Monday, November 27, 2017

Week 41: Exchanges, Thanksgiving and Lots of Driving

Hello Family and Friends! I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank y'all for what you do, but mostly for who y'all are. I thank my Heavenly Father Everyday for all the AMAZING people in my Life. 

This last week has been pretty good. I had a great Thanksgiving and I hope y'all did too. The highlights of the week include exchanges, thanksgiving, and lots, and lots of driving. 

This week I had the great opportunity to go on exchanges with my Zone leaders. Elder Armstrong and Elder Paopao are some Stellar Men of God. Elder Armstrong has a special spot in my book, because he has been helping me grow in my district leader responsibilities and has been there for me these last 3 transfers. Elder Paopao served next to me when I was in Jacksonville so we have had some good times together. This exchange I was with Elder Paopao. It was awesome. That night I made some soup and Pasta for everyone and we played some Phase 10. I love the men I serve with. 

One funny thing was I was driving the Zone leaders to and from Camden where their car was and on the way back to Camden to unexchange to our Horror we found that their car keys were all the way back in Hope. So 2 hours later they were back on their way headed home. It was really funny. 

I had the great opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with the a family in the Branch. We all had some great food and talked and played uno. It was amazing and helped me not be homesick. 

I love being a missionary!!! It is the best decision I have ever made in my life.  "Behold, I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been Called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have Everlasting Life." (3rd Nephi 5:13) I Love my Savior and I have come to know him personally as I have been in His service among his people. I have seen Him work miracles in my Life and in the lives of those around me. I am here to help the Savior find His lost sheep and bring them safely home again. I have never been happier in my whole life as I have walked with Him. I won't ever leave His side. 

How will you follow the Savior this week?

Your friend in Christ, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Elder Larsen in the Boonies

These are some tired Zone Leaders

Elder Larsen's Holy Place

Week 40: Back in Jacksonville (for the musical tribute)

Hello Family and Friends! 

I truly rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to thank you for what you do, but mostly for who you are. 

Holy cow!!! This week has been incredible! I don't know if I will be able to tell you all of the tender mercies and miracles that have happened to me. God our Father is SO Good to his children! 

So the highlights are probably yesterday and today.

Today I had the pleasure of having lunch with the Rasmussens again. Oh what a Joy it was to meet with them today. They are tender friends of mine. They have helped me so much and I love them dearly. I was able to pray, take a picture and hug them one last time as they are leaving for home in a few short weeks. 

Yesterday I was blest to be back in my birth area in the mission, good Ole Jacksonville. This is where I met and began my friendship with the Rasmussens.  I went to the church building for Sacrament meeting to find that the power was out because a massive tree fell down and destroyed a power line. They ended up pushing the Sacrament meeting back an hour and had it without power. That was an incredible experience. The spirit was very powerful. 

Now some background to the next part, Saturday I performed for a musical tribute in Jonesboro and it went AMAZING! My vocal cords though had taken a serious hit. My voice HURT. I didn't know how I was going to Sing Sunday for the musical tribute in Jacksonville. Well the power came back on during the middle of Sacrament meeting, but the microphone was not working. Turns out the amplifier had blown a fuse and they didn't have another. So now I was looking at singing with a hurt voice with no mic. Needless to say I was worried, but as a testimony to you that God is very aware of us I will show you the Lord's tender mercies are over all those He hath chosen. (1 Nephi 1:20)

So My companion is very technical and with help from the stake technology specialist and a fair amount of inspiration they were able to somehow fix the mic! 

I also felt inspired to ask for a blessing from my Mission President. For those who may not understand what a blessing by the laying on of hands is please refer to James 5:14-15. Anyway He gave me a very tender blessing and in it pronounced that by my faith my voice would be healed and that I would be able to sing with such power that this would be my best performance. After he closed in the name of Jesus Christ I felt healed. I felt the pain I had in connection to my vocal cords vanish away. I felt AMAZING. 

Our performance at Jacksonville was by far the best one. Such a fitting end to an amazing opportunity to share my tender feelings for the Son of God with all those within the sound of my voice. I LOVE my Savior. He is SO kind to me. He has sent Angels in recent days to be with,  and strengthen me. I could feel ancestors near me as I Sang. There were there. I know that is true. 

Brothers and Sisters, my dear friends, in the words of Nephi of old "For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, (Jesus)  and be saved.

Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world"

Please, come unto Jesus Christ and let him help you. He knows life is hard sometimes. Trust me, he understands you. If there is one person who understands you better then anyone else it is the Son of God. He understands me. He loves me and all of you and wants to give of His Amazing Grace to those who come unto him. 

