Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Week 25: What a time to be alive!

Hello Family and Friends! 

I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you each for what you do to make this world a better place, but mostly I thank you for who you are! 

This week has been one of change for sure. Lots of things have happened this week. I got to my new Area in Hope Arkansas, and life has been great here. I'm really liking being the Senior companion. I got it pretty lucky with Elder Patterson. We served right next to each other in Jacksonville and Cabot, so that was nice to already know each other. I've already learned a lot on how to lead a companionship in a successful way. 

Elder Patterson is from Idaho Falls and is a real cool guy. He comes from a Family of 7 and is the 2nd oldest. He did Robotics at the same conference that I did when I was in so that was pretty cool. It was kinda a random connection, but you know all roads lead back to Idaho.  We have been working on adjusting to each other's teaching style and role plays have really helped in that. We are also working on our doctrinal points so that we can use our scriptures better. 

Doctrinal points are something that is kinda unique to the ALRM. I'm not quite sure when it started but it really is just a process that the missionaries go through to be more accountable to the doctrine. We go through each of the 42 doctrinal points that are in Preach My Gospel, and we pick at least 1 Bible and 1 BOM scripture that best supports each point. So for instance for the Creation I have Genesis 1:1&27 and 1 Nephi 17:36. We also have to be able to recite these during any meeting with no help. This has really helped me realize how important the scriptures are and why we need all of them to properly understand the whole plan that God has for us. 

I am serving in a branch again down here. I really love the general feel of Branches. It feels more like a family then a church. We have about 30ish active members who live in an area roughly the size of Delaware. It's pretty awesome. 

I know that there are a lot of reasons why the Lord has brought me here to Hope. I'm not quite sure what all of them are, but I know that he is in all of this. 

So a couple really amazing scriptures for the week are Ezekiel 47: 3-5. Just reading scriptures isn't enough. We need to go through them with the Lord as our teaching and we will see that every time we read a scripture that we have read previously something else is going to stand out. This scripture blew my mind this week. 

I love you all and I know that my Redeemer lives! I love having this opportunity to serve him and to help the good people of the south come closer to him. If your faith is struggling then read the Book of Mormon. It solves so many problems in our life if we but read from the Holy scriptures. 

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the Mouth of God. Deuteronomy 8: 2&3

I love you all! Have a great week!! 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Week 24: A Week of Miracles

Hello Family and Friends! 

I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you for what you do, but mostly for who you are! 

This week has been overflowing with miracles. Thank you all so much for your prayers! We have been richly blessed. 

We baptized Kym on Sunday!!! It was such a splendid special experience. I learned so much from this experience. Elder Trendler baptized her and I had the special privilege of confirming Kym a member of the Lord's restored church and gave her the Holy Ghost. It was amazing how the Holy Ghost rushed through me when I said "receive the Holy Ghost". I love being a missionary! My heart if full of Joy! I'm so glad that the Lord has let me serve alongside him in this wonderful work! 

Another miracle happened Sunday too. Reggie asked me to Baptize him in the coming weeks! I really hope that I get permission from President Hansen for this. So a little more information about Reggie. Reggie is a super cool guy. He has been coming to church with his girlfriend in the branch. We taught him the importance of the Priesthood and the restoration during church last week and he was like "that makes so much sense". I have seen him change and light has filled his countenance. It had been amazing seeing the spirit bring love and light to him. I feel so blessed to be able to help him come closer to Christ. I asked him if he wanted to be baptized solely for his own sake and he said yes. I'm sure he will be baptized and be filled with even more light really soon. 

This week we have been on bikes so I'm a little sore, but we have seen some amazing things happen. The Lord has kept us safe as we have biked and we have been able to talk with many different people. 

While I am sad that I will be leaving Blytheville, I have received confirmation that this was the Lord's will and that I accomplished everything that the Lord wanted me to do there. I helped the branch get on their feet and improved the relations between the branch and the missionaries. I was able to show them what a missionary can do to help the branch, and as much as I've given to them I have received double in return from the Lord. I love the people of the Blytheville Branch, and I thank God for the time that I had there. 

I have a testimony that my Savior knows my name and that I know him. I love him with all my heart, might, mind and, strength. I love having this opportunity to serve him. I have learned so much about where I fit into his divine plan. God is our Father. Jesus is our Savior. The Holy Ghost is here to help us everyday. 

I look forward to the time that I will serve the Lord in Hope Arkansas. I'm going to be a senior companion for the first time so this will be a growing, developmental opportunity for me. I know that there is someone in Hope that needs me. I will search for them and with God's help I will find them and help them come closer to his son Jesus Christ. 

I love you all and I pray for you everyday. Please keep me and the good people of the south in your prayers. 

