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, April 8, 2013

April 2, 2013

Hey mom!
Sorry my letter is a day late. I was registering for classes yesterday. I almost had this email finished when I ran out of time at the library and the computer kicked me off! So I'm sending it today!
I'm glad Sister Johnson was able to get a hold of both you and me. Their package was a surprise and it was definitely a blessing. I love them so much! Her mom is going through the temple next month and Brian, her nephew, is getting ordained to the Priesthood this July. I am so proud of them. They are doing really well and are loving the church. Easter was great. I'll tell you about it at the end of the letter.
I have all of my classes scheduled for this fall. I'm taking 14.5 credit hours so that should keep me busy. I'm taking biology, short story writing, intro to film, men's chorus, Doctrine and Covenants, and then Acting Fundamentals with Elder Harrison and Dance Aerobics with Elder Harrison and Sister Romero and Elder Curl. It should be fun. We wanted to do racquetball or swimming or something, but all the cool classes were full. The only open one was Dance Aerobics, so we snagged it. haha!
Alrighty, so here's the rundown of my week!
Monday, I finished packing. Then we emailed and stuff. Then we went to Wal Mart and we bought a picture frame for Al and printed off pictures for our "Best Day Ever." Then we drove to his house and sneak attacked him with our nerf guns. We made the most epic video and got it all on tape. He was waiting for us in his recliner. When we came in the house he said, "COME ON IN! I'M READY FOR YA!" Then we shot each other. We gave him our present and he thought it was the greatest thing in the world. Then he gave me a painting he did and said, "Elder Collier, as a parting gift, I want you to have this. You can give it to your wife when you marry her." It was so funny! He said, "I'm so glad you guys stopped in to say goodbye and didn't just leave me!" It was a beautiful moment. I'm grateful that we have it recorded. We knelt and said a prayer and then we were off to Chambersburg.

We got in to Chambersburg at 8 PM. We had to help the other Elders move around their luggage because they couldn't fit it all in their corolla. Elder Jones was called to be the new Zone Leader and he took my spot. I'm proud of him. We left at about 8:30 PM and I rode with Elders Taylor and Espinosa to McKeesport, where we dropped off Elder Espinosa. We then rode to Pittsburgh and stayed the night with the APs, though we didn't get to talk to them because we didnt' get in until 12:30 AM. We went right to bed.

The morning was good. Got to talk with Bartlett and Moulton. After we got ready I stopped by the Kraft's house (which is just down the street) and I woke up their son and took him to breakfast with me and Elder Taylor. It was fun to see him. He's doing a lot better. They've gotten a diagnosis for his illness and he's recovering. Now that they know what it is, he says it's possible for him to serve a mission. I hope he can. He'll be incredible. We dropped him off and then headed to the church for the trainers' meeting. It went well.
In between meetings, during lunch, I didn't really hit it off with the new trainees. Then I went to use the bathroom and in there I met one of the new elders - kind of a weird guy - who was having an allergic reaction to one of the sisters' coconut perfume. We talked for a few minutes and then I left. We didn't hit it off or anything. I just talked to him about his allergies. As I was leaving, a thought came to me: "President Topham has no idea that I just talked to that kid. But he'll assign him to me anyway." Sure enough, Elder Walker is my new companion.
It was kind of a cool transfer meeting. We had 23 sisters there. 11 new ones, 12 trainers (we had twelve because a companionship is training together because one companion has only been out 6 weeks). It was nuts. They wouldn't stop talking during the meetings and Elder Bartlett looked really frustrated. haha. It was really loud in there. They'll learn.
I found out I'll be serving the last three months of my mission in Washington Walk. I'm from Washington, my companion's name is Walker. Nice fit, huh? Anyway, we have a set of Sisters in out ward and everyone loves them. They got the car and they cover the whole county. We cover the city. The ward here is fantastic. It's about 190 - 200 members strong. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets split within the next 5 years. When we got in on Tuesday after transfer meeting we unpacked and cleaned the apartment a bit. It was a mess. Kind of a bummer. We got bored of that and decided to go tracting. Elder Walker looked scared to death but he did a good job. We got a return appointment with someone, which cancelled the next day. lol. Go figure. but it got Elder Walker excited about the work. Once we were done, we went and got Little Caesar's pizza and then ate it, finished unpacking, and went to bed after planning and setting up some appointments.

Wednesday morning I taught district meeting. It met with a lot of success. Elders Parker and Coleman, our zone leaders, came and they said it was fantastic. We role played tracting so that Sister Thatcher (one of the new sisters) and Elder Walker could get some practice. It was a lot of fun. We went out to a restaurant after that and had stake. We went back to the church to work with the sisters afterward. We sorted through our area books, figured out the area, looked at maps, started calling investigators and members, etc. All 4 of us are new to the area. It's kind of a weird situation - they took the last 2 elders out (who were fantastic) and then doubled them in to a new area together. So they're still companions. Then they sent 4 new missionaries into this area. So we were super lost! Luckily Elder Anderson and Elder Swanson kept the area book in good condition.
That evening the Hemmis family had us over for dinner. We had meat loaf. It was good. Brother and Sister Hemmis are elderly. Their son served in the Washington Kennewick mission years ago. They said he loved it. We had a good spiritual thought and got to hear their thoughts about the gospel. At 7 PM we went to the church and baked cookies to give to the ward and our recent convert, Dan. Dan is the coolest! he was baptized last Saturday, but not confirmed (due to scheduling issues) so he had to be confirmed on Easter (which both he and I thought was super cool). We had a fantastic first lesson with him. We went over the restoration and he told us about his conversion. This guy is a powerhouse. He was quoting from the Book of Mormon and knew it backwards and forwards. We really connected. It was a good visit.
Thursday we walked all over town, trying to make contact with some people the last elders were teaching. they were all new investigators and none of them were super solid. It was good to get to know the city though. That evening we worked on editing the church records and straightening up the apartment and fixing the area book. Ours was up to date, but it wasn't organized. Elder Anderson got the sisters' done first because they cover the whole county, whereas we cover just the city. So theirs was the bigger project. He left our area book up to us to finish.

