I found it! The 8th wonder of the world is right here in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. And let me tell you it is truly a wonder. So Pine Bluffs is about an hour outside of Cheyenne and it is a really creepy small town. Like they have their own Elm Street. There are a ton of cars, but no people. I don't think we saw a single person until school got out. BUT, this town does have the 8th wonder of the world, which is the largest shrine to the Virgin Mary (according to the sign). You can see the statue from the freeway.... It’s crazy. There is one big statue of Mary, and then other little ones depicting her in different situations, and then there are statues depicting the crucifixion of Christ. This place was really interesting and who knew that they would have that out here in Wyoming.
This week it rained a ton. And it's starting to get colder here. We have yet to have a snowstorm, which is apparently really weird for Wyoming at this time of the year. But I am just very grateful that it is still warm out here! I am not super looking forward to the winter here. But since this has been like the longest fall ever in Wyoming, all of the trees (the 7 we have here in Cheyenne) are still changing colors and it looks super pretty! On Tuesday we got to go visit the Wyoming Hereford Ranch, which is a really big deal in the world of cattle. Anyways it's this huge gorgeous property with lots of trees and horse, barns, cows, and other ranch things. Some members of our ward own it and holy smokes it's awesome. They have a bunch of walking trails that we unfortunately won't be able to take advantage of because it's almost wintertime! Totally random funny side note, whenever we talk to new people and tell them what we are doing on missions and why we're out here, they always go "oh God must really be angry with you to send to Cheyenne right when winter hits". And then Sister Jenks and I laugh and sometimes I say "oh no no no. He's not that angry. He gave us a car at least!" Like I said. Not looking forward to winter. But yeah back to the ranch - they have this office/mini museum right when you first get on the property that tells all of the history of the ranch and has a ton of cool stuff. Like a really creepy cellar, an old library, an old safe filled with old records and things. I want to live on this ranch.
My very favorite moment of the whole week happened last Monday. Sister Jenks and I were leaving Target and it’s next to the little mall here and we saw three homeless people sitting on the corner asking for money. We passed them and I got the impression that I needed to do something. So I made Sister Jenks pull into the Little Caesars across the street and I bought them two pizzas. Before we gave it to them, I grabbed a Book of Mormon and marked Moroni 5:3 with a pass along card. We drove over to them and I rolled down my window and said "you can take the pizza's but you have to take the book too and read the place that is marked''. He looked at me with the coolest look. It was confused, but also super grateful and a little hesitant. He obviously accepted the pizzas and he was really grateful for what we had done. It was so awesome and it made my whole week. I don't know if they will ever read that book, but I have never felt the love the Savior has for someone more than I did in that moment. Who knows what the story was with these people, but Heavenly Father and the Savior love them just as much as me or Sister Jenks. I just wanted to go back and teach them! I don't know where they are now, or if they will ever read the BOM, but I know that they are being watched over.
On Thursday we spent the afternoon on the Micheli's ranch brushing their horses. Since it was super rainy here this week, the horses were all filthy. Like seriously covered in mud and grass. So all afternoon, Sister Jenks and I just went from stall to stall cleaning the horses. It was therapy honestly. Ashby told us to talk to the horses so I told them stories and Sister Jenks probably thought I was crazy, but oh well I had fun. One of the horses was really sassy and giving me some major attitude. She was an older horse and basically at this point she was going to do whatever she wanted to do. So I'm working on combing through her ridiculously knotted tail, and she decided she didn't want to be combed anymore, so she walked away from me. I then went to the side of her to push her back in place, and continue combing her tail. She let me comb for a few more minutes, and then walked away again. So I went over to the other side and pushed her back (I had to keep pushing her back because if I didn't I would've been standing in a pile of manure, and my tennis shoes don't really work as well as muck boots in that situation). This process continued for like 10 minutes and we were both getting a little frustrated. I was trying to explain to her that she needed to look pretty and that having a tail full of mud, dirt, and grass wasn't super pretty. Her response? She pooped. And then I decided I was done with her after that.
Saturday we spent the afternoon wrapping pine trees in Christmas lights at the Kelly's. They are the ones that have like a million trees decorated for the charity they run. I swear these people are nuts. But the coolest, nicest, nutsy people I've ever met. Gary just talks about the most random things all the time. Seriously I don't understand half of what he's talking about because it makes no sense, but he has the biggest heart.
We taught our investigators this week and all of the lessons went so well. The spirit was so strong in some of those lessons. One of my favorite parts of being a missionary is seeing the spirit work on these people and watch them come to know the gospel is true. It's amazing how the Lord has prepared people for receiving the message. It's a blessing for me to be a part of it. We attended a baptism for a lady on Saturday who has been investigating the church for a long time. The elders have worked with her for a while because they knew that this gospel would bless her. A lot of people are always amazed as to the fact that we do this for 18-24 months. They don't quite understand why, but I LOVE to tell them that I wouldn't be out serving a mission if I didn't know the church was true. I have no other reason to be doing than the fact that I know this is the true restored gospel of Jesus Christ and that it blesses lives. I love this gospel so much and I want others to know of its truth and to get to experience the blessings of the gospel.
I hope you all have an amazing week! Scripture for the week: Mosiah 24:15-16. The Lord will ALWAYS help you when you need it and how you need it. We might be going through a really hard time, but stay positive. Don't let yourself get down! Keep your faith up. You will be blessed! Love you all!
Sister Jenks and I at the Wyoming Hereford Ranch
Street view of the Ranch
The Shrine to Mary
Me with the horse that doesn't like to be brushed