Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Greeley Letter #18

The p-day bike riding club is growing...

Cool train.

Doing sidewalk are with this cute little fella.

This week has been incredible. First of all, Sister Grammer and I don't stop laughing. Life is great. We eat as many breakfast and lunches as we can outside (when weather permits) and enjoy herbal tea out of jars. Missionary work is just wonderful.

Updates on people (this is what really made this week so incredible): B!!! She read Mosiah 24:14-15 all on her own. We were elated when we saw the difference that it made during lessons this week when she took this initiative. She said the scriptures applied perfectly to her and we are so excited that she is making some progress. Nothing happens until people start exercising faith and doing things on their own to feel the spirit.

R came to church and paid his tithing, like usual. It's so interesting to me that some people have the hardest time ever with some commandments while others do them without even thinking. And vice versa. Tithing is an easy commandment for R.  I've just learned so much about people on my mission. It's very interesting.

A and S (and their daughter C) responded really well to the First Vision and the Book of Mormon. I know A already knows it's true but she's understandably having a hard time moving forward unless her family is on board. We can respect that, so they didn't say yes or no but they agreed to pray about a baptismal date. Progress :) That's what it's all about. More important than where we are is the direction we are facing.

We had an amazing discussion with a less-active and his fiancé. They want to get back to church and she has thought about baptism a lot!! We are really excited to start meeting with them.

Z, my friend and former investigator, had us over on Friday for a PB&J lunch and to help her start packing/organizing. She just found out that she has to be out of her house by the end of the month because her landlord is selling it. Sad day, but PB&J's always cheer me up and I'm sure it did the same for her. We're going to be going over there every Friday to help out. President Brown shared with us at a meeting once, "When is there a time that you are serving that you aren't teaching." I'm hoping that we will be able to teach her through this service opportunity.

Sister Grammer and I got to go to a baptism Saturday morning for one of the women she helped teach in her last area. Baptisms are the best. It is such a simple and powerful ceremony. I loved feeling the spirit there. I didn't even know the lady who was baptized, but I know that God loves her and that she was truly making covenants with Him that have the potential to bless her for her entire life.

Okay, Sunday started off kind of terrible. I was just in a bad mood and pretty exhausted. However, Heavenly Father loves us and the day just kept getting better and better. R came to church. I already said that. We got 4 referrals. Remember L? Well, we haven't been able to get in touch with her, but we felt like we should just stop by. She opened the door and said that now was a really bad time, they had just gotten some pretty bad news (I thought to myself, "Perfect! That means we came at the right time"). She paused and said, "We can't meet with you, but do you want to come in and just pray with us before you leave?" Of course! We came in and she explained that, upon hearing the bad news, she turned to her daughter and said, "Let's pray." Right then, there was a knock on the door and there we were. I know that Heavenly Father was watching out for her and didn't want her to be alone during that tough time. I told her that and she knew it, too. We have an appointment with her next Sunday. She told us, "Every time I try and shut the door, God keeps doing things like this to tell me to keep it open." Such a cool experience. I love being an instrument in God's hands. Then, we met a man who is excited to meet with missionaries and read the Book of Mormon. He speaks Spanish so we are going to pass him along to the Spanish speaking missionaries, but we're all on the same team, right? I was still super excited. We also had a lesson with a woman who we met back in November. She wants to meet again this week!! Over all, it's just been a really fun and spiritually uplifting week.

God loves us. I used to see that written various places, pretty randomly and never really knew why it was so important. Bathroom stalls, on the sides of buildings, sidewalks. I continue to learn why it's important to me personally, but it is amazing to see other people come to know what that means and why it's important to them.

Love, Sister Rashauna Hoer

The things you find at the store!

Pretty sweet find in the toy department.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Greeley Letter #17

"Achievement Day girls, rock." (Direct quote from Rashauna)

Zone Conference
Getting the new love of her life -- the bike

Awesome mural in downtown Greeley, CO

Rashauna found a house that matches her new bike!

A missionary & a bike...


I'm so excited you get to see Emma. She is absolutely gorgeous.

