11 months!

Hello! So I have like 8 minutes to email, haha sorry… but next week we can face time so it’s all good! It’s been a good week, Elder Condie is alright. We have interviews with President this week and I’m excited to speak with him because it’s our last interview with him. We’ll have 15 minutes each to talk. My investigators are doing well, we picked up 2 new Samoan investigators this week and I think they have potential. Idk what time I’ll be able to FaceTime but I’ll be at church from 9am – 3pm so it’ll have to be sometime after that. I love you and hope you have a good week! Tell Dad thanks for never replying 🙂

May!

This week has been good. We still don’t have really anyone to teach which is a bummer. I feel like everyone we were teaching has just stalled where they are. Hopefully things will change with them in the future though. We have been trying hard to find, but so far nothing really promising. We found a girl named Crystal and she was super interested and had been talking with her grandma about a church to attend. I guess her grandma had told her to check out a Mormon church! We found her visiting a referral but she’s been gone all week. Maybe she’ll meet with us this coming week.
We’re also helping two other missionaries teach there 3 investigators. One of their young women referred 3 of her friends and because there’s no males there, we decided to help teach. If we weren’t there I feel the lesson would have been awful haha. It’s just us and the 4, 18 year old girls. The elders we are helping were super awkward around them hahah. So we just sat there for like 30 minutes and nothing was even being taught so I just decided to take over their lesson. After that I felt it went really well. One of the girls, Erin, seems genuinely interested. Carmen really wanted us to come back but I think she’s more interested in us than the message haha. And Liz is just stuck in her Calvary Chapel ways but she’s cool too. Overall solid group.
Me and Elder Condie had to give talks yesterday in the Samoan ward. President and Sister Villanueva were supposed to speak but he called us Thursday and said he had to go to a Stake Conference instead. So he assigned us and one of his counselors to take his place. I feel it went good. My talk was on missionary work and I based it on examples the original apostles gave us to follow. I tried to break the ice with a joke in the beginning but I don’t think they understood my serious sarcasticness and didn’t even realize it was supposed to be a joke so that was a little awkward hahah. I had to do some impromptu speaking after that because I was relying on that joke to carry me to my next point haha. But oh well, what can you do?!
All in all the week has been decent. Nothing super noteworthy to speak about but it wasn’t necessary a bad week either. I think I’ve lost weight if that counts for anything haha. I no longer eat out every meal with Hathaway so that’s a plus. I’m excited to talk to you guys on Mother’s Day! Idk what time or where I’ll be but I’ll have that figured out next week. Thanks for all that you do! Love you guys!
Elder Collings

The church is true!

Not much to talk about this week, it’s been pretty slow for missionary work. The last 2 transfers we found around 8 new investigators a week which was definitely a blessing so now the drought is coming. Missionary work is a cycle of ups and downs but then again what in life isn’t? We did find a really cool investigator though, her name is Amy. She’s African American so hopefully we’ll be having a blacktism coming up soon😎 She already had a Book of Mormon and has been reading it faithfully when we found her. She frequently goes the the LDS chapel near her house that’s not in service right now and she says she can really feel peace there. She’s all about getting her kids to church to grow up in the gospel. Everything about her just screams Mormon haha, EXCEPT her husband.
I feel like everyone we find in this area is golden except for 1 big problem with each of them. Max can’t stop drinking, but he still comes to church every week and lives the other commandments. Natalie is ready to get dunked any second but Johnathan won’t marry her. Now Amy seems to have a husband with a giant stick up his butt and won’t let them go to church (At least that’s what we’ve been told and so far can see). Third times the charm though right?! Hopefully the Lord will soften his heart because his family needs the church!
We also found a cool guy named Solomon. We started talking to him outside of his house and broke the ice. After that we got to know him a little bit then started teaching the restoration informally. He really liked our views on things and said he’s never heard the scriptures interpreted that way (obviously because he doesn’t have modern revelation and prophets to help him). He LOVED the Book of Mormon. He’s Hispanic and really liked the fact that it’s a record of his ancestors. He had a billion questions and almost made us late for a church tour with another investigator haha. But we’re gonna see him again this Tuesday.
Rowland is doing well. We committed him to a baptismal date for May 20th. There’s a lot of work to be done before then. He still hasn’t made it to church because he’s been out of town every weekend helping his daughter move, this week he should be there though. Putting a way his cigars might be a challenge as well. Also his wife is Catholic and super against other churches. I guess he hasn’t even told her that we’ve been meeting yet haha. So I’ll keep you posted on that.
Anyyyways! The church is true and the Book of Mormon is from God written by his prophets and brought unto us in this day as a testimony of Christ and of the restoration of His church. If you haven’t read it, I invite you to do so. And if your reluctant to do so just ask yourself, “What if this is God’s word? What if I am missing out on hundreds of pages of teachings from His prophets? What IF this IS the second witness of His Son Jesus Christ? The Book of Mormon will bring you closer to God than by any other means out there! If you desire that, read it! That’s my testimony, take it and apply it to your own.
Elder Collings
•••

