Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas

The number one thing you will find randomly everywhere are shopping carts... this one just so happened to be at the church!


I'm so excited to talk to you!  I'm so excited to talk to Sarah and Stevie and Conman!!!!! I still can't believe they are married... It's like a dream come true!! :) Turns out my area SLO isn't going slow at all! It's moving forward with FULL force!

-We got 8 hours of service this week, LOTS of cleaning and hanging Christmas lights, Sister A and I sang LOTS of Christmas carols! It was nice to bring the spirit into all the clutter and dirtiness...
-We drove for 12 hours to and from ALL of our meetings!

-We had 9 hours of meetings! And are so MOTIVATED to help out these sisters in this mission!! We planned messages to share with them about the stripling warriors, and we planned a fun dinner message for the ward to help gain their trust!

-We have 5 exchanges this transfer! In Solvang, Lompoc, Pismo, Santa Maria and SLO 1st ward!

-We taught 11 people this week.

-We are teaching 8 less actives on a regular basis.

-Sister A was sick for 3 days :( Due to the meanest cold in the wild west...

-Sister A and I are reading the Book of Mormon in 1 transfer together as a companionship; its been so fun! And fills up each day in the best ways!

-We taught a VARIETY of people this week, Homeless, Construction workers, wealthies... I love the variety we get every day! 

-We attended a baptism for a MUTE lady! It was so special she couldn't speak... but the spirit was the STRONGEST I have ever felt. She has never been hugged until she walked into the church. Pretty special. She was shaking, and in tears the WHOLE meeting! And kept hugging the sisters! It was VERY touching!

-Our investigator, Sammy let her 2 kids come to church! It was so great! They were so excited for the WHOLE meeting. They loved taking the sacrament and had HUGE smiles on their faces the whole time. They would ask us cute questions and LOVED shouting "AMEN!!" After every prayer! Junior is one of the kids and he sat next to a little boy in the ward and he was explaining everything to him. It was ADORABLE!!! The youth are powerhouse missionaries!

Tis the season to be a missionary! And I am SO thankful each day!!! :) I never want to leave the California Ventura mission! 

love, Sister Collings!

 Sister A and I devastated that Sister H left, she trained us both.
funny cats we see while tracting...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Hello! Ugh. Email's are so strange. I dislike them more and more each week because I don't feel like I can really ever convey how I feel about my mission in words. I guess I have become a word hater on my mission... haha or maybe I just need to learn more words, so that I can express myself better... who knows? It's been such a blessing to be a sister training leader with my trainer... I love her so much. And she goes home in 2 days! I knew I was excited to be her companion again, but I didn't expect it to be so hard when she left. It's hard to have someone you love and look up to be going home. She has been my role model my whole mission! Because of her dedication and her love of this Gospel. Each lesson we taught this week, I was nearly in tears. Pathetic, I know, haha but I just had so many flash backs about when I was first out on my mission, and we would teach the restoration together, and how I would stumble through the First Vision.. and she would just fix everything I did, by powerfully testifying. I feel so lucky that I was able to be with her on her last transfer, because I know exactly how I need to end my mission. Mom and Dad, I can't WAIT for you to meet Sister H! Her example really has changed who I am. So despite all the tears this week, mostly on my pillow... haha it was a GREAT week!

We went on exchanges, and I was able to take Sister C back to our area, and we were working on inviting people to be baptized. That was so fun to see how God really did put people who were prepared in our path! I have never met a sister who was filled with more love.. She's the kind of sister that  just makes you feel like a grinch, because she just loves everything and everyone! haha I know I am not a grinch but still... :) 

We had a lesson with Darlene who has been abused for 10 years :*( It's so sad as she talks about what she has gone through and how she turns to alcohol to fix it all. Well, she had her pastor call her and tell her not to read the Book of Mormon, and that it was an EVIL book... Well... That's how the lesson started out she was hysterical! "WHO'S MORMON? WHY DO YOU WORSHIP MORMON?, WHY DID JOSEPH SMITH HAVE SO MANY WIVES? WHY DON'T YOU WORSHIP GOD? WHO IS LEHI??? IF YOU GET RID OF THE BOOK OF MORMON, I'LL GET BAPTIZED!" We just sat there patiently... Then she continued... "WHY DO I HAVE TO BE ABUSED? HOW AM I STILL ALIVE? WHY WAS MY SON KILLED? WHERE IS HE NOW? CAN THE BOOK OF MORMON TELL ME THAT?" All that the spirit told us to answer was "Darlene I know that your son's happy." And then.. the whole mood changed. Darlene jumped up and grabbed my companion and kept saying "You know me!!! YOU KNOW ME!!!" My companion was pretty confused.. we both were.. and Darlene was in tears.. So I decided we ought to just pray with her. She insisted we all hold hands, and I offered a prayer, and while I prayed, she just sobbed. It was the most adrenaline filled lesson I have ever been in. From so much contention, to so much love.... We were spiritually drained after that lesson. And it kills me that we have ALL the answers to  what people need, but they just aren't willing to listen. But I don't know why the spirit wanted us to tell her that simple phrase, but it is just a testimony to me that God knows his children, and knows what they need. Her concerns will be answered in time, but I am just so grateful for the spirit I have felt while being a missionary.

This week we kept busy. We taught 11 less actives, and are getting them pumped to go through the temple. We also had powerful lessons with our progressing investigators. After reading the Book of Mormon with our investigator, Kim, she felt the spirit so strong, she opened up to us and told us very personal things. I love how the Book of Mormon pulls down people's barriers, and that she was able to tell us her concerns. She said she isn't sure if the good feelings she is feeling ares just because she is going to church and reading the scriptures and God is proud of her for doing good things, or if it's because God's telling her this is truth and the only true church.

I wish I had more time to tell you in detail my whole week!! haha We had a Christmas party, and TONS of non-members came...

 Sigh... It was just a good, emotional week.

 A scripture really helped me. 1 Nephi 17:13 "And I will also be your light in the wilderness, and I will prepare the way before you if it so be that ye shall  keep my commandments, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led before the promised land, and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led"

I feel kinda lost for some weird reason. Maybe it's just emotions because of transfers, and because I feel like I'm losing my best friend... perhaps because I NEVER want my mission to end. But I trust Heavenly Father, and I trust that he knows what I need! So I'll keep on trucking, and working hard, and try my best to dive into this work, and be a leader in this mission. And I know that my promised land awaits... :) And that all is well... :)  My companion told me something this morning in studies that REALLY hit me. She was talking about the song "I Stand All Amazed" and there is a line that says, "confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me" And we talked about how true that is. We cannot comprehend why Jesus Christ loves us so much.. .and why he did all that he did. But I know that I am SO grateful. I am so indebted to my Savior, and I am so excited to continue and serve him with all that I have, and to see what changes he can make in me. And perhaps maybe I can follow the example of my trainer, and then I can also endure well :) 

OH! And I forgot to tell you what's happening to me! I am staying in San Luis Obispo 2nd ward with Sister A. She's great! She's from Georgia, and we came out at the same time! Pray that I won't be too emotionally shot when Sister H leaves haha! I am excited for sister A, but Sister H is irreplaceable. 

Love you all!!!
Love Sister Kaylea Collings!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

O that I were an Angel

Holy Smokes it has been such a great week in San Luis Obispo! And to be hones, I hope I stay in this area until the end of my mission! Why? Because I am so head over heels for this place! The people, the views, and the food!! :) Yes. They have this place here that is JUST divine!! It's called "Mr. Pickles" and it's the tastiest sandwich shop :) This week this scripture REALLY spoke to me. Actually, I am pretty sure this scripture speaks to every missionary world wide... BUT! It's:

Alma 29:1 O that I were an Angel and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with a trumpet of God, with a voice to shake the earth and cry repentance to every people.

