Monday, December 30, 2013

Greeley Letter #7

District white elephant gift exchange
Rashauna's Christmas from friends & family afar, as well as friends in Greeley
Necklace Rashauna received from the Santa for Christmas
Rashauna's view of Skyping with family in Grass Valley
Rashauna's view of Skyping with family in Tennessee
Rashauna's view of Skyping with the Skaggs who were in San Diego
Thank you so much for everything!!! Cards, packages, pictures, gifts, food, conference talks, SCARVES!!! (I really do love all of them, ha-ha. I've worn several already). I felt so loved from all angles. From here, home, and elsewhere. It really was a wonderful Christmas thanks to the opportunity I had to Skype with you (the family) and thanks for your prayers. We spent Christmas visiting C, our recent convert family, the Adamsons, and the Buss's. We were able to watch movies (that we received permission to watch from our mission president) on Christmas Eve and Christmas so Sister Tafengatoto and I (with the permission of Grandma and Grandpa Buss) hosted a movie night both nights. We had 12 missionaries in their basement watching Monster's University, Megamind, and Tangled. It was great ha-ha. It felt really nice to relax and just kick back. It was kinda hard to face reality again after Christmas, but Heavenly Father has truly blessed us with so much work. We continue to visit R daily. We had the opportunity to teach his Grandson, B, one night this week as well. They are all reading the Book of Mormon and enjoying it.
We had a trainers meeting on Friday (a meeting for all trainers and new missionaries). Each new missionary stood up and shared their favorite thing about their trainer and a miracle that has happened. Sister Tafengatoto almost made me cry with how she described the things she likes about me. I keep telling her I'm going to visit her in Tonga when she gets off her mission. Who's down for a trip?? She is always looking for ways to brighten my day and then we go to the meeting and she talks about how much I do for her.... She must be confused ha-ha, but she has a heart of gold I tell you.
We were able to contact a couple former investigators yesterday and have plans to visit them again soon. While out and about, we felt prompted to knock on a few other doors, too. A particular house that caught my attention answered and let us in immediately. We were able to teach a brief lesson and invite the man, A, and his family to church and give them a Book of Mormon. They are so excited to read, go to church, and have us visit again. Blessings and miracles just keep coming. All of the time I feel so lucky to be here. All of our new investigators came into the picture yesterday when almost every single one of our other plans fell through.... because we just kept going. Things always have a way of working out when we exercise faith.
Sister Rashauna Hoer

Monday, December 23, 2013

Greeley Letter #6

The Last Super - with Sisters Mangum and Smith

New companion: Sister Tafengatoto from Tonga
Visiting a friend
Working on another Habitat for Humanity project
My new companion is Sister Tafengatoto. She is from a small village in Tonga and is quite possibly the sweetest girl I've ever met. She is constantly looking for ways to help me, serve me, share with me. Needless to say, I have a lot to learn from her. We have very different upbringings and have struggled to find much in common, but so far we both love Enya and find V8 juice to be repulsive. It's a great start!
We've had an amazing week. In one of our first lessons together, we were teaching R (who's wife M just passed away) more about the plan of salvation. I quietly told Sister Tafengatoto to bear her testimony and invite him to be baptized. Without hesitation she did so. She is awesome. She has grown up speaking English is school, but she starts talking fast when she's nervous. I'm not sure R understood her with her accent, but when I clarified what she had asked, he said yes. He told us that he doesn't understand all of what we share sometimes (he's had a stroke and stumbles over saying/understanding some words) but that everytime we come by he feels that our message is true. We've started teaching him more simply and I've realized I should be doing that anyway with everyone. I just get so excited and want people to know everything I do..... One step at a time :)
K (the 8 year old) is so cool. We met with her this week and she had a notebook where she had written down five questions. She had questions about Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, the Godhead. We were able to teach her the first discussion and answer all of them. Her father, who is a less active member of the church, was able to explain a few parts. It was really cool to hear all that he still remembered. He expressed how he should be going back to church to be a good example for K. It's so cool to see the spirit working in people. I love being a part of it. We just keep loving people and bearing testimony that God loves them and everything else falls into place.
We got to work on the Habitat for Humanity house again this week. Framing!! It was so much fun. One of the Elders said, "You'd be great at whack-a-mole." I thought that might make my father proud :) The ward here has been so kind. I think we've gotten gifts at almost every house we visit for dinner and even from our less active families. I got a pomegranite and a pomegranite deseeder (says it will deseed in 60 seconds.... we'll see about that). Oatmeal and salad, mango lotion, chocolate. These people know me so well haha. I feel so spoiled all the time out here. I can't wait to spoil missionaries when I get home.
Hmmm... what else happened. C was at church again after we had another amazing lesson this week. He showed up in a white shirt and tie and just looked happy. It's amazing what the gospel does to someone's disposition. He truly has a light around him. We are really excited and I feel lucky to work with him. I feel lucky to work with all of these people.
Love, Sister Rashauna Hoer

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Greeley Letter #5

At the Mission Christmas Devotional
Artwork by Rashauna:
She drew on her missionary handbook (bottom) and now
other missionaries are requesting her artwork on their handbooks.

