Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

No Matter What We Go Through, The Gospel is True!

Hey Mom!!

I'm doing pretty good this week. Again, it was tough to hear about Grandma. I remember you telling me last week that she was put on Hospice, but I didn't expect it to be this week that it would happen. But I also didn't want it to happen just after Sammy left on his mission, so I think it was timely. He can now go in without any worries, and have extra support from Grandma and Granpda Doty and Collier. So that's something that'll keep me going, and I know will help Sammy! He's going to do great. Thank you also for sharing what happened with Grandma with me. That's a very special spiritual experience and I'm grateful for that. I know that they are happy again and are doing great work on the other side of the veil! 

I shared that quote in the subject title because someone said that in their testimony yesterday during sacrament meeting and I thought it was perfect. "No matter what we go through, the Gospel is true!" You can't forget everything you've been taught and experienced at the the drop of a hat or a bad situation. Jesus Christ and everything you learn about Him, is what is supposed to help you through those times. And I know that he does. While Grief is real, and it comes and goes in waves when you don't expect it, Jesus Christ still does know our situation perfectly. I know it! He's there and knows us so well! 

I think one of the greatest parts about my mission, is that I get to help people in similar situations make it through times of difficulty in their lives. The other day, we talked with a woman that had recently lost her husband and she was struggling. She was Christian and believed in the resurrection, and she was just trying to figure out where her Husband was now because he hadn't been resurrected yet. And I confidently was able to read from the Book of Mormon in Alma 40:11-12 "11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between deathand the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. 12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow." This is also my ponderizing scripture for the week by the way. But I could confidently tell her exactly where her husband was now, and that he was able to learn about the gospel there! The Spirit was strong there. And I know for certain that the Plan of Salvation is real and it's a perfect plan! 

Things also have just been great this week. The work is progressing great. We have an investigator named Lisa that we have taught for a few weeks now that is sincerely interested and asking all the right questions. We had a great lesson last night and she is just super willing to read and pray about the Book of Mormon! It's really cool. This is probably the only area that I've taught multiple investigators multiple times! We also have been working with a ton of our active members, and yesterday one of the families bore their testimony about the great missionary opportunities they have been having (because they are doing awesome!!) and it really just lifted the whole ward! Then we had dinner with a family who we had talked to about praying and seeing who they could share the gospel with, and they did!! And we were able to talk right there with what they could do! This ward is just great. 

I am just loving being here still. I promise to work as hard as I possibly can, because that's what I'm called to do! IT's the only time in my life that I can come this close to giving my all. I love it. I'm so thankful for loving grandparents that have lived righteously. I'm thankful for the memories I have with them, and all that I've learned from them. They are forever going to have an impact on me. And I'm so thankful for your's and Dad's examples to me as well! You are truly the greatest parents anyone could ask for. 

I love you so much! Thank you for all that you do for me. I'll forget myself and get to work!

I love you Mom!

Elder Collier

Cool Miniature Golf Place!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We have to Keep The Faith in Missionary Work

Hey Mom!

This week was another great week. Things are just going great here in this area. This has honestly been one of my favorite areas to serve in! The ward is fantastic, and the people here just are super prepared and ready to receive the gospel! No one has come to church yet, besides the part-member family we are working with, but people are actually reading the Book of Mormon! And keeping return appointments! It's been super cool. I just love being here so much. Elder Gardner and I are doing great together as well. We're glad to be serving another transfer together. 

This week I've really been trying to put the faith back into missionary work. Sometimes after doing it for so long,it can become like a job! You pray so often that it may seem rote, you feel the Spirit prompt you to do different things, but you're so used to it that you just do it anyway, but one of my favorite leaders that I served around, Elder Richins, one time told me that "We need to keep the faith in missionary work." Or something to that effect. But really the underlying thing that makes the miracles happen in missionary work is Faith! Faith centered in Jesus Christ. Faith that we can work miracles if it is the Lord's will! And when you truly remember to have faith, you do see miracles. Gordon B. Hinckley said to Quentin L. Cook when helping create Preach My Gospel, "Tell the missionaries if they have more faith, they will have more success." Boy is that true! 

But we have been continuing to see miracles in our area this week. One day we decided to pray about where we needed to go next, and we thought of a certain neighborhood! But as we were going there, my GPS sent us a weird way and we got lost. We then felt prompted to knock on the door of a house that we saw off of the main road, so we parked in the driveway and walked up. We then talked to the man that lived there for about 15 minutes and he was sincerely interested in having us come back! It was super cool! We didn't meet his family, but he's got a wife, and 5 kids! It was sweet. Again, miracles  happen when you exercise faith. 

