Monday, July 29, 2013

"Denver, we have a problem"

Sister H2 thought of that email title and I thought it was really funny because it was after one of our investigators "dropped us like it's hot" as I like to call it. I will explain in detail later.
I LOVE email time. Mainly because I get to hear from people. Writing about my week is becoming less exciting because it is just so overwhelming to think of everything that happened. I feel like for my mental well-being on P-days I will start taking notes again. I can barely remember what was this week and what was the past two weeks. But honestly if all we did on P-days was email and then go work I'd be fine. I just thrive off of communication with you all :)

Sister H2 and I have been trying really hard to talk to every single person we see while walking to appointments and it's been a lot of fun. I was thinking about how sad it will be when I get home from my mission and it will be 10x weirder so I'm pretty sure I'll just put my name tag on and pretend I'm still a missionary. I always like when people are walking their dogs, it makes it less awkward to approach them because then I can say "OH! Cute dog! Can I pet it?" Then after small talking you sneak in a little "By the way- we're missionaries and we share a message about Jesus Christ and we know that it can bring you happiness no matter what you are going through. And we know that God loves us and so he has called a prophet to guide us......." deep deep down people enjoy our "pet-restoration message" approach.

One cool story- Remember that little boy N who asked us "How can I get missionaries to come to my house?" and we gave him a BOM and a pass along card? Well when we gave it to him we said "If you call this number you will get this DVD for free (Lamb of God DVD. I've never even seen it)" So this week Webster Lake ward had a baptism and all the missionaries try to go and support so there were some elders who came up and said "Did you guys give a little boy named N a pass a long card?" And we said "Um.. yes?" Apparently he did call the number and when they came to his house they were asking the Grandma who N was and he runs out and says "That's me!" And when they tried to give him a BOM he said "Oh I already have one of those, I want the Lamb of God DVD!" Haha. So now they are teaching his family!

M is still on fire. We next lesson we taught her after committed her to August 10th was AMAZING. We sat down and she looked like she was going to jump out of her chair she was so excited. She said "I have to tell you guys something. You told me to pray about the BOM and if I should be baptized so I did and when I finished my prayer I opened the book right to this page (3 Ne 11)" She continued by reading to us verse 24-32. She could barely get through them she was so excited. By the end she was crying and said "I KNOW this book is true and I can't wait to be baptized!" Later in the lesson she asked if we could come over for dinner and we set up August 9th and she said "That's the night before my baptism!!!" Wow. Being a missionary stinkin rules. She was able to come to the Webster Lake ward baptism and there she started crying againa and said "My brother (Who's a member) told me that you guys leave!!" She isn't very happy about that but we promised that we will be back in a year to go through the temple with her :) A member we brought to the lesson told her about FHE and she is super excited. She told us last night "Tomorrow for that Family thing, we are going to drive down to see the temple" I can't believe she is already doing FHE! Then she told us how she can't wait to bear her testimony next Sunday in church. She accepted the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. I can't even tell you how awesome she is. I almost feel bad counting her as a baptism because I honestly did nothing. We just are lucky enough to be the missionaries that get to watch the Spirit teach her.

G didn't come to church this week so we called around 9 to ask where he was and he said "I'm driving my son to the babysitter and then I will be there!" But he never showed up. So after church we stopped by his house twice and then later I said "Let's just try G one more time." He opened the door and had tears in his eyes. He explained that he took his son to his fiance (the mom) and she called the cops or something because she didn't get enough time with her son and now they have to go to court. He said "I'm so sorry I didn't go to church." I think the cops coming is a pretty good excuse so we let him off the hook ;) Then we talked to him about the Atonement and he just cried the whole time. He said "I am trying to do what God wants but these things still happen to me" We told him that this gospel will give him the chance to live with his son forever and no one will ever take him away. He said "I want to see my son grow up. I want to be there when he falls. I don't want him to fall but he will." I said "That's how Heavenly Father feels towards you!!!!" He is only in town on the weekends so we set up a time to come back and he said "I want to see my angels Friday, Saturday, and Sunday" So presh <3 He always calls us his angels.

J.......... The worst part of the week. We met with him this week and his ex-wife was there and I don't even want to get into that because I'll be too negative. So We don't make appointments when she's there because we don't want her there and we normally call to set on up. She we called and J said, "I'll be at church we can talk there." So he came to church on Sunday and we said "When can we come by?" and he said "I don't think I'll be coming anymore." I didn't even understand for a second. My heart really felt completely broken. I LOVE J. He was showing no signs of wanting to drop us. It was a complete shock. I didn't really know what to say so he just tried to explain that T (ex-wife) doesn't approve and he really cares about her. When he was done all I could say was "Well..... that's a bummer...." All of the members we brought to lessons were there and they were crushed. Brother L said "I respect your decision, we are always here if you ever need anything." After Sunday School B W was chatting with him in the hallway and telling him "We will sure miss you coming. Just keep reading your scriptures and listening to the Spirit." And J just looked at him and said "Yeah, I know, I'm just really lost right now.." It was heartbreaking. He is so confused because of the crazy things T says. I taught J for so long and absolutely love him and J. After Sacrament meeting we shook his hand goodbye and J comes up confused and asks "Are you not coming over anymore?" :'( I kept telling myself to get over it because there was work to do but then I felt bad because you can't just get over someone turning away from the gospel. I'm not "over it" but we did end up having a great day with a lot of happiness :) Heavenly Father helped us out.

Sister H2 and I spoke in Sacrament meeting about member missionary work. I was so happy to get them all in one place so I could tell them how important it is!! Also it was a kinda like my last little testimony to J. It went really well :) Did you know we are asked to get 3 member referrals a week?! yeah, I think I've gotten 3 in my whole 2 months so far. There is a lot of pressure to get members more involved now. Sometimes in lessons with members I feel like I need to just get on my knees and beg them to do missionary work because nothing else is working! After we spoke Bishop got up and said "We are so thankful to have wonderful sister missionaries in our ward" and it kinda hit Sister H2 and I- we are the sister missionaries!!!!! How cool is that??

Mom- your calling is Public Affairs right? We work with that committee a lot! I always think about you when we are with them :) I love that we do 10 hours of service a week. It is so much fun. Mom and Dad- are you going to pick me up from my mission? I know you have quite a while to think about it ;) but Sister P asked if you were because I was raving about you and told her she needs to meet you.

Funny moments- (I need to write them down more so I can remember)
-M has a dog she wants to get rid of so we told her we'd ask Sister P. So during weekly planning we walked into Sister P's office and said "Sister P? We have a question." She could see what was coming and said "...what...?" "Can we get a dog???" She started laughing and said "I've been looking for a dog! But that's why I got you two remember" She went to meet the dog but he was kinda spastic so she said doesn't want that one but it was still really funny.
-we sing at nursing homes and S H2 and I were the first ones there for about 10 minutes so she played the paino and I just sang some hymns by myself to them haha
-Quote from our Zone Leader Elder G"I'm telling you guys this because you're my homegirls- but I've got a mad crush on Abish from the Book of Mormon" hahahahaha what??? Who says that??
-"My God is a republican"- 91 year old man we taught
-"If Sacrament Meeting ends early, we'll be heroes!!"- B L (Ward Mission Leader)

Sad moments
-elders and sister are no longer allowed to hang out on P-days. I wanted to cry when I heard that. Our zone is really close and we love playing sports on P-days.... So we are going to try and do something fun with the Sisters today since the elders called the church to play basketball
-I got my first door that literally slammed in my face! We never go tracting really but we were visiting a part member family and both Sister H2 and I felt strongly that we needed to knock on a door so we did. An fatter, shorter, meaner Gandalf opened the door and said "What do you want." We cheerfully said "We are sharing a message about Jesus Christ!" He started at us and said "and your both fools." *slam* it wasn't really sad. It was actually a little funny. I can't wait to get to the other side and find out why we were supposed to knock on that door ;)

Well I love you all. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you! I love having all 5 of us kids on my planner to look at everyday. Siblings- I know you are all busy but you should write me every now and then ;) I love being a missionary. The church is true!! Now everyone go read the Book of Mormon and then after that go give one to somebody! Love you!

Sister Collette Knowlton :D

Sunday, July 21, 2013

This work rocks my socks!

Sister H. is awesome and is totally pumped to work hard and be obedient! Being a trainer is probably one of the coolest and most humbling experiences ever. It almost is a good thing that both of us are so new because we are completely depending on Heavenly Father to help us out. Remember how I said I think Sister H1 (we will call first companion Sister H1 and new companion Sister H) always got the inspiration because she's driving? I think that is kind of true. Well and also, Sis H doesn't know the area so God just has to tell me where to go. It is a miracle how guided we are. I remember talking to my sister, K, and she said one thing she missed about her mission was working so closely with the spirit. I now know exactly what she's talking about.

Sister H and I get along super well! We have a pretty similar sense of humor so we laugh a lot. One night during planning we were laughing really hard and the next morning we apologized to Sister P (landlord) for being loud and she said, "Don't you ever apologize for laughing! That's exactly what I want to be woken up with!" I love Sister P so much. She really helped me out this week. She would come in while Sister H was showering and remind me that I can do anything with the Lord. She also asked every night when we came home how we were holding up. It's fun for Sister H and I to be able to talk about Women's Chorus songs and people we both knew at BYU. We were having "companionship inventory" and I asked what I can do to help her and be a better trainer. She said "You can stop getting so many dang letters!" That probably had to do with the fact that transfers put a hold on mail so I got 2 weeks worth in one day.

Speaking of letters- A your letters make me laugh really, really hard. In fact every letter I get makes me laugh super hard. I just want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to write me every week. I never get them on Sunday's because mail doesn't come but I still love that you wish me a Happy Sunday every time ;)

Cool experiences for the week
Tuesday we were meeting with a part member family. We met the less active daughter for the first time and taught the Restoration. At the end she said "I would like to come back to church but I have work." That is my least favorite excuse because it's the hardest to get around. But then she said "I'll start looking for a new job." SOLID! No LA ever says that haha.

2 Sunday's ago Sister H1 and I were asked to come talk to the 6 year old Primary class about missionary work. I asked them "Who can tell me what missionaries do?" One kid said "They go to people's houses to eat dinner!" "yes we do that, but what else do we do?" Another girl said "You buy food at the grocery store!" Super glad that everyone thinks all we do is eat all day....

This past Sunday Sister H and I taught the High Priest lesson on Relief Society. That was a little bit intimidating but I think it went as well as we could. At the beginning I said we were going to introduce the topic by singing "As Sisters in Zion" They all just looked at me with blank faces until I told them I was joking.

Wednesday evening it was getting close to time to go home and we had already used way too many miles that day so I decided we should just do some tracting because I couldn't use more miles. As we were knocking doors I kept feeling like we need to drive and visit the B family. I ignored it because we were super close to home and that was out of the way. Then finally the words just pretty much vomited out of my mouth "We need to go see the Bs." Sorry for that imagery. We drove to their house and of course they weren't there because they told us they were going out of town. As we turned to walk away and drive home I saw two houses across the street and I said  "we need to go knock on those doors." The first door was a man named G. He told us that he was having a hard time because his wife left and he didn't have a job. We let him know that the message we share can help him in any situation and Sis Hardy told him we would pray that he would get a job. After making an appointment he told us "You just made my day. Thank you so much." I don't remember the second house but we probably gave them a BOM and hopefully that will be a seed planted haha.

The topic of angels had been standing out a lot to me lately so I decided to make that part of my personal study on Thursday by reading as much as I could in the scriptures about angels. I read how you can identify them, what a ministering angel is, etc. Then that night we were meeting with a less active couple who likes to ask us a lot of little doctrinal questions. Guess what they asked? "I want to know more about angels. I heard people who don't get to the Celestial Kingdom are ministering angels. And how is it that we can identify an angel?" Talk about guided studies!! I would not have known the answers to those questions at all if I hadn't read it that morning.

Remember a month-ish ago when we met that one guy B and I thought he was super prepared and should get baptized? Well ever since then he never had time to meet with us and we kinda stopped going by. But as we were driving near his house I felt like maybe we should try him. When we knocked he was home! And we were able to set up a time! I thought he had gotten a hold of some anti-Mormon stuff after we met him but he just told us that he had been really busy the past month.

Friday was our appointment with G. Just starting into the first lesson he said "I want to know how I can be one of those sheep. (Referring to the fact that we are Christ's sheep) We then invited him to be baptized on August 3. He looked down and said, "That's in a couple weeks right? ....I think I'm ready" After teaching the rest of the lesson we asked if he would prefer to go to a Spanish or English ward. (I was a little sad thinking he probably would need to be passed off to Spanish missionaries) He told us that he wants to go to the English ward! YAY! So he asked if he could take notes on where the church was. When we were wrapping up he started to cry and saying, "Thank you, I am so happy. You are angels sent from God." I'm pretty sure that lesson was one of my favorites so far on the mission. He kept crying for a couple minutes thanking us.

Then I felt like we should visit one of the active members in our ward. She wasn't home but her YSA daughter was. We planned to teach the Plan of Salvation (We teach the first 2 lessons to our active members so Sister H can practice). After we were done she got a little teary and told us that she really needed to hear that today. So dang thankful for the spirit!

That night we gave J a tour of the church building so he would feel more comfortable coming to church. We have had a really hard time getting him to come. He kept talking about how wonderful it felt there. He said, "Right when I walked in the door I felt different." HIs granddaughter was running around playing with some kids her age in our ward. At the end of our tour the grand daughter said, "Can we PLEASEEEE come on Sunday?" And the 11 year old in our ward said, "Yeah! You can come to Primary with me!" It was so precious. My heart melted <3

On Sunday we called J to see if he was coming and he said he didn't think he felt like coming and I kept asking why and he wouldn't really give a reason so that was a little frustrating. Then I called G and he answered and said "I'm ready to go!" Ah- I stinkin love G. When we met with him after church he said he didn't like how loud the kids were but that he felt very comfortable. He said "So many people came up to say hi!" Then we met with J and I told him "Not gonna lie J, I was heartbroken when you said you weren't coming to church" How's that for a guilt trip? ;)

J such a diligent reader. He always reads more than we ask and writes down his questions and highlights what we read in lessons but there is something holding him back. He feels the Spirit, he describes it all the time but for some reason he will not commit to coming to church and his baptismal dates keep getting pushed back. At a lesson a few weeks ago he told me that when I talk my eyes remind him of shark eyes. I was like uhhhh thank you. But he said it wasn't a bad thing just that they are very piercing and he can feel that I know what I'm saying is true. So last night he said, "I found a scripture that describes your shark eyes! Matt 10:20" He said he feels like when I talk it is someone else talking through me. I try not to get frustrated because it's so obvious that he knows it's true and feels the spirit but he won't admit it. Keep him in your prayers if you can.

At church a lady came up to us who was obviously not a member and gave us her address and asked us to stop by. Hello?? Miracle?? She started crying and saying her husband was cheating on her and they were being evicted from their home. She said Elders had stopped by but she wants her kids to talk to Sisters. We gave her a hug- she really needed it :(
Then all during dinner an active member's name kept coming to mind but they weren't whom we planned to see but around 8:30 I decide we should go see them. His name is Brother D and he's 87. I absolutely LOVE going to his house because it's like chatting with my grandpa away from home. He has a less active daughter who is usually pretty cold to us and never sits in on lessons. Halfway through the lesson she came in and just sat right down on the couch to listen. As we kept teaching her eyes got really watery. I don't know what was going on but I know that we needed to be there.
We also had about 3 less actives at church. That was a great feeling.

I can't even express how much I love being a missionary. Sure it's hard, but it is so rewarding. Training is the best thing ever. I love Companionship Study. We are able to work together to become better teachers, set goals, and find ways to improve. Preach My Gospel is so endless. It's like a never ending well of wisdom. I've learned how important love and service are. When you are training you can never say anything negative, have a bad attitude, or be lazy. Charity is the absolute key to everything in missionary work.

I love hearing from you all SO MUCH. Thank you for the emails, I wish I were better at replying to them individually but please know I appreciate them. I look forward to reading them every week. I also appreciate people who take the time to read my epically long emails. It means a lot to have people care about what I'm doing :)

Family- you are the best. I don't say that enough. But I think it about 50x a day.
A- things I would want in a package: Thanks for asking!! I really want more family pictures and Sister H has a cute little portable photo album. CDs, anything in the missionary section at Deseret Book, skor bars, candy of course ;) I loved the pictures from your primary class. I was smiling from ear to ear. L's pictures every week are also really great.
I've done fairly well with not gaining weight so far! I try not to snack since we eat such big dinners.
I LOVE YOU ALL! Missionary work is so much fun! I laugh a lot, I wish I could talk about all the funny things that happen but I guess I try to focus on the spiritual
p.s. go give the missioanries a referral. Please. ;)
p.p.s. Sister P said "What the crud" this week and it was the funniest thing ever

New companion! July 9, 2013

Um so training is really scary. I can already tell I am going to need to grow a lot from this challenge. My companion is Sister H (new Sister H) and she was actually in Women's chorus with me at BYU! So we are already friends on facebook and everything. She's a year older than me. I don't even really have the energy to talk about last week or think about what happened, all the weeks are kind of a blur now haha. I picked up Sister H. She was a little homesick, but got over it quickly. We went tracting right away and she got engaged quickly. She did a great job! We got a couple potential investigators in the little time we had. We got home and planned. It was hard to set goals and plan because she doesn't know the people or the area and normally I had  my former companion Sister H to tell us what we should do. I couldn't sleep for a good hour and then kept waking up all night long worrying about everything. Companionship study was nice I guess. It was weird trying to be the one in charge and teach someone. We talked about how we can together learn to depend on the Savior and that God will provide for us.

Then I made some phone calls and we headed out to our appointment with a less active family. We taught them the Restoration and it went really well. The daughter said she wanted to come back to church and would look for a job that would give her weekends off! Wow! no one says that haha. then we had Subway and now we are here. So yeah............ I could use all the prayers I can get.

Training - July 8, 2013

Okay, I'm emailing about my week tomorrow because I will be able to get on email again because I have to take my "greenie" to email. Wait what? yeah. I'm picking up a brand new missionary to train later today.

I'm pretty nervous because I've only been on my mission for 6 weeks so I don't know what I'm doing but I have to somehow train a new missionary. 6 weeks ago, I was that missionary getting picked up by my trainer!! I found out on Friday. Sister H was called as a Sister Trainer Leader and she will be staying in my district so I'll still see her a ton. Thank goodness I can still ask her questions.

I know the next 6 weeks will be really challenging but it will definitely be a time that I can be humbled and depend everything on the Savior. I'm super scared to have to know where to go, who to see, how to teach, what phone calls to make, how to handle certain situations, but I know this is God's work and he will be there with me every step of the way. I know I'm not alone :) I can't wait to get my new missionary pumped up about missionary work! I think I'll wake her up tomorrow morning by jumping on her bed and shouting "Ready to be a missionary?? BEST DAY EVER!" I will work so hard every day to make her feel excited and happy :) She will most definitely be older than me I'm pretty sure so I hope that isn't awkward.....

T B IS MY DISTRICT LEADER! July 1 the missions split and we took two stakes from Denver South and one from Colorado Springs. When they announced who was coming into the area this transfer they said "The Malley District leader will be a missionary coming up from the Denver South mission named Elder B." I stood up really fast and shouted "I KNOW HIM! THATS MY FHE GRANDPA!" It was a little embarrassing but I couldn't contain my excitement. For those of you who don't know TB- he was an RA in my ward at BYU, in my FHE group, and just super awesome. He's also serving in the same ward as me so I will be seeing him all the time and he will be calling me every single night. Crazy, I think it is a tender mercy from the Lord to help me get through the next 6 weeks that I'm training.

Anyways- I can't stay my full 2 hours since I'll be emailing tomorrow but since you can reply and I'll see it within a day. Anyone have good finding ideas besides tracting and working with members? I need to get creative here, we need some solid investigators.

Training advice?

Mom can you send my contacts anytime soon? I also would be down to get some EFY CDs- Deseret Book had some good ones. Thank you if you can :)

Missionary work is crazy right now. It is the most exciting time to be a missionary. I'll find out a lot more about the newly changed mission on Wednesday but, Sister H, being a spiffy STL (Sister Training Leader) told me some inside scoops. She said iPads are coming really soon and the best news of all- we can go to the temple once a month now!!!!!!! I'm so happy. Everything is changing; missionary work is all anyone talks about. Okay, maybe I'm hardcore biased because I eat, sleep and breathe missionary work but it really is changing. The work is hastening.

Please- do me and the Lord a favor, pray about who you can share the gospel with. Who can you introduce to the missionaries? We desperately try to get the members involved and it can be difficult at times but we NEED them.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Malley Ward aka District 12 - letter from 7-1-13

My email title comes from Ward Conference at church yesterday. All the stake leaders came and taught the lessons and it reminded me of when the fancy Capitol people visit District 12 in Hunger Games. That is really the perfect way to describe it. I was pretty impressed with my accurate comparison ;)

Another wonderful week in the mission field! Highlight: we were able to teach a ton! We got 29 lessons this week and this coming week we're hoping for 30. We are really working at getting lessons with members, that helps so much. Lowlight: N,  S, and N's mom got cold feet on Friday and they backed out of their baptism. Honestly, I was somewhat expecting that. They back out of their baptism a couple moths ago with some other elders. We are planning on S and N getting baptized this coming Sunday. N will have to wait a little bit longer.  I know that S and N are ready but it will take a miracle for their to be able to realize that and make that commitment. Please keep them in your prayers this week.

It amazes me how little I do as a missionary. I feel like we are literally just lead to those people who are prepared (with the help of the members). God knows where his children who are searching are and he just takes us there! And once we are there, we do our best to teach effectively so they understand, but it is only through God that they can come to know the truth. I really do nothing. Every lesson we are able to teach is a blessing the God gives us, every person we are able to meet is from God. It is SO DANG COOL.

On Monday we were trying to contact a Less Active, T, who lived by our dinner (another LA, surprise surprise ;) and we could not find her apartment so we finally went to dinner. After dinner we were walking to the car and we hadn't invited anyone to be baptized that day. I really didn't want to remind Sister H because she had forgotten and I was getting so tired of walking up to people and inviting them. But it kept bothering me and I finally reminded her. She pointed out a guy outside and we went over to talk to him. When we invited him and he told us that his girlfriend was Mormon. We asked "Is your girlfriend T??" And he said "Yeah!" and showed us where his apartment was and now we are going to try and meet with them! Like I said, God just guides us to people!
That night we went to have a lesson with an active member and they are this adorable old couple in the ward who houses the elders. She was telling about one missionary who was sick and kept moaning and groaning and being so loud. She says "I wanted to yell at him, shut up! I've had 6 babies and I never made that much noise!" hahahahaha.
We also had a lesson with S, N, and N.   N's friend Awas there too (J's son) and when we were talking about baptism he said "My dad and I are getting baptized at the end of July!" He had overheard us setting his dad with a baptismal date and assumed it was for him too! It's cool when we can set people with a date without even asking ;) I don't know that the end of July will actually happen because Jis not really committed to quitting smoking but we are trying really hard to help him find the strength to do it.

Wednesday we met with a potential investigator, B. She's 27 and lives with her 10 year old daughter. She told us how she is really confused because there are so many churches and she doesn't know which one to join. She is so prepared to hear the gospel! She was excited to read the Book of Mormon and find out for herself if it is true.
Then we had to go and teach N. and S. about the law of chastity. I don't know about you but I've never had to teach a 9 and 10 year old about the law of chastity. It was soooo funny. I started out "So, the law of chastity." and just kind of stopped then Sister  Htook over and said some very vague things trying to avoid actually saying anything. I was laughing to myself so badly. Finally I just said "the law of Chastity means you don't have sex until after you're married" and then of course explained because it is a sacred thing from God and all that good stuff. But I'll never forget that moment. Shows how immature we are.... But you would all be laughing too. So no hating.

Thursday we found a new investigator named S, her dad is a recent convert but he's pretty much less active already. She is 27 and has been through the worst life ever. Her mom was murdered, she fell into drugs and had to give up her daughter, got divorced, etc. This being said, she is now one of the happiest people. She has somehow found the power to forgive everyone who has wronged her in her life. She let it all go and is such an example to me. She is a pretty solid investigator, because she LOVES the church, just knows nothing about it!

Friday we had a lesson with our investigators J and his granddaughter J. We brought the Bishop with us to this lesson and thank goodness we did because J's ex wife was there and she was... I don't even know how to describe it. Let's just say that when we got out of the lesson Bishop said, "Was she drunk?" J is adorable she always answers the door with her Book of Mormon in her hand and runs to the table to eagerly tell us what she had read. This week she had put book marks in every section she liked and written down all of the verses in a little notebook. I was just beaming, she read way more than J haha. She said, "I have a question, did Jesus actually die for us?" And of course that is a precious question and we were so excited to answer but J's ex wife jumps in "No. It was all political." Ug. -_- That was hard to hear. But somehow we were able to feel the spirit in that lesson even with the ex wife inserting comments like that the whole time. She liked a lot of the things we said and we tried to find some common ground with her but some of her ideas were just so far out there..... When we explained that the age people are baptized is 8, J silently motioned to J, pointing to herself then flashing all her fingers mouthing "I'm 10!!" So adorable :)
That morning we did volunteering at the retirement home. SO FUN! Do you know what we did? We played a game called At the Horse Races with about 8 old people. I'll take a picture of it next time. It is a long piece of cloth with a start, finish, and 6 stand up horses. Every takes turn rolling the dice and moving whatever horses are rolled until a horse reaches the finish line. Absolutely the lamest game in the world but we had so much fun. Sister Hand I tried to make it exciting by getting super into it. My Horse won once. Best tasting Butterfinger ever. No greater reward.

Saturday we contacted a media referral of a woman who lives at a different retirement home we volunteer at. We taught her (A) the first lesson and she is preparing to be baptized and quit smoking. She told me how there was one time when she was really angry and threw a chair at the wall and said the Lord's name in vain and she seemed so upset and guilty from that. She looked at me with worried eyes and asked "A Jehovah's witness book I read said God will not forgive the wicked. Is that true?" And I reassuringly told her that God loved her and he will forgive her of anything she seeks forgiveness of. She sighed a huge sigh of relief and laughed and smiled, so grateful that she can be baptized and forgiven of her sins :)

Sunday we had another lesson with J where we brought a man in the ward named Brother R. He talked so much and totally dominated the conversation but it was GREAT! He's a former Bishop and he really pushed J to finally commit to coming to church. We'll see how that goes Sunday. We met with A again and brought Sister P. it was really helpful because A was too embarrassed to come to church because she has a walker and Parkinson's Disease so she shakes all the time. Sister P was able to reassure her that there were a lot of members in wheelchairs and no one would judge her. Also, she is already making huge progress with the smoking issue!
We were at dinner and the member, Sister M said to me "Are you as hot as you look?" Afterwards I told Sister H, "I should've just said nothing and winked ;)" We have a lot of funny quotes that we always write down.

Look up the Mormon messages video "Having children in faith" I think that is the title. The African American guy, 2 AfAm kids and his wife is a young family in our ward. They are perfect in every single way but they just moved :( All the cute young couples are only here for the summer and keep moving! Sister H and I love them. We talk about marriage basically everyday. I can't wait to have my own cute little family!!!! AHHHH <3

Like usual I wish I could tell more and more and that you all could just be here experiencing this with me. Missions are incredible. There is no way to describe my experiences everyday. One of my favorite parts of the day is the hour of personal study we have every morning. I am more and more grateful for my family everyday and that God has given us families so we can have safety and security in this crazy world. Mom, you know that 9 page letter you wrote on prayer to all the kids in 2009? You're going to hate me for this but I finally read it this morning! It was amazing and made me so proud to be your daughter :) I don't know how I was so lucky to be born into the family I was born into. I don't think I deserve the amazing life I have but I will forever be grateful for it. I love you all. This church is true. When we were meeting with J he always talks about how much he is searching and studying with every religion. He mentioned that God has spared him from death 3 times I finally said "J, I can boldly tell you that you can stop searching. God has spared you so you could find the truth. the message that we share is the truth, I know without a doubt in my mind that this is Christ's church." He then mentioned how he was amazed because no other church has ever asked him to be baptized and I told him that's because this isn't just feel good stuff we are teaching. We are trying to teach you how to return to Heavenly Father and that there are steps he has asked us to take to do that. Thank goodness for the spirit and that people can find out for themselves this is true.

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARYYYYY! Why is life so awesome? Thank you for keeping me in your prayers, I keep you all in mine. You are amazing children of God and I know he loves you.

Love Sister Knowlton

Miracles Happen Once In Awhile When You Believeeeeee - letter from 6/24

 I can't even get over how everyday is a miracle.

Another title for this week would be "BEST DAY EVER" because everyone makes fun of me because I say that every single day. Sister H told me the other night, "S Knowlton when you get back from your mission I want you to count how many times you wrote that phrase in your journal and then tell me" and my MTC buddies always ask "do you ever have a bad day?" The answer is yes, of course I have bad days! I feel like I go through every spectrum of emotion in an entire day. For example, we have to do 10 hours of service a week and we almost always volunteer at a thrift shop "I'm gonna pop some tags, only got $20 in my pocket!" (I sing that a lot while working there) and it's pretty mindless work which is not good for me. When I'm not busy teaching or working it is easy to think about home and how hard missions are. I feel like this is one of the most nonstop jobs possible, no weekends, no movie nights, no breaks, BUT once I get out to work I forget all about that and my mood picks up instantly. Sundays are also hard for me because I miss being in a strong ward like Felicita, I got fairly homesick yesterday at church for a little, then I got over it. I know that this ward can become strong! That's why we are here! I love the Malley ward :)

Okay let's see how I can get in everything I want to say into this email.......... This week was awesome, the Lord blessed us so much! We had tons of meetings (including the big mission meeting), and two P-days (I'll explain, today isn't actually my P-day this week) and with all that we were still able to teach 23 lessons!!! It was incredible, the mission standard is 20 and a lot of people don't meet that. We have every week except last week we got 19 :( I'm going to go day by day again. I wish I could tell you about every single person we talk with and every single awesome experience we have but that would take me forever.

Monday-nothing super significant because it was P-day but an awkward moment when we were tracting: The lady opened the door and I stuck out my hand and said "Hi! I'm Sister H! oops... I mean I'm actually S Knowlton." and then Sister H says "I'm sister H...." So embarrassing.

Tuesday-We had the big mission meeting this day and it was amazing. Our mission has 56 sister missionaries! As I was looking around at them all I couldn't believe I was the youngest one! But it makes sense, 2 months ago I was 18. And we took a giant mission picture and I'm sitting right next to the mission president and his wife in the picture. SOLID. It was a very uplifting meeting. In the field it sometimes feels like Sister H and I against the world but it's a good reminder that there are so many other people doing the same thing as me everyday.
It was getting close to time to go home one night and we still hadn't invited anyone to be baptized and so we walked to the park and there were these two rough looking teenagers walking towards us and we asked if they had a minute. They said no and kept walking so I shouted  "Wait! It's really important!!!!" They turned around and asked what it was about and I said "Jesus!" Pretty much they weren't interested but Sister H makes fun of me for that frequently. It just shows how I feel all the time.
About a week ago we had dinner with a family in the ward and they had their 90 year old dad there who wasn't a member and they explained to us that they've tried to teach him but he is pretty against it so for the message we just stuck to something basic but didn't try to teach him. Later at church the wife made a comment in one of the classes that her dad had asked her "Let me know when you have those two nice ladies over again." Sweeeeet :)
Laura- I was listening to Alex Boye's "Have I done any good in the world today" song. So I heard you singing in that little background choir! So glad you can still be with me on my mission ;)

Wednesday- We were going to meet with our investigator K and as we were walking to the apartment we heard someone shout "Hey Elders!" and it was our 9 year old investigator N, he was visiting his friend who lived in those apartments so we chatted with him for a minute then went to go see K. Of course K didn't have time, like usual, and we started to walk back to the car. As we were almost to the car I thought, N is right here for us to talk to him we can't just leave without trying to teach a lesson. We normally teach him with his mom and his other siblings so that's why we didn't instantly jump on the opportunity. Plus it wasn't even his house. I told Sister H we needed to go back so we did and we asked his little friend if his parents were home, he came back and told us that they were busy so we started to walk to the car again and then a man shouted to us "Hello?" When we turned around it was the friend's dad, Jwho is a single dad living in a really messy apartment with no car. We went back to the apartment and asked if we could come in a share a message. He told us that every time he prays to God for direction in his life and what to do, Mormon missionaries show up! Of course we were stoked, nodding and smiling really big, we told him that his prayers are being answered. Then he said "And lately I've also been praying for a girlfriend because I need a wife to help me raise Alexander, and the GIRL missionaries show up" Hahahaha. Ohhhhhhh no... that part of your prayer was NOT answered J. Sorry, wrong idea. We basically ignored that comment and just nodded and smiled awkwardly and moved on. Don't worry, we are bring our Ward Mission Leader with us from now on to teach J. We invited him to be baptized and he said yes! He also told us "This may sound strange but you guys have some kind of light around you right now" I thought that was pretty cool :)

Thursday- We met with our investigator F and his member wife V. The meeting before we had taught the Restoration and challenged him to read Alma 7. When we came back we asked how it went and he said "I read it 3 times, and prayed about it before and after each time. I felt like this guy, Alma, was talking directly to me. I assume he was teaching a big group of people and I felt like I was in that group. When I prayed about it, I just felt so comfortable. It was this really overwhelming feeling. Then the next night I had a dream and someone came to me in my dream and I knew it was this Alma guy. I woke up in the middle of the night." Obviously this is the response you want to hear from an investigator so we were stoked on life. We asked if he thought these feelings came from God and he said yes. Then we asked if he believed the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and he said "No. The Bible is the only word of God" -_- Basically he holds very firmly to his Catholic beliefs and won't let them go. It was a really awesome experience for me to see someone who has never felt the spirit like that, receive and answer to their prayers.

Friday- We had a stake breakfast for the sisters in our stake which includes my MTC buddies. I can't believe we have been able to see each other this often. I know it won't last forever so I'm really grateful for it now. Every time Sister Cand I see each other we talk about how badly we want to be companions before we leave. She said she writes President T about that in her letter to him every week.
Carissa Earl- I don't know if you will ever read this but your sister is one of my Sister Trainer Leaders so I see her all the time! Cool huh? I hadn't made the connection till she came up to me and asked if I knew you! She is so sweet and doing an awesome job :)
We met with our new investigator J and his granddaughter J. He is so hilarious. He's really sweet and talks A LOT it is impossible to get out of appointments with him in an hour. He has a lot of questions and has studied with almost every religion so he's really open to the things we say. We invited him to be baptized and he said he would once he knows it's true :) We asked him to prepare for July 13 but we have to push it back because he didn't come to church and they need to come 3 times. J is the epitome of prepared, he is already so Christlike.

Saturday- Our second Pday of the week! The reason we had a P-day is because we went to the temple. A young couple with a 2 and 4 year old were sealed in the temple and they invited us to come! It was a big honor to be invited because there weren't very many people there since their families aren't members. We only get to go to the temple once every 6 months so I used one of my trips for this but it was so worth it. Seeing them be sealed together for eternity was amazing. When the 2 little kids came in I just couldn't stop crying. The little 2 year old girl was smiling SO BIG. It made me incredibly thankful once again for my family. You guys are the biggest blessing I could've ever asked for. My life would be completely different were it not for you raising me in the gospel. I appreciate it so much more as I'm on a mission, meeting people who are completely lost and are involved in negative things.
We didn't really take the full day off, we went back to work around 4:30 because P-days aren't as fun when you aren't playing sports with your whole zone. (Did I just put sports and fun in the same sentence? The mission is really changing me). But I did take my first nap since I've been on a mission! That was exciting. We left for the temple at 6am so I was super tired.
At 4:30 our whole zone did a huge fast because we made a goal to have 1 baptism each by the end of the transfer. It was really powerful as we were all working together. Our zone is really close which according to everyone I've talked to, is rare. I don't want transfers to come and split us all up :( These Elders are like my big brothers!
We then taught N, N and S who are supposed to get baptized this Saturday!
Also we taught Sister Ho., who is less active. Her dad just passed away and the elders, without knowing, showed up the very next day. What a coincidence ;)

Sunday- Sister. Ho. came back to church for the first time! She even made all of Relief Society cookies! It was so cute :) Getting less actives to come to church is just as rewarding as investigators. Also a less active we have been meting with Sis. M has come for the past two weeks :) And a less active couple came last week but not yesterday. Seeing them there is the best feeling ever
After church we went to teach J and J. We watched the Restoration DVD with them. You know you're a missionary when you quote The Restoration DVD and The District for fun. When I get back from my mission I could probably recite the entire 15 minutes of that DVD. After we watched it J said "How much do those cost? I need 5 to send to my family" We GLADLY told him they were free and we would bring him 5 next time we visit with him. How often do your investigators ask for DVDs to send to their family??? Let me tell you- never. He said the closing prayer, those are some of my favorite moments, hearing our investigators pray. He said, "please help me to know that what these ladies are teaching me is true."
Then we met with F and that did not go so well. He had a complete turn around from where he was before. He told us that he simply could not let go of his beliefs. He kept saying "I respect your beliefs and understand they can be true for you but my beliefs are true for me." Obviously we can't really argue but I wanted to say: Truth is not relative. If it is the truth than it is true for everyone. There is one God and he would not confuse his children by providing different truths. It felt like he was telling me, 2+2 may equal 4 for you, but for me it equals 5. I was pretty crushed to see him shut off so quickly but before we left I told him. "I'm 19 years old, I left my family for a year and a half to come and teach this truth. I really don't know what I'm doing, I don't know the Bible like a paid minister does, I've only been to high school and one year of college. Can you imagine how scary it would be to do this if it wasn't the truth? I would never come out and teach people if I didn't know that the Lord was right beside me teaching everyday. I couldn't not do this on my own and God would not help me do it if it wasn't the truth." We are still coming back for dinners and such, they are the sweetest couple and I know that one day they will be able to be sealed in the temple.

I think about that often, how would scary would this be if it wasn't the truth? Thankfully it is, so it isn't scary at all.

The A family only made it to the last 20 minutes of church so we are hoping they come next week and then they will get baptized after church!
I hope you can watch that broadcast from yesterday about missionary work. Everything is changing so much and it is the most exciting time to be a missionary. We're getting iPads soon! Crazy huh? My Zone Leaders keep telling me that I'm going to be the first girl Assistant to the President and Sister H thinks I'll be training next transfer but I doubt that, they have plenty of sisters to train!

I love you all so much a wish I was more eloquent with my words. I always feel the spirit so strongly when these stories actually happen but it is hard to portray that spirit in my emails. I'm having so much fun as a missionary. When I think about it, being a missionary is really hard so I just don't think about it! I love what I'm doing, I try my hardest every single day and am constantly trying to see ways to improve. GO SHARE THE GOSPEL! Teach lessons with the missionaries in your homes, find people for the missionaries to teach. As members you were baptized and made a covenant with God to serve him. As Joseph Smith said, "After all that said, the most important work is to preach his gospel."
LIFE IS AWESOME! The church is true, I know it.

Sister Knowlton :)
p.s. it is going to be really strange when people call me Collette again. I feel weird just typing it.
p.p.s Amy- I look forward to your letters every week. They make me laugh a lot. If I ever didn't get a letter from you, I'd probably cry. No pressure. ;) Tell Felicita Ward I love them and they are the best.
KENNA! You're going into the MTC Wednesday! I'll be thinking of you<3 Your bracelet has reminded me to be patient countless times.

It's a hard *knock* life for us!

Hahaha I'm sorry abour my subject titles. I spend pretty much the whole week thinking of them so I hope you appreciate them.

This week was pretty good, it was a little less successful and a little more discouraging than the past 2 but really not bad at all :) Gosh I never even know how to go about these emails. Mom to answer your question- my shoes are working out really well, my ankles hurt every now and then but not really because we have a car.

I realized that I've never really told you all who my investigators even are. We have 14 right now which isn't too bad for starting from scratch (the elders in our ward helped us a lot too). 0/14 are considered "progressing" and it is hard to get them to keep commitments but we are working on it :) I'll tell you some background on them:

-K.- she is the woman who lives in that sketchy apartment complex, 40's, we are having a hard time getting her to quit smoking and she just has a messed up life. I feel so bad for her sometimes. She came to church 2 weeks ago
-R.- K's daughter who is 13 but looks 16.
-S.- We met with this guy once, he is Hispanic and sometimes doesn't understand us. His wife is not super interested but we need her there to translate so she gets to listen anyways ;) They always have a lot of grand kids at home
-B.- 9 year old great granddaughter of a woman in our ward. Her dad is less active
-S., N., and N.- all children of Sister A. another less active member of the ward. She wants them to be baptized but they are really hard to meet with. They are all set to be baptized the 29th but they still need to come to church.
-B.- we haven't been able to meet with her yet but the Elders gave her to us and she seems super sweet from the times we have talked. She has a young daughter and her boyfriend apparently is a member
-The two B. girls- we've also only met with them once and then they've been out of town for the past 2 weeks. This is the daughter that had a son when she was 14
-F.- super awesome husband of a member of our ward, I'm excited to meet with him tonight! He showed up at church on Sunday and we hadn't even invited him so we were stoked out of our mind. When Sister H. pointed him out I was literally fist pumping in church.
-F.- Turkish lady, she is soooo sweet. The elders were meeting with her before- her husband is less active and they absolutely love the missionaries. They kind of just like to hang out with us and feed us food so sometimes it's hard to get around to the gospel, but we do it!
-B. and K.- I'll be talking about them later........................

ALRIGHT Y! on to the week :) This week I learned a lesson that I thought I knew but God didn't think so ;) This is the Lord's work and not ours, he is in complete control of what we do, who we find, what goals we accomplish, etc. On Wednesday we started out with a phenomenal zone meeting then went to do about 3 hours of weed pulling. The rest of the day every single appointment we had fell through, even dinner. Appointments falling through is pretty much a daily occurrence but at the very least we get to teach at least one lesson. We were supposed to have dinner with K. but she cancelled (I'll be honest I was a little afraid of what she was going to feed us anyways;) It felt like we were getting nothing done, we knocked on doors, no one answered, we knocked on more doors, more people didn't answer. No one was home. There are huge fires going on South of my area which you maybe heard about, I don't know a whole lot about it except that they are really bad and about 400 homes have been destroyed so far. So the sky was filled with smoke and it was covering the sun and I legit thought everyone was evacuated and we just didn't know about it haha. After every person we failed to see we would stop and pray asking where on earth are we supposed to go? Who are we supposed to talk to today? We weren't feeling very prompted and had no direction, finally around 8 we decided to go home and eat some dinner and share a message with Sister P. Boy do I love her, she could tell we were discouraged and she made us a quick little meal. Then we went back to work and again got nothing done. (Except inviting someone to be baptized probably at the doorstep because we still do it everyday) at 8:50, 10 minutes until the day is over we are driving home and all of a sudden cop lights come on and we get pulled over and Sister H. got a ticket for skipping lanes of traffic while turning. It was the perfect end to a perfect day <3 After that I knew that we pretty much had no control over what we get done, it is all in God's hands so I'm thankful he helped me recognize that.

It really wasn't that awful, we just hadn't had a day like that before. Throughout the week it was fairly hard to meet with our investigators and we ended up only teaching 19 lessons, 12 of which were active members haha.......

One day when we were teaching K. and R. we went to the sketchy apartments and of course the elders were already there, they love it there. The same people hang out outside so it was that little group. One girl's name is N. and she lives with her ex husband (yeah I don't get it either) They hate each other. So he was locked out of the apartment totally wasted and the elders were trying to teach him but N. wouldn't unlock the apartment for him so everyone was just yelling at everyone and us 4 missionaries were just like uhhhhhhhhh.......... Finally the elders got the drunk ex husband to go somewhere else and talk with them and Sister H. and I were able to pull aside K and R and teach them a lesson. During the lesson the cops came and arrested the ex husband. We live exciting lives eh? ;)

Lemme tell you about K and B. We found them yesterday because B was outside her house so we asked if we could share a message with her about Jesus Christ and she said "Oh, I'm Born Again Christian. My husband is an ordained minister and he could talk to you guys for ever." Sister Hsaid okay and Bwent in to ask K if we could come in, then she comes out and says "He says come on in! I hope you two brought your Bible!" and I'm thinking awh shoot....... thank goodness for Sister H.... I did not like talking to them at all, it was just starting to turn into a Bible Bash and he basically was telling us to leave the church and not waste our time because we don't know the truth. Finally I said "We could talk about our differences all day long and try to find proof who is right but we have other appointments to be at." Sister H asked if we could leave with a prayer and so I said the closing prayer and when I said Amen he said a prayer too. Not bowing his head, not closing his eyes, just talking into space he prayed that we would be able to find the real truth and not waste our time and some other baloney that I don't really remember. Then do you know what Sister Hsaid? She said "Can we set up a time to come back?" WHAAA. She gave them a chapter to read in the Book of Mormon about the God head because the whole debate was basically about the trinity. So we are going back on Wednesday. When we were far enough away I asked Sister H, "Why are we going back there?? They aren't going to listen to us" She told me we needed to give them a chance, they are God's children and they need to hear what we have to say. She asked me, how would we feel if God gave up on us after we ignored the truth once? I was so frustrated that I cried for the first time in the field (only like 3 tears don't worry). I know I should have faith that they can change and that God can soften their hearts but at the same time, they are free to choose.

I know that the spirit is the only thing that can convert people to the gospel of Jesus Christ. No amount of proof or evidence can convince people of the truth, only the power of God and his spirit. When the people are hardened to the spirit we can not do anything. I'm a 19 year old, I'm not a minister, I have studied the scriptures but I don't know them for memory, I can't provide archaeological evidence that the Book of Mormon took place but none of that matters. I know it is true by the spirit of God. That spirit of God is real, and I can never deny it. As M. Russell Ballard once told a large group of ministers "Even if I were to give you the gold plates to hold in your hands you still would not know the truth because the Holy Ghost is the ONLY thing that can testify of truth" (I paraphrased that a little). How can people be so quick to dismiss evidence from God with evidence made of man? That just doesn't make sense to me. I know that what K was trying to tell us was not from God because a messenger from God will make you feel love, peace, and comfort just as God would want his children to feel. The Book of Mormon is either true or it is not. It is either from God or it is from Satan and when you read that book with a sincere desire there is no possible way you can claim that it comes from Satan. A book the fills you with light, desires for goodness, and brings you closer to Jesus Christ is of God. The Book of Mormon is true and that is a fact. Basically I don't want to go back to B and K's because if they are not willing to listen to the Spirit than they will not be persuaded. Even if we were to counter every single scripture he showed us and find him proof, even if he saw Christ come to the people of America he would not believe unless he allowed the Spirit to testify that it was true.

So I didn't take notes of what I wanted to say this week until Friday.
One funny moment- we were talking to some neighbors of one of our members and they were very nice and Christian but aren't interested. The husband said "Oh yeah, my neighbor gave me a book about Joseph Smith." After I told Brother G (their member neighbor) he said "So he didn't read the Book of Mormon I gave him" hahahahaha.
Aly- Sister H. caught me saying ruff instead of roof. Just thought you'd get excited but don't get your hopes up ruff is still wrong.
With no one answering all week and it being so difficult to get a hold of people there were about two times where I just stood in the middle of the parking lot and shouted "I'm on a mission to tell people about Jesus Christ!! Please talk to me!!!" Unfortunately, I only got a few stares and no takers..... Also I have learned how to hide from peep holes so that people have to open the door to see who is there. That tactic still hasn't worked yet but I'm mastering it ;)
We have a new ward mission leader named Brother L, he is really young and SO AWESOME! I loved our old one too but Bro L is super energetic and stoked about helping us as missionaries. He makes me laugh, he would make you laugh too if you met him.

Okay I'm going to try and send pictures and stuff so I love you all so dang much!! This week really wasn't that bad don't worry, I'm ready to keep going and going for the next 17 months! People tell me that my "greenie fire" will go away but I'll prove them wrong. Thank you everyone who emails me I truly appreciate it. It would be so difficult if I didn't get to hear from you all every week.
Kenna-you are leaving SO SOON! I wear the bracelet you made me everyday and it helped me a lot this week as I remembered to be patient with the people here :)
Tash- um hi, are you alive?

Also, Sister H thinks I might be training next transfer. I would be scared out of my mind if I do. I will probably cry every night if I'm training after 6 weeks. That's an exaggeration but I really hope I can keep my trainer for 1 more transfer, you can pray for that if you'd like ;) Never stop emailing/writing me please! I'll never stop needing it!

I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
Sister Knowlton

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