I'm so glad that I got to talk and see you all last week on Christmas Day. I can't believe that Anne-Marie has braces and how tall Grant has gotten in just the few months that I've been away. Everyone is looking fabulous. :) Also, little Nathan has gotten so big- it was fun to see and talk to all of the extended family as well who were in Wisconsin.
This past week has been a little crazy with Christmas time and all. We caroled to our investigators that each companionship decided to go to that night because it was p-day. One of the Elders, Elder Poffenburger, can play the guitar so it added some pizazz to our singing. We caroled to one of our investigators, Sherry, and her husband. It was quite a fun night. Sherry then asked us to come back and sing to her mother-in-law on the 26th. So we went back as a district and sang. Sherry had asked for a blessing, so the Elders gave her a blessing and afterwards we were talking to Sherry about baptism. We put her on date for January 1st! We even had her baptism interview that night since our District Leader, Elder Heathcote, was there. It was a pretty amazing night. We sang, the Elders gave a blessing, and put Sherry on date! I'm so excited for her baptism that's tomorrow!! My first baptism on my mission! Sherry asked Sister Farthing and I to talk at her baptism. SO EXCITING!! Sherry asked Elder Heathcote to baptize her (he's going home on January 4th). It's going to be a great program! We also have Katie on date for January 12th and we're hoping to have Hailey on date soon.
We haven't been able to meet with Hailey for two weeks. No one seems to be available during the Holidays and a lot of people are out of town. I'm really looking forward to this week once everyone gets off of break and returns to normal life. We do have a new investigator, Royce. He's the father of one of the ward's recent converts, but he leaves this week to go back home. We're hoping that he continues with the missionaries there.
Dad, I ate dinner yesterday with a family and the father had been on his mission to Dallas, Texas when...... you were there with President Barton! He remembers you and even has some pictures of you. You were even in the mission newsletter, so he has that as well. Isn't that so trippy? He knows the Elders that taught you and remembers how you used to fix their bikes and you talking about your conversion story after you were converted. So crazy how you find those connections in the church. He's going to show me the things next Sunday since we didn't have time last night. I was thinking how awesome it would be to have one of the children of someone I baptize come to the mission where I'm living. It shows how many people you effect when you help them come unto Christ.
Today is p-day all day and at 6-9pm we get to watch How to Train Your Dragon as a zone. I'm looking forward to that and saying goodbye to the Elders that are going home this week and just being together as missionaries. It's amazing how fast friendships form when you have the same purpose and are focued. I'm so looking forward to seeing all of them after my mission.
I'm loving it here in Arizona and it seems so weird to think that I was doing so many other things before my mission. It's just so natural to be doing missionary work. My zone leader, Elder Miller, (he's going home this transfer as well) just informed me that he recommended me to train after this next transfer.... well I guess we'll see.
I'm learning how important members are in helping people be converted to the gospel. We need the members help as missionaries. I would challenge you to pray to ask Heavenly Father who you know this week that the missionaries can teach in your home. One of the bishops in our wards is having us going around to meet with the youth and ask them this same thing. We haven't seen the fruits of our labors yet, but I'm sure that we'll see them soon. We've met with 5 youth so far and almost all of them have had someone already in their mind. Also we've been sharing 2 Nephi 31:19-21 as our message- The Doctrine of Christ. We've seen how this scripture has strengthened families. True doctrine strengthen's people.
On the 26th, one of our former investigators, Dax, called us out of the blue right when we had gotten home for the day. His son's mother had just passed away a few days before. We had dropped him a couple weeks ago because he hadn't been keeping appointments for weeks and didn't seem that interested. He had thought of us because he knew that we had answers that no one could give him about the afterlife. We gave him some scriptures to read and said that we would be praying for him. We went over the next day and talked to him about the Plan of Salvation. He said that the night before about 30 minutes after he had hung up with us that he felt a calmness and was able to stay calm when his son was crying. I know that Dax needs the gospel right now in his life and it's amazing to me how the Lord works. Heavenly Father knows everyone individually and He works in mysterious ways. His son is 6 and we had invited Dax again to come to church that coming Sunday (yesterday) and he said yes he would love to go. We were so excited because he finally sounded sincere that he was going to come. We had Sherry come to church in one of our wards and then Hailey from another ward. Dax is in Hailey's ward, so we left her with her fellowship and went to go wait for Dax. We waited and waited. It was 10:10 and he still wasn't at church. We called him and we had sent him a reminder text earlier. We decided to go to his house and see what was up. He had just woken up when we got there and we were like Dax! We're saving you seats at church and we wanted to see if everything was alright. I guess he hadn't slept that night and had his excuses. We still told him that he could come and he said that he would try since he had to fix something before. He didn't come to church yesterday, but we have other lessons set up with him this week and I'm sure that he'll come next week. I'm excited for him and his son to see how the gospel can bless their lives.
The work is progressing and I'm hoping that it will start to really take off these next couple weeks.
Till next week. Love you all!
An Arizona Sunset
Elder Collins (her Zone Leader) and Sis. Collins
A Christmas Cactus!
A scorpian (light brown in the middle of the picture)
Sis. Collins and Sis. Farthing outside the Mesa Arizona Temple
An Arizona snowman
On her bike
Lauren with the missionaries from her district