Sunday, September 28, 2014

These Things Shall Be For Your Good

Monday, September 22, 2014

I have tried to think of words that would captivate what this week really was like and I can't. I've seen every kind of pain, burden, and tool of Satan this week. He is working really hard. There is something about wearing Jesus Christ's name that makes people want to share everything that is going on in their lives. I have reflected on this and talked to the other sisters and we have concluded that it is because we are representing the Savior and if the Savior was really there in their midst, they would tell him everything and cast on him their many burdens. I feel honored to wear his name and to become more acquainted with him but since I am not the Savior, having burdens cast upon you everyday can be exhausting. But it really does help me to come to know the Savior personally as I turn back to him with these burdens and give them all to him. I don't know how he can carry ALL the burdens of EVERYONE. And not just people in this worlds but worlds without number that his infinite Atonement encompasses. 

I've seen families struggling with every kind of trial, you name it, I've seen it and the effects it has on the individual's lives and their families. But along with seeing these trials, I have seen how the Lord allows trials in order to humble His children in order to bring them closer to Him. A key scripture that we have used this week is Ether 12:27. Our weaknesses are to humble us and bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. If we come unto Him he will make our weaknesses become strengths and consecrate our trials for our gain and not our failure. I've seen individuals react both ways this week to trials. Some have completely shut down and become angry at God, and others have humbled themselves and come unto God which as a result is making them stronger and causing their family relationships to become even better than they could imagine. There is a family who we have been trying to work with since I got here to Rawlins but up until this point they haven't had desires to put the work into gaining a testimony and having the gospel bless their lives. The wife isn't a member and likes to go at her own pace. But recently, some struggles have been occurring in their family but while they are difficult trials, their family is turning to the Lord. They have been to church every Sunday for the past month, and attended both of the baptisms, and their family is just coming closer as a result of the struggles they are having. Sometimes the Lord allows trials to humble us. Another family has been struggling with their relationship but with a near death experience this week, they snapped out of it and began to be united again in their relationship and recommitted to work towards their goals. 

These are just a few random insights on this week. I have learned a lot and felt Heavenly Father teaching me. I love when I learn from my weeks. That is when I know I am doing something right. I did have a bit of a rough week with my cold. One day I felt awful but went out and did the work anyway. Miracles happened. We found a girl, 17 years old, ready to hear the gospel and started teaching her. Also that day, I felt prompted to ask for a priesthood blessing, even though it was just a silly little cold. Sister Clyde here, believes strongly in getting blessings even for a cold. She has helped my testimony a lot in that sense and in so many other ways. So we sent a text to her husband, Bro. Clyde asking if he could give my a blessing. They said to come on over. We got there and as we walked up, a family had stopped by to give them some veggies from their garden. These are the G family, the ones working towards the temple. Brother G has not been able to give blessings for a long time. He helped with the blessing and then Sister Johnson asked for one as well and had Brother G give it. It was a neat experience. He later sent us a text saying how he was so grateful to have been a part of that because he hasn't felt the spirit guiding him like that in a long time. The Lord knew that Br. G needed to be a part of that and they just "happened" to be there at the exact time that we needed blessings. It was a really neat experience and worth being sick for!! ha. 
But my cold didn't end there. The next day was fine. We had a huge long day of driving to Cheyenne for Zone Conference though and it was great to be instructed by President and to feel the spirit. We talked a lot about Joseph Smith and his role in bringing back the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. His story is the story of so many investigators. Many truly have searched their whole lives for the truth and finally find it. This is how Bonnie is. Bonnie is 53 and getting baptized this weekend! She has been searching her whole life for Christ's church upon the earth. She says that we can't even imagine what it feels like to have a relationship with God but not be able to feel complete because she didn't have the fullness of the gospel. She loves the Book of Mormon,(she's been late to work all week because she can't put it down.) she knew that God did not just stop after the Bible. She knew that He must have prophets on the earth, but she really just didn't know where to find it! THAT is why I am out here. I am realizing how blessed I really am to be a member of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all take it so for granted that we didn't have to search a lifetime for it, we were born into the truth. And because of that we have the responsibility to share it with those around us who are not so fortunate. They are searching!  
The day after Zone Conference though I was probably the most sick I have been on my mission. I ended up sleeping all morning to try to get better. We had some more appointments that we still went to, but then during our service hours I would come home and sleep. My body was just exhausted and I had no energy at all, and my head felt like a bowling ball. We still went to our appointments but I really felt like, in order to be at my tip top shape the rest of the week, I needed to take that time, and Heavenly Father understood. That night I prayed and just asked Heavenly father to give me energy and to not let my head be so heavy, at least so I could do the work. The next day I had energy and my head wasn't so heavy! I was able to do the work just fine the rest of the week:)I still am at the tail end of my cold but I am grateful it wasn't worse. 

