Monday, March 27, 2017

Jacksonville, Arkansas - Week 6

Hello Everyone!

This week was another good week here in good Ole Jville. Before I get into the details I want to say thanks to everyone for emailing me this week!  I really loved seeing everyone. Thanks for that!

This week in Jville we sadly had a lot of appointments fall through. But the appointments that we did have were really good. 

This week we had an appointment with Zach and Rebecca and it was really good. Zach asked a lot of questions and it seemed like the message made sense for him. I really think that he will stay interested with us and will make progress as the week's go on. 

This week we were also able to give two blessings to those in need. One was to one of the sisters in our area who has struggled with her health a lot more ever since she has come on her mission. As I started the blessing the words just started to come out and it was such a humbling, amazing experience.  The other blessing was for a man in our ward who injured his knee at work. I was able to anoint for that one and it is just awesome being able to participate in blessings. 

The members here in Jville are really nice to us. I love being able to serve them and be able to learn from their stories that they are able to share and their awesome testimonies. I have really loved being a missionary. 

Transfers were this week and I was blessed to be able to stay with Elder Murdoch. Our district actually didn't get touched with transfers so that is awesome news. I love my district they are awesome people that I am able to learn a lot from.

Speaking of learning, I have been studying from 3rd Nephi 12. I love reading the beatitudes that Jesus taught everyone. He basically gives us the things that he did and applied them to us. If we want to be like him we need to be humble, meek, have faith, and do what is right. I love studying the words of Jesus. They really have an awesome message and impact my life in many different ways.

I know that I write this a lot but I LOVE being a missionary. I have learned so much from my last 62 days here in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. I am so grateful that my Father in Heaven gave me the opportunity to be a missionary and work alongside his Son in this great work. The thought has come to me recently that if I had to go home today would I be OK with the way that I have conducted myself and served the Lord? I can tell you that the answer to this would be a resounding yes. I am grateful for everyday that the Lord gives me to be his servant here in his vineyard. After we wake up in the morning, let us be grateful that the Lord has given us one more day in this life with all the awesome blessings that he gives us, because really everyday is a tremendous blessing. 

I love all of you and I challenge you to keep studing from the Book of Mormon every single day. You will find that the more you are able to study from it the more blessings you will be able to find in your daily life. I have noticed a real difference in the days that I read and study from the Book of Mormon. It really is written for our day and age. 

I love you everyone and I hope that you have a great week. Keep praying for me and I will keep praying for all of you. 

With much love,

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Jacksonville District Missionaries

Elder Larsen and Elder Murdoch

Elder Murdoch enjoying a Taro Smoothie

Having a little fun bowling

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jacksonville, Arkansas Week 5

Hey Everyone!

Today is day 55 in the field! Kinda crazy isn't it? Any way this week has been really interesting. 

We had Zone conference on Thursday and it was awesome! I really learned a lot and I loved it. This is President Wakolos last zone conferences so I could tell it was starting to pull on his heart strings a bit. He seemed kinda sad about it all but it was great to hear from him. 

We had people from LDS Family services come and speak to us too. They taught about how we can have better relationships with our companions and how we can overcome our challenges. They taught about how we should eliminate from our vocabulary the words "Makes me" and replace it with "I feel". That was really cool, it helps us change who is in charge of our feelings from other people making us mad or sad it helps us get down to the root cause of how we are feeling and helps us resolve what our differences are. Good council.

Transfers are this week so we will see who is getting transfered. I have a feeling that Elder Murdoch may end up getting transfered because he has been here in Jacksonville for about 6 months now. He is the district leader and my trainer though so maybe he will end up staying another transfer. Hopefully.... 

Anyway I want to share my Friday with you all. Friday was really..... interesting. We did our weekly planning and that went really well and then we started going to visit people. As we were driving I felt the spirit in a way that has been different from how I have felt him in the past. We parked the car and we're about to go down the street to our first appointment and Elder Murdoch looks over at me and says I have a bad feeling about this. So we prayed and while we were praying the spirit said that we were in danger and needed to flee from that street. So we followed the Spirit's direction and fled the area. We don't know why we left but we do know that the spirit told us to and we obeyed. 

Friday was a big test day. All of our appointments were falling through and it was really hard. After they all fell through we had close to 2 hours left. So we pulled over and parked the car in a little parking lot and we were praying and the spirit said to "stay put". That made Zero sense. Like seriously... Anyway we stayed there and followed the spirt and spent close to 20 minutes wondering what we were needing to do. Then the spirit said to go visit a person that we had already tried, and who wasn't home. 

