Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 28, 2014 -- A Beautiful Day! and other news . . .

​Sweet Nikki's big day.  She was so ecstatic!

Welllllllllllll!  We had a great busy week, I'll just tell y'all some of the highlights.  

We teach Nikki at her trucking institute that she is a manager of.
She's the greatest.
Something great:  Nikki's baptism was amazing.  It was one of the moments when heaven feels so close and you forget you're in the world!  There are many small miracles related to this, one was that Brother Sheets-best ward mission leader- left his family vacation in South Carolina early to conduct the service.  That was a miracle in and of itself because Nikki and her family members love Brother Sheets so much!  Another had to do with her husband Brother Singletary.  He's a very sweet guy, but always avoided us.  Nikki explained that since the death of their son a few years back, he won't have anything to do with churches becuase of the sad memories and feelings they bring back of his son and the funeral.  She said he probably won't come to the baptismal service.  However, Noah (Nikki's nephew who referred her to us) had a talk with Brother Singletary, and on Saturday we saw her walk in the chapel, arm-in-arm with Nikki.  Brother Sheets began the service, telling us that there was nowhere he'd rather be, and the spirit was so strong from the get-go.  Brother Singletary was in tears by the middle of it, and had his arm around his wife.  It was such a sweet th​ing to see, and I know that his heart will soften with time.  

Nikki wanted to be confirmed the same day, so Brother Sheets asked her if she'd bear her testimony afterwards.  She said probably not, she was nervous and needed to do it a different day.   After the priesthood holders took their hands off of her head, she was just sobbing, and our sweet Nikki sat up straight in the chair and bore the strongest, most clear testimony ever.  She said she knew that she had found the true and only church, and that every single person in the room had an impact on her conversion, and there was hardly a dry eye by the time she was done.  It was so perfect for the people who were there- among which were Raisa - it reminded sweet Raisa of the covenant she's made and the way she felt when she was baptized in May. 

Right after that testimony, Brother Sheets stood and bore testimony as well, as everyone kept weeping. It was so beautiful!  Then, the missionaries from our ward and Maryville sang "When I am Baptized", and it was so beautiful.  I truly just felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude: for the oppurtunity to teach Nikki, to witness her baptism, to be associated with her and her nephew, to our ward mission leader and fellow missionaries.  It was perfect! 

​Changes in the Sevierville district - all our elders except one are going to be
district leaders in other areas, we'll miss them! ADIOS!
New news: We thought we had transfers all figured out but were suprised when President Griffen called us Friday.  We are TRAINING a brand new hermana this transfer! We go pick her up on Wednesday.  I can't really describe how I feel about it, but I'm excited and very nervous too.  I truly do feel a bigger responsibility than being an STL, although that was, just in a different way.  But since I can't be a solo STL and sister malloy is going home in the middle of the transfer, the STL area in our zone moved, and we're not any longer which I will miss a little, but I have prayed about it and I just know that this oppurtunity to train is something all three of us need.  So I'm excited and very nervous. Please pray for us!
​Sweet Nikki's big day.  She was so ecstatic!

We also had a successful pioneer day ward party.
One of the elders had a ​matching bag!
Something funny:  Taught a family about repentance with the pepper and soap in water demonstration.  We'd said that the pepper was like the mistakes we make in life and the soap is like when we say sorry. After, he went and grabbed a bowl, and said, "OK. I'm going to teach y'all how to make 'stakes."  And he continued to make 'mistake soup'.  I thought it was hilarious.

Something discouraging:  OYMing is the term here in the mission for talking to people, or 'open your mouths'.  Basically just sharing who we are, what we do, and getting their informaition.  BUT here's the thing, we can't/shouldn't do it in public places (libraries, grocery stores, fast food, etc) and sometimes we recieve the most perfect oppurtunities in these places. This week we got talking with a young woman with two little kids in the library, and she asked before we left if we had some information about our church that we could share with her. She asked US!  So we couldnt do much, we were able at least to give her our number. But I think the Lord is testing my patience with these types of things.  But I know being obedient to civil laws brings blessings too so I guess I will just look for those!

Something I'm studying: The new testament.  I have a goal to finish it by the end of September. I also want to read the Book of Mormon en Espanol with my trainee.  


Hermana Collier

July 21, 2014 -- Having the Same Birthday As Your Companion Is Fun!

​Fun Birthday party with the Stricklands!  Specially homeade Andes mint and "heavenly hash".  Cake is great.

