Wednesday, August 27, 2014

25 August 2014

Yeah, so I'm not excited about the coming of fall…AT ALL! It's already getting pretty cold here, it rained 5 days in a row and was nearly a constant downpour. The streets flooded a little and it was really cold! I will be needing winter clothing soon.   Folks here say that it starts snowing near the end of September, sometimes sooner. (Fantastic!) I have been asking everyone what they recommend to combat the cold and everyone pretty much just says layer up, and use wool if possible. My companion recommends “smart wool" (I don't know exactly what it is but it sounds like the fabric is made differently than other wool fabrics of lesser intelligence?) Our ward mission leader told us about these gloves made by the Hutterites. He said it's the warmest pair of gloves he has ever owned. It's some kind of leather with sheep skin/fleece on the inside (kind of like Ugg’s for your hands, I guess) but they can be pretty pricey, and often have a six-month wait time because they are so popular.  He also suggested I check the thrift stores here which are known for receiving items from wealthy land owners in the area who donate very nice and stylish clothing that is often practically new/gently worn.

Speaking of the wealthy, I’ve learned a lot of wealthy people own land here…the director of  the Terminator movies, the owner of M&M Mars (candy), and a lot of British nobility and royalty, all land owners here.   As a result, polo is pretty big out in this neck of the woods.

I did find my CTR ring! I hadn't seen it in almost two weeks, but yesterday I was laying down on my floor stretching.  I looked under my bed and there it was! I checked there previously several times and didn’t see it, so maybe it was hiding in my bedding…who knows?  I haven't had the chance to fix my bike handle bars yet, but we don’t use our bikes a lot so it’s been ok.

I am really enjoying the time we spend doing family history work and I wouldn't mind getting more family info.  I was able trace one of our Scandinavian lines back a long way…shows we’re related to the Ragnar Lodbrok (also spelled Lothbrok or Lodbrog) and his son, Bjorn Ironside described in Old Norse poetry and several sagas (like the recent series, Vikings, on the History Channel).  If accurate, HOW COOL IS THAT?!?  (Yes, Dad, I now think Bjorn is a cool name.) I also found a picture of grandpa with his mother and siblings on  It was really neat to see! I was able to link the info from that website to the family search stuff provided by the church. You should all set up an account on Family Search if you haven't done so already, there is some really cool stuff on there!  It’s so interesting, I was able to trace one of our lines back to Adam and Eve four different times.  Shows, we are related to a lot of royalty, from France, Germany, England and Scandinavia.

Here's a funny story for you guys:
I got attacked by a freaking swarm of hornets today...we were helping this guy take town a fence so he could get his tractor to the forest behind his house when we noticed a bunch of hornets flying in and out from under the hood of his snow-mobile. So he grabbed some hornet/wasp/bee spray, handed it to me and said, “I'm terrified of them, so you go get em!" I was like, "JAIL NO!" I tried to pass it off to my companion but he wasn't having any of it. So, calling upon the recent knowledge of our hearty Scandinavian heritage, I “viking-ed up” and sprayed all the ones on the hood, which didn’t didn’t make them at all happy (but the ones I got with the spray did slowly die)!  Then he was like, “Ok, I'm going to lift the hood up so that you can get the nest, if there is one down there.” Before I had time to think, he lifted the hood and 15-20 hornets came out. I started spraying those things like crazy and they started coming after me so I sprayed the nest and ran. One got me, it really hurt, but there was no sting mark, do they also bite? So yeah, I probably looked like the tourettes guy on YouTube that runs around the yard yelling,”BOB SAGGETT!" Probably the freakiest thing I have ever done!

For P-Day, our district went spelunking (cave exploring) or as the locals call it, “caving.” It was really, really cool! Also pretty scary at times, we went down really far and had to squeeze through holes that were just slightly bigger around than I am. I didn't have a problem with them, I slipped right through.  So I took advantage of the fact that being small was actually good in this situation and began taunting the others that if they weren't so tall/big they could fit through more easily. (They make fun of me all the time about how small I am, so I got a little revenge today.) We were exploring in the cave for 5 hours. We found two waterfalls, and several underground streams that lead to the Tongue River. Kind of sketchy down there at points, but overall, a great time (besides, how can I be afraid with the blood of Ragnar Lothbrok coursing through my veins)! I'll send some pictures soon.

So grateful for all of these experiences, your support and love, and the Lord’s many blessings.

Love, Elder Erik Ras.

Monday, August 18, 2014

18 August 2014

Today is the 18th of August, in the year two-thousand, and fourteen. I write these things according to the events that have taken place in the last week of my young, and back free of pain life. Ha, I'm just kidding...ain't nobody got time for writing an entire letter in scriptural language.
So from what I have been hearing, it sounds like Caitlin and Bryce, make a pretty funny pair at the moment. Two cripples in love until the end!! I knew they were good for each other right from the start. Bryce, it was good to see that you are still using the Hot-Booties, and have maintained a sense of humor. Keep strong, my zombie killing companion, and one day we shall rid the world of the viral undead!!  Good to know that besides Caitlin being sick, and Bryce being incapable of walking, that the rest of you are all doing well.
So, there are a few things I have noticed about people here in Wyoming.  The good folks of Wyoming:  own a truck (as it should be!), a trailer of some sort, guns--usually more than 3 (one guy had 4 just in his truck alone), if male--a bolo tie, if female--turquoise/Native American jewelry, cowboy hats and boots--of course, a dog, or multiple dogs, a majestic deer or elk head/rack hanging from a prominent wall in the home, big belt buckles, ATVs, a camper, and lots of Republican "stuff" (don't even mention Obama-Care to them or anything Democratic for that matter, although it's a great way to get the old crazy people all riled up--I feel like Dad when he messes with Aunt Diane and Aunt Marie, YAW!), and they say Mondee, Tuesdee, Wednesdee etc. And that, my friends, will pretty much sum up the Wyoming lifestyle. These are good, kind, salt of the earth people and I am enjoying them immensely.  There is, of course, much more, but I've no time to write about it this week.
Thanks for the music, it's great, and my companion has already asked to get some of it from me. Apparently, Dad has good taste in music. 
I am having fun! Some days are better than others, of course, and it's not the same kind of fun as playing video games/hanging with my buds, but it is fun! I can tell fall is on its way which makes me a little sad, leaves are starting to turn color and the air is cooling down. But other than that, I'm doing great!
I'll have you all know that I have gained 7 pounds already (In muscle, I might  add) the members here sure do feed me well. I'm sad to report that I pulled "a Noah" and lost a new item--I lost  my CTR ring already =(, only Noah could lose something so new so fast! I never took it off hoping to avoid that very thing, but did remove it to do some service one day and I'm thinking it fell out of my pocket, on to the ground, which causes me great sadness :(. I'm going to go back and check the member's house--around the flower beds where I was pulling weeds. Hopefully I can find it. Speaking of Noah, it be hard for me old ears to hear that he is going into the 11th grade! It still feels like I'm a junior in high school myself.  My Junior year, even though it was my hardest, was my favorite year of high school, so enjoy it, Noah!
We did a ton of service this week; we moved 4 families which took up a lot of our time. One family had huge oak furniture that weighed a ton and was ridiculously difficult to get through their tiny doorways. Never sweated so badly in my life! We didn't teach much this week, but it's a great feeling to know that you helped someone out, and you can defiantly tell that it makes their day!
I think that's it for this time; thanks so much for the letters and packages, they are sweet! I wouldn't mind getting some more pink wintergreen mints...I downed those things!  I normally drink water and kool-aid these days, now that I have to be more careful with my spending, and so my favorite nectar (Mountain Dew), sounds really good every once and awhile.  Love, Elder Rasmussen.

Monday, August 11, 2014

11 Aug 2014

Things continue to progress here in the life of Erik. 