With much love, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 23: The 4 Phases of Teamwork

Hello Family and Friends that I love! 

I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you for what you do, but mostly for the amazing people that you are!

This week has been AWESOME!!!

The quick highlights include interviews with President Hansen, baptismal interviews, and personal tender mercies from the Lord. I'll also explain the title in a few minutes. 

So last week we had interviews with President Hansen and it was so good to actually meet with him. We talked about how I was doing and what I can do to be the best missionary that I can be. He shared a really good scripture with me. 

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
 Philippians 4:11-13

I have noticed that I have the "productivity gene" inside of me and if I don't feel productive enough then I start becoming sad. So with that some days are great and others are "terrible". He helped me understand that we need to be content when we have given our all. After we have given everything and we have tried then at the end of the day we need to be content. This really helped me. 

I love President Hansen. I know that he has been called of God and that the spirit works through him so much. I've seen how much he cares about all the missionaries and wants to help them all become the best converted, consecrated disciples of Christ. 

So GUESS WHAT!!! Kym is getting baptized on Sunday!!!!! We got all the papers back that we needed and she is good to go! She had her last interview on Sunday and she passed with flying colors. She is such a converted disciple of Christ and it has been so amazing seeing her come closer to her Savior. I will have tons of pictures this next week. 

Please keep my investigators in your prayers. 

Richard and his Daughter Ciara. 
LK and Veronica 
And the Rogers Family. 

All these people are so amazing and I have grown to love them all so much. 

Fun fact so I finished the New Testament this last week and it was so cool. I am really happy that I took the time to read from Acts to Revelation. I now understand a little more of where people form beliefs from in the Bible. I also have so many more resources for sharing the restored gospel. I've recently started the old Testament again. What sticks our to me is we are made in the very image of God. We are really his children. We look so similar to him. God has a body just like us.  How amazing is that wonderful truth! 

So last thing that has been on my mind is the 4 phases of team development. I learned this from my Dad. So when a team is formed is goes through 4 stages in order to start performing well. Forming, storming, norming, and then performing. I came to Blytheville right as the Lord formed the new team (branch leadership)  for the Branch here. I've witnessed the forming and Elder Trendler and I have felt the spirit lead us to guide them through the storming and norming phase. We are really reaching out to the leadership and showing them where the missionaries can be of the most support to them in their callings. It had been really cool seeing the miracles and tender mercies that have been poured out upon the branch. The Lord knows exactly what he is doing. 

I want to challenge everyone to really focus on the sacrament this week. Prepare for it the night before. The sacrament is basically like getting rebaptized. We renew and recommit to live right. I've seen a lot of blessings come to me when I have focused more on the Savior during the sacrament. Also keep reading the scriptures. The book of Mormon is a dear friend of mine now and has spoken right to me about who my Savior is. I love you all and please keep praying for my investigators and me. 

If there is anything that you all want me to pray for PLEASE Let Me Know. I would love to send specific prayers to our Father just for you. 

I love you all and God Bless πŸ˜Š❤️πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Week 22: 561 Days To Make A Difference

Hello Family and Friends!
I REJOICE with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!

I thank you for all that you do, but mostly I thank you for who you are!

This week has been really amazing! We have seen so many miracles. We have worked harder then ever to be exactly in tune with the Holy Ghost and to work hard this week, and we have been richly rewarded.
The highlights from this week are amazing lessons with prepared people, inspiration learned from church, and recommitment to consecration.
This week we had the feeling to go pack to a potential investigator and it really paid off. We met the husband of the lady that we met and he is super prepared. His name is Richard and we were able to give him a BOM to read. We stopped by again this week and he had read the entire intro which like... never happens. He was really interested so we taught him and his 9 year old daughter hopped in on the lesson too. She said the prayer and it was quite possibly the best prayer I have ever heard from someone so young. She prays like a Pro. SOOO cool. We went over the intro to the Book of Mormon and talked about it some more. We also shared Josephs first vision experience and it was so cool. Ciara (Richard's daughter) asked us if that really happened and I was able to tell her Yes and oh my, I wish you could have seen her face light up. It was so cool. Richard is going to study and read the Book of Mormon and do his research into everything and make sure he wants to keep learning more. I think that it will take a little while but I definitely think that he will see the goodness of the Gospel and join the Church.
During church we read from the Teachings of President Hinckley book. We read chapter 14 for priesthood and oh my, it was like revelation upon revelation for me. President Hinckley shared some really cool experiences that he had when he lost himself in the service of others. I loved his quote from his Dad of " Forget yourself and go to work" This applies to me a lot. We read in Mark 8:35 
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
If we lose ourselves in the service of others then we will find that we have found the thing that really matters most in life. Being to help our wonderful Father in Heaven in his great work of blessing his children. I am so grateful for every single day that I am able to be a missionary. I have a countdown that I keep track of pretty regularly.  I have 561 days to help as many people come to Christ as I can. 561 Days to open my mouth and share the Glorious News of the Gospel with others. 561 days left to make a difference in the Lord's vineyard. 561 Days to Show my Savior how much I love him.
I love being a missionary. It is such a privilege to be able to serve my Savior and to help him bless the lives of the good people of the South. May we all reach a little further and stand a little taller and work a little harder to help others and be of good service to our Heavenly Father.
I love you all and I am so grateful for you and all you do to help me. Your prayers are felt, and they help me and my investigators so much. Emails and letters are really appreciated. If you have questions write to me and I will try real hard to write to you. I love you all and God bless!

