Archive | December, 2013

It’s almost Christmas!

23 Dec

Merry Christmas everyone!! Christmas really has snuck up on me this year. I still feel like it is the beginning of December! This past week was really good, but kind of odd too. We had a lot of meetings and driving that took away from our teaching time, but it was all definitely worth it.

Wyoming at its finest!

Wyoming at its finest!

On Tuesday, we woke up at 4am so we could make it to our carpool in Cody on time for Zone Conference in Billings. We were really blessed to have a member drive us and the Cody Sisters up there so we didn’t have to use our miles.
This Zone Conference was special because it was the Christmas one, so half of the mission was there! What a special and wonderful experience it was. I helped out on piano for several of the congregational hymns and also the choir sectionals for it. The conference part was very music-heavy, so many people did musical numbers, including me! I played “The First Noel” from my Marvin Goldstein book. The talks and testimonies from the conference were all so wonderful and inspiring. They introduced our 2014 mission theme- “Be Believing”! I love it!

Wyoming North-Billings Zone!

Wyoming North-Billings Zone!

Oh man, our lunch activities during the conference were a BLAST! The Billings Stake Relief Society made us all an amazing ham dinner and tons of pies for dessert. We sang some original “mission-specific” Christmas songs (see attached picture), played bell chimes for fun, chatted forever, and then to top it all off, Santa came! The APs came running into the gym with full Santa, elf, and Christmas present attire. So great!

Bell Chimes... don't even know the two missionaries next to me!

Bell Chimes… don’t even know the two missionaries next to me!

We all got our pictures taken with Santa of course. At the end of lunch, they gave us all our Christmas present sacks. Inside was everything from a new toothbrush to candy to handwarmers. And best of all was our letters from home. I sat there and bawled the entire time I read it…. thankfully I wasn’t the only missionary doing so though! It brought back so many wonderful Christmas memories, and I just loved it.

On Wednesday night we got to go caroling with the Young Men and Young Women and deliver cookies- so fun! Brought me back to when I used to do that as a young woman. One of the people we tried weren’t home, so we suggested one of our investigators. She told us later that week that it had meant so much to her! It’s amazing how the Lord directs us even when we’re not aware of it.

Me and our only Young Woman. Love her!

Me and our only Young Woman. Love her!

Thursday we helped some people move, and that was an adventure! We ended up helping them finish packing too, and it was snowing so the inside of the moving van got really slick. I nearly fell several times! Oh yeah, so this week I officially slipped for the first time. I totally caught myself so it wasn’t bad at all, but of course it was right in front of the Wea Market Gas Station (the busiest place in town!), so a bunch of people saw and honked at me once they saw I was alright. We found out Thursday night that we would be having an impromptu Zone training up in Powell the next day, so we had to make a bunch of changes to our schedule for that. The zone training was great though, definitely felt the Holy Ghost directing us in what we needed to do in our area. Faith, not fear!

Saturday we helped yet another person move, but that one went a lot smoother thankfully. That night, we had a really good lesson with one of our progressing investigators. Honestly, I know he knows it’s true, but I think he’s just scared of what it might mean for his life. Faith, not fear! (it’s kind of my motto this week.)

Today, we’re going to Cody to bake cookies with the sisters up there, and then we’re gonna play sports with all the Cody missionaries afterwards, so that will be fun! We have our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners lined up already, so that’s good, but apart from that, we’re not really sure yet what we’ll be doing the rest of those days! Hopefully it snows so we could go do service or something.

Love my companion so much!!

Love my companion so much!!



What a week!

17 Dec

Beautiful Wyoming!

Beautiful Wyoming!

