Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello from Montrose!

I seriously just laughed so hard at your email!  You're such a creep!!!  But I love it!  And you're right, I am in the country.  We actually are the only sisters in the mission with a truck because we have to have one!  :)  So yeah, I'm getting a kick out of how I guessed I'd end up rural and here I am, rural PA!  ;)P  But I absolutely love it here!  The Branch is absolutely fantastic!  They actually have a calendar for the missionaries where the members have a night each month to feed us and then they come out with us for a lesson or two.  So when most missions are having problems with having too many investigators and not enough members, we have the exact opposite problem, we have plenty of members that are eager to come out and help us, but we don't have enough investigators to teach with them...  :/  And because of that, we're our focus in the branch, in our area, and even in our entire mission right now is member missionary work.  But I'll come back to that later...

I wrote you a short letter on our way back from Philadelphia on Wed, but we didn't get it sent until later, so I don't think you would have gotten it yet...  And I thought about not sending it and just having you read the email, but I think you'll get a kick out of it...  Anyway, I see that you already have my address (and that is the same address for packages too.  We have a porch so we can get packages plus we're never in Broomall unless there's a transfer, which I shouldn't be getting transferred until around Christmas), and our apartment is really big!  There's only myself and my companion, Sister Oveson, living there but I have an entire room for my closet!  :)  We also have a decent kitchen, but I haven't really used it since we get fed so much!  ;)  Anyway, Sister Oveson is from Nephi, UT and also loves music (YAY) but is also really into sports.  So its interesting...  We listen to a lot of music and we get a long really well.  She just finished being a Golden (that's what they call Greenies in the mission-I'm not a greenie, I'm a golden) so she gets a little nervous and self conscious sometimes...  She also doubts herself occasionally, but I love how well we work together!  She's an extremely hard worker and knows her stuff.  :)  So I'm learning a lot!  But she likes to tease me and ask how I can be learning so much when I came to the field so prepared.  ;)

Also in our area, there's a senior couple, the Crumps, who are from Bluffdale, UT and they are the nicest sweetest people!  We've seen them a lot this last week with the goings-ons of the Branch, and I just love spending time with them!  They also like to poke fun and tease me, so they feel like family!  ;)

As I said earlier, we don't have a lot of investigators...  We actually only have five right now, and we're thinking that one of them is dropping off...  :(  But!  We taught the first lesson to a new-ish investigator this week (they had met with him before and left him a Book of Mormon) and before we even started teaching him about the Restoration, he committed to being baptized on Oct. 27!!  Sis Oveson says that Goldens bring miracles, and that is one of them.  But he is so excited about learning as much as he can; its wonderful!!!!!  He actually went down to the stake center with us(and the Crumps) for a special fireside last night and so on our way back, we asked him about what he thought about the meeting and what questions he had.  I expected him to be confused since the fireside ended up being directed more at the members (and I'll get to that later...) but Jake said that he loved the meeting, that he didn't have any questions, and that it just 'seems right to him.'  Elder Crump then asked him about his baptismal date and Jake said that he was SO excited to be baptized!  O_o  And wait, there's more!  We ended up talking about his Book of Mormon reading and he told us that he's reading about 12-25 pages a day!!  Now you have to understand, Jake dropped out of high school and is not the reading type, but he's reading every day and he's generally reading 12-25 pages!!  When he said that, I was so excited I felt like I was going to jump right out of my skin!!!

However, its not all been so fantastic...  As I said, we have an investigator who we think is going to drop, we also gained a new investigator this week, but she didn't come to church and doesn't seem super interested in the Gospel.  We also went tracting for a while this week, and that was quite the experience...  So as I said, I really am learning an awful lot about myself and I'm learning a lot about teaching.  And although it isn't always easy, I really am loving every single minute of it!

One last thing...  Over the last two weeks, there has been a major focus on member missionary work.  In the MTC, we had a Elder Martino of the Seventy come and speak to us and his entire talk was about finding members to be our Amulek.  He talked about how much time Alma spent with Amulek to teach him and his family, and then they went out together sharing the Gospel.  And since coming out to the field, I found out that there is a new number goal that missionaries are to report daily and weekly for the church to keep track of...  Its called IBM, Individuals Brought by Members.  So up here in Montrose, we're challenging our members to invite friends to our dinner appointments or to invite them to come get a tour of the meeting house from the missionaries and various other activities we have.  And then last night, we had a special fireside by Pres. and Sis Andersen down at the Scranton stake center.  One of my favorite one-liners from them was that "You may be active in church, but you're less active in the Gospel if you're not doing what has been asked of us - to share the Gospel!"  And it is so true!  I'm finding over and over that there's only so much we can do as missionaries if the members don't do their part.  So as a full time missionary, I invite all of you to read Jacob 4:12-13 and do as it says.  Open your mouths.  Share you're testimonies!  I know its awkward and I know that its hard, but as you do it more and more, it gets easier.  Remember, every single person is a child of God and if you're not sharing the Gospel with everyone around you because of this or that, you're depriving them of the opportunity to know of Christ's Atonement, to use that in their lives, and essentially, you're not allowing them to come back to their Heavenly Father.  So seriously, I challenge you this week to read Jacob 4:12-13, think about someone who you know at least fairly well who is not a member or who is inactive, and find some way of sharing something with them and then invite them to act upon whatever it is you 'teach.'  You don't have to sit down and have a full on missionary discussion with them, but invite them to check out  Invite them to learn more about family history.  Invite them to come closer to Christ.

I love you all so much!  Thank you for all your wonderful support, I truly feel your prayers and know you're thoughts are with me!!

Sister Cottam  <3

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