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 21 - Mission President Greenie Fire!

Hello Family and Friends that I love! I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you for what you do, but mostly I thank you for who you are and the Saints that you are becoming. 

This week has been amazing. So many things have happened. The highlights are meeting the new mission president, getting a new truck, exchanges, and church talks. 

This week we had the amazing opportunity to meet the new mission president and he is on fire! He served in the south 36 years ago and he said that he was coming home. I'm so excited to get to work with him in this marvelous work and a wonder in the good Ole Land of the South. The spirit witnessed to me that he has been called of God to lead this mission and I'm so excited. There is such a thing as greenie fire and President Hansen has a level I have never seen before. MISSION PRESIDENT GREENIE FIRE ⚡⚡πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ’₯ I LOVE IT

President Hansen shared some amazing advice on what we need to do as a mission. The mission is 100 % temple worthy and active so there should not be a lot that is needed to achieve Zion status. We just need to be aware of the spirit and the role that it plays. We should improve our studies, pray more sincerely, and listen to sacred music. He also shared how there are literally hundreds (if not more) of angels helping us in the work here and we need to not miss a single person that has been prepared. 

After the meet the Mission President and Wife meeting we sang the mission song to them. It was great and I've attached a video. 

We also got a new Toyota Tacoma at the meeting. The roads of Blytheville are kinda sketch so that's why we got a truck. It's pretty nice to have. 

After the meeting I also went on exchange with Elder Bleazard from Dyersburg. That went really well and we meet some awesome people. 

Speaking of people we were able to go see the Rogers again this week. That was so nice. We had dinner and a lesson with them and we taught the restoration. Brother Rogers seemed to understand it and overall it was awesome. Their oldest son is 10 and hasn't been baptized so we will be able to help him progress too. Great things are happening here in Blytheville. 

 On Sunday  I gave a talk about the Plan of salvation. The over lying reason why God created the plan of salvation is His purpose that we find in Moses chapter 1:39. 

 39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Work is something you do, glory is something you rejoice proudly in. The things that God does, and what he rejoices proudly in is his children. He wants us to live forever in resurrected bodies, and to live with him in forever families. What an amazing purpose right!!! 

I also shared the main points that we share as missionaries.

Pre-earth life

The creation 

Agency and the fall if Adam and Eve

Our life on earth 

The Atonement

The spirit world, 

Resurrection, Judgement and Immortality 

And the Kingdoms of Glory. 

Overall I think it went great. I love being a missionary and sharing the restored truths of the gospel. This is the greatest work that we can perform in our lives, helping others come unto Christ. 

Down here a lot of people think Mormons are crazy, but I know that the full truth of the Gospel is here. I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the restoration and that this is the Lord's true church once again established on the earth today. I will never doubt it, I will never question it. God loves you yesterday, today, and forever. Have faith, repent everyday, go to church and partake of the Sacrament (or be baptized and confirmed if you haven't already) and just keep repeating that process. The gospel at its simplest form is faith, repentance, baptism, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. The process just repeats. How amazing is that? 

Anyway I love you all, thanks so much for your prayers. They really do make a difference. Let me know what yall are up to and what I can pray for. Missionary prayers have been known to move metaphorical mountains. πŸ˜Š

With much Love, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 20 - Life in Blytheville - is Good

Hello Family and Friends that I love so much! I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you each for what you do, but mostly I thank you for who you are. 

It has been a great week here in Blytheville, Arkansas.  This week we got a new mission president, and I am going to be meeting president Hansen on Thursday at a meeting. We are also getting a brand new Toyota Tacoma because the Chevy Malibu that we have here is not great at the country roads that we are on. Blytheville reminds me a lot of Burley. Its got right about 13000 people and a bunch of outlying communities. There is a lot of country roads and it's the typical small town country feel.

