Tuesday, October 15, 2013

PICTURES from the field!

Sister Oveson at the Cider Party working on the actual press

Sis Oveson and Sis Cottam

Sis Suckow and Sis Cottam

Alanna cranking some apples at the Cider Party

Inspiration Wall in Montrose :-)

I love the title of your email this week!!  Yeah its hokey, but I love it!  ;)  And in advance, I would like to apologize for how all over the place this email is!

Anyway!  I haven't really been able to talk with Pres. Anderson about being related to Jens Christian Andersen...  Its hard because generally when I do see him, its not for very long and there are other things that need to be discussed, but I'm hoping to find the time to ask him about it!  :)

Okay, and as for Christmas Carol, you're right, you did hear me laughing!  That is SOO funny!!  And that really is so cool how many generations there are involved!!  And who knows?  Maybe Mac or I will have munchkins of our own to continue our own family legacy...  ;)

And thank you SO much for telling me about Bryn!!!!  I wondered how she liked the letter and it makes me a little misty to think about her.  I'm hoping to actually write up a letter for her today, so Scott and Traci don't have to be worried at all about Bryn getting letters!  ;)  I love her so much, so please whenever you get the chance, give her hugs for me, since if I were there, I would be hugging that sweet girl every chance I had!!  And I'm so glad to hear that Traci may be seeing her full potential!!  :D

And not to worry about Mac not emailing me, it gives me another excuse to call him a punk!  ;)  And I'm so glad to hear that he finally gave a talk in Sacrament!!  :D  And that it went so well!  I can just see him writing out the bullet points and then going a little blank, but making the very most of it!  :) And that is super scary to think of him at your eye level!!!  If he keeps growing this steadily, he's not going to be quite so much of my "little" man when I get back...  CRAZY!!  O_o

And I'm so excited that you were able to have the missionaries over!!  :D  And that's crazy that they shared a message about the stripling warriors because we shared a message yesterday about the warriors and when we talked about how they doubted not that their mothers' knew it, I couldn't help but think of you...  :)

And Dad's right, I totally just squealed for Denice being the Stake YW Camp Director!  Although funny thought, at first all I saw was Stake YW Camp Director so I thought that YOU had been called to that!  Yeah, it was a funny picture that popped into my head...  ;)

As for Yvette and Schuyler, I do have their address actually!  But I don't have it on me, so I 'll send it in the actual letter that I'm sending off to you today...  (Yup, you get an email AND a letter!)  And for Carol Griffin, I'm friends with her on FB and you could just ask her through my FB account.  And actually...  I don't have Daniel's proper email and I've tried every combination I can think of so if you could please ask her on FB for me, that would fantastic!!

Thank you for the package!  My coat fits perfectly and should be plenty warm.  And BIG thank you for sending so many of my hats!  :D  I'm so excited for when it gets cold enough for me to wear them now!!  Also, thanks for the gloves, those will come in super handy!  (Haha, handy, see what I did there)  And wool socks (no matter the length) would be greatly appreciated.  But don't worry too much about your little chick, its going to get cold, but I'll handle it!  I lived in Logan where they've already gotten snow (so I'm told)!  ;)

The zone activity last week was SO much fun!  I wish we would have been able to get down there sooner but we had so much to do that we only made it for one out of the three hours that it was going on...  And it was super rainy so we were playing in the gym and we played "volleyball" (their version of volleyball was basically just hit the ball but it was fun) and Can Jam which is pretty much indoor ultimate frisbee.  It was so much fun!!  And one of the sisters in my zone is actually from my old YSA ward up in Logan!!  Crazy right?!  But I guess we must be related because I don't think anyone expected me to be as athletic/into the game of Can Jam, I actually even shocked Sis Oveson!  ;)

And thank you for the prayers!  They are much needed right now...  Over the last week, we've had every single one of our investigators drop, including Jake, the young man who had a baptismal date.  So we're pretty much starting from scratch.  With that being said, this week was very difficult.  In all honesty, it was probably one of the hardest weeks of my life.  But thankfully, the Lord has provided me with the best companion who had a nice long talk with me about continuing to push on.  It also was very interesting to me to look back through my notes from Conference and see all the revelation I'd received about enduring to the end.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, but He knows me and knows exactly what I need and when I need it.  So for now, as Debby said, I may just be planting seeds in this area, but I'm doing the Lord's work and am being blessed for it.

