Monday, December 29, 2014

The Gospel is for Everyone

I was so excited to get an email from our Sister Barclay. Mondays are the best to look forward to.

So without further ado... Enjoy!

"How was everyone's Christmas?! 

Being on a mission during Christmas is absolutely wonderful, let me tell you!!! I get to help people keep and remember to keep Christ in Christmas all year round! What a wonderful opportunity! It has also helped me focus and understand more about what our Savior did for all of us and how much he loves us.

We have taught so many people about Christ and what he has blessed us with, and let me tell you, Louisiana people are so interesting. They love to tell us stories about what God has done for them in their lives and once you get them talking, man, you just have to pick the right moment to jump in! People are very set in their ways here and so many of them are very religious, but it is so amazing to see the miracles that this gospel brings. It's awesome! I have really had to come out of my comfort zone a lot because people are really blunt and up front and they look at you real weird if you don't just talk to them! Which is a good thing! 

I love this gospel so much and I love being surrounded by it and the blessings everyday! I feel so close to the Lord!

Today at the library, I had a man come up to me and talk to me about the Mormons and what I was doing. I told him I was a missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he said, "I know y'all. I took discussion after discussion and you know, it's not really for me, but I respect y'all a real lot. Keep up the good work!"

It made me think, 'Why? Why isn't it for you?' It's for everyone! This gospel can bless your life in more ways than we can even count! It truly is amazing! I know that if you center your life around the gospel, it can bring you happiness and peace! I know that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and come unto him.

I love all y'all and each y'all!

Love, Sister Barclay"

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Skyping Win!

There's nothing quite better than hearing and seeing your missionary on Christmas Day... especially when they're 1,700 miles away!

Even though Sister Barclay has only been in the mission field since December 3rd, we have been missing that girl like crazy! So you can imagine our excitement when she let my parents know that she'd be Skype video calling us around 3:00pm MST. 

My parents, Steph, Erin, and Grace were huddled in the kitchen around my dad's smartphone ALREADY on the call when I hurried in the door with Aurora, shortly followed by Becca, Alex, and Grandpa Smith. Oh, were we excited to see our missionary, Sister Barclay!

She looked and sounded so good and SO excited about teaching the gospel in Louisiana. We asked her loads of questions about the mission and mission life, and when we asked about her companion, Sister Davis, Sister Barclay didn't just answer... she called her companion over to the camera so we could meet her! 

We found out that Sister Davis is from Oregon and she has been on her mission for three months. We were able to chat with the two of them for a bit of time and they told us of their bike troubles, some people they were working with, and the kindness and love they've received from the ward members in their area. 

Apparently the area they are in now, Metairie, is filled with canals. Lots of water! Which also means, lots of U-turns to get anywhere. The roads are funny and as a result, their bike tires have popped. While they're in the process of fixing their bikes, they rely on the ward members for rides to appointments or other meetings. They seem to be loving the work and loving the people.

It was great for us to meet Sister Davis and, especially great to see how well she connects with Sister Barclay. We had fun laughing with the two of them AND they both 'oohed' and 'ahhed' over the sight of our Christmas snow! 

Soon we were back to talking with Sister Barclay alone and we updated her a bit on home life and she asked us loads of questions. We were lucky to be able to talk for just over an hour so each of us had a chance to chat with our lovely sister. 

Before we had to let her go, she shared her beautiful, growing testimony of the gospel with us. You can hear in her voice and see in her eyes as she speaks that she truly loves what she is doing and where she is. She said she feels like the Lord knew she needed to be in Louisiana. The people there needed her, her mission needed her, and she needed them. She is so strong and such an example to us. Listening to her testimony made all of us want to strengthen our spiritual selves.

My dad asked her what we can do to help her be a better missionary and what we can do to grow closer to our Father in Heaven, as she has done in the past few weeks. She said that together, we can pray for the missionaries. Not just the missionaries in her mission, but the missionaries in our own ward areas and all over the world. She said missionary work is hard, but that her testimony of prayer has grown significantly as she has put it to the test over these last few weeks in the mission field. She said she KNOWS prayers are answered.

As for what we can do to grow closer to our Father in Heaven, she said to attend the temple! Before leaving on her mission, Sister Barclay loved attending the temple, and now that she's had the opportunity to attend with her mission family while in the MTC, she has developed an even more profound love for the temple. She said, if you have a recommend, to attend often, and if you don't quite yet, then work towards the temple ALWAYS!

We love our missionary and are happy to share of her stories, her growth, and her progress while she's away. She is such an inspiration to our family and hopefully to all of you!

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and we'll catch you Monday!

As Sister Barclay says, "We love all y'all and each y'all!"

P.S. She said to tell everyone THANK YOU for the letters! They have come just when she needed them. Keep them coming! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Mission Life

Hey everybody, it's a Monday so you know what that means...

Missionary Mail! Here is the email we got from Sister Barclay today PLUS some pictures she sent! Enjoy!

"Hey ya'll!!

I'm absolutely loving Louisiana. I'm just outside New Orleans and it's crazy!!!! My companion and I are the only biking sisters in the entire mission!!! Her name is Sister Davis and she is amazing. She's only been out three months and she's already training someone new! 

We have met the most amazing people here, but it's definitely a culture shock... the other day, we called this investigator to see if we could go see her and she was so drunk she couldn't even comprehend the questions we asked her... it was nuts. She was going off on us and I guess she told my companion how bad of a missionary she was and that she didn't like her... it was so sad :(

We also have gotten super bad rained on and people are the worst most craziest drivers on the planet here... holy moly! The food is amazing and the ward here is wonderful. They really take care of us! Like, I might have to get some bigger dresses just cause of the food here! No one lets the missionaries go hungry! haha

I'm so excited to be here and just help people come unto Christ :) I have the best job in the world :)

I don't have a lot of time but I love all of ya'll and I know that this church is true and that it will lead to happiness. I know that the temple is so important and we need to always strive to be there! I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and is looking out for me each step of the way. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on the earth today to guide and direct this church. I  know that my Savior died for me and the atonement is very real!

Love all ya'll and each ya'll!
Sister Barclay"

Sister Barclay and Sister McMullin at the MTC

Hanging out at the MTC 

 Sister Barclay with her MTC district: her "MTC family"

Sister Barclay found Sister Jessica Brown, a fellow Cedarian, in the MTC! 

Elder Ralph and Elder Jones ("Best bros in the MTC")

With the Mission President in Louisiana

Sister Barclay and her new companion, Sister Davis, in Louisiana

New friends in Louisiana

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Welcome to Louisiana!

Today my dad forwarded on this email they got from Collette's misison:

"This is just a quick note to tell you that your daughter arrived safely in Louisiana on Tuesday.

Her mailing address will be:

Sister Collette Barclay
2300 Edenborn Ave #2-136 
Metairie, LA 70001

She will get letters much faster if you mail them to this address (her apartment) rather than the mission office."

So, you guys, she has arrived in Louisiana! Safe and sound!

I also got a letter from her in the mail today and thought I'd share just a few things she said:

"It has been such a wonderful experience here. I have really gained a testimony for myself that this is true and I'm so excited to be in Louisiana for Christmas, a little nervous but more excited! If I can just bring one person to come unto Christ, ahh, it'd be so great!

I've learned that you never stop learning in the gospel; there's always more.... 

I leave Tuesday at 3:30am. SO EARLY!!! I'm going to die. I'm really sad because my district is like my family and we leave two elders (my bros!) behind to go to California. It's really sad and not to mention, I won't be Sister McMullin's companion anymore. Hopefully my new companion is as wonderful as she is.

Well, what can I say but I love being a missionary; having the spirit so strong with me all the time. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel on the Earth and translated the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know that he loves me an unconditional amount. I know that this is where I need to be and I'm so excited for this opportunity!"

Gosh, I love that girl! I have been checking the mail only everyday for a letter from her and I WAS SO EXCITED TO GET ONE FINALLY!!

Feel free to write her!! Her address is above in bold BUT it will also be posted in her "Write Me" section on the navigation bar.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Missionary Work Changes Lives

I thought that this was perfect and just had to share. Sister Barclay is definitely receiving that wonderful training in the mission field right now. We're so proud of her everyday!

In sacrament meeting yesterday, all the talks were about missionary work. Two mothers shared information on how their sons were doing on their missions and then a boy who received his mission call to the Philippines spoke. All the talks were wonderful and reminded me of our missionary, Collette, but the thing that stood out to me in two of the talks was how deep the work these missionaries are doing actually goes.

One of the mothers shared that she was so proud of her boy and his enthusiasm in sharing the message of the gospel to the people of Brazil, where he is serving. She said that she, herself, is a convert to the church  because of missionaries knocking on her door many years ago. She then told of the immense blessing it has been in her life and how thankful she is to those missionaries. How could they have known then how many lives they would effect down the road?

The boy then shared this thought with us: "You can count how many seeds are in one apple, but you can't count how many apples are going to come from that one seed. When you do missionary work, you can plant the seed, but you don't know how many apples are going to come from that. Missionary work doesn't effect just one person but generations to come."

How true is that?? I'm thankful for my sister's willingness to serve those people in Louisiana. I know that she will touch so many lives with her testimony... even generations to come. At home AND  in Louisiana. 

P.S. We got no email today to share, but we can tell you that she's still loving the MTC and her sweet companion. She will be leaving the MTC for Louisiana TOMORROW! And she's SO excited.

I'll be sure to post her new address soon so you can send her a Christmas card or words of encouragement!

AND for all those "wonderers" out there, Sister Barclay DID end up seeing Elder Kurtis Cox in the MTC... Look at those smiling faces!

*Picture courtesy of Kurtis' family's Facebook! Thanks for sharing, guys!*

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Picture Message Anonymous

Today my mom called me and said she forwarded me a picture text message she received from someone today and to check my email.

She said she doesn't know who the sender is but was really grateful for that sweet message! It made her day!

Thanks for sharing, mom!

Here's the picture text:

"Sister Barclay says she loves you! She is amazing."

Pictured with her companion, Sister McMullin

Monday, December 8, 2014

Making the Change

We received our first letter AND email from Sister Barclay this week! WOOHOO!! Looks like her P-days will be Mondays for now...


"HEY everyone!!!!!!!!!

How is everyone?! 

Well, I've made it 5 days down! I'm not going to lie, adjusting to mission life is really difficult, but I have learned that the MTC really stands for making the change. I don't think I've ever prayed or read the scriptures as much as I have in the past 5 days. I am truly amazed at how much my testimony has already grown. Wow. 

I love being here though, it took me a few days to really understand my purpose as a missionary; I kinda got a little nervous seeing the more seasoned missionaries, but they really welcomed us all in and truly help us understand our purpose bringing others unto Christ. 

On the first day I was here things were pretty crazy. Such a different schedule than what I was use to, I felt like I had something going on every 2 seconds, and waking up at 6:30am has not been easy. It was really crazy. 

I have the best teachers though. One of them is Sister Smith, she actually served in Baton Rouge so she has been giving us so much advice, I love her. We even taught some investigators here at the MTC the first day, it was amazing! Such a wonderful testimony builder that it really is our job to bring people the knowledge of Jesus Christ that have never heard it before. 

My district is so awesome! There are about 4 elders and us, 4 sisters. Sister McMullin is my companion, she is really cool and we have so much in common; we are like best friends already. The rest of my district is like my family. We all help each other so much, because we are all trying to do the same thing. They are so supportive. 2 of the elders are coming with all four sisters to Louisiana but the other two, Elder Bringhurst and Elder Flukiger, are leaving to go to California. I'm going to miss them. 

