Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rawlins Letter #8

Advise from Sister Hoer: always take a jumping picture

Lake Marie, Wyoming - on the way to Zone Conference in Laramie

Lake Marie

This is the last Zone Conference for the four of us


This is the "small shopping cart"

Last Monday I got a letter from Sister Grammer, my last companion. I was so excited to read it but we were on our way to the store. I tried to read it at red lights but stoplights in general are few and far between and they never last long, making my attempt to read futile. We got to the store and I thought, "I don't need anything, I'll take this in to read while I follow my companion around" (shopping is not my favorite thing to do, ha-ha). It was a normal, extremely windy Wyoming day. We got out of the truck and I locked it just as a gust of wind came and snatched the two precious pages from my grasp. I watched them tumble and dance away from me at an impressive speed. I yelled, "Nooooooooooooooo!" Without communicating, Sister Waite and I broke out into a full sprint after them. I caught up with one and was able to step on it. This resulted in me almost doing the splits in the parking lot. I was laughing so hard already! Then, I looked up just in time to see Sister Waite dive into a planter. When she emerged she held up the second page of the letter. Victory!!! Wyoming wind: 0, Sister Missionaries: 1.

We've met with the most amazing families this week. A couple less-actives that we have been trying to meet with for forever it seems like. We enjoyed dinner at the Smiley's. We have a new Ward Mission Leader, Brother Bobik. He and his family are great. We just feel like we have so much support out here. So many other families have just been answers to prayers this week. The Rodriguezs, Birds, Brights, Faveros, Bates...they are all fantastic! We had a Zone Conference on Wednesday. It was my last one. We took the scenic route to Laramie through Medicine Bow National Forest. It was gorgeous!!! The focus of the meeting was on the importance of families. It was really powerful, but kind of hard to discuss. I feel like I already think about my family all of the time these days.  

I gained a stronger testimony of revelation through scripture this week. I've been reading the Book of Mormon trying to read it again before I get home. Saturday morning I was reading and was able to have a question answered. One that I've had for a long time. I was not reading about this topic, I was just reading through 2 Nephi Chapter 2. I know that scripture study invites the Spirit and that's where real and lasting knowledge comes from. Such a cool feeling.

We got a referral for a man that lives on the fourth floor of an apartment building. That is all the information we got. We got it on Friday, and Saturday we had plans to visit one of our investigators. We pulled up to the house and I said, "This isn't where we're supposed to be." Sister Waite agreed and said "Let's go try to visit that guy." I was thinking the same thing, so we went to the apartment building to find out you need a code or someone to buzz you in the door. Not knowing which room was his, I started guessing codes. No luck. I started pushing room buttons. No luck. I don't think Sister Waite liked my idea of trying to get in so we were about to give up when we heard the door make a weird noise...someone buzzed us in!! I opened the door and we got into the sketchy elevator to go to the fourth floor. When the door opened, there was a man standing there that looked very surprised to see us. Nearby was an abnormally small shopping card. We introduced ourselves and he responded with, "You must be the Elder's replacements." I think we found our guy!!! Well, he kind of found us. He looked down the hallway and said to someone we couldn't see (the person that buzzed us in, probably) "Trust me, this has nothing to do with you." Ha-ha! We were just confused at this point. He walked past us, taking the shopping cart into the elevator and said, "Excuse me, I just need to take this downstairs. Would you like to come?" We hesitated...he continued, "Oh, that's right, you can't come in elevators," and the doors shut. Hahaha! When the doors opened again, he and two other men came out. They introduced themselves as Brothers so-and-so. Two members of the Church had decided to visit this man, their former co-worker at exactly the right time! We were all able to go in and have a lesson. This is the most intelligent and interesting man I've met. He wants to get baptized as soon as possible!!! He is moving to Chicago so it'll probably happen there, but we are still so excited! Apparently he met with the Elders quite a few times. He invited us to all go to dinner sometime this week before he leaves for Chicago. Sister Waite and I left before the other gentlemen and we were in the elevator talking about how weird and wonderful and strange and spiritual and awkward and miraculous everything was. The doors of the elevator opened and right there in the doorway was that little shopping cart. We just burst into laughter.

