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,
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 mormon.org 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 mormon.org 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!!!