Monday, January 26, 2015

Am I Living in South Dakota or the Bahamas??

That's right, everyone!! It is 60 degrees in the POSITIVE right now in Belle Fourche!! What in the world?? The weather this week has been out of this world!! It's amazing!! I can't even begin to describe how amazing it is!! That is a 112 degree difference from last January 25th-ish! Whoodda thunk?

I told you it was going to be an awesome week, and it was!! Heavenly Father follows through on His promises, that's for sure!!

Last Tuesday, we for some reason hiked Bear Butte as a district, and it was a baaad idea!! haha it was WINDY and ICY and the path is skinny and on a CLIFF, and S. Barrett and I didn't have super good traction shoes on. But! We made it up and back without a death or a casualty...although we all got bumps and bruises on the way!! Haha. Missions are full of all sorts of adventures!!!

This week, we only got in with 1 of our investigators, Bill, and all the others wouldn't open their door for us. So. We got in though with some AWESOME less actives though, so it was still an awesome week!! The main less actives we are working with are Corben and Syler and their family. They were both raised in the church, but fell away in their teenage years. They have 2 adorable little girls, Willow and Sequora and they want to be sealed in the temple!! So last week, we met with them 3 times! It was awesome!! Corben especially loves having us over because he's learning so much! He's like a sponge: just soaking it all in and then acting on it!! So that is so awesome!! He doesn't remember a lot about the church, so us coming over has been able to help him a lot!! We love their family so much and are so grateful to be working with them!! They all came to Sacrament Meeting yesterday, and that was great because they haven't been to Sacrament in a long time all together. Corben works in the oil field, so his work schedule is a bit crazy, but they we all there and that was GREAT!!! So we love them and are so grateful for them!!

This week, we had a really good discussion with our investigator, Bobbi. It wasn't a lesson, but in this conversation with her, we saw how her testimony of the Savior is growing!! She has been far from God for a while, and since the missionaries have started meeting with her, she's started coming closer to Him and recognizing the blessings that come from that. She told us this week how she was about to make a really big mistake and this wouldn't be the first time, but for some reason, she decided not to and she got herself out of that situation! All on her own!! She recognized that if she made this choice it would result in a loss of the Spirit and she would be walking away from God, and that wasn't worth it to her. So that was a huge testimony to me that people are happier when they follow Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ!! It reminds me of the scripture Alma 41:10, which ends with "Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness." I have definitely seen that on my mission! So many people try to go to the world and turn to that for peace and clarity, but instead they find themselves more confused, lost and clouded than they have ever before been. One of my favorite scriptures I have found on my mission is Alma 36:16-21. At this point in the Book of Mormon, Alma the Younger is going through the repentance process for destroying the church. This is how he describes it:16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul. 17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. 18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death .19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. 20 And oh, what joy , and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! 21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joyI LOVE that!! I think he describes forgiveness perfectly as joy and light, with words of exquisite and sweet. It is so true!! And this is what is starting to happen in Bobbi, and that is a modern day miracle!! They happen all the time!!

We got to serve at the Wildlife Sanctuary in Spearfish this week, and it was super fun! We got to feed the animals by ice skating to all of them because the roads were covered in so much ice!! They have camels, hogs, llamas, tigers, lions, bears, jaguars, chickens, geese, kittens, deer--you name it! It's a pretty fun place to serve at. We go there every once in a while.

We got to drive an hour and 10 minutes each way yesterday to our dinner appointment in Buffalo, SD. Population is 385! We have an awesome family that lives up there are it was so fun!!! Funny thing is, we just got a media referral for a family up there this morning, so we may be going back up there sooner than we thought!! haha fun times!

We met this crazy Rastafarian minister/priest guy this week who teaches his congregation out of the Book of Mormon! We're almost certain that he was high when we were talking to him, but he may have just been #permafried. haha.

That was a sum of our week! We're continuing to plug along and move forward!!

Love you all!
sister leslie.

Oh yeah, and Jose (baptized last January 25th), has now been a member for a YEAR officially! Time flies!!

At the top of Bear Butte!

My district! Me, Sister Barrett, Elder Bell, Elder Emmett, Elder Powell and Elder Dudley

Us with the Camel, Mickey at the Wildlife Sanctuary

Me with my Llama face. This llama spits at ya! mmm...gross!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Heavenly Father Hears Our Prayers!

Well, hello all you awesome people! Greeting from Belle!! I'm excited to share my week with you!!

It seemed like the whole week we just tried less actives and potentials endlessly. ha,ha this whole "city" shuts down at like 7:30 and everyone goes to bed, so that's been a pretty rough time for us this week to fill. But, we've been doing our best to be diligent, and I've been praying for strength harder than I have at any given point on my mission, and things slowly but surely have started to work out!! 

By far, the best part of the week was Friday. We drove to Rapid for our Zone Training Meeting, and it was so inspired!! It felt weird to be on the participant's side, and to not be the one giving the training! But I think it was what I needed, to be able to just listen to the training and soak in what I needed. ZTM this time was on overcoming discouragement, choosing to be happy, and having more effective dinner messages (and role playing them). SO it helped me a whole lot!! I especially loved the trainings on overcoming discouragement and choosing to be happy, because I'm on the downhill of my mission and I want to spend it being HAPPY and doing my best!! SO I have been making that a big focus of the week, and it's getting better. :) It was very different to have to drive an hour to and from ZTM, but kinda fun, I guess. It breaks up the monotony of everything. It was really fun because while there, I got to meet the sisters serving in Chadrin, NE and one of them, Sister Hailes, is a ballroom dancer, come to find out!! She was up in Logan when I was on Utah State's team, and so we've seen each other before! It was fun to be able to take a second and just be able to talk about dance stuff with someone who understood what I was talking about and knew the terminology. :) I have forgotten a lot, but I there's things I still remember! 

We found a new investigator this week! Her name is Bernice, and she's really cool! She's native and is very open. It's a bit of an odd situation because 4 of her kids are RLDS, so that's kinda fun to help her to see the difference in that church and this one, for they ARE different churches and NOT the same. We met her last week as she was wasted and asking us for cigarettes and money...but she's great when she's sober and really likes us!! SO we're happy to do what we can to help her out and do our best to bring her closer to Christ. :) 

Ha,ha now when people ask me how long I've been on my mission, I just tell them "A little over a year" and it helps to not get them starting to talk about when I go home as well! It's foolproof!! 

This week I've been praying a lot that I can have strength to get through the hour, the day, the week, and that we can find people as we are being diligent, and Heavenly Father has been helping us already!! Yesterday, we had 4 appointments and less actives/investigators have been calling us to set up a time to meet this week! And it's great because we have only 1 evening this week we have to find something to do, the rest are planned!! SO that is great!! We are so excited and grateful that the Lord is already blessing us and helping us. :) My testimony of prayer and of our Heavenly Father's love has grown exponentially on my mission and even since being here. Our Heavenly Father knows us all personally! He knows our names and He knows our circumstances. We are never, EVER, alone!! 

From here on out, I want to start sharing one of my favorite Book of Mormon scriptures in ever email home and how it's influenced me. :) Today I wanted to share Alma 37:6-7: "6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. 7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls." I have seen miracles on my mission that have started with small, everyday circumstances and I have seen my faith strengthened and built by each prayer answered, every investigator found, every member returned to activity and every active member firmed in their resolve to share their testimony. The Lord, like it says in this scripture, doesn't work in huge works, but in many small ways, usually through other people even! He lets us use our agency to be HIs hands so all are edified and grow together in the process! And that's the best part about being a missionary; being His hands to bring light and peace to others of His children. :)

Yeah, that was pretty much our week!!! This week is going to be super boss, so when I write next week, be prepared to be amazed and astounded at how the Lord is hastening His work!!
sister leslie.

Rapid Zone Sisters (Sister Barrett, Me, Sister Hailes, Sister Rodriguez, 
Sister Merrell and SIster Devey)


Yay for ShopVacs!

Cleaning off popcorn ceiling is messy work! Us with Sister Stednick. 

Monday, January 12, 2015


That pretty much sums up my week! It's been a culture shock for sure! Belle is TIIINY! I have learned from this that I am NOT made out for small town living, so after this portion working here in Belle, I'm not ever going to live in a place this small. Nope! Not gonna! But it's a good experience while I'm here to soak it all in, so I'm trying really hard to like it here, ha,ha. The ward members are nice and that makes a big difference. 

This week I got back in the swing of tracting a little bit, which is good. Just different than it has been for a while! It's harder to tract here because a lot of people don't like the Church, so people aren't always super nice to us when we knock on their door. So that makes it a bit harder to get motivated to go out and do the work, but we are still getting out there are doing it! Our teaching pool is pretty small and so we need to go tracting a lot to build it. It's been a big change coming here for me because none of the investigators we do have are progressing very fast at allor keeping their commitments, so we're becoming more bold with those we are teaching and working on finding more. We have some good potentials for this week, so we are excited to start teaching them. I hope we can get in with all of them!!! 

Our most progressing investigator is Bill. He's in his 50s and wants to build his relationship with Jesus Christ, which is a great start!! We had a great Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson with him yesterday and it went well! He's on date for March 14 (which is a month later than we were going for, but he is willing to commit to that date so we'll take it!), so we are excited for him. We know he'll be ready by then. 

One of our other investigators is Bobbi and her daughter, Krystal. They are slowly moving forward and we are excited to continue working with her. She had a bad experience with Church members down in Utah, so baptism is a ways off for her, but she really likes us coming over and is open to us teaching her, so we will just keep doing that!! 

A fun fact about our Belle Fourche Meetinghouse is that is was the first one President Monson ever dedicated!! How cool! Apparently, Belle used to be quite the hoppin' place due to the sugar beet business that was here. But when all that moved to Rapid and elsewhere, the congregation here got much smaller. So that was some fun info! 

Our district here is really fun. There's just 3 companionships, which is smaller than any district I've had. We have us in Belle, Elder Powell and Elder Bell in Spearfish (they also share a ward with us), and Elder Emmett (our District Leader) and Elder Dudley, who are in Sturgis. SO it's fun! We can all get pretty close (for missionaries, anyway) since there's not a lot of us. 

We've had some fun adventures this week, though, even though it was short: we got cussed out, told some anti doctrine, we had a wasp in our house and also a million fruit flies, and we talked to a crazy drunk lady who asked us for cigarettes and then for us to come by and teach her so we could save her. Yep! It's been quite the party!! 

Other than that, not much has been going on. I found out Sister Barrett is number 8 of 10 kids and from Eagle Mountain, UT and has been out for 4 months. SO it's quite the change from being with Sister Woodbury, but still awesome!

The other exciting news of the week is that I got to see Sister Woodbury again today!!! She is going to MLC today and so they were driving to Rapid, and we happen to go shopping at the Walmart in Spearfish, which is right off of the freeway, so they stopped today and gave me some stuff I left in Casper and we were able to talk for a whole hour!! It was awesome! It was just the closure I needed to be able to effectively move forward. I've missed her a ton this week and so it was a huge help to me to be able to see her again!! 

This is what we got from our mission president this week, check this out!!!

"Dear Elders and Sisters,
We are pleased to announce changes that will occur to our mission on or before July 1 2015. First, as scheduled, there will be a change of mission president. The new mission president and wife replacing Sister Anderson and me will be President Michael J. and Danece Hess. They currently live in Malad, ID. Second, the mission headquarters will be moved to Bismarck ND on or before July 1st. Third, the boundaries of our mission will be changed. The decision by the brethren to make these changes is driven by several factors. There is significant growth in the Northwest portion of the South Dakota Rapid City Mission. It is the largest geographic mission in the continental US. The boundaries of the mission will be changed to reduce the overall size and make it easier to administer. The new boundaries will align with the boundaries of the Bismarck ND temple district. This means that the South Dakota Sioux Falls Stake will become part of the Nebraska Omaha Mission, the Wyoming Casper Stake will become part of the Colorado Ft. Collins Mission and the Wyoming Gillette Stake will become part of the Montana Billings Mission. Also, the Montana Glendive Stake will become part of the new North Dakota Bismarck Mission. We are awaiting further instruction as to the exact timing of these changes. We can only imagine the logistical details involved in this historic event. This change will affect four missions. Three of these four missions, Montana Billings, Nebraska Omaha and South Dakota Rapid City Mission will all receive new mission presidents on July 1st 2015. President Kelly Brown of the Colorado Ft. Collins Mission began his service in July of 2013. This change is part of the 11 new missions announced by the church this week. We fully sustain the brethren as they manage these changes and we anxiously await further instructions from them. We hope to be able to share further details during our January Zone Conference. 
All our love, President and Sister Anderson" 

So yeah! Our mission is being put into FOUR different ones!! And the mission home is moving up to Bismarck, ND! So the biggest chunk of our mission will be the North Dakota Bismarck Mission--how crazy!! I'm so glad I will get to start and end my mission in my beloved SDRCM. Woohoo! 

I love you all and hope you are all doing fantastic!! Thanks for all you do to help me, it keeps me going!!!

sister leslie.

Our Apartment living room, bigger than my previous HOUSE!

Our bedroom

Sister Woodbury, the Casper ZLs and I

Reunited again!!!!!!! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Wow, what! A ! Week! It was crazy, with adventure at every turn!! 

Well, first off, transfer calls came and I am now in Belle Fourche, SD! (Pronounced "bell foosh) I was told that my companion was SIster Pierce, SIster Woodbury's MTC companion, but it turns out that they messed up on that call and my real companion is SIster Barrett! So that was a bit crazy! I didn't find out until SIster Barrett came to get me. Haha it really threw me for a loop. But! i made it here safely and it is TINY! 5,500 people! We are the only missionaries here in the town (city? I don't know), which is very different. Sister Barrett is from Eagle MOuntain, UT and has been out for 4 months! SO we are very much on opposite ends of the spectrum! weird! Our apartment is really big though--we even have a real bathroom door now! woohoo! And our own washer and dryer, which is AWESOME! SO yeah! It's going to be a great transfer! We are still in a ward here, it covers Spearfish, Belle and a whole bunch of tiny places. We even have permission to teach an investigator who lives in Montana!! SO it's going to be a new adventure here. I'm getting pretty excited. 

SIster Williamson and I had a great exchange this week! We got 3 member presents in 1 day!! It's been a long time since I've had that happen. haha. But it was great! Pete, Tracy and Brooklyn all had solid lessons and we were able to make great progress with all of them and have really spiritual lessons! I love SIster Williamson a lot and had a lot of fun with her! :) 

We also had the BEST D-day EVER last week!! Sister Woodbury and I went with 6th ward sisters to a place called Pottery By You and made SDRCM mugs!! Oh yeah!! Unfortunately, they weren't done and all glazed until today so Sister Woodbury is going to mail it to me and then I'll have a super snazzy mug! I'm pretty proud of it. :) 

Danette and Shyanne are doing well, Shyanne better than her mom. A lot more of our lessons have been falling through lately, which is so sad because Shyanne would let us come over every day if she could! SHe is so eager to learn more and she loves reading in the Book of Mormon! SHe's such a bright 9 year old. SO I hope with the new sister loves them as much as I do. :) The work is doing great in Casper. 

We went to a super awkward New Years EVe dinner with a less active family, so those are always fun. Only the grandma and one of their daughters, Destiny, paid any attention to us and the rest of the family/friends looked at us like we had the plague, haha! it's going to be SO weird going home and not getting stared at weird!! I won't know what to do with myself! haha you laugh, but it's the truth! 

Saying goodbye to the people in Casper was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do, silly enough. I was an emotional WRECK for a few days, just ask Sister Woodbury! Saying goodbye to Pete, Tracy and some of the awesome families we have in the ward just broke my little heart! I LOVE them all so much and I told them I'll be back in June, so I gotta live up to that and go back! It's not that far from Bountiful, so it should be so possible!! I love Casper and the people there and the work is really picking up. Most of all, I especially love my ward. The members there are AMAZING and they are doing a great job hastening the Lord's work!! I am proud to have served with them. 

We had a couple crazy days right before I left. SIster Woodbury got food poisoning from a sketchy Mexican place, Pancho's, so she was down most of that day. It was so sad because we had gone there as our last big hoorah and it just bombed. :(  haha it was so sad.....but it did give me some time to catch up on a few things....I packed a bit more and actually caught up in my journal which was AWESOME! But not great that she was sick. Not great at all. And THEN!  Saturday night, we go to sleep, and I wake up in the middle of the night and think, "I am absolutely freezing!" I thought maybe I was just crazy, but then we wake up and find the thermostat says 45 degrees! Our heater broke, and so our house was terribly cold! We put on our big winter coats, first time of the year no less, and had the Zone Leaders come and fix it for us. We were too cold to do our hair and make-up in there, so we tried the car but it was so cold in there too. Ugh! We ended up just asking the Nicholls if we could go over there and get ready for the day, because it was too cold in our house. So we got ready over there, which they thought was pretty funny. It's not every day you see a couple of sister missionaries on your doorstep looking like a nasty-ratchet mess! Haha don't worry, we got the heater fixed now, and it has warmed up a little bit. This week we dipped down into the negatives frequently and that was annoying. 

SO that's pretty much the recap! I love you all and am grateful for everything that you do for me! 
sister leslie.
Me and SIster Williamson on exchanges!


The biggest horchata cups I have ever seen. What would you call that? Mucho Grande?

Us and the Klers

Us, Tracy and her daughter, Rayna

Us and the Winns

Casper Zone SIsters before transfers!

Our last companionship picture

Driving on the transfer train! Back row L to R: E. Beazer, E. Bench, E. Telford, middle row E.Juarez and S. Curley, front, S. Mower, S. Stebbing (also trained by Sister Jensen), me Super front, Elder Ashby 

Me and SIster Barrett, my new actual companion