Monday, August 31, 2015

Fear thou not

Unplanned matching

So this past week I was driving down a street in a neighborhood we frequent. This kid was on the sidewalk dribbling a basketball, practicing some sweet moves. Just before I got to him he lost a handle on the ball... it rolled into the street right in front of our car and I ran it over. I felt like the worst human being of all time! It was a huge coincidence and kinda funny but mostly saddening. We slowed down and apologized to the kid and realized we had just knocked on his door the day prior looking for one of our investigators. It's safe to say though that my week got a whole lot better!
On Tuesday we had interviews with President and Sister Jensen, it was the BEST! I love interviews with President. I remember my first interview back in Quincy, Illinois, I was so nervous, but now it is such a great time. The fifteen minutes just flies by! After the interview we were in the hall saying goodbye and President almost gave me a hug! It was so funny. I just shot out my hand and he was like "oh, I was ready to hug ya." I love him and Sister Jensen so much!
All over Des Moines there are billboards with babies on them. Some cute, some... not so much. Well, they are accompanied by clever phrases like "we are the future" and "hair raising fact!" Sometimes they are in baby sized bath tubs and other times their hair is spiked real high. It's a strange little quirk about the political propaganda here in Iowa.
Sylvia Thomas was baptized and confirmed this weekend! Wow, what can I say. Just three weeks ago helping her be baptized was the gretest anxiety of my soul! Really though, I would have done anything to help Sylvia be baptized! She was so happy and wanted to stay in the font just to hang out cause she liked it so much. The service and confirmation went on without a hitch, which is a modern day miracle!
I wanted to share a few things that helped Sylvia be baptized. She had been taught so long that we weren't sure which direction to go. About a month ago her brother passed away and she had relapsed on smoking. It was really tough for Sister Williams and I. But we knew the gospel would help. We taught her about the eternal nature of families and the work of salvation done in temples. Those eternal truths answered one of her deep questions of the soul. Next up we focused on the restoration of the gospel and the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. We shouldn't have been shocked but we were a week later when she said she had given up smoking! It was a major testimony builder that the gospel of Jesus Christ is real. It's not just a good idea or a catchy phrase that we preach. It heals hearts. All the answers to life's hardest questions can be found. We can be lifted beyond our own strength. The adversary would have us think otherwise. I have seen it time and time again as people have yearned for truth yet turned away just when it was at their doorstep. We need not fear, the Savior of the world and creator of the universe is on our side! Christ and His teachings will never fail, as said in Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Iowa Fair Food

At a SLT meeting

This past week a member texted us and said "Sisters, I'm going to the fair to get some food. What can I get you?" Needless to say we were stoked! I had a gyro, Sister Williams had a cord dog, and the member surprised us with deep fried pineapple and a pork chop on a stick. Fair food coma is a real thing!
We also had four meetings this week (Mission Leadership Council and three Zone Training Meetings) which consisted of 19 hours of sitting, six more hours sitting in a car, five hours of planning a training, and an hour total of training missionaries. It was totally awesome and very exhausting! Astonishingly we were still able to have time to see some miracles and teach some sweet lessons!
Sylvia passed her baptismal interview and will be baptized this coming Saturday! She's quit smoking and is super excited to finally be baptized. I've been teaching Sylvia for close to five months now, so I'm pretty pumped too.
Just yesterday we had a lesson fall through and we had recent convert Janet Quam with us to be the member present. So we decided to go sit at some benches with the Janet and study Preach My Gospel. We get to the benches and there was a man sitting there, his name was Frank. He told us he was ready to give up on God and really was discouraged with the direction his life was going. We were able to testify of our Father in Heaven's love for him and invite him to be baptized. He was overjoyed and the spirit was insanely strong. He knew without a doubt that Heavenly Father loved him! Janet, the recent convert, then testified of the beauty and blessing of baptism. Frank said so many times, "No one is going to believe me, God sent angels here to me!" It was a very special experience to be a part of and I felt very humbled to know that Heavenly Father used us, two young girls and a recent convert of just seven months to comfort and bless His son who was in need. We'll be seeing Frank this week and after setting the appointment for Tuesday he said "I'll be holding y'all to that!" It's people like Frank and the experience we shared that I will never forget.
I am so grateful to be a tool in Father in Heaven's hands. This is His work and glory, and I love it!
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, August 17, 2015

I love love!

