Monday, September 30, 2013

Pics and Pirates

Hi everybody,

Sorry this week is sparse on details, but look at all the pictures :)
I already committed not to eat ice-cream next transfer!

This woman is my favorite, love her. She sits in the back of relief society and cracks these hilarious one-liners and she's always late for everything. adore her. 

We call them the pirates :)

We took Rosie on a temple tour in the rain.

Transfers: Hermana Thomas (after being in East Sac since the beginning of her mission - 8 months!) is leaving to Lodi! and I will be companions here! Staying with Sister Schow and my new companion is Hermana Romero! She's a native from Mexico City and this is her LAST TRANSFER!

I feel so blessed to have her. I haven't even met her yet but I know it's gonna be great. I will learn a lot of spanish and together we will make her last transfer great (: I've heard she's really humble but funny, too and a little shy sometimes. I think i'm gonna like her (: 

ALSO I HAVE TO DRIVE! She can't drive in the United States.. so.. this should be interesting haha I don't ahve my Iphone GPS anymore.. just the Spirit, HOLLER! 

This week:

Andrea (Ana Mata's 9 year old daughter) Came up to us after sacrament this week and was like. "Hey, can I be baptized in December close to Jesus time?" UH OKAY.

She was supposed to be baptized in August but yeah the date fell through. Hermana Thomas bargained with her and she is now set for November 1st (: YAYAYAYA 
Mas tarde que nunca! (better late than never!) 

Took Rosie (16 year old investigator) on a temple tour! It rained! I'm sending pics! 

Jose and Gabriel are great! Gabriel thinks he's already Mormon or something..? haha we're working on figuring that out and trying to see if he has a record anywhere. That's kind of the difficulty with Spanish.. they move around a lot and are hard to keep track of! 

There's lots of russians here.. So "Privette!" is hello. I'm tri-lingual what uppp!

I love being a missionary and I love all of you so much. 

Hermana Skidmore

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Yo creoo en milagroooos!

I belive in miracles!!

Hola (: As I write this to you, I have never been more happy in my entire life. That sounds crazy, but it's a kind of happy I can't even describe.. It's a different kind of happy. The kind of happy that comes from sharing the Gospel and being so full of faith you think you're going to explode and the Mormon Tablernacle Choir is going to sing every time you open your closet doors to start a new day. 


But it's true. Yo estoy muy contento. 

Okay. First little miracle this week.

A long time ago, I met this mother who is a friend of one of our ward members that we had dinner with. Her name is Jessica and she has a son named Alejandro. She is from a different ward but she shared that her son is 16 and having troubles.. doubting the truth of the Church/Gospel and asking all the wrong questions. She was super worried about him and he had shut her out because.. that's what 16 year olds do to their moms.. 

I had the thought come to me to write Alejandro a note. So I ripped a brown paper bag and wrote as fast as I could. In the note I told him that...

 " His mom knows he has a good heart and that he needs to prepare himself now to serve a mission for the Lord. Questions are good but only when asked in an environment of faith. Alejandro, it's true. Don't believe me? Ask Him yourself. Your Heavenly Father loves you more than you can even imagine and wants to have a relationship with you. Remember what you Savior did for you. Hang on to your testimony with all you've got. It's the most unique thing about you. Don't let it slip. With love, hermana Skidmore - Cal Sac mission from KCK." 

So that was like a month or 2 ago. 

We just had dinner with that member and Jessica again. Guess what she said?

Alejandro has completely changed. He goes to church and seminary and has mentioned serving a mission which was something Jessica NEVER thought would happen. 

I wanted to cry when she told me. Like woah. I know it wasn't just the note.. and Alejandro didn't really tell Jessica why he suddenly changed.. ya know.. still a 16 year old and not wanting to open up to him mom. But she said it was a lot of little things combined. 

I know it wasn't just the note. But just knowing that maybe I had a tiny part in that kids life.. no words can describe. The teenagers, guys. I seriously love them. I have so much faith in the youth of this Church and youth that just don't know they're mormon yet ;) 

Now Gabriel and Jose...

They're cousins. Gabriel was the random guy we picked up on the street on the way to church one day and put him in a members car and found out he wants to be baptized... WHATUP. 

But get this. 

We text them to invite them to church, baptisms, ward activities, etc.. and we kept getting these sketch answers.. "si, te quiero!" "Adios mi amor!".. at first it was cute.. then it was like.. "miamora.!" (my girlfriend)... ew. no. I'm your minister not your eye candy, fella.

We thought we were going to have to hand them off to the Elders.. or drop them completely because they didn't have real intent.. WELL

We went over there, fully prepared to have the most awkward lesson of our lives accompanied by Alfonso, our body guard/Ward mission leader. 

They come outside.. and the drunk old neighbors are like making out and their music is super loud.. I'm so mad.. . COME ON PEOPLE TRYING TO FEEL THE SPIRIT HERE! 

I can't take it anymore... I march over there and they unlock their tounges and look at me.. LA MUSICA!!!!! And I give them a hearty thumbs down. He's like "oh geez who is this nun telling me what to do..?" But he turns it down and I march back over to Gabriel and Jose who are cracking up. 

We then talk to them about how we're they're ministers and how we need to know if they're really willing to change..because they haven't come to church (we didn't mention the texts though).

Jose thought I was getting mad at him so he's like... Esta enojada? Esta triste? and I'm like noooooooo I just care about you a lot and want this so bad for you!!! 

We figured out that they share a phone with all their cousins.. so it's the cousins that have been messing with us. Figures. Gotta get those men the Gospel. 

So we had a really good lesson about having a change of heart and we gave Gabriel and Jose their very own Libro de Mormon and Santa Biblia with colored tabs (thanks for sending me those tabs mom (: ) marking Hermana Thomas' and my favorite scriputres and some other good ones.

They were so grateful. It was humbling. We read in Alma 5 about having a change of heart and coming unto Christ. They promised to read and start doing all they can to get off work and come to church. They plan to be baptized on October 5th. 

But what happened at the end was probably one of my favorite experience so far.. Jose came to shake my hand as we got ready to leave and he asked me again.. are you mad? are you sad? I said...

"noooo! I'm excited for you! i just wanted to make sure you knew how important this is. Do you have any idea how much we care about you guys? We pray about you every night!"

Then I told him.."I've been thinking about your little son.. (he lives in Mexico with his wife while he's here making money).. and they example you're setting for him. I believe in you, jose. You can do this."

he was all.. "Pues, gracias.."

He lives with his cousins who drink and go out with women a lot.. He told me how hard it is.. knowing the difference between right and wrong but being surrounded by negative influences... I totally felt for him. Been there before. But he can do this. I know it. 

Then I realized why I feel a particular connection to him..I said...

"jose, ya know what... I have 2 older brothers. They are incredible. Good men in the gospel. And you remind me of them. That's why I care about you so much. I want the same things for you. The same blessings that my brothers have seen in the gospel, I want that for you.. but more than that.. Your Heavenly Father wants that for you. and that's why we're here..God loves you so much.. you know that right?"

He was all... "Pues, si, gracias..." hahah man of little words.

Also side note - All of that was said in horribly broken spanish.. still relying on the Spirit to carry the message to the heart of the listener ;) haha. 

But nonetheless! I love being a missionary. I have so many more things to tell you but I'm running out of time!

Please look for the little miracles that you see every day. 
Also, epiphany this week.. sometimes we go through hard times so that we can be an instrument in the Lord's hands so as to empathize with another one of his children when they're experiencing a similar trial. Cool how that works. God's a smart guy. 

The Church is true. The Book of Mormon is anther Testament of Jesus Christ and I have had a front row seat to seeing it change lives. 

Alma 5:13

Con todo mi corazon,

Hermana Skidmore

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tengo Ganas


Tengo ganas.. is like saying.. mm yeah I really want to.. but something is holding me back.. it doesn't really directly translate haha but it's what everyone is saying about coming to church. it should be "SI YO VOY A IR!" yes I'm going to go! COME ON PEOPLE! 

En todos modos, (anyways..)

We had a Church Tour! What up. new favorite thing. Yolani (found out we were calling Yolinda the wrong name.. #awk) and her daughter Jennifer and their huge fat baby Miller came on a church tour with Ana Mata (recent convert) and her daughter Andrea.. who was going to be baptized last week but.. didn't have tons of support from the other members of her family. crazy how much influence older siblings have. fo realz. But Andrea took charge of the whole thing haahha it was great! She even used her spanish which she doesn't do very much, totally befriended Jenifer and Yolani was BA DA BA BA BA lovin it.

But they didn't come to church. poop. Things happen. Next week though, she promised!

Lemme tell you about Jose and Gabriel. Gabriel was the miracle guy on the bike that we randomly invited to church and he was like "pues.. SIII!" then we lost him because he moved but then we found him agian! They live with like 50 of their cousins in this apartement and work in San Juan during the week so we always teach them on the weekends. 

Gabriel wanted to be baptized since the first time we met him. And Jose did too. They're incredible. They have such pure hearts. and we found out this week that Jose has a baby son and a wife that live in Mexico while he makes money here. They're like his pride and joy. He talks to them every day on the phone and has been sharing what he's learning about Jesus Christ and the Gospel. SO COOL! 

I was really worried about them having friends at church.. our congregation doesn't really have many 30 year old single or newly married hombres. PERO our ward mission leader, Alfonso is 24 (looks like he's 14) and he is now their friend (: they LOVE him. Last night we had the Chastity lesson.. BUM BUM BUM, clean thoughts, no sex before marriage, the works, and then talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentence, baptism, gift of holy

ghost, endure to the end) and the whole time they were like.. "Alfonso.. digame.. este.. digame eso.." Tell me this tell me that. hahah then they wanted him to say the closing prayer hahah. SO WOO they have a friend! 

It's crazy to me sometimes.. I sit back during a lesson and just look at where I am.. sitting on a side walk in a dingy apartment complex with 3 mexican men and a white girl at my side. we're all criss cross apple sauce talking about God.. LIKE WHAT!? If anyone would have told me that this is what I'd experience on a mission, never would have belived them. Never. 

It's incredible that we make the most random places (sidewalks, front porches, stair wells, laundry mats) into an environment where people feel the Spirit for the first time. For the first time these people realize their divinity. They feel the love their Father in Heaven has for them FOR THE FIRST TIME in the WEIRDEST places. I'm laughing to myself right now. 

I SIT ACROSS FROM 3 MEXICAN MEN ON A REGULAR BASIS, CHEESE GRADE A LANGUAGE I JUST LEARNED, and somehow.. these people are brought to the knowledge of their Savior and Redeemer. WHAT?! 

I guess not "somehow"..I know how all this is able to happen. It's all the Lord. I open my mouth, not sure what's gonna come out and with His help, it makes sense.. God could soooo accomplish this himself but how lucky are we to get to participate?

Don't forget to smile this week. Say hello to people. You never know what a difference you can make. Con Dios todo es posible. Todo. 

Yo voy a enviar fotos (: 

Con amor para siempre,

Hermana Skidmore


This Week

Sorry the title isn't more creative! 

Hi hi hi! 

SOOOOO This week! 

Zone Conference was on Friday. 4 Zones gathered at our Stake Center so we didn't have to travel far. It was like BAM BAM BAM so uplifting! One of the AP's left everyone a voicemail the night before and was like "Get pumped and ready to receive revelation!" hahahah #missionaryhumor

Random cool thing: I was about to sit down: ready to chow down on regular american food (kind of) Ravioli and salad that the Stake provided us for lunch.. when President comes over to me like.."Sister Skidmore, would you and Sister Thomas join us at the Table over there?" pointing across the room.. "Uh.. yeah!" 

So we sat.. and the Mission President, his wife, the Stake President, and his wife, and our zone leaders ALL watched me eat.. hahhaa. Obiously we all ate together but you know how I feel about like eating in front of important people.. also it was SO AWKWARD! because no one wants to say anything that might be inappropriate.. it's hard to explain.. like everyone wanted to be proper.. 

yeah.. well I got over that real fast. Silence just won't do!

 I talked about the car wash we went through. and how some day Hermana THomas and I are going to go through a car was in the back of a pick up truck.. and then President was like "I like to bungee jump.." OKAY PRESIDENT. YEAH! and then the conversation picked up. Holler at your getting everyone to talk like normal people. Missionaries can be normal, too. Just so everyone knows (: 

The stake president's wife talked about her daughter and how she has 3 older brothers. We really connected on that topic over the dinner table. I basically just told the whole table that the boys (like Cameron and Mitchell) just to clarify, are my heroes. They made me tough. I was never allowed to be a sissy. and when I was a sissy, I wasn't allowed to play with them anymore so it was best just to not be a sissy (: hahahah I will be forever grateful for my homies. 

Then Juancarlos' baptism!!! 

YAYAY! He was so cute!!! ahhhh!!! I'll send pics!

His less active family members and non-member family members were all there and his less active brother Wilson, came to church the next day to see him get Confirmed in Sacrament meeting. We could just tell that Juancarlos was beaming. Hopefully this will spark something with the family. We wrote Juancarlos a note just to tell him how he is really setting such a great example for his family (: I can't wait to see that little guy serve a mission!

The reason I'm emailing on a tuesday!

We had a Spanish activity at the temple!! ahhhh! There's like a huge field around the Sac temple so 1,200 of the Spanish people around Sacramento gathered for the holiday. We ate carne asada and did zumba! Hermana Thomas and I were in charge of maning the door to Zumba haha it was SO HARD not to dance!! It was a great time. Lots of comradery (no idea how to spell that) among the people and my Spanish is slowly getting better! We even got to go INSIDE the temple waiting room with Ana Mata (recent convert) and her sister! The temple worker was like Yeah! Come look real fast! I felt so awkward.. but it was really special. I think Roxana realized that too.  

Spiritual thought:

Do you know the name of Beethoven's piano?

Exactly. No one knows the name of the instrument. But we know the artist.

As a missionary, I am an instrument of the Lord. This is His work. 

Preisdent Martinez (assistant to Mission Preisdent Lewis and over the Spanish) shared that at a Spanish missionaries meeting this week and it kind of blew my mind. it's so true! Hard to remember sometimes, because we want the people to remember our names haha but the big picture is whose work this actually is. 

Used Jacob 3:1 a lot this week. Did I already share that one? Sorry (: I just love it. 

Les amo para siempre y con todo mi corazon.

Hermana Skidmore

Sunday, September 1, 2013

In the Land of Shake & Bake

This week was great!

Hermana Thomas and I turned in our numbers last night and the Zone Leaders said we're leading the Zone.. I don't know what that means but it sounds good! 

But it's not about numbers (: so let me tell you about the people! 

The Miller family!

We call them that beacuse we don't know their last name but the Dad's name is Miller haha. They're Spanish, obviously and they were a referral from the best ward member ever - Hermana Melix! She sees a spanish person in her car or while she's walking, goes up to them, asks their name and some information, and then sends us to them hahaha. 

This family is great! Jennifer is their little girl, Miller Jr. is a HUGE GORDO (fat) baby and then Yolinda is the mom. We taught them the restoration using this great object lesson we came up with in Companion Study, and the whole time Miller (the dad) kept saying "oh yeah. Yep. OHHH. Okay. Siiiiiii!" Like while we were teaching haha. We tried to have a church tour this week but no dice :( just gotta get em to church! He even said "so I should probably go to church to see if this is true huh..?" and we were like well..PRAY and yes! church! Iglesia! Woo. Yeah!

Hermana Jiminez - Ward member that sells tamales for a living! SHE IS GREAT! AHHH! We had dinner at her house and she had some chiles on the table. Okay.. for those of you that don't know.. if even a hispanic says that something is spicy.. IT'S SPICY! = picoso! 

Hermana Thomas dared me to try a red chile.. and Hermana Jiminez was like no!! and she was cracking up. 

Did I try it? CLARO QUE SI (of course!) 

I cheated a little though :) I ate it with a piece of tortilla so that it looked like I was chewing the chile but I wasn't, so i swallowed the bite of chile whole and the burning was minimal.. 

Hermana Jiminez was dying! She was laughing so hard that I didn't seem phased. 

So she made me take another bite.. 

Yep. FUEGO EN MI BOCA. Fire in my mouth. She laughed some more. haha. 

Then before we left we asked her her favorite hymn. We've discovered that Hispanics reallllly like it when we sing. She said "Jesus es mi Luz" I forgot what the quivalent is in ingles.. 

She said it's what her Mom used to sing to her. 

We started singing. She tried to sing with us.. and then the tears just rolled down her cheeks.. My heart was so full. 

To give you some background, this lady is pretty old and she works SO HARD to provide for the 2 boys that she adopted with her late husband. She said that by coming that night, we brought her a peace that she can't seem to find any other way. It made me so grateful to be a representative of Jesus Christ and to be able to offer that peace. . She said a prayer before we left and it was the most humble, full of gratitude prayer I've ever heard. Such a sweet experience.

We hopefully have 2 baptisms coming up this week! Friday - Andrea Mata (the daughter of Ana Mata - a recent convert that Hermana Thomas taught and baptized a few months ago) and Juancarlos on Saturday! His mom is making this a HUGE deal haha. and it's FINALLY HAPPENING! after having the date pushed back like 3 times. They're both 9 years old and so smart! 

We did an object lesson extravaganza with Andrea about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it turns out.. she already understands most of it because of going to primary only 3 times. CHURCH IS GREAT - whatupp! Shouts out to primary teachers all over the world! 

I guess her older sister told her that after she's baptized she can't have fun anymore.. and Andrea idolizes her older sister.. so we went over last night with our photo albums and literally showed Andrea how fun our lives have been since being baptized haha. Later in the lesson, randomly she was like "where were you when you almost fell off a mountain?" because I showed her the picture of Madisen and I on Angel's Landing. haha gotta love the attention span of the ninos. 

With Juancarlos we did an "Armor of God" lesson, I'll send a pic! And he passed his interveiw for baptism this sunday and he is READY! He was BEAMING when he came out of the interview. and I was like YEAH JUANCARLOS!!!! HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND!! haha. Some one should be as excited as him, am i right!?


Oh boy. Remember how I have NO sense of direction? Taylor can attest to this.. and anyone who has ever had to drive with me without a GPS. So I got to stay in my area with another Hermana while Hermana Thomas went with the Sister Training Leader to another area. 

It was bad. I felt like the worst missionary on the planet. We drove so much. Then we finally got to a lesson and like halfway through he goes.. Me llamo.. GenARO.. no GenERO.. 

I've been using the wrong vowel in there for about 3 months.. HAHAHAHA. 

Then We had this rad lesson with some investigators that we nicknamed the Pirates. and we say "ARGHHH" but roll the "R" it's funny because you roll R's in spanish :) I'll see if I can send a picture and then you'll understand.

Their names are Pepe, Gabriel and Jose. Brothers. All have really good hearts and have a really good understanding of Diety. They seem "too cool for school." but really they're LOVING the Book of Mormon and they always say.."oh I'm not good at praying.." YEAH RIGHT. They like try to out do each other with how beautiful their prayers are haha. Love em. 

One more thing, 

I just want to brag about my companion for a minute. 

Hermana Thomas is the best thing. She is an incredible missionary and I thank Heavenly Father every day that I was able to have her as my trainer. She is patient with me and has really helped me to grow as a person. I'm super confident with my Spanish when I'm with her. Like I'm not afraid to make mistakes. She is constantly thinking about others and the needs of our investigators.. she is prompt. Obedient. and we make an incredible team. She knows her purpose as a missionary... Every day we talk about how much it's going to suck that we are getting separated in month haha. I hope I get to serve with her again some day! 

I love you all so very much. I think about you all the time and the examples you have been to me. I LOVE YOU!!!

Jacob 3:1 - God keeps his promises, he'll never leave you hanging as long as we do our part to pray and have faith.

Paz y bendiciones.

Hermana Skidmaaaas.