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.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