Thursday, August 29, 2013

Laramie Letter #6

Rashauna & her fellow missionary hiking buddies.
The first three to the top!

One of the hiking destinations.
Rained on, while riding a bike, again!
Rashauna with other Sacramento area missionaries
who are serving in the Fort Collins Mission.
So last Tuesday, Sister De Voe and I got together to study and to create a vision for what we'd like to accomplish during the next 6 weeks. We made a vision board (a big square piece of scrapbooking paper with a tic tac toe board drawn on it) We put post it notes with our goals on each square. We only have 7 currently, but we're working up to having the board full with 9 goals that we are fully committed to. Well that night our Bishop called and said, "Hey I'm sitting in my office right now with a woman named A and she'd like to be baptized." WHAT!! It is truly amazing to see how Heavenly Father works with desire. Set goals and watch miracles happen, because they will. That's what I learned on Tuesday.

We have also been having some really good meetings with S. She's so sweet and has been through so much. Her heart is really open right now due to some recent trials. It's been a testimony building experience for me. I've really been able to see how hard times draw us closer to our Father in Heaven if we allow them to. We have seen her three times just this week and have centered our discussions on Christ and how we can receive strength to accomplish anything through Him. He is always there for us, always there to give us hope.

Wednesday night Sister De Voe hit a huge rock as we were riding our bikes home. The tire was completely flattened.... good thing we were pretty close and could walk the rest of the way. 

We went to a recent converts house for a scheduled appointment and we were excited to see that they had a friend there, T. He has been to church a few times before and talked with missionaries. We made sure that he felt welcome to participate in the lesson and he did so. I loved his answers. He really thought about the questions we asked him. He agreed to be there when we meet again next week :)

A woman in one of the student wards was baptized on Friday night. It was beautiful. There were so many people there for her which was incredible because she doesn't have a whole lot of family support. I love being able to see and feel the power of the Priesthood. I was reading 3 Nephi 12 this week and in verse one it talks about the purpose of the Priesthood - to serve others, to minister. Christ then goes on to explain that after the people are baptized, He will give them the gift of the Holy Ghost. Imagine Jesus Christ putting His hands on your head to perform that ordinance. Well, each time a worthy Priesthood holder performs an ordinance it is always in the name of Jesus Christ. The words they say are His words. In that reguard, He is placing his hands on your head to bless you. That is the power of the Priesthood. It is as if Christ Himself is there to bless you. 

We were able to see the Temple ground breaking ceremony on Saturday morning, broadcasted to our building here in Laramie. It was phenomenal. The speakers focused on the importance of the Temple, the simplicity of the Temple, the uniting of generations in the Temple. It truly is a place where God resides. It is a place to learn and receive revelation, direction, and peace. I'm glad we got that spiritual boost in the morning because on our way to Salvation Army to volunteer, Sister De Voe's pedal fell off... We tried to fix it but it was completely stripped where it should screw back in. So, I rode the one-pedaled bike all the way there. I was exhausted by the time we finally reached downtown, but we made it!! Eternal perspective is so nice to have in moments like that haha. We threw our bikes in the zone leaders truck and caught a ride home with some of the sisters. We walked for the rest of the day and were able to visit a few members and one less-active member, V, we had a really good visit with. 

Sunday was wonderful!! A and T were both at church!!!! A young woman came up to me towards the end and gave me a hug. She backed up and I realized it was P!! It's so cool to be able to see her occasionally :) We walked a long time in the rain on Sunday to pick up a bike that Elder Winterton acquired and fixed up for us to use. He has been so helpful (he also fixed the flat tire earlier this week). We were soaked by the time we got our bikes and rode through the rain to our dinner appointment. 

Yesterday, we went to Vedauwoo again!!! The zone leader's truck is the only car with 6 seats so I got to drive it up there so we could put all 6 sisters in one car. It was a blast. We got to do a little 4 wheeling getting out to where we were going to hike. I love being outside, absolutely love it. We just explored around again. No trail, no worries :)

We washed all the cars after our little adventure and then went to Stake President Dory's for dinner. He has all the new missionaries over each transfer to meet everybody. He had some inspiring words. I personally liked, "Roll up your sleeves and go to work" as well as, "You determine your influence here." I really like him and his family. They are such wonderful people. 

Sister De Voe and I packed a lunch today so we can have a picnic in the park when we leave the library. We want to take full advantage of the nice weather while it's still here. 

Love you all, (especially Kolette)

Sister Hoer

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Laramie Letter #5

 Missionaries helping Pres. Dory haul firewood. work mode.
 Shampoo and what not for four sister missionaries in one apartment!
 The Fort Collins Temple site (Rashauna on the right).
Rashauna and her new companion, Sister De Voe.
The weeks keep going by faster and faster. This last week we met with a bunch of people. I lot of progress with less-active members. We also got to meet with A again (banana bread guy). We met him at Grandma Thompson's and our discussion was great. He is so spiritual. We met with R (I'm not sure if I've told you about him, he's from China) twice this week! He loves talking to us and learning what we share. He asks so many questions and really wants to develop a relationship with Christ. And he even gives us constructive criticism after each lesson haha he is so honest. It's great! His roommate, when we went to meet with him for the second time, told us that R had been talking about us. He mentioned the "Bible" we gave him (the Book of Mormon) and asked for a copy. Well sure! We invited him to join our lesson with R, but he was busy at the moment. He was excited to give us his information though and  hopefully we'll be meeting with him soon as well. 

We didn't have a dinner Friday night, so we decided to go out to Anong's Thai Cuisine just for fun. It's not very big but we saw three groups of LDS members (all at individual tables) and we sat down to make it four. After enjoying some amazing green curry, a waitress came over and told the people sitting next to us that someone had paid their bill. How cool! People here are so nice. They then told the waitress they wanted to pay it forward and pointed out a random table and paid for them. It was cool to see them leave and then see the waitress go over and explain to the lucky diners that their bill was taken care of. We then watched our waitress come over to tell us that someone had paid our check and that we were all taken care of!! Talk about a neat night. We really got to see so much good in such a short time. I love the people here. 

Saturday we got to go up into the Mountains and haul logs with Stake President Dory. All the missionaries help him each summer cutting and hauling firewood for families in need in the community. It was soooo much fun! I loved being outside all day! They fed us breakfast and lunch while we were up there. It was hard work, but it was awesome. 

Transfers really surprised me this time around. I feel like usually I have a pretty good idea of what's happening (with me at least). However, on Saturday night I discovered that I would be serving in just the Sherman Hill family ward and training a new missionary! No more student ward, new companion!! Didn't see that coming. Sister Smith and Sister Bible will be training as well. I'll still get to see a lot of people from the student ward's at Grandma's every Sunday night though. 

Yesterday, we drove down to Loveland to pick up our new missionaries. (I didn't tell anyone in our ward that she was new though haha I'll leave that up to her if she wants them to know) On our way down there we stopped by the lot where the Temple is going to be built and took pictures before the ground breaking this Saturday. we're all excited to take pictures there again when the temple is completed. I got to see SISTER ROSIER!!!! She was at the Loveland Stake Center. That was a really fun surprise! My new companion is Sister De Voe. She is from Townsend, Massachusetts and is awesome. Sister Bible, myself, and both of our companions are all in the same apartment. It is crowded and I'll be sleeping on the couch because we only have two beds. Oh! and I'm on a bike again!!!! An Elder bought me one from a family that was moving near by their house last night and showed up with it this morning! Kindness goes a long way. I'm thinking that it was an immediate blessing for giving up my bed haha. 

Life is great!! 
Love, Sister Hoer

Oh and Elder Forman came up to me and told me, "Your dad says hi!" Pretty cool!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Laramie Letter #4

 Caught in the rain for the third time, in the same outfit all three times! 
Not wearing that outfit any more!
 On splits with Sister Gregory in Torrington, Wyoming.
Expression after viewing lots of bug guts!!!
 Volunteering at the Salvation Army -- always lots of fun.
 Enjoying the view.  In Rashauna's words: "Wyoming is beautiful!"
Hiking Vedauwoo with fellow missionaries.
I went to Torrington just for the purpose of exchanges. Sister Gregory and I work so well together. We had some really cool lessons. We have such similar goals and teaching techniques. It just works and it was so cool to feel the spirit so strongly. I'm sad I won't get to teach them again, but you never know. There are giant grasshoppers out here. We would run over them on all the dirt roads we were on (Sister Gregory's area covers 13 towns). We may have started aiming for them.... We got a total of 5 that we counted.
We exchanged back on Wednesday morning and I went back to Laramie. We volunteered at Salvation Army and while we were organizing donations received I found the cutest pair of shoes. M, the store manager said I could have them for free when she saw how much I liked them!!! So cool! (She has also been asking questions about our faith and it is so cool so see her curiosity increase as we continue to serve and get to know her better) I also found some Sorels that I set aside just in case I'm here in the winter. 

I may have been in charge of the phone on Tuesday and when we got home it was no where to be found. Well, no surprise there. I never knew where my phone was before a mission, why would I know where it was on a mission, right? I figured it would show up eventually. The next morning the zone leaders knocked on our door and asked if we had our phone. Why? we responded. They said some guys on campus had it haha. So they went and met them and returned it to us when we all met for our zone meeting that day. Thank you! President Brown attended that meeting. It is so powerful to sit in a room full of missionaries. We talked about several topics, but the one that stuck out most to me was faith. Faith is the power that miracles are made possible. Small ones and big ones. Inner peace is a miracle as well as healing the sick. Someone's heart being changed as well as a prayer being answered. All are miracles. All are brought about by faith.
President and Sister Brown bought all of us pizza for lunch. We met at Grandma Thompson's to eat and visit during our lunch hour. It was so fun. President and Sister Brown, being there for the first time, agreed to sing a solo. They got through the first verse and started struggling through the second. I joined in and almost immediately so did everyone else. President looked over and made eye contact with me to say thank you before getting a little choked up hearing all the missionaries sing the rest of "I Need Thee Every Hour" It was a really neat moment.
Packages from Paige and Leshelle came at a wonderful time. They always come when I most need it. I was having a rough night. A lot of appointments fell through and it was just amazing to come home to their encouraging words, entertaining stories, notes from the family reunion, and fun gifts. Taraleigh's letter came the next day to give me a morning pick me up. I can't explain how much energy I get from you guys. It's powerful.
We had an appointment with an investigator named A. When he opened the door, his whole apartment smelled of banana bread. I immediately thought of Leshelle. After teaching a lesson, (during which he jumped up to get the bread out of the oven) he gave all of us some. I think he made it just for us. I'm not sure though haha. It was tasty and we have a return appointment.
We had a really cool lesson with an investigator that the Elders were a part of too. She was able to receive a Priesthood blessing. I know I always say this, but the spirit was SO strong. Everybody felt it. During that lesson I was also able to say things that I learned as I said them. It was incredible. That is one way you know the spirit is guiding this work. Heavenly Father truly knows what His children need and the more we let go of ourselves, the more we can be an instrument for His purposes.
We made Member of the Week awards and gave them to the two families that brought people to church last week. On the back I added a disclaimer that read, "This is not a real award, but we wanted to thank you for all of your missionary efforts. Keep inviting!" Or something like that. It was basically just a glorified thank you card. The Asay's loved it though. They put it on their fridge right when we gave it to them! 
We got a voicemail on Sunday that we listened to after church. IT WAS M!! From Fort Collins. She was passing through on their way to Yellowstone and was able to get our number from a member she knows here. I cried when I heard her voice out of surprise and pure joy! I had written her a letter last week or so and it was so neat to hear that she had gotten it and hear her say how much she needed it.
We had another powerful lesson on Sunday night after singing at Grandma's. M, who lives and is meeting with missionaries in Cheyenne, felt like he needed to go to Laramie. Well we had an amazing discussion and prayed with him to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He said he'd never felt so peaceful in his life. I tell you, the spirit teaches people, not us. I love being present for it though :)
Now I'm on exchanges with Sister Smith and we have a busy day ahead of us. Lots of potential. I loved the instagram pictures by the way and since Sister Smith is in most of them it was cool to have her here to see them too. Thanks for the prayers and support. I don't know where I'd be without you.
Love, Sister Hoer

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Laramie Letter #3

I only have a limited time on email this week because I'll be in Torrington, Wyoming tomorrow till Wednesday. I get to go on exchanges with Sister Gregory. I'm looking forward to that, and it's always fun to be in a new area. I always feel like I can ask anyone anything (not that I'm blunt already - it gets a little scary).

I just finished Helaman 4 this morning! So we're right next to each other. My studies in the morning keep getting better and better. I love the scriptures. I really do. I've currently been praying that I can have more questions because I absolutely love finding the answers. It takes patience a lot of the time but I get so excited to feel the spirit teach me the answers. This morning I was able to make a breakthrough with a question I've had since the MTC. Not completely answered yet but definitely closer to figuring it out.

I LOVE the wheelbarrow firepit. It makes me miss home :) How was the rest of the week with Melissa Tucker there. I can't wait to hear about all the fun adventures. Seth sent me a pretty long email that made me smile so big even before I read it. I always look like such a goof ball at the library. I just can't stop smiling. Oh and Willie is NOT a member of the church - even with his BYU hat.

Pis doing great and we have regular contact with her new missionaries. This week was a lot of things. We were waiting at the institute for a girl to show up... she never did. We had a goal to find one new investigator that day though. So with 10 minutes until we had to be home we started walking and were lead to a brick apartment building. The first door we knocked on was a pagan man who smelled like he hadn't showered in several weeks. However, the second door was M. She let us in for a short lesson because she was heading to bed pretty soon. She was a little hesitant about praying but at the end of the lesson she said she would try it. She said a beautiful prayer. So sincere and honest. Afterward she said something along the lines of, "Wow, that was easier than I thought it'd be." It was amazing to be there for someone's first prayer. The spirit was there and I know that she felt it.

Sister Haas (my MTC companion) and I were companions for a day this week! We went on exchanges and had a wonderful time working together again. We saw some really cool things but I can't load pictures on this computer for some reason, so it'll have to wait until next week.

Ok so on Wednesday we met a man named M (another new investigator) that we taught on campus when we ran into him on the sidewalk. Afterward I had to use the restroom so we stepped inside a building and found one right away. Tender mercy. I went in first and was in the stall when Sister Bible walked in. I started talking to her (yeah I'm that person that continues converstaions in the bathroom) when I didn't get a response. I said, "Sister Bible?" a girl laughed and said kindly that she was someone else. Well that's when I started laughing and then she left before I saw who it was... Yup, one awkward moment after another. That's me for ya.

The reason I tell this story is that two families brought individuals to church yesterday!! SO COOL! One of which, when Sister Bible and I introduced ourselves said, "Oh! I was the girl you were talking to in the bathroom the other day!" So random haha.

So I organized a zone hiking adventure today! We went to a place called Vedawoo just a few miles outside of town (like 15 or so). Most everyone went and we all enjoyed picking a random spot and boonie crashing until we got there. No fancy hiking trails where we were. I loved it and I think everyone had a really good time. We have plans to go again next week :)

Love, Sister Hoer