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. ;)
p.p.ps. 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.