This week ended up being a lot crazier than I thought, but so good too. Let’s see, where to begin… Last Sunday night we found out that my companion and I would both be staying in Meeteetse for the transfer, so we were pretty excited. Little did we know that they would switch it up on us! On Wednesday around noon, the APs called us and told us that there would be a change in the transfer. My companion was getting transferred to Billings East Zone, and I would be staying in Meeteetse with a new companion! The rumor mill in the mission is that visa-waiters usually get called up to Billings when they get their visa. So we’re hoping and praying that that was the reason! President Mecham doesn’t tell the visa-waiting missionary until like two days before they step on the plane, just so they don’t get distracted. So hopefully we’ll find out soon if she’s headed to Brazil!

With my new companion!

With my new companion!

On Thursday, we drove the hour and a half to Lovell for the transfer, and I got to meet my new companion. She’s from Frankfurt, GERMANY! She’s actually a Temple Square sister, and she’s been assigned to our mission for the three month “outbound” part of her mission. Because of the way Temple Square’s transfers and ours’ line up, she spent two weeks in Billings in a trio, but now she’s down here in Meeteetse with me. She’s been out on her mission for about 6 months. Her English is spectacular, and we get along great! I am so excited for this upcoming transfer. We have a lot of goals that we want to accomplish, and I really feel like I am going to grow a lot as a missionary with her as my companion. It’s kind of a funny situation because she’s finishing training me on being a missionary, but I’m training her on how to be a proselyting missionary!

So this week, I really realized how much I look forward to our study time in the morning! Reading the Book of Mormon is such a sure-fire way to bring the Spirit. I really have noticed a difference in my attitude and faith since I have been actively studying the scriptures on my mission. I always feel uplifted and inspired after study, even if I didn’t wake up in the morning that way, haha. I don’t think I’ve told y’all yet, but when I got to the field, President Mecham challenged all of the new missionaries to read the Book of Mormon and mark all the references to Christ. I’ve been doing that challenge everyday during personal study, and it’s incredible! I’m almost done with 3 Nephi, so I ought to be done with the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I have a goal to read the entire standard works during 2014 – I’m so excited!

Yesterday was so great. We had a ton of people come to church, which was awesome. Then in the afternoon, we had an appointment with a recently reactivated convert member and his non-member daughter. We had met her before, but this was our first time to actually teach her. She was so prepared for the Gospel, and the Spirit was so strong! We invited her to be baptized, and she accepted and is so excited for it! It is amazing to see the Spirit work in people’s lives. I feel so privileged to be a missionary and share the Lord’s word with people!

Sunday night our ward held their annual live Nativity for the community. I’d say we had around 120 people there – such a cool experience! It was “western themed”, so it was narrated by a cowboy and everything. They had sheep, goats, horses, a mule, and even a donkey! We invited all the Cody missionaries to come down, and we missionaries helped out with all the refreshments, holding doors, etc. I ended up accompanying the Primary when they sang after the program, so that was a fun surprise!

I got to pet the donkey!

I got to pet the donkey!

Hearing about the passing of Kurtis last week was hard, but as a missionary I feel so blessed to get to share the message of eternal families with everyone that I meet. It is through Christ that each of us can find comfort and solace, and I know that more than ever now. What a marvelous blessing the Atonement is!

10 Dec

Yet another thermometer pic! But it's 20 below!!!

Yet another thermometer pic! But it’s 20 below!!!

This week was SO cold! I’m pretty sure it never got above freezing. Most of the mornings were around -20 degrees! Everyone here in town has been saying how it is rare for extreme cold like this to last more than a day. I have definitely never been in weather like this before! I always wear long sleeves, a fuzzy jacket, my heavy jacket, two-three pairs of leggings, a hat, an ear band, and my heavy boots! With all that, I’m actually doing pretty well despite the cold. The important thing is to NEVER take off your gloves! I stupidly learned that the hard way this week. I took them off for maybe five minutes tops to take a picture, and when we got inside they hurt so bad! I only needed to learn that lesson once!



On Monday, Sister Bateman and I got pedicures, and they were glorious! Its little things like that that help us still feel like girls, and not just robot-missionaries. I got a little candy-cane design on my big toes- so cute! Monday night we brought back one of our Sister-Training-Leaders, with us for an exchange. It was a super short exchange (only Monday night!), but it was definitely helpful. Monday night it snowed another 4 inches, but this time the wind was blowing really bad so it seemed worse.

My hair was totally dry when we went out! The blowing snow makes my scarf and hair wet  so it froze.  My companion went out with wet hair one day, and her hair was even more frozen than mine! It was hilarious.

My hair was totally dry when we went out! The blowing snow makes my scarf and hair wet so it froze. My companion went out with wet hair one day, and her hair was even more frozen than mine! It was hilarious.

Tuesday morning we had to make the decision if we were going to try to drive to Cody for District meeting. We called our District Leader, prayed about it, and decided to go ahead and go! The road to Cody it turns out was really bad… I was praying the whole time I was driving! About halfway there, the visibility got so bad that we slowed down to about 10mph for a minute or so. But thankfully the Lord protected us and we arrived in Cody safely! Instead of it taking the normal 35 minutes to get there, it took us like 50 minutes. Better safe than sorry!

We had a pretty cool miracle this week. While we were in Cody on Tuesday, one of our investigators called us. She said that she wanted to discontinue our meetings, so basically she dropped us. We were heartbroken of course, but we asked if we could still come by and at least visit with her. She agreed, so we went ahead and stopped by that evening. When we got there, we chatted for a while and she had such a change in her heart! By the end of our meeting, she asked us when we were going to give her the Book of Mormon that we promised her! The Lord really does send the Holy Ghost before us everywhere we go. It is not without divine assistance that we were able to have that meeting go so well.

On Friday we were finally able to get our windshield replaced! The crack had stopped spreading, but it was making the inside of our car frost! Every time we drove we would have to scrape the outside, and then scrape the inside. So Friday we drove in to Cody early and dropped off our car at the replacement place. Then the Cody sisters picked us up, and we spent the day with them! We got to help out at the Cody food bank and check a ton of bread for mold. Our car didn’t get done till around 3, so we were pretty late about getting back to Meeteetse. I swear that some weeks we spend more time in Cody than in our area!

The Bishop here asked us if we would teach seminary next semester! The current teacher is moving just after Christmas. We were able to get it approved, so we’ll be teaching seminary!

Last night we got to watch the Christmas devotional over at a member’s house. We had invited one of our investigators, but when we went to pick her up, she said that she was too tired to go. She sure missed out! I love the Christmas devotional. I now really feel like the Christmas season has begun!

On Sunday I sang in church! I sang Sally Deford’s arrangement of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” (It’s so much better than the hymnbook one in my opinion). I felt like it went really well! Everyone in the ward was so sweet to me afterwards and thanked me for singing. I just love how music brings the Spirit so strongly. It can change my whole attitude about the day!

A Time for Thanksgiving

2 Dec

Hello everyone! I am grateful to be a missionary for the Lord! This week wasn’t overly eventful, but I’ll try to write about some of the more interesting things.

We have district meeting every Tuesday in Cody, and at this past district meeting I led my first discussion! It’s really not that exciting of an event, but I was excited for it. I was in charge of leading a discussion on receiving revelation through the Book of Mormon. I tried to draw the distinction between revelation and insight. Insight being: “I liked this part of the scripture” and revelation being: “This scripture impacted me and I will apply it to my life by…”. I thought that the discussion went pretty well overall! On Wednesday, we helped some elderly people in our ward decorate for Christmas. It was so fun to get to set our Christmas decorations! Some other ward members offered us their leftover Christmas lights to use, so we may decorate our little house soon!

Our Thanksgiving was really nice, but just pretty chill. We couldn’t really make appointments to visit anyone on Thanksgiving, so for most of the morning/afternoon we just kind of hung out at our house and chatted. We also made some cookies and put them on plates with a little card, and we went and delivered the plates to people that were going to be alone for Thanksgiving. We went over to a family’s house around 3pm. They are such a fun family! We didn’t end up eating until almost 6pm, so we were pretty hungry by then! The mom had made 8 different types of pies… they were delicious! No yummy apple pie like at home though. πŸ™‚ Since we ate so late, we ended up not going to Cody for games. We were sad to miss it, but it’s all good! We still had a good Thanksgiving. πŸ™‚

We had some good lessons this week, but not much progression from anyone really. One young man is still reading the Book of Mormon, which is super good. We had a nice lesson with a young woman at a member’s home. Having lessons at member’s homes brings the Spirit so strongly! The only downside is that sometimes we get super off topic, and the lessons take a lot longer than they should, haha. But it’s all good!

Hmmm, let’s see…. we did a lot of service again this week too. We went out to a member’s home who had just had her hip replaced and did some house-cleaning. Another kinda funny thing happened at one of our lessons last night. We teach a young woman who is a less-active, and her dad who is semi-active is always there. Well, we were talking about repentance and all the steps there in. The dad had been answering a question for us, and he suddenly concluded his statement with “and it all comes back to abortion, doesn’t it?” My companion and I were like “whaaaatt….?” He then went on to explain how he viewed that whether you were pro- or anti- showed if the devil had you in his grasp. It was just so random!

I’ve entered the last week of the transfer! We’ll find out about transfers this Sunday night I believe. I really hope that both my companion and I get to stay! The work in Meeteetse takes a lot of patience compared to other areas, but it is truly rewarding and I love the people we teach. We’ll see what the Lord has in store though. Today, we are having exchanges again, but this time with our other Sister Training Leader. My companion and I agreed at the beginning of the transfer that we would go get pedicures on the last Monday of the transfer, and that’s finally today! So we’re going to go get some “Christmas toes”, and we’re excited. πŸ™‚

This week is going to be so freaking cold here… we requested more miles so we could drive more in town- hopefully we’ll be able to!

Thank you for your letters and your support. Remember, the Lord always blesses hard work with success!!!


2 Dec

November 25, 2013
What a cold blustery week! And I got my first snowfall since I’ve been out! It’s funny how quickly your body really does adapt to the weather you’re in. On Tuesday, it was in the 40s, and my companion and I were straight up sweating- we ended up carrying our light jackets. So all day, we were bragging to each other how we were adapting just fine to the weather. Well, that afternoon/evening, the cold front came in with the snow! It dropped down to the teens in just a couple of hours, so we ran home and bundled up for the evening. The snow started around 5pm and didn’t stop until well after we went to bed. When we woke up Wednesday morning, we had gotten around 6 inches of snow. That’s not really a ton of snow for here, but it was a lot for this Okie girl!
We decided to go out and shovel first thing in the morning and delay our study for the afternoon. The snow here is sooo powdery! It makes it super light and easy to shovel, which is a huge blessing (not like the heavy wet stuff we get at home!) We ended up shoveling snow for three hours Wednesday morning! I’m really glad that we were able to provide service to the elderly in town that really needed it. We also helped out shoveling at the church building. My shoulders were definitely feeling it that evening though! We didn’t get to do much teaching or proselyting that day, but I truly felt that giving that service was so much more important.

The temperature during the day really isn’t too bad- it’s just that once the sun goes down (at like 5pm!), the temperature plummets with it. Thankfully we’ve been smart with the miles on our car, so we’ve been driving to some of our evening appointments rather than walking. The members here are so sweet too, they offer us rides all the time if we need them.
Oh, so while we were driving to our district meeting in Cody on Tuesday, we were almost there and suddenly something hit our windshield super hard! A big row of semi trucks had been coming from the opposite direction, and a sugar beet from one of them flew off and cracked our windshield! I’m not sure if you’re familiar with sugar beets (I wasn’t until I got here), but they are a huge cash crop here that are used to make sugar. The beets themselves are big- about the size of your fist. So needless to say, our poor windshield looks like someone punched it! We’re hopefully gonna take it in to get it fixed sometime this week.