Elder Trendler is my companion.  He has a personality a lot like Uncle Robbies, and it is really cool. He is a really funny guy. He has one more transfer left so I may be the last companion that he has. I have attached some videos of us at the post office the other day that made me chuckle.

I want to take just a minute and tell you a little bit about the investigators that we have. We have Kim and Fallon. Fallon recently got baptized and Kim is her mom. She will be baptized soon we are just waiting on the last a little bit of paperwork. Some of the other investigators that we have are the Rogers family, Gary, Bess, Ann, Denise, Trina, Jeanette, Kayla and Lakisha.  All of these people are amazing and I'm really excited to be able to help them come closer to our Savior. 

 Arkansas has a strange sense of beauty to it. I have attached some videos and pictures of the scenery around here. There's cotton fields for as far as the eye can see. I don't think I would come back to live here, but I think I would come back to visit.

I don't know if I mentioned this in my last email but the Blytheville Ward got reorganized into the Blytheville branch. First time I've ever heard of this happening. The stake president had to get permission from the first presidency to do this. So it just goes to show and that the first presidency is really involved in the Affairs of the church even on the local level.

The members here are really cool. We have a part member family called the Rogers that are really cool people. We were able to see them this last week and we were hoping to start meeting with them regularly on Sundays. Brother Rogers is not a member yet but we are pretty sure that he will be baptized soon. He loves how the church is really focused on the family. The Rogers family consists of the parents and I think four young kids. They are so cool and I love them so much.

This week we did a lot of walking because our car was out of miles. Throughout all of this walking we saw a couple of miracles that were pretty cool. One of them is how the Lord sent angels to give us strength to keep walking. I walked 12 miles in one day and I know that there were angels there helping me to keep walking. It was really hard but the Lord blesses those in need.

 In my studies this week I have learned a lot about faith. Faith is a principal of power that allows us to focus on our Savior. Faith leads to repentance because we learn that we want to change and become  more like our Savior every day. It was by faith that the brother of Jared was able to see our Savior and literally move mountains. Faith hope and charity go hand in hand. We have faith in our Savior and since we have faith we hope for a better world. If we have faith and hope we will want to have charity and compassion for others and share the message of the restored gospel with them.

I've learned a lot this last week about relying on the Savior and his Grace even more. Our trials are really just developmental opportunities and chances for us to grow and become more like our Savior. I know that my Saviors grace is sufficient for me. I know that he wants to help everyone in every way that he can. The more we involve him in our prayers the more involved he will be in our lives. He knows how hard this life is and he wants to strengthen us everyday, Everyday, EVERYDAY. We just need to repent everyday and try our best and the Savior will make us the rest. I have learned that my strength is nothing. I stand before you one of the weakest of the weak. One scripture that jumped out at me this week was in Ether 12

 23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;
24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands...
25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.
26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
37... wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.

Being weak is actually a sign of strength if we include the Lord. If we acknowledge our weakness and go to him and humble ourselves and have faith in him, then he will help us change our weaknesses into strengths. I LOVE this true doctrine. It fills me with so much hope because man I am weak and I need my Savior literally every single moment of every single day.

I love you all. Keep doing the little things that draw our Saviors grace into your lives. Read your scriptures, pray and go to church. These things make up spiritual CPR that works every time. If you have doubts or questions about the church, take a fresh BOM and write your question in it. Then read it from front to back and mark everything that answers your questions. This has helped me a lot. By the end of it you will have had a very special, personal scripture study experience.  Questions that you can have can be anything like how do i increase my faith? How can I become more converted? Or anything like that.

I love you all so much. Keep praying for me and my awesome investigators. Keep on keeping on!

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

President and Sister Hansen

Week 19 - Setting up Shop in Blytheville

Hello Family and Friends that I love so much! I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you each for what you do, but mostly I thank you for who you are. 

This week has been really good. I set up shop here in Blytheville Arkansas. I'm technically on the Memphis side of the mission and I am in the only area of the mission that has a slice of Missouri. That's really cool. Blytheville is a little town that used to have an Air Base. The base was shut down in the 90s and since then the place has turned into a ghetto. I actually live in the old base housing that they have. It's kinda interesting going from an active Air base in Jacksonville to an abandoned Air base here in Blytheville. Very interesting indeed.... 

Anyway people here are great. We have a really great teaching pool. We have 2 people on date currently. One is Kym. she is a stellar woman who is really close to getting baptized. We are only waiting on some paper work to be done and then we will have one more member to the Branch. We also found 2 new investigators this week that are so cool. Denise and Ann are sisters that we found in Osceola Arkansas. They were just sitting out on their porch and we started talking to them. We went to Osceola to drop off a Bible to a potential investigator that we had and after we dropped that off we found them. It was so cool talking about the Book of Mormon and the First Vision experience. I could tell that they were prepared from God and that the spirit was totally working with them. It was so cool to see. 

