Monday, April 20, 2015

51 - A "Ray" of Sunshine

So just like Sioux Falls, Williston has a bunch of smaller cities surrounding it. Sister Edwards has only came here one transfer before me and she was sick the majority of the transfer and she didn't know even exactly what our area and ward boundaries were, but we got that all figured out this week! 

Yay! I feel better about my life. Or, the area, which is kinda my life.

Therefore, we figured out what small towns we cover which ends up only being Ray. Ray is about 40 miles out of Williston, so we definitely needed some help from a generous member to do work out there, and low and behold, this awesome family, the Boone family, was willing to provide all of our transportation and living needs for us to go out there for a couple days! So Sister Boone came and picked us up Tuesday afternoon.

The Boone's house is what I call a nook and cranny house. You look at it and it looks super tiny. Then you walk in and there is way more space with way more rooms than you thought could fit in that thing. There isn't a hallway, just a bunch of rooms put together. A nook and cranky house. It was built nearly 100 years ago and is still standing, but is falling apart, but its one of those things where it's practically pointless to fix it up because it would be more efficient to just tear it down and build it up again. And they aren't doing that- and I wouldn't do it either. 

Their house is charming, and the room we stayed in was very homey, copies of Fablehaven and other fantasy books, Mario stickers around the room, and DS systems on the dresser at the head of my bed included. 

Not to mention snoopy and Super Grover.

As soon as we got to the Boone's house and unloaded our overnight bags, 

Sister Boone gave us a little drive around tour of Ray which took like three to five minutes and we stopped by the City Hall on cute little Main Street to get a map.

Ray reminds me of a combination of Tea and Worthing. the appearance is similar to that of Worthing, that old falling apart with two bars and a city hall on Main Street, but friendly and receptive atmosphere, though the streets are wider and it is maybe twice as large, so that and the less-active population of about ten or so reminds me of Tea.

There's also some odd houses in Ray. And this one I just had to get a picture of.

First thing we did was knock on all the doors up North. See that part on the map that's above 7th street? It's brown? Yeah there's only like, three streets with houses right there, and they aren't even houses, they're trailers. We walked all the way up there from the bottom of Ray, taking maybe fifteen minutes or so, maybe twenty. And it was very windy. Our skirts were going crazy. But it was also very sunny! Short sleeves, glorious! It's been so nice this week! 

Anyway, we knocked on all of the doors, got about seven less than solid potentials out of it. It was interesting, all to the trailers were just in the middle of dirt, aka mud when it's wet outside, and it's interesting to see what people put outside to walk on to get from their driveway to their trailer. You mostly had falling apart criss crossed boards to step on like big lily pads, but there were also nice round stones at one house, red wood chips at another, idk. Just interesting to me.

We then went back into the main part of Ray and confirmed where some of the less active members lived and we had a lesson with one person! And they have the cutest little boy ever! We are excited for her to get fellowshipped more by Sister Boone, who is her visiting teacher, and to see her start coming back to church!

We then came back to the Boone's house and they had a BBQ with all the two households in Ray who are active. It was SO fun! We invited some people to come on over when we were finding people in the afternoon, but it was just the active families that came. But that's ok. We played lots of games. A round of ninja, a cool type of monkey in the middle game with a volley ball, a game where a person had to be in the middle and spin around with their eyes closed and point at a person and command them to do a certain animal sound and they'd have to guess who made the sound, it was great.

And Sister Boone is going to start having these BBQs whenever we are up doing work in Ray so there will always be a good fun thing to invite people to. HOW COOL!

Seriously being in Ray was like going on vacation. But we were still doing work and teaching lessons. We were exhausted at the end of the day and we all gathered inside and played games, a game called White Lies that what fun and this picture telephone game. And the next night we played Seek. Tell me that doesn't feel like vacation. And it even more felt like vacation when we turned the lights off in our room and it had glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, because the only places I've seen have glow in the dark stars on the ceiling is places where we've slept when going out of town on vacation!

Then it felt even mooooore like vacation because the next morning we helped Sister Boone cut up jeans to make name tag things for girls camp. She's the girls camp director. And we did it outside in the Sunshine because it was in the 70's and just soooo nice.

Sister Edwards and Kiki :>
And then after lunch, we went on splits with two of the lovely super cute young ladies that live in the house! Sister Boone's daughter went with me and her sister, who is about the same age as her daughter, went with Sister Edwards.

Sister Edwards and the sister went out and taught two lessons! Another lesson with the family we saw the day before, and then they saw another less active family, who now wants to feed us next time we're out in Ray!
Me and Bridgette (aka, Batgirl!) :>

Meanwhile, me and my partner in crime left a few sticky notes on doors that didn't answer and we knocked on a couple doors when we were out of people to try. 