Being at the MTC really gives you that "temple feel" as we like to call it. Everyone is so great! I've met so many beautiful people here that truly love the gospel of Jesus Christ. This Sunday was Fast Sunday and it was one of the best Sundays I've had in a really long time. Listening to the testimonies of the zone that is leaving just gave me the strength that I really can do this; it's hard but sooooo worth it. 

I got to go to the temple today and let me just say, oh my goodness do I love the temple. It really was such and amazing opportunity. 

Life here really is a billion times different than being in the "real world". Here at the MTC they teach us not to say guys and girls, but sisters and elders it is sooo different but I always catch myself. haha:)  But its soooo worth it to be learning and growing so much closer to my Heavenly Father.  

I don't have a lot of time but I just want to bear my testimony that I know Heavenly Father is very aware of me. He loves me and I know this is where I need to be. Being here has been truly amazing, I love this gospel with all my heart and I'm so excited to share the gospel.
I love all ya'll and each ya'll.
I would seriously love hearing from all of you, so write me!!!!!!!!!!!! 

~Sister Barclay!"

You heard it! WRITE THIS GIRL! ---->Address is in WRITE ME section

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Officially Official

Well, as of right now, Sister Barclay has completed her first day as a missionary in the Provo MTC! We're sure it went extremely well! 

She was set apart as a missionary on Tuesday night, and then our parents drove her up to begin her 18 month service on Wednesday morning, December 3rd. It was a bittersweet experience for our family as we watched our wonderful sister be set apart as a missionary of the Lord and said our "see you laters". 

Collette has been such a beautiful example to all who know her and we're so excited to see her growth over these next 18 months! Remember to keep checking back for updates!!

In other news, Sister Barclay had her farewell this past Sunday and it was a special day as she got to share it with the blessing day for her 2 month old niece, Grace. Collette spoke so eloquently and all who heard her were touched with the spirit. It was wonderful to have so many friends and family members in the congregation that day to show their love and support for Collette, as well as for Grace and Stephanie! (THANKS, GUYS!

Plus, we (the Barclay sisters) had the opportunity to sing for the musical number during the meeting and it was wonderful to be able to perform together and share our testimonies through music. 

It was a great day filled with laughter, love, food, family, friends, and of course, pictures!

Thank you, everyone, for your continued thoughts and prayers for Sister Barclay as she serves. Don't be afraid to flood that girl with letters! (She'll be in the MTC until December 16th--NEW MTC ADDRESS UPDATED)

Until next time... 

*Above photos courtesy of: Bruce Barclay*

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Louisiana Awaits

Hello, friends!
This is Collette's sister, Liz!

We (Collette & family) have decided that while she is in the mission field, a blog will be the best way for everyone to stay up-to-date on all things "Sister Barclay", AND it seems to be that I, Liz, am the lucky one who will be helping you all to stay in the loop.

We're so glad you've decided to help us in supporting her over the next 18 months by reading her blog, sending her encouraging messages, or just keeping her in your prayers and hearts.

We were all so thrilled when Collette told us she wanted to serve a mission! She has such a strong testimony and is so excited to share her happiness through the gospel message with others. We know she will be such a good friend and example of Christ-like love to those she serves because that's what she has been to anyone who knows her back home.

Collette will report to the MTC in Provo, Utah on December 3, 2014, and will be there for a couple of weeks before reporting in Louisiana Baton Rouge!

If you'd like to write her letters while she is in the MTC, she would probably love that!
Her address is:

Sister Collette Barclay
Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 North 900 East
Provo, Utah 84602
United States

**Packages can be sent to:

Sister Collette Barclay
Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission
12025 Justice Avenue 
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
United States

Be sure to continue checking back for updates! We're happy to have you!

*Above photo courtesy of: Bruce Barclay*