The members here are so cool too. The Blytheville ward got turned into a branch on Sunday. That was an interesting experience. First time I have ever heard of a ward going back to a branch. They have been struggling ever since the air base got shut down. I think that it was the right thing to do though because to get authorization to do this the stake had to send the request all the way to the First Presidency. Isn't that really interesting and cool. The First Presidency is really involved in the growth of the church. 

There is a returning less active family that I was really able to connect with on Sunday. The Wife is a member and the husband isn't yet. They have 4 little kids and they are just amazing. I really think that they had a spiritually uplifting experience on Sunday. We taught the gospel principles class on Sunday and we taught about eternal marriage. I wish you all could have felt the spirit that was there. The Holy Ghost came and bear hugged both of them. It was so amazing to be a part of it. I can tell that the spirit was able to work through my words to help that family. 

I want nothing more in this life then to do all I can to serve the Lord. I have felt him near me so much these last 2 weeks. My situation makes enough sense to keep walking and trying. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else but me and the Lord. I know that I am accountable to him for everything that I do. He is the only person that I really want to please and make happy. This has been my feeling all along during my mission and it hasn't changed. I love the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I know that He loves me with all His heart, might, mind and strength. I know that God my Father is pulling for me, His Son is pulling WITH me, and that the Holy Ghost is comforting me, and the same thing applies to each one of you reading this right now. The Godhead will never give up on us. The Savior has invested so much in our eternal progression that he will never give up on us. He is always there. All we have to do is reach out like Peter and take his hand in the midst of our storms. I know that he will be there for us, because he hasn't left my side. 

I love ya'll more then I can express. God be with you always! 


Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 18 - Transfers - New Comps and a New Town

Hello Family and friends that I love!

I want to thank everyone for what you do to make this world a better place, but mostly I want to sincerely thank you all for who you are. I want to take a minute and thank all those who have been praying for me this last week, its been pretty rough here in Arkansas for a while so thanks so much for the prayers. They really do mean a huge difference. I love you all. ❤

This week has been one for the books. I've been on exchange for most the week in Beebe and Brinkley. Those went really well, but to be honest it was really nice to be back in Jacksonville for a little but, Elder Ralph got a call Saturday from the AP's saying that our area was getting white washed. For those who don't know -  white washed is when both Elders leave, and the new guys start fresh. To be honest it kinda sucks... But I know it was an inspired change and it's good for an area to get a fresh look every once and a while.

It was really hard having to say goodbye to all the members in Jacksonville. I have absolutely loved serving with them and helping them come closer to Jesus Christ. I'm just not good at goodbyes. They really are no fun. πŸ˜’ I've got some pictures of the members and me that I will send. I definitely will try to come back and visit them.

Transfer calls came in and I'm getting transfered to Blytheville Arkansas. 5101 Village Avenue Blytheville Arkansas 72115 is my new address. As sad as it is to get transfered I'm kinda ready for a fresh start,and a new outlook on the work here. My new companion is Elder Trendler and he is really cool. I'm really excited to be building up the branch that I will be serving in.

Zone conference was this week. This one was the Wakolo's last one and it was fantastic. Some memorable quotes from it are "we can choose the atonement or torment." and " A testimony won't save us in these latter days. We must work on our continuing conversion to Christ". It was really insightful and helped me feel better after a rough week. I was also able to get a few pictures with President Wakolo and his family. They are just the best. I have learned so much from them.

President Wakolo recommended me to go to the temple this transfer, and all I can say is I am so grateful that I was able to enter my Father's house again. Oh how I LOVE the temple. Oh what peace it brings to a weary soul. I received a few really important answers to some questions I had and one was to "be still and Know that I am God, and that I am near you always". Go to the temple family and friends, Father in Heaven wants you to feel peace and the temple is the best place to find it.

On Sunday day I was able to sing in Sacrament meeting and it was really special. The sisters and Elder Ralph and I sang "Savior Redeemer of My Soul". It was a beautiful rendition and I was able to do 2 solos on the song. I loved it and it was amazing. The song of the righteous is a prayer to God and I could tell He and his Son were smiling when we sang. It was such a great experience.

Dear family and friends, I want you all to know that I know that God is aware of me. These last couple weeks have been really rough for me, and in the midst of all this I was kinda struggling to see how everything was going to work out and I had a couple days where my faith was a bit shaken up. Despite all this I was able to feel and looking back I can see how God had his hand in all of it. I know that God is real and that he listens to us and wants to be as involved as we let him in our lives. The same thing goes for his Son and his grace, and the Holy Ghost. Prayer is essential to involving God in our lives. Keep praying and then be still and quiet and wait for answers to come. I know that God loves me and he loves you. Try to come close to him and he will reach out to you. I know this is true.