I did get a letter!

Good afternoon! Sorry for the late email, I wrote it Monday but never had wifi to send it. I got permission to send it this morning…
Hello! Here’s pictures from this past week. We got transfer calls Saturday and Elder Hathaway was sent to my old area in East Pasadena! That was pretty cool to see him go there. I told him about all the people he needs to follow up with. I guess Richard is on date and so is Nate! Those are 2 of my old investigators so that’s awesome. Also a less active we started working with in East Pasadena, Sarah Savin, went through the temple! My new companion is named Elder Condie. He’s from West Jordan and he is a very good missionary. I’m excited to work with him. And yes, we went to the temple and did a session, that’s where I took the picture like Dad on his mission.
Easter Sunday was great! It was cool to have an Easter Sunday with a more detailed understanding of the Atonement and the Resurrection. Me and Elder Hathaway had a good week. We picked up 6 new investigators but one just moved to India for 3 months so that’s 5 haha. We’ll meet with a lot of them within these next few days. We tracked out an Elder from a Presbyterian church the other day and he invited us in which means he’s either already a member or he wants to bash haha. I’m sure you can guess which one he was.
We went in and he instantly started asking our opinion on different theories and ideas. Like every question he asked Elder Hathaway was getting frustrated and trying to convince him of different things. I just tried to answer all of his questions with a smile on my face. He asked about Adam and Eve and our idea on that. Elder Hathaway doesn’t have much knowledge on that so he just turned to me and said, “Elder Collings?”, Haha at made me laugh. Anyways I talked to him about our beliefs and why we think this. We gave him a Book of Mormon (which he wouldn’t accept at first) and told him where he could read about it. He was interested he just didn’t want to show it. We have a return appointment with him this Wednesday so we’ll see how that goes 🙂
Easter was fun! After church a Samoan member drove us out to Ontario and we spent most the day there. It was the members and her 9 siblings and their kids. They loaded us up with food haha. They said Elder Hathaway was about to start his diet by leaving so, they sent us home with 4 take home boxes each haha.
We did a little experiment last Friday. We went to this complex place and decided we’d knock on 100 doors and record the results. Here they are:
Tracting: April 14, 2017. 10:30am-3:00pm
Houses Knocked: 100
No Answers: 62
Answers: 38
Rejections: 28
Receiving: 10
I’m excited to see what happens this coming transfer, I feel like it will be hard but good. I’m sad to see Elder Hathaway go, he’s become one of my best friends on the mission but he’ll do great in East Pas. Elder Hansen is still here as my Zone Leader so that’s a plus as well haha. I got your Easter package and also the towel, thank you!! And the money you sent me I’m using for mission stuff right now (food, laundry, hygiene, etc.) because I used my mission funds to get some new shoes and a new bag haha. So in about 2 weeks we get more mission funds and I’ll use that to get a camera. I’m still hoping mine will turn up. Until then I’m just sharing with Elder Condie.
Anyways I’m excited to talk to you guys in a few weeks! It feels like Christmas was just last week and it’s already Mothers Day! Time has zipped by like a vacation. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for y’alls. Love you and talk to you next week!
Elder Collings

Transfer week!

This is Melissa here. We didn’t get an email from Bridger yesterday. It is transfer week and I do know that his companion Elder Hathaway was transferred, so I’m assuming that Bridger has a new companion. It’s a mystery to me who it is. Hopefully we will get to know him soon!
This is the only thing I received from Bridger yesterday. I’m certain it has some sort of meaning but I can’t quite figure it out. I love my quirky boy!

Went to the LA temple!

Recreation of photo taken on Trevor’s mission at the LA temple
Hello! My week went great, we picked up a lot of new investigators and people to teach! So we’re excited to get that rolling. We’re now teaching Tysos new wife, her name is Melissa! She’s the one from the Samoan wedding video I sent. Transfers are upon us, and I’m happy with whatever happens. Elder Hathaway is awesome and we’ve become great friends! It’ll be sad to see him go. I’m pretty sure we’ll be split up after this week. I also feel like I’m leaving the area which is weird because I’m the new guy, but who knows what will happen. I got the backpack and the little book! Thanks haha that was a nice little surprise 🙂 And thanks in advance for the Easter package! I think I’m good with everything. Although I’m almost out of hair gel again so if you could send some of that I’d appreciate it. Also a new towel would be nice haha. I’ve used the same one for 10 months now. And if we could figure out the whole camera situation and what to do with that. Right now I’m not taking any pictures. I don’t think there’s anyone at home right now to reach out to except maybe Trevor Lake. He’s been on my mind recently. I’ve been meaning to email him but you know how I am with that haha. And with the whole linguistic thing idk haha. I was just thinking about it in conference and I’ve always loved languages and new cultures and traveling but I never thought of studying language. I guess it just clicked as soon as the thought came to my mind. Everything fits what I want to do with my life. My number one language I’m learning right now is the gospel though 😉 I’ve learned a lot on the topic of the Holy Ghost this past week. I studied it for hours upon hours. Someone asked me a question pertaining to baptism by fire and it just lead to a whole bunch of questions in my mind. I still need to find more answer but it’ll be good to learn. Anyways, I love you and hope you have a good week!

Elder Collings

This is last week’s email. Sorry I have gotten behind! -Melissa

Hello Mom! This week was alright, we were down for the count most the week though. We spent a ton of time at Pep-Boys with car problems but we got it all worked out so we’ll be back at it again this week. I don’t have much time to talk so I’ll answer your questions. Yes, I write down what I learn from President in my journal. I loved the talk given by Joy D. Jones which was weird because I’ve never like a Sisters talk before haha. But it really hit home with Natalie. We watched it at their home Sunday morning. Conference was awesome, I’ll talk about some personal revelation I got from it in a second. Brother Costa also had a fire talk, we need more of those during conferences. Tell Tanner congrats on the engagement! 😉 (Just predicting the future week here) also, tell him I greatly appreciate the emails he sent me and really took them to heart, sorry I didn’t respond to them though. Send me a picture of the girl that’s been staying at our house. Congrats to Brook for making the team! And Alivia was just overreacting, little do they know that I’m a trained off-road rally car driver and never once felt unsafe from my own driving 😉 Also send me some pictures of Colton and Jaimes progress! I’m gonna get super carved as soon as I leave Samoan work 😉 I’m going to write Colton back right after this. So during conference I had a question on my mind that I’ve had since I’ve been a missionary, and that was what I’m going to do with my life once I return home. I feel I’ve received an answer. I want to study linguistics abroad. I’d like to learn languages by full immersion and then teach English as a second language. I’m thinking about going to Spain to lean Spanish but idk. I’ve told President about this and I hope he’s on board to send me to Spanish work haha. I’d like to learn multiple languages though. It will be super hard. But that’s what’s on the agenda as of now! 🙂 Anyways, if you have any questions better fire away. Have a good week! Love you!
Elder Collings