We had a few families invite us back earlier in the week! One invited us in and they were super nice! We had had contact with them for a while, and they had read the Restoration pamphlet, but they just weren't willing to pray about it and they said that they didn't believe it was true. But they were super nice. That's pretty common out here though. I just don't understand why someone wouldn't  just pray and ask God! There's like no way to lose, except your pride if you dont' want to be wrong... haha oh well! We're just trying to help them. The next family that invited us back was like the complete opposite! We met him on the street, and we got his phone number and had been in contact with him trying to set up a time to come by! And he was actually calling us back and everything to set up! We go into the lesson, we had prepared a nice lesson for them, they had like some soft christian music playing and had even baked cookies for us! Then we finally start with a prayer, and BOOM. Out comes the Anti-Mormon material that they had read. It was ridiculous! haha! They were so nice at the beginning! Talk about Wolves in Sheep's clothing right? Anyways, they brought up a ton of things that they didn't believe, but we just had to say that all we were doing was trying to help them receive blessing in their lives. It was tough, but we made it through! 

Things are just going great though! The ward is fantastic and they are really trying to help our investigators to come to church. It's so cool. It sounds like the youth conference went really well! And also, I can't believe that Austin is married... tell him I love him too! But I just think it's weird... haha! And please tell Grandma I love her too. 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Mosiah 3:19 " For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a childsubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." Mosiah 3 is slowly becoming one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. But this verse really just kinda lays out how we can overcome our natural tendencies and become more like the Savior! If we can put our will in line with God's will, and follow His promptings to repent and become better, or to serve others and turn outward, that's how we can over come the natural man. I know that that will help us have a changed nature! 

Anyways, things are going great! I love you so much Mom. The gospel is true!! Everything. I love being here on my mission. I hope you have a fantastic week this week! I love you.


Elder Collier

PS I got a GIANT bike, and it's a hybrid road/mountain.  but I heard TREK bikes are pretty good. If he can, I'd recommend shocks in the front, because mine doesn't have any and going over bumps is kind of annoying. But that's just a preference! Anyways, I hope that helps! I love you!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Survived Transfers!

Hey Mom!

I hope Dad had a good day! I thought the card was pretty good. It was the best! He sent me pictures of his new socks too! I'm jealous haha! Sounds like it was a great day for him! 

I'm super happy for Sammy too. He's doing a ton of things that are super cool! Graduation, going through the temple... Man. Now he's in Mission Prep mode. That's super crazy. Within this next transfer for me he'll be going into the MTC! 

This week was a great week for us! We ended up not getting a transfer call, so Elder Gardner and I are staying together for another transfer! It's super weird because we both go home so soon! After this next transfer, we think we'll be placed in a trio, because Elder Gardner goes home 2 weeks in, and then I will go home at the end of that transfer, so for 4 weeks I'll probably have my last companion! We'll see though. I just know that for the next 6 weeks I'll be here in Lightfoot still! I'm so happy cause it's super fun. 

We found 5 new investigators this week. That was super fun! They just all kinda came out of the wood work! All of them we had met previously and set up appointments with so it was pretty cool. One was a young guy, he actually graduated in 2015 the same year as me and Elder Gardner so that was kinda weird cause he was going into his Junior year of college this next year haha! But he was pretty interested in finding a church to be apart of. It was a good lesson. Elder Gardner and I just love being here! I'm not going to lie, he's been one of the more difficult companions for me to get along with, but we work really well together! It's been weird haha! We love working together and are great friends, but it's like when you start living with your best friend and it gets really difficult. But it's been great because we are really trying to get better and we are really motivated to work. There's only a few weeks left for both of us so there's a big sense of urgency to work as hard as we possibly can between the two of us. 

We had a great lesson with the Branscomes, the part-member family we are working with! It was super cool because we were finally able to discern what one of her concerns were! The Spirit will definitely help you figure out what people need. And we are going to see them again tonight! We also started teaching Lawrence who is 84 years old. He's been catholic his whole life so he says it'll be hard to convince him, but he started reading from the Book of Mormon, so we'll see how far he gets before he is... haha! But yeah we are definitely staying busy talking with and teaching people. Plus our members are doing great missionary work! Your Cousin Blair's daughter Sabrina brought a friend to church the other week and she said she was pretty interested so that's exciting! Our ward members here are awesome. I love this ward.

