Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hi Family!
I GOT THE PACKAGES!!! I LOVE THE POPCORN AND I CAN'T WAIT TO OPEN THE REST ON CHRISTMAS!!! :) I shared (some) popcorn with my zone today and they loved it. :) Today we only have 2.5 hours for p-day since we have our mission Christmas party tomorrow and then all of Christmas is our p-day so we're compensating for that.
This week has been great! I want to tell you about Hailey.  We were walking around the neighborhood before one of our appointments and out comes Hailey from one of the houses. I start talking to her (OYMing) and she's like yeah, talk to me while I'm walking! (my mind is going crazy because NO ONE says that to us) So I start by giving her the really short version of the restoration and ask her if she wants to hear more. I give her a copy of the Book of Mormon and ask her to start reading a little bit before our appointment the next day. Her dad had grown up Mormon we find out and that she does have family that's Mormon. She's been to church like twice when she was younger. She grew up Jehovah Witness, but they had left that church awhile ago so she's not going to any church right now. CRAZY! We take a young woman, Sydney, that's planning to go on a mission soon with us. We go there the next day, Tuesday, and we teach a powerful, POWERFUL lesson about the restoration.  She totally understands the Great Apostasy because there are so many churches. While we were reciting the first vision, she clutched her chest and said "stop that!" She thought that we were doing something- it was the Holy Ghost. She said afterwards that she knew that the First Vision happened! GOLD MINE! We're like so happy to hear that and I testified that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he did in fact see God and Jesus Christ. It was amazing! The spirit was so tangible. We soft committed her to baptism and she said yes, if she knew it was true. We also invited her to church and she said that she would like to come and we ask her to continue reading the Book of Mormon. She had read a lot of it already! All highlighted and everything. It's like a time warp in her house. We were there for an hour, but it felt like 10 minutes.

We go to her house again the next day, Wednesday, and teach her the Plan of Salvation and again she understood everything well and had some questions. We again took a member with us. The spirit was there again. She's again read a lot of the Book of Mormon and loves it. We asked her to be baptized again and it was the same answer. We hadn't prayed about a date to extend to her yet, so we didn't hard commit her. This lesson wasn't as powerful because she was a little distracted that day.

We set up another appointment for Friday to teach the third lesson. This time we prayed about a date for her and we felt like January 12th would be good. This lesson was as powerful as the first lesson. It's the Gospel of Jesus Christ- Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. When we're talking about Baptism and I felt prompted again to ask her to be baptized. This time with January 12th. The spirit was so strong, but she said that yes, but she needs to think about it! I asked her if she knew it was true. She said yes. She knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is true, and everything we've said is true! Gah! She did have the question of can you wait to get baptized later in life, like you can sin all you want and then have them washed away. I felt prompted to share Alma the younger story with repentance and how painful it is. We forgot to resolve concerns because it had already been an hour. Next time we're going to start with why she doesn't feel like she can be baptized. We're hoping that we can have her baptized this month since she's been progressing so fast! It's only been a week!  Hailey is our golden investigator right now and it's been awesome to start from the very beginning with her. My first one where I've found her and now teaching her!!

Also this week, on Thursday, during our personal study Gina's name kept on bouncing in my head. Before we were going to leave the house I felt like we needed to go see Gina right then at 11. So we bike over there and when Gina opens the door, she's frazzled. Her daughter had just had oral surgery and was reacting badly from the pain meds. Her house was a mess because she had been sick the whole week ( we didn't know that), so we started cleaning up her kitchen and living room while she dealt with her daughter. Her daughter was becoming violent and everything because she was like hallucinating or something. It was pretty scary. So we cleaned part of her house and everything. We taught her a little lesson and gave her the Book of Mormon stories to read. Since she had ADHD reading the Book of Mormon is difficult for her, so we thought that the simplified version would be easier. We also talked about the Holy Ghost and if she had prayed about it. She had received the answer that she needed to learn more about Christ. Well, we thought that we had had a break though! We get a call on Sunday, because she wasn't at church so we had texted her asking if she was alright. She's been reading a lot of Anti (which is sad because she's believing it and can't get past the early church's history). We try to answer her questions and she texts us basically dropping us. Sad day. She hasn't been feeling the Holy Ghost because she doesn't allow us to teach her the lessons. Just to ask questions. She wants what we have, but just can't get past those things. Sad. So we call her back and she's like "don't be mad! I just have to learn more about Christ and have the foundation of the Bible and can't read the Book of Mormon right now." She did say that we could come by today. Hopefully we'll be able to give her that foundation of Christ that she wants and that she'll actually listen! I have faith and hope!

