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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 29, 2013

Hey Mom,

This week was really good. I have some pictures that I'll send you. = ) In terms of things I want for my birthday, I'd appreciate a new Ipod cable with a wall charger adapter. Mine got lost somewhere along the way in between leaving Pittsburgh and coming to Washington. Getting transferred twice in 5 weeks will do that to ya. As for anything else, let's see. Could you send me a box of Capri Suns, 2 packages of gushers, and some quarters for laundry? I don't need anything else. I only have a little over a month left, so don't waste your money buying me missionary things or little trinkets. I won't be able to take them on the plane with me anyway, and the fewer things I have the better. That means I won't have to spend money shipping stuff home.

I will be able to skype. I was thinking Mother's day was this Sunday, but I was disappointed when I found out it was the Sunday after. I think we'll be able to Skype at the Longs'. Brother Long is our assistant ward mission leader. He and his wife are really cool and they love having us over, so that should be fine.

So, here's my week:
Monday I called Vaughn on the phone and talked to him and Patty for a while. I can't believe It's been 6 months since I talked to them last! Vaughn said, "Zach! I thought you were dead! How are you doing? And tell the black one [Elder Vaioleti] to call me, too!" SO funny. They are looking forward to us coming out and visiting them this summer. Patty just retired and she's loving life. It sounds like they're doing really well.

After P-Day was over we walked to the Fairhill Manor Christian Church where we were invited to attend an award ceremony for the Salvation Army. Nancy, the lady that we do service for at the local Salvation Army, was being honored with an award. She invited us to come. It was really nice of her. They fed us dinner, and she walked us around to all the guests and introduced us. She said, "Hello, these are my friends the Mormons. They are the most hard working, awesome boys I've ever met. When I need something done, I call them!" She's so sweet.

After that we walked to Subway where we met with Dan. Dan has been itching to get to work and to serve. We kicked around some ideas for what we can do to help the community and some events we could plan at the church to get the members involved in missionary work, charity work, and also to have fun and to have good food. It was a good meeting. We made plans and are meeting up this week to follow up on what's been going on. We will see where it goes.

Tuesday: We woke up, did our study thing, etc. People kept recognizing us from the newspaper. We walked all the way up to the hospital to look for service opportunities. When we got there, we were directed to the volunteer center. When we walked into the manager's office, she gave us the death stare. She was not happy to see us one bit! We asked about service opportunities, and she said, "I've dealt with you guys for years now. I'm going to be straight forward with you. In order to serve here you have to wear red vests and hospital name tags. No exceptions." We were really confused. We said that'd be okay. She said, "Are you sure? Because every time you guys come in here and I tell you about our programs you never come back." She was very testy and had a terrible opinion of us. We explained that Dan was wanting to get involved and asked us to come here, and we were also looking for service. We also explained that we were allowed to wear hospital name tags and red vests if it was required. There was nothing against our religion in doing that. She said, "Oh. I just always figured that's why they never came back." Then she explained the process, how you needed to get a TB test and take shots and stuff in order to work for the hospital. She explained that it was a 4 week process. That's when it clicked. We said, "Ma'am, the reason why the missionaries never came back is because we are on a 6 week transfer cycle." Then we explained that missionaries were constantly transferred in and out and every single time they'd come in they'd need to take a TB test and go through the 4 week process, and then once it was over they'd serve for a week and leave. She laughed because she had thought it was because of the red vests. Then she said, "Yeah, we look for long-term volunteers here. I don't think it'd be compatible with your schedule." We had a very positive interaction with her, though. In the beginning she wanted us out of her office, but by the end she was thanking us for coming and smiling and laughing. We got to know her on a personal level and cleared up some misconceptions. Even though we're unable to serve at the hospital, I think we did some good service there.

On the way back we stopped by the Evergreen Personal Care home. There were two ladies standing outside who looked like nurses. We walked right up and talked to them and asked for service opportunities. At first they looked at us like we were retarded but then they opened up. One of the ladies was actually in charge of the service opportunities and was brand new. She'd only been working for 2 weeks and was looking for help. She kept asking us specific questions as we walked into her office, like, "Why are you really here?" or "You know we're not supposed to teach the patients, right?" It was funny. She asked if we wanted to be the pastors there or something and we said no, we just wanted to mop the floors or play bingo. She was surprised. We had a positive interaction and then she took down our phone number and our names and told us she'd call us. On the way out we ran into a member of the church, Sister Siebert. We didn't know she worked there. She's a convert of a few years and was very kind to us.

