Monday, January 25, 2016

The last melon

Ahoy from Iowa! (for the last time...)
This past week we were supposed to go to the temple on Tueday, but Iowa weather (aka snow) got in the way. We went on Thursday instead which was way better because it was in the 20s and there was no snow on the road! I drove the whole way to Nauvoo and back. Probs over 500 miles. Among learning to love the gospel to a greater degree on my mission I have also come to love extremely long drives. The temple was perfect because naturally, I was kinda freaking out about going home. But now I'm all good. I'm super stoked for weather in the 70s and dirty tacos!
Last night I found a huge pile of snow. Climbed it. Grabbed my coat real tight and slid down! It was fun. About the biggest adrenaline rush I've had as a missionary.
Also, for the first 12 transfers of my mission I spoke in sacrament meeting a grand total of one time. In this last transfer, the big 13, I've spoken twice! I spoke yesterday to the Boone Ward. Ah I love them all so so much. Good thing someone talked real long and all I had time to do was bear my testimony, cause I might have started to shed a tear!
The truths of the restored gospel that I have come to know, love, and live have been incredible as I have served here in the Iowa Des Moines Mission. It has been insanely awesome to see the outcome of following the teachings of the spirit. Something that I am so grateful to have learned is that this life is not really about having fun, it's all about JOY! I love that word! "Men are that they might have joy." Sure, it's always good to run on huge piles of snow or have a good laugh, but there is more to us being here. Our Father in Heaven would have us experience joy by keeping His commandments and serving His children. Pure joy endures the storms of life, it is the sweet fruit of righteous gospel living. 
I have also come to know, by the spirit, that the gospel is not about convenience. It never has been and never will be. Living the gospel is not easy, but it is entirely worth it! It was never easy for Christ; it was not terribly convenient to perform an infinite and eternal atonement. If we live our lives doing only what is convenient  we will fall into the adversary's trap of complacency. We will reach only as far as we can, as we lay on the couch, watching Netflix, and eating an entire family sized bag of Doritos. To reach our heavenly potential, it is vital that we do that which is inconvenient, yet eternally important. Elder M. Russell Ballard backs me up, "there is no spiritual power in living by convenience" and Elder Neil L. Andersen is on on it too, "Life is no spiritual picnic!"
Father in Heaven's love is perfect, steadfast, and eternal. Jesus is the Christ,  the Good Shepherd, our Advocate. The Holy Ghost will comfort, enlighten, and direct us exactly as Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ would. What an amazing gift! 
I love Iowa with all my heart! I'm going to go back to California and none of you will quite understand why cold, flat, and snowy Iowa is so stinking awesome! It's ok though, just nod your head and act interested when I tell my mission stories for the first two weeks, because I'll have nothing else to talk about. 
Ok, the ramble is done (I've become an Iowa talker :/). 
Love y'all,
Sister Skaggs

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