Sunday, November 19, 2017

Week 21 - Chicago

November 5-12 500 Testimonies Later:

Hi everyone!

This week was full of difficulties and challenges but I love challenges therefore it was a good week for me. We have transfers this week and I learned Ill be getting Sis Pruitt whos Mongolian speaking. It's definitely bitter sweet. It snowed for the first time of the year too! I laughed and threw snowballs at Sis Andrews. It dropped into the high 10s but with my new coat and determination, I had fun.

Two and half weeks ago, we received 500 cards inviting people to the Downtown church building in which there was a interfaith concert, tours and the dedication. Sis Andrews and I made a goal that we will not only pass out all 500 but bear our testimonies with each one... it was hard! At the start of this week we had about half of our deck and our week was full of teaching and helping with the Open house itself. We prayed we will be able to find people and time so we can accomplish our goal and have the best turnout for these events. Sure enough it snowed which means we walked to each appointment or used the train. It really was a miracle. Every soul we saw, we invited them straight away to our events. Whenever we saw a family or big group we immediately jumped at the opportunity and handed out one to each adult! (we even contacted a gang in a public place which was quite funny. They all thought going to a concert would be "so dope." little did they know it was gospel choirs singing opposed to rap and rock 😅) I was so thrilled and humbled when we passed out our last card to an elder man who said he was looking for a new church. Without God, we never wouldve found the time. I'm so grateful we could do it.

So I've been praying and hoping Id stay in this area so then I can help with the new Downtown building for months. And when the Zone leaders personally asked us to help tour people around it for two days, I was smiling all day long. I was SO excited. We were one of eight out of the 67 companionships in my mission who had this opportunity ....and we couldnt go. The night before my companion was throwing up every two hours and had a high fever. So very, very reluctantly, I told her to sleep, called a replacement and call former investagators and less actives for several hours. It was brutal but luckily John and Erlinda wanted to go to the tour on Sunday and my comp was feeling better. We took selfies, ate cookies and marveled at this beautiful building. Good stuff. 

This work can be hard but its well worth it when you count the miracles and focus on them. I know that this the church true with every fiber of being. Although things are hard now, we will be lifted up in the last day in endless joy if we will just hold on. Have a great week y'all :)

Sister Emily Coley

Moroni 4:2-3 The Sevenity member who dedicated the Clark Street building said that the most quoted scripture is the Sacrament prayer. How bless are we to gather together every week to renew our covenants with God and feel of his everlasting healing and peace. 

Photos 1. Sis Andrews and I 2. Went contacting at a 1800s water tower on Exchanges 3. Pigeons! Everywhere! 4. Food at the Open house 5. Our tour group 6. Snow day

Week 20 - Chicago

October 30 - November 5  Water Works

Hey y'all!

Shout out to my big brother Tyler whose birthday is on Sunday. I love you!!

Erlinda was baptized!!! It was so beautiful. She was my very first Book of Mormon referral and ever since we made contact with her, she had a special place in my heart. Gah, I love her so much. She has such a powerful testimony on how God knows and loves her. People filled the whole Relief Society room and everyone celebrated with her. She accientally slipped the first time but I felt the Spirit when she came up out of the water the second. Ahh Im still shocked it happen. She then bore her testimony in Fast and Testimony meeting and it was powerful! These are definitely the moments worth fighting for! I love her.

Halloween was SO much fun! I felt like I was trick or treating but receiving no candy. It was great. So this area is filled with apartments and is really sketchy at night; therefore, no parent will ever let their kids knock on stranger's door. So families go trick or treating at stores, which was perfect for us to spread the joyful news of families can be together forever. We simply walked up to a family, fan-girl over their costumes, take a picture with an invitation to the Downtown building, testify and shared the picture to the parents through text/Facebook Messenger. It was SO easy to get numbers, we LOVED it. We got Spiderman, Woody, Donut, Elsa, Kissing Booth, husky (shout to my kid brother who was that too) Mario, etc. Ive never had more fun contacting and some pictures are below.

We had Zone Conference too. In which I really understood the gift of prophecy during that meeting. The record in this mission for baptisms in a month is 21, and President has visioned this mission raising that number not just to 22 or 28 but to 36. His White Christmas challenge is that each ward (theres 36 of them) will have a baptism in December. As crazy as it sounds right now, I know that we are obedient to a T on every rule, it will happen. We can find another person like Erlinda and others can too, despite the area. I really trust that itll happen if we have the exceedling faith, obedience and work ethic that Nephi, Moses and Captain Moroni had then we can move mountains to obtain this goal. Im fired up :) Have an awesome week!

Sister Emily Coley

Ether 12:11-22 and Hebrews 11:17-27 Im obsessed with pointing out these scripture similarities to everyone we see on the streets :) theyre so powerful, check it out! 

Photos: 1. Spidey 2. Giraffe and Racoon 3. Sisters and us played at the best playground ever for Pday 4. Erlindas baptism!! 

Weel 19 - Chicago

October 23-29 Foxes and Unicorns

Hi y'all!

This week was so amazing! My zone was invited to take a private tour around the new six story church building right in the heart of Chicago (its near Navy Pier and Trump Tower for all of you Chicagoians 😉) with our Mission President and a member of the Seventy. This building is full of miracles. For seven years, the church members has been going to churcn in a Catholic school building with no A/C or heater on weekends and  now theyre given the most high-tech church builiding in the world (well for now). They built an outdoor courtyard with plants and benchs, every room has a window view even the pews to recline (dead serious, its a Chicago rule to provide big seats for people over 250 llbs.) Man, its so sick. Its my dream to serve there. Weve been doing all we can to invite people to the concert, tours and dedication on Nov. 12th. Weve got investagators going! Im so pumped

We had a wonderful tithing lesson with our retired Philippino investagator, Erlinda. In September she dropped us the night before her baptism because she doesnt believe she should give 10% of her increase. So needless to say, I was super worried and cautious to talk about it but wow, when someone is truly ready for baptism theyll do everything thats asked of them. Before we even started going, she said she already has planned out how much money every week she'll take out so by the end of the month itll be her 10%. She concluded "This is a huge sacrifice and I pray Ill be able to survive. But I love the Lord and I know he will never leave me bankrupt." The Spirit was so strong and we all were crying through our testimonies of this church. Then she was given a priesthood blessing by her Australian LDS boyfriend. Shes so much stronger in the gospel than before. It reminds me of Ether 12:6 where you recieve no miracle until after the trial of your faith. Please pray for Erlinda. If all goes well she'll be baptized on Saturday.

We also had the annual ward Halloween party which was really fun. Sis Andrews dressed up like Tiana from Princess and the Frog (so basically just a green dress and carried a plastic frog around). And I dressed up like Cinderella (and just wore a blue dress and with one shoe). It was fun and the kids loved it. There was a Chili cook off, a cake walk, mummy wrapping games and trunk or treat. Quite a few of our investagator families showed up and really enjoyed it. 

Anyway, happy Halloween! Have a great week

Sister Emily Coley 

Moroni 9:25-26 For a life-changing view on life read Neal Maxwells Oct. 1995 talk Swallowed up on the Will of the Father 

Photos: 1. Clark Street building downtown 2. and 3. We were having fun in the costume section of Target

Week 18 - Chicago

October 16-23

Hi y'all :)

I hope you all had fun over Fall Break! I love you each of you so much and thank you for all of your support this far.

We have had such a great week! My President has been really going om to us about "catching the vision" of what we can do to help our areas really grow. Specifically he has asked us to really ask the Lord how many people we are supposed to find here and baptize here and do whatever it takes to make that goal. In my area it seems like were constantly flowing with adding new investagators and dropping old and its constantly flowing with lessons but few have been ready to really keep some commandments. So my comp and I really talked, prayed and set appropriate goals to achieve it. Afterwards miracles just started to flow in. Its amazing what you can do with a vision.

One of the miracles is a former investagator of ours of about a month, randomly popped up at sacrament meeting. We had a lesson with her and with tears flowing down her face she said "I have seen my life with this church and without it, and Ive never seen such a big difference in my life." Shes on date for the 3rd of November and I couldnt have been happier to see her. I truly was reminded of the prodigal son and how happy the father mustve been.

Another miracle, weve been teaching this single mom with three children all under the age of 6 and are usually running around everywhere. In this particular lesson, Ive never seen her children so still, calm and mesmerized. We felt prompted to invite her to be baptized and her cute two sons jumped up and said "I want to be baptized" and "me too". This mom has taken that as a sign that this church has a strong power in it.