I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. I related rollerblading adventures in San Diego to the gospel. I think it went pretty well. People in the ward seemed to like it. We also got to teach the youth missionary prep class. That was a little crazy. I think a few of them had a good experience, which made the slightly frustrating time worth it in my opinion. Hats off to all of you who work with the youth. Respect.

Love, Sister Rashauna Hoer

PS: Did I mention that people keep giving us watermelons? Livin' the dream, as Moriah Mason would say!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rawlins Letter #7

Homemade wheat bread - thanks for the recipe, mom!

We went over to the Smiley's for dinner and they gave us each a care package.

I made sweet potato fries with a giant sweet potato a member gave us.

(Note: this email follows news that her mission president gave her last Friday that her uncle had passed away, as well as an email we sent to her about her uncle that she received yesterday.)

I have been praying nonstop for the family and occasionally (usually right when I feel like giving up) I get the most peaceful feeling. I know it must be beyond difficult to go through what the family is going through right now, but I know Heavenly Father is watching over all of us. I am so touched by all of the tender mericies you told me about. The fact that Robert got to talk to all of us kids and Christina before his passing, you were able to spend quality time with him, and that Eric and Grandpa were able to be there. I just loved the story about Bryce giving Robert blessings. I was sobbing, but just have full faith in the Priesthood and the Atonement.  I love thinking about how peaceful and pain free Robert is. The glue that's holding me together right now for so many reasons is - the Gospel. Where would we be without it?

So, I got a blessing just the day before President called to tell me about Robert. I never ask for blessings. Never. It was really cool to have the peace that comes with a Priesthood blessing when hearing the news. President Brown and my companion, Sister Waite, have been incredible. I am very well taken care of out here and it's comforting to know that you are all taken care of by the same source. Different people, but it can be traced back to Heavenly Father. In a stake conference in Loveland someone said, "You think you are going through a change, but you're not. You were in His hands before and you are in His hands now." That phrase has come to my mind a lot whenever I start to worry about how the family is doing.

As far as a weekly email goes:

I believe in prayer. We have had so many answered prayers this week. We were able to contact R and S (after a long dry spell) and will be having a lesson with them tonight. We'll probably be teaching the Play of Salvation, which will be hard for me right now, but really neat at the same time.

We knocked on a woman's door. Someone in our ward had recommended that we stop by. A young woman answered and seemed very hesitant but explained that she was a member of the church.  We asked if we could share a brief message and she invited us in.  After a little bit we figured out that she has been thinking of going back to church and said, "I saw you walk up and I was so excited because I knew exactly what you wanted to talk about."

T and her family came to church!! During a lesson this week we asked how she was feeling. She answered, "Good, really good. Actually, I've been feeling good every since you two showed up." Heavenly Father knows His children. There have been several times that we have said things or taught things that were exactly what she was thinking and needed to discuss. There is just no way that we would be able to know that. I know that the spirit is helping us in every way possible to help her come unto Christ. It's incredible. We invited her to be baptized on the 12th of July. The whole family gasped. Sister Waite and I this good, bad, terrible, wonderful...we had no idea what was going on. T then explained to us that 12 is a very important number in their family. Their anniversary, birthdays, all sorts of important days all fall on the 12th of various months. She had a huge smile when she said yes and said she can't stop thinking about it.

Heavenly Father continues to spoil Sister Waite and I in Rawlins. Members here are just incredible.

Love, Sister Rashauna Hoer

PS: Family, the surveys have me laughing like a weirdo! I LOVE your answers!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rawlins Letter #6

Art project!

Elder Ramirez's birthday party.

The Wilderness District.

Windy Wyoming.

Last Monday our amazing Relief Society president had us come over to the art shop she works at and make cameos. Soooo neat. I just love and really miss art projects. I also forgot my planner today. I use that a lot to do my weekly recap so...I'll do my best. 

This has easily been one of our best weeks here. Things are finally moving forward at a noticeable pace. It was good, but slow trying to get things going with two new missionaries in the area. However, we have really been able to learn and see how hard work yields results. Not always when you want them (I always want them immediately) but having faith that they will come in the Lord's time. This experience has already been helpful in promising our investigators blessings that are sure to come when we keep going.

Sister Waite and I decided to try and read all of Preach My Gospel before the end of the transfer. This was last Friday and we finished yesterday. It was a really cool experience. All we were doing for studies was reading, reading, reading, but we really enjoyed it. I learned so many new things. We even read the "Learn the Mission Language" chapter and replaced "mission" with "spirit", learning the spirit language, Ha ha! We had fun and were uplifted in a lot of ways. 

We made some amazing progress with K. She is reading scriptures everyday and finally starting to see the blessings from doing so. It's difficult to act in faith for that long but she's doing it. We felt the spirit so strong in our last lesson with her. She is inspiring. We're hoping we'll be able to help her get to church this week. Cross your fingers...or pray. Yeah praying will probably be more productive :)

We have a new investigator named T. She is incredible. Our first lesson with her and her husband (a member) we just answered questions she had about the temple. She told us that she asked her husband to be sealed to her in the temple when she gets baptized!!! We love visiting her and her family. Her daughter is going to girls camp this week and they are excited about church this week. They make every hard day worth while. We are looking forward to meeting with them again this week. 

We found out on Saturday that we get to stay another six weeks here together!!! Sister Waite and I were very excited about that. The R family threw an ice cream party for us and the other sisters :) Saturday was just a great day. We got to help out with the Pen to Pen Fun Run a local 5K race/bbq party, have dinner with the S family, visit with the R family and we got to visit with some investigator families. It was just the best day ever.

Love you all, thanks for all the love and support :)

Love Sister Rashauna Hoer

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rawlins Letter #5

Sunrise Party on P-day!

Me and Sister Waite

The beautiful Wyoming landscape

Enjoying the sunrise

A quote from Relief Society I really like...

Working to fill sandbags in Saratoga

Preparing for the flood

We haven't been able to meet with R and S again yet. Simply due to scheduling conflicts. They invited us blowing though, haha! We explained to them that's not really what we do while we're on our missions. They are really cool, though, and hopefully we'll meet with them soon.

Wednesday morning we got a call requesting that we go to Saratoga as soon as possible to help with some flooding down there. We spent 7 hours straight filling sandbags and then went back the next day to help out again. Exhausting, but rewarding work. It was really neat working alongside inmates from up north, other members of the church, missionaries, Saratoga residents, and several Wyoming National Guard members. I wish bad things (like flooding) didn't happen, but I love seeing people all working together regardless of who you are, where you're from, or what you believe. We really enjoyed the opportunity to help out.

We helped out a less active member with some gardening when we saw her outside working. She is a delightful and interesting person to visit. We shared an Ensign article with her last time we visited with her that she read! How exciting. She also really likes Alphonse Mucha and, when I said he is one of my favorite artists, she gave me a few amazing pictures of his!!! They are already up on my wall. 

People continue to spoil us here and I just love the people we visit more and more (not because of the spoiling, but because they are so down to earth). Just great people out here. We had two really cool lessons with referrals that we invited the members to invite into their home. That makes such a big difference. We have 5 new investigators for this week alone thanks to the Spirit and member support - we couldn't do it without them.

So, while reading the Book of Mormon I recently discovered a new meaning to 1 Nephi 2:4. It says that Lehi and his family "departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents". This told me that the three most important things in the world (other than the Gospel, of course) are family, food, and camping. So make sure to prioritize those things ;)

This morning Sister Waite and I got up super early. We woke up the other sisters, told them to put on warm clothes, and to get into the truck as soon as possible. We drove out to this really cool spot to watch the sunrise and we supplied breakfast. It was delightful and Wyoming is soooooo pretty.  So much open space. It's peaceful and beautiful.

Love you all!!! Hope you have a great week.

Sister Rashauna Hoer