Happy New Year!

Hello! This is your son, Elder Collings. Guess what I got to go see this morning! The Rose Parade! I’ve never heard of it before my mission but since I’ve been here that all everyone’s talked about. It was insane! I guess it’s the largest parade next to Macy’s Day Parade. Everyone starts camping out the day before at noon to save seats and a member saved us some killer front row seats right next to PCC. We rode down the parade route last night and I could’ve sworn I was at Times Square with how many people were lining the streets in tents and chairs.
It’s like a big war on Colorado (The parade street name) the night before the parade. Cars will drive down Colorado with windows and doors down throwing tortillas and shaving cream at all the campers and they retaliate with eggs and silly string hahaha. Elder Jensen about had a panic attack when I told him we were going to ride down but we came out scotch clean thanks to the spirit?? I’ll send a bunch of pictures and videos from that.
New Years Eve was pretty boring. Nothing happened and we all just went to bed at 10:30 haha. Everyday seems the same as a missionary unless it’s a P-Day. Now that’s a holiday to celebrate. I haven’t made any New Years resolutions or anything but I’m sure I’ll come up with a couple of goals. Nothing too exciting has happened recently to be honest. Just a normal week of Finding and trying to build up or investigator pool.
Did you have the opportunity to send me a Polaroid camera? 🙂 Also can you put some money into my account? I want to send some stuff home that I’ve accumulated over the past few months. Also I’d like to get my stuff tailored. Also money for a new suit if that’s a possibility 🙂 Just let me know fam. I got some Rose Bowl stuff too with some money from a member. I’ll send that home as well.
Elder Collings

Christmas Eve First Baptism

We were able to talk to Elder Collings on Christmas! It was the best hour and fifteen minutes we’ve had since he left! He was very happy that he’d been able to baptize a beautiful girl on Christmas Eve.
He is just so humble and mature it brought tears to my eyes. He challenged all of us to make sure we’re praying and reading our scriptures daily. It was a beautiful sunny Christmas day in CA. He said it didn’t really seem like Christmas without the snow. He loves the people of East Pasadena! We got to meet the other Elders that he lives with. One of my favorite parts of our FaceTime was, I heard one of the other missionaries say that Bridger is a hard worker!
Love, Melissa

Baptism

Hello Mother! Sorry for taking forever to email on most P days haha… My bad! But I always will email! This past week has been great! Because it’s the holiday season a lot of people start to open up and are willing to meet with us and, we’ve also received a ton of referrals. We’ve basically had to plan the whole last week just around going to referrals which is what we want! A lot of our investigators are progressing super well but one in particular. Natalea is SET on baptism this coming Saturday and has asked me to baptize her! I’m super stoked to see her make these covenants with Christ. She’s had a hard time with her family not approving of her decision but nothing will waver her testimony and desire to grow closer to our Savior. We meet with her everyday and she’s been planning out her baptism this past week. We meet at the City Hall building today which was super dope. I’ll send some pictures of it. We have seen many miracles this past week and the holiday season has just been so good to us haha. This email won’t be too long but I just hope you know how excited I am for this Saturday! I’ve been waiting for someone to finally accept the gospel in it’s fullest. Anyways have a great night and a great week! Also this Christmas we get to chat! I can do whatever works best for you guys. And time before 7pm Utah time works for me! Just let me know this week in an email of how you want it to go down. Have a great night!
Elder Collings •••

Transfer week

Hello! So we had transfer calls this past Saturday! And guess what? Nothing is changing! I’m half way happy about that haha. I love East Pasadena and the members are great and the work is doing great here as well.I’ve been with Elder Jensen for 3 months now. Now I have another 6 weeks with him.
But to answer your questions yes I did get a coat, it’s a pretty nice Columbia coat that was on sale at Dicks so that was good 🙂 We can chat on Christmas either with FaceTime or Skype. I hear FaceTime has the best quality so that would probably be best. And yes I got the Christmas package, thanks! I’ll send some pictures of it tonight 🙂
Natelea is doing great! She’s learning well and accepts everything we teach her as truths and doctrines! She has finals this week until Wednesday and after that we plan on meeting with her every day to prepare her for baptism. She still has a lot to learn but I don’t seeing it being a problem with her. Her mom sent her an Anti-Mormon link to some garbage and she did have quite a few questions about that but we were easily able to answer them and let her know that all these things can be answered and she was very happy to hear that haha.
Nate is still out in the darkness I guess haha. I gave him the “How Do I Know If I Know” book by John Bytheway and he says he loved it and it helped him out a lot with his questions but still isn’t sure. We’re still just trying to give him some time. One of our new investigators, Lucy, is pretty cool. Her and her grandson love to have “Bible Study” with us and really want us to help them become better people so that’s awesome!
I’m doing good and am enjoying the work even know it’s not always easy or fun! Missions are pretty cool I guess 😉 We have Zone Conference coming up in a couple weeks which should be fun! My favorite Zone Leader, Elder Ela, got transferred though… we took some pictures first though so you’ll see those. Elder Pierce is the new Zone Leader and he seems pretty cool so far and I see us really getting along 🙂 Anyways have a great night and I’ll talk to you next week! Let me know if you have any questions!
Elder Collings

Let it Snow!

Hello! How is your day going? I’m super jealous you guys have snow… I’m stuck in palm trees and 70 degrees. Which may sound nice to you but it’s actually the worst. Year round it looks like summer here haha. It’s starting to get colder but it’s like an annoying cold where you don’t have the blessings of snow and hot chocolate and sitting by the fire. But nevertheless my life is 10 times better than yours! 🙂 Not because I have 12 dollars for the rest of the month or because I get to bike in a suit uphill both ways everywhere or because I live in a one bedroom apartment on the top bunk but because I get to see people lives change by accepting the gospel right in front of my eyes 🙂 So this past week has had it’s ups and downs but we ended on a high so overall I can say the week was good!
Investigator #1: Our Golden Child
This past Tuesday we meet with Nate, it was a good lesson and we had a member who’s very knowledgeable so we thought we would make some good progression! As the lesson went on it was just going nowhere. He’s just getting caught up on all the questions we can’t give him answer for and not relying on faith at all. I feel like we’ve tried everything with him to get his testimony growing. So Tuesday we committed him to fasting this past Thursday which he eagerly agreed to just like all the other commitments we give him.
So we scheduled another appointment for Thursday and I needed a little more help with the lesson so Elder Hansen came with me and Elder Jensen went with Elder Frandsen for a few hours. We decided to fast as well with Nate and me and Hansen felt we had some great things to share for our lesson. Once again it gets going and he’s just bringing up all these things he’s not agreeing with. Every opposition he presented was combated excellently by my vast knowledge of deep doctrine questions (I’m gonna be humbled for that statement haha) but he just still wasn’t getting it!