"My Chains are gone! I've been set free! My God, My Savior has ransomed me! And like a flood, His mercy reigns! Unending love, Amazing Grace!" 

Humbly yours, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Week 39: The Best Way to a Southerners Heart

Hello Family and Friends!
I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Thank you all so much for what you do, but mostly thank you for who you are. Heavenly Father is so grateful for what you do. When we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God. Mosiah 2:17

I'm running out of time this week so here are the highlights. Cookies, Branch Reorganizations, and Zone Conferences. 

So we have taken a page out of the Sister's book and we have baked cookies for our investigators and members. This has been a huge success and we have found that the best way to a southerners heart is with delicious cookies. 😊 The cookies have fostered positive experiences for people and they have really opened up to us and become our friends. We believe the cookie idea definitely came from God. I love inspiration!!!

The Branch Presidency was reorganized on Sunday which was kind of a shock to be honest. The branch president that was released had only been in there for 3 years. The members were really sad to see him go as he was an implant from a neighboring branch. I have high hopes for the new branch presidency though. The Lord is in the details. 

We had zone conference and interviews this last week and I love it when these come around. I had a great learning experience on the new planning process that we are using as a mission. I explained this a few weeks ago, but yeah it's great. I also love having interviews with President Hansen. That man is Definitely called by God to lead this mission. Sometimes its a little hard to keep up with how fast he is running, but God will prepare a way for us to all catch up. Haha.

My Brothers and Sisters, God knows you. He loves you and Jesus does too. They weep with you when you suffer, and they rejoice when you do what is right. They look for every possible reason to bless us. Their blessings are dependent on our obedience to them. If we truly love them then we will keep their commandments. John 14:15&21. My Savior is my best friend. He has helped me out time and time again without fail. I know that He will never let go of me. He will never forsake me. I mean so much to him. Sometimes I wonder why he loved me enough  to go through the Atonement, then I remember who His Father is. Jesus is in the express image of our Father in Heaven, and Father so loved all of His children that He gave His only begotten Son. Thus we see why Jesus loves us. 

God be thanked for the matchless gift of His Divine Son!

Your friend in Christ, 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Week 38: Missionary Leadership Training

Hello Family and Friends!

I REJOICE with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I want to take a second and thank y'all for what you do, but mostly for who y'all are! Thank you for the Birthday wishes. It has been a great day. 

This week has been pretty amazing. The highlights were meeting with amazing people and the Missionary leadership training meeting. 

We have recently been tasked as a mission to do hometeaching for our wards and branches. This has been an interesting twist to missionary work here in the south. It has Definitely been inspired though as the Lord has poured out His blessings upon us as we have gone searching for the sheep that are lost. We recently contacted a less active couple and they have been so kind to us. We are helping them increase their testimony of the keystone of our religion, The Book of Mormon. It has been so neat seeing their love for God grow as they have read from the Book of Mormon. 

Recently in our mission we have been changing the culture in many ways. We have changed the culture to include the following elements: 

1. We teach repentance and Baptize Converts.

2. We use the Book of Mormon as the Foundation for Conversion.

3. We understand and teach the Doctrine of Christ.

4. We invite "All" to come unto Christ

5. We live our lives in accordance with the White Handbook and strive for consecrated obedience.

This new mission culture has been the result of much fasting and prayer on behalf of the leaders of the mission, specifically President Hansen. It has been really amazing as we have cut out the bad and replaced it with good these past few days. I'm really excited for the days to come as we adapt to the new culture and place our aims a little higher and stand a little taller. 

One other highlight from the Mission Leadership Training meeting that we had was implementing the new Preach My Gospel Chapter 8 on Fulfilling our Purpose as missionaries. This chapter introduced a new way to do planning that is more spiritual and overall more effective. 

The Process includes 5 simple steps. 

1. Pray for and seek inspiration.

2. Review progress.

3. Set goals. 

4. Make Plans.

5. Pray Again and seek the Lord's Approval. 

This is the process that Heavenly Father has used with many of the Holy Prophets. One example is the Brother of Jared when he was seeking to know how to have light in the barges. The Brother of Jared followed each step and asked the Lord for his approval with the plan of having the Lord touch the 16 stones. This was incredible to see for me. I know that this new process will help me better guide my investigators thought the repentance process. 

