Thursday, September 25, 2014

22 Sept 2014

How's the whole Fam Damily?

Yeah, the snow really sucked but it warmed right back up and is now a perfect 75-80 degrees, all day everyday, so I'm not complaining. For PDay, my companion and I are going to go chop wood with a member and then go fishing. This member is freaking awesome! He’s a wildlife biologist specializing in fisheries sciences so he knows all the good fishing spots in the area.  After chopping and fishing, we are having dinner with he and his family and then we're staying for FHE, so we’ll be spending the whole day with them. Fine with me because they are a really cool family. Hopefully by this time next week I will have some pictures of me holding a delicious bass and I can say “SEE, BASS" (Animal Crossing).

My bike is fine now, I got it fixed at a bike shop..I had to get a new crank but everything else was fine! The bike repairman found why my handlebars where all screwed of the Elders who helped me assemble my bike put them in upside do you manage to do that?  I’m casting no stones however, because I didn't notice either. 

Thanks for all the packages and such, it's fun to get them.   All the Elders in my district are jealous of all the stuff I get. I always share what you send me with my companion, of course.  One day we were talking about our houses and we drew simple floor plans.  They tease me about being “rich” because  I get cool packages from home and have “the nicest house.”  I’ll never hear the end of it now, but at least they can now tease me about something other than being skinny :) So yeah, thanks for all your support.   I'm always excited to see if there is stuff in the mail for me. It's pretty much a highlight of the day…4:00 pm is a great time!

That's so crazy that Marc Summers is coming home from his mission and weird to think that Cort has been home for over a year now.  I know it’s a ways off yet, but I would love if Marc and Austin could come over during my Christmas call.   Would it be possible to Skype a Skype and link Jacob in too?  Ha!  

Yeah, I heard about the new iPhone from Dad. So is the new iPhone basically an iPad mini? I'm telling you phones keep getting bigger and thinner every time a new phone comes out. Soon phones are going to be bigger than iPads and as thin as a needle! Crazy people!  Can't even imagine what the new phones will be like by the time I get back. 

Anwers to Mom’s Questions for the week:
 1. The area I live in is perfect….it is right next to the church so we walk every Sunday.   We are about a mile from "Downtown Sheridan” which is pretty much the size of Jordan Landing shopping center…maybe even smaller. Makes me laugh when people say, “I'm going downtown today.”  It's like, no your not, you're going to the only place in town with shops and it's one street! haha! People out here really make me laugh because of the things they say like, "There is so much traffic out here!…I had to wait at a stoplight for 2 red lights before I could go!" I just put my hand to my forehead and think…"If traffic were like this at home, I would never again get angry while driving" (except at 4 way stops, because no one ever knows how to operate at those things).  We only have to drive to Walmart…we could bike, but ain't no thinking man trying to bike up that huge hill with groceries to get back home.
2. Breakfast…I just eat cereal most of the time. I actually do eat eggs quite often now—about every other morning—helps keep me more full and I gotta have enough energy to get me through the day. I have biked up more hills since being here than the rest of my life put together.  I'm gonna have T-rex legs by the end of my mission. Oh, and don't know if I ever told you this, but my mission president doesn't care if we wear backpacks so..I bought one at the Walmart for $15.  It’s is a lot better than the shoulder bag while biking though I do wear the over the shoulder bag to church and meetings, so it still gets used.

So Bingham won their homecoming game huh? No surprise are Noah's trophy shining classes going? Copper Hills won?!? What is the world coming to? Heaven forbid!…they never won anything while I was there. 

We are working with two new investigators.  They are doing really well and are enjoying what we have taught them so far.  Two younger kids, but they pick up on things so fast and are understanding things very well.  Last week in church, our bishop talked about repentance. I can't remember which of the general authorities he quoted, but it was one of the best talks I’ve heard.  He talked about how Satan works on us and tries to get us to not feel worthy and not good about ourselves. In 1 John: 3:20 it reads, "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things." This scripture really helped me out.  Often times the people we work with think missionaries are near perfect and that we don’t make mistakes. And for a long time, it was hard for me to get pass things that I had done, I was telling myself that I wasn't truly forgiven or worthy.  In a sense, “my heart was condemning me” like the scripture talks about, even though I had been forgiven. I now know that I have been forgiven of those things in my past and feel that I can finally move on. I am truly grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ!

Saturday we did a ton of service! We woke up at 6:00 and by 6:40 we were out doing service. We helped spread gravel for a member (after shoveling up the load of gravel and packing his truck bed with a load of bricks at Home Depot). We first had to prep the ground by pulling all the weeds in the area and then worked to evenly spread the gravel.   After that was finished, we went to a house and helped a member load up boxes of stuff to take to a storage unit. We then went to another member's house and helped them lay sod for their new yard. But wait, there’s more….we then went to the food bank and unloaded a truck of food.  After that, we went to a member's house and mowed their lawn for them. These items took the whole day..there is nothing quite like service!  I am enjoying the blessing of working along side these good people.

Well, I love you guys a ton and hope you have a great week! I miss you and love getting letters from everyone! Thanks for all of the support. I'll send more pictures soon!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

15 Sept 2014

So yeah, it snowed pretty hard here last week.  It was pretty cold until the late, late afternoon came, then it started to warm up. Of course, that was the one day when we didn’t have much scheduled so we went tracting for 3 hours. Luckily, I brought the “mission jacket” Cort gave me and that kept me really warm.  It was certainly good enough for the temperature that day. The snow actually stuck to the ground even though no one thought that it would. I did end up buying a sweater and a scarf from the local JC Penney—they were on sale and are really nice. The sweater is 5% cashmere so I feel distinguished and wealthy when I wear it.  Ha!  Cashmere…it just sounds fancy, doesn’t it.  I feel like saying to my companion, “I’ll count the money, and you count the diamonds! Ah ha! Ah ha! No, really…I feel sort of classy when I wear them…in a humble sort of way, of course. I think the thing that is next on my priority list is a warm pair of gloves. Tracting was not fun when my hands were cold.   Also, some head wear would be nice. I have asked what people suggest wearing, including specific brand names, but they all say, “No one brand is best, just layer up and wear wool.”

WOW! That’s crazy awesome that Jon Frank is Bishop Frank now! That's freaking sweet! I'm sad that Bishop Anderson won't be  the bishop anymore, but we really couldn't ask for a better new bishop! I know he will do a great job and I'm excited to see him when I get back, and I'm able to report to him. It's funny because my bishop here is a dentist so I guess they are just taking over…Dentists, Unite!  Boyd will make a sweet addition to the bishopric, I'm sure great things will continue to happen in the 5th ward!

When I thought about mission life, I was honestly pretty worried about how I was going to fall asleep at nights because it was often hard at home (as you know), but it really hasn't been a problem.  I’m  normally out within 10-20 minutes.  Current arrangement is that we turn a fan on low and point it at my companion.  He loves it really cold and I like the "white noise" if you will.  Works for both of us, such teamwork :)

For PDay this week we participated in the Sludge Trudge (like the Dirty Dash or Tough Mudder runs) and it was really fun.  This week we also did service for the fair grounds (which is where it took place) directing cars in the parking lot for the National Indian horse relay..It was freaking sweet!  Instead of passing sticks/batons as the horses run the track, the riders jump off one horse and on to another one while riding bareback! It was an amazing thing to see. You'll have to look it up…it's a pretty amazing event. I wouldn't mind watching it yearly. And, since we helped as parking volunteers, we got in for free and got $20 worth of food so that was fantastic.  One of the ward members here owns one of the BBQ places at the fair grounds so we got some great BBQ for free as well! People are so good to us.

Things continue to go well and this week was busy with good BMS (basic missionary stuff).   We had another service opportunity at the food bank this week.  We unloaded a large moving truck that was full of Coke products. I have never seen so much soda in my life!  The products were all donated to the food bank and our job was to unload the truck, and then stack it back up inside of a storage area. There were a number of punctured/smashed cans and bottles in the storage area and so that also meant there were a bunch of hornets in there going crazy—that didn't help at all!  Pretty much the highlight of my week. They terrify me but I'm slowly getting over my fear of them.  I used my Ninja/Jedi reflexes and took out 20 or so wasps and hornets that got trapped inside.   Got those suckers with a fly swatter! If you haven’t gathered, bees and the like are all over the place here and continue to bother me where ever I go.  Since I just got the new scarf and sweater, I can’t blame it on the cashmere.  Perhaps the Lord is just helping me learn to “bee full of courage.”  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)  Peace and blessings, peace and blessings.  Thanks for everything!  

Love, Elder Ras

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2 September 2014

Dear family,

Sounds like you guys had a good time in Parowan. I realized half-way through the day that it was Labor day, and was kind of sad I missed out on the chance to join in on the fun. Were there sloppy-jos? (Bwah ha ha!) Sorry I didn't write you yesterday. Since it was a holiday, they had us proselyte because “people are supposed to be home with their families.”  I think the exact opposite is really what happened. Everyone was gone camping or was too busy to meet so it kind of backfired. As a result, it was really hard to stay busy and productive yesterday. 

That's so sweet that Danielle is home from her mission. Wish I could have heard her speak in Sacrament Meeting, she always makes me laugh so it would have been cool to hear her testimony and mission experiences.

So yeah, I could hear your concerns about missionaries exploring caves on PDay all the way here in Sheridan :)  I’m honestly not sure if it is an “approved” mission activity, but it’s one of those “mission traditions” the missionaries have done here since the area has been open.  We also told our Zone Leaders about our plans and they didn't advise us to the contrary.  Regardless, it probably wasn't the best idea because it was kind of dangerous.  No desire to do it again because it was exhausting and the next day was really rough.

That's freaking crazy that the Summer's are moving!! I never thought that they would! It must be a really nice house that they are moving into and that's kind of sweet that they are moving to Daybreak. The Summers and Andersons are two of those families I wished we could do more things with. The times we had with them are many of my best memories.  Maybe we will do more with the Summers if we live closer again! I'm soooo sad that I won't be able to see Marc come home, I miss him a lot and was really hoping I could see him before I left. Oh well, it will only make seeing him again that much better! I'm excited to see their new house in 2 years, and that's sweet that Ryan may be getting married soon.  Tell the Summers I say hello and thank them for all they did for me growing up—allowing me to spray paint their garage and eat their food.

It's crazy to think that even though I haven't been out for very long, I have been out for 2 months now, time is flying by! 

Answers to some of your questions:

1) Media Hour:  Media hour is a time that we are allowed to use,, and other approved websites. We can watch videos on, read talks and basically just use the approved sites. 
2) Winter Boots: I will need boots, they get a lot of snow up here and it gets pretty deep.
3) Sleeping Bag: The sleeping bag I don't need yet, my blanket it still great! keeps me nice and warm.

Summer here has been really rained really hard for 5 days straight and is really cooling down but yesterday it rained for 20 minutes then it cleared up and was a beautiful 75 degrees.  That's how the weather is around here. It will rain and be super windy, then clear up into a sunny day with a little breeze They say we only get three weeks of fall and then it's winter, so looks like fall has already hit for us. Ha!

Anyway, things here are great! We made contact with three new wonderful people who are investigating the church.  One is a cool brother from Detroit! He is door to door salesman (ya know, mom, the ones that scare you because they’re so enthusiastic) that we ran into while being out and about.  We talked to him about the restored gospel and committed him to come to church.  He seemed really excited to come; we also gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, which he said he had read some of previously and really liked. Unfortunately his company moved him to Montana so we won't be able keep in contact with him, hopefully he will seek out missionaries in Montana! He was such a cool guy and really humble. I felt badly when I heard that he grew up in a bad part of town and didn't have a lot of money.  It was strange, but I almost felt embarrassed when he said we were rich in his eyes because we (and/or our families) could pay our way to come out and serve. In that moment, I just wished I could hand him all the money in my wallet. I really hope that he is able to find the gospel and experience the peace it brings.

The second one of our new investigators is a young person in a foster care situation, currently living with members in our ward.  We taught her the first lesson and she really wanted to learn more. 

Our third newest potential investigator is a young woman with contacts in the YSA  (Young Single Adult) branch.  She hurt her foot and got a priesthood blessing from some brethren there.  She said she felt the spirit and wants to know more about the gospel. 

We have done a lot of service lately. I mentioned the bee attack that scared me for life, yes I’m am even more terrified of bees now. My companion and all the other elders laugh at me when I scream and run away from bees…they just don't understand! We helped a member build a fence for his garden that was really cool. I'm starting to feel like a rancher out here, taking down fences, building fences, doing yard work, being surrounded by cowboys and their animals.

I'm happy to say that I got all the elders in my area addicted to flavor blasted goldfish.  Many of them buy a carton every week.  Not even I go that HAM! I'm sure the hype will go down soon, but for now they’re loving the goldfish.  

Hopefully we will have some new people choose to be baptized soon.  It’s interesting to see the things people experience and go through as they contemplate changing their lives and being baptized. Thanks for the prayers and support, and tell the Spencers I'm still working on their letter. I'm really sorry I haven't been able to get it to them faster!

Love you all and miss you!

-Elder RasMcSass (that's what all the other elder's call me now, they think I'm funny/sassy.)