The best two years

I’m not sure what got me interested in becoming a Psychiatrist, but as of
now it’s something I’d like to work towards! I realize that once I’m in
college my major will be switching all over the place. I mean I’ve had like
15 different career interests switches on my mission so it will only be
worse when I’m exposed to more in school haha. But one thing that hasn’t
changed is the fact that I want to travel with work and school. So that’s
kinda orienting my decisions. I’m very excited to continue my education as
well.

Yes I got my Book of Mormon back from Carissa. We haven’t been able to meet
though. We had a really good lesson with her and her mom last Monday but
they canceled all lessons following. It’s hard to keep people committed
here in California. Everyone is so “busy” that they have no time for
anything other than work.

Ryan’s baptism is still on for the 27th but we need to catch him up with a
lot of things. We’ll be able to fit it all but we’re expediting the process
haha (btw, do you still have my passport safe and secure? I’ll need that in
the coming years)

So highlight of the week has to be Steve’s talk given at Stake Conference.
He did a great job! For only being a member for 2 months he sure seemed
comfortable and natural at the pulpit. Today he emailed me and the other
missionaries he’s worked with and said some really nice things. I’ll
forward you the email he sent me. Oh Steve also wants to take me and Elder
LeBaron to Australia when we get home this summer. He said he’s wanted to
go for a while but none of his family wants to go. When he told me that I
immediately seized the opportunity haha. So this week we’re going to meet
with Elder LeBaron and get it all figured out 😂 Steve is a great guy and
I’m happy I’m am able to work with him. (He takes us to lunch and to get
dessert every week, those are where all the pictures of us from him come
from)

I hope you have a great week! Love you!

Elder Collings


This is the letter that Steve wrote. I am grateful that Bridger forwarded it to me. This letter was a testimony to me of why the two year sacrifice has been SO worth it!  I cried reading this letter–it just hit home to me as to how my Son from small town Grantsville has had a hand in the Lord’s work!  -Melissa

Hey Brandon (Brother formerly known as Missionary Elder Condie), Elders Stone, LeBaron, McDaniel and Collings:

First I want to thank all of you guys for the incredible support I received from you guys when you found out that I was talking at Stake Conference. Those phone calls, texts and emails were just what the doctor ordered. You guys made me feel loved. When President Rouza asked me to talk about my conversion story, the missionaries and the Temple trip, I knew this was going to be easy, well on paper anyway. Hey look at my source material; You guys, Our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ! Throw in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, how  could I go wrong. The only problem I had was keeping it at 10 minutes. My first draft was over 30 minutes long. Also I was worried that my story wasn’t really that interesting to anyone except our little circle. Oh I think I was wrong…

I really have to extend a extra very special thanks to Elder Collings and Elder McDaniel. Most people are lucky to have one or two really great missionaries on their spiritual journey to teach them, what the heck, I had 5! Their support I received in helping me prepare for this speech as well as the preparation for my temple visit was above and beyond any new convert could expect from a missionary. Seriously. Add to their impeccable timing at the temple in which we entered the Temple the same time as President Rouza which got this all rolling. Also showing me how to exactly perform the ordinance of baptism  and also them being the proxies for my relatives as well as others that President Rouza had me do. Honestly  I did close to 30 baptisms that day. Also Elder Collings pushing me to tell him my conversion story to President Rouza’s wife. He and his wife were impressed with me, Elder McDaniel and Elder Collings that he extended that invitation to talk at Stake Conference right there. Thank you guys with all the love and brotherhood from the bottom of my heart. I would not have been chosen to speak if not for you. That’s the truth.

I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous when it was my turn to speak. I think my delivery could have been smother but I was happy with the results considering the time constraints that I had. Luckily the two speakers who spoke before and after me were less than stellar. I did get a ton of compliments. People from other wards telling me how much they loved my testimony. Elder Martinez came up to me afterwards and expressed his gratitude for my story about the missionaries saying and talking about his similar experience with them. That was cool. Seriously I made all 5 of you look like champs. That wasn’t really hard to do since you guys are.

