Monday, September 9, 2013

Miracle Week and the return of K. and B. (dun du dun dun)......September 9, 2013

So I guess you could say this week was pretty fantastic. Similar to most other weeks on a mission. Guess how many new investigators we found? The most we've ever found in a week before is 4 I believe. This week? 13. Yippee! 10 of them were found using the prayer approach. I think I told y'all about that.

Monday- M. and her grandson E. We invited them to be baptized and they said yes but we haven't been able to meet with them again this week.

Tuesday- We brought the Bishop to our appointment with our excommunicated investigator which I think helped a lot because the Bishop was really nice to him and talked about how wonderful repentance is.
We had a lesson with the D. family (active husband who is very old and a spiritual giant and his less active wife). R., the wife, works on Sundays and we brought Sis  B., an awesome member. Sis B. basically shut her down like a boss. Here's how the conversation went
Sis D: I don't think I can go to church anymore girls. I'm too old to go to church and then work all day. I'm sure Sis B. understands how that feels *polite laughter*
Sis B: *no laughter* No. I don't. I go to church on Sundays and work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
oh man. It was pretty funny. Calling people to repentance turns out to be a lot harder than I imagined. I really want everyone to like us and know that we love them but no one likes to be told they are breaking the commandments. S Har. and I have been working on being bolder. In our lesson with the D. family it was getting near the end and Sis D. was not really having it (She usually loves us but that's when we teach nice fluffy stuff. We aren't there to teach nice fluffy stuff, we are there to invite others to Christ through faith and repentance.) I prayed really hard that I would know what the Savior wanted me to say because I had no idea. So I opened my mouth and promised blessings as a representative of Jesus Christ. Afterwards Bro D. said "The Lord has truly loosened your tongue." That was a cool answer to prayer :)

Wednesday- we finally got one of our less actives to tell us she doesn't want to come to church because she feels guilty about smoking. I've been teaching her for about 3 months and never even had a clue that she smoked. She still didn't come to church but she said the Saturday before she even went and bought a skirt so she's thinking about it!!
We did the prayer approach with M. and while doing so this dog runs up to us and obviously I'm excited because that's a super easy way to start talking to whoever the owner is but when I look up I see K...... Oh no.... S Har. knows about him but she didn't know what he looked like so she starts talking and asking if we can pray with him. He says no and when he was out of ear shot I whisper "Bible basher!!!" ON top of that we had M. with us. He goes on to tell us that if he prayed with us that would be like praying with a Muslim. "And many other things did he say unto us that I can not write at this time." (<---Haha funny scripture reference.) While walking away M. said "he's golden."
Later in the week, during companion study I said
"So when I read this scripture I was thinking about K.--"
S Har.- "Nooooo! In my prayer this morning I said, God if we need to go back and talk to K. have S Knowlton say his name during studies."
hahahahaha so- we're going back and we are going to boldly bare our testimonies that Joseph Smith is in fact a prophet.

Thursday- rough day. All our appointments before dinner fell through. But hey, that's because God needed us to be somewhere else so I'm not complaining!

Friday- we told SW that if she didn't start reading and coming to church we couldn't keep coming by. (nicely and with the spirit of course ;) )
We had dinner with T., R., D., and S. They're our investigators if you don't remember. It is really painful to teach them because I care about them so much and want it so badly for them and R. will not pray about the BOM. So we are teaching them tonight and hopefully things go well. We will be inviting him to be baptized for the 3rd time haha.

Saturday- 6 new investigators!
We found a family through the prayer approach. It's a mom, C. and her 3 kids, S., D., and T. We invited them to be baptized October 5th and they all said yes but we aren't counting them as on date yet because I don't think they understand well enough...
S Har. and I have really been trying to work on teaching clearly and simply. I feel a lot of times the people we teach don't fully understand the Restoration and that is something that everyone deserves to understand because it is amazing!!!!!
We also taught briefly about the BOM to a single mom named V. who we said a prayer for last week. She said she has been looking for a church and is willing to read. She mentioned a Mormon friend she had in High School who brought her to church a couple times. That friend has no idea how much she helped both us and V.!
We were 10 minutes late to ward correlation and Bro L. gave us a nice big talking to. That was not fun. Missionaries must be punctual! Lesson learned!
We had a good time in companion study. We decided to scripture chase to every scripture that we read together. S Har. beat me most of the time which was kind of upsetting.