I'll call the day before Christmas to set up and make an appointment to Skype on Christmas. I GOT MY PRE-CHRISTMAS PKG. Thank you thank you thank you!! I've worn the socks and used the sharpies and worn the shirt and used the stamps and I love it. Thanks for everything. You're the best.
We had the opportunity to do exchanges this week. I got to be in Johnstown for a day. Closer to the mountains :) It was a beautiful view. We were able to serve pie to folks at a senior center for part of our voluteer hours. It was so much fun. Going back to our area, we met with a new investigator that the Elders had been working with. She's 8 years old and awesome. We talked about river rafting and adventures before we set up an appointment. Her parents are so cool. I cannot wait to teach her.
M, N's Grandma passed away this week. We've been in and out of the hospital, by request of the family. The spirit has been so strong during our prayers there. They are understandably having a hard time, but S (N's son) expressed how well everyone has been doing under the circumstances. He said he knows it's because of us and the things we've been teaching.
We met with a 25 year old named C. He hasn't been to church in years. His friend on a mission currently contacted him through facebook and invited him to meet with the missionaries. He accepted and has been doing great. He has already read the Book of Mormon all the way through and is in 2 Nephi for the second time in just 4 days. He came to church on Sunday. It's amazing to see how Heavenly Father gives us strength to do things we otherwise wouldn't be able to do on our own. That is the enabling power of the Atonement working. He has tried to quit chewing tobacco before and has never been able to. Recently, at the beginning of the whole "going back to church" process, he stopped and hasn't touched it since. He shared with us his surprise at how easy it has been this time. I know that Christ is truly helping him and he knows it too.
Sister Mangum and Sister Smith were sick on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I detailed our car, hung out with Sister Buss (the member we live with), read Jesus the Christ, address Christmas cards..... anything to stay busy. They are both (thankfully) feeling better now. I was about to go insane. It's so hard sitting at home when you know there are people we need to see. Saturday night we found out that our trio was getting separated. Sister Mangum is going to the Spanish branch. They meet at the same time as us in the relief society room so I'll still get to see her. Sister Smith is being transferred to Fort Collins and both of them will be in spanish speaking areas. I'm excited for them. I'll be staying here and training a new missionary. Round three. I'm nervous, but I'm trying to trust that Heavenly Father knows what He is doing. Everytime I remind myself of this fact, I feel peaceful. Good things are coming :)
I'm so excited to be staying. Surprise, surprise I'm completely attached to yet another area. I know I always say this but I love the people here. I think (because I'm training) I'll hopefully get at least 3 more months here.
A couple of our less active families are doing really well. More of an update on them next week.
Love, Sister Hoer

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Greely Letter #4

Check out these sweatshirts!
Baptism Day
Above and Below photos: Habitat for Humanity project
Ice skating on Preparation Day
They call this a Sister Smith Sandwich hug!
Well, I had responsibility of driving the car for about 12 hours Saturday night and on to Sunday morning. Driving to a 6:30 am meeting, we slid on some ice and into a fence.... and now the whole front bumper is missing. only 12 hours!! Are you kidding. I was going 15 mph (in a 25 mph area). My goodness. Everybody is fine and the owner of the fence is one of the nicest people I've ever come across, so that was good. Ugh... so inconvenient and I just feel terrible about it. It's a little ridiculous. 12 hours. that's it.... anyway, moving on.
OK, Business. We get to skype on Christmas!!! I'm so excited. I wanna cry just thinking about seeing all of you :) And yeah, could you send me Mo's phone number just in case? I'm elated to have a car at this time of year. Serious blessing. Everytime I want to complain about the cold I just smile and say, "we have a car." Perspective is everything and riding/walking around in Laramie snow is still fresh in my mind. 
So, one of the people I was working really closely with in Laramie and I have been keeping in touch via email. Before I had to leave town, I left her with a commitment to watch a conference talk weekly and every Monday I'm elated to see her name in my email inbox and have the opportunity to read about the talk she watched and her thoughts about it. It seriously makes my whole day. I recommend talks when they come to me, but would love for some favorite talk suggestions. What are some of your favorite talks and why are they meaningful to you? I'd love for some more ideas to share with her.
The Elder that broke his arm went home and his companion went to Fort Collins, so here we are with our work load and theirs trying to keep our heads above water. I love it. We constantly have something to do and it's helped me to see the power of other people doing the finding. This experience has given me a vision for what missionary work would be like if members were doing more of the finding and missionaries doing more teaching. In addition to all the people we are trying to keep track of, we are regularly doing service. We got to help out at a Habitat for Humanity build on Tuesday. It was so much fun. I really enjoy the service hours we get to do and the opportunities to meet people from the community.
I LOVE THE BUSS FAMILY. We live with the most adorable couple. They are so fun to talk to and laugh with. Words aren't sufficient for how much I enjoy their company and how caring they are.
S and N received blessings this week. Two Elders that they haven't met before came. S always has the most powerful promises in his. Afterward, N looked at us and asked if we had told the Elders about S. We said no and that they don't know anything about him. She immediately started to cry and said, "So, how does that work?" The blessing was so specific and so characteristic of S, and all of us (except the Elders) recognized it. It strengthened my testimony of the power of the Priesthood as we explained that Priesthood holders are simply instruments for Heavenly Father to deliever messages to us.
Saturday morning we were able to get the whole mission together and hear from Elder Christensen. It was phenomenal. He talked about the importance of paying attention to impressions and invited each of us to draw a vertical line down the middle of our page, recording impressions on one side and quotes on the other. He talked about the light of Christ that exists in each individual. He compared it to gravity. A law crucial to our existence and always in effect. Although we cannot see it directly, we are able to see evidence of it everywhere and in everyone. It just made so much sense.
J, J, and A (investigators from the Elders) were baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. It was incredible to be part of that process. We've been going over there almost everyday. I love seeing the changes that the gospel brings so naturally. Change doesn't come all at once, but if we allow Christ in our lives, it comes. B, J's wife, was able to attend with their three kids. She continues to open up more and more to gospel related things. J is such an amazing leader in his family. He does what he knows to be true and brings his kids to church each week even though B doesn't want to come yet. I know that his example is what will lead her to opening her heart.
We've been meeting with an amazing woman (and member) who sincerely wants to change and come closer to Christ. She has come to church the last two weeks and has been making amazing progress. It is so refreshing to visit with her and help her make and reach goals. In Relief Society she pulled out her manual and started taking notes. Incredible!! I didn't even have a manual....
Life is great. We find out about transfers this Saturday. There are 30+ missionaries coming in so we're all expecting quite a few changes.
Love, Sister Hoer

Monday, December 2, 2013

Greeley Letter #3

Running in the 5k Turkey Trot 

Well, we've had some amazing progress this week. I can't even remember what I told you about S and N and their family, but I have never felt the spirit so strong in my life. They are truly ready for the gospel and we have been over there almost every day since we met them. While on exchanges, Sister Mehner and I were able to teach them the Restoration. I love sharing Joseph Smith's experience. After doing so, I asked them how they felt. S described the warmth that the spirit brings. I have never felt the spirit so strongly as I did that night. I felt it so powerfully. We bore testimony of the spirit and what it means and invited them to be baptized. They said yes, that was definitely something that they wanted. This family is so open to the spirit. It's hard to see so many people that don't allow themselves to see or feel God in their lives, but S and N are evidence that Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone. We crossed paths with them because they are ready for the gospel now. The Lord is truly looking out for us, each one of us.
I got your Thanksgiving package on Tuesday!! It was so fun :) Wednesday evening S, N and 3 others in their family received powerful priesthood blessings. S's was my favorite. Heavenly Father told him that he needed to read the scriptures and as he did so he would learn things that would bless his entire family. He will also lead his posterity. At the age of 18, this young man has so much responsibility. He takes care of his entire family in one way or another, but I know Heavenly Father is looking out for him. We are his messengers to provide him with the help he needs.
We asked a few families in the ward if they would each make a side dish that we could deliver to N's family for Thanksgiving. Everyone was so supportive and after we ran a 5K turkey trot (compliments of the amazing Buss family - the family we live with) we dropped off the meal to them. They were so appreciative and were really touched by the fact that members of the church would help someone they didn't even know. N said, "I'll have to come thank them sometime." Hopefully we'll be able to get them to church soon. The rest of Thanksgiving was great. We played Tuba Ruba and ate dinner at the Adamson's. They are so good to us. They remind me a lot of our family and how we treat the missionaries.
We taught N the Plan of Salvation on Friday evening and set her with a baptismal date on Saturday. We asked her to prepare herself to be baptized on the 4th of January. Her face just lit up. She smiled and cried and said yes. The spirit truly teaches people the things they need to know. It's a wonderful experience to be able to be so involved in that process. I learn so much every day.
We were asked to teach class on Sunday right before Sacrament Meeting. It went surprisingly well. We are kind of taking over three of the Elder's investigators because one of the elders has a compound fracture. Throwing a football Thanksgiving morning, his humerus completely snapped. I got to see the x-ray and it's one of the cleanest breaks I've ever seen.... and the weirdest thing. A 20-something year old's arm snapping from throwing a football. I didn't believe him until I heard several other witnesses. Crazy stuff. But their three investigators, J, J and A are being baptized this Saturday and contributed some amazing comments to the lesson. Again, I just learn so much from the people we "teach"; sometimes it feels like it's the other way around.
We are going ice skating in a little bit and I look forward to sending pictures next week. Love you all!! Missionary work is the best. Members have been helping out a ton!! When is the last time you called the missionaries and asked, "Who are you teaching and how can I help?"
Sister Hoer