Thursday, March 27, 2014

Focusing on the Atonement

So I have had a very crazy week! That has been rewarding but just kind of crazy too..... It's caused me to rely on the Atonement more than anything. I have never prayed so much and then after my prayers been able to feel that sense of peace. I love being a missionary. I hope I can type everything I have experienced this week! I kinda hate emailing because no words can express how I feel about my mission and how much I am truly changing!! But the Atonement is so real! And I feel so grateful that I was brought up in a family that taught me to live righteously, and I feel so blessed to have a mom and dad that are such great examples to me and taught me everything I needed to change my life around and follow our Savior. I think back on the dumb things I have done and it seriously makes me cry. That everything I have done my Savior has forgiven me for!!! I love my Savior so much... and I want to work so HARD on my mission to repay him for all he has done for me....

This week was a little rough, all of our investigators.. well 5 of them, tried to drop us.... and mom and dad... I fought for them!!! I said everything I could, and testified my heart out to them to help them  see how much they need this gospel in their lives. Thankfully, they all decided to investigate a little longer.... it was stressful!
(I love being a missionary!!)

So there are Hermanas (Spanish speaking sister missionaries) in our area and one of them went home because she was sick... so I got put in a trio this whole week! crazy huh! And we had so many things in Spanish! I felt like I was in Mexico!!!!! We taught lessons in Spanish, I learned to testify in Spanish.... and we had to move into HER apartment, so we have 3 sisters in a 1 bedroom apartment. It was a HUGE adventure! I'm actually pretty sad that they found her a new companion. A lot of the time I would just nod my head and say "si" hahaha because, let's be honest, the only words I could understand were....Jesus Cristo.... hahaha and a few others.... 

(Our trio)
We had a HUGE service project for an elderly woman where we were all pulling out weeds like CRAZY!! MOM AND DAD!!!!!!! YOU would be SO IMPRESSED!!  I seriously was hacking at a jungle, and pulling out cactus!!! It was hilarious :) 

We also had zone conference this week! AND GUESS WHAT HAPPENED!!!!!!! craziness..... :) So all of the zone, we were just sitting there... and President Castro invited me and Sister B up to give the restoration lesson in 5 mins... just like he had me do in front of my ward in Camarillo!!!! CRAZY! So. We got up there... and poor Sister B was terrified.... So we got to the first vision, and Sister B was half way through when she forgot it!! And she just started laughing... and crying... and so... it was amazing! I just took the microphone and finished it!! And I have never before felt the Spirit so strongly!!! And it was incredible because Sister B recovered so quickly!!! I WAS SO IMPRESSED!! She then bore a powerful testimony!!! President stood up and made the zone discuss what stood out to them about what we said... and everyone said the nicest things! It was such an incredible experience!!! Now every time I see President, I'm just going to expect him to make us talk hahaha!! I cried so much at zone conference... to be honest, I might need my eyes checked... because they water so much... hahahaha! 

(Sister B and I bonding on our futon) 

SUNDAY!!! We had A CRAZY! DAY! President called and told us that he found Hermana B a new companion!!  AND told me and Sister B that we could go to the LA temple for her birthday!!! Isn't that amazing!?! :) We also had a fireside that was powerful! It was about the converts in the Young Single Adult ward!! We had some investigators show up and feel the Spirit so strong!!  It was so powerful to hear a bunch of  converts' stories!! :) Sigh :)

I REALLY love you all!!! And I'm doing really good out here in Santa Maria!! :)
I LOVE YOU!!!! :):)
-Sister Collings

Monday, March 17, 2014

Comfort Zone

I'll be honest with you all! At times Santa Maria makes me feel so uncomfortable! BUT!! I read something pretty powerful! It says "There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in growth." I decided.... heck ya! This is not comfortable! BUT! There is no other way I could be who God wants me to be!! So that really changed my perspective this week! So whenever something awkward happened... I'm just like... "Bring it on! I'm growing!" :D

Everyday I am reminded of how blessed I am! So... my week in a nutshell:
-Ate eggplant lasagna! Pretty weird. 
-I actually like Mexican suckers now!! The spicy watermelon taste isn't bad after the first few! :)
-Relief society gave us the cutest care packages! It was filled with pedicure and manicure things and had the scripture Romans 10:15 next to it.
-I learned to play some really intense dodge ball with my district! 

I am the only English speaking sister in the zone... so most of the time I just pretend I know what everyone is saying! I've been learning some pretty great Spanish :) My district leader and I don't communicate well... because my Spanish is bad and so is his English!!! hahaha

-AWKWARD moment of the week... we were out tracting all week... and it was so HOT! Well one of the ward members asked us if we would like some water!! We accepted... little did we know what was about to happen.... :(  He asks " We have lemonade, would you prefer that?" YES! Sounds amazing!!!
So here we are drinking lemonade when the wife walks over... and starts screaming..... NOOOOO!!!!!!!! How could you give that to the sisters????...... Apparently that "Lemonade" he gave us was full of laxatives... for their son who was super sick... We had a really good laugh... but that was the LAST time we laughed the rest of the night..... Not cool.

I'm having a hard time focusing while I'm typing you... because we are in the genealogy center... and the ladies behind me just found a bunch of names... so they are CRAZY! haha So bear with me...

OHH!!! I cut Sister B's hair.... She had longer hair and I chopped it to like her chin... I actually didn't do too bad, I was surprised she let me! BUT it was pretty fun :)

If anything, on my mission so far I am really learning the power of repentance... how it can be used daily in our lives.... in the bible dictionary it says repentance is "a change of mind, a fresh view about God, ones self, and about the world." My mind has literally been changed. And my perspective has changed so much!! I know what God expects of me and I know now that I won't settle for less. And all the mistakes I have made in my life give me strength. At times it's hard not to compare myself to all the other Elders and Sisters... BUT! I look back at where I was last year... or even at the start of my mission and I am so happy! You would laugh if you heard me pounding on everyone's door.... because I want everyone in the house to hear my message because I KNOW that this will change their lives forever. JUST like it has changed mine! Repentance to me is just changing to become more like our Savior. I feel so blessed to be here and to be serving my Heavenly Father, to bring his children back home to him :)

OHHH!!! one more thing! There is an ice cream man hear with the FUNNIEST vehicle I have ever seen! It's a white creepy van and in sharpie it says George's Ice cream :) hahaha

I Love you ALL!!!!! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Things I've learned in my new area

I know, I know, I am guilty of not writing... It's just crazy adjusting to a new area... haha!  and ya :) I'm learning my new area really well! 

Sister B is pretty TERRIBLE at giving directions.... BUT!! I finally got her figured out!! Seriously! Every time she tells me to go left, I just go right AND when she tells me to go right, I go left. She is terrible.... hahaha and there were a few times we got lost... BUT! found really amazing people! So God even helps out missionaries when they are lost, as long as they are working hard!! haha It's pretty comical seeing us driving together... let's be honest, you could probably make a TV show out of it!

So my new area is HUGE! It covers a lot of small, ghetto cities!! And some really cute ones :)
It covers Santa Maria, Orcutt, Los Alamos, Casmalia, and Sisquoc. I'll be honest... it's hard out here... because I don't know anyone, and it is causing me to rely on my Heavenly Father more than ever before! And my companion and I are the only set of sisters in our whole zone... so it's really awkward because the missionaries don't talk to us... and when we sing.... they all sing base and my voice stands out.... hahahahaha! It sounds so bad! BUT!! The weirdest part of my mission now is that I am the minority!! Seriously! It's crazy! And everyone I have ever met here has been in a gang, or IS in a gang! We even taught the Godfather of the mafia... whatever that means! But dont worry! I am being obedient so I know I will be protected! And the rules here are strict! Like we can't be in certain places after dark. Everyday i just want to break down because the people's lives here are so hard... nobody is faithful to anyone. It's made me so thankful for good ol Grantsville and Tooele! Actually, a lot of people out here know about Grantsville, so that's cool! BUT it's pretty exciting, and I'm being humbled so much!  I am learning to really love these people! isn't that cool? But, gosh, I have never felt so alone... so I am praying like overtime... 

Things I've learned in my new area:

  • Wild boars are like way rude and creepy...
  • Dogs love missionaries...
  • California rats are HUGE!!!!
  • I learned how to make a real Spanish tortilla out of eggs and potatoes...
  • Gangs are so sad!! When we go to the park the little kids there play sad games... like someone is the druggy... and they act like they are being killed by the drugs....! And they are just so tiny!! They need the Gospel.... what ever happened to good old tag? or hide n seek...?

Our message is so simple but so powerful! Makes me sad to think about how people out here are so devoted to God... but they won't be able to live with him someday if they continue on the path they are on...  BUT! I'm trying hahaha

I have felt more strongly than I ever have before about how much my Savior really loves me... even though I feel 100 percent out of my comfort zone, and I can see how hard Satan is working on my investigators while I plead with God in prayer. I KNOW he is watching over me and that he is proud of the work I am doing. I was down a bit Friday, just because what I am witnessing is so sad... and my awesome comp shared something really neat with me!! She said that we already know the end score on the score board, we are just trying to get people to switch their jersey to the winning team. That gave me so much strength because even throughout all of this wickedness, we are still winning. We just want more players on our side!!
 Sorry my emails have be so short, but I am loving my mission and I feel so blessed to be able to rely on the Atonement! I love my new comp, she is so great! :)I LOVE being a missionary and there is no where I would rather be, that's for sure :)

The work is hastening and I'm so blessed to have such an amazing family! It's sad to see Satan working so hard on families out here. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! :D:D And i miss you... There really is no place like home... and it kills me how much I took for granted before my mission!  Have an awesome week! :D

-Sister Collings

Monday, March 3, 2014

Preaching the Gospel to the Godfather

I have zero time. I only have a 1/2 hour to write today! But wow, I love it here! This is a picture of my new companion! We are so much alike it's weird :)

My favorite street in Santa Maria where we found our new investigator.  

This area is crazy! I taught a godfather of a mafia.... and he was way interested! He went to jail, and has now changed his life around. 

We also taught this guy that said something hilarious, he was like " yeah you my SISTA'S! WE BE PRAISING JESUS TOGETHER!!!! Why you think the birdies in the tree always be singing a song? Because THEY BE PRAISING JESUS TOO!" :) hahahahahaha! I love Santa Maria! I LOVE my new companion! And there is so much work to be done here!

Mom here, Kaylea's letter was really short today, but I wanted to post a few fun pictures I got from people in California. She had gone to dinner at the Giles Ranch and they sent me an email saying how much they loved Kaylea and her companion. This was when she was still in Camarillo. I just wanted to save it for her records.