First week in the field

Well, I’m here! I got off the flight that was about 2 hours long but I
slept most the time and met 14 missionaries for about a minute that were
going home. Then we took off out of the terminal and met President and
sister Villanueva and the two AP’s. They were super nice and greeted us
with a sign and were super happy to see us! Then we loaded our luggage and
took off to the mission! Me and the trio got to ride with one of the AP’s
and he answered all our questions we had and told us what to expect that
day so that was super helpful.

We all met at the mission office and had some paperwork to do and a quick
little orientation. Lunch was pretty good that day, one of the secretaries
made some baked potatoes. Then we had a meeting and meet our companions and
found out where we’re serving! I’m serving in Temple City which is pretty
big and is about 99% Asians and Hispanics. My companions name is Elder
Yoon, he’s from South Korea and is just a little guy haha. He’s been out
for 10 months but only 3 in California. He served in Korea while he was
waiting for his visa. He speaks pretty good English but he still has
trouble sometimes so that’s kind of a challenge sometime. We got along
pretty good at first but it’s just kinda going downhill. He misunderstands
a lot of things I do and gets really frustrated over the smallest things. I
try to talk to him about it but he’s not very open to anyones opinions but
his own. So I do my best with him but It’s been really hard.

I guess I got here at one of the worst times haha. The work is really slow
and we don’t have anyone to teach. I’ve only taught one lesson since I’ve
been here. His name is Hector, he’s about 55-60 and he talks A LOT but it’s
funny haha. He really listened to what we had to say but as soon as we were
done he went right back into talking about his garden so, idk if he meets
with us for our message or for our company haha. We’ve been trying to
contact old investigators in our area but it’s not going to well. But we do
have a car! So that makes everything a lot better πŸ™‚

The area is pretty nice/ghetto. You could drive down any street in the area
and see million dollar houses and trailers side by side so it stays
interesting. Most of the big houses are owned by the Chinese so we’re in
the ghetto like all the time! πŸ˜‰ I wish you could see half the people we’ve
talked to, you’d probably be too scared to look at them through out of fear
that they’d track you down and shoot you but they’re all super nice to the
missionaries so we just chat it up hahah. Yesterday we were walking through
a hispanic trailer park looking for a former investigator and we went to
her house and knocked on the door but I guess she moved like a year and a
half ago, so this big ole beefy shirtless Mexican with about 700 tattoos
came out with a switchblade hanging from his pants and started talking with
us. We have an appointment with him and his family this week haha.

My house is great! We live with the Marshalls and they are awesome. They
feed us whenever we need it and have food for us here so we don’t do any
shopping. Brother Marshall also does most of our laundry every Sunday
morning so that’s a huge blessing haha. We’re going to spend most of our
4th tonight at our house with them and neighbors so it should be good πŸ™‚ I
get my IPad on Friday and once I have that I can check my email every night
after 10 but I can’t respond, so keep those emails coming πŸ˜‰ The work is
defiantly hard but it’s fun, hopefully it picks up soon so I can start
teaching people and start having some awesome spiritual experiences! So far
Cali’s treating me well but it has been really hot. I hope you all have a
good 4th of July! Try not to be to sad without me there! πŸ˜‰

First area and first companion

Elder Collings has arrived in Temple City for his first area. He is living
with a member family. They said that they are so excited to get to know
him. He has a wonderful companion Elder Yoon from South Korea. They said he
will teach him well.

Temple City area is really large, so they will have a car for awhile.
Bridger is the designated driver! He says he will have to get use to the LA
traffic!

first area pix 1

Elder Collings has arrived!

Dear Parents,

Today we had the privilege of welcoming your missionary to the California
Arcadia Mission. Thank you for all you have done to prepare him to serve
as a worthy representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Attached is a photo taken as he arrived. I am grateful for the opportunity
we will have to serve together here in this part of the Lord’s vineyard.
We will do all we can to support and to encourage him in this challenging
new calling as a full time missionary.

Your continued support through weekly letters or e-mail, is important for
his success as a missionary. Mail should be sent directly to the Arcadia
Mission Office at 614 W Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, California 91006.

This is a great work and an exciting time to be serving mission in
California. The mix of cultures and languages here is most unique, and we
discover daily that special people have been led here to embrace the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. I know you and your family will be richly blessed for the
service he renders here and the sacrifice you are making to support and
strengthen your missionary.

Sincerely,

President MoisΓ©s Villanueva

California Arcadia Mission

[image: Collings 3839.jpg]

President Collings and Tracy at the MTC

It was SO great to get this blog post from Tracy:

We have an Elder Collings in the MTC too! Steve’s cousin’s son is here.
They have lived close by us for years, and our son is good friends with
him. We looked for him for three days. Finally on Sunday, we went to the
information desk and asked it it would be appropriate to see him while we
were here. They jumped up and said absolutely!!

A quick phone call to his zone leader, and Elder Collings was there. He
had such a light about him. He smiled the whole time, and talked about how
his training is going. He will be leaving the day after us, and is so
excited to serve a mission. We are so impressed with what a geat young man
he is. What a fun experience to be able to see him while he is in the MTC!
[image: FullSizeRender.jpg]

TWO WEEKS DOWN!

