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!