Monday, June 23, 2014

True Beauty

Well...This week was a little tough. Probably our slowest week yet in Rawlins. Which can be really hard. In the summer time, no one likes to stay in Rawlins because it is the one time they can get OUT of Rawlins. Haha. So it is really hard to get people home or even progressing. We did get to teach a lot of less-actives this week though and saw so many of them come to church this week which is awesome. There are so many less-actives that are working towards going to the temple and there is finally a temple prep class that will be starting soon. We also are still working on getting an Addiction Recovery class started. The book that the church has put out with the 12 step program is amazing. So focused on the atonement and change. We are trying to get the members more involved in the work and this week sent a survey around the Relief Society to see what languages others speak, when they are free, if their homes would be open to bring others over, and if they want to come with us on visits. We finally got a new ward mission leader yesterday, which will really be great to help the work move along now. The ward mission leader is key in this work. 
This week we had our Zone Conference in Laramie. We woke up a bit earlier than usual, and took the scenic route to Laramie. Only a few extra miles. It was beautiful!! I think we might have been there before as a family. It is through Saratoga, then past Lake Marie, and then through gorgeous trees. On my goodness! I didn't know Wyoming had so many trees. haha. I love Wyoming. So glad I grew up in this state! Our Zone Conference was very focused on families and eternal marriage. It was kind of an interesting topic for a missionary conference but it was really neat. Seeing how to help others find true happiness through strong family relationships and covenants. It was a really neat conference and so good to be around other missionaries! We are in the middle of nowhere so we don't get to see many other missionaries. haha. My companion, Sister Zvirzdin, gave her departing testimony at the meeting. It's super weird to see people going home and to think about how fast time flies by, but also how slow it is. I have been out for 5 months. I still have a year and a month to go. But seeing my companion prep to go home has made me think, what I want to be like when I get to that point. I have a ways to go and a lot still to accomplish. But it also makes me think of when it is my turn to go home. But I need to not focus on that. It's just hard when that is what your comp is thinking about. But Heavenly Father knew I needed to be with Sister Z, so He knew I could handle whatever would come. We are determined to work as hard as we can and move forward. 
This week we have been running every morning. It makes me feel SOOO good! But on top of that, it is exhausting me. So tired every day. But my body will get used to it. One night, I was so tired that at dinner, with a member, I couldn't keep my eyes open and I was nodding. Then they divided their HUGE pan of cake into 6 giant pieces, and that woke me up!! Sister Z and I looked at each other and tried to pass the huge piece to the other person, but it didn't work. So we couldn't stop laughing. times. 
We met a lady this week, who has the cutest 3 year old son, that acts like a dog when we come over. He even plays fetch! haha. So cute. His mom is a member but hasn't been active for about 20 years. It is interesting to see how easy it is to forget this gospel if we are not living it consistently. We are re-teaching her and in turn teaching her  son so he can decide for himself when the time comes. We also had a chance to do some service for a less-active lady. She is super neat and we have seen her heart soften little by little as we have gone over and just shown her and her family love. We are going to be doing some more service for her this week. 
Another experience I want to share, has to do with how we need to redefine what beauty really is. Every week we go and visit this lady named Edna at the Kindred Assisted Living Home. (Also, side note, we do service there and paint ladies' nails. Yes...I paint people's nails...which I have never done in my life. haha. Let's just say, they don't turn out too well so it's a good thing that some of them can't see them.) Anyway, back to Edna. This week as we were leaving we told her that she is beautiful. Then this 92 year old lady said that she didn't think that she was beautiful. She said that she thought that the celebrities and famous people were beautiful, not her. It was so heartbreaking to see that even when someone is 92 years old they are still struggling with the skewed perception on what beauty really is! Society has really messed up what we define as beauty. We need to change that in our world! Edna is one of the most beautiful people I have met. She is so kind to everyone around her and her light just shines to everyone around. This week she even asked for a Book of Mormon, and had us write in it what she said, so she can give it to someone that she knows at the nursing home. She can barely move, talk, or do much, but she is still sharing the gospel. Let Edna be an example to each of us. We are so capable of sharing what has brought us joy! This gospel and knowing that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father, can bring us true joy and help us see what true beauty is. Each of you are beautiful. 
I love each of you!! Thanks for your prayers and support. You all are amazing! Keep searching for those opportunities and making those opportunities to open your mouth and share the gospel. :) 
Sister Young
Robinson family. Related to the Banks family.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


June 16, 2014

Life is good in Rawlins! This week was great. We are able to get new investigators every week. Helping them to progress in the hard part though:) 
Katelynn was baptized this week!!! It was such a neat day for her and her family. And for us:) Her mom is a member but the rest of her family is not. But, even though her step-dad and brother are not religious at all, they came to her baptism and stayed for the whole time. There was such a neat spirit there and I know that they both felt the spirit. In the Lord's timing I know the rest of the family will be able to learn. Katelynn is such a special girl and really is striving to do what is right. This is only the beginning though for her. There is so much more for her now. But with the Holy Ghost she will be better able to move forward making the right choices. 
Another neat experience this week was teaching A, the lady we tracted into who was my HS secretary. She had us come over  this week and we taught her the first lesson. Hearing her story it is so neat to see how the Lord has been preparing her to come to this point her whole life. There have been so many good influences in her life over the years. Many friends who were members of the church. I see that all the time with people we meet and talk to and realize even more how important our examples are to those people around us every day! Always remember, even though you may not feel like anyone is watching or learning from your example of living a Christ-like life, people remember you and the spirit that you carry. It is so important!

Bummer situation of the week, the A family contacted us again this week and said that she had talked to her husband and that he didn't feel ready to switch churches. She sounded pretty crushed. She wants this so badly for her family! Keep praying for them. In the Lord's timing all will work out. Her cousin might still be interested though. We will continue forward. 
Funny story. So we were at a member's house and one of the little girls had a bowl of ice cream and wanted to show me a neat trick. She was trying to do the thing where she tips the ice cream upside down really fast so it stays in the bowl, but she did it too slowly and so all her ice cream fell on the ground! I couldn't stop laughing for a couple minutes. It was so funny. It reminded me of something one of my sisters would do. 

This week I have felt more like myself than I have in a long time. I think it takes me a transfer to get adjusted and start being myself. I really am loving Rawlins and the wonderful people here. Sitting in church yesterday, I just looked around and felt so much love for these people. Wow. Everyone has their own struggles and testimonies in this gospel. I never realized how much the members need the missionaries too and how much I can learn from the members as well. One thing that Sister Z and I do during the day is talk about things that we have learned on our missions so far and what we are learning now. It has really helped me to see how much good this mission is doing not just for others, but for me! I always heard how good it would be for me, but I didn't realize how much I would really learn. About myself, about others, about how the Lord has set us Him church and this gospel, about the importance of the little things,the importance of visiting and home teaching, just how perfectly this church is set up. The people running the church are not perfect but the church and the gospel are true. I'm not saying I don't have my days when I have doubts come to my head and questions. But those are normal. They are there to help our testimonies grow stronger as we act upon those questions and pray to know the answer and gain a stronger testimony.
Oh! I forgot to tell you all that I spoke in Sacrament meeting last Sunday. I spoke on the talk by President Holland that is in the Ensign this month. "The Call to Be Christlike." I was able to share some personal experiences with the ward about how to stand up for what you believe and not to check your religion at the door. It is hard but so worth it! Check out Elder Holland's talk:
Let me know what you think:) I'd love to hear some insights!!!

 Two fun things that Sister Z and I have been doing to help our companion unity. We are reading Preach My Gospel together in one transfer and also making video blogs every night at the end of the day. They are super fun!  Well, I better get going. But know that they are so many other miracles that I don't talk about that happen daily. I am well taken care of and there are wonderful people all around me. I am learning lots and feeling lots and becoming better every day. I love you all!!!! Keep smiling! 
Sister Karissa Young 
Katelynn's Baptism

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another Transfer in Rawlins!‏

We have worked a lot with less-actives this week. It's been pretty neat to have the Lord guide us to families who are struggling and who are getting ready step by step to come back. Miracles always happen at the last hour of the day. We met an amazing family, less-active, who hasn't had missionaries stop by for about 2 years. They were converts, got sealed in the temple, and then got offended and fell away. But they opened up to us and even invited us over for smoked ribs and corn on the cob this week:). Tis the season for BBQ's and red meat...haha. 
Another neat thing, remember the lady that we tracted into who was the secretary at my high school? Well she finally agreed to let us come over this week and teach her. She seems really open minded. We also are teaching the whole Ar family this coming week finally. So this week should be pretty great! Keep us in yours prayers so that we will be prepared to teach them, and them so that their hearts will be softened.
We did a lot of service this week too. Helped at the Pen to Pen fun run this week. Everyone has stripes who participates in the fun run so it looks like a bunch of prisoners are running through town. It was great to be able to serve at it and talk to so many people. 
We have been working with K still this week to get her ready for her baptism this Saturday! It is coming up fast and there is so much to do! But she is excited and everything looks good. Keep her in your prayers too though. Her mom is nervous because she wants her to make the choice for herself and not be influenced by wanting to please her mom. She is so sweet though and always is ready with her scriptures on her ipod when we get there. 
Oh.... so, story time!! This week for our weekly planning session, we wanted to get out of the house because it was such a nice day. So we drove to a mountain at the edge of town, and hiked up a short distance to a rock overlooking the neighborhood. It was great!!! But we forgot one thing. Sunscreen:) So...needless to say, I got one of the worst burns on my legs that I have ever gotten. But that is ok:) But then the next day I realized that my right ankle was getting all swollen. I looked like an elephant. I got a little worried but it seems to have gone down a bit today. So we will figure it out I guess:) It's the same ankle that I twisted a few months ago but I think it was just from the burn. 
One thing that we have started to do this week is to listen to conference talks in the morning from the time we wake up to our personal study time. It has really uplifted all of us and make us more dedicated. Try it out this week! Listen to conference talks as you get ready! It will increase the spirit in your lives. 
I'm sorry that their isn't a lot to report this week but know that miracles are always happening. We just need to open our eyes. I love you all so much!!!! Thanks for all you do!
Sister Young

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sandbags, Baptismal Dates, and Talking to Everyone!‏

Monday - June 2, 2014
It's been a really good week. Kind of a random, unexpected, week but a really good week, nonetheless. Guess I will start at the very beginning. 

On Tuesday we had a lesson with the S Family, their 10 year old daughter is taking the lessons. We taught her about baptism and then invited her to be baptized. She said yes and we set a date for June 14th! Super exciting for her and her family. We are all praying that her baptism will inspire the rest of the family, the dad and brother, to want to learn more about the gospel as well. They are such a sweet family. 
Wednesday we woke up just like any other day and went through our morning routine of workout, breakfast/get ready, personal study, and comp study. Then right as we were making final preparations to get out the door, we got a call from our Zone Leaders saying that Saratoga, WY was having really bad flooding and needed all the help they could get. So, all 4 of us sisters got into our jeans and drove an hour to Saratoga. We filled sandbags and helped out for about 8 hours straight. It was such a neat day! The National Guard was all there from all over Wyoming helping out, there were inmates from a correctional facility, church members from around the whole stake, community members, and almost all the missionaries in our zone. We got to meet so many people and it was just a really great day! I felt more like myself that day as I served than I have in a long time. It reminds me of the scripture, 
Matthew 10: 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his lifefor my sake shall find it.
We didn't get to teach any lessons that day because we were doing service all day, but they truly needed all the help they could get just filling sand bags and the joy we were able to share with others was amazing. 
Another neat experience this week had to do with one of the families I talked about in a previous letter. Remember the couple who stopped in the rain storm and gave us some money and she said she was Less Active? Well, we were finally able to catch her home this week! It was one of the neatest experiences I have had. She told us her story and how she is recently married but hasn't been active for over 4 years. She has been feeling like it is time for a fresh start now that she is married, but she is so worried about going to the bishop. I love, at times like this, being able to share my testimony of the atonement and the power it has in each of our lives. So many people feel that once they have done so many wrong things, that there is no hope for them. Since they strayed from what they were taught while growing up, they can't get back to where they were before. But I know that you can get back to where you were, and even better than where you were if you just let the Savior's atonement into your life. I've seen it time and time again. She said that she was going to start coming back to church again that week. We also learned that her husband had started taking the discussions before they moved and is very open and wants to learn more. So we also have a new investigator! 
Another wonderful thing that I learned this week is how important it is to talk to EVERYONE! We have been really striving to do that this transfer. You never know, especially in small town Wyoming, who you will run into again or find random connections. There was a lady we talked to at the beginning of our time here and asked if we could help her move, since they had a U-haul. She said no, but we gave her a card with our number in case. This week we ran into her when we went to visit a less-active member. We  found out that she was their daughter and she remembered us. Weird connections like that all over. So important to talk to everyone. The Lord places people in your path. 
One experience that really strengthened my testimony of talking to everyone, actually happened last night. It was nearing the end of the night and we were trying to figure out what the Lord wanted us to do with our last half hour. We were kind of loosing steam and didn't know what to do. We passed by a less active member's house and saw that they were home. We parked a few houses down, prayed, and started walking over. On the way we saw a lady and her kids on the front lawn of one of the houses. We felt like we needed to talk to her. We started talking to her and then told her about how the gospel could bless her family and asked if she would be interested in hearing more. She said, "Sure, come on it." We were surprised but grateful. People usually never invite you in to share more especially at 8:40 at night! We went in and began teaching her. At the end she said how interesting it was that we had showed up because her and her cousin had just been talking about how they didn't feel like their current religion was right and they had been wanting to look into the "mormon" religion. She expressed how she was grateful and saw God's hand in our meeting. She said she needed to talk to her husband but that she wanted her family to learn! Also, she has a cousin with her family that is interested in learning as well! They have four kids and are such a sweet family. The Lord truly is preparing His children and placing them in our path.
It is a continual journey to try to learn how to follow the spirit, but I am learning that the Lord knows how to work with us. We may not feel 100% inspired to do something, but we just go about doing and the Lord will place people in our path. We can only do our very best and the Lord will do the rest. This was so exciting because we are continually looking for families to teach so they can enjoy the same happiness that we enjoy as a family.Please keep them in your prayers. 

This week hasn't been all roses and flowers, but on the tough days, we just move forward and keep doing the work and trust that better days are ahead. The Lord gives us those days so that we can appreciate the good days even more. Some days I question, is there any work to do here in Rawlins? And then my answer comes in miracles like what happened last night or on other good days. 
Another neat story I wanted to share. One day was just a hit and miss day for us this week. We knocked and so many doors and no one was home. We didn't have a dinner that night with anyone in the ward so we decided to go to the most talked about restaurant in the Rawlins area. It is called Su Casa. It is actually in Sinclair but it is super popular. We went and there was a long line and it was super busy but we decided to stay and we just talked to everyone that we could while we waited. We gave out a few cards and other materials and just got to know a lot of people. I meet people from Green River all the time that I didn't even know when I lived there. When we got to the front of the line, they said that they had a big table in the middle of the restaurant that they were just sitting random people at together. That was perfect for missionaries! Haha. So we sat with this couple and got talking. They are from Green River, he is a police man and knows many of the same people that I do, including the Morins. We just had a nice conversation and talked about our missions a bit more and what we do and teach. They were great people. They said goodbye and left before we were done. We finished our meal and went to pay for our food and we were told that they couple that was sitting by us took care of our bill. I just felt an overwhelming feeling of love in that moment. From my Heavenly Father and from that wonderful couple that sat with us. It made the really tough day have a glimmer of hope to it. 
Another fun moment was this morning. Sister Z and I were woken up by Sister Waite and Hoer yelling to wake up, put warm clothes and shoes on, they had a surprise for us! It was 5:30am! hah. But we put our warm clothes on and jumped in their truck. We drove to a random spot in the desert and the mountains and watched the sunrise while eating breakfast that the other sisters had packed for us. I was reminded how much I love the beauty of Wyoming. I feel so blessed that I grew up in this wonderful state and that I have the chance now to be back here on my mission. So many people laugh when they find out that I am so close to home. I laugh with them but I truly don't mind at all. 
I love being here in Rawlins. We find out about transfers this week and I am praying that I stay here. I feel like we all will be staying but I am not really sure. I just don't want to leave this place. Funny, I never thought I would say that about Rawlins! haha. It is so exciting to see the work hastening! We are getting a new ward mission leader soon too, and we are hoping that that change will also be a really great thing for the missionary work here. The Lord is in control and we are His hands. The power comes in inviting!  Invite someone to an activity or church or dinner or to hear the missionaries. Great things will happen! 
I love you all! Thank you for all your prayers and support:) My mailing address is still the same even though I am in Rawlins, WY. It is

Sister Karissa Young 
Colorado Fort Collins Mission
5285 McWhinney Blvd. Suite 100
Loveland, CO 80538

Now that it's summer, I would love to hear from each of you in your "spare time" haha:) I will write you back!!! 
Sister Young

Sister Z & I doing service in Saratogo flooding

Helping with the flooding in Saratogo, WY
Cake fight

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Tuesday - May 27, 2014

First-I am learning how to use my talents more to do the work. This week we met with a lady who has really been struggling right now. She got a divorce and then her dad died, and now she is struggling with her kids, and she is overcoming some addictions in life. We have been meeting with her every week and she is amazing! This week I felt really prompted to share a hymn with her. So, sister Z and I sang it to her. It is called, "Does the Journey Seem Long." It is one of my favorite hymns and has gotten me through a really rough time in life. Knowing that my Savior is there and can free us from all sin. He is there to carry our burdens. Here is a link to the song when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang it.
We also visited an elderly lady in the ward who is struggling and can't come to church but has the sacrament brought to her every week. We walked outside with her and then came in and sang hymns with her. It was so powerful when she started joining in, the best she could. The spirit truly can speak through music. I am working to involve my talents more in the work.

We also were able to teach a recently reactivated lady and her 13 year old daughter. She is super tall too:) They are both members but her husband is not, which is a real struggle for both of them. We are reteaching them the lessons because they really want to learn more and be more firm in their testimonies. I just really love both of them a lot. We did some service for them and got to spend time with D. I felt more like myself with her than I have in a long time. It made me miss my wonderful sisters! 
On Friday, the rain came! We saw that the rain clouds were coming but we decided to walk around a bit in a trailer park. There were some random people looking at us and we have made it a goal to talk to everyone. But felt weird about it as we started walking over. So first we stopped at a members house to meet them, and then on our way back, it started pouring!! We went to talk to those people who were looking at us, they weren't interested but as we were walking/running to our car, another random car pulled up to us and handed us $20 and told us thank you for all we do and that she was a LA member who just moved to town and to stop by anytime. We aren't supposed to accept money but they wouldn't take it back. So we'll just get a meal with it or something. Ha. But it was neat to see the Lord's hand in meeting them. Her husband is not a member. 
Haven't been able to get in contact with the H family, but we did get a chance to go and visit the family that speaks Spanish. The member that was supposed to go with us, backed out at the last minute so we were a bit worried but we knew it would work out. The kids speak english. So we went in and got to talking and found out that they are a Part member family! The parents found the church while in California, and then the 2 oldest kids were baptized and grew up in the church, but then at the age of 12 they all stopped going. Now the kids are 21 and 23. So they know basically nothing about the church but they both really want to learn along with their little sister, who isn't a member. As we were leaving I just couldn't help but feel a feeling of awe at the love our Heavenly Father has for His children. He will not let them get "lost". They hadn't had anything to do with the church in years and just recently moved to Wyoming in the past couple months and we were able to find them. So neat how the Lord works. Also, never refuse food given to you by anyone in the Hispanic culture, even if you just got done eating! Learned that one:)
We also have had a couple really nice dinners this week where the members have been inviting tons of people over. Members, nonmembers, less actives. So neat to be meeting so many people and get a chance to get to know them and share our faith. Two wonderful ladies I have met are Shirley and Theresa. They are the cutest old black ladies who are sisters. We have done some service for them and just gotten to know them really well. We want to start teaching them soon but up until now they have not been interested.
We also have a couple potential investigators this coming week that have said they want to learn more. There are so many stories I just done have time to tell them all. We have found a lot of investigators by just stopping by less active members in the ward and finding out that they have moved but the people living there now are interested. 
I am meeting all sorts of interesting people and hearing all kinds of interesting beliefs. My brain gets so tired at times but I love meeting all sorts of people and learning to see them as the Savior would. I have had some neat moments where I have just been able to look at someone and feel such an incredible amount of love for them, charity. It is so neat. 
My brain has been able to settle down once again and I am loving the work. I really do. I work to improve everyday. One thing that I have really learned this week and seen, is that each of us has our own individual unique talents and personalities. This church is not meant to make us each the same person, but it is meant to take each of our different personalities and talents and build the kingdom of God. We are not meant to be cookie cutter LDS people, but unique. We each have our individual struggles. We each have ways we show our faith. But all of those differences can unite us in the gospel. The atonement is there for everyone, no matter what. The key in life is learning to live by the standards and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, but be our own wonderful selves while doing it!
I love each of you! 
Love ,
Sister Young

Martin's Cove

Martin's Cove

Book Nook we put copies of the BOM in!

Rainy day