I know you probably got the travel papers, but it's official. I'll be home October 15th, and my flight arrives at 6:30 PM
I'll try and send some pics real quick, I don't have much time. I love you all so much. Send me some pics and stuff when you can. Love you!
Sis Skousen

Monday, August 26, 2013

This week...August 26th

Dear family,
Well, this week was a rough one.  We went on three exchanges to help sisters in their respective areas, which kept us tired and on our toes, and planned a baptism on top of it.  And that hard part was... Hanna decided to cancel her baptism 2 hours before it was supposed to start.  She's been having a lot of opposition from her family.  She knows it's true, she knows it's good, it's just a really difficult decision.  We are seeing her this week, so that will be good.  It's been a rollar coaster.
The whole zone has been praying for her though, and I know miracles can and do happen. I've seen them.  And I know I will continue to see them. As long as I am doing the Lords work in the Lords way and in his time.  It will all work out.
I played the piano and sang in sacrament on sunday.  No, I did not volunteer to do it, I like to think more i was tricked into it. But that's besides the point.  I played my song 'the Healer' by request.  It was a neat experience actually and I'm so grateful to be able to use the talent given to me to help other people.  There was one lady in particular who hasn't come to church for 20 years, and she was there on sunday. I knew who she was, and she came and talked to me afterwards with tears in her eyes and told me that she can't feel the spirit, that it's a really hard thing for her.  And that during my song was the first time in long long time she has discernably been able to feel something.  I don't think I could get a better compliment than that. 
Also, this adorable 8 year old tugged at my arm and asked me to play that song for her baptism on thursday - which of course I said yes to.  And the young women of the ward had a council meeting and asked if they could use it as their theme song for next year.  :) Exciting stuff for me! I just feel super blessed.
We had a chance to get out a little this week. Here's a pic of sis moon, sis Montgomery (someone we took on exchanges) and myself over at Belle Isle - one of my favorite spots in richmond.
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View of Richmond and the James River from the footbridge.
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It's transfer week - and we'll be getting our calls tomorrow. They changed it on us, normally I would know where I was going or if I was going right now.  Sis Moon and I are really hoping to stay together for my last transfer. Wish us luck! I'll let you know what happens next week.
Love you all,
sis Skousen

Monday, August 19, 2013

This is how we do it....

So, this week has been great. Kinda crazy, but great.  Hanna is getting baptized on Saturday! I couldn't be more excited. She is going up to the temple today to see it for the first time.  She is ready to make the committment, even though she has been having a lot of opposition from family and friends.  Baptisms are so powerful, especially convert baptisms.  The spirit is so strong, it reminds me of being in the temple.  I think it's that way when we make promises with God, and he sends his spirit in such abundance that it shows how proud and please he is with what we are doing.
Sis Moon and I have been very busy with exchanges and helping out the sisters we are responsible for.  We dropped off sister Pond last monday, and 5 hours later we got a call from president asking us to take in a sister who needs help... so, we now have another third companion. yay! I am really hoping that next transfer it will just be me and sister moon.  We get transfer calls on sunday... so wish me luck that we both stay.
Here's us dropping off sis Pond:
Inline image 5 
This is how we deal with stress:
Step one:
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Step two:
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Step three:
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Well, I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week!
sis Skousen

Monday, August 12, 2013

This week...