After that we walked to the northern part of our area. We had an awkward time with putting cards on peoples' doors. We'd go to put it in the door knob and then the people would decide to answer the door and the card would fly out and scare the people. It was really funny, but it kept happening OVER and OVER again! haha! Also, people were very rude. Elder Walker coined the perfect term. "These people don't just ignore us. They ignore AT us." Seriously, you say hi to someone, and they say absolutely nothing and just keep walking. If you're standing on someone's porch and try to talk with them, they just keep reading the paper or staring off into space like you don't exist. It was bizarre.

We stopped in and saw Gretchen, a less active member. The sisters are going to start working with her because she's a single sister, but we wanted to meet her and get to know her. Her son, Jet, is such a cool kid. He is 5 and rides his bike like a maniac! They're very good people. 

We tried some other people. It was really hot and we'd been walking for hours, so we decided to go to Dairy Queen for dinner. We were talking about how everyone had been pretty rude that day. We were tired and exhausted. As we were walking past the beer distributor, the manager ran out and said, "HEY! DO YOU GUYS NEED WATER!?" We were shocked. We said yeah. He said, "Hold on! I'll get you some cold ones!" And he came out with two bottles of Desani. It was awesome! What a cool guy!

At Dairy Queen, I got my food first thing, but it took Elder Walker almost 40 minutes to get his. It was really funny. Something happened with their order machine and his never came up on the screen for them to make it. I told him, "I dunno what's wrong with you. They love me!" It was funny. Anyway, these two 17 year old girls from the high school started hitting on me while Elder Walker was getting his food. It was incredibly awkward. But it opened the way to a gospel discussion. One of the girls had just recently moved from Arizona and knew Mormons - that's probably why she was hitting on a missionary. Anyway, we talked to them about the Book of Mormon and gave them each a copy. It was pretty cool. Later in the day they drove by and honked at us and waved out the window and said, "HEY BOYS! WE LOVE MORMONS!" Flirt to convert. Whatever works, right? haha. Wrong.

Brother Long picked us up at 7:15 PM and we went and had an incredible lesson with Amy and Thomasina. Amy's son, Nathan, is 12. He asked, "Hey. Can I get one of them books?" and pointed at the Book of Mormon. We said yeah! Then he sat down and actually started participating in the lesson! He was asking tons of really good questions! It was exciting. We had a lesson on repentance. We followed up with Amy and Thomasina on the scriptures we had left for them to read. They informed us that we hadn't taught them how to read scripture references, so they were confused by it. Thomasina said, "We didn't know where to read, so we decided it would make more sense if we just started from the beginning and went from there." They read 13 chapters! All on their own! We were so impressed. When Elder Walker invited them to go from having family prayer one night a week to 3, Thomasina said, "How about........ we've been doing it every night?" We cheered! Thomasina and Amy are loving living the gospel. Brother Long didn't get a chance to serve a mission. We came out of that lesson and he said, "Man. That was powerful. There's an incredible spirit when you do missionary work. I'm glad I'm finally doing it!"

I told Elder Walker that night, "Hey. I didn't take a lunch during nap today. You should be proud of me!" He was confused and said what?! I said, "I meant I didn't take a nap during lunch today.... looks like you can see where my priorities have been lately." It was funny.

Wednesday we went to the Canonsburg Library with the Sisters to work on the area book. Elder Walker was having a rough morning and it rubbed off on me. I was especially frustrated when we walked all the way to our library with our area books and found out the computers were down and then had to walk back and wait for the sisters. When we got in the car the sisters said, "Man. Looks like you two aren't getting along this morning." It was really funny. Things improved progressively and we got the digital area book near complete. After that we went and shared a message with Brother Milan. We watched "My New Life" from Stephanie Nielson. It helped him out a lot. We also helped him prep his keyboard for sale online. 

At 7 Brother Long Picked us up and we had dinner with him and Sister Long. Then we had a mini correlation meeting since he's new to being a ward mission leader and we told him about the digital area book. After that I found out he was in a band and got to tour with some bands that I like, like "Cute is What We Aim For" and "The Starting Line." His band was getting pretty big. I told him I had a band and then he and his wife bought our CD! haha! They're so cool.

Thursday I taught district meeting. President came and interviewed us. That was cool. Probably my last interview before he interviews me in the mission home, which is weird. The rest of the day turned out very strange. We were asked to go help at the Canonsburg library. What was supposed to be a 45 minute project ended up being a 4 hour project. We had to dismantle several shelves after clearing them of books, haul them across the library, and rebuild them. They didn't know it would be necessary to dismantle the shelves. They were bolted to the floor and interlocked and everything. It was a mess. But it was fun and now I know how to build shelves! The Norths had us over for dinner after that. Brother North used to be the bishop until 2 weeks ago. It was funny because he accidentally took two pain pills instead of two motrin for his back (he wasn't looking when he grabbed the bottle from his bag as he was teaching class at the college) and he ended up having to come home early from work. He was still pretty spacey when we came over. It was really funny. After that we took our companionship study.

Friday we walked to Sister Stroop's house and had a great lesson with her. Her 4 year old daughter is hilarious. She told her mom she had to go get some fox food. Sister Stroop asked, "What food do foxes eat?" She said people. Sis Stroop asked, "Live people or dead people?" The little girl said dead ones. She asked, "How did they die?"

Then this adorable little girl with bows in her hair and a summer dress smiled and said, "Oh.... I killed them." It was terrifying and hilarious. Then a few minutes into the lesson she came outside with the stuffed animal fox. It was so funny. 

We placed a book of mormon with 2 college students. One of them stopped us and said, "Are you mormon missionaries?" We said yeah. He said, "I'm methodist, but all my friends were mormon and I was in an all mormon scout troop. You guys follow me around everywhere!" He was really cool. We talked with him and it opened up an opportunity for us to give a book of mormon to his friend. Then other college students made fun of us. Later, we tracted into a half way house and two girls tried to make fun of me. They were pretty attractive (other than the fact that they were recovering addicts) and they were trying to use that as a way to intimidate me. One of them asked, "Can I be your girl friend?" I told her she had to wait a few weeks. She got a confused look on her face and asked, "Why do I have to wait a few weeks?" I told her, "Because. I have a waiting list." Her friends said, "OH SNAP! Mormons are awesome!" It was really funny. Then they took us a little more seriously. We didn't get anywhere, but they thanked us for coming by and said we were cool.

At home, before dinner, Elder Walker said the best prayer ever. "Dear Heavenly father. Thank you for letting us go out today to get made fun of by a bunch of college students and recovering drug addicts. It was interesting." So funny. We had a good time. Then we had our weekly planning session.

Saturday we had the Mormon Helping Hands project. It was a state wide thing here. We helped rennovate a state park. I got to see a ton of people from the 5th ward, including Sis Williams, a recent convert. She made us the lava cake. She was happy to see me. I yelled to her and at first she didn't recognize me. Then I told her who I was and she ran over and said, "OH! I didn't recognize you dressed like a normal person!" It was funny. Also, the bushmans offered us their house to stay in when we come back to visit.

We had dinner with the Ealy's that night. It was a lot of fun. They're a great couple and they're going through the temple next month. We're proud of them. We went and visited their less active son and daughter in law. They were really cool. Even though they haven't been going to church, they'd been teaching their friend Dakota the gospel. She had a lot of questions for us and we talked with her for a while and she took a book of mormon. It looks like we'll be coming back over to teach her in their home. Pretty exciting. We said a prayer with them and left to go visit someone.

We got lost for an hour. It was getting really dark and we couldn't figure out how to get home. Elder Walker suggested we pray. After we did he said, "What do we do?" I said, "Let's go talk to this lady." Normally I'm hesitant to talk to single ladies after dark, but we did it anyway. We said, "Excuse us, ma'am. We are missionaries from our church, and we're really lost!" She looked at us, laughed, and said, "Looks like you didn't pray hard enough!" Elder Walker said, "We did, and God told us to talk to you!" She said really? She looked like she was about to cry. Turns out, that morning her pay check had gotten stolen from the mail. She said, "Everything just got worked out, but I needed something like this. Looks like God is mindful of me. Thanks for letting me be an answer to your prayer." She showed us were to go and let us cut through her back yard for a shortcut. Her name was Mrs. Jackson. Great lady.

We were going to get in super late, but then Brother Kice showed up out of nowhere and picked us up and gave us a ride! He said, "I saw you and realized that you guys were out way too late and were probably lost." It was a miracle.

I'll tell you about sunday next week! I'm out of time!

Love you!

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