Hello!

P-day took forever to get here, but it's here!Β 
This
last week has flown by, so many new missionary's came last Wednesday.
Nobody I know though. The food has gone downhill, they're turning the
cafeteria into like a studio so almost all the options we use to have
have been taken from us. The reason they did that is because the 12
apostles and the first presidency will be here this week training all
the new mission presidents, I guess this is only the second time they've
done this. So chances are ill bee hearing from one of them tonight in the devotional or this Sunday so that's pretty exciting ?Β 
My
district is doing well.Β  Me and Elder LeBaron are doing good though.
He's super funny and talks a lot. We do everything as a district which
is good. Me and Elder Munsey probably get along the best. We've both
been out of high school for a year and are just on the same page with
our lives and are definitely more mature than the others. He lives just
down the street from Grandma and Grandpa Harwood. We had another
district in our zone leave yesterday which was kinda sad, we got really
close to them. I'll send another email with pics.Β 
The
teachings here have been great, we learn so much. We committed our last
two investigators to baptism which was great! We got two new ones
yesterday and so far its going great. We have plenty of chances to teach
them this week which is exciting! Everyone here loves teaching. I had
to give a talk last Sunday in sacrament which sucked. Every week
everyone has to prepare a talk and you find out who speaks as they're
giving announcements which is terrifying haha. But it went well,
everyone said it was great. I also had to give a lesson in priesthood
and i found out about that like an hour before because Elder Crandell
didn't assign anyone (imagine that). But the lesson went great! My
companions didn't help at all because they decided to talk and mess
around when we were supposed to prepare but that's all good, I killed it
without them ?
A
couple of nights ago being the bored missionaries we are, we started
taking off the vents in our rooms and found a stash of love letters and
valentines cards in one of them. They we're pretty funny! Our dorm use
to be a girls dorm so they we're a bunch of sappy letters some guy wrote
to his girlfriend haha. I love all of your guys letters and hearing
whats going on back home! Keep sending them! Sorry I can't reply to them
I just don't have much time to email. And I got your package! I loved
it! and everyone in the zone loved the Jerky haha.
Anyways I better get going, I love you all! I'll send some pics in a separate email.
Elder CollingsBridger1.jpe

Bridger2.jpeBridger6.jpeBridger7.jpeBridger4.jpeBridger3.jpe

California is Ready! E-mail from Arcadia!

Sister Collings,

We are (literally) counting down the days until we get to greet Elder Collings! It is a big day! There will be a luncheon when he arrives, photos and interview with the president, instruction on mundane procedures, assignment to his area, and departure with his companion by mid-afternoon. Although he will likely be very tired, he will be actively proselyting among the great people of southern California before his head touches his new pillowcase that night!

First Week is Done! ?

Hello! First week of the MTC DONE!

This is the only email i’m sending today so feel free to forward it haha.

Well i’ll try to answer all your questions, first off the MTC is great! The spirit is amazing. It’s not often you feel the spirit in a constant form like you do here. It’s a lot better than I though it would be honestly. When you first get here you receive a schedule for everyday of the MCT and theirs almost no free time, I think we found like a 20 minute gap for a nap and that’s it haha. So it’s hard to adjust to the constant work but it’s good.

I’m in a district of all elders (First one at the MTC in 8 months), and im in a trio not a companionship. It’s hard being in a trio, but I think were getting the hang of it. My two companions are Elder Lebaron and Elder Crandell. We all have such different personalities but we work well when teaching and we’ve become great friends. Their are 4 other elders in my district and we all get alone GREAT which makes everything so much easier.

I feel like im adjusting well to the mission life, I get around 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night but waking up at 6 every morning still kills me… The first day is rough, they give you so much to take in and you almost feel overwhelmed but as the days go on it becomes natural. The food is great and you can get as much as you want! I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing yet haha. I always find myself singing songs from the outside world and still miss my music and I don’t think ill ever not miss it but its whatever πŸ™‚

And yes I miss you all so very much πŸ˜‰ You don’t have time to think about friends and family here but sometimes things remind you of times with them. The days feel like weeks here but the weeks feel like days.

It’s weird to think I’ve been here a week already! But I’ve grown so much being here. The lord will reveal teaching /study talents you didn’t know you had. Before coming here I literally had no knowledge of how to find and teach from different scriptures. But I guess I’ve been doing something right because im known as the scriptorian now haha. It’s been so easy for me to navigate through the scriptures and find the perfect verses for the lesson.

We have two “investigators” we call them TRC’s. They’re hired by the MTC to come listen to our messages. Some are lds and some are not but they all act like non-members. We’ve only had one lesson with both of them but I felt like we’re really connecting and getting somewhere with the both of them.

I have to go switch my laundry and I forgot my camera in my room so you might not get pictures today but I’ll try haha! I’ve received all your mail and emails and packages, please feel free to send more! NOTHINGS better than getting a package and the end of the day. And while at the MTC send stuff other than snack please, I eat more than enough here haha. And send me my bear, I think Brook stole it…

well i got to go! I might be back on soon, but know that i love you all!


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