Adrianne's baptism was this weekend!!! It went well and it was neat to have her bear her testimony afterwords. She is such a sweet lady and will continue to strengthen her testimony as she endures. A little funny miracle that happened this week. We haven't ever been able to meet Adrianne's husband. But his heart has been softening little by little. She even read the Family Proclamation with him the other day. We were visiting some people in Sinclair and one person had these adorable kittens that we were holding while we taught this man on his porch. Then guess what happened? The cat pooped on me!!! Grossssssss! It was disgusting, and then while I was trying to clean it up this kitten kept trying to climb up my leg! haha. But as we walked to the car we stopped to clean it up and guess who happened to be walking by? Adrianne and her husband! If the cat wouldn't have pooped on me I guess we wouldn't have met her husband! haha. So that is the funny miracle of the week. The Lord works in mysterious ways. 
Alright, well...I am out of time so I better get going soon. 

I love you all!!! Have a wonderful week:):) Keep smiling and remembering how blessed you are!

Cute cat until...

Cat Poop:(

Adrianne's Baptism with the Clydes!

In Sinclair at the beautiful fountain at the Parco Inn

At the Old Pen in the Gas Chamber with Heather, who we do service with.

Running in the morning!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Earth Made Clean Again

September 15,  2014

Guess what?! Everything worked out and Galilea was baptized this week!! Her mom, dad, older sister and baby brother were all there. It was such a neat experience. She was so excited. We had some great talks by a girl her age, and her young women leader. Then she was baptized by our Ward mission leader. Then we showed some mormon messages while we waited. Want to know something cool? One of our investigators came to the baptism! The thing that is neat about that is, missionaries have been working with her for a really long time, but she is just very much so, on her own pace, doesn't like to be pushed, and doesn't take invitations well. Which is  tricky because that is our purpose is to Invite! haha. But we've learned to have her make the discoveries for herself and then we just see how she is doing. But recently she has been progressing. The ward members are the ones really taking over though and she responds a lot better to them. They have them over for FHE, they have truly befriended them. So she came to the baptism on her own, because she wanted to. She knows it's true but it is going to be on her own time that she decides to be baptized. But they are having us over next Monday for dinner and FHE so it should be fun:). Anyway back to the baptism. So, then after she got all changed we had asked a couple of the youth in the ward to bear their testimonies. They all had just barely come from sporting events and barely made it on time, still in their sports uniforms, but it was just so neat to have other youth their bearing their testimonies. The spirit was strong and the Gonzalez family really enjoyed it. And her mom even came the next day to church for the confirmation. I pray that this is the step that will help their entire family become active again. 

I've been fighting a cold for the past couple days, but it is a lot better than it could be. I have been drinking sooooo much water though. I really believe in this helping colds. haha. But it is alright. I keep pressing forward.

We had an amazing District Meeting this week. We were asked to invite Investigators and Less Actives to our meeting. Which I have never done but it encourages it in the handbook. So we had a couple of investigators and less actives there. IT was a super powerful experience. First, I was asked to sing a special musical number. I sang, "Come Unto to Jesus."  We talked about prayer and the power it has to help us receive answers to our questions. Then a few of us were asked to bear our testimonies impromtu. The spirit was strong and then we all went to the chapel and took 5 minutes just to pray. I felt an overwhelming love from Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for the power of prayer.  

