Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday, May 20th, 2013 - A Full Week of Missionary Work!

We actually had a full week of missionary work with no sickness or ER visits. Hallelujah!!!

First off, the young man, Dearien, who we had first taught when we got here to this area was baptized yesterday! We weren't able to go because none of our investigators could come. I'm so glad we were able to be part of his conversion in some small way. It really seems like we're here in this area to find other people for the other missionaries. Oh well, it's the same work. 

We have a new investigator named Jessica. She's actually the mother of Diamond who we've been teaching (trying to meet with her recently). Her husband is inactive and we have been visiting with them for the past two weeks. They have surprisingly let us in both times. We've been getting to know them better and sharing a message. Jessica has really opened up to us. The missionaries before have been visiting them for years. Maybe this is the right time and we happen to be the missionaries here. We're excited to see how teachings progress. I really hope we can help this family come back to church (3 out of the 5 children are baptized) and have the blessings of Eternal Life, so they can be forever as a family.

We are still teaching Rae, who has alzheimers. We taught her the rest of the gospel- baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End. We also have started teaching her the Commandments- obedience, pray always, and read the scriptures. It's amazing how she's now remembering our lessons that we've had. Her memory has been improving, which is a miracle in itself  She makes her own commitments. It's been amazing to see her change and how much her faith has increased.  We found out she doesn't have a Book of Mormon or a Bible, so we gave one to her on Sunday. It's like she's an investigator because she really doesn't know anything about the Gospel, so it's been an incredible experience to be teaching her and helping her come closer to Christ.

We went on exchanges this week! The first ever for me. It was with the new Sister Training Leaders. I exchanged with Sister Lemon, she's actually a spanish speaking missionary. I got to have language study instead of training for an hour. Too bad I know nada Spanish. Guten Tag? lol They're actually in my old area! The area just got whitewashed this past transfer. It was so neat to go back to see people I taught and see how they're progressing. Also I knew my way around, so we didn't have to use a GPS like they had been! lol. It was also funny to see people's reactions when they saw me. They'd do a double take and be like, "are you back now for good? and it's so great to see you!!" I wasn't able to see Sherry, but we did try to stop by, but she wasn't home. It was incredible to see how it's the same and how's it's also different from when I was there. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to go back to my old area. Sister Holcomb did a great job leading in our area that day. It was nice to also be in a car for one day! I actually did though miss being on a bike because we had to pass so many people because we were in a car.

Last week we talked with some members and they told us about their cleaning lady who's met with the missionaries before, but something's holding her back. She said to stop by on Monday (today) and we could meet her and hopefully teach her a lesson. We stopped by earlier today, even though it was our P-Day, and met Sam! She's around 40 years old and we shared 1 Nephi 17:13. I had been praying on what we should share with her and this scripture came into my mind. After she had read the scripture, she was silent and said, "this is ironic that you'd have me read this scripture today because I've been having many trials this past week." From there she opened up and we found out why she hasn't been baptized yet (Joseph Smith and some other questions). We ended up having a discussion for 45 minutes answering questions and testifying. She actually said she's meeting with the missionaries where she lives. She lives way out of our boundaries, but she cleans a lot of our members houses. She's such a sweet lady and I'm so glad I got to talk with her and help her come closer to Christ. She thanked us and thanked us for sharing that message with her and how she can gain a testimony about Joseph Smith and the other concerns she had. She's sooo prepared!

In my personal study this week, I was reading in 3 Nephi 5:13. I love the declaration Mormon says about missionary work. This is my anthem for my mission: "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been acalled of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." I LOVE THIS SCRIPTURE! I love being a missionary. I'm so blessed to have this opportunity to dedicate 18 months of my life to God. It's the best feeling. I don't ever want to go back to the "old" Lauren. I hope to keep the growth I've had so far and to continue to progress. I've definitely been noticing more and more my weaknesses, but it's through the Savior that I can overcome them. I wish I could be perfect in a second, but we never will on this Earth. The Atonement is real. Repentance is real. Repenting isn't just forsaking our sins, it's becoming more Christlike everyday. It's changing our will to God's will. This church really does have the fullness of the Gospel. 

Sister Collins

Monday, May 13th, 2013 - Welcome to Sunnyville!!

So happy to be able to talk with you all yesterday!! I love technology where we could Facetime!! What a great Mother's Day! I can't believe it had already been 5 months since we had talked at Christmas. Time flies by for sure!! The next 7 months will also fly by until we get to talk again.
This week was again interesting. It is never a dull moment for sure. Sister Holcomb woke up sick Tuesday morning with a fever and she said her stomach hurt her. The nurse said to just go to District Meeting anyways, so we went to that until about 12:30. We got home and it is really apparent that Sister Holcomb really is sick. She goes to sleep. We have 7 appointments set for Tuesday. Now I'm frantically calling people trying to arrange somewhere for Sister Holcomb to go rest at a member's house while I have different people come to appointments with me. I finally get things situated after about an hour and half worth of phone calls.

We have a great appointment with a less active couple we're teaching the lessons to because they are just starting to come back and they want to go to the Temple. They really have no knowledge of the Gospel, so it really is starting at square one with them. During this lesson my stomach started to hurt, but I brushed it off because I had another appointment scheduled immediately after with Yaquelin.

The member who went with me to the appointment dropped me off and other members were there for Yaquelin's appointment. We had planned to start over with the Restoration with Yaquelin because she has been looking into the church for a year. I started off talking about the Restoration, but it didn't feel right. We ended up talking about faith and how important faith was. It was a powerful lesson with the members really having great insight. I could see the Spirit working within Yaquelin. She committed to start reading the Book of Mormon every day and to start getting more involved with coming to church (YES!) and coming to Relief Society activities. 

Meanwhile during the lesson, my stomach had really started to feel queasy. After the lesson was done the member that came drove me home to go pick up Sister Holcomb so we could eat dinner before our next appointment at 6. By this time it was around 5:20. As we were driving home all I could think about was how what I was going to do if I threw up. Roll down the window? Ask her to stop the car on the road then jump out? It was a painful 5 minute car ride. We pick up Sister Holcomb and go home. Luckily I didn't throw up in her car. That would have been the worst. We get home and the wave of nausea seems to have passed so I think I'm ok. We have 5 more appointments- I can't be sick. I really didn't want to have to reschedule them. Especially since some of the appointments we had been trying to see them for a couple of weeks. We had another member coming to pick Sister Holcomb up so she could stay at her house and we're waiting for my ride to come so I can go to another appointment. We've been waiting in the car for about 10 minutes for my ride to come when I have this sudden wave of nausea. I have to step out of the car and I barely make it to the gravel and proceed to throw up. I go back to the car where the member and Sister Holcomb are and say, "I can't do this." I then had to call our appointments and members who were going to go with me to cancel. What an eventful day.

I was sick for the next three days. Sister Holcomb didn't seem to get it as bad as me. Boy, it is not fun to be sick on the mission! I really just started eating regular food again. Luckily members and the Zone Leaders brought us soup and medicine during our time of sickness.

Friday rolls around and we're now able to get out of the house! YAY! And we can ride bikes because Sister Holcomb's knee and ankle are better. We planned that morning and then we went out and worked! During our planning we had a less active text us and ask us when church started. Awesome! We set up a time to meet with him for this coming week. We then had one of our investigators, Sarah, who we have been trying to get a hold of text us. We talked with her and tried to set up an appointment to meet with her. We also went to a New Missionary Training Meeting because Sister Holcomb has been out 6 weeks. It was a great training and I received a lot of insight on how to become a better missionary. It was the best day. We had so many miracles that day. They had been stock piling during our sick days. We taught an excommunicated member who we just ran into and she invited us in. We also had two people say they are interested in learning more and set up return appointments with them!
This transfer was crazy town! There are sisters who are training when they've only been out for 6 weeks! They hadn't even completed their own training yet!! The number of sisters has now doubled since 6 weeks ago. The work is definitely hastening. They are getting prepared for the splitting of the missions here on July 1st. You really have to learn to adjust quickly to change while you're on a mission.

I love being out here on a mission!! I'm so blessed. I have been realizing how imperfect I really am. I really have so much to work on to become more Christlike. It really takes a lot of work. I have been trying to become better while studying the Christlike Attributes in Preach My Gospel. This is why we're on this Earth- to learn and grow. To become someone better- like Christ.
Sister Collins

Monday, May 6th, 2013 - Lotion and Headbands!

I am now a full fledged chapstick and lotion addict. I have never used so much lotion and chapstick in my entire life. I have also gotten into the practice of wearing headbands. I know I promised I wouldn't become "one of those headband wearing missionaries", BUT I caved in because of the heat.  I will repent after my mission by never wearing a headband again.

This beginning of this week went by super fast. One day we had completed all of our plans for a certain amount of time and so we were like "great, now what do we do? We've done everything in our plans." We decided to track the street we were on (which we hardly ever do because it's not an effective use of our time). The first door we knocked on a man answered and said "Come on in! Do you need water?" We were surprised and thought maybe we knocked into members? We tried to look for signs of if they were members and we didn't find any. We asked if they're interested in learning more about the gospel. It turns out she's inactive and her husband is not a member and they are not in the ward directory. She has all of her family who are active in the church and even a brother out on a mission right now. Miracle! We're going to be hopefully working with them soon.

Saturday is when the week kind of got crazy. It was about 8:40 PM and we were going to visit one of our investigators. As we were biking there, Sister Holcomb hit the curb wrong and fell off her bike. There was a man down the street with his son who came running. I got to Sister Holcomb first, her knee and ankle were killing her, so we ended up going to the Urgent Care. Her ankle and knee were just badly sprained. Luckily no breakage. The Zone Leaders ended up having to take us there and we were luckily only there until about 10:30PM. It's always an adventure! I've now been to the Hospital more on my mission in the past 6 weeks than in my entire life. :) We don't have a car and we can't bike, so this week should be interesting! The members have been great so far getting us to appointments!

We taught the Spanish family last night. They are super prepared and we are working with the Elders on teaching them. Jennifer, the daughter we had talked to, told us she learns better in English. The rest of the family doesn't speak English, so it's a little complicated. I will update you more on them next week. The spirit was so strong in our lesson last night with the family. It's amazing how the Lord directs you in His work to find the elect. 

This week I have really been studying faith. The topic of faith has been coming up in my personal studies every day. Every principle of the gospel can be related to faith. I really enjoyed studying Faith in the Bible Dictionary. So many nuggets of knowledge regarding Faith in there! I encourage you to read it!


Sister Collins

Yikes - Headbands!!

Monday, April 29, 2013 -- AZ Really is Hotter than Hell!!

It's finally about to break a 100 here today in sunny Arizona. It's been quite interesting, a challenge, with being on a bike and having appointments when it's so hot. I just feel bad for those we meet! When we go to dinner we have to immediately go dab off our faces and try to cool down. I can't wait until it's 120! :]

I loved the videos of Leo! He's gotten so big in just a couple of weeks! I can't believe how green it is! I had forgotten what actual green grass looks like along with real trees. The grass looked unreal. Everyone here has the fake grass and rocks. A lot of people don't even bother with trying to have grass so they just have rocks for a yard. 

This week we had a lesson with Yaquelin (who's been investigating the church for over a year now). We read 2 Nephi 31:4-11 and invited her to be baptized. She wants to be baptized, but she is not living the Law of Chastity. Her boyfriend, Paco, doesn't want to get married because he's been divorced 3 times. He's 15 years older than her and she will only have children if she's married. And she wants children and to be married. It's sad that he's holding her back. We also read 1 Nephi 3:7. We talked about having faith that the Lord will provide because "He gives no commandment saves He provides a way to accomplish that thing that He has command." The lesson was powerful and the spirit was present. She needs the blessings that the gospel can provide! We hope we can help her progress and we have another lesson tomorrow with her.

The spanish family that we gave the Elders are totally prepared and we're so excited for them!! We might be teaching the daughter because she said she understands English better. We'll have to see! We're excited if we do get to start teaching her! The Elders are teaching both her parents and grandparents! You have no idea how much I wish I could speak Spanish right now!!! It's okay, it's all the same work. But we'll find a family soon :] 

This week we've done a lot of knocking doors trying to contact people who have talked with the missionaries before. We knocked on one door and the mom answered and said to come back after 7 any day next week! So we're going back tomorrow. Hopefully we'll be able to start teaching that family! Also we decided to go tracking because we had 30 minutes before dinner and we had already contacted everyone in our plans for that day. We tracked into this nice Catholic man. He had a lot of questions, but was really trying to convert us. It's always interesting when people try to convert us. We just nod when they say something we agree with and smile. 

There's a lady in one of our wards who has Alzheimer's. She has just come back to church the last couple of months. She was very against the church, but after she got Alzheimer's she forgot why she had hated the church! Isn't that something? She now goes to church every week and loves it! She feels the spirit which is the most important thing. We have started teaching her the lessons because she really doesn't know anything about the church. She had been inactive since she was a teenager. We're teaching her the second lesson this Thursday. When taught about the First Vision, she just started crying. She has such a sweet spirit about her. One of the ward missionaries, who was her visiting teacher for years and couldn't get in, had the lesson at her house. Also her ancestors are from Sweden also! So we had a great conversation about Sweden and all of the traditions. She had a dolahest! Brought back memories of all of our traditions  especially around Christmas! 

I can't believe that I have less than a year left and I've only been out for 5 months out in the field. Time has just been flying by. The days are long and the weeks are short. I love being a missionary! I forget that this is not "real life". It feels like I've been a missionary my whole life. I love being immersed in the gospel every single day all day long. I wish everyone could go on a mission and I'm excited that more are going on missions because of the age change. Yesterday we were able to be at the opening of a guy's mission call in one of our wards. He's going to Chili! When he opened his call, all of the memories of when I opened my call came rushing back. I for the chills. The spirit was so strong while he read his call. There was about 150 people there! Crazy!!!

I have been studying the Christlike Attributes in Preach My Gospel. I've been studying virtue and patience. What has really stood out to me is that without Faith you really can't develop the other Christlike Attributes. Faith is the first principle of the gospel. Without faith we really are nothing. When we have faith we can do all things. I love this promise that the Lord gives us that when we ask Him in Faith we will receive answers. I've really been contemplating this concept this week. I've been reading the Book of Mormon, the New Testament, and Doctrine and Covenants every day. I love reading Doctrine and Covenants as a missionary because it's all about missionaries and missionary work!!! It applies so literally. I especially love section 8 and 9 which I read today. 
I've decided that my anthem for my mission is Mosiah 28:3. This is truly how I feel! 

Thank your for your continued support, prayers, letters, and love!!! I pray about you everyday!

Sister Collins 

Sis. Holcomb and Sis. Collins

Zone Conference

The Two Sistas!