Sunday- We sang in church. We told EVERYONE to come support us and no less actives or investigators came... That was the whole reason we sang haha. We sang I need thee every hour with the Webster Lake elders who are both really great singers.
Did I tell you about that wedding? I can't remember but anyways we taught them and picked them up as investigators. The husband is pretty interested.
Remember that family we helped move one night? We went and taught them. M. is REALLY interested. She kept saying how she has been thoroughly studying the Bible for 22 years and just feels like there is something missing. When we started talking about Joseph Smith she said "wait let me get something" and I was afraid it was going to be anti stuff but she came back with a pen and paper and started franticly taking notes on everything we said. When we gave her the BOM and asked her to read 3 Nephi 11 she said "That's what I just opened to!! I'm covered in goosebumps just holding this!"
Every Sunday Elder Mc. does "Malley district radio call-in" and he gives a challenge and the first companionship to call in with the answer and their weekly numbers gets a candy bar. 2/3 week that we won ;)

I forgot to mention some things last week and I have zero time.
1. I got a ticket for going 11 over last Monday............. First ticket ever :( Sorry Mom and dad! I don't know how to pay it so I'm using that emergency cash you gave. You can take it out of my bank account or something)
2. I gave another training in District Meeting. I don't know how after being out for 3 months I've managed to train 3 times.... I've had a new DL every transfer. Maybe I should let the new ones know that I already trained....
3. A general authority is coming to our mission on Tuesday and I was asked to sing!! I'll let you know how that goes :)

Love you all!! Congrats Aaron and Amy! you are the best!

p.s. shoutout to Aly and Izzie for that incredible package. S Har. and I LOVEEE the CDs I would tell you more specifics but I ran out of time. I will next week :)
p.p.s. S Har. and I have so much fun. We are really great friends and I will be really sad to not be her companion in 3 weeks :(

Awesome....awesome...awesome.....September 3, 2013

Most commonly used word as a missionary? "Awesome" We do so much listening to people and the immediate response is always "awesome...." To the point that if someone said "My dog just died today" I would probably say "awesome." Sister Har. and I always say things at the exact same time in lessons and one lesson we both said in sync, "That's awe-" and then just stopped and looked at each other out of the corner of our eyes. We made an agreement that if one of us says awesome in a lesson,  that person has to invite someone to be baptized at the door that day haha ;)

This week was another great week as a missionary :) We did a lot of work with less actives this week. When we called in our numbers on Sunday Elder M. said "The Zone Leaders are not going to be happy because you got more less active lessons than they got total lessons." The Elders are always commenting on how hard we work. On Sunday they said "Alright sisters this isn't fair anymore- either we all have to start working harder or you need to stop working hard so we can balance this out." I appreciate the encouragement but sometimes it's hard because even though we work really really hard everyday there is still so much for us to work on. In the mission it feels like there is so much pressure to get baptisms and I know, I know, baptisms do not show success but it's hard to not think that way.

We had a couple trainings this week and throughout them I just kept hearing all the things I'm not doing and all the things I need to improve on. We need to be better teachers, better representatives of the Savior, work better with the members, I need to train better, etc etc. When we got in the car to leave I asked Sister Har. if we could pray for help in becoming the missionaries we need to be. The instant we prayed and turned everything over to the Lord I felt so much peace. I know that I don't need to let myself be overwhelmed- that's what the Atonement is for. The Savior is there to help us become what we need to be. I often forget that I've only been out for 2 transfers and I have so much time to learn and grow but I just don't want to waste a single moment of this year and a half. 18 months is so short!

