Sunday, November 1, 2015

28 October 2015 - The Tiger Fan's Journey to Utah

Hello, hello!

This was an awesome week for my companion and me! We were able to find two new investigators to teach, we taught them about the restoration and it went really well. We committed them to read the Book Of Mormon and to pray to know if what we have taught them is true. I'm looking forward to seeing them again! 

Another cool thing happened—a member returning to church activity received the Melchizedek Priesthood and was able to come to give a blessing with us last night at the hospital.  He did an awesome job; he was a little nervous but the spirit was so strong and I know he said what the Lord wanted him to say. 

Things are really starting to pick up for us. We have been committed to teach the restoration at least 5 times a day. So far it's going alright.  It's hard to find people home early in the morning and now that it is getting dark earlier, it's harder to go tracting. But nevertheless, we continue to do what we can to serve the Lord. 

On Saturday, my companion and I (with some other Elders) helped three individuals move.  We started at 8:30 am and by the time we got done with all the moves, it was 6:30 pm.  It was a crazy long day and my body was a little tired that night, but we had a lot of fun doing it and there is nothing better than service. 

The weather is getting colder and all the Halloween stuff is up around town, it's pretty cool to see!

Mumsy’s Questions:

1) No Mom, I don't get tired of your questions..only when you ask me the same ones but even then I just laugh a little bit and reply =)

2)Transfers calls will be next Thursday, I believe, so the actual transfer will be the following Friday or Saturday. This transfer period is flying by…holy cow, time goes faster and faster everyday!

3) Ah yes..the tiger fan. I thought I would leave you all in suspense so that when you saw it, it would be even more awesome than you had pictured.  Backstory…we were helping a lady move a while back and while she was going through her things, this fan was discovered.  Of course, we had to open it and all started laughing.  Seems all of the other Elders wanted it because of how "great" it was.  The owner, in her wonderful southern accent, said, “Oh my!  Ain’t that just the most beautiful fan you have ever seen?!?”  All of us replied, "Yeah..beautiful..that's certainly how we would describe it." She then said, "Would Ya'll want it?" I said, "Well I don't want to take it from you if it has some sort of sentimental value." She said, "Oh Honey! I haven't looked at that thing in years! You go ahead and take it." I was wondering what I was going to do with it and thought  well maybe I can send it home, so when another member family showed up and offered to transport it on their trip to Utah, I gratefully took them up on their offer.

Well, I love you all tons have a great week!

Elder Erik

Sunday, October 11, 2015

5 October 2015 - Fishers of Bluegill, fishers or men, four is the new five.


This was a rather slow week for my companion and I, but there were a lot of cool things that happened as well. On Monday for P-Day, we got to go fishing with a member, and that was a ton of fun. I caught five fish, most of them Bluegill. I tried for large mouth bass (see, bass! a shoutout to you Animal Crossing players) and catfish, but I couldn't seem to get any luck trying those. 

This week was also a little crazy with transfers going on and such. It was fun because I got to see Elder Eastin, whom I had previously served with. He stayed with my companion and I and we did a lot of catching up and reminiscing, he finished up his mission so we also got to drop him off at the mission office and to say good-bye to some other Elders that we knew from the SDRCM. Most of the elders that I know are going home; it was a little hard to say good-bye (and felt a little strange) but I'm glad that they get to go home and move forward with their lives. 

General Conference was great! I loved being able to sustain three new apostles and to hear them speak. Though the passing of the other three was sad too see, I'm grateful God has called three new men to help lead and guide his church. I sustain them with all my heart and I know that they are men called of God. My favorite talk was by Elder Renland.  To me, he seems very humble and fits the description of what an apostle is. I'm looking forward to hearing more from him. 

Last Tuesday, my companion and I met someone who, I believe, may be the most interesting man in the world. He was an older fellow with a long scraggly beard, from the deep south.  At first, or at quick glance, you would likely think he is homeless. He called us over and we began to talk to him.   He proceeded to tell us about all of his adventures and what he had been doing for most of his life (now, I'm not sure how much of his story was true) —going to different countries all over the world and seeking out as much knowledge he could about God. He also told us that he "Goes around seeking out all the fake Christ's, Enoch's, and Elijah's." He “defeats them using scriptures and other stuff.“ Anyway, he was telling us that he has found 5 people (as he held up 4 fingers) who he believes could really be those men. I thought that was rather funny and it was pretty crazy to hear all the stories that he told us. Now, he could have been just a crazy guy from the south, but even if he was, it was still an awesome experience. One of those times that I probably won't forget and a journal entry of a life time.

Mumsy’s Questions:
  1. Yup! We watched conference in the homes of three different members. 
  2. Overall yes, I’m enjoying the city more than the really small town when it comes to missionary work..although there are some things I miss about not being in a small town.

Well, it's good to hear that Jacob made it home safely! I really enjoyed the picture they sent me, I'm looking forward to the day that I can reunite with the Anderson's and share my stories with Jacob. Hey, I was wondering if you ever finished sewing those slacks? Suit season is almost here! Well, love you guys…have a great week!

Elder Rasmussen

Monday, October 5, 2015

28 Sept 2015 - "Ras and Fergie"

Hello Everyone!

This past week was a pretty good one for my companion and me. We were able to find a new investigator, whom we talked with about the restoration. It was a great lesson, she committed to read the Book of Mormon and Pray about it and Joseph Smith. We are planning on meeting with her this Saturday to follow up. I think It's going to be an awesome lesson. 

We have been working really hard on weeding out all the good people who have moved from the ward but are still on the directory.  We have had some great encounters and some not so great ones. We have driven probably 60 miles or so just trying to find people, but it has been really good for our companionship. It keeps us busy and we have lots of time to talk and think about what we can do to improve the area. 

