Monday, December 30, 2013

Greeley Letter #7

District white elephant gift exchange
Rashauna's Christmas from friends & family afar, as well as friends in Greeley
Necklace Rashauna received from the Santa for Christmas
Rashauna's view of Skyping with family in Grass Valley
Rashauna's view of Skyping with family in Tennessee
Rashauna's view of Skyping with the Skaggs who were in San Diego
Thank you so much for everything!!! Cards, packages, pictures, gifts, food, conference talks, SCARVES!!! (I really do love all of them, ha-ha. I've worn several already). I felt so loved from all angles. From here, home, and elsewhere. It really was a wonderful Christmas thanks to the opportunity I had to Skype with you (the family) and thanks for your prayers. We spent Christmas visiting C, our recent convert family, the Adamsons, and the Buss's. We were able to watch movies (that we received permission to watch from our mission president) on Christmas Eve and Christmas so Sister Tafengatoto and I (with the permission of Grandma and Grandpa Buss) hosted a movie night both nights. We had 12 missionaries in their basement watching Monster's University, Megamind, and Tangled. It was great ha-ha. It felt really nice to relax and just kick back. It was kinda hard to face reality again after Christmas, but Heavenly Father has truly blessed us with so much work. We continue to visit R daily. We had the opportunity to teach his Grandson, B, one night this week as well. They are all reading the Book of Mormon and enjoying it.
We had a trainers meeting on Friday (a meeting for all trainers and new missionaries). Each new missionary stood up and shared their favorite thing about their trainer and a miracle that has happened. Sister Tafengatoto almost made me cry with how she described the things she likes about me. I keep telling her I'm going to visit her in Tonga when she gets off her mission. Who's down for a trip?? She is always looking for ways to brighten my day and then we go to the meeting and she talks about how much I do for her.... She must be confused ha-ha, but she has a heart of gold I tell you.
We were able to contact a couple former investigators yesterday and have plans to visit them again soon. While out and about, we felt prompted to knock on a few other doors, too. A particular house that caught my attention answered and let us in immediately. We were able to teach a brief lesson and invite the man, A, and his family to church and give them a Book of Mormon. They are so excited to read, go to church, and have us visit again. Blessings and miracles just keep coming. All of the time I feel so lucky to be here. All of our new investigators came into the picture yesterday when almost every single one of our other plans fell through.... because we just kept going. Things always have a way of working out when we exercise faith.
Sister Rashauna Hoer

Monday, December 23, 2013

Greeley Letter #6

The Last Super - with Sisters Mangum and Smith

New companion: Sister Tafengatoto from Tonga
Visiting a friend
Working on another Habitat for Humanity project
My new companion is Sister Tafengatoto. She is from a small village in Tonga and is quite possibly the sweetest girl I've ever met. She is constantly looking for ways to help me, serve me, share with me. Needless to say, I have a lot to learn from her. We have very different upbringings and have struggled to find much in common, but so far we both love Enya and find V8 juice to be repulsive. It's a great start!
We've had an amazing week. In one of our first lessons together, we were teaching R (who's wife M just passed away) more about the plan of salvation. I quietly told Sister Tafengatoto to bear her testimony and invite him to be baptized. Without hesitation she did so. She is awesome. She has grown up speaking English is school, but she starts talking fast when she's nervous. I'm not sure R understood her with her accent, but when I clarified what she had asked, he said yes. He told us that he doesn't understand all of what we share sometimes (he's had a stroke and stumbles over saying/understanding some words) but that everytime we come by he feels that our message is true. We've started teaching him more simply and I've realized I should be doing that anyway with everyone. I just get so excited and want people to know everything I do..... One step at a time :)
K (the 8 year old) is so cool. We met with her this week and she had a notebook where she had written down five questions. She had questions about Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, the Godhead. We were able to teach her the first discussion and answer all of them. Her father, who is a less active member of the church, was able to explain a few parts. It was really cool to hear all that he still remembered. He expressed how he should be going back to church to be a good example for K. It's so cool to see the spirit working in people. I love being a part of it. We just keep loving people and bearing testimony that God loves them and everything else falls into place.
We got to work on the Habitat for Humanity house again this week. Framing!! It was so much fun. One of the Elders said, "You'd be great at whack-a-mole." I thought that might make my father proud :) The ward here has been so kind. I think we've gotten gifts at almost every house we visit for dinner and even from our less active families. I got a pomegranite and a pomegranite deseeder (says it will deseed in 60 seconds.... we'll see about that). Oatmeal and salad, mango lotion, chocolate. These people know me so well haha. I feel so spoiled all the time out here. I can't wait to spoil missionaries when I get home.
Hmmm... what else happened. C was at church again after we had another amazing lesson this week. He showed up in a white shirt and tie and just looked happy. It's amazing what the gospel does to someone's disposition. He truly has a light around him. We are really excited and I feel lucky to work with him. I feel lucky to work with all of these people.
Love, Sister Rashauna Hoer

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Greeley Letter #5

At the Mission Christmas Devotional
Artwork by Rashauna:
She drew on her missionary handbook (bottom) and now
other missionaries are requesting her artwork on their handbooks.