THAT is how I feel this week! I Just wish I could convert this whole darn world!! And help them see and really comprehend the significance of this gospel! This gospel and my mission has changed every perspective I've ever had! ;) Seriously. I want to be the most perfect missionary, but I suppose I'll just have to be perfect in trying. But this week was a good one... some awkward moments I don't want to confess... but perhaps I can tell you just as a voice of warning haha.

MONDAY: We were able to hike Bishop's Peak, and it was SO MUCH fun!! I got my whole district to run with me! Actually, I didn't say anything, I just started running and they followed :D It was incredible to run up this monument with my district, I felt like I got to re-live being a cross country runner! I missed so badly having lactic acid build up, and burning lungs. haha But it was such a blessing. And another miracle we saw was we felt like we should knock on a less actives home named Danielle! Turns out she had to move to Ohio because of the really bad divorce she is going through, and it was 8 pm, and she had to pack up the whole home and leave in the morning! And.. She hadn't even started! So me and Sister H, as briskly as our bodies could handle, helped her make dinner for her kids and pack up everything! Such a tender mercy that we felt prompted to be there and were able to help someone in crisis mode. We left her with a scripture and a prayer and insured her that Heavenly Father was aware of her situation, and THAT is why we were led to come help her. :)

TUESDAY: We drove down to Ventura for missionary leadership counsel. And spent the day discussing different matters, and accounting for what we have done with those in our stewardship! And this meeting gave me a lot of hope in this world! I just felt so giddy that there were 50  missionaries who LOVED this mission and wanted to do Anything and EVERYTHING to help it succeed the way God needs it! I just loved hearing all of the testimonies! It was a WHOLE day of meetings full of knowledge and discussion. As if that wasn't good enough, the senior missionaries SPOILED us with delicious food :) 

WEDNESDAY: This... day is one I will never forget... I went on an exchange with Sister R, who is a completely devoted missionary, who is a POWER house! Well, first thing we went to a less actives home to help organize, and she was telling me about how AMAZING apple cider vinegar is for your body! So she drank a Huge cup full. So Then I asked her if I could try it, hoping it would make me as healthy as could be. Well, I didn't even think that it would taste bad...  Oh how I was wrong. It was HORRID and it burned!!! So I then began to choke and throw up for the next 5 minutes... all over her kitchen.... don't worry, I eventually made it to her sink.... I thought I was going to die! I instantly lost my voice and had a HUGE headache, and I think some acid went into my lungs because I was dying. Well...  Sister R continued to serve her as I layed down on the carpet thinking of my last words... I thought I was dying. Well finally I felt a little better. So I helped serve and we were on our way ... the whole exchange my voice was gone. I would try and testify, and not only did it hurt, it was very hard to interpret through my grunge-like noises... hahhah!!  That poor sister pretty much went solo.... Well that night, I got a HUGE fever.... I think my body was just in pure shock and I was coughing like CRAZY! That's when my self induced bronchitis started. haha

THURSDAY: I fell in love with fuzzy socks, Mucinex, and of course the piano guys. It's great that even when you feel like death, God helps you to remember the small and simple things :) 

FRIDAY: Still had zero voice, but went to some appointments :) We had a VERY fun Christmas devotional called Sing Noel, where they REALLY brought the Christmas spirit. We had a LOT of less actives attend, and it was beautiful. The parts I could hear in between my couching attacks! haha and I was able to bear my testimony and have sympathy on a missionary who was struggling it was so special to be able to tell her that missions are WORTH it, and trials bring us closer to Heavenly Father. What a blessing!

SATURDAY: We were able to attend a baptism and a bunch of missionaries came and brought their investigators. It was powerful to feel the spirit and I just couldn't handle it,  my mission made me so weak. haha! Then we taught a lady in the ward and read the Book of Mormon with her. We were talking about the Savior, and she kept saying " I love Him with my whole heart" She is a little handicapped, so it was just so precious! I loved hearing her testimony of the Savior :) 

SUNDAY: I was 100% better and just enjoyed every second. We had a lot of lessons and were running from place to place. We taught about the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity, we taught about family home evening, and we taught about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon!! :) My favorite part was watching the Christmas devotional at a less actives home :)  I loved it so much! And I couldn't help but think when it was that I  came to know that the church was true... and to be honest, I am so grateful for my parents... because  they raised me in such a way that I never had to question the truthfulness... because it was made known to me on a daily basis. It was made known to me because I had nightmares, and the power of prayer and listening to primary songs are what comforted me. It was made known to me by seeing how important prayer and scripture study was to my parents, because dad would call us almost EVERYDAY if he was out of town. And it was made known to me by incredible primary teachers... I don't know HOW they were able to handle me, but I remember one time that Sister Mills sang Joseph Smith's First Prayer to my primary class, and I felt the spirit SO strong that I know Joseph Smith was a prophet! I am just so grateful for the life I have lived and for the testimony I have gradually gained that THIS IS the one and only true church restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. We have Christ's church on the earth again today, and THAT changes everything!! 

I am so grateful for my mission! Thank you all for your love and support! This holiday season is going to be one of the BEST one yet. I can tell :)

Love you all!!!!
Love, Sister Kaylea Collings 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pumped to be a SOLDIER!

Hello Family!!! This week has been such a good one that's for sure! I feel like I say that every week, but I'm not fibbing :) I think the thing I hate the MOST about emailing, is that there is no way for you to REALLY understand or comprehend what I am experiencing out here, haha but I decided to just list off what I did this week, and maybe the Spirit can tell you how I felt. But the work is going REALLY well!  A Scripture that just pumped me up more than ever is this: 2 Timothy 2:3 "Thou therefore  endure hardness  as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" Isn't that something! I'm not saying this in a "This week is so hard, let me complain" kind of way but more of just being pumped up, thinking of me as a soldier :) ha.

Monday Was a GREAT day! We had Sister H's trainer come up, and we spent the day getting great advice and enjoying Avila beach! Then after p-day was over, at 6:00 we taught a family home evening lesson in a member's home, and taught the restoration! After that we headed over to our investigator, Kim's home. She is the one that is a caregiver for one of our members.Well she FINALLY told us what her concerns were.That it was hard to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet because she couldn't see God giving all his power to just one man. Because that always leads to bad things. We explained to her how the church is set up with the prophet, his two counselors,  12 apostles, and the 2 quorums of the 70, stake presidents, bishops, and so on. She was much more at ease after the spirit told her that was true :) We had a member at the lesson with us who had just recently joined the church, and holy smokes, the spirit was SO strong! This member's name is Haley. she just graduated BYU  in humanities. I think I want to do that :) It would be SO fun to study anthropology! Maybe that's what I'll do with my life. I have this secret goal that I want to get a degree in humanities, and then work for the churches humanitarian efforts! I don't know how that will work, or if it's possible, but it's definitely a dream of mine! Then we drove off to Lompoc for an exchange!

Tuesday I went on exchanges with Sister E! She is fantastic! She is finishing her mission in December, and Heavenly Father gave us the day from Heaven together! We were able to teach 8 lessons! 2 lessons were really fun! We had a man call up his pastor, "Pastor Star", to chat with us! I was ALL for it! So we talked with him and even prayed with him over the phone! But pastor star wants to meet with missionaries! So It was a really fun experience! Who knew we could teach over the phone! Then we taught a woman named Gloria who is fantastic! She has a problem worshiping idols, and we had a powerful lesson testifying of Joseph Smith, and Christ's church, and she said she wanted to pray to know that was true, and that she would stop worshiping idols if it was! It was pretty great :) during her prayer she thanked Heavenly Father for "Sister Loco", which I guess was me...  haha She said it's a compliment, that when she dances people call her loco, and so I teach with so much expression and light that I can be loco too.  She said that it's a compliment hispanic women give to other hispanic women. hahah!! I'm not too sure about that, but it was fun to teach her :) Then we went to an interfaith thanksgiving celebration that was incredible! They had all faiths here sharing messages of thanks! We had a bishop from our church speak, qur'an singers, bahai's buddist speakers as well! It was so fun! It was cool to feel a different spirit from the bishop than the other speakers! I JUST LOVE OUR CHURCH. Then we drove to Solvang for ANOTHER exchange!

Wednesday  I went on an exchange with Sister C, and GUESS WHO I MET!!! I met one of Abbey Beazer's special friends! one that she met when she lived in Cali, who worked at Del SOL!!!! CRAZY! I was able to add things of mine to a package he was sending Abbey, and write her a note! It was so neat! He had been struggling because he just got home from his mission and me and Sister Cox were able to just minister our little hearts out to him! It was so fun exchanging stories about Abbey! It's crazy how small this world really is! But it was such a fun exchange!

Thursday We had thanksgiving!! We spent it with a less active family and they took us to IHOP! That's the first time I have ever gone out to eat for thanksgiving dinner, but no complaints, we were spoiled!  Then we spent that whole day sharing thanksgiving messages with people we knew didn't have anyone to celebrate thanksgiving with! On our way back form an appointment we saw a caregiver for a lady in a wheelchair outside in the dark, and she was so upset because they had gone to the store, and the keys to her apartment had gotten lost, and had fallen off. We offered to walk (7 blocks) so quite a distance, to find them for her since she needed to care for the lady in the wheelchair! We prayed and looked so hard, with only the light of our phone to find these keys! Well, about 30 mins rolled around, and my companion had a strong feeling to look in a bush and SHE FOUND THEM!!! crazy right?! So we literally ran back to the lady and gave her the keys, and she was nearly in tears! the cool part about this, was the caregiver who lost the keys was someone we had tried to teach once and she wasn't the nicest to us... So after we returned the keys her heart softened right up! I'm so thankful for the spirit, and how it can literally speak to us!!

Friday Was by far my favorite day!!! We had our ward mission leader drive us 7 hours to go to the temple!!! It's 6 hours round trip, but we got stuck in traffic! And it's the BEST experience I have ever had in the temple.  I was able to receive HUGE answers to my prayers! I'm SO thankful for the revelations you can have in the house of the Lord! So we had a SUPER special day in LA, and  guess WHAT!! We got home at around 7 pm, and we saw a man walking in the parking lot of the church. Well, he was in his 20's and he said he had been praying to find  guidance!!! AND THERE WE WERE!! We taught him the special message of the restored gospel, and he said he KNEW it was true, and wanted to get baptized!! AHH!! It was incredible, the spirit was strong! Sadly, we had to refer him to the YSA elders.. BUT! I am so thankful that Heavenly Father let us be a part of an incredibly FAST conversion!! :)

Saturday was great because we finally had a full day in our area! And man it was packed. We were running from appointment to appointment! We had 8 other lessons, and taught a grouchy man who was a beach bum, whose heart was softened, and wanted us to come back and teach him more. We also found and incredible girl! She was walking down the street and told us she had just gotten married, and that she had been looking for a church!! And she said she was going to drive the car to the store, but she felt like she should walk instead! As we taught her she said that she knew God put her in our path! So I am SO excited to teach Kasaundra!! :)

Sunday I renewed my covenants and taught a TON of less actives haha I could go into more detail but I'm running out of time :)

This week was just AMAZING :) And today we will be hiking Bishop's Peak! I'm SUPER excited for that! I have never been more exhausted, but I have NEVER loved this Gospel more!! It's been an incredible week, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary!! Thanks for sending me the thanksgiving pictures, those looked so fun! :) And thanks again for the birthday package :) I loved the pedometer! Yesterday I took 4,000 steps! cool right :) I Love you all and I hope your week is amazing!!!

Love Sister Kaylea Collings!
my badge is the only things that really gets to experience the sand hahaha!

We dressed up for thanksgiving as pilgrims and indians! 

Our faces when we drove to the temple in LA traffic!!
pday beaches :) I feel amish next to the worlds nudity!  
I had to refrain HARD to not go tracting in my pilgrim outfit :)