My ponderizing scripture for this week is 1 Nephi 13:37 "And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be."  I read this the other day and it really stood out to me. I love the promise that it says when we seek to bring forth Zion, we will be blessed with the Holy Ghost and be saved. But the thing that really stood out to me, was that it was those who Seek to  bring forth Zion. Not just those who have seen a ton of miracles, or those who have baptized thousands, but those who just honestly want to try their best and do the Lord's will, will be blessed with the power to do so. I know that that is true, and if we just try our very best, we will be blessed for it! I know that this is the work of the Lord for sure!

Thank you so much for all that you do Mom! I love you so much. The Work is going great here and I'm loving every minute of it. I realized this morning that there's only 12 weeks left for me. That freaked me out a bit... haha! 

I love you so much Mom! I hope you have a great week this week! Talk to you soon!

Elder Collier

Time is Flying!

Hey Mom! I'm doing pretty great still! Your cousin asked me for your email so I assumed he would send you that... haha! People always seem to do that! 

I can't believe that Sammy's seminary graduation was yesterday and his actual graduation is today. That's so crazy! Things are going by so quick. The temple is going to be a great experience for him! I haven't gone in a LONG time so I'm super jealous! And that's super cool that Kevin gets to set him apart! That's going to be a super cool experience! Sammy's time to leave is coming up quick!! 

This week was a pretty good week! We had another member of the Seventy, Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. come and visit our mission! It was a really good meeting, and I again got a ton out of it. It was mainly centered on the power in the Book of Mormon and how the Doctrine of Christ brings Hope into the lives of others. I love how everything we do out here is so outward focused. It's all about how we can help someone else out. That's what a mission is! Helping and loving other people. 
Jonny's Apartment

Jonny and his companion

We were supposed to have a few investigators come to church this week... But Miranda got sick and has to go into surgery, so she couldn't make it, and another one of our investigator couples just called us and told us they weren't gonna make it. It was super sad! BUT! A part member family that we were working with had dropped off the map about a month ago, and they showed up to church yesterday! We were able to set up a lesson with them! They are super fun! So miracles still happen. We're definitely keeping in touch with Miranda though with her surgery. We stopped by and saw her last night and she looked good. We had a cool lesson with her earlier in the week! I was thinking about her during my personal study that morning and a scripture stood out in Helaman that hadn't stood out before to me! It was Helaman 5:10-11, the ones right before the famous Helaman 5:12 about the sure foundation. They weren't very special to me necessarily, but when we shared those two verses with her, she said they rang true to her! The spirit flooded that lesson, and she said that was the first time she's felt that way since she's been reading the Book of Mormon! It was really cool how the Spirit worked there. He can definitely tell us of others needs during our Personal Study on a mission! 

We found a new investigator yesterday so that was exciting! His name is Lawrence. He seemed pretty interested in the Book of Mormon but said he probably wouldn't join. We'll see once he starts reading the Book of Mormon... haha! There's power in that book! 

Anyway things are just going great here! The Ward is doing tons of missionary work and we're helping them do it, and then our goal is just to talk with as many people as we possibly can throughout the day. IT's been a lot of fun. Elder Gardner and I are working together pretty well. 

My ponderizing scripture is Moroni 8:26 (right after he talks about how baptism brings a remission of sins) "And the remission of sins bringeth meeekness, and lowliness of hear; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God." So it really focuses on how through the remission of our sins we're made humble, and through that we receive the Holy Ghost who can fill us with hope. It was just really cool cause this week it stood out to me to see how the Gospel of Christ can fill us with Hope in our lives, through the Holy Ghost. Hope for a better world. I know that the church is God's church on the Earth, and that we can truly have hope through the Gospel!

Thanks so much for all that you do Mom! I really appreciate everything. I love you so much!

Have a great week this week! I love you.

Elder Collier

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hey Mom!

This week was another good week! Things are going well here as normal. I need to take more pictures... I haven't really thought about it since I've been here so I'll try and be better about that... haha! But things are really going great. 

I can't believe that Sammy is graduating though! I got his graduation announcement in the mail this week and it was so weird to see... haha! I think it finally hit me that we'll miss each other when I get home. But it'll be worth it for sure. Those last few weeks of high school were a blast for me so I hope he enjoys them! 

Hopefully you can talk to Blair soon! We took him out with us this week and it was pretty fun. 

So. Update on Brother Heinz... We go there to pick him up with our Bishop to go have a lesson in our Bishop's home, and then his wife opens the door. She immediately hands us the Book of Mormon we gave  him and said, "he's sick, don't come back or call. he's no longer interested." And we were shocked. Our Bishop spoke up (he's a stud) and said, "Well we'd like to hear it from him, is he here?" And she said that he didn't want to come out. After a few tries of trying to talk with him, she wouldn't budge. We ended up leaving, and I was just heartbroken haha. It was so sad! But it's okay. We'll just try back again when her car isn't there. He's so prepared! She just wasn't interested. 

But! things are still going great here! Elder Gardner and I really feel that we can see 3 baptisms happen before he goes home in August... Or at least before I go home. So we're doing everything we can possibly think of to help that goal come to pass. We have an investigator that we teach twice a week, and she finally committed to come to church this upcoming Sunday! We'll see her twice before then, so it'll be good. We've taken a ton of people to her lessons in the past so the ward should just swarm her with love haha! 

We've also found a couple that we've taught twice now that seems really interested! Both lessons we've had with them have been great. We taught about the Restoration last night, and the member just clicked with both of them! We're going to bring him and his wife to the next lesson. But during the lesson, they just loved it. They are excited to come to church this sunday too. So things are going well here! We've got a few solid investigators, and we're still just trying to find as many as we can.  We met a woman named Dishonder! But she's as cool as her name sounds. She had a lot of questions when we started the lesson, and she felt like they were all answered adequately afterwards! She's excited to learn more about the Book of Mormon. It was a good lesson. 

Apparently I've been assigned to sing this next Sunday. I can thank your cousin for that one Mom haha! It'll be fun to sing though! I love doing it. 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Alma 11:43 "The Spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God," I love being able to study the scriptures so much because I gain a strengthened testimony every single time. This really just put life into perspective again this week while I was studying about the Plan of Salvation, and let me know that really, everything we go through can be made easier because of the Knowledge of the Bigger picture. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and because of that I believe in that what it teaches about the Plan of Salvation is true as well. I love it so much! 

Anyway Mom, thank you so much again for everything. I love you and it sounds like this week will be busy, so good luck! Things are still going great for me. 

Love you so much!

Elder Collier

Monday, May 29, 2017

Brother Heinz

Hey Mom!

So this week was another good week. I'm not gonna lie, it was tough. Probably one of the hardest weeks that I've had in a while, but it was oh so rewarding. It's funny how those two seem to tie together all the time. Hard work pays off, but I've learned that you have to trust in the Lord's timing for when that pay off will be. And what it will be! Sometimes, we have to keep persevering through tough things, but eventually, in the end, all things will be made up through Christ. He truly is the Light that we can look to! 

It sounds like you had a nice relaxing week! Sometimes we definitely need that. 

So this week, we have seen some miracles. Big and small! Heavenly Father is always in our lives! Last week I talked about how we taught a former Pastor/Reverend and the lesson went well. Well we've now taught him two more times, and he is loving everything. He's praying to know if the Book of Mormon is true and he's reading it. He was going to come to church, but wasn't able to because he wants to come with his wife as well, so it'll be next week that they both come! Super exciting. But tonight, we are going to have a lesson at our Bishop's house with him! It's going to be so good. He's actually open and looking for truth! I don't know what's made him this prepared, but we will find out! His name is Harold, but we call him Brother Heinz. I've never naturally started calling one of our investigators Brother or Sister, but for some reason it worked really well with him haha! he's super cool. 

I've definitely learned a lot this week! It's been a fun week. I think I came to this area with the wrong mindset. I thought I would just come here to use everything that I've learned throughout my mission and just see success. But I've quickly learned that's not why! I definitely still have a lot to learn so it's been a good experience figuring that out. I just love being out here!

We had zone conferences this week and that was fun! Recently Zone leaders and sister training leaders were just made the people who organize and teach at zone conferences. So that was a different experience than I'm used to! It was different not being able to just go and learn, but I was the teacher. It was cool though. I learned throughout the preparation of the trainings. 

I can't think of anything really like super important that happened this week. It's just been a good tough week. 

My ponderizing scripture this week is Words of Mormon 1:7 "And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will." I hope in my life I can be like Mormon who wrote this and confidently say that I was a tool in the Lord's hands. He knows why things happen in our lives, and I just want to do what He wants me to do! I know that this is the work of the Lord. I can confidently say I feel the Spirit guide me every single day, and I love it! This is all true! 

I love you so much Mom! Thank you for everything that you do! I hope you have a fantastic week this week. And that is super cool that you finished the Book of Mormon again! 

Love you so much Mom.

Elder Collier