I'll call the day before Christmas to set up and make an appointment to Skype on Christmas. I GOT MY PRE-CHRISTMAS PKG. Thank you thank you thank you!! I've worn the socks and used the sharpies and worn the shirt and used the stamps and I love it. Thanks for everything. You're the best.
We had the opportunity to do exchanges this week. I got to be in Johnstown for a day. Closer to the mountains :) It was a beautiful view. We were able to serve pie to folks at a senior center for part of our voluteer hours. It was so much fun. Going back to our area, we met with a new investigator that the Elders had been working with. She's 8 years old and awesome. We talked about river rafting and adventures before we set up an appointment. Her parents are so cool. I cannot wait to teach her.
M, N's Grandma passed away this week. We've been in and out of the hospital, by request of the family. The spirit has been so strong during our prayers there. They are understandably having a hard time, but S (N's son) expressed how well everyone has been doing under the circumstances. He said he knows it's because of us and the things we've been teaching.
We met with a 25 year old named C. He hasn't been to church in years. His friend on a mission currently contacted him through facebook and invited him to meet with the missionaries. He accepted and has been doing great. He has already read the Book of Mormon all the way through and is in 2 Nephi for the second time in just 4 days. He came to church on Sunday. It's amazing to see how Heavenly Father gives us strength to do things we otherwise wouldn't be able to do on our own. That is the enabling power of the Atonement working. He has tried to quit chewing tobacco before and has never been able to. Recently, at the beginning of the whole "going back to church" process, he stopped and hasn't touched it since. He shared with us his surprise at how easy it has been this time. I know that Christ is truly helping him and he knows it too.
Sister Mangum and Sister Smith were sick on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I detailed our car, hung out with Sister Buss (the member we live with), read Jesus the Christ, address Christmas cards..... anything to stay busy. They are both (thankfully) feeling better now. I was about to go insane. It's so hard sitting at home when you know there are people we need to see. Saturday night we found out that our trio was getting separated. Sister Mangum is going to the Spanish branch. They meet at the same time as us in the relief society room so I'll still get to see her. Sister Smith is being transferred to Fort Collins and both of them will be in spanish speaking areas. I'm excited for them. I'll be staying here and training a new missionary. Round three. I'm nervous, but I'm trying to trust that Heavenly Father knows what He is doing. Everytime I remind myself of this fact, I feel peaceful. Good things are coming :)
I'm so excited to be staying. Surprise, surprise I'm completely attached to yet another area. I know I always say this but I love the people here. I think (because I'm training) I'll hopefully get at least 3 more months here.
A couple of our less active families are doing really well. More of an update on them next week.
Love, Sister Hoer

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Greely Letter #4

Check out these sweatshirts!
Baptism Day
Above and Below photos: Habitat for Humanity project
Ice skating on Preparation Day
They call this a Sister Smith Sandwich hug!
Well, I had responsibility of driving the car for about 12 hours Saturday night and on to Sunday morning. Driving to a 6:30 am meeting, we slid on some ice and into a fence.... and now the whole front bumper is missing. only 12 hours!! Are you kidding. I was going 15 mph (in a 25 mph area). My goodness. Everybody is fine and the owner of the fence is one of the nicest people I've ever come across, so that was good. Ugh... so inconvenient and I just feel terrible about it. It's a little ridiculous. 12 hours. that's it.... anyway, moving on.
OK, Business. We get to skype on Christmas!!! I'm so excited. I wanna cry just thinking about seeing all of you :) And yeah, could you send me Mo's phone number just in case? I'm elated to have a car at this time of year. Serious blessing. Everytime I want to complain about the cold I just smile and say, "we have a car." Perspective is everything and riding/walking around in Laramie snow is still fresh in my mind. 
So, one of the people I was working really closely with in Laramie and I have been keeping in touch via email. Before I had to leave town, I left her with a commitment to watch a conference talk weekly and every Monday I'm elated to see her name in my email inbox and have the opportunity to read about the talk she watched and her thoughts about it. It seriously makes my whole day. I recommend talks when they come to me, but would love for some favorite talk suggestions. What are some of your favorite talks and why are they meaningful to you? I'd love for some more ideas to share with her.
The Elder that broke his arm went home and his companion went to Fort Collins, so here we are with our work load and theirs trying to keep our heads above water. I love it. We constantly have something to do and it's helped me to see the power of other people doing the finding. This experience has given me a vision for what missionary work would be like if members were doing more of the finding and missionaries doing more teaching. In addition to all the people we are trying to keep track of, we are regularly doing service. We got to help out at a Habitat for Humanity build on Tuesday. It was so much fun. I really enjoy the service hours we get to do and the opportunities to meet people from the community.
I LOVE THE BUSS FAMILY. We live with the most adorable couple. They are so fun to talk to and laugh with. Words aren't sufficient for how much I enjoy their company and how caring they are.
S and N received blessings this week. Two Elders that they haven't met before came. S always has the most powerful promises in his. Afterward, N looked at us and asked if we had told the Elders about S. We said no and that they don't know anything about him. She immediately started to cry and said, "So, how does that work?" The blessing was so specific and so characteristic of S, and all of us (except the Elders) recognized it. It strengthened my testimony of the power of the Priesthood as we explained that Priesthood holders are simply instruments for Heavenly Father to deliever messages to us.
Saturday morning we were able to get the whole mission together and hear from Elder Christensen. It was phenomenal. He talked about the importance of paying attention to impressions and invited each of us to draw a vertical line down the middle of our page, recording impressions on one side and quotes on the other. He talked about the light of Christ that exists in each individual. He compared it to gravity. A law crucial to our existence and always in effect. Although we cannot see it directly, we are able to see evidence of it everywhere and in everyone. It just made so much sense.
J, J, and A (investigators from the Elders) were baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. It was incredible to be part of that process. We've been going over there almost everyday. I love seeing the changes that the gospel brings so naturally. Change doesn't come all at once, but if we allow Christ in our lives, it comes. B, J's wife, was able to attend with their three kids. She continues to open up more and more to gospel related things. J is such an amazing leader in his family. He does what he knows to be true and brings his kids to church each week even though B doesn't want to come yet. I know that his example is what will lead her to opening her heart.
We've been meeting with an amazing woman (and member) who sincerely wants to change and come closer to Christ. She has come to church the last two weeks and has been making amazing progress. It is so refreshing to visit with her and help her make and reach goals. In Relief Society she pulled out her manual and started taking notes. Incredible!! I didn't even have a manual....
Life is great. We find out about transfers this Saturday. There are 30+ missionaries coming in so we're all expecting quite a few changes.
Love, Sister Hoer

Monday, December 2, 2013

Greeley Letter #3

Running in the 5k Turkey Trot 

Well, we've had some amazing progress this week. I can't even remember what I told you about S and N and their family, but I have never felt the spirit so strong in my life. They are truly ready for the gospel and we have been over there almost every day since we met them. While on exchanges, Sister Mehner and I were able to teach them the Restoration. I love sharing Joseph Smith's experience. After doing so, I asked them how they felt. S described the warmth that the spirit brings. I have never felt the spirit so strongly as I did that night. I felt it so powerfully. We bore testimony of the spirit and what it means and invited them to be baptized. They said yes, that was definitely something that they wanted. This family is so open to the spirit. It's hard to see so many people that don't allow themselves to see or feel God in their lives, but S and N are evidence that Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone. We crossed paths with them because they are ready for the gospel now. The Lord is truly looking out for us, each one of us.
I got your Thanksgiving package on Tuesday!! It was so fun :) Wednesday evening S, N and 3 others in their family received powerful priesthood blessings. S's was my favorite. Heavenly Father told him that he needed to read the scriptures and as he did so he would learn things that would bless his entire family. He will also lead his posterity. At the age of 18, this young man has so much responsibility. He takes care of his entire family in one way or another, but I know Heavenly Father is looking out for him. We are his messengers to provide him with the help he needs.
We asked a few families in the ward if they would each make a side dish that we could deliver to N's family for Thanksgiving. Everyone was so supportive and after we ran a 5K turkey trot (compliments of the amazing Buss family - the family we live with) we dropped off the meal to them. They were so appreciative and were really touched by the fact that members of the church would help someone they didn't even know. N said, "I'll have to come thank them sometime." Hopefully we'll be able to get them to church soon. The rest of Thanksgiving was great. We played Tuba Ruba and ate dinner at the Adamson's. They are so good to us. They remind me a lot of our family and how we treat the missionaries.
We taught N the Plan of Salvation on Friday evening and set her with a baptismal date on Saturday. We asked her to prepare herself to be baptized on the 4th of January. Her face just lit up. She smiled and cried and said yes. The spirit truly teaches people the things they need to know. It's a wonderful experience to be able to be so involved in that process. I learn so much every day.
We were asked to teach class on Sunday right before Sacrament Meeting. It went surprisingly well. We are kind of taking over three of the Elder's investigators because one of the elders has a compound fracture. Throwing a football Thanksgiving morning, his humerus completely snapped. I got to see the x-ray and it's one of the cleanest breaks I've ever seen.... and the weirdest thing. A 20-something year old's arm snapping from throwing a football. I didn't believe him until I heard several other witnesses. Crazy stuff. But their three investigators, J, J and A are being baptized this Saturday and contributed some amazing comments to the lesson. Again, I just learn so much from the people we "teach"; sometimes it feels like it's the other way around.
We are going ice skating in a little bit and I look forward to sending pictures next week. Love you all!! Missionary work is the best. Members have been helping out a ton!! When is the last time you called the missionaries and asked, "Who are you teaching and how can I help?"
Sister Hoer

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Greeley Letter #2

Delivering brownies to a friend recovering from cancer treatment
Homemade pizza party!
The Trio.
I am constantly overwhelmed when I come to the library and try to sum up my week. So much has happened. I got permission on Tuesday to call Sister Gregory from a member's phone and wish her a happy birthday. That was really fun to talk to her for a little while :) We also made brownies for a less-active woman who is recovering from cancer/cancer treatments. She loves cows and Oklahoma University. So that's how we decorated them.
Wednesday was crazy in such a good way. We were able to teach J, a woman that we ran into. We've been trying new tracting and finding approaches and one that has been particularly successful is just asking a question. No introductions, no anything. We just knock on a door and when they open it say, "Where do our spirits come from?" or "Why are there so many churches today?" Things of that nature. It's been really neat. So we got a lesson with J from that and later that day we were wandering around looking for a less-actives house when a young man got out of his car to ask if we needed help. Always let people help you when they offer. It's an amazing opportunity to meet people and for them to receive blessings. We ended up inviting him and his family to hear a message about Jesus Christ. He said, "absolutely." We have since visited them at least three times. It's incredible to see the Lord's promise come true that people who are prepared to hear the gospel will be lead to you or you will be lead to them. S just walked up to us. Him and his mother have been through a lot, but what's amazing is that the gospel can help and will if they continue to allow it to. The gospel will cover any trial or hardship.
We had dinner at the Adamson's on Thursday and they essentially made a vegan feast. They are one of the most incredible families I've met on my mission thus far. They are so much fun to talk to. That's where I'll be spending thanksgiving and I'm really looking forward to it.
Friday, Sister Smith and Sister Mangum and I made our own pizzas while we did our weekly planning. We tend to make everything a party and it's great. They are so fun to be around. We also all got some fleece-lined tights which have been pretty incredible. Anyone who hasn't experienced those is missing out. I also got a letter from Paige and Taraleigh/Taven/Cannon/Carsten.... I can't quite express how much those mean to me. Thank you!!
We met with a less-active that just moved from California. It was cool to see a 209 area code again (shout out to my girl Taraleigh - and the Duffmyster of course). Her husband is not a member and is now our newest investigator. They are so sweet. All three of us were beaming when we saw them walk into the chapel on Sunday. It was amazing to see them at church. I also gave a talk yesterday during Sacrament meeting. I was asked to introduce myself, which I did, but I ended up mostly talking about becoming more like Christ. That's something I've been really passionate about lately. All three of us Sister Missionaries also were talked into singing with the choir during Sacrament Meeting. It's really nice to be busy though. Last night we were able to go over to S's house with the Elders to give his grandmother a Priesthood blessing. It was an amazing experience. I love feeling the spirit with people.
Overall I think it's been one of my favorite weeks on the mission. We are working so hard and have seen so much progress in just one week.
Love you!! Invite your friends over when you are feeding the missionaries!!
Sister Hoer

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Greeley Letter #1

Rashauna helping clean up a flooded home.

Sister Smith and Rashauna: Attack of the turtlenecks!

Sister Smith, Rashauna & Sister Mangum: All three received letters one day!
I'm in Greeley, Colorado. We are living with the sweetest couple in the world. He is the Greeley Stake Patriarch and she plays us songs on the piano and always has a buffet of healthy snacks on the table. I love talking to them together and individually. He majored in and taught biology for some years and they both have the best stories. They are some of my new favorite people. They call us their daughters :)
It has been a crazy week. There are about 300 less active members in our ward, so we've been doing a lot of those visits. It was a little strange trying to get used to having three of us teaching, but we work well together. We laugh a lot and work hard. Like usual, we've found a good balance. We've met some really wild people haha. Really wild. We've been trying to branch out and find new ways to meet people. We recently tried walking about a big shopping center and talking to people there. We were laughed at and very obviously ignored before running into two women that were interested and another man right afterward that we were able to give a Book of Mormon to. I love bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon. That Book has a power incomparable to any other. It changes lives. Sometimes our faith is tested before we get to where we need/want to go. If we had quit after having people laugh at us we would have never been able to talk to the three people who were interested in learning more.
The families we've had dinner with have been remarkable. This ward is making this transition very easy, which I am grateful for. Every now and again something reminds me of Laramie and pulls on my heart strings. I heard that M, the manager of Salvation Army in Laramie, had her first lesson finally and agreed to be baptized!! Service softens hearts. Check out today!!
During the week, Sister Loux, Hermana Smith, and I (the Sister Training Leaders in the Greeley and Greeley East Zones) decided to plan a mini Sisters Conference. We planned it on Wednesday and had it on Thursday. Somehow everything came together and it was a real success. After reading the talk by Elder Christofferson, "The Moral Force of Women" ( we decided to incorporate several quotes into the meeting. I spoke about life before a mission and what led each of us up to where we are now. Sister Loux spoke about life on a mission and how much we, as sisters, influence the work. Hermana Smith spoke on life after a mission and focused on who we want to become. We invited Sister Buss (the adorable and amazing woman we live with, who served in the eastern states mission) and Sister Brown to come speak to us as well. The spirit was powerful and several of the Sisters expressed how much they enjoyed and needed that meeting. I still can't believe that we pulled it off, but it was great.
We got to help out a family on Saturday that had their home destroyed by the flood. I didn't realize that towns outside of Boulder had been affected as well. It was a really rewarding service project, but it's hard to see people's lives so drastically changed. It's really hard being in what used to be someone's home and have it feel like an empty shell. However, I love seeing the good that comes after a natural disaster. I know that probably sounds crazy, but I love it. People come from everywhere to help. Communities come together regardless of religion, race, or background. It's wonderful. It reminds me of the way things should be. Life becomes more simplified in that small area of the world.
"Everything that is good is on your side," -Seth Hoer (Sorry I hope I don't embarrass you with this, but I loved it)
Love, Sister Hoer

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Last Letter from Laramie

 Baptism day for A.
Signing the card Rashauna and Sister De Voe made for A.
P's baptism!
Sister De Voe, biking in the snow!
Hey hey,
So I thought I'd get the depressing news over with first. I'm leaving Laramie. I'll be heading to Greeley to be companions with two Spanish-speaking sister missionaries. Not really sure why that's happening, but we have a car for the winter months!!! I'm definitely going to miss my bike on nice days, but not while it's snowing haha. Sister De Voe and I have shown up to far too many appointments with mud all over our legs and backs. The Sherman Hill ward was really sad to see both of us go (Sister De Voe is going to Cheyenne and will be with Sister Gregory). We've made some lifelong friends here. Laramie is truly a special place.
On a much lighter note, it has truly been a week of miracles. There were 6 baptisms in Laramie this week!! One on Tuesday, one on Friday, and four on Saturday. The best part is, that even though the baptism program is set up pretty much the same way each time, each new church member chose different people to speak and the details that go into it made each baptism so individual. I loved being able to go to so many and feel the spirit so strongly. A's baptism was incredible. Absolutely incredible. She is so strong. Sister De Voe and I had the opportunity to speak on baptism and be with her right when she came out of the water. While getting changed she just kept saying, "I just feel so happy!" Her husband said that he kept hearing us laughing in the bathroom. It's called the Plan of Happiness for a reason. She was confirmed a member of the church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday by her husband . Her blessing emphasized the fact that this was a stepping stone on their way to the temple. I am so excited to keep in touch with them.
Everything else this week was just a blur. I kinda knew I was leaving, but it was still hard to hear it on Saturday night. I really don't want to leave, but at the same time I feel very confident that this is a good change. Heavenly Father is definitely helping me stay positive. There is also an amazing girl here, a returned missionary, who has really been a support to me. E J and I have become best friends. She is in one of the student wards but we've been able to share in some amazing spiritual experiences while on exchanges or at Grandma's on Sundays. Grandma was really hard to say goodbye to. Everyone was really hard to say goodbye to. We were able to give T and S a copy of the Book of Mormon in the Amharic language with our testimonies inside the front cover. I start tearing up every time I think of people hearing the gospel in their own language. It's incredible to see how many languages the gospel is being shared in. We are eating with them tonight. They have said multiple times that they consider us part of their family and wanted to feed us a traditional Ethiopian meal before we leave town.
We also had the most incredible lesson with a less active, R. I'm not really sure how it happened, but there is a connection that I feel with her. From the moment I met her, I loved her. We talked all about prayer and how powerful it can be. I wish I was better at describing these experiences. The spirit is something I have always struggled to put into words. The feeling in the room that night was incredible. I just love that family and I've only visited with them a few times now. Three...? It's crazy how fast these people get into your heart. That's another thing Heavenly Father helps me with.
This is hard. I love the people here so much. However, there will be a total of five missionaries in the new ward I'm going to. Miracles are on the way.
Sister Rashauna Hoer

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Laramie Letter #16

Rashauna on Halloween as an old lady missionary, ha-ha!
T's lesson went great!! We just talked about faith. Simple, but powerful. She has the most beautiful prayers. They are so genuine and you just know that she is talking to her Father in Heaven. She had to reschedule our meeting for Friday, but she contacted us yesterday and asked when we could meet this week!! Some changes came her way that have really been a catalyst for her progression. It's amazing to see how challenges help us move forward. It's so easy and natural to find a spot where we are comfortable and stay there. Heavenly Father knows this and gives us exactly what we need to keep moving forward. I love seeing His hand not just in the details of my life, but in others. I love helping them recognize how much He truly loves them.
It's been incredible how much the gospel is being shared here. The ward is extending invitations. We have been getting referrals. Everyone can feel the blessings that come from it. I love it. I love the Sherman Hill ward!! Missionary work doesn't come anywhere close to it's full potential without the help of members. A is doing wonderful. She has her baptismal interview today in preparation for her baptism this weekend. Her faith and confidence is inspiring.
Sister De Voe and I dressed up as much as we could to make Halloween a little more exciting :) See pictures. They describe our outfits better than I could with words.
We got to attend B's baptism on Saturday. He has been coming to our ward the last few weeks, but was taught by another set of sisters. It was an incredible service. He had the biggest smile on his face and you could just feel the spirit in the room. He was the happiest I've ever seen him. At church the next day, he was confirmed a member of the church and bore his testimony. Sister De Voe and I had the opportunity of teaching the gospel principles class on Sunday. It was a spur of the moment thing, but those lessons are sometimes the best. I was grateful for the time we spend studying each morning that prepared us to teach by the spirit.
Sister McCracken ordered both Sister De Voe and I our own copy of "The power of everyday Missionaries" by Clayton Christensen!! What a pleasant surprise. Relief society was wonderful. The president led a discussion based on two talks, one called "The Way" and the other, "The Atonement" by Elder Bednar (I don't remember who wrote the first one) but they were both very eye-opening. After the lesson, I asked if I could write down the titles and authors so I could look them up myself, and she just gave me the copies she had printed out that day. I read them again this morning. I highly recommend both of them. I have a renewed testimony of the Savior and of what the Atonement means to me personally. Everybody needs to read these talks.
(Note: Rashauna included the link to the talk about the Atonement, and I added the link to the talk titled "The Way" ~ Carolyn)
An amazing new family moved into our ward. Both returned missionaries and sooooo thoughtful. Every now and then she'll text us and ask what she can do for us that day. Sunday she saw we didn't have a dinner and instead of asking if we'd like to come over, she simply said, "pancakes and hashbrowns or spaghetti?" I love them so much. Leaving their house Sunday night they also told us that they never lock their house and to, "feel free to just come in and get some lunch or use the bathroom whenever you want." They are incredible. We no sooner started biking to our next appointment when it began to snow. Sister De Voe and I continued on without any success that night. Trying house after house after house with no answer. Luckily with all the member's help, this situation hasn't been happening nearly as often. We got some good pictures though that look like we're in a snow globe, haha.
Yesterday, we left early to drive to Cheyenne. We met the north half of the mission there to meet and listen to Elder Gay of the seventy. It was a phenomenal conference. I always love seeing friends (like Sister Gregory!!) but more importantly, it was so uplifting and motivational. We talked a lot about faith, about how important personal revelation is and how each one of us is entitled to receiving it. How important members are to hastening the work. The gospel is true, we need to open our mouths and confidently share the facts. We need to teach according to people's individual needs. We need to testify of God's love for them. I just kept thinking, everything being said wasn't just for missionaries, but for everyone. I kept thinking how can I implement this after my mission? How can I be more of a help to those closest to me, to my family, friends, and companion? We need to strengthen ourselves, each other and then all those around us. The best part about this is, that sharing the gospel with those around us strengthens our own testimony. Feeling inadequate is no excuse, being busy is no excuse. Sharing the gospel will bless you and those you love the most.
"No one can receive exaltation without sharing the gospel," -President George Albert Smith. That was one line that really stuck out to me.
Love you all. I'm sick of the snow already, haha, yikes! I've been trying to think of San Diego right before I go to bed so I can dream about the fantastic weather there.
Sister Rashauna Hoer

The talks:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Laramie Letter #15

Rashauna and Sister Cardon - a new use for asparagus
Mopping up water in the middle of the night 

Sister Cardon and Rashauna on p-day
I feel like life is just so busy everywhere right now!! So much going on. It's exciting!! Well, the highlight of my week was Grandma calling me Friday morning to tell me that Monica and John were not just alive, but healthy and doing great. I don't think I fully realized how worried I had been about them until I heard the good news and literally felt lighter. It was fantastic. I've been smiling ever since.
T is doing well. We've met with her twice and have another appointment today right after we leave the library. I have been so impressed by her insights, comments, and her answers to our questions. She is a remarkable girl and I've loved getting to know her better. Her family isn't supportive at all and she texted us on Sunday to say that she needed to cancel her appointments this week. We said ok, and asked if everything was alright. All we got in return was that something came up and she needed to figure some stuff out. Well Monday morning, she asked if we could still meet today. Of course! I truly admire how strong she is, she loves her family so much, but also knows that this is Christ's church and trusts Heavenly Father to take care of her and her relationship with her family.
A is on track to be baptized in a week and a half. We are so excited for her and have been so inspired by her testimony. Her family doesn't support her decision either, but she told us in our last lesson, "If it was just me and Heavenly Father, I'd be baptized, and so that's what I'm going to do." She has an amazing ability to keep things simple and I think it is due to her incredible amount of faith. She knows it's true and so there is no other option. It's so great to see her just get happier and happier with each visit.
We were able to have dinner at the Turner's on Wednesday evening. They know the Day's really well and we had such a good time talking about our mutual friends :) We talked about how crazy David is and how wonderful Sue is haha. It was fantastic. It was fun to replay memories in San Diego.
So guess who got more fresh, free produce this week?!?!? Yup, avocados, asparagus, mandarin oranges, and more limes are covering our kitchen counter!! We have more than we know what to do with so Sister De Voe and I have been bringing bags of produce to our dinner appointments, to less active members, to friends. It's been really fun. I love giving things to people!! It just feels good.
Sister De Voe and I were studying Saturday Morning and I had a simple, but cool connection. We've been working a lot with a less active woman in our ward, V. We've felt impressed to teach her more about prayer and so that's what I was focusing on. In the Bible Dictionary it describes prayer as, "the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other." In Alma 26:22 (and several others) it talks about praying continually. How can we pray continually? We can always have a prayer in our heart but we can also accomplish this by constantly striving to align our will with Heavenly Father's. We had a great day. I got a letter from Paige, my wonderful mother, and the Davidson's :) However, just when we were about to go to bed, water starts coming out of a drain in our basement. Sister Cardon and I just stood there staring at it grow. I think both of us were waiting for it to go away and just take care of itself. However, when it continued growing, we got to work soaking up water with towels and ringing them out into a bucket, and repeating the process many times. We didn't get to bed till one in the morning. We got all the water cleaned up though!
Church the following morning was rough. Usual wake up time of 6:30, meeting at 7:30, church at 9.... we were exhausted. There were some amazing lessons, though. First one was on the Sacrament. We talked about 3 Nephi 17 and how the people felt being in the presence of Christ and how sad they were when it was time for Him to leave. In chapter 18, Christ teaches them about the Sacrament, as a way to feel that same spirit even after he leaves. It gave me a new appreciation and view of the role of taking the Sacrament each week. In Relief Society we talked all about having a sure foundation and faith in Christ. I loved it.
This week has been a blur. We are so busy and can't find enough time each day to visit all those we'd like to. It's wonderful, but overwhelming haha.
Love you!!
Sister Rashauna Hoer

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Laramie Letter #14

 Rashauna and sister missionaries with Grandma Thompson
(R's new Wyoming sweatshirt)

 Catching snow in Larmaie
Letter from niece Mariah Davidson
I'm working on a Christmas list, but all I have on there is stamps...... hahaha and Sister De Voe and I are doing much better health-wise. It's fantastic to feel normal again.
It has been such a busy week. They just keep getting busier. Blessings of hard work and I think Heavenly Father gives us quite a few perks for biking around everywhere. It takes a lot more faith to bike all the way across town to try and visit someone than to just jump in a car and drive there, and faith preceeds miracles.
It snowed on Thursday. We had just finished our weekly district meeting when we noticed. I was wearing a sweater. An Elder gave me his scarf and gloves and Sister De Voe and I jumped on our bikes to hurry to an appointment with A. After a lesson with her, we saw another set of Elders who gave me a jacket. I immediately thought of 3 Nephi 13:33 Put God first (or others, because when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God) we just get taken care of. I've seen it happen so many times. It's amazing to see how the Lord provides for us out here. That night, we finally got to meet with T!! The girl that asked to meet with us after the Relief Society Broadcast. She is not in our ward, but said that we are the first set of missionaries that she feels comfortable with, so I'm hoping that is reason enough to be able to keep teaching her. She is incredible. She said the closing prayer for our meeting and thanked Heavenly Father for the spirit that she felt. She knows it's true and that makes biking through any weather worth it.
We stopped by S's house for a quick visit one night and she hasn't been reading. We took just a minute to explain why we invite people to do things like pray and read. We explained how we can share our experiences to her every time, but she'll never know it for herself without acting and experiencing the spirit for herself. Her whole demeanor changed. We weren't asking her to read as a favor for us anymore, but she recognized that Heavenly Father wanted her to. That was neat. She expressed her sincere desire to learn more and we promised we'd visit soon. She doesn't like setting appointments so we just drop in whenever and she loves it hahaha. I like it too. :)
The manager at Salvation Army, M, has agreed to take the missionary discussions!!! I have been so bold with her (in a loving and fun way) and it's neat to see her interest increase. She told me about it on Saturday and I said, "Oh wow, that is so neat." In a calm voice because I didn't want to freak her out, but as she walked away I couldn't help myself. I continued, "M..... I'm so happy I could scream right now!!" She laughed and pointed to the door. I ran outside and stayed true to my word, screaming for all of Laramie to hear. Don't worry, it was a happy sound, and M loved it.
One of the coolest experiences of the week happened when Sister De Voe and I met with a less active. We had invited her to watch Elder Scott's talk from the Sunday Morning session of conference. She hadn't done so, but said that she wanted to, it was just hard for her to remember. She suggested that we watch it right then while we were there. Perfect! Only problem, I couldn't remember what it was about, I just knew that she needed to hear it. So we watched it and it is all about repentance. I was a little nervous...... Afterward, we talked about it though and I can't tell you how happy I was for the spirit directing us to share that particular talk with her. It was exactly what she needed to hear. Repentance is such an important part of the gospel and of understanding Christ better. It was one of the more powerful lessons we've had.
Sunday evening we tried to meet with a former investigator who still doesn't want to come to church, but said he had something for me. He went in to grab something and came back with a yellow bag. It had a brand new Wyoming sweatshirt in it!!! I couldn't believe it!! I guess I had mentioned I wanted one so he bought me one exactly like the one he has haha. Pretty sweet.
We've been playing a lot of volleyball on our day off. I didn't even go shopping this week so we could play longer hahaha. I don't mean to brag, but we all keep getting better. It's been great. We also carved pumpkins!! Some of the free ones we got from Salvation Army. I brought mine over to Grandma to give to her and a bunch of other missionaries followed suit. She now has a very festive front porch :) I loved seeing how happy she got.
We have SOOOO much going on this upcoming week. I don't know how we are going to get everywhere we need to on bikes, but somehow everything always works out.
Love and miss you!!
Sister Hoer

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Laramie Letter #13


Riding a tricycle after a service project
A salamander outside our house recently
Fall on one side, winter on the other
WE HAVE SO MUCH FRESH PRODUCE...and this isn't even all of it!
Missionary shoes

Fall on one side of the road, winter on the other!

It's been kind of a slow week. Sister De Voe and I are both sick and have just been struggling to get out of bed in the morning. We laugh about how pathetic we probably look and how much snot the body can produce. It's actually quite amazing haha. So don't worry, we're still having a fantastic time. 

We did two exchanges this week (switching companions for the day). It is so cool to spend time and get to know other sisters better. I also can't even begin to explain how many miracles happened. Sister Cardon and I were together on Thursday and had some amazing lessons with two of the investigators in her ward. They are both amazing women who have so much faith. First lesson went great and I was able to bear testimony of how the Atonement of Jesus Christ can change and strengthen us. Biking to our second lesson, I rode through a puddle that seemed shallow. However I hit a hole that was hidden in the middle of it and my back tire went straight up in the air. I found myself looking at the puddle from above thinking that I was going to fall face first into the water. Thankfully, the back tire went back down but kinda to the side, forcing me to put my foot down. Well, needless to say, my shoe was completely full of water for our next lesson. 

We taught the word of wisdom. In the beginning of the lesson she said that she would drink coffee no matter what, even after she was baptized. After we talked about the blessings that come from doing what Heavenly Father asks of us, she mentioned how she wants to stop drinking it. She actually said that she is sick of it. It was so cool to see the spirit change her heart in such a short amount of time. When one of our appointments fell through, we knocked on a random door nearby. A woman answered and let us in. We taught her about God's love for us and the restoration. She said we could come back anytime. Miracles!! Later that day we also found a salamander while trying to visit someone else. It's all about the little things :) 

Friday, we had a trainers meeting in Fort Collins. It was fun to see everybody and get to know new people. I treated everyone to spooners again haha. It's becoming a tradition and everyone is starting to just expect that we'll go there. We had a lesson with Tunsisa and Sebla (the family) and they had a LOT of questions like usual. Sister De Voe and I did our best to answer them, but eventually you get to a point where even if you answer everything they want to know, they still need to pray about it. That is how we acquire truth and knowledge, it's from Heavenly Father and the spirit testifying that the things we share are true. So we encouraged them to do so and are hopeful that they will. 

Saturday was fresh produce day. We helped out at Salvation Army and they had so much produce donated that they didn't know what to do with it, so they gave a ton to all the missionaries that help out there so often. We in turn have been giving it away to everyone we see. Honeydew, pumpkins, limes, grapefruit. We have boxes in our house haha. It's wonderful. 

We had stake conference last weekend and Sister Da Voodie and I were able to meet Bishop Stevenson of the presiding bishopric of the church and his wife. They are such sweet people!! I loved talking to them before the meeting. It was phenomenal. He talked to the stake about the importance of a name. We can talk about missionary work all we want and nothing will ever happen until we have a name, an individual. We need to be bold and loving as we seek to show and share with others the blessings we have received from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mormon 9:21. Pray for a name. Pray for a way to reach out to an individual and Heavenly Father will give you an answer. 

We had an 8 year old get baptized on Sunday. Baily. She is amazing and we have been teaching her to prepare her for her baptism. She asked us to speak, which was a really cool opportunity. I've never spoken at a baptism before. I shared a cool story that I'll have to include in my next letter because I'm out of time again, but look forward to it. 

Prayers work!!! I love Laramie. I love the people here. I love being a missionary. I don't love biking in the snow.

Love you all,
Sister Hoer