Monday, November 25, 2013

First Baptism!

Ok!! So it took forever to down load pictures so this letter wont be too long because... I'm nearly out of time!! Silly slow computers.... too bad they don't give us fancy macs!! Because then it would be so fast! haha :) BUT if you wanna know where I am emailing you from every week just look up Camarillo library! :)
(Camarillo library)
THIS WEEK WAS INSANE!!!!! we had zone conference... and I learned that I need to be more persistent in my missionary work, I should not take no easily... they said that you should get rejected 3 times before you leave wahaha and you know how I've never been good at taking no for an answer... so its kind of fun!
(zone conference)
We had an amazing baptism This weekend! her name is Cassidy! :) Wow the spirit was so strong and this little girl is such a goofball!! During sacrament meeting she was being confirmed, and when they said amen, She JUMPED out of her seat and start galloping in circles, and then she galloped all the way to the back of the sacrament meeting room and sat by us and her family, and gave us a huge hug! haha!!But her hug was so funny because she was sitting on one side of her mom and I was on the other and she laid across her moms lap onto mine... that was interesting! haha! but she was just so happy it was adorable :) 

Well DURING that exact same sacrament meeting president Casto came and spoke in our ward! Can you believe it?! WELL! right before the meeting, he came up to me and my companion and asked if we would stand up during his talk and give the restoration lesson in 5 minutes. HOLY SMOKES! after he left... I'll be honest with you I just started bawling! haha because President Castro was going to hear me teach.... and that was really intimidating! So I was just scared out of my mind... so my companion said a prayer with me :) so I kept crying... and then Cassidy was confirmed and so I cried even more.. hahaha and then whelp... it was my turn... and I was so scared! But it actually went ok... And I told them about the 1st vision without messing up!! And President Casto came up to me and said he wouldn't have known I was a new missionary and the spirit was so strong. But, let's be honest, I can't take any credit, because there's no way you can talk about the 1st vision without the spirit. So that was a really neat experience and it boosted my self confidence a ton!!!!
(Door approach face!)

Well that night we had dinner with the D family at the bishops house... and there is this boy named Blake who is 17... well, he is super talented  at baseball and is a junior in high school, and already has like 15 different colleges wanting him to play for them! He can pitch the ball at like 95 mph or something! Anyway! We had an amazing lesson with him about the priesthood, and I was like " Blake let's get you baptized this Sat." And he said ok! AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it!?!!! that wasn't exactly how the conversation went, but he decided baseball was slow this Thanksgiving, so we were just like, "yeah lets do this!" So I have another baptism this Sat! RIGHT before transfers! :) I'm scared for transfers! But I know that God will put me where ever I need to be! I LOVE BEING a missionary!!!!!!!!!! And I feel so blessed that God is letting me be a part of these baptisms.... :) Oh and Blake's parents are both active already :) they were less active once and ya :)
 (apartment, and view from apartment)

 In the scriptures it talks about when Lehi and all these prophets were overcome with the spirit they cast themselves on their beds, and they said that they fell to the earth, etc.  WELL THAT'S ME THIS WEEK! this week has been so spiritually draining! Every night haha I literally cast myself on my bed!! haha  Anyway I love you all! THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO! :) I hope you enjoy some of these pictures :)
(Picture for a cute Elder)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Kaylea's Birthday