I love you all and I pray for you.

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

These pictures are some some of the very special Jacksonville, Arkansas members that Skyler has really come to love, and then the Memphis, Tennessee temple.  

Week 17 - Exchanges and a Unique Baptism

Hello Family that I love! I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you for what you do, but mostly I thank you for who you are and the huge example ya'll are to me.

This email is going to be short and sweet. 

We had some fun experiences on exchanges this week. We worked hard and saw many people and that was great! I went on exchange with Elder Smith and he is a very good missionary. He works really hard to be bold with the people here and help them change their lives for the better. It was really refreshing and rejuvenating to go on exchanges. It was awesome. 

We also went to a baptism that the Cabot sisters had on Saturday and all I can say is it was probably the most unique baptism that I will ever experience in my life. The investigators name is Mariah and she has some hard health challenges that have disfigured her body pretty severely. This made it really hard for her to be baptized. Luckily when the Lord wants something to happen he ALWAYS prepares a way. So they out her on a canvas sheet and has 6 men in the font helping her take this huge step on the Gospel path. The spirit was SO strong. It was a such a Joy to be there. 

That's about it. 

I just want you all to know that I know that this is the true, living church of our Savior. I know that he leads and guides it today. I know ow without a doubt that my Heavenly Father is very much involved in our lives and that he knows my name. He loves me so much and I have felt such profound peace and love this week. It is really hard to describe in words everything that I have experienced this week. This has probably been the hardest and best weeks of my entire mission. 

All I want to do is to do what my Father wants me to do. He knows what will make me happy so it makes perfect sense that I should go to him often to talk and be one with him. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught "Make everything you undertake a matter of Prayer" I know that if we involve God in our plans and in our lives then he will show us his guiding influence and his infinite love for us. If we do what his will is then we will always be doing what the right thing is. 

I love you all so much and I'll talk with ya more next week. 

With Love, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 16 - Super Studies and Smokin Buns BBQ

Hello Family that I love! 

I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you so much for the things that you do to make this world a better place, but mostly I thank you so much for the Christlike people that you are! You make such a positive impact on my life. 

This week has been really interesting. Some of the highlights include BBQ, Bible bash, and Super Studies!

This week we stopped by our good friends at the Jacksonville Firestone. This time with a car with a broken horn. Haha.  I think I have seen them every 2-3 weeks the whole time I have been here. Its great - haha. 

We also had dinner with an awesome member. He took us to Smokin Buns. It was such great BBQ. I had a 1 pound hamburger that was sent from Heaven. It was so amazing!

Smoking Buns is also where we had some good teaching experiences with some people. Our waitress has recently been getting back into religion and we first gave her a card of our Savior and it was really cool. Later we gave her a Book of Mormon and she said that she was going to read it. 

The next experience at Smoking Buns was a bible bash. Normally, I don't like Bible bashing because the spirit leaves and the people don't listen to us. The thing that this man was trying to throw at us was Romans 9:9 where it says that if we but profess Christ with our lips then we are saved. I couldn't remember the reference at the moment, but we read in 1 James 2:17 that faith without works is dead. The entire chapter tells us about this principle. I left the bash angry because I didn't represent the Lord in the best way that I could. So I started studying more about how we must work out our Salvation with fear and trembling ( Philippians 2:12). I feel more equipment now that I have studied more about this. 

Some other amazing things that I have studied is a book called "In Defense of Truth" and it is a mock court trial and it pits two LDS missionaries against all other religions. It lays out very logically how our church is true based only from the words of the Bible. It was so interesting. Before I came out I kind of thought the Bible was on a level less than the Book of Mormon. Boy am I wrong. The Bible is actually an amazing book with so much light and truth. One thing that really stood out to me is in Numbers 12: 6&8. In it we read what one of the qualifications of being a prophet of God are. The Lord must speak to his prophet and show himself in a vision. And in Deuteronomy 18:21-22 another qualification. When a Prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and prophesies an event it MUST come to pass. Joseph Smith prophesied that the civil war would happen more then 30 years before it did. He also prophesied that the saints would have to move to the rocky mountains. That also happened. In Heb. 9:16-17 we also learn that a Joseph had to seal his testimony with his blood so that it would stand as a witness to all of the reality and divinity of the Restoration. 

I have a testimony of the reality of the Restoration. I know that Joseph saw God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. I know this to be true because the Holy Spirit has testified to me that it really happened. I have a firm testimony that my Savior knows my name. All scripture points to our Savior as our friend who is willing to go to great lengths to help us. He wants so desperately to help us. He looks for every reason to bless us and help us in our times of need. 