Needless to say sometimes the spirit tells us to do things that make zero sense or actually go against what we would normally do. The best thing to do in these kind of circumstances is to reevaluate our place and realize that the spirit knows a lot more then we do and that we need to follow him. He knows what we need to do. 

I have seriously gained a new found appreciation for the spirit and how he can bring revelation to us and can help us in our daily lives. 

On a side note I have received a lot of mail and packages from family. You all are the best and I love you. Thanks for taking the time to help me out and send me letters of encouragement and love. They seriously make my day and help me be happy. Thanks for all you do. 

Challenge for the week is to try to come closer to the Holy Spirit. He wants to help us and wants us to figure out to hear him better. Pray to Know what you can do to become more intune with the spirit. I can give you a bunch of different things to do but Pray to have the spirit talk to you about what you need to work on. 

With much love,

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Monday, March 13, 2017

Jacksonville Arkansas - Week 4

Hello Family!

This week has been really interesting. Ive been putting numbers to things and today marks 7,068 days that I have been alive. Today is day 49 in the mission I think and I have 688 days and counting until I come home. I leave the mission on the 29th of January 2019. That's when my ministerial certificate expires and I am technically no longer a licensed minister. Haha kind of crazy right. 

Anyway this week we had FHE on the air force base next to town. I really love traveling on base because there are a lot of good people there. The ward that I am in is a military ward, and it is really cool to hear awesome military stories. My patriotism has grown while I have had the opportunity to serve here. The Rasmussens take real good care of us and have us over for dinner every Monday and then we have FHE on the base. The Rasmussens are the military relations senior couple that help us with the air force base stuff. We have to get base passes so that we can get on and help people. That's really awesome. 

This week the work has really been moving along. We had 4 new investigators, and I attribute this success to the faith, prayers and fasting that has been done on our behalf here so I want to give a huge thanks to my amazing family and extended family for all you do. 

Speaking of family I received a lot of amazing letters of encouragement from my family. I will be replying in the next few days so keep your eyes open for letters from me. :D I love my famiy. Thanks for all the amazing things you do for me. 

I learned this week that it is really really important to be in tune with the spirit. I learned this in 3 ways / experiences.

This week Elder Murdoch and I have been getting better at being one as a companionship and as a trio with the Spirit. We were able to have a teaching experience with a woman in the area and we simply got to know her for about 20 minutes and then we shared the introduction to the Book of Mormon. Just the Intro. We felt such a spirit as we shared just that and it was incredible. We really taught as one. The Spirit spoke through us as we shared our personal experience with the spirit and how the Book of Mormon has helped us tremendously in our own lives and it was so cool. She shared how it seemed like we were from a different planet. Can you believe that? haha it was really interesting. She shared how even though our personalities were different from each other we had the same nature and the same light in each of us. That was a huge testimony builder of the work and how the spirit can change us and shine through us in our countenances. Wow soooo cool!
The second time was in my first and hopefully last bible bashing experience. We were talking with one of our now former investigators about how we know that the Godhead is one in purpose not one in being. Sadly, his heart is too hard to feel the spirit of our message and as soon as the spirit leaves a lesson then it is impossible to teach. Even logic won't work. As soon as the spirit was gone it felt weird.... I felt almost sick to my stomach not having him with us. We left shortly afterward and prayed to be forgiven of offending the spirit and we had to pray for quite a few minutes to convince him to want to be back with us, and he came back slowly. Really interesting, and it was a learning experience that I won't soon forget. 

The other way that I learned how important it is to have the spirit with us is when I had the chance to exercise the priesthood that I have been given. There was an accident where our bishops wife and two young kids were involved. Miraculously nobody was seriously hurt but one of the young kids was having a bit of shell shock. We were right down the street at the church and we received the call to go and give this young kid a blessing. We rushed to the scene and it was only about 10 minutes or less after the accident happened and I was able to give this young kid a blessing of comfort. I honestly can't remember what I said but the only way of describing it was like an out of body experience. The Spirit took control of the situation and spoke comfort to his soul. All I can say about this is wow..... How grateful I am that I had the 3 qualifications to be able to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I was ready, able and worthy. I will always strive to have all three of these things throughout my whole life, because one may never know when they will be called upon to exercise the priesthood righteously. What a blessing the priesthood is. Never be afraid to ask someone for a blessing. I think sometimes we might not use the priesthood to its full ability in our lives. There definitely is a balance but I think we could use it a lot more. 

Did everyone take the challenge that I gave them last week? Did you prepare for the sacrament the day before? Something new that I learned about the Sacrament this week was that the Bread and the Water prayers are symbolic and similar to the prayers for the baptism and confirmation. The prayer on the bread is symbolic and similar to Baptism and the prayer on the water is symbolic and similar to the prayer of confirmation. When I read that and understood that it blew my mind. The Gospel really is amazing isn't it? I love being a missionary!

This week in church we had a talk in sacrament that really stood out to me. It was about the 5 A's of weakness and Grace. The 5 A's go as follows. 

1. Accept the invitation from the Master to come to him. 

2. Accertain our God given weaknesses. See Ether 12:27

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.

3. Appreciate our Weaknesses as gifts from God. He knew what he was doing when he gave them to us. He did it on purpose. 

4. Allow Christ's Grace to uplift and strengthen us. 

5. Acknowledge that when we are weak then we are strong. See 2 Corinthian 12:9-10

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 

Paul glories in his infirmities because he saw how Christ could strengthen him because of them. Now I am not quite like Paul yet. I don't like my infirmities. I don't like my weaknesses. They are hard to accept as gifts from God sometimes.... actually most the time. haha. But Remember that our Maker gave us our infirmities on purpose. He knows what he wants us to be. 

Crazy awesome true doctrine puts a huge smile on my face. I just love this gospel and how many questions it has answers to in life. Our Savior is amazing and His grace is sufficient for all men and all our weaknesses. Remember that he wants to help us in our life. He knows how crazy they are and He knows just what will help us. :D I love that!!! How amazing is that truth! I love being a missionary! I get to go tell people everyday the steps they can take to have Christ more involved in their life and how through Him they can live much happier, more fulfilling lives. I get to do this 24/7/688 and counting. Wow this is amazing!

I love you all so much and  I pray for all of you everyday. Our amazing loving Father in Heaven really does hear our prayers. It is like he is right in front of us listening intently to us as we pray. I love that truth and I use it everyday. Keep praying for me we really feel the power and strength that comes from it. I will always keep you all in my prayers too. 

With more love then writing can express, 

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

Monday, March 6, 2017

Jacksonville, Arkansas - Week 3

Hello Family!

This week has been really good and I want to tell you all about it!

Elder Murdoch and I have really been getting along and he has really helped me to learn how to work here in the mission field. There are a lot of lessons that I am learning on the dos and the don't of missionary work and he has been an intricate part of my learning experience here. His personality sometimes is hard to read, but when he is happy you can really tell. He has a bit of stress on him right now because he has only been out 5 months and this if the first transfer where he has been a trainer, senior companion and the district leader. Wow crazy right? I'm trying to help him in any way that I can, and we have seen quite a few blessings this week. He also is from Idaho Falls. Idaho Represent haha.

This week was bike week and it's been one for the books. It has been hard getting physically fit for the mission but this week was great. We were able to find some more people to teach and we are going to try to follow up with them so we can get some more new investigators.

Miracle for the week - we committed Pamela to baptism on April 15!!! I actually extended the invitation and it was awesome. We taught her the Restoration and she was really interested and had some great questions that we were able to help her with. I really think that if she becomes a member then she will end up in the relief society or something because she is really giving and just awesome. Please pray for the investigators that we have. These people are crazy busy with their lives but they really need this gospel and the blessing that are here with it. 

I have been reminded this week that no matter what happens in the day we need to read the Book of Mormon. It really can make or break the day and you need to read it for at the very least 10 minutes a day. Even if you study something else like conference or ensign or whatever start the study with at least 10-15 minutes of the Book of Mormon. It really, really helps you to have a better day, and a better week. 

My challenge for the week is to prepare for the sacrament the day before. Read over the sacrament prayers and try to really direct your thoughts to the Savior as you read. The sacrament is what he would be doing if he were going to church with all of us. He would be up on the stand breaking and blessing the bread and blessing the water. Think about that. He wants us to remember him at that time and throughout the whole week. Remember to do this and you will be richly blessed. 

Here are just some other random thoughts:

Funny story...We went do dinner and one of the Elders did the "mean pig challenge." One of the elders here ate the mean pig which is a pulled pork sandwich that Satan makes and the goal is to eat the sandwich and hold it down for 5 minutes. Sadly the elder only made it to 4:23 before he puked. The sandwich was so hot.:)

I got the greenie box and it was such a blessing and it really helped me be really happy. The little memes in there really made me laugh and made my day. Thanks for all the sweets too that was such a awesome surprise.