This week we did a ton of service basically. We helped someone clean his house before he moved out- which consisted of us literally washing the walls with a rag and Spic-and-Span. Not the most pleasant of tasks, but the walls did look a ton better when we were done!! We also did more help at the antique store and the library. Saturday morning, we had to go to Cody again so Pres. Mecham could finish up his interviews with our zone. We had been invited to the Single Adult Thanksgiving potluck that afternoon in Cody as well, so rather than drive back to Meeteetse and then back again, we decided to spend the day in Cody and do our studies and prepare our talks. The Thanksgiving potluck was a really nice event to attend! We had invited many of our investigators, but no one showed. That was disappointing, but we were able to talk to some of the people that other members had brought, so that was good!
Our investigators are starting to make a lot of progress! One woman that we had been just casually meeting with accepted to read the Book of Mormon! This was a huge step for her because she had been super against it a the beginning. One of the less-actives we’ve been meeting with also has decided to switch over to electric cigarettes with the plan of eventually quitting! It is amazing to see the Spirit of the Lord working in people and helping them change for the better.

On Sunday, my companion and I gave our talks! I gave my talk about Hope. I tried to emphasize how Hope is trusting in God’s promises, and that real Hope is centered in Christ’s atonement. It’s not like how we use Hope in everyday language, such as “I hope the weather changes”, which is said with a lot of uncertainty. Hope centered on the atonement is sure and steadfast! We were the only two speakers, and since the ward is so small, the announcements and Sacrament doesn’t really take too long. We each had to speak for like 20 minutes! Thankfully the Lord blessed us with a lot to say, so we were able to fill the time!

Being a missionary is challenging for sure, but I have HOPE! I trust that the Lord will always support those that are about His errand.

A Week of Meetings, Driving, and Lessons

2 Dec

November 18, 2013

This week definitely went by quicker than any other so far. On Tuesday, we had Zone Training pretty much all day. We had to leave around 7:30am to drive the hour to Powell to make it there on time. We mostly do discussions and role-play at our trainings. After training, exchanges started for us! Our exchange was a little different because since we’re so far out from everyone else, it wouldn’t be efficient to truly switch companions. So instead, one of our Sister Training Leaders just came back with us after training. It was kinda weird having a third person for a day and a half, but she did give us some really good direction on how to teach more effectively and so forth.

One Wednesday, we had an awesome lesson with a part-member family. The husband and two children who aren’t members were really open to our message! We invited them to read the Book of Mormon as a family- I know that it will truly help bring them closer to Jesus Christ and to one another. We’re meeting with them again tomorrow, so here’s praying that they kept their commitment! On Wednesday as well, we ate lunch at the local Senior Center. As I’ve said before, probably half of the population of Meeteetse is elderly. So on Mondays and Wednesdays, the Senior Center hosts a free lunch for anyone over 65. Seeing as we’re not 65, we did some volunteer work there and earned our lunch. It was such a nice time! We had the director announce us as basically “free labor”, and we were able to set up a ton of service appointments!
We also went to the Meeteetse Chocolatier that day. Seriously, SUCH GOOD CHOCOLATE. Apparently, the Chocolatier is what Meeteetse is famous for. We got truffles and a brownie to share- oh man, they were good. πŸ™‚ That night we drove the sister trainer to Cody to meet everyone halfway for the tradeoff. I don’t know if I told you, but I’ve actually been the driver in our companionship since day 1! Since my companion is waiting for her visa, she didn’t submit all her driving stuff beforehand like I did. So I was the only one approved to drive initially, so I’ve been doing it ever since! We drive a really nice 2013 Toyota Corolla- dang I’m getting spoiled to that car.

Our iPads are a wonderful blessing to have, but they are also a trial sometimes!! We finally got them to “sync” with each other this week, and in doing so it duplicated our entire schedule and everyone in our records. Gahh! We really are test-piloting these things, because they most definitely have bugs. It took us like an hour to get it all sorted out. Oh, and guess what? I am now on Facebook! My name on it is Sister-Dana Hoggan. I’m not allowed to be friends with anyone outside my area, but everyone from home can “follow/subscribe” to my updates if they so wish. πŸ™‚ I have yet to actually post anything yet, so hopefully I’ll get it going pretty soon!

Saturday was my one month mark! On Saturday, we had yet another meeting we had to go to. This time it was in Lovell, which is an hour and a half away. This training was for all the trainers/trainees in both the Wyoming Zones. President Mecham was there as well! My companion and I were among the first to arrive, so I actually was interviewed first by him. One thing I remember from the interview was that he shared with me Moroni 7:17, in regards to distinguishing the Spirit. Too often I think we doubt the Spirit’s influence, and instead think that it’s “just us”. But as the scripture says, we really have been given a way to “judge” whether it is from the Spirit. As President Mecham said to me, anything that is good and could lead someone to Christ is a prompting from the Spirit! As baptized members of the church, we really can have the Spirit with us always- and we should expect to recognize those promptings every day, not just at special spiritual times!

Saturday night, we had one of the more… interesting lessons I’ve had since coming on my mission, haha. We taught a less-active and her non-member husband. We had it at the Bishop’s house, so that was really good to have him there to testify. The husband is an individual that is, well, very affected by the shows he sees on the History Channel. We spent probably half of the lesson listening to why he believes in aliens, Bigfoot, etc. He believes in Joseph Smith, but just that it was aliens that visited him rather than the Angel Moroni. We tried really hard to build on the knowledge that he had, but man, we just struggled in that lesson! I know that Heavenly Father has a purpose for us to meet with him though, so we will continue in faith!!

On Sunday after church, we raked leaves for like two and half hours as service. My shoulders are feeling it today! Service really is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary though. We had another really, really good lesson with an investigator last night too (he was the one I wrote about last week). He seriously has the most pure desires to know the truth of anyone I have ever met. He has some stumbling blocks with the Book of Mormon (mainly historical/scientific), but I know that once he knows it is true, he will be so solid. I feel so blessed with this opportunity to teach him!

The Lord Answers Prayers!

2 Dec

November 11, 2013

Wow, I can’t believe that I am already entering the third week of my first transfer! Wyoming is such a beautiful place. Our drives to and from Cody, WY are the most scenic thing I’ve ever seen. Surprisingly, we haven’t had any snow since I’ve been here! Wyoming got some snow early in October, but there hasn’t been any since. Not that I’m complaining!! The temperatures are definitely getting colder though. Nighttime is the worst when the sun is down. My poor legs have been freezing! Today when we go to Cody, we’re stopping at a Sierra Trading Post to buy some warmer leggings for under our skirts!

One thing that I have learned this week more than ever is that the Lord answers prayers! Also, He will never give us a challenge without giving us a way to accomplish it. In our mission, Pres. Mecham has us do something called “Purposeful Prayer”. Every time we pray individually, as a companionship, or with other missionaries, we always pause for 10-15 seconds or more after saying Amen, remaining in “prayer position”. This is truly inspired instruction for us, because I receive so much personal revelation from the Lord when I listen after I pray. It took some getting used to at first, but now I LOVE it!

Sister Bateman and I had a really awesome experience with purposeful prayer this week, as well as meeting challenges. On Friday, we got a call from the missionary Assistants to the President. They were passing down a challenge from Pres. Mecham: that each companionship would prayer about their investigators and choose one to invite to baptism by Sunday night. We gladly accepted! On Friday during companionship prayer, we prayed that we might know who to invite. Both of us came up with the same name, a man we had met a few times named Mark. It was so crazy that we thought of Mark, because he wasn’t necessarily the “easiest” choice. We hadn’t even taught him an actual lesson yet! We acted in faith though and called him up and set up an appointment for Sunday night. Going into the meeting with him last night, we were both so nervous. The LAST thing we wanted to do was pressure him, and we really didn’t want to lose the relationship that we had with him. In our meeting with him, we chatted with him for a bit, and then we told him how he had been on both of our minds a lot this past week. His heart was so prepared. He had been having a really, really rough week with his ex-wife. He was looking for peace, comfort, and just a way to be happy again. We told him that we couldn’t provide “peace of the world”, but the peace that only comes through Jesus Christ. Last week he would never have listened to us teach him, but last night he asked if we would teach him! We also challenged him to be baptized when he came to know the gospel was true, and he accepted. The Spirit was so strong, it was such a wonderful night! We would never have visited him or thought to really dig down in conversation with him unless we had been challenged as we had been. The Lord answers prayers! He provides a way!

