Monday, July 6, 2015

Life Lessons Learned

Sometimes I think about those wonderful 18 months, and I think about the friends I made and the pictures I took or didn't take, and the places I got to be in.  But I think sometimes those memories overtake some of the really deep, important things I learned there that I know I need to remember.  So I want to record a couple of those things.  TRUTH from my mission that applies to my life today.

  • Attitude is about the most important part of a person, it is ridiculously contagious.  The attitude you have about the present situation will be the thing that changes first from companion to companion.  You can't do much about the attitudes of others, but you can make sure that the one you bring with you will be a good one.  The attitude you or your companion has will effect and determine a lot of things, but primarily, your personal happiness!
  • Along with this, good fruit should be spread. Bad fruit should be left un-picked on the tree. (good fruit = the good around you, bad fruit = the bad) ;) It is really really hard, but gossip is just not helpful in any way.
  • Often you need to help yourself before you can truly help others.  I saw this in so many ways.  Sometimes you need to take a minute to get on the same foot as your companion before you teach a lesson.  Sometimes you need to fast and show the Lord you are willing to change, or you just need that Spiritual Boost. Sometimes you need to say a prayer randomly in the middle of the day to get the Spirit.  Sometimes Always you need to study your scriptures and say personal prayers before you do anything.  The people you talk to each day will see the difference between someone who is struggling in their own life and someone who has taken time to get it all together.
  • "Have courage and be kind."  One of the first movies I saw after getting back was Cinderella, and this quote really sums up the things I've learned about social skills.  Ask the questions you may be shy to ask, and be the person you truly are!  It takes courage to be bold, but people appreciate it and it saves a lot of misunderstandings and confusion.  Of course, use tact and never say unkind words.  
  • Laugh.  Don't be afraid to just LAUGH! At any and everything.  Love it all.  Embrace the rainy days, the worn shoes, the bad door-slamming days and find ways to pop in a fun sarcastic comment, or make someone laugh themselves.
  • Of course I could go on forever.  But I don't want to forget some of these things. My mission was important to me more than just the amazing friends I've gained, but the truths of eternal importance I've learned! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Parable of Mesa Falls

Once upon a time. A car full of byu-Idaho students went on an outing.  Mesa falls was the destination, and they had it in mind that it was a hike!  So they packed their Capri-Suns and granola bars, and set off to this great adventure!!  Now what these amateur-idahoans did not know is that in order to go on the hike, one must stop at the lower falls and hike to the upper. Instead we just followed the GPS and the signs and kept driving until we reached it- we got out of the car and BAM! Mesa falls. Beautiful, but Not what I was expecting-- I was ready for a dull, tedious hike and feeling the anticipation of summitting a hill to see the gorgeous view.  It was a surprisingly anti-climactic and bitter moment, compared to the sweet feeling of accomplishing a hike.

In first nephi chapter 8, Lehi has a dream about a "tree of life".  This particular tree has fruit so sweet and desirable that when one partaken, they experience indescribable joy.   After following a narrow path, avoiding all types of temptations, and keeping his eye on the tree, he made the journey- Lehi partook of it!!! The immediate reaction is the desire for his family to also partake and feel that joy.   Some of his family does and they love it.  But two of his sons have been distracted by the huge distractions surrounding them.  B
My Book of Mormon teacher brother behrens was reviewing this scene, and he said, "why didn't he just throw it to his sons??  Hey laman and Lemuel, catch!"  It was possible perhaps, why not?  
When he said that I thought of the feeling I had when I got out of the car that day.  It was nice. But it wasn't enthralling, or joyous, or exciting!  
The savior wants us to experience the affects of His atonement, the fruit of the tree of life, but if we haven't done what pushes us, molds us, and prepared us first, we will not experience the full joy of His fruit. The fruit would NOT have been sweet and desirable to Laman and Lemuel - they hadn't made the journey, they hadn't gone through the pushing, and preparation. 
So remember that in order to feel the full affects of the atonement in our lives we must do our part and prepare!! MAKE THE JOURNEY 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Life on the Home Front

Well here i am!  Words can't describe how it felt to be in the plane, on the way home from the dear land called Tennessee!  But i have stayed busy since between friends, family and babysitting! In april i head back up to the land of Rexburg. Life is good!!

Friends at the Homecoming 

Reunirse with mu breeze !  Bufa

Dinner con la familia in provo 

We visited our alma mater Olympus!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 23, 2015 -- Out on a Cold Note

When Sisters Rindlisbacher and Orton came up to spend time on PDay. We are in Mike Hoskins truck -- good times. 
Dear family,
The weather here has been making up for the your sunny and dry stuff!  On Monday morning it started.  We had such an awesome week planned out :) But you know the South isn't prepared for times like these!  So that day the snow dumped down, and we were snowed in for dinner. The next day we got to email at the Ramsays, and it was a beautiful blue sky day, with about a foot of snow!  Our dinner appt for that night got sick.  But we shoveled Paige's driveway which she appreciated.  And we threw a couple snowballs with the boys.

So Wednesday, we woke up, it was snowing hard.  But I'd been praying it would be okay to drive in. So we got all ready to go to Elder Christofferson at the half-mission conference.  All of a sudden we got a call telling us to not leave our house yet, and so we waited until President called and said that we couldn't drive in the weather.  So we walked to Paige's and she made us brunch, because she was grateful for our help the day before.  It was an adventure walking in the snow!
Ya, I don't normally curl my hair and do my makeup to walk in the snow.  
Anywho, they set up a conference call for the 10 companionships who live on the borders of the mission and couldn't make it.  But sadly, once Elder Christofferson started talking we really couldn't hear anything! :( It was very sad.  I was a little heartbroken, but I prayed and got over my sadness! It just made it that much worse trying to listen, but not understanding a word!

That night we anonymously shoveled Juanita's driveway. She's an investigator with a special needs daughter Misty, and they don't get much help, so we thought it'd be a good idea.  We came to visit her a few days later, and she was so sad we're leaving.  And she totally looked out her window and caught us shoveling! :)

Dinner with the Whites -- always a party!
Thursday we got to eat with the Noyce's and Brother Knudson as well.  I have learned so much from the Medical student families, and I look up to each of them so much, I want to be like all of them someday!  They are positive, hard-working, spiritual and fun.  We also got to eat with the whites and the Tappannas.  I'll never forget all our LMU friends!

Rachel White -- she made evelskeevers for me my first week in Middlesboro and my last week.  She's a gem!!
We drove up Friday to Pineville.  We were suprised that the main road was plowed.  We went to go visit Karen, a less active who lives up a sketchy driveway when theres no snow, when there is it was crazy!  But we made it and got to visit her.  She is a free spirit.  Love her though! She is going to miss missionary visits a lot. 

Saturday was transfer calls (suprise, I am getting transferred) and then we had to stay in, but it was a good chance to pack and clean. 

The Funks, the senior couple in our district.  I love them SO much!! 
They are so kind. Elder Funk speaks Spanish so I got to practice with him
sometimes. I am going to miss them!
Sunday church was cancelled! My first time to miss church in years.  But we studied like normal, and then ventured out in the foot and half of slush. Back west this would be nothing, but they don't plow the roads here!!  The elders came along to meet our investigators, thankfully they drove! We had a good lesson with a lady named Rhonda, and after we got stuck bad.  .  To get out of that trailer park, Elder Edman pushed the car while Elder Bills drove, and it was quite the challenge! The weird think about Middlesboro is it is like everyone is being watched out for in this weather, so then Rhonda and friends came and helped.

With Sister Rindlisbacher from Fresno.
We'll go home together!
We brought Christina Stafford, a YW in the ward out with for our next appt.  We headed yup to it, but the car got stuck immediately. Again, a little guy ran out of his house and pushed us out! then we visited another couple. Got stuck on the way out of the apt complex, and this time 3 guys came and pushed out. They hollered, "I just hate to see someone that looks stuck that I could help out!"  Then we went to the gas station - we waited for one car to finish getting gas, and after he was done, he got out of his car and pushed us up to the pump.  After dinner, the husbands pushed us out again.  
We all get stuck sometimes, right!?  But it was really cool because to me it showed that when we're willing to go out and work, the Lord will provide the way to accomplish His work!
So a member looked it up for me and I'm supposed to bring the cold weather with me on Thursday.  Sorry in advance!!  I have decided to embrace the coming events and as my little brother told me, to make these the best 3 days ever!
Love you! Hermana Collier
Sister friends -- Sisters Smith and Dahl

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 17, 2015 -- The Delightfulness of Diligence

We went out for pizza with the Cobb family. This is their daughter Dekitta.   They are great :)
Dear family,

We had a great week here, a lot happened.  it's covered in about 5 inches of snow right now which is crazy!  For here :)

On Monday the sisters in Lafollette came up and we got to spend time together which was awesome .  The four of us are really great friends.  Sister Loper and Orton came in together, then Sister Rindlisbacher is going to leave the same day as me so that was great to have fun in Middlesboro together!  That night hermana loper and I went out for pizza with the Cobbs, they are so sweet, and are like our parents a little bit and dekitta is like our sister.    
Tuesday we had an appointment with Cathy - she had found anti material on how the bible and Book of Mormon differ.  She was mostly concerened about how we believe that the fall was part of God's "plan"  because she doesnt like that thought.  We tried to understand where she was coming from but it was hard!  Anyway, I thought it was a good lesson though because we asked questions and listened, and whenever we made a point very clear we could see it click with her, but then she'd sort of deny it.

We also had dinner with a less active, Reba who has taken to us.  She was baptized at 8 yrs old in the river neear Cumberland Gap, so she's like a true Appalachian mormon which is great!  She talked the entire hour we were there, we had an appointment right after and we got out of the door graciously just in time!  We taught Neveah, the 11 year old the Restoration that night and she really liked it.   Her parents are still a little wary but theyre accepting it.

So remember Chris Trent?  Sister Behunin and I met him at a catholic church in Oct.  He called us wanting to learn more,and so we finally met with him this week.  so what happened is in Dec, his parents antied him really bad and so our last lesson we had with him went horribly.  He just kept saying all these weird things and wasnt listening when we spoke, and he even thought Joseph Smith was a witch...?   So it surprised us when he told us he's been reading the JS history over and over and that is what is helping him come around.  so we tuaght him and we had the elders come since theyll be teaching him.  He was very humble and repentant and said he had been reading JS history over and over again and he truly loves it. He set his own baptismal date for April 4th and is really excited for it.  However, he still lives with his very anti parents so we'll see. 

We taught a family in Pineville and they were super excited.  We are getting a lot better at teaching in unity and for understanding, and I see what a huge difference it makes for the investigators!

Anyway we also taught Shanda this week, who lives through the tunnel in Tennessee.  We went with our friend/member Rachel White, and taught a great lesson. We were headed home and I realized that today was Lincoln's birthday so I mentined it and then Rachel said "You should get your picture by the statue of Lincoln at the college!" (which is Lincoln Memorial University, the local college) so we didn't have much time because it was almost curfew.  We got out of the car to take it, then the rebelious Hermana Collier came out and I was like, let's stand up on the pedestal next to Abe!  Hermana Loper was like "uh..." but of course I already had one foot on it, when the campus security guard drove right by.  I hopped off really fast and apologized to him, and he was laughing as we went off.  

We were snowed in for p-day yesterday which was probably good because we really needed to get some cleaning and packing done and got that done!  Then at the end of the day we visited our investigator, Tracy, who just lives a couple of streets away.  It was completely silent as everything was covered in snow and it continued to fall.

Saturday we ate lots of chocolate for Valentines!  We had zone conference and President and other missionaries gave some really inspired trainings.  The head of the missionary dpt came out recently and trained some of the missionaries on some more effective ways to proselyte, and one was likening The Book of Mormon to people's lives more.  We used what we'd learned that same night with our investigator, Tracey, and she comitted for baptism!  She is super excited, and said that she's always wanted to be baptized, so i just hope she understands the importantce of one true church :)

We are so excited to hear from Elder Christofferson tomorrow, it will be great!  It was sad to say goodbye to a lot of my close mission friends, I will miss them a lot!  
I'll try and send send some pictures sometime this week!

Ah, I am so grateful for all that I have learned and am learning on my mission.  I pray that I can really consecrate this last week to the Lord.  I am also very excited to see y'all!!
May the Lord bless you and keep you in every way! 

Love Hermana Collier

Friday, February 13, 2015

February 9, 2015 --- Power of Prayer

Us with Tracey's daughter Bella!  the weather was so pretty!
Dear Familia,

This week has been good.  I am learning so much about everything every day, it's like everything I feel every day of my mission is being heightened for these last few weeks!

Every time we fall, Heavenly Father picks us back up and pats us on the back.  For that I'm forever grateful!  

So I said a fervent prayer about my little memory card with all the mission pictures on it, and knew I needed to put up a sign in the library with a picture of what it looked like it.  So the library workers helped me do that (all the ladies here were so sad that I'd lost it, they would do anything to help us!) And I had peace about it after that.  So it showed up!  And I know it's cause of prayer!
The England family who live wayyy far away from fun and nice 

We also prayed that we would be able to give a good training at District Meeting on Thursday, and our training on "The Gospel Blesses Families" went well- although I know I learned way more from it than those we were teaching!  It's kind of like training, I am learning so much more from Hermana Loper than she is from me.  I am grateful for our companionship, we have a lot of fun together!

That day we went to teach a contact, Judy and her husband Otis.  They don't really go to church, but have a close-knit family.  So we taught the Restoration to them simply and thoroughly, and it was so cool to see the light-bulb go off in them.  Judy agreed to baptism, and so did Otis, they both said, "The way y'all present it makes so much more sense than anything else we've ever heard!"  So they committed to prepare to be baptized in the end of March!

  Also cause of prayer, during weekly planning, I was inspired to call Sister Osborne (our RS pres) about a referral she'd given us for her great-niece Neveah.  We went over and got to know her family.  Neveah, who is almost 12, wants to be baptized!! So we taught her about prayer, she is one of the most excited people I've ever taught.

  We are also teaching Tracey, the friend of a recent convert.  She came to church last week and is coming along, she loves to talk! But we like teaching her and her daughter Bella :) 

​The Ramsay family from Utah, love them!
  We've kept teaching Miranda.  I love this investigator, she has real intent.  She is so shy and very busy, but I know that she's going to keep learning and will get baptized one day!  Also taught Paige, who is in a lull, but she has good desires.  She almost came to church again, and almost received the blessings :)  but when we taught her we found out something sad, I'll get to that again.

  I had the epiphany that the Lord is blessing us with success and I may not be here to see the end results, but I know that what really matters is these individual's salvation, and I am HAPPY to see them receive a remission of their sins anytime, whether it's now or weeks down the road!

  We also had some great times with the members!  We ate with the Gibbs, and she taught me about the history of the Cumberland Gap ward which is super interesting.  It all started with one family who taught their children the gospel without having a way to worship, and then eventually those children taught their children and now we have a ward of 150 people! 
We also got to eat with the Cosgriff family, they are a sweet and crazy family, one girl and 3 brothers, it reminds me of how much I miss my brothers :)  Sister Osborne also fed us, and oh yeah! Another story.  We went to visit a Less active who lives a little far in Pineville.  We taught her a lesson, but also got to see for a moment her daughter Brenda and Brenda's boyfriend.  She avoided talking about church things with us, but seemed nice enough.  When we went to Paige Cloud's house later, we found out bad news.  So there was a murder in Pineville a couple of weeks ago, someone robbed the house of Paige's friend's mom, and then killed her mom when she surprised them.  The sad news is that they found out it was Brenda's boyfriend that had done it, and so he's in jail now.  This family has many family ties in the ward so we're praying that everyone is okay.  

  I don't know why such awful things happen, when people use their agency in bad ways, but I am super grateful for repentace and forgiveness!  

  I love you all, have a great week!! 

Love Mads
In Oregon, they pump your gas for you.  This was one of Hermana Loper's first times doing it on her own. She's already a pro!

Feb 2, 2015 -- When the Spirit steps in!

Hola familia,

This week has been good. Is it seriously February already!??? Crazy. 

So what is new this week! A recent convert, Jessica, has begun sharing the gospel with her friend Tracy.  We dropped by and had a very spiritual lesson.  Jessica was having a hard day because it was her daughters birthday who she doesn't have custody over.  She began to cry and explain how hard it is. It was one of those moments where you don't know what to say because you really have no clue how they feel, and yet they are expecting to receive comfort from you!  So we just started to sing "I stand all amazed", and Jessica's uncontrollable crying stopped, and she told us that was exactly what she needed to hear.  We then all went around and bore our testimonies of Jesus Christ.  This week Jessica (who hasn't come in forever) and Tracy both came to church!  It has been great to see them changing together.

Yesterday we had a few extra minutes before a meal apt, and there's this middle-aged couple who is so kind to the missionaries that wasn't there at church yesterday so we decided to stop by them.  When Sister Mills answered the door she told us that we'd come just in time, and she needed us to be there to talk to.  She was crying as well, having just received a sad message about a family member.  Hermana Loper and I just listened, and shared a scripture with them and prayed, and they were so grateful! Thoughts are impressions unless proven otherwise!

We also taught Miranda, the young girl who started reading a bunch of the book of Mormon.  We found out she was really concerned about the 3 kingdoms of glory, because she's grown up Baptist and just can't imagine a merciful ending for those who don't accept Christ.  But we read a chapter in the book of Mormon together, then our team-up asked her what else concerned her about it, and we explained it in a different way.  All of a sudden we saw a light bulb go off and she said "It clicked! I get it now!"  She was so much more at peace and more open to everything else we said.

There are like 22 sisters going home this transfer, so I actually had my departing interview this week with President Griffin on Wednesday.  It was so special, I will never forget it.  Mostly the feeling of love from my Heavenly Father and from him and my vision for my future.  He gave me a lot of advice and great words of wisdom!

Sad news is that because so many sisters are leaving and only five or six are coming, they're going to have take out sisters from the ward!  But the elders here will take over our area and it'll be ok.  The ward has already filled up every day on our meal calendar :)
Well got to go. 

Love y'all and see you soon!

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015 -- Vision, Goals and Plans

Dear familia,

This week has been good, and hard but good.

Different languages:  We taught Mario, we met him at a Mexican Restaurant and he reads El Libro de Mormon with us at Subway once a week.  He is really quiet, but maybe he'll start to open up one day.  We also taught a black guy named TJ.  He's from Florida and talks SO FAST - and with a weird southern florida drawl, he was telling us a story about a fight he got in once, and then after he was done he looked at the blank stares on both of our faces, cause we didn't understand a word of what he said and laughed.  It was like a different language!  haha. Then there's always the classic Southern families, one mom picked up her little boy by his feet and he yelled in the most adorable little souther accent, "Hay-elp! I'm upside day-own!"  And now we say that all the time :)

Book of Mormon power: Paige is reading the book of 3 Nephi before Valentine's day.  We visited her and read with her, she is out of town this weekend and the next so won't be able to come to church for a bit, but I really hope she receives an answer soon. I too am reading the BOM in 40 days and it's been really great so far, I'm underlining everything about Christ.
Hastening the Work in the gap: On Thursday we had a really great relief society activity in the Cumberland Gap ward.  The Presidency decided to have the theme be "Hastening the work", and it was really great!  It started with an inspiring talk and then there was a panel of 2 recent converts, 2 returned sister missionaries in the ward, and Hermana Loper and I, and we answered questions that the sisters had about sharing the gospel and keeping the Spirit with us.  It was a great inspiration to everyone there!

We also spoke in sacrament meeting on Sunday, Brother Williams asked us to speak out of our hearts about an experience when we were able to teach someone a principle of the gospel in the Savior's way.  It was my first time going up without any kind of notes, and I told an experience from the CCM, and related it to how I was just starting out in sharing the gospel but it came to me what to say because of preparation, and testified that the members can have the same experience as they teach other's in the Savior's way.

His Work, His Way, By His Power: We had Zone Meeting on Friday.  It was about Vision, Goals and plans.  It was very inspiring.  President Griffin always gives such inspirational trainings, he talked about his vision for the TKM is to convert 3000 souls and be able to provide a temple for the people of Knoxville TN.  It was awesome to think about the work we do and how it effects that broad vision. A vision is the broad view of where you want to be, the goals are the steps to get there, and the plan is what you'll do to accomplish the goals.   This principle truly relates to every aspect of our lives.  When we use the power of Agency, we can set and achieve our goals. 

So that being said, Hermana Loper and I know that we may not be able to have super high goals for the transfer, but there are many things we do have power over, like ward involvement, and learning and teaching as a companionship, and unity.  I am personally going to make some changes that I feel need to be made to be a better trainer and missionary and make more of an influence in the lives of those around me.  We had a companionship inventory this weekend, and were able to discuss how we feel, I found out that I haven't been sharing responsibility enough, I have been dominating too much and not teaching.  But my companion is helpful by being up-front about it, so I am able to notice what I've been doing and try to stop, teach, and try again.

It's amazing how I can feel the power of Christ's Atonement picking me up in moments like this.  It is the most amazing thing to learn about, and the most transcendent act in the history of the world! I am so happy I have a Savior that loves and leads me, and teaches me.

