Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sister Knowlton's "Arrival in Colorado" letter


I'm in Colorado. What. Someone pinch me. We woke up at 4 yesterday and took a huge bus of missionaries to the airport. I thought we were supposed to be contacting the whole way there but I guess not, so I only talked small talk with some people. It was funny being stared at as a giant group of missionaries. People seem to either really like us or really hate us haha.

Before I forget since I always forget things: you have to send my mail by priority. I don't know what that means but I'm sure you do. Also, don't put a nickname on the envelope because they need to know who to send it to, they go to the mission office.
1250 Main Street
Broomfield CO 80020
Also, my P-day is Monday even though I get to email today and I have 2 hours! So nice of President Toombs!

Okay, so we got picked up my President and Sister Toombs. They said this was the biggest group they have ever had (27 missionaries I think?) 19 of us were sisters and they said in the past year and a half that they have been serving they've had a total of 14. And now we have 19 in one flight!! We were driven to the mission office, I was freaking out the entire drive because I was so excited. Colorado is so lovely. There we ate. These details are so lame and boring haha. ANYWAYS so as you know, the mission is splitting into the Fort Collins mission so wherever our first area was, that was the mission we would be in the next transfer. I think 2/3 were switched to the new mission. I'm staying in Denver North and so are 4/6 girls in my district!!!! YAY we were so happy not to be split up but terribly sad Sis R and Sis L are not with us anymore :( President Toombs told me my companion is a really obedient hard worker so I was happy. He said she was 1 of the 2 first 19 year olds in the mission (She's 20 now). Before I left I told him that I was going to work really hard. We met our trainers, mine is Sister H by the way.   She has loooong blonde hair, blue eyes and is tan from Florida. She is really sweet and does seem to be hard working, I'm the second person she's trained and she's only been out for 4 months but her last person she co-trained in a trio. Her and her last companion are pretty much BFFs and she LOVED her last area. Sometimes it's awkward for me because I think she really misses the ward and her old companion but give it time, we will become great friends I think! :) She is kind of quiet but not necessarily shy.. She already graduated from BYU in exercise science and she only did 2 terms and 2 semesters. I wonder how many sentences I can start with "She"....

So my area is Malley. Sis H has never been here before and it's her second area so I think sometimes she gets discouraged because she doesn't know any people to talk to or where anything is. I hope I can let her know that it's totally okay, I don't know where anything is either!! ;) Our area book (where they list investigators, past investigators, new converts and every other really important thing we need to know to find people to teach) is completely empty. There is a pair of Elders in our ward so they will be showing us around later today.

We stay with members in this mission so we are staying with Sister P. She owns a storage area and just has a small little attachment that she lives in by herself. She has 5 adult kids but I don't know about her husband or where he is. I think she wanted us to stay with her for company, she looooves to talk and tell us about herself. It's adorable, she's pretty scattered sometimes. The area is really humble, I saw a lot of gorgeous neighborhoods driving to the mission office but my area is not at all like those. The Bishop stopped by this morning to give us some names of people in the ward to talk to and he seems nice. We drove to the Relief Society president's house, it was a small house with lots of little kids running around because she has a day care. Basically it's not like Felicita Ward here, but I know I will love it! We haven't actually done any missionary work yet because we spend a lot of time trying to find things haha. I had a lunchable for lunch because we couldn't find any decent  food places.

My favorite part of the day so far was companionship study. Sometimes I felt like it was hard to talk to Sister H because she's fairly quiet and obviously we have only known each other for a day. But in companionship study it was totally different. We were able to talk about the gospel, which is the strongest similarity we have, share the scriptures we read, read out loud Joseph Smith History 1-20, talk about why we are here as missionaries, how Christ can get us through challenges, etc. The spirit was really strong and that's when I felt we were most connected as a companionship. I'll be honest, I'm nervous about teaching people but I know that it's not me teaching, it's the spirit and if I can depend on that it will touch people's hearts and they will be able to recognize the truth. I try really hard to be positive since I think Sis H is nervous about this new area and how we have basically nothing to go off of. Sometimes I think Sis H doesn't get my jokes. That must be why she doesn't laugh because it couldn't possibly be that I'm not funny ;) See look at how funny that was.

President Toombs told us that a general authority said there are 5 people in every single ward that are prepared by the Lord to be baptized right now. HOLY COW THAT'S SO COOL! So I asked Sis H if we can constantly be praying to find those 5 people. I know they are out there because someone called by a prophet of God said so. I don't know if you know this, but we are supposed to invite people to be baptized in the very first lesson. At first I would think that is way too pushy but 1. it makes sense to let people know why we're there as missionaries (which is not to baptize people, it is to bring people closer to Christ and baptism is one step in that direction that people MUST take) 2. all instructions we are given is what Heavenly Father would ask us to do, so we do it. Also, get this, we have a meeting next Friday and every new missionary has to have invited at least one person to be baptized by then. AHHH- I mean- no problem, I have faith ;)

I have so much  time to email. This is cray. I would've put pictures on but I couldn't readily find where I packed my SD card reader, sorry. next week for sure! Mom, have you gotten my contacts yet? The ones I have are an old prescription and I want to see the beauty of Colorado!!!!

I know I forgot 20 billion things that I wanted to say like I normally do but I'll wrap this up. I'm sorry if my emails are ultra boring with horrible grammar. Let me know what you want to hear! I know that I am supposed to be on a mission right now. I know that I have the most important thing in the world to share with people and I can't wait to do that. I think my strategy will be to run up to people shouting "STOP I have a book you have to read that will change your life forever!!!!!!" Do you think that will work out? I love being a missionary. I love looking for the good all around me and I'm so ready to work as hard as I can. This is true. It is. I know it and will never deny it. Thank you for all your prayers and love. If you sent a dearelder since Friday I am waiting for those to be forwarded to me, so I haven't read them yet. Amy- thank you sooo much for writing me. I absolutely love reading your weekly letters they make me smile and laugh a lot. I will be trying so hard to reply but know that I'm so thankful for them. (All you other siblings are slacking big time. Besides Kimberly who wrote me once)

I LOVE YOU! Now go read the Book of Mormon and pray.
Sister Collette Knowlton

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Collette's 2nd but last letter from the Mission Training Center May 24, 2013

Holy Cow. Thank you sooo much for all the mail! I have 25 emails to read so I'm really sorry if I don't have time to read/reply right now. Also, thank you to everyone who wrote letters, it helped me so incredibly much this week, I really needed those! Shout out to Laura ;) your letter is in the mail, as is yours Izzie. Cheyenne- wow. that might've been one of the best letters ever. I will write you back :)

This week I have learned so dang much! We started TRC which is kind of like the teaching experience I mentioned in my last letter except it's just you and your companion teaching.Sis O and I got a woman named Belinda, the only really background we had was that she was from Singapore and didn't believe in God. So we went in and started talking to her, she was totally cheerful while we were getting to know her but once we asked about her family it all went downhill. Apparently her dad was killed by a robber last year and when I asked about her mom she said "She died giving birht to me so basically I killed her" WOW what do you say to that? We tried to follow the spirit throughout the lesson and tell her the things she needed to here but it was pretty tricky. She wouldn't have it when we bore our testimony and said we knew God lived, she refused to pray, oh and also when she answered the door to let her in I eagerly stuck out my hand and said "Hi! I'm Sister Knowlton!" and she said "I don't shake hands..." awkward........... After that lesson we only had one more and weren't expdecting much out of it but let me tell you how the second lesson ended, we invited her to be baptized and she said yes! Okay, I bet you're wondering how that happened. Sis O and I can't really take much credit for that. We came back and she said she read the entire Book of Mormon! And also we were nervous about asking to pray but she said yes! Anyways I'm pretty sure she was LDS because she said her favorite scripture was 1Nephi 3:7 hahaha. dead give away Belinda. Then I noticed she had a Restoration pamphlet and asked how she felt about Joseph Smith and she said "I think it's amazing". Well cool! So we invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized! I learned a lot from that experience, when we were in that first lesson I was trying to be super basic and just convince her God exists which was hard to do with our approach. She kept asking for evidence and I'm thinking "If we had evidence there would be no faith!" Then I realized what the evidence was, THE BOOK OF MORMON and the fact that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ! Why did I not think of that. I guess because I've only been a missionary for a week. I know have so much more faith in the power of the Book of Mormon, not just in my own life but in the lives of those I will be teaching. That book is amazing- everyone go read it right after you finish this email.

Our second investigator, Jess was also committed to baptism. I'm really excited to teach him about the Law of Chastity tonight. Except not. I'm going to make this shorter so I have time to put up pictures so I'll wrap it up with some funnies.

I absolutely love my roommates. I'm especially close with Sister Carpenter and Sister Hunter. Sister C and I decided to begin praying that we would someday be companions haha ;) She is absolutely hilarious. Also, Sis R has this hilarious thing about scams. She thinks everything is a scam. grass, soaps, something about child birth, you name it, Sis R thinks it's a scam. SO FUNNY. One thing Sis C overheard was a sister missionary in distress saying, "You can't just send someone a gatorhead!" (Funny because didn't Clark get a gatorhead in the mail?) I wish I could remember everything funny that happens. A lot of people I know came to the MTC Wednesday, Kelsey Foutz, JUSTIN MCBETH (it was so hard not to hug), Brady Nelson, Dallin Low, Aaron Potter, Tawni Barrett, etc, I can't think there were so many. Speaking of new missionaries, being the Sister Trainer Leader had to have been one of the biggest highlights of the week. I loved talking to all the new people and taking them on little tours, I get to check on every room of sisters each night, whip them into obedient shape ;) I'm pretty renown in my zone for the whole obedience thing. Our district has a hard time using time wisely and it sort of drives me crazy and I have to not say anything. But really, those 20 minutes you just wasted studying is 20 minutes further away someone just got from recieving the gospel because you aren't prepared.(I don't know if my grammar was correct in that sentence, sorry Melanie;)) I love study time :) Don't worry they all still like me ;) I got to see Brandon Herring in the choir! I wasn't able to be in it unfortunately because I had leadership training during rehearsal. so sad.

So I leave early early Monday morning for Denver!!! (around 4 I think) I can not wait to go. I've enjoyed the MTC but I'm ready to leave. When I hear about people staying here for 9 weeks I die a little bit inside. 10 days was long enough for me. Yesterday they told us how when we get to the Salt Lake City airport we have to started talking to people about the gospel right away! WHAAAAAA-oh I just remembered something- when we were practicing sitting down and talking to someone I sat next to this elder, did my thing and committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. After that he started small talking with me which is fine but then he said, "I know we aren't allowed to flirt at the MTC but this is as close as it gets right?" and I was like "ha.............. yeah. bye." What the heck? Who does that? I told "Elder McBeth" about it and he was very upset. Okay about calling from the airport I haven't really looked into it because I don't think I could handle a phone call home. I'm really sorry if this makes you super mad mom but please know that I'm just too sensitive to homesickness right now to make a call.

Sis C told me an interesting statistic a teacher told her. 90% of America believes in Satan and only 60% believe in God. Who knows how accurate that is but I would put my money on it. How sad :( God is real, he lives and so does Jesus Christ. I'm not on a mission just to convert people to Mormonism but to convert people to the gospel of Jesus Christ restored on the earth today (That is why we are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) because I am a part of the same gospel that Jesus Christ taught. Wow! How cool is that? I know some people won't believe me but I also know that there will be people who will. I have no doubt that the Lord is on my side. I have no doubt that this is Christ's work and that I am doing the right thing. I know because I can feel how strongly Satan doesn't want me here which means this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. I know the Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God. I know Joseph Smith really saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. (I forgot a scripture I wanted to share here. darn....) I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.

Sorry I'll try and send pictures later I never have time. I Love you and miss you all! Thanks again for the letters and don't forget to go read the Book of Mormon right now!!!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

You can email Collette at the Mission Training Center at:

This Friday is the only day she receives email before she flies to Denver.  She's anxious to hear from you   :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Just for fun ~

Collette's first letter from the Mission Training Center ~


WOW Okay, so I love my life, I love being a missionary, I love putting on the name tag every morning, I love singing called to serve, this place is just amazing!!
Thank you for all the emails, the one's I didn't get... haha it's fine, more time for me to write. You probably didn't guess that my P-day was Friday :) Sister Bessey, thank you so much for that Dear Elder letter! It really made me smile and it was my only mail!

How do I even write this. I've been planning this every single night (uh every single 2 nights, hasn't it been 5 months already?) but I still don't know what to say! Like everyone says, the spirit here is incredible! The power that comes from being a missionary is SO COOL. My companion is Sister O., she has red hair and went to BYU also. We get along super well and work great together in lessons and such. My district so stinkin funny! The girls are Sis O and I, Sis H and Sis R, Sis C and Sis L. We are all going to the same mission and I'm the only 19 year old strangely enough. We seriously spend so much time laughing. like, a lot a lot. Every night we have learned how to get ready for bed in about 10 minutes because we have to be asleep by 1030 and we spend most our getting ready time laughing our tushies off ;) Sis R has got to be the funniest person ever. I wanted to tell you some of the quotes but they probably aren't as funny when you aren't exhausted with a fried brain, ready to go to bed. Sis C is also really really funny. Only Sis L is extremely quiet. She doesn't talk very much at all but she's knows how to bare her testimony very well and sincerely :) (Sorry if I spell things wrong) One funny thing about Sis O is that she calls me "sister" all the time, even when it is not needed in the sentence, everyone teases her about it haha.

IMPORTANT NOTE! I get letters and Dear Elders every single day and only have an hour on email a week so letters is the way to go my friends! :) My flight plans came today! by 10am on May 27th I'll be in Denver Colorado spreading the love of Christ babayyy!!

The Elders in our district are so funny just because they are all really dorky and adorable. They are super sweet, all the elders here are. (Except the ones that make 5 year old boy noises. Really?) We have both the Zone Leaders in out district and they are going to LA. I was called as the Sister Trainer Leader! That's basically the girl version of a Zone Leader and I'm really excited. Aly and Lizzie, you would appreciate that people have started calling me mom ;) This is mainly due to the fact that I emphasize strict obedience so much. I heard the saying "good obedience brings blessings and strict obedience brings miracles" I need to get some miracles up in here!!!

About the spirit, it is so very real and tangible especially in lessons. It is practically like it has an on/off switch. The first night here, we were divided into groups of I'm guessing 50 missionaries and put in a largish room that had some living room type chairs and in came our first investigator! (These people are actors and can be either nonmembers, members, or inactive members) All of our acting investigators were very realistic, it wasn't at all like acting. The first experience was with a guy named 3Jae and two more experienced elders came in and kinda started us off, then they left and us 50 missionaries were free to try and talk to 3Jae. We started out not super great but by the end of that lesson, the spirit was so strong! 3Jae was crying, he had a very tragic back story (which I believe to be real, I think he may have been a convert). The missionaries that spoke (I was way to scared) were not speaking through themselves, there is no way some of the things those elders said could have spoken to 3Jae so perfectly had it not been for the spirit. They knew exactly what to say but ONLY when that on/off switch of the spirit turned on. We didn't care about ourselves, our knowledge, any of our own lives, we were all 100% invested in 3Jae.

After that great experience we went to two other rooms and had 2 other investigators, first George then Lawanna. George had a mechanical leg and was kinda a grumpy old man but seemed like he had a great relationship with God. That lesson did not go well. No one cared about George's needs they just wanted to show them how much they knew and the spirit was never there. After dragging through that one, we met Lawanna who was a big southern African American lady with attitude coming out the wazoo. (It was pretty funny). She obviously knew her Bible. This time the experienced elders didn't start and some new elders did. They had NO CLUE how to do it so it was a fail from the start. Basically, like George none of the missionaries were seeing Lawanna's real needs like Christ would. I was trying so so very hard to let the spirit talk to me to tell me what to say but with 50 missionaries I still was too scared. By the end she totally told us off, hard core. She had SO much sass. Even though the experience with 3 Jae was amazing, I learned the most from George and Lawanna. As missionaries, we are not there to spew doctrine. "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." We are there as representatives as Jesus Christ and with that comes a great responsibility. We need to sit down in front of this person and look them in the eyes and see them just as Christ would. He loves them more than we ever can, even though we can come close, he knows EXACTLY what they need to hear and we do not. The cool thing is though, as missionaries we CAN know! If we teach by the spirit. I know that we can know because....

The second day each companionship was given an investigator (this investigator is just our teachers pretending to be a really good friend of theirs that they know really well) Sis O and I were given Jess and then they told us some background information to help us prepare. Sis O and I were a little nervous but really excited. We started planning and had come up with sorta what we wanted to talk to Jess about but I didn't feel like it was the perfect lesson so I remembered that our teachers told us, as missionaries we have the ability to receive specific revelation about how to bring our investigators unto Christ. This is probably because God loves all of his children and wants them to come unto Christ but doesn't want his silly missionaries messing it up so he gives us a little extra help ;) I started to pray and I asked what Jess needed to hear, and then I waited for an answer. After waiting for sometime I started getting really clear thoughts, 3 things and I wrote in my planner "There is truth, we can pray to know the Book of Mormon is true and find out through the Holy Ghost" Then get this, after writing that I was so excited and started flipping through Preach My Gospel, which by the way is a endless gold mine of gloriousness and all things good in the world, and found in the first lesson, this section "pray to Know the Truth though the Holy Ghost" WHAT!?!?! That is exactly what the spirit told me, those 3 things! I DID IT! I couldn't believe that actually happened so well. I excitedly told Sis O and we changed our lesson plan around. We went in to teach Jess and everything went so smoothly, the spirit was strong, he was receptive to what we were saying (probably cause our teacher was going nice on us, but it is pretty real. Not quite like the paid actors but still) We asked him some questions and he was tearing up in his answers. at the end we committed to having him pray about the Book of Mormon to know if it's true. He asked us if we had one and I was like uhhhhhhhhhhhhh were we supposed to bring one? hahaha I wasn't sure whether or not to pretend I had one and just hold up a handful of air and say "yep hear ya go! can't you just see it's truthfulness?" so instead I told him he can find it online. That hopefully won't backfire when we teach him tomorrow and ask if he did it.---Wow I have a lot of time with 0 emails ;)----

The MTC is exhausting, not physically, just mentally. We are only in our rooms to get ready in the morning and at night, other than that we sit in our classroom, same class, same desk, same 12 people. I really like P-day. Sis O and I woke up and exercised. We called it a "brisk walk around the MTC" headbands and all. Our roommates thought it was pretty impressive I think ;) By the way, the first day Sis O and I were basically matching (we got 31 comments) and then this morning she put on a shirt and I was like "I have that in a different color!!" So we are matching again today. Cute huh? I don't know whether to keep writing or try and put pictures on.............. Sis H is borrowing my SD card reader so I'll keep typing

The day I came to the MTC 275/600 missionaries were sisters. Funny quote: "we don't call each other 'guys' you are Elders and Sisters. Guys are the boys at home dating your girlfriends" oooooooo want some ice for that burn gentlemen? My favorite Sis R quote so far is when Sis C said she doesn't like Air Bud and she said "Sis C. he's a dog. who plays basketball" SO FUNNY. I can't even tell you how much we laugh. I wish I knew what to say in this letter and I'm sorry my photos aren't working...

PLEASE WRITE ME LETTERS (or emails, I had quite a bit of extra time to read and respond) but letters would still be better.

I do miss and love you guys a lot and would love to hear from you like all my friends got to hear from their friends and family (How's that for a hardcore guilt trip;) Thank goodness for Sister Bessey. Anyways, I love where I am so much. I love waking up every morning and rerealizing that I'm a missionary of Jesus Christ. Teaching and studying as a missionary is so different and so fun. Even though I enjoyed my nap and doing miscellaneous things on P-day, when we got back to studying that was where I was the most happy. I love it so much. I know this gospel is true. Read the Book of Mormon! I really love and miss you guys so much!!
Love always, Sister Knowlton
Collette, packed to leave on her mission!
Here she is in Provo, ready to go  :)
With her cousin, Brandon, who begins his mission on the same day.  Collette is going to Denver, Colorado and Brandon is going to Leon, France.  Keep an arms length!   :)
"Bye Mom, see you in 18 months!"