And this week hasn't been all bad!  On Wed. we had exchanges with the other set of sisters from our district and originally Sister Adams (the senior companion from Wilkes-Barre) was supposed to come up to Montrose with me and Sister Oveson was going down to Wilkes-Barre to pair up with Sister Suckow.  And I was really excited about it but was wishing a little that Sister Suckow could come up to Montrose because Sis O keeps calling us "spirit twins" and she and I have just hit it off SO well!  Well, on Tues night, we got a phone call from the Wilkes-Barre sisters asking if it would be okay with us if Sis Suckow came up here instead because of some of the appointments that they had down in Wilkes-Barre.  :D  So Wed, my companion was Sis Suckow who is super into music and theater and actually LOVES Hale!  And over and over again, we just kept realizing that we truly are spirit twins!  So needless to say, Wed was probably the funnest days ever!  :D  

Also this week, there are some members in our Branch that have an annual Cider Party where they make apple cider for a few hours and invite all their friends and about 75% of their friends are nonmembers.  So they invited us to meet some of their friends and it was so much fun!  I sent a couple pictures from it just because it really was so much fun and the apple cider that we now have in our fridge is SUPER yummy!  :D

Also this week, on Tues, we had Golden Retraining down south that lasted all day.  Seriously, we left our apartment at 7:30 am and didn't get back until about 6-6:30 pm.  And it wasn't even all the way down in Philly!!  O_o  But it was so much fun to see a few of my friends from the MTC, although most of the people that were there were actually from the other MTC zone or from the Mexico MTC, but there were a few people...  It also was just so nice to be able to get so much advice from President and from the Assistants and to hear that we really are doing a good job even though it may not always feel that way...

Oh!  And question for you!  Could you look to see if we have a piano arrangement of Come Thou Fount?  The music coordinator for our branch has asked me if I can play next month and she's specifically requested that song, but I didn't bring any music for that song...  If we don't have it, that's fine, just let me know please!  And also, could you possibly send me the 10 Virgins stuff?  If you can't, that's fine, but I just figured I'd ask since we're just trying to come up with something, anything, to do to invite people to our church building...  But we do have a lot of ideas, so if you can't send it, seriously, do not worry about it!  

Thank you so much for all your love, prayers, and support.  I truly feel it everyday!  As I said, this week has been very discouraging, but the thing that has helped me most to keep going is knowing that you're 100% behind me and that you have faith in me.  I also know that the Lord does provide blessings as long as we're obedient, just as Elder Bednar's talk in conference said.  Although he specifically was talking about tithing, it completely applies to every commandment of the Gospel.  The Lord does know and bless each of us with what we need most.  It may not be what we want or exactly how we want it, but the Lord knows best and as long as we remain obedient, in the end, everything will be made right.

Again, sorry for how much I bounced around in this email...  And keep looking in the mailbox for my letter!  ;)

SO MUCH LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Sister Fred...  Cottam  :)

Dear Mom,
You're awesome!  I know I didn't say this enough when I was at home, but I really don't know how you juggle it all.  You are just the great mommy ever!  :D

Anyway, I'm so excited for you that you're show is now over!  :)  You seemed so busy with it, I'm excited that you'll be able to take a little bit of time off...  Kind of...  Oh and question!  I never actually heard about Christmas Carol!  So are you and dad the Fezziwigs (I don't know if I spelled that right...) again?  I have that picture of you and dad in Christmas Carol on my wall and so I've been meaning to ask, but kept forgetting...  As for the package, I haven't received it yet, but it could be waiting for me at the apartment or it could get here tomorrow, so thank you!  :D  And as for some wool socks, I'm not too worried about it, but if you want to send some, I'm not going to say no...  ;)  And as for money, I'm actually just fine.  Because its the first of the month, I have quite a bit on my mission debit card and I still have quite a bit of cash with me.  And then there's Grandma's sock money just in case something happens...  But thank you for worrying about me!  :)

And I agree, as Saturday morning conference started, I had flashbacks back to last year and its crazy to think it was last year!  At the moment it feels a lifetime away!  Granted, it feels like I've been in the mission field much longer than 3 weeks too.  :P  But not in a bad way, I've just acclimatized to the mission very quickly.  :)  But there are moments when it feels like I've been gone no time at all...  I actually hit my one month mark since I reported to the MTC last week and its crazy!  It does not feel like its been that long!  And I know that the next 17 months are just going to fly, so I'm trying to make the most of every single moment I have here!  :)

And thanks for including Samm's email!  I can't wait to read what is happening in her mission!  She is so wonderful!  And please pass along congratulations to Marilynne for me!  That's SO exciting!!  And thank you for keeping me updated on Grandma and Grandpa.  :)  I think I told you this last week, but I have a picture of them up on the wall by my desk along a picture of us as a family and a picture of Mac and I and my mission goals because they help me to stay focused on the work and serve as reminders of why I'm here and what I want to accomplish.

