Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 5, 2014 -- Goodbye Georgia!

Mary Ortiz and Marcia Martinez - southern girls that both have Mexican husbands. They are so wonderful and have helped me so much while here! They just love so easily!

I miss you all! I loved the pix of Sarah/Brandon's Boda, and the court of honor for Ollie, and Jon and Bri's experience at the temple, sounds like it's all going great!!

Familia Fraire.  The other family that really took us in! they are amazing.
This week has been fabulous!! I have loved every minute, and it has made knowing that I'm leaving soooo hard. Why Georgia Why!?

We had a regular week (except a lot more meals from the members) and it was great!  There was one really sad part - one of the Elders in our district, went home - honorably, but we still miss him!  He was replaced by Elder Morales who is originally from Mexico - it has been awesome to practice Spanish with him.  So that was sad but there is a reason for everything.

On Friday Sister Ortiz had the missionaries over for one last bonfire at their house in the countryside, and we got to play soccer and talk about the gospel under the stars! That night we got the text to be on leadership transfer calls. That night I told Heavenly Father that I trust He knows where I'm needed and I will go faithfully. The next morning we studied, and then transfer calls.  I got the very unexpected news that I'm going to be a Sister Training Leader in Sevierville Tennessee!  I don't know what my mission president's thinking but I will do what he and Heavenly Father ask!

On Saturday Luis Gonzalez took us to teach two lessons. The first was Manuela, a 40-yr old women who has 7 children, and no spouse.  We've really struggled in the past with her wanting to talk more about her problems than the gospel, but on Saturday we were able to both LISTEN and TALK.  It was great! THEN we taught Jose! He is fairly golden, and we had a really good Restoration lesson with him.  Luis bore his testimony on how he's changed since he's been baptized and on Joseph Smith.  Those two lessons were AWESOME.

Alexa, who's baby's birthday it was
That night the Fraire's had a party for their one year old grandson - the Mexicans go hard core for baby's parties which I think is hilarious because it's not like they'll remember :)  But hey it was a blast!! We got to practice our Spanish, eat, take pictures with people, and then they had this big bounce house.  Most of the people had left, and Laura, a returned missionary, runs up to me and Sister Winters and was like "C'mon Hermanas, let's go!" And so us sisters went crazy in the bounce house in our skirts!  Shhh...

The next day church was fabulous!  Luis' kids came for the first time ever, which was great. Also, Jose came and sat right next to us, and Manuela as well!  During Fast and Testimony meeting, I just sat there and thought of all the weeks I'd spent, sitting on that bench-sometimes very hard weeks, and I was overcome by the feelings I have attached to that Dalton chapel.  I have been there in the roughest times and the best.  I have changed so much while I've been here.  I felt such an overwhelming love from Heavenly father for me and for the people of this area.  I got up and bore my testimony and felt the Spirit so strong, and it really helped me say the words of my heart in Spanish.  Wow.  Our investigators loved church - all 3 hours, and Jose sent the sweetest text to us after, thanking me for all my hard work and telling me that he'll always remember me, and that we've changed his life! Unforgettable.  

Lisa, the sweet girl who is
going toget baptized!
So excited for her!
After church we contacted a referral that the Elders taught once, named Laura Sanchez. She's 16, and her parents are from Guatemala so she speaks good English and Spanish. She actually was looking  at instagram and discovered mission calls, and wanted to know more about what a missionary is and how to get a mission call. She found out about the book of Mormon and referred herself on  We got there and just taught her the whole Restoration and she was totally attentive, and extended her a date of June 7th to be baptized! She was SO EXCITED, probably would've consented to sooner! I'm so happy for Hermana Winters and Hermana Lindhardt, my CCM comp, to continue teaching her! Yes, Hna Lindhardt is coming to take my place in Rocky Face.  I am SO excited for them! 

So I learned yesterday, HARD WORK PAYS OFF!!  It is the best feeling to look around on Sunday and see that I have made a difference here.  When we serve others and work hard, it changes us. Thank goodness for the Atonement that makes all of this possible!

After our lesson with Lisa we had a goodbye dinner at our wonderful Bishop Torres' home.  We bore our testimonies and cried and took pictures.  The people here have become my family, and I love them so much. I have changed here so much!
But I still have 2 more days thank goodness :)

Love you all,

Hermana Madeleine Collier
With Bishop Torres' familia, I love them so much!!

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