My awesome temporary companion, little Boone, works at the Cenex, the gas station in Ray, and who opens the door to a random knock but two of her coworkers! 

So we went in a taught them a lesson! Super awesome. We left them reading commitments, so we will have Little Boone follow up with them at work! How awesome!

So we went home and ate dinner and I called a couple more people who I had realized I missed, and this guy with only a phone number in the ward list answered the phone. 

And mind you, usually conversations with less actives over the phone are like, 'I'm ok, you don't want to waste your time coming to see me. Bye.' 

But this guy, when I asked, how are you, he was like, "I'm doing absolutely great!" 

He was the most enthusiastic happy guy ever! He gave us needlessly explicit directions to his house and we set up an appointment to see him in the morning after studies. It would be Thursday, our last day in Ray.

So we sleep, wake up, study, and bring Sister Boone's Sister with us to the lesson. This guy has a very well decorated house, and you can tell he loves hunting with all the taxidermy on the wall and the all around decor. So I'll call him Hunter. We watched the Because He Lives video with him and just talked with him. And he said at one point,

"You girls are doin somethin' to me."
"What do you mean by that?"
"You're bringing back memories. Good ones. I haven't felt this way in a long time. It's been a looong time since I felt the Holy Ghost. I miss this."

And he talked about how he really screwed up his last marriage. And wanna know what's weird? All of Sister Edwards previous areas have been in Wyoming. She knows his x-wife 'very' well. In each one of her areas, she's met someone who has a close family connection with Hunter. It's like the areas she's served in were like, super weirdly inspired or something. haha. Crazy.

But this guy, he just kept thanking us for coming over, and we asked him if he had his scriptures. And he said yes, but he couldn't find them when we asked him to grab them. And he was so sad, that desperate cry of, "I saw them the other day though! I know I did, I have them somewhere!" He wanted his own previously treasured set of scriptures. We told him to take the Book of Mormon we had and to pray for help to find his scriptures. He did and he thanked us again and again for coming, so excited to come to church again! 

AH! It was one of the coolest lessons ever! The perfect way to start out the day of April 16, 2015, the day that BOTH Sister Edwards and I reported to the MTC exactly a year ago.

It was sad to leave Ray that afternoon. It felt like we were getting transferred away from an area that we both loved dearly. But great things are in Williston too.

The one big thing that happened in Williston this week was we met a less active family in Williston that Sister Edwards had never heard about before and we invited the son, who has many questions, to think and pray about taking the lessons along with his nonmember girlfriend who just gave birth to their first a month ago. His mom was there for our visit too, but she's very bitter about the church because she has a lesbian daughter, so she doesn't want to participate in the lessons at all if her son does decide he wants to take them.

On Friday, we send a text to Hunter, saying:

"Remember to read your scriptures! Did you find them yet? :)"

And his text back? Probably the longest most awesome text I have received as a missionary ever.

"Yes and I read the one you left me about the two brothers (Holland's talk Apr 2015), very touching. I want to thank you two for coming into my life. It's rejuvenated my thoughts on life and the Lord. That's all I thought about yesterday. You two little ladies are already way special to me. Guess that's what I needed to kick start me. You two made me think about how important that life and the Lord is in our lives and to me that is so very very special. Your parents should be so proud of you because I was so touched the way you just walked right in my house and picked me up and gave me that spiritual boost. It's the first time I've felt the Holy Ghost in so long that I'd forgotten how good it feels. Wow, I'm getting all emotional sitting here writing you. I'm feeling the Holy Ghost soo strong right now. I love you two girls so much for entering my life and can't thank you enough for giving me a second chance. Wow, can't hold back on tears, unbelievable. Anyway, you ladies have a great day, n' I will see you in church on Sunday. Thanks again, both of you."

It's moments like these that help you remember that the gospel truly does change lives. Sometimes that sight can be dimmed because of others not being receptive, making you wonder if the gospel is truly that life changing if people reject it over and over. But it's the Lord that prepares people, and it's so rewarding to find them.

He didn't come to church because he unfortunately got called in to work, but next Sunday!

We are planning on going to Ray next week, so I won't really have much time to made a blog entry next week because we will be in Minot maybe for p-day because we are going up to Ray on Sunday, so we might only have 45 minutes to email, but we will see. Regardless, I'm excited to go back to Ray next week!

P.S. Hunter has a room entirely devoted to the Broncos. So if you're a Broncos fan, then you'd appreciate it.

P.P.S. Some members took us to a restaurant very very similar to Benihana's in Arizona. It was awesome!

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