Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

This week has just flown by! I can't believe that Christmas has come and gone already! Why does time fly by so fast?
It was so great to talk with the family. I feel bad because I wasn't sad to say goodbye. Not that I was happy but I realize that it will soon be time to say hello again. Christmas day was so nice. We were able to wake up open presents and then start our day with studies. It was so spiritual! We had a Christmas dinner scheduled but they ended up at the hospital. :( So....we went to Denny's! Just like in the Santa Claus. It was awesome! Then we went caroling with our district and had a wonderful time.
I have realized a true blessing in our area this week. Everytime we loose an investigator we gain one. This is what happened this week. One of our investigators is a 17 year old girl. She lives with her grandma and brother. Grandma has dimentia and doesn't really remember us until we are there. She also gets angry really easily. When we went to teach her onSaturday we took a permission form for Grandma to sign. It didn't go well and our investigator told us that in February she will turn 18. The plan is for us to come back then. Oh yeah, Grandma is also a J.W. So it all works out. We decided to just chat with her and still maintain a friendship. We started talking about some movies that she has seen recently. Somehow we landed on twilight and she said, " That's not a vampire! Thats a stripper- thats why he glitters! He is an eternal stripper!" We couldn't believe what had come out of her mouth. All we could do was laugh and move on. Then later we started laughing about it again and thought, oh goodness! We are so glad we don't have to worry about the media anymore! I can't wait to start teaching her again. ;)
As I said we have gained a new investigator this week. He is a referral (I'll call him Otto) and we had some trouble getting ahold of him and making appointments but it all worked out! Yesterday in our lesson he was telling us that a friend who is a member has talked alot about the chruch. So much to the point that Otto has dreamed about the chruch buildings being described by his friend. We are trying to figure out if it was the temple being described. During the lesson we asked Otto to pray about the Book of Mormon and if what we taught him was true. We kneeled down and he offered a beautiful prayer in Spanish. He is from Mexico but doesn't want to go the spanish missionaries. I asked him how he felt while praying and he said, "Peaceful. I feel like something good in my life is coming." Needless to say we were excited. I look forward to the experiences we will have with him.
I also had the wonderful opportunity to play the violin yesterday. I was quite surprised that I could even produce sound from the instrument it has been so long! Of course it comes with a price if a member hears.....hahaha I will be doing a muscial number here in the near future. I am super excited!
I think more than anything we have just been tracking down our investigators this week. They have gone missing for the last couple of days. We found them dont worry. ;)
Yesterday was 5th Sunday and so all 6 missionaries in our ward taught the combined lesson. Any guesses as to what we talked about..........? Missionary Work! We established expectations of what missionaries should be doing and what the members should be doing. It was all very positive and I think we helped the ward start thinking in terms of working in unity. I am excited for the new year to see where we go with the ward. We have a theme in our ward we are working towards it, Become Zion. Moses 7:18 talks about this and is very applicable. We have been told the members really liked it. However Im still not quite sure how the sisters can speak louder than the elders who had to get a microphone to be heard.....awkward.
I think 2013 in review would be this:
Miracles everyday!
Baptisms= Sugar, and others
probably just missionary work in general
learning how to love
technology that allows me to communicate with family
Anyway not much else about our week. We are still working hard as always! I am excited for 2014! Have a great week!
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

White Christmas!

This week has just flown by.  I honestly don't remember everything we did but I know we have worked really really hard this week. ;D 
For the last several nights Sister Bray and I have gone caroling as we knock on doors. It has made such a huge difference and opens people hearts just a little bit more to learning the message of the Gospel. And it fills us with the Spirit. It is so cool to teach about Christ through a song!!!!!! hahaha and they hardly realize it until its too late ;D heehee
The English side of our mission went to the temple this week. It was the best WHITE CHRISTMAS EVER! There were so many missionaries in the session! The spirit is always so strong and so invigorating. I always walk out of the temple motivated to go do missionary work! I had a very special surprise at the temple though. One of the YSA members came to go to the session so he could say hello! It was so exciting that day! However it is so hard to go to the temple. I get so drained! It is so hard to not just lay/sit down and take a nap! But I still LOVE it! 
I have been doing a lot of reflecting over the course of this week. Whether that is a good thing or not I am not quite sure. heehee I have thought a lot about the transformation that has occurred within myself as a missionary over the last year. When I first came out I did NOT want to stop people on the streets, bug them working in their yard, knock on doors. I guess I just wanted to have investigators just magically show up on our white board and then go teach them.....boy have I learned a lot! Sister Bray and I have had several experiences of meeting people and having them tell us our religion is not for them, or that they don't need religion in their lives. I have walked away almost every time near tears because I finally understand how the Atonement is necessary. I realized that each and every person needs the Atonement. I just can't seem to make it clear enough to them that the Restoration of Christs church was necessary and that because of Apostasy they are being lead astray. WHY DON'T THEY UNDERSTAND? WHY WONT THEY LISTEN?????? The reason....because its True! I have taken almost a year to understand this concept as well and its very simple; Satan is miserable and wants as many people as he can influence to not make it into the Celestial Kingdom just because he wont be there too. He is so selfish!!!!!! I want to fight this war with Satan and I want to succeed. I want to stop everyone! I want to talk with everyone. They have to know what they are turning down! If they don't know what they are saying no to, how will they ever be influenced to say yes? I have studied the Atonement almost every day this week and it has been amazing! Not on purpose but it has just worked out that way. ;) This is such a special season to reflect on everything that Christs birth really meant. He was born into this world because of Heavenly Fathers love for us and because of His love for His brothers and Sisters. I know that His sacrifice is for us individually and collectively. I feel the effects of the Atonement everyday as a missionary. It makes me want to be a better missionary to understand better and more deeply the Doctrine of the Gospel, to do all I can to one day say to the Lord I did my best to fill the empty seats in the Kingdom of Heaven. This is what the Atonement is all about. Until I better understood the Atonement my desire was not strong enough to act. Now it is strong and now I am acting more on my desires to share the gospel. Its Christmas time and people need to know the good news!!!!!!!!
Our week was pretty mediocre otherwise. We have walked a ton and have talked to a lot of people. We have many many potential investigators we are meeting this next week. 
I am so grateful to be on my mission for another Christmas season. I love it!  
Oh yeah, hahaha we set a baptismal date with our investigator this week! He is so wonderful and is really doing all that he can to come to Christ. He is from El Salvador and his family owns a pupusaeria!!!!! YUM! It works out for everyone. 
Well I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that you take time to remember Christ.
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell

Where to Start??