I'm excited for General Conference next week where we get to hear from a living prophet of God, and his counselors.  This week is going to be an interesting week, I think. It is transfer week and a lot of the missionaries that I know are going home. I'm starting to turn into an "old missionary,” which seems really odd because it seemed like forever I was always the one who had been out the least amount of time. My trainer (Elder Johnson) and another companion I served with (Elder Eastin) both go home. It will be sad to see them go, but I'm excited for them to go home and start school or whatever it is that they are doing.

Mumsy’s Questions:
  1. No, I'm not expecting anything to happen with my companionship this transfer. I’ll probably stay here with “Fergie”…that’s what I call Elder Ferguson. I don't know how he feels about it, but I have some members also calling him that so it's kind of fun. Although you never know with transfers, so it’s always a bit exciting.  
  2. I do miss playing games actually. I don't have a ton of time to think about them but when I do it's normally kind of like, "Oh man, it would be fun to sit down and play that right now and then take a nap!…oh well.” Then I start working again.
  3. Probably watching Conference it at a member's home or the church.

Thanks for letting me know that Taylor is engaged. How exciting for him! She sounds like a good gal. I'm excited to meet all the new peeps when I get home. Speaking of which, Jacob gets home on Wednesday.  As I mentioned previously, this week will probably be a bit hard for me knowing that he is home but oh well, I'm happy for him and hope he has fun! If you see him, say hello for me! 

Well I love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Rasmussen

Sunday, September 27, 2015

21 September 2015 - 500 Since 2004


Everything out here in Omaha is great! Elder Ferguson and I are doing well. The weather has been absolutely beautiful; fall is just around the corner..the leaves have started changing and some trees are already dead. 

It's crazy that General Conference is just around the felt like not too long ago it was April and we were all waiting for that Conference to start. I'm excited once again to hear the words our living prophet, and the other men that have been called of God. We have been doing a lot of work with the ward members lately and have been trying to help them in every way that we can. We know that members are the most important part of missionary work and that they are the ones who are the best at finding those who are ready to be taught. We as missionaries are simply here to help the ward in their missionary work. 

The members out here are great! I'm glad that I have the opportunity to serve with them. Now that all has settled down from the E.T., my companion and I are working really hard to keep the work progressing in this area as best we can. We have been doing a lot of finding mainly through less-active members and former investigators. We found a huge book full of people that have been contacted in the past and we counted over 500 people that have been taught since 2004 (that was the earliest record we found).  Many of the people don't even live in the same house or the phone number doesn't work or has been transferred to someone else, but it always makes for an interesting conversation and a good way to share the gospel when you walk up to a door looking for someone and they haven't lived there in years.

Answers to Mumsy's Questions:

 1) Elder Ferguson is from Lancaster California, He has been out for 9 months..the first companionship I've had where I have been out longer, but that may likely be the case from now on.   I actually met him when he first came out back in January  at the Mission Home in South Dakota. He has grown a lot since then and has lost a lot of weight. If you would have asked me, I wouldn't have necessarily guessed that we would get along so well, but I think he will likely end up being one of my favorites so far.

2) As Dad predicted, I pretty much just hit the pillow and I'm gone in like 5 minutes. Some nights it still takes a little while, but  for the most part I'm asleep very quickly...unless my companion starts to make this really weird clicking sound that he does.  I don't even know how to describe it over an email, I'll have to show you an example when we chat at Christmas.  Apparently all his companions have confronted him about it, but he brought it up with me. I didn't say anything about it until he asked.

Yeah, Jacob goes home soon..I'm a little sad because it always feels like I'm behind him and Austin. I just hope that when he goes home next week, that I won't get too trunky.  Ha!  I think it will be a rough week for me honestly, but hopefully I'll get over it quickly.  I'm really excited to be able to see Jacob and Austin when I get home, I have been missing them a lot lately. 

Well, have a fantastic week.  I hear that Cort is about to get married or something like that? ;) haha. I don't know why, but most members say they can see me getting married within 8 months of coming home.  I can't see it, but whatever! 

Have a great week; love ya!

14 September 2015 - Goodbye, Blendtec!

 Hello Everyone!

So this week was a crazy one. First off, my Companion, Elder Hansen, got E.T. (Emergency Transferred) out to McCook Nebraska which is way out west. Goodbye, Blendtec!  My new companion, Elder Ferguson, had a seizure and needed to be closer to more sophisticated medical facilities instead of being out in the boonies. It was a long trip for me on Thursday...four hours to get there and and another four hours back. So that was most of our day that Thursday.  

Elder Ferguson and I are getting a long great. I don't know what it is with me, but I have been part of several E.T's. while I've been out, none because of either my companion or me, but rather some other missionary that has had something happen. At least this time I stayed in my same area. 

Sad news, the investigator that we thought was doing so well dropped us last night. He said he is more of a "non-denominational kind of guy" Which, I guess if that's where he feels closest to God that's where he should go. It's always hard to see someone go after you have been teaching them for awhile. I wish the best for him and this upcoming week is going to be full of more "finding" activities for us. We said goodbye to a lot of our investigators that were not progressing or wanting to make commitments. I hope that in the future, when other missionaries find them, or they interact with members of the church, that they will be more ready to commit. 

Other than all that transfer stuff, not a whole lot has happened. People are still nice to us at the door even though BYU beat Nebraska in the game. I was worried that people wouldn't like us to much after that but it seems like they have gotten over it for the most part. ;)

To answer mom's question, all the food here has been really good. I haven't had any weird foods since Sheridan,  surprisingly.  And as for the winters here, I'm told are not nearly as bad as the ones out in Minnesota or South Dakota; they say there isn't a lot of wind so I'm expecting more mild conditions, I should be fine.

Love you guys!

Elder Rasmussen

Sunday, September 13, 2015

7 September 2015 - Bishop that you?!?

Hello Everyone!