We both bore powerful testimonies at the end and knew he was feeling the spirit. I know that he knows this church is true. But the challenge is helping him know that he knows the church is true. We had to drop his date for December 3rd because of the lack of conversion which was hard. And this past week was the first time he hasn’t come to church in a long time… we’re going to give him his space and hopeful he’ll notice the lack of the spirit in his life.
Investigator #2: The Part Member Family
So idk if I’ve mentioned Richard to you guys but he’s been an investigator for a while. He’s meet with the missionaries since April and is a super great guy. He’s dating a member right now named Sister Fernandez (She’s dope). So Sister Fernandez and her daughter Autumn who’s about 16 are wonderful to him with his conversion. He knows this church is where he wants to end up and that he needs to get baptized but he just keeps procrastinating his date.
He says he needs to get things in his life in order before he can devote his time to the church which is stupid because life’s just one big problem that’s really never fixed. We tried to set him on date and he was super close to accepting a date but just turned it down. We meet with him the next day and the same thing. But he promised us he’ll be to all three hours of church which is a good step for him. So we weren’t too sour. Then of course Sunday rolls around and he’s nowhere to be seen haha. AND cancels our appointment for today so that was a big shoot to the foot. So at this point our two focus investigators just about crushed our White Christmas dreams. There’s little to no time to find someone new to meet the qualifications of baptism. BUT THE LORD WILL PROVIDE!!
Investigator #3: The Underdog
Although we were taking devastating blows last Sunday we did have one investigator there. Natalea. She is the daughter of our former investigator, Leah. She was meeting with the Pasadena Elders for quite some time and just wasn’t feeling the whole baptism thing so they finally passed her off to us because she lives in our ward boundaries. She didn’t have that drive to really learn I guess for a while. She had canceled with us before and her mom Leah was super flakey so we weren’t to sure.
But she came to all of church and we had a lesson with her and one of the young women in our ward, Hope Perkins. The lesson went great and she was really feeling the spirit! We committed her to baptism on the 24th of December which happens to also be her birthday and Christmas Eve! We were also able to commit her to meeting with us 2 times a week so she can learn at a faster pace to make her date. She’s very excited to learn more and eventually be baptized! She has a lot of opposition coming from her family but she knows this church is true and that this is where she needs to be no matter what anyone says. It’s awesome to see someone change right in front of you and completely ignore all the fiery darts of the adversary! I’m excited to see her grow and learn. We have a lesson with her tomorrow and are going to watch The Prophet of The Restoration with her.
I know my emails aren’t always me focusing on the spiritual side of things here in SoCal but the Lord really does provide us with blessings and miracles everyday. We just need to pray for our eyes to be opened to the Devine hand of God in our lives. I know the church is true and the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith restored the gospel that Jesus Christ established during his earthly ministry. We all can know that as we put forth an effort to learn and take a leap of faith to follow our Savior. Thank you for all the help and love I receive from home 🙂 Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you or anyone else in need! I love you! Have a great week 🙂
Elder Collings