This week has been abnormal to say the least.
Well we had Zone Conference this week and it was amazing! We learned about the Atonement and the true meaning of Christmas. We talked about the story of Christ's Birth and applied it to missionaries. The angels that proclaimed glad tidings of great joy are us! That is our purpose. To proclaim the gospel and to bring great joy to the souls of men! It was so motivating and it really just makes me want to go knock and doors and say, "Have you heard the news?!? Christ lives! And because He lives His church has been restored to the earth!" But then again most days I'm too chicken to do that! ;)
We had several appointments this week with potential investigators and investigators. Our one investigator totally dropped us hard core. Sister Bray and I felt like we had been broken up with. We were so sad and irritated at this kid. But if he listens to the promptings of the Holy Ghost eventually he will come around. We really just had adventures all week. We went to one lesson with a member who brought her 3 month old son, the person didn't end up showing. His family owned the restaurant where we were meeting him and they don't speak English. Eventually they had a customer translate for us and we left. We went home and just as we were sitting down to hot soup for dinner the phone rang and lo and behold it was our investigator. He told us he was available then and at the restaurant. We left our soup and rushed over there. The lesson went very well and we picked up a new investigator! He even made pupusas for us! Sister Bray is hooked now! heeheehee
The next day we got a phone call from our district leader asking us if we wanted a new investigator with a baptismal date. Of course we said yes! However the details attached to this person came with a risk. I am not at liberty to give all the details over email. However we were sent in there to assess the situation based off the information we had from her past. aka see if she is crazy. She is in the Elders area but President asked that we go instead because it may have been too dangerous for the Elders to go there. I hope I haven't confused you yet. Basically we had 2 elders in the vicinity during the lesson our zone leaders had to be told when we went in and came out of the lesson. We had to have a text prepared to have the 2 elders come and help us if needed. Our mission president is aware of everything that was happening, and the background behind it. We also had to have 2 members with us during the lesson. It was all very exciting. :/ We had to park pretty far away from our appointment and we were almost late. So we decided to jog part of the way to make our trip quicker. Well let me give a scripture to explain what happened next.... Doctrine and Covenants 61:3-4,6 "But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for...mine Sisters to be moving swiftly upon the [sidewalks of California in long maxi skirts], whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief. Nervertheless, I suffered it that ye might bear record; behold, there are many dangers upon [the sidewalks], and more especially [when you run]. Nevertheless, all flesh is in mine hand, and he that is faithful among you shall not perish [on] the [sidewalk.]"
If you haven't made any assumptions yet I pretty much biffed it on the sidewalk. I didn't take the time to check my knees because I was in a hurry. Well by the time I sat down on the couch I could feel the blood and the sting..... Yeah it was bad. Luckily my companion carries a first aid kit with her at all times and after our appointment I was able to clean up mine wounds. hahahaha  The appointment went well enough, better than expected and we picked up a new investigator. The next day was our ward Christmas party and there was a roasted pig. The pictures are disgusting haha. The food was amazing. This new investigator came (we forgot she was coming) much to our surprise. During the dinner she randomly asked us when our birthdays are. We told her the months and then she proceeded to say, "Oh, on the ______." We would correct her and she would just nod her head. When she left the party Sister Bray and I started feeling sick. The whole thing was just weird. We left soon after her and talked about our feelings on the way home and the situation that we are dealing with. When I went to go unlock the door to the apartment I got a huge prompting to not go inside. It terrified me since I was just about to turn the handle. We went down to our car and called the zone leaders. They came over and by that point we felt fine to go into the apartment. We asked for blessings and talked about what had happened that night. They suggested we stop teaching this sister and to call president. The blessings they gave us were terrifying and comforting at the same time. In my blessing they cast out Satan and any of his followers and proceeded to give the comforting part of the blessing. When the Elders left I started to cry. I explained to Sister Bray that for the last couple weeks I kept getting the prompting to find in the scriptures how to cast out Satan and that lines in my patriarchal blessing had kept coming to mind that would have applied to the evening. She looked at me and said, "I opened my eyes during your blessing and saw angels stand in to give you your blessing." We both cried and felt the Lords love enter into our hearts and our home. The next day we were exhausted and could barely function. The Lord is truly knowing and protects His missionaries. Unless its a sidewalk. =) President Hall has given us permission to not teach this lady but we are waiting for some information first before we make that decision.
This weekend we went to a house we had previously tracked into. We had been told to come back by a girl who looked to be 14 years old. She opened the door and we unexpectedly started teaching her on the doorstep. She is actually 17 and LOVES to talk! She is also a new investigator. So it has been a week of miracles! The Lord has stayed close to us and we know it!
I love you all! Van Nuys is amazing sidewalks and crazy people included.
This next week is going to be great! I promise I'll be safer this week. =D
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell


A week of change is always scary at first. However with time everything and everyone settles in and the adjustment is made. This week has been full of changes!!!!!! To start off I have a new companion. Her name is Sister Emily Bray. This is my second companion in a row whose first name is Emily!!!!! Its just meant to be hahaha. She is from Riverton Wyoming. She is 21 years old and has a fiancĂ© at home. (She said yes on conditions she can go on a mission. He purposed thinking he could change her mind. poor guy.) She is so adorable and I love her very much. When went out for the first day she worked like she has been out for 6 months! It was so COOL! I love being with her and we are both learning a lot from each other.
I am opening a new area in the sense that the ward I have gone to now has 3 sets of missionaries. The first ward to have 3 in the English half of our mission!!!!!!! Its a new experience. The area I am in is Van Nuys. I must request that you do not go and look up information or pictures of this part of town. There are pockets of good neighborhoods but mostly this is the true ghetto of the mission. There are streets we have been given strict instruction to stay off of at night. There are a lot of gangs and drug addicts. Please do not worry. We are playing it smart and safe as much as we possibly can. We go to members homes at night and street contact and door knock during the day. We are still trying to figure out all the logistics of it. Its a work in progress. Our bishop has given us 5 names per week that he wants us to visit. We were able to contact all of ours and we even got 2 less-active sisters to come to church yesterday! We taught 1 lesson to our only investigator and we are close to dropping him. We are told by the Elders in our ward that the area we are in hasn't ever really been worked through. So we are starting from scratch! ;D The ward is very welcoming to us. There are many, many different cultures here. The majority of them are English and Philippino. Our first dinner came from a Philippino family. We aren't sure what we ate and we aren't going to ask anytime soon. Im still not sure if I liked it or not. Someone suggested cow vien.......weird.
Miracles and funny stories:
I'll start with funny stories. We went to visit one of the less-actives. The house had been dark for a couple of days so we started to get worried since she is Elderly. When no one came to the door after we knocked I decided I would look through the mail slot to see if there was a light on. (Her door has brown glass) As I was bent over looking in all of the sudden I saw someone walking towards the door! I immediately pulled back blushing from my little spying escapade.... The door never opened! Then the mail man came walking up. I offered to put the mail in for him so I could either replace my foolishness or do a good deed. Pick which ever one you choose to believe. They are both true. I decided to knock on the door one more time while we were having a good hearty laugh and our member finally opened to door. She was completely oblivious to what had happened and it made us laugh even harder. hahahaha She came to church on Sunday! She said it was because she was supporting us because we were giving our testimonies. We later found out from a friend of hers that she said, "The girls always out shine the boys!" Our sacrament program was given by all of the missionaries either giving a testimony or talking on the lessons we teach.
Another funny story is that we were driving like we always do. A yellow jeep cut right across 2 lanes of traffic to make it to the turn lane. I was startled but not upset. When we pulled up next to them I noticed they were sheepishly looking at us. We started laughing and then we just kept looking back and forth. All of us were laughing about it without talking to each other. What made it even funnier was that they were older gentlemen! California drivers are CRAZY!
ummm.... oh yeah miracles. Besides our two less actives coming to church we had some really awesome experiences finding. One day we decided to knock a certain street. I was getting frustrated with all the polite turn downs. I was feeling quite done with the street but decided to just do a couple more doors. A young man was walking out to his car when we stopped him. We started teaching him about having faith in Christ. He mentioned to us that it is the only thing he has to pull him through this rough time. His parents are separating and he isn't happy with it. Why people just decided to open up to us perplexes me but I am glad that they can. This young man provided a light during a dark moment for me that day and I am eternally grateful we pushed on. Later on that day we went street contacting just before dark. We stopped another young man. He said he wasn't in the mood but I felt prompted to give him a card with the YSA info on it. When he got it and looked at it he very seriously said, "Thank you for not passing by." That was it. We wished him well and continued on. Sister Bray has very quickly picked up when a miracle happens. She will just stop and look wide eyed as she reviews the moment and then says something about the miracle. Its so awesome!!!!
Probably the most prominent memory of the week was last night. We went to yet another less-actives home. She didn't know we were coming so it was a surprise. We got to know her a little bit. She is getting married in a couple weeks and had skipped out on church that day. I offered to say a prayer before we left. I felt like it was just a normal prayer for someone but when I opened my eyes she was crying and kept saying, "O, that touched my heart." The spirit was strong. I also noticed that her fiancĂ© had turned off the TV while the prayer was being said. It was just a cool experience.
Well I think that is it. I am safe don't worry. There are lots of miracles to be had this next week.
Love you all lots! Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell

Thursday, December 5, 2013


There is a new season to every missionary that comes around in its cycle every 6 weeks. This season is called Transfers. The signs of its coming usually effect each individual. Symptoms may include (but are not limited to): profuse sweating, a pit feeling in the stomach, heart racing, a lack of concentration, sleepless nights, worry, concern, tears, slow movement, and dread. To be prepared for these symtoms it is suggested that you carry the following with you at all times: tissues, camera, scriptures, address book, and a good joke. ^_^
Yes that season has come around once again. The week of transfers is always the worst! You do everything you can to ignore its coming but somehow it is always present in the back of your mind. Saturday morning I was chastized through the scriptures. In Jacob 4:10 it says to stop trying to counsel the Lord but to take cousel from the Lord. In other words be willing to accept the Lords will regarding transfers. It made me laugh but hit home. I tried the whole day to forget about transfers and just work. Transfer calls came late eveningSaturday night. We were driving to our appointment with Sugar. We had waited all day to receive the call and there was nothing I could do to stop the call from coming in when it came. The saddest words I have ever heard are, "Sister Cottrell you are getting transfered." The tears could not be held back at this point. I knew it was coming I just didn't want to admit it. We did arrive safely at our destination. Luckily we were early and I was able to get control of myself and my tears. I knew that this lesson was going to be very difficult if I couldn't get everything under control. Right before we walked in I had a very deep impression come. It went something like this, "Sister Cottrell, you have come here for a specific reason and you have completed what you were sent here to do." I immediately knew that my purpose in this ward was to teach both Sugar and Mistletoe. (We met Mistletoe the same time as Sugar, she is getting baptized in April) Sugar is baptized and Mistletoe is done with the lessons and is on her way. It was a comforting thought. I know that Heavenly Father heard my prayers and blessed me with the ability to set everything aside and focus on our lesson. We told Sugar and her boyfriend after the lesson. They were sad but understand. I think Sugar is more comfortable now with me leaving than before. When we got home that night I cried and cried and cried. I had to. I knew that if I didn't I would be a mess on Sunday.
Our Bishop isn't happy with the change and he is being extremely sentimental about it all, which is totally okay with me. In fact we are having lunch with him today and then His wife has requested that we go over for dinner. It is going to be hard to say goodbye but I believe he might be going out to Utah in July. ;D Several people knew about the transfer before coming to church so they were prepared but the hardest thing was the hugs and reaction to the news. I brought a box of tissues with me just in case I couldn't a rock (in other words stable) with my emotions. I made it all the way through church with out crying and then we had break the fast. Right before the prayer was said Bishop asked me to come and stand next to him. The stinker had everyone sing "God Be With You." I told him he was a jerk and he laughed and said he had to. His main intent was to get me to cry, and he definitely succeeded. It was a bet between us if I would. When they finished singing I said, "I hate and love you all." We laughed and moved on with the dinner. I have many many pictures from yesterday. Quite a few are funny and so perfectly display the kind of people I am here with and love to pieces. I find much comfort in the fact that I will be coming back to visit (well I will be trying as hard as I can) in September and Decemeber due to WEDDINGS! I found out yesterday that a sister in our ward who is very dear to me is officially engaged!
Sacrament meeting was so exciting. Sugar, Gem, and Mistletoe all came to church plus one of our Potential investigators!!!!! I was shocked we got everyone there! Also Sugar bore her testimony!!!!!! She shared an experience that she had as a little girl with feeling the presence of the Holy Ghost and told us that until she was baptized she hadn't ever (consciously) felt it again. She also told us that when she was baptized the anger that she has held onto for many many years regarding her ex- husband and father has simply vanished. It just doesn't exist anymore. As she was talking I couldn't help but be proud of her and be very sentimental about it all. She has come so far and I know she will be an asset to any ward she attends. Misteltoe told us later that as she was listening to Sugar it was making her want to get up there and give her testimony too! But the meeting ended before she could get up the courage. However she did play the piano for Sacrament meeting and I was just as proud of her for doing that and doing it well!
I have learned so much about myself and the people my age just by being in this ward. I have been so very blessed to have been here for so long now. I am going to miss it desperately but I know deep within my heart that this is my time to leave the ward. I have done what I was sent here to do. I wonder if this is how the Savior felt at the last supper. Did he cry knowing he would be leaving, for a time, the people he loved most? Did he fight a battle within knowing what His responsibility was and the natural mans selfesh desires to stay?  Its a deep thought but one that has been on my mind.
I think the hardest part of this all is moving forward. Transfers are hard enough but waiting for the call from President Hall is even harder. That call also came Saturday night. I have been released from being a Sister Training Leader and have been reassigned as a trainer.....again. Right before last transfers I had made a promise with Heavenly Father. I told him that if he would let me stay Sister Training Leader one more transfer I would willingly train for the rest of my mission. It appears that the Lord has taken me up on the promise. I remained a Sister Training Leader for one more transfer and now I am training. The reason I made this promise is because 1. I wanted to stay a STL 2. He knows how terrified I am to try to train agian. I have to keep rememering my part of the promise: I will not only willingly train but remember everyday the promise but that I will be happy about it, I will love my companion, and that I will do everything I can to train her to be the servant He wants her to become. President Hall's words to me Saturday night have been comforting. He assured me that I have done much good for the Sisters I had stewardship over, that I have changed alot of missions, and that this release is not a demotion. There is no such thing as a career advancement as a missionary. It was a hard decision to make to release me but he knew that it is time for someone else to be called to be a STL that may not be ready but who needs the opportunity to grow into the assignment. I am not sure who it will be to take my place but I know the Lord will be there to help her just as he has been there fore me.
So we are moving on! I will be going to a new area and I will be training a new sister, who I will see today but I will not know till tomorrow who it will be. In fact as of right now our missionaries should be at the SLC airport hee hee hee.
Thanksgiving was wonderful and we ate 2 dinners and drank water at the 3rd. We could barely move we were so full!!!!!!!!! It was so good to see how all the different cultures celebrate Thanksgiving. That night we wanted to go and attack the people who were standing in lines for Black Friday. We knew they wouldn't be leaving their spots in the lines so they would just have to listen to us, right? hahaha Well that plan got stopped in its tracks when we saw just how many security guards were present at the mall and at best buy. We decided to be good little missionaries and just street contact around the areas. It was fun and so weird at the same time. People just get goofy on Thanksgiving......
We also had Interviews on Tuesday. We helped do a training with our whole zone while the missionaries went to meet with President Hall, and Sister Arnold (our mission nurse.) It was a long rewarding day.
Just a little thought about the Christmas Season......It is so important for us to remember the real meaning of Christmas. I hear a story yesterday that I would like to share with you.
There was a mother who was going to her childs elementary school Christmas performance. During the performance several of the little children would hold up letters that spelled, "Chrismas Love." This particular day the little girl holding up the "m" was holding it upside down making the phrase read, "Christ Was Love." The children didn't know what was going on but all the parents saw it and it touched their hearts. I just want you to remember the truth of this statement. Christ was Love! That was His mission on this earth. To show the world the love He possess' by making the sacrifice to die for us so that not only we can be forgiven of our sins but to live with Heavenly Father again. This is the meaning ofChristmas to remember Christs birth out of Love for us.
Well I think that is it folks!!!! I love you all and miss you tons! Have a wonderful week as it is the start of the Christmas Season.
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell

Friday, November 22, 2013

Oops! I forgot to post last week!

This week has been so crazy busy. I look through my planner and I see that it was packed full and yet I feel like we didn't do much. But we did! We had a special sister training leader training meeting on Tuesday and Mission Leadership Council Wednesday and then we had a Zone training meeting on Friday Morning. We had an exchange Friday to Saturday and then had a very busy weekend. And all the times in between the meetings we were finding people. See we were busy! hahaha The meetings were so insightful. Our mission council is really doing everything we can to tailor our missions training to the needs we feel need to be addressed most. I have learned more about being apart of council this week than ever before. All our opinions and insights have been so important. It was been a real learning experience. 
Probably the highlight of the week was Sugar's baptism. All day Saturday she was worried about remembering the importance of her baptism instead of being worried about meeting her boyfriends parents right before the baptism. We gave her a scripture to memorize and then memorized it with her all day Saturday: 2 Nephi 31:12 "And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, Follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do." It seemed to help her so that by Sunday she was calmer about it all. On Sunday we had many small bursts of excitement as the time drew closer for Sugar's baptism. When the evening came we were asked to fill in on the piano for an invitation only baptism. It was super top secret for whatever reason. During the confirmation I realized that we had left the form at home for Sugar to be baptized. Knowing that the last time I had a baptism they requested to see the form. I started stressing because home was at least a 20 minute round trip run and it was a quarter to the hour. We flew out of the building telling people we would be back soon with the paperwork. We hurried as fast as we possibly could. As we were pulling back into the church parking lot we got a phone call from some Elders trying to locate us. We walked in and they sushed us. We stopped and realized that they had started the program without us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Okay I am going to breathe for just a moment because I am trying to let this go.) I have really had a hard time with our Stake President. Everything that goes with a baptism for whatever reason has to be under his control. He has to be present at each baptism.... we only do it on Sunday so people can attend (even if the person being baptized doesn't want others there), and they always push to start right on the dot even if the family for the person getting baptized isn't there. Here is what really gets me about last night: the baptism before us started 20 minutes late, and the Stake President didn't throw a fit like he did with ours not starting on time. But he starts ours without the missionaries who just taught the person being baptized for the last 6 weeks? Then he asks me if I am okay when I am upset and its very clear my companion and I are upset? Are you kidding me????????? If we had been 5 minutes later in arriving from getting paperwork they didn't ask for this time, we would have completely missed Sugar actually getting baptized. I am pretty sure I have been repenting hourly for this one because the man simple makes me want to become the Hulk and throw him through the roof to the next state or into the ocean. ;/ I am trying to support him as my leader but I most certainly do not agree with his politics. I know for a fact that I am not the only missionary that feels this way. We have all had it past normal stress levels with him. He makes getting someone baptized very difficult and then tears us down in the process. However with all that has been said and done I am trying to focus on the positives of the night. Sugar did get baptized and we did get to see it (barely :D ). Sugars boyfriends brothers girlfriend is soon going to be investigating the church (we are teaching her for the first time tomorrow) and many of our ward members came out and supported Sugar. It was a wonderful service and her confirmation was beautiful and simple. Just like it needed to be for her. So that was my week.
Throw in a little drama with Sisters arranging exchanges for themselves with other missionaries and not telling their leaders (TOTALLY AGAINST THE RULES ON ALL COUNTS!!!!!), then having to correct them and not have them hate you for it, then having another set of sisters lock themselves out of their apartment (they stayed at our place last night) and you have a very busy weekend.  hahaha missionary life is so weird!!!!!!! The things that make it an adventure are totally different than "normal" life worries. 
I am grateful that I have a new week ahead of me. Hope you all have a wonderful week too!
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell


Okay first I must open with last Monday. Sister Kemp and I went and played tennis again with some of our ward members. We were there in the afternoon and had a blast. Sports are a great way to get to know members we have decided. The weather here has been very warm for "autumn," at least the fall weather I am used to. As we were playing we started to feel like we were getting sunburned. Sure enough we were!!!!! In fact all of us were. ITS NOVEMBER!!!! WHO GETS SUNBURNED IN NOVEMBER?????? It was a reality check for sure..... WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA! But the leaves are changing and that makes me happy. Also as the week has gone on there is a chill in the air. Its finally Fall!

This week has been super busy for Sister Kemp and I. We have been on 2 exchanges and they were amazing! I got to go back to Chatsworth and work the area for 24 hours. It felt so good to knock on the doors that were once so familiar to me. I don't know why that area holds such a special place in my heart but it does. We met many new people during exchanges and were able to teach alot. If I remember correctly, after the 1st exchange I didn't have much of a voice the next day because we had talked SO much! It was wonderful! On Thursday we helped President Hall during interviews. We trained a zone about setting daily goals of how many people to contact each day so that in the end we are baptizing more. It all stems from Elder Ballards talk this last conference. He said, "You full-time missionaries, if you want to teach more you are going to have to talk to more people." So the idea is to contact 50 people each day outside of specifically planned finding activities. In the end we want to talk to 1000 people a week! We literally must talk with everyone! During the interviews we got a call from the institute building. Apparently a young woman had walked in and wanted to talk with the missionaries. We raced over there and met her. She said that she had been on her way to buy cigarettes because she was mad and decided to do something crazy. As she was driving she decided to pull over to  the "church" building and give that a try first. In our conversation with her we discovered she is a less active member. We invited her to our upcoming activities and to actual church. The good news...SHE CAME! It was so wonderful to have her there.

At Sugar's baptism there was a potential investigator who attended. I'll call her Gem. Gem is such a sweet young lady. We had the opportunity to teach her with her boyfriend in attendance. Her boyfriend is the brother of Sugar's boyfriend and is a member of our ward. Are you seeing the pattern? hahaha I am happy to report that she is a new investigator! She has a 10 month old baby and she is the cutest little red head I have ever seen! We talked to our  Bishop about teaching her since she has a baby. In the end we decided it would be better for us to teach her since her fellowshipper and support (Sugar and her BF) attend our ward, and since her baby is too young to attend Nursery. We also had to take into account that Gem's BF is not a strong member and if we asked him to attend another ward we risk him going inactive. So the plan is to get her baptized and married from our ward before her daughter is old enough to go to nursery. ;D We are helping make eternal families from the singles perspective! It's so fun!

We visited one of our ward members who lives in a mental group home. She is such a sweet heart! During our conversation she discovered that there are quite a few movies I am not accquainted with which are popular. She asked, "Where have you been?" Sister Kemp being the wonderfully funny, and slightly absent minded person she is (I love her so much!) said, "I dont know, in a cuckhoo place?" I looked at her in disbelief and it caught her attention. I couldn't believe what she had said!!!!!! I watched as recognition of her statement came to light. We burst into laughter realizing that our member hadn't heard the comment. We were all laughing but for different reasons! It was hilarious! I think she does feel slightly bad but it was more funny.

I am constantly amazed by Heavenly Fathers intelligence in giving us opportunities to sympathize with others but to also learn and grow. This weekend has probably been the hardest weekend of my mission. I have helped many sisters get through homesicknessas a leader but I have never really experienced it myself....until now. I couldn't believe how debilitating it felt to miss home that much! During my lunch break on Saturday I literally laid down and just let myself cry. I cried myself to sleep. Once I woke up I felt much better. Why was I so homesick? Because I love my family very much and I knew that even though I am serving my Savior and I am where I need to be I was not present at a very special event where a majority my family and friends would be. It was so hard to pull myself out of my selfeshness and focus on the work. However I did get back to work.

Saturday night our phone turned itself off and wouldn't turn back on. We tried EVERYTHING to get it to come back on. This is a slight dilemma in our work since all anyone does is text us and we had alot of calls and texts to send that night. We also realized that our alarm clock wouldn't be available since it was on our phone. We decided that the normal beeping clock would not be a good thing to wake up to so we decided to use Sister Kemps ipod clock. When Sunday morning came around we woke up to a beautiful deep voice singing "Hallelujah". We slept through the bag pipes in the song but woke up to the deep voice. The group was the Canadian Tenors. I highly suggest trying them out. As I was laying there listening to the music I decided that I could wake up to them every morning! It was so nice and it was a lovely wake up call. ;D We got a new phone this morning but I think we will continue to use the ipod hahaha

Well that's it folks! I love you all very much! Have a lovely week!

Hurrah for Israel!