As I mentioned before, I did get my bike and it is a really nice bike. I am worried that it could get stolen so I will probably tape it up and try to make it look a little ghetto but yea it's way nice and totally worth the money. This week was my first bike week and wow I am spent. We have 3 weeks in a car and then one week on bikes or walking. It was really hard but the Lord does give strength to his weary missionaries. 

I am getting emails from the family and they have really helped me out so much.

The Lord has been very kind to me and has helped me start to feel better. The problem with the MTC was every single meal was a boatload of carbs. I felt terrible.... My insides wanted to be on my outsides to say the least, but now that I am in the mission field I am feeling much better. I have a ham sandwich every day for lunch and that really helps my numbers stay good and helps me feel good. The protein bars also really are awesome for breakfast and I actually really like them, so tell Grandpa that I owe him one and that it was probably inspiration for him to tell me about those because they have been my go to for breakfast and have been lifesavers. 
I am going to send an email to Grandma Becky and have her send me the digital family list with addresses and all family emails. I need this so that I can send emails to whoever I feel inspired needs one, that and so that I can send actual letters to them. There have been many times that I wanted to email one of the cousins but I have not had their emails . I write my letters on Sundays and Mondays and any other spare time that I find that I have so if Grandma needs help with the family list please have someone help her with that. (Maybe Sammy ;)  We only have one hour and 15 minutes to write emails so this helps tremendously if I could send some letters. 

Thanks for letting me know about the ward. I wish that I could list off the many ward family members that have made a difference and I wish that I had the time to. Please tell them all that I pray for them and love them all so dearly.

I have really felt the love and the support from everyone there and I can feel the power of prayer and fasting. I can't even begin to  say how grateful I am for the amazing family that the Lord has blessed me with. This week I have tried really hard to forget myself and go to work. Every time that I have felt discouraged I have remembered to count my many blessings and when I do this I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I have been so richly blessed by the good Lord himself. First thing that I count is my amazing family. You all bless me is so many different ways. I really can feel your prayers and they really do make a difference. Please keep praying for me and I pray for all of you. I love you all more then I can adequately or possibly describe and I know that even though it's hard for us to be apart, because of the temple and the sacred covenents that we make therein we can be sealed as a family for time and for all eternity. That is such a blessing! I pray that you all will remain save and that you will have the blessings that you all stand in need of and I really, really miss you but I know that I am here doing what I need to be doing. I love you all.

With much love,

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

This was the last picture of my MTC district that I just received today. 

Waiver that must be signed to do the "Mean Pig Challenge"

This is a screeshot from Family Search that proved to Elder Murdoch and Sister Platt that I can trace my line back to Adam :)

This bridge was built in 1925!

This was the sky on Tuesday night and there was a tornado warning. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Jacksonville, Arkansas: Week 2

Hello Family!
The area here in Jacksonville is really.... Interesting. The people here are pretty different than in Idaho, and it's the land of the baptists. The scripture that comes to mind is "a bible a Bible we have a Bible we need no more Bible." I can't remember what one that is but yea... 

Elder Murdoch and I are doing pretty good for the most part. He has been a pretty good trainer. He has helped me to meet people in the ward and I think his heart is in the right place for the mission. 

The ward has been real nice to us and have been feeding us pretty well. So far the food has been really good and hasn't killed me haha. It hasn't been too difficult keeping my numbers where they need to be, and keep my diabetes under control. The active ward members try really hard to keep their conversion alive and they have strong testimonies and its awesome. Super humble people who try their best. Sadly there is a huge amount of inactive members and "do not contacts" in our ward. A large part of the work is the reactivation and retaining of the ward members. 

From my studies this week I have been convinced more and more of man's nothingness. I didn't think I was too prideful but the Lord has shown me that I still have a ways to go. I've been humbled this week in a few different ways, but the lesson that I learned from these experiences has been to trust God even more. He knows what he wants me to be and that's enough of a reason to trust him.  

Keep me in your prayers and please pray that I won't be discouraged with the slowness of the work. It's really slow here. That's been pretty disheartening. Pray for the inactive and pray that the peoples hearts will be softened . Pray that my studies will be sufficient for the needs of the day. I though I had a lot of gospel knowledge but wow there is so much I don't know. 

My challenge for the week to you all is to attend the temple and keep on reading the Book of Mormon. In the word of President Wakolo read it every day every day every day. Even if only for 10 minutes. 

Keep me in your prayers they really do make a difference. I love you all and I keep you in my prayers too. 

Elder Larsen