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!