Sister Cottrell

Thursday, November 7, 2013


There have been so many blessings in my life as a missionary this week that my heart is drawn out in gratitude. At the top of this list is Sugar. As I mentioned last week she is dating our ward clerk. It was a shock and surprise to hear and see the news but now its almost old news since we have seen them quite a few times this week. Sugar constantly asks us questions like, "Have you heard of the concept of twin souls?" In short Sugar and the clerk are very similar people and get along fabulously! We went to the temple visitors center for a tour on Saturday night before her baptismal interview. It was such a spiritual experience and it had all of us in tears. We walked around the grounds and talked a lot about Sugar's progression and how they are doing as a couple. It was such a good evening. When her baptismal interview was over our District Leader came out and stated that Sugar's testimony is solid and amazing. Now I cannot take any credit for that because she has done a lot of work to get where she is at today. I am sure that with her boyfriend a lot of it has been solidified. I just simply told her what we believe and she has chosen to believe it. So now it is official! Sugar will be baptized on November 10, 2013 at 6pm! I am so excited!!!!!!!! Sister Kemp and I both realized a couple days ago that she is the only investigator either of us has had that we have seen from Start to Finish. I feel so extremely blessed to have been here for this part of my mission. It has been so fulfilling to watch her progression and the changes that have come to her and to her life. She is a totally different person now than who she was 6 weeks ago. As I watched her reaction to the things in the visitor's center I know she understands the step she is taking next week. I watched her feel the Holy Ghost and recognize it. And when I saw the tears of happiness streaming down her face it was the icing on the cake because then I had tears running down my face too. ;D Honestly I think I have been able to sense a little piece of Heaven this week. I can't wait to see what happens down the road. :D

Also this week we have seen many miracles on being able to get in contact with several less active members of our ward and actually have a lesson with them. One of them in particular says he is not sure if he believes in God. We had a member with us during this lesson and he proceeded to ask him many questions just to kind of help us get an idea of what this less active is truly struggling with. One of the questions asked was what his core beliefs are. He really struggled with this and when we finally dissected it he knows families are good and that we learn in families. He knows he has to work to be successful. He knows that because his parents raised him with good values he is a good person. But he really just isn't firm in a belief of God or Jesus Christ. He was also very careful in his comments to not attribute anything to a higher being. I am 100% sure that he has had spiritual experiences and has forgotten them or is ignoring them. I think he is just being lazy because if you think about it, it takes a lot of work to keep your belief active and firm that God lives. We go to church, we read scriptures, we pray and we talk about it to others. We have to literally work to maintain a testimony. These 3 things are called C.P.R. (church pray read) the components needed to survive spiritually. If we stop doing them then we start to die spiritually. It makes me sad to think that he is just being lazy. The other thing I have figured out about him is that he hasn't taken the initiative to actually figure it out himself. He grew up in the church and did everything he was asked to simply because he was told to. He has never done it for himself. I am convinced if he did he would have an experience to remember, but its pretty hard to convince him of that.

I have been working on a project as I read the Book of Mormon this week. My goal has been to mark every reference to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. Oh My Goodness!!!!! my pages are practically yellow! There are so many references to them. It has been such a testimony builder that the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It really does prove that the words of Christ and what the 12 apostles taught are true. I love the Book of Mormon and I love finding the little things that make is so much more intriguing. I was reading Jesus the Christ this week and in one of the note sections at the end of the chapter James E. Talmage suggests that the destruction of the Jaredites would have been ending approximately around the time that Lehi landed in South America. Which also suggests that Coriantumr lived more than 400 hundred years just so he would be found to fulfill the prophecy which was given him. That was also after the time that Heavenly Father made the lifespan of man 120 years. Interesting, right? I just love stuff like this! It makes my mind ponder all the possibilities of things we don't know yet and the things we will discover along the way. ;D

Well everyone that has been my week. Kind of a short report, I promised we worked hahaha

I love you all very much!

Hurrah for Israel!


Sister Cottrell

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Don't Miss This Boat!

The leaves have finally started to change colors and they are starting to fall! I am so excited for the sound of leaves crunching underneath our feet as we walk around. The mornings are so brisk its refreshing. The days get pretty warm. I think they are still above 80 degrees. then the night comes and its cool enough for a warm sweater. I am loving the weather change!
This week has been so busy and crazy. We had the new missionaries come out with us for the afternoon. Sister Betenson was my new missionary. She is taller than Sister Kemp and I felt so tiny! She is an even 6 ft tall. Anyway we had the most amazing experience of teaching a lady on her front porch. The spirit was so strong and she was touched with the message we shared about prophets and the word of God being taught through the scriptures. We asked her if she would want missionaries to come back and teach her and she very quickly answered that she would love it. We walked away totally exhausted from the moment and knew that it was through the spirit we were able to teach her. It was such an amazing afternoon!
Transfers were so good as usual. I love being able to sing "Called to Serve" while the new missionaries walk in. The song will never be the same for me. The words will always touch my missionary heart and bring to remembrance the impact I have felt of being a servant of the Lord. ;D
We moved into our new apartment and finally got all unpacked. It took a couple days just because we had other things to be doing. I had an interesting experience the other night. It was the beginning of the weekend and of course its a holiday season. There was a party in our building somewhere. Only we could hear every word of Spanish/English being spoken. It sounded like it was down a few doors on the floor below us. I would go in and out of sleep for what seemed like all night. Finally Sis. Kemp woke up to the noise level and looked out the window. I of course was up and told her it had been going on all night. It felt like it was 5 am. When I checked the time it was only 1:30 am!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was about to cry. All I wanted to do was go to sleep and stay asleep. We talked it out and decided that since we didn't want to leave the apartment that I would yell out the window and ask them to quiet down a bit. Well I did and it was so loud that they couldn't hear me. I then called our complimentary patrol officer and received the message "Sorry the person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please try again later." I was super annoyed at this point. So what else did I have a choice to do? Wait for it......I totally called the Police Station hahahaha and left a complaint. They said they would send a police officer over. Well they must have had one near by because in 10 minutes it was almost completely dead silent! So the missionaries were able to finally fall asleep at 2 am. ;D
Sugar is doing very well! We had another member come to her lesson this week. We half expected him to be there since she is the one who told us he might be coming. Then on Saturday when we asked him to come he told us he was already planning on being there. We were a little puzzled but didn't dwell on it too much. Well we were definitely in for a surprise. During the lesson they would hold hands intermittently. Talk about having a hard time staying focused! We were teaching tithing so I hope she at least got something out of it. Then on Sunday the member informed me that they were in fact Dating. The Sunday school lesson was on eternal marriage and when I looked back over my shoulder they were holding hands again. Kind of awkward! Sugar told us later that the member had explained a little about the temple to her the night before specifically sealings. Talk about the perfect lesson to have them attend! So I guess our investigator is now dating our ward clerk...... He is a great guy and has a lot of similar experiences as Sugar. He is very cautious about things before her baptism and is trying to make sure he is out of the picture enough emotionally so that she can focus on her baptism. Once she is baptized I will have no concerns. I think this is a very good thing for both of them. It was just not expected at all! Oh the joys of working in the Singles ward hahahahaha makes for some awesome stories!
Probably the most wonderful thing of this week was Sunday in Sacrament meeting. Our Bishop has gone crazy and has released almost everyone from their callings and extended the calling of ward missionary with the assignment of their previous calling. We have been in on the plan for weeks now. However on Sunday the talks were specifically tailored to missionary work. Sister Kemp spoke and did such a great job of explaining how easy it is to be a member missionary. Then Bishop got up and said a few things then conducted the ward business. As each person stood up and their new calling was announced the spirit was so strong! It continually hit me in waves. Each person brought more tears to my eyes. I was literally bawling in sacrament because I realized just how very blessed I am. The Lord was so kind to me this transfer. I have had the opportunity to witness the hastening of the work in my ward here. I have seen the Lord's hand in the work. Miracles are happening people!!!!!!!!!! It is more than time to catch the wave of missionary work! Get caught being a Mormon. Its simple. Let people know what you did over the weekend (hopefully you went to church), let them know why you don't do certain things. Share the gospel through the example you live by. They will notice! They will feel and see the difference in you. Be open not shy. Know the answers to their questions by reading the scriptures and attending church and by praying to know for yourself if these things are true. There is no reason to hide because of what you believe in. I promise that you will see miracles happen. This Church is True!!!! This is the Lords work and we are moving forward. Jump into your boat because this wave is getting big and you don't want to miss it! I love being a missionary and I wouldn't trade anything in the world for this experience.
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell

Monday, October 21, 2013

BAM- Be A Missionary!

Another week has past in the Great California San Fernando Mission. It was a tense week for all of us who started to dread the inevitable phone calls coming Saturday telling us of our fate for the next transfer. It was so hard to focus at times. I am grateful for my companion who helped me out so much! I guess the reason why I was so distracted about getting transfered was because I have never been in an area for longer than 3 transfers. Well I just finished transfer number 3 so my mind would wander to this subject. Well transfer calls came on Saturday afternoon. I am happy to report that I am staying for at least another transfer in the Northridge YSA ward AND Sister Kemp gets to stay too! WOOHOO!!!!!!! I am so excited. Right after we got the call we got another call from the Assistants telling us that we are moving on Tuesday into a brand new apartment! This I am excited for. The apartment we live in is pretty run down. So we have a brand new car and a brand new apartment. Another reason why I am so excited about this change is because it has been so difficult to talk about our Sisters in our Apartment when we have other sisters living with us. So now we get to really focus on our Sisters and help them with their needs.
We went on exchanges this week. They felt so off. There has just been something this transfer going on in our mission. None of us quite know what it is but all of the leaders are starting to talk about it. We feel like we have been trained to be robots, and that missionaries dont know what exchanges are or for. I wont say who but there was a previous Sister Training Leader who told her new missionary that exchanges are just a visit. I couldn't believe it! Exchanges are so much more than visits. They last for 24 hours! And we train the Sisters on what they need help with. Before Elder Kopischke came we were given a training plan to execute on the exchanges but now we are tailoring them specifically to what they need help with. Which make so much more sense to me! We have so many new missionaries in our mission that we have a lot of work to do to "catch them up to speed." We need them to know whats going on and how its going to go on. Of course things will need to take time to sink in but there are just some things in mission life that you need to know and understand right off the bat. So Sister Kemp and I will be working hard this week to figure out what we need to do to build our boat of "curious workmanship" like Nephi did. We will be working with the Lord closer than ever, and receive the revelation we need in steps to ensure that our boat floats and doesn't sink.
Sugar is doing so well!!!!! She is the ray of sunshine in my life that I have needed for so long. Not only is she understanding the Book of Mormon as she is reading it but she is doing everything in her power to become a part of the culture of the church. She comes to every activity she can get to (she doesn't have a car and rides are sparse sometimes). People in the ward now know who she is and she is becoming fast friends with some of them. This week her work (the candy store) put on a halloween party for a former pussy cat doll. We were really worried about her having a hard time keeping the Word of Wisdom. We gave her some lines to use if she got put in a situation where she was offered a drink. She made it successfully through the night!!!!!!! She got nervous at one point but was able to get out of the situation. The next morning she was reporting how the night went and then she remembered that she had a whole thing of sweet tea right before the party!!!!hahahaha poor thing she was trying so hard to avoid the alcohol and missed the tea. Its okay though its getting much better! We love her so much. She also informed us that she prayed one night about us not getting transferred. " Heavenly Father, please bless that Sister Cottrell and Sister Kemp will not get transferred and that they will stay in this ward, and in this area." When we told her we weren't getting transferred she literally jumped up and down yelling "Yay!" She jumped so high that she almost hit her head on the ceiling in her apartment. What made this more funny was that two of the guys from our ward were there when it all happened. hahahahaha So now we get to stay for her baptism and get to continue to watch her amazing progression. Sugar is a miracle for this area and its about time the ward got to experience all of it. I am so grateful to stay in this area and actually get to continue working with the ward. We are making progress through the Bishop and I get to be apart of it all!!! hooray!
One of our former ward members gave us a paper with the words "BAM! be a missionary" I thought it was so clever and so true. So whenever you think about the word BAM just know that you are telling yourself to be a missionary! hahahaha Also we just found out that the guy who plays Satan in the new temple video is one of our former YSA's! His name is Corbin Allred. Its Awesome!
Other than these main events we had a pretty slow week. We took a Sister to go have a surgery and have just been there helping in her recovery. Its been a draining week but good overall. This next week is going to be very busy and very fulfilling. I hope you all have an amazing week! Keep hanging in there. Dont let the flu bug get to you.
Oh and to my wonderful cousin Dillon- Congratulations! California is wonderful you will love it! You may not believe it but it gets cold here in February. You will need a warm jacket. Maybe not a coat but at least a jacket. I cant wait for you to experience going on a mission. You will never regret it!
Well I love you lots! Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell
 Picking up the brand new mission car!
 Sister Cottrell and Sister Kemp
Birthday temple trip!

Monday, October 14, 2013

What a Week!

To be truthfully honest I am slightly glad it is a new week!

We had so many things going on last week its hard to keep all the days straight. To start off we had Elder Kopischke of the Seventy do a mission tour this week. We have been anticipating this visit for about a month. Last year when we had someone come it scared us all into submission. Really.... But as he walked into our zone conference Love just eminated from him. He asked to meet every missionary and did so! He is so warm and gentle. He loves to laugh too. He had us think of questions that we wanted to have answered and to write them down. He then told us to only write down the impressions we received from the spirit. Let me tell you with in minutes of him speaking I had almost every question with an answer. It was simply amazing. As we approached the half way point of our meeting I started to get nervous because my turn to get up and play was coming. Well they accidently skipped it! During lunch they told us they would do it first thing when we started again. Okay nerves=through the roof. Heart=pounding in my ears. I am NOT a pianist people! I am a violinst. So I started praying. I knew that if I was going to get through this I needed help. I asked for the calming peace I know comes from my Heavenly Father. I was still pretty nervous as I sat down to play but then the most remarkable thing happened. As the vocalist came in I felt the stage fright literally melt away. I felt peace and love start running through my viens. I totally calmed down. I was able to play the song with fervent love for my Savior. Both of our testimonies were borne as we preformed. I was able to play this song without noticable mistakes. Of course there were little ones, but only I was able to notice them. I sat down when it was over and just started crying as I realized the blessing in full that I was given. It was a remarkable experience and I am excited to continue accompanying missionaries for their muscial numbers. So that was just Thursday. Then Friday we had another early morning meeting with Elder Kopischke for the Leaders of our mission. We learned so much!!!!!! Lately a couple of us have been feeling as if we have become robots throughout our mission. He totally addressed all of our concerns! It was simply amazing. Something I learned that was just profound is that our exchanges need to be when the Sisters need them and not when it is convenient for us. For example: if they are struggling with the ward council our exchange needs to be over a sunday when we can be there to help. If they are struggling with weekly planning then our exchange needs to be over Thursday when we do our weekly planning. Simple, right? Totally mind blowing!!!!!!

Funny Stories: One night we were driving through a neighborhood. It was dark. I had never been through this neighborhood so I was relying on the GPS. Suddenly there were 6 horses and their riders crossing right in front of us at a stop sign! I couldn't believe it!!!!! I so badly wanted to take a picture but couldnt get my camera out fast enough. The only other place I have seen horses is in Chatsworth so it was a total surprise! We laughed about it forever.

Last night I had a startling experience. I had somewhat of a hard time falling asleep last night and just when I felt myself really sleeping I got a very scary wake up call. The fire alarm was blarring! I was so groggy I could barely think how to turn off the alarm. I grabbed a chair to stand on since the alarm is very high up on our wall. I didn't even think to see if there was a fire now that I am reviewing last night. hmmm..... ;) I thought it was just our alarm. The sisters from the other room finally emerged and asked what was going on. None of us could think striaght. We finally made our way out to the living room we realized that the alarm sound was also coming from outside. We put jackets on and stepped outside to find that many other people were coming out of their apartments with confused looks. The alarm finally turned off and we got the word that someone had a cooking accident and it had caught fire causing all the alarms in the complex to go off. Now this happened probably in about 5-10 minutes. It was the scariest thing. Super annoying too. hahaha but all is well and we all learned an important lesson that should a fire happen we need to be prepared to leave the apartment with clothes to cover our garments. ;) heeheehee

I learned how to eat with chopsticks this week!!!!! It was a success! I didn't spill once! I was so excited!