Family! :)
This week is so amazing :) We have a baptism on Saturday for a cute 9 year old girl :) And we got a TON of new investigators like 6 or 7? :) I dunno, but I told Jessica it was because of the perfume she got me! It attracts investigators!! :) So... I was spoiled for my birthday! The members found out it was my birthday and at every dinner appt. I have to blow out candles... So that's pretty great!!
I realized what my purpose is! I am on a mission to build up the ward i am in :) The Lord made these boundaries for a reason, so I am in charge of everybody in those lines! Less actives, part member families, members, random people walking down the street! It's so exciting! I just attack everyone I see! But one thing that hit me so hard this week is how even the ward members need to be strengthened! All of the members in our ward who are seriously amazing, and so in tuned with the Spirit, and really active, are going through the hardest trials in their lives. It breaks my heart to hear about all their deaths or divorces, or how they have brain tumors! Man it blows my mind, its just really showed me that everyone is going through trials and we really can't judge, we need to lift up the relief society president just as much as we need to lift up someone who has been less active for 20 years. I was studying about Jesus and how he talks about the lost sheep. Well I believe we are all lost sheep at a time. But you think of the 99 sheep. They need to be healed and lifted up just as much as the lost sheep, because the 99 sheep are people that have been active in the church for 50 years and maybe feel like they are not as important, but to God we all are :) I hope this makes sense! but since I have changed my perspective and really tried to lift up this ward through all the members, I was able to get a lot of new investigators because I found " future members of the ward" haha.
I'll be honest this week was still hard. BUT SO REWARDING! I think we all can really try to magnify our callings, and help out our bishops, because I never realized how much bishops do. THEY DO A TON! :) And this made me realize how grateful I am for my own dad :) Because he has been a bishop and a stake president and I now know how crazy hard that must have been, and he never complains :) Sigh... I love you dad!!! You're the best!! :)
I am so excited and, I have been so blessed so far! :) We are teaching one family who said they love everything about Mormons, and they would like to be Mormon but they don't agree that you need authority and that Joseph Smith is a real prophet, but then they quoted the Bible and said " by their fruits they shall be known" and he said that he's very impressed with all Mormons, anyway that family is studying the Book of Mormon, and really trying to know if it is true! PRAY FOR THEM!!!! :)
LOVE you all!!! OH MOM!!!  Jess sent me a picture of your hair!! I LOVE IT!!!!! you should send a picture of the front :) I Love you! And you are a babe :) But seriously you will prolly look younger than me when I get off my mission. There was a little kid in my ward that ran up to me and screamed HAPPY BIRTHDAY! YOU LOOK 35!! :) haha... jerk.
love Sister Collings! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

A change of perspective always helps

Wow you guys are the best parents ever!! :) Dad I can't believe all those experiences you are having! That's so neat :) you guys are the best examples i know :) And i love getting your emails! I feel so blessed to have such great friends and family! I have received letters from people in our old ward, and my cousins, and friends! You have no idea how much it lifts my spirit and helps me out!!
I'll be honest with all of you! This was the first week where I felt kinda down. And not motivated... Everybody was so rude this week....  And I was just so tired.. BUT! Then something great happened.. I realized that I am doing everything I can! I am being obedient, and I am telling everyone and anyone i see about the gospel and even though they are jerks, I have no control over it.. they still deserve to hear this message. Then I realize that all of the prophets in the book of Mormon did what I'm doing and hey they were all rejected... like a million times. Some were even killed! But we do it because this is part of God's plan! And pretty much changing my perspective helped me a whole lot! As long as i talk to everyone I see and as long as I'm obedient and doing the things I know I'm supposed to, people have agency to act how they will. Which makes me sad. BUT it doesn't mean that i have failed.
So once I changed my perspective, this week was amazing!! We even had a lady come up to us randomly and ask us if she could come to our church! UMMM WHAT!!! hahaha That was cool. And another cool thing we had this week was at our dinner appt. we got so many referrals!! And one of the girls asked if she could be my personal trainer.. UMM excuse me? haha! But she said my body is a blank canvas to work on... anyway, she gave me a workout schedule and foods I have to eat! Which i am so happy!!!  Since i have been doing her thing i have so much more energy and I can even tighten my belt loop a cinch tighter! ;)
Anyway, Missions are hard. BUT! I know that it's really helping me grow.. and I have already been out a month! Which blows my mind :) I have the best friends and family EVER! And I am so lucky to be on team Jesus to save the world!!! hahaha some days... well, like this whole week, I felt like I was in a war zone.. people would see us on their porch and lock their doors and turn off the lights.. and i swear one family even turned on the sprinklers!!!  THE funniest thing that was said to me this week was after i bore testimony of the book of Mormon...  And i even felt the spirit!  this man said, " when I was little I used to whistle, and I thought it was the most beautiful music!! But everyone else just told me to shut up." Wow. hahaha!! I almost went KK KABOOM on him.. but no worries I spared him :)
This week I was really humbled and really had to rely on Help from on high!!! And it helped me know my purpose as a missionary!!! I sure love you guys :):)
STEVE IS DATING CAMILLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At first I was like weird. I dunno about that!! Because Steve and I have a special bond.. and umm I was just like.. I don't approve. BUT then I remember who Camille is and what I thought of her before I knew she was taking over my brother. And I thought she was adorable!!! And so talented!!! I remember in high school I thought she looked like a fairy. haha!  So after much consideration. You have my approval!  haha Although if Maizey or Avery loves her more than me... I may be bitter.. :) haha!
-Sister Collings

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Choice and Accountability...

We have worked a ton with less actives and a bunch of them came to church on Sunday!! So that was great!!! I feel so blessed to be in this ward because everyone is really taking Elder Ballard's talk in conference so seriously!! He challenged everyone to invite somebody to church or to take missionary discussions!!!  By the end of December!! So you guys should do it :) It would make the missionaries so happy! And you so happy too :) We could do missionary work together and that would be cute :):)
Missions are hard. Because I learn everyday how much I need to work on!!! But it just motivates me.... I think the hardest thing for me is 3 hour study time in the morning, because I swear I have ADHD!!! I just have to move around every second and... its just nuts!!! But I was praying to be able to focus.... and since I have prayed about it I can sit still!!!!! Its like a miracle! And then my studies are more effective!!! And then my day goes so great!!!! :)  Missions are so humbling because it shows me how much I really am relying on the grace of God to help me out!!
So.... There are orchards everywhere!!!!! And to be honest I stole an orange and a pomegranate from some millionaire's home... so I didn't feel bad, because I thought... they look so good and I deserve it.... whelp! I ate them and was SO SICK for this whole week.... like the kind of sickness where you just get drained.... from every end of your body!!!! Yeah I'm never stealing again!!!!! Hahaha I'll never partake of the forbidden fruit again ;)
One of the most amazing things about missionary work is preparing for the day!! Its nuts, there's like this magic that if you tell God where you are going to be, He will lead his children to you!!!!  There have been so many times where we are walking, and all of these homes are gated.. and then all of the sudden someone goes and checks the mail!! And we are able to talk with them :)
We are working with so many great people and I see miracles every single day!!!! I am working with a little girl named Cassidy, she wants to be baptized but her older sister she keeps telling Cassidy (who's 9) not to... so that's been rough! We are working with the M brothers... one is a Jehovah's Witness, and the other one just wants to feel the love the Gospel has, and wants to know if God is really there. Their names are Ben and Jessie (JESSIE CAME TO CHURCH WITH US!)
We are working with an 94 yr old man who speak Farces (or something) and so he wants us to come back but I'm struggling to communicate with him. :)
We are teaching Beverly... who is 82, and she says she wants to be baptized but she has Alzheimer's, and always forgets.... so we have had the same lesson almost every time... she's so cute!! We are working hard, and really hoping she will remember.... when we visit her she has us pet all of her stuffed animals... it's kind of creepy... she has like hundreds... you can't sit on the couch without sitting on stuffed animals. They are even hanging from the walls!!! hahaha so yeah, I pet them.... She always sends be home with a pine cone!!! Hahaha so that's hilarious :) !
We are also working with a young man whose whole family goes to church, but he was abused his whole life... and was adopted... we are trying to  teach him  the love the Gospel has  :)
 Ummmm OH!! I work with a lot of elderly men.... haha and... its pretty hilarious.. :) This week was hard because we are teaching a boy who just loves to debate.....  which is so annoying... reminds me of my old self :) hahah  but we are really working with him! We had a great lesson with this lady, and her sister came storming in and kicked us out of the house... And we also had a ton of people totally reject our message :( Which is so sad.) 
BUT YEAH! I'm keeping busy, and I love you guys :):) and I'm doing alright out here :)
Love, Sister Collings