Another is during our Weekly Planning (its when you plan and make goals for all of your investagators for the next week for 3 hours) we were going through PNI (potential investagators) and we couldnt get ahold of anyone or no one was interested. We were quickly bored and quickly dreaded each phone call. I then remembered our vision and promise to God and said a quick prayer. Sure enough the next four people on our list which we havent gotten ahold of for 3 weeks got back to us and are now pretty solid investagators.

God really is a God of miracles. All he wants to do is to help us and see us grow. And when we come to him with goals, he will manifest himself unto us and help us grow more. Have a great week y'all!

Sister Emily Coley

Ether 4:16-19 The purpose of life and how to be happy all wrapped up in 3 short verses.

Photos 1 and 2 Chicago 3. Eating at Molly's Cupcakes 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Week 17 - Chicago

Hi y'all :)

Happy Fall!! Shout out to the best little brother in the world, Kevin, whose 11th birthday is on Thursday. Happy Birthday Kid!!

So we taught a lot and laughed a lot this week. It was just a great week in general. We once again got soaked (Ive never been rained on so hard before in my life) but we were smiling through it. I love challenges, they show you what your made of.  Although, some members reported that theres 2 ft. of water in their house (I totally believe it) so weve been helping them out. It's been fun!

We went Muslim contacting over the weekend (you know to spice it up) and found a man named Arshad. We started talking about how "God is the same yesterday, today and forever" therefore God would call a prophet today and he really was fascinated. Although for our first appointment, we showed up at this tea shop and he was there with his minister who has a MBA in Finance and PhD in Religion.... needless to say we were scared 🤣 We started teaching through the pamphlet and it turned into a lively but peaceful conversation on the similarities we have with Islam. It definitely changed my perception and we really agreed on a lot of things. We got to Joseph Smith and I just felt like I should bear my testimony and wow, the Spirit really confirmed to me that what I was saying was true. I started to feel about for this minister who has study religion all his life but still doesnt understand. We texted Arshad afterwards and he said "You know there's a difference when you teach compared to him. Call me anytime for a Bible study." We were super excited.

Other than that, weve just been teach the same folks and inviting more and more people to Christ. Weve had a lot of support to from free dinners to someone heartattacking our bedroom after a very cold and rainy day. I want y'all to know that I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. That he was the man who was humble enough to ask God a simple question and by doing so has changed millions of lives. One of my all time favorite lyrics is "Millions shall know Brother Joesph again." I testify that he restored Jesus Christ church and Im proud to testify of him everyday. Have a great week y'all :) 

Sister Emily Coley

D&C 135:3-7 Last thing Joseph Smith did was sacrifice himself for his friends (see John 15:13 as well for a good study) 

Photos: 1. Sisters and us eating Deep Dish pizza by Lake Michigan 2. Someone heart attacked our apartment 3. Chicago (before the storm) 4. A member gave us a gift card to Red Lobester, so were feasting! 

Week 16 - Chicago

Hi everyone :)

So this week has been a bit slower than usual. A lot more cancelled appointments than usual but thats alright. Life happens :) Transfers happened this week and I have the privilege to train Sis Andrews, who is a ray of sunshine. She's a convert from a really rough town called Petersburg, Virigina and has been thrown into a lot of scary situations in her lifetime. Her testimony is so pure because of these moments and Im grateful to have her.

Sis Robertson and I went from the airport to Downtown with the new missionaries last week and it was so much fun! These new missionaries have so much heart and a powerful testimony! I was so humbled and proud watching them contact for the first time on the train and actually hand out several Book of Mormons. Their high spirits and cheer definitely reminded me of how much I LOVE being a missionary and how much Ive grown.

My testimony of endurance has significantly grown through this experience. We went to do a Bible referral at this 4 story apartment. So naturally we decided to knock on every door. As we spiraled down the floors, we got some serious door slams and even a few bible bashers. We made it to the first level knocked on one of the last doors and the most scariest looking guy Ivd met walked out. We started talking then he called his wife to come over (who looks just as scary). She stopped in her tracks, then came to me so that we were a foot away and said "You were in my dreams last night. God told me two ladys were going to appear and teach me about Christ." Weve had a few lessons with them since and were excited.

Ive been so grateful for the warm weather lately. Although Saturday that wasnt the case. It started dumping rain on us for 4-5 hours and we had nothing to do but find. Yay. Luckily we actually saw so many miracles happen. We went inside of a popular grocery store and started to sneakly contact some people. We actually got talking to the baker (I used to work as a bakery assistant so I couldn't help it) and she gave us a cupcake. We have an appointment with her this Wednesday too! People definitely didnt want to drive in the rain so there were a lot of bored people who just needed to talk. And in times when we were outside drenched from head to toe and the wind was beating us over, I couldnt help but smile. My companion and I started singing primary songs and we were so happy. It reminded me of that quote "Saints can be happy in every situation." Im so grateful that I know that God loves each of us so much therefore we dont have to worry. We can be joyful.

Have a very happy Fall Break :)

Sister Emily Coley

3 Nephi 24: 2-3, 17-18 Will you be an instrument to God after the refiners fire or be wasted up in the ash? Ive pondered that a lot this week.

Photos: 1. Cupcakes from the Baker 2. Sis Andrews 3. All of the trainers and trainees 4. Selfie at the Bean with new missionaries 5. Reflection 6. Rainbow

Week 15 - Chicago

Hey y'all

Wow this week has flown by. I swear it should be Wednesday! We had a lot of funny moments this week. And Im SO excited but nervous, we got transfer calls yesterday and Im going to be a trainer in this area!! This like never happens with people just out of training. But I know God will help us every step of the way and through Him I can do it!

Easily the best part of the week was Conference! I noticed that as a missionary so many promptings and revelations came to me during conference to tell my investagators. In fact my notes are filled with more things for them that me! Two of the sessions we got to watch them with our retired Philippino couple which warmed my heart when I saw them taking notes! I loved every talk, and I highly encourage everyone to read through them again.

Last Pday we went exploring in the city which easily is my favorite thing ever! We were towards the ghetto side and found this heavily graffiti bus, so of course we start taking pictures of it! In process, a bus driver came out and naturally we start contacting him. Apparently we ran into a local hardcore jazz band called the Reggaes. My companion asked if we could share a message, and the next thing we know were teaching the Restoration into a greasy microphone to a popular heavily tattooed  jazz group in a graffiti school bus! They cracked us up too! It was easily the best and funniest Restoration lesson Ive given.

And of course we did what any foolish missionary does and locked themselves out of their apartment. So funny story we had our apartment inspections with Senior Sisters and by habit locked the door when we rushed out to greet them. When we came back sure enougn our front and back door is completely locked. So we tried everything. Bobby Pins, credit cards, nametag pins, pocket knife, praying really hard anything to pick the lock. Finally an idea dawned on my companion that we have a broken lock on our bathroom window. So a car jack, a severly bent soup can, two rough looking rocks and 20 prayers later, we were able to budge the window barely enough for me to climb through the window and unlock the door! We were laughing by the end and definitely taught us a lesson.

Also this whole week, weve been worrying about our food supply. By Friday night, weve reduced ourselves to cans and we started to pray we can make it to Tuesday. A half hour later, a member texted us that shes feeding us Jimmy Johns for lunch. Then we showed up to watch Conference with our investagators and they fed us Phillipano food. Sure enough on Sunday, a ward member called us and said she felt prompted to invite us over to Sunday dinner. We also got a call from President asked if we could help them tour the new missionaries around Chicago and theyll fed us breakfast, lunch and dinner on Monday. But the coolest miracle of all is we were bus contacting this tatooed, tough-looking guy. He wasnt interested but stops us mid-sentence and says "I strongly feel like I need to give you this. Youll appreciate it more than I do." Gives us a candy apple and hops off the bus!!

God knows our desires and needs and will always bless us if we do our part to keep the commandments and serve his children. I love God so much, and Im so grateful for everything and everyone He's personally given me. Anyway Ive got to go bring some hope and confidence into some new missionaries. Have a great week, Im so grateful for each of you :)

Sister Emily Coley

1 Nephi 1:1 Conference was filled with reading the Book of Mormon, so just do it! 

Photos: 1. My perspective of Conference 2. Reggies bus 3. Little piece from home 4. Locked outside 5. City with Sisters 6. Celebrating getting inside with Senior Sisters  

Week 21 - Chicago

November 5-12 500 Testimonies Later: Hi everyone! This week was full of difficulties and challenges but I love challenges therefore...