Monday, August 25, 2014

Kirksville #4

Hello from Kirksville once again!  Things are good here and the work is picking up a bit. It is so so hot here though! The humidity is heavy and we are in a heat advisory, I think. I don't watch the news but a member was telling us to always carry water and take breaks, especially if we're walking. We get the car back on Thursday so that will be good!
School is back in session here at Truman so there are a bunch of people in the library and it reminds me of those days for me. I don't miss those days but it's good to have a lot of people around to talk to!
A few things about Missouri. Everything is green but there is not a sprinkler in sight! Not kidding, the only ones I've seen were at the church building. Grandpa would love gardening here, because there would be no water bill! But with the rain and green comes humidity. The other night we were out knocking on doors before we went in for the night. The sun had set but it was still really hot! It felt like when you open the dish washer just after it finished a load of dishes, but not just for a few seconds. Imagine that all day. We were constantly sweating. I wiped my sweat mustache five times in ten minutes. It was lovely. But the members ALWAYS pick us up if they see us! Or if we make it to their house they give us a cup of water and a paper towel. They're great and super good to us.
Bugs out here are crazy too. The other day we were walking by some tall grass on the side of the road and I got his in the face by some big black thing! Hard! I thought my worst nightmare had come true and a bird was attacking me! Sister Ramsey was laughing so hard because she had seen the grasshopper fly out of the grass, get caught in the wind, go whizzing past her, and smack me right in the face! I was so startled but had a good long laugh about it after I realized I wasn't under attack.
On Friday we went to Iowa City, which is three hours away, for a training meeting for all the new missionaries. It was really good to see a lot of MTC friends and I'm sad I didn't get pictures. But after the meeting we went to the mall to eat and I saw someone with a  Kahuku shirt on! I thought, "no way, someone from Laie in Iowa?!" I just had to talk to them! So I did. They were from Hawaii and went to BYU-Hawaii and lived in Iowa City because he was going to school. There were two little Hawaiian kids running around and I had a great little chat with the family. Oh, and last week we ran into a Padre fan here in Kirksville! He's not even from California, Kirksville born and raised but an avid Padre fan. He said went to a game down in St. Louis last week when the Padres came. He had a big number 19 on the back of his truck! He wasn't interested in the gospel but it was good to talk him. It's kinda cool running into people I can relate really well with even though I am way out here in Missouri.
The first three weeks I was here in Kirksville we worked really hard to find new investigators but were having no luck. No new investigators the first three weeks. None. It was frustrating because we wanted more people to teach! But we just continued to trek along and work hard. On Thursday we were knocking doors with the sun beating down on us and people rejecting us left and right. I had my hair in a bun on top of my head. Professional? Probably not, but there was no other way to survive the heat and humidity. We worked hard for two hours and by the end of it I was frustrated to be honest! But then a miracle happened. A member called us, told us we should come over for dinner, and said that her friend was there and she wanted us to teach her! We taught Marcie at Sister Forbes' apartment and had a great meal. Marcie really wants to learn more and is so prepared to accept the gospel. We were also blessed with another new investigator on Saturday. We might feel like we are going through the hardest moments, and maybe we are. We may feel like our efforts are in vain. We might feel alone in our work and efforts to do the right thing. But the Lord is mindful of our efforts and will bless us. He let's us go through hardship to see if we will have faith. It is after this trial of our faith that he will pour out blessings. Remain faithful, fight the good fight, and remember that He knows your circumstances. He is laboring with us in the vineyard of life. The good Lord is there and will never forsake us.
Love you all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Hi, I'm picking weeds!"