1) I got the bike! The handle bars are screwed up a little bit; over time they start to turn so they aren't facing the same way as the bike. We tried to fix the issue but it seems to be beyond our abilities so we may have to take it in. Other than that it's great!

2) I also now have a pillow—a ward member gave me a brand new one. When I got here I was like, “Crap I don't have a pillow!” and so I was sleeping on a very hard sofa cushion (note from Tony--really Erik?!?…even Sheridan, WY has a Walmart.  Insert parental head shaking here).  We went over to a ward member’s house for dinner and they were like, “Do either of you need a pillow? Our son took one with him and now we don't have a matching set.” I don't know what that really means, but I took it and was grateful for it.  It was still in the little slip/cover thing that they come in so that was cool…it had no previous sleepers. Yes, another answered prayer

3) I’ve got the Laundry thing down and I actually kind of like doing it. Not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the smell.  

4) No hay fever problems here so far. 

I must admit, I'm way happy that I don't have to go to school this fall!!!!

In town here, there is this guy that refers to himself as “Saint Hercster.”  He is a funny, crazy man.  He loves to talk to the missionaries and states his mission in life is to “bust dirty cops, faulty preachers, and baby rapers.” We have some great quotes from this guy! 

The other day my companion and I were riding our bikes, and we went down this SUPER steep hill; it was way fun to go down. My companion was pretty far a head of me (cause he weighs more and has no handle bar issues) and as he neared a parked car at the bottom, a lady opened the passenger side door and almost took him out. It was way funny to see him swerve out of the way to dodge it.  Startled by what almost happened, the lady started screaming. Oh man, I was laughing so hard the rest of the way down the hill.

The first week I was here, we met up with this guy who is investigating the church. He is in the U.S. Army and asked us if we wanted to do military physical training with him. I was thinking, “NONBHN (not only no, but heck no)!” But the other Elders in our district were like, "Oh Yeah! Let's do it!” So we went and can I just say, it sucked! We did all sorts of pyramid training sets. Then we did sprints which is what finished me off. After that, he wanted to do one more rotation. We were like,  “Sorry dude, no freaking way.” I laid on the ground and felt SUPER sick. I couldn't even get up, so this other Elder that also felt sick, stayed with me while our companions went and got the car. When I stood up to get in the car, everything was super blurry and my hands and feet were numb. I got in the car, we started driving, and I had to have my companion pull over. Yeah, I "tossed a heevy," as I like to say.  It was Wendy’s, and it didn't taste so good coming back up. After that, I just started laughing and so did everyone else. Good stuff right there!   Don't worry about me, I'm fine and now do two rotations every day. I hope to get SWOLE as the kids say these days.

We had the baptism and it was awesome! Things went very well and she is doing awesome!! When we taught her about the word of wisdom, she went inside, grabbed her coffee maker, and said, "Well I guess I won't be needing this anymore." Ha!

My testimony continues to grow every day, and I am able to see the Lord's hand in so many things more and more each day.

Mom/Dad, please send me any family history work you know of.  We get allotted an hour of family history work each week and I don't have anything to work on yet. Speaking of family and it’s a small world after all, I met some distant cousins…the Slaughters.  Our great-great grandparents were siblings (Enoch and Ellen Melissa Rasmussen Slaughter).

Well that's all for this week, tune in next time.

Friday, August 8, 2014

4 August 2014

Things are going great out here! It's probably a lot cooler here than back home. It's normally around 83-97 in the summer but there is also a cool breeze because we are up in the mountains--not that dry SoJo wind back home that just makes the heat feel worse. I don't know if I told you but our apartment doesn't have AC so it gets pretty hot at night some times. 

