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, mormon.org 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!
|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|