Monday, May 19, 2014

The Ups and Downs

Hello Everyone!
 I will tell you about some of the most joyful days on my mission, so far! We really felt and saw the Lord showing us what we need to do here. I am so glad that we are finally seeing the work move! This week after district meeting, I love district meeting, we just got really pumped and excited! So we kept that positive outlook on life and started moving forward. We went to visit M, the Spanish speaking lady that we met, but she wasn't home. :( Bummer. But we did find another family, randomly this week. We were looking for a Less Active, and he didn't live there anymore but the family that answered the door said that the daughter had been baptized when she was little but wasn't going anymore but I don't think the rest of the family is baptized. But they told us to come back and they were really excited. So we stopped by with a member of the ward that speaks spanish, and they were having a family BBQ but they set up another time for us to come back for this week! So I will let you know how it goes. The kids speak English but the parents do not. Also that same night we saw a  cute family outside raking and ended up driving by them multiple times trying to find another house. But we felt like we needed to go talk to them, but awkward, we had just driven by a ton of times and waved at them. But despite the awkwardness we parked our car and went over to talk to them. We just told them how great their family seemed and that we wanted to share a message on how their family could be strengthened an eternal. She was so touched by us stopping by and she said yes and we are going back this week. Also, randomly tracted into a lady who was an assistant secretary at GRHS my Senior year, she accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. Crazy awesome connections. 
Also, I don't know if I have told you before but we have a little town called Sinclair in our ward boundaries, so we go out there about once or twice a week and spend some time. This week we were able to contact the H family.  We had just heard from another family that they had been invited to hear the gospel a little bit ago and said no but I just have been feeling pretty strongly about them. So this week we went over to their house. They let us in an we got talking and I told them that I went to school with their daughter and right then, she called her mom on the phone.(Weird things had been happening like that all day.)  Haha. After she hung up we were able to just talk and get to know her and her family more. It's interesting how natural and normal we can make discussions about the gospel. We talked about her religious background and their family goals, her daughters baptism, her views on religion. And shared with them how the gospel can bless their family basically. Then we asked if she wanted to know more about what we believe. Right away she said yes! So we are going to work to schedule a set time to go back and start teaching her. It was so neat to see her heart softened. Pray really hard for this family! It would bless all of them so much. They are so neat. 
Along with that neat experience, we have been finding tons of part member families! On the ward list, they only have a few listed but we have been finding more and more as we have been visiting people on the ward list that no one knows about. One day we literally found out about 4 or 5 part member families in a row just by stopping by. And if we didn't get them home, we used our detective skills and saw that they were married or had kids. One family that we found that is a part member family is the S family. 
We caught them at home, which is a huge deal here in Rawlins, (hard to get people home, on any day of the week.) but they were all home. The mom of the family just barely started going back to church in March. She has been very less active for many years and went back on her own a couple months ago. Super neat story. She has 4 kids, 12, 10,6 and 2 and is married to a non-member. She really wants us to come over and teach her kids so that they can know the gospel better. She wants them to grow up with the church. She also wants her husband to start learning, but she says it will take baby steps. But we have a dinner/lesson set up with them this week. Should be super exciting! It is so neat to see the work moving forward! So many miracles every day! We were floating on air when we got home on a few of the days this week! It has been so neat to finally see what he has in store. 
Our week at church was quite eventful. We performed, "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" I sang, Sister Z played the piano, then we taught gospel principles, and then did singing time in primary again. I was worn out! But the church was so full this week that they had to open the back part, which never happens. We had a lot of Less actives there and also our investigator Sarah was there with her family. It was a good Sunday. Then we had an interesting experience. We met a lady who was a Born Again Christian, this week and set up an appointment with her for Sunday. Well, that was fun...haha. It's interesting to hear what they believe but it's hard for the spirit to teach and be there when the hearts of the individuals are not open. I've had some experiences like this before and was kind of prepared for what was going to happen, but it still was exhausting. They pretty much just grilled us with questions and didn't really listen to the answers. A bit frustrating just because they would disagree but then later they would basically say they believed in something so similar but didn't think that it was. Surprisingly I didn't get frustrated though. I just felt content and asked them a few questions too. I guess that is the closest situation to bible bashing I have encountered thus far though. But we didn't get contentious, but we knew we needed to just get out of there. But there were a few times that I felt the spirit speaking through me and they felt it too, I know they did. We can learn from all kinds of people though and their diligence in developing a relationship with our Savior. It made me think more deeply about my relationship with my Savior. 
Well, I have typed a ton of random stuff today...I hope it somewhat made sense. Ups and downs happened all the time. Some times I wonder if I can really do this for 14 more months:)But then I think of my Savior and all He has done for me. Or I think of my family and how happy I am to be with the family I am with, or I think of the joy that I have found through the Atonement and covenants and it makes it all worth it. One thing that I have been doing in my personal studies every day is studying a Christlike Attribute in chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. That has been really great for me. I am working on a lot of things and getting better little my little. I still have a long ways to go though. But it really helps me to get to know my Savior more and more. I think that there is no better way to get to know someone than by trying to become like them and emulate their traits. We can study and study all about our Savior but we won't truly know Him until we follow His perfect life and example. 
Thank you all for all you do. Your prayers, love, and support. I truly love each of you and hope life is going well for you. Let the Lord be an active part of your life and He will make more out of it than you could by yourself! 
Sister Young
A song that Moose wrote for us... Moose wrote for us.
Moose signing my copy of the song he wrote.