We are really trying to balance our finding and teaching. We do a lot of teaching because there are so many less actives but our finding efforts lately have been dependent on working with the members which is going! Just not quickly enough so we gotta step up our game :) Since tracting isn't effective, we now do what is called the "prayer approach." We knock on people's doors and ask if we can come in and leave a blessing on their family and their home. When we are in there we write down everything they need prayers for: friends, family, illnesses, work, peace, etc. then we kneel down with the family and leave a blessing on the home. For the times that we tried it this week be were completely guided. The first doors we knocked on each time became a potential or an investigator!

One of my favorite things and one of Sister Har.'s least favorite things is talking to random people that we see. (Sister Har. is getting much more comfortable with it. It's great! :) ) When an appointment fell through we saw a family moving a bunch of furniture and offered to help.   They said no like they always do but we kept on insisting till finally we just took the furniture and started carrying it. The mother had three kids and was moving out with help from her boyfriend. She seemed on the verge of tears the whole time and before we came we could hear her yelling at one of their boys. She was so excited to give us her new number and address for us to come by and talk with her and the family. We had more experiences but I'm running short on time and I want to answer some of mom's questions.

What is Denver like? It's a lot like Utah as far as weather and geography. We don't have a great view of the mountains but we can still seem them. We can see the skyline of the city really well from our area. We see about 10 airplanes a day because we are so close to the airport. The sky is HUGE and so beautiful. The sunrises/sunsets are phenomenal!  Our car is a white Chevy Cruze and his name is Kevin :) All the mission cars are really new. We live in a small room at Sister P.'s maybe I'll take a picture of it one day, and a picture of Sister P.'s home :) We don't live in a neighborhood because Sister P. owns a self storage place so we are just around that. My area has a ton of apartment complexes. People in this area are not super wealthy which makes it a fabulous area. I never ever want to leave the Malley ward I love it so much! The weather is wierd, it changes every 10 minutes from pouring rain to sunny skies. There are a lot of ghetto stores and the roads are a little beat up but if you drive right into the neighboring ward/area, everything becomes really nice haha. I would guess that we are the lowest income ward in the stake. I still sing! We sing all the time! We are singing in church on Sunday with the Webster Lake ward elders. We sing at nursing homes every Saturday and sometimes we sing in lessons. Hope that answers some questions about the Denver area. Our mission is REALLY small now but still 250 missionaries! It's all the metro area.

I absolutely love being a missionary. Even though this week I got more discouraged than usual (don't worry that means I was discouraged for maybe an hour on two days. I still am so happy :) ). I found that when I am discouraged it helps me turn to the Savior and it helps in lessons because I feel his love so much stronger. I love this Gospel and I know that it's true. Like just get this---


Okay got that out of my system. This week our invesitgator D. dropped us. I called and she said "I'm not going to be a Mormon." I asked her if she had read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and she said "yes, God told me that it is true but I can't be a Mormon" I didn't really know how to respond. I wasn't sure if it would be rude to say "you're telling me that God revealed that the Book of Mormon is true but you do not believe the things it teaches?" I kept asking if we could just come back one last time but she said no /:

I know the Savior lives, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. How do I know that? Because I asked God. It just makes sense, if God had prophets to guide his children before he will have prophets now. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He loves his children so much and I know he loves me. I can feel the happiness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings. There is nothing like it and I will never deny it. If something you read or learn brings your confusion or sadness it is not from God and therefore it is not true. If something you read or hear brings you pure joy and revelation it is from God and it is true. I feel so blessed to know that we have absolute truth, there is a purpose to this life, this life is a time for us to keep the commandments and in so doing, be happy. :D We can find answers through prayer! There is one God and he will give you the answers. I love you all and appreciate all the prayers that are sent my way :)

I got a letter from someone named V. who just got baptized in Escondido. Is she in the Felicita Ward?

Have a wonderful week and share the Gospel! You all are such incredible examples to me and I admire everything you do :) Thank you :)

Love Sister Knowlton!!!!

"Luke 2:52"...................August 26, 2013

Well, here we are again. It feels like yesterday when I emailed. I didn't get as many emails this week and I was sad but then I got over it :) What a fantastic week. Are there such things as a bad week on the mission?

We dropped K. a little while back because we hadn't been able to meet with her for about 2 months and it was ridiculous. We would go by and she would say "Oh come back in 4 days at 2:00" but of course she was never there so S Har. and I would always quote her, throwing out random numbers "4 days.. 4 days!" We went to see her b/c we were in the neighborhood and set up another random time that probably won't happen but she was telling us about some scripture that has been sticking in her head all day "it's one about depending on God and finding strength in him... I can't remember... where was it.... OH Luke 2:52" We looked it up afterwards and were just like -_- yeah K., 4 days, 4 days... Luke 2:52...

I forgot to tell you that I got 16 bug bites. Lesson learned, no more teaching 8pm lessons outside. During comp study one day S Har. and I were watching the District and one of the sisters made a really funny face so we spent about 3 minutes laughing and imitating the face. Oh man- with 2 hours of companionship study you get a little crazy.

We are teaching an excommunicated woman named L., I can't remember if I've told you about her but I absolutely LOVE her. She likes us a lot but sometimes it is hard to get to our lessons because she just talks and we try and teach off of what she says. Last time we went over she was sorting through her jewelry and had a huge pile for us to go through and take whatever we wanted. It was legit. I got some super hipster bling ;) Speaking of hipster- S Har. and I went thrift store shopping last Monday and we're going again today. You can find some solid stuff in thrift stores. I think I will only shop at thrift stores for the rest of my life.

Wednesday we went to the TEMPLE! YEAHAAA!! I can't believe we get to go once a month. I just love the temple so much. I didn't want to leave. Our session was at 6:30 so we had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning /: By the end of the day my head was literally spinning, I was so tired. I love when I'm exhausted at the end of the day because I feel like I worked hard and did my best. It was a great day, we taught 6 lessons. It must be the blessings of the temple.

Thursday we were teaching our investigator R. (boyfriend of less active member T. I can't remember if I've told you about them). I absolutely love them. He is really really funny and makes us laugh a lot. But we invited him to be baptized-again- and he nicely told us that he is not getting baptized but we can keep coming back. BUT here's the good part. He always does his Book of Mormon reading, he just hasn't prayed, so we aren't giving up :) T.'s two kids are also our investigators. Anyways we were explaining baptism by immersion and he said "immersion.... sounds like some sort of ethnic group. Like I'm getting baptized by an Asian." hahahaha oh my gosh. We were laughing so hard. When we taught them yesterday R. PRAYED! We have been trying to get him to say the closing prayer for an eternity and he finally did it. He said "dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the chicks coming over and sharing their little.... mission." He always calls us the chicks. I was so happy. We read with the whole family Moroni 10 and I could feel the spirit strongly in the room.

We thought we were being super creative coming up with this baptism lesson for B. (the 9 year old) how we would boil an egg then have her draw all over it to represent sin then crack off the shell to represent being baptized. But apparently we didn't boil the egg long enough and it was kind of an epic fail but it got her to pay attention more so it's okay :)

We passed off TW to the zone leaders because they are over the YSA branch and we feel like that is what will help him the most. It was really sad but we still teach S. so we still see him often. They are truly changing. They haven't quit smoking yet but I remember first meeting them and making an immediate judgment that they couldn't change. Teaching them is definitely a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. It is helping me see how Christ sees people and their potential.

S Har. and I are trying to think out of the box and come up with new ways to get member referrals. Right now we are working with the ward mission leader on a "Member MTC" fireside where we will have fun classes on how to share the gospel. I'm way excited! I absolutely love the Malley ward. I finally feel like I know people really well and am starting to get a connection with a lot of the members.

Saturday we taught the Restoration to this newly wed couple in our ward. We are trying to get them sealed in the temple. They are SO DANG CUTE! Can I just please get married already? They came up to us on Sunday before Sacrament meeting all excited and said "We just got callings!! We're Primary teachers!" Afterwards S Har. and I were like, I don't think know they weren't supposed to tell us that yet haha.

Sunday- BEST DAY EVER! We had 3 investigators at church which is the most we've ever had and B. brought her friend N. who is taking lessons from missionaries in another ward. We had about 4 new less actives there, not just ones that have been coming back the past few weeks, but 4 brand new ones coming back. Including SW!! As we were singing the opening hymn and I was looking around, my heart could not have been more full. Bishop even got up after sacrament and made a comment about how many people were there and he started crying and said "please know your Bishop loves you and wants you to be here all the time." It was really awesome. S Har. and I taught the 9 year olds for Sis P. because she was gone. As we were sitting in sharing time the Primary president gets up and says "Since the Sister missionaries are with us why don't they come up and talk to us about prayer." So we gave pretty much the entire sharing time on the spot haha. People seem to think that they can do that, because it happens a lot ;) We have taught almost every class so far. I really really loved teaching Primary, I hope I get that calling one day. All the little kids love us. We get mobbed every Sunday by the whole Primary. Our investigator D. left after the first 2 hours because she wasn't feeling well so we didn't get to talk to her but she texted her fellowshipper and said "tell the girls I did their assignment. God told me to pray and ask if the BOM is true and I decided yes." SAWEEET Can't wait to see her this week.
Later in the day we ran out of gas so we had to break the Sabbath and we texted the zone leaders to ask if that was okay and they replied "#oxinthemire" hahahaha. Also, while we were contacting we met a girl named C. and I freaked out. She said she'd never met another Collette before.

I write waayyyyy too detailed emails. It's probably annoying. I didn't get any response to my question last week so don't forget about that please! :) I was wondering, siblings who served missions- what was the longest you were in an area/with a companion?

Shout out to Cheyenne! I will be writing you a letter today. Love you!

Funny moments:
When Sis P. said "Cabbage patch kids. I remember those. They were ugly as sin and everyone wanted one."
Friday I woke up having crazy nightmares about sleeping through my alarm and I kept getting up all night afraid it was past 6:30 #missionnightmares. S Har. was told me how at 1:30 she got up to close the door (She can't sleep with it open) and when she was getting back into bed I got out of bed and kneeled down to say my morning prayers and then started making my bed. Hahaha.

Malley Ward Round 3! August 19, 2013

I love responding to the emails I get.  Well it's transfer day!!!! Can you believe that I've been out for 3 months and only have 15 more? That is just not long enough. Elders are so lucky. Sister Har. and I are staying in the Malley ward. I feel like after these 4.5 months here I'll be transferred but who knows! Sister H. is getting transferred to the neighboring stake :( SO SAD. It's because STLs are going to be companions from here on out. The Sisters are taking over, just like zone leaders now. Elder B. and U. are both being transferred so we will have two new elders in the Malley ward with us. It will be weird not having Elder U. because he has been in the ward for 6 months. I'm also sad about Elder B. because he was such a great District Leader and it was fun to have a friend from BYU. The Denver North zone is really close so transfers are sad. Thank goodness both the ZLs are staying because they are awesome :) We got together at 8 Saturday night to announce transfers and I told the ZLs we should give away awards to everyone and that they better make mine good. Do you know what they gave me? "Girl who can get whatever the freak she wants because of that weird crying face she makes." Thank you. Thank you so much Elders. I can make this really ugly face and every time I do the ZLs will do whatever I want just to make me stop making the face. Charming, I know.

There is a member in another ward who referred us to a friend in our ward. We asked her to set up an appointment and then we would come. This member (A.) is AWESOME. We called before to let her known we invite people to be baptized on the first lesson and she said, "That's perfect! I think everyone should be baptized!" In our lesson yesterday she told D. (our investigator) that she had some friends she wanted her to meet and maybe we could meet at their house next time. This morning she texted us and told us she found a family in our ward that would let us teach D. in their home. I told S Har. and she asked "Is she one of the 3 Nephites?" hahaha. Why can't every member be as fearless as A.?

S Har. and I had a lot of funny moments this week. Have I mentioned that we laugh a lot? One night I was saying a prayer at the end of the day and we were super tired and I prayed "Please help Sister Ho. stop smoking coffee" and in the middle of the prayer we both just busted up laughing and it took a good 5 minutes before we could finish the prayer. I don’t know why it was so funny- but it was.
We were teaching the W. family and I don't know what the heck was going on with T. but it was hilarious. I think he was on something. We brought the ZLs because they are over the YSA ward and he might have been trying to be funny for them but he was saying the most ridiculous things. Here are some quotes of AMW:
(After asking what he learned from reading) "When I read the BOM it just all turns into wisdom and goes back here (motions to back of his head). It's just like wisdom teeth, in the back you know?"
"My doctor said I'm not allowed to stop drinking coffee because all my neurons are messed up. I mean- I'm not tryin' to be a scientist or nothin'...." 
(Referencing his obsession with Skittles) "TASTE THE RAINBOW! (Irish accent) Look a pot-o-skittles!"
I dont even know............
A funny moment from last week I forgot to mention. We were teaching this LA lady who is a hoarder and her house is crazy and it was impossible to talk because she talked so much. Halfway through the lesson she was telling about an accident she was in and said, "They took out my spleen. Want to see the scar?" and she lifted up part of her shirt to show us and S Har. and I were just like "uhhh nice..." When we got in the car S Har. started busting up laughing saying "She just showed us her spleen scar!!" We had a good time with that.

Overall this week was great. I didn't take very good notes of things to say. Mom- if you ever send me a package, I could use a lot of those white/black/beige modbod Tshirts. Also we are allowed to wear maxi skirts and dresses now!! So could you please send the ones I have at home if you know where they are? Thank you :) Whenever you get the chance. No rush but hopefully sometime in the next 15 months ;)

We went to mutual to talk to the Young Women (or should I say Young Woman, there's only 1) about Personal Progress and it was so fun! S Har. and I really tried to pump her up. And now we are redoing our PP to motivate her to beat us. So far we are winning.

My favorite part of the day (with going to bed at a close second) is personal study. I feel like I am able to learn so much! This week I was studying a lot about the fall because we have an investigator who believes babies are born with Adam's sin. It is so interesting to study about. Jesus the Christ is pretty much the greatest book ever written. Talmage is a genius. I've also been reading a lot in the missionary chapters of Alma and studying what they do when the people's hearts are hardened. I like Alma and Amulek a lot because that is total member missionary work right there! I'm trying really hard to cut all negative comments out of the things I say. I always remember what Dad said about missionaries leaving an appointment and talking about how dumb the people were. When he told me that I thought I would never possibly say something like that. I don't think I've ever said anyone is dumb, but it is easy when someone rejects you to not be loving towards them. It makes me notice how much more I need to work on my charity. I love how much I am able to learn and grow on my mission.

Question I want you all to answer please!! When you think of the missionaries that have been in your ward which ones would you say were the best missionaries? How did they gain your trust? How did they build a relationship with you? How did they show you that they were working hard? From a members perspective what makes a "real" missionary?

I love you all so much and talk about you everyday. I'm so proud to be a Knowlton :) I love being a missionary. I will quickly send some pictures then I have to go say goodbye to all the missionaries being transferred :( Thank you again everyone who writes me. Amy- the week you didn't write me I literally thought it was two whole weeks without a letter.  That is how long a grueling week it was without hearing from you ;)

Love Sister Collette Knowlton

Ps.   M. asked what our first names were and she really loved my first name. I like having a secret name no one knows. But she told us she could never think of me as anything but Sister Knowlton and I thought that was strange haha