Monday, May 20, 2013

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

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