"Postcard" from Rawlins!
For District Meeting - we had Ugly Sweater Day :)

Random document found while doing service at Rawlins Museum - Dudley's name in 1980.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Quick E-mail

My time is short today because I had to do this survey thing for the mission, so I don't know how long I will have to type. 
This week we were able to get our feet under us once again. I have truly been learning the importance of obeying with exactness, the best that you can, and that it brings peace and miracles. The first week here I struggled getting into a schedule and routine, especially living with 3 other missionaries. I had started to feel a bit off by the end of the week, and I knew it was because my obedience was lacking. So as soon as I realized that, I talked to Sister Z and she and I agreed to work extra hard to get back into an obedient schedule since we were finally getting our feet on the ground. So this week has been a lot better. I am so blessed with a great companion who is teaching me so much. We both cover the areas where the other person falls short. It is neat to see why the Lord puts us with the companions we have. Sister Z and I have a lot of fun while we are working. Let me tell you though, missionaries have allll sorts of fun awkward moments. Good thing I am the queen of accepting awkwardness and making it normal. 
Let me just tell you, some of my favorite parts about being a missionary, is visiting those who are struggling and supporting those who are having tough times. I can truly feel our Savior's love for the people around me. Everyone is so unique and different. Here in Rawlins there is such a variety of people and many struggle with word of wisdom problems, because of how many bars are here. 
This week we were able to set up a ton of appointments for this coming week. We even met a few families. One family we met because we saw them moving some stuff out of their house. I just felt like we should talk to them and I'm learning to not push those feelings away. Just DO IT!! haha. So we went up and started talking to them. The lady didn't speak any english, but her ex-husband translated for us and she said she would love us to come back and bring someone who spoke spanish with us. I wish I spoke spanish a bit better! We also have knocked some doors with people who speak spanish and that has been tough to try to communicate. But we have a couple families in the ward that speak spanish. 
This week the Lord has been letting me know, little by little why I am here in Rawlins. I am sure more reasons will come up but there are so many random connections I have with people here. People that went to Western the same time as me, families of friends of mine that got baptized, families that know the same people that I do in GR. It is great to be able to relate to some many people, and Wyoming people tend to click well with "their own people". Haha. So it's been a good week. Also some hard days. We have been trying to figure out the best route to go to do the Lord's work
. Some days we knocked door after door of Less-actives and former investigators and NO one answered. But the Lord always provides miracles in some way. Like, one day the weather was really bad and it was raining/hailing off and on, but everytime we went to get out of the car or leave a porch, the rain would stop for a little bit and then start right back up again when we got to the next porch or the car. So great. We also, yesterday, had some random man and his son stop and help us shovel snow from our walkway. He wasn't a member just a random man driving around with his son and they stopped to help. 
We are getting more involved with the youth here, really helping them to do their missionary work. We are also trying to get more involved with the community by finding service opportunities. At the museum, the old folks home, the animal shelter, the penitentiary, the downtown district restoration, just so we can get out there and meet new people, find new people, soften hearts. It works! Get involved in your community! Sister Z and I also got to do singing time for primary this Sunday for Mother's Day. It was so much fun! And we are singing in church next Sunday as well. I really love the ward here and the people we work with. My time is running short. Keep praying for us to find new investigators and that we will be prepared to teach them when we do find them. I know prayers work. My time is almost up! I love you allllll!
Love,Sister Karissa Young
P.S- I promise I will write more next week. 
Fun Companion Jumping Picture!

The Wilderness District!

Us eating breakfast together on P-Day

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Wow! I don't even know how to start or what to say this week. I mean, I have sooo much to say that I don't know how to fit it all in! 
I love being here in Rawlins! Never thought I would say that;) (Those of you from WY will know why)  But this week has been so neat. So I guess I will start at the beginning of my time here and tell you some of what my experience has been like. 
Transfer day came and it was a bit of a long day. Instead of riding the "transfer bus" I had to drive to Cheyenne with a Sister, pick up my companion, and drop the other sister off, and then drive all the way to Rawlins. Plus we didn't have a phone the whole time, and just like every transfer day, the weather was pretty bad out. But it was just fine and quite the adventure. That is the number one word that I can use to describe this week. One of the biggest adventures of my life! 
So I picked up my companion, Sister Zvirzdin(I'm still learning how to say it. I call her Sister Z.) She is great! She only has 2 transfers left but is excited to work hard and do her best and not let anyone know she is almost done with her mission. I have learned a lot from her already. She is very good with talking to everyone and including gospel principles in every conversation. She is great with talking to people and inviting. I'm excited to be able to work with her. 
So we got to Rawlins, and didn't have a CLUE where we were living, who to contact, where the church was, and we didn't have a phone! haha. So we found the police station and got the address to the church and hoped and prayed someone was there who knew more than we did. We got to the church and the Bishop of our ward just happened to be just about to leave the building. So his counselor drove us to where our house was. There are 2 wards in Rawlins. Oh and just so you know, they literally JUST changed the ward boundaries, changed the names of the wards, and sent Sisters into Rawlins for the very first time. So many amazing changes going on! 
There is just a feeling in the air here that the work truly is hastening! I can't even describe it. There is so much work to do here and it is exciting! I've never thought of Rawlins like this before. Like you all said, I have grown up coming to Rawlins, so to be here on my mission is just super crazy to me. Sorry, I keep going on tangents. So, we got to our apartment. And let's just say....Elders have been living at this apartment for a LOOOONG time. Haha. It was a mess. They had tried to clean it up but it was pretty gross. But the previous Elders had been really nice and left us a ton of food, and sticky notes randomly all over the apartment. Also, a family had brought over a ton of food that night too. Let's just say, we haven't had to shop at all this week and won't be doing too much for the next few weeks. The members here really take care of us and are SOOO excited to have Sisters. So the apartment was pretty messy, the heater was broken so it was freezing, (we just barely got it fixed today:)) but we were all just so excited to be here. There are 4 of us living in this apartment and I just love all the sisters that are here. We are all so up for the adventure of Rawlins and so excited to be here. There is Sister Waite, Sister Hoer, Sister Zvirzdin, and me. We have really cleaned up the apartment over the week and made it super nice. It's nice living on my own again. I love living with members but I also am grateful for this chance to live in a real "missionary apartment" haha. Woah! I have written so much and this is only the first day! There are some very unique people here in Rawlins. I love it! The first day we met a man named Moose who just loves missionaries. He buys us dinner and lunch a lot and plays his guitar for us with songs he has written. He is from Louisiana originally. He is quite a hoot but he loves missionaries. He comes up with nick names for all the missionaries. I am Steve! Ha. After Steve Young. We even did some service for him this week. While he was gone with went and cleaned up his house because he has trouble getting around. He was so happy when he found out. 
So, being "swept" into an area (when both you and your companion are new to an area) is quite an interesting challenge. You don't know anything except what the Elders left in the Area Book. Which...wasn't too much. Haha. And a lot of our investigators are now in the other ward boundaries so the other sisters have a tons of investigators right now and we are working to find more. First we met with our ward mission leader and then we just started meeting with all the members that we could to let them get familiar with us and start getting them involved. Since Rawlins is a small town, word spreads fast and everyone knows what we are doing every day. 