So.... I'm staying in Greeley!!!!! Sister T is going to Centennial ward just across town. I can't believe I'm staying here. A little girl in our ward came up to me and said, "You're going to be the missionary that stays here forever!" Haha I hope so. I feel so lucky to be staying here again. I don't know what I did to deserve it, but I'm sure happy about it.
Well, a lot happened this week. R is doing soooo good. We set him with another baptismal date, April 26th :) and he came to church on Sunday. He regularly pays his tithing. He is so cool. He told me after our last lesson that I was going to have crazy kids that do whatever they want, because that's how I am..... uh oh. During Sacrament meeting we sat behind a little girl who threw one fit after another and was throwing papers and anything she could get her hands on. He leaned over and whispered, "that's exactly what I mean, that's what your kids are going to be like." Haha, I couldn't help but laugh a little (and feel slightly terrified because he's probably right). Richard cracks me up. Sunday was fantastic. I felt the spirit throughout Sacrament meeting, we taught the gospel principles lesson on charity (I love teaching.... I absolutely love it), and then during Relief Society we had the most powerful lesson on why we take the Sacrament. Sister Walker used a beautiful analogy about her son who just completed his third deployment in Afghanistan. She said that the Sacrament was much like her fighter pilot son landing safely in Germany (preparatory to flying all the way home to the United States). The Sacrament brings us to safe ground, out of enemy territory. Preparing us to return home to our Heavenly Father. I love analogies, too. The spirit taught me throughout the entire 3 hour church session. I needed that.
I also fell in love this week. I found someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. I want to spend every day with him. I find myself getting distracted just thinking about him..... I don't even know his name because I haven't thought of one yet. It's my new bike. It's a fixie :) He's beautiful. We go on bike rides in the morning now and found this amazing painting downtown this morning. (*see pictures, words won't do it justice)
We had a zone conference on Tuesday where I was able to show off my newly acquired spirit animal. Life just keeps getting better :) It was an incredible meeting. We decorated Sister Walker's kitchen (we live with the Walkers now) that night because it was her birthday on the 11th. She woke up to find all of it :)
J, B and family fed us this week and plan to sign up every week now that they know about the dinner calendar, haha. They are doing really well. AND we had the coolest dinner appointment on Wednesday. It was with A, her family (investigators) and the Seamons (members). We taught the first discussion to A and her husband, S. They asked amazing questions and talked about baptism as when, not if. They have been surrounded by Mormons for years now. I feel so incredibly lucky to be staying here to continue teaching them. We have another appointment this week where we'll be inviting them to be baptized. :) Prayers would be much appreciated on their behalf.
I love this work. I (surprisingly) love Greeley. Who thought that would happen? I can't believe I get to stay here still.
Sister Rashauna Hoer

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Greeley Letter #16

Sister Missionaries blindfolded Rashauna on her birthday 
so they could surprise her by watching the sunrise.
Capturing the sunrise.
Morning birthday party with Rashauna's favorite things...
Flowers on her birthday from an investigator.
Liz Adamson and Rashauna. 
The Spirit Animal. 
 Birthday gifts from Sister Tafengatoto.

Total letter count: 100 and counting. I seriously don't deserve this. Thank you so much everyone who contributed/is contributing.

I got to go on exchanges with Hermana Mangum!! It was so much fun to be with her again and we had one of our most productive days. Every good day starts with a good study. And we got free pancakes at IHOP due to March 4th (shout out to Leshelle) being national pancake day. Sweet!!

R and S found a special on TV titled "The Truth About Mormons" Oh no. It came on right after we left. They said it raised a lot of questions, and they asked if we would watch it with them. I was a little nervous, but what we share is true and you just have to trust that Heavenly Father will help us out. Sure, we turned it on and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We laughed through parts and paused it every so often so we could correct the crazy preachers "quotations" from Mormon Doctrine. It was honestly quite funny. We only got through the first 15 minutes, but we were able to show S the scriptures that the man was claiming to "quote" and he was able to see for himself how completely different they were. It turned out to be a really positive experience.

I'm bringing Waffle Wednesday back!! We all got together either before or after district meeting on Wednesday and had waffles :) That was fun. We also had the best lesson ever with T. We have been praying to be able to discern the needs of those we teach and we were really able to feel that help when we met with her. It just became so clear what she needed. Later that night, some people took us out to dinner for my birthday. I went to the bathroom and a woman saw my tag and asked where I worked. I explained that I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She said, "Oh so do you visit people?" I told her yes, all the time. "Well, could you visit me?" Absolutely, you should know that we talk about the gospel and help people work towards baptism. Is that something you'd be interested in? "Yeah, here's my address. Would you like my phone number too?" SOOO COOL. Sister T and I have made an effort to work harder and it is so neat to see the miracles that just land in our lap as a result. Put God first, be yourself, do your best, and everything else just works out. Simple as that.

Thursday was insane. I woke up to several sisters in my room. They freaked out and threw a blanket over me. I was blindfolded and put into a car. We drove for a little while before we stopped, got out and I was lead to a predetermined destination. They sat me down on the ground. It was still dark and freezing!! Finally they took off my blindfold and I was looking at a new soccer ball, a watermelon, almond milk ice cream, raspberries and I was sitting on a hill to watch the sunrise. What did I ever do to deserve such amazing people. It was so much fun. We took a lot of fun pictures as the sun was coming up. Then, Sister Katie Seamons (member in our ward) invited us and her friend over for a birthday lunch. Most amazing new investigator!!! Her friend brought me flowers for my birthday!!!!! We have an appointment with her and her family on Wednesday and our amazing member missionary family is coming too! I'm so excited. Oh and Katie made us vegan apple pie :) AMAZING!!!

