Monday, September 30, 2013

Sister Huppi and I have a new saying that I just adore. It came about when we started our new adventure as biking sister missionaries haha :) Oh that first day was so fun! Yes dad, I still know how to ride. ;) Our Zone Leaders are awesome and found me a bike I can use that has been passed around the mission. It's a little tall for me but it works. It's a nice bike and I have an awesome helmet that looks great on me. Oh I'm so grateful for those Elders. Sister Huppi is kinda small so we needed to find her a little bike... and she got it! A member found one on craigslist for free and it's awesome. Super retro and a little squeeky. :) I never have to worry if she isn't behind me because I can hear her squeaking along. We laugh and smile and whenever we have a struggle or laugh about how cool we look in our helmets we exclaim, "I love it Lord, I love it! And we really do. We even rode our bikes all the way to the soup kitchen on Friday - which was an adventure. Luckily the weather has been so beautiful and I really love being outside. It's so nice to get some exercise. 

This week we taught a lot of people and found five new people to teach. Our investigators are doing great and we now have three people preparing for baptism this month. Woop! October is here! :) Thursday night a sister from my first area in Covington, Indiana came and took us out to dinner. Her name is Sister Blew and she is the relief society president over the Danville ward. She works at the U of I and so it's fun to see her sometimes. The place we went had handmade milkshakes and they were sooo good. Sister Blew wanted some and proceeded to quote the Bible.. kinda. She said, "The milkshake beguiled me, and I did eat." Basically I love the people I have met on my mission and am so glad that I have been blessed with so many friends. 

Ugh, I'm out of time. :( But the scriptures are amazing and I'm learning so much! I want to write about how great they are! I love the gospel and want to encourage everyone to watch General Conference this coming week! And PLEASE invite your friends!! This is an amazing opportunity to invite people to listen to the Lord speak through his prophet! I'm so excited and hope you all enjoy it! Love you!