Kirksville- Letter# 3

So I've heard there is some serious unrest here in Missouri that has lead to national news and riots and curfews and craziness. I'll have you know that I am safe and well up here in Kirksville! Like i've said the people here are nice and inviting for the most part.
A few funny tidbits to tell today. The other day Sister Ramsey and I were walking down the street and we saw this older lady picking weeds on the side of the raod, not even near a house. We get closer to her and she turns around still in her crouch and exclaims, "Hi, I'm picking weeds!" She was picking the weeds down the street from her house so that they wouldn't spread to her lawn! That is some dedication to lawncare. We talked to her a bit and when she realized we were missionaries she wasn't as friendly but it was such a funny experience! Sister Ramsey and I have a good laugh with that line every once and a while. We go to the nursing home, Kirksville Manor Care, twice a week for service. We paint old lady's nails and help them play bingo. Bingo is fun if you're sitting next to a funny and snarky old lady, but when they're all quiet you could hear a pin drop in there between bingo calls. All you hear is the monotone bingo czar calling out numbers "B-19. B-1-9. Alright, clear your cards. Bueller. Bueller." I don't know how many times I've yawned or daydreamed in there! It is super funny though and sometimes I just laugh at the situation.
There is a sister that we visit at Manor Care that we love. she doesn't play bingo but she is an older sister who is too ill to make it to church. Her name is Sister Williams. She is not doing well and has a lot of hard days of being sick and not having visitors. But her smile always beams on her face when we appear in her door. She makes us happy and is a pleasure to be around. If we could we would just spend our whole day there talking and visiting with her. Last week Siser Ramsey had a great idea and we made her cards just to tell her how much we love and care for her. She was so happy to have them. I know that as we serve others and brighten their days the Lord blesses and brightens our days as well. He cannot make cards for those who need it, but we can. We are His hands here on the earth and it is through service that we can bring about His great works.
I love it here in Missouri, I know I say it every week but I really do. The heat and humidity make my hair almost unmanagable sometimes and I sweat a lot, but the Lord's work is so enjoyable and makes it worth every minute. Just fyi, at Walmart today I saw three different men wearing overalls. I love the people out here and their kind hearts even if they do shut the door in our faces.
God bless you all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, August 11, 2014

Just a bit of clay...

Kirksville letter #2

My second week here in Kirksville, Missouri was an interesting but very good one! I am so happy here and loving the work. Sister Ramsey and I have been busy with appointments and a lot of finding (aka knocking doors). We have a handful of investigators but are really looking for more people to teach. The members in the ward might be annoyed because we ask for referrals so much!
On Wednesday we went to Brashear, a town just 15 minutes out of Kirksville. It used to be the elder's area but we took it because they are strictly walking now. We went out there to find their old investigators and look for some new ones as well. Lets just say that the town sign says "Pop. 297" but probably one third of the houses are abandoned. You get the picture. One paved road. It felt like a ghost town. We turned down a dirt road the elders told us go find and investigator on and it wasn't dirt. Thick and tack clay mud coated our tires. We got to the top of this little hill somehow and saw there wasn't a house for a good mile! So I got out to help Sister Ramsey turn around! Thick mud coated my little city girl flats and I was soon sliding around. We turned around eventually after a 15 point turn on the small road and I took of my shoes to get in the car and they each weighed two pounds! No joke. We were laughing so hard and just having fun with our plight as we were scraping the mud off of my shoes and the car behind the public school while the large bearded janitor man was watching us and laughing too. Finding Brashear was definitely a hard time as it was 95 degrees and humid and we knocked on abandoned houses. The Lord blessed us though with two potential investigators so we will probably go back later this week when we get the car back.
Speaking of getting the car back, we lost our beloved vehicle to the elders in the other ward on Thursday and have had quite the experience walking. My little iPod shuffle has come in handy. We did a lot of finding on Saturday and at the end of the day we had walked ELEVEN miles and 24,000 steps!! We were so tired and when we got home we gorged ourselves on leftover frozen food from the previous sisters that left and candy. Then we just laid there on the couches as our legs lay limp. We are not in walking shape evidently. But we really like it because it gives us opportunities to talk to people and knock doors to meet people. The other night as we were getting home after a long day we saw fireflies! They were so pretty and cute just hovering over the grass.
There are Amish and Menonite people here, fyi. On Thursday we were sitting in Dairy Queen and there trots by a horse drawn carriage on the main street of town! I was looking around like are we in the 1800s?! They had just gone to Walmart and had all their bags of stuff in the back of the carriage flapping in the wind! Culture shock. No but I want to talk to one of them sometime. I heard they make great pastries and are really nice.
Like I said the people here are the best. I love them so much. If you are over 60 and still have teeth it's an anomaly. They love sitting out on their porches and just visiting with you for hours. We visit lots of old people and are just so sweet and feed us a lot.
Something cool I learned this week was that humility + faith = access to grace, or the enabling power of the atonement. Try it, it works. I have leaned on the atonement so much for added strength my whole mission. When I was having a hard time studying all day in the MTC or out here in Kirksville walking eleven miles in church shoes. Our Heavenly Father wants to help us, we just need to ask for that extra strength, or grace,  in humility and with faith to get us through our personal trials.
The gospel blesses families, it is the way to find happiness in this life, and the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
Love you all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, August 4, 2014