Elder Collings – Notes From The Field

Hello! To answer your questions, yeah it was pretty fun seeing someone from home! It didn’t distract me or anything, it was just weird already knowing someone and them knowing about Grantsville haha. The temple trip went awesome! Johnathan and Natalie loved it. They’re working on picking a date to get married now. They want her to get baptized before we leave. Idk when they’ll be married though, hopefully soon! I had Interviews with my mission President not too long ago. It was great! Usually it’s like 5 minutes, but we were together a good 20-25 minutes. He asked if I had any questions, and I had a few. The one he spent the most time explaining to me was the one I’ve been pondering and studying the most. The question was; How was Jesus Christ able to resist sin and temptation without devine intervention?
We know that Jesus Christ didn’t have a sort of super human ability to resist sin. If he did, he would cease to be the “Savior”. He had to be tempted and tried just like the rest of us. Paul taught us that “he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren” (Hebrews 2: 16-17). In Alma 7:13 we learn that, “the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people”. Then Jacob added his testimony that the Savior “suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh.” (2 Nephi 9:5). So, if Jesus Christ felt the temptations of the natural man combined with the fiery darts of the advisary the same way we feel them, how was he able to resist all?
This question has been bugging me. I knew there had to be a fair answer somewhere, but I couldn’t find it! What does Jesus Christ have that I’m missing? Well, President kinda seemed puzzled by the question at first but then gave me the answer I’ve been waiting to hear 🙂 He brought up the story of Jesus teaching at the Temple when he was a boy. At first I didn’t know what that had to do with anything but then it all made sense!
The fact that Jesus was teaching at such a young age reveals that Jesus Christ knew exactly who he was and what he was sent to accomplish. Jesus Christ had a perfect understanding of where he came from and what his role in the Plan of Salvation was. Because he had that perfect understanding he knew that he could not afford to make a mistake or else he, and the rest of God’s children’s would be lost forever. There is no other name that Salvation may be brought save it be the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ 🙂 So because Jesus had a perfect understanding of who he was and where he came from, he was able to preform perfectly 🙂 Isn’t that just amazing to you?! It completely blew my mind! I hope you’re as excited about this as I was haha! It’s made me really look into my purpose as a missionary and a Son of God.
Anyways, I hope you guys have a good week! P.S. I miss placed my camera and don’t have a clue where it is haha… love you!
Elder Collings

•••

Stephen and his family got baptized!