I know that Heavenly Father wants this for her, but she just has to listen and not be thinking of the next question that she's going to ask. Hopefully it'll go well. If we can't keep her as an investigator (she's dropped the missionaries twice before) then right now isn't the right time and I'm okay with that.

The work is progressing and I'm excited to be a part of it! We have two of our investigators, Sherry and Katie, on date for baptism. Both in January.

Let's see. I saw my first scorpion last night. They're small but still scary! Ick! They can come up the bathtub- they go through the pipes! Luckily we saw this one outside on our wall.

Sister Collins

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012


So I can't believe that I've been out on my mission for just over a month! Crazy how time flies by! I want to thank you all for your letters and packages. I finally sent out my letters in the mail last week so hopefully everyone has gotten them. (I have been sending letters to Anita, so hopefully she's gotten them?) We love to open up our Advents everyday and read the stories. :) You're the best mom!
Did you enjoy the pictures I sent you? I forgot my camera cord today, so there won't be any pictures.

So this week has been another crazy week as a missionary. The days go by long, but the weeks really do go by fast. This week we had like every lesson cancel on us, but that was okay. I am getting the hang out rejection and it hasn't bothered me. I'm also getting the hang of OYMing and yesterday I had a really neat experience. We went to the park in our area, Discovery Park, and we just started talking to everyone that we saw. I started talking to this lady. Said we were misisonaries sharing a message about Jesus Christ and  how He's blessed our lives and eternal families. Then we got to know her and it turns out she's a reading teacher and I felt prompted to ask her about if she had read and/or knew about the Book of Mormon. She said she had heard of it and I testified that the Book of Mormon had changed my life unlike any other book that I have read. I explained that I too was an advid reader and that since she loved to read, this book would too change her life. I gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and it happened to be one of the copies that had Dad's testimony glued in it from the Advent from the day before. I had been praying to know who I should give those copies out to. I felt like that she would greatly benefit from hearing your testimony. I wanted to thank you, Mom and Dad, for your testimonies of the Book of Mormon and how they will touch the lives of others. We gave her our card and she said that she'd call us or talk to her friend who was Mormon. Even though we didn't get her information (she said that she didn't feel comfortable) I felt like that she would actually read it.

Also this past Friday Elder Cook, Bishop Stephenson, and Elder Gonzalz came to our mission and spoke to us. What a neat experience to shake their hands and hear them speak specially to us in the Tempe, Arizona mission. The spirit was so strong like when Elder Holland came to the MTC. He talked about how to extend a powerful invitation followed by promised blessings, and then your testimony. Also they talked about how important Preach My Gospel is and how inspired it is. I have truly gained a testimony of this as well. They also talked about how important the Book of Mormon is in the role of conversion. He gave a statistic of how that only 20% of converts had read the Book of Mormon all the way through before they were baptized. And those that did, were truly converted and were retained. Before this conference, I had been getting the feeling that we needed to amp up our Book of Mormon empasis. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and I know that to be true. I am eternally greatful of our scripture study and family home evenings as a family. My love of the Book of Mormon has been a strong foundation that has helped me not only in my life, but especially right now as a missionary.

We have a new investigator! We taught Sandra on Saturday the first lesson- The Restoration. She's Catholic and her husband had died last year. She recognizes the Holy Ghost and said repeatedly throughout our lesson that she felt good and at peace. She invited us back in two weeks (holiday craziness) to teach her the Plan of Salvation. It's amazing how prepared she is and also her two boys. We haven't been able to see her son Brian again since we saw him a week ago, but we're hoping that we can teach all three of them. I'm worried that because she said that she's happy now that she will think that she doesn't need to join because she's happy now. We commited her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. When we taught the First Vision, I got chills all over and it was confirmed to me again that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It's one of the most powerful points in the lesson.

We haven't been able to have a lesson with Gina again, but we are this week. We're hoping that she has prayed to know how the Holy Ghost speaks to her. We did go with her and her fellowships to the Mesa Visitor's Center to see the Christmas lights. And...............I SAW KELSEY AKA SISTER HAMSTEAD! What I sweet reunion. I saw her from the back and I wasn't really sure if it was her so I went up and tapped her shoulder and she turned around and it took her like a second to process that it was me. She stopped midsentance of talking to some members and just grabbed my hand and walked away. (Probably not the best, but oh well :] ) She took me to the break room and we hugged and hugged and took a picture. We could only talk for like 2 minutes, but at least we saw each other! It was so surreal to see her!!! I wish that I could see her more often! The lights were so pretty and I don't really know what Gina thinks right now. She's converted to the social, but we need to see how she is spiritually. So this week we will. :)

We're hoping to have Sherry baptized this month and we meet with her tonight!!

We have three lessons tonight, so we're hoping to teach more this week and that they'll actually not cancel. :)

I love you all and thank you for your encouraging letters.


Sister Collins

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012


I'll start with the last days of my MTC. Sister Holyoak and I had some more powerful spiritual experiences while teaching. We had a great thing going. I miss her and I can't wait to find out how she's doing in Edmonton, Canada. I picked up a lot of addresses to write to the other missionaries in my district and zone from the MTC. lol I'm excited to see how they're all doing. I love the MTC and all of the experiences that I've had there. 

So, wow. It's been CRAAAAZZZY! I've officially been out in the field for 5.5 days. I arrived with 18 Elders and what I sight that was I'm sure. I made it with all three of my bags under 50 lbs- so I was proud of myself. :) It was really weird to not have a companion, but it was great to know four of the Elders since they were from my MTC district. So I was there companion. I had to wake up at 2AM on that Tuesday because Sister Holyoak had to leave at 3AM. I said goodbye to her and then finished packing. The plane ride was short- I was in the middle seat between two Elders. When I arrived, President Howes and his wife were there to greet us. They had lived in Naperville in the 90s. So we had a lot to talk about. Since I was the only Sister, I kind of got special treatment because I had to be Sister Howes companion. It was a little uncomfortable, but we had a good time. We had a lunch and then orientation. The scariest part was that they took us to ASU's campus and turned us loose with companions ( I had to be with the AP and another Elder...awkward) to go talk to people. This is called OYMs (Open Your Mouth). This is where you talk to anyone and everyone about the gospel and try to get people to commit to meeting with the missionaries for lessons. I almost peed my pants. It was one of the most scariest moments so far on the mission. It's unnerving and it was definitely a shock since we didn't practice street contacting in the MTC. The church's (the Lord's) mission program loves to just throw you out in the deep end and let you learn to swim. Then afterwards we went to a members house where they feed us dinner and we had a short program. At 7PM we were allowed to go to a member's house where they took us in for the night. I went to an old lady's house and it was good because I got my own room and like 9 hours of sleep since I was sooooo tired. It was probably one of the most tiring days of my mission (so far). I'm so sorry that I haven't written anyone- in the MTC you have hardly any time for personal hour, so I hope to be catching up soon. And yes, I received your packages- they were here waiting for me when I arrived! I was kind of in shock the whole day.