I firmly believe that the reason why I came to the south was to learn about Grace and to increase my understanding of this amazing truth that we have. Grace from our Savior is the enabling power or strength that our Savior can and will give to us if we ask for help. He knows what we are going through, and he knows just what we need to make it through the crazy challenges of our life. Life is easy for none of us, we all need our Saviors Grace, as we like to say it down South, everyday, Everyday, EVERYDAY!  My Dear family and friends please don't beat yourself up too bad. You are doing so much better then you thing you are and our Father in Heaven is so proud of you and the good things that you are trying to do.  If you are struggling PLEASE Pray and ask for help. God wants to hear from his children. He loves it when we pray! He wants to hear our voice. He loves us and that love doesn't change no matter what we do. 

Don't let Satan get ya down. Remember this truth. Discouragement, disapointment, depression, dispair. All these words start with a D and the Devil is the source of all these feelings. Joy comes from Jesus. Men are that they might have Joy! 

I love you all so much! I pray for you daily and I plead that God will pour out his spirit to be with you all. I love you all and I will write to you again next week.

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

PS.  Please take a minute and watch this video - My companion shared it with me the other day and it is amazing.

Christ is our Rock

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Week 15 - Acts and Airplanes

Hello Family and friends that I love! 
I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you for what you do, but mostly I thank you for who you are! 

This week has been another week in paradise here in good Ole Jacksonville AR Kansas haha. 

We are working really hard on helping our investigators come to church. This week we were trying really hard but sadly nobody came. Good thing for next week right? 

What was really cool this week was we took a bit and walked around the air force base and took pictures of the really cool planes. That was really cool. We saw about 10 planes and helicopters. That was probably the highlight of the week.  I'll include some pictures. 

I've got some questions from people wanting to know more about my companion. His name is Elder Brandon Ralph. He is six foot ten and contrary to what many people believe, he doesn't play basketball πŸ˜‚. This is the first time for him to be a district leader so I've been trying really hard to support him in that. We enjoy each other and work hard to try to get the work here rolling. 

This week in my studies I've been reading from Acts. I'm really interested in how the church was still lead everyday by our Savior through the Holy Ghost. That is true for back then and it is true for today. The church runs through the power of the Holy Ghost. This means that it is really important to know what he sounds like to each of us. The Holy Spirit is a real person with feeling and agency. He loves us and wants to help us in our everyday life. If we want to come closer to him then he will show us how. Through continued scripture study and pondering in our hearts and listening to our feelings closely we will come to know how the Spirit speaks to us. 

I love you all and pray for you all everyday. Please keep me in your prayers. They really do make a difference. Keep doing the little things to keep your testimony alive. Just like a tree we must do all we can to help it grow. One of my favorite quotes is called "good timber" good timber does not grow with ease, the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees. The further sky, the greater length. The more the storm, the more the strength. By sun and cold, by rain and snow, in trees and men good timbers grow. 

I love you all. God bless you and be with you til we meet again! 

With love, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Week 14 - Working hard in Jacksonville

Hello Family! 

I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you for what you do, but mostly I thank you for the amazing Family that you are!

So to answer a few questions that have been sent to me,

My companion is Elder Ralph. He is a swell quy. He is 6'10" and has a real big heart. He is the district leader and I'm the designated driver. We have had a really good companionship so far. He snores at night so thank Heaven for ear plugs right? LOL.

One more thing that was really cool this week before I get into the highlights, was when we had a chance to go dedicate the sisters apartment. They said that something didn't feel right with their apartment, so we went over and dedicated it by the power of the Holy Priesthood. I'm so grateful for the chance that I have to be a holder of the Holy Priesthood. It is such an amazing opportunity and what a privilege.

I have really been hard core studying my patriarchal blessing for the last week and a half. The spirit has been telling me that there is more to some of the passages that what I had thought and so after really studying it for a few days I have come to the conclusion that what I thought I needed to do with my life actually isn't what I am supposed to do. For the longest time I thought I should become a programmer and earn big money, but now I think that the Lord wants me to teach Religion at BYU-I. I'm not sure how it will all work out but that is what the Spirit has confirmed to me that this is what I need to do with my life.

This last week has been mighty interesting... The highlights were we helped out at a Methodist church, extended 2 baptismal invites and I actually know what I want to do with my life.

