Working in the Lord’s Vineyard

Hello!

What’s happening back in G-Ville? Surprisingly, I feel like more people
here in SoCal know where Grantsville is compared to people in Salt Lake.
How is Dad doing? I heard his surgery went well but I don’t even know what
he had surgery for. How long is the recovery time? Why did he have to shave
his head haha? Anyways, let me know please 🙂

The past couple of weeks have been good. Our area was dead so, we dropped
all our investigators last Friday and started fresh on Saturday. Since then
we’ve picked up 7 investigators which is a huge blessing. Lennie and Yancy
are a family we found that live a minute away. They’re super great people
and, we’ve had a couple of lessons with them but they need a better
interest. Jose and Jonathan are 2 brothers we found just knocking doors
and, they’re super solid. It’s just hard to meet with Jose’s school and
Jonathan’s work, but we’ll get em’ anyways.

We also found a former investigator named Karen. Me and Elder Jensen were
together while Peterson was with a member and we decided to go by her
house. We got stopped at a gate and I was like “Shoot let’s move on” but,
Elder Jensen being the awesome greenie he is, with all the blessings he
brings…found a way around the fence through the back. We found her
apartment! I told Elder Jensen that he was going to lead this contact so
we said a quick prayer right before knocking.

After we knocked we heard, “Go away” haha. BUT..being the insistent
missionaries we are, we made sure to let her know who we were before taking
off. We heard her say “one sec”, as we were walking away. She then came out
and we gave her our little intro. we give everyone. She just broke down
in tears saying she was just praying to God for help. We taught her at her
door step and set up an appointment for the next day. It was a super cool
experience for both me, and Elder Jensen. It definitely inspired us to not
give up on anyone even if there are obstacles in our way!

We also found a new Less-Active to teach. His name is Enrique and he’s
going to Cal Tech but he lives in Long Beach (I guess he knows Elder Bryce
Anderson fairly well). He requested to meet with us because the sisters in
his home ward area can’t handle his deep doctrine questions haha. I guess
he’s made missionaries cry and lose their testimonies with the questions he
has. He doesn’t try to do that, it just happens. He’s ridiculously smart.
He got a perfect score on his SAT and had many scholarship opportunities to
Cal Tech, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, etc.

Anyways…he’s a Theoretical Physicist so he naturally thinks very deeply
about things. He asked to meet at the University in some library where
Albert Einstein taught. It was also where string theory was developed. So
here we are in Hogwarts getting blasted by a genius (literally), about why
God favors evil and, how Satan was predestined for his role in His plan and
all sorts of thing but nevertheless the Spirit was with us! Haha we kept up
with all his question and answers. I guess he was very impressed. We met
with him again the next day and today he gave us an awesome tour of Cal
Tech which is the Number 1 University in the world 6 years running. It was
super cool.

Also the Temple trip was great this morning. It was fun to be in Downtown
L.A. for a minute. The work is moving forward and I’m excited to see what’s
gonna happen here in East Pasadena. I’ll send a couple pics, one is a
contrast of how the schedule was in this area before and after I got here
haha. There are some more pics of the University too. I love you guys and
hope you have a good week!

Elder Collings

What a Blessing

Well, it’s almost been 4 months. It’s really flown by haha. But all is well
here in East Pasadena. This week has been kinda busy. Thursday Elder Jensen
and I went on exchanges with Elder Pixton (One of the Elders in our pad)
and it sucked pretty bad because his bike was broken so we had to walk all
over the place but we had a recent concert named Earl with us for about an
hour so that was a blessing. It felt like an unproductive day just because
we couldn’t do as much work, but that’s alright.

We had Zone conference on Friday which is when you meet as a zone (or 2)
and receive counsel and advice from President and Sister Villanueva, the
AP’s, and our Zone leaders. It was a 6 hour meeting from 10-4 and that last
hour I was fighting to stay awake but other than that it was great!
President promised us that we’ll have a “White Christmas” and that every
companionship will baptize in the month of December if we work hard in our
areas. He also asked us to share more of the Mormon Messages and church
videos during our finding and teaching. That will be hard for me because I
get caught up in teaching and always forget about all the recourses I have.
But it’ll be good.

