Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Whitney!!!

 Tomorrow is Whitney's 20th birthday.  This is the first time we haven't been together on her birthday.  First time I don't get to watch her blow out her birthday candles or open her presents.  First time I don't get to sing to her.  Luckily, I was able to see and talk to her last week for Mother's Day so it helps soften all of the firsts. . .

We mailed her a package of birthday gifts, including a couple summer shirts and a maxi skirt that she can wear as long as it doesn't touch the ground.  I told her in order for that to happen she may have to pull it over her chest like a sundress. ;)  Maybe a nice member will hem it for her.  We also sent her a photo album full of pictures of friends and family.  I may have driven her crazy, having my camera with me at all times, but she is grateful for that now.  I also sent her a birthday cake with candles.  Ok, it was a box of Hostess cupcakes.  I figured they would travel better.  I know she will be well taken care of on her birthday.  Her RS president and other members in the area are watching out for her.

The following picture was sent to me by a local member during a church cleanup project.  I received the following message with the picture:  Your daughter said to tell you, "see Mom, I'm working hard." She is doing great and says she is so happy.  She loves what she's doing.  She is darling.  They were telling me the scripture they were trying to memorize today.  They are given one a day from Pres. Stoker.

I am grateful for members who are watching over her, especially when they send photos.  
Now for her email:

"This week has been great and long and fast all at the same time.  On Tuesday, we got to go to lunch with Sister Stoker, Sister Skidmore and Sister Pettingill at Panera.  I had never been there so I just ordered a turkey and cheese panini, but it ended up having some gross herb mustard but I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, but then Sister Pettingill noticed that I didn't like it so she took it up and had them make me one with just turkey and cheese.  It was WAY better!!!

After that Sister Stoker came with us to our lesson with P.  When we had set the lesson up P had told us that she only wanted to hear one more lesson because she was starting to take a class at her church and was going to be too busy to meet with us. So, we fasted and prayed for a miracle that her heart would be softened and she would feel the Holy Ghost so strong that she could not deny it and that she would have a true desire to read the Book of Mormon.  For the lesson we first discussed any questions she had.  We then played the last chapter on The Testament on mute and read 3 Nephi 11:1-17 and 17 while it was playing.  Afterwards we bore testimony and talked about the Book of Mormon and what it is.  Sister Stoker then explained more about the apostasy.  By the end, P had said that her church in the past sixty years has changed their ways to match the world's ways and that she doesn't believe in a "comfortable Jesus" that His church should not change.  She also said that she wants to read the Book of Mormon and learn more.  Our prayer and fast were answered and even though this class of hers is for the next two months, this will not be the last of P.  We're going to keep checking in on her.

Then, yesterday, we visited a woman named B.  She was one of the Elders' investigators and she was going to get baptized but someone told her that we were polygamists so she dropped them.  We went and talked to her and told her that we weren't and brought the feeling of the spirit back to her and encouraged her to give the Elders another chance.  She told us that she missed the feeling she had when she learned about the gospel and that she had fallen into a depression and had started drinking and smoking again because she was so sad.  By the end she agreed to start reading the Book of Mormon again and told us to have the Elders give her a call because she still wants to be baptized.

We also had Stake Conference this week and Elder Perkins of the Seventy came and spoke and the Spirit was so strong!  These are a few of my notes:
  • Don't just come and see, come and be.
  • The time has come to hasten the work.  Now more than ever we need the ward members to be seeking missionary opportunities.
  • Pray for the opportunity
    • Pray
    • Search
    • Find
    • Act
  • Opportunities of service are blessings from God and should not be taken lightly
  • As we apply the Atonement daily we will naturally reach outwards to others.
  • The Gospel makes you feel alive because your spirit is remembering your home.
  • Faith brings miracles
  • As we are faithful, we will see the promises in our patriarchal blessings come to pass.
  • Jesus Christ invites us in a simple way: "Come and See"  "Follow me"
Love You!!!"

No pictures from Whit this week, but I did get a bonus email!!!

A few of the things she mentioned (besides her replies to a couple questions from me):

"I've been doing a lot of yard work and apparently they like how I make their yards look."

She will be taking an investigator to the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial next Monday, so she probably won't be able to get to the library to email. :(  I told her I won't hover over my computer waiting to hear from her. . .  She is excited to go back.  They went there for a sisters' conference last month, but the trees were still bare.  She said they are in bloom now.  

I also asked if she was going to open her package today or wait until tomorrow so she can open them on her birthday.  Her answer, "Pshhh, TODAY!!!!!" 

Sure love her!  It is going to be a long to weeks waiting to hear from her again.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day and email monday!!!

We had a great time chatting with Whitney on Sunday.  As we were waiting for 11:00 to finally get here, I was pulling up google and skype (didn't know which she would be using).  At about 10:50 the phone rang.  We were very hopeful that it would be her.  I picked up my phone and when we saw a Utah number we were a little disappointed.  I answered and a man's voice was on the other end.  He introduced himself and I was assuming he must be a new member in our ward until he said he was calling to make sure everything was set up for our call with Sister Collins.  It was a member in New Hampshire with a Utah phone number.  Whitney said his parents live in Cedar City.  He had called to make sure we had google hang-out installed and to test it before she got there.  I am so grateful for him taking the extra time.  I heard so many stories of families who had their chat time cut short because they had problems getting the chat to connect.

As for our conversation, it was just like she was home and we were chatting in the family room.  She did tell us that the one investigator has set a baptism date.

We asked her if she had any awkward moments while she's been there.  She couldn't think of any so she turned to her companion and asked her if she could thing of any.  She said there were more than she could count, including multiple proposals.

Our hour went by way to fast, but we loved every minute of it!!!

On to email Monday....

"When he (their investigator) told us that he wanted to get baptized we didn't set a date.  Now the date is either going to be June 21 or 22.  For some reason the bishop doesn't like doing baptisms on Saturdays but that makes it so the New Member has to wait a week before they can receive the Holy Ghost.  We talked to the Bishop at coordination and he is considering allowing us to have it be on Saturday June 21 which is a big deal.  So we are making it our goal to set the standard for very spiritual baptisms.  Sister Morgan says that when a person is getting baptized, the reverence should be at the same level as it is at the temple because the ordinance is just as great.

It is incredible how much S has progressed!  He has even ben sharing what he has learned with his friends at each lesson.  Without even realizing it, he bears his testimony of something he learned and has come to know that it is true.  He is even looking up things he has questions on during the week on and sets aside an hour a day to read the Book of Mormon and to read some of the other books that the ward mission leader has given him.  The other day in our lesson he started to talk about the feeling he gets when he reads and was saying he couldn't even describe it.  We pointed out that it was the Holy Ghost.  He smiled really big and was almost in tears. So, basically, it is going to be a really good baptism.

I have to say that it is truly heartbreaking to meet people on the street who you can tell are so down and have had some pretty hard times, but they completely refuse to hear your message when you know that it will bring them so much happiness and relief. I just hope and pray that one day they will be able to find the truth and the joy.

Oh, and about that song the lady in my ward wrote; she met with this guy she knows and is having him put the son together with music and print it.  He liked it so much that he is planning to put it on a cd and she is going to give us copies of it.  She also wants us to sing it in sacrament meeting once it is finished. Crazy, right?!?!  I never thought that someone would write a song from my testimony.

Love you lots!!!!!

PS I love that boy.  Give him lots of kisses for me and have a party ;) "

The PS was because I told him that when Kaleb saw the picture Chelsea posted of our chat, he reminded his mom that he likes to tease Whitney.  As for the party, every letter he has had his mom write includes information on the many parties he and Whitney are going to have.  I replied to Whit that we would plan a party for her birthday on the 20th.  She can celebrate in New Hampshire while we celebrate at home.
 Dinner at Red Arrow restaurant
 Sister Morgan and Sister Collins
 Whitney being Whitney. :) I think she took this one to show us she does wear her hair straight sometimes.
 $2 pizza and then they gave them a second for free.  (Must be those big eyes!)
 Alley Cat Pizza
 Giant lego man in downtown Manchester
"So our sink keeps doing this funky thing where randomly it will have soapy sudsy water come up and out of the drain but it's not our water...and we don't know what to do."  Yay for getting neighbors dishwater in your sink.  I told her to have the landlord check the neighbors sink for a clog.  Loving their new moose hats!  Almost didn't recognize her in this pic.  Too funny!

Other things mentioned in short replies:  She misses my food and cooking. :)  Is it because she likes it or because she now has to do most of her own cooking??? ;)  She has also LOVES real maple syrup.  She promised she would send us some soon.  

One of the missionaries that was in her district in the MTC sent her a package recently from Australia.  She had mentioned she likes kangaroos and he sent her a stuffed animal kangaroo that is 8-10 inches tall.  I'm not sure how she is going to fit that in her luggage!

FYI, her birthday is in 8 days!!!! She would love to receive letters and cards from her friends and family.  She said it is nice to get mail.  She can only access her email on Monday's, but handwritten letters are there for her to look back on.  Her address can be found on her facebook, or you can send mail to the Mission Home.  She usually gets mail that goes to the mission home the same day since she is only 10 minutes away.

Sister Whitney Collins
New Hampshire Manchester Mission
2 Bedford Farms Ste 208
Bedford, NH 03110-6532


Monday, May 5, 2014

Double email Monday!!!

Whitney had to go to the mission office to pick up a package today and they let them use the computers while they were there.  YAY for double email Monday!!!

Hey, I noticed how expensive the watches like Chel's are so I just got me a cheap digital watch so you don't have to get me that for my birthday.

We talked to Elder Skidmore and it looks like we are going to have to move, but there are other rooms available in the same complex.  We are going to look at them later today and once I find out the new address of the room I will let you know.  For now you can send any letters to the mission office. (luckily that is the address I have been giving people.)

So today we went to the mission office to pick up a package (which apparently it's really rare for missionaries to see the mission office and to see the staff and President and Sister Stoker this often if at all but we see them at least once a week.) anyways... we were there for a while talking to everyone and Sister Morgan told them how I don't like vegetables and all of them, especially Sister Stoker, were shocked.  Sister Stoker was giving me suggestions on how I could eat vegetables without really noticing.  Let's just say, it was pretty funny.

The first Sunday I was here was fast Sunday and since I was new to the ward I had to go up and bear my testimony. In my testimony I said this gospel is a gospel of hope, peace, happiness and love.  Well I guess it really touched a lady's heart and she hasn't been able to stop thinking about what I said so she wrote a song out of what I said in my testimony!!!  It's called: 

"The Gospel of Love" by Anita F Nickulas

When I am lost and alone 
Trying to find my way home
Sadness and thoughts of despair
What can I do, who will care?

I know that my Savior loves me
Atoned for my sins and I'm free
Fasting and kneeling in prayer
The Savior will whisper I care

This is the Gospel!
The Gospel of Peace
The comfort this gives me
it brings sweet release.

I know He loves me!
His arms hold me tight
The Gospel surrounds me
And brings forth the light.

This is the Gospel of hope 
This is the Gospel of happiness
This is the Gospel of love.

Pretty Incredible, right????
Love you!

Lovin' New Hampshire

Our family has had a very busy week.  Chelsea graduated from SUU with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.  I (Becky/Mom) got to have dinner with the Relief Society President of Whitney's current ward.  Other parents of missionaries in that ward also came to the dinner.  It was nice to visit with them, especially her companion's mom.

On to the email. . .

Hey, Mitt Romney lives in New England Somewhere! (I had mentioned that Ann Romney spoke at the SUU graduation)
One of our investigators is getting BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I got to go to the temple on Tuesday and it was amazing an spiritual as usual.  (see picture in last week's post)
It's weird to think that I've been out for a month.  Like honestly time does not exist when you are on a mission and yet it does.  Pretty much you just have no time, you are just racing the sun.
So, our neighbors next to our apartment are insane! Every day there is yelling and swearing and abuse going son.  So we told Elder Skidmore about it and we are most likely going to have to move.
How did you like the RS Pres?  She's pretty great huh :)  She does our laundry for us every week (she doesn't want them to have to spend the $10 it costs to do it at their apartment complex)
I promise I will write you a letter. It's just hard to find time to get to it because I guess we can only write on pdays.

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

There was also info about the Mother's Day phone call.  I am so excited for Sunday!!!

 Sisters in her district
 Lovin' New Hampshire
 Sister Morgan and Sister Collins