My Brother and Sisters I know that Heavenly Father Lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I know that the Holy Ghost testifies of the Father, and the Son. If you have trials or tribulations, seek the Lord and He will help you transform your trials and tribulations into Developmental Opportunities. The Lord knows the Saint that you are capable of becoming and wants to help you. Please remember to Pray and speak with Heavenly Father as you would speak to your best friend, by so doing you are connected to the Supreme Being of all the Universe. Please remember to Read from the Book of Mormon everyday, Everyday, EVERYDAY! If you read from the Book of Mormon you are connected to Jesus Christ. Please go to your Holy Sabbath meetings, by so doing you will be connected to the Holy Ghost. 

What can stand against you if you have all three members of the Godhead on your side? 

I love you all so much. I love my Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son. They do so much for me every day. I can't begin to properly express my tender love and feelings about them. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His Divine Son. 

your brother in Christ, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Hope District
Elder Robinson, Elder Green, Elder Larsen, Elder Anderson, Sister Black and Sister Esplin

Monday, October 30, 2017

Week 37: Sweet is the Work

Hello Family, and Friends! I truly REJOICE with you in the amazing Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you all for what you do, but mostly thanks for who you are. May God bless you for the good you do. 

I just love being a missionary! It really is the best! I get to go and share the greatest news since the resurrection of Jesus Christ with people and bring peace, and promise blessings. It is just FANTASTIC!

This week I had a new companion and we worked really hard. We have had good days and bad days this week but overall it ended on a good note. 

This week we found 5 new investigators who were really amazing people. We found a lady named Jinny who has never met with missionaries before or ever seen them for that matter. We taught the restoration to her and she said that she has been looking for a new church and one that could answer her questions.

One thing that was kind of sad this week was our golden family dropped us out of the blue. We gave them cookies on Friday and then Saturday when we went over for the lesson that we had set up the husband asked us not to come back. That ripped my heart out. The Holy Ghost came to me though and comforted me. I know that they will be baptized one day. We were their first contact with the church and on average people need 7 good positive contacts before they will be baptized. Sweet is the work!

We had the 4th of 6 Musical tributes on Sunday and WOW this one was really special. I was asked last minute to help in a quartet turned quintet. The Elder singing tenor needed some help so Sister Hansen asked me to sing the Tenor part with him while we sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer". It was AMAZING!!! I was also asked to share the First Vision as everyone "oo"ed the song behind me. The Holy Ghost was so strong, and I'm sure there were Angels singing with us. It was such an amazing experience and I will cherish those memories forever. 

I also was privileged to sing my Solo piece again. Oh my, I could feel the Spirit of the Lord singing through me to touch the hearts of those in attendance. I was calm as a summers breeze and I had full confidence. I count those as the most tender mercies of the Lord and I love how much God knows what I stand in need of. 

My dear friends, I know that Heavenly Father is there and He is listening to our prayers. He knows the thoughts and intents of our heart. He knows our good intentions even though sometimes we have bad execution of those intentions. Jesus is the Christ. He understands all of us in a very personal way. He knows what strength we stand in need of and He wants to bless us with His AMAZING Grace. When we are obedient it shows our love for Him and He in turn is able to show His love for us in the form of blessings. When we are obedient He is so JOYFUL, because He can then relieve suffering, or strengthen us to be equal to our challenges. 

Please Pray every single day to Heavenly Father. He wants you to talk with Him as a friend talks with another. Heavenly Father wants you to read the Book of Mormon, because it testifies in plainess of His Divine Son, Jesus Christ. Please attend your Sacrament meetings. If you do all 3 of these things you are connected to Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. 

What Challenges can stand against you when you have the Entire God head on your side? What can they do if God is your friend? 

My Heavenly Father, my Savior, and the Holy Ghost are my best friends. They help me out so much. I have been filled with peace, assurance, hope, faith, chairity, and every other good thing because they love me, and I love them with all my heart, mind, might, and strength. 

I love this Gospel!

I love being a missionary!

your friend in Christ,

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Week 36: Nine Months Down!

Hello Family and Friends! 

I truly REJOICE with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! I want to thank yall for what you do, but mostly for the awesome people y'all are. 

I can barely believe that I've been out for 9 months!  It feels like a dream that is going by incredibly fast. I've learned so much and still have much to learn. Oh how I love being a missionary! 

This week has been a blur. I've been on 3 exchanges and spent a lot of time in the car. Transfers came and I'm getting a new companion!

I have a few things I need all of you, each one of you to pray for. Please pray for Robert and Esta and their family. Also please pray for my mission to find the 80 people who need to be baptized this year. President Hansen has told us all that the Spirit of the Lord has said that there are 80 souls who need be baptized before the end of the year. Please have everyone pray about this in every single prayer. This is of utmost importance. This is part of the new mission culture that we are working on developing. 

