Monday, September 28, 2015

From Des Moines to Boone...

Man oh man, I am back in small town Iowa! I was transferred last week and now reside in Boone! It's a town of twelve thousand and I love it! There is a full ward here and church yesterday was great. It's quite a change from Des Moines, but I am liking it a lot. Boone is about fifteen minutes west of Ames, which is where Iowa State University is. 

I forgot to tell you but a few weeks ago in Des Moines we found a new investigator, Mu Kye (Moo Kai). She was really cool. She is Kyean, from Burma. Well we were in her house and were looking at photos on her wall. All the ladies had gold rings on their necks and on the knees. Yup, Mu Kye used to stretch her neck with those gold rings. You've probably seen her on National Geographic. To contrast the type of people we find here in Boone, I'll tell you about Robert. We taught Robert yesterday on his porch. He has gray hair that is pulled back in a pony tail, and wore a flannel and blue jeans. Oh the people you find in Iowa! I love 'em.
My new companions are Sister Beattie, from Nashville, Tennessee and Sister McKinstry, from Phoenix, Arizona! They are just great and we have a lot of fun together. I actually served around Sister Beattie in the Nauvoo Stake and I was her Sister Training Leader in Des Moines, so we're good friends already. Last night we were taking mustache pictures with our hair and watched the blood moon. We're pretty much BFFs already.

Here in Boone there are a lot of trains! Like for real, we go to sleep hearing the trains rumble by just a few blocks away. Also, Thomas the Train was in town. No joke, a train that looked exactly like Thomas. His eyes moved, smoke stack spewed some sort of vapor. He was the real deal, and totally the talk of the town. 

I really liked the song we sang this morning in companionship study, "They the Builders of The Nation." Particularly there was a line I felt to share. "Ev'ry day some burden lifted, Ev'ry day some heart to cheer". Everyday we can have our burdens lifted by the atonement of Jesus Christ. Truly the atonement is for everything, an everyday remedy. And as we have our burdens lifted we can in turn let the light of Christ shine through us and cheer another one's heart. There's really nothing better than applying the atonement and sharing the resultant light with others.

Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, September 21, 2015

Last week in her beloved city

So this past week has been beyond stellar! The weather has been perfect, in the 60s and 70s. I keep telling people "Hey this is what Christmas day feels like in California!" It's safe to say I have had some great nostalgic moments, like thinking briefly about riding my new scooter from Santa down the street in shorts and a new hoodie that is too warm.
Yesterday we were out contacting less active members and inviting them to church, these were people that did not have home and visiting teachers assigned. AKA people that have requested no contact with the church. Those can be really interesting at times, super awkward for them but I just laugh it off and fulfill my missionary duties. So knock on a house door and we talk to this guy who is living with a member. The member wasn't home. We extended the invite, he said "cool", and we gave him a picture of Christ. The picture had our number on the back, and oh yeah, the 13 Articles of Faith. It was the sweet picture of Jesus sitting with the kids, the one you get in primary. So this random guy takes the card, glances at the back and says "Oh, it's got his stats on the back!" That gave me a solid laugh that I couldn't hold in. Touché, random bearded guy, touché.
We got transfer calls this morning... President Jensen called. I am leaving Des Moines! I am so sad, but all good things must come to an end. I have made so many great memories and friends here! Des Moines will always have a big place in my heart. I love this city! (Insert yet another cheesy and cliché phrase)! I am excited about a new adventure though! President informed me that I will go to a new area, I will have a Sister Training Leader companion, and us two Sister Training Leaders will train a brand new sister!!! That is insane! I have never heard of such a thing happening! I am curious how a trio will work out... but I am super excited for this new adventure. What's even crazier is that Sister Williams will be staying here and the same situation will happen! Two Sister Training Leaders and a fresh new sister. Transfers are always exciting, but nothing this adventurous has happened to my companionship before. Next week I will be sure to tell you about my new area and my TWO new companions!
Yesterday in church we heard about humility and pride. It was a great reality check. Someone said once "If you think you are humble, you're not." I have come to learn that humility is like a drop of water on clay. It softens us up and makes us workable. When we are humble we are able to be shaped and formed in the Master's hands. When we are prideful, or lack humility, we dry up, become hard, and simply sit on the table as a hunk of clay. I'd much rather be the soft and workable! I know that as we strive to be humble through prayer, studying the Savior, following the spirit, and serving others we will be able to become what the Master has in mind for us.
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, September 14, 2015