Hi Familie

Hei familie! (Det er i norsk) So I’m doing pretty good 🙂 Today’s been a good day. Sister Wheeler, the one who checks our apartment for cleanliness, came by around 10:30 so all morning we were deep cleaning our home haha. It looked pretty good until it got dirty again. All the Elders in the area like to come here every P-Day and we have a big lunch and all hang out. Sooo naturally with 8 nineteen year olds in a one bedroom apartment it gets messy haha. But I always strive to keep my living space clean! My desk is super nice, everyone envies it. Anyways we then took off to Burlington and went shopping! I accidentally bought another suit but it’s a killer good looking one so it’s okay 🙂 I also got some new shoes, a belt, and a tie. But I forgot to get a coat and that’s the whole reason I went so idk what I’m going to do about the cold haha. Now we’re all just hanging out here emailing 🙂
So this past week has been interesting! It was a holiday week so people don’t like to set appointments with us. But I’d say it was still a productive week. We work with this member named Bob. Every Sunday evening we stop by and for a while now we’ve been contemplating if we should continue meeting with him or not because he’s a solid member and is just old and likes our company. It’s not a very productive use of our time but it payed off! He gave us a referral of a guy named Jack. Jack goes to Bobs house every Wednesday and plays board games with him. So we stopped by to see if Jack was interested and, it turns out he’s about 17 and a senior in high school. He wanted to learn more about what we believe and had a genuine interest. He said he’s agnostic and isn’t sure if God is there. We asked if he’s every prayed and he said never. We asked him to pray to God to know if he’s there and introduced the plan of salvation to him. We’re super excited to follow up and see how it went!
We also had a pass off lesson with Natelea and the Pasadena Elders. She’s progressing very well and has great fellowship here in East Pasadena. She expressed to us how she felt about church and how she knows it’s true. She went back to her old church last Sunday with her parents and said she felt very uncomfortable being there and knew it wasn’t the way God wants us to worship him. It was cool to see her recognize that the spirit was with her at our church and not at her other one. We’re still working with her on a baptismal date but she’s a little hesitant and wants to learn more. But I know she’ll be baptized soon, the spirit is really working on her 🙂
Nate is struggling a little. We’re planning on moving his baptism date back a few weeks so he can know for sure the truths of our church. He’s having problems accepting scripture and prophets. Not necessarily the Book of Mormon and modern prophets but them as a whole, including biblical prophets. We’re trying to turn all his questions to the scriptures so he can gain a testimony of them for himself. He’s just a very “physical evidence” oriented person and is having a hard time accepting these stories as “truth”. But he’s kept all his commitments and loves church. He prays and read every day and even bought himself all sorts of study helps on LDS.org. I have confidence the Lord will manifest these truths to him as he continues to live the gospel and actively study it.
We found a family this past week! It’s the Chen family! They’re straight outta Taiwan haha. The wife understands only about half of what we say but the husband is pretty fluent even know he has a heavy accent. We tried to see if they wanted to meet with the Mandarin speaking elders but they want to learn English. We asked them to be baptized on the 24th of December and they just said, “Oh no, too soon” haha. But we’ll get them dunked faster than they think! 😉 Well make sure they’re ready also haha.
We’re working with some more people but those are our main investigators. I’m super excited for the Christmas spirit to take effect on the people here in East Pasadena! Hopefully we’ll meet some more humble people that have a desire to lean more about Christ as it’s his season. The Lord has definitely blessed us tremendously these past few weeks and we just need to do the best we can to work with the people he’s given us 🙂 I hope this Christmas all of you reach out to someone who needs a greater knowledge of Christ in their lives. Hundreds of people pass by us everyday in need of more light in their life, and I hope you can introduce your light to them 🙂 Have a great week! Love you!
Elder Collings
•••

Tender mercies

I received this text tonight:
Hey mom’s of Elder Jensen and Elder Collings we were blessed to have your son’s be able to give my wife a wonderful blessing and thought we would share a picture! Thanks for raising such amazing young men!
It’s amazing to me that I continue to receive the Lord’s tender mercies when I need them the most. The experiences he is having on this mission will prepare him for life better than any thing else ever could!

Week of Thanksgiving!

Hello Mom! How’s your day been? How’s life back at home? I hear it’s getting cold! I’m jealous haha. It’s still pretty warm here although there have been a few nights where I’ve had to put on the sweater you sent haha. It was pouring rain the other day and I got soaked from head to toe haha. The sweater kept me warm though! I’ll send some pictures from that night. Last week we went to a library to give some service for a book sale. So I just had to buy the Lord of the Rings trilogy haha. So be expecting a package of books some time in the near future. The holiday season is here but it feels no different as a missionary. We’re so out of the loop with media and events so it’s whatever. It’s definitely going to be hard as I think about the times at home. But I’d rather be here helping other families have what ours has 🙂 Our investigators are doing good, Nate is still solid for his date but a few stumbling blocks have come up. Leah moved this past week so we helped her with that but her daughter is interested in taking the lessons! Her boyfriend is on a mission in France right now so I feel strongly about her progressing in the gospel. Her name is Natelea. I’ll send a picture with Leah and Natelea. Me and Elder Jensen are doing alright. I have some questions to ask probably later tonight. Thanks for all the things you do for me! I love you! 🙂
Elder Collings

Week before Thanksgiving!

Hello! This email will be pretty short but I’ll send pictures and videos to make up for it haha. Honestly nothing too interesting has happened this past week. We’ve had a few investigators drop us so that’s been a bummer… Nate is still doing good but didn’t make it to church on Sunday. Me and Elder Jensen are doing alright. We’re going to try and focus on finding through less actives this week. So we’ll stop by a bunch of people on the less active list. Oh today Elder Ela (My Zone Leader) brought some balut over to our pad haha. It’s the developed duck egg that you boil and eat. He brought 2 over and I decided to try one. It is SO GROSS!! Haha it tastes like dog breath. I’ll send a video of him eating one haha. I got to get planning, let me know if you have any other questions or if I can do anything for you! Have a good night! Love you!
•••

Five Months!

Hello! So I’ll answer your questions right off the bat. Our investigators are doing great! Nate is on date for December 3rd! More on that later. Yeah a sweater would be nice, also some other clothes would be appreciated haha 🙂 What do I want for Christmas? GoPro HERO5 with the GoPro 3 axis gimbal. Umm I haven’t though about any gifts or gift cards for people here, but I’m sure I could find some great people that could use them! And we don’t have plans for Thanksgiving as of now… you should hook us up with some reservations to Ruth’s Chris in Pasadena 😉
This past week has been good! We’ve been able to make some good progress with our investigators. Nate is our golden child haha. He’s 32 years old and is getting another degree right now. He studied at Harvard out of high school and has been doing some interesting things since. He’s been to church every week since our first lesson and loves the Book of Mormon. We asked how his reading has been and he said, “Yeah I’m doing good, every morning I wake up and read either 5 or 6 chapters, whatever I’m feeling.” Haha he’s a legend!
Right now he has some faith issues. He says the spirit can only take him so far before he needs physical evidence of things. We bore some testimonies about our experiences and asked if he would be baptized and take a step of faith. We promised him that as he progressed in the gospel and went by faith he will have experiences that will testify of the truths of the gospel. He agreed with a whole heart to be baptized!
This past week I had to give a presentation of our goals for a white Christmas at ward council. It was pretty intimidating because all the leaders in this ward are super successful white collar workers that watch every move you make haha. But the spirit was there and I told them I had a goal to have TWO baptisms in December and they were blown away haha. We’ll make it happen for sure. The members here have been more involved as they’ve seen our success.
Me and Jensen are doing good. He’s getting a little rebellious though. I feel like everything I say he wants to challenge it and do it some other way. For example if I say to go down one road he’ll find another way to go just to prove a point or something. That’s okay though, I feel like all missionaries are that way after the first transfer. I feel like that’s how I was as well, so it doesn’t bother me too much.
Life in general is good. We got payed last week so we finally have money haha. I went and bought a thing of Rhodes Rolls to bake today. Those things are mana from heaven. Also bought some super good laundry stuff today. I got the whole Botanical Mist scent series. From detergent to fabric softener to sent boosters to dryer sheets. I’m gonna smell fineee. Our neighbors WiFi went down last Tuesday so we don’t have any WiFi anymore haha. We’re too scared to ask what’s wrong because we don’t know if they know we’re using it. I got the banana bread package, thank you! Everyone, (Especially Hansen) has been trying to snag my protein bars but I’m on the look out.
I’ve been trying to work out every morning with Elder Hansen. Usually I can keep up and feel pretty good but last Tuesday we did some curls for the girls and my left bicep was SHOT! Hahah I couldn’t bend my arm for the next 4 days! I figured I was going to need surgery to fix it but it all worked out haha. I’ve noticed how biking has helped my stamina ton. I just need to eat better now but it’s hard when members send you home with brownies and 3 boxes of pizza like every day.
I have some pictures I’ll send but it’ll be later today. We just got done balling it up at the church and decided to stay here to do our emailing. My camera with the pictures is at the pad. Today should be pretty chill. For dinner we’re heading up to the Stake Presidents house and that’s always a good time. They’re super formal about everything though. I feel like my presence there offends them but that’s all just in my head haha. I hope you guys have a great week! I enjoyed all the emails today and the pictures from you and Dad! Can you send some more Guatemala pictures? Those would be nice to have here. Let me know if you have anymore questions of if I can do anything for you! We’re gonna leave the church in about 30 minutes so ask quick. Love you guys!
Elder Collings •••


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