Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, August 21, 2017

There's an Eclipse!

Hey Mom!!

Yeah it's super weird... how fast time is going. I'll see y'all pretty soon! I got my flight itinerary in the mail the other day. I don't know if you've seen it yet, but my plane is supposed to land in Portland at 3 pm on September 12th. I've got a 5 hour flight straight from Atlanta to Portland! That'll be fun. I'm glad you got those pictures! And we did see the eclipse today, one of the elders had the special glasses. We were about 85% in the zone. It was pretty cool!

That's weird that my talk is scheduled and everything... Ah well. I think that'll be fun if we could go to the beach together! And tell Brother Morgan thank you so much for helping me get a job! I'll be looking forward to that as well. Those would be sweet hours. What would I be doing? 

Things are still going well here! We didn't find any new investigators this week, and actually didnt' really teach a lot either, but it was a good week. For some reason the teaching seemed to slow down, but that's not gonna stop the Lord's work, so I'm not going to either. It was still good! We're also losing our car for most of this upcoming week cause it needs to get repaired in the shop, so that'll be fun! Back on the bike! 

Oh! I got a lot of pictures yesterday from your cousin Blair Christofferson of Grandpa when he was younger! It was really cool to see those. He gave me a folder so I'll be coming home with some!

We taught one of our investigators Travis this week! we lost contact with him for a little bit but he let us come back! He's muslim, but he's not currently practicing so he's been open to learning from us. Last night we kinda just laid everything on the table and told him that if he would just commit to reading the Book of Mormon, praying about it, and coming to church with a sincere heart to know if this is true, that he'd get his answer. It was pretty powerful. 

My ponderizing scripture this week is 3 Nephi 17:20-22 "And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

21 And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

22 And when he had done this he wept again;" I chose this one because our Elder's quorum president share this in Elder's quorum yesterday as his favorite verse of scripture, and when I read it it just hit me. The Savior just loves us each so much. The Savior literally couldn't hold back His emotions with the Nephites, just like He couldn't with Lazarus. And it would be the same with each one of us. I know He lives, and through Him we can live with our Father in Heaven! 

I do know for sure that you and Dad have testimonies Mom! Y'all are seriously one of the biggest reasons that I even have a testimony! So thank you for your examples. 

I love you mom! thank you for everything. Have a great week!

Elder Collier

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back to a Duo!

Hey Mom!!

So this past week was super fun. Being in a trio is just super fun every single day! We just had a blast being together all three of us. I think the hardest part is that sometimes it's a bit harder to stay serious sometimes... but it worked out! Elder Oldroyd and I are now going to have to learn how to work with just the two of us! haha! Elder Gardner is going to the mission home today and then going to fly home tomorrow. It's soooo weird cause I was in the MTC with him, so it's starting to hit me pretty hard that my time is coming up. But it'll all be okay. 

This past week was honestly a blast though. Elder Gardner worked hard until the very end, and that was just great. We continued to find new investigators, and we taught a few people this week as well! It was just a good all around effort this week. Honestly, I think I'm just a little nervous to keep the work up how he did. He was honestly so great, one of the best missionary's that I've been able to work with. I hope that I can help keep things up in the ward! Although the ward doesn't seem to need any help with that. The Lightfoot ward is just awesome. They are missionary minded, and i'm pretty sure we're going to see a lot of new investigators start to come from the members pretty soon! And if not, at least they'll start extending more invitations! that's the most important part. 

This past week seemed to fly by, I can't think of anything too specific... We did start teaching this couple! They've got three young kids, and the husband's brother got baptized into the church a few years ago! They have been super fun to meet with. They are really intrigued by everything, but are definitely hesitant to make any solid commitments. But, in they're prayer last night, they thanked Heavenly Father for us coming over to "teach them a better way of life." It was really cool! There are prepared people out there! We just have to find them. 

One thing that's great about a companion going home is that all the members want to have you over! So we were able to meet with a ton of the solid missionary-minded families in our ward! It's been super fun to do that! We've started to practice scenarios with them and it gets super funny. I just love this ward so much. 

We saw our investigator Bob again, and he's a super knowledgeable guy. He just can't get past the Apostasy. But he really just wants to find out if the Restoration is true, because he knows that if it's true, then he has to believe it! It's just hard to get our lessons focused sometimes, but it's good. If he just starts to really study the Book of Mormon, he'll find out that it's true. That's what I did! 

My ponderizing scripture this week is D&C 97:8 "Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me." This is a sweet promise from the Lord to us. All He asks is that we be willing to keep our covenants, and to sacrifice, and he promises us that if we are willing, that we are accepted of Him. I believe that is true! This is definitely His work that we are apart of! 

Anyway, things are going great here! It sounds like things are pretty crazy for y'all! I'm glad that you are staying busy that's for sure! And thanks for that insight about Zion's camp too! 

I love you so much Mom! Time won't slow down! Have a great one, I'll talk to you next week!

Love you,

Elder Collier

Monday, August 7, 2017

In a Trio!

Hey Mom!

Yep 5 weeks left... it just still doesn't feel real though. I'm definitely excited to see y'all! It just doesn't seem like it's actually happening! We have started Elder Gardner's last week so it's really weird... Especially because we were in the MTC together! But we're now in a trio! Elder Oldroyd is with us, and we'll all be together until next Monday, and then it'll just be me and Elder Oldroyd! It's been SO fun this past week. We just have a blast, all three of us! Elder Oldroyd hasn't been a Zone leader before either so we get to show him the ropes a little, but he's great. He's going to do so well here! 

I got to use a machete to do some service. I cut down a small tree. It was fun!
And here's downtown Toano! It's a little town we cover. Yep, that's everything. 
I got to see Elder Ciminski at transfers! Probably the last time I'll see  him before I go home since he's in NC

Elder Gardner and Elder Oldroyd while we were out proselyting.
Had to go get some Cookout one night. It's a great place to eat.

I can't believe it's been that hot out there! It does that every once in a while I guess! It's been super hot here too so don't worry about me... haha! 

Sammy I bet is having a blast in those new MTC buildings! Elder Gardner and I watched the virtual tour last monday... it looks beautiful! I'm definitely jealous because they get to see the sun a whole lot more than we did when I was there haha! 

This week was great. It just seemed to fly by in the trio! Elder Oldroyd seems to fit in great. We're still working out the kinks of teaching with three of us, but it's going better. But by the time we get it figured out elder Gardner will go home so.... ah well haha! Things just seem to be going well though! 

We found a new investigator family that is really SOLID. I'm so excited for them! The dad's brother got baptized in Georgia 2 years ago, and we just stumbled across them! They just seem so prepared by the Lord. When we taught about dispensations and the Restoration she just said, "Wow. THat makes so much sense!" It was such a good lesson, and they were so excited to have us back over tonight. Plus they've been reading the Book of Mormon since we saw them last. So things are going well there! 

Wednesday was a pretty crazy day! We went down to Portsmouth to Get Elder Oldroyd and bring him back, but the Assistants couldn't help a lady move cause of transfers so we went to help someone in Portsmouth to move and it was crazy! There wasn't a ton of stuff, it was just super disorganized and stuff was everywhere... haha! but once we got it figured out and packed into boxes it was good. Theyy were very appreciative so we were glad to help. 

But yeah things are going very well here it seems! The work is great and we just keep pressing forward like normal. My ponderizing scripture is Jacob 5:71 "And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come."  When I read this the other day, the part about the end being nigh at hand hit me super hard of course coming to the end of my mission. But I know that if I labor with my might, I'll have joy with Him who sent me here. I'm know for certain that this is the Lord's work that we are a part of! i'm so thankful to be here. 

Thanks so much mom! And I just can't believe that so much is happening right now! Super exciting for sure! I'm always so glad to hear that y'all are doing well. I love you so much! 

Have a great week Mom! I'll talk to you later! 

Love you,

Elder Collier

Monday, July 31, 2017

6 Weeks Left!!

Hey Mom!

Can you believe I only have 6 weeks left?? Time is seriously flying... I started my last planner today. It's so weird! But honestly, I'm going to work my hardest to the very end, and I feel confident that it'll be okay even though I'm a little nervous for when that time comes. 

The weather has been super weird recently... It was super hot and humid (like close to triple digits) at the beginning of the week, then on Saturday it stormed and dropped to 67 degrees, and now it's not humid at all and it feels amazing! That humidity is brutal... haha! 

But things are going great here! Elder Gardner and I are staying together until he goes home in two weeks, and we will get a third companion, Elder Oldroyd, who is a new zone leader! That's going to be super fun. Then once elder Gardner goes home, Elder Oldroyd will be my last companion! It's so weird. I'm excited to be with Elder Oldroyd though, I was actually with him in a trio in New Bern when my companion went home there, so it'll be fun to serve with him again! He's been out for about a year, and I think he's from Cedar City, but I'll let you know next week for sure! So things will definitely be changing this week! 

We've had some really cool experiences this week. I went on two exchanges, both with some younger missionaries, and they are doing awesome. I think one of the reasons I'm in this area is for sure to help the younger missionaries around me in my zone. There are two new trainees coming this week too so that'll be fun. 

We had to drop a few of our investigators this week and that was sad... They just weren't keeping commitments! We said we'd still visit them though. But when we did that, we found some new investigators! One was Bob who we saw yesterday and he is honestly seeking to know if this is true! He's a devout baptist, and he was a little hurt when learned about he restoration because it meant that his church was false... but the fact that he understood that right away and he still wants to learn was awesome! He just really wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true. We also met a guy named Jesse who isn't religious at all, which is rare for this area haha! But it was cool because he prayed for the first time at the end of the lesson! It was powerful! I love having these experiences. 

I wasn't able to pick a ponderizing scripture but there's actually a funny story why. Last night we had a dinner with the Bean family, and we shared a message with them adn they are just a great family. Brother bean was gonna come to a lesson with us, but it wasn't for another 30 minutes to we wanted to meet some of their neighbors before our lesson, and someone was moving in! It was perfect! We ran over, dropped off our stuff on the grass, and helped them for a little bit before we had to go! But then when we had to go, and we jumped in the car and drove off to go see Bob. But then, when we got there, we didn't have our scriptures or anything! So we walked in there with a Book of Mormon and a Bible from the  back of our car... it was good. But we didn't have enough time last night, so the beans still have my scriptures... haha! Anyway, it was pretty funny!

That's so great that Rachel got baptized! I'm so excited for her. And it sounds like y'all are doing well on your vacation too! that sounds super fun.

anyway, I'm doing great! I hope you have a great week Mom! thank you for everything. I love you! 


Elder Collier (Jonny, not Sammy)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Things Are Moving Forward!

Hey Mom!

That's so cool that Sammy is on his mission and in the MTC now! He'll make it through. It was really tough for me too! But at least he has one extra week in the MTC and time to prepare for the field! I had 12 days haha! His experience with homesickness will allow him to help him when he needs to train or help a new missionary. It'll be great for him. I don't want him to be homesick either, cause it was hard for me. But it'll make him better! sometimes that's necessary. 

Things are definitely moving forward for us! We finally took the time to let go of a few of investigators that we hadn't seen in a while But once we did that, we found so many people! We found probably 4 new investigators this week and that was super cool! Not all were the most solid, but one was a really good lesson! His name was Travis, and he grew up with both Christian and Muslim influences! It was really cool because he was asking a lot of questions, and he texted us a couple days later and said that he had written down a lot of questions since he's been reading the Book of Mormon! that was super cool! 

Our investigator Miranda some how managed to get sick before church again... I don't know how this is happening. Every time we want to let her go, she manages to say that she's willing to commit, and then doesn't follow through. We may just need to stop going for a while and see if that does any good! It's just so sad to let people go. But sometimes it'll be good for them. 

We taught Gospel Doctrine yesterday on Missionary Work and it was super fun! We turned it into kind of a big "Practice Session" To help people not be so scared to talk with their friends and neighbors! People actually really enjoyed it and it was super funny. I think that's been something that is definitely moving forward here is the member work. And our bishop met with us this week and that is our Main focus in this ward now! We definitely won't give up finding and teaching through our own efforts, but when you find through the members, so much good happens! Things are just going so well! I'm happy. 

I'm not quite to my last transfer yet. 7 weeks left though... it's going by too fast. Elder Gardner goes home in 3 weeks, so we think we're going to get a third companion for those 2 weeks before he goes. Then I'll go. Ah that's so weird! But I'll probably stay here in the Lightfoot ward though and I'm okay with that! this ward is SO GOOD. I love it!

My ponderizing scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 9:21 "And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam." I chose this scripture for this week because I just love Jesus Christ. And I love how the Book of Mormon simply testifies about what He did for us! He simply came into the world to save all those who will Hearken unto His voice. And right now, I get to help people hear His voice. I love being here, and I know for certain that Jesus is our Savior! 

I loves you so much Mom! I hope y'all enjoy your road trip! Have a great week!

I love you!

Elder Collier

PS And I finished the Book of Mormon again this week, and I'm going to read it all the way through before I leave! I've got about 10 pages a day to do, but It's been good so far! I'm almost through 1 Nephi again! 

Two Missionaries Out!

Hey Mom!

How does it feel to have two missionaries at the same time?? This is definitely new for y'all. It's super weird thinking about it for me haha! It hit me a few times, but it didn't distract me or anything so that was good. I'm glad that it was a good Sacrament Meeting! It sounds like it was really cool. Such a cool experience. 

Sammy doesn't need to be worried about the MTC! Everything just happens so quickly at the beginning that you don't even realize what's going on haha! It was hard for me I'm not going to lie, but if you don't have those hard experiences, then you'll never know the good ones! So that's been such a blessing for me. I was actually reading through my journal the other day from the beginning of my mission, and I was SO HOMESICK. It was crazy! But I also had so many cool experiences to help me keep working hard and for me to just keep at it. And eventually, I was able to overcome it! and Sure it comes and goes, but that's what prayer, and scripture study are for to help you learn how to rely on the power of the Savior and apply is power into your life! But most importantly, as I've really focused on helping others to apply the Savior's power in their life, that's when I think I've learned the most. It's so cool. 

I'm glad that you and Dad will get to go on a trip! It'll be a nice break I think to just be the two of you. No dogs, no kids! How long has it been since you could do that?? haha! 

This week for me was a good week. Elder Gardner and I, I think, have finally started to work super well together, and we just are loving it. I mean, It's hard definitely, but it's been very good. It was hard this week because it was in the triple digits for three straight days... without the humidity. WIth humidity it was about 110... so it was hot. Also, Our investigators have kinda seemed to be dropping off recently... Miranda was supposed to come to church yesterday, but she ended up not coming, and then she's going to go out of town for a few weeks... Our investigator Lisa ended up dropping us an hour before text just be fore our lesson in the Bishop's home! That was super sad. We haven't been able to contact her since, so we don't know why, but we'll keep trying. And we haven't found a new investigator in a while, but we're still going forward!  The Members are just doing great though! I love being able to help the members to reach out to their friends. that has  honestly been really cool.

Thank you for sending me Sammy's talk by the way! It was SO good. He's going to do so well. 

I can't think of anything else super exciting that happened this week... It's just been fun. As President Weed (my mission president) said best, "Joy is a sign that you are on the Lord's errand." So if we are feeling joy, (Pure Joy)  we can know that we're doing what we're supposed to even amidst how hard mission life can be! 

My ponderizing scripture for the week is John 6:38 "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." This one stood out to me because the Savior set the perfect example. And just how The Savior came to not do His will, but to do the Father's will, it's the same for me. I came here on my mission (and to this life for that matter) to not do my will, but to do my Father's will. And I know that as I do my best, that the Lord will support us. He will ratify our decisions, and rescue us if need be! I love being out here, and I'm so excited for Sammy to experience this as well! 

I hope you have a great week this week Mom! It'll be so hard  I bet, but it's going to be so worth it in the end. Sammy is going to do such a great job on his mission and I'm so excited for him. Travel safe! I love y'all so much.

I love you!

Elder Collier

Monday, July 17, 2017

Time Doesn't Want To Stop

Hey Mom!

I seriously can't believe how quickly time is moving. It feels like just yesterday I was sending an email home! Ah... Well it's okay. I'm glad that the funeral went well. I'm sorry that it was so tough this past week... hopefully this next week will be easier. But I think a good thing is that Sammy gets to be with everyone before he has to leave this next week! That'll help him for sure. A lot happening for y'all in the next few weeks!

I'm glad y'all liked the pictures! When we were over at the Nielsons, it was great! And yes I was working while I was over there haha! I totally would've gotten the joke though Mom haha! It was super cool at that appointment though! They're one of the families that we've started to work with to teach them how to do missionary work and they're just taking it and running with it! Literally our goal is to have all the members of the ward praying to see who they can help with real intent! it's been super fun. Also, President Nielson, and Dad got hired by CES at the same time! Dad pointed it out to me, and while we were at dinner President Nielson found dad's picture haha! He does the same thing that Dad does out here. 

Also the bikes that we were riding was at our Ward's Pioneer Day celebration! It was a tri-ward activity for the three wards in Williamsburg. It was pretty fun! 

But this week just seemed to fly by. We had a Zone Conference on Wednesday and that was super cool! It's pretty fun giving trainings at the zone conferences now! We also had a big 4th of July get together at our Stake President's House In Newport News with all the missionaries, and that was pretty fun! We didn't get the memo of the water balloon fight, so we had a water balloon fight in our white shirts and ties! Pretty fun! 

On Saturday one of the families in the ward asked me to speak at their son's baptism! That was pretty fun! And then we had our tri-ward party! None of our investigators came so that was sad... but we got to have some fun there! There's a video of me and Blair Christofferson doing the Stick Pull! 

But yeah things just keep getting better and better over here. I absolutely love the Lightfoot ward. Our investigator pool is dwindling a little bit... it's been hard not seeing anyone come to church. Except of Course the Branscomes who are the part-member family we're working with. But none of our other investigators have made it. We're still working hard though. There's still something more we can do! 

Reading my scriptures this week, I found a great scripture that sums up my purpose as a missionary in a few verses in the Doctrine and Covenants and with everything going on, it seemed to speak right to me. So my ponderizing scripture(s) are Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-14 (and I'll add emphasis to some of the word that stood out to me) : "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people." I think the verses some it up pretty well. But I know and how important this calling is as a missionary. It's something that I'll love and treasure for the rest of my life. I'm so thankful for it! 

Thank you for all that you do mom! I hope you have a great week this week. This is the last full week before Sammy leaves on his mission too! I hope  y'all have a lot of fun. 

I love you so much Mom! I'll talk to you later! 


Elder Collier