The next day, Wednesday, was transfers were I met my companion and we talked about missionary work and training. It took until 1PM and a member drove us to our apartment. It's a mother-in-law suite of a member's house. We have no stove or anything. It's like a studio apartment with one room for sleeping, studying, eating (fridge), and another one with the bathroom. So it's small, but cute. My companion, Sister Farthing, and I have loved opening them and reading the Advents- it reminds me of home and I love it. :) So Sister Farthing is from New Zealand and is 24 years old. She only has 12 weeks left, so I'll be her last companion. She's great! She's kind of reserved because that is her culture- totally opposite from ours. I'm the loud American out of the two of us. lol. She has only been in the area for 6 weeks, so we both don't know where we're going....that has been interesting. She also can't drive in America, so we had to wait to get approval for me to drive. So we had to ask members to drive us the first two days. The mission has a program called a TeeWee card where it tracks all of your movements to make sure that missionaries are being safe while driving- so no speeding (has been very hard), no sharp turns, etc   So that day I unpacked and we had to go shopping since I didn't have any food. Then we went over a lesson plan since we had out coordination meeting for one of our wards (we cover three wards). We had dinner with a family and then had planning at night. I never realized how awkward being a missionary is. We are so weird! lol. We walk around in church clothes asking people about what they believe in. We are so awkward. lol Especially dinner with members because they have no idea what to say to us since we don't know them and they don't know us-- well certain families. I just assumed that everyone was like our family where we have... people skills? lol So that has been an adventure adjusting to being "the weird" one and out of place. We are a peculiar people and being a missionary is definitely means that I'm even more peculiar. I do like it, but it's been hard getting used to having everyone notice every little thing you do.

The next day, Thursday, I woke up with hives covering my face, arms, and legs.... so I had to go to the doctor since even just in the morning after personal, companion, and training, they were spreading. So the doctor gave me steroids. My body is shutting down! lol But I'm alright :) I'm also learning that a lot of missionary work is dealing with rejection. And I can honestly say that it doesn't have any effect on me anymore. It's sad when people say no, but we get rejected so many times in the day that it has no effect.

So we have 6 investigators and a lot of potentials. There's one lady, Sherry, is amazing! The missionaries found her two months ago and on the first visit she wanted to be baptized! So we're finishing up the lessons with her and hopefully she'll be baptized this month! She went to church for the first time yesterday and tonight we're going to teach her more of the lessons. She has to go to church two weeks in a row for her to be baptized. Hopefully it'll be my first baptism!

This week has been amazing! The spirit is so strong when you're on your mission. I honestly don't feel homesick at all (but I do miss you guys!!). I love it when we teach and people actually want to listen. On Saturday we had a neat experience. We had gotten a referral for Sandra and we went over there because Sister Farthing and her last companion had set up a lesson even though they hadn't met her. So the lesson was on Saturday at 4pm. We go there and Brian her son answers the door. Sandra isn't there. :( So we ask Brian if he'd like to know more. We basically teach him the basics of the Restoration and especially the Book of Mormon. He wants a Book of Mormon so we ask him to read 2 Nephi 32 (the Doctrine of Christ) and set up a lesson time for Sunday. Our first potential investigator that we had found together! We go back yesterday, and they weren't there ( :[ ) but we're going to go back today. Also there's this amazing Indian family that they had tracked into last Sunday and we went over there yesterday and gave them a Bible  in Tamial and they were very touched. We talked about it and bore testimony of it and the grandfather said to come back in 15 days so he can read the whole thing! We'll see.

Also another investigator, Gina, is from New York and she's been investigating for 4 months and is really skeptical.  She reads a lot of anti and comes with questions and last night I had my first lesson with her. We watched the Restoration movie  and afterwards we were talking because she has a lot of questions. I felt prompted to ask her why she wants to know all of the history facts and it turns out that she doesn't know how to recognize the Holy Ghost. We made some progress and committed her to pray to ask Heavenly Father how she feels the Holy Ghost. She's come to church. 

Sunday's are crazy! We start at 8 and go til 3. With two investigators in different wards we were running all over. It's going to be even crazier when we can get more people to come. I'll tell you more about people that I'm teaching next time!! 

I love the mission and I'm so glad that I'm here! Next week will be more of my experiences, but I just wanted to give you a picture of what I'm doing.

I love you all and thanks for writing!!


Sister Collins