We were informed by the sisters that the Methodist church was in need of help with one of their soup kitchens. So we stopped by there and helped them feed people. That was pretty cool. Right before we started helping we were able to go on a quick tour of the place. It had a lot of the same features of the LDS Church but the big difference was the spirit. Being in the building the spirit felt a bit uncomfortable and in some places he was completely absent. It was really eye opening and strange. The spirit doesn't dwell in unholy places and even though this church resembled godliness it denied the power thereof and therefore the spirit was absent. The Christus that they had also kinda rubbed me the wrong way. Christ's hands were up in a way that was like " praise me I'm so much better then you" kind of a feel. Whereas the Christus that the Church has in SLC, and other places, has his hands down, palms facing outward like "Come unto me all ye that are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I definitely an grateful for the Holy Spirit that can lead us and guide us in the way that we should go. He can also help us discern what is good and what is evil.

We had a really good church tour with Dexter the other day and it was awesome. We took him on a tour of the church and talked about the paintings, rooms and the baptismal font. He had a ton of really good questions and we had a great discussion. We need him to come to church a few more times and then he can get baptized

We also extended 2 baptismal invites this week. I had the chance to extend those and bore powerful, humble testimony of the reality of the first vision when God the Father and His wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith and answered his humble prayer. It was amazing and I was filled with such love for these people and I felt the spirit so strongly. My heart was filled with Joy. I love being a missionary!!!

I love being able to serve my fellow men here in the good Ole South. I love the people here. I have a strong testimony that our Savior knows our names. He knows who we are, the life we've lived, the struggles that we are going through now, and the glorious future that awaits us. Remember this important truth that we have: Grace can be applied everyday,  Everyday,  EVERYDAY! Our Savior is looking for every reason under the sun to bless us, and strengthen us on our difficult, unique journey back home.

It never seems like I have enough time to pray. There are so many things that I want to talk with my Father about, but alas he knows my heart and the things that I desire to say, so I know that that is enough. 

My whole work and purpose is to help bring souls unto Christ. The only reward for this labor is as soon as I see my Savior again, after I am done kissing his feet and bathing them in my tears of gratitude, I just want to hug him. No words need be said, I just want to give my older Brother a hug, for that will say more words than my poor vocabulary can express. That is all I want.

I love you all so much Family! I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all of you and your continued prayers for me and for the good people of the South.  

Have a fantastic week! 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Elder Ralph and Elder Larsen

Jacksonville District May 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Week 13 - Service and Mothers Day

Hello family! 

I rejoice with you the gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you for what you do the more importantly I thank you for who you are!

This is probably been the best week on my mission yet! I just want to thank everyone who was in on the Skype call that I was able to do. It was so good to see all of your faces and to hear your voices. Thank you so much for what you do!  45 minutes is not nearly enough time to tell you everything that I wanted to.  I know a lot of you had questions and I want to do my very best to answer them. If you have questions please email me and I will do my very best to try to get back with you.  

This week has been really busy. We have a accomplished a lot and I feel really good about our results of the week. Here are the highlights of the week. 

While we were walking through the wagon wheel, we were able to talk with William, Marsha, and Monica. They are some really humble people who I feel have been prepared for the gospel. We talk to them about how the plan of salvation can really benefit their lives. They seem super receptive to the message and we invited them to church. Unfortunately the member who was going to give them a ride to church fell asleep and was not able to drive them. We are going to try to follow up with them. 

This week we were able to talk with Dexter. We went over the last half of the plan of salvation where it talks about the spirit world, resurrection, judgement, immortality, and the kingdoms of glory. He is really loving the gospel and I've been able to see him grow so much.  I was also privileged to be able to provide him with the priesthood blessing that he stood in need of.

The hash tag for yesterday is #ServiceSaturday. We were up early doing service for a member who is moving to Ogden.  Then we had our interviews with President Wakolo . Our interviews were amazing I really love our mission president. After interviews with President we were able to go do service at the Jacksonville Community Center. We moved 8600 pounds of food that day. They have gathered all this food through the community food drive that they had and it was in part sponsored by the United States Postal Service. Then, the United States Postal Service picked up the food and brought it to the care center. It was so fun. We were running back and forth putting boxes on the shelf and putting the cans in the boxes. Overall it was such a fantastic time. After service at the care center we went to the Olson's for dinner and helped tear out some of the rotted floor that they had. It was a great day. 

Yesterday was probably the most bittersweet experience of my life. I loved being able to see my family and to hear their voices, but it was so hard not to be there and tell you all about what has been going on for me back here, and to hear about all the fun things going on back there at home. There is so much more that I wanted to talk about. 

I thank God everyday for the amazing family and extend family back home. If it wasn't for all that you do I would not be here. I feel the strength of all your prayers for me and they do make a difference. I have a testimony that God loves us. If he was willing to answer a young, 14 farm boy with no education, then he will answer you. He has answered me in my times of need and I know he will answer you too. 

WIth much love, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen