Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Laramie Letter #10

Cool Shades Club
Rashauna's discovery that her the fabric on her mattress
support matches one of her favorite shirts!
Watermelon time!
Mail - such a wonderful treat for a missionary!

This week has been incredible. A is getting baptized at 7 pm on November 9th!!!! Her husband, D, will have the Melchizedek Priesthood conferred on him that same day before the baptism!!!!! We have our scheduled meetings and just stop by occasionally to see them. She loves when we come by, but I can guarantee we enjoy it more. I love seeing the gospel change people in subtle, yet important ways. I love to see how they live it, how they incorporate the teachings while still being themselves. The gospel is for everyone. Everyone deserves this. I love being able to observe the spirit teaching individuals the truths they need to know. Our lesson with A and D on Tuesday was the best one we've had yet. It was a crazy day trying to move, clean our old apartment, help the Elders clean a house that missionaries have lived in for 3 years (It was disgusting - we agreed to help as long as they took care of the bathroom haha), and bike to all our appointments. It all worked out though.

Sister Smith and Hermana Snow came over Wednesday morning before studies with waffles!! They didn't even know it was waffle Wednesday, they just wanted to give us a house warming gift. Inspired if you ask me. I went with Sister Smith all day on exchanges and Hermana stayed with Sister Da Voodie. H, a recent convert, took us out to lunch at Sweet Melissa's!! I'll never get sick of that place and we had such a productive and fun day. We worked hard and laughed hard. Best balance ever. We went home and exchanged back to our normal companions and when I went into my room I saw something that caught my eye. I threw my mattress of my bed to see if it was what I thought it was... Yup, the support for my bottom bunk mattress is covered in hot air balloon fabric!! It was meant to be. The sisters made me put on my hot air balloon shirt and document the event. If anyone didn't know... I like hot air balloons. Not really even sure why, but I think they're neat. 

Friday was packed full of good stuff. I got three letters!! A, the woman from Russia, who we've been trying to get to pray with us finally did so. G, she's from Romania, came to the relief society dinner. AND...... Miracle of the week: Sister Da Voodie and I made a goal on the 16th to find, teach, and baptize a family. Well, while walking in between appointments on the 20th (only four days later), I saw a stroller outside of an apartment. I motioned towards it and said, "Hey look, a family. Let's teach them." We knocked on the door and shared the unique message that our families can be together forever. They let us in and we were able to have a wonderful discussion about Christ's church on the earth today. T, S, and their three children = family. MIRACLES!!! THEN, we randomly saw them on Saturday and S has already started reading the Book of Mormon!!! 

While volunteering at Salvation Army, they have a whole room in the back dedicated to snacks/drinks for volunteers and employees. We took a short break and somehow had a coconut water (it's really gross) chugging contest. Sister De Voe, Cardon, and I took the challenge. We decided that the two losers would buy groceries for the winner on Monday. Well, let's just say I got free groceries yesterday!!! and one of the Elders bought me a watermelon just because I'm crazy about them!!! The rest of Saturday was a true testimony that we are guided to be at the right place at the right time. We visited two less-active families who were so appreciative of our visit. They both showed up to church on Sunday

It rained a lot on Sunday. Biking was interesting..... But we had an incredible lesson in Relief Society. It was all about how Christ ministered to the one. He always made people feel like they were the only one that existed, and He still does. It was very inspiring to me to focus more on this aspect of His life and learn how I can better represent Him by striving to treat people as He does. A humbling, but inspiring lesson. 

Yesterday (Monday), we cleaned our apartment, I got free groceries, and then we all met at the church building. We played basketball, indoor soccer, football, and volleyball. It was sooooo much fun. I was running around the entire time, my face was bright red, but I had a blast. I loved every second of it. I think soccer and volleyball were my favorite parts. We cut open the watermelon, too. It was just a great day. We met with L that evening and had a cool lesson with her, incorporating the things we had learned Sunday. While biking to our next appointment, my bike completely died. We were close to the Elders apartment, so we put our bikes in the bed of their truck with a post-it note explaining our situation. We also included, "request any baked good item and it's yours," for dropping them off at our house later that evening. Mom, any way you could email me a good cinnamon roll recipe? We continued on foot the rest of the night and got home to see our apartment completely covered in streamers, balloons, and candy. We saw a note on the table that said, "Thanks sisters, for helping us clean the house, ya'll are awesome." That was super fun to come home to. :) 

Sister Cardon and I are on exchanges today and our Bishop was wonderful enough to drop off two bikes for us to borrow so we can actually get where we need to go. Bikes are so much faster than walking. 