We also had a pretty awesome finding opportunity on Friday night. We went
to a park around 7:30 p.m. and started talking to all the people we saw.
Some homeless guy called us over and started talking to us. I can’t
remember his name but he was pretty funny. Anyways about 10 minutes later a
lady walked up and said, “I have some questions, and I want to see if you
guys can answer them”. In my mind I was like, “Let’s Goooooo!!!” But I
stayed professional in my conduct 😉

Her name is Samantha and she was going on about how she doesn’t believe in
God because, bad things are happening in the world and her Dad passed away
not to long ago. Elders Peterson and Jensen started teaching about the
scriptures and scientific facts and all sorts of other stuff. They weren’t
getting anywhere and wouldn’t give me a chance to speak. I started getting
frustrated, and Elder Peterson picked up on it, and stopped and gave me an
opening.

I talked to her about prayer and how we need faith. And told her that the
scriptures mean nothing, if she doesn’t even believe in God. She really
felt the spirit and the concept of Prayer clicked in her mind. I committed
her to praying and reading Alma 14:8-11 and she got excited and wanted to
meet again the next day. The spirit was strong and everyone felt it 🙂
Sadly we haven’t been able to get ahold of her since? But we’ll find her
again someday.

Saturday was vacation day for us missionaries! It was just Conference all
day which was great, and we got to be with a bunch of other missionaries in
our area. After Priesthood session we started biking towards Bishop Tafua’s
house for a BBQ, but a few minutes later my bike basically exploded. Haha
idk what happened but everything locked up and I almost flew over the
handlebars but luckily my amazing priesthood powers saved me. Elder Jensen
knows a ton about bikes and he’s said I broke and twisted my chain, which
got stuck in my gears, which pulled my derailer arm and snapped it in half
off of my bike. Idk how much it’ll be to fix but that sure put a damper in
my day haha.

Anyways it’s been a good week. This week will be good as well 🙂 I’ll send
some pics and videos your way as well. Sorry this email took so long haha,
I put it off all day but nevertheless I wrote it. I hope you guys all have
a great week and help the missionaries in your areas with referrals, and
rides, and meals 🙂 You’ll be blessed. Please send my love to Jared’s
family. Have a great week! Also send me my iPod asap because I can have my
music again haha 🙂

Elder Collings

•••

Awesome Week!

Hello!

Well, it was a week full of all sorts of surprises! Tuesday was super great
and very busy, I finally had the chance to work in my new area and it was
great. East Pasadena is a wonderful place to be haha. Our area is pretty
big and FULL of hills which sucks because I’m on a bike now. And to make
things worse we live outside of our area so hopefully I’ll be able to lose
some weight with all this running around.

But anyways back to Tuesday. Me and Elder Peterson were kicking butt
teaching and finding left and right, so we decided to take a break and walk
to our next appointment. About 20 minutes later we get a call from the AP’s
(Assistant to the President). And low and behold Elder Peterson and I were
called to train!! We had to bike like a billion miles an hour back to our
pad to put on suits then find a ride to the mission office because we were
going to meet our trainee in about an hour. Usually you have about a week
to prepare for training but for whatever reason we were called an hour
before training.

We made it on time and got to meet our new companion! His name is Elder
Jensen from St. George. He’s a great missionary but is a TALKERRR. We’ve
tried to turn that love for talking into a love of preaching but he hasn’t
quite got the hang of it haha. He’s super smart and very knowledgeable
about anything anyone says. But yeah I’m a trainer in my 3rd month out!!

I love it here with my companions and the other Elders we live with. I
know we’ll be able to accomplish some great work here. We have a kid we’re
working with named Kobe who had a baptism date for last Saturday but wasn’t
able to make it. His parents are divorced so he’s living with his Aunt and
Uncle who are super solid in the church. Kobe loves and knows everything we
taught him, but last Thursday out of nowhere his Dad decided he wasn’t okay
with him getting baptized anymore and came and picked him up from his
uncle’s and we haven’t seen him since.

It was super rough on us and his family. He was supposed to get baptized
with 3 of his other cousins who were getting baptized as well. It was hard
to see everyone there except for him. We know that someday he’ll get
baptized. Hopefully soon while we’re here, but if not that’s okay. We just
keep praying that his Dad will have a change of heart and bring him back.

The East Pasadena ward is a great ward and loves to help the missionaries.
Our dinner calendar is full until halfway through October and each week we
go on splits with the members. Our ward mission leader is awesome as well.
His name is Brother Jones and he has a daughter that’s serving in our home
mission. I guess she’s in Tooele right now but I’m not sure. The ward isn’t
full of 80 year olds like Temple City haha.

Today has been a good day. We meet up with the Zone Leaders and another
group of Elders and went to the church to ball it up haha. Now we’re all
chilling in our pad making brownies with ice cream. I’ll probably send some
pics of all of us. Elder Ela who is from the Philippines and also one of
our zone leaders gave me a haircut today after Elder Hansen jacked it up
last Thursday haha.

But anyways all is great here in SoCal and the Lords work is hastening. I
decided to start the New Testament this week and have been reading about
the Saviors teaching. It has strengthened my testimony so much. It’s
amazing what he accomplished in his life after he started his ministry. The
Savior is the greatest example all of us have in our lives (duh) and as we
learn more about him and his life we can improve our own by his example.
I’m so excited to hear what our church leaders have to say about the Savior
this upcoming general conference. I know this church is true and that we
receive modern revelation through modern prophets for this modern day. And
as we live by these teaching we can improve our lives no matter where we
think we are in this world. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
I’ll send some pictures later, see ya! 🙂

Elder Collings

I’m doing GREAT!

Hello! How’s it going?? It’s going GREAT for me in case you were wondering
😉 This past week was alright. President and Elder Garcia helped a ton.
I’m super grateful for their council and leadership. They definitely helped
me make it through the week. Saturday I got a transfer call to East
Pasadena and I’m working with Elder Peterson. I got here this morning and
we went shopping and to the post office.

We live in an apartment with 2 other Elders. Elder Pixten is basically
Trevor Lake and Elder Hansen seems pretty chill as well. I feel so good
about my new companion and area. Biking around earlier today I just knew
that this is where I’m supposed to be. I feel so comfortable, and so
excited to go to work here! I guess we have an investigator on date to be
baptized this week but other than that it’s pretty dead haha. I know we’ll
turn it around and perform miracles in the name of the Lord.

Thank you so much for the package! I wasn’t expecting that at all haha. I
got it and it said “Open on 9/15/2016 and I had no clue what the
significance behind that date was haha. Then I opened it and got attacked
by a glitter monster haha. So much glitter… but I appreciate all the
candy and treats and sunglasses! The Elders here sure liked the banana
bread haha.

All in all, I feel great about where I am. I feel like many miracles will
take place here in the next 6 weeks and that we’ll see the Lord’s hand in
our lives. I finally feel like I can be a full missionary and put forth my
full effort. I know Elder Peterson is a great guy and will teach me many
good things. I’m excited to see what the future has in store. Thank you so
much for all the prayers and thoughts! It’s definitely helped me get to
where I am now. I love you and hope you have a great week!

Elder Collings

Hello! Happy Labor Day!

This past week has been alright. A lot of ups and downs but currently
things are more on the up side, so I guess that’s a plus haha. This
past week we’ve been doing a lot of contacting trying to find new people to
teach. We taught 22 lessons this past week just on streets or doorsteps of
random people. I feel like my approaches are getting better the more I
practice (duh). We meet a lot of interesting people here in Temple City
haha. There’s this Schizophrenic guy that we happen to see everywhere. He’s
convinced that God hates him and wants to destroy him because that’s what
the voices in his head are telling him. We try and explain that those
voices aren’t really reliable sources and that God loves him.

We’ve picked up a few new investigators this past week. Some of them
more promising than others but you never know! Tony is doing alright, he’s
still progressing, but we haven’t been able to meet with him for a few
days. He’s definitely not going to make his date of September 17th,
but hopefully we’ll get him in October. I guess he let the Jehovah
Witnesses in the other day and had a nice chat with them ?That’s not what
we wanted to hear, but he did tell us that he likes us better so that’s
good haha.

We meet another guy named Tony this week. He’s super cool and is Black,
which makes him cooler haha. It’s not often we find someone who’s not
either Asian or Hispanic. We had a lesson with him on his door step and he
had a bunch of questions about the Mormon church. We meet with
him again tonight (hopefully).

We also found a guy named Adaleed. I guess he was big into gangs and
gangster thing about 10 years ago but during a rough time, he found God
and it changed his life. He’s now married with 2 kids and loves his Savior.
He was happy to invite us back over to teach his family about Jesus.

I had my first church tour on Saturday! We had someone that referred
themselves on the churches website come and get a Bible and Book of Mormon.
Her name is Zu Lee and she’s from China but she’s been
studying here in the states. We sat down in the Relief Society room and
taught her about the restoration. She was really receptive and agreed with
everything we taught her. She knew nothing about God not too long ago but
she had an experience while she was in school at Notre Dame. Since then
she’s been curious and has wanted to know more. We didn’t really get a
chance to show her the whole church, but she said she’d come to Sacrament
the next day (She didn’t haha).

Yesterday was fast Sunday as you guys know and a lot of good things
came about yesterday. Last Wednesday Sister Millsaps challenged us to bear our
testimonies so I was planning on going up about 10 minutes before it ended.
Just as I was about to go we had a less active decide he wanted to share
his. His name is Jimmy John and is very interesting… He’s probably around
his mid 40’s and is totally living in the past. He’s a hard core rock fan
and spent half his life following different bands around the country. As he
got up me and Elder Yoon kinda looked at each other like “Oh no” haha. But
as soon as he started the spirit was there. He gave the most heart felt and
sincere testimony I’ve ever heard. It was almost like a poem because
it flowed so well and sounded so great. EVERYONE in the chapel felt his love
for God. He even had an 11 year old girl sitting in front of us bawling her
eyes out.

It was very humbling to hear that. I often find myself humbled when I
question someone’s spirituality. You never know how someone’s relationship
with God can be. The people you expect the least often put you in your
place. It just reminds me to always talk to everyone I see no matter what
circumstance I see them in. You’ll never know who needs to hear from you
and who you need to hear from unless you open your mouth. I was called to
teach the gospel for two years but so far
I’ve been doing most the learning. Missions teach you things you didn’t
know you needed to learn.

To end I’ll answer your question haha. Yeah me and President Villanueva have
a good relationship. He’s so caring and loving. I’ve
only had a few chances to actually talk with him but all of those times have
been great. He’s taught me to be patient with my current conditions haha.
Which will hopefully change in the coming weeks?
Tonight we have Elder Soto staying with us on exchanges. He’s super awesome,
but also a rebellious missionary haha. It will be an interesting day
tomorrow. Tonight we have dinner with the Duffins like every other Monday.
They’re probably my favorite people in the ward besides the Marshalls and
Brother Stacey of course 😉 Sorry I don’t
have any pictures this week but I’m sure you guys will live 🙂 Love you guys
and hope you have a great day and a great week! Keep Elder Yoon and I in
your prayers!

Elder Collings
•••

Half way through the transfer!

Hello!

How’s it going? Sorry I don’t have much time to email today, it’s been
pretty busy. I just got done playing some Badminton with 2 of the
Chinese elders here, Elder Ng and Elder Asenjo. They’re super fun to
be around. Me and Elder Ng played doubles against two Chinese people
we found. It was pretty intense but we lost haha. We had stake
conference as well yesterday and got to hear from Elder Gary Wilde. He
talked about the importance of the basic doctrine and principles of the
gospel. The entire conference was pretty much centered for recent
converts and investigators, which was great for missionary work! Too bad we
couldn’t get any of our investigators to come haha.

Last week we had one of the AP’s (Elder Alcarez) go on exchanges with us!
He called that morning and asked if he could spend the day and night with
us, so it was super unexpected but a huge blessing. He
taught us a lot, and was a great example to learn from. I also went on
exchanges last Tuesday with Elder Philips again. He’s still super great and
very laid back haha. He just had a baptism last Saturday and
has 5 more coming up in September. He and his area are on fire. It was fun
actually teaching lessons for a change other than just trying to find
people all day.

Our investigator Tony is doing alright. We met with him today and he still
loves
seeing us, but he’s having a hard time with changing his church. He knows
our church is true and good, but to him lots of churches are true haha. We
try explaining to him, but he thinks we’re just trying to
“recruit him to the Mormons”. We’re still working with him though so
hopefully he comes around. We also got a new progressing investigator
yesterday. Her name is Rosio. We’ve met with her a few times before, but
last time she let us in to share a message and told us she’s been reading
the pamphlet we gave her and the Book of Mormon! Hopefully she continues
doing so haha.

Thanks for the gifts! Elder Yoons as well! He seemed to appreciate the
thought 🙂 My birthday was alright. Still a missionary so I had to work the
whole day, but it was good. A lot of the missionaries and mission leaders
made sure to tell me happy birthday so that was kind.
Brother and Sister Marshall got me a little cake so that night. We got
some candles and sang happy birthday which was fun! Brother Marshall
wants me to give him the Utah shirt you got me haha, he thinks it’s
the coolest shirt he’s ever seen haha. The cookies were great! I think I
still have 1 left.

Anyway I’m doing alright! Thanks for all the love and support, I
really appreciate it 🙂 Hopefully the work here in Temple City picks up.
It’s been slow but were pushing through. How’s Grantsville doing? I heard
it’s starting to cool down a little. What are you guys up to now a day? Any
more trips planned? It seems like you guys went on like 47 in the past 3
months without me haha 😉 I love you and hope you
have a great week! Keep me in your prayers! You guys are always in mine.
See ya!

Elder Collings

My Mission

Hello Mom! Thank you so much for emailing me everyday, even if it is
just a picture it still means you’re putting forth the effort 🙂 I’m
so grateful for everything you do for me and everything you’ve done
for me. Nothing you do for me goes unnoticed 🙂 Thank you for always
taking care of me. I know you’re always going to be there for me in
times of need, and for that I’m super blessed and grateful 🙂

Tell Grandma thanks for the blanket! I got it a few days ago but
haven’t opened it, I told myself I’d wait until my birthday to open
everything. Which has been hard because Grandma makes the best
blankets and I just want it already? I’ve been writing every night in
the journal you sent me, before we know it it will all be filled up
and I’ll send it home to you guys! There’s no point in telling you not
to read it because we all know that’s not going to happen haha. And I
have a few more pictures that I took this past week that I’ll send to
you.

This week has been full of ups and downs. Tuesday I went on exchanges
with one of my Zone Leaders and another elder. Being back in a trio
was super fun haha. Those Elders are awesome. I learned a ton from
them and had a chance to actually participate in some lessons which
was good 🙂 I would say that was the best day of my mission so far. We
didn’t do anything special, it was just nice to be around someone you
feel actually likes you and appreciates the things you do. Ya know? Me
and Elder Yoon were great most of last week. He can be a great and
funny guy and we really get along when he’s in a good mood. But most
of the time I feel he wakes up and immediately is out to get me. It’s
hard but hopefully we’ll have more good days in the future.

We committed a new investigator to baptism! September 17th is the day
he agreed to. We still have a lot of work with him and he’s still not
super committed but hopefully the spirit will get to him. His name is
Tony and he loves meeting with us. Keep him in your prayers 🙂

I’m about to go bowling with the zone leaders. I’ve been looking
forward to this for a week now. This will be the first fun thing I’ve
done on a P-day haha 🙂 And I have an exchange with Elder Philips
tonight so that will be great 🙂 I love spending time with other
Elders and members of our ward. Elder Philips apartment is full of
cockroaches though haha. We went there one time to pick them up and we
lifted up a rag on there counter and about 7 cockroaches scattered
across the counter haha. Super nasty. They say they’re impossible to
get rid of so they just gave up.

I got to get going, thanks again for all the love and support you give
me 🙂 I truly do appreciate it 🙂 Have a great week! I love you!

Elder Collings
•••

Hello from Elder Collings

Hello! How’s it going? I’m super jealous that your in Oregon right
now! I couldn’t see the video you sent but in all the pictures it
looks like you’re having a great time! Tell Trish and Christina
congratulations and that I think they’re like the nicest people I know
haha 🙂 I heard you put Sage on a diet haha, hopefully she’s doing
well! It was nice to see you and dad at the temple. I miss being able
to go to the temple so much.

Temple City is doing alright. I guess it’s been in a drought of solid
investigators for about 5 months now but hopefully it will pick up.
Still full of Asians haha. I got my hair cut today from a lady from
Thailand, she seems to like us. She always gives us a discount and we
don’t know why haha. We can’t understand her? A few days ago we
stopped in a Chinese super store to use the bathroom and I was the
only white person in the whole store. And it was packed with people.
I’ve never felt so out of place haha?

I get to go on exchanges tonight with one of the zone leaders so I’m
super excited about that. His name is Elder Nava and he seems super
kind so it’ll be good. Me and elder Yoon are doing alright I guess.
Hopefully we can keep it up haha. I got to talk to President
Villanueva about it and he said he’d try and help and gave me some
good advice so hopefully things will get better. The Marshalls left on
vacation until Saturday so I’ll be fending for myself again haha. I
feel like my teaching is really getting better so that’s a plus.
During my meeting with President he said I should start preparing
myself to become a trainer so that’s kinda scary haha but exciting as
well.

This past week we have been doing a lot of service. We woke up and
went out with Brother Stacey on Tuesday morning. He had us shovel dirt
into the back of a truck at one of his rental houses, then take the
dirt to this massive dump place. It was nice doing some physical labor
for a few hours. Then Wednesday we went over to our “Part time job” at
sister Millsaps house (The British Lady). She has us over pretty often
to help with her garden and then forces us to take some money for
doing so haha. She gives us like 50 bucks each every time we’re over
there. I feel kinda bad but then again she makes us take it so oh
well. She’s loaded so it’s okay haha. Then Thursday we went over to
Sister Sunderlands house. She had us hold her fridge so she could
vacuum under it. We were there for like 2 hours while she tried to get
all the dust out from underneath. Then we noticed a whole bunch of
drugs on her countertops haha. I’m guessing they’re her husbands but
it was still pretty strange.

Yesterday we had dinner at the Garcia’s house. They’re super awesome
people and they have 5 kids, 4 girls and a boy. From 9 to 1 with the
boy being the youngest. They had their kids play the violin and sing a
song for us which was nice. Afterwards we sang a song for them. I suck
at singing so it was pretty rough but it invited the spirit 🙂

I’ll send a bunch of pictures I took. The adapter that you sent works,
so hopefully I’ll be sending more pics from now on 🙂 I love you guys
and hope you have a great week! Always look for opportunities to serve
others so the Lord can serve you 🙂

(Pictures: Me and the nasty fish
head – Me and Brother Stacey’s car – Me and Brother Stacey

Elder Collings


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