I wanted to share that with you. I know you guys are proud of me. I consider every one of you part of my baptism and conversion. I know you guys don’t keep tally but if you are ever asked to name the people you baptized on your mission….you all better say Steve. You better because I  beared (or is it bared)  my testimony that all five of you were part of it.

What an incredible honor and just think because I found the truth by reading the Book of Mormon. I know it’s true and I know that Joseph Smith is a true profit of God and that our church is the only true church.

Man do I ever feel the power of the Holy Ghost right now. It’s amazing what the good Word of God can do. I love you guys and I’m gonna end this letter how in ended my speech .

” One of my favorite quotes, from watching an old video from a past General Conference from 1997, when President Hinckley was talking about Missionaries and Converts and he said ” There is no point in doing missionary work unless we hold on to the fruits of that effort. The two must me inseperable”…  I believe that each one of those missionaries were hand picked by our Heavenly  Father just for me…I don’t know if they believe that’s truI believe that each one of those missionaries were hand picked by our Heavenly  Father just for me…I don’t know if they believe that’s true, e, but I know it’s true…Just like I know this Church is true…and I will bear my testimony to that truth…and I say these things humbly in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.”

 

2018

Hello! My week was great! Many good things happened. I learned a lot from Elder Oaks, I’ll just send you the screenshots from my notes and I hope you’ll be able to make sense of them.

One thing that really stood out to me were his statements concerning conversion. He emphasized that it is our responsibility to convert people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not to the Church of Jesus Christ. He also said we need to be using the Book of Mormon more effectively in our efforts to help people come closer to Christ. That’s something I’ve been focusing on–actually 2 Days before the conference I let one of our investigators, Carissa, borrow my personal Book of Mormon in hopes that it would encourage her to read the chapter we assigned. She still has it and hasn’t returned our calls so pray that I get that back😂 I’ve put too much into that book to lose it now haha but I’m sure I’ll get it back. She’s a great person so I’m not worried.

We got to take Steve to the temple! It was his first time and he really enjoyed it. With the new change of rules, he was able to baptize us for his ancestors that he’s found doing family history work. It was a great experience! While at the temple we ran into our Stake President, President Rosa. President Rosa was so impressed with Steve and his conversion story that at the temple he asked if Steve would share it at Stake Conference this coming weekend! He agreed haha, Steve is doing great.

We were also able to teach Natalie and Jonathan a few times this week. Natalie is still being held back from baptism with the whole marriage thing but since I’ve been gone, their kid Ryan has turned 8 and is now baptismal age. He’s scheduled to be baptized this month on the 27th. He’s been very excited about the things we’ve taught him and is excited for his baptism.

So that’s a little snib-bit of my week. To answer your questions no, the shirts don’t fit. I’m still trying to figure out why you thought I was a medium? But I just gave them to my comp and he’s been enjoying them as much as I would be haha. The white shirts from Grandma are too big but that’s my bad. I gave her the wrong sizes. Turns out I’m a 15-15 1/2 neck. But I have the receipt and theirs a Kohl’s not too far so I’ll take them in and see what they can do. I also went and asked a guy how much it would be to alter my suit and it was like 45 bucks so I’m still looking for a better option because that’s pricey. I’ll be fine though, a missionary that’s gotten a little fatter on his mission has suits that fit me perfectly so I’ll probably wear those. I don’t think I need anything, but thanks for asking! I got some new Nikes this past week, I’ll show you next week when I get them!

Elder Collings

Transferred!

So I got transferred out of the Heritage Ward which I was sad about but
it’s okay. The ward was sad to see me go. I had multiple people tell me
that I was their favorite missionary which makes me feel pretty good. But
I’m getting transferred BACK to Hacienda Heights 1st Ward. I will be
training another new missionary again named Elder McDaniel. He’s from
Virginia.