An update about Sugar: She has had some pretty hard days this week. But on a long drive down to San Diego she was praying and as she finished her prayer the sun broke through some pretty dark clouds. She found herself filled with hope. A hope for the future. She is so amazing. I know I say this every week but its true. She continues to grow stronger every day and her testimony that the Book of Mormon is true is deepening. She is truly GOLDEN!

Mostly this has just been a calm week. Not too much to report other than Elder Kopischke. His comments have filled my head all week.

I love you all so much. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Hurrah for Israel!


Sister Cottrell

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Know My Redeemer Lives!

What a very mind blowing General Conference weekend!!!!!!!! Its no surprise I am sure to anyone but I LOVE General Conference!!!! I get so excited over the anticipation of the topics that will be covered and of who the speakers will be. I love them all but I just get so excited over it all! As I was sitting listening to President Monson talk the first time in conference I had another experience. My testimony was strengthened once again. I know that my Redeemer Lives!!!! This was my experience. My testimony burned within my heart as I thought of this phrase over and over again. It might have been such a powerful thing to me at the time because I have been so focused on this song. This week I was asked to accompany a vocalist in our mission for the english zone conference. Lets get the facts straight for a moment. I am a violinist not a pianist. Although I can play very few select hymns and this is what everyone hears when I play for meetings. Now the Lord has been blessing me with the ability to learn more hymns however I feel that there is a big difference between hymns and vocal solo music. But I trust the Lord and so I agreed to look over the music. At first glance the music was terrifying but the more I played it the more simple I was able to make it to fit the skills that I possess. So I am officially playing the piano for the musical number on Thursday. However your prayers would be appreciated. ;D Because I was also asked to play the other songs for the day. Now you may ask why is this such a big deal? It is simply because Elder Kopischke of the quorum of the Seventy's will be presiding at the conference!!!!!!!!!! HELLO! my nerves are through the roof hahahahaha
So.....back to conference. I loved the talks they are so inspiring. I found myself in awe several times when the sanctity of women was brought up. It saddens me that our society has gotten to the point when this has become necessary. I have discovered myself during several points of my mission with the longing of wanting to have my own family. Before the mission one of my co-workers asked me if I was going to be the kind of returned missionary that is obsessed with getting married. I answered no at the time but then later decided that I should consider it. After this weekend I have made the decision that marriage is something that will be a focus for me not an obsession. With the many talks on women's roles in the home this decision has been made stronger. I love that they talked about the fact its okay for women to stay at home and that they should! I have seen the effects of single moms and working moms on families. Its devastating to me because these children are definitely left wanting for more. I want to be the mother that my children can turn to in times of need. The mother that will be there to nurture them. I want to rear my children in the gospel and help them strengthen their testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. I desire motherhood far more than any career that could be mine because it is the career I have been designed and destined to have.
I am also very impressed with Elder Bednar's talk regarding tithing. Many times I have found myself thinking of the blessings received by paying my tithing. While I was in high school tithing to me was something I understood that I needed to do but didn't really truly understand the effects of. I didn't understand that it was a commandment which came from God. It wasn't until a tithing settlement some years ago. I wasn't prepared to assign myself as a full tithe payer. When the Bishop informed me that I was no longer worthy to enter the temple I felt a very really void in my heart very deep within. I was desperate to fill that void and I knew very clearly that the only way to do so was to repent and pay my tithing. Within the week everything was squared away and I felt the sweet presence of the Holy Ghost witness to me that I was once again worthy to enter the temple. I was promised in my patriarchal blessing that the temple would be a strength a joy to me. Knowing that this blessing in general was very precious I wanted to make sure that this specific blessing would remain mine. A few years my purse stolen from a church building. My wallet had my tithing money in it and quite a lot of it since I hadn't remember to turn it in the couple weeks before. I felt the sadness enter into my heart knowing that my tithing money was lost over someones else's agency. I felt desperate because I did not want to consider myself once again unworthy to enter the temple. Dad explained to me that the Lord would consider it paid since it was set aside for the specific use of tithing. Since then I have made sure to pay my tithing each and every paycheck. The blessings have become too precious to me to not have. I have spoken a lot of the blessings of temple attendance but the blessings are far more reaching. As a college student trying to make ends meet while living in Nebraska it was sometimes hard to pay that tithing. But for every month that I paid it in faith of the blessings to come, the blessings came flowing. I remember one particular time: It was getting to the end of the month and I had had an unexpected tire replacement to pay for earlier that month. I was terrified because I knew that the money in my account wasn't enough to make sure all the bills were paid on time. But as I looked at my computer screen to view my account I thought I was going crazy. I had much more in my account than I thought I had. The amount was the perfect amount to get me through my bills and to my next paycheck. As I review the History there was nothing to signify over spending or under spending. It was all the same amounts of money as before. Not knowing what else could have lead to this wonderful discovery I remembered the experiences I had had before and knelt down in prayer and thanked my Heavenly Father for the blessings due to my tithing being paid. I know that by paying our tithing the Lord will indeed "open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing." So if any of you do not have a testimony of tithing dont wait for the hard experiences of learning about tithing. Rather lean on my testimony and look for the blessings in your life of the tithing you pay. The Lord wants us to have faith in His commandments and obey them but first we must have a belief. To gain the faith we must act on our belief.
Another thing I loved from conference was the line "doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith." It is so true for all of us regardless of how strong our testimonies are. For those we love who are doubting please follow this counsel. Satan is the only one who wants us to be miserable. He will do everything in his power to get us to leave behind the thing that can and will give us the most peace and happiness. Also it was really funny during Elder Nelsons talk. We all brought our little snacks (i.e chocolate and crackers etc) and as he was talking about how our bodies are temples and how we need to treat them we all ended up putting away or down the goodies and taking more strict notes. hahahahaha I think we even have a treaty being signed sometime today to not eat sweets. Very motivating.
I just loved conference and to top of the week Sugar has a set baptismal date for November 9th!!!!!!! It has just been a great week and with Elder Kopischke coming its bound to be better. Oh and Sister Kemp and I are getting a brand new car from the lot tomorrow! I am so excited! It will be the only time in my life I am sure that I will drive a brand new car. heeheehee
Well I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week and that you rely on the words of our prophets.
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What An Inspiring Week!

I love being a missionary!!!!!! It is the greatest thing on the planet for me right now!

This week we had a couple different meetings and they were so insightful. The first meeting was on Wednesday and it was just the Sister Training Leaders. We talked about the Christlike Attributes and how we can apply them in our exchanges. We also talked about the needs of our sisters. Something that was so mind blowing was about weekly planning. So here it is. In April President Hall asked that we follow every single sentence in Preach My Gospel for our weekly planning. Now, in the introduction to W.P. it says that the planning session should only take 2-3 hours.....well if we followed all the sentences exactly it was taking 8 hours! President Hall just couldn't understand why it was taking this long. When we finally talked about it on Wednesday it clicked for all of us. He had originally told us to use the phrase, "Lets do that now." We were taking it so literally that we were accomplishing a whole weeks worth of to do lists in one day. For example: it says to pray over the ward list to visit active members and less active members. We would get down on our knees and pray over the ward list then contact all the people right then to set up appointments. Instead of scheduling times to do that through out the week. hahhaha So the phrase has been changed to, "Lets plan that now." No wonder it has been taking us so long......=)

A couple days later we went to a special mission leadership meeting. In this meeting we were given a new booklet put out by the church. Its title is "Adjusting to Missionary Life." In this handy dandy booklet it teaches us how to identify stress and the factors which make us feel "stressed." Um...HELLO?! Where has this book been my entire mission?!!!! It is so cool! There is this assessment where we can check mark the things that we are dealing with. It then references pages to go to where ideas are offered on how to handle the stress. We as leaders have been asked to try all the solutions given. Since receiving the book on Friday I have already referenced it twice for other Sisters besides studying it so that I am prepared to help them further. It is so amazing and I am so excited that it finally got printed. We were told it took 4 years to put it together. I wonder how long it took to put Preach My Gospel together....?