Somewhere in Des Moines


My oh my there is a lot to cover today, a lot of random things that I wrote down during the week that I just need to explain!
So this past week we recognized that we needed to help one of our investigators, Sylvia, stop smoking. It was vital! She has had multiple baptismal dates pass by and I have been teaching her for almost five months now! We go to her apartment on Saturday with one of her good friends who is a member and who used to smoke. One of the first things Sylvia told us was that she had her last cigarette the night before! She is totally done. She knows she needs to be healthy and wants to get baptized so bad. It gets better because she came to church, stayed all three hours, and was participating in the lessons! We are so excited to stay close to her these next two weeks so that she can be baptized ASAP!
Also this past week on Tuesday the branch president and his wife, the Jespersen's, in the Spanish 5th Branch took us and the Hermanas to la mie, a French bakery! The Jespersen's knew me and my family way back in the day in San Diego! It was super fun to be with them and talk about our families and friends.
Random Iowa information! The state fair is going on here in Des Moines, it's crazy! Well, there are billboards for it everywhere. Even one from the Iowa Egg Council that reads "Get your egg on a stick at the fair!" That's exactly what I would be craving at the fair as I walk around in 95 degree weather, a hard boiled egg on a popsicle stick. Also at the state fair I a life size butter cow. Legit, no joke. It's all the rave.
The cicaidas are as loud as ever and leave their little outer shells everywhere, it's quite pleasant. The other day I was making dinner and they provided a very nice backdrop to the chicken I was grilling. The window was closed and I could still hear their melodious screeching!
So there's this little Bosnian boy who must be six or seven that lives near us. Whenever he sees us he asks if we have candy. His name is Muyo and he's a gem. The other day we saw him on a little razor motorcycle, it was so cute! We raced him on our car and his dad got mad. Then I got a sweet video of him saying "My name is Muyo and I like to go fast!"
Also, with transfers this past week, I'm still here in Des Moines with Sister Williams! And... drum roll... they opened Kirksville back up for sisters!!! I am so stoked! One of the sisters that was serving here in the stake went down there with her new companion. Hearing that news made me so happy because after being trained and spending six months in Kirksville they closed it. But the Sisters are back in town and "that just tickles me" as the old ladies out here would say!
I wanted to briefly write a little bit about the importance of love. I love love! With pure love and concern for others our motives will be pure. We will act the way that Christ would and that love will lift others. I have found that loving others is the most valuable lesson that I have learned on my mission thus far. And with just five months left (CRAZY) I don't know that I'll learn anything much more valuable. I can say it's the most valuable thing I have learned because I was very clearly without it before I came to Iowa. I had a testimony of the gospel and my savior, and yes that testimony has grown immensely and entered my heart deeper. But I have learned that love is the gospel in action! So love freely! Love everyone and seek to love like the savior, it's the best!
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sometimes the easiest thing isn't always the best thing

District Meeting

Teaching Primary

So this past week the two people that we had on date to be baptized had a tough time with commandments and getting permission from family. It was kinda rough not being able to see them be baptized. But such is life and such is missionary work. We say a prayer, act in faith, and put on our working shoes to find more who are prepared!
Transfers are this week but it is looking like Sister Williams and I will stay together because we haven't heard anything from President and he'll usually call when one of us gets transferred. Fingers are still crossed though! I can't leave Des Moines yet, I just love it way too much.
Random awesome moment during the week: one of my favorite people to bring to lessons, Janet Quam, said this week in a lesson "Sometimes the easiest thing isn't always the best thing." She testifies so boldly and kinda puts people in their place! It's the best.
This week I have been focusing more on utilizing and seeking the spirit during lessons. I have prayed for help and it has been amazing! I love that the spirit testifies of truth, there's nothing better than testifying of precious truths, feeling the spirit strongly, and knowing that those you are teaching are feeling it as well. I love it! It is an amazing blessing to be a representative of Jesus Christ and to testify of Him with the Spirit. The mantle is heavy, it's hard, and I am always tired. But I know that my Father in Heaven will not leave me comfortless or directionless. The Spirit is always there to help, lift, and inspire. What an amazing gift! This week seek the spirit more in prayer and listen to promptings. I watched "On The Lord's Errand" this past week during a lunch hour (yeah, that's what we do as missionaries), the movie about Thomas S. Monson and he said something to this effect: "There is nothing more rewarding than to act on a prompting of the spirit and find out that it was an answer to someone's prayer or concern." I know that we can ALL be instruments in the Lord's hands if we but seek the spirit in all we do.
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, August 3, 2015

I Am A Child Of God

You're up for another week of the Midwest weather update! It's been beyond beautiful lately, just warm and a whole lot of sun. The other day we taught a lesson outside and I got slightly more tan! I think yesterday all morning there were just little tufts of clouds in the sky, it was really pretty but by afternoon thunderclouds rolled through, and then by sunset the clouds were painted orange and pink! I say it a lot but the clouds here, but they are beautiful. They've become one of my favorite tender mercies, along with dogs hanging their heads out the window as they smile.

This past week we took one of our recent converts, Janet, to a lesson with us. I told you about Janet back in May but if you don't remember, she is blind and has amazing faith! Well Janet testified like a champ and totally related to our investigator. Also this week we sang "I Am a Child of God" to her and she listened to it on her own a whole lot! We taught it to her the second visit that we had with her and she was golden. Janet has never been able to sing at church because she cannot read print and she just hasn't been able to pick up on the songs. So after we taught her that beloved primary hymn I hoped and prayed a little that we would sing it at church on Sunday. The first and second hours came and went with no appearance of the song. But as the bustle of Relief Society settled down I saw up on the white board "#301 I Am a Child of God." I leaned over to Janet and said "guess what hymn we're singing?" she got a huge grin and said "no way?!" Janet sang all three verses of the song as Sister Williams, Sister Froerer (who was visiting Des Moines), and I all looked at each other with joy in our hearts for our dear sister, Janet.

I know that our Father in Heaven knows us. He seeks to make us smile and is joyous in our righteous pursuits. That small little miracle of singing "I Am a Child of God" powerfully reaffirmed this eternal truth. He is our loving Father in Heaven, I know it is true.
Unfortunately there is a man sitting across from me listening to screamo music far too loud and he won't stop quietly burping. It's been going on 15 minutes. So I best be leaving!

Love y'all!
Sister Skaggs