Hola Familia!

This week was greeeeaatt! 

 Last p-day we had a day in Maryville again so we didnt have time to eat so we went straight to work that night and were blessed for that, the Lord helped us find several new investigators! 

On P-day when we went to a Christmas-themed Denny's...
Only in Pigeon Forge!
Wednesday Sister Crapo, (Olympus Alumni!) came here to Seymour with me.  We didn't really know each other back in our days at OHS (she's a year older), but we couldn't stop talking about people we both knew.  It was great fun.  While we were eating lunch, the House's (who we live with) dog started acting really strangely, so we called Sister House, and she said it'd be ok.  So we went out to work.  We were able to have a lesson with Averie and Joel and we teamed up with Sister Law from the ward, we taught them the Restoration again.  It was SO good!  Their three kids sat quietly and listened which was unusual, and Joel and Averie had really good questions, it was fabulous.  At the end, Sister Law bore her testimony of Joseph Smith, and she said she loves the story because it's proof that we can personally and directly ask our Heavenly Father things, and He can answer through revalation.  The Spirit was very strong in the room.  I just love them!

So I've been telling you that Raisa's been struggling.  But we've been fasting and praying for
her, not knowing how to handle the situation.  While on exchanges, Sister Strickland called us and told us she wanted us to go with her to teach Raisa.  At first I was a little hesitant, but the Spirit said GO! So we adjusted our plans and went.  It was a good lesson, and we finally committed her to come to church and talk with the bishop.  Thank goodness that the Lord knows and prompts and inspires members of the ward to do things!

We ended the exchange teaching a lady named Rose who loves bluegrass music (yes we hit it off!) and eating at buffalo Wild Wings with some members.  It was just great.  That night, Sister Malloy and I found the House's dog having seizures and we watched him die a very sad death.  :(  He's in a happier place though!  

​Here she is, the famous Nikki!  She is so excited to get baptized it's great!
On Friday we had District Meeting, Hermana Malloy and I trained on Finding with the Spirit, which was fun to really learn and work on Spanish. That day we also got to teach a great lesson with Nikki and to teach Tiffany (a young woman who's the only member in her family and asked for us to teach her the lessons, she's so cute!) and then had dinner with the Figueroas, our favorite Honduran members.  After dinner we talked about Eternal families and the how relationships we have with our Heavenly Father are like those we have her on earth, and after we sang "Eternas Pueden ser las familias", one of my favorites.  I can just feel how dedicated they are and there is a beautiful spirit about their attitude towards the church.

Saturday was a busy day, we ran around teaching lessons with Scarleth, a young women who teams up with us, and had dinner with Lisbeth who gave us both scarfs as a birthday present.  Last night ever of being a teenager.

​We love these members the Trapps! They're leaving us to Florida too.
OUR BIRTHDAY was fabulous!  We woke up and had a mini celebration, I opened my Nauvoo package that I just loved! I have enough Nauvoo memorabilia to last me a lifetime!  Particularly, the Vocal Point CD was exactly the one I was fixin to buy, and the cards made me cry, they were all so great. thanks family.  We went to church with the Glatz who gave Margaret a ride, and had a wonderful time at church, although a bit stressed feeling like we had three children there with Nikki, Margaret, then Raisa too. The only hard thing was finding out that the White's, a young couple who moved in just a few months ago, and who are AWESOME, got a job in Salt Lake and are moving! That was heartbreaking, but now I guess I know what its like for members when missionaries change.

Decorating the cake.
It tasted as good as it looks.
But after church we went to Sister Strickland's house for dinner for our birthdays.  She made us an amazing dinner and two cakes, which were delicious.  Her grandkids are some of the smartest, cutest kids so it was the perfect combination of great times and company!  I love feeling Spirit-filled homes on my mission.  We went back to our house to plan when all of a sudden Sister Saas, another member called and told us she'd made us a cake and she needed us to come celebrate, and so we consented and went and had more cake.

​On Monday we went to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg
with Sister Glatz.  She's super sweet.
Also, earlier today, Sister Glatz took Sister Malloy up to Gatlinburg to treat us to a birthday gift,and she bought us both Vera Bradley purses. It was too sweet, we were definetely spoiled!

Been learning a lot recently out of True to the Faith: I just LOVE that book! Y'all should read it.  

I am wayyy excited though to get back to work!  It will be a busy week with preparing for the baptism on Saturday, teaching everyone, masterfully spreading out our miles to be effective for the rest of the month, and on Saturday we'll find out what Sister we're getting in a week and a half when this companionship will be a treee-o.

OK I felt very undeserving of all that love through video from Nauvoo, thank you so much!  Even the people who didnt even know who I was, it meant a lot to me.

Miss you and love y'all. UGGGGH my cameras out of battery so I'll send pictures next week.



July 14, 2014 -- We All Get Stuck Sometimes

Hello Familia!

Buenos Dias.  Hope everything is splendid, I just love hearing everything about Nauvoo and England in Nauvoo and such.  Sounds like y'all are workin hard!

This week in Tennessee has been great.  We met a young mom with three little kids and taught a great lesson with them.  We're excited to go back tonight.  

We also had exchanges with the lovely Sisters of Maryville, I got to be here with Sister Steiner who is hilarious, so we laughed hard the whole time.  We got to teach Sister Whitehead the Plan of Salvation which went well.
We thought a minivan would be a great background.

Then we had a lesson planned for Nikki- When we were planning this lesson I was thinking through who we could bring with us.  Sister Willis is a member of our ward who's been in the church her whole life, and has never married, but has raised two of her sister's children, has worked her whole life as en EMT and nurse, and as she's gotten older diabetes over took some of her body and she has to be in a wheelchair and can't walk anymore.  However, she came to mind as someone who would be good to take because of her great wisdom and her strong testimony.  So we picked her up with wheelchair and all, and she entertained us with her stories on the way there.  When we got to the place we teach Nikki, turns out Nikki was a little tied up.  So as we waited, we talked to Sister Willis, she told us and instructed us on everything from how to pick a profession to how to make hobo dinners perfectly in a campfire.  She also expressed how much she's missed going out with the missionaries and how much she enjoys it. Finally, we got to teach Nikki, and although we had to rush the lesson it went well, and Nikki enjoyed it. So even though the whole process took what seemed like forever, I felt in the end, that if nothing else, we definitely brightened the day of Sister Willis, strengthened her testimony, and fulfilled her desire to serve.
Nikki by the way is progressing very well and all is looking good for her baptism on the 26th and I am beyond excited!

We also got to teach a woman named Mary, and her husband that just moved into the area.  She was converted about a year ago in Wisconsin when she was sick, and some Elders were called by her LDS friend to come give her a blessing, and she was eventually baptized.  Her husband Dennis was super nice too, and we soon found out he wasnt a member.  He volunteered to us the info that when he was young, he had a bad experience with a pastor and thus has felt uncomfortable with religion ever since.  So we had a lesson with them and invited them to church.  And they came, which was Dennis' first time! I am excited to keep working with them!

We taught the Glatz's periodically throughout the week, helped them when their temple clothing came (don't do that when youre a missionary that cant go to the temple, it will make you very temple sick!) and everything.  They didn't end up going to the temple on their appointed day which was a big disappointment because Bro Glatz was sick, but I know they'll make it soon!

We got to watch "The Testaments" with our investigator Lisbeth. She loved it, and I was in tears by the end as I tend to do recently.  The book of Mormon is so true, yall!  If only people could just see it as clearly as we do.  Many of our other investigators are struggling in general, along with Raisa, and so I just think of 'we all get stuck sometimes' and I have faith that the Lord will help us.  

Again, church is always a joy.  I have come to really love and appreciate the Sabbath Day on my mission!   It's amazing that even though we're meeting in this variety show theater, taking the sacrament is still amazingly refreshing to me and always is a very sacred moment of my week.

For District Meeting, I wanted to make lunch for everyone after so I made for the first time ever in my life homeade mac and cheese which I was pretty happy with.  Thanks to Stake Mission prep for the recipe's that I found in my stuff! :)  

Funny moment of the week.  We went to a family's house to teach their four year old the Restoration, because he'd volunteered to give a talk in primary about the Restoration.  So we went about trying teaching this hyperactive child about Jesus Christ and His church, apostles and prophets, and that Heavenly Father and his son came to Joseph Smith.  We weren't exactly sure if he was listening or not because he kept talking about potty training and police officers.  So we were a little worried about what he was going to say in front of the primary.   Turns out, he did a really good job, only diverging once saying, "AND THEN Heavenly Father and Joseph Smith got in a helicopter, and built some bridges and flew in an airplane above the bridges!" point is: anyone can learn the restoration!

Keep pressing forward familia! Love ya and grateful for all you're doing!

Love Hermana Collier

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 7, 2014 -- Fourth of July Week!

The first Utah license plate I've seen in 10 months:) I think it was President Griffin's car:)
HOLA family! 

So one of the main highlights of the week was meeting President and Sister Griffin.  We had Leadership council on Tuesday -- literally his first day in the mission!  They are young, energetic, and excited about Hastening the Work.  He is a strong and loving leader and so I am super pumped about how the work will change here in the TK mission! I just love President and Sister Griffen a lot already!

He taught a lot about leading, teaching, and working by the Spirit.  He told stories about working on a farm and how work horses are double-yoked, and he related it that we are the work horses and he is the one right next to us, pulling the equal weight.  

I have gained a testimony this week of working stronger by the power of the Spirit this week.  The next day when Hermana Malloy and I had a spare minute, we really tried to think of who we needed to see and we both felt we had to go see the Glatz's, a returning member couple.  We were confused as to why because we had a meal appointment with them the next day, but we went anyways and shared a scripture and a prayer. After I said the prayer, Brother Don (as he likes to be called) told us (in his new york accent) that he really needed our visit, they were closing the deal on selling their business that day, and the stress and pressure was building up, and our visit was exactly what they needed. It was great to know we were an instrument in the Lord's hand!  So a couple days later when we went to eat out with the Glatz's, who are preparing to go to the temple for the first time since they were sealed 30 years ago, and we gave them a "10-day till the temple" countdown challenge.  They gladly accepted.  They are soo funny, i just wish you could meet them, they are SO hilarious!

On Wednesday we taught Doris (a returning member) and her boyfriend Ken, and Ken told us he really felt a difference in his life when we visited, and he wanted to change.  He also said "I just don't think I can be a mormon because when I think of mormons I think of clean houses, and lawyers and doctors, and I'm just not like that!" We told them we'd return that weekend, and prayed hard about who to bring as a team-up for that, and thought of a Brother Theddy.  So we called Brother Theddy and he was SO EXCITED! I'll explain more about him below.  

Then we taught a man Ron that we'd met last week and we were so hopeful about! He was kind and interested and intelligent, so we brought Brother House, and had a good lesson, but at the end he just dropped us cold.  :(

​The view from the Abregus, where we ate on the 4th-- :)
Welcome to Pigeon Forge!
The next day was the fourth of July. We wore patriotic garb, and on the whole way to Farragut, with the Zone Leaders we listened to patriotic Mormon Tabernacle Choir and told the world "Happy Merica Day!" waving out the window at people.  I'm sure you can just see it family.  Sometimes it's nice to let my crazy side out for a minute.  "Zone Meeting of Independence" as we called it, went well and we had interviews with President. I enjoyed that, he told me that we're getting ipads eventually (!) and some other changes I'm excited about.  That night we went all the way to Pigeon Forge to have dinner with some sweet members de Argentina.  It was a little stressful because we'd stayed late to clean up after the meeting, then there's this thing in Pigeon forge called the PARKWAY which is PACKED on the 4th. BUT when we finally got to the backroads and topped the mountain where they lived and looked out to see a PERFECT view of the Smoky Mountains, I was in heaven! So we ate a great meal with them, and saw lotsa fireworks from their porch.  Very memorable fourth for me!

So Brother Theddy is a returning member that the Elders have been working with.  After 40 years of inactivity, he's come back to church, long ponytail and beard, but strong testimony and ready to be involved!  So on Saturday we had Brother Theddy come with us on a team-up to teach Doris and Ken.  We thought the lesson went OK, but the most rewarding part was him on Sunday.  First of all, he helped me teach gospel principles class on the Sacrament - and did such a great job.  Then, he stood up in church and said "I went with the sisters to go family teaching this week.  I just want to tell you all, I haven't had an experience so rewarding and spiritual since my baptism. I just loved it so much! Then when it came time to leave, I just wanted to follow the Sisters to their next appointment!" hahaha I love him so much!  And then Sunday the Glatz's also stood together and bore their testimony on how excited they are for the temple, and Brother Don said, "Thanks to my little sistas I'm getting a testimony of the scripchtas."  Sometimes it suprises you to hear that the little things you do reallly pay off!

Our investigators Nikki and Margaret both came to church, Nikki is doing so strong and is looking to move up her date sooner possibly!

Love Hermana Collier
​Con las hermanas abregu. There were fireworks behind us.  We just didnt quite catch 'em.