Pure Joy!!!!!

My dearest family, friends and all who read these rambling emails,
 
Canada is flippin’ cold. I cannot wait until I don’t have to wear wool tights, wool socks, thermals, jackets, coats, mitts, hats, scarves, and snow boots. My fashion sense while I have been on my mission has dropped drastically. I guess that you can’t be choosy when it’s below freezing. 🙂
 
This week has been one of the most rewarding weeks that I have had in my entire life! As I’ve stated in earlier emails, opening up a new area to missionary work is very challenging. The first 3 weeks you’re just getting everything organized and under control. You have to do the area book, and make sure your apartment is running smoothly, get to know the branch, understand how the branch works with missionaries, visit everyone in the branch, find people to teach, and just maintain your mental health. We feel as if we are finally catching up with ourselves. We have a teaching pool, the branch is beginning to understand how to be member missionaries, and we’re beginning to see the fruits of our labors. We’re so excited for the amazing things that are happening in Simcoe. We’ve been truly blessed to be put in this area. This area NEEDED Sister Wester and I to come. We may never know the reason why, but I have truly come to know that the Lord had a hand in all things.
 
The most exciting thing that has happened since last we met was…ZELDA IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SUNDAY!! If you don’t know who Zelda is– refer to last week’s email/post/wherever you read my emails. Isn’t that absolutely incredible? She was so prepared. She doesn’t drink coffee, tea, or alcohol. She’s been on the patch for 8 weeks to help her stop smoking. She readily accepts everything we teach her, and she is so close to Heavenly Father. She feels the Spirit so strongly. AND she is getting baptized only NINE days after our first lesson with her. Can you even believe it? Sometimes Sister Wester and I will just look at each other and chuckle because we cannot even grasp what is happening. It’s a testimony to us that WE (honestly) are not the driving force behind finding these people. The Lord prepares these people, he molds these people, and then we teach them and they get baptized. It is as simple as that. We are meeting with her every day this week to help her prepare to be baptized. Next week, you can have a baptism picture to put on the wall. I am so incredibly blessed. Heavenly Father answers prayers. Ever since Day 1–Sister Wester and I have been praying to have a baptism happen in March. We prayed SO much and with SO much faith. Honestly? Toward the middle of the month, our faith was waning. We had all of these doubts and apprehensions. Who on earth could be baptized in 2 weeks? Then–Zelda–happened. I know that my faith increased ten-fold. What an amazing miracle!
 
Our other investigators are an up and down battle. One day we’ll meet with them, and they’re all gung-ho about the gospel and they feel the spirit so strongly, the next time we meet…they haven’t read the Book of Mormon or prayed and they won’t come to church. Bah. Sometimes…especially as a missionary…people’s agency just gets on your nerves. Sometimes I just want to yell…”JUST PAY YOUR TITHING”. Or…”JUST READ THE BOOK OF MORMON” “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” “JUST PRAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!”. BAHHHH! It’s okay, though. I fully realize that people have the agency to choose to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, that’s why we’re here on this earth, eh? We haven’t been able to meet with Sandra because she is having a lot of health problems. And she says she doesn’t have time to read and pray. We’ve decided to put her on the “back-burner” and come back in a couple of weeks to see how she is doing. Neville is an anomaly. He has told us “I will be baptized. Someday.” Neville, just put on your big boy pants, and be baptized. Haha. He will get there…someday. He did come to church yesterday though and we know that he felt the Spirit. We’re also going to start teaching one of his Jamaican friends this next week. This could be an adventure. Zilda has been put on hold until further notice. The last time we saw her, she was very hostile and aggressive towards us. She was cussing us out, and we did not feel comfortable teaching her after that. We’re not saying that we don’t want to teach her, because we want to teach everybody, but we want to teach people that truly have a desire to learn more…and don’t cuss out the missionaries… 🙂
 
Question time!
 
Do you ever get a chance to sing?
 
Actually, I am getting LOADS of opportunities to sing. We had a leadership training last week in Kitchener and 10 minutes before it started, Elder Marshall (1st Assistant to the President) asked me to sing a hymn. I had Elder Bacanawa accompany me. Yesterday, in Branch Presidency Meeting, President Hernandez asked me to sing in church. I impromptly sang “Love at Home” with Brother Nicholls playing for me. Sister Wester and I are also singing next week in Sacrament and at Zelda’s baptism. So, that was a long answer to a very short question. Yes. 🙂
 
Have you tried that crazy fries with cheese curds with gravy dish? 
 