We had another great week. Elder Hansen and I found a new investigator who is rather unique. He has mixed views on religion and considers himself to be Jewish-Christian, mixed with a little Jehovah's Witness. It's kind of unusual, but we hope that he will progress well.  Another one of our investigators came to church again this last Sunday, and even bore his testimony! It was awesome! 

The BYU / Nebraska game was a pretty huge thing here; tracting was useless that day because everyone was getting ready to watch the game and didn't want to be disturbed. We actually got permission to watch the game (in a member's home) provided we earned the perk by memorizing and passing off 12 new scriptures.  I can say that it was well worth it.  The last play just about blew everyone's mind.  We watched the game in the home of some big Nebraska fans so when that happened all the missionaries went crazy and the family sat there in shock--it was pretty funny.  

We also were able to attend a fireside that the BYU football players put on. While there, I was able to see our former bishop, Chuck Anderson, from back home! It was a weird but great feeling and almost didn't didn't seem real because you never expect to see someone from home while you are out serving a mission.  It felt almost dream-like, but very cool to see him there.   It felt great to be able to talk to him and to see how the ward was doing. I'm really enjoying my time out here!

Answers for mumsy...

1) Yes, I did get a card from Uncle Jim and Aunt Jillynn...tell them thank you!
2) Do I still fold my ears over?...yes, I do, though it's actually something that I'm trying not to do anymore because I don't want my ears to be super droopy when I'm like 50. It's a hard habit to break because sometimes I do it without even noticing.

Tell Uncle Bob I hope he feels better soon, I don't like to hear that he's not feeling well.  I look forward to seeing everyone again at next year's Iron County Fair and I hope that you all had fun this year! 

Well, love you all! Have a great week.

Elder Rasmussen

Friday, September 4, 2015

31 August 2015 - The Awesomeness Continues!

We have had an awesome week here in Omaha! We had a wonderful experience with an investigator the other day. We had another lesson with him after not seeing him for 2 months and shared a message about the Plan of Salvation. We then Invited him to church and he came! He stayed for all three hours and said he really enjoyed it! We are going to meet with him again this week sometime soon! We are hoping to invite him to be baptized since he said he is "on board" with everything that we are teaching.  We believe our next lesson should be the one for the invitation.
There is a member family in our ward who was re-activated about a year ago; the family is now currently working toward going to the temple and being sealed as a family.  We are so excited for them and the progress they are making. We had the opportunity to go to the temple this last week. It is amazing, the spirit you can feel when you go to the temple.  Our mission president and his wife were there with us and we had a great time. This is the second time I have been to the temple since being in the Omaha mission.  It was really hard to go to the temple in the Rapid City Mission unless you were right in Bismark, but most of the missionaries here are able to go to the temple several times while serving in the mission.

Jacob is really excited to be going home and so is Austin; they have been talking about it a lot now that he only has like just a few weeks to go now.  I'm happy for their reunion, but I try not to think about it too much 'cause I have more than just a few weeks to go.  Ha!  
I'm a little sad to see summer go but not sad to see the temps go. It has been one hot, humid summer.  The locals say that it starts snowing about the end of October, mid November here, with one early snow fall that goes away quickly because it warms up again, so we will see.

Woah! Cort has a legit love life now?!?! He hasn't written me in like three months so I don't hear anything from him...neither has Noah.  I guess Caitlin really does love me the most..(don't get your hopes too high Caitlin!) HAHA! 
To Mumsy...yes, I was actually just thinking about the "What's New Pussycat?" song the other day as I was petting a member's cat! And yes, I remember that episode of Fresh Prince where Tom Jones made a guest made me laugh super hard!
I'm a little sad that I will miss the Labor Day festivities in PTown, but glad to know that I can be there next year...kind of crazy that this is my last "holiday season" as a missionary.
Love you guys...have fun!!
-Elder Rasmussen

Sunday, August 30, 2015

24 August 2015 - No, the Mormons don't own Pepsi

Greetings from Omaha!

Well it has been another great week out companion and I went tracting for about 5 hours one day and the Lord blessed us with four new potentials whom we hope to start teaching this week! 

As far as transfers go, I'm still in the same area with the same companion...which is fine. I love it here though we are guessing that this will be his last transfer in the area. I keep getting the feeling that a new opportunity will be coming next transfer which kind of makes me excited, but at the same time, I'm a little nervous about it. 

The other day my comp and I went back to the same exciting neighborhood (as last week's fight) to teach a lesson and this black guy comes up to us TOTALLY smashed, and tries to talk to us. We shared the first lesson with him though I doubt he will remember anything. It was funny though, 'cause the whole time we were teaching, anytime my companion tried to say something, the guy would cut him off and say, "I..I..I..can't understand you! Let your friend say it...he (me) speaks in a way that I can errrr..understand yeah..yeah!" That was a pretty fun experience, though my companion didn't feel great that the guy would not drop the fact that he couldn't understand him. 

We also met another guy who was trying to convince us that the Mormons own Pepsi, "yet we can't drink caffeine." I said, "Sir, we don't own Pepsi and yes, we can drink caffeine, it's just advised that we stay away from addictive substances....some members of the church do drink caffeinated sodas." He was very adamant that we did own Pepsi and continued trying to argue with us.. So we discussed the matter for about 10 minutes while he tried to look it up online and then he finally reads out loud, "No, the Mormon's don't own Pepsi." He was like, "Well, crap...20 years of my life I have been lied to!  You guys want a Coke?" Ha!

As for Mom's question of the week....our mission doesn't have iPad's yet--the North American rollout seems to be going slower than everyone expected, and by the time we do, it will probably almost be time for me to come home.  I'm pretty comfortable without them, using them would certainly be a change.  I'm sure I'd get used to it, but thinking about it makes me a little nervous.

Well love you guys a ton! Have a great week!