And thank you for updating me on Bryn!  I think about her a LOT!  And I miss her like crazy!!! I knew that she wanted to take the bus, but before I left, she was still refusing to give a talk in Primary. So reading that I actually got very misty thinking about my sweet girl and how much she's growing!  :)  Give her a hug for me next time you see her, please?  :)

I'm sorry this email is so all over the place!  I'm rushing a little because we're going down to Scranton today for zone unity activities (YAY) but because of that, we're running a little low on time this week...  Anyway!  This week for me was very interesting....

We met with President Anderson this week.  We had interviews with him and with Sister Anderson and it was so wonderful to meet and greet with them for a little bit.  They are so wonderful!  Then on Friday (my one month mark) I ended up sick...  :P  So it was a very slow day...  I ended up waking up very sick to my stomach, and I tried to get moving, but I just couldn't.  So Sis O had me sleep until lunch, then I had some noodles with butter and salt and pepper.  I still wasn't feeling great though, so thankfully our zone leaders were in our area that day so I got a priesthood blessing from them and then we went and got some Gatorade. By that evening I was feeling much better and we actually got quite a bit accomplished surprisingly enough...

Then Sat and Sun were Conference and I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!  Missionaries kept telling me that Conference as a missionary is like Christmas (or even better than Christmas) and I thought that they were just exaggerating.  False!  Conference is like Christmas!!  I seriously feel so rejuvenated and refreshed!  Before Conference, I was starting to get a little discouraged because since I've arrived in the field we've lost 4 investigators and Jake has just been so wishy-washy.  And we really are doing our best, but we're just not having any luck in finding anyone to teach...  But Conference has lifted my spirits SOOOOO much!!  I was truly amazed by how many messages seemed just for me.  And what amazed me even more, was how different quotes, one-liners, stories, etc. that came to mind that kind of fit with the talk but not really...  So I would DEFINITELY encourage you to go back and read through/watch conference.  I understand that you were busy, but seriously, go back and read them!  They were so good!!!!  :D :D :D

Besides conference, Sis O and I are starting up a new finding tool - church meetinghouse tours.  So what we do is invite people from the community to come to our church building and we give them a tour of the building while explaining our "basic beliefs and history."  So while we go through the building, we teach them the Restoration lesson!  ;)  We had scheduled our first tours this weekend around conference, but no one actually showed up... So we gave run-through tours to members!  :)  They really are fantastic!  Once we get the word out about the tours and if we can get the members to bring people, our teaching pool is going to explode!  :D

So yeah, that's my life over the last week...  Crazy!  And kinda slow.  But I find myself learning more and more about myself and I'm coming to understand exactly what it means to rely upon the Savior completely.  Its good.  Its hard.  But is wonderful!  I love how much I'm learning and growing and I love the person I'm becoming.  :)  Missionary work is a miracle.  

I love you more than I can say!!!  <3

Love always,
Sister Cottam

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


So last week I tried to send you an additional email besides the major update but apparently there was an error message about sending it so I've attached it this week...  :P

And I did get your letter a couple days ago, but that explains the larger envelope holding your letter...  Sis O and I laughed a little about that.  :)  And you totally can email me your letter!  I said in the letter to you last week (that you didn't get) that I actually have a lot of time to email.  There isn't really a time limit in this mission because there isn't an actual time limit in the white Bible so as long as we don't spend too much time and as long as it doesn't distract me from the work, I'm allowed up to three hours of email time.  (And that three hours is because we use the library computers and that's their cut-off.)  And although I do like snail-mail, I don't really have a preference, so seriously, don't stress about making it a letter.  You can email me all you want!  ;)

And thank you for having that package ready to send!!  Its warming up since week before last, so it isn't as bad, but I'm still very appreciative!  :)  Something you can throw in there are some gloves and a hat or two that grandma made me (if you can find them that is...).  I found out that I am allowed to wear winter hats, so it might be nice to have.  :)  Although I don't know if I actually packed those up or not...  So if you can find one or two, send them please.  But if you can't easily find them, don't worry about it!  And as for my room, I tried to clean it really well, so I don't think you'll find any major issues in there...  But I was the one who packed and cleaned, so who knows!  ;)  And you're right about Target and Walmart.  We don't have them!  So if there's anything you feel like sending, that you think I might need, please feel free!  ;)  Oh!  One other thing I'd really like to request is a small Children's Songbook!  That may have to wait till Christmas or something, but it would be really nice to have the primary songs with me.  :)

As for Monty, I don't know if that's really true or not...  From everything I've heard, it completely depends on the missionary.  So we'll see!  :)  And that is crazy that David's farewell was on Sunday!!  So does that mean he left this last week or when does he actually report?  And I hope you wished him luck for me!  :)

As for my district, we actually have another set of sisters and two sets of elders as well as the Crumps...  We're spread out a bit so for district meeting we go down to Tunkhannock because that's about half way for everyone...  And then the zone that we're a part of is the Scranton zone...  

As for my music, I'm still trying to find ways to use it...  Its difficult when I don't have a piano to practice on, so I'm getting a little rusty, and my voice isn't in the greatest shape right now.  I don't really know why, but its just kinda bleh right now...  Anyway, I did talk with one of the ladies in the branch and I may be doing something sometime in Nov. for the branch...  However!  Sis O and I are starting church tours and we've been using music as a part of that!  :)  And the church tour is just where we show them around the building, explain the general purpose of each room, and teach a lesson along the way.  Its so awesome!!  We did one last week where we taught the Plan of Salvation to Jake (our only investigator) and it was incredible!  The spirit was so strong by the end of the tour that Sis O was crying and it was taking everything inside of me not to cry!  So yeah...  Still trying to figure out how to use the music but its a work in progress.  :)

And don't feel bad that you couldn't feed the missionaries!  There are a few families in the branch that don't feed us because their schedules are such that they really can't and its just fine!  I still love them just as much as the other members and I know that they're doing missionary work in their own way.  :)  Just like you!

As for Jake, we're hoping to meet with him tonight and we're going to have to push back his baptismal date because he hasn't come to church yet...  :P  So, its disappointing, but he still seems very interested, so we just have to figure out what it is that's running through his head...

With that being said, our major focus right now is finding.  So we're out potential finding and door-knocking almost every day.  Which made me laugh when you asked how tracting works, because that's pretty much all we're doing right now!  :)P  But generally what we do, because of how rural the area is(which by the way, we're getting our SECOND stoplight here in Montrose! Crazy right?! :P), we look back through former and potential investigators in a specifically part of our area.  We write down their names and addresses and then try contacting them.  Most of the time, we don't have the right address because the address system changed a few years back, so we knock on their neighbor's doors asking if they know So-and-so.  That's generally how we get started just because people are so willing to help us generally.  And we also ask a lot of people for referrals...  We don't get a lot, but we got one last night that might actually pan out!  :D  So tracting isn't all that different here than anywhere else...  It just requires some driving along with walking.  :)

And our area is from the New York border down to the Susquehanna county line.  So its good sized but it only takes about an hour to get across the county from end to end...  So its not that bad!  :)  We just have to make sure we plan in travel time.  

Thanks for update on Grandma!  Send her my love as well!  I have a picture of Grandma and Grandpa right next to my desk that I look at every morning.  So please pass along my gratitude for their continuous support and my love for them!!

I'm glad to hear that all is well at home.  And glad to hear that everyone's busy.  I keep finding over and over again that the hardest points of the week are when I'm not busy.  That's when I get caught up thinking about home or thinking about all the ways we have to improve here in our area...  But as soon as we're out and working and keeping busy, my focus is always in the right place and everything is better.  :)

Something that happened this week that we super wonderful was that we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders.  They're both in the home stretch of their missions and so it was great to be able to go out and teach with Sister Gottfredson.  She had so many wonderful insights and she was just so supportive!  While they were here, we had interviews with them, and mine was with Sister Gottfredson and it was exactly what I needed.  :)  It helped me to recognize where I can and need to improve and she also gave me some wonderful advice, mainly about how to focus better.  :)

So overall, life right now in the field is quite the adventure.  I'm learning a TON and I'm loving it!  There are times where it isn't easy, but the Lord never said it would be easy, He just said it would be worth it.  And I know that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be right now.  I know that I promised many, many years ago that I would go and do as He's commanded.  To go and invite others to come closer to Christ.  So I know that He will continue to strengthen me and even carry me on those days when I just don't what to do anything.  Because He already has. The Lord works miracles as long as we have faith and act on that faith.

I love you so much!  Thank you for your prayers and support!  I truly feel them lifting me up.  I miss you a lot and I know you miss me too, but I know that I will blink and I'll be coming home, so I've got to make the most of this wonderful opportune moment.  Know my prayers are with you always!

Much love!
Sister "Fred" Cottam