On Sunday, we went out to a member's ranch, a wonderful African-American brother who is a world class horse trainer and one of the best cooks I've ever met. His meats are amazing! He does all his own slaughtering, meat prep, seasoning, smoking, and cooking etc. Man it was freaking amazing! He has a HUGE ranch and currently cares for 48 Horses, most owned by other people who have him train them and take care of them.  He says most of his customers only ride their horse once a year so he makes a pretty good living! He and his wife are new ward missionaries and it will be really cool to be able to work with them! He is super funny and has a great personality.  
While at the ranch my companion was bitten by something (we assume it is a mosquito) right under his eye, and it became all puffed up and swollen. It was really funny because when first I looked over he was fine, then, I looked up again it was kind of red. When I looked up yet again it had started to swell, and when I looked at him next  (we were talking to multiple people that's why I kept looking away) it was really bad and I started to laugh.  I asked him, "What's wrong with your eye?" He responded with "Nothing..does it look weird?" and I told him it was swelling and asked him if he even noticed it? He said "No" but once all the ward members noticed they started freaking out and told him, 1,000 different things to do and to get the swelling down. They were all so worried about him which made it even better!
The work is going VERY well here. The thing I have loved the most about being out here is that everyone is so genuine! They WANT to be at church and enjoy helping others and providing service to all the people they can. They don't complain about callings, or gossip about other people. Everyone here in Sheridan has a genuine love for the gospel, you can just feel it. Even though this ward is small, I think they have a stronger sense of ward family than most of the wards I've been a part of.  I feel like  too many members in in Utah are always down and seem to complain about how they HAVE to go to church and that they feel they are better than others. (I'm realizing I was often the same way before I left and recognize it's something I need to change when I return home.) The  ward members here are so humble. They love living here and call it the "Promise Land."
Gale is being baptized on Saturday, and it's a great privilege to know her. One of the other people we're working with is just about to get out of rehab--he has has really turned his life around! I have so much respect for him and all he has done to make his life better, not only for himself but for his son. We have other great people investigating the church, each with their own journey. It's a good learning experience and it teaches us patience.
I have realized in the short time I've been out, that my confidence has grown. I'm not embarrassed to wear the name tag in Walmart or around town, and I'm not nervous to approach strangers and start talking about the gospel. Everyone out here is sooo kind! All the members constantly want to feed us, and are always polite.
We went hiking today at Tongue River Canyon, it was really pretty. I'll have to send you some pictures next time. 

A co-ed dance group from BYU came through on tour and performed for our ward.  Many of the girls in the group were "highly blessed daughters of God." (Do you like my missionary way of saying they were cute?)  When they started dancing, I looked around at the other missionaries and chuckled at the looks on their faces--shock/amazement.  It was really funny and reminded me a lot of dad's mission Christmas devotional story.  After the performance, we took a picture with the group and I unintentionally ended up right in the middle of all the girls. So now I have an awkward picture like Cort does, where I'm standing noticeably straight up, my arms to my side because I realized I was super close and in the middle of them!
We saved a turtle on the way out to the ranch (it was in the middle of the road and didn't want it to get run over).  The dance group also had dinner at the ranch and were entertained by the turtle's rescue- it was fun to see their shared interest in the turtle's well-being.  Ha!
Well that's all for this time,
-Elder Rasmussen

Sunday, August 3, 2014

28 July 2014

That's awesome that Noah got a job!  Everything is going well, today was my first official P-day, we pretty much just cleaned and played basketball. Our apartment was a huge mess from the last missionaries who stayed in it, and we had to buy a lot of stuff for the apartment. 

Anyway, things are great right now. My companion and I had our first baptism. It came as a huge suprise because this man had been investigating the church for 20 years and on my first visit, he said "Hey I wanna get baptized tomorrow." So that's what we did.  He's been on an amazing journey and overcome quite a few addictions to get to this point, and so it was awesome!
I still have a few hard moments (mainly in the morning--usually over it in the afternoon) but I'm doing a lot better than I thought I would and I know I'm being blessed. We are also teaching a guy who will probably become one of my favorite people.  He is currently in Rehab and is doing awesome! He has overcome sooo many addictions and it's so great to see him want to come back to church and clean his  life up. I have a lot of respect for him and feel in a small way, I know a little of what he is going through. 

Thanks for the pictures they were awesome and it's good to see that Jacob is doing well!