Elder Rasmussen

Sunday, August 23, 2015

17 August 2015 -- Omaha is "The Bomb," yea verily!

What a great week! Omaha is the Bomb! We continue to find people to teach and are finding a ton of success almost every day.
This week we had a really cool experience with a less-active family. We got a referral to go visit a family and when we went over, there was a lot of people at the house--like 16 or 17.  The grandma of the family all of her 6 children were baptized  (4 live with her) and those four children have kids that also live there. Cozy!  They were really excited to be able to meet with us. We found out that two of the kids are old enough to be taught the lessons and the family is all for it, so we should be getting two new investigators this week! That was an amazing find and I'm really excited to be able to teach them and see them progress.
While on exchanges with my District Leader this last week, we were in the ghetto--which is always exciting.  We went to an apartment complex to follow-up with some people that Elder Hansen and I had contacted earlier, when all of a sudden, two women get into this fight...and it was crazy! They were about to go ham on each other when two other people got in the middle of it a broke it up. My companion and I just looked at each other and were trying not to laugh because there were all sorts of interesting names being called.  If it hadn't been for the two who intervened and broke it up, things would not have ended well. It was funny in a way because EVERYONE in the apartment complex came out and was just watching it all happen. Later that night, we went back to see if we could catch our contacts at a better time, but when we got there, there were 20 more people in the mix and the cops had shown that was pretty intense.
The other day, we went to another place in the same neighborhood to contact some people when this truck pulled up.  They needed help moving of course we offered our services and they gladly accepted.  After we were done helping this family move in, everyone near by joined in shouting praises to Jesus for sending us there at that time.  "A blessing in disguise," that's what we were :)  So that was pretty fun. 
I love serving in this area..normally back home, I probably would have been scared to death of being in a place like this, but I feel no fear--just excitement and love for the people here!  Things are going really well and I'm having a great time!

Thanks for the package.  I have eaten all of the fruit snacks and I'm now working on the dill pickle chips! Transfers are coming up this Friday but it's unlikely that I'll move--though you never know what will happen.  As far as shopping is concerned, we generally shop at Wal-Mart though we don't buy a ton because the members we live with continually stock our fridge and cupboards; they get after us if we buy a lot of our own groceries.  You also asked about how many hours we spend at church on Sundays--only three hours. In Sheridan, we were at church 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Yes, I'm still going to send my bicycle home as instructed, just haven't really gotten around to it because there are actually things to do here on P-day.

That's too bad that Cort got a cavity..He never gets them though, so I guess he ought to brush better? haha! There is nothing worse than knowing that you have to go back and face the drill.  Afterwards you are super hungry but can't eat anything.  No, I don't think I overreact about going to the dentist. 
Well love you all hope that you have a great week!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

10 August 2015 - Will it Blend?

Hello everyone!

Elder Hansen and I have had another awesome week in Omaha! Last P-day we went to the zoo which was freaking great! It's the largest zoo in the U.S. (or so we've been told) and they continue to expand it. (I'll make sure to send some pictures). 

We had dinner with a member family this week and on Sunday our ward mission leader told us that one of the members said, "You know, I think this is the first time we have really enjoyed having the Elders in our home. We laughed, talked, and had a great spiritual message!" I thought that was really cool to hear and a very nice compliment. 

The people we're working with here in Omaha are progressing pretty well. We have one investigator that really opened up to us and we hope to put him on date this Friday. Unfortunately, a good number of our other investigators (as predicted) just seem to like the social interactions they have with us..."Come in and hangout" or "We'd love to talk for a bit," but don't seem as interested in the gospel.

The weather has been pretty crazy here, every other day it seems to be raining and then the next day it's super hot. I guess there was a tornado somewhere in Omaha on Saturday night but not close enough to us to be concerned about.  

Our mission president has issued a challenge to the entire mission to memorize certain scriptures. I have memorized 7 of the 12 he gave us and I bet he will continue to issue more to us as time goes on. It's a really cool feeling to be able to just pull a scripture out of nowhere during a lesson and quote it word for word. It's something that I never thought I would want to do but I hope to memorize a new scripture everyday or at least close to everyday. I'm having a lot of fun out here in Omaha and I know that there is a ton of work to be done here. 

So I must tell you guys something that is pretty funny that I have not mentioned previously.  My companion has a Blentec blender...and let me just say that it is every bit as noisy as Dad's, but seems even louder because I'm like right next to it while he blends.  It starts out slow...rum, rum, rum, rum then RUm, RUm, RUm, RUm, THEN RUMRUMRUMRUMRUMRUMRUMRUMRUMRUMRUMRUMRUM!!!! Oh my gosh, the first time I heard that I was like, "NOOOOOOOOO....I thought I got away from that for two years!" 

Well thanks for all that you guys do love you tons!

-Elder Rasmussen

Sunday, August 9, 2015

3 August 2015 - National Say Hi to a Missionary Day?

Another greet week out here in Omaha!
This week was full of great experiences, everyone seemed to be really friendly and my companion and I were able to see a lot of success. We didn't meet with as many people this week unfortunately, likely due to it being the last week of summer--everyone was finishing up their vacations. Hopefully next week will be full of more teaching again.
We had a really cool experience on Friday.  We were just walking down the road like any other day, and I don't know if it was "National Say Hi to a Missionary Day," or "National Shout Praises to the Lord Whenever You See a Missionary Day," but that happened a lot that day. Most of the people we passed honked and waved or rolled down their window and shouted "Praise the Lord!" We thought it was pretty sweet, much better than walking down the road and getting called all sorts of fun names. We then walked into a gas station and there was a man who came up to me and asked if we believed in God, and asked some other questions about the church. We invited him to come to church and he said he would love to come this upcoming Sunday. He then said "Go get yourselves a drink it's hot outside! I'll pay for it!" We accepted, because who can pass on a generous free drink on a hot day offer? We found another new investigator to teach his name is Noel. He is super awesome and prepared to hear the message; we are really pumped to be able to teach him. Things are really going well and I'm enjoying all of my time here.