I had a 6 hour leadership meeting on my birthday. However, it was very inspirational and several sisters brought me hilarious gifts. I also was given a spirit animal. You can only receive a spirit animal from someone who has one already so this was quite an honor. We had dinner at the Adamsons!!!! They made me sweet potatoes and fruit salad and all sorts of good stuff. They always make us feel so special over there. On top of everything they got me a really cute new scarf. What more could a sister missionary ask for: A healthy feast and new accessory. I went home that night to see my room full of balloons and decorations. I was surprised to see all of that but even more surprised when someone popped out of my bed from under the covers. The sisters in my zone really went all out!! I opened up all my gifts from the family and friends. My goodness, you guys spoil me. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!! I've been enjoying all of it so much. I've written cards, worn new skirts, eaten some awesome granola bars, so good. I just felt so loved all week.

Sunday was crazy. We are going to postpone the upcoming baptism. They just don't know what they are agreeing to and I know that more time learning would only benefit them. So that was a little hard, but their grandparents screamed at us when they found out. That was what was really hard. I seriously didn't know what to do. Grandpa won't talk to us. We were able to explain why to the grandma, but she still has a hard time understanding that this is truly for their good. Sister T and I just cried. It was the worst experience of my mission so far. BUT, the coolest less active I know had us over for dinner and card games. She made these really good peanut butter/cheerio treats. They are soooo good. And they taught us a new card game. I'm really excited to show you when I get home :)

Oh and we had to move this week. Long, boring story. But we are now living with the Bishop and his wife. They are really cool.

Sister Rashauna Hoer

Monday, March 3, 2014

Greeley Letter #15

 All bundled up waiting to watch the sunrise...
...and here's the sunrise!
Going back home after the sunrise adventure.
Exploring Colorado. 
Greeley, Colorado. 
More of Greeley.
At the first ever Colorado Fort Collins Mission Sister's Zone Conference.
The first batch of mail received at the conference... 
...and the second batch of mail! 
The calendar mentioned below with Rashauna's birthday and the "bathisum"

So this week has been incredible. It's been sister T and I's best week so far. Just incredible. We started teaching B -- the wife of our recent convert!!!! Lessons are so much more powerful with their whole family present. We had Family Home Evening with them and invited her to actually take the missionary discussions. She said YES!!!! She is already making progress and it's been so cool to see her light up when we walk in or just see how much happier she seems since we first started visiting. I just feel so grateful.

Friday we had our first ever Colorado Fort Collins Mission Sisters Conference. Such an inspirational meeting. I also got to see all the sisters in the mission. I loved every second of it. We met at 9 am and the meeting ended after lunch around 1. At the beginning of lunch we were handed mail that the mission office brought. I had a giant stack!!! Then Elder Jensen (who works in the mission office) showed up with the mail that had come in just today. Several sisters gathered around the table and I just heard them shouting my name..... They brought it all to me.... By the end of the day I had received 46 letters and 4 packages. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!!!!!!! I can't believe that all happened in a day. I'm trying really hard to wait until my birthday to open gifts. Thanks again!!! My companion made me hide them because I almost opened one last night, hahaha.

The grandkids are on track to be baptized on the 15th of this month!! They wrote on their calendar my birthday as well as their "bathisum" haha. They are adorable.

During one of our lessons this week, the Spirit taught me. I love when this happens. We were talking about the importance of gaining knowledge in this life and it hit me that we really only take a few things with us after this life: Our character, our relationships, and our knowledge. It's really helped me place greater importance on those things. What else really matters, right?

So, Sunday morning we left our meeting early to go to J's house and make sure they made it to church. They haven't been in a couple weeks and we asked what we could do to help them get there. They know that's where they need to be, but it's just tough in the morning. We all know how that is. However, at the end of the day you just have to do what's right. They asked if we'd come by around 8. Sure. So we showed up and they had lost a bank card that was crucial for their family. Sister T and I silently said prayers to ourselves and not a minute later the card showed up in a pocket that had already been checked several times and by different people. Then they found out their pipes had frozen. I explained the miracle that had just happened and we told them that if they put their faith in God, said a prayer, and went to church (we were already late) that the water would come back on soon. Well, not 10 minutes after we left, the water was running. Heavenly Father answers prayers. Enough said.

Love, Sister Rashauna Hoer