Monday, June 24, 2013

Email from Kevin & Loni Wade, Highland Ranch Ward, Gilbert Arizona

Hi Caroline,

My wife Loni and I wanted to write a quick note to let you know how awesome it’s been to have your daughter, Sister Collins, serve as a missionary in our stake (we’re in the Highland Ranch Ward).  We’re all going to miss her (she got transferred Wednesday to a new area).  Attached are a couple of recent photos you may enjoy:

·        Sister Collins and Sister Holcomb at church on Sunday, June 9, 2013.
·        Highland Ranch Ward chapel on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.
·        New “Full-Time Missionaries” page in the My Mission App.
·        New “Ward Mission Leader” page in the My Mission App.

We had some fun times together.  We got to teach with them a couple of times. . . .  Once they invited us to teach a lesson with them.  After their investigator wasn’t home, we went back to our house and across the street and had a first-time discussion with our neighbors, a young couple that recently moved here from Chicago.  Then last Sunday they stopped by again and we went across the street to another neighbor who had been a minister for a Nondenominational Christian church in Alaska for 26 years.  Neither of our neighbors turned into “golden” investigators, but they were very polite and invited us in where we had good discussion about the Church.  It was great to see how boldly and effectively these Sisters can teach the gospel.

My wife Loni, who’s a kindergarten teacher, got to take them grocery shopping once too.  We haven’t got to hang out with them much, just a few times, but each time we could always feel the Spirit that they radiate.  Our son Sean is a missionary now and serving in Belgrade, Serbia, so we are a very PRO missionary family.  I’m a computer programmer and I have also been writing an App ( for missionaries.  And, these Sisters were kind enough to pose for a quick picture at church that I then used to create a new “Full-Time Missionaries” page in the My Mission App that will allow users to contact the local missionaries and Ward Mission Leader quickly.

The last time we saw Sister Collins was Tuesday evening.  We dropped by to say good bye as she was packing.  The Sisters were both in great spirits and looking forward to their new challenges this next week.  Their mission is being flooded with new missionaries, divided into three missions, and Sister Holcomb, who is a very young and very new missionary herself, will be training a new Sister.

Certainly the Church is in good hands with such great missionaries like these.  They work very hard.  And there are many people here that were sad so see Sister Collins leave.  Thank you for raising such a good daughter and for sharing her with us these past few months.  God bless you and your family!