People ask if I feel differently now I've passed the one year mark? I feel like I'm still new..even though when I ask a lot of the other missionaries how long they have been out, it's usually less than a year.  Funny, I still feel brand-new.

Well I hope that you all have a fantastic week! Love you all!
-Elder Rasmussen

Monday, July 27, 2015

27 July 2015 - From Near Famine to Feast!

Hello Everyone!

It has been another great week here in Omaha! My companion and I were blessed with a ton of success this week.  First off, we found 3 new investigators which is awesome!   We currently have a total of 24 people that we are teaching/working with at some level.  Now, granted not all of them are progressing or are interested at the same level, but what a blessing and a great opportunity.  We are also meeting with a good number members we don't see often (or ever) at church and lately a few more of them have started coming to church more, which is awesome! I'm very blessed to be in this area and am thrilled with the prospects of having a ton of work to do out here.

The other day my companion and I were out walking and trying to contact some people. We are running really low on our allotted number of driving miles and so we have been walking more and more. It was an extremely hot day, the temperature was 97 degrees with 80% humidity, so it "felt like" (as they say on the weather) like 110 degrees. I don't think I have ever been so hot.  We were both drenched in sweat; it was almost like we were standing in a pool of water.  Even though it was a terribly hot day, the Lord blessed us for our willingness to work,  and we found two new investigators--worth it all!

The ward here is awesome...and yes, considering it is a ward and not a branch, it is much bigger.  Like the city itself, the ward is comprised of a diverse group of people.  You know my love for Asian people, well there are two Chinese families in this ward and we've been invited to have dinner with both of them.  The mother in one family started getting after the kids in Chinese while we were at the table, and I couldn't help but crack a smile.  In fact, it was almost hard for me not to laugh--I think their language sounds so cool. I love those families already and can't wait to serve around them more.  We haven't had to cook dinner a single night since I've been here, the members have fed us every night so far. 

YES, there are TONS of trees here. See? I told you there were lots of trees out here. You laugh because, still "under the influence" after having my wisdom teeth out, I asked you on the way home if we were in Nebraska.  Perhaps, during that time I was influenced by the medication, I had a vision of where I would be serving!  ;)  Ha!  Omaha is a beautiful city. It actually reminds me a lot of Utah, but it has more hills and no mountains.

Yeah, it has been nice to have such good support from everyone back home...did the Spencer's ever get my letter? You should ask for me. 

Well I love you all.  I'm loving life and and I'm having a great time!

Love, Elder Rasmussen

Monday, July 20, 2015

20 July 2015 - Humid Cicada Paradise

I'm really enjoying my time here in Omaha! I'm finally starting to get the area down and it has been even better now that I'm getting to know the ward members and all of our investigators. A lot of people are out of town for their last summer vacations..apparently school starts for kids here at the beginning of August (sounds like their school district is even more of a Nazi district than the one I was in).  Ha!  I am also happy to report that Marshall is also doing really well and that the Elders there are again doing great work.  I certainly did my best, but sometimes a change with missionaries is good and a true blessing for everyone.  I hear the Elder that replaced me is one of those "get it done Elders" and accomplishes a ton of work everywhere he serves. I'm truly glad for all involved.
We taught a lot of people this week and we are hoping that we will be able to teach even more. Elder Hansen and I are getting along great. We are still working on getting all the "new companion kinks out" and learning how to best work with each other, but we are having fun while we work and that's making a big difference.  We have a lot of potential here and I'm so happy to be able to say that I look forward to serving in this area with each upcoming week. Our days are mostly full and I know that the Lord is blessing us as we continue to be obedient and to try our hardest to find those who are ready for the gospel. This past week flew by and I can tell that the upcoming weeks will be similar. Serving in a big city is a lot of fun as you never know who you are going to run into and what things are going to happen.
It has been super hot here..temperatures in the 95+ range with like 80% humidity, so it's been really hot.  Mom, you would hate it here...the temps and humidity are ridiculous and there are plenty of giant cicadas that would certainly take nest in your hair.  HAHAHA!
As far as our living arrangements go, we stay in the basement where there is a separate living room, bathroom, and bedroom. We share a kitchen, but they really love us coming up every night to eat their ice cream and cake..which I suppose is good for me =).  We are careful to never overstep our bounds or take advantage of their generosity.
Do I still find Cort "cuddly?"'s funny you brought that up.  I was thinking about it the other day and I would probably have to say, "No."  Though, I'm not around him so that may change when I get home ;).  While I loved teasing him about being cuddly, it seems like a weird thing to say now.  Does Noah still find him cuddly?
Well, thanks for all you do.  Love you guys so much.