As for the work this week: Our investigator referral from Utah (who has now been named Sugar) is amazing. Her nickname for the purpose of these emails comes from the fact that she works in a candy store that is 30,000 square feet!!!!!!!!!!! She is in charge of the merchandise and such. She is 29 years old and has been married and divorced. She has recently just been through some hard times due to choices and consequences of choices. On Thursday she asked for the instructions on how to get the app for the Gospel Library for her phone. On Friday morning she informed us that she got much reading accomplished. Well when I asked her how much she read she replied, "14 chapters." I was shocked....I didn't know how to react. Who does that?! It was absolutely amazing. So now that Im speechless she also tells us that she doesn't find it hard to believe that the plates were found in New York. Yeah at this point Im silently over joyed!!!!!! I cannot believe what a miracle she is to us as missionaries. What tops all of this off is that at our actual appointment on Saturday night she told us she finished 1 Nephi....In 2 days our dear investigator Sugar read the 1st book of Nephi and was then able to tell us a good portion of what happened and what it meant. As I was thinking about this on Sunday it hit me very hard that we need to have the motivation like this dear girl to read. Just read. Why do we find it so difficult to read the Book of Mormon? Is it because it is hard to understand? Is it because we know its important like a text book therefore it has a bad voodoo to it? Is it because we are lazy? Or is it because we dont understand the full impact it will have on us if we read it? I think all the above are some of the most common reasons why we dont read the book like we need to. I know I didn't understand a part of what impact it would have on my life if I read it, and more importantly studied it before the mission. I still don't understand all of the reasons. But this I do know, that the Book of Mormon is essential to our Salvation. How are we to be saved if we don't know the Savior? How will we know the Savior unless we study out the words of the Prophets? How will we know the words of the prophets unless we read them? Our Heavenly Father knew it was so important that the prophets kept a record of the prophesys of Christ, and the dealings of the Nephites. Now we know more fully about the Plan of Salvation, why Adam and Eve were more than just the first two people on the earth, and how important it is that we follow the example of our Savior. I love the Book of Mormon. I have found very recently in my mission the changing power of the Book of Mormon. It WILL change our lives, our families lives, and our friends lives. If we dont understand the importance of the Book of Mormon then we wont understand why Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet. It is as simple as that. The Book of Mormon is evidence of God's Love for his children. It is not something to be placed in a museum to preserve. Its words need to be preserved on our hearts and in our lives. We need to hold to it so tightly with both hands that we cannot let go of the truth because once we do let go Satan wins. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it is in our lives TODAY so that we "may know to what source [we] may look for a remission our [our] sins."

Sorry...Long tangent.

I loved the Relief Society Broadcast. I was impressed as to the fact that all of the talks were about keeping and making Covenants. I cannot wait to reread the talks next month! But when President Monson stood up I had a very hard time not feeling the spirit and crying. I realized then and there that he really is a prophet of God. I had never bothered to pray to confirm that before because I believed it. But Saturday the Lord saw fit to testify to me through the spirit that we have a living prophet on the earth today! It made me think about several other things too. When the conference was over Sister Kemp and I talked about the broadcast. Come to find out that we both had the same experience during President Monsons talk and alot of the same thoughts too throughout the broadcast!!!!!! I makes me wonder what is in store for the two us that we needed to have this experience but I trust the Lord and know that my strengthen testimony will stand strong and immovable through the storms of the world.

Like I said before I love being a missionary =) Its gonna be a good week and whats better is that we get to finish the week with a BANG! Hooray for General Conference!!!!!!!!hahahaha

Hurrah for Israel!


Sister Cottrell

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I cannot thank my family enough for helping me have such a wonderful Birthday last Tuesday! It was such a wonderful day full of surprises and happiness. So thank you to all!!!!!!!
There were so many miracles that happened this week. The first miracle I want to tell you about is the opportunity I had to go to the temple. All I have to say is "WOW" it was such a powerful experience and I honestly cannot wait to go back!!!! I was in tears at so many different points during the session. I definitely felt the spirit so much stronger than I have before. I am so grateful that our week worked out in planning so that I could attend the temple. Its such a strength to me to be able to attend. The other miracles of the week is that we received 2 member referrals this week! One came from a member in Utah the other is a friend in our ward. The Utah referral gave us his friend. He said that she is going through a really hard time and doesn't know where else to turn. We called her right after to schedule an appointment and left a message. Miraculously enough she called back!!!! We set up a meeting time!!! ;D When we met this girl we found her very willing to listen. We just spent time talking to her and doing a little bit of a how to begin teaching session. We told her our purpose and what we taught, that we talk about Jesus Christ and that what we teach would bring her profound peace. We set another appointment for Saturday night. When we arrived she was even more eager to have us there. She shared with us that since her divorce she hasn't had much peace in her life but that since we left on Thursday night she has felt more peace. ;D We were so excited. We taught her the restoration and during the first vision her eyes were fixed on Sister Kemp as she was talking. The spirit was so strong and I know she felt it. As we talked about The Book of Mormon I sensed her softening quite a bit. When we were done we continued talking about some of her past experiences with feeling happy, lasting happiness. She shared that on her wedding day she felt happiness but since the divorce she will never be able to look back on that day and feel happy memories. I felt the spirit very strongly prompting me to promise her that if she were to read the BOM then she would find a lasting happiness because God loves her and wants her to be happy. I started crying while testifying and promising her these things. I know she felt the promise touch her heart because I saw it in her eyes. She was eager to accept our commitments and told us that she has never met any church people as enthusiastic as we are about what we believe. It sounds like it has made a real difference for her! It was a powerful lesson and I truly felt the Lords direction. She came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it! Also a ward member invited us to dinner with her to be invited as well. Guess what?! She came and when we left she stayed to talk with our ward member!!!!!! So amazing!
On Wednesday we got a text from our institute director saying that we needed to hurry over to the institute because there was an investigator at the lunch that was going on. We couldn't get there immediately and missed her. However her best friend was there and started telling us all about this promising potential investigator. Her friend has been attending the Book of Mormon institute class. Also she totally came to church 2 Sundays ago and none of us realized she wasn't a member!!!!!!! We were also told that she has been talking to another friend and told him that she was interested in talking to the missionaries but didn't know how to go about doing it.!!! We got all her information then left. When we got in the car Sister Kemp and I just let our jaws drop. We sat in silence for a little bit then started asking questions like, "Did that just happen?" We were in awe and recognized very quickly that the Lords hand has been in our week. About an hour later this guy friend called to tell us about this girl. We eventually decided to text her and we quickly set an appointment. Our appointment went well and she is eager to continue learning. She also came to church and told Sister Kemp that one day as she was driving she was stuck at a really long red light. She decided to pray while waiting. When she was done with her prayer she opened her eyes. Right in front of her were two Elders crossing the road and they waved at her. She took it as a sign that God had heard her prayer. What her prayer was about we aren't sure but we know it was a good experience for her. It has just been an amazing week for us! So we got 2 investigators this week and had a rare 3 member presents.
Oh yeah!!! Our Bishop has totally come through on what he wants to see happen in our ward! He gave us 10 names to start concentrating on and we talked about other names in the ward for ward missionaries. Plus he has asked the auxiliary's to be missionary oriented from now on. Its absolutely amazing!!!!! I am so excited for all the changes that are going on in our ward!!!!!! I am super nervous that the Lord will have me moved before I can see the benefits in our ward happen. However I know that the Lord will not let things fail. It is His work and He will help it happen using the right individuals as instruments in His hands.
I love this work and I am so happy to be a missionary right now! I hope all of you have a wonderful time this week!!!!!!!!!!!! Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell