Thursday, April 27, 2017

Jacksonville, Arkansas - Day 90

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!

This week has been one for the books. So many different random things happened this week that it's hard to keep it all straight. So let me see if I can get this all in order....

Tuesday we got a call from Elder Sorenson the vehicle coordinator and he said that we needed to drive to North Little Rock and pick up a brand new 2017 Chevy Malibu! When we picked it up it had only 19 miles on it. How Freaking awesome is that! That was pretty much the coolest thing that happened this week. The Malibu is a sleek silver, has tons of leg room, and as a added bonus it has great WiFi built in. Crazy awesome right? Sad thing is we only got it for this last week because of the car rotations and odds are we won't see it again for at least another transfer, but that's OK it was fun while it lasted.

One Miracle that happened this week is we saw Dexter again! We kind of lost track of him for about a week and we were really worried about him. So we saw him again, taught him the full restoration and he loved it. When he was with the missionaries before he didn't really like Joseph Smith because the missionaries were talking about him more then Jesus Christ. We were able to explain that while Joseph Smith was a important figure in our history, he is not as important as Jesus. When we explained that he was on board with the teaching and is making leaps and strides.

Saturday we had an.... unexpected detour from our plans. We started driving to an appointment and the new Malibu started yelling at us that our tire was flat. So we pull over and to our utter astonishment our front left tire was completely flat. We hadn't even broke 100 miles on it yet and we had a huge bolt in our tire. 😂😂😂 Luckily for us though we were able to change it no problem and get the tire over to our trusty local Firestone. I think we have been there every 2 weeks on the dot. So we are pretty much regular customers there. We know the people who work there now. One guys name is James and he is pretty cool. The other one is Beante. She is LDS and has a son on a mission. Kinda cool right? ☺

So this Sunday was pretty much the best Sunday on my mission yet! Dexter came to church! First time an Investigator came to church and it was great! 😄 We showed him around and he felt right at home. The talks that were shared were great. One was on Temples and Family history, the other was on the difference between guilt and shame, and the last one was on Missionary work. It was fantastic!!! The hymns also were a great selection that really brought the spirit. The hymns were Did you think to pray, as now we take the sacrament, and I believe in Christ. It was great!!!

We also had the chance to teach the youth during Sunday school. We taught the Apostasy and the Restoration. I didn't realize how many different Scriptures were in the standard works that talk about the Apostasy and the Restoration. It's like almost 100 or more. I really liked preparing for this and we started talking about why the Apostasy was nessesary for the Restoration to occur. The Apostasy is like a piece of black velvet that stands in stark contrast to the beautiful gem of the Restoration.  We also showed the new "Ask of God" video to the class and I felt the spirit so strong when I bore testimony of the First Vision. I love being a missionary. 

This week is going to be really busy. This is walk week so please pray for us that we will be safe and that no harm will come over us as we bike and walk this week. We are going to see Dexter hopefully everyday this week for a lesson and his baptismal interview on Saturday so that he can be ready for his baptism next saturday. I am so excited for this week and It's going to be great. 

I love you all and I pray for you all everyday. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers I really can feel the difference in my life with all the prayers. Thanks for all that you do. I have a testimony of the divinity of the work that I am a part of. I love being a missionary and I love teaching people the gospel. I feel such Joy when I am able to testify to people that this Church is true. It really is, don't ever doubt it, don't ever question it. This is the Lord's true Church. I love being a missionary!

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

This weeks flat tire

Check out Skyler in the Car Cam

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Jacksonville, Arkansas Week 9

Hello Family that I love! 

I rejoice with you in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I thank you not only for what you do, but I thank you for who you are. I want to thank those who have emailed me, sent me letters and packages, and who have prayed for me. I have the strength that I do because of you. :D  Thanks for everything!!! 

This week has been pretty good. We taught a few new people and have 3 new investigators! I'll explain them later. We were also able to have zone conference this week. It was great and I learned so much. Oh, and Easter Sunday was such a delight. 

As I said before we found 3 new investigators. Their names are James and Linda, they pulled up to us in their car the other day and asked us if we had any Norman Bibles. Haha it was awesome. We gave them a couple and stopped by a couple days ago. They are super humble people. James is a Vietnam veteran and has had a pretty hard life. Linda is his wife and is really cool. Our lesson though was kind of sabotaged by some people that they had over. The one lady was SUPER drunk and was telling freaking crazy stories. So yea...... We are hoping that they read the BOM and we are going to meet up with them later this week. James seemed super interested so I think it will go somewhere. I bore testimony to him about it and I think he will read. 

The other new Investigator is Carmon. She is a referral that we got from wanting a bible. We stopped by and gave her a Bible and a Book of Mormon and talked about how it can really help her and her family. She has 2 little boys and her husband so I really think that the doctrine of the eternal nature of the family will really help them out a ton. Pray for them please. 

The other investigators that I would love ya'll to pray for are Dexter, Pamela, Rick, Paige, Nikki, Lorenzo,Brandon, Crystal,Andre, Zach,Rebecca, Willie,Carly, and Patricia. 

