Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Laramie Letter #2

Here's my week.

Tuesday: We were on bikes until Thursday!!! I loved it. Today we ended up in an area of town looking for a non-existent address. We realized why were were there when we ran into J. We taught him the first discussion on the sidewalk and he even said a closing prayer. It was incredible to see him get a little choked up and express how he has been looking for direction and how this was just what he was looking for. I know Heavenly Father puts us where we need to be and I know that there are people who are truly prepared to hear the truth. Also met a man born and raised in Laramie but a die-hard BYU football fan. He saw us and said "Hey, now don't get offended but I wanna show you something" He proceeded to lift up his shirt haha and show us a tattoo he has proving his dedication to the Cougars. Sweet. 

Wednesday: Got to practice some spanish with a woman by the name of L at the Laramie Soup Kitchen. Visited M and L today. They are amazing. Still trying to get Leah to read the Book of Mormon and I think she's finally going to do it. 

Thursday: Had a great lesson with P at Grandma's house where we taught her about the prophet and priesthood authority vs. priesthood keys. She lives in a different ward's boundaries and has friends in that ward so we invited her to start meeting with those missionaries and attend that ward on Sunday. That was really hard but I know it will be best for her in the long run. Her needs will be better met there  where people can receive revelation on her behalf. 

Friday: We got our car back today and had to give our bikes back to the members. Sad day. Today was pretty slow. Everyone we tried to visit wasn't home. We had dinner with a really cool family though, the S family and ran into an older couple sitting outside their home. We talked for a little while about our church, life, missionary service, their faith, etc. The man, who refused to give us his name but rather referred to himself as the engineer from UW, gave us some cool advice. He said "be tough, not hard" and explained that a hard knife when put under pressure will break whereas a tough knife will bend. You can bend a tough knife back and use it again. 

Saturday: We visited C today and invited him to church. He immediately said yes and I have no doubt that he'll be there. He is a man of his word. Today was Elder Greer's birthday so Sister Bible, Smith, Strasser, and I got balloons and took a late lunch so that we could fill their house with them :) Both their front and back door were unlocked so we just walked right in and started decorating. We had all but 4 of the 72 balloons blown up when the Elders biked into view. The front door was open and so they saw us immediately. I just screamed and ran out the back door. The other sisters followed suit. It was a fun adventure and I think he really appreciated it. 

Sunday: C showed up just 2 minutes before Sacrament Meeting started. Sister Bible and I both spoke today. We were asked to talk on missionary work :) Sweet! I spoke about agency and using it righteously. I shared Isaiah 53:5 and talked about Christ using His agency to complete the Atonement for each of us. Mosiah 5:2 talks about a change of heart and I bore testimony that it's faith in Christ and feeling the spirit that truly changes our heart. We need to use our agency to allow the spirit to change and mold us into the people and missionaries that Heavenly Father would like us to be. Relief Society in the YSA ward was really inspiring. Prayer is truly the key to just about everything. Heavenly Father knows us better than we do, so go to Him when you have a question. Later, a friend came up to me while we were singing hymns at Grandma's house and said, "Sometimes you just need Sister Hoer as a friend, ya know what I mean?" That made me feel pretty good. Heavenly Father answers my prayers all the time through the spirit, but also through people all around me. Family, friends, strangers, everyone. I wish I had more time to write them all down.  

Monday: Preparation Day!! We all met at the Stake center and played dodgeball and knockout. It was a blast. Later I met a woman in the other sister's ward, Sister Heath. She had heard of me and had seen my name and said that I should just start going by Sister Hoochie Mama..... I probably shouldn't, but I think this is hilarious. :) Haha for FHE we had a photo scavenger hunt and we (Sister Bible, Emily, Brenda, and I) went all around town getting funny pictures to fulfill the random requirements. We ended up getting the most points and we each got a prize. I chose last and was left with a pink lawn flamingo which I thought was pretty cool. (I put it in front of the Zone Leaders front door this morning and am excited to have them find it when they get home)

I love being a missionary!  Love, Sister Hoer

 There was a fire in the dumpster where Rashauna lives.

 Scavenger hunt prizes!

 Decorating for Elder Greer's birthday

 It was a biking day...she has spandex on under her skirt!

Willie - the BYU fan!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Laramie Letter #1

I feel like so much has happened this week. We've met about a million people and are having a difficult time keeping our four wards straight. We've had some opportunities to teach and have found (with member's help obviously) 4 new investigators this week. There is one particular family that moved here from Kenya about 5 months ago that I've fallen in love with. M, L, and M, Jr. took notes while we taught them the Plan of Salvation and we have an appointment this afternoon to teach them the Restoration. They are so sensitive to the spirit, it's incredible. They know we are messengers from Heavenly Father, they said so. They also said that we are the first white people to come into their home :) that made us laugh.
We volunteer at Salvation Army thrift store downtown almost daily. M the owner is hilarious! She is so optimistic and loves the missionaries. There are several of us that just rotate through each day. There is usually at least one companionship helping her out every hour during the day.
We have our district meeting on Thursday and we made goals for the next 6 weeks that we will all be together. I got up and just wrote "ELE" on the board. "Everybody Love Everybody" (Monica I thought you'd appreciate that) :) I've heard a couple people quote it since then and I smile every time. Such a simple solution to almost every problem if you ask me.
We've been trying to teach an older man that we only knew as Mr. C until recently. It's been hard to catch him at a good time, but finally we were able to sit down with him. He loves the Book of Mormon and takes it to all his church meetings to show people what they are missing. He wants everyone in the world to read it, especially the people in his home country. I told him that we were working on that haha. Well, we briefly taught him about where the Book of Mormon came from and I invited him to be baptized. Have we taught him about the Priesthood? No. Have we taught him about anything really?.... No, but it felt right, so I did it. Mr. C didn't hesitate. "Yes! I would love to be a Mormon," he said. However, he promised his wife who has passed on that he would be completely loyal to her and to her faith. We talked a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and got him to agree that when he was too tired to go to his church meetings and share the Book of Mormon with them that he would be baptized. He feels that if he is baptized that they would be able to throw him out of the meetings, but as a member of his congregation, they have to listen to him share the teachings in the Book of Mormon. This man is amazing. He has been in his profession for about 50 years and recently "retired" although he is still the editor for a scholarly journal and has been asked to work on publishing a new edition of one of his books. He has written over 20. He gave my companion and I each a book and a fan from his country. I had him sign mine and look forward to reading it in a year or so. If people just open up their minds, and read the Book of Mormon, I know the promise is real, that they will come to a knowledge of the truth. It is the most powerful Book on this earth. 
Sunday was pretty busy. We went to a meeting in the morning for Sherman Hills (our family ward) and then attended Sacrament meeting with them at 9am. We then went over to the institute to listen to Elder Rhodes of the seventy give the Sunday School lesson. That was incredible. He spoke about obedience, truth, and the spirit. Heavenly Father protects us by giving us commandments to live by. He gives us the spirit so that we can know truth for ourselves. We read Doctrine and Covenants 93:22-25 together and talked about the Savior's definition of truth. It was really powerful. After that we made our way to Relief Society where we were asked in the doorway, "Hey sisters, you wouldn't mind teaching the lesson would you?" "Sure when?" ".......right now?" So we taught the lesson on tithing. Earlier in the week, a member of the Cheyenne Stake Presidency started the meeting with his testimony and I decided to do the same thing. After brief introductions of ourselves, I bore my testimony of the Savior, of our Heavenly Father, and Their goal for each one of us as their beloved family members. I know that everything They ask us to do is truly for our benefit and every promise They make will come about through obedience. The lesson went well and we had a lot of participation.
So everybody goes over to Grandma's house to sing hymns on Sunday night. Grandma Thompson is the sweetest woman, but if it is your first time attending you have to sing a solo. WHAT! I've never sung in front of anyone like that. I went with my current favorite and sang "Lead Kindly Light" and don't really even remember it but I did it! A rule of Grandma's is that you have to sing the whole song no matter what. When it is time to go home for the night, we always sing "Abide with me" and say farewell. I loved feeling the spirit there. Grandma's house has a beautiful spirit.
My knowledge of who my Savior is continues to develop and increase. I already have felt Him comfort me so many times since moving here. I know He is there and that He truly cares about us. I know it. President Brown continues to impress me. He really has Christ-like love for all of us out here and it is inspirational to see and feel. We were able to have interviews with him earlier today and it was cool to just sit and get to know him better. He is great.
Oh, we live right next to a Hospital's helicopter pad so I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I was in a war zone... It was wild, ha-ha.
Mail from Mom, Brandilyn, and Leshelle came at very inspired times. Thank you.
Love and miss you more than you can imagine. You're in my prayers every night, usually by name, but sometimes I am so tired that I cluster the family together :) please understand.
Sister Rashauna Hoer 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Final Fort Collins Letter

Oh man. I love reading about the family. :) How were your independence day celebrations and BBQ? Letters from Jason and Dayna, Carsten, Cannon, Taven, Joanne Hill, and a package from home made my week :) I feel so spoiled all the time. Thank you!!!
WE SET D (one of our investigators) WITH A BAPTISMAL DATE!!! Sister Rosier extended the invitation and I was so proud of her. I told her that I wasn't going to invite her no matter what, so if you want her to get baptized, you'll have to do it. So it took a couple lessons but I think it was very beneficial for Sister Rosier to do that. I've noticed a difference in her since then. She has grown so much over the last six weeks. She is such an excellent missionary and becoming much more confident. 
I mentioned we've been teaching ward members and helping them with their own missionary efforts. Stetson Creek Ward is amazing! Several of our ward members now have fulfilled their commitments of praying/fasting about specific individuals and creating family mission plans. We've really been able to see our efforts from the last six weeks start to become visible. It has been incredible. So many people have invitations extended or ones that they plan to extend. 
July 4th we got to meet President and Sister Brown!!!! They are amazing people and I feel like I love them already. Uncle Mike was mentioned during President Brown's introduction and it was fun to talk about him for a minute. I already feel like I'm friends with my new mission president. That same meeting, two people were called to bear their testimony. An Elder who is almost done with his mission and myself were the lucky ones. I can't really explain it, but I guess I feel like I can trust President Brown with anything and for some reason I feel like he feels the same way with me. (Probably due to my amazing family members that he is already familiar with - it's really neat to see how much difference a name can make and how influential it is when we represent that name in a positive way). 

Thursday night, we got a late phone call where I was randomly invited to attend the Missionary Leadership Council meeting the following day. Ok.... It was such a good meeting.  You could really feel how much the mission leaders love the people and missionaries they serve. I felt like an overwhelming theme of the meeting was: what can I change to help those that are struggling, or to help people come closer to Christ. It was all about truly loving people as Christ does and so inspirational. I felt a little out of place because I was simply a trainer and everyone else there were zone leaders or sister training leaders. 
Saturday night we found out that both Sister Rosier and I would be transferred. It was really hard to find out we are both leaving after finally being able to see some of the consequences of our hard work, but I told Sister Rosier the other day that I hope it's this hard for us to leave every area we serve in because that means we did our job... right? Anyway, she is going to Greeley which everyone who we've told just says something along the lines of, "Oh... it smells terrible there" Hahaha she's being a good sport about it.
Dad, you got your wish!! I'm heading up to Laramie, Wyoming today. I'll be serving in the University ward (and I think 3 other wards) with Sister Bible and I will be a Sister Training Leader. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time. The missionary leadership council invite makes more sense now... I feel like I'm in over my head a little bit, but I know that Heavenly Father will help me reach the sister missionaries I'll be responsible for. I know that he strengthens us so often, and especially when we are in the service of others. I'm a little bummed I only got one transfer on a bike, but with the hottest months coming up I'm trying to look on the bright side of the situation. Another good thing is that I won't be nearly as sweaty for lessons haha. Nothing says 'come to my church' like a tomato red Rashauna face. 
Life is so good. I love being a missionary. I love so many people in this area. I love Sister Rosier. It's hard to say goodbye, but I love my Savior and know that He is constantly supporting me in all that I do. 
Sister Rashauna Hoer

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fort Collins Letter #17

A member in my ward (shout out to Sister T) stumbled across my blog somehow.... She came up to me on Sunday and said, "I know your secret.... I know you bet on what dinner is going to be and that whoever is wrong has to include predetermined words during the dinner conversation." WHAT?!?! Both of us probably had a deer in the headlights look going on. She just laughed. That is who we are living with next. Our ward is incredible haha. 
Tuesday: Got to wear my wolf shirt and jeans during a service project. 

Wednesday: Volunteer hours and we continue to meet with members. We also had a lesson with D today. We are going pretty slowly through the lessons, but we are still moving forward. :) 

Thursday: I went on exchanges with a missionary named Sister Bible (hahaha what a conversation starter) and got to be part of a lesson with two deaf members in the Johnstown area. It was so cool to feel the spirit even when verbal communication is non-existent. I would share things occasionally and my temporary companion would translate. I was asked to say the closing prayer at the end of the lesson and she translated that too. 

FridayWe were on our bikes, you know, just biking around. Then it started getting really windy. Then it got so windy we were having a hard time riding in a straight line. Then it started raining. Then the lightning started. Then we started to get pelted in the face with hail. Then we took cover under the closest house's front porch. Then we realized no one was home. We stayed there and sung hymns until it let up enough to bike again. I love adventures as a missionary and how strong the spirit is when we sing, no matter the skill level. 

Saturday: I read Mosiah 12:6 this morning during my personal study and couldn't help but share the hail reference with Sister Rosier. We've never been able to relate so closely to a verse like that. We had a lesson with M today. Almost everything we share results in her just nodding her head and saying "uh-huh" like it is information that she already knows. Interesting... However, we taught her the plan of salvation today. She responded like she normally does until I mentioned the gospel being taught in the spirit world. She interrupted me with an astonished look on her face... She said, "wait, wait say that again." I repeated myself, mentioning God's plan to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to hear the gospel and chose whether to accept or reject it. Something clicked. She looked like she had found the answer to a life long question. She still won't agree to be baptized, but said that she's thinking about it. 

Sunday: Was kind of a miracle. Last week we made a goal to find three new investigators and hadn't found any yet. We have been doing a lot of work with members and trying to lovingly encourage them to engage in missionary work (ever since that missionary training broadcast, we've been meeting with members non-stop) and things are looking promising, but no new investigators. So Sister Rosier and I decided to fast and pray for the guidance necessary to find three people today. Nothing happened.... 7:30 pm rolls around and nothing, I was starting to get a little worried but Sister Rosier was completely calm. She simply said, "I know you'll lead us in the right direction." I can't describe how much I love that girl. She has so much faith in me and helps me see how much Heavenly Father trusts us. We know what is right and wrong and we have so much power to do good when we use the tools that He has provided us with. The gospel, prayer, fasting, the scriptures, prophets, family. Well we had two lessons one right after the other and went home with three new investigators. Miracles happen everyday. I know it wasn't our doing. I know that the Lord places us where we need to be and He has a hand in everything we do. 

Love you, Thank you for the updates and I can't wait to hear more about the crazy summer you have planned. You are always in my prayers and I feel yours everyday. 
Sincerely, Sister Rashauna Hoer