Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 24, 2014 -- Kickin It! . . .

Don't you just love the south!?

Hola Familia!!

You guys all sound great! Happy Birthday CALEB! THE BIG 16!! :)

So Entonces.  Found out on Saturday that hardly anything is changing at all in our district! Except our District Leader is changing and Elder Miller is leaving.  They'll bring my violin down for me when they go to transfers this week! :)  I am content, because although a change would be fun (I've never been out of Dalton), I love the people, the missionaries, and the ward, and know there's more to be done.  I'm committed to working harder while we still here, because I know I'm here for purposes that the Lord knows and I still don't and the only way I can figure those out is by acting.   I really am going to put 100% into the work this transfer and not look back!
Last P-day, we went bowling. . . .


The first game I bowled like a 90 - pretty amazing for me, but 2nd game I won't even talk about. Hermana Winters was incredible.

The other sisters accidentally damaged the car a while back, and tomorrow it will go into the shop for the rest of the month, so we had pretty much unlimited miles this week!  We decided to use this to our advantage to really strengthen the members and less actives.  We were able to have some amazing experiences, including some visiting teaching where a sister in our ward described her struggles trying to care for her wayward younger sister and was brought to tears as we talked to her.  On Saturday, we went out to Chatsworth where some less actives live.  The drive was gorgeous, with cherry blossom trees everywhere, white picket fences, long green fields, and antique barns and homes.  We both said, "This is how I pictured the South."  Anyway, we got out there and got to visit a sister who's married to a Hispanic and hasn't been able to come to church recently.  We had a great lesson with her.  Then we saw a sweet Hispanic family, the Lopez's. They have two great teenage daughters who told us of their desires to serve missions one day.  We invited all of them to the general women's meeting on Saturday so I really hope some of them come! (I am super excited for that by the way :)

Maria Masias's kids - they are crazy! But cute!

We also taught Anna, she is a woman who lives in our apartment complex, we've had a couple lessons with but she was super committed to her Baptist faith.  We decided to drop in on her, and she'd been reading El Libro de Mormon and really liked it!  She said that she is going to pray to know if these things are true, and if she receives an answer that she'll agree to be baptized. So we're excited to keep working with her!  Omar is another new investigator, he's 21, who we met a while ago, and his brother just died so we were able to teach the Restoration with a focus on the families, and he said that he'd like to get baptized.  Espero que he's not just flirting with us ._.

Por fin, we had the oppurtunity to teach Oliver and his sweet family.  He's one of the guys my last companion and I found playing guitar and singing months ago.  They're the most devoted Catholics I have ever seen! And SO open and loving.  They are a young family, who are always doing things for their church and teach their children the gospel every day.  We had a lesson on the Restoration with them, and they were just so grateful that we came and shared, and they just wanted us to come to their church so bad, so we made a deal that if we go to their church on Friday that they'll come to ours next week.  I want so bad for the truthfulness of this message to be let into their hearts one day. 

Scripture of the week D&C 82:10 - El senor esta obligado a bendecirnos cuando somos obedientes. I know this is true!

LOVE YOU ALL! Thanks for EVERYTHING you do. I am praying for y'all!

Sincerely, Hermana Madeleine Collier
The treeess!!! sooo bonita!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014 -- Sprrinnngg is Cominggg!!!

You are sending Harry the violin!!  My joy can not be explained in simple words.  I am probably going to Knoxville (we'll see-transfers) next Wednesday so I will get him then.  I am so excited, thank you so much! :)

So this week in Dalton, the sun has begun to really come out and it's been beautiful, and in my opinion life is just easier when it's a beautiful day.  We were on our way to an appointment on Thursday, and I felt impressed that we should tract a little on one street.  We knocked on the door of a young mom, Kelsey, and she let us right in.  We talked for a minute and taught the Restoration, and she was just taking it in so excitedly! At the end of the lesson  Hermana Winters said "Kelsey, we came here for a reason today. Can you feel that?" And she replied "Yes, I know you did.  God knew I needed you two today." Then we asked if she'd say the closing prayer and she said a beautiful prayer, thanking Heavenly Father and describing that our visit had answered some of the prayers she'd been asking for.
We went back yesterday, but her mom has cancer so she's in the hospital for her for a few days.  She is English, but our district leader said that we can follow up with her for at least a couple lessons. 

This week we also played soccer with Jesus (10 year old investigator) in the park because he came to church a bit ago-that was his bribe.  We had a blast, and after we taught Maria that has the three children and is super catholic. That went well, although she is a slow work in progress. She agrees with everything we teach, but is very comfortable and isn't ready to keep commitments.

OK now for the Recent converts feature section of my email!  So like last week we met an investigator named Guadalupe, who we thought was like Rafael's TWIN: same age, from the same state of MX, and very interested in our message, so for our second lesson we tried to bring Rafael right? We arrive, and Guadalupe is WASTED!  We stood awkwardly on his doorstep, and didn't want to waste Rafael's time but I also didn't think it'd be a very productive lesson if we taught him.  But Rafael, man of the day took control of the situation, and said No no, sorry guadalupe, we'll come back a different day! And then "Lets go hermanas" He was like our grandpa and it was so sweet, he was so excited to teach the lesson but he wanted our safety first.  It was great.  

The English sisters recent convert, Jesse, gave a talk at a baptism on Saturday and talked about ever since he got baptized he feels like an eagle who has started gaining altitude and is just going to rise higher and higher.  Luis Gonzalez as well is amazing, not only is he the most active person in the ward, but he is going down to visit El Salvador next month and is going to have the missionaries visit his friend, and find the church in his little town.  Recent converts are INSPIRING.

The Dalton Elders had a baptism on Saturday, and we sang "I Am a Child of God".  I always play the instruments so I told them I won't accompany on the guitar or violin, so I taught Elder Busch our DL to play it on the guitar, it was quite a fulfilling moment when he did it, and the spirit was strong as we all sang!  And the baptism was great too!

So transfer calls are this week. On Saturday. No Puedo creerlo.  I will die if I move.  But I know I won't really, but I will be a little sad!   Part of me feels like I'm done here in Dalton, but part of me feels like not quite, so we'll just see what happens in 5 days. 

The reason I'm emailing today and not ayer is because we had zone meeting.  It was a great meeting, and we got Interviews from Pres and sis Irion which was fun. Then after, we played volleyball, ward vs. ward.  As a Rocky Face ward we made t-shirts, the Rocky FAce Ganadores (winners), and guess what? We won! It was great!

And for St Pattys day, I wore green, yay! And had a shamrock shake.  They're just mint ice cream, a little overpriced.

This is one thing I've been learning about, Extending and keeping commitments.  In Jacob 2, it says, "this day I am weighed down with much more desire and anxiety for the welfare of your souls than I hitherto have been" As missionaries we are often weighed down by the people's souls, because we can see their value and worth. But it is definitely something amazing to feel a little of the Godly sorrow, and it is motivating to KEEP inviting, keep extending commitments, because that is how people can gain Eternal Life!!  I am working on inviting TODAY because "A no today is better than a no tomorrow."  Invite all your friends and yourself to do hard things!

Love you all.  Thanks for your support!!

Love Hermana Madeleine

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 10, 2014 -- Weekly report! Rafael is baptized!

Hello Familia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~!!!!

Como Estan! Hablo su favorita!  Guess what? I think I forgot to tell you, but like 2 weeks ago, I've been out here for 6 months.  Is that crazy or what? It's crazy! I am really grateful for all I have learned out here and the opportunity to work in the Lord's vineyard, and I am decided to work HARD for the rest of my mission, and really step it up.  Anything that is worth it is not easy!

So Thursday night we had a last lesson with Rafael, and we invited a brother in the ward to team up that we haven't before.  He taught very well and bore a powerful testimony on the Word of Wisdom, it was sweet.  After the lesson he said, "Did you know that I've been here with the missionaries before?" And we were like, What? So apparently the missionaries taught Rafael about 5 years back, but nothing ever happened cause he always visited Mexico! So that was CRAZY to know! But cool that we got to come in and take up where the missionaries left off. 

Then he invited us to dinner at his family's home the next day which was a blessing because our ward has been struggling at feeding us recently.  Little did we know it was like a birthday party for their 2 year old.  We helped put up balloons and bonded with them and their neighbors.  One of their neighbors, Oliver and Elizabeth, we've actually already started teaching because I met Oliver months ago, and they came to the party! It was crazy, talk about the Hand of the Lord.  We're really excited that we can go back to teach them and they already have a built-in fellowshipper family. :)

 We baptized Rafael on Saturday.  It was a great service, the ward was all there and so supportive.  I was so happy to see Rafael there smiling big and ready for this ordinance.  He was so happy that he was clean, and had experienced the cleansing power of Baptism.  He was SO excited for Sunday as well, to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  It was just sublime! 

Sojust a refresher with him:  Hermana Button and I were tracting back in January, when we met a man on the street in a sombrero, and his grandson, Jesus, and he told us he'd love for us to come over.  About a month ago we had a scare because he told us about his wife is Jehovah's witness, and we basically thought he was dropping us. But we went back and found out he didn't want to drop us,and that's when we started teaching him again and then set a date for him and Jesus to be baptized! Turns out Jesus only came to church one of the three weeks he was supposed to, so looks like Jesus (who's 10) will still take some more time, but we're excited to keep teaching him and watch him progress. He also didn't come to see his grandpa get baptized :( 

What else did we do this week? I tried Pupulsas--they're from El Salvador and really divine--and we attended some ward gatherings.

Guess what? It's warming up!  It's pretty warm and the sun is coming out, it's actually sublime.  I just love Dalton right now, I love all the members and missionaries and non-members.  It is quite swell! 

Hermana Winters and I are doing great as well.  She ate a habanero the other day (on a dare from the Elders) and almost died, understandably, but other than that we're good!
I have been studying and learning a lot about repentance, because it is so critical to repent ALL the time! And the way we do this is CHANGE, and promise to change.  None of us are perfect, and we all know that! But showing Heavenly Father that we're WILLING to make a change and making the changes with a willing and happy heart draws us closer to Him.

Love you family!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014 -- Remember the worth of souls is great!

Just kind of one of those . . . moments

Buenos Dias Familia!

So this week has been good, long, but good!

So I am trying to see bike week as a friend and not foe.  There are so many different areas we could be in, and people are only home on certain days and at certain times, so it feels like we can use time much more effectively on car week. 

That being said, we were able to experience the hand of the Lord in little ways again this week :) On the way to one appointment 5 miles away, we got lost for a minute (my bad) and were in a moment of despair, but then we saw a happy guy walking down the street with a latter.  We walked up and started a conversation with him.  He guided us back to where we were heading, and we are going to teach him and his family tommorow!  His name is Rey and we couldnt be more excited.

One day we rode to a mexican restuarant and had a lesson with Luis, then rode to an appointment. It was FREEZING, the sun was out but the wind chill went right to the bone.  Out of nowhere 5 dogs came up nipping at my heels, I started laughing because when you can't cry, laugh right?  Then a guy working on his car, Jesus, came and scared off the dogs for us.  We got off our bikes and started talking and turns out he's met with the missionaries before.  He said he'd love to meet again!  So moral of the story: even though bike week can be hard, we always recieve blessings, not to mention great memories!  One time, while on foot, we talked about our favorite foods for 2 hours.

Hermana or Sister Coleman, the Missionary "Mom" of Dalton. she's great!
This week RAFAEL Y JESUS came to church! AND Rafael is super excited for his baptism on Saturday.  It was Jesus' first time at church, and he actually loved it - one of the Elders really befriended him which made him love it even more.  I am so happy for him and we're going to set a date with him this week!  I dont know if I told yall about the scare Rafael had about getting baptized after seeing the English ward baptism, (they didnt know what they were doing so, the recent convert got like dropped into the water) and so on Sunday we made sure to decide on "Un Hombre muy fuerte" to baptize him. :)

I can't believe someone that I found in the street one day, and taught all the lessons to, is going to be baptized! I still remember meeting him, with his big sombrero.  He's come a long way and loves the church, I am just so grateful for the chance the Lord gave me to see this happen!  It definetely shows me that there are people being prepared today and every day wherever we are!

Well, love yall!  Hope you have a GREAT week!

Hermana Maddy
The office couple, the Roners on their way home from their mission.  I love them and will miss them so much! And they told me some interesting things...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 24, 2014 - Fun Week in Dalton

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Hola Familia!

Well, here in Dalton, we've had a blast this week. 

   First, we taught Rafael Quintero and Elsa (daughter) and Jesus (grandson) and Melissa (granddaughter) the Plan of Salvation, and they loved it, and we excitedly invited Jesus and Rafael to church. They said yes, but Sunday morning they called and said they couldn't!  So Jesus can't be baptized on the 8th.  But we called Rafael, and he said he still wants to be!  Orale!  Por favor pray for Rafael that he can be baptized on Feb 8. And we know Jesus, and Melissa for that matter, will be baptized someday as well.

   We taught a famliy, the Masias', one time this week, and invited them to come to church, and they said they'd like to. We dropped in on Saturday to remind them, and taught the Restoration with a little more detail.  We were sitting in church discouraged about Rafael and family not coming, but not really thinking about anyone else that could come.  To our suprise, Maria and her 3 adorable children walked in and sat by us!  They left right after to go to the Catholic church, but we were still happy to see them.  It was a mini miracle, and I know the words in church touched their hearts!

   Another small miracle was when we were having dinner with Luisa, a sister in our ward. She is so sweet and loves her siblings (that all live in Dalton) so much.  Before we sat down to eat, her (less-active) brother called her who needed help on his car, so we upped & went to WalMart and helped him out. After, we invited him to church.  He came on Sunday, for the first time in like 6 years!  I think he'll be changing a lot in this next little bit.

    OKKK so the other day we had to drop the car off somewhere, and took our bikes so we could ride back home.  On the way up the hill, some dude started clapping to cheer us on (rude) and so we were laughing really really hard.  And all of a sudden my wheel caught on the sidewalk and I just fell straight down! Hahah WHILE I was laughing, no joke.  My companion couldn't breathe because of the laughter, and the rest of the day was filled with random long moments of laughter! Pretty unforgettable!

   We were at the Pulga (flea market) the other day, and some dude had a hen, and we asked if wecould get a picture with it.  So I got a picture with it, then when Hermana Winters went to get one, the dude just put his arm tight around her, it was pretty hilarious.  We left REALLY fast, even though he said he wanted to learn more about our church.  We had some pretty great times this week.

  Last night we needed a team-up, and couldn't think of anyone but we finally thought of an 18 year old in the ward who has a little girl out of wedlock, but comes to church regularly.  We decided it would strengthen her a lot to come out with us.  We took her and her sister out and had a blast together.  We could tell that they were being spiritually strengthened which was great!

  I am so so grateful for good caring parents in this world.  At the home of a less active young women last night that just got back from juvenile detention, the Father was just in tears as he explained to us that he can't sleep every night for fear that she'll sneak out.  It was the most heartbreaking thing to see his concern for his daughter and the love in his eyes.  Loving parents are really just the best. Thanks Mom and Dad for being that for me!

Love you all!

Hermanita Collier