I’m thinking I won’t be here much longer than a transfer. I think I’ll be
gone as soon as Elder McDaniel finishes his training. Who knows! But I’m
excited to see all the old people I worked with! There are a lot of people
I hope to re-connect with. But I’m back in Hacienda! It’s weird. This
doesn’t happen often so it’s unique.

I have no clue what’s happening on Christmas for FaceTime. I haven’t been
able to make any plans. What would work for you guys and I’ll try to make
it work. Kenny and Maggie will be taught this Thursday, they were at church
again this past Sunday. They’ll definitely get baptized! It will be cool to
hear about it.

Ariana is doing good! She was pretty busy this past week but she was really
sad to hear I was going. We stopped by this morning and said goodbye. She’s
super willing to learn and I see her going places. She was just making sure
that missionaries will continue to stop by because she liked us so much.

I got packages from you and Grandma. Thanks for the cookies! Everyone in
the pad loved them. But please no more, I’m doing my best to get in shape
and those don’t help haha. Make some protein cookies or something. I’m
excited to open my gifts on Christmas morning. I’ll try to video it so you
guys can be there 😉

E-mail from a member!

Dear Sister Collings,

I just wanted to let you know that today your son bore his testimony in
sacrament meeting. We have a son who is currently on a mission also. I just
told your son that we pray that our son can express himself as well as he
did today. He bore a wonderful testimony on the peace the gospel brings and
the important of Jesus Christ. He said we can only achieve peace through
Him and that is something Satan can never do is give us that peace. I just
wanted to let you know what a wonderful missionary he is and how grateful
we are to have him in our ward. I told him today that he did his mother
proud. I just wanted to let you know what a great job he is doing. I pray
that my son is serving his mission as well as your son is.

Thank you for sharing him.

Love,
Sister Karyn Gelalich

Transfer calls this coming Saturday

Hello! So real quick, I don’t know what time I’ll be calling home yet. Idk
what I’m even doing on Christmas at this point haha. I’ll let you know
hopefully next P-day. Also, we receive transfer calls this coming Saturday
so I might be in a new ward come Monday. If I do get transferred it’s very
likely that my next area will be the last! I’m indifferent either way on
how transfers go this week.

Kenny and his wife Maggie are doing great! They came to the ward Christmas
party this last Saturday then came to all 3 hours of church again
yesterday! We had our ward mission leader ask them if they’d be willing to
have us in their home and they eagerly agreed! So this week we’ll start
teaching them. So far they love the church and I can definitely see them
getting baptized soon. They have 2 kids that are10 and 7.

Ariana is also loving it! We had a church tour with her this past Saturday.
We showed her all the rooms of interest then sat down and started answering
her questions of what she read in the B of M. We ended up in a 3 hour
discussion just talking about everything. She just has so much curiosity.
It was really good! She has some road blocks that we’ll have to work
through though. She believes she’s not a religious persons and doesn’t want
to “commit” to one church. She has yet to understand that there is only one
true church so that’s what we’re going to focus on. But we have another
lesson with her tomorrow.

Overall it’s been a good week! Lots of good stuff going for us. It will be
sad if I leave right as things get going, but there will be new people
everywhere I go 🙂 Thank you so much for the gifts! I have yet to receive
them but I’ll probably get them Thursday. Thank Grandma for me as well!
She’s always been so caring and loving!

Oh also I have a Christmas present for you! I think it’s pretty funny haha.
I’ll send it to you on Christmas Day over email! Me and Elder Hathaway
figured you and Alison would enjoy it.

It’s CRAZY to think I only have 6 months left!

Hello! I hope you had a good week. My week was pretty good! Nothing too
special happened other than just normal missionary routine but it was good!
District Meeting this week went well. I taught on the importance and the
how to of studying. I always feel like I learn way more just planning and
preparing for the meeting than others do listening to me teach haha. I
think that’s by design, often times teachers need the most teaching in
their lives. After the meeting I realized that we need to help our
investigators study the Book of Mormon. Often times we just deliver the
answers to them but it’s better if we guide them to the general area then
have them find the answer in their own personal studies. We’ve been
applying that so we’ll see how it goes!

President Wells wants us all to read the New Testament as a mission by the
end of May (The end of my mission haha). So I started reading in the book
of Matthew and I’m really hoping to study and apply the things Christ
teaches. My Scripture reading has changed a lot recently. It’s come to the
point where I won’t read unless I’m marking, memorizing, and mastering the
Doctrine taught within. If I’m just causally reading I feel like I’m
wasting time. So now that we’re planning on finishing the New Testament in
6 months I’m really excited to dive in.

Our investigators are doing well. We’re working with 3 progress people
right now. Kenny and his wife are friends of members that were invited to
church one Sunday. They came and really enjoyed it! We talked with them
about their religious background and spiritual goals. They’re from China
but have been here for 20 years. They’re Christian but weren’t to into
their last church. They’re excited to continue coming and to learn more
about our church.

Ariana is the next investigator. She’s super cool! She’s 26 with a 1 year
old daughter. We met like 3 weeks ago but she’s been super busy. Recently a
lot has happened in her life and she’s turned away from God. She hadn’t
been responding to our texts and we couldn’t catch her at home. A few days
ago Elder Boulette had a prompting to visit a less-active family that
hasn’t been known to welcome the missionaries. I’ve stopped by their house
many times so I was against visiting them, but we did it anyways. Turns out
they still weren’t nice (I called it haha) BUT as we were biking to the
house, Ariana saw us out on the streets. She took that as a sign and text
us immediately. We went over 5 minutes later and spent the rest of the
night teaching her. She’s had a ton of signs given to her that are
directing her to the church which she has started to recognize. We taught
her about the Book of Mormon and left her with 2 chapters to read to find
answers to her questions (2 Nephi 31, Alma 32). She’s super eager to find
out if the Book is true. I have faith that she’ll find the answer! I think
she’s definitely prepared and will go far if she continues to seek God.

Other than that, like I said it’s been a basic week! It’s CRAZY to think I
only have 6 months left here in a few days! I’m not excited to be in the
tail end of my mission. I know it’s going to fly by, like it already has. I
have realized lately that I need to cherish all the little moments of
missionary work that I take for granted.

Thanks for all you do for me! I hope you all have a good week and search
the scriptures! Let me know if I can do anything for anyone at home. I’ll
email other family here soon.

Elder Collings

•••

Zone Activity

[image: pizza.jpeg][image: zone.jpeg]
Emailing is so hard😂 I feel like it’s the same stuff every week… we had
a zone Activity today! It was really fun, we played Wilson ball at the
church then me and Elder Hathaway collected money and went and bough little
squeezers pizza. Thanksgiving was great. We had lunch with the Jacksons
then went to the Inmans for dinner.

We’re teaching a few people. We have one kid on date to be baptized but
we’re probably going to pass him off to the YSA Elders since he’s 19. His
name is Daniel and he walked into the church one day looking for someone to
talk to about his problems. He’s a really good kid! He’s going through a
lot right now. He just graduated and wants to get into acting and modeling.
We’ve been meeting with him for a couple weeks.

I almost got a referral for you again haha. It’s a guy we contacted who
wants to move to Utah. He’s LOADED. I told him you could hook him up.

Elder Collings

Fwd: Happy Thanksgiving

Tell everyone Happy Thanksgiving for me! Let them know I’m very grateful
for all of them and all they’ve done for me 🙂 I took some time today to
think about all my Aunt’s, Uncle’s, Grandma’s, Grandpa’s, and Cousin’s and
why I’m thankful for them so please let them know! I’m also very grateful
for you Mom, you really mean a lot to me and I do notice all of what you do
for me. That’s something I definitely don’t do enough of, is tell you how
much I care about you! So again, thank you for all you’ve done 🙂 Today has
been a busy day so I can’t say much but another P-day is just around the
corner 😉 Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving! Please remember Christ this
day and our Heavenly Father. Think of all they’ve done for you! The list is
endless!