Take Courage

So being here in Des Moines we have the lucky privilege to just stop by the mission office any time! It's awesome. We go almost everyMonday, to get supplies or just say hi. I have really grown to love the office missionaries! Sister Stringham takes care of all the missionaries coming in and going out, and she has a blue sheet that has the next three transfer's arrivals and departures on it. It's not good news when you've made it to the blue sheet... Last week one of the Assistants, Elder Zabriskie, was at Sister Strigham's desk talking with us and said "hey Sister Skaggs, look at this." There was my name on the blue sheet. Not cool! I have three transfers left and plan to keep sprinting to the finish line! I love this too much to get trunky already.
One of the Assistants is going home this transfer so the new one was announced this past weekend so that he could attend the temple and transfer plan this week. It's Elder Banta! I'm super excited because he and I have served together a lot. He came out just a transfer before me and we were both trained in Kirksville. And then I followed him to the Quad Cities for our second areas! He's coming here to Des Moines and hopefully I don't leave! We'll see what happens because transfers are next week. 
This past Saturday we attended a funeral for a little boy in our ward. It was really sad. There were a ton of African people and they were grieving pretty significantly, weeping and wailing. My heart hurt for them as I heard and saw them cry. They had a time in the service when people could get up and say something. Many of them used the phrase "take courage" as they addressed the grieving family. I don't know if it is an African thing to say but I really liked it. I also didn't know that it was custom in Liberian culture to wear white to funerals... us missionaries were a little out of place.
Nonetheless, we can all "take courage" a little more in our lives. Missionary work, shunning Satan, loving others freely, having family home evening, keeping the Sabbath day holy, forgiving frankly. Take courage! Living the gospel is not easy nor convenient. It takes courage. Daily, hourly, and moment by moment! I have had to pray for courage many times as I have served and every time Father in Heaven has given me more strength and resolve to do that which is required and expected of me. So take courage! Pray for it and apply the two word sermon to any aspect of your life. Blessings WILL come!
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

stringing scriptures

Searching hard for signs of Fall.

So this past week was stellar! Still hotter than no other, but this week is cooling off already. The leaves are changing on about one in every 50 trees... but that's still pretty exciting! I've already collected a handful of super rad ones and they're in my scriptures getting extra flat.

We found a whole slew of new investigators this past week. A few weeks ago we realized that not many of our investigators were really progressing. So over two weeks we purged about 50% of them. It was hard but a total act of faith that the Lord would lead us to those where prepared and legit about finding and following truth. It was amazing because Father in Heaven blessed us with eight new investigators, three of which we have already set baptismal dates with! One of them, who's name is TaRena, saw an ad online for The Book of Mormon and felt like she needed to read it. She is so SOLID! I am so grateful for the blessings of diligence, faith, and obedience as we serve and strive to bring souls unto Christ.

I am beyond grateful for the gift and companionship of the Holy Ghost.
This past Sunday our recent convert, Sylvia, bore her testimony! A week with the gift of the Holy Ghost has done her wonders. Her testimony and conviction concerning the restored gospel has just blossomed. She is filled with peace, love, and so much joy. She said in her testimony "I am not ashamed to say that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" To which bishop and us missionaries got the biggest grin on our faces. "People ask me if I go to church and when I tell them yeah they scoff. I just say, I'll pray for ya!" Man oh man do I love Sylvia and her testimony. Miatta also got up and bore a powerful testimony about how she can feel Jesus with her all the time because of the Holy Ghost. There's nothing like hearing your recent converts bear their testimonies, your heart is filled with joy and you feel like a proud mother!

Also on exchanges I was in the Hermanas area. I didn't know what was going on most of the day because everything was in Spanish. Needless to say it was great because the spirit was there. During a lesson I was prompted to share a sequence of scriptures from the Bible, all scriptures I had memorized references to but had never strung them together. Because of the influence of the spirit I was able to teach Allan simply and clearly why he needed to be baptized again and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was amazing! The spirit bore witness of the truthfulness of the doctrine and Allan accepted a baptismal date!

I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost. It is a foretaste of Heaven that can bring it's blessings and miracles. Be worthy of it, seek it, and then strive to always heed it's promptings!

Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs