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, May 14, 2013

May 13, 2013

Hey Mom,

Did you get my mothers' day card? I sure hope so! if not maybe it will come today! I put it in the mailbox this last wednesday so I'm hoping it didn't get lost in the mail. Thank you for all of the birthday gifts and wishes. It was the best gift of all to skype with you guys and get to see you. Sammy and Jonny are looking old! I can't believe it. We're all going to have a lot of fun at Disneyland this summer. I remember when we used to have to push Jonny and Sammy around in the stroller and it would slow us down. Now we'll be able to split up without the fear of getting kidnapped! haha! I also am looking forward to seeing grandma and grandpa Collier. I've missed them a ton and I have been praying for them every day. I love them and can't wait to give them big hugs.

Anyway, even though you heard a lot of these stories yesterday, I'll be writing them down for anyone else who wants to read them and for my own benefit so I can remember them later on in the future. Alrighty. Here we go!

MONDAY: Monday was crazy busy. We didn't get much of a day off because we had to set up our booth in the Library. Brother Britten pulled some strings and got us a big glass display booth in the entrance of the library to advertise the church. The only stipulation was we had to come in at noon on monday to set it up. So we spent probably about an hour and a half working on this thing when this lady said, "Excuse me boys, that's MY booth." Not knowing what was up and having never done this before, we just took this lady's word for it and figured we were in the wrong booth. She was very polite and helped us move everything to the other window she said we were assigned to. Then we spent another hour setting up the booth the way we wanted it. After we put the last touch on the booth, the library manager came around the corner and said, "Elders, what are you doing?!" We explained that we had been asked to move to this booth by some lady. She said, "Oh no... that's the wrong booth, too. I'm so sorry but I need you to take it down." Luckily she gave us permission to come in the next day to work on it because of the inconvenience, but we were pretty bummed that we got robbed some precious hours of free time. haha! 

Anyway, after that we emailed because we had to get that done. I was just sitting there emailing when I met a guy named Dustin. He walked right up to me and started talking. He used to meet with Elders in the past. He is the great great grandson of Brigham young. He said, "You wanna know who I am? Boom. I'm a descendant of Brigham Young. I'm from Florida, and I'm the only one in my family that's not active. I went down a bad path but I wanna get back." He graduated high school at 14 with a 4.0, got a full ride to BYU and got 3 degrees, and then became an Army ranger - which got him way off track. He was in explosives. "We leveled whole cities. I've killed thousands of people. I can't seem to come to grips with it." He says he has a lot going on in his life, but he's always been intrigued by the church and wants to learn more about it. How cool is that?

We came home, switched out our laundry a little bit and then headed over to Mohi's to help him around his place. He had asked us to come in and was being persistent and we couldn't say no, so we decided to come help him on our day off. We spent 2 hours with him. We were allowed to give more time because it was our day off. His new aid, James, was there. He was very nice and very helpful. He asked us questions about our missions and we were able to have a regular conversation with him and just be normal people. He then started asking subtle questions about the Book of Mormon and he said he'd had positive contact with the church in the past and actually had a copy. Things were going really well until Mohi told us to stop talking and get back to work. it was funny. James thanked us for coming in and doing wonderful work. It was a great experience.

After that the sisters picked us up, we ran to wal mart, bought the game Catch Phrase (my favorite!) and then ran to the Long's house for Family Home Evening. Thomasina and Laura and Sara came, as well as Sister Schmitt, the wife of a new young couple that just moved in. We had a great family home evening - we watched a Mormon Message from Elder Holland and talked about favorite family traditions. Then we blessed the food and played a game of catch phrase! We were originally supposed to go pick up our new companion (the AP's were bringing the visa waiter missionaries to the Washington Chapel) but their plane was delayed by 45 minutes so they said they'd just text us when they got there. We got the text and the sisters ran to the church to get our new companions while we stayed and played games. It was a perfect first evening for new missionaries. They got to meet our Assistant Ward Mission Leader, play some games, and meet some other ward members and a wonderful family we've been working with. Laura, the daughter, is really excited to be baptized. Elder Brady and Sister Butler, the new missionaries, eventually showed up with the sisters and we had a blast. Elder Brady is really awesome. He's eventually going to Brazil. We get along great and he's the secret ingredient that makes our companionship work. He's like what Sean Taylor was for my band. Just the missing ingredient that made something awesome into something perfect.

