Monday, December 30, 2013


Hey Mom and Dad! Holy smokes it sounds like you've had busy week. 

I got to skype my family!
I'm 19 years old! 
My big sister is Married!!!
Dang it's all over my head

I had a lot of highs and lows this week. It was so good seeing you guys and enjoying the Christmas feel again, but I'm kinda ready for this holiday season to be over so I can forget about home and get to work again, know what I mean? I feel like a part of me stayed home when we closed that skype and I'm just now finally getting back into the swing of things. But with that aside, it was AMAzing being able to talk to you guys and seeing how much everyone's grown and that I haven't been forgotten. I can't believe Aubrey Carey is a Carey.. that's so weird to me..
I thought about her all Friday, but it wasn't sad for me like I expected- if change is going to happen, that's the kinda change I want ;)

My Birthday was pretty good! I went to the Hobbit 2 with my district, then we went out for ice cream and pizza. I was bored to death that evening because everyone else had to leave for different appointments and my companions wanted to spend the evening on the computers. So I just juggled for a long time. 

Last night I got fed! By a non-american! haha
I was out contacting with the assistants and Elder Brown and Elder Barclay. I was getting kinda cold cause I had ditched my coat at the office, not really thinking ahead. As we passed the house of one of Barclay's investigators, a couple in there 50's, and he suggested that we ring in and see if they minded company so that we could meet them. We were all kinda curious because of the stories we had heard so we all agreed. Man- these people were crazy in the most entertaining sense. Just very abstract views and a really lighthearted outlook on life. they were SO goofy, we had a bunch of fun there. 
We spent two hours at their house, just listening to their stories, viewing all their scars, admiring all their possessions including his "money making machine" (He's a cobbler so his heavy duty sewing machine is where the dough comes from) It was a lot of fun, but we only meant to stay 10 minutes and every time we stood up they're like "please don't leave yet, sit back down!"
Then the fed us basically all their food. I felt so bad because we had just eaten and we definitely weren't expecting a meal. They kept saying "next time you come for food you should call us first!" and we're like "we didn't come for food we just wanted to meet you for a moment!" But they kept insisting and we at a bunch of the best saramale I've ever had. Then they brought out a dish called piftie.. Basically you take all the meat off a pig, then we boil what's left with garlic and waaaay too much salt and.. eat it. it's basically a thin layer of poor quality meat with about two inches of what looks like translucent white jello on top. We all slurped it down with as straight of faces as we could muster and woke up this morning a little queasy.. but we were able to share a little spiritual thought and I think I can say I had a lesson..? anyways, it was sick ;D

i'm gonna dash now, we're going to go play some soccer at the park izvor. Love you guys so much, thank you so much for that skype call again! 
Good luck with your rejuvenation and stuff!

Elder Collison

Monday, December 23, 2013


Hello my family!! 

I have a bunch of stories from this week, but I think I'm going to keep you waiting until Wednesday, I want to have a story or two to bring to the table ;) 
It's the week of Christmas! I can't believe it! I'll give you the run down of my plans. 
We're going to do a bunch of Caroling up until Christmas. I'm really loving it- I've been going with Elder Barclay and Elder Brown a lot to go caroling with the sisters. My companions refuse so we go on exchanges. (did I tell you I just got another companion? There was a large group of missionaries that left halfway through the transfer so it unevened the number of elders. Now we have elder Brady in the office with us to give us an extra hand) So we're going to do a bunch of that. On Wednesday we're going to come to the office early in our pajamas and open Christmas presents under our beautiful tree. After that we'll be going to the Hills house. We were invited over for lunch and some downtime shenanigans. It sounds like we're going to spend the afternoon there watching the first hobbit (because some members of my district hasn't seen it yet and President Hill is the biggest fan) and we're going to play some board games and stuff. After that I'll just dash back to the office and have a quick little chat WITH MY LOVELY FAMILY-AHHHH! I'm so excited guys ;)

On Thursday we're going to see the second Hobbit at 11ish, then after that is kinda unplanned. I'll make sure we do something crazy though ;) I'm so ready to be 19! not that it really changes anything, but I've been the little runt of college and this mission life for too long! haha, kidding- but it will be nice.. 
I've actually gotta go soon.. I might be able to email more sometime tomorrow..? we're going out as a district right now and then I gave someone permission to use my computer to skype their family tonight. 
Usually I would feel bad but I'm talking to you guys in three days!! will you tell all my siblings I'm sorry for not being able to reply?? sorry! I'll probably be able to get on tomorrow sometime, so if you have any questions or anything or just want to email me more you can!! haha 

Love you lots,

Talk to you soon!