Dear Family
This week was a rollar coaster.  We said goodbye to sister Pond today and sent her off to the airport.  It was bitter sweet.  Sad to see her go, but good because I know that it's the right decision for her. 
Yesterday I saw Heidi (gainer) and Ryan and their baby Archer, at Joey Stewart and his wife's house. They had us over for dinner and Heidi and Ryan came down from DC to spend the day.  It was so good to see them! I have a pic, but I left my camera so I'll send it next week.  It's still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that heidi has a one year old baby. And he's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.
We got to spend the night in the mission home last night, and we had so much fun. We stayed up playing games with president and sister Wilson and one of the other missionaries who was going home and his companions.  I love staying in the mission home. It brought me back to my first night in the mission when I stayed there.  We all had a great companionship study this morning with President.  Wow. I just don't think it gets any better than that.
I've been learning lately a little more about how the Lord speaks to us... and how often he speaks to us.  The Lord reaches out to everyone, those who follow, and those who are lost.  Think of how many times the Lord spoke to Laman and Lemual, and the Alma the younger and the sons of mosiah... I like this verse in Mosiah 27:12
"And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them."
and compare that with 3 Nephi 11:4-7
And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they aunderstood it not.And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did aopen their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
Behold my aBeloved Sonbin whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.
Sometimes we get distracted, or we don't hear what the Lord is trying to tell us... but he always gives us second chances, and he is always there.  We just have to do what the nephites did and turn our eyes towards heaven and open our ears and really listen.  And I think the trick is too listening to the right things.  Like Alma the younger was so wrapped up in his astonishment and falling down that he couldn't understand or hear the words the angel was speaking to him the first time.
I see people, investigators, members, and even myself sometimes get wrapped up or distracted by things that don't matter. Even if they are gospel topics or scriptural interpretations that we don't fully understand.  We just have to pay attention to what the Lord is telling us... pay attention to how our hearts feel, because things of the spirit will always communicate with our spirit.  What matters is that the book of mormon is true, and it was translated by the power of God through Joseph Smith.  What matters is that the priesthood power is restored and real, and we have all the ordinences and blessings that God has to offer his children available us. We have it. The whole truth and nothing but. People need to know it and they need to see it in action through the way we live.
Hanna is set for baptism on Aug 24th. I am so happy for her and so excited, because she is ready.  She faces a lot of opposition though, and I am humbled to see the kind of faith it takes for someone to leave behind everything they knew - everything they've been raised with and surrounded by - to follow Jesus Christ... and she is doing that.
This work is all about finding the ONE.
...interpret that however you want to.
 I love you all and I am SO excited that Joshy and I are reporting on our missions the same day. Oct 20th! I couldn't be happier. Hope you all have a good week.
love love love
sis Skousen

Monday, July 29, 2013


 This week was alright for us. I had a little run in with a hot glass pan - see attached photo - I figure I can use it as a plead for members to feed the missionaries.  Look what happens when we try to feed ourselves! ha.
We teach the restored gospel in five bullet points, Faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end.  I'm really learning the endure to the end part right now. I'm trying to finish strong, and to keep running full speed. I love this work and everything about it.  Sometimes it's hard when you don't see things go the way you want them to, or you see people you love make choices that diliberately counter happiness... but I guess that's life isn't it? I'm learning.  I'm learning to be more compassionate, to be a better teacher, to really focus on what people need and try to help them, and most of all I'm learning how to be a better instrument in His hands. Obedience is the key to everything.  It's the first law of heaven. And the better we learn it here, the better off we will be.
Love you, hope you all have a good week. No more vacations with out me! :) I should know next week exactly what day in October I'll be home. I'll keep you posted.
sis Skousen

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tough week in Gayton...

Hi Mom and Dad
Thanks for your emails! I always look forward to hearing from you. It's the boost I need on a Monday.  And mom, thanks SO much for your letter.  I wrote you back, but true to form, I haven't sent it yet. I'll pop it in the mail today. :) It really helped, and nothing beats a hand written letter... EVER! So thanks.
To answer your questions: No I don't have a release date yet, they are working on a couple things in the office to let us know.  I should know in a couple weeks I think.
That's so cool that Meghan and Lecy got their mission calls! SO Exciting! I told my friends down in Chesapeake to look for elder Horrocks.  That's super exciting.
IT's crazy how fast time flies.  Sometimes it feels like it drags... but when you look back on it, it's so quick!
We had kind of a tough week here in Gayton.  We were dropped this week by a couple of our investigators.  That's always tough. We are trying to get the work picked up again, but having a hard time with the third companion here.  But it's good. We all get along which is a blessing.
Yesterday we went to our church, and then to a Presbyterian church with an investigator who invited us.  It was nice to get to go, and I see why she's so darn comfortable where she's at.  If I didn't know what I know... I'd think it was a great gig! haha.  They gave a nice sermon on a book in the bible, had some nice things to say, but as you know... it was missing something.  A good experience though.
We taught a really good lesson to our investigator Hannah this week.  She's great. She's progressing and we are working towards baptism with her.  She's young, 21, but has been through a lot.  She has such a light in her though and she loves the gospel even though she has a lot of opposition.  She will get there eventually.  She's reading and praying and making progress! 
Well that's about it for me this week. Love you so much.  Tell Jake and Siera I'd love to hear from them... Sheesh! Story of my mission life.  Don't worry about hounding them too much.... but I really do want to hear from them.  Thanks, parents, for all you do.  I appreciate your love and support, you are amazing. I'm lucky to have you!
Love you!
sis Skousen