OHHH!!! Then President Griffin also informed us that on the 16/17th of February that Elder Christofferson is coming to visit!!!!!!!  I can't believe it, I am just a little excited. 

Keep praying for us that we can have an AMAZING 5 weeks here in the Gap.  That is my greatest desire right now.

I love hearing about all the great things you're doing and I LOVE YOU!

Hermana Collier
Tennessee Knoxville Mission
His Work, His Way, By His power

No pictures this week because my memory card got stolen out of a library computer...praying it turns up though cause those are some presh memories!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20, 2015 -- Sunshine and Snow in the Gap

Us on P-day at the pinnacle! The weather was perfect!

Dear familia! 

This week has been long, and good.  We went to lunch to bid adieu to elder Bradshaw, he'll be missed in the Gap!

​We had a good lesson with a Pentecostal investigator, Cathy.  She asked why we even have the book of Mormon, and Sister Byrd who was with us just told her, it just proves that God and Jesus Christ love all their children in all the earth! She understood after that and agreed to read and pray.

We taught Paige twice this week.  First time we taught her the law of chastity.  AS soon as she knew the subject she was like, "Oh no! Chastity."  But it went pretty well, and she doesn't have a problem living it.  Then Saturday we had a lesson about following the prophet. We showed her a video of general conference and she liked it, although the concept of modern prophets is still a little new for her.  She said she would try to come to church on Sunday, but something or other kept her from it, so we dropped by later that day and she told us she promised she wasn't giving us the cold shoulder, she still wants to keep learning and progressing.  She's reading 3 nephi right now and so that's great.  She made us try fried green tomaters.  they're pretty good actually!

​The weather here has been weird. It snowed a LOT on Thursday, and stuck! Then the next 3 days including today have been sunny, like almost 60!  So that's been cool!  It has been way fun.
This was right after we taught a lesson to Shanda, our returning member. She is coming along, and is excited about changing her life.  It makes me happy every time we get to teach her because she takes it seriously, and asks questions to learn.

We had a small miracle this week, we contacted a woman named Mary last week and she totally was excited about reading the Book of Mormon and everything. She'd been taught before by missionaries further up north in KY.  We've been trying to teach her for a week, but she hasn't been available.  Finally this week she texted us and we were able to come over. We sat down and began to teach. She is so sweet, about 60 years old and very humble and receptive.  She said she read some in the book of Mormon and she'd like to come visit church one day.  Her granddaughter, before we left said, "will you come back tomorrow and play with me!?" So that was a great experience!

​This is Dia, her parents are in medical school and she loves the missionaries so much she always tries to sit in our laps. When we told her we couldn't let her, she began to cry :( so we took a picture with her so she knew we still love her!

​Us on P-day at the pinnacle! The weather was perfect!

Love you all.

Love Hermana Collier

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 12, 2015 -- What a blessing!

Hey family,

The main saying floating around the mission right now is "What a blessing."  I think it's very appropriate!

Anywayssssssss . . . 

This week has been good.  We had a team-up with a sister in the ward who just found out she's expecting.  We worked really hard to get an appointment back-ups that didn't smoke.  So we go to the appointment, it's going great then their daughter and friends walk in smoking!  I was like NO WAY.  Our member just kept on smiling, and put her hand up by her face like a champ.  We got out of there eventually though!  Of course that would happen!  But she was very kind about it.

On Wednesday we had a miracle!  We were on our way home to eat dinner (rice and chicken that I made myself in the crock-pot woot woot!), but Hermana Loper was like "We should drop by the gift shop really fast." This is owned by the Hoskins family, they were baptized about a year ago so we check  up on them sometimes.  Sister Hoskins has a 17 year old daughter Katie, who hasn't seemed to interested in the gospel, but we've been wanting to talk to her.  When we were about to leave, I asked her what she thought of the church.  She went on to tell us a detailed story of her past year and her struggles in school and friends and family.  She is basically embarrassed to be in social settings and has used that as an excuse for church things.  But at the end of our conversation we invited her to come to church, and then to take the lessons and she said she'd be interested!  She didn't come to church but we have an appointment for this week so we're looking forward to it.
We had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation with Miranda and her boyfriend David, and it went really well.  She still loves the Book of Mormon.  They are really busy between work and their little baby, but make time for us.  We had a conversation about coming to church and she said she's really anxious to go to a new church.  But they're progressing for sure.
Seth and Alissa are struggling a little bit, mostly because Seth is working so much and they only want to learn together.  I think they still have potential though so we'll see. 

Paige is coming along sort of, she's reading the book of Mormon but won't be the boss when it comes to going to church, she just listens to her sons! She says she "doesn't want to fight him" which is annoying to me.  Cause I know mom had to fight us all the time growing up I guess!

Thursday we woke up early and met up with President and one of the Assistants and they drove us to district meeting in Whitley City KY.  It was a lot of fun to drive with them, and a great meeting, then we ate a delicious lunch. On the way home, everyone shared embarrassing moments which was pretty hilarious.  I love President and everyone in the mission!  It's so sad to think we have to part ways in a bit!

On Saturday we taught this new investigator named Tonya, and it went very differently than expected.  She ended up telling us that drugs are her living, but she does it to provide for her children, but she doesn't want her children to go down the same road.  People are very mixed up on their ways of thinking!  But we told her that if she has a desire to change her life that the Savior's teachings can truly help her, and she tearfully said a closing prayer.  So that was cool.  Then we watched a car pull up and get drugs from the next door neighbor.  hmmmmmmm.

On a more uplifting note! We also attended the baptism of an 8-year old named Lucy in the ward.  It was so beautiful, and when the dad was baptizing he was all choked up and it reminded me of how the Gospel truly blesses families.  I was also reminded what a marvelous gift the Holy Ghost is. 

We also got to have dinner that night with the Byrds, who invited some non-member friends over to eat! That was super cool to see them sharing the gospel with their friends. 
Sunday we had a goodbye dinner for Elder Bradshaw who leaves us on Wednesday.  That was super fun, yet sad because he has been a great friend and leader and missionary to serve around, but change is good!

Well I love you all! 
Hermana Collier 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

January 5, 2015 -- Beginning 2015

Hey Family!  

Thanks for all your updates on new years in Provo and St George and stuff! Sounds like you all had so much fun.

This was a great week!  We went on Monday night to meet a woman that we met at one of the Mexican restaurants who wants to learn English.  She began to tell us about how she came across the border from Mexico, how they slept in the desert for a week to do so illegally.  It's not right, but I did think that it was so cool how much she cared for her two sons, that's why she did it.  She told us of how happy she was to send them money to buy a cell phone for Christmas.  

We have a new investigator named Joyce who is Catholic! Very hard core, but she enjoys talking with us.  The light of Christ really influences people I think, because when we say something she'll completely agree with it, even though we know it's contrary to her beliefs.  I said, "Will you read 3 Nephi 11?" And she said, "I'm going to read the whole thing!"  It also helped to have a member there who is super friendly. 

On New Years Eve we went to Salvation Army where we serve weekly.  We saw two polka dotted dresses and were thinking about buying them.  Then an older man saw us eying them and insisted on buying them for us!    So we wore them that night to the Rhylick's who had us over for dinner.  We looked very festive I believe. (see above . . . )

It was a great night, we got to laugh and play games and drink sparkling cider! All the way until 9 :)

Andrina Rylick was baptized a few months ago, her husband was less-active and her kids were members, and when they moved out to TN for medical school the kids wanted to go to church, and she went too, and was baptized soon after.  She is awesome!

So the next day we had a couple of miracles.  We went to see a potential investigator, and his grandma Cathy came out - a hard-core pentecostal lady.  She started out just wondering what differences there are between our church and others, and so we started teaching the Restoration.  She interrupted the first vision saying that no one can see God.  Instead of bible bashing we just continued teaching the Restoration and taught about the book of Mormon, and read 3 Nephi 11 together.  After that, the spirit was so strong and she said "I have ALWAYS WONDERED what about all the other people in the world! I am excited to read this book!"  Then she said a closing prayer that was SO HEARTFELT and sincere, she told God that she is looking for the truth and wants to know if these things could be true.  It is amazing to see the power of the Book of Mormon.
Paige Cloud is coming along okay.  We taught her the Word of Wisdom on New Years day and she told us that she could try but she loves her wine every once in a while :)  So we committed her to come to church.  She agreed and told us she's loving church, when her 7-year old son, David, runs in and says "NOOOOOOOOOO!! I dont wanna go to church!!!!!!!"  And we know right then that David would be her obstacle.  So we went on Saturday night and did a lesson on the Sabbath day.  We sat the boys down and put two bowls of ice cream out and showed them simply that when we do bad things on Sunday, it makes our "Sunday" dirty and unclean so we put pepper and soy sauce and ketchup in that one.  Where as when we do good things on Sunday and keep it clean, it's like a clean Sundae with chocolate and caramel when we go to church.  David and Devin understood very clearly.  "So" we said, "David, which Sundae are you going to choose this week!?"  He eyed very carefully both bowls of ice cream, then pointed to the one with the pepper and ketchup.  Sister Loper said, "Ok! Take a bite and tell us how  you liked it!"  He hesitantly took a big bite. He made a very sour face then forced a smile and nodded.  Then he ran into the other room and spit it out!  Hahahaha the things he would go to to avoid church!

So they were super close to coming, but David claimed to be sick so they stayed at home. It was very sad but I know they'll come soon, Paige is doing well.  

Start the New Year with some fried ice cream!  It's good for you!
I am SO HAPPY because the Relief Society has made a goal to go out with us twice a week, which is going to be a huge help on our part.  We have been having more member presents this week which has been soooo nice.

Well I love you all!!  I love this gospel and the Spirit.  Have a great week.  Good luck with New Year's Resolutions.
Love Mads

December 31, 2014 -- Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!

Dear Family,
​P-day we stood in 3 states at one time. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. It was pretty fun! 

Christmas eve and Christmas were GREAT!  It seems like yours was too!  For Christmas Eve we went caroling to less-actives and investigators for a couple of hours, then we had dinner with the Cosgriff family.  They have a bunch of little kids, and they wanted to read the Christmas story out of Luke, so I suggested they try the stuffed animal nativity.  They found it to be a good way to keep the kids entertained, but perhaps a bit irreverent.  The little boy was acting as Herod, and when the dad read the scripture about Herod's wicked decree, he yelled, "Destroy the Christ Child!"  So loud!  Haha it was pretty funny! That's him below :)

​Santa played Joseph!

We woke up and had breakfast and opened presents (YOU ALL ARE THE BEST! My favorite gifts were the book from Tad Callister, the candy, the pajamas, and the clothes) with a darling family the Johnsons, then went home and did weekly planning, then skyped at the Staffords (SO FUN!) and played games with them (like baskethead, pictured below), then ate dinner with the Mills.  I absolutely loved it!  

Anyway!  The next day we had District Meeting and that was good, then afterward we were on our way to an appt and I felt the impression to go finding at an apt complex before we went to the appt.  We knocked a door and met a grouchy old lady, and were about to walk away, but then her next-door neighbor was walking out so we talked to her.  Her name was Miranda, she's 20, and she knew some LDS girls in high school, and she seemed really interested.  So we taught her a very thorough Restoration lesson on her porch (thank goodness it wasn't too cold) and committed her to read 3 Nephi 11.  We came the next day with a team-up and met her boyfriend David.  They're not married (yet:) but have been dating for many years, and they have a little baby together who is 3 months old.  So we started asking about her reading and she said, "I read 3 Nephi 11 three times, and I really liked it so I began at the Introduction and I'm already in 1 Nephi 10!"  In one day!  We asked her what she feels and she said she feels the Spirit strongly pulling her towards it.  Then we watched the Restoration DVD and she liked that as well.  After I thought we were about done, but Sister Loper, thank goodness, asked David what he thought of all this.  The room got really quiet and he looked hard at the ground, and said that he had a friend who years before had shared this with him.  He said he thought and prayed about it for 8 months, and then when his friend moved to UT he forgot about it.  As he spoke the spirit in the room was SO strong, it was like he knew it was true.  But he kept saying, "I just don't know though!"  And we told him that he CAN know by reading and praying, and so they agreed to do that.  It was so cool!  Sunday they couldn't come to church cause Miranda had to take a test, but she's been staying in touch with us so hopefully everything works out for Miranda and David! 

 Sunday I woke up with a bad cold, and I still have it a bit but it's ok!  We also taught Paige, and the lesson went well, she says she's continuing to read and pray.  She couldn't make it to church because of back pain which was a bummer (cause there will always be something!)

Also, Abe gave me testimonies to put in my Books of Mormon and I've given them to a few investigators and the Spirit comes strong whenever they pause to read them. It's super cool.  Thank you so much Abraham!

Thanks family for your love and encouragement -- it means the world!    
Love, Hermana Collier