The moment Sister Collett stepped off the escalator people started cheering, and she burst into happy tears seeing so many who love and support her. Thanks everyone!
Friday, August 29, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
Well, the moment has come. This is the last email I will send home as a full-time missionary.
I have so much in my head and all of these great things I want to say but I don't have the time or patience to put it all into words.
There are some things I've learned on my mission:
#1. The Church is true.
#2. God is our LOVING Heavenly Father.
#3. ALL things are possible through Christ.
I knew these things before I left, but now I have seen them in a new light. I will forever know these three things and be grateful for the mission that helped me see them in action. I am so grateful that I can now apply the principles and things I have learned out here in my own personal life and use them to help those around me. I love this gospel. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I am so grateful for the time I have spent working alongside him in the vineyard. This work is true and more important than anything we can be involved in. I'm so grateful for the experiences I have had on my mission and will cherish them forever. I have made life-long friends that have changed me for the better and I hope to continue those relationships on into the eternities.
My family is my support and strength and I will forever be grateful for them and the prayers that have been offered in my behalf. I am so excited to hug my mom in seven days. Thank you mom for helping me become who I am. I love you all!!
God be with you till we meet again,
Sister Alexa Lynn Collett
Monday, August 11, 2014
That was the fastest week ever! I seriously feel like I was on the computer yesterday. This is nuts. Now I only have two weeks left! What?!
So last Monday we went down to St. Charles for Zone P-day where we played ultimate Frisbee with the whole zone. It was really humid and after a while a lot of people were dropping out. At the end it came down to five elders against me and two other elders. It was an intense finish but we beat them. Our perseverance prevailed! Then we went down to the little old time shops on main street and went to the ice cream shop and looked at all the other cute little stores down there. It's a Louis and Clark themed place. Way cute. Definitely a good place to come back and visit.
Tuesday we had a great lesson with Jean! She is doing awesome and is our most progressing investigator right now. We read a chapter in the Book of Mormon with her and it was so powerful. We talked about her concerns and things she had questions on and the Spirit was just so strong and totally guiding the lesson. She's an amazingly sweet lady. She's about 75 years old and lives alone. She has such a strong faith in Christ and is just trying to do what is right. She said that she has felt so much closer to God as she has been reading from the Book of Mormon and she loves how it supports the Bible.
Wednesday and Thursday we had back to back exchanges with sisters. We first exchanged with Frontenac and I took Sister Mortensen back to our area to do work there. We had a great day filled with appointments. It was so fun to get to know Sister Mortensen and learn from her. She is a great missionary and I hope to stay friends with her. We met with the Smiths and talked about the Holy Ghost. They are really stressed about moving and haven't been able to really read that much but they are still praying! We will be seeing them again tonight.
The next day we met up at our halfway point for the exchange and instead of exchanging back to having Sister Masino, we met up with the Parkway sisters and she went with Sister Bailey while Sister Nordstrom came with me! It was raining sooooo hard and we were way wet, trying to move luggage from car to car and everything but it was fun. Sister Nordstrom is younger in the mission and is unique because she was serving in England before she came here. She had to go home for medical reasons and was reassigned here. It was so cool to hear about England and it made me appreciate my mission even more. She said they all have to be on bikes and it rains constantly and it's cold. I love my mission!
She also was recently in a car accident. They were rear-ended and she got severe whiplash. :( So she has to rest a lot and it usually in pain. So after district meeting we just went home and let her take it easy while I packed my books into boxes to send home. It was weird. But she said resting helped a lot. Then she made me German pancakes for dinner! It was awesome! And yummy! :)
We went to go see a less active family that night and it was good to see her teach. We were able to learn a lot from each other and she said some really nice things she learned from me at the end of our exchange. It's so cool to be able to help the sisters in the mission. I didn't think being an STL would be so great! It's so rewarding!
The next day I finally got Sister Masino back and it was so good to be back together :) We missed each other. We spent most of the day planning for various things. We have to go through and talk about all of the sisters and pray to know who we think should be paired up with who for next transfer. Then the next day we drove down to St. Louis to meet with the AP's to give them our report and everything. We brought cookies and the elders were happy about that.
We also saw Sister Cantillo and she is doing awesome.
Saturday was wonderful! After our pow wow with the AP's we went to the TEMPLE! Sam Jones was going through the temple and invited us to come. Both Sister Masino and I helped teach Sam when we served in Columbia. Oh it was such a beautiful experience. It was also my last time in the temple as a full-time missionary. Real bitter-sweet moment. The temple was so beautiful. It was wonderful.
Sunday none of our investigators came to church. But it was a great service. We have an awesome ward! It's hard to help people progress when everyone is out of town or moving. But it's okay. All is well! :) Oh and Donita has quit smoking! She's doing great and we are so proud of her! Next step is returning to church. She's gonna make it! We're so excited for her!
Hope you all have a great week!
Monday, August 4, 2014
Wait, didn't I just email you all yesterday? Seriously though, this is the fastest transfer of my mission! It's already half over and I feel like I just got here. That's what happens when great things are happening all the time. Sister Masino and I have so much fun together- we are such good friends and I'm so happy she comes home the transfer after me. Last Monday we decided to go to St. Louis to the Botanical Gardens. It was beautiful and lots of fun.
Then Tuesday I went on my first exchange as a Sister Training Leader! Oh my gosh, I love being an STL! It's really fun and the best is being able to help the sisters we are over. I loved seeing how Heavenly Father guided me to know exactly what to do and how to help the sister I was on the exchange with. Her name is Sister Martinez and I went to her area in St. Peters while her companion Sister Reed came to work our area with Sister Masino. These sisters white-washed into St. Peters and are doing a great job contacting part-member and less active families. We were really busy and Sister Martinez laughed at just about everything I would do. It was great. We got a lot of return appointments and I was so inspired by her conversion story and her dedication to this work.
We were walking down the street to contact a family when I heard music and stopped. "Do you hear that?" I asked Sister Martinez. It was the ice cream man. We totally got ice cream and gave the ice cream guy a little lesson and our card. He seemed pretty open to it! :)
Whitewashing an area can be stressful and it was really good to be able to help Sister Martinez see that you can work hard and have fun at the same time. She is an amazing missionary and is such a hard worker. I feel so blessed to have been able to spend a day with her.
The next day we had an appointment with an investigator named Adam. He had been reading the Book of Mormon and said that he wanted to be baptized. Awesome. I love seeing how the Book of Mormon changes people. We had a great lesson with him. Then it was time to exchange companions again. It was good to be back with Sister Masino again. :) We talked about how the exchange went and how we can strengthen them. It's just awesome being an STL! Most of the afternoon that day we had to plan our training for zone conference the next day. We also made these cute little handouts with a quote on it that went along perfectly with our training.
Thursday was out combined zone conference that turned out awesome. We made the programs and they looked so cute! Our theme for the conference was Blazing the Trail- like the pioneers. We based our training off of a talk by Elder Holland called "The Miracle of a Mission". It was really good. I was nervous to stand up and train in front of two whole zones, but the Spirit was with us and touched the missionaries hearts. We trained about the importance of a mission and how we need to give our all. The goal was to motivate the missionaries to blaze their own trails and leave a legacy. Everything turned out great. We were so happy. :)
The conference was all the way in Columbia where I served at Mizzou! Sister Masino was the sister that I replaced when I went to serve there. So it was fun to be there together and reminisce in all the great things that happened when we served there. We even went to my favorite Indian restaurant there for dinner. Goood times. :)
Sandy is gone now :( She is living at her dad's house in Arnold, Missouri now. We are so sad she is gone but happy she has a place to live. We are working on getting her dad's address so that the sisters in her area can come visit her and continue to help her come unto Christ.
We met with Sarah and Andrew again and it was long and intense. Again. These people are so smart and have so many questions we always feel like we ran a marathon afterwards! It's great. But they said they couldn't come to church this week and they might come next week. It's a steady climb but they are definitely making progress. Their hearts are still needing to be softened. They have a hard time accepting new doctrine. But it will come as they pray for guidance.
The Smith family was doing great up until yesterday. They said they would come to church and fast to know if they should be baptized. We waited by the front doors as long as we could before the service started and we had to be seated. They never came or responded to our texts. Later that day we tried calling and she silenced our call. Sigh. We'll stop by tonight and see what's going on.
Jean came to church!! :D She's such a sweet little lady! She said she just wanted to sit in the back and slip out after sacrament meeting and we said that was perfectly fine. We haven't been able to ask her how she liked testimony meeting but we hope the spirit touched her. We will be meeting with her tomorrow. :)
Donita is a less-active lady we are working with and she is amazing. She has such a good heart and she wants to change. The sisters here have been working with her for a long time and she's come so far. She's been sober for a long time now and is working on quitting smoking. We had a really powerful lesson with her and she is determined to stop smoking so she can be sealed to her husband. She loves him so much and knows he is waiting to have his work done. Her prayer at the end of the lesson was so beautiful. The best feeling in the world is to feel the spirit as someone you love thanks God for the missionaries. I wish I could express how much I love being a missionary.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Another week gone in a snap! Where does the time go??
Monday was crazy. Tuesday was even crazier because we went to the CARDINALS GAME!
Oh it was so much fun! I got to see so many people from my old areas because it was Mormon night and there were just a lot of people there. It was awesome! Seeing my friends was definitely my favorite part since the Cardinals played horribly and totally lost to the Rays. What the heck?
Then after the game the family that took us there took us to get Ted Drews- which is the best ice cream eva! But we didn't get home until midnight. Which is REALLY late for missionaries who are used to always going to bed by 10:30 and we still had to of course wake up at 6:30 the next morning. Oh we were so tired. Sister Masino and I were laughing all day because we were totally delusional and nothing we said made any sense.
We've been teaching the Smith Family and they are doing awesome! The mom and dad came to church yesterday and really want to be baptized. Their daughter who is 12 wants to be baptized as well and her little brother who is seven is so cute. Oh I just love this family. They have been meeting with missionaries for a while now and are really trying to get baptized before they move to Texas at the end of the month. We are praying and hoping that everything goes the way they want it to. We've had some really good lessons with them.
I love teaching with Sister Masino. We are so unified and always on the same page. Our lessons are powerful and really generate the Spirit. We are also teaching a sweet old lady named Jean who has been taking the lessons for a while as well. We talked with her about the Book of Mormon and she is really enjoying reading it. She will be coming to church next Sunday. :)
Sister Masino got really sick on Thursday and so we worked it out so that she could stay home with one of the other sister missionaries in our district while I went out and taught with her companion. Poor Sister Masino was feeling horrible. She got to sleep and I was happy to be able to still meet with our investigators.
Franchesca is a girl we are teaching in the Gilberts home. She is an amazing individual and is really searching for truth. She grew up Catholic and is in her last year of college. We taught her the restoration and she was very open and receptive to it. She is a very spiritual person and gave a beautiful prayer at the end of our discussion. She was really talking to our Heavenly Father and asking for direction. I can't wait to meet with her again. She said she will be baptized when she knows it's true.
That night we also went to teach Sarah and Andrew. They are open to all religions and are just awesome people. I would honestly hang out with them outside of being a missionary. They currently go to a Baptist church but are always searching for more truth. They had so many questions that we were there for almost two hours... probably the longest lesson I have ever had on my mission. But it was really good! We will meet with them every Thursday.
Oh! We also had zone conference for the St. Louis zone! That was awesome. We helped our investigator Sandy pack up her house. Planned for Columbia's zone conference. Saw other people. It's just been an awesome week! Lot's of miracles happening! I wish I could tell you all everything but my fingers hurt from typing so fast and so much haha!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, July 21, 2014
I am so happy.
Sister Masino and I get along perfectly. We are so alike and are always on the same page. We say the same thing all the time and are really unified. I am so lucky to have her as my companion!
The ward is awesome. Area is beautiful. We have a pretty big teaching pool. I love the apartment and my bed is so comfy!
Being an STL is great but we spend a lot of time planning and going to meetings. We are over six sister companionships and will be going on exchanges about twice a week and I'm so excited! It's going to be awesome!
Tomorrow is Mormon Night at the Cardinals stadium and about half our mission is going! I am so stoked!!! If you guys want to turn on the game, you might see me on TV!
It's really fun to be involved in planning zone conferences and trainings and all that stuff. The ward is great and we are working hard. This is my first time in my mission I have not been senior companion! We are co-senior and we can switch off driving and just do everything together. It's so fun to finally be with an experienced missionary. Totally different. This is going to be the best transfer and definitely the fastest.
We got a less active to church! And we got a new investigator on our first day together. Awesome. Love you all!!!!!!
Monday, July 14, 2014
Totally thought that I would end out my mission in Jacksonville... Nope! Wrong-o! I have been called to be the new Sister Training Leader for the North St. Louis Zone! Just in case you are reading this and have no idea what it means to be a Sister Training Leader... the mission is split up into zones that consist of districts which are small groups of missionaries in an area. There are Zone Leaders (elders) and Sister Training Leaders who are responsible for each zone. My job will be to go on exchanges with all of the sisters in that zone as well as go to the meetings and give trainings at zone conference. I'm pretty stoked. And I will be serving in O'Fallon with Sister Masino! I hear from everyone that O'Fallon is awesome- that the members are great and always willing to help. Some missionaries have told me it was their favorite area to serve in.
I'm also going to be in a really nice apartment, which is a huge plus! I can't even tell you how blessed I feel. I often sit and just reflect on how much the Lord loves me. I really don't even understand why he loves me so much and why I have had such a perfect mission. It's not over yet, but so far it has been exactly what I needed and wanted. I love everything about my mission and am so excited to finish out this last transfer with a bang. I'm going to give my absolute all and make sure that I come home completely exhausted.
Sister Sims is getting a sister named Sister Fernandez and she is awesome. Sister Sims is nervous and I'm going to miss her but I know they will do great together. There are a lot of people here in Jacksonville that I have come to know and love and will definitely miss. I am so grateful for the Jacksonville ward and all the things I have learned here. Here are some pictures to highlight my time here.
The last one is of Teresa who is getting baptized in August!
Monday, July 7, 2014
Monday, June 30, 2014
I don't have time to write today!
Sorry... Maybe this will give Ell a chance to catch up on my blog posts ;)
Love you all!
Favorite thing this week was volunteering at the 175th birthday of ISD (Illinois School for the Deaf).
Signing is so fun!
Monday, June 23, 2014
Last Monday was Zone P-day and it was awesome! Our Zone Leaders planned this whole Olympic games thing for us and it was so fun! Our district got some face paint and put hand prints on our faces to unify us... we did awesome. We metaled in every even and took gold in quite a few events. The last even was my favorite because we played Ninja with everyone and I won! Good times.
Now that it's summer time we have the opportunity to do a lot of service and help people with yard work, moving, cleaning, basically anything people need help with. One evening we were at the park doing some planting and mulching when a lady walked by and jokingly said, "Hey, if I give you my address will you come do my yard?" The four of us missionaries looked at each other and were like, "Actually, yeah!" She was like, "Really? Who do you guys work for?" We then explained how we are missionaries for our church and just like to do service and that we'd love to help her out with whatever she needs.
"Then, I just donate to your church or what?" She asked.
I then told her our job as missionaries and how we teach people about the gospel and invite them to improve their lives and yata yata. And she was like "Great!"
She gave me her address and phone number and the next day when we texted her to set up when we would come she said that she is really excited to hear the message we have to share. :D So we'll be seeing her on Tuesday and we are excited.
Another example of missionary work through service is how we came in contact with our newest investigator named Joseph who lives in our building. He is from the Philippines and is a physical therapist here. I actually met him before Sister Sims got here when Sister Richardson and I came home one night and it was raining. He was trying to bring in groceries from outside and it was coming down pretty hard. We offered to help him with his groceries because he really needed it. We helped carry his groceries up to his floor and he was so grateful. We gave him a mormon.org card with our number on it and told him to let us know if he ever needed anything. We would see him around after that and would say hi. Then Sister Sims got here her first day and met him in the hall on our way to drop off her luggage and she asked him if he was from the Philippines cuz she was just serving there. After a couple of weeks of just saying hi in passing he decided to text us one night and ask where and when our church is so that he could attend. We set up a time to show him around the church and had an awesome lesson with him.
Sister Sims said that he is like all Filipinos- super open and receptive. She said it was hard for her to come and be a missionary in the states because everyone in the Philippines wants to hear your message and will do anything you say and here people run away from you. Haha! Joseph is married and has a little boy that live in Texas. He is here for work and hasn't seen them in a long time. Hopefully one day they can be an eternal family. Fingers crossed!
A lady named Sheryl requested a missionary visit online and we finally got to meet with her this week. She works a lot and so we had to wait until she was not working to meet with her. She's an older lady and she said that her son was recently baptized into the Mormon church and he wanted her to learn more. She was very open and receptive. She's had a lot of different churches in her life and wants to know the truth. She works a TON so we won't get to see her again till Thursday but man, I love teaching people that want to be taught!
Saturday there was a huge Civil War reenactment at the park in the middle of Jacksonville. It was so cool! Tents everywhere, carriages and authentic costumes! Then we watched them have their battle and it was pretty intense. Gun powder explosions made it really real. After the battle we got to hear Abe Lincoln give his address for a little before we had to go and have something to eat before Brenda's baptism.
Her baptism was perfect. She was so excited and so happy! The Bishop baptized her and then afterwards when she was changing in the stall and we were waiting for her we asked her how she felt and she said she felt good, really good! Then she said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" haha :)
When I told her she just made some pretty big promises she said she's gonna make sure she keeps them! After the service she received the gift of the Holy Ghost. We went in the other room for refreshments and she told me she felt "Super good!" and that she was "filled with the Holy Ghost!" :) She was so happy. I love seeing people filled with true joy. I'm so proud of her and the great lengths she took to get where she is today. There was also a great turn out from members of the ward. I know this Church is Christ's church. There are too many witnesses to deny it. I love serving my God and bringing this beautiful message to his children.
Last night there was a missionary fireside where members of the ward that had served missions did presentations on where they served and little stories and things that they experienced. It was really powerful to hear all their testimonies in their native language. I love missionary work and am so grateful for it! Love you all!
The lady in the last picture I sent was a random person we met who is from Sweden and she's a convert to the church. So rad.
Remember last week when I sent a picture of us in the corn field?
This is the lake we drive by whenever we go to the church.