Anyway, after that we went back to our apartment. The sisters dropped us off and we went inside to plan. Elder Walker was really nervous to have a new companion and was over-excited and pretty much told him everything about our area in 5 minutes. It was really funny. I think Elder Brady was a little overwhelmed. It was good to see Elder Walker taking ownership though. He's matured so much just in this last week. I'm really proud of him. Anyway, while they were talking during our planning session, I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize. When I answered it, James was on the other end of the line. At first I was really confused, but then he explained who he was and I went, "Ohhh! Hey!" Then I wondered how he got our number. Turns out, he had been talking with Sister Missionaries from Salt Lake for the last few months. He said he wanted really bad to talk to us at Mohi's but couldn't because when he's working he's not allowed to talk about religion. He apologized. "I just felt like I wasn't being entirely honest or truthful to you guys. I'd really like to meet with you this weekend." Miracle! The Lord blesses you when you make a sacrifice. haha. It was exciting. James is a really honest, sincere guy. Apparently he was working on his day off, too, just because he likes Mohi. He said, "It was funny to see you guys in there. maybe it was a sign?" It was cool.

TUESDAY: We woke up, studied, and then walked to the Salvation Army. On the way, something really funny happened. Elder Walker was explaining the geography of our area to Elder Brady. "Down there is the court house. Up there is..." etc etc. Anyway, then he said, "And right there is the Post Office." He pointed to our right and we looked at the building and all laughed. On the side of the building it said "UNITED STATES POST OFFICE" in giant letters and there were a ton of postal trucks in the parking lot. Elder  Brady just said, "Wait, it is?! How can you tell?!" It was hilarious. Anyway, we worked at the Salvation Army. We cleared out their whole boiler room which was full of stuff and dusted it and then put it all back and organized it. It was cool I guess. 

Then we went back to our apartment, took lunch, and then took our companionship study. Then we got a media referral from Head Quarters. Someone ordered a Bible. So we grabbed our stuff, grabbed a bible, and headed 2 blocks over. We walked up to the house and realized it was a home where we had left an ad for a free bible! It was on the day where people kept opening the door right as we were leaving adds on the doorknob and we scared the lady because the card flew off the door and right at her! Anyway, that lady ordered the bible! Pretty cool. Her husband answered the door and wasn't interested in us coming back but thanked us for the free bible. It was cool. We started walking down the street and ended up meeting a cool lady on her porch. It was exciting for Elder Brady because it was the first time we walked right up to someone and talked to them. He was geeking out. Nothing extraordinary happened but he was like, "THAT LADY WAS SO COOL! THAT WAS AWESOME!" It was funny. Then we walked over to the library to fix our stupid booth. We decided to make it nicer than it initially was and we made some ads for and and stuff. We printed out explanatory cards and stuff like that. It looks awesome! I'll show you pictures some time.

That took us to dinner. We came home, grabbed something to eat, and then we headed over to Subway to meet up with Isaiah. It was exciting to finally be able to meet with him. He texted us out of the blue last week and asked if we could meet with him. He'd been going to church regularly for about 6 months before the elders left and we came here. Once we came, he fell off the face of the earth. We couldn't find him or get in contact with him. I guess he was avoiding us because he was frustrated with himself. It's sad when that happens. But then he realized, "The Elders always helped me out and gave me good advice and made me feel better. Running from them is the worst thing I could do." So he contacted us. We had an incredible lesson about Grace, the Atonement, the War in Heaven, and the Doctrine of Exaltation. It was basically a more specific, in depth discussion about the Plan of Salvation. When you truly understand who you were, who you are, and what you can become, it makes all the difference in the world. You can accomplish anything, and you know that God is there to fight for you, not against you. Isaiah really liked it and he said, "We gotta start meeting every week."

Tuesday night we really got to know each other well. Us three are constantly bouncing ideas off of each other and laughing and joking. It's fun. Elder Brady was going to LDS Business College in Salt Lake before he came out. He's planning on transferring to BYU once he gets back. I hope he does and I hope I get to run into him again.

WEDNESDAY: We had a powerful district meeting! There have been times where the Spirit of God has rested mightily upon me and has given me exactly the words to speak when I stand up to teach. This was one of those days. We discussed our purpose and D&C 4 in great detail. It was awesome. We also told Elder Colvin (who used to teach Isaiah) that he had texted us the other day. One of the most brilliant scripture jokes followed.

ME: Elder Colvin, we got a text from Isaiah the other day!
COLVIN: Was it hard to read, full of Jewish history, and terribly confusing?
ME: Yeah... I had to forward it to Nephi to get some clarity.

HAHA! Our whole district was laughing. Such a mormon joke... I'm pretty sure only missionaries who read the scriptures for 3 hours every day would find that funny.

Anyways, the sisters in the district are awesome. Sister Cohen made home made pizza for my birthday! It was delicious! We had a little party after district meeting. They also made me a cake. It was really nice of them. They bought me gushers for my birthday. haha! Best present ever.

After lunch we got dropped off where we needed to go. We had planned to find some people who used to meet with missionaries and see if they were still interested. Miracles happened. We were walking down the street and 2 older ladies were sitting out on their front steps talking. One of them, Romain, saw us and said, "Hey boys! You must be looking for Jennifer!"

