Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014 -- New Start in Rocky Face!

Service project Saturday morning
Querida Familia~ 

Hola!! Sounds like y'all are doing dandy.  Thank you for all your sweet emails and letters -- I love them!  And the package a few weeks back Mom - gracias!  I can't believe Emily died, I thought those Rabbits would live on FOREVER.  How sad! Next time I see a dead rabbit on the road (which happens pretty often) I'll probably think of her.

Hermana Winters brings winter!
So this week has been great. On Wednesda, we went up to Knoxville and I got my new companion Hermana Winters!  As soon as we came out of the transfer meeting it started snowing HUGE snowflakes.  So Hermana Winters brought winter with her, ha ha.  She is from South Jordan (and in the same ward as the Pipe family, Mom), is going to be in the army after her mission, and is super sweet and has a strong desire to do the work of the Lord!  She is awesome and I am so excited to be working with her.

Our first day we had weekly planning, then we went out for a bit and met a man named George, who wrote down our number to call us.  The next day was Valentine's day and we were contemplating on how we won't be doing anything very Valentine-y that day, and then we recieved a voicemail from George saying, "Hello! Just wanted to wish you two ladies a Happy Valentine's Day, hope we can keep in touch!"  Although we're not sure we'll keep in touch, it was nice to have a valentine :)  bromas.

At the baptism of Jesse with Presidente and Hermana Irion
On Saturday, we helped the English sisters prepare for a baptism, and then had Rafael come.  It was so great to have him there, although he was a little frightened when Jesse had to be baptized twice because the person doing it had no idea how to.  Rafael leaned over to me after and told me he wanted someone very strong to do his! But he liked it overall, and is excited.  He also came to church yesterday, but Jesus didn't, sadly.  We have moved their baptismal date, this time for the last time hopefully, to March 8th.  I believe it'll happen! As long as we get Jesus to church.

So we found an address in the Area Book of some former investigators, and decided to go find this family on Saturday night.  Their names are Sal and Rebecca, they are young and have a beautiful house.  We got to know them, then shared the message of the Restoration with them.  The Spirit was so powerful as we testified in unity to them.  We asked them after what they thought of it, and Sal said that it made a lot more sense and was much clearer.  On the way home, we recieved a text from them saying something to the effect of, "Thank you for praying with us, drive safe!:)"  It was the COOLEST moment, and we are super excited to keep teaching them.

I was amazed at how much my testimony grew while teaching them the truths of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.  It is amazing how sharing what we know with the Spirit builds our testimony!
The talk that I read this morning, "To My Grandchildren," posed the question: What choices will lead me to happiness? There are many answers for this but there's one over-arching: Keep God's Commandments, and His first commandments are Love God and Love others.  So I encourage you all to really try to love and serve others. This has been my focus recently and it has helped me a lot!

I am enjoying the people and the area and my companion right now.  Thank you for all your support, hope y'all have a great fabulous week!

I love the Savior so much, and our Heavenly Father. 

Hermanita Collier
Hermanas with tools
Happy compananeras

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 4, 2014 -- An Awesome Week!

Hola Familia!!  

Wow I am just so grateful for all of  yall and your support.  I am built up by your words.  I just love you so much!

This week has been great. So on Tuesday, it SNOWED - like big time here in Georgia.  Everyone was going CRAZY because it was actually sticking, and the people down here are not prepared!  Us two girls from UT and WA were very excited, so we bundled up, and went out walking!  Because it wasn't our car week.  Everyone felt like they needed to be trapped in their homes because of the weather, so it worked out great for the missionaries! We had an awesome lesson with a less-active family we've been working with, The Solis familia, and her non-member husband Juan sat in on it as we talked about the Plan de Salvation. The Spirit was super strong, and we left them with a commitment to attend church on Sunday. 

So another cool thing happened this week when we scheduled an appointment with Rafael.  We called a different sister than we usually call for a team up for this appointment, Sis DeLaCruz.  We went to the lesson, and when Rafael's daughter, Elsa (who is really interested but works a lot), walked out, Sis DeLaCruz started weeping as they embraced.  Turns out they knew each other because they lived in the same small town in Mexico years and years ago.  So we had a VERY spirit-filled lesson on the Restoration, and committed Rafael to come to church!

Then Saturday, Elder L. Tom Perry came to Knoxville and we got the oppurtunity to attend!  It was a Southwest US ward council leadership training. It was AMAZING! He just walked in so full of energy and the Spirit.  We heard some awesome remarks from Elder Hymas, and then Elder Perry and then we had a question and answer with Elder Rasband and Elder Kopischke and Elder Zwick.  I learned a lot not only to apply as a missionary but to my life and role as a member after my mission.  One of my favorite parts was when someone asked Elder Perry (sort of in jest) how he has so much energy, and he replied, "I believe in ENERGY. I believe in VITALITY - and I believe that it can change a ward and their missionary efforts!"  So I decided I need to live each day and especially work with my ward with an energy as if I'm shot out of a gun!  

So we have another investigator Samuel, he's one of the guys we met playing guitar - he is young and very strictly Catholic, but very open and just an awesome guy.  So Saturday night, our appointment with Samuel cancelled, so we were sad but we invited him to church anyways.

So Sunday morning, we weren't sure who would come.  But Rafael showed up, then Samuel!  Then fast and testimony meeting began and Sis Mora tapped us on the shoulder, and pointed over to Sis Solis and her husband walking in!  After fast and testimony meeting, Rafael asked if he could see the baptismal font.  He is progressing!  All 3 of them stayed for all 3 hours of church. It was a true miracle.  I pray we can continue to work with them and lead them to baptism!

The reason I'm writing today is we had Zone Conference yesterday, where I learned even more about being better as a missionary and person and inviting others to come to Christ more.

I love you all and pray for you every day.  Thank you so so much for your encouragement!  I am excited for another week to do the work of the Lord.

Hermana Collier

February 10, 2014 -- Happy Valentine's Day :)

Hna Button and I with Familia Torress.  We love them!

Well, I really struggle with coming up with good subject lines, so I guess Happy Valentines Day!  

I just realized I have been in Dalton for 4 months now and been a missionary for almost 6 months, that's crazy!

This week was good.  On P-day, we played soccer in the rain - it was sweet! A bunch of the less active young men from our ward came, which was great. Then we had exchanges and Sister Jones came down here and taught with me for a day in Rocky Face, which was good.  I learned a lot about teaching with the Spirit.   One awesome moment with her was in a lesson with a less-active, Nancy who is 17 and married.  We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ, then I asked her in what ways is she living up to her baptismal covenant.  She just broke out in tears as she described how she asked her husband about how he feels toward her church and he was not very favorable. So we are praying for her because she has so much potential with such a sweet strong testimony.  

This week we were able to have 2 lessons with Rafael which were really good.  In the second one, Jesus - the grandson - walked in the middle of it.  His mom said to him, "Do you want to be baptized too?" And Jesus said yes!  Ha! it was kind of different from how it usually happens, but pretty great.  I was so happy, and then Jesus said he and Rafael would come to church on Sunday.

Another thing that happened is the Solis family - that part-member/less-active couple went to MEXICO For 3 weeks!  Just upped and left us!  :(

Dalton District! Minus the English sisters.
Elders Anderson and Bueno-Cabral and Hna Button will all be leaving.
 Saturday was transfer calls where we find out solely who's leaving and staying.  Hermana Button is leaving, I will miss my companera/madre so much.  She will be a friend forever. Then I am probably (almost definetely) receiving Hermana Winters on Wednesday.  She's just finished training so I'll be senior! It's pretty crazy.
Yesterday, Sunday, Rafael & Jesus didn't come to church.  This was disappointing...because it means we'll probably push back the baptism date, cause Jesus needs to come to church twice before he can be baptized.  I am nervous about the situation, because Rafael is still nervous about his wife, who belongs to the Jehovah's Witnesses, and never wants us to be over when she's there. So please pray for them to be receptive!  That was the hard part of Sunday, people's agency!  But it was also a good day, because we had a zone fast for Exact Obedience, and then to finish it we had a delicious meal at the Bishop Torres' house with all the missionaries, and afterwards, an amazing mini-testimony meeting.  I love the members here so much.  There was so much love in that room, I can't even say!

I am a little nervous to have a new companion, especially one that I'm older than mission-wise, and to be the one who knows the area. And her first week will be without the car. 

But what I'm realizing is that all that matters is that we're doing the will of the Lord.  I pray that we can really do this!  I am excited.  

Love you all so much!  Thank you for all ya'lls support.  

Hermana Collier

With AnaLia and Clarisa Valenzuela. Their parents are from Santiago, they are the coolest family, and their mom served in Argentina, so they wanted to know if they could get a picture with our plaquas!  It was the cutest thing!