One highlight I do want to share was yesterday at the missionary musical tribute to the Savior in Bartlett Tennessee. The program went FANTASTIC! The Lord sustained and supported everyone. My solo was perfect and oh how my heart was filled with joy and love. Heaven opened up and Angels were singing with us. This whole performance was recorded and is going to be taken back to a recording studio and get remastered and we will all receive a copy as a gift. 

My beloved brothers and sisters, I know that God our Heavenly Father loves us and knows us individually. He cares deeply about us and wants us to be happy. God so loved YOU that He gave His only begotten Son. Jesus knows how you feel. He understands you. The Book of Mormon is unequivocally the word of the Almighty. I love reading the Book of Mormon. It has become my daily bread for my soul. 

Please pray for me for this new transfer and I'll be praying for you. Don't forget to pray for the 80. God bless y'all! 

Your brother in Christ, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Week 35: Book of Mormons because of Burger King

Hello Family and Friends! I REJOICE with you in the AMAZING Gospel of our Living Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to take a moment to thank you all for the Love that you have for the Savior that you put into action, and I want to especially thank you for who you are. God our Father thanks you as well as His Son thanks you. Keep being AMAZING! 

Before I get into my letter I need you all to do something for me. First keep reading the Book of Mormon everyday. Second PLEASE pray for this mission to find the 80 souls that God has been preparing. President Hansen said that there are 80 people who need us to find, teach, and baptize them before the end of the year. Please pray about this in every single prayer you have. It would be much appreciated. 

OK here we go. 

My goodness, how do I even begin to tell y'all about this amazing last week? So many blessings, miracles, and tender mercies have happened that it is quite difficult to keep track. I'm not sure I will be able to do it justice but here it goes.  

 Probably one of the greatest things that happen this week was when we placed 9 copies of the Book of Mormon in one day! The plans for the day were a little rocky but we ended up having great success and it all began when we went to Burger King for dinner. The manager asked if we had any extra Bibles. That got the conversation rolling and we gave him a Book of Mormon and a Bible.  The rest of the day we spent in Prescott and that is where we gave the other 8 copies away. It was such a miracle!

 Facebook also saved us an investigator. One of our investigators was about to drop us because of the busyness of her life but when we mentioned that we use Facebook to teach,  she gave us or Facebook information. Blessings!

 We also taught a family on Saturday. The were some critical conversations that the Spirit of the Lord lined up to make this appointment work. We taught the restoration using a puzzle that I received from some friends earlier in my mission and the lesson went fantastic!  we committed Robert, Gabriel, and Tristan to be baptized on November 12th. We almost committed Esta to be baptized but the Holy Ghost made her start to cry so she excused herself a little earlier in the lesson.  I really love how the Holy Ghost can testify to people and help them better feel of Heavenly Father's love for them.  It was probably the best day we have had in Hope. 

Sunday was amazing!!! we had a good day at church, and drove up to North Little Rock. After we got to North Little Rock we hopped in the transfer van with a bunch of other missionaries who are performing and drove to Memphis.  The performance was amazing! The Spirit of the Lord helped me nail the song so that it went great. There were many people in the crowd who I could tell this touched by the Holy Spirit.  when we started to sing amazing grace there were people singing along. It was such an amazing night. We had about 100 ish people there. Overall it was well worth all the time and effort involved.

Oh my dear friends, how I love being a missionary for my Best Friend, and Savior Jesus Christ. He has poured out an abundance of His spirit to be with us this week, and I have been filled with Heavens love. One thing that has really touched my heart this week was what I read in the Book of Mormon. I have such tender feelings for this Book. I read 3rd Nephi chapter 17 where the Savior called to the people to have them bring their sick and afflicted to Him. He then went on to heal every, single, one of them. He put no limit or restriction on His healing power. He simply called to all that would hear Him. Oh my Dear friends, He calls out to you and me and says "Please come to me so that I may heal you." Jesus doesn't like to see us suffer. He weeps with us in our suffering. He knows perfectly what we feel. When He performed His Atonement for us he felt every temptation, infirmity, pain, and weakness that we will ever have. This allows Him to heal us with His Perfect Mercy and strengthen us with His Amazing Grace.

Oh how I Love my Savior. He truly has redeemed my soul. He has lifted me up,  and I know He will never fail me nor forsake me. 

I love you all so much. If you have family or friends who would like to take the missionary discussions with me over Facebook and Skype please let me know. 

Have a blessed week! 

Sincerely your friend, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen