Monday, May 26, 2014

We live on the fifth floor of our apartment complex and because I like to be healthy I have us take the stairs. My companion hates it. Every single morning when we leave and get halfway down the stairs or to the bottom Sister Richardson stops and tells me we have to go back up the stairs to get something she forgot. 85% of the time it's her nametag that she forgot. Other times it's the phone. Some days she doesn't even know she forgot it until I tell her. Like on Sunday when she was sitting up on the stand during sacrament meeting because she plays the organ. I looked at her and noticed she didn't look like a missionary because she had no tag on. Once I caught her attention I used sign language to tell her that she forgot her nametag. It was pretty funny. Other times she has left the phone at someone's apartment and we will have to drive all the way back to get it. I have never known someone so forgetful and so easy-going! She is so happy all the time and just doesn't care if things go wrong. It's awesome!!!! Whenever we have appointments fall through or people drop us she's just fine with it. It's amazing. I am learning so much from her and am so grateful that she is teaching me to be patient and just go with the flow.

Here's how our investigators are doing...

Brenda is right on track for baptism. She's doing awesome. We read the kids "Book of Mormon Stories" book with her that has pictures in it and she totally is getting the stories still. It's awesome.
Beth is doing well but still hasn't been to church yet. Not sure how we're going to help her get work off on Sundays since she was hired to work on the weekends. We'll just keep prayin.
Sherry is doing well! She came to church on Sunday! Oh and so did Kaitlynn!
Rich re-broke his neck. Figures. He was probably on another beer run. Poor guy :(
Maxine may or may not actually be listening to what teach her. She's really old and just can't hear that well. We are not sure if we are going to keep teaching her.
Velvet is in the hospital.
Donna has crazy parents.

.....SO! We are working on finding new investigators!

Monday, May 19, 2014

This week went by in two seconds! So much has been going on that I have been falling asleep at 9:45 and waking up when my alarm goes off. Usually I go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 6:20. I have no idea why, but I usually wake up just before the alarm goes off. Not this week though- we were worked! Which is awesome.
The craziness all started with our exchanges on Tuesday. Usually exchanges last 24 hours but we had to make this one short because an older man in the ward died and his funeral was Wednesday morning- which is usually when we would exchange back.

So there were a lot of schedule changes so that we could be at the funeral to help out. The four of us missionaries were also asked to sing a song at the service. So we practiced at random times Monday and Tuesday.

Going on exchanges with Sister Masino was awesome. I've never been able to serve with her before, so it was great to get to know he and learn from her. She is a great teacher and has a rock solid testimony. The sisters in this mission never cease to amaze me.

Teaching with Sister Masino was great. We had a lot of appointments lined up and it was cool to work with a different companion. We taught Beth about the importance of church attendance because she is almost done with all the lessons and she hasn't been to church yet because she works... so we committed her to pray for the Lord to help her get work off. She knows the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet- which is AWESOME! Now she just needs to come to church so she can be ready for her baptismal date that is set for next month.

We had an awesome lesson with Molly about the Book of Mormon and got her reading it. Then she texted us on Thursday before our next appointment and said that she decided to stay Lutheran. We were super depressed because she said she loved church and we thought she was so ready! But she thanked us for everything and said she'd let us know if she changed her mind. I'm sure we will hear from her again.

Sign language class this week was really interesting. Our usual teacher was gone so she had two guys from the ward teach for her and they are completely deaf. It showed me how much we need to practice- I was doing so bad! So Sister Richardson and I didn't talk to each other for the rest of the night and the next morning... we signed everything!!! I felt like I was improving but when it came to planning lessons we decided to just talk because we were going waaaayyy too slow. But it's coming along!

Brenda is doing awesome! She has a mental handicap and so we teach really simply. We've been going through the baptismal interview questions and she is totally qualifying for baptism! We got her a Book of Mormon on tape since she can't read and she is doing great. Her only real set back has been coffee and we set up a plan for her to have coffee substitute. This morning we called her and she said she had it and that it's good. This is totally going to work. She is so excited to be baptized!

Rich came to church but is still struggling with his alcohol. BUT! The sister that took him home from church told us that he said he wants to keep coming to our church because what his church lacks that ours has is authority. :D So he understands!! He's actually getting stuff from what we teach!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh man, I'm so happy.

We are teaching a 14 year old girl named Donna now and she is awesome. I'm out of time and wish I could tell you more buuut I have to go.

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This first one is a lady named Mary that is a recent convert. I LOVE HER. She loves puzzles and we bought her one for Mother's Day! We often visit her to teach her best friend Maxine who is the lady in blue below- she is a sweetheart. She's hard of hearing but she is reading the Book of Mormon!!

This is Sister Masino!
The Sister Training Leader that I did an exchange with!

And how cool is this random smiley face we found in the middle of nowhere?!

The church down the street
and a pretty sunset

 This is how cute our town is!!!  Jacksonville!!!!

This clock is in a little town called Roodhouse where we were trying to contact a potential investigator.

This is Dee :) We visit her often because she needs it. She's a convert to the church and LOVES when we come see her.

This is one of our investigators named Beth :) She is preparing to be baptized next month! :D

I love face painting!!!!!!!

Oh by the way.... 100 days till I come home.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Okay, here are some stories from this week.

One night we had some extra time to go tracting before heading home. So we pulled over to the side of the road to get out a map so we could pray and ask God where he would like us to be. As soon as Sister Richardson said 'amen' I pointed to a random place on the map. Alright! So we drove to the street that I pointed too, parked the car, and started to knock. It was about 8:45 when it started to get really dark and no one was listening to us. Then we saw what looked like a homeless man walking towards us in the dim light that came from a yellow street lamp. My companion said, "Let's talk to this guy." As the man got closer I saw that he had a basket rolling behind him and he was wearing a neck brace.

"How are you doing, sir?" I said, as the man got closer. Once he was close enough I realized the person I was talking to was our investigator, Rich.

"Rich! What happened to you?" He had band-aids on his face and looked pretty beat up.

He told us that he had been walking to Aldi earlier that day and he fell in a ditch and broke his neck! He also had to get stitches above his eye and on his nose. Poor guy! It's because his vision is so bad. I then asked him where he was heading to now and he said he was going to the store to get a 12 pack of beer.

"Rich, you don't need to drink. Come on, we'll walk you home."

"I haven't drank in two days. I need to get some beer." He replied.

"Rich, you don't need alcohol, you need love. We have love! Come on, we'll walk you home and talk with you."
He slowly turned around and started shuffling home with us on each side of him. I then explained to Rich that God didn't want him to drink and that we had prayed and come to this street. We explained that we could have been anywhere in Jacksonville and we just happened to be on that little road at the exact time he would be there- there is no such thing as coincidences. God always has a plan.

Rich told us that he had been given some medication for his accident and that the pharmacist told him that if he were to drink while taking this medicine- he wouldn't wake up. God saved Rich's life that night. How grateful I was to be an instrument in his hands.

The next day we had a great lesson with him on the atonement and he prayed at the end! He has been really struggling with prayer and he's making some big steps.

Story number two!

We keep meeting people who want to prove us wrong and it is quite off-putting. We met one of our investigators dad who claims to be a prophet. He preached to us a ton and it was really weird. He also spoke in tongues... what? We left that appointment so confused and slightly amused. He was a nice guy though!

Then the next day we went to see this cute, old lady that had invited us to come and visit with her. We walked into her room and there were two men in ties sitting at her table. ....snap. Here we go again. This time though these guys really wanted to try to prove us wrong. They started out nice and then just stomped on our beliefs. It was really lame. We bore testimony and totally taught with love while he was contentious. In my mind I really wanted to just stop him and ask why he was treating us this way and that Christ would never put people down. Buuuut I just smiled and let him talk. It went on a lot longer than we probably should have let it but we left grateful for our testimonies that could not be shaken.

Reflecting on this I realized that being called to serve in the Bible belt isn't just for anyone. I know that the Lord would only send people here who really are strong in their faith because it is hard to be told that what you've known your whole life is a lie.

I felt bad because there were some points where I just laughed at those men because they were so confused.
My testimony will always be built on Christ and NOTHING can change that. I will FOREVER know that this is Christ's Church and no amount of anything can change it. I have had too many prayers answered and seen way too many miracles to ever doubt it. I am so grateful for my testimony and the sure knowledge I have that this gospel is true.

Thanks, Mom, for helping me be who I am. I love you!!!

Happy Mother's Day!

Sister Collett

Monday, May 5, 2014

Here are some quick highlights:
We got seven new investigators!!!
Two came to church... eight said they would.
We met a guy that claims to be a prophet and he preached to us and spoke in tongues... it was so weird haha!
We went tracting for my first time in a long time and the first door was an old man not wearing pants... typical Jacksonville. So funny.
We teach old people all the time and I'm getting a little better at signing.
It was just an awesome week. My companion and I are so different but we have so much fun together and we work hard.
I love life and love you all!!!!! Talk to you next wek!

Sister Collett

PS - Just got to send these pics of the house we used to live under...  :-)

Also, Mom, look what I've done with all of the postcards you've sent me!