Yes. It was…different.
 
Have your life plans changed significantly? 
 
YES! But I don’t have enough time to tell you about it right now. 😉
 
What is the best thing about a mission? 
 
Learning to love all of the people that you work with. Seeing them make changes to bring their lives in closer harmony with the Savior and his teachings. Teaching the gospel to the best of your abilities, and knowing that you’ve done enough. You’ve tried your best and that is all that the Lord asks of you. EVERYTHING. Except when dogs do #1 AND #2 on your boots. So not cool.
 
Does Sister Wester have any members in her family besides herself? 
 
No. Sister Wester is the only member in her family.
If you could have any kind of bag, describe your ideal. 
 
Mommy, you know exactly what kind of bags I like. We shopped for hours…remember? 🙂 Our bags actually don’t have to be that big, though. It could be significantly smaller. In fact, it would be nice to have something a little bit smaller, so that things don’t get lost in there. 🙂
 
Is there anything you need right now? 
 
I don’t think so. I’ll let you know. *wink*
 
Wow. Exactly today, I have been in Canada for one month. Can you even believe it?! Why is it going so fast?! This is so not cool! Actually, it’s awesome, I am so excited to see the progress that I have made in this short month. I cannot even begin to comprehend what I am going to be like after 18 months. I guess I am going to be shaped into the servant that the Lord wants me to be. I am so excited to look back on these first couple of months and say “Whew. I survived.”
 
One thing that I have definitely come to a knowledge of on my mission is PURE joy. As I feel like I am saying all of the time, being a missionary is difficult. You have to be able to find that joy, or else you will crumble under the pressure. This is true for all of us in our “normal lives”. We’re here on this earth to have joy. How do we find joy? We pray for it. It’s as simple as that. “Heavenly Father, I really want to be able to find joy today. Please help me be able to find some. I know that you can help me through this”. HE IS THERE. Pray to him for everything. Including finding that joy. I’ll follow up with you all…someday. 🙂
 
I know that quite a few of you have emailed me and told me about some struggles that you’ve been going through. I wish that I could help more, but Jesus Christ knows more than I do. He knows everything that you are going through. Because he’s been there. He’s felt how you felt, and he’s been down that road that you’re going down. He knows how you feel. Turn to him and ask him to relieve that burden. He’s just waiting for you to ask. He’s already paid that price for all of our weaknesses and sins, LET HIM take that burden away. It’s not worth it.
 
I love you all, and I pray for you daily. You are such great examples to me of righteousness and pure joy. Stay Strong in the gospel, and you will be blessed throughout the rest of your lives!
 
Keep in contact!
 
Love forever, Sister Colvin
 
p.s. Thank you Sister Eaton for the letter! I loved it! Adam, that is so cool about your friend, Tanner. He is going to love his mission! Have you been reading the Book of Mormon? I loved your letter, I will write you  BOTH later today.
 
p.p.s. Sister Wester has decided that she is going to be best friends with Captain Moroni and Jeffrey R. Holland in the next life. Wouldn’t that be sweet? 🙂
 
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The Miraculous Story of Zilda and Zelda

My wonderful, beloved, dearest, magnificent family, friends, and random people that I will someday meet,
 
So, last week it was pouring rain here in Simcoe. I think that my statement about it not snowing cursed us. We’ve come to find out that Heavenly Father has a great sense of humor. The next day it snowed more than I have ever seen in my life. My winter boots and huge coat have definitely been useful in this adventure we call Simcoe.
 
Our investigators are doing well, but they are all struggling to give up something in their lives. Whether it be alcohol, tea, coffee, lifestyle, money(tithing), stubbornness, or just making time to learn more about the gospel. We’ve testified BOLDLY of how the Lord will pour out his blessings upon us– when we choose to become closer to him by giving up those things in our lives that are holding us back from receiving all of those promised blessings. We’ve done our part, and now it’s their turn to fully accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.We also have found one new investigator. Her name is Zilda. She lives in a Women’s Shelter and is so open to the gospel. She’s gone through a lot in her life, and can’t seem to find any sense of peace. She’s 3 months pregnant, and is running from an abusive relationship. It’s kind of a tricky situation for us, because we cannot give her any advice because that could get us involved in some political issues.We are super worried about her understanding the importance of what we are teaching her. We asked her to be baptized and she said “Sure, yea, okay, that sounds like fun”.  There could be some potential issues there. 🙂 We haven’t been able to  meet with Sandra because she has been in the hospital getting some tests done, but we have an appointment with her on Saturday, that will hopefully get her “spirit train” going. We met with Neville again (this time he wasn’t intoxicated…long story…) and he knows ALL of the answers. He gives the most doctrinally correct, wonderful, spiritual answers…and he told us in these exact words “I want to be baptized. I know I need to be.” And, yet, he won’t get baptized and he won’t commit to a date. Sometimes peoples agency is just so frustrating. Wendy is another long story. Wendy originally comes from Orillia (about 3 hours North from here). She was just down visiting a friend and she had to go back to Orillia unexpectedly to take care of some business. We don’t know when she will be back. So, until further notice, the missionaries in Oriillia are taking care of Wendy and her learning. We are meeting with James today. We still haven’t felt completely comfortable with the idea of him becoming a progressing investigator, but we are going to teach him and then see where it goes from there. We’ve had so many wonderful things happen to us, that we can’t even imagine how we have been blessed with these experiences. We must be doing something right…?!  We had a miracle happen yesterday at church. My companion and I procurred a ride for Zilda, because she doesn’t have a car, and she really wanted to go to church. We asked Sister Davidson (a member) to provide a ride for her. Sister Davidson got to this building and buzzed Zilda’s room number for about 5 minutes and nobody came. This lady then comes down the stairs and Sister Davidson asks “Are you Zilda?” This lady replies that she is, and Sister Davidson told her that she was there to come pick her up for church. This lady was really confused and couldn’t remember us meeting with her and inviting her to come to church. Well, Sister Davidson said “If you would like to come with me, we will see the missionaries, and then you’ll be able to remember!” This lady then got in the car with Sister Davidson, who took her to church. Eventually Sister Wester and I got to church, fully expecting to see Zilda…because we had confirmed with Zilda that she was coming to church, and everything was put in place, etc. We walked in…and Zilda wasn’t there. We were HUGELY disappointed because she had really seemed sincere. We then went to go and talk to Sister Davidson, and we saw a lady sitting beside here. We figured that it was someone she was working with, because Sister Davidson is a ward missionary. Sister Davidson then says to us, “Hello Sisters, this is Zilda!”. Sister Wester and I were like.”..uh…well…we’ve never met you before…What’s your name again?” This lady’s name is ZELDA. Not Zilda. Zelda. We just started laughing our heads off and just thinking, “How on earth could this have happened?” Until Zelda said something that caught our attention, (in her own words) “I had been praying this morning to find a church to go to in Simcoe, because I just moved here 3 weeks ago. I know that God sent Marilyn (Sister Davidson) to come and pick me up and bring me here”. Our mouths DROPPED. She then told us that her grandfather had been LDS and that she really wants to get her life back in order and on the right path, and that includes finding the right church. What. The. Heck. She was so excited to be there and learn more. THAT was  a miracle from Heavenly Father. There is no other way to describe it. To have someone named Zelda live in the same apartment as Zilda and come down at that exact moment to meet Sister Davidson and get in the car with a complete stranger–is a complete manifestation to me that God is in charge of everything. He is going to put people in our path that are ready. That are prepared. And that are willing to receive the truthfulness of this gospel. We are meeting with Zelda tonight and we just KNOW that it is going to go well. We are going to invite her to be baptized on March 31st. We know that this is a direct answer to our prayers, and a direct answer to hers. What a miracle.
 
Question time!
 
1. Do you have enough money?
 
We definitely have enough money to survive. Not living the high life, but we don’t need to do that to be happy and feel fulfilled. 🙂 We eat a lot of rice and potatoes. The hard thing is that everything here in Canada is about 40% more than it is in the states. For example, we bought some bagels and then we go to get cream cheese. One little container of cream cheese cost $5.65. Yea. We didn’t get the cream cheese. 🙂
Does your money carry-over to the next month if you do not use it all?
 
Yes. But there won’t be a lot of money carrying over. 🙂
How are your shoes, bag, clothes holding up?
 
Shoes are great. I really havene’t had the opportunity to wear a lot of flats, because I’ve been wearing my snow boots.Clothes are great. I wish my bag was a little better quality, but I love saving money. 🙂
Anything you wish you had, but don’t? Anything you have, but find you don’t really need?
 
Uh…I honestly don’t know. I’d have to think about that, because I can’t come up with anything off the top of my head.
Do you ever get invited to member’s homes to eat? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
 
Twice a week. We’ve had some pretty…uh…interesting combinations. But we love all of the members, and we’ll eat whatever is put in front of our faces. The worst was there was one day where we had 2 dinner appointments right in a row. I thought I was going to puke. AND Sister Wester was saying things like. “Sister Colvin LOVES rolls, here Sister Colvin, here’s another roll. OH, Brother Whitney, cut Sister Colvin a big piece of cake. She loves chocolate cake.”  She said something similar to that about every food dish. Of course, Sister Wester knew that I was about to roll over and die from all of the food that I had eaten. I was about to kill her. She laughed a lot when we walked out of the house. She teases me…A LOT. It’s hilarious. I just laugh along…secretly hating my life. Haha. Sister Wester just told me to write that.
Is your companion making you exercise?
 
Yes. Every morning we wake up at 6 (a half an hour early…gr…) and run until 7ish. I hate every second of it.
Where do you email us from?
 
The tiny Family History Center inside the church. The patrons (Brother and Sister Nicholls) come and supervise us every Monday. They are really sweet to let us do this, because we were lazy and didn’t want to go to the library and get a library card so that we could use the computers there.
 
I cannot believe that I have already been on my mission for an entire month. Someone told me that the days feel like weeks, and the weeks feel like days. That is completely true! Before you know it, I’ll only have 6 months left, and then 1 month, and then it will be over! I’m already so sad that it’s going to end. I’m just going to try and cherish every single moment of every single day. That’s all we can do while we’re on this earth. We have to cherish and treasure every single moment, because all of the moments that we have are gifts from our loving Heavenly Father.
 
One scripture that has really helped me this week is Phillipians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengeneth me”. We’ve had some really hard things this week happen to us that we’ve had to push through. It’s been really difficult, but we turned to Christ and poured out our sorrows and repented of our weaknesses and prayed to become more effective instruments in his hands. We had an abundance of love and strength poured out upon us. I know that Christ can strengthen us in all things. Even if it seems silly, like praying for the strength to allow your 13 year old daughter to start dancing with boys (I love you, Mommy and Daddy!)–he can help us. Jesus Christ is our brother and he loves us so much, and he’s been where we have been and where we will go. If you turn to him, I promise that you will be able to feel that love and closeness to him and our Heavenly Father.
 
Happy Birthday to Uncle Travis and Papa a couple of weeks ago! I’m sorry that I forgot to mention it in my email last week,but I hope that you both had wonderful days full of love and laughter! I love you both very much, and I hope that this next year is the best yet to come.
 
OH. You know how on the movie “The Best Two Years” they run and squeal around their apartment when they receive mail? I am here to tell you…that “The Best Two Years” is absolutely correct. That is what we do when we receive mail. I LOVE getting mail. Thank you so much for your continued support. Grandma and Grandpa, I LOVED your letter. I will respond today when we get back to our apartment. Beards, I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the candy, gum, beautiful pictures and card. That was a really hard day, and that package lifted my spirits and buoyed me up.I am so appreciative!
 
I love you all so very much, and I hope that you have a great week. Just remember that you can do all things if you turn to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They will give you strength to accomplish all things!
 
Please keep in touch! The Church is true! I love you! Choose the Right!
 
Love forever,
Sister Colvin
 
p.s. 3 ictures are attached. The first is of Sister Prescott and myself. The second is myself in Port Dover by Lake Erie. And the third is myself and Elder Shumway the day before I left the MTC. 🙂
 
p.p.s. I LOVE YOU.
 
 

Hannah’s Random Tips for the MTC

1) Bring shower shoes…it’s really disgusting! Hair is EVERYWHERE.

2) Bring a shower caddy that you can just grab and go.

3) Bring a lanyard…they don’t sell these at the MTC.

4) Buy laundry detergent at the MTC. Don’t waste space in your luggage.

5) Bring your own food. (She’s being sarcastic!) The MTC food is like a 19-year old boy’s dream. Fried EVERYTHING. Eat the ice cream on Sundays and Wednesdays….you might not eat a lot in between!

6) Soak in everything. And take LOTS of notes.

7) Relish in the Spirit that the MTC holds. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed…it’s not worth it.

8) Write and tell me how it goes!

I love you all,

Sister Colvin

 

A Successful Week in the Backwoodsy Part of Canada

My dearest family, friends, and people that are reading this that I don’t really know,
 
It is a wonderfully rainy day here in Simcoe, Ontario. We think that there won’t be any more snow…but it’s Canada…enough said.
 
It has been a week of miracles here in Simcoe. Last week was really difficult. We didn’t have anybody to teach and nobody wanted to even talk to us. But, through the Lord’s hand, he led us to those individuals that are prepared to hear this beautiful message of peace and joy. We have found  FOUR new investigators this week — Sandra, Neville, Wendy, and James. We met Sandra while tracting. Her husband passed away in 2011, but he was taking the lessons from the missionaries at one point. She was just never interested. She has great questions that sometimes we don’t know the answers to. She is very reluctant to pray and ask Heavenly Father if this is the truth. We KNOW that she can receive an answer, it’s just instilling in her that desire and having that leap of faith to put yourself out there. Heavenly Father is reaching out to all of us…we just have to reach back.Please pray for her that she may be able to find that courage.  Neville is a former investigator that is from Trinidad…and makes the most amazing food. He does have a hard time keeping commitments. He knows and he’s expressed that he needs to be baptized…but he doesn’t know when.We’ve committed him to read, pray, attend church, and to be baptized on April 7th. He was against the baptismal date, but we feel that he is progressing well and by that date he will be ready. Wendy was such a miracle! We went to go visit a less-active sister whose husband is not a member. We got there, and the husband wasn’t there, so we were a little bit disappointed, but then Wendy came out and said that she’d love to listen! She was really receptive to the gospel, and attended church yesterday. We are meeting again with her tonight, and we’re so excited to see her progress.She doesn’t live here in Simcoe…but she will be here for a month. And that is PLENTY of time for her to get baptized. 🙂  James was also a former investigator that we just happened to meet on the street. He expressed his sincere desire to give up his addictions (alcohol and cigarettes). We haven’t meet with him again yet, but we are hopeful and know that through Jesus Christ he can be rid of those addictions. We always take a priesthood holder with us when we meet with someone of the opposite sex. This is for safety purposes, so that’s why we haven’t met with James a second time…because nobody can come with us. I guess that if it’s meant to happen…it will. 🙂
 
Okay…Question Time!
 
1. What is Simcoe like?
 
Well, Simcoe is tiny. We’ve tracted in a lot of neighborhoods…and then gone street contacting…and then people get mad/frustrated with us…because we knocked on their door yesterday. 🙂 Haha.  They have a lot of tiny/sketchy shops that we haven’t gone to yet…but they have a Wal-Mart here…so that is indeed a blessing in our lives. 🙂
 
2. Is there a ward there?
 
We are in the Simcoe Branch in the Hamilton Stake. This branch is ridiculously small. There was a pot-luck last week and 15 people came (this was including myself and Sister Wester). Everyone was remarking how happy they were that so many people came to support the branch. It is definitely different here than in Rexburg. It’s nice to have a small branch, because then you get to know everybody really well. There are also negative things that come along with small branches…but let’s not focus on those. 🙂 We also spoke in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. I spoke on Humility and how we can become more like the Savior. It was a POWERFUL experience. As I was speaking, I felt a burning sensation in my chest. I know that this was the Spirit testifying to me of the truthfulness of this gospel. I was able to speak clearly, effectively, and powerfully. But “I do not boast in my own strength…as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things”.
 
3. What is my companion like?
 
Sister Wester is awesome. She is a convert to the church (she was baptized at 19) and now she’s out here serving a mission! She has a really strong testimony and she is teaching me a lot. She also says that she appreciates you stalking her on Facebook…but just to add her so that it doesn’t become creepy any more. 🙂 She is also obsessed with spicy food and puts Tapatio on everything. Rice included.
 
4. How do I feel about Canada?
 
I didn’t think that it would be this different, honestly. You go to buy pasta…and it’s no where to be found. We eventually found it…in the “Foreign Foods” aisle. Pasta? Really, Canada? Come on now. Canadian food is bland. In general. That’s why Sister Wester’s mom sent her Tapatio from the States. Canadian words are super different, I still haven’t said “eh?” in a normal context yet. I’m still working on it. What our district leader told us is that Simcoe is kind of equivelant to the “South” in the United States. Their accents and the words that they say are going to be a lot different than, for instance, in Toronto. He called the Simcoe folk “back-woodsy”. And I am here to tell you that is correct. Man. We have some stories.
 
The toilet paper is normal. 🙂
 
5. How is independent living?
 
I miss your cooking, Mommy. End of story.
 
6. How is our apartment?
 
Our apartment is beautiful! Besides the fact that we locked ourselves out the first night here in Simcoe and every time that we pull up to our house…we remember that experience…we love it a lot. And it’s even more beautiful now that we have our beds. We didn’t have them until this last Friday. That was an adventure. We also have our own washer and dryer! Hallelujah! That makes it really nice for us on P-day. (Yea for P-days!)
 
7. Do we have a car?
 
YES. Our area covers a lot of tiny towns that are about 20 minutes away from each other–so to not have a car would be quite detrimental to the work. My companion can’t drive though, because she got a ticket a couple of days before she came in to the field. So I have been doing all of the driving. It’s definitely an adventure. We were getting lost so many times, that our Zone Leaders had pity on us and let us borrow one of their GPS’s. Again, Hallelujah!
 
If you have any more questions email them to me. On another wonderfully, exciting, life-changing, awesome note…
 
Notice
To: General Authorities, Area Seventies, and Mission Presidents
From: Missionary Department
Subject: Adjusted Missionary Email Policy
 
Missionaries are to write to their families each week and are also authorized to communicate by email with friends, priesthood leaders, and new converts. Mission presidents should allow sufficient time on preparation day for missionaries to write emails and letters. While in the mission field, missionaries should receive authorization from the mission president before entering into communication, including via email, with converts and others of the opposite gender within the mission boundaries (see Missionary Handbook, 36–37).
 
WHAT NOW?! I get to directly email my friends, missionary friends, siblings, extended family and so on and so forth. Isn’t that so exciting? I really don’t have time to do it today, but next week it is going to explode! For all of you wonderful people that STINK at writing letters (I love you all!) you now have a much easier way to write me. 🙂
 
I miss you all, but I know that you are doing great things with your life–as long as your foundation is on the gospel and Jesus Christ. It is such an honor to be a missionary. There is a scripture in Acts that I really love. It’s talking about Peter and John and all of their AMAZING missionary work. Well, they get taken to prison and suffice it to say that they were not being treated very well. They were beaten, but still refused to deny Christ. After they had been abused in all possible ways this happened:
 
“And they departed from the presence of the council, REJOICING that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”
 
I am counted WORTHY to have doors slammed in my face. To have dogs chase after me. To get cat hair all over my nice coat. To be sworn at. To be rejected. And everything else that comes along with being a missionary. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to serve my Lord with all of my heart, might, mind and strength. Thank you for everything that all of you have done to help me be able to serve in this great mission. I will be forever grateful for the sacrifices all of you have made for me.
 
If you haven’t read the Book of Mormon yet in your life, I am challenging you to commit yourself to ponder and read from it. The Book of Mormon is POWERFUL. This book can change your life for the better. If you have enough faith that you can receive answers from those words, you will. Please, please, PLEASE read it. I promise you, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that if you read it, the blessings of heaven will pour out upon you. You will be more able to withstand the trials and tribulations that will come. Heavenly Father gives us those trials to help us grow and eventually to become like him. I know that this is true.
 
Adam, how is your mission preparation going? I’m excited to hear about your experiences you have while you read the Book of Mormon… 🙂 
 
Again, I love you all. You all are pillars of strength in my life. I cannot wait to see your smiling, wonderful faces once this grand adventure is done. Just know that I constantly pray for you and want you to succeed in all that you do. You all are wonderful children of God that I love very much. Keep the faith–for the Lord will continue to bless you as you continue to keep his commandments and strive to become like him.
 
Love forever,
Sister Colvin
 
p.s. I don’t have to pay any money to receive a package…so…yea…that’d be cool. 🙂
 
p.p.s. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!
 

First Week In Canada! Adjustments and more adjustments…

My dearest family and beloved friends,
 
I cannot even begin to describe the jumble of feelings that are going around in my brain right now. I don’t even know where to begin. I guess that I will start from the beginning…
 
Leaving the MTC was one of the hardest experiences that I have ever had to do. I had developed so many eternal friendships that I did not want to leave. I wish that I could tell you all of the experiences that happened to me at the MTC, but I consider them sacred and dear to my heart. When we meet again, maybe I can tell you everything that happened. Suffice it to say that it changed my life.  It was really hard for me to leave my teachers. I look up to them so much, and they have truly strengthened my testimony beyond words. Sister Clark (one of my teachers) and I are going to room together at BYU when I get back, and I’m going to work at the MTC. I truly hope that happens! 🙂
 
We left the MTC at 3 o’clock in the morning. It was way too early for everyone, but we were all so excited to get to finally go to our respective missions. We traveled by bus to the airport, and then waited in line for 3 hours to be able to get through security and to our gate. Our plane was delayed, and we barely made it on before we left. I sat by another sister in my zone, and we basically slept the whole way to Denver (our connecting flight). The scary thing was that because our first plane was delayed, we only had 5 minutes to catch our flight to Toronto. Luckily, the gate was right next to the one that we got off on. That flight from Denver to Toronto had a LOT of turbulence. No mi gusta. We got off, and had a TERRIBLE time going through Canadian Customs. They  made a sister cry, and basically interrogated us for an hour. It was a little scary. We go to go pick up our luggage, and we find out that about 8 missionaries in our group had missing luggage, and so they had to go fill-out paperwork, and it was just a nightmare. We finally saw our mission president and his wife and they both welcomed our group (36 missionaries) with so much love and kindness. We then went on another bus to a hotel, where we would sleep for the night and have interviews with President Scott. I love President Scott and his wife, they really look after us missionaries. That night, I was asked to sing “The Spirit of God” at the new missionary devotional. It was an amazing experience.
 
The next morning we were assigned our companions and our area. I was assigned to serve in the Simcoe area with Sister Wester as my companion. What you probably don’t know about the Simcoe area is that it is brand new. Sister Wester and I are opening this area to missionary work. Opening up a new area on your first transfer of your mission is…well…to say the least….challenging. We don’t have any current investigators, but we are working hard (through tracting and contacting and referrals) to be able to bring some children of God to the knowledge of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. There is so much work to be done here, that sometimes Sister Wester and I just look at each other and say “Oy vey”. It is going to be really difficult and challenging the first couple of weeks, BUT we know that this area is prepared to hear this message. I can’t wait to tell you all about our investigators…once we get some. haha. 😉
 
I want to testify to you that Satan is REAL. He is a real destroyer. Please keep yourself close to Jesus Christ by reading your scriptures and praying daily. That will strengthen you to resist temptation and ban Lucifer from your life. I know that if you reach out to Heavenly Father that he will strengthen you in all things. Phillipians 4:13.
 
I just wanted to tell you all how much I miss you. My companion started singing “Nearer My God to Thee” around our apartment, and I just burst in to tears. I miss hearing Adam and Katie sing that at the piano. I miss Caleb’s sweet smile. And I miss my Mom telling me to “open my eyes bigger” and helping me get through a hard day’s work. I miss my Dad’s laugh and “stomp plie”.  I miss my friends. I miss everyone! HOWEVER. This is the work that I have been called to do. This is the work that the Lord has prepared me for. This is what I am supposed to be doing. Press forward, Saints!
 
Thank you all for the beautiful letters that you wrote me in the MTC. They buoyed me up and helped strengthen my resolve to learn as much about the gospel of Jesus Christ that I can. Communication from home truly just lifts your spirits and lets you know that you are loved. It helps…a lot. 🙂
 
Please, PLEASE know that I love you all so very much. My heart swells with gratitude when I think of all that you have done for me. I am so grateful for the refining influence that you have had in my life.
 
I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my responsibility and duty to proclaim the truthfulness of this work from the plains to the mountains! I know that this gospel is true. I feel like Joseph Smith, I knew it, and God knew it, and I could not deny it. Please gain a testimony for yourselves. If you feel as if you haven’t received an answer, become an honest seeker of truth. Pray with all the energy of heart to know if this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Without that knowledge, you can become lost. Hold to the rod!
 
I love you all, and pray for you everyday.
 
Love eternally,
Sister Colvin
 
p.s. I am preparing my “Things to Know for the MTC” list. I will get it in the mail today or tomorrow. You should be getting it soon. Mom and Dad, will you type it up and post it on the blog? I know that’s a lot of work, but it might help someone. 🙂
 
p.p.s. I love you.
 
p.p.p.s. I didn’t call you at the airport on Saturday, because I didn’t have time too. We were all running around and trying not to get lost in the airport. And…we weren’t supposed to email our families on Saturday. I was following exact obedience. 🙂
 
p.p.p.p.s.  Romans 8:18