June 8 of 2020 was the day that transfer boards came out. I was so nervous about where my next area would be, what would the people be like and how would missionary work be with covid in my next area? Searching through the pictures and names just trying to find mine, seconds past by which felt like hours. The moment my eyes caught hold of my picture, I first noticed the words written on the top just above my new companion and I, “La Crosse Wisconsin”. I have never heard of La Crosse Wisconsin before and wasn’t sure what to think about it.
The beginning of my new adventure in La Crosse started out with a long drive from Bloomington, but that’s not where the adventure is. We somehow forgot to grab our apartment keys when they handed us our car keys..oops! We got halfway there then realized what happened. We call the elders that are still up there and ask them if they could grab our keys. They so kindly did but they grabbed the wrong set of apartment keys! What were we to do now? After calling the mission office we decided that we would drive the hour and a half in the morning and then drive all the way to La Crosse.
As we got closer to La Crosse Wisconsin I began to fall in love with the area! Just looking at the beautiful bluffs, the trees, and even just the miles of farmland! This was going to be an amazing time! Peace just filled my soul! But what was the four and a half months like serving as a missionary at this time?
We had more rules than anyone with covid, we weren’t allowed inside homes, no tracking or even talking to the people on the streets. You may wonder how we even did missionary work! Well let me tell you!
When they say that members really make or break an area they are right. The members in La Crosse are one of the most Christlike loving people I’ve met! Just a few days after being in my new area we had dinner with a member. Well let’s just say that it was pouring rain outside. Just a little disappointed that we would have to cancel dinner, this would be my first dinner with a member since covid had started. I was looking forward to this… well a little tender mercy came as the Flamm family called and said that we would just eat in their garage.
How could those simple words bring me so Relief and an overpowering feeling of love? This family was willing to eat dinner in a garage with the doors open just so we could come over for dinner. Not only was the dinner amazing but the love that I felt as we sat around the table.
The members in La Crosse knew how to make you feel loved. They may not know how much they do for us missionaries but they are one of the reasons why we keep going. Taking the next step, they give us hope!
Every time we would visit with members I was just more at home. It was like having a big family that just always made you laugh and feel so welcome!! They kept me going even when things got hard. They say that sometimes all you need is love, well La Crosse gave me that love that I was in need of.
Missionary work wasn’t the same and I don’t think that it will ever be the same. We spent hours doing Facebook work. By that I mean, creating posts, videos and even messaging people. I never thought that just maybe I would be the person that seems creepy! There were times when I questioned why we were using Facebook to find given that was one of the only ways we could find people to teach. There are amazing things that did come out of it though.
As time went on I noticed that finding through Facebook was something more. We got to talk to so many people but it’s more than that. We had the chance to make videos with members and be creative. When they say God gives us gifts, He sure does! This is when they come in handy. For months I felt like I was not doing anything as a missionary but then I realized I was. I am sharing the light of Christ every time I talk to someone or even when they see us out.
Lessons were online a lot of the time. We had a few outside but for the most part those we taught were too far and having limited miles was hard. But I saw the amazing things that we could do while teaching over technology. We were inside a lot but when we had the opportunity to serve others by helping them in their yards, I felt my heart begin to fill with peace.
I never really saw or noticed the impact of serving others till I got told we couldn’t do it, then when we got the green light again I was so excited. It was like Christmas all over again. We finally could go out and work!! After a few months of being in the area we posted on an area Facebook group page about doing service for free. I wasn’t sure what would come from it. To my surprise we got a ton of messages asking if we could come and rake leaves and do all shorts of service.
I loved every single person I met, they always made me feel so loved. I now know why Christ was always out serving people. It’s not only because it makes you feel good but you get to see the light in the eyes of those your serve come alive. We have been given so much, so why not give freely?
When it came time for me to leave La Crosse and go to my next area I was heart broken. My heart has not felt thus sad since I left home. Packing up my things may not have been the funest thing I’ve done but when I look back at my time here and the memories all I noticed was the joy I felt. How could anyone feel joy or love in a time like this? It’s so simple, joy comes from the things we chose to focus on. The people in La Crosse showed me so much love, while that is what I focused on, I left feeling loved. La Crosse will always have a piece of my heart.