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