Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013 - And Then There Were Two

I now only have one companion- another sister who had actually just came out a week ago, just went home on Saturday, so President Nattress called us Friday night and said Sister Camilletti had been reassigned. Bummer! She was to leave Saturday morning to her new area. I had actually started to get used to being in a trio. Sister Camilletti and I are so alike- kindred spirits. I guess we just needed to meet each other for 9 days so that we could be friends after the mission! We're both probably going to be at BYU! So it's now Sister Wallace and I at the house with all of the farm animals.
It was a great week- we saw a lot of miracles. Doors were opening that I guess haven't been opened since Sister Wallace got here 6 weeks ago with potential investigators. Wednesday was a fantastic day. We had a lesson with a less active laurel and we invited her to church and actually her step-mom came to church, but not the rest of the family. Maybe next week. What was also neat was having a less-active/part member family open the door for us. Her active RM sister had made her promise to always let the missionaries have water because when she was on her mission, no one gave her water. So she let us in! She told us some of her concerns and we were able to testify powerfully we knew this was the Restored Gospel. She actually agreed to have us teach her children. Her husband had taken the lessons years ago, but they got offended at church again so they stopped. We have really been the first missionaries to get in with the family again since the husband had taken the lessons. We're excited about that! It's too bad they're going out of town for the Holidays.

This week we also were given the chance to show Temple Presentation to two nonmembers. We have been showing them to the families in the ward and encouraging to invite their friends over who they have invited to go to the Gilbert Temple Open House to know a little bit more about the Temple before they go through. The first presentation was on Saturday and the member's friend said yes she would like to meet with us again to hear more. She doesn't live in our area though, but we're still going to teach her the first lesson then pass her off to the missionaries in her area. Then on Sunday at our dinner, the member had invited over her neighbor. We showed the video and she also said she would be willing to meet with us again! She said she won't be able to meet until after the Holiday's though. We're still going to stop by and say hello in a couple of weeks to see if we can do anything for her.
On Friday it really started to rain and it wouldn't let up like it usually does here in Arizona. It rained all day Saturday as well. We have an area in our ward boundaries that is called the "Proving Grounds" which is basically out in the middle of nowhere. Most of the area is dirt roads. We had to go there on Saturday and the roads didn't seem that bad so we continued on. While we were looking for a house (and some of the roads aren't even marked along with some of the houses!) our car got stuck in the mud! Luckily a members house was close by and we went there and they were able to get our car unstuck. At least it wasn't like Sister Allred earlier in my mission! I actually had good reason with wet roads and out in the middle of nowhere! lol
Speaking of the Holidays, Thanksgiving is this week. We have been invited to breakfast, lunch, and dinner so far. All of our appointments have people the members want us to be introduced to. It's so nice of them to invite us over. I can't believe last year I had Thanksgiving in the MTC. Also in 2 days it will have been a year since I came to Arizona! Crazy. I'm so grateful for this time of year and to remember Christ, our Savior. Everyone seems to be just a little nicer to us and a little more likely to listen to us. I am grateful for all of you and especially my family who supports me and loves me. I am grateful for the members here in Arizona who open their mouths and share the Gospel. I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon and I know it is another witness of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for God's beautiful creations and I'm thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who loves each one of us and listens to our prayers. I am thankful for my Savior and the Atoning sacrifice He made for each one of us to make our burdens light when we come to Him. I am grateful for this opportunity to come on a mission and to help others come unto Christ. I love this Gospel and this precious time I have to be here in Arizona.
Sister Collins

From left to right - Sis. Wallace, Sis. Collins and Sis. Camilletti

Car stuck in mud!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013 - "We're Not in Gilbert Any More"

Wow, where to start? I'll start with earlier this week in my old area. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone and to pack up. We had a lot of appointments and the last one I had in the area was at a member's house where they had invited less actives to have us teach them the lessons. We had actually had our first lesson last Tuesday and we were just going to make it a set appointment every week. The last week went great and this week one of the men brought his son with him. His son, Colton, wants to be baptized, but his mom won't let him. He's been coming to church and he even goes to seminary. We taught the Restoration again and we asked Colton if he'd like to take the lessons since his mom wants to know why he wants to get baptized (and I'm assuming she wants a "good" reason, which is understandable). Colton's parents have been divorced and his dad just started coming back to church. What a neat experience to have a new investigator on my last night in the area!
Transfers were on Wednesday morning since Sister Huefner and I had to be there early for the trainers meeting. While we're sitting in the meeting with the Assistants training us, President Nattress came in and said he needed to talk to me. My heart started racing and I had no idea what he was going to say. So we stepped outside into the hall and he said I was going to be also training a sister who just got out of the MTC. So not only was a second half training, but also training a new missionary. SURPRISE! Plus he said the area was not doing so well (surprise, surprise. I wasn't expecting anything different since all of the areas I've been, I've had clean up duty) and he's putting me in there to get the area going. He said the stake president of the wards I just left wasn't very happy with him for moving me. He also said he might be pulling me out soon and that he usually doesn't tell anyone what his thought process is with transfers. So basically he was telling me to get the area going quick because he wants to put me somewhere else.