Warm Regards,
Kevin & Loni Wade

Monday, June 24, 2013 - A Hot Mess Three Week Transfer

I've gotten several emails wanting to know which mission I'm officially in the......GILBERT MISSION! Shocker I know. I've only served in Gilbert my entire mission. I'm in a newly created zone. The Temple View Zone. I'm right back by the Gilbert Temple. My area is three sqaure miles and we're on bikes. Fun times for sure. It takes 30 minutes to get from on side of our area to the other. We also don't live right in the middle of our area either. We cover three wards. The Assistants to the President are in my zone. It's kind of weird to see them now more than just at transfers and training. So the new mission home is going to be in my zone and I'll probably be seeing the new President a lot more than I did President Howes. My new area borders my old area, so I moved a whopping 2 minutes away. This transfer will be crazy. It's only going to be three weeks long because of the new mission officially starting on July 1st. There's a rumor going around that there are EIGHTEEN new sisters coming in this next transfer for the Gilbert Mission alone. EIGHTEEN. That's only sisters. There's like double the amount of Elders. It seems like all any of us are going to be doing for the rest of our missions is train new missionaries. Who knows. I really don't mind. I actually love training and I really did love whitewashing into another area. If I whitewash in and train the rest of my mission, I would be happy. I love seeing the area go from nothing to something. 
I'm second half training. My new companion's name is Sister Pooley. She's from Colorado and is very sweet and kind of shy. Kind of the complete opposite of me, but we're making it work. :) I was having withdrawals from my old area since I really loved everyone there. It was sad goodbye to everyone, but it was sweet to know I could come back after my mission and see them all again. I'm also hoping to be able to go to the sealing on a less-active family we had been working with getting them to the Temple. I'm excited to see how the people I left will progress and to hear how the area is doing. I'm excited though for this area and how much potential it has. It should be interesting to see which of us stays in this area since I'm sure we're all going to be training. I may only be here in this area for three weeks.
We had our last transfer with President and Sister Howes. It was sad to see them and to know that it was our last time while on the mission. We watched a video, took pictures, and said our goodbyes. It's crazy to not see those missionaries that I've been serving with ever while I'm on my mission. After transfers was all figured out, they had us group together in our new missions and take pictures. Weird to do that while we're still the Tempe Mission. We're making history. We're the first missionaries in the new Gilbert Mission. It's exciting times! The work is definitely hastening. We all feel it. Especially with the Gilbert Temple almost being completed and now I'm so close to it. I can feel the Lord's hand in everything.
I loved the broadcast that was shown last night. If you missed it- Go watch it. It was FANTASTIC! The entire time, I just kept on getting the chills because the Spirit was so strong. The prophet and apostles are so inspired. I really believe missionary work will just explode. It's been working up momentum and the ball is just about to not stop rolling. I'm so happy to be a missionary at this time. I really hope the members start to catch the vision and will start to act.
We had miracles this week! While we were weekly planning we called an investigator who the sisters hadn't been able to get into contact with the whole 6 weeks Sister Pooley's been here and we got a lesson set up! She's so close to being baptized, but her dad is against it. We're hoping to have her dad's heart be softened soon. We also finally contacted a referral from a member the sisters before I came. His name is David and he's hit rock bottom. He's separated from his wife and he can't see his kids. He's a mess right now. We taught him a lesson when we contacted him with the members who referred us to him. We set up a lesson for the next day. Unfortunately, the members who referred him (and are his friends and neighbor) were going out of town the next day. So we had to bring another member with us to the lesson.  We taught David the Restoration and he just really got it. He said a very sincere prayer at the end and he committed to coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon. He just needs to recognize the Holy Ghost and he will be golden. It's very apparent to us how much the Lord has been preparing him and he really doesn't know it. I'm very excited to see how the next lesson will go with David this week. He did also accept a soft commitment to baptism if he knew this was which church he was to join. He has a lot of the same questions as Joseph Smith had when he was trying to find which church to join.
It's a fantastic time to be a missionary!!! I love it. I love it. I love it. If I didn't know the Gospel was true, I wouldn't be out on my mission. I know without a doubt that this is Christ's church restored on the earth again. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, another testimony of Jesus Christ.
Sister Collins
2723 E. Hobart St.
Gilbert, AZ 85296

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17th - I'm Having a Baby and Going to be a Grandma All in One Day!

Transfers are on Wednesday! Crazy times. This will determine which mission I'll be in. Yes, I am being transferred this coming Wednesday. I'm also second half training. Sister Holcomb is also training and is staying. We have 10 English sisters coming in and 2 Spanish. Basically every sister will be training. We are going to get a generation picture at transfers. It's amazing how fast the mission has changed for sisters since I've been out. I was the only sister when I came out and now it's just a flood of them. I'm going to miss this area and the people here. It seems like you get more and more attached to people the longer you've been out. It will be another adventure. I don't know if I'll be whitewash training again since I could be going in the other sisters area. I was praying I wouldn't have to whitewash so soon after doing it! 

This week has been full of the tender mercies of the Lord- every week and every day. We were able to go to the Visitor's Center with Jennifer this past week! It was AMAZING! This was the first time I had ever took an investigator to the Visitor's Center. Jennifer loved it and she said she was going to take her family to it. We did the entire tour- the Christus, the Book of Mormons in all different languages, God's Plan of Us tour, the Joseph Smith: The First Vision video, watched some Mormon Messages, and walked around the Temple and went in the foyer. It was a great night! The spirit was super strong and she was very interested in The Temple and being together forever with her family. I also got to see Kelsey! Exciting day!! She's doing great and is training again. I felt like it's been forever since I've last seen her- 3 months!!! I need to get to the Visitor's Center more often :) 

Earlier that day before Jennifer's appointment we had a lesson fall through with a former investigator who we had set up an appointment the week previous with. She ended up not being home (or didn't answer the door) so we had to walk our member out to the front of the apartment complex. As we were looking to who we were going to visit next, a less-active member pulls up and asks if we'd like some water because it was so hot. Of course we weren't about to say no so we hop in her car. We had been trying to contact her since the second half of the first transfer. (she's the member we went with to the Easter Pageant the first week we were in this area). It turns out she was diagnosed with cancer 2 months ago and has been struggling. We talked and then we asked if we could read a scripture. I read Mosiah 24:8-15 and while I read she just starts crying. The spirit was super strong in the room. After I read the scripture she started to get real with us. She said she had been struggling to know if the church was true these past couple of months and her co-workers have really been anti-ing her these past months. She said she really wanted to find out if the church was true for herself and she wanted our help. She hadn't been coming to church or reading her scriptures or praying. We explained that God isn't a God of confusion and it's always God's will and not ours. We both testified a lot and I explained that answers always can be answered through the Book of Mormon. As we had been talking with her scriptures would come to mind that answered her questions. She kept on saying how much the Lord was working through us for her. She called it an awakening. 

Later that night we got a text from her that asked us which scriptures we had talked about. We texted them to her and I had the impression that she needed one more scripture, but I didn't know which one. I took my Book of Mormon and prayed to find the right scripture then I just opened it to a page. We found a good scripture on that page and sent it to her. We got a text back saying she received another awakening. The last scripture we had sent was the exact page where her patriarchal blessing was marking it. She said she hadn't read it in a year. When we read the text we both started tearing up. It's amazing to be an instrument in the Lord's hand. I could literally feel His hand guiding me. We went back to her house on Sunday after church (she didn't come to church since she was in the hospital on Saturday. Her levels were off). We had the impression to bring the Joseph Smith video for her to watch. She said after we had left on Friday, one of her co-workers who had left the church came by and started feeding her Anti-Mormon garbage. This really confused her again. As we started the video, the spirit came into the room. The spirit was amplified during the First Vision. She's visibly touched. After the movie she just said, "I know it's true. I can't deny it. I prayed to Heavenly Father to let me know if this church is true by having my dog stop barking as soon as Joseph kneels down in the grove. He stopped barking and soon as he knelt down and resumed barking as soon as he left the grove." The spirit was powerful! We testified that the Church is true and what she was feeling was the Holy Ghost. After about 5 minutes after the movie was finished she said she started to become confused again. She said the closing prayer asking Heavenly Father to tell her whether or not this church was true in a way she would recognize the answer. We had to run to dinner so we left her at that point. 

We get a call from her about 3 hours later with a voice mail that says, "I know this Gospel is true. I got my answer tonight. I've been at the Temple. Thank you for helping me this weekend feel the Holy Ghost in my life again and to not be confused." She had been at the Temple sitting there and a boy approached her asking her what the building was and was quite interested. She said as she was bearing her testimony to him, the spirit confirmed so ever strongly that the Church was true. She got the boy's information to send to the missionaries! She's a great missionary even when she had been struggling herself. 

I learned a very important lesson this past weekend. If you're ever doubting to know if this Church really is God's church back on the Earth again, restored in it's entirety- bare your testimony. Don't let Satan enter your mind and let him eat away at you. He poison's us by degrees. Little by little so that we don't even notice it. It's okay to question things, but it's not okay to rely on yourself to figure out the answers. We have to go to God. He's the only one who can tell us Yea or Nay. He knows ourselves better than we know ourselves. He's always willing to answer our prayers and He will answer- in His own time and way. It's always hard to put our lives in His hands and say "Thy will be done." 

We were supposed to go to President Howes' last Mission President's Devotional on Sunday, but Jennifer canceled the last minute and we weren't able to go. :( The hardest part about a mission is agency! I've really had to learn that people have their own decisions and it's all God's will- not ours. It's also His timing, which has also been disappointing at times. 

I know this church is true without a doubt. I know Joseph Smith say God the Father and Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove. Joseph was called as a prophet of God to restore His church back on the Earth again. He loves us and cares about us. We can receive answers to our prayers- I really loved the talk you gave me mom, The Spirit of Revelation by Elder Bednar. I've used it a lot this week in our teaching. 

Love, Sister Collins

face  masks!

Skyline Zone Missionaries

Sis. Hamstead (BYU roommate) and I at Visitor's Center

Sister Holcomb, Jennifer, and I at the Visitor''s Center

We walked out of dinner yesterday and it was like What The? Dead bird?

Monday, June 10th - Downtown from Crazy Town

I now officially know how to change a bike tire- my tire got a hole in it and so did Sister Holcomb's twice just this week. The members here are wonderful and they really do spoil us rotten. I'm surviving the heat with drinking lots of water, popsicles, and getting the mist from people's sprinklers. :)

This past week started out with a bang. After our P-Day was complete we went over to Sarah's house to see how she was doing since she didn't come to church on Sunday. When we got there her mother was rolling cigarettes for her. Fitting since we had planned to finish up our lesson on the Word of Wisdom. So while her mother, Jan, is rolling the cigarettes we're talking about the blessings of living the Word of Wisdom and asked her if she would quit smoking THAT night. We have a program laid out from the church that helps people get rid of their physical cravings in 7 days if they follow this 15 step program exactly. I don't know if I mentioned this already about Sarah, but she is also bi-polar. With this element in the mix it makes things about 10 times more difficult . She also has been smoking since she was 10 years-old. Yes, 10. She's now 30, so she's been smoking for about 20 years. Crazy Town. She really does want to be baptized, but since she's been smoking for so long it's going to take a lot of faith and hard work for her to quit. She said she does want to quit, but she wants to wean herself off of the nicotine. She went to the doctor already to get the nicotine gum to help her stop. She said that the next week she would stop. Part of the program is us getting her vitamin C, cinnamon mouth wash, and healthy snacks IF they give us all of their smoking instruments. Because she is bi-polar, having to think about giving up her smoking right away made her have a lot of anxiety. Which is completely understandable. When Sis. H and I went in we had no idea what to expect since neither of us had had an investigator with a smoking problem before. 

We had our Ward Mission Leader and another man come and give her a priesthood blessing. Sarah said that once the oil was placed on her head, she had this peaceful feeling come all over her. She was very emotional and thanked us for coming and said that she'd be in touch with us. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get back into contact with her since the middle of last week. She won't be ready for her baptismal date this Saturday, which does sadden me, but I totally want her to be 100 percent committed. She has to make the choice. I really hope we get into contact with her today, since she is in our plans. 

We met with Jennifer five times this week! She is progressing, but she still is praying about whether or not to be baptized. We told her that He will answer our prayers when we are doing EVERYTHING we can to receive the answer. She still hasn't come to church yet, but she has been reading the Book of Mormon. She did come to Young Woman's this past Wednesday which was fantastic! We also went for the first half, but we had an appointment so we couldn't stay for the whole thing. She seemed to bond with the girls. She's very shy though. 

Yaquelin and Paco came to church this past Sunday! We weren't able to meet with them this past week, but they came to church. It was exciting to FINALLY have investigators come to church (Sarah did come last week). Her fellowship got her to come for their baby blessing (there were 5 in this one ward on Fast Sunday since we had stake conference last weekend). They said that they enjoyed coming, but they were only able to stay for sacrament meeting (her fellowship was having a lunch-in right after sacrament meeting...okayyyy). They did say they would stay for all three hours next Sunday though. We have been fasting and praying for them to start progressing since they have been investigating the church for over a year now. We hope this is a step in the right direction. They just need to get married and then be baptized! lol It would be perfect to go to their wedding then go to their baptism. :) It would be a perfect day for sure if that happened. 

We also had all the families who are less-active come to church this past Sunday! It was great to see them and hopefully we can continue to help them come back to church and to become active again. It was also really neat to hear the testimonies of some of the members. Missionary Work was talked a lot about and several of the testimonies talked about us! I really do not like praise and it's even more embarrassing when you're sitting right there listening to it being publicly announced. I'm thankful for the Lord's hand in everything we do. It's not us, it's Him. The Holy Ghost is the one who converts. I'm also thankful for the fire of missionary work some of these members have. 

We actually have a great story about some members. We had a lesson with a part-member family so we had a couple go with us to the lesson. The family wasn't home, so the husband said, "well we have some neighbors we could go by and have you meet!" We were like awesome! Let's go. We went over to their neighbors house, Jared and Nicole, who they really don't know all that well. We knock on the door and Jared lets us in! We ended up having a lesson and they said they would want to learn more! The power of the members is incredible! We will now never contact referrals from members alone- they will be coming with us. I'm pretty sure Jared and Nicole would have never let us in if their neighbors hadn't been with us. We're excited to start teaching them this week hopefully.

We had our last interview with President Howes this past week. It's going to be really sad when they leave. We had training by the Zone Leaders and Sister Howes while President was interviewing each of us. When I sat down with President he just looked at me and said, "Sister Collins you are just an excellent missionary. I hope you know that." He talked about obedience and how we need to live Celestially in order to receive the Celestial blessing we ask for in our prayers every day. Then he started talking about marriage. WHAT?! I'm only 7 months out, I don't want to think about that yet. I'm sure because he's leaving he wanted to leave his advice with me. He really is a great President and I'm going to miss him and his wife. 

I love this gospel and I know this is where I'm supposed to be. I love reading the Book of Mormon every morning and getting the spiritual strength I need to go throughout the day. When we go to church, read our scriptures, and pray every day we are spiritually uplifted. 


Sister Collins 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 -- The Lord is Good

It's a great time to be a missionary! I seriously love being a missionary. I can't imagine not being on a mission right now. I was thinking about where I was at this time last year (finishing up my Spring Term at BYU) and where I could be now instead of a mission (probably finishing up my Spring Term at BYU) and I wouldn't take back being on a mission for anything. There really is nothing like (well, Eternal Life) dedicating 18 months of your life to Heavenly Father.

I have really been focusing on recognizing the tender mercies of the Lord each day. When I give the Lord an accounting of my day in my evening prayers it's amazing how many there are and I can't even list them all! We have truly been blessed. 

On Tuesday we had a lesson with Sarah and her mom Jan. Sarah told us she had received an answer to accept the Book of Mormon as another testimony of Jesus Christ. The spirit was really strong. This was only our third time meeting her and our first real lesson with her (the other times were just drop bys where we ended up sharing a scripture and answering some questions). We taught part of the Restoration and then invited her to be baptized. She started crying some more and said yes without really a moments hesitation. She thanked us for asking her because if we hadn't asked her she would have never thought of being baptized. She jumped up and hugged us. It was a great night. We set up another appointment for the coming day so we could start teaching her more of the lessons. We also had to address the Word of Wisdom because she does have a smoking habit. We told her she does have to quit before she can be baptized and that the Atonement is there to help her overcome this habit. We have a stop smoking packet to give to her to help her stop. She also made an appointment to meet with her doctor to help her quit. We taught her every single day except for Friday because she was sick with the flu. She came to the adult session of Stake Conference and had a lot of questions (our first ever investigator at church since we've been here!). She wanted to learn more about the priesthood and she asked if she could get a priesthood blessing. She said she was going to come on Sunday and was really excited. She's met a lot of the members and they have really been very kind and loving to her. 

We met with Yaquelin this week and we brought a young couple with us who have two kids. Paco did not come down for the lesson (headache...), but the lesson went very well. You can tell how bad she does want to have a family, but she won't have kids outside of marriage. We taught faith and repentance. We committed her to pray and to read about the Book of Mormon and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Our fellowship was amazing and got her to commit to really pray and to read and to come to church. We're hoping to meet with Paco soon. 

We also had a lesson with Jennifer. We went in with the intent to talk about baptism again because we felt like she doesn't understand why the proper authority. We briefly went over the Restoration lesson and read 2 Nephi 31:4-10. We talked about how important it is to be baptized and how much it would bless her life. She said she would pray about it (she hadn't since our last appointment) and that she wants to learn more before she commits- Which we do understand so we invited her to church and set up a church tour for Saturday. Jennifer said that she's been going to a lot of churches and so far she hasn't really felt the Holy Ghost when she does go. She's looking for a church where she can feel the Holy Ghost at church and always.

On Saturday we gave our first ever church tour to Jennifer! Her grandma came (who only speaks Spanish). The spirit was so strong. The grandma really didn't understand what we were saying (we had no idea she was coming and our member who was going to come bailed at the last minute), but she did feel the spirit. She kept on saying, "Muy Bonita". When we came into the chapel, the grandma started crying because she could feel the spirit so strongly. We sat by the sacrament table and read about Christ instituting the sacrament and inviting them to church. They said yes!

On Sunday we had Stake Conference and we had confirmed to have Yaquelin, Jennifer, and Sarah at church. Yaquelin called us 10 minutes before saying she was still out of town and wouldn't be able to make it. Jennifer also texted us saying she was all ready, but then her parents said that they were going out of town. Then we could never get ahold of Sarah. We were so disappointed. We thought for sure that they were going to come! Everyone has their agency. 

We got to go to the Temple this week on Wednesday. I always love going and feeling the spirit there. We went there fasting for Sarah and our other investigators. The Lord does answer our prayers. He does teach us in His house.

Our mission president has asked us to read the Book of Mormon focusing on highlighting for the Atonement by July 1st. It's an exciting time with the new missions being effective soon and all of the new missionaries coming in this next transfer. This transfer has just flown by. I can't believe it's already almost done. My mission is just going by way too fast! Thank you for all of your updates! I love hearing about them---Leo has gotten so big and cute!


Sister Collins

sis. h loves to wear her helmet (really. she hardly takes it off. she forgot to take it off during lunch!! lol)

Mesa Arizona Temple

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Monday, May 27th, 2013 - Miracle Week!

This has been one incredible week. There are just so many tender mercies from the Lord that we have seen (1 Nephi 1:20). We have taught at least 2 lessons every day this week. We had 15 teaching opportunities. This is the highest number of lessons that we could see that the area has ever had in a long time. I keep on thinking of the very first week we had when we only had three teaching opportunities.

On Monday we stopped by Jennifer's house and taught her a lesson and invited her and her family to our Bishop's house to have a BBQ. They said that they would come. Bishop was inviting people that know how to speak Spanish, so that we could have people who could actually communicate with the family there. We also invited the Spanish Elders to come to the dinner since they are teaching the grandparents and parents of Jennifer.

On Tuesday we contacted a lot of people and actually shared a message with a less-active woman who had literally just gotten home from work (the Lord's perfect timing). Her husband is not a member, but he wouldn't come down stairs to meet us.

In one of our wards there is only one former investigator. Since we've gotten here, we had been trying to get into contact with her and it just seemed like we could never catch her at home. Well, this past Wednesday was when it all changed. It was almost the end of the day, about 8:15, and I had an impression to go try Roberta's house even though she wasn't in our plans. No one answered the door, so we were just biking out of her driveway when she pulls up. We start talking to her and she tells us her religious background and how she does want to take the lessons again. We taught her right there on her driveway  She said that she wasn't going to be as busy since it was summer and set up a time to meet with us. Since she hadn't been taught for 6 months, she counted as a new investigator. 

We also taught a less-active couple who we're helping come back to church and have him prepare to receive the priesthood. Also we read the scriptures with a lady, Sherry, who came back to the church about two years ago. She's had a rough life and needed some missionary support. Her two boys are not members of the church and the one boy who lives with her runs away into his room whenever someone from the church comes to her house. We actually got to meet him and talk with him, to which Sherry said he has never done. Sherry had just been called to be the Relief Society secretary and felt very overwhelmed. While we were talking with her and getting to know her, I felt impressed to read Ether 12:27. She just starts bawling and the spirit was super strong in the room. I had just read the scripture earlier that day. We also taught Rae, the lady with alzheimer's, about keeping the sabbath day holy, baptism, and following the prophet. This really has been great to see her change her knowledge increase. Also this has been great for Sister Holcomb to practice the lessons and really know how to teach each of the lessons. I've seen a great improvement in her teaching ability since we started teaching Rae.

Also it was nearing the end of the night and Sister Holcomb had to go to the bathroom. We were near our ward mission leader's house, but I was determined to have this bathroom break turn into a teaching opportunity. The Moores, recent converts, live right next to our ward mission leader. Luckily Sister Moore was home and we were able to get to know her better and share a message. They're really a great family. They've been members since last September and they are solid in the gospel. 

The next day, Thursday, we again taught Rae. This time we taught her about the 10 Commandments and the Law of Chastity. While we were riding around Sister Holcomb had to go to the bathroom. Just like the other night, I was looking for a way to turn this into a teaching opportunity. It's great to ask active members, but it's a little less productive. I was looking in our plans and this less-active family who we were going to go by at that time kept on coming back to my mind. We went over to their house and the wife answered. From the very moment she opened the door we could tell she wasn't having a very good day. She said this isn't a good time and was shutting the door, when we asked if we could at least use the restroom. She then let us in and while Sister Holcomb was using the bathroom I chatted with her. She has three little kids and all of their friends over and she just kept saying how she was just having her "me" time. While we were talking the scripture I had read in my personal study kept on coming into my mind. We asked if we could share a scripture with her before we left and she agreed. As I started reading Ether 12:4, about hope, she started crying. She said, "This is exactly what I needed to hear. You must have been inspired to come to my house today." The spirit again was really strong. We asked if there was anything we could do for her (her house was a mess with 2 little boys and a baby girl), but she wouldn't let us help her clean. We didn't want to be overbearing and just start cleaning. After we left, Sister Holcomb and I promised each other that next time when someone said no, even though they really did need help, that we would just do it anyways. 

Later that night, we were in one of our investigators neighborhood's, Sarah, trying to find a potential investigator's house. We soon realized that we were in the wrong neighborhood (the streets are wacked here. The streets don't connect, but it's the same street. So you have to know where the house number falls to know which of the streets it's on). I had this thought that we were in this neighborhood for a reason, so let's not go to the other neighborhood to follow our plans. Sister Holcomb had this impression to go to Sarah's house. We had been trying to contact her for 2 weeks since we had actually first met her. We could just never catch her. Sarah's mom, Jan, opened the door and told us Sarah wasn't available. We start talking with her and she invites us in so she can get us waters. As we're about to leave, Sarah walks down the stairs having just got out of the shower. We started talking and answering their questions. Jan is not very open, but Sarah is very opened minded and really wants to hear what we have to say. Apparently, she had dropped her phone in the toliet 2 weeks ago, so that's why she hadn't been replying to any of our messages. It was a great lesson and Jan agreed to listen to what we had to say! We set up another appointment for today (Monday). We had another new investigator. 

Friday we had weekly planning and we had a lesson with Jennifer. We had had a lesson set up with Yaqueline and Paco, but they canceled last minute. We taught Jennifer half of the Plan of Salvation and invited her to be baptized. She didn't accept the invitation, but she did agree to pray about it and to continue to read. We then went to the Bishop's house for dinner and waited for Jennifer and her family to come. They came 45 minutes late!!! I was so embarrassed that they would be that late. Only Jennifer and her mother came to the dinner. Como se awkward. The Spanish Elders really didn't talk with the mom. They were too busy talking with the Bishop's kids. I kept on trying to make eye-contact to get the Elders over to talk with Jennifer's mom. There was only one other member there who spoke Spanish (a RM who had just gotten back), who would talk with the mother and translate for us. It was pretty bad. We all felt uncomfortable. The dinner really didn't go as planned. We tried to talk with the mother, but it wasn't the same with having Jennifer translate for us. We did teach a lesson to them with the Spanish Elders. The lesson went well- the spirit was present. This was only the second time teaching the family. We have to decide what's best for the family and if the Spanish Elders really can make the time to meet with the family. What a mess. We have another lesson set up with Jennifer for this Tuesday. 

Saturday. Oh, Saturday. What a funny day. We like to refer to this day as The Underwear Day. Saturday is the day when we deliver all of our progress records to our Bishops, ward mission leaders, and high councilman over missionary work. We were just biking, minding our own business, and see this teenage boy (about 16) mowing his lawn in just his briefs. Yes, briefs. Nothing else. Okkkkkkkk. Didn't need to see that. Then we went to one of our Bishop's house and while we were waiting for Bishop to come down, his son (who's leaving for his mission on this Thursday) was in the kitchen walking around in his underwear! WHHHHAAAATTTT?! Definitely didn't need to see that. Scarred for life. The Bishop came down the stairs, saw him and exclaimed, "Get some clothes on! The Sisters are here." We didn't know whether to laugh or cry. We ended up just laughing hysterically. He then ushered us outside to hear our update. At least the day got better from there. We finally contacted another former investigator and ended up teaching him a lesson. We weren't able to set up another appointment, but he did say he was still interested in learning. He's from the Phillipines and lives with his son. His family isn't very supportive of him learning. That's why he had stopped learning. We hope to go over again later this week.

Sunday was good. Jennifer, Yaqueline, and Sarah were going to come to church, but all three bailed at the last minute. We were so close to having them come to church. One of the Bishops approached me before sacrament meeting and asked me to bear my testimony because the youth speaker was sick. Yikes! Luckily they didn't need to fill the time since there was a baby blessing and other business. It was funny that what the sacrament meeting was on, that I was going to bear my testimony on those same topics.

This week has been a testimony builder for me. When we open our mouths, He really does fill them. I have really refined my personal study to let Him direct me to help those we are going to talk with that day. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I'm excited for this area and how well it's doing. We have been trying our best, and we have been seeing the results of our hard work. I hope that we keep on seeing miracles and tender mercies of the Lord. I have really been making an effort to thank the Lord for every blessing that I see that the Lord has given me. Being grateful in our prayers really pays off.  I know Christ lives and He's our Redeemer. I have been reading 3 Nephi when Christ came to the America's. He really visited the people in America.


Sis. Collins