Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 23, 2013 -- Luis' baptism!

With the twins after their baptism!

Hola Familia!

Como Estamos!?

Muchas gracias for all the treats and packages and mail that I have recieved.  I am seriously sooo grateful!

I dont have much time today cause all the places are closed.  But Ill give yall a short accounting of last week!  We had a Zone Meeting on Thursday, which was super fun, we had a scarf white elephant which was pretty great.  Friday and Saturday was all spent preparing for Luis' baptism, calling members about it, and getting his interview set up and stuff.

Speaking of the interview, the zone leaders came down to do it.  It was taking kind of a long time so we got kind of worried.  After, Elder Erekson pulled Hna Button and I in the hall, and looked really serious.

He said, "So, Luis told me that yall havent taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ."  I was so confused.  Hna button started panicking, she was like, "The Elders taught it, and we did too!"  And then Luis said, "I didn't learn it." with a completely serious face.  It was really awkward! 
And then finally Elder Erekson was like, "Just kidding! Everythings good!"  Hna Button and I just about had a heart attack, and then we found out that it was even Luis' idea!  hahaha it was hilarious.

Anyways, so on Saturday we cleaned out the font for the twins baptism (English ward) that would be earlier that day, and helped them set up for that.  Their baptism was simple and beautiful! 

After that, we started preparing for Luis.  We actually just decided it'd be on the 21st last Sunday, so we were really worried not many people would be able to come.  but I'd called some families, and the bishop's wife sent a mass text out.  Little by little, people started arriving, and there ended up being a good 40 ward members there.  Then Luis and some of his fmaily and friends showed up as well.  He got out of his car, all ready in his white jumpsuit, and it was probably the best moment of my life!  He was super happy.  the service turned out beautifully, the ward mission leader conducted, and after he was baptized all of the missionaries there sang "Haz me Andar en la luz".  The Bishop gave one of the best talks I've ever heard after, on El Don del Espiritu Santo.  When he came out, he was SO happy.  His kids and ex-wife were all there and were so fascinated with it.

The next day at church, he got confirmed. I was on the stand cause I had to speak, but after, he sat down near hna button and said "I've never felt like this before!" With a huge smile.
I love him!

So ya, this weekend was seriously amazing.  Last night we went caroling and it was so fun, we wore the santa hats you sent us! 

LOVE y'all a lot! 
With Luis right before his baptism.

After the scarf exchange at zone conference -- Feliz Navidad!

We had a party at 9:30 , ok not really, just a momentary party with the other hermanas with baptism cupcakes they got from a member! (don't worry it was like 4 minutes long. We were still using time effectively:)
Hermana Collier

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 16, 2013 -- Luis is getting baptized!!!

 After the ward party with some of the sweet kids of the Rocky Face ward, and Bishop Torres as well. 
He is an awesome bishop.

Hola Familia!

This week has been great.  I am truly blessed to be serving the Lord's children here in Dalton, Georgia. 

So I have told y'all a little about Luis.  He is 30 and has been investigating since about May.  But he had some worries with the law of chastity and things, so has been delaying baptism.
This week on Tuesday we had exchanges with the sister training leaders.  Sister Hatch came down to spend the day with me here in the Rocky Face North area.  As we planned for the lessons of the day, we discussed Luis' situation, and decided it was time to extend him a date again.  We called the President, and he told us that the situation that Luis is in right now is not disobeying the law of chastity, and he is okay to get baptized.  We went over to Luis' house ready to invite.  So we talked about his situation, related to him the information and talked about his fears.  We explained to him that he wasn't breaking any rules. Then Sister Hatch said, "So Luis! You can get baptized any time!"  And he just looked up and he was like, ya!  I asked, "How do you feel right now?"  And he explained "Actually, like really happy! I feel super relieved!" 
Sister Hatch and I after a day in Rocky Face north!  She is a great missionary!

This week is the final count down, and we'll be making arrangements and getting the ward more involved.  The English ward has two baptisms on Saturday as well, which will make it a busy but very exciting day in Dalton.  Please pray for Luis!

I also learned a lot while on this exchange about talking with everyone! It really is so important to just share our message with everyone we see, even just testifying right there on the spot.

We had a ward party on Saturday, and as a companionship tried to everything we could to prepare for it.  We invited Luis obviously, who brought a friend and his family.  We also made little invitations and passed them out to people we'd talk to on the streeet and stuff. 
The party went well!  It started out with a live Nativity which was beautiful, and I got the chance to play violin in that. Everyone came for the food-- way more people than expected, even if they were an hour late. Four or five members brought friends and those friends brought their families.  It was truly awesome to see that happening.  We got their contact information and are hoping we'll have some new investigators from them! There were a lot of less actives there as well--don't ask me why the people always come to parties but never to church.
With the ward members who were in the nativity.  I love our ward!

I am so grateful for y'all, at this time of Christmas I miss y'all but am also profoundly grateful for the chance I have to serve here. 

This week, I am going to really experiment with faith.  Instead of overthinking things or trying to justify things, just act in obedience at all times no matter what.  As dad mentioned in an email, faith is truly incredible, and if we can just let it overcome doubt we can do anything! 

I love you all!
Hermana Collier 

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013 -- Tocando Las Puertas en Dalton

After tracting in the rain for an hour, we saw this  sign!

Hola Familia!

Como Estan!?  Les Amo mucho!! Caleb I wish I couldve seen you in Christmas Carol a lot! Email me and tell me how it went!  Abe and Jon sounds like all is well with y'all.  I pray for everyone every night so I hope you can feel it!

This week was good! One thing I'm really coming to learn is that although outward results do matter, they aren't all that count.  What really counts are the changes that are taking place within the people we see and within us as misioneras. 

It's also been hard and challenging, just staying motivated, keeping a smile on, and continuing to work hard every day.  Although we're getting to the point where we have a lot of scheduled lessons every day, but without the car, we're still getting lots of good ol' tracting in.

We actually found a really good Spanish neighborhood though for this on Wednesday.  In the midst of praying with one Spanish family to the next and scheduling appointments with them, we saw an older (white) woman outside.  We talked to her for a while, she's 89 years old, and still up and moving.  We saw her backyard was covered in leaves, so asked if we could come rake leaves for her Saturday.

The next day we had a very spirit filled lesson with a young woman named Maria, who we met one day last week, she accepted a Book of Mormon and the commitment to read and pray. We get to to teach her again tomorrow.  Pray for her, por favor!

Saturday came and it was freezzziinnggg, the humidity here freezes and when the wind kicks in it's cold.  But the Elders took us to the 89 yr old lady, Alane's house.  We raked for 2 1/2 hours until the backyard was bare! She invited us in after, muddy and shivering, and we shared a scripture.  She was profusely grateful, so much that she took our picture so she could remember us.  She was so sweet, we'll return and try to teach her.  Its never too late to come to Christ, right?

On Sunday the less active family we ran into last week finally came to church! That was great to see them there!  Church was good and we got a new Ward Mission leader which I think will change a lot of things for missionary work in the ward for the better!

We've been able to continue teaching Luis, it is SO awesome to see the light that is coming to his eyes as he learns more about the Church and puts into practice the principles.  HE reminds US that we need to meet-- that's how awesome he is!  It is crazy how teaching someone and inviting them to come unto Christ, and then watching them make those changes brings about such an automatic love for them.  I have definitely been able to see that with Luis.

Also, on Friday for district meeting president came down, and did interviews.  I loved it, I feel very blessed to have such a loving mission president as Pres Irion.  OH ALSO! THE Christmas Devo last night was incredible!  Super different, but I enjoyed it, and man, I was so excited when I saw Sister Wixom was going to speak!  I loved every moment of it!

I am becoming more and more grateful for personal study time every day, I am able to learn so much and this is where my testimony is strengthened the most.  I have loved reading Jesus the Christ, especially at this time of year!  I encourage yall to do daily personal study, it is like a shield for your day.  Fam and Friends, keep on keeping on! The Lord is on your side! This I know.

Con MUCHO carino,
Hermana Collier

The Clarks -- a dear member fam 
here in Dalton who are moving wards.  
We'll miss them a lot!

December 2, 2013 -- A week of Accion de Gracias

Hola Familia!! 

I am so grateful for so many things en esta semana de accion de gracias.  Every night I've been writing down how I saw the Hand of the Lord in my life that day, and every day that just multiplies.
Thank you for all y'alls amazing letters and notes, they mean the world to me.  Dad and fam-THANK YOU for the Thanksgiving package!  It was perfect, my companion was so excited about the fact  you included stuff for her, and it makes our apartment smell amazing.  It really was perfect. Love y'all.  And I'll send our direct address soon!

Speaking of my companion, she may need your prayers this transfer - why?  The mission office called this week and for some reason some miscommunication was made, and I am now the driver.   (Mom, I know you're shaking your head right now.) Ha! don't worry, I am being super careful. But let's just say when the elders get a ride, I'll apologize for something, and they say, "No! We think your driving's fun!"  Probably not a good sign:)

This week was great.  Rocky Face North is having some miracles!  We have been able to stay very busy between getting to know members, knocking on doors, and studying studying studying.  We've been able to find new investigators through the Lord's hand, and received 10 this last week. 
Our Thanksgiving was bueno, we had Turkey doused in something red and spicy, and other mexican twisted thanksgiving food.  It was pretty unique! Then we played a football for a an hour.  It was pretty fun!  I was thinking of y'all going to Logan on Thanksgiving and on "Viernes Negro", I thought of y'all at Camp Tracy. I should've known it'd be Amanda who'd fall in the ice this year. :)

So one miracle this week, we had set goals in FAITH on 2 different days to visit a LARC (Less Actives or Recent Converts) the next day. The reason why I say faith is because after being in the ward for one Sunday we didn't really know who our Less Actives were. So one night, we decided to pray and select a family on the ward list to visit. We found la familia Martinez, with 3 boys older boys, and a girl in high school, and a sweet mom. We read a message on Obediencia from the Liahona, and they all attentively listened! We invited them to come to church. We didn't even know that they were less active until we talked to our district leader about them. The next day we were tracting a whole long street. We were on the 2nd to last house, but it was dark and there were no cars in the driveway. I said "Lets just skip this one", and Hermana Button said, "Come on, you never know who might live there!" The door was answered with a warm greeting -- "Missionarias! Pasenle!" (Come in!) We sat in their warm home and they told us of how sister missionaries had found them years ago and they'd been sealed in the Atlanta temple, but hadn't been to church much recently. We encouraged them to come and left with smiles.  Praying they return soon!

I am learning to love this work.  It's SO rewarding to get to know and love members, and have them come out with us and learn to love missionary work for themselves.  It's rewarding to grow closer with comp and other missionaries in the district through serving the Lord together.  It's rewarding to teach and testify, and see that a person is influenced by it.

I am so grateful for all the righteous Priesthood holders in my life that have led way by example.  I have really come to an appreciation for the priesthood and I know it is real divine power and authority from God.

 Love y'all!

Hermana Collier 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 25, 2013 -- Primera Semana en Espanol

Dear Familia,

I am SO Grateful today for your WONDERFUL emails and everything.  They make me SO happy and feel so blessed.  At this season of Thanksgiving I'm so grateful for y'all.  Sometimes I look back and just say, Man I'm sorry my famliy had to put up with me.  But I'll be better when I return, promise! :)
Entonces!  This week was BUENO!  Many missionaries left, and we got three new here, and Hna Button and I moved into a new apartment!  I may have told you a l'ill about Hna Button before, but oh well, she is 22, and from Wenatchee, Washington.  She wants to be a cop or Swap Medic when she returns, and loves trucks and hunting.  She is one of the most people-loving people I've ever met, so we get along great, and the members wherever she goes LOVE her.  I've learned a lot from being her companion and look forward to continuing!
So we've really just been getting to know the people of Barrio Rocky Face this week.  They are so so sweet, and humble, and want to serve the Lord.  They are also excited to have Sisters for the first time ever, which is fun.  On Saturday we got to have dinnner with our Bishop Torres.  He is younger and has the 5 cutest kids in the world.  The ward is filled with many sweet families, many of whom want to help us learn Spanish so that is great.

La unica problema is that our Espanol is not great yet!  And most of the ward members' English is better than our Spanish, so it's easier to just communicate in English, but this is not the way we learn!  So it's a little discouraging.  I know that it's up to me to learn, and I make that choice, but sometimes it still feels like no matter how hard I study and try, I still can't communicate what I want to say.
So that will just be a matter of prayer, and effort and time.  We have an investigator, Luis, who really wants to get baptized.  He comes to church, schedules visits with us, and listens to the Book of Mormon every day.  But, he is waiting for divorce papers to go through, and they could come through any day-- tommorow or next year, and so we are praying hard for that to happen.  He desires to be baptized so much, and we want that for him as well!  Tonight we have an appointment with a man, Everardo, who's wife is less active and when we were visiting her the other night, he became interested. 

There are many other potential investigators, and many many Hispanics here in Dalton that need the gospel, but it's hard when neither of us speak the language very well!
However, this trial has really helped us as a companionship grow more unified in our desires and goals, and helped me learn more about the Atonement.  It really does have a power to change us and our desires, and keeping covenants can make those changes permanent. 
Por Favor pray for us and the people of this area! 
LOVE y'all and pray for you every single night!!

Love, Hermana Collier

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 18, 2013 -- Voy a habla en espanol toda dia!!

HOLA familia!!!  

Gracias for your wonderful letters and emails and love!!

OK.  So.  First of all Haley and Kaley.  So we had their baptism date all set, it was last Saturday,  Mom was super excited, the girls were excited, all was fine and dandy right? 
Well therees this little thing called the adversary.  We got a call on thursday, turns out the mom had made some mistakes that week, and she'll be, well, gone, for a month.  We can't baptize them without their mom there, so we cancelled it! 

It was VERY sad, especially because they were all so excited, and everyone had been praying for them so hard.  But they'll continue being taught as they live at a family friends house so it's ok.

On Friday, we had transfer calls. I wasnt expecting anything at all!  But they said Sister Collier and Sister Button are moving!!  We had a slight suspicion though, that they were going to take out the two Elders from the Spanish ward and whitewash the area with Hermanas, so we called the Assistants to see if we needed to haul all our things to transfers in Knoxville, or if we should just change apartments,and they affirmed that we'd be moving to the Spanish ward.  So Hermana Button and I are going to the Rocky Face Spanish ward, and Sister Malloy will be staying in our apartment and training a new Hermana from the CCM!

So, I will be teaching, talking, preaching ESPANOL this transfer!!  I am excited but also VERY nervous.  We are taking over some investigators that have progressed a LOT and mine and my companion's spanish is VERY limited.  Not to mention many of the ward members speak only Spanish, and it will just be very interesting!!!  But I do know that the Lord will help us.  I do trust in Him!  This will be a great oppurtunity to refocus and set goals.  The lesson: Be careful what you pray for, cause you just might get it.

In other news, it was a great week, we went out to see a less active family and took a team-up that had been friends with the family for a while.  You know you're in the south when your team up swears at the less active family whilst telling them to come to church, and then repents in the prayer.  That being said, this family DID show up yesterday!  We had 4 investigators and a several inactives come on Sunday which was such a blessing.
 Jonathan and Felicia our investigators, also came  which we were not expecting!  Felicia really, really likes church, and basically told us the other night she wants to be baptized.  Jonathan, on the other hand, understands like it ALL, he comprehends the doctrine really well, but is really scared to take the step of faith.  It is really hard to watch these two, she who wants to just get married and be baptized, and he who seems to know it's true but isnt' quite willing to dive in so suddenly.  I am definetely saddest about not being able to teach them anymore, Felicia is just a year older than me and weve become great friends.

I have learned SO much this week about having a vision, a vision to baptize every single person we talk to.  It makes a huge difference in the way they learn and the way we teach.  The Holy Ghost can testify and come stronger and with more power when we have a vision for their full potential. 

I love missionary work!  I am so grateful for this chance to serve!

Hermana Collier

Hermana Button's birthday wish was for one the members to let us come over to the Fire Station and try on the fireman gear.  It was pretty fun!

 My wonderful first Dalton district,(with the zone leaders in there somewhere).  I love everyone of them!  Three of the elders are leaving, and we're getting three new, and one new hermana.  Pretty bittersweet.

Hot chocolate and Mexican treats at the Local Flea Market . . . like a mini Espanglish Mexico!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Weekend in Chatt, and The Twins Are Getting Baptized!

Got to go to the Joseph Standing memorial which is in our area, last p-day.  It was definitely sacred, dedicated ground, so it was super cool to go there and hear the story of a dedicated servant of the Lord who sacrificed his life for missionary work!  (Editor's note:  Elder Joseph Standing was shot and killed by a hostile mob while preaching the gospel in Dalton GA in the 1800's with his companion, Elder Rudger Clawson. After his companion was shot, Elder Clawson folded his arms and said “shoot”, but the mob chose not to.  He survived his mission and became an apostle in later years.  Apparently there wasn’t a branch in that area of Georgia again until almost 100 years later, in the late 1970’s.)   

Hello Family!!

COMO ESTAN!?  I love all of your emails so much!  And I really really love yall so much!
This week has been crazy.  Crazy in a good way. 
On Friday we went up to Ooltewah which is near Chattanooga, for Zone Conference.  The things I learned will change my whole mission.
I learned that Hope is a GOAL - something we're looking towards, and that Faith is the action we take to reach that goal.  The steps to making a change/reaching a goal are:
1. See it: Recognize the issue 
2. Own it: Take Responsibility 
3. Plan it: How will you do it? 
4. Do it: Act!
So that was really awesome to learn.  After that conference, our trio exhanged with another, so Hna Button went back to Dalton with two other sisters from Ooltewah and Sister Malloy and I stayed in Ooltewah with Sister Jones.  We had some really great lessons that night and a wonderful dinner appointment. Before we were done that night, we got a text from the sisters in Dalton that night who'd had a lesson with the twins.  They said that Haley and Kaley have a date.  The twins are getting baptized this Saturday!! Sister Malloy and I were SO happy for them, and we immediately said a prayer thanking Heavenly Father.  They still have quite a bit to learn before Saturday, but we have a plan and faith that they'll be prepared!
The next day we had a bunch of plans, and they all fell through within an hour! So we saw a lady raking leaves and asked if we could help. She asked our names, but thought "Malloy" and "Collier" were too hard to pronounce, so she called us Jones, Blondie, and Smiley.  It was kind of hilarious.  We helped her rake leaves, and sung some hymns for her.  After that we found some new investigators and taught another lesson.
Saturday night was the Adult session of Chattanooga Tennessee Stake Conference.  It was so so wonderful to see so many Latter Day Saints gathered together.  The meeting was POWERFUL, on Hastening the Work.  As I sang "I Feel My Savior's Love", I felt such an outpouring of the Spirit like I never have before!  It was a feeling that made me want to act, to do and be better.  It was an extremely revelatory experience.  The next day was the general session which was also fabulous, and Jonathan and Felicia were able to come!!  We were so happy for them.  We have another lesson with them tonight.

I know that when we are close to the Spirit, we are inspired to be better.  We're inspired to be more diligent, and more Christlike.  It is something that is very difficult to always be close to the spirit but when we are it is life changing!

Thank yall for your love and support.  Y'all are INCREDIBLE and I pray for you every night!

Love, Hermana Collier

Exchange for the weekend in Ooltewah! with Sisters Malloy and Jones - I loved it!!

 Hna Button, Sis Malloy and I with Haley and Kaley a couple weeks ago at the trunk or treat.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 4, 2013 -- The Plan of Happiness is Real Y'all!

[Editor's note:  Some readers of this blog may wonder about words like "hilar," "totes," "presh," etc.  Those are Maddy-speak for "hilarious" "totally" "precious" . . . if you come across a word you don't know, consider what possible syllables could follow to make it a word you do know. ]


Gracias for your many sweet letters, I love y'all SO MUCH!!!  CONGRATS Jon and Bri!!!!!  I am sooooooo happy and excited about this!!  This is a VERY good thing I'm going to have a sister!! I can't wait for you two :)

I got to watch the BSA broadcast the next day during our hour, which we can do occasionally, and I strategically planned for the day after the broadcast.  The people in the Dalton State Library probably thought I was pretty weird as I tried not to squeal out of happiness and joy as I watched my cute little brother in it!!!  I Loved it, good job Mom, and Caleb, and everyone else involved!  I was so proud of you Caleb!  You are obviously mature and have worked really hard to perform that well, it's a great example. 

Oh, and Mom that is good that you thought the "Drive thru prayer" is priceless, cause this week wetracted into a guy named Mike, and guess what?  He owns it. Not only that but he wants us to keep coming back and teaching him!  Ha-ha we'll see how far that goes :)

This week has been good.  On Monday, we had our investigators Jonathan and Felicia over to a members home for FHE, the Clarks.  The Clarks are a young couple who both served missions, they were really quite the ideal couple to have our investigators meet.  We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and the Clarks added to the lesson with their insights and testimonies, and the Spirit was so strong.  Things were really clicking for both of them.  At the end, Jonathan said that he felt like the next step they needed to make was join the church. However they both work a whole LOT, including Sundays, so we're still working through all that.

This week we also had the Trunk or Treat.  It was a great time! Felicia came and brought some friends, and Hailey & Kailey and their family came!  Also some less-actives who haven't been to church for months came out, so we were able to talk to them and it was just awesome.  I am starting to really grow a love for our ward and the members here.  They are just GREAT!

Yesterday we didn't have ward council so we got to attend the Spanish Ward which was fabulous.  They are so loving and want sisters there sooo bad.  Then they needed a pianist for RS so I also got to go there as well.  I love them!

This week my testimony in the Plan of Salvation, or Plan of Happiness, has been strengthened a great great deal.  We are spirit children of God, and He sent us here to gain experience and a body, and with that body we have the chance to Love, Teach, Serve, Uplift, and live as the Savior would.  Our goal is to return home to Him, and our families help.  After we die, those who did not have the opportunity to hear the gospel will get that opportunity because we all need to be cleansed by the Savior's Atonement!  I know this is true and invite y'all to read up on it in Preach my Gospel this week!

Hermana Collier

With Felicia at the Trunk or Treat - yes she has a mustache drawn on:)

With cute little girl in our ward, Faith, at the trunk or treat!

Fall in the South is divine!  The trees are all on fire and the weather has been perfect!  We've biked this past week a lot and I have loved every second of it!

Have you always wanted to meet the guy being baptized on the Mission call packet? Well I have.  Well his name is Brother Sanhueza, from Chile, and he lives here in Dalton. He had us for dinner, and I had my call packet with me.  So I just couldn't pass up this opportunity, I had to take a picture!! 

A family in our ward made us cute little Halloween things. Totes presh.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 28, 2013 -- I Love Tough Things!!

HOLA Familia.

Entonces, first you should know that that is one of our mission themes: "I love tough things!" This statement has definitely helped me this week.  It is kind of hard to learn how to react well to things that you don't have ANY control over!  I know that is one reason I am here is to learn how to let it all go, and know Heavenly Father is in control.

 This week we were with the Elders at a part-member family's home for dinner.  The grandma, who was Less Active loved music, and the non-member husband was in the next room.  We hardly had time for a real lesson after dinner, and so Elder Anderson suggested we sing a song instead.  The grandma was delighted, we sang for them and the Spirit was so strong! And guess what?  Because we sang "Joseph Smiths First Prayer", the husband was got to hear our message, even though he wasn't in the room.

Yesterday I was able to speak in church, which went well, and afterward the 11 yr old investigators Haley and Kaley gave me the sweetest hugs. They are quickly progressing and understanding, but please continue to pray for those girls!  We got a new investigator named Ronny, who is very open to the church, and aware of God's hand in his life.  He is pretty great and I'm excited to keep teaching him. Last week we almost dropped an investigator Felicia because she hadn't responded to any calls/texts/anything for a week.  But we got to see her last night, and boy am I glad we didn't give up on her!  Her countenance had ENTIRELY changed.  We asked her to tell us what had happened and she told us a whole story--basically her boyfriend had been making bad decisions and she didn't know what to do, but she said that she "gave it all to God."  She looked and acted like a different person!  And she turned to the book of Mormon in this time of trial, and was able to find comfort.  I am soooooo excited to teach her again tonight!