Sister Collett

Monday, September 23, 2013

Remember how I said I would be surprised at whatever happens with transfers? Well, I've never been this surprised! Luckily, Sister Huppi and I are staying here and together- YAY! But yesterday the Zone Leaders gave us some exciting news... We now have unlimited miles! Why? Because we will no longer have a car to drive. University 2 has now become a biking area! Hahaha! They are taking our car! We are going to be biking sisters!! What the heck?! Talk about a crazy curve ball. Man, the Lord always surprises me with how much he loves me. "Ask and ye shall receive" has gained new meaning to me on my mission. I'm just spoiled by him! Whatever I need he gives me- in this case it was a way to lose weight! So he takes my car. I'm still a little in shock because I didn't think I would ever be without a car because usually all the sisters get cars, but now that there are so many missionaries we don't have enough! 
So today will be spend looking for cheap bikes and helmets... ca. ra. zy.
How are we gonna get to the store? Everything is super spread out! And it's turning into fall/winter already! lol Oh gosh. Good thing I love adventure! Sister Huppi is stoked :) That sister was born for missionary work. She has so much energy!!! Sometimes it's hard to keep up with her. But I love it because she pushes me to be better.
Sad news about Rachel... her mom was not happy when she told her she wanted to get baptized and now she isn't allowed to come to any activities or be taught by us. :( That is the fifth person I have set a baptismal date with on my mission who couldn't do it because of parents. Sigh, if only they knew the joy and blessings they are keeping their children from. But! It is in the Lord's time and in his own way. I trust him.
Anna didn't show up to her lesson and we don't have any way to contact her other than email because she doesn't have a phone... BUT! We won't give up!
We were blessed with investigators being handed off to us by the Elders this week. The Urbana Elders gave us a group of people living in a house... It's just a bunch of unmarried couples. But they are awesome and totally listen to everything we've been telling them and Kamario is this 20 year old kid who is just loving what we teach. He asks great questions and is reading the Book of Mormon! They all wanted to come to church buuut when we went with a member to pick them up they were all asleep... Next week! :) They will come.
Wednesday night Dominique came to institute! I think she liked it. :) Later in the week we taught her the commandments and the word of wisdom and she was totally committed to living them! So great. Then on Sunday when she came to church- guess what the talks and lessons were on... keeping the commandments and the word of wisdom! So solid. 
Thursday we taught a new investigator named Chris who was being taught by the Elders until he decided that he wanted to try being taught by sisters since he's been taught by Elders for so long. He's ready and wants to be baptized but has some things holding him back. His girlfriend Ali- who is less active has been a great person to have at our lessons. She needs to hear the gospel just as much as he does. He needs to give up smoking and strengthen his faith. We were going to set a baptismal date with him tomorrow but he just told us he's moving to Hawaii. What? Ugh! Okay... dang it! 
That's okay, we will make sure he gets in contact with the missionaries over there. He will be okay. :)
We had seven appointments all in a row on Thursday- so fun! Regan is no longer keeping her commitments. We decided to take a new rout and see if she will teach us what she believes. We'll see where that goes but I have faith that these things are inspired.
Qiuyuan came to home evening monday and is really doing well. She didn't come to church this weekend because it was a Chinese holiday but we taught her Thursday about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She had great questions and we are excited to teach her again. She's still solid for being baptized on the 12th. Oh and Dominique changed her date to the 19th because she wants it to be close to her birthday as a present to herself. Which is cool. Just need to keep praying and staying strong.
Shannon is doing awesome! She is praying and learning and was totally planning on coming to church but got sick and couldn't come. Which stinks because President Bednar (Elder Bednar's son) came and spoke and it was way good. He spoke about becoming what God wants us to be and how the gospel isn't a checklist or a list of do's and don'ts. We are all trying to become like God and Jesus Christ. I love that.
K, now onto a good story. Soup Kitchen Friday!!! So this week were were all assigned different jobs and Sister Huppi was busing while I did soup. There are two kids of soup and so Elder Smith was manning the other soup. But for some reason, when we would ask people which soup they wanted, my chicken and rise soup was all that people wanted! Poor Elder Smith held the same empty bowl for a long time. He'd smile big and hope someone would want the beef and noodles but they would always want my soup. After a while we decided to switch to see what would happen so that hopefully the Elder would get to serve some soup! All of the sudden everyone wanted beef! Hahaha- his face :'D So funny! "What the heck? Why does everyone love sisters?!" the Elder exclaimed. The other missionaries around us started to notice what was going on and it became a fun little experiment. Elder Anderson (our ZL) told me to switch him jobs to see what happens if it's two Elders serving soup. Elder Smith is a little guy that looks like the napster guy in the movie "The Italian Job" and Elder Anderson is about 6'4'' and half black. At this point all the missionaries in there different jobs are watching to see what happens.
Elder Smith got to give out 2 bowls of soup while he was serving with Elder Anderson haha! We switched it back to me and he didn't give out any. Then Elder Frances wanted to take on the challenge to see if he could serve soup against me. (Haha, soup story.. I guess you kinda had to be there but I thought it was memorable.) Basically we concluded the fact that Sister are just better at serving soup. The End.
There's a return sister missionary in the branch named Christina who served in the visitors center in Mesa, Arizona. She is basically an angel and is always doing missionary work and helping us out. The other day when an appointment went through she decided to take us and her friend that we are teaching to the Curtis Apple Orchard! Anna who is also a member of the branch came and we had so much fun! We made sure to take lots of pictures and the apple slushies were sooo good! We ate a huge bag of kettle corn and had the best apple doughnuts I've ever eaten in my life. We taught her friend Kate a lesson on gratitude and also found a referral for the Rantoul Elders. There was a guy with a BYU shirt and we asked him if he was Mormon. Said no and that he was just a huge fan. We told him about what we do as missionaries and got his info to pass onto the Elders serving where he lives. Woop!
Now I have to go because the day is going and we need to find bikes! AHHH!! Still can't believe it! What the heck am I going to wear?!?!? Haha :) Missions are so fun. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

So trainer calls are tomorrow and I'm hoping we don't get a phone call. Saturday we find out who's getting transferred and where. Oh the suspense! Sister Huppi and I reeeally don't want to get transferred. We both want to stay together and really want to be here for the three baptisms we have coming up. But Sister Huppi is such an amazing missionary, I will be surprised if she doesn't train. Actually, I'll be surprised no matter what happens. But luckily it is the Lord who decides what happens and I know that he is at the head of this work and he knows where we are needed and what we need.

Tuesday we went to Springfield again but this time it was for Mission Conference. Elder Godoy, who is in the quorum of the seventy, came and spoke to us. As well as his wife Sister Godoy. They are from Brazil and this was their first assignment in the states and in English. They were so inspiring and I loved their accents. Sister Godoy spoke first and had us write on a big whiteboard the blessings that have come through the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We filled the entire board with things like: The Book of Mormon, the priesthood, temple ordinances, baptism, the laying on of hands, patriarchal blessings, modern revelation, more scripture, prophets, the plan of salvation, and many many other blessings. Then she walked over to the board and said, "What if we had to give some of these up? Which would you let go?" She erased eternal marriage... my heart sank. Then she erased another blessing and another and I reflected on what life would be like without that blessing. With each word she erased it felt like my heart was slowly draining and all the happiness in the world was gone. The board was blank and I felt empty. I realized how pointless and meaningless life would be without the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. She explained that this is how people who don't have the gospel feel. As a convert to the church she was able to express how she had once lived without these blessings and knew how it felt. Her and her husband expressed their gratitude for the sister missionaries who were able to teach them and bring their family these eternal blessings.

Elder Godoy spoke about how important these truths are and that we need to find those people who don't have them. What a great way to teach. It really impacted me and made me grow in my desire to share the gospel with those that I love. It made me think of all the people in my life who don't know that Christ's church- the one he established while he was on the earth- is here and how they can know it is true for themselves.
"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise." (2 Nephi 2:8)
How important it is to tell everyone of these eternal truths so that we can live with our God and enjoy eternal salvation with those that we love. Anyone who is reading this and doesn't know if this church is true- find out. Because if it is (and it is) then there is a perfect way to be happy. There is a perfect way to know what the purpose of life is and how to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come. Wouldn't it be worth trying? You might as well test it and see if this church is true. And even if you know or feel that it is- ask God again :) Read from the Book of Mormon and see if the spirit doesn't testify to you that it is true. How perfect and beautiful the plan of happiness that our Father in Heaven has placed before us. We must learn of him and grow in our faith to become as he is and see the way that he sees, so that when the day comes ....
 "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48)

That is the purpose of this life. To learn, to grow, to change and do all we can to become our best selves. The more we are like Christ, the more comfortable we will be when he comes and we are to stand in his presence. I love that he loved us enough to suffer and die so that we can change. He makes it possible for us to become like him. This gospel and the commandments he has given us is the perfect formula for happiness and eternal joy. How humbled I am by the opportunity and blessing that I have to know it and share it with the world. I love this gospel and I know it's true.

Our Heavenly Father loves us. I know he does. We are his children. He has a plan for each one of us and invites all to come unto him and learn this joy. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, September 9, 2013

This week was a little different because our Zone Leaders told us not to count people as new investigators until after we have had a sit-down appointment. Which is great because this way we are weeding out those people who are not really committed to learning about the gospel, which gives us more time to find those that are. It just doesn't make our numbers look as good. Which is fine. But then we do a lot of setting up appointments and not having people show up... but! We now have three people that have committed to being baptized and about ten people that are really solid that we are teaching. It's been great. Dominique and Qiuyuan are doing great and both came to church. They have dates set along with Rachel who really wants to get baptized but her mom has heard false things about our church and isn't really happy about it all. We are praying for her mom to have her heart softened so she can learn what we really believe and accept her daughters decision.

We've done a lot, a LOT of contacting this week and found a girl named Shannon who came the same day and let us teach her the first lesson. She had somewhere to be and so we went very fast, praying she would understand it all. At the end I asked her, "When you come to know that these things are true for yourself, would you be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority?" She responded like I had asked her a silly question, "Yeah, of course!" :) I really really liked that answer. The Lord is preparing his children to receive this restored gospel! And I just love that it really does make sense! Jesus Christ's original church is back on the earth today and we can pray and ask God if this is His church and know for ourselves! It's so simple! And beautiful! I love it.

For Regan it's not that simple or beautiful. She just doesn't want to be Mormon. Which makes us sad because we know all the joy and blessings that come from this gospel and we love her so much and want to to have them! But the cool part is how the spirit has been guiding our lessons and she hears exactly what she needs to hear and by the end her heart is softened. She likes meeting with us and loves to feel the spirit. Hopefully we can help her to see that she can have that spirit with her all the time if she wants to. Oh Regan. :)

So Sister Huppi and I work hard. But we also have a lot of fun together... we just get along really well. Has anyone ever seen Balto? We quote that together- hence my title. She also grew up enjoying pickles and even drank the pickle juice like me!! She's so full of energy all the time and is just a joy to be around. She converted me to eating peanut butter out of a jar and eats all my leftovers and things that are way too old to eat. Haha- it's great. She also feeds me carrots when my hands are busy. We are currently laughing as we share what we are writing together. She's also super buff and motivates me to get in better shape. We have a lot of fun together and I'm sure that our friendship will continue through the years. Hopefully we can serve together again!
Oh and we may or may not be planning on pulling our mattresses onto our balcony tonight to have the closest thing to camping as a missionary can get.

On campus we met this young man named Uriane who showed interest and came to the appointment we set up with him. He has had an extremely rough past and is definitely searching for truth. He has a strong belief in God and is going into aero-space engineering. We had a really spiritual lesson with him and are excited to teach him more. He also expressed a desire to be baptized in the first lesson. His fiance will hopefully be able to learn as well so that they can one day have an eternal marriage. :) Yay for families!

We taught Dominique and went to a baptism with her so she could see what they are like. It was a good experience and I'm glad she was able and willing to be there. She's such a rock star. We taught Matt again, Josh couldn't be there because he was too busy.... Matt read from the Book of Mormon and really liked learning about the plan of salvation. This kid is solid and is really wanting to know if this is true and also has said he will get baptized when he knows that it is. MAN I LOVE THIS WORK! Mm :) So great.

We were walking down campus and I saw a sign that said, "Talk to a Muslim" and there was a guy sitting by it reading. I asked him if we could talk to him and he told us all about what they believe. So interesting! I loved learning about it and comparing it to what we believe. He was such a cool person and we set up a time to meet again and have another discussion so we could share what we believe as well. It's interesting how similar our beliefs are but how the minor differences effect everything. I love learning about other religions and cultures. I have so much respect for that guy, aaand kind of wanted to take his idea of putting up a sign. Haha, but I won't.

I was asked to speak in church last minute to fill in for someone who couldn't do it and wrote the talk in the morning before it started. I talked about faith and hoped it would help our investigators that were there. Not as many came as we were planning on but it was good to see Dominique and Qiuyuan there. Love those girls.

This morning we went and played Frisbee golf, which was really fun. Then Sister Huppi and I had a picnic and wrote letters. Well, hope you all are happy and reading your scriptures! Jesus loves you!!!!

Sister Collett

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Because of Labor day our emails were pushed back a day.
Tuesday was when the miracles started pouring out. Sister Huppi and I have been studying faith and how to become a consecrated missionary. Our focus this last week was to have the faith to find and oh how we found. We walked around contacting most of the day with a goal of finding three new investigators. We put our fear on the altar of sacrifice and did our best to talk to everyone we could. Holding nothing back. The first girl we found and taught was sitting by a tree eating a sandwich. Her name is Lamija and has a Muslim background. I have to admit that when she told of her background my faith lessened because of past experiences with talking to people of the Muslim faith. The Muslims I've talked to have been very kind but closed off to our message. Much to my surprise she let us teach her the restoration and about God and Jesus Christ. Then at the end of it she wanted to learn more and I was humbled. Miracle. We continued walking the streets of Urbana praying for inspiration to know who to talk to and what to say. We eventually started to talk to a girl named Saloni who is Hindu. I didn't learn my lesson the first time and was still surprised when she said she wanted to learn more and became a new investigator. Then walking back towards the institute we talked to a Giovanna who is Catholic and wanted to learn more. With lots of walking and lots of talking and learning how to trust in the Lord, we reached our goal of three new investigators just before the day ended with a lesson with Regan.
Just before meeting Giovanna I was sitting on a low wall to rest for a minute when I saw a young man walking down the sidewalk towards us. There were many people walking by and I had just been rejected by the person before him. Wondering if it would be worth talking to him I asked Heavenly Father in my mind, "Do you want me to talk to this kid?" Tired and feeling quite selfish a thought then entered into my mind with perfect mildness and love. "He's my son, of course I want you to." I immediately stood up and started to talk to him. He seemed interested but eventually said no thank you. Though he declined, I knew that what we had taught him was true and that it was important for him to hear it. He had no religious background and knew little about God and Jesus Christ. I was able to tell him that they love him. I believe that he will remember our encounter and one day act on another opportunity he is given to hear the words of the Lord.
I'm going back in time again but just before that we had been walking down the street and we walked past a young man sitting on a low wall outside a building. I felt prompted by the spirit to go back and talk to him. So I turned around and began explaining who we were. He looked at me with deep brown eyes that seemed to be dying for help. I could tell he was broken and lost and started to ask him some questions. His name was Alonzo, 22 years old and he and his baby-momma had been kicked out of where they were staying and were living on the streets. They had no where to sleep or eat for five days. This broke my heart. I felt the love that God has for him so strongly and wanted to help him. Sister Huppi took the time to make some phone calls and find an open shelter where they could stay. While she was on the phone I talked to Alonzo about how much God loves him and where happiness lies. We talked about how following Jesus Christ and keeping his commandments brings true happiness. I asked him to name some things that bring us away from God. He named a few. We gave him a Book of Mormon and promised him that there is a way to God through Jesus Christ. He listened with real intent and I told him about how small this life is compared to eternity. "I believe in eternal life." He stated. My heart melted. I bore my testimony to him and then we prayed with him and told him we'd come back. We went to McDonalds and got him a bag of food and gave him the list of shelters they could stay at. One of the greatest blessings is feeling God's love for his children. I know that Alonzo and I knew each other before this life. That he is my brother and I love him as a son of God. I hope he is doing better and that he will read from the Book of Mormon because I know it will bring him closer to God.
That was just Tuesday! All those great things happened in one day! Wednesday Alexis came contacting with us on campus. She's a convert of three years and LOVES sharing the gospel. She actually got her mission call to Tucson, Arizona! So that will be fun for her. It was fun to see her follow the spirit and get out of her comfort zone to talk to strangers about the joy she has found in knowing the truthfulness of the gospel. She's a gem. Then we taught Matt and Josh- two guys who we gave our card to just before they got on a bus. We hardly got to talk to them when we met but they called us the next night and came to FHE. Then we taught them Wednesday and they really enjoyed it.
Thursday we had five lessons lined up and they all went awesome! The only one that didn't show up was Giovanna. First we taught Lamija, then a new investigator named Karan who is from India and is doing his graduate here. He's very smart and we had a cool lesson on the plan of salvation. Next was Qiuyuan who is the cutest Chinese girl ever! She has been in the states for three months and in that time she went to temple square in Salt Lake City. The missionaries there taught her about the gospel and she wanted to learn more so they sent her information to us. She is very sweet and has no religious background. She knows nothing of God or Jesus Christ and we taught her where we came from and why we are here in this world. She learned about the spirit and how it works because at the end of the lesson we taught her to pray. She said such a beautiful and heartfelt prayer. She asked God to help her understand and a lot of other great things. At the end I expressed how I felt the spirit and she said, "Yes, I feel peaceful!" :) Such a cool experience.
Man, I wish I could tell you everything about this week but I don't have time! 
Friday we taught a girl named Rachel who literally believed everything we taught her about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. She is of a Catholic background but she just believed! She was so excited that Jesus Christ's Church that he had on the earth was back and that we could know through the Book of Mormon. "You guys have to tell everyone about this! This is awesome!" She would exclaim. There were a lot of high fives. When Sister Huppi invited her to be baptized she said yes and said she can't wait to read the Book of Mormon! In the prayer she said at the end she expressed to Heavenly Father her great desire to know that this is true so that she can be baptized "the proper way." Oh my gosh I love being a missionary!!!
Then we taught Brianna and she loved it and felt the spirit and then the nest day we taught Josh and Matt again and the spirit was so strong and then on Sunday this girl named Dominique showed up an hour before church and asked us about it and we taught her and she's friends with Jabari Parker and he told her to check out our church so she did and stayed for all of church and now we are teaching her and this week has just been so cool that I don't have enough time to write about all of it and I love all of you!

Sister Collett