Kirksville MO letter #1

My last few days in the MTC were really good. I had learned so much and had some really cool experiences teaching and learning. We left at 2:30 on Wednesday morning and got into Des Moines, Iowa just after noon that day. Everyone, including myself, was dead tired. President and Sister Jensen and the assistants picked us up from the airport and took us to the mission home. There we had some training, interviews with President Jensen, a testimony meeting, and of course a delicious dinner. President and Sister Jensen are awesome! They are so nice and just willing to help us missionaries so much. T

​he next morning we went to Iowa City for transfer meetings and I met my trainer, Sister Ramsey! She is from Brea, California originally but had moved to Utah in high school. She is just great and super nice. We get along well and she has taught me so much already. Her favorite food is doughnuts. So naturally we get along.
In transfer meeting I also found out what area I would be serving. We are in Kirksville, Missouri. Try and find that on map without using Google! Kirksville is a small town of only 17,000 people here in northern Missouri. It is three hours from Iowa City, Des Moines, St. Louis, and Kansas City. There is not another sister missionary for 200 miles! Ya we are kind of in the middle of nowhere. But we do have a Walmart, multiple grocery stores, and some okay food. We ate at a Mexican place after district meeting on Saturday and they served ground beef tacos. Yum, my favorite. Also, there are two small universities here, Truman State University and AT Still which is a medical and dental school. It'll be good when school starts again because there will be more people around to talk to. But there are a lot of farms out here, mostly growing corn, soy beans, and hay. On our way from Des Moines to Iowa city I fell asleep to corn outside my window. Two hours when I woke up there was still corn going by. So it is true, there is corn everywhere, even here in Missouri. It is really warm and humid here and it threatens to rain almost everyday. It reminds me of Hawaii weather a bit and I don't mind it. Sister Ramsey and I have a car but share it with the other missionaries, so maybe I will mind it when we have to walk everywhere for a week. There are two wards here in Kirksville and five sets of missionaries! Yup, five. There are three in our ward. Us and two elders cover Kirksville, and another set covers two outlying towns that are in our ward, Edina and Memphis.
The people here in Kirksville are so great and sweet. They are just good country folk who like to tell it how it is. I have sat in more lazy boy recliners in the past four days than I would have in a year back in San Diego.
Yesterday we had church and some great testimonies were given. We had an investigator at church, Barb, who we had also taught on Saturday about the Book of Mormon. She is so sweet and great. We have a date set for her to be baptized, October 4th, so hopefully we can keep working with her so we can reach that goal.
I am just so happy here in Missouri (kind of ironic if you enjoy word play), but I really do love it! I have learned so much here already and can't wait to meet more people.Read the Book of Mormon! I love it and my testimony of it has grown so much out here as I have turned to it for answers and help. I've seen what the gospel and Jesus Christ can do for people and my conviction in my message has only been strengthened here.
Love you all,
Sister Skaggs