We weren't.

"Uh... maybe. Who is Jennifer?" Elder Brady said. Romain told us that Jennifer used to live there across the hall from Romain but that she had moved out a few years ago. We explained that we weren't looking for her but asked if Jennifer liked meeting with Elders.

"Yeah! She loved it! They were very nice boys." Then Romain's friend, Liss, asked, "Hey, do you have any of those Mormon books? I see the ads on TV all the time and I've been wanting to learn about it. Could I have one?" We said yeah. "Are they free?" We said oh yeah! So we walked up to them and Liss had a ton of questions. Romain initially wasn't interested but then she started asking me questions. So Elder Brady and Elder Walker taught Liss, and I taught Romain. Romain ended up wanting a Book of Mormon too! It was really cool. Romain had to go (her ride pulled up) so I helped her take her bags to the car. When I came back, Liss was inviting the other Elders over on Friday morning so she could learn more. It was cool! I was so proud of Elder Brady and Elder Walker. They're like pros already. They're not afraid to share what they know to be true.

After we did that we ran into some cool people who were also connected to the church. Darrell had friends who met with missionaries in Pittsburgh and so he'd been around Elders a ton and was cool with us coming back. Then we stopped in to visit an elderly lady who had requested a bible but we found out that she had passed away recently. But the nurse there, Kenny, said, "Well, hey, I'd like to place an order. I don't have one. Could I get one of them?" It was cool. So we gave it to him instead. Neat!

The Lindley boy had called us that morning before school to ask if we had any dinner plans. It was his birthday, too - he was turning 11. I said we were free. He said, "YES! COOL! HERE'S MY MOM!" Then he gave the phone to his mom and she worked out all the details. haha! So funny. Sis Lindley had her father in law come pick us up and take us to their home. We had a delicious dinner and they gave me 2 new ties. It was really nice of them. I got the Lindley boy some chocolate, some new sunglasses, and a few dollars to start his missionary fund. He loved it. We took some pictures together. Elder Walker sang us the "Birthday Song" as we were blowing out our candles. "This is the birthday song, it isn't very long. HEY!" It was really funny. I almost choked on my candles.

Mohi asked us to come over that night as well. When we were there he was in a very bad mood. Mostly just at me, so he ripped into me for 2 hours straight for losing 20 pages of a document I had printed off for him, even though he had misplaced them. It was funny. He was really mad at me, but there was nothing I could do. So I just kept complimenting him and telling him I loved him. At the end of our time I said we had to go. He said, "Good. Until you find those papers you are no good to me! I do not wish you a birthday. In fact, I give you no present!" I said "It's alright, Mohi. I love you anyway." Then he said, "God bless you my dear. Do better." It was great.

That was our day. It was pretty cool. Nice birthday.

THURSDAY: We walked all the way across our area. It was really hot. No one was home. We'd knock doors and for whole blocks no one would answer. Finally, Elder Walker said, "God, no one is answering the door. Please give us some advice." Then he closed his eyes and randomly picked a scripture from the book of Mormon. It said something along the lines of, "And it came to pass that the Lord said unto them: I will be slow to hear their cries, because of their iniquity." It was really funny.

Eventually we got to see John. He asked us to share a lesson with him. We taught him a few weeks back. We were planning on just stopping by to set up a time to see him but then he invited us in. We sat down and he said, "Alright. Who wants to say the prayer? Let's have a lesson." So we had a lesson about the temple. It was really cool, especially because we didn't think he was that interested in learning more.

We were running late, but on the way Ken, who we also didn't think was very interested in meeting with us, came out of his house and stopped us and invited us to come sit on his porch for some lemonade. It was really nice of him, considering we'd been walking for 5 hours and it was really hot. He told us about this cool pizza place and told us we had to go sometime. After that we finally returned the 50 missed calls we had from the sisters and told them where they could pick us up so they could take us to the dinner appointment we were late for. We had a great meal with the Ealys. I really like them. Brother Ealy is really funny. They showed us this video about this place in Australia where every Christmas millions of red crabs hatch and storm the town. It was crazy! We had a good thought from Sister Thatcher. The Ealy's loved hearing Sister Butler pray in Portuguese.

