You can write him at:

You can write to Zach at:

Elder Zachary Collier
Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission
2600 Boyce Plaza Ste. 101
Upper St. Clair, PA 15241


Elder Zachary Collier
235 West Chestnut Street, Apt. 301
Washington, PA 15301

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013

Hey mom!

Congrats on the article in the newspaper! That's so exciting! I bet Mr. I is happy about that. He deserves like, ten thousand more trophies and a billion more dollars for all the work he has done and all the lives he has changed. I love that man. I'm proud of him. Tell him hello for me and that we need to go to Chipotle once I get back!

I pretty much freaked out a few days ago when someone asked me how old my brothers were. I said, "Well, they're about to turn 14 and 16. Wait. Holy crap!" haha! Jonny is going to be dating by the time I get home! Tell him not to get a girlfriend! That's bad news bears. I'm glad Jonny and Sammy are doing well. Remind them to make good choices - if they don't I'll punch them in the face. =D

Apparently summer semester for BYU starts June 24th. I get home the 19th. Daniel Drake asked me if I wanted to join him for Summer Semester. I'm not sure. I'd kinda like to unwind at stuff at home a bit and spend some time with you guys, and I bet you'd like to see me for a little more than 5 days before saying goodbye again, so I dunno. Your thoughts?

Monday: I ended up playing the piano at the church for like 2 hours. Elder Rivas read a book in the lobby. Nelson, Coleman, Parker, and Bartlett played basketball. We had a good time. It was good to clear my mind. I miss music. My piano skills have improved substantially, and I'm really proud of that. I love practicing in the chapel - it's super peaceful. Monday night we were supposed to meet with Jamal but he wasn't home. It was really dark and really cold, so we decided to take care of Elder Bartlett's van certification training. He has to drive the trailer this next transfer, so it was a great time to do it. While he watched "THE VAN DRIVER II" dvd's (they're so awful/awesome!) I worked on the area book. I went through all the old records and was able to find some phone numbers for people that we'd been searching for forever. We were able to make contact and will be sending their records where they're at so they can establish contact with their new ward.

Tuesday was a miracle day. Everything was fast paced and kept falling right into our laps. 

We had a lesson with Nick that morning. He wanted to learn more about patriarchal blessings. It was a difficult lesson because he had a doctor's appointment that morning in Pittsburgh and was on some medication, so he was out of it. It was funny though, and he provided some excellent commentary on Reuben's blessing in the book of Genesis.

We ate lunch after that. Then we decided to follow up with this really awesome family that we had been visiting with over the last few weeks. We never really got to teach them because they were super busy but they'd always let us drop by and would talk to us. They are very warm, genuine people. Turns out, they were in the process of moving to Virginia! That's why they were busy! haha. We showed up right as they were leaving for good. It was only the mom and the daughter - the other family members had left. They were really happy to see us. They said goodbye and thanked us for being there to lift their spirits. They told us they'd tell Ben - their son - hello for us when they got to their new house. It was perfect timing.

We tracted after that and I got made fun of for being a Mormon by a chain-smoking dwarf. I'll be honest, that's the first time in my life I've ever been made fun of by an angry elf. Maybe that's mean................. yup. But it's funny!

We visited Melissa after that to see how she was doing since we hadn't seen her since before Christmas. She's doing well! We're going to meet with her this week. After that we prayed about where to go and felt like we should walk down the street and knock some doors. The first door we knocked on we met a man by the name of Mr. Lutz. "When I taught middle school I'd tell my students, it's lutz like boots, not lutz like guts. They thought that was funny, so they always called me Mr. Guts." He was a very nice man. He came out and talked with us on his porch. He really enjoys it when the elders come around. He invited us to his church dinner that night at the methodist church up the road. They were having a round table discussion on the importance of the family. We accepted the invitation. It was perfect because our dinner appointment fell through.

Right after we left, we got a phone call from a lady named Flora. She said, "Hello, I haven't been to church in two years. I'm from Kansas City, and I just moved in to Pittsburgh and I really need a blessing. Can you come?" We said of course! She gave us her address and we put it into the GPS, only to find out she lived in the 6th Ward. So we sent Coleman and Parker over to administer to her. They were able to bring William, who just got called as a 6th ward missionary. They had a good visit and she agreed to come back to church.

We kept working until it was time to go to the Methodist Church. The people there were all really nice. The Pastor used to live in Punxsutawney so we hit it off. Apparently they all love elders. This one lady had just gotten back from a skiing vacation in Park City with her kids and she had visited Salt Lake. Everyone was great. We had wonderful food and the discussion after dinner was very nice. We were able to share some insights from the Family Proclamation. They invited us back for another visit. It was great!

We visited Mason after that with Brother Budd. Mason is going into the navy, so he wanted to know what it's like being a member of the church in the military. We had a good discussion and then had a lesson on the importance of fasting and the blessings associated with it. Mason sent us a thank you text afterwards letting us know how helpful the visit was. I love doing missionary work! Helping people in any way that I can. It's great to see it work out. Highly rewarding.

That night we got a call from the South Side Elders, Escobar and Peralta. They were teaching this lady named Madeline and preparing her for baptism. She had been attending church with a friend in New York every time she'd visit and got interested in the Church that way. Her friend suggested that she start attending church in Pittsburgh and she said, "Well, where do I go?" Her friend said, "Just find a Mormon chapel and walk in. They'll love you!" Madeline said, "So I did. I found the Oakland chapel and walked in and they loved me!" Apparently she's from Upper St. Clair though, so that's our area. Her baptism is the 26th of January. The South Side Elders invited us to come to their lesson with her at the Oakland chapel the next day so they could introduce us to each other. We accepted.

Wednesday we finished Elder Bartlett's training in the morning - he took the certification test. 

We headed downtown to Oakland after that. It was about an hour drive with Pittsburgh Traffic. We had a great lesson with Madeline about following the prophet. We heard more about her conversion story. She's a successful artist and has had a lot of her work shown in museums in Pittsburgh and New York. She has also been in charge of a film project about the life of Andy Warhol, who died in the Pittsburgh area. This project is what introduced her to her member friend from New York: Isabelle - better known as Andy Warhol's love interest Ultra Violet. Apparently she joined the church in the late 1980's and has been an active member ever since. It has changed her life. She invited Madeline to attend church with her, and Madeline said, "Wait. You're religious?" It's an awesome story. We exchanged phone numbers. She said "Hmm... Collier and Bartlett. That sounds like it could be a law firm!" So she put us in her phone as "The Lawyers." Pretty funny.

The drive back was long. It was 3:30 PM and we hadn't eaten since 7 AM to we snagged something at a Burger King Drive Thru and ate in the car on our way to our next appointment with Brother Trout. Brother Trout is doing so well. He was happy! His sense of humor is in full force. He's a prankster. We had a good lesson on gratitude and watched the Mormon Message, "Flecks of Gold." Classic. Then he showed us a certificate he got when he was awarded a medal of honor during Vietnam. Someone tried to run a military check point with a giant truck and he stepped right in front of it and killed the guy with one shot through the windshield. He also kicked a door down and went into a room alone with his guns blazing and killed one and captured 6 high ranking enemy leaders. What a stud! It was cool. He showed us his medal and everything.

We ate at Chick-Fil-A after trying some other people because we were still starving. Right as I was about to pay for my food, Brother Reik came out of nowhere and paid for us. What a man! We didn't even know where he came from. He's so awesome. I love that guy.

Josh and Lauren had us over that night. It was our first lesson with them. We met Josh before Thanksgiving but he was busy during the holidays. He said to call him in January, so we did. And he was interested! We showed up for our appointment and he let us right in and we had a great discussion. He is 29 and is a successful businessman. He works for the gas drilling industry out here. What got him interested in the church was a book he read in college called, "The Mormon Way of Doing Business." It details the careers of several successful Mormon Businessmen. He said that ultimately, the thing that made the men successful was their faith. "So, that's what made me wanna talk to you guys. I know nothing about your faith and I'm searching myself, so I figured I might as well hear you out." He was well versed in the bible and knew a ton about the old testament. He said, "That's why I've always been confused at all the churches I've been to. Why aren't there prophets today? Do you guys have prophets?" We taught about the life of Christ and he asked, "Do you think it's possible that Christ ministered to people in other parts of the world?" We taught him about the apostasy, then about the restoration, and then about Christ's ministry among the Nephites. He loved it. At the end of the lesson he said, "Looks like I'm in Joseph Smith's position. I'm searching for truth. I need to act in faith." What a stud! He's a really cool guy. Lauren is really nice as well. We are meeting with them again this week.

Wednesday was a good day. We ended it by dropping flowers and a card off to Michelle for her birthday.

Thursday we were supposed to go on exchange with the Knox elders but they got really sick so we had to reschedule. We went to district meeting. Elder Allred did a great job teaching. We practiced using the Book of Mormon to answer questions of the soul. Then we went out to Olive Garden and our waitress was a member of the church from Hawaii! We got her information and the Pitt 6th Elders set up a time to go visit. It was pretty cool. 

Then we went to Jamal's. He was impaired again and it was unfortunate. But I was able to teach his little nephews Dario and Jaden about God. Jaden asked, "Is God the fastest?" I said yes - if I were to race god, he would probably beat me! Jaden laughed and laughed. Jamal asked if we could find him a ride to church again and we agreed.

After that we went tracting. Not much success. It was really cold out. We had two people listen to us. At the end of our conversation with Dee, a lady we met, she said she agrees with what we were saying but she just couldn't chance another experience with organized religion. She had been deeply offended by her church when her baby died and it had ruined her opinion of organized religion. She thanked us for being kind and encouraged us to keep going. I'm of the opinion that the next time elders come by, she will let them in. The Spirit was definitely present and it was a great exchange. We also met this girl who was home from college. She was very interested in us - maybe not the Book of Mormon so much. But she took one anyway! Hopefully she reads it at school!

The Eve family had the 4 of us over for dinner. We had spaghetti. Delicious! The Eves are so awesome. We had missionary correlation afterwards with Brother Hemmert. We had to plan for Madeline's baptism and the transition there.

Friday we weekly planned in the morning. It was really good. We got a lot accomplished. Nick called us and asked us to come over and share a lesson with him again. He said he needed one. We read Luke 20 and taught the parable of the wicked husbandmen - how it represents the cycle of dispensations and apostasies. He loved it. We also discussed rendering to Caesar that which is Caesar's and compared it to the modern day commandment of God to obey, honor, and sustain the law wherever it is we live.

The Cardenas family had us over for dinner. It was Luis and Esthela's birthday celebration. Luis cooked for us. He has such a talent for cooking! It was great. I taught a lesson in Spanish after dinner and talked about the importance of Priesthood and Relief Society and how they work together to serve God's Children. I gave Guille a "Daughters in my Kingdom" book. She was very happy.

Right after that we met up with Justin. We got special permission from President to drive to Oakland with him and go to institute. We had a lot of fun. One of Elder Bartlett's recent converts was there and David, who I interviewed for baptism a few weeks ago, was there too. We played ping pong, had a good lesson out of Romans, and then ate brownies. I met a kid from Philadelphia who was going to school at Pitt. He looked, sounded, acted, dressed, and was in every other way just like Chris Davis. haha! The only difference was he was a Mormon, but he had just joined the church in Philly last year and was prepping so serve a mission. Cool kid.

Saturday morning we went to Barnes and Noble and bought Tori and TJ journals. Then the Mosey family had us over for lunch with the other Elders. We shared the parable of the lost coin (can you tell we've been reading Jesus the Christ? haha). We emphasized the importance of making sure we don't lose or drop our coins. The difference between the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin is that the sheep wander off and get into trouble on their own, whereas the precious coin is lost due to neglect and lack of care on the part of the woman. We also stressed that whatever the reason, it is important to go after those who are lost, and that those who are lost can be found.

We taught Tori and TJ after that. Caroline came with us to teach. Tori and TJ amaze me - they have an incredible talent for understanding the scriptures. TJ is Sammy's age and Tori is two years younger. We gave them their journals and they analyzed the covenants and blessings of baptism from Mosiah 18. We had a good time.

After that we took Madeline on a tour of the Green Tree Chapel. Brother Hollist came with us - he's from New York. They had a ton in common! Madeline felt a lot more comfortable about attending our ward after the tour. We had a lesson from Moroni 6 on the importance of church attendance, the process of baptism, church records, and how no matter where we go, we are all part of the same church. She really liked it. At the end of the lesson she offered to say the closing prayer. "I need the practice!" She said. She's a neat lady.

Brother Root met up with us and we had a lesson with Michelle. We were inspired to change our lesson around before hand and at the end of the lesson Michelle asked, "How did you know that was just what I needed?" We watched "Men's Hearts Shall Fail Them" - the Mormon Message from Elder Nelson. He says:

To the individual who is weak in the heart, fearful in the heart, be patient with yourself. Perfection comes not in this life, but in the next life. Don't demand things that are unreasonable, but demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord help you through that, he will make the difference. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that allows me that kind of strength in these tumultuous times.

We had a boss lesson with Nick and Jess after that about angels. It was super fun. Jess wanted to know more about them. I think the highlight of the lesson was when Elder Bartlett and I acted out Doctrine and Covenants section 129. It was hilarious. 

Me: Whoa! Who are you?
Bartlett: I'm an angel!
Me: Whoa! I'm not feeling the spirit right now. In fact, I'm really afraid. But Neat.
Bartlett: You need to go kill everyone, right now.
Me: Hold on. Let me check if this is legit or not.

Classic. Nick and Jess loved it.

Church was good on Sunday. Jamal stood us up yet again... we may have to drop him. Sad. =(

The Miners had us over for dinner afterwards and their little girl told us she misses Elder Gerratt. He was so handsome!

We visited some new members who moved into the ward last night and then went home.

That's my week!


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