My new companion's are Sister Wallace, from Austin Texas, and Sister Camilletti, from Denver Colorado. They're both 21. Sister Wallace went to BYU-ID and Sister Camilletti went to BYU. Sister Wallace has been here in Arizona for 4 weeks since she's a visa waiter, so I'm second half training her. She's going to Brazil and she's speaking Portuguese. Sister Camilletti just got here from the MTC and she's also a visa waiter and she's going to New Zealand and she's speaking Samoan. It's definitely been interesting!!

I actually moved out of Gilbert! I'm now in Queen Creek which is south of Gilbert. It's the farm country. I live on the property of members in an annex house. They have a minature farm! They have turkey's, chickens, the whole shabang. We even have goats. They are penned in on the side of our house where our bedroom is. Every morning we get a good morning for the goats at 5AM... yep, I'm definitely not in Gilbert. It's been an interesting adjustment. We cover one ward and the ward boundaries are huge compared to what I'm used to. The ward goes all the way up in these mountains to what the call the "proving grounds." We even have to go off roading up there to get to a recent convert's house. It takes us about 20 minutes to just get there. CRAZY!

We currently have no investigators. The sisters have been working with the members with the temple video presentation and they've been trying to visit all of the members. We have 2 recent converts in the ward. I'm not used to just having one ward; church on Sunday was very short- only 3 hours! The ward members seem nice which is good! They do try hard to reach out which is good. I know we'll be seeing miracles this week! I know we will find investigators.
I am excited to be in this area. I know I'm supposed to be here for a reason and I'm making the best of it! The Lord knows me better than I know myself. Again, I love this Gospel- it's makes me so happy!

Sister Collins

Living with animals!

The House

The goats!

The 3 Amigas!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11th, 2013 - #oldtimerstatus

Happy Year Mark to Me! Crazy to think I was in the MTC this time last year. Time has gone by so fast; too fast. And what an interesting day it was for my Year Mark. #oldtimerstatus. We had contracted strep throat along the way of going about doing missionary work. I spent the morning first going to the doctor that day and then being quarantined for the next four days, where we did puzzles, colored in our coloring books, played monopoly deal, slept, read the scriptures, and generally went crazy with having to be inside. #compbondingtime. The members have been so kind! The news we were sick spread like wildfire. We received at least one bowl of soup and rolls every day. Also we went to Zupas (My new favorite restaurant- sorry Panera) and there was a whole table to woman. They paid for our lunch and expressed that most of them at missionaries out. So cute! 

This Sunday we had transfer calls! I am leaving and second half training. In President Nattress' own words, "It's going to be a new adventure for you, Sister Collins, and we will talk more at interviews." Nothing like that phrase to keep me awake at night wondering what it could possibly be. So on Wednesday it should be interesting to see what my "new adventure" entails. I will miss everyone here and serving here. I know this is what the Lord wants me to do and I will "go and do." Whatever is my new adventure, I know the Lord will be " on [my] right hand and on [my] left, and [His] Spirit shall be in [my] heart, and [His] angels round about [me] to bear [me] up" (D&C 84:88). Sister Huefner is training! I'm excited for her and for the area. Things are in the uphill and it's been exciting to be part of it. I have full confidence in Sister Huefner's abilities. 

Sorry there's not much this week, but I do know how much our Savior loves each one of us! I love the the Book of Mormon and the comfort and counsel it gives me. Read it!

Sister Collins

P.S. Remember that AIRBOX picture? That's how our mailbox has looked this week, which has been sad. If you write me, I'll always write you back! :) Plus you get to have a more personalized letter, and who wouldn't want that? Thanks much! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013 - We Are Dictionaries

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Such a great week, let me tell you! Not only was it Halloween (kind of a buzz kill on the mish with the whole "not allowed to dress up because you're a missionary" thing), but we had an Expanded Zone Conference AND a Mission Conference all in the same week! Plus we had miracles upon miracles (even though we had hardly any proselyting time this week)! So buckle up and read on!

First, the Expanded Zone Conference. This included 6 stakes with one representative from each of the Auxilaries and all of the missionaries in those stakes. It was pretty big because we're all trying to work together to make the most of the Temple Open House. "Any man can do the work of 10 men, but it takes a great man to get 10 men to work;" that is what we're trying to accomplish as missionaries. President Nattress trained all of the members on how to approach people to ask them to go to the Open House and then to hear the 15 minute video presentation from the missionaries. The APs role played our 15 minute presentation and then the audience role played asking their friends. It was fantastic, it was just like the Zone Conferences we have with just missionaries, but only two hours instead of six. I loved what President Nattress did at the end. He has Sister Nattress stand with him and asked a series of questions: "Are we perfect? Do we repent daily? Do we have a testimony of Jesus Christ? Do we have a testimony of Joseph Smith? Do we have a testimony of President Monson as the prophet? Do you know what the prophet has called you to do? Then go and do it." Then they both went a chose someone from the audience and brought them up to the stand (Sister Nattress actually came and picked Sister Huefner). Then he repeated the questions again and then Sister Huefner came and picked me, and then he repeated it again. He did this until the entire room was standing. The Gospel is for everyone, President Monson has asked each of us to reach out to those around us. We don't know who's ready and we shouldn't make that decision for them. We need to let them make the decision. I thought it was very powerful. Everyone we talked to in our wards who went was very energized about what we were all going to do. At the end a random lady asked us if we would talk to some of the young woman who had came with her. It turns out all they wanted to do was take a picture with us #celebstatus.

We had gotten some sidewalk chalk and wrote the announcement for the Gilbert Temple Open House with our number for people to call us if they had questions. We hope it generates some curiosity and hopefully everyone will know they can walk through the Temple before it's dedicated.

So, Halloween Day. President Nattress wanted us all inside Halloween Day because I guess people in the past have dressed up like missionaries and done crazy things. We had a lesson set up Ivonne in the morning before our Mission Conference, but when we got there she wasn't there! She later called us and said she had been in the Urgent Care because of some back problems she had been having. It was sad we weren't able to teach her that morning. Our day didn't start out as we had hoped. At the Mission Conference we role played the 15 Temple Video Presentation from11-4pm. It was kind of a long day, but it was great to see everyone from the Mission. The Mission even gave us all little Halloween goodie bags- presh. We then were able to eat dinner with a member who took us to Zupas- kind of like Panera for the East Coast. So that was fantastic we were allowed to do that. We had thought we were going to stay inside our apartment all by ourselves for Halloween night, but the Zone Leaders got permission from President for all of us to go to the High Concilman's house for Halloween night. He picked us all up in a 15 passenger van (because they didn't want us driving) and we had a fun night at their house. She made us chilie and we were allowed to watch Ephraim's Rescue. It was weird to be watching TV and all I could think about how much a waste of time it was to be sitting in front of it. Oh, how times have changed. I guess that's what a mission does to you? Wow. I'm for sure going to be the awkward RM in 6 months #can'twait. I'm so glad they were so willing to have us all over at their house for the night! It was totally better than sitting at home coloring in the  Princess coloring book we got because we wanted something out of the ordinary to do.

During weekly planning on Friday we called Montana (who had recently come back to church) and asked her if her son was baptized and her two sisters. Her two little sisters aren't and their dad gave them permission to take the lessons! That was great to hear since we had been waiting to see if their dad would let them! Two new investigators this week! We also had a lesson with a less-active family and the dad asked the boys who they thought we were. One of the boys said, "Dictionaries?" You know you haven't been to church in a while when your kids think the missionaries are dictionaries! Also this week we had received a referral from a member for their neighbors down the street, who's son just joined scouts. We knocked on the door and the dad let us in right away. It turns out his aunt had joined the church and he had grown up going to our church. They said they have been looking for a church and were actually talking about going to ours. They were super nice, they're a family of six! The father, Nick, said he'd have to talk with his wife (since she was in the back taking a test) and then they would get back to us. We were able to share a short message with them and the spirit was very present. We walked out of there knowing they were golden. We really can't wait to start teaching them. We're praying hard! So many more things happened this week, but I'm out of time!

I've started reading the Book of Mormon over again this time focusing on prayer. It's been a neat experience to see the power of prayer in Nephi's life in the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon. I know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. I feel the Holy Ghost as I read from it's pages.

Sister Collins

Sad missionaries looking at an "air mailbox"!

Halloween Carnage at one house in Gilbert

Halloween Fun with the Sisters!

More Halloween Fun!

More Halloween Carnage in Gilbert

Happy Halloween Zone!