13 July 2015 - Sierra Leone and Lots of Ice Cream...a Dog Too!

Well, I have some bad news...
looks like I'll be serving for 6 more weeks...
as a missionary...
but not in Marshall!
I had you going for a second there, didn't I? Well, I actually have some fantastic news! I was transferred and I'm now in the Old Mill Nebraska area. Not what you might think.  When I heard the name I thought, "Great...another tiny town where there won't be much to do." But it is actually right in the middle of Omaha so it's been quite a big change. So far I'm really enjoying it! There are lots of things to do here and lots of people to talk to.  When I met with our new Mission President, I told him I had been in my area for a long time, but that I would serve wherever he felt the Lord wanted me to be.
My companion is Elder Hansen from Nampa, ID.  He is pretty sweet--super quiet which is a quite change from my last companion who was VERY talkative. We get a long really well. He has been out for 17 months. Most of my companions have been Elders that are toward the end of their missions. Elder Hansen has red hair, is a little taller than me, pretty average weight and all that good stuff.
So yeah, I'm really loving it so far and we have a great ward. The Bishop of our ward is from Africa.  I'm guessing South Africa because he has a hint of a British accent, but I'm not entirely sure. He is a dentist and seems very successful and well off.
Our area is a mix of just about every range and type of people. We have very, very nice areas where people live in expensive homes and we also cover the straight up gangster ghetto, which is pretty cool actually...sketchy at times..but cool. There is a lot more diversity here and we are teaching a lot of people which is a relief from not having many people to teach--which was the case in Marshall.
People here are, so far,  much more open minded and are willing to let us in and hear our message. We currently have 6 people on date for baptism, and while some of them will probably change those dates for various reasons, it's so nice to know that we have people who want to learn about the gospel.  
We are teaching a woman from Sierra Leone, and she speaks very little English.  Luckily, we have a member who speaks French and helps translate for us.  The lessons are very different, almost  awkward, because Elder Hansen and I don't feel like the active teachers, but it's cool to hear them talk back and forth in French.
Things are going really well here and I'm looking forward to working with the people in this area. We live with members who are wonderful. They are an older couple who treat us like their grandkids so it's awesome. They have so kindly opened their home to us and invite us to eat whatever we want and such. We don't really eat their food but every night when we come in, they always ask us if we want ice cream and then will continue to ask and pry until we break down and have something to eat. I love them already and have really been enjoying staying there. They have a dog so that's pretty cool too; it's nice to come home and play with the dog for a few minutes.
It feels odd to be past one year. I wouldn't say that I feel I'm on the down hill side of things but rather that it feels that I'm starting over..after going into a new mission.  Since I don't know anyone and it's in the middle of the summer, it again feels like I'm just newly out, but that I actually know how to teach people now.  I will say that the days are going by very quickly, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year goes overall.
Well that's about all for this week, love you all a ton, thanks for the prayers!
-Elder Rasmussen

6 July 2015 - Really Cool...and Young!

Hello Everyone!
Well, this week was a rather interesting one. You know, being in a small town like Marshall doesn't really allow for a huge influx of people to come in the Holidays. In fact I'm pretty sure most people left for the 4th, so there wasn't really anyone to talk to.
We met our new mission president and he is really cool. He is in his early 50's so he is still pretty young for a mission president. He is super chill and knows how to encourage and motivate you while simultaneously being able to tell you you need to shape up without making you feel like you are going to burn in Hell because improvement is needed.  Haha! He said that He is going to make some big changes in the mission so I'm guessing, and praying, that something will happen with transfers. He said that we wants us to refer to the mission as "the Nebraska Omaha Mission" not "N.O.M. plus the Sioux Falls Stake."  I'm assuming he is going to integrate a lot of the other missionaries in this area and move a lot of us out. Most people in the branch have been predicting that I'm staying and my companion is moving on. I guess we will see, but the branch members have a history of typically being right. 
We had an alright 4th of July we couldn't do a lot of missionary work because people were all "I don't want to be bothered by your religion while it's Independence Day!" *Door Slams* So we just did what we could and visited less-active members and a few members we see often for the most part. We couldn't see the fireworks because it doesn't get dark until 9:30 here, and that's our we just heard pops and bangs all night long while waving glow sticks in the air that we got from home.
Other than that, it has been a pretty basic week. Hopefully some new and exciting things will start to happen. I have arrived at my one year mark and overall, it has gone by quickly. I have loved being a missionary and can also honestly say I'm glad I'm half way done. I'm also looking forward to all of the exciting adventures that await me!  I'm hoping to be a better missionary overall in year two.  Mom asked where I'd want to go next?  I'd say anywhere that's a little bigger area/more populated.  You know I'm all about small town life, but I really enjoyed being around other missionaries, especially on P-Days. It can be hard when it's just you and your companion for weeks and weeks.  Having other missionaries close by provide a nice and welcomed break for all.
Thanks for all of your love and support! Love you!
-Elder Rasmussen

29 June 2015 - New, New Mission President and it's Very Smokey Outside.

Well, today we get a new, new mission president. President and Sister Gardner are suppose to arrive today at some time, they've likely already arrived by now. We will get to meet them on Thursday, in Sioux City, a 3-4 hour drive depending on which one of us is driving. I'm excited to be able to meet them, I heard they are super cool and very nice. I guess that's probably what is said about every mission president but I hope that it is true.
I wish I had more to report on the work here, you are all probably sick of hearing that but I'm afraid that the work is still slow here. I hope that we will soon be able to meet with our one active investigator again.  Unfortunately, we lost contact with her and don't know if we will be able to teach her anytime soon unless she gets a new job. Oh well, I know that the Lord has plans for us here and work to do, so we continue looking for that person out there that is waiting for us to knock on their door.

So it's pretty hot outside back home huh? It's been pretty nice here mostly in the 80's but the humidity has been pretty high. All of the farmers have started burning stuff--I'm not sure why--but it is very,  very smokey outside.  Noah can't complain about working...he didn't work a day in his life until he got that job. Ha! He probably hasn't even mowed the lawn yet..can he even push the mower?  ;) (Hey Caitlin..Duh nuh nuh nuh..*As Noah is pushing the mower* ) 

Answers to Mom's Questions:
1)Tornadoes no..but heavy storms that could easily turn into tornadoes, yes.
2) Special schedule on the 4th of July? it's a pretty normal day. There might be a parade I don't know, we don't hear anything about stuff like that.
3) Transfers process...we normally find out a day or two before, and then a huge van comes and picks us up (and our luggage) and drives us to our new area.  We get out of the van and work in our new area begins. 

Yeah,  not all of the time is fun on a mission, but I'm hanging in there.  Transfers are soon and a change is likely. If there is NO CHANGE, I will have to talk to someone ;)   4 transfers in the same area with the same companion is challenging even for the best of companionships.  
Well, I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Love you all! 

-Elder Rasmussen

Sunday, June 28, 2015

22 June 2015 - Gone Swimming!...and the Force is Strong with This Little One


This past week was pretty rough for my companion and me. We ended up with very little teaching and did sooo much walking and trying to meet new people.  Of all the good things about a small town, it's hard to preach "a new gospel," to tract and street contact in a place where change is not a big part of the mindset.  Everyone says the same thing to us, (insert your best Minnesotan accent) "I really appreciate what you boys are doing but I'm content with my religion." Any attempt to talk with them after that just ends with "Nope! Have a good day." It's sad because we want so badly just to have the chance to talk to people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I think one of the biggest obstacles is that many people don't believe there is one true church, so they aren't looking for anything other or "more" than what they have.  They all seem to think that as long as they believe in God they will be saved, which is true in some respects since all will be resurrected, but we continue to hope some will be interested in exaltation and not just salvation from death.   

Sorry.  Enough of my rantings, that's not very missionary-like of me, is it? Oh well, life in the mission goes on...some weeks better than others. Lately it seems that everyone is at the swimming pool and since as missionaries we can't go swimming, we don't get a chance to be where the whole town seems to be.  So many are gone from home during the day at the pool. This past week my companion said, "Hey Elder, I have a great idea....lets just go teach people at the pool, then when they want to be baptized we have a giant font to do it in!  We laughed for a bit and then said, "Ehh..probably not," though it would be very nice to jump into a cold pool after you have been walking around in the humid heat all day long. 

Today my companion and I woke up to a HUGE wind storm. We were under a severe tornado watch, it was the craziest thing I have ever seen--the wind stronger than I have ever experienced. It was kind of sketch, but pretty cool at the same time.

Next transfer calls are July 9th (my one year mark).  So glad to hear the men in the family introduced baby Maddox to  Star Wars.  Gotta get him started early on the ways of the force if he is ever going to be a pro gamer / nerd like the res of us.

Thanks for all that you guys do, I hope that you have a great week! Love you!

Elder Rasmussen

15 June 2015 - We got an Amen! (In a Taco Bell)

Hello again!

This week was a good one for me. We had a lesson with a nice lady investigating the church and she selected a date for baptism! She wants her whole family to hear about the Gospel, so we are hoping that we will begin teaching them as well. She is "super solid" and has expressed that she knows the church is true. We are pumped that we finally found someone who is wanting the gospel in their lives and knows the importance of it. 

We had Zone Conference down in Sioux City this week. We had a lot of fun meeting the other missionaries in the mission. Our Zone actually feels like we are apart of the new mission now so that's nice. I felt like a brand new missionary when we got there because I didn't know anyone. But the talks were great and it was good to meet the other missionaries. 

On our way back, we had a super cool experience. We stopped to eat at Taco Bell, and there was a man there who asked if he could talk to us. We began to chat about the gospel and he told us he converted from Muslim to Christianity. He said he had looked at almost every other type of Christian church, but not ours. He asked us what we believed and what our views were about things.  At the end of our conversation, he said that he wanted to come to church and that he believes this is the church for him. He was so happy to hear that we also believe that America is the "Promised Land" / site of the New Jerusalem.  Apparently not many other Christian religions believe that,  so when we confirmed we did believe that, he jumped up and shouted AMEN!! It was legit! Everyone in Taco bell was looking at us and this man (a large Persian guy) with a sweet accent. The whole thing  kind of made us chuckle, but he was sooo excited to hear what we believed and said he wanted a Book of Mormon!

Answers to Mom's Questions:
1) The food in the birthday pic was some type of German dish and it was really good. The meat was wrapped in bacon and covered with this super awesome gravy.  
 2) Allergy meds seem to work well for the most part, but it seems there is A LOT more pollen and stuff flying around here.
3) The baby in the pic is awesome.  Her name is Maggie and she loves me.  Ha!  She is super funny. I really love going over to that family's house they are originally from Daybreak in South Jordan so it's fun to talk about home with them. 

Have a great week! Love you all!

> -Elder Rasmussen

Thursday, June 11, 2015

8 June 2015 - Happy Birthday to Me!

Dear people back home:

This week, unlike last week, was very uneventful. Not a whole lot happened and it seemed that all of our lessons cancelled for various reasons, but that's okay, I'm staying positive. My companion and I are struggling to know what God wants us to do here because it seems that every time we try something, it ends up falling through. Marshall has been a frustrating area for me, but I have learned a ton since I have been here.  I have been tried and tested in more ways than I thought would be possible. 

Well, I'm now 20 years old which doesn't seem real. Still feels like I'm 16 and most people say I still look like I'm 15, so I guess that's a good thing? Today for our P-Day and my birthday, we were invited to spend some time with some church members in one of the nearby towns in our area.  It should be pretty fun, a whole lot more fun than doing nothing new in Marshall!

Hey, thank you so much for sending the package! It really brightened my day and gave me some extra treats to chomp down on. The only complaint I have about the package was all of the freaking stars confetti that was in there. Those things are pokey and really hurt when your feet gets jabbed by one. I made the mistake of opening it on my bed so I was getting impaled all night by those things; they were stuck in everything too, so each time I opened one of the wrapped gifts, stars and "Happy Birthday" pieces of confetti kept falling out. I doubt we will ever be able to suck them all up in the vacuum.  

The Pokemon t-shirt you sent is legit!! I think my companion is pretty jealous ;)...he stared at it forever just laughing and saying how sweet it is. I hope I get the chance to wear it somewhere other than around the house some time!

Answers to Mom's Questions:

1) My hay fever has been alright, certain days are better than others--all the farming in this area seems to make the days that I do have problems terrible though!