I love all of these people and they all have amazing stories. Dexter and Pamela are committed to baptism and have set a date.  Pray for them please, I want them all to have the amazing blessings of the Gospel, but they have to use their agency to pick it. I can't imagine the heartache of our Savior and the Father when these precious souls don't want the amazing, fantastic, indescribable Joy of the Gospel. I feel so much Joy when I think about our Savior and our Father in Heaven. The Godhead really has blessed me so much with so many innumerable things. It is amazing. I have been able to really feel compassion for these people as I have tried to be more like Christ.

Zone Conference also happened this week and that was really amazing. We learned about how we need to be on Fire with the Gospel. We read multiple Scriptures about how the Fire of the Gospel needs to be shut up in our bones and become our DNA. It was awesome. Do all you can to have the Gospel not written on tablets of stone, but on the fleashy tablets of the heart. Then you can be on FIRE. 

Sunday was amazing. I really felt the spirit and it was so nice to remember the Savior and his Resurrection and victory over Death. Because he is risen from the Dead I will one day too. I love that. The infirmities that we have in this life won't be with us in the next life. In the Celestial Kingdom I won't have diabetes and will be able to have all the carbs that I want :D haha. I am really looking forward to that. Normal Dr. Pepper and Cookies for Days :D :D :D

This week in my studies I have felt prompted to study more of Jesus the Christ. Right now I am in Chapter 6 and it talks about the  Meridian of time and the events leading up to the Savior's Birth. It has been amazing and has really opened my eyes to how important and amazing our Savior really is.

I just want to end with my testimony. I'll never doubt it, I'll never question it. I know that God the Father lives, I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I know that the Holy Ghost is the witness of the divinity of the Father and the Son. I know that the Gospel has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and what a blessing that is in our life. I know that we have a living Prophet today and his name is Thomas S. Monson. I know that Temples are the house of the Lord and that we can receive many many blessings for going there. I love that I have been given 83 days to be a missionary and I am grateful for every single one. I have learned so much from this wonderful time in my life.

I love you all so much and I pray for ya'll everyday. May God bless you with peace that comes only from him. I love you all and have a fantastic week.

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

John Wayne was tall.  (Inside Joke from my days with the Priests :) ) 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jacksonville, Arkansas Week 8

Hello Family that I love dearly! 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 great here in sunny Jacksonville. Some of the highlights this week are pretty awesome. 

This week we went and provided service for our investigator Rick. We helped him clean out his flower beds out front and it was really good. I'm glad that I was able to help him with that. He really appreciated it. He watched Conference! He saw the session that President Monson spoke in and he said that he really liked it. Isn't that awesome! 

The next thing that was pretty cool this week was when we went and visited Dexter. Dexter is the ultimate investigator. He set his own baptismal date and he is just awesome. We visited him and he hasn't been feeling well, but he wanted us to stop by and visit with him and talk about the glorious gospel with him. We showed him the first vision video "Ask of God" and he said it was amazing! We also gave him a priesthood blessing and let me just say that Angels are real! It was the coolest experience. He will become a real converted member of the church. I just know it. 😊

I also got my blood tested in North Little Rock on thrusday. That was fun....😐 I don't like getting needles in me but it was real quick so not that big of a deal.

We had the ward Pinewood Derby and it was so fun. I will try to have Sister Smith send home a picture or two of it. Our car got 3rd 

Oh how I love the Sabbath!   It really is a Delight! We had a great testimony meeting and I was able to bear my testimony to the congregation. I love how simple the Gospel is. It really is the best thing in the whole world. 😊

After the normal church day we had the Linger Longer. Linger Longer is when people stay at the church for a little longer and we get a potluck and eat food. It really is a genius invention and I love it. I probably had more food then I was supposed to but you know. 

This week in my studies I have felt impressed to study Isaiah. With my study of Isaiah I have opened up 2nd Nephi and used that as a complementary study aid. I also have used the institute manual on the Gospel Library app and the 1971 ensign Talk by Elder Bruce R. McConkie entitled 10 keys to Understanding Isaiah. It has really deepened my understanding of Isaiah. Elder McConkie said that "if we want to go where Isaiah and Nephi have gone then we must understand what they were talking about. Indeed our Salvation may well depend on it." Pretty crazy right? Anyway Isaiah has been where I have focused this week and I have learned so much from it. The Lord loves his people and are really sad when they don't listen to him. He doesn't like us to suffer and pleads with us to listen and keep his commandments. The Commandments really are the way to a happier life. Isn't that an amazing truth! 

Before I get to my testimony I have some challenges for ya'll this week. ☺️Read the Book of Mormon "everyday, Everyday, EVERYDAY!" Doing this will help you resist temptation, grow closer to our Savior, and will allow our Father in Heaven to bless us in so many innumerable ways. Pray "everyday, Everyday, EVERDAY!" As a family and individually you will grow closer to our Father, Savior and the Holy Ghost when you pray every single day, multiple times a day.