We had a cool experience while we were working on the area book. Elder Walker jumped up and said, "Elder Collier. We need to go." I asked where? He said, "Down town. It's 5:30. Something tells me we need to be there by 6 pm." I knew it was a prompting from the Spirit to an eager and spontaneous missionary, so without hesitation I said, "Alright. Let's go!" So we grabbed book of mormons and pamphlets and headed out. We got there right at 6 PM. We waited on the street where we were supposed to be. Seeing no one, we headed down an alley to find some people but no one was there except a mean homeless guy who thought we were feds. turning around, we went back onto the main street right as a jogger was passing us. I felt that he was our man. So I went up to him and said, "Excuse me, Sir." I didn't know what else to say, but the words came. "Do you know where Arbor Arms is?" That was the location of a disabled member we were asked to visit but we didn't know how to get there. The guy said, "Actually, I'm on my way there right now. I'll show you how to get there. follow me." So we jogged with this guy! Eventually he slowed to a speed walk and we were able to talk with him. Apparently he was from Colorado. He fell into a rough group of people and ended up doing some time in prison. His guard was a member of the church and he said he was the nicest guy in the world and really helped him out. While he was in prison he read the Book of Mormon twice. He said, "It's a good Book. I like the Mormons a lot. it's kind of funny that I ran into you." He showed us where we needed to go, we had a good conversation, gave him a pamphlet with our phone number on it, parted ways, and were abled to meet Brother Milan, a quadriplegic man in our ward. Everything worked out. What are the odds? It was definitely inspiration on the part of Elder Walker.
After that we returned home and finished some area book work. We also made cookies for the neighbors across the hall, Geraldine and Richard. They invited us in and showed us their home. They have loved living next to elders. It was a good experience. After we felt like we needed to make one last stop to visit a former investigator. When we reached the address, we met a guy named Joe. He informed us that the man no longer lived there. But we had a fantastic talk with him. He accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and gave us his number and said we could come visit him. He also asked us if girls also did what we did. We informed him yes, we actually had sister missionaries serving in our area. He said, "So....... do you like, try to date them and stuff?" We laughed and said no. It was a funny end to the night.
Friday morning we had correlation with our ward mission leader, Brother Behling, and the sisters at the church. Brother Behling picked us up. He's a cool guy. He's from southern Utah and came out here to manage a coal mine. He works crazy hours, especially recently because one of the mines caught fire and he had to put it out. He's really neat. Hard working man. He's got a great family. We had a good meeting. After that we worked on the area book some more and finished the apartment. Then we had our companionship study (we have to have 2 hours of it every day because I'm teaching him through the first 12 weeks program) and then we had to go visit someone all the way across town between 4 and 6 PM. We had a crazy experience on the way over there. A lady started yelling at us from across the street and wanted us to cross over to her. We couldn't hear a word she was saying. So we waited for the traffic to part and then crossed. When we got over there, we found out she had some mental issues. She clung to my arm and kept pleading with me to take her home so she could be my wife. haha! It was frightening. We told her we would meet up with her the next day and she said okay. Then she walked down the street and talked to a flower. Elder Walker said, "What just happened?" It was hilarious.
When we finally reached our destination at 5:30 (it took us forever), the people were asleep except for the daughter, Katy. She has mental issues as well but was really nice. We talked to her for a bit and then decided to walk to Dairy Queen to get dinner before walking all the way home. In Dairy Queen we got a call from Brother Anderson, a man in the ward who was the previous Ward Mission Leader. He said, "Elders, I saw you go into the Dairy Queen. Once you're done eating there, come back up to my house. I wanna get to know ya and I can fill you in on the area and who to go see." We crammed our burgers and blizzards and headed right back up the way we came. We got to talk to him for about an hour or so and he gave us people to go and visit who weren't active or who used to meet with elders. Then he gave us a ride home. He joined the church in 2005 and is a powerhouse. He and his wife were sealed in Palmyra. Apparently, the Palmyra Temple is the only temple with a clear glass window in it. It only has one, and that's in the celestial room, overlooking the sacred grove.
After he took us home we did weekly planning because we weren't able to do it earlier. Then we planned and went to bed.
Saturday morning the sisters called us and said they were picking us up to take us to brother Anderson's place. he wanted to have a correlation meeting with us. He's so awesome! So we went over and went through the area books again and were able to get updated info about members and their phone numbers and such. After that Elder Walker and I hit up Area 1, the subdivision of our area. We made contact with all of the less active members there, went tracting a bit (Elder Walker saw a promise fulfilled: he said he needed water and the next door we knocked on, the lady, Ursula, gave us water bottles. Ask and ye shall receive, right?), and also realized that several people had moved without notifying the ward. So they were "missing" people. We did some detective work and were able to figure out roughly where they were at. Brother Anderson saw us walking in Area 1 and yelled at us from all the way down the street. "HEY YOU!" we thought he was just some crazy guy. We ignored him. "STOP!" We turned and looked. Then he said, "YEAH. YOU! MORMONS! YOU LOST OR SOMETHING!?" then we realized it was Brother Anderson and went back. He invited us in to see the house he's remodeling for his daughter. Then he invited us over for dinner that evening. We agreed. Then we went and placed a copy of the Book of Mormon to a mother named Mary and a son named Adam. They were very open. They train horses. Adam, when we showed him the picture of Christ coming to the Americas, said, "I know this picture. I've seen this. Where have I seen this before?" He was really intrigued. Elder Walker was so excited! It's god to see his enthusiasm.
That evening we had dinner with the Andersons. Then he gave us a ride back home to our apartment.
Sunday was awesome. We got to meet the ward. We also got to participate in Dan's confirmation. He was really happy. His friend, brother Philips, confirmed him. The rest of church was great. The bishop here, Bishop North, is awesome. He is a professor at Washington & Jefferson University. The Southern family had us over for easter dinner. It was delicious. We were well taken care of. We tried to share an Easter thought after dinner, but half way through the message, the Southerns' dog (who Elder Walker had on his lap) decided to let herself go. She peed ALL over Elder Walker. It was hilarious. We laughed and laughed. It was really sad. The Sisters couldn't get it together. It was funny. Brother Sample, their son in law, drove us home so that Elder Walker could shower and change.
After that we tracked some people down -- people on the ward list who had incorrect addresses. We knocked on one house and found Sister Sonson, someone who was lost that we weren't even looking for. Apparently she was the sister of Sister McCartney, who we were looking for. She said, "It's the elders! I haven't seen you guys in 5 years!" She invited us in and we were able to share an easter message with her and her daughters and her husband (though he was really sick so he wasn't too engaged). Apparently she stopped going to church, and all of her sisters with her, five years ago after her dad died. They were all converts, and he being the strongest, kept them going. But once he died, it kind of fell apart. She said that her and her sister had been talking the day before and decided that they wanted to come back to church. "And then you guys showed up!" Imagine that!
We were able to find out where her sister lived. Then we went and visited Sister McCartney. She was just as surprised to see us. Apparently, every day for the last week, she'd been having dreams where her dad would come and tell her that she needed to go back to church and then go to the temple. She has two teenage boys, neither of which are baptized. She said she'd love to have us over to teach her about the temple and to help them come back to church.
After that we visited sister Stroop. She had all of her family over, many of whom were not members. She let us right in and said, "I got two new ones, everybody! Come say hi to the Mormons!" Everyone was really awkward towards us at first, but then they started talking to us and realized we were normal people. It ended up being a really positive experience. After that we made the hour walk home. It was a good end to the night.

I'm absolutely exhausted. I look like a skeleton in my face. My eyes are super hollow from fatigue. haha. I look at myself every day in the mirror and go, "Holy cow. How am I gonna make it?!" But somehow I do. The hand of the Lord is definitely upon me.
I love you guys! Hope you have a great week!

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