2) I wear short sleeved shirts more than long sleeved--too humid and hot for long sleeves. I don't think either version really shows more wear and tear but I guess if you want to send more, I'd pick the long sleeves because the cuffs get really dirt.  Ironing?....if you take them right out of the dryer and hang them up they look good, but  otherwise, yes,  you have to do a little ironing but for the most part these "no iron" shirts are awesome!

3) Haha Mom, this is Marshall Minnesota we are talking about, there is nothing like Swig soda shops here.  The only thing we have out here is BK and DQ  and one gas station. Although that Mountain Dew with tigers blood sounds amazing!

Tell Bishop Jon Frank I say hello and that I'm doing great! Also, thank him for not giving up on me and encouraging me to go to Young Men's and stay active! I wish I would have done better. My leaders always made it a point to make Young Mens more fun and I probably missed out on a lot! 

I love you guys a ton. Also, tell the Spencer's I will be writing them soon! Have a great week!

Elder Rasmussen

1 June 2015 - Sitting on a Box of Gold?

Well, I thought I'd start my e-mail with probably the most potentially exciting news...transfer calls. I will be staying in Marshall, Minnesota.  My companion is also the same....apparently I haven't learned whatever it is that I'm supposed to learn here, so I'll be hanging around. I suppose it's for the best. I mean, the work is actually starting to pick up here so I would have been a little sad to leave and I feel happy to know that the people who I'm staying here to teach should progress pretty well.
As I mentioned last week, we started teaching a family and they are very receptive to the Gospel. So far, we can only count the mother of the family as an official investigator, but once some other things are sorted out, the rest of the family will join in. We taught her about the plan of salvation and invited her to attend church again. We are hoping to put her on date for baptism at the end of the week when we meet with her again.
The weather here has been pretty day it is 88 degrees and sunny, and the next it is 46 and raining extremely hard. It's kind of nice because it does provide some change in what feels very routine most days, but it would be nice to have some consistency in the weather so we know what to plan for.  It is humid here, you walk around for 10 minutes and your back is drenched in sweat.
My companion and I have been doing a lot of service recently.  The other day, there was a man who needed help moving out so we just jumped in and started helping.  He and his wife were super thankful because it was just the two of them loading up the truck to move. We talked with them a lot about the church and our beliefs. When we left, I felt very glad that I was able to talk to them and help them learn more about the gospel. I think had they been moving in, and not out, they would have started taking the lessons. While I was a little sad about that, I believe that we opened up the door for the next set of missionaries who knock on their door. I think and hope that they will come to accept the Gospel in their lives at some point. They were really cool people and would love to be able to rejoice with them in the life to come.
This week was really inspiring for me.  At church we heard a talk from a member of our branch who was baptized in Russia and later moved to the U.S. He has a super strong testimony and I love being able to talk to him. (The Russian accent doesn't' hurt either) He read a short story about a man who was homeless...
A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. "Spare some change?" mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap. "I have nothing to give you," said the stranger. Then he asked: "What's that you are sitting on?" "Nothing," replied the beggar. "Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember." "Ever looked inside?" asked the stranger. "No," said the beggar. "What's the point? There's nothing in there." "Have a look inside," insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold. 
 I really loved this story. The member who shared it referenced the story to the atonement of Christ and how, if we aren't using it, we are sitting on something that is worth far more than a box of gold. I would encourage everyone to look at all the wonderful things that they have in their lives and "open up" that box that they are sitting on. I believe that if we stop and take a look around us we can realize all the beautiful things we have and uncover treasures far greater than gold.

 Glad to hear that everyone back home is doing well. I took the one summer chemistry class and that was enough for me.  I wasn't too impressed with my ACT score but hey, it gets me into the schools that I wanted to attend and at this point, ain't no way I'm taking another class just to try and take it again. 

Well I hope you all have a fantastic week! Love you!
-Elder Rasmussen

25 May 2015 - Church in a Methodist Ship!

This was a super awesome week for me! 

We had the opportunity to go to Pipestone...(we now cover that area as well) and meet the branch down there. They are very missionary minded and are giving us lots of leads to contact.  The only trouble is getting down there.  Our area goes as far north as Appleton MN, as far south as Jasper MN; as far East as Redwood MN, and as far West as Ivanhoe MN--it's a huge area and there is a lot of work to be here. 

The Pipestone branch building is sweet. It is an old Methodist church (I believe) and the roof is actually built out of the hull of a big ship so it is a very unique building from any other I have ever seen. The building also has a giant basement with a fireplace, and an upstairs level.  The baptismal font looks like a giant bathtub--It is honestly the coolest building I have been in. 

We had an awesome experience this week.  A woman came to church wanting to know more. We took her on a tour of the building and talked about baptism and priesthood authority. She said, "This is the church I would like to attend" and wanted to know even more so we set up a time to meet with her and her family. We are really excited about teaching a whole family, neither of us have had that opportunity thus far.  Miracles are starting to happen here in Marshall.  Transfer calls are coming up tomorrow, which means that if one of us leaves we will be in our new area by Friday or Saturday. I have mixed feelings about what is going to happen. I'll make sure I let you all know next week!

You asked about gum/mints?  You could send mints, I guess; we aren't supposed to chew gum because it can look "Trashy" or "Disrespectful" so no need to send that =)

That's good that everything is going well back home. I'm so glad that Summer is here and that we can actually do things outside without walking around like a marshmallow because of all the cold weather gear we had to wear. We had a pretty good Memorial Day.  We had a branch BBQ and got to chill with the branch members for awhile, that was nice. I had to unofficially say good-bye to everyone in case I get transferred--I don't know if I will see any of them again or not. I'm really hoping for a change. I'm getting tired of having the same things happen everyday. But all in God's time, I suppose. 

I love you all a ton Have a great week!