Monday, March 31, 2014

This is Jake! Our newest member of Christ's Church in the Columbia YSA Branch!

Next to him is our Relief Society President, Sam Jones who is my closest friend in the branch. She helps us with everything and her and the rest of these wonderful people from our branch drove all the way to St. Louis to support Jake. To the left of Sam is Jacob, who served his mission with my brother! Then there's our Elders Quorum President, Richard. And Stephanie who is a convert that has helped us teach Jake. On the right side is our incredible Branch Mission Leader. His name is Jacob too and he is the best mission leader I have had on my mission. He has taught me so much and is an incredible leader and example. Robbie is to the right of Jacob and is a recent convert with an incredible testimony. He is now preparing for a mission. Both Robbie, Stephanie and now Jake are the only members in their families and are great examples. Jake had an incredible baptismal service and said that he has never felt so happy in his life. He plans on graduating early so that he can also prepare to serve a mission. This is happiness!!!!

Monday- we went roller skating and had an awesome time! It was so fun to see missionaries from the whole zone and get some good exercise. 

Tuesday- We had district meeting and ordered pizza- that was fun! Then we had a lesson with Taira that was incredible. We taught her the third lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited her to be baptized on the 12th of April. We explained that both Sister Herdman and I had received revelation on the 12th at different times. Taira had tears in her eyes and said that the 12th was good. She accepted! It's amazing how quickly she has learned all of this and how prepared she has been! 
That night we had an ice cream social and she invited her brother Alex. He said that Taira has really enjoyed learning from us and we invited him to meet with us as well. He said he would and we met with him the next day!

Wednesday- We did service at the food pantry, which is always fun. We invited some women there to come to the Women's Conference and they said they would come! Then we met up with Taira and her brother as well as our Branch Mission Leader, Jacob Jones to teach Alex the restoration. When Taira saw us, she gave us both a big hug and said she was really excited for her brother to learn what she has been taught. We had a wonderful lesson and Alex said he would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. He also accepted the invitation to be baptized when he received that answer. Happiness!
That night we had dinner at a members house that is from Mexico! Best Mexican food I have had on my mission for sure. Oh I was so happy! And the branch member that invited us over goes to BYU-Idaho! So I will be seeing him when I go back to school- which is awesome! We taught their extended family about the Book of Mormon and they said that they would read it. It was half in Spanish and half in English. The spirit was still there, though!

Thursday- We had a lesson with Jake over the phone because he was in St. Louis for Spring Break. He was telling us how his testimony of Joseph Smith has grown as he has read the Doctrine and Covenants and that he is more excited to be confirmed and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost! He just keeps getting stronger and stronger in his testimony. It's amazing.
That afternoon we cleaned the apartment and I took some time to write my talk for Jake's baptism that would be read by Sister Smith, since I couldn't go. While writing it I heard tornado sirens going off outside. We got a text from our Branch Mission Leader telling us to seek shelter. Luckily we were already in our basement apartment. It rained and hailed and then it went away. Sister Herdman was a little scared. :) Spring weather is here!

Friday- .... let's skip to Saturday!

Saturday Jake got baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sister Smith read my talk for me and everyone said it was good. Jake said it made him cry. So did Stephanie. They said his testimony was incredible. There were so many people there that they had to move rooms! His family wasn't there but he knows that he will be a great influence for good in his family. I wish I could have been there so bad. But I'm just happy it happened. I'm so excited to see him tonight at FHE!!! 
That night was the Women's Conference. If you haven't had a chance to see it, go online and watch it!! It was soooooo good! Totally made me cry. I felt God's love for me so strong. 

Sunday- Jake was confirmed in his home ward. Qing, Tiara and Kalina all came to church! It was a wonderful fast and testimony meeting. During the third hour we had a missionary focused meeting with the whole branch. Tiara got up and told her story of how she came to be in this church. It was so cool to hear her testimony and see the courage she had to share it. She is going to be such an incredible member-missionary! 
That night we had a movie night and there wasn't a very good turn out. So our BML Jacob and a recently returned missionary named Chris went out with us to walk around and find people to invite to have ice cream and watch the movie. We found a girl named Kyung who is from Korea! She came and we gave her a Book of Mormon and set up a time to see her next Wednesday! So excited!!! 
Good things are happening here! I love being a missionary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Alright, we found three new investigators this week!!!

Um, Kalina and then two former investigators named Allie and Crystal!
She's back in the game! Allie and Crystal both were just having life problems and that's why they stopped talking to us. We got back in contact with them both and hopefully will be able to help them in the ways that they need. Sorry if my email is really lame today, I have very little time to write because we are about to go roller skating at the roller-rink for zone P-day!!! It's so nuts. I'm excited.
Taira is doing so awesome! We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she said it answered all of her questions. She also said that she know the Book of Mormon is TRUE! :D She  said she knows that what we say is true because she can feel it! Yeah! She also said "yes" to baptism! She came to church on Sunday and loved it.
Jake is doing awesome! He is so excited to get baptized this weekend and said he wants to fly me to St. Louis so I can be there! He's so funny. Man, I wish I could be there so bad! I'm going to write a talk on baptism and Sister Smith is going to be there to read it because she is going to get to go because she is only 20 minutes from where he is getting baptized in St. Louis. I'm so excited for him!
Qing is doing so awesome we decided to move her baptismal date up to the 19th of April. She is so solid and has been to church like five times! She is learning about the commandments right now.
Jamie texted us one day and said she wants to take a break... :( She wants to pray on it and make sure she is doing this for the right reasons. Which is good. I just hope her break doesn't last too long.
Getting back in touch with Crystal was awesome! She definitely still wants the peace that comes with the gospel. She should be coming to FHE tonight with her new roommate Brittany who is a less active that was baptized about a year ago.
Our new investigator Kalina, we found while waiting for the bus! She was really friendly and we just talked to her and invited her to learn more. She's up for anything!

Sister Herdman and I have a lot of fun together! I love being companions with her and learning from her. She is so smart and has a great perspective on life and the world. I love serving the Lord and teaching his children.

I'm sorry this is not a very detailed email but I am just out of time. It's starting to warm up here, which makes me really happy. The flowers are starting to bloom and I love feeling the sunshine!

Hope everyone is doing well! I will hopefully have a more fun email next week. Love you all!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Well, looks like the Lord is still blessing me! I LOVE MY COMPANION!!!! It's amazing how much your mission is effected by the people around you. I am so grateful for Sister Herdman and her sweet spirit! She is so happy and pleasant all the time and I am just so grateful for her love and the dedication she has to this work. Happiness. 

Monday- Jake told us about how he talked to his mom last weekend and the courage he had to tell her about his conversion. She didn't understand at first but when he said he couldn't deny the truth of it she felt that what he was saying was true. She told him that they will always love him no matter what and we were all so happy we were crying! Jake said it was our praying and fasting that softened her heart. I love the Lord!!!!!!

Tuesday- we taught Jake about the priesthood and he is so excited to receive it. That night he went to institute class and gave the scripture thought at the beginning. He shared his favorite scripture, which is 2 Nephi 33:10
" 10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also aJew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and bbelieve in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall cbelieve in Christ ye will believe in these dwords, for they are the ewords of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they fteach all men that they should do good.
 11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with apower and great bglory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness."
He shared his testimony and how he has come to know that the Book of Mormon is true. It was so powerful, I almost cried. But I didn't! 
Wednesday- Transfer day I was dropped off at the apartment of the Bear Creek sisters at 6:40 in the morning. The best part was that they didn't know I was coming. Haha, their faces. The Sister Training Leaders told me right before bed the night before that I wouldn't be going to transfers and would spend the day in Bear Creek. Sisters Anderson and Nelson didn't know because their phone wasn't working at the time. It was so fun to spend a day getting to know those sisters! I love learning from all the sisters in this mission. They are all amazing. We spent most of the day looking for my wallet that I lost. I think someone stole it. Which is not cool. But hey, the Lord will provide. 
Then Sister Herdman came!!!!! Oh my gosh I was so excited the whole day we were together! I just love her so much and I am so happy she is here! 

Friday- on our way to service we met a girl named Taira on the bus! We invited her to come to our movie night that night and she CAME! We showed the movie "The Testaments" which is about Christ coming to the Americas- based off of the Book of Mormon. She loved it. And cried when Christ appeared to the Nephites. :) We set up a time to see her the next day to teach her more about it. 

Saturday- The weather was so beautiful! We practiced a song we would be singing in sacrament meeting the next day. The song is called The Olive Tree. Awesome missionary song. Especially for sister missionaries :) 
We met up with Jake to teach the rest of lesson five and he told us he finished the Book of Mormon! :) He loved it. Really loved it. He wants to get baptized in St. Louis so that his friends and family can go. He told me that he really really wants me to be there so I called the mission President to get permission and he said I couldn't because he has already had to say no to 30 other missionaries that want to travel that far for baptisms. Jake was really upset. But he will be okay. I'm sad I can't be there but I'm mostly just so happy he told me what a significant part I have been in his conversion. He said my testimony and enthusiasm was exactly what he needed. I didn't think my role was so significant and I think it was good for me to see that I am needed. It was a good moment. 

Then we taught our new investigator Taira! She seemed excited to learn and in her prayer at the end she thanked God for answering her prayers and bringing us into her life. It's moments like these that make being a missionary the best thing in the world. 

Sunday- Jamie came to church! She had a sinus infection along with other things like losing her voice and she came to sacrament meeting!!! Oh I was so happy to see her. She got a blessing afterwards, which was perfect. She said she felt better. I love the priesthood. 
Qing came to sacrament meeting even though she had a huge project! Blessings for her!! :D
And of course Jake came. :) He always comes. 

It was a great week :) And this week is going to be even better!!!!!! :D I love being a missionary!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

We had transfers, and I found out I'm staying here!! :D So so so happy I'm not leaving! I still have so much work to do here! And I'm getting an awesome companion! Her name is Sister Herdman. She was one of the sisters that I shared an apartment complex with in my last area! She is from Provo, Utah and is just so cute! I'm excited to serve with her! 

Sister Smith is being transferred to St. Louis Hills. She'll be going to church where I went when I was in Webster Groves. The boundaries and names of wards have changed since then. 
Sister Firestone is staying here and is training a new missionary! 
Sister Bailey is whitewashing Parkway with a sister I have never met. 

This next transfer is going to be awesome! I can't wait! I also get to go to the transfer meeting to get Sister Herdman, which is exciting because transfer meetings are always fun. 

Okay, here is my big story for the week...
We have a Chinese investigator that goes by the name of Emily. Most Americans can't pronounce her Chinese name. She invited us to come to her apartment to have an authentic Chinese meal with her. The fear came when she said the words "spicy fish soup"... if you know me, you know how I feel about fish. Aaand I'm kind of a baby when it comes to really spicy food. I did my best to mentally prepare myself before the time came to go to her place. 
When we got there, the table was filled with foreign dishes that looked like she had spent a lot of time on. The soup had tofu, fish, really slimy mushrooms and probably 8 other things I couldn't name. I did my best to look happy while trying to just eat the broth. Luckily my companion is a beast and ate all of her soup... I looked on the table for something a little more appealing. Ribs! Oh yes, I can eat ribs. I love ribs! So I tried to fill up on the ribs and white rice. Once we were full I was surprised when she said there was dessert. Then mortified when she said it was cold soup... this soup was made from fungus and had the consistency of snot. Ugh :| it was so scary! She even showed us the fungus it was made from and I was so sad that I wasn't a better actress. I am so bad at hiding my true emotions! 
Luckily my companion is awesome and she ate it. ALL of the brown goop! I have no idea how she did it! She later said that she didn't know how she kept from gagging. I was doing my best to make it look like I was eating it but Sister Smith had to rescue me and say I was probably still really full from the meal. Oh it was so bad. I don't know how we survived. Then when we were walking back from eating Sister Smith goes, "I can't believe there was wine on the ribs."
"WHAT???" I exclaimed. "There was WINE on it??"
"Yeah! You didn't hear her say that?"
"No! I hardly understand anything she says! Why didn't you tell me?! I ate two of them!"
"I thought you knew!"
I definitely didn't know... at all. Hopefully it cooked out but Sister Smith said she could taste the alcohol. I couldn't because I have no idea what alcohol tastes like! 
Our stomachs hurt for the rest of the night. 
It was so nice of Emily to cook an authentic meal for us, but I think it's safe to say I should never visit China.

We got a new investigator this week named Rian! She is a friend of a member in the branch. She comes from a Catholic and Baptist background and is really nice. She's looking for some direction in her life and we had a good lesson with her. 

Crystal isn't taking the lessons anymore. She was right on track and then she stopped returning our calls. Our friend Sam who is her fellow-shipper said that she thinks one of her friends talked her out of it. We're sad :( 
But one day she will come around!

Jamie is doing well and so is Jake. They both know it's true and are working towards being baptized. 

The weather is getting better and I am so excited for spring to come! Life is great and I love being a missionary! Thanks for all your prayers! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

A nice big ice storm decided to roll in at the beginning of the week and covered everything. This wasn't like the last ice storm... it was much worse. You couldn't walk around without slipping it was just impossible. I totally felt like Bambi. So a lot of our appointments were cancelled and we had to find other ways to keep busy. There were some awesome members who helped us drive to less-actives homes to see if they wanted to come back to church or not. The people we found didn't want to come back and the people we didn't find, we now know they don't live there. So we accomplished something. 

We did a lot of service again and spent some time with the members. It's great to feel like you are really helping people when you feel the spirit guide your lessons. 
Church almost got cancelled again because of the ice. This time it didn't though! Our Branch President is so cool. Our church was the only one that didn't cancel that day. And we had an awesome testimony meeting. 

We tried to find some creative ways to contact people on campus but we ended up just going what we normally do. Talk to people till we freeze. It's so fun haha! Some people showed interest but mostly I just developed a testimony of member missionary work. We NEED our members to share the gospel with their friends. The likelihood of someone learning about the church from a total stranger is so not good. But if people hear about the truth from a friend who loves them - it's bound to go a lot better. The need for member missionary work is so immense right now. 

I'm sorry this email is not the greatest. I am running out of time and don't know what all to say. I just know that my testimony is strengthened every day I'm out here and I love serving the Lord. 
Our investigators are going to be at church next week. I am determined to make that happen. The Church is so true!!!!!!! Thanks to everyone who prays for the missionaries. I know that God hears and answers prayers. Iove you all! Have a wonderful week!!! :)

Sister Collett