 We come home every night and share the miracles that we saw during the day. I love it.I feel so humbled  to be in place like Rawlins. A place that most missionaries have called "outer darkness" over the years. This place is SO ready for the gospel. We have already seen this in the first week we have been here. I love Wyoming! So glad to be back. 
We do service at the Old Wyoming State Penitentiary every Wednesday. This week we swept the floors of the prison. Ha. Never thought I would be doing service there! There are a ton of trailer parks here in our area. More than I have ever seen in one town in my life. There are a lot of humble people here. Also, I am grateful for the time that I spent working at a Residential Treatment Center before my mission because, (not to scare you all) but there are some people I have met this week that have had some pretty rough pasts. 
We are learning how to work in this area and what ways the Lord wants us to be most effective. We have found that we are most effective when we walk around instead of driving and we just talk to everyone that we meet. We met this young couple on a walk and they invited us to walk to a park with them. They have had some rough pasts, in and out of jails, and searching for hope that they lack. We shared with them the knowledge we have of the atonement and how God wants us to have joy. They said that they felt hope finally while they were talking to us and they set up an appointment with us for the next day to be taught more. We didn't end up getting to teach them and they "dropped us" within 24 hours, but it was a neat experience. We have met sooo many random people and there are so many hearts that are softened and ready to hear the words. We are giving out as many pamphlets, Books of Mormon, cards, everything we can, just so people know we are here in Rawlins now! The word is spreading. There are other stories of random people we have met here in Rawlins too. Maybe I will share more over Skype next week. Even though there are some sketchy places and people here, I feel very safe and protected here. 
We taught our one investigator the other day and met their family. They are a Part member family and they have a cute little girl and they have been wanting her to have a foundation on Christ so they have started coming to church. We are teaching their family now and we had a really great discussion with them this week, asking them a lot of questions and seeing where they are at. We are going to officially start the lessons with them this week. They are such a great family. We also have been meeting a lot of Less Actives here in Rawlins. People come to Rawlins to "get lost" so there is a lot of reactivation work here. We are going to be helping several families prepare to go to the temple to get sealed! There is so much work to do here and we are so excited for all of it. There is so much to write about and I haven't even told you the half of all the adventures that we have been through this week. Just know that I am safe, happy, and so excited for missionary work right now! I haven't felt excitement like this for the work in a really long time! We have been taking a ton of pictures this week so I will send a few. The sisters I live with are super fun and goofy too, so having positive attitudes around is really fun. We work really well together and we just love each other. We pull some fun pranks on each other too. Like hiding an antelope antler in random places around the house, changing their morning alarms to our voices, just fun stuff like that. It makes life fun, even on the hard days. We are still trying to adjust and some days we really have no idea what the Lord wants us to do and how to be most effective, but we are learning little by little and have set a goal to be more spontaneous with our missionary work. It is a lot more effective here. The people here are wonderful. I love Wyoming a lot. Always have. People are so surprised to hear that I grew up in Green River. Oh! I have the Bank's daughter and her family in my ward! They came up to me yesterday and said, "The 5th Ward warned us to look out for you!!" Ha. 
Well, I guess I better end this novel! I have met so many wonderful people here already and I am so excited to get my feet underneath me all the way so I can keep up with what is going on. The Lord has GREAT plans for this area and I am so honored to be a part of it. I love teaching with Sister Z. We are still learning how to communicate all the way but when we teach we feel the spirit guiding us, and that is what I have been searching for. I will keep you all posted!! The Lord loves each of you so much and I love each of you too! Keep shining your light of example. You never know who is going to be effected by it in the long run. 
Love you all!
Sister Young

Moose playing his guitar

Us on the first night in our apartment with lamp shades on our heads

ME freezing cold without our heater all week