Monday, August 12, 2013

I love you handsome buffalo

We were teaching this older couple in our ward this week whom we LOVE. They are a mix of all of my grandparents. S B told us she knows some Lao and then said a phrase and we asked what it meant and she said "i love you H1some buffalo" and S H2 and I were like uhhhhhhh.... Good times....

Honestly I'm getting so lazy at  writing emails because I want to spend all my time reading and replying to the emails I get. I really wish I could write longer responses but please know that I look forward to reading emails A LOT. At the same time though I do love telling y'all about my week. Have I mentioned that I have awesome family and friends? Cause I think that about 20 billion times a day.

I guess you could say Saturday was a pretty exciting day. M WAS BAPTIZED! Afterwards Elder B asked "how does it feel?" Basically I was just so happy and beaming the entire program. A lot of people from the ward came and also most of her family (they aren't members). Afterwards people gave her presents and a lady even gave her scriptures with her name on it! S B who we brought to almost all her lessons got her a cute necklace and a book for her kids. Elder G asked "Do you feel like you did anything?" and immediately I said no and he said "Those are the best ones :)" It really is true. She is so converted to this gospel which is something that can be hard to find in recent converts. She has the cutest little kids; R girl (4) and R boy (2) and they are always excited to pray and are now counting down the days till they can be baptized. R girl is so cute. Every time we are there she shouts "SISTERS" about 50 different times. The funniest is when we were sitting in Relief Society waiting for it to start and we hear outside "SISTERS" There is R announcing that she has entered the building and just assumes that if she shouts we will hear her. M is pretty sad that we wont be coming over as often but we are trying to start teaching her little sister so maybe we will be over there frequently again :) While visiting M before her baptism that evening she told us how she woke up, went into her mom's room and said, "Since I'm being born again today you might want to wish me happy birthday." haha! We were talking about baths in our lesson with her and S H2 said "Bath time! Best night of the week!!" Oh man, we laughed so hard. I'm glad S H2 gives our investigators the impression that we only bathe once a week.

Another funny moment- we were walking to an appointment and there was this older guy and a 20 year old guy out working so we went to talk to them. After chatting for a while the older guy said "Are you two married?" And I said "oh no- I'm only 19 and she's 20" and he said "I'm okay with that." This would be the second time an old man has brought up marriage with me. We gave him a card and said adios.

On Tuesday we had zone conference. It was SO GOOD.I love that spiritual uplift. Guess what. President Toombs told us that our mission will end up being half and half, 125 sisters and 125 elders. SISTER POWER. We're taking over the world, watch out. After zone conference I went on exchanges with S H1 until Wednesday night becasue she is my STL :) Apparently STL's are going to be companions starting next transfer, just like Zone Leaders. It was fun being with S H1 again. I'm going to be sad if she gets transferred because we have enjoyed seeing each other almost everyday. We taught a super anti lady and brought the Relief Society President in S H1's ward and, holy cow, was the RS Pres bold. It got a little contentious.The lady told us about all this stuff her preacher had told her and The RS Pres said "Well, that's because your preacher doesn't want you to leave his church" oooo hooo.. The appointment even made S H1 cry afterwards and S H1 does NOT cry. I think it was mainly because they said some pretty incorrect things about agency and S H1 feels really strongly about agency so it bothered her. At the end of exchanges the older missionary always talks with us to see how things are going and I told her my favorite part of training is seeing how much people grow from day 1. She just smiled really big and told me how much I've grown and how proud of me she was :)

On Thursday we met with our investigator T and his less active mom, S. I don't remember if I've told you about them. When I first met them it was really hard for me to see the end result. Their house always reeks of smoke, it is never clean, you can't feel the spirit there, they are always sick, they don't have any money or a car and are living off the government, and are just all around living a really sad life. I've been praying a lot to be able to love them and see them as God sees them. This week there was finally a change. S read out of the BOM finally and she was so excited to tell us! She was smiling! She summarized the whole chapter to us and was really proud of herself. It was amazing to see her have some self-confidence. T didn't read but he expressed his desire to be baptized so we committed him to Sep 22. At the end of the lesson he said the prayer and was very sincere. It was awesome. Later in the week he called and asked what chapter they were supposed to read so I'm excited to see them tonight. We met another lesss active woman this week who I had the same feelings towards. It was so difficult for me to see how her life could get out of the situation it was in. I kept thinking "It will take years to turn this around." She's a hoarder and I've never seen that much stuff in my life, she also has no money or education. I'm so glad God is letting me meet these people because I'm really learning to have  faith in what God can do for them. I know that the gospel is the answer to any problem. As they feel the spirit, they will slowly but surely have the desire to do good things and change their circumstances. The talk "Redemption" by D Todd Christopherson gave me a lot of hope for them and what they can become. God loves them so much and he knows they have the strength to change their lives as long as they decide to turn to him.

Friday we went to see A the schizophrenic woman and it was kinda creepy becasue when we walked in she was whispering to the corner. I wonder about her so much. I wonder what she was like before her illness. She talks about her family but I don't know if they exist. I don't know how she found the church because she knows a good amount. 

Saturday- BAPTISM DAY. But also, there was a referral I got from a member the first week of my mission (I think that is the only member referral I've been able to get thus far). She told us never to give up. I lost count of how many times we knocked on her door but I think it was about 20. We have been trying to contact her since that first week of my mission. We went to try again one night and prayed really really hard that she would answer the door. Of course, she didn't answer like every other time. This time we wrote a note to leave on her door. While writing it I saw a mom and two boys across the road and so we walked over to talk to them. We chatted for a while and they weren't really interested but we left a BOM anyways. On the way back to the car there was a car pulling into K (referral)'s driveway. We wouldn't have made it in time but thankfully some neighbor stopped to talk with her so we were able to get to her before she pulled into the garage. She let us come and talk with her and basically we spent the whole hour listening to her teach us about her church. We didn't get to share a message because we had to go home. She seemed really against the church and laughed at anything we told her but agreed to let us come back Saturday. Honestly all week I was scared becasue I knew she would be prepping some crazy questions. I prayed and prayed to have faith that we would know what to say and how to help her. I found a quote in my MTC notes that said "feed your faith and your fears will starve to death" Long story short because I'm running out of time and I write way too long of emails- we went back and shared a little about the history of the BOM and answered some questions about what we believe and she sat and listened. When we were done she said "Are you sure you're Mormon? You really believe that? I am amazed and surprised. You two are just the sweetest girls. You really know what you're talking about." She made clear quite a few times that she was not joining the church but we are going back again to hopefully clear up some more misconceptions. Heavenly Father really answered our prayers and gave me faith to listen to the Spirit.

I better send pictures! I love you all so much and I'm sorry my emails are so dang long. I even wish I could tell you more!

One more funny story- You know how I said everyone in the ward knows I love potatoes so we eat them like every night? Well at church S H1 (their ward is right after ours) told me that at their Relief Society activity they had potatoes and she overheard a lady say "It's too bad that sister from the malley ward isn't here. She LOVES potatoes!" Wow- you know it's bad when even the women in the other ward know.....

Have a fantastic week! I truly love you all more than you know and think about you everyday!
Sister Knowlton

Monday, August 5, 2013

What to expect when you're not expecting

This week we met a teenage girl who didn't know she was pregnant for the entire 9 months and found out the night she was going into labor. Here is the crazy thing, She is short and super skinny! Don't ask me how that happens, apparently she had a back pregnancy? So anyways, Later the evening I told S H2 she should write a book called "What to expect when you're not expecting" and I laughed really hard at my own joke- like I was crying.

Another fantastic week as a missionary! Can you believe it's already a month into my second transfer?This one is going by faster that my first transfer.

2 P-days ago S H2 and I swore of Chick-fil-a because we don't want to gain weight but last P-day we decided it was okay and we would ignore our oath. As we were eating there S H2 said "I think we need to be at Chick-fil-a every Monday. These workers know us and soon they will be curious and want to join the church." We concluded that if we come back fat it is becasue the Holy Ghost prompted us to go places with really good food. Also we went home to take a 30 min nap and accidently woke up 2 hours later. 2 hours of precious P-day time gone :( We won't make that mistake again.

On Tuesday we were trying to see an investigator and there was a mom and daughter in their apartment cleanig so we offered to help and chatted for a little then they let us come in to share a message. As we were teaching the Restoration they said some pretty interesting things. They were telling us about all the signs of the second coming they had seen. They asked if we had heard 3 of the 4 trumpets becasue they had. I don't even know that sign but I was just like "mhm. awesome. cool." And then they showed us a picture of some puffy clouds and excitedly asked "What does that look like to you?" And S H2 and I looked at it blankly and said "um. I'm not sure..." And they went on to explain that one was Gods face and the other was a tiny little angel. And that no one would believe them that it was a sign. Good times as a missionary. Then it got awkward when we had taught about Joseph Smith but not the Book of Mormon yet and they start talking to us about all the religions that have other books "...and the mormons have a book...." And so I was just thinking, this is about to get really awkward because you haven't made the connection that we are mormon and we are going to give you that book. haha!

-side note- Ali Chumbley: When are you getting married? I want your announcement! If you don't read my emails, mom can you ask about that? Thanks!

Thursday was a slow day where all our appointments cancel and we can't teach a whole lot. After about 50 billion cancelations I just drove off epicly shouting "Onward Christian Soldiers!!" We were able to teach the gf of one of our investigators who is less active and I think the lesson was really helpful, she was able to open up more without her bf there. At night S H2 was really discouraged that we had only taught one lesson but I told her never to be disappointment in a hard day's work. Even if we didn't meet goals, we did our best to spend all day inviting people to come unto Christ. Goals are important and help motivate us but they aren't means to discourage us :) ALSO! Two things I do now that I never did before: run and floss. Sorry if me never flossing was gross but really, no one does it anyway. Also we run every single morning! excpet Sun and Mon. Not very far but we do it nonetheless. Mom and Dad- can I use money to buy a journal? Or should I use my own. Either way is cool with me just thought I'd ask :)

One Friday we did service at the Arts and Culture Center here is Thornton and the volunteer coordinator was asking tons of questions! I was with S H2 and S G (S H1's new greenie) and they did a great job answering her! She asked how we get to Colorado and S G told her about prophets and then later S H2 slips in "well we believe that this is the same gospel Jesus Christ had when he was on the earth..." I was such a proud mama ;) Later we committed M to live the law of tithing and even though she really has no money she said she would :) I always feel bad for S H2 becasue by now the whole ward knows I love potatoes so they ALWAYS feed us potatoes. It's awesome. Melanie- I still read out of that temple journal you gave me. It is really specail to me that you took notes on my baptism and confirmation. I love reading it and also you are such a good writer. I was reading it like "wow- that was poetic."

Saturday morning S H2 and I woke up and she said "do you want to-" and I said "not go running?" So glad we can read each other's minds. We still have to work out for 30 minutes so we decided to "stretch" and that turned into "yoga" which consisted of us laying on the ground in different positions and naming them so we felt like we were working out. Some examples were "ashamed dog, I want my back scratched dog", and many others. Emma Phipps!- Did you leave on your mission yet? I suppose I could check but if you haven't I want you to know that I use those stickers you sent me with my younger investigators :) We had dinner with S Peel and her daughter and grand kids came over and it was SO FUN. We love S Peel. I told her she has to call my mom after I leave her house ;) And she said "I never even thought of that!" Then she also told us that we are never allowed to leave or she will be making a phone call to the mission president.

Sunday was M's first time in the Malley Ward because she had been going to her brother's ward. She got up in sacrament meeting to bear her testimony- oh man talk about a missionary pay day. She told the ward how her whole life has changed within a month and when she was walking down the two ladies next to me were both like "wow..." People kept coming up and telling her they were coming to her baptism and it made her feel really special. We told her we try to see people getting baptized everyday the week of and she said "Are you kidding?! I've been trying to get you guys to come everyday this whole time!!" M's baptism is a gift from Heavenly Father to the Malley ward. We have been working a lot on helping the members do missionary work and I think this is getting them more excited. S H2 and I set up appointments all this coming week to teach the members the message of the Restoration. We already did it twice this weekend and it helped a ton! After we teach it we give them a BOM/Family Proclamation, have them pick a person (through the spirit they felt in the lesson), a day that they are going to give out the BOM, invite them to meet with us and then we follow up. I'm excited to see how it goes! We focus most of our studies on new ways to find and work with the members. We are trying to get a missionary choir going. Also I'm singing in Zone Conference tomorrow! I don't know what yet. And I'm singing with S H1, G, and H2 at M's baptism. Bishop also asked me and an Elder in our ward to sing in church so we will probably do that soon too :)

I had a cool experience with a lady we meet with. I've probably mentioned her before- her name is A and she lives in a nursing home. She suffers from schizophrenia but is the sweetest lady you'll ever meet. She has met with missionaries for a while and they always stop coming by eventually so she puts in a media referral so we come back and that's how we found her. If we don't sing in a lesson she says "Well are you going to sing me a song?" It's cute. We taught her the Plan of Salvation before (she's heard all the lessons but still acts like it's new information) but this time I had a special experience with it. Since she isn't accountable I've wondered if it is a good use of our time meeting with her weekly and decided that she needed love and visits so we should continue. When we were talking about the resurrection and how our bodies will be perfect the Spirit reminded me that A and I would meet after this life and she would no longer be mentally ill. As I looked at her with that thought I wanted to cry because I know that we will be good friends and she will appreciate the time we took to come talk with her about the Savior. It was a very memorable moment and I can't wait to meet her after this life :)

2 hours is not enough time!!! AHH can't I email all P-day?

Lately I'm obsessed with marriage and family. I find every excuse to bring it up in lessons, study about it, talk to S H2 about it. I don't know what it is, but I can't wait to have a family. S H2 and I have A LOT of fun together. We laugh so dang much. We absolutely love listening to our music and try to resist blasting it but sometimes I just can't. OKay I gotta send pictures! Did I mention I love taking pictures? I'm sorry I send them weekly I feel like I'M THE ONLY MISSIONARY THAT DOES BUT i CAN'T HELP IT! dang Caps. I'm too lazy to change it...

I love you all more than you can ever imagine and I think about you every single day! thank you for your prayers and letters. I thrive off of communication with y'all.

read the BOM, pray for missionary opportunities, I love you!!

Sister Collette Knowlton