Anyway, life is great as usual. I miss the family like usual. I love all the pictures you sent like usual. 

Love, Sister Rashauna Hoer

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Laramie Letter #9

This week was kinda slow. We had an amazing lesson with A though. She is keeping the word of wisdom still and we were able to have a beautiful discussion about the plan of salvation.

We had our zone conference on Wednesday, which is a meeting where all the missionaries in Laramie, Cheyenne, and Cheyenne East zone attends. It was a lot of business, but also had some really inspirational parts. I was also able to see Sister Gregory and Sister Haas again!! So wonderful. Two nights before the meeting, the Elders asked me if I would do a special musical number. I laughed until I realized they weren't joking. I immediately recruited all the Sisters serving in Laramie to sing with me. Sister Bible played the piano and we sang "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer." It wasn't anything special, but it's difficult for the spirit not to be there with such beautiful lyrics.

I made some herbal tea after a long day/night of biking in the rain. I needed something to warm me up. The Elders stopped by to drop off some pants that needed mending, and since that night they haven't stopped calling me a hippie. Kaniesha, I thought you'd be proud.

We went to pizza hut for the lunch buffet missionary special deal on Thursday. C, a worker there, is awesome. I want to make him an employee of the year award or something and have all the missionaries sign it. I gave the training in our district meeting right after that. (I was told two nights before that I'd be doing this but only had time to study/prepare this morning because of zone conference). I had the opportunity of leading a discussion about effective study. I focused mainly on how we can invite the spirit into our studies. That is really what makes it an effective use of our time. Humility and patience were also points I tried to stress. What are some things you do to invite the spirit while you study?

Thursday night we walked to the institute to meet with our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Grant. (My bike and I aren't getting along too well). Walking home, it started raining. Then it started pouring. Then a man, walking the same direction as us passed us. I started a conversation with him and we were able to talk as we walked home in the rain. He considers himself an atheist, but openly shared that he is always studying religion, always looking for the truth. He is looking to prove himself wrong essentially. He then said how he has read several religious books and that the Book of Mormon was next on his list. Right about this time, we all got splashed, not once but twice, by cars driving through a puddle on the road. Just like the movies. It was great. We all laughed about it and kept talking. When it was time to part ways he expressed just how nice it was to talk to someone religious that wasn't overbearing and close-minded. We gave him our number and I sincerely hope that we hear from him again.

Friday, the Sisters and I decided that we wanted to have something to look forward to every single day of the week. So we came up with a schedule during lunch. Thrifty Thursday is just one example of how much more exciting our weeks are going to be. Thrift store clothes on Thursdays. Waffle Wednesday was another one we came up with. It's already taken effect and been a blast :)

We did a lot of service at Salvation Army this week and had fun trying stuff on occasionally while we worked.

So D, A's husband, received the Melchizedek Priesthood on Sunday. I teared up just thinking about how incredible their story is. They have a goal to go to the temple a year from when A is baptized. They have such a strong desire and I know Heavenly Father will help them get there as long as they continue to have that as their goal and act accordingly. Studying scriptures and praying daily, going to church, and serving others is what keeps us on track. It's all about the little things and looking for God's hand in our lives.

Yesterday we played soccer, capture the flag, and volleyball. I am tired.... I also made cupcakes for an Elder who had a birthday a while back. I promised him I'd make him some and they were very late but I made them blue, green, and yellow tie-dye to make up for the lack of punctuality.

Today, we have just been moving and cleaning all day. We switched apartments with some elders. We have been pretty crowded in our apartment with four of us and they only have two, so that's what we've been up to. I'm going to be pretty sad if I have to move again in just a week or so due to transfers, but whatever happens, happens right? Our new place is sooooo cute. I love it, and there is brand new carpet, and I have a bed!!! A real one, not a couch, haha.

Well, I hope all is well. I love all of you!!

Sister Hoer

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Laramie Letter #8

Cherry tomatoes from Elder Call & Elder Acshieris
(because they know she LOVES tomatoes)!
Cutting wood again with President Dory
Sister Gregory and Rashauna, reunited at a Leadership Training Meeting
Well, Sister M took us to Sweet Melissa's for dinner last Tuesday! I love that woman and not just because she took us there (that's a little part of it) but she is just a delight to spend time with. She makes me laugh. She makes me think deeper about the gospel. She is incredible! The whole time we were eating, Arcade Fire was playing. It was wonderful, haha. My last Mission President called situations like this tender mercies, as long as we weren't going out of our way to listen to non-spiritual music, so I enjoyed every minute of it.

We are making some amazing progress with the S family! Sister S said she knows the Book of Mormon is true and that she really wants to start reading it again. That is beyond exciting. We read a little bit with both of them last time we were there.

A, the Russian woman, is doing wonderful. It's always a miracle when you feel like you've helped someone. During one of our last visits, she told us as we were leaving, "Thank you, your visits, they help." Ah! She is so sweet. She lives really close to us so we visit/teach her all the time.

On Thursday, Sister De Voe and I really felt like we should visit one of our investigators who owns a tailoring shop downtown. We live on a hill and had just left A's house. We looked across the city where we were planning on biking to and saw a huge storm. Lightning, Thunder, Rain, the works - right where we wanted to go. (It's really cool, you can always see where it's raining here, so being on bikes we try to avoid those areas when possible). We knew we should go visit her though so we got on our bikes and started pedaling towards the nightmare of a storm. There was so much lightning and it kept getting windier the closer we got. We made it to our investigator's shop and she had us just bring our bikes inside because right when we arrived it started pouring. We were able to have a great gospel discussion with her. She said the closing prayer thanking Heavenly Father for bringing us today. Guess what? It stopped raining right when we needed to leave. Miracles!!
Another investigator, named A, is doing so great. We invited her to live the Word of Wisdom during our last visit and she not only agreed but also brought up a day that she would like to be baptized!! We didn't even ask her! Sister De Voe and I have been trying to eat/exercise/sleep according to the Word of Wisdom too so we can better understand the sacrifices she is going through. It's been a powerful experience. Sacrifice brings blessings.
I got to go surfing!!! Haha, not really, but I did get to ride a really cool long board that is supposed to simulate surfing... I'm not sure how it works but it was really cool. I also fell so hard and got a rock lodged into my palm. Don't worry, Sister De Voe has got some pretty rad nursing skills and dug it out for me. I also managed to get the nickname Sister Tree Hugger.... Something about my love of hiking, nature, all the vegetables I eat, lack of make-up probably, you know things like that. An Elder asked how I got to be the way am and Sister Bible, my last companion and current roommate still, said, "She got it from her dad." Haha, evidence that you get to know people really well when you spend 24/7 with them. I also mentioned that I was born on Arbor Day and it was simply my fate to become this way.
Cool Sunday quote, "It's not your job to convert people, that is the role of the spirit. It is your responsibility to share what you believe and not be afraid of that." We talked a lot about serving others during church. Service really does fix anything and everything. Reaching outside of yourself is the most therapeutic activity I've experienced in my life.
P-Day was great. We all met at the Church building and played basketball and volleyball (but mostly volleyball =]) It was soooo much fun. I haven't played volleyball in a long time. I think we played for 3-ish hours and I am very sore, but couldn't be happier. I met an 18 year old version of Stan Hoer at dinner last night. It was so funny talking to him and asking him questions, knowing what his answer would be before he said it. I obviously was guessing how he would answer based on how my dad would answer, but I was right every time. Haha it was crazy and really cool and kinda weird.
Life is great! I love being a missionary!!
Sister Hoer 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Laramie Letter #7

 "After dropping off the firewood with President Dory."

 "Mom, this one's for you: The duct tape we got to fix our bikes.
'Dill with it' is our new motto, ha-ha!"

 "Picture we stopped and took while biking."

 "NERF WAR! Fun fact: the three people behind us in line
were all members of the church."

"With one of the horses at President Dory's."

Did I mention I love getting mail? Family letter, a sister missionary card from Angie, and an amazing card from Leshelle all made their way to my apartment mailbox. It was amazing. I feel so fortunate everyday. Thank you. 

We were able to finally have a lesson with an investigator that the previous missionaries had taught a few times. That was exciting. We have a return appointment for later this week.

During our weekly meeting on Thursday, Sister Smith gave a talk on faith in Jesus Christ. I am continually taken back by the power of simple things. We read a paragraph from Preach My Gospel (first paragraph under the Faith in Jesus Christ section in Chapter 6) and then she said, "this is what we are here to share, that we have a Savior and He loves us." Simple as that. Something about that statement touched me in a very profound way. I think all of us need to be reminded of the basics sometimes. 

We had a meeting on Friday in Fort Collins for all the trainers and new missionaries. It was so fun to see everyone and we all went to lunch at Cafe Rio afterward!! I then convinced the group from Laramie to go to Spooners (frozen yogurt place where they have an almond milk option!!!!! So good). I walked in and discreetly told the cashier to tell all the missionaries that someone had already paid for their dessert. I told her I would just pay at the end. She was perfect. It was so fun to see everyone's faces as they looked around confused but so happy. Sister Cardon even asked a woman near by if she had paid for them. It was so fun haha. I miss doing things like that. We had a blast talking, laughing, and eating our dessert outside before driving back up to Laramie. 

While fulfilling some of my leadership responsibilities, I was out on the lawn one night talking on the phone with another sister (our apartment has terrible cell reception). A man going to check for mail was singing an obviously made up song. I heard him behind me, "gonna check the maaaiiilllll. Gonna get some ssstttuuuuffffff." He really caught my attention however when he went on to sing, "and there's a girl on the laaawwwwwnnnn." Yes! I made it in a random man's song on Friday night. Laughing, I turned around to see if I recognized him. I didn't. We exchanged hello's and he went his way. 

Saturday, we got to help out President Dory again!! This time we got to work the wood splitter and do some firewood drop-offs. It was super fun. We even got to ride in the back of the truck once we emptied it. I love Wyoming :) After doing that we went up to the mountains to get more logs. When we got back from that, we all tried our hand at splitting wood with an ax. That is tough. President Dory made it look so easy.... it's not. Sister De Voe was tearing it up though!! I was so impressed haha I cheered her on as I took swing after swing with minimal results. I eventually split a few though. By the time I started to get the hang of it, I was so exhausted that not much was happening still. Haha it was an adventure as usual. Sister De Voe made me laugh when I found out what was fueling her energy. She had been one of the first to start manually splitting wood and was the last one to stop. She told me that she was taking out all her frustration towards her bike on the wood. Hey, whatever works. 

Sunday was a day of miracles. Testimony meeting is always so powerful. A less-active family that we've visited a few times came to church, A was at church, B was able to get a day off work and attend, and the lessons were all about faith in Christ. I love the basics. In the last hour we focused on President Uchtdorf's talk, "The Hope of God's Light." It is so beautiful. I read it again today actually. After church, we weren't able to contact anyone... everyone was sleeping, out of town for Labor Day weekend, or just not home. That wasn't a miracle. It was frustrating, but we kept going. We were eventually able to contact a referral that a member gave us. We knocked on the door and were invited in immediately!! We were able to teach her about the restoration. She is from Russia, so there was a little bit of a language barrier. However, we just taught as simply as possible and used her ipad for any phrases that we couldn't figure out from each other. It was really neat. New investigator!! Singing at grandma's is always one of the highlights of my week. I sat right next to Grandma's chair and loved feeling the spirit radiate from her and her home and the hymns. Such a wonderful time.

I got all the sisters to buy nerf guns on Monday!! We ambushed the Elders and had a full on war. The sisters were attacking from outside and the Elders got their guns and were shooting from inside their house. I was rolling in the grass trying to collect ammo, the Elders were shooting from the windows. Pillows were used as shields. It was crazy. We went to the park later and I got to talk to some people who had a slack line up. It was fun hanging out in such a relaxed environment. They started asking questions as I tried it out. (They had a super thin one that was only an inch thick... challenging but cool once you got the hang of it). It was neat to be able to tell them about what I was doing in Wyoming. I felt completely like myself trying to balance on a slack line while talking about the gospel - what a fun combination. After that we all threw a football around before going to our dinner appointment at the Livingston's. They are incredible. We were able to have a lesson with the navy guy named M who requested that we meet. He drove from Cheyenne again to talk about the gospel. Our lesson was centered around faith. I know that it's hard when we don't know everything, but the more I learn about this gospel the more the pieces fit together. The more everything (not just gospel subjects, but everything in life) makes sense. We need to act on the faith we do have to gain a testimony of prayer, work, going to school, scripture study, getting up in the morning... anything. Everything requires us to act on faith. Acting is how we turn faith into knowledge. I loved being able to bear testimony of that. 

Sister Smith and I are on exchanges for the day and for dinner, Sister McCraken is taking us to Sweet Melissa's!!! I can't wait. We were talking about how we wanted to go just a few days ago. 

The is a photo of J.  He is the son of a less active familiy that came to church this past Sunday, and they had him all dressed up, complete with a missionary name tag!  Isn't he adorable?!

Sister Hoer