Elder Collings – Notes From The Field

Good morning Mom! So funny story, my bike got stolen haha. Right outside of
our apartment. Along with Elder Boulettes and Elder Hathaway’s. Sooo I
called the mission and they don’t have any spare bikes. I also asked
multiple members and nobody has one to spare. Which means I need to
probably buy a new bike… and preferably today or else I’ll be walking all
week. There’s a member named Brother Lancaster that’s willing to sell me
one of his bikes for a deal. It’s a $800 bike but he said he’d give it to
me for “whatever my budget is” and I’m not quite sure what that is. Getting
a bike from him will still probably be cheaper than at a store.

Yeah working out has been great! Honestly I’m hooked haha. I regret not
doing CrossFit but then again I regret a lot of things before my mission.
I’ll definitely be doing CrossFit when I’m home though. In the morning, we
play b-ball and I come home and lift then I have some protein and a bowl of
cream of wheat. For lunch I bake a chicken breast. Then dinner is whatever,
but I come home and do some ab workouts and stuff. Idk what I’m doing but
I’m doing it haha! The biggest blessing though is the self confidence that
comes with it. I’m definitely less-hesitant in some situations where I use
to feel self-conscious. I hope to work out with Colt when I’m back, he can
show me the ropes haha. Missionary work was pretty basic this past week,
nothing really to report on. But we did go with Lauryn to the Newport Beach
temple to do baptisms! She enjoyed it and she really wants to serve a
mission now. We get a new stake president here in La Verne this Sunday. I
talked to Brother Lancaster about the bike. He’s taking us and the bike to
a bike shop tomorrow morning to get me all set up.

Love,

Elder Collings

Sorry about not replying last week

Hello! No those weren’t the ties we made, I’ll try and get a picture of one
to you. We’re not at our apartment right now. No I haven’t got my glasses
yet, but they should be ready today so I’ll stop in and pick them up. I’ll
try to send a picture in those as well! I got a haircut today and I think
it looks pretty good. For the past 2 weeks we’ve been waking up at 5:50 to
go running and play basketball. I’ve noticed a lot of fat cutting and
muscle toning which is great. We also got some weights in our pad now and
I’ve been lifting but I’m SOOOOO sore from the freaking kettle bell swings
haha.

I’ve bought a few pairs of 32-32 pants so I’m not in need but more
definitely wouldn’t hurt, I only have like 3 now. But I am hurting for some
new white shirts! I’m wearing a missionaries white shirts who went home 3
months ago so they’re 25 months old and looking rough. So that would be
great. I’m a size 16 neck and some nice athletic fit white shirts would be
nice. I do have one request though! Could you send me a few sets of some
nice workout clothes? I’m wearing like the same two shirts and two shorts
which I’m sure you’ve noticed in all the pictures I send home. So that
would be greatly appreciated.

Elder Hansen emailed me back for the first time yesterday two haha. He’s
going to be back in the mission in November 18th. So I hope to see him.

Lauryn’s baptism went great! Their was a great turn out and she had a lot
of support. Her parents came as well. Also, she’s really leaning towards
serving a mission in a year which is great! Nothing will bless her more.

We found a really cool investigator last night named Ariana who we are
going to meet with again tonight, I really hope she progresses! We found
her out cleaning her garage and we got into a gospel conversation that was
great. She would’ve probably talked to us for hours with great questions
but we had another appointment to get to. Tonight we’re taking her a Book
of Mormon. Other than that, nobody’s really going anywhere which sucks. But
we’ll keep looking and hoping someone comes into our path![image:
kneeling.jpeg]
[image: praying.jpeg][image: standing.jpeg]
Anyways if you have any questions let me know! I want to answer as many as
I can because I feel bad for last week haha. Love you!


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