Overall, the Lord’s work is going really well in Meeteetse. It’s not very fast-moving, but I know that He has a purpose for placing missionaries here full-time. We had District meeting in Cody on Tuesday, and that went pretty well. We had a couple of odd, but good experiences this week too. On Thursday, we went and vacuumed for an elderly couple that we had met. We stood around talking with them afterwards for a while, and we got to talking about how my companion and I needed to go get some warmer leggings. Well, the man decided that he would offer us his old long underwear! Granted, it’s a nice quality, but we were not about to accept an elderly man’s used underwear!

We sort boxes at an antiques store sometimes.

We sort boxes at an antiques store sometimes.

One other kinda unusual experience was when we were doing service as well. We called up a woman that we had helped in the past, and she asked us if we could help her go “rock picking”. We agreed, and set up a time. Well, we both had no idea what rock picking was! So we show up on Friday, and it turns out that it’s pretty much what it sounds like: picking up rocks and sorting them! She has a landscaping business, so from time to time she goes out in the woods and gets rocks and washes them so she can use them to design with. It was just such an unusual activity to do for us missionaries!

The members here are wonderful; they feed us all the time! It’s so nice to get to be around families when we visit them. Sunday was our Ward Conference. So many more people at church than last week! A lot of the ward members were in meetings though, so we ended up helping out in nursery.

Oh man, I feel like I’m on a spiritual roller-coaster every day since coming on my mission. It truly is wonderful though! My companion is awesome- having her there with me makes all the difference.

First Week in the Field!

2 Dec

November 4, 2013

I love Monta-…. just kidding, make that Wyoming! Yep, my first area is in northern Wyoming! I’m in a teeny tiny little town called Meeteetse.

Welcome to Meeteetse!

Welcome to Meeteetse!

My last few days at the MTC were wonderful! I really did love my time there. We got to attend a session at the Provo Temple, which was such a wonderful experience. We taught more “mock-lessons”, and they went super well. My MTC Companion Sis. Singson and I did a special musical number on Monday for the incoming Senior Missionaries. She sang “Where Can I Turn For Peace?” and I accompanied. I had been having so major page-turning problems, but I was so blessed that I didn’t mess it up during the performance. On our last day, Monday, the Elders in our District gave each of us a priesthood blessing. It was such a nice experience! Then, later that night during class, our teacher Bro. Floyd paired us off to role-play with someone besides our companions.

Tuesday was just all sorts of crazy, but it was great. We woke up at 3am, so we could be at the buses by 4:30am. When we left our residence, we were surprised that our District’s Elders had woken up to see us off and help us with our luggage! (They weren’t leaving until Wednesday morning). So that was such a sweet surprise! We got on our charter buses and headed to the train station. Then we grabbed our luggage, got on the train, got off the train, got on another train, got off, and then finally got to the airport. We had 24 missionaries traveling to the Montana Billings mission. Pretty big group! The plane ride to Billings was pretty uneventful- it was a small plane, so all of us missionaries took up a ton of it. President and Sister Mecham met us at baggage claim. They are such wonderful people! I really have come to love them, even in the short amount of time I have known them.

With President and Sister Mecham.

With President and Sister Mecham.

We went back to the mission home and dropped off our luggage, and then we immediately got back in the vans because we got to go do a session at the Billings temple. It was the best way to start out the mission! There was a decent amount of snow in Billings, so the temple looked absolutely gorgeous with all the snow around it. It’s actually a pretty big temple too. After the temple, we headed to the Stake Center for training. At training, they gave us the materials we were going to need… oh man, you’re not going to believe this. Guess what we all got? Yep, IPADS. Brand-spanking new mini-iPads out of the package! We went through and configured them to make them mission appropriate. We are so blessed to have them! Of the 400+ missions worldwide, we are one of 30 missions that are test-piloting them right now. Pretty much everything we need is on them! We have an app called “area book”, which has a database of all the members and investigators in our areas. All our progress reports and what-not are filled out on them. Our daily planner is even completely on them! (No little white notebook for me!) The programs still have a few bugs, but overall they are seriously great. I love having access to all the conference talks, Mormon Messages, etc.

On Wednesday, we all got our area assignments! They really spread us out to the four winds of the mission! My MTC companion got assigned to Helena, and I got assigned to Meeteetse, Wyoming! It’s in the Northern Wyoming Zone. Those of us headed to Wyoming took vans down to Lovell, Wyoming and there we met up with our companions. My companion is great! She’s only been in the field for 6 weeks and only in Meeteetse for 2 of those. One thing interesting about my companion is that she is actually called to the Brazil Santos mission, and she was reassigned here to wait for her visa. From Lovell, we drove another hour and a half to Meeteetse.

Meeteetse, like I said, is a very small town! The sign as you enter Meeteetse says that the population is 327 people (we’re pretty sure that was the max they’ve ever had.) It’s about a 40 minute drive from the nearest other town- Cody, Wyoming. That means we’re 40 minutes away from Wal-Mart! There’s a little “Wea Market” in town, but it’s basically a gas station. There are deer and dog everywhere. I see deer just about every day, and they like to hang out in front of our house. πŸ™‚ It’s so adorable! Our microwave is the oldest thing I have ever seen in my life. It has a dial that we have to turn to set the time, haha. But at least it works well! We have a big heater in the living room that heats the house. Since our place is so small, it actually keeps it pretty warm and cozy in there!
Oh, and I forgot, we have a car! We use it to drive to Cody for P-day and district meetings. The town is so small that we just walk everywhere during the day. It’s definitely been cold the past few days. It warms up during the day, but the minute the sun goes down- we freeze! So, since Meeteetse is so small, we could tract the entire town in probably two days. So what do we do all day you might ask? Well, we teach lessons of course, but we also do a lot of service! We volunteer at the school, the library, and help out anyone we can during the week with whatever they need. Most of the people here in Meeteetse are quite elderly, so we help them out a lot. I have met with one person since I got here that was under the age of 70. One man that we meet with is 97! The people here are wonderful. They are so kind to us missionaries. I have never seen more guns, deer antlers, and horse shoes in my life.

I had a pretty neat experience this week while serving! So everyone here likes to go hunting, right? Well, one of the men that we’ve been meeting with had gone hunting and had gotten a deer. He jokingly suggested that we should come help him cut it up and package it. Well, we’re always looking for ways to serve, so we jumped at the idea and agreed! We ended up not doing much of the cutting, but we did watch… kinda gross, but not as bad as I thought it’d be! We mostly helped with the packaging for the freezer.

Yeah, it's what it looks like!

Yeah, it’s what it looks like!

Sunday was really nice here in Meeteetse. Surprisingly, it actually has a ward! The bishop is super great. It was pretty thin at church this week though- I counted around 30 adults with probably 20 kids. We also had one of our investigators at church with us, which was really cool! πŸ™‚

I’ll just conclude by saying that the Lord truly does answer prayers. He is mindful of us each and every day, and I feel that more than ever. I have been trying really hard to follow the promptings of the Spirit lately, and I have been truly blessed for it. They’re not lying when they call it missionary WORK, but it really is worth it.