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: