Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A New Transfer and A New Companion

This transfer has already started out great! I've learned a lot and have grown a lot in the last 6 weeks. I'm thankful for the experiences I've had and for the things I've learned.
Monday was just a normal P-day, nothing that memorable happened.  We said goodbye to some members and investigators with Sister Nichols, but that was about it.
On Tuesday, we had transfers! In the morning we went to the mission office and dropped off Sister Nichols to her new companion, and we got Sister Stinnet, who is Sister Cummings new companion! We love her so much already. We can tell we are all going to get along really well. We moved all their stuff back to their apartment (since we had moved it to mine) and they got settled in. We contacted a few people, and then it was time to go to the mission office to meet the new missionaries! We all went into the relief society room and listened to President Neider for a bit. Then, one by one, he told us our companionships. My new companion is Sister Julie Harrison! She is 19 years old and is from North-Central Florida! She went to BYU-I for a year before coming out here. She is the youngest of 5 kids. She is super smart and is hard working and is super fun. I love her already! And she even joins me when I sing in the car (take that, Mom and Dad!). We are great friends already and I am so excited to be with her! It was really funny because before transfers we got the pictures and list of the new missionaries and Sister Cummings picked that Sister Harrison would be my companion. She was so proud.
We moved in that night, had dinner at Bishop's house, and contacted some people. We got to know each other and just laughed and talked! I love Sister Harrison!
On Wednesday we went to new missionary training all day. It was really awesome and I felt way more confident about training a new missionary than before. After our meeting, we met with our 9-year-old investigator, Avery. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since she was raised in the church, all of this is really just review and she practically teaches us. It's awesome! Her Dad is less active and he has been getting involved. The spirit is so strong there. He cried in our lesson this week when we were taking about feeling the Spirit! We are hoping that he will start coming back to church!
After that we had dinner in the guarded community in our area. I had never been in there before -  you have to have an appointment! The houses in there were CRAZY huge! They all had 5 garages and huge front doors and huge fountains and were like 6 stories high. Oh my gosh. It was like the DeVos house - but bigger and a whole neighborhood of them!!!! I am not even kidding.
Thursday was Thanksgiving, so we dropped off cookies to all the "Do Not Contact" people in our ward, did service, and other things that wouldn't get too in the way of families spending time together. That night we went to the Gorman-Payne's house. They had lots of family over for dinner and we had a lot of fun with them! They had super good food (even if it wasn't Dad's famous Thanksgiving potatoes). After dinner they have a tradition of decorating gingerbread houses to welcome Christmas in! It was a lot of fun, and Sister Harrison and I built a gingerbread Temple, complete with an "Angel Moroni" on top :) We were pretty proud. We stopped at our ward mission leader's house afterwards for "pie-hopping".  Although I missed being in our house packed with family and friends, we had a great Thanksgiving :)
On Friday morning we got a call from Avery's Dad. He told us that all their family was in town this weekend and that he knew it was super last minute, but could Avery's baptism be that night. We paused for a second, and then I said, "Well, let us call a few people, and we'll make it happen!" So the whole day was spent scrambling to call people and reserve the building and getting keys to the building and finding out who was doing what on the program and finding someone to conduct and welcome her into the ward- which was not easy, because everyone was out of town, and our Bishop went to Mexico for Thanksgiving! But, we did it! We got her interviewed, thanks to Elder Tyree for scheduling a last minute interview. We got to the church to fill the font, but the faucet was a little broken, so it wasn't filling up fast enough. We ran to the kitchen and got all the pitchers we could find, and then found a leaky bucket in the custodial closet. I filled up pitchers and the leaky bucket in the custodial closet while Sister Harrison and the Elders ran back and forth to fill up the font! It was crazy and we were laughing the whole time. I was absolutely soaked by the time the baptism started - but we did it. It was one of the most amazing baptisms I have attended. The family all came together and had great talks, the baptism was great, her Dad was crying the whole time, and the Spirit was just so strong there. Afterwards, when Brother Dalrymple, the first counselor, was welcoming her to the ward, he left a blessing on everyone that was there. It was incredible. For a last minute baptism - it was the best.
On Saturday morning we went to get hot chocolate with Missy, Ben, and Devan. Missy is so awesome and has such a strong testimony. I am so impressed that, despite her parents, she stays so strong. She has a strong desire to be baptized and will do whatever it takes to have that. I love her.
Sister Cummings and Sister Stinnet had lunch with us. We also did some service that day and helped clean the church with our ward. Other than that, we just spent time contacting people and trying to find people to teach!

On Sunday we had fast and testimony meeting and Sister Harrison was asked to share her testimony. Missy was able to come to church! We had dinner with the Lee's, who just moved to the condos above the outdoor mall here - it made me want to move to the houses above the shops in downtown Holland, it was so cute and fun! We had a great time with them. They have a daughter serving in Tampa Florida. Just a side note, if you've ever read President Monson's little book called "Consider the Blessings" one of the stories (about "Elder Allen") is about Sister Lee's Dad! :)
There was a Christmas concert in our stake center, so we went to catch the end of it, and I got to see Miss McDade! She had come to the concert and brought Sister Harrison and I Christmas presents. She is so sweet. I love her. And I miss Karina! I wish she had been there too, but hopefully I will see them both soon!
That was about it for us this week. We are excited about the transfer and about being companions with each other.
We have a lot of cool new ideas to find people here! Pray that they work :)
Thanks for everything and I love you!

Love, Sister Coltrin

Sister Coltrin working on the gingerbread Temple.

Sister Harrison and Sister Coltrin with their gingerbread temple.
Sister Harrison, Missy, and Sister Coltrin

Sister Coltrin, Avery, and Sister Harrison at the baptism

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