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. 😢 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 😂. 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