After that the sisters dropped us off. We walked to our next appointment. It took us 45 minutes to get there. We got stood up, so we turned around to walk 45 minutes home. That's when Jim, who used to live above us in our apartment complex, pulled over with his box truck and offered to give us a ride home. Elder Brady was freaked out when we said yes because he didn't know we knew him. So here we were, getting into the back of what he thought was a stranger's work truck. It was funny. Jim asked if we'd be willing to run to Home Depot to help him get some carpet for his house he was remodeling. We agreed. Turns out, he was going to a different Home Depot than we thought, so after a 20 minute drive and us sliding around the back of this truck with the oxygen tanks, we got there. We helped him haul the carpet. Elder Brady grabbed sample carpet squares that he could take with him to Brazil just in case he got homesick for carpet. Then we drove another half hour to Jim's place to help him bring in the carpet. It was 9:30 PM by the time we were finished. We had a great conversation with Jim and then he gave us a ride home, apologizing because he didn't know we had a curfew. It was really funny. Probably the craziest experience ever. I told Elder Walker, "When my head popped off the pillow this morning, I didn't expect to spend an hour and a half in the back of a box truck and get taken into the woods." It was cool.

FRIDAY: We had our weekly planning session. Then we walked to Liss's house to teach her. She wasn't there, but Romain (who lives across the hall) was and she said, "Liss isn't here. But I want you boys to teach me!" So she came out on the porch and we had a great lesson! Then we helped her carry an exercise bike up some stairs into her apartment. We started walking to another place after that. As we walked down the street I asked, "Why is it all misty up there?" I pointed down the street. Elder Walker said, "Oh NO! RUN!" The people down the street suddenly started screaming and running. We turned and ran full speed towards our apartment. We were too slow. We got SOAKED in a sudden thunderstorm. WE WERE DRENCHED. It was insane. We went into our apartment and got changed. Then we spent some time at the library finishing our area book (It's finally done!! HOORAY!) while it dumped buckets outside. 

The sisters picked us up after that and we had dinner with the Norths. I spilled my ice cream bar all over the floor. Oops. Embarrassing. Then Brother Anderson came with us to teach Thomasina and Amy. It was a beautiful appointment. Thomasina and Amy have changed so much for the better in the last 2 months. She testified to us and reported that she's been having nightly and morning prayer with her family and they say a blessing on the food every time they eat. How awesome is that?! We were all proud of them. We also taught them about patriarchal blessings. It was a great way to end the night. Laura is excited for me to baptize her.

SATURDAY: We had an appointment set by the Monongahela Elders (they'd been working our area while they were waiting for the visa missionaries) to go visit with a man named Roy. So we hitched a ride from the sisters to the church and then stopped by to visit this guy at 10:30 AM like it had been scheduled. What followed was the most incredible lesson I've ever taught. He was READY. We explained the differences between the Aaronic and Melkhizidek Priesthoods, the need for the Book of Mormon and the great apostasy, how God works in patterns and you can see those patterns in history, the natural man vs the spiritual man, and much more. He believed all of these concepts, but never was able to find a church that believed them all and could explain them. He'd been looking for a long time. He's 81. At the end of the lesson he said, "You don't teach like other men. You have authority, and I feel comfortable and different when I speak with you." It was amazing. He said his door was always open to us and "I might consider joining your church." WHOA. We went out to eat after that because we were hungry. Then Bro Milan called us and asked us to stop by to find something for him. We knew exactly where it was at because we organized his apartment. It took like 3 mins. He said, "WOW! That was awesome! You guys have done great."

Then we went to the baptism of a little girl in the ward. We had invited Thomasina to bring her two girls so they could witness a baptism. We picked the craziest one to go to! They had forgotten to have someone fill the font, so they asked us and the sisters to help them. We had all the sinks running in the building and had buckets and pots and pans full. We filled that font in 30 minutes instead of 2 hours. It was epic. At one point Elder Walker dropped the hose and it flooded the hallway. Oops. The bishop wasn't too happy. haha! But we got it fixed and cleaned up. Anyway, we called it the water fight baptism. It was cool. Hunter, the little girl who got baptized, had to be dunked 3 times because her foot kept coming up out of the water. That scared Laura. We worked it out though. Elder Brady and Elder Walker gave Laura a picture of Jesus and she loved it and they told her how special she was. Elder Brady had felt prompted to do that early that morning. Laura grinned from ear to ear and Thomasina was grateful.

That night we invited Ken to go get pizza with us. We picked it up and then he took us to his house to eat. What ensued was the most awesome experience of my mission. Long story short, Ken really opened up to us and shared a lot about his life. We didn't have a lesson per se, but words were given to us from on High and the Spirit was felt. Ken was visibly moved. We answered a lot of his questions and cleared up misconceptions he had about the church. We promised him blessings by the power of the holy ghost and I know that in the future, because of the great time we had together, he will be willing to give the gospel a try. At the very least we were all the better for it.

Sunday, we went to church. Laura was interviewed by the Bishop for baptism and she'll be baptized in a few weeks! She was grinning wide when she came out of the interview. It was cool. Other than that, not much happened. We just went to the Andersons after we had dinner with the Price family and skyped our parents. It was a great way to end the week.

Miracles happen!

Love you!

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