I promise that as you do this you will grow closer to your Father in Heaven then you thought possible. He loves you so much and wants to bless you with so many blessings. Whenever you need help just pray. It will all work out in the end.

Here is another Gem of President Wakolo's wisdom for you. "This is my Testimony, I will never doubt it, I will never question it." He would often say this to us in regard to the restoration, the Book of Mormon, or the President of the Church. Really anything in my testimony applies to this quote. "I will never doubt it, I will never question it."

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! It is the most amazing gift that the we have been given. Our Loving Father in Heaven knows what we can become if we choose to let him lead us. He knows what he is doing and his will is always what is right. Our will may at times be what seems like the better thing, but from personal experience my will can't compare with what my Father's will is for me. When I let him lead me in the way that I should go then he makes so much more of every effort that I give to him. I love my Father in Heaven, and I know that he loves me. I know that he really loves it when I pray to him, because he loves hearing from his children. I know that he really hears me when I pray and that he will speak to me. Either through his spirit or through the Scriptures I know that he will talk to me. I know that Jesus Christ is my amazing, loving Savior and that he really wants me to rely on him every chance that I can. He wants to help all of us every chance he can. When we keep his Commandments not only are we showing him that we love him, but we are giving him opportunities to bless us and for him to help us. He loves that! Our Savior when he suffered for us felt everything that we will ever feel. He felt our pains and sufferings, and he felt our Joys. He rejoices with us when we rejoice and he weeps with us when we have cause to weep. He is our AMAZING Older Brother. He is my Savior. He is my best friend. Oh how I love being his friend, and fellow laborer in this great work. I love being a missionary!😄❤

Joyfully yours,

Elder Skyler Glen Larsen

On the road during walk week.  

President Wakolo carrying his "sticks" during conference when he was called as a GA.  This pic made all the missionaries smile because this is always his council to them, and he was an example of his own teachings. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Jacksonville, AK - Week 7 - Four Book of Mormon's and a Bible

Hello Family!

First highlight of the week was I survived another walk week! It was actually a pretty good walk week. It was really hot but as we say down here "Sweet is the work".

So the subject title has a back story. We were walking and we were able to give out 4 BOMs and a Bible. One of those BOM's was to a friend of Zach and Rebecca, and she was a pretty cool lady. Next we gave two Book of Mormons out when we were walking through some of the sketchier parts of town, and a person stopped their car and asked for those "Norman Bibles" hahaha funny right? We gave them 2 of them and got a return appointment. The last one that we gave out was when we were walking and another person stopped their car and asked for a bible so we gave them a bible and a Book of Mormon.  

One awesome person that we have been teaching is a man called Dexter. Dexter is a man who saw us as we were going to a Former Investigators house and he stopped us and was like "you guys helped me quit smoking when I lived in San Diego." And that striked up the conversation. We have met with him twice and taught him a bit out of the Book of Mormon. We talked about it and he accepted/choose his own baptismal date. This guy is as good as gold. He mentioned how he thought the San Diego temple was so beautiful and how he wanted to go inside. It was awesome because we told him that that is our goal as missionaries. He is so awesome. His baptismal date is for May 6th. His testimony that he shared with us was just amazing and I love this guy. 

I've seen a lot of miracles along the way this week. Many times on my mission when I thought that my blood glucose numbers were going to be pretty crazy after eating some food, I've been amazed when my numbers were normal. The Lord definitely knows me and is helping me out in a ton of ways. Tons and Tons of Tender Mercies.  

General conference was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! I loved it. I learned sooooooo much from it. The scripture that really stuck out to me was the scripture in the Pearl of Great Price where Enoch was talking with the Lord and the Lord said " all flesh is in my hand therefore walk with me." I'm grateful for everyday that the Lord allows me to be a missionary. Everyday is a tremendous blessing and I love that I have been blessed to come out and serve the Lord. I was so happy to hear from the Prophet again and his inspired counsel about the Book of Mormon and how we should read it everyday, everyday, everyday! I love the Book of Momon. I have studied from 3rd Nephi 17 and I have learned so much from how the Lord interacted with the Nephites. His bowels were filled with compassion and his joy was so much that we wept for joy because of them. That is so amazing! I want the Lord to have that much Joy in me. That's my goal. 

I also loved how many talks there were on the Holy Ghost and how important it is to have him with us all the time. He really can help us in so many ways. He can comfort us and heal us and help us to have the faith to carry on when life is really hard. The Holy Ghost has definitely been a huge strength to me as I have been out here. I have learned a lot more from the Scriptures when I am able to have the spirit teach me. 

One thing that I want everyone to do is when you are getting ready in the morning listen to a conference talk. It will increase your faith and ability to meet the challenges for the day. Also like the Prophet I challenge you to read the Book of Mormon everyday. It truly is the source to a greater, deeper conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Keep up the good work, have faith that everything will work out and God loves you so much. Jesus wants to give you grace everyday, just ask for it, and the Holy Ghost really desires to be with everyone that he can, so do everything you can do to make an environment where he can be present. 

I love you all and I keep you all in my prayers. 

With much love, 
Elder Skyler Glen Larsen