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