We were talking with a recent convert this week before she went to on a trip to visit her boyfriend. We asked, "Miranda, what is the law of chastity to you?" She simply replied, "It is Sufferin'!" Haha we had a pretty good laugh about that one.  But in all seriousness, I am learning a lot about and gaining a testimony in the law of chastity.  It is one that you can directly see the blessings in your life when you obey it and directly see the trials that come from disobeying it when you don't!   In that way this principle is easy to understand, but the way that Satan uses it, messing with our minds, tearing families apart is not as easy to understand. The adversary is so real, and I know this because I've seen it this week in people that are so strong in faith, but give in to temptation.  But through the Savior's Atonement, I know everything can be made better!

Love you all so much!  Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Love Hermana Collier

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 21, 2013 --This May Be The Path I Need to Take

Hey familia!  

SO this week had it's ups and downs, but was mostly great.  One cool thing happened at the beginning.  After having dinner with a couple in the ward who love us a lot and feed us frequently, we decided to practice The Restoration lesson with them.  Hermana Button and I did it together.  She began, then I picked up when it goes into the Joseph Smith story.  For some reason it really felt like my first time ever telling it, and as I began saying, "I saw a pillar of light", I was overcome by the Spirit and started smiling so big, (because when I feel the spirit it always makes me unusually happy) and as I finished the story, it was so strong!, even after we left.  

That experience stuck with me and I realized that people have always told me that the story of the Restoration can bring the Spirit faster than anything else, and I knew I wanted to do this same thing in our lesson with Robert the next day.  So we went into Robert and I was able to tell the Joseph Smith story, and that same Spirit came with great force to the lesson.   After, we had him read the last paragraph of the Introduction to the Book of Mormon, where it tells him to ask God if these things are true, and we asked him what he thought of it, and he said, "I think, this is God tellin' me, that this may be the path I need to take."  That was a great spirit-filled lesson, and I am glad I got to experience that power that the story of the Restoration truly has!

The sad part of this week is that Hermana Button has been sick, so she's been staying with members and Sister Malloy and I have been going out a lot.  This was our bike week, (by the way the bike is working great, thanks!) and we did a lot of that, especially in a particular neighborhood that is mucho Hispanico.  Its really fun biking on these hilly roads with all the beautiful fall leaves around us!  Saturday I taught my first full lesson in Spanish to Maria, and it went pretty well!  We also met a Hispanic guy named Crispan, who has had an El Libro De Mormon and has been reading and studying it for 15 years.  He was super nice but had TONS of questions that we could barely understand in Spanish, and were basically all deep doctrine.  We'll see if he can be a progressing investigator or not, but it was pretty crazy to just tract into a Spanish guy who's already read the whole Book of Mormon. 

Then on Sunday, Haley and Kaley, the 11yr old twins came to church, and they are getting much more excited about being members of this church!  Their mom and everyone thinks they're a lot closer to baptism and so I think they just need to solidify their understanding in a few areas and they'll be ready.  The only challenge is their mom works Sundays, and that's been super hard to get them rides to church and everything, but hopefully their desire to keep going is still there.

The last thing I wanted to tell you about was the meeting yesterday.  Elder Laurence E. Corbridge came.  He is kind of famous among missionaries for his talk, "The Fourth Missionary," about being the best kind of missionary.  He is amazing on the subject of helping people understand.  One of the main things I learned is that people MUST UNDERSTAND the message of the gospel--that is what leads to conversion.  This can be applied both to others and to ourselves, and so I invite you all to ask yourself WHY is the doctrine of Christ important to you!  Understanding leads to conversion, and Action.  Another thing I learned is that we all need to go outside ourselves, to be SELFLESS.  He said, "Selflessness is singular to your self-interest."  And so instead of improving myself, all I need to do is focus on improving the lives of others and I will naturally improve. 
The Zone conference was the most fun thing -- I got to see so many friends and meet new friends, see President Irion and others that I love.  And Elder and Sister Corbridge are just awesome!!  'Twas a blast!

I know that this gospel is true and that the only way back to Heavenly Father is through Faith, and Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.  LOVE YOU ALL!!

Con Carino,
Hermana Collier

I am not even kidding: here in the South they have Drive Thru Prayer!  
You can't see it well here, but this guy was holding up a sign for it!

We went on a hike for Pday last week, muy hermosa!

I saw my companera chapparitta from the CCM for the first time in 2 weeks! 
It was SO good to catch up with Hermana Lindhardt.

Yesterday after zone conference with Sister Malloy and Button, 
we got butter! and cookies! Hallelujah!

Con Carino,
Hermana Collier

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 14, 2013 -- First Week: "Well, come get awesome'd up sometime again!"


I loved all of your letters again, they were stupendous. Mom and Cabe I am going to see if we can watch the BSA thing, cause the church is right by us so we'll see! Rest of family, I miss and love you!

OKAY sorry this might be long...
Well, I've almost made it through a whole week of being a missionary!! So spending the night at the Irions home was great, then we woke up, had breakfast, met our trainers, then marched into training meeting as everyone sang "Called to serve", hehe, and then introduced ourselves and met our trainers and everything.  After, some elders from Grandma and Grandpas ward got a pic with me to show them,  and I talked with some members of their ward/stake that had driven the Asheville Elders there, it was muy divertido.

So first of all, I am in a trio companerismo! Hermana hem; she's from Washington and is really into like Cop and EMT stuff, really funny, and such a positive and loving person!  Then Sister Malloy is my other trainer, shes from California and a Junior at BYU-I, she is super duper sweet and Christlike and a great missionary!  So I love my companeras.   Dalton is beautiful, curvy roads and mountains in the distance and the weather has been PERFECT!  The leaves are just starting to change and it's still blue skies every day! We live in an apartment complex right across the street from the Dalton Chapel. Our district is a Spanish District because the other ward that meets in our building is a Spanish branch, and all the elders in it are great.  We're in the English ward, but still talk and interact with a ton of Hispanics and try to communicate with each other in Spanish, so I think I'm still improving little by little.  There are only 6 hermanas in the mission, by the way.

The people of Dalton are AWESOME! They are kind of hilarious--just the way that they talk--yet super sweet and genuine.  I think I leave every single conversation with people here laughing because they are just down right hilarious.  Oh, and for some reason a lot of people comment when they first meet me--"Wow, you're really tall!"  haha! Esta bien! (One of our investigators suggested I take up modeling, haha!) So I love these folks.  I already have a pretty good impersonation of the drawl, pretty excited to use that more. I really enjoy our ward, there are a couple members in the ward that we see every single day, who just come by to bring us treats or come on team-ups or whatever -- it's great to see their desire to further the work!  I seriously love them!

Our investigators right now are Jonathan and Felicia, a young couple who've been investigating on and off  for a couple of months.  Felicia's one of the funniest people I've ever met.  Then there are Haley and Kaley,  11 year old twins who live with their mom and aunt.  Their mom is already baptized, but just needs to come to church more, and it's great that she wants her girls to be baptized.  They're coming along and will probably have a date within a week if everything goes smoothly, so pray for Haley and Kaley!  Then there are Robert, and Rebecca.  Those are the investigators, but we give a lot of lessons to less actives... There is also Miranda,  a recent convert who has a REALLY tough life but loves us and loves the Church, it just takes a lot to keep her going every day. 

That is the majority of the work to be done in this ward.  It is a great ward, but over half is less-active. But some of our very best lessons this week were when we got to go visit some of these people that we'd heard about, and invite the Spirit into their home, some of them for the first time in years, and invite them to express their feelings about coming back to church.  A bunch genuinely wanted to, so we should have six less actives coming back this next Sunday, we'll see how that goes!

So yeah, being on a mission is a lot of ups and downs, trying to improve myself and trying to learn and focus on others more!  I am absolutely loving it, though.  I think it can only get better from here on out as I learn more about His work and how to be a better missionary!


Hermana Collier

Our distrito had Christmas, all giving each other secret santa gifts.  It was great times!

 With Hermana Hoj and Howell, Oly girls in Mexico.

 With Alejandro one of our fave Natives! Miss him!

 Just arriving at the mission office.

In front of Presidents home in Knoxville with some of the sisters
who arrived with us.  Pretty right?

 Visiting a ward member, Annie in a rest home. She was so sweet, and pretty hilar.  On the way out, I said, "Thanks for being so awesome!"  
She said, "Is that what you call it these days? Awesome?" 
We said yes, and then she said, "Wayll, come back and get awesome'd up sometime again!" 

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 8, 2013

Arrived safe and sound!  Welcome to Tennessee Knoxville Mission!

October 3, 2013 -- Last week of Training at CCM

October 3, 2013 -- Last week of Training at CCM

Don't know why I can't get these pictures to rotate... send any advice.

HOLA!!  Como Estas??  Estoy MUY bien!  I loved all your letters, Dad sounds like its going awesome--praying for you, Mom I miss ya keep up the great work! I looovveedd the email and all the pictures, Jonny! ESP the rent a puppy one! :)  Tell Bri thanks for taking them :)  Oh and my teacher is moving into Glenwood next week so if you meet a Hermano Wolfe, tell him hello! (haha I dont know his first name)
The last week at the CCM de Mexico has been great so far.  First of all, its been sunny with a high of 75 cada dia, which has been sublime for frisbee and volleyball!  But other than that, Spanish has been coming along better, especially in lessons.  And we have been getting to know a lot of the native workers around the campus, it is soo fun to get to know them (And doesnt hurt when our amigos Alejandro y Fernando dar nos el helado despues almuerzo!)   Also a new district arrived this week that our district immediately bonded with, so thats been great.  I will miss it here, I feel so blessed to have the oppurtunity to come train for the mission field in Paradise :).  By the way I am going to call you guys sometime on Tuesday on my way to Knoxville, so look out for an email on Monday telling you what time Ill be calling! Gracias!
One of the cool experiences from this week has been finishing with our investigators... Luz was one of them. When we first started teaching her, she was a very depressed soul who didnt believe anything we told her, and at least I as a missionary was not exactly the best either--Literally, in one of the first lessons I'd told her that we'd answer her questions after we were finished with our message!! HA and looking back, it seems crazy I did that, but I was just learning I guess.  As our lessons became more from the heart and we started going in without notes, SHE decided to trust God more, and find out for herself if our message was true.  Even though Luz is really our teacher, every time we went into that room it felt SO real.  Before we went into our last lesson with her on Monday, I wrote in my journal "I am about to go teach Luz.  It is a moment like this where I feel the gravity of my calling.  My calling is to bring others unto Christ, but it is so hard and yet so amazing BECAUSE everyone has Agency."  I then ran across a scripture, Ether 12:41, about coming to Christ. Then I wrote "Am I really coming to Christ for myself though?  I want Luz to experience El Evangelio, but am I Converting myself?  Am I coming closer to God every single day?"  I concluded that I could do a whole lot better, but then I went in to teach her trusting in the Lord.  As we began to teach the spirit filled the room and we were able to feed off of each other, and when she accepted a baptismal date for a week later, it was so strong!  Like I said, even though she wasnt a real person in that moment, it felt so real that we'd made a change in someones life, and so I can't imagine how it will feel out there in the actual mission field--I bet that x10. 
Today we had the oppurtunity to attend the temple.  This was my third session in Spanish, and I was amazed at how much I understood!  And the temple is amazing as well in the way that we can realize things and recieve revelation while there.  The Spirit is real!  I want to bear my testimony to you that I know this church is true, and I know God lives!  Striving to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ will bring happiness.  I am brought to repentance so often, it seems, but thats part of being human, and keeps us humble.  I have to constantly being willing to change, and repent, and change again.  Change is hard but it makes us grow, so I'm glad I get to experience changing my whole life by leaving this lovely place to the real campo misional next week!  Keep being amazing, I love you all!!

Con MUCHO carino,
Hermana Collier

 My favorite time of day--the CCM is SO pretty in the evening times.  
The circle on the ground, known by the missionaries as the "paradise portals" 
are all over town indicating the safest spots in times of earthquake.

The hermanas with our Branch Presidency. 
Presidente Alvarado is one of the sweetest and best people 
I've ever been able to work with, well miss them!

 Some of the lovely hermanas from our Zone 
at the Mexico city temple.  
Theyre awesome!

Our district with the Branch Presidency

September 26, 2013 -- Week 5 at CCM, the Countdown Begins

Week 5 at CCM, the Countdown Begins
September 26, 2013

THANKS for your marvelous letters, I absolutely loved them!!  feliz compleaƱos MOM!  Thanks for all youve done for me, I think and pray for you cada dia!  Really though.
So this week has been good, I have learned SO much.  Last Thursday we were having comp inventory and I was telling Hna Lindhardt about my setting apart blessing, and how there were two things I remembered that my Stake President told me.  One was that there was no time for foolishness.  We made it a goal to study diligently and with purpose every day, and it has paid off in many ways!  The other thing he said is I'd lead others, and to treat the sisters I was entrusted with care and love.  The next day Hermana Lindhardt and I were pulled out of clase by our amazing branch pres, Presidente Alvarado, and were called to be the Sister training leaders for our zone.  We were really shocked and felt inadequate and unprepared, but it has motivated us to set new goals put us in positions to serve, which has been a huge blessing.
Another thing that happened in this same time period is I was feeling like my learnings really been slowing down, and a little stagnant.  I didnt know what to do, but we had a coaching session with our teacher Hermano Wolfe that night. (one great thing about Mexico is unlike provo the teachers dont have a life outside of the CCM, so they have more flexibility to spend more time with us). Hermana Lindhardt and I opened our hearts and told him all the reasons we needed help and how we felt like we werent progressing in Spanish or teaching skills. First he told us that IF we WANT to progress, then we WILL.  He then felt inspired to give us a demonstration lesson, and began teaching us -- as US, not "investigators".  I know the Spirit was literally there so strong, because he asked us questions that Ive been asking myself lately, and that forced me to figure them out on my own.  He looked into our eyes saw us as daughters of God, which meant a lot to both of us.  The lesson touched on every point of the Restauration, and yet applied to our lives so seamlessly.  At the end of the lesson demonstration (that we forgot was a demonstration because it was so real) all three of us took turns praying and spoke the words of our heart to God, asking any questions and feeling the Spirit in abundance.  It was amazing.  The next day, Hno Wolfe told us that that night, he KNEW that he wasnt speaking, he was literally opening his mouth and it was being filled with words we needed to hear.  I learned so much that night not only about how to teach others with the Spirit, but about myself and my relationship with God. 
On Sunday in church, Hna Lindhardt gave a talk in Spanish, which was amazing.  We were also able to do interviews for the Hermanas in our zone, that was a great oppurtunity to learn and serve. On Sunday we also got to watch an MTC Devo from Elder Bednar about finding principles in General conference.  I kid you not, it was an INSPIRING talk.  It made me SOOOO excited for General conference, I now have a countdown.  We only have 12 DAYS  left in the MTC, and about 9 till conference, so Ive decided Im going to make these last 12 count in every way!! Monday was great, I got some Dear Elders (hooray!) and Hna L and I were able to have a good talk with our teacher Hna Williams. That day in class, my roomate Hna Wright shared that one of her scriptures is Romans 12:2, and she said, "I found it after I chose my missionary plaque scripture, or else I wouldve used this one!".  For some reason when I looked it up, I accidently read 13:2, and that verse talks about how we must accept ordinances or damnation will come.  I just turned to her and said "Wait, you were going to use this scripture for you missionary plaque?  I mean, its awesome, it just seems a little...harsh" Trying to be sensitive to her opinions, and then we realized Id read the wrong one and the whole district just busted up laughing, It was pretty hilar.
Here in the CCM, I am learning a lot about the love our Savior and Heavenly Father have for us, and how they want us to progress.  And when we progress, we have to stretch ourselves, and that involves pain.  I am learning a lot about humility and how I have to repent every day.  I am learning about charity, and how we must pray with all the energy of heart to obtain it.  Take life one step at a time!! Thank you for being my inspiration!


Mucho Amor,
Hermana Collier

 Temple Day last week; 6 am on bus, on our way to the Mexico City, Temple

 With 10-A, our favorite distrito that just left.  Since they didn't have
any hermanas, they loved us, haha.  Lo siento for the guys, haha.

Some nights here at el CCM are muy hermosa!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

September 19, 2013 -- Bien Week 4 at the CCM!

Hola Familia! Bien Week 4 at the CCM!
September 19, 2013

Hola Familia!!  Como Estan!! Thanks for all of the letters, I love them!!  Miss you all! Feliz CompleaƱos Abe, hope it was great, estoy tristo I couldnt be there for it!
Well this week has been a good one. The CCM is starting to feel like home now and we're all getting used to the schedule.  I like it here a lot more now that I know all the people around, and on Tuesday when the new people came, we felt like veterans :) Our relief society lesson on Sunday was about how going on a mission is like 'being cast into the lone and dreary world', and then by the end of your stay, its the Garden of Eden, and then when you go to your mission its like the 'lone and dreary world´' again!  And I can see how that will happen with us, I cant believe I only have 2 more Pdays here!  Well anyways this week has been great.  In our lessons we have gotten a lot better at listening to the Spirit, which is a LOT easier as Spanish is learned.  Esta Bien.  This weekend was Mexican Independence Day!!  The CCM took it upon themselves to make it an experience for us missionaries, and succeeded.  All of the 800 missionaries were crammed into the gym.  From the moment we walked in, the natives were stoked and were yelling and leading everyone in the Wave and anthems and songs. It started with a presentation on how Mexico was formed, then a group of mexican dancers came and did an awesome show, then a chica sang some mexican songs and some small fireworks came out of the stage!  The best part is that there was a HUGE group of Natives behind us.  If anything, one thing I learned is that the Mexicanos LOVE their country and KNOW how to party!! Those native boys behind us were hollering and yelling and singing from the moment everyone got in there.  It was hilarious, and very eye-opening of the culture.  We got some awesome pics with the Presidente and dancers and our teachers Hermana Williams y Hermano Wolfe, but I dont have them so Ill have to send them next week!!
  I actually had an awesome experience last Saturday.  We have two teachers, and they teach two districts--ours and another.  Hermano Wolfe has been our teacher from the beginning and he is really good at Espanol.  Anyway on Saturday, our teachers, Hermano Wolfe y Hermana Williams, had our classes combine for the afternoon class.  The clase started with a talk about the Atonement, and then they paired us up with members from the opposite district, we were supposed to get to know them and then give a short lesson on whatever the spirit prompts.  Thankfully, in English! Ha anyways, so I was with Elder Kotter, he was nice and all, and he taught me a good lesson and answered some questions I had about the atonement and all.  So then I began to teach him, and for some reason, he started really opening up to me when I asked him questions.  I asked about his faith and testimony in Christ, and he didnt have a relationship with Christ--it felt like just a hope that Hes there.  Then he asked What is Faith?  I knew that if I told him the classic answer it wouldnt satisfy him, so I went another direction.  I decided to share an experience I'd had recently--recently a substitute teacher had challenged us to: 1. pray to know if there's a God 2. pray to know if he has a body of flesh and bones 3. pray to know if He is pleased with what youre doing.  I'd done that, and I'd felt an amazing Spirit, and I felt  SO close to my Father in Heaven that night.  ANYWAYS I told Elder Kotter that story, and challenged him to do the same thing.  He accepted, and then Hermano Wolfe, whod been observing asked him to share his testimony with us.  It took a long time for him to start but when he did, he just started sobbing, big tears.  I felt a little uncomftorable, but once he finished he told me that that was the first time hes ever realized he really DID have faith in God and in Christ, and he had faith to go teach others about it now.  And he said that no one else couldve gotten him to open up like I had.  It gave me a glimpse into what the mission will be like, peoples lives change as they come closer to Christ.  I loved that moment!
The last cool part of that story is the next day in class, Hermano Wolfe said, (In spanish, so it took me a while to translate hehe) "Yesterday, when we had discussions, hermana collier was asked a question: What is Faith? And she didnt have the answer.  But she did give a challenge to pray and ask if God is there, has a body, and if He's pleased with you, right?" I answered yes, and then he said that he was reading in Joseph Smith's Lectures on Faith, lecture 3.  He showed it to me and I read it aloud: "There are three things necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.  First the idea that he actually exists.  Secondly, a correct idea of His character, perfections, and attributes. Thirdly an actual knowledget that the course of life which He is pursuing is according to His will." 
So anyway, the Spirit is REAL!  Because I had no idea I was actually answering that Elders questions!!
Well got to go but Love you ALL!!

Hermana Collier 

With the Presidente and wife . . .

September 12, 2013 -- The CCM is a time for growth

Hola Familia!!  Thank you for all the letters, I LOVE them!  Dad, I loved the Dear Elder and all the awesome updates so thanks! Mom I miss you!  And Abe & Jon thanks for writing, I have the best big bros! And Happy almost Birthday ABE! Hope the Gala is going well for you Caleb! (Tell him to write me, ok? haha)    Oh and send doggy breezy my love by the way!  Miss you all a lot!  By the way my Pday is always on Thursday just so you know!
    Well week 2 here at the CCM has been great!!  Again, I really love it.  We have all begun to get into the swing of things now.  So this week is Mexican Independence Week so we see Mexican flags everywhere and the comedor is decked out in Mexican food/decorations.  But because of all this fun, we were feeling a little sentimental to our good ol US of A, so as a district we wore red, white, and blue for 9/11!  Which of course for the elders only meant their ties, but it was still awesome.  GUESS WHAT??  After four whole days of non-stop rain, we've had 4 almost completely sunny days!!  Its been so great!  So we played volleyball against another district in the sand court, which was the BEST!  Playing sports here is something I look forward to every day!  I love our district, there is a huge range of personalities and for that reason its SO fun!  In other news, theres like 10 or 12 Olympus kids here!  There popping up all over the place! Muy bien. 
  So this week has had its rough times and good times. Friday mi companera Hna Lindhardt started to get a cold, and Hna Henderson (one of our roomates) got pretty sick as well.  On Sunday Hna Lindhardt and I felt like we needed to fast for Hna Henderson, which ended up being an awesome thing.  It was a very spiritual day because our Sacrament Meeting was very emotional as the district that welcomed us in was leaving the next day, (which included our Zone leader, Elder mangum whos QB for the Cougs when he returns--super nice guy). Then we were able to watch an MTC devotional by Elder Holland from back in January. He gave us the tools for being "Un Misionera Exito" (Successful missionary), 1. Convert yourself 2. Obey 3. Strive to have the Lord in your life 4. Teach with the Spirit 5. Work as hard as you can.  He also mentioned that if we are converted in our hearts, others will feel the "thunder" of your testimony.  I loved it, and I made a commitment to make it a week of hard work!
       So Monday for some reason was a tough day.  That afternoon was our first lesson with one of our "new" investigators and she was REALLY difficult, and so it was just one of those situations where we felt helpless afterward.  Then our teacher gave us a great lesson but for some reason I just felt even more overwhelmed.  That night for study time, our four hermanas went into a room and studied together.  We were able to just kind of pour out our hearts to each other, talk about what we'd been struggling with, and comfort each other through scriptures and stories of the Savior in our lives.  It was such a neat experience and I felt closer to the Savior than I have in a long time!  The next day was complete opposite.  First off, it was this day that both Hna Lindhardt and Henderson started to feel much better, and I know that the fasting helped with that!  So Tuesday we had another "new" investigator, and our goal was to look at him as if he were a REAL investigator. With the Lord's help, we were able to do this, I have never felt the Spirit so strong in a room between three people.  We asked him to say the prayer at the end, and it was SUCH a beautiful thing, It felt like he was a brand new investigator and this was really the first time he personally spoke with his Father in Heaven.  That was a powerful experience.
Then later that afternoon, we had TRC, our members name was named Maria.  We told her that we werent always perfect at reading the scriptures and praying, but that when we did them, they were little things that helped.  Hna Lindhardt said it first, calling them the "Pocita Cosas".  I didnt even know if that was making sense in spanish, but I just went along with it and we kept telling her about how doing the "pocita cosas" in life will help! When Maria said the closing prayer for us, she prayed for that wed all do the "pocita cosas"!  I almost started laughing cause I was so happy that our message made any sense to her!!  It was a breakthrough day in our teaching as a companionship.
The main thing Im learning is that the CCM is not a place for me to be the most perfect missionary ever --its a place I can LEARN how to be the best missionary I can be.  So if I make a mistake, its ok, if I am learning!  It is so reassuring to know that, and that the Saviors there for me!  After a day here, I feel so worked--physically, mentally, spiritually exhausted.  It is painful yet good because you know youre growing.  So here´s to learning and growing, and learning from mistakes!  I love you all and know God is watching over each of you!! 

Hermana Collier

 We were so happy we got to wear JEANS for service last week, 
we just had to take a pic!!

At the tienda, they sell these cookies called Chokis.  
They are our favorite.

Our district being funny

Our district wearing red-white-blue for 9/11

Love these hermanas!