Ahhhh!!! So much to tell you all. I need to be done though. But Kelly, investigator, is reading the Book of Mormon! That is amazing! On her own. haha. Also, we found a super neat family that is really interested in learning about the gospel! We taught them about the Book of Mormon and they both really enjoyed it and want to come to church. We will continue to try to teach them. Lots more to that story. I will write a letter perhaps. This week we had 18 Less actives at church and 4 investigators! It was amazing!! People just kept walking in that we hadn't seen at church in forever!! This work is amazing, the spirit is touching peoples' hearts all the time. I love this work, I love Rawlins, and I love each of you!!! 


Traditional Rawlins font picture.  Valve that turns on the font.


Galilea's Baptism

Galilea's Baptism

Monday, September 8, 2014

Simple Hello

Alright, so let me tell you a bit about this week eh? First of all, we have a new Sister in Rawlins. She is a Spanish sister. Her name is Hermana Mondragon She was born in Mexico but grew up in Calif and Texas. She is super sweet. The first day that she was here she made us breakfast and lunch. She made delicious tortillas and then for lunch, homemade quesidillas. (spelling.) Those were sooo good! She is always serving us. Also, the other day I walked out of my room and there were sticky notes all over everywhere with the Spanish words of different objects:) She is teaching us Spanish! haha. Also, this week, I have gotten a lot closer to Sister Waite. She is awesome! We are like two peas from the same pod. haha. We've just had some really neat conversations this week and we think a lot alike. I'm so grateful that she is still here. 

Guess who came to Colorado this week? Elder Quentin L. Cook! It was a super neat meeting. We had to leave on Friday night to go to Laramie so that we could leave super early on Saturday morning to make it to Fort Collins. I am pretty sure that we had the longest drive out of all the missionaries:) But it was a fun little road trip. The sisters here in Rawlins are just great. I am so blessed to be around them. We made it to Fort Collins and got to listen to Elder Cook, Elder Christensen, Elder Baxter, and Elder Rhodes. All were really neat. They also wanted to shake all of our hands before the meeting started. It was so neat to be with the whole mission and get to hear from an Apostle of God. One thing that he wanted us to take back to the members is this: "You succeed when you invite, no matter what the outcome." The success in missionary work comes when you invite others to use their agency and choose this gospel. Invite your friends to church, to activities, to hear the missionary lessons. If you get rejected, it's ok. It's all about inviting them. He made a wonderful promise to us at the end that hit me hard He said, "Everyone you love and hold dear will be blessed by your decision to serve a mission and what you are doing right now." He has promised that my loved ones will be blessed and taken care of. That means you, my wonderful family and friends. It was so powerful to hear his testimony at the end of our Savior Jesus Christ. He truly is an apostle of our Savior. The spirit bore witness to me of that. 

One miracle story of the week. As you all know, this next Saturday, Galilea is set to be baptized. She needed to be at church this week in order to be ready to be baptized. We had double checked the night before to make sure that she would be there and she said yes. The next morning she text us and said that she needed us to come pick her up. So we started walking from the church to go and get her. Then we get a text on our way that says, " my mom doesn't want me to get baptized, and I can't go to church today." Talk about tough! But we kept walking to go get her. We stopped and said a prayer right before we got there and then knocked on the door. At first Galilea said she couldn't come because her mom needed her there and that she was going to have to move her baptism to November when they were going to have a lot of family there. We talked for a bit and it seemed like she wasn't going to come, said goodbye but right as we were about to go, I felt like I needed to say hello to her mom. I leaned my head in the door and said hello as she was sitting in the living room She then came over and started talking to us. She then told us that Galilea could come to church with us if she wanted. So Galilea got dressed and ready and then we headed to church. On the way she told us that her baptism would still be ok for this Saturday, her mom had just told her. Her mom is very up and down so we keep praying that it will all work out this week. But it was a miracle to see her heart soften and her let her daughter come with us. So Galilea's baptism is all set for this weekend and we pray that if it is the right time, it will all work out. Just a lesson learned, a simple Hello to someone can change the course of life. Follow even the little promptings with things as simple as saying hello:)

We also taught a man named Gary this week who is from Jamaica. He is a super neat man. He has a strong relationship with God and we found out this week that he used to be a youth minister for his church. We taught him the Restoration and he said that it didn't seem strange. He thought it could happen because that is how God works. When we introduced the Book of Mormon, he started apologizing because he said that he didn't know if it was true but that he really wanted to know and he needed to pray about it. I laughed to myself because that was nothing to apologize for! We invite people to find out for themselves and ask God to know for themselves if what we are teaching is true. We don't want people to just take our word for it, we invite them to make their answers personal, to give them ownership over their testimony by experimenting on the word! He is truly searching for the truth and I know that he will receive answers. 

Here is a small and simple miracle. There is a Less Active lady that we have taught for a couple weeks now. She hasn't been to church in 20 years. We talked about prayer last time we were there and invited her to pray over the upcoming week. We came back this week and she said she had prayed once this week. That is one time more than the last week! This week we invited her to pray one more time than she did this week. We also read Alma 34: 17-27 with her. She said, "I haven't thought much about prayer until you two started stopping by every week." The Lord is please with any step towards Him. Even if it is a little step. 

I love you all!!! Thanks for all you do to support me and all you have done to help me become who I am today. Stay strong! Try one little thing this week to come closer to your Heavenly Father. He is pleased with any step closer that we take.
Sister Young

Sister in Rawlins, WY

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Not Finished Yet

September 1, 2014

Hello All!!
Guess what?!! Miracles are happening all around I guess! This whole week we really felt like we were leaving, and we kept hearing from everyone that President had told the Stake Pres. and the bishops that Sisters were going to be leaving this transfer, so we really believed and felt like we were leaving Rawlins and that Elders were going to be put back in. The members were not too happy about it and we had soooo many people praying for the sisters to stay in Rawlins. (Even though we reminded them that the Lord knows best and whatever happened would be what needed to happen.)But we all just really felt like we were leaving. It was a bit tough not knowing but I felt at peace with leaving or staying. But transfer night came and we got the voicemail, and to our complete surprise, sisters are staying in Rawlins for one more transfer!!!!! We all really feel like President had decided to take us out and then at the last minute had a very strong prompting that sisters needed to stay at least one more transfer. It was amazing! I am so grateful to be here for another 6 weeks! I am pretty sure this is going to be my last 6 weeks here though. But the Lord needed us here for one more:) So we get to be here for the 3 baptisms and to see Sister Clyde's baby, and to teach this awesome family that we just found! So many good things. Plus I just love being a missionary here. I love being away from everyone, and truly learning to rely on the spirit. The work here is amazing and the ward is coming along quite nicely. This week our Ward Mission Leader has started officially making the Ward Mission Plan. Rawlins is a bit behind and a bit new at this sort of thing but very excited to get involved. So Bro. Moore's plan is to have each auxilery and quorum, designate a counselor for missionary work and then in each group they will come up with their individual mission plans and we will bring them all together. Bro. Moore is all about the process of making the plan, letting it evolve and take time in order for it to be effective and quality and what the Lord wants. It's neat to see that process begin and to see the ward really just getting excited. This week in Ward Council Bishop just said that for the past few months the ward and Rawlins just have a different feeling, a good feeling. The work is hastening and people here can feel it and want to get involved!
Well let me update you on our investigators this week.
Bonnie-We taught her the Word of Wisdom this week along with the Doctrine of Christ. She said that ever since we had even briefly mentioned coffee last week she had cut back to one cup a day compared to 2 pots a day. That is big! Then the member who she works with that we have the discussions at their house, he said, "Ok, if I give up Mountain Dew, you have to give up smoking." She said, "Ok!" He said, "Ok, I'm starting tomorrow!" She said, "Ok, I guess I am non-smoker now." She hasn't smoked since that day. So a whole week!!! We asked her to pray about the word of wisdom and she said, "We all already know that it's God's law!" haha. She is so great. I also found out this week that Bonnie is the lady that in our very first transfer here, we knocked on her door when in her window she has Just Married written there. We had talked to her and she said to come back but later her husband told us she wasn't interested so we stopped. But we talked to her before! Weird right? 
Galilea-Came to church again this week and this time her Dad came with her and he hasn't been to church in many many years. It was so neat to have him there with her. She is moving towards her date but her mom isn't too happy with it right now. We are praying for her heart to be softened. Hers will be September 13th. 
Kelly-The lady at the museum. This week we stopped by to teach her at the museum and then the night after we went to her home to watch the Joseph Smith movie. But instead of watching the movie, she ended up just asking us a ton of questions. She asked how each of us had come to know for ourselves that the gospel was true and if we have had any times of doubt or struggles. It was such a neat experience to share with her our experiences. The spirit was so strong  and she felt it for sure. 
Another neat thing that happened this week that involved Kelly. So there is a Pow-Wow here every year that the museum hosts. Where Native Americans come and dance and compete, etc. It is super neat. But we were there the day before setting up, doing some service and Kelly said, "So I have this instrumental recording of the national anthem, it took me forever to find one I liked. Unless one of you want to sing the national anthem." Sister Johnson pointed to me. Kelly said, "Ok! But you have to audition for me right now." She is super picky with her vocals and told us so. So I of course was fine with just impromptu auditioning right there. It's what I do. haha. So I audtioned and she got super excited and said she wanted me to sing the next day!! I was so excited to be able to share my talents as a missionary and wear my name tag for everyone to see who I represent. So the next day I came and they announced me as "Sister Young, serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Then I got to sing in front of a ton of people! I was so grateful for the opportunity to share my talents as a missionary. 
I don't have much time left but I will share a few other random experiences. One night this week we went to a Less-actives house and there is a boy staying there that is about 20. He has had a pretty rough upbringing and even though he was raised as a baptist, has trouble now believing that God is real. He knows that there is some sort of higher power, but he is more into the spirit of things and not that God is an actual being. Well, we came ready to teach the LA but when we got there I felt very strongly that he needed to be a main focus while we were there, even though he never participates while we are there. But we had a mormonmessage to share with the LA and I told the boy that he was welcome to sit in and watch with us and gave him a little background information on it. This is the video we shared. It was exactly what this boy had been going through. We asked him after what had stood out. Then he started telling us how he had stopped believing in God and wanted to know if he was real. His story was exactly like the man in this video. We asked if he had ever fasted before and he said not for spiritual purposes. He really opened up to us about some experiences he had had, and we invited him to try fasting and asking if God is really there. He really thought long and hard about everything that we said and the spirit was working with him. He agreed to try to fast. Then he stayed until the ended of our lesson and even joined us in prayer at the close. It was such a neat experience to feel guided so much by the spirit and have no reservations holding me back to follow the promptings I received. This video was so tailored right to him. The spirit was strong and I couldn't figure out why this event hit me so hard. Later while pondering, I realized that this was an experience that I had been waiting for. While working at the Residential Treatment Center I had always wanted to help the kids to feel the love of our Savior and the healing that  can come through the atonement. But I never could since it was at work. But now, as a missionary, I have the chance to help those with similar situations as the RTC kids, to help them to feel God's love in their lives. This is how I felt with this boy. This experience was a neat moment for me here. God's love is real. He does answer prayers. No matter how long it takes, he will answer. 
I always have too many amazing moments every week to write about. But I know I am in this place at this time for a reason. I know so many amazing people and learn from them and their struggles, their testimonies and their faith. Every person I have met on my mission has impacted me in some way. I learn so much by watching other people. I also learn so much by praying and taking my questions to the Lord. He truly does tutor and teach me every day. It is an amazing opportunity. I am so blessed. I love you all and thank you for all your support!!! 
Sister Karissa Young

Sister Johnson & I

With the Ward Mission Leader's cute daughter Stella

With Sis Gableson & Sis Green

With the Arnold & Green Family

Cleaning Horse Stalls

Cleaning Horse Stalls

This is our District.