Elder Collison

Monday, December 16, 2013


Hey Mom and Dad and Emma!!
This week hasn't been all too eventful. My highlight was probably our little Christmas concert we threw Saturday night, we had a bunch of fun with that. It was kinda thrown together last minute, but someone came up with a program and a good compilation of songs and all the missionaries in Buc gathered together both Friday night and Saturday morning to practice. I heard some of the senior couples in the audience took a good amount of pictures so I'll try to get my hands on those and send them your way. Honestly, it wasn't a whole lot different from a primary presentation- it was just like the "after we had grown a foot or two" edition. Some people had little clips to read and songs to introduce, and president Hill at one point sang "if I were a rich man". Boy he was he animated! Behind his fake beard and cane I had a hard time remembering it was him. He was dancing and jumping around and yelling. SO funny, I loved it. We're going to give the same presentation at some other Christmas party and at the American Embassy on Thursday. We got a gig at the American Embassy! We're going to go up on stage and sing for all the workers while they're on their lunch break, I'm pretty stoked! 

We don't have any snow yet! It's actually been pretty comfortable here. Remember how we were so concerned about the weather here? Bah. It snowed once, a month ago, and it's just been frost since. It's about as cold as Michigan gets though, not too awful ;) 

This week I had the chance to go on an exchange with Elder Brown in my district. He just got here 2 weeks ago. I got to be his first exchangee. It was really good to get out and talk to people again after lying contactingly dormant for so long. It was exactly the same as it was 3 months ago- 
"Good after noon sir, we're missiona-" 
"Hello madam, can we explain this book to y--" 
But just to try, made me feel like a missionary again.
We ate some English breakfast, which is very quickly becoming my favorite meal. Just picture this; You have four pieces of toast on a plate, then you put on by layers;
Carnati (sausages..? but they're not sausages, they taste totally different)
mushrooms and onions fried up together
Fried eggs
and baked beans
Dang it's good! 

Love you guys bunches! And Emma; I'm so stinkin' proud of you for stickin' with the piano! I always get super nervous when I perform too, but I always feel so good after words and I like being able to share my talents with people. ;) 

Love you!! 

Elder Collison

Monday, December 9, 2013


Hey Mom and Dad! Man those photos and videos are great. Gabey IS HUGE. and Isaac IS HUGE. Oh goodness, Gabriel is making actual human sounds out of his mouth! And Isaac looks so much like Caleb. I was just comparing the family photo I have on my desk and the pictures you sent me and you ALL look so old! Excluding you Mom and Dad, you guys are pretty much the same with a little less mass. haha
Oh yeah.. So let me tell you the story of this Christmas tree..
We were going to Ikea for lunch, right? By this point I had already been talking about stringing my desk with Christmas lights or doing a little something to bring the level of office cheer up a bit and get everybody excited for the Holidays. We got there and there were a ton of christmas trees sitting in the front looking all beautiful and they were so dang cheap! So we ate lunch all considering it, then we stopped in carrefour afterwards to try and find some CD labels for the christmas slideshow. They had Christmas trees there too (we thought they were cheaper at the time until we found out the stand was 90 RON extra) So we were looking around, and the guy selling them was like "they're all 80 RON, except for that huge one in the back!" We all kinda looked at each other then bought the giant one for 120 RON. We got back outside to our car and remembered we were driving an opel corsa which is roughly the size of my big toe. I guess you probably saw from the videos how we crammed it in there, I think those guys in the back are still coughing out pine needles.. I held the top of the tree tightly to the car cause we started hitting signs and stuff, I was sure my arm was going to come off driving through buc like that. haha
But having the tree in the office now and seeing sora bakers reaction made it totally worth it. We were pretty sure they we're going to be totally against it for being impractical, but they paid for most of it and helped us decorate it. We ended up having to cut off about 3 feet to make it fit, but it is now one dang good looking tree. 

Aside from that not a whole lot has happened this week, just the same old stuff. I finished all the invitation applications for the incoming missionaries and now I'm just waiting on passport scans and I can start running around to the various offices in Bucuresti trying to get them legal. A senior couple here just went home early, the sister fell and broke her wrist (this happens to be the one that we just moved into a new apartment 3 weeks ago) So we went over there, got them all packed up on Thursday, and then took them to the airport at 4am the next day. The rough part about that was that we went to bed at 1ish, trying to get things finished for zone conference on Friday, so I wasn't exactly a happy camper for the Christmas party ;) It was fun though. Both Elder Phelps and I forgot to buy ties for the tie exchange, and we told them to stall for just 30 minutes because we were going to run to A Fi to grab some ties. The deal was locked when the zone leader directing it said that we'd never make it there and back in under an hour. So of course we had to try it. So we ran there, picked out two very sexy ties at the first store we stopped at, and made it back in 31 minutes. I spent 35 lei on a tie and I received somebody's scrap found in a closet somewhere. I felt a little cheated.. ;) 
The rest of the conference was really great. I had the hardest time staying awake, but we had fun and everyone really enjoyed the slideshow. President Hill finally announced the name of the incoming Mission President. He's known for the last several months but hasn't been allowed to tell because the guy was waiting until Thanksgiving to tell his family. His name is Clark Ivory, really young guy with a young family. He's actually got a son coming with him that's probably Matthews age. He owns Ivory homes in Utah and it sounds like he has a huge name. 

P-day just flew by! We did office work until about 1300, then we just kinda chilled and walked around Centru Vechi with the district after having lunch at pizza hut. We were all kinda looking for things to buy so we wandered some of the marketplaces but we didn't really find anything. Then we grabbed some boba (it's a asian bubble tea kinda thing? Fruity milk with tapioca and stuff.  I don't know if it's made it big in the states yet but I'm a fan)

We ran into a bunch of Americans today! That was weird.. In pizza hut we met a guy from California who was visiting friends that he met while he was stationed here. Then we were walking downtown and I heard some American English from a group we had just passed. I whipped around and i was like "hold up, where're you guys from??" They were like "The US." So I specified and the first girl to respond said, "Michigan!" so of course I whipped my hand out of my glove and asked her to show me where and she asked if I had ever heard of a city named Jackson. "Of course I have!" Weirdest thing. Just a couple kids from the study abroad program, and we talked for a couple minutes, but being a missionary, people like to keep the conversation short.

I think that's my week right there..
Thank you so much for your email.
Hey, you should have the kids start coming up with questions and stories for our skype chat, I'll be doing the same on this end ;)

Love you so much! Have a good night

Elder Collison

Thursday, December 5, 2013


My Momma and Poppa! 

Fastest and most exhausting week of my life! 
Haha, I'm just going to swamp you with details from my journal, cause a lot happened. Sorry...
Last week was one of the most stressful of my life, I’ve already forgotten most of the less than great stuff but some of those details aren’t the ones I want to remember as part of a mission.
It was transfer week and it started on Tuesday at 1305 when the missionaries' plane touched down. In our ignorance we had scheduled a health appointment at 1400. We executed the exit plan flawlessly and dashed back to Pipera only 3 minutes late for our appointment.
What happened later that evening is lost to me, I know we did a ton of running- oop! Here’s what happened. Elder Ormsby was going to drive to the Sisters apartment to help them move and he needed a second car. I was going to go along with them, when a couple other people bored to death in the office decided they had to go too. So we had to take three cars. As soon as we got off the roof Elder Barclay realized his car didn’t even have enough gas to make it to the sisters which was only 10 minutes away. So we worked our way back through traffic into the gas station. It had just begun snowing and the roads were SLICK right at the point of the usual rush hour. So getting to the sisters took us 45 MINUTES! As soon as we got there we got a call saying they had just finished loading the stuff and we should meet them at the new apartment, so we turned back around and worked our way back into the mess. The rest of the evening was Elder Phelps and I running back and forth everywhere on exchange- from the gara to the mission home, back to the office, then to the store. I love it, I love the feeling of helping other people but I was dead that night. Then Elder Phelps and I finally got back in contact with each other and were able to meet up at the office at 10 and decided to head home so that we could get a little bit of sleep before the big day. We realized we should probably go over the papers one last time to make sure we had everything for the visa process and health insurance. Sure enough- we had forgotten to have the incoming missionaries sign their health insurance cereres for our appointment early the next day. So we set off at 11, waking up every jetlagged missionary in Buc until 2 in the morning. By then the roads were kinda awful and we saw a couple accidents. We crawled in our beds as soon as we got home and enjoyed a couple hours of sleep before we were woken up by our phone. The Chisinau Elders had ditched the sisters in their district at the Gara and neither sister knew their way around Buc de loc. So we went and picked them up at 5:30 and dropped them off at the Aviatiei sister’s apartment. We then had to start the health insurance process down by Aviatorilor. 

That was hilarious, but I’m so glad she gave us such intensely detailed instructions. Everyone else walked in there looking around, not knowing what they were doing and we entered with a swagger and a script, knowing exactly what window to go to. We’re now the second missionaries in the history of this mission (according to Violeta) who had all the documents necessary to apply in the first go.
Wednesday was the big one; Visa applications for the 3 Sisters that had their appointments on Tuesday, and Health appointments afterwards for the rest.
I’ll cut down on the details and just say that there were about three days in a row in there where I was living off three hours of sleep a night and one meal a day. Friday was a recoup day. I slept in until my body felt good again, then I cleaned the apartment that smelled like dirty men and looked like it might have had four living in it at one time. A couple hours later we had our first district meeting, then we went to IKEA for lunch and for what turned into a six hour shopping expedition. My companion wasn’t very happy about that but I sure had a lot of fun just helping the sisters pick out things for their apartment.

So for my Thanksgiving I was at the visa office from 6-12 trying to get everyone applied for. After all the double checking and making sure the documents were in order, we got to the visa office and rejected one of the housing contracts because the landlord had forgotten to sign his part! That was enough to make it invalid and now I've got to go back through and redo 6 weeks worth of documents for two missionaries with the next batch that's coming in next month. 
After we finished up at the visa office we went over to the Bensfields house. That's where we hold church every Sunday, I'm sure I've mentioned the name before.. But we got there and socialized for a bit, but that's when we had to dash to the gara to pick up a sister leaving on her mission. A couple hours later we were able to return and eat some Thanksgiving leftovers at their house, then we continued running people all over the place and helping people move. I was really glad to be busy all day long because I didn't have to think about home too much. We got back really late, and that's when the homesickness hit me and I had to open my Christmas and birthday packages. I only opened the ones you suggested! But just looking at the letters (I didn't read any, I was just looking) was a boost. Man I miss my family, that's where I'm supposed to be at this time of year. But I'm glad to be here too. I'm really glad I'm in a position right now where they actually DO need me right now and I'm constantly busy and I'm not just trying to fill my time with random little things- as bad as that sounds.. 
We also got our first bout of snow this week! It was supposed to be raining all week long, but on Wednesday night it turned into a sleet which slowly evolved into a steady snow, while we were taking our midnight signature runs of course ;) 
I'm am so excited for Christmas! All of the sudden it's cold and there's Christmas music playing everywhere I go. I'm trying really hard to get everyone else excited. I'm planning on have a constant supply of eggnog in the fridge, and I think I have the office staff convinced into buying some christmas lights to cover the office in. haha, it should be fun ;) 
Yesterday was Romania's independence day. I didn't get to see anything because they had church going on during the ceremonies and parades. I was just sitting in church listening to gun shots and explosions all around me and itching to get out of there to see the action. We did get to explore the Arcul de triumf though and I'll send you some pictures of that. It's a really beautiful monument that was open yesterday for a tour. 

I'm grateful for my family! That's what I realized this Thanksgiving. It wasn't my first Thanksgiving without you guys but it was definitely the most lonely, and I guess it makes me appreciate having an eternal group of elites that love me all the more! haha, you guys are great and I'm really happy you were able to have relaxing week with our family. I'm grateful that we were placed in circumstances where we could grow up with and understand the gospel of happiness so that we could learn real joy and grow into something bigger than what we are. I'm grateful for the responsibility we have to share it! We're talking about a win win situation here when we're sharing happiness and increasing our own at the same time.

I love you guys so much! I'll probably send you guys some pictures in a bit, I just wanted to get an email sent off before I go play some soccer. 

Love you!

Elder Collison