Hello! How’s it going? This week has been great! A lot of good things have come to pass. First off, Stephen and his family got baptized! It was an awesome event to be a part of. So many people showed up to their baptism! They were being taught by the Chinese sisters and us so, they had two wards to back them up. They’re going to be a part of our ward after confirmation so that puts us 3 baptisms and the ward goal is 7 so we’re almost there! 😉
Natalie and her family were at the baptism as well. She’s doing so good! She understands everything we teach her and has really come a long way. We’re going to sit down with her and Johnathan tomorrow to hopefully figure out some wedding plans because that’s the only thing holding her back. We have a temple trip planned with them this Sunday so that is something we’re looking forward to!
That’s so weird to think I got my call a year ago… feels like yesterday! Haha. That was a crazy day opening my call. And yeah I was a little sad to get called somewhere domestic, but I had no clue what missionary work even was back then! The only thing I knew was that I’d be called somewhere to teach people pretty much. Now that I’m here in California and have lived here for some time, my outlook on my call has changed a ton. It’s still a ghetto place haha but, the people here are so amazing. I’ve been able to meet so many awesome people, each with a different story and background. I could talk to 7 different nationalities in 7 different minutes walking in any direction. I love it here! Even though it’s not the scenery I had hoped for 😉
I feel like a lot has changed with me yet I’m still the same. My knowledge of the gospel went from a 0.3 to a 987 since I’ve been here, but my personality is still the same haha. At least as far as I can tell 🙂 If you think about it, missions kinda lock you in place. When I get home, I won’t have to go to church because I might have investigators there and I won’t have to read the scriptures every morning because someone might ask me a confusing question. It’s all up to me! But at the same time, I have no other choice than to continue with this lifestyle I’ve created on my mission. Why? Because it’s not a mission lifestyle, it’s a “life” lifestyle. Everything I do each day is something we should be doing each day regardless of missions or not. I know too much now to not continue with this lifestyle. I would feel like I’m not doing my part as a member of the church. Before my mission I had no clue what was expected of me other than the basic commandments.
I’ve had a lot of people ask questions about why God allows bad things to happen and why he doesn’t intervene when others make decisions to harm good people. To understand this, you need to understand free will and what it is. In my reading I found a section of a book a while back which presents it pretty plainly. Once you understand our free will you can start to understand the character of God and how he works with his children here on earth.
“You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong—only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled
Christians, then, believe that an evil power has made himself for the present the Prince of this World (Satan). And, of course, that raises problems. Is this state of affairs in accordance with God’s will or not? If it is, He is a strange God, you will say: and if it is not, how can anything happen contrary to the will of a being with absolute power? But anyone who has been in authority knows how a thing can be in accordance with your will in one way and not in another. It may be quite sensible for a mother to say to the children, “I’m not going to go and make you tidy the schoolroom every night. You’ve got to learn to keep it tidy on your own.” Then she goes up one night and finds the Teddy bear and the ink and the French Grammar all lying in the grate. That is against her will. She would prefer the children to be tidy. But on the other hand, it is her will which has left the children free to be untidy. The same thing arises in any regiment, or trade union, or school. You make a thing voluntary and then half the people do not do it. That is not what you willed, but your will has made it possible.
It is probably the same in the universe. God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata—of creatures that worked like machines—would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight. And for that they must be free.” -C.S. Lewis

Just something I felt I should share! I hope someone got something out of that haha. I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Collings

We’ve found some awesome people!

Hello! Yeah Matthew is awesome, he’s such a cool member. And yeah the Samoan ward is trying to make me look like them haha. It’s crazy to think Angel and Tanner are home/coming home! Seems like yesterday I was watching them both open their calls. Time is flying by for me so I can understand! If you’re going to go to church, you should go to the East Pasadena ward, they’d welcome you 😉

The work is good. Our investigators are doing well. We found out this past week that Natalie and Johnathan aren’t married so hopefully we’ll have a marriage coming up here soon or else she’s not going to make her date. But she seems pretty chill about it! Steven is doing well, he’s just very sick so we don’t have much time each week to teach him. He’s still on track to be baptized this Sunday though! So we’re very excited for him.

Another cool person we’re working with is another guy named Michael. Him and his wife, Diana, moved into the area 2 weeks ago and found our number online and had us over for dinner like 3 days after they moved in haha. They love the missionaries! Michael is an investigator and has been investigating for about a year now and Diana is a convert of about 5 years. Oh and they had their first child like a week ago! I really think he will see the importance of being baptized with all these changes coming his way. We’re going to have another lesson with them this week and we’ll set some expectations. I’ll keep you posted!

We’ve found some awesome people to work with this week as well. One of the more solid persons is named Alexis. She’s 21 and super dope. We knocked on her door and she came out and talked to us for like 20 minutes on her doorstep. She was amazed at what we’re doing and about died when we offered her service haha. But we’ll see what happens! Love you!

Here’s some pictures of my past week:

– Family home evening with the Johnson’s and The Ambriz and Natalie – Dinner with the Fineanganofos – Me and all of Stevens Family – Getting all the Coffee


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