Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rawlins Letter #17

Throwing ninja stars with some very awesome kids

This is the head of a mountain lion

I found the tooth in the midst of the rotting flesh and maggots (yuk!)

Helping at a member's food truck

The gas chamber at the Old Pen. Five people were executed here

G's guns...

After we painted a fence

I drew a prison themed comic where it will be on display at the Old Pen

Soaking my feet at Saratoga Hot Springs

Life is so good when we are living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is extra special when you get to see others take steps toward acquiring the tools to find that happiness and that is exactly what this last week has been. Full of miracles and answered prayers.

S is coming to church regularly and loving it. We met with her twice this week and she shared with us some personal thoughts. She said, "You two have given me something priceless." We were all teary eyed as she went on to thank us for all we had taught her so far. We bore testimony of the fact that Heavenly Father sent us at this time because He knew she was ready for the gospel. I know He is the source of all the good we've been able to do here and especially with S. She also said, however, that the more we talk about baptism, the less she wants to do it. She explained that she talked to someone at church that waited 2 years to get baptized and "it might take me a little while...I might be a week or two." Haha, we were in shock! Sister Waite and I just looked at each other and smiled. We love meeting with S. She is enjoying and understanding the Book of Mormon more each time she reads it. 

C agreed to living the Word of Wisdom and isn't having any sort of problem with it. That guy's faith inspires me. He has read a chapter here and there of the Book of Mormon when we've invited him to, but we read a little bit from the beginning of the Book of Mormon together to get him started there. We talked about the importance of having questions and invited him to pray about whether or not it's true during church this Sunday (yesterday). Sister Waite and I have been praying non-stop and I even fasted Sunday for C to be able to feel and recognize his answer. Well, he told us Sunday after church that he'd gotten his answer a few days ago!!! I know that the Spirit testifies of truth to those who are sincerely seeking it.

T is just a joy to visit. We have so much fun with her and her family. It just feels like home over there. It could be the worst day ever and once their door opens, a smile automatically forms on my face. I've been officially invited to their family reunions from here on out. We have plans to get together at least once a year,  as well. Plans like that are helping me stay sane as my time as a full-time missionary comes to a close. They are so open to the Spirit and truly trying to do things that will bring the Spirit into their home more powerfully.

The D family is so kind. They always make us feel so welcome. Even when I try and fail miserably to speak Spanish, they are just so appreciative of our visits. During our last visit with them I pointed to Sister Waite and said, "Ella le gusta contar" instead of "Ella le gusta cantar". So, instead of liking to sing, we joke that Sister Waite likes to count now, haha! I also might have said, "Pues, que van hacer anoche?" which translates to: Well, what are you going to do last night? Yup, I need to study Spanish more. It's all resulted in some good laughs, though. 

G is doing well. It's so hard to get so far with someone and then leave. I mentioned that I was leaving in a week and he said something along the lines of, "You gotta go through 50 to get a good one, then they leave..." I told him I was going to keep in touch with his family, though. He said he'd take me and whoever came along to visit out shooting :) We helped him find mountain lion teeth in a pile of rotting flesh and maggots just yesterday! It's amazing how much service (especially something that repulsive) can open up opportunities to talk about the gospel.

I can't wait to write next week about our meeting with C and more about S, T, G and all the amazing active families in this area. The people in Rawlins are just fantastic.

Sister Rashauna Hoer

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rawlin's Letter #16

After helping a complete stranger haul some garbage :)

Beautiful Wyoming

At Martin's Cove

With Cindy Smiley at Martin's Cove

So, we found some things in the Relief Society closet and decided to 
decorate for our weekly missionary meeting :)

Before a service project

After the same service project :)

Seminoe Reservoir

After emailing last week, we met up with Tammy and Maliece to check out Seminoe Reservoir. It was really relaxing and just what I needed. It felt so nice to put my feet in the water, skip rocks, spend time with people I love, and roll down a steep, sandy hill. The drive and company was fantastic and I was introduced and treated to Kazoozles...a fantastic, fun, tangy treat that will now always remind me of the Morgan Family :) 

We had several miracles happen this week. I don't even know where to start. Great appointments and s'mores with D. S is reading the Book of Mormon and understanding it. She even invited herself to church. Tammy (who was just baptized about a month ago) was called to serve as the Young Woman Secretary. C is reading and still interested in learning more about the gospel. G let us share a message with him. W showed up to a Sunday fireside (she hasn't stepped foot into a church building in quite some time). Members are getting so involved. Tammy is coming to a lesson with us soon. She bore her testimony to S while we were at church, then S (who said she's never felt the Holy Spirit) said she might have felt it this Sunday. B showed up to the first hour of church. He was making his way toward the door and I said, "Hey, you're not leaving, are you?" He said he was...it was pretty obvious he was. But before he did, he came over smiling, shook my hand, and said, "Don't worry, you're winning." Which means that God is winning. So many hearts are being softened. We are just making progress with so many people and it gets harder and harder to think about leaving.

Cindy Smiley and her niece Denay took us to Martin's Cove today :) I love getting out in the middle of now where. No matter where it is.

Balance is the key to life. Brigham Young encouraged each day to try and get 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of recreation. Now that's a great balance 

Also, I encourage you to watch "The Hope of God's Light" on lds.org. It's different, but really neat. Find it here: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2014-07-006-the-hope-of-gods-light?lang=eng

Sister Rashauna Hoer

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rawlins Letter #15

A must see mailbox in Laramie, Wyoming

In Laramie for interviews (and a rummage through the thrift store...)

We had dinner from a member's food truck at the demolition derby,
and got to see a few minutes of the event...lucky us!

Miracle of the week: we've been doing service (helping with taxidermy) for a former investigator. We were sitting there scraping forms for him and I kept thinking of questions I could ask or ways I could bring up the gospel. Every time I thought I had something good I heard the Spirit say, "Just wait, let him bring it up." Every time. Talk about frustrating. It came time for us to leave, when he told us a good time to come back. We set up a time and I asked, "What are you going to teach us next time?" He laughed and said maybe next time we could teach him something and "it'd be nice to hear a few good words." We kept our cool till we got in the truck and just started squealing like little girls. It was exciting!

C is doing really well. We met him at the Alvey's again this week and taught the Plan of Salvation. Lessons with him are great. They are good discussions. He commented on how merciful the kingdoms of glory were and how that makes so much sense to him with a loving God. I tend to agree :)

Cindy Smiley came with us to visit S again. S is reading and really beginning to understand the scriptures. It's so neat to see!! When we first started visiting her, she had so many questions and really struggled to get herself to read. She had a hard time with the thee, thou, and thy's is what she told us. However, she is reading between each visit and really enjoyed church.

I had my "exit interview" with President Brown. It really hit me that I'm going home in a few weeks. I think I cried through the whole thing. The thought of going home is so bittersweet. Being a missionary is incredible. My family is incredible. I want both... Since then, though, I've been pretty good. Keep moving forward. Sister Waite has been such a huge support. I am so grateful for that girl.

Our ward mission leader, Brother Bobik and his family are incredible!! They are so much fun to be around and also so uplifting. Sister Waite and I have learned so much from them. From making meetings more efficient, to making guacamole...it's been great. He came out with us to an appointment with our Hispanic investigators and also came out yesterday to try to contact some people. We are so grateful for his and other member support here in Rawlins.

T shared a really neat experience with us about feeling the Holy Ghost. I love the spirit that is in their home. I love the spirit that she brings with her everywhere. We're planning on going geochaching later today with her and M :) We're pretty excited about that.

"Every day feels like a month, and every month feels like a day. " - Sis. Hannah May Waite. So true.

So, doing missionary work in a small town is the best thing since roller skates. People simply cannot avoid the missionaries. We've been trying to contact a less-active for a while, with no luck. We saw her walking last night and got to talk to her and ended up helping her with a few things. AND we have an appointment with her tonight. Life in Rawlins is great!!!

Sister Rashauna Hoer

Monday, August 4, 2014

Rawlins Letter #14

From our Photo Scavenger Hunt

Stargazing one night...

We've truly been lead by the Spirit this week. We've been able to be at the right places at the right times and it's not because we know what we're doing. I feel like I learn things every day that make me feel like I've only been on a mission for about a month. It's because Heavenly Father knows us and all His children so well. He knows our needs and potential. He is helping us every step of the way to meet other's needs and help them realize their potential.

T is doing fantastic. We showed up at her house Tuesday morning (if we haven't seen her in a day or two it feels like forever, there is just the strangest draw to her that I can't quite explain). She opened the door, invited us in and said, "I was just thinking about you tow, wondering when I'd hear from you, and here you are." She has strengthened my testimony of the Spirit's guidance in so many ways.

The sisters we live with called a referral one morning. They ran into our room with the referral still on the phone and said, "Sister Hoer, this lady only speaks Spanish, will you make an appointment for us?" Somehow, I and this patient woman on the other end of the line communicated. I explained who we were and made an appointment for 4 o'clock that afternoon. The sisters got a member that spoke Spanish to go along with them and had a great lesson. It's cool to be able to help in that way. Made me want to study Spanish more.

We've been doing a photo scavenger hunt this week on top of a crazy work load. It has been so hard that Sister Waite and I feel like we can't keep up sometimes (not a complaint). Sisters Gregory and Swain (currently stationed in Berthoud, CO) emailed us a list of pictures to try and get and we sent them one in return. It's been so much fun and our investigators, less actives, and recent converts have been helping us, which is neat. It's cool to get involved in different ways. The best part about all of it is that this has been such a productive week! I really believe that Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy the little things in life. Even if we take a minute here and there to take a picture, I feel like he's blessed us in so many ways. People have seen us doing things, like dancing in a public place, that provided opportunities to contact them and do some inspired service.

We had an amazing lesson with C at the Alvey's house (I love the Alvey's). There are so many incredible families here. C has such a sincere desire to know what's right and to find what direction God wants him to take. It's inspiring. We laughed a lot and we felt the Spirit strong during that lesson. It was relaxed, it was natural. I think that's how the gospel feels. It just feels right.

Sunday was SO COOL!!! We almost had a whole row of people sitting with us. C came to church, Cindy Smiley gave S a ride, T and her daughter M were there. They ALL stayed for the whole time. I feel so blessed to serve here with such amazing people. I seriously feel like I have family in Rawlins. This ward feels like home.

Love and appreciate you all,
Sister Hoer