Monday, December 21, 2015

"well that's random"...and it's not the unicorn.

This is Courtney's Christmas pinata. 

The trio is dead here in Boone! At church people asked multiple times "oh, so there's only two of you now" and "where's the other one?" 
My new companion is Sister Goring from Logan, Utah! She's old in the mission too, 15 months, so it was nice to hear people tell her she's almost done instead of those cutting comments coming my way! Sister Goring and I have a lot of fun already. She likes quoting movies and talking in a Russian accent. She's a gem.
Yesterday we felt the love of Father in Heaven so so much! A sister in the ward told us to grab our car keys and follow her outside. We followed her out to her car and she gave us three big bags full of presents! Of course we opened them when we got home. We're stocked on candy and snacks until 2016! Then later in the day some random guy we talked to came driving by us in his car later on and forced money into our hands to "go buy a burger or something." He didn't have food to give us but he wanted us to get something to eat. Then at night in a members home they found out we didn't have plans for Christmas Eve. On the spot she invited us and our recent convert, Robert, to Christmas Eve dinner! 
I remember opening my mission call and thinking "well that's random." But no longer is Iowa a random place. Rather, it has a huge spot in my heart! I am reminded of how the waters of Mormon were "beautiful... to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer." For all we know the Waters of Mormon could have been a muddy pond in the middle of corn fields... but the place was beautiful to those people that came to know their Savior there! I share the same sentiment about wonderful Iowa as those people did about the Waters of Mormon. 
I love Iowa. It is the place that I have learned of my Savior more than I could possibly imagine. It saddens me that in six short weeks I will be in California and no one will quite understand why Iowa is so stinking awesome! I know that we all have our personal "Waters of Mormon" though. Places that will always have a piece of our heart because we have come to the knowledge of our Redeemer there.
And if you don't have some "random" place that has a special spot in your heart, move to Iowa! That spot will get filled real fast. 
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sister Sewer Climber Skaggs

Courtney shows her love for her companions by climbing down drains.

Dressed up for a Night in Bethlahem

So President Jensen called this morning... dun dun dun. Sister McKinstry and Sister Beattie will be packing their worldly possessions and will take them to transfer meeting on Thursday as they move on to new adventures. As for myself, I have contracted leprosy and will die here in Boone. No, I will not literally die, nor have I literally contracted leprosy... but I will stay in Boone for my final transfer and figuratively die as a missionary. 
This past week we were blessed to have Elder Martino of the Seventy here in our mission. It was really crazy and we traveled a ton, but we had Mission Leadership Council and Mission Tour, and it was dope! It is always an amazing blessing to be instructed by the brethren. He got us pumped to work with members to find people to teach and his testimony of the living reality of our Savior and His church was uber powerful. It really was just what I and our mission needed. We're ready to end the year strong!
On Thursday night, after a long day going to Iowa City for MLC, we got home and we unloaded all of our personal belongings from the car. I was walking to the door of our apartment and I hear Sister McKinstry yell, "Oh no!!!" I turned around and she said, "My boot just fell down the hole!" I was super confused and she said "my boot, it fell down the drain thingy." Sure enough, her boot fell into the storm drain that was conveniently placed in the curb adjacent to the trunk of our car. After a long discussion of what to do and some pretty strong apprehension about my proposed plan of attack, we pulled off the heavy metal grate, grabbed some flashlights and I climbed down the ten foot brick sewer shaft! Sure enough her boot was sitting at the bottom, and with the help of the maintenance man, Tim, I climbed back out of the whole. All I could think was, "Wow this is the best mission story I have" and "I bet my Momma would be proud!" So there you have it, I am Sister sewer climber Skaggs.
All really good stories aside, this past week was pretty rough in terms of teaching the restored gospel to people who actually want to listen and will do something about this awesome message. Our numbers were low and last night we lamented over the fact that no one wants to come to church and how we have "investigators." But then the spirit slapped me and reminded me how blessed we have been! Robert was baptized this transfer, the sisters in the Ames stake collectively had eleven baptisms this transfer, and our district of four companionships had seven! the spirit also brought to my remembrance that a family of four I contacted on exchanges last transfer are now well on their way to all being baptized and they are beyond solid!
I tell you about these things not to boast or say "look at what we've done". But rather to prove the point that Satan would always have us feel discouraged, disappointed, and low and on the other hand, the Holy Ghost works to inspire, uplift, and encourage. Our Father in Heaven is proud of our accomplishments, he wants us to move forward in faith and build on those things that we have done well in the past. I'm excited for this coming transfer and for the miracles that Father in Heaven has in store for our area!
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cheddar and Cheese

A couple weeks ago, on exchanges in Webster City with Hermana Smith, we climbed over potted plants to knock on this guy's door. After a considerable time waiting for him to answer the door, it finally swung open. There stood a grown man trying to control two ferrets. One black, and one white. After we laughed and composed ourselves I asked him their names. "Cheddar and Cheese," he said, holding each of them up. He then politely declined the invitation to hear more about precious restored truths that would bring him incomprehensible happiness and peace. Nonetheless, we met two ferrets named Cheddar and Cheese. Only in Iowa.
This past Friday was our ward Christmas party. Sister Beattie sings like an angel and Sister McKinstry is not bad herself. I myself on the other hand try to blend my sub par pipes with their sweet melody. Evidently I do a good enough job because we were asked to perform at the party. Yes, I, Courtney Skaggs, sang in a trio at the Boone Ward Christmas party. We sang a pretty song by Sally deFord called "Would I Know My Savior. That's about all that needs to be said. 
We have mission tour this week with Elder Martino of the 70. He has asked us to study Alma chapters 8-12 in preparation for the meeting. If you want to learn how to be a missionary read those chapters! They are extremely insightful and uplifting. Something I loved was Alma's willingness to follow the counsel from a messenger of the Lord to return to the city of Ammonihah in chapter 8. In the act of being weighed down with tribulation, he was told to return to the city where he experienced rejection and hate. Sometimes in life the path that we must walk will lead us to places that are unpleasant, perhaps places that we have been before and would rather not return. As we take steps forward, with faith in His plan, the way will be clear. And, like Alma meeting his eventual companion and friend, Amulek, our joy will be full as we find peace and solace in submitting to the will of our loving Father in Heaven.
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs