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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Laramie Letter #12

Making cinnamon rolls for General Conference Sunday
Decorating for Elder Saratoni's birthday (in the sister missionary's old apartment)
Matching "rings"...
Grandma Thompson & Rashauna
Laramie, Wyoming snow
Rashauna's bike
Another amazing week started with Sister Cardon falling through a glass display case at Salvation Army and us taking her to urgent care to get a total of 14 stitches!! That was crazy... some cool nursing experience though. I was excited that I didn't get queasy at all. It made me really excited for nursing someday. We went to dinner that night at the Brewers who wouldn't let us leave afterward. Well, they wouldn't let us leave by ourselves. Instead they put our bikes in the back of their truck, drove us to Walmart, bought us bike lights, installed them on our bikes, and then drove us to our next appointment. They are one amazing family. We have been much safer biking around now because of them. We have solid white lights in the front and blinking red lights in the back. We look pretty awesome, haha. 

We got to help out with seminary Wednesday morning. Our eyes were watering from the biking through the brisk Laramie air at 6:15 in the morning. It was really fun though and made me wish that I didn't take seminary for granted. That is an inspired program. I thought of my mother the whole time I was there. It was cool to think she was teaching seminary at the same time I was there helping. (Yes, I'm aware of the time difference, but I chose to ignore it to make the experience cooler, haha) I received a cinnamon package containing a cinnamon roll recipe from home and cinnamon bears!! That was super fun. We had our usual waffle Wednesday which continues to grow as more people find out about it. We fed 8 people waffles this week. However, my favorite part about Wednesday though was visiting S. She wouldn't let us in because her house was a mess, but we had a lesson outside her front door. She said the closing prayer and in it said, "Thank you Father for bringing my girls by, I knew they would come today and I was missing them." I had to try hard to keep my composure as we gave her a hug and said goodbye. She said she knew that we would come today. Even if we don't realize it in the moment (for instance: planning the night before to visit S), the spirit works through us all the time. We also had a lesson with G (my favorite Romanian woman in Laramie), who said her first prayer (at least her first prayer in front of us) that day. We had dinner with the F family who gave us a bunch of fresh produce!!! And later, arriving at the church building for our weekly meeting with Bishop, we walked through the chapel to get to his office on the other side of the building. Walking in that room almost stopped me in my tracks. It was so peaceful. The spirit was so strong. It felt like walking out of this world and I couldn't help but think of how many angels were currently there. It was a really cool feeling. 

We dropped off a Romanian Book of Mormon to G on Thursday and I wish all of you could see how excited she was. She opened it up immediately and said, "Ah! I can read." We've been teaching her this whole time in English with an English copy of the Book of Mormon. It was so cool to see her start reading while we were still there. We couldn't stay long though so we left and she was still reading as a customer walked into her tailor shop. She's so honest and just does whatever she wants. I love it. She doesn't worry about what someone will think of her if she's reading the Book of Mormon or has missionaries in her shop. It's great. 

We woke up to snow on Friday. At least 6 inches or so. I couldn't have been happier that we had a leadership meeting down in Loveland, Colorado that we left early for. Our meeting went really well. I love hearing testimonies and seeing friends and getting to know President and Sister Brown better. An Elder who served in Boulder came up to me and asked if I know any Maxfields? Apparently they know me, or of me at least and said hello to me and my family. Pretty cool :) I treated Sister Bible to a treat before heading back to Laramie. We didn't get back until almost 6 pm. The snow had us going pretty slow, especially when we saw a total of 5 cars that had crashed and run off the road along highway 287. Two of them were semi trucks completely flipped over. It was crazy, but we made it back for a lesson with the D family. Their little girl E asked me to tie a piece of blue yarn on her finger to make a ring. I did. She then brought another piece of blue yarn over and instructed me to tie one around my finger. "For you," she said. Man, I miss my nieces and nephews. 

General Conference Weekend is the best!!! In between sessions on Saturday and during our lunch hour we decorated one of the Elder's apartments for his birthday. The talks were so good. I remember just feeling an overwhelming love when President Monson spoke. He has a peaceful, yet powerful presence. Elder Christofferson's talk stood out to me a lot. It made me feel like I need to be more gentle, haha. We'll work on that one. I started making cinnamon rolls Saturday night because it's tradition in Sister Smith and Sister Cardon's families to have cinnamon rolls Sunday morning for conference. I wanted them to feel at least a little bit like they were home. Thanks for the recipe mom!! We were able to finally contact a referral we'd received a couple weeks ago. We have tried stopping by at least 8 times at different times of the day, different days of the week, and we finally got to talk to them Sunday night. We set up an appointment too!! I'm really excited to meet with them. It's a young couple and they are so easy to talk to. Super friendly. Grandma's is officially one of my favorite places in Laramie. Singing at her house Sunday night is always something Sister Da Voodie and I look forward to. 

Funday Monday!! Sister Cardon, Bible, De Voe, and I explored downtown Laramie a little bit in the morning. There is the coolest outdoor store called Atmosphere Mountainworks. I love it. They make a ton of their own stuff right there in the shop. (backpacks, fleece jackets, snow pants, all sorts of stuff). Then we met everyone at the stake center to play volleyball and hang out. We had dinner at Stake President Dory's. I love going over there!! They are so kind and President and Sister Brown were there!!! That was surprising but neat. We tried to visit less active members of our ward afterward. Not home. Not home. Big surprise, but we kept going and third times a charm. We had an amazing and much needed lesson with V. It is really cool to see her prayers being answered and helping her recognize those answers. Our lessons just keep getting better with her. 

Well, hope that's enough to keep you busy for a while. Sorry it's so long. 
Love you!!

Sincerely, Sister Hoer

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Laramie Letter #11

After volunteering at Salvation Army.
A walk in the first snow...after doing service work.
A District photo...taken right before the sisters nerf-gun attacked the elders!
This is the affect Rashauna is having on other missionaries...
Transfer Information: Listening to the voicemail on Saturday night listed all the people that were leaving, where they would be going, and who was coming to Laramie. The last comment said what I had been dreading, "and Sister Hoer will be leaving....." What?!!??! No! My face was that of pure shock and terror, but Elder Reid continued with, "Naw, just kidding." Everyone said my face was priceless and I laughed along with everyone, relieved that I'd be staying in Laramie a little longer. I could gladly spend the rest of my mission here. It's fun being able to joke around with everyone. You get so close to people out here due to having so much common ground. That's my theory at least. So, Sister Da Voodie and I will be here for at least another 6 weeks, just in time to see A get baptized on the ninth of November. (That will be the last week of the transfer) I'm hoping we can stay for another one, but I don't want to get my hopes up. I would love to be here for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. I love the people here. 

We've been able to do a lot of service this week. At Salvation Army, Interfaith, Laramie Care Center, and the Laramie Soup Kitchen. I think the soup kitchen might be my favorite. It's fun being able to recognize so many people in Laramie now. I love smaller towns. 

While at the church building to eat dinner with the Relief Society Sisters of Laramie before the Broadcast, one of the Sisters in our ward came up to us and said, "there is a man here asking about the church." Apparently he had decided to come check it out at just the right time. We were able to take him on a tour of the church building and find out a little more about him. He was baptized when he was 8 years old but hasn't been to church in a looooong time. It was cool to hear that he was looking back into it because of his brother trying to get back and change his life around. We truly never know how our actions will influence others. It was inspirational to see how enthusiastic he was about wanting to go to church, wanting to meet with missionaries, wanting to get closer to our Savior. Then, after the Broadcast I felt the need to say hello to a specific Sister in our ward, T. I asked how she was doing. She quickly responded with, "Good. Can we meet sometime?" Well, of course. That's what we do as missionaries. I found out after she left that she isn't a member of the church..... I almost didn't do it, but after listening to such an inspiring broadcast, I couldn't ignore the opportunity to talk to someone that might need it. "Never suppress a generous thought" was on a block of wood in a woman's house down in Fort Collins and that line comes to mind every time I hesitate doing something like that. It always gives me the motivation I need. 

So many cool experienced happened this week, it's hard to remember all of them. We made some real progress with a less active family. The father showed up at church and came up to us after Sacrament Meeting and said, "Sisters, I read the chapter you asked me to read at least 5 or 6 times, then I just started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning." That was really neat: seeing someone say they want to change and then act on it. 

The last hour of church was amazing. It was such a simple lesson, but very powerful. We talked about babies to start things off. How they make us feel and why? They don't do much for us let alone themselves. Why do we love them so much? They inconvenience us physically, financially, emotionally, etc. However, they melt our hearts whenever we hold them. That love is similar to the unconditional love Heavenly Father has for each one of us. No matter what we do or don't do, he loves us. Even though I'm sure we inconvenience Him frequently, he loves us. 

Love you all!! 
Sister Hoer