Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, September 28, 2015

"I Can't Think of a good Subject Title"


I'm glad you liked the pictures! I worked hard on those, haha! But I haven't gotten any packages yet, so is there one that I got from Autumn that I should be getting soon? And could you send me the addresses of Austin Sork, and Jordan? And Autumn if you can, cause I don't know what her college address is. That would be great if you could! And also could you send me my leather Hymn Book? It's in my old scripture case in my room. 

I'm glad to hear that everything is going great! I can't believe you already found Elder Calkins! He emailed me so I'm gonna see what he said soon, and Sister Finn, the one who met the Jacksons, also emailed me so I can see what she has to say as well! It's so cool that I know those missionaries serving over there.

I can't believe Sammy got his license... But hey, I got the best score out of all the brothers! Haha! Is he still gonna drive the van? Tell him to keep Pete (the dragon) in there for me! 

Monday. It was P-day, and it was kinda nice to relax a little bit, I'm not gonna lie. We went and got my bike, (I'll send a picture of it) and we went shopping and got some games. We got Monopoly and are gonna play it today. And every Monday morning all the elders in the Newport News stake get together at the stake center to play this game called Oompa at like 6 in the morning. It is pretty much, ultimate frisbee, on a basketball court, with a football. We played it in PE and stuff back home, and we called it Flickerball, so I fit right in when we were playing. It's pretty fun. Then that night we tried to stop by some of our investigators, but none of them are very reliable, because they never want to set up a for sure return appointment. They always just say, "stop by whenever!" but that doesn't help us. 

Jonny and his bike

The new Bike!
Tuesday. It was a little difficult this day, but I was able to get over it as we started to go out and proselyte. I said a prayer and asked for strength, and I know it was given to me. Our neighbor hasn't wanted to meet with us since we talked with him last... He says he was out of town this past weekend, but people are always over there, cause he parties a lot. So we don't know if they just use his apartment or what, but he never seems to answer the door. But we were able to meet with Nathan, who is 17 and has a really good friend that is a member. His friend isn't in our ward, he's in the Newport News 1st ward, but he still comes up with us to talk with him. We taught him about the Book of Mormon, and he said he would read it, and he said he would be baptized on October 24th! So we were pretty excited about that. Then we met with one of our investigator's, Gary. He is a very southern guy, and has some Word of Wisdom problems. But we taught him about the Book of Mormon as well, and he said he would prepare to be baptized November 7th! So we hope that both of them will start to progress and keep their commitments soon. 

Wednesday. We had Zone Conference on Wednesday and that was super cool. We learned a lot about following the Spirit in our planning, studies, and just every day activities. And President Baker at the very end talked about how he felt that some of us may be struggling a little bit, but he gave us a lot of encouragement, and that was just what I needed. It really strengthened my testimony to know that He can really receive revelation for myself has a missionary. We also got these weird black boxes in our cars called TIWIs (pronounced teewee). They monitor our driving, and we have to sign in by swiping a card, and it says things like "Check your seatbelt," or "Check your speed." It's actually quite terrifying... haha. Apparently every mission vehicle in North America is going to get them. Oh and I thought I should mention this, our mission hymn is Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy, which I think is really cool because I love that song. We sang it at the very end of Zone Conference. 

Thursday was a rough day. I felt like we didn't get a lot done. We did service at this guy's house named Anthony, and we helped him rake leaves in his backyard (which was HUGE). It took us about 2 and a half hours... And at one point, I raked over a hornets nest... I got stung 7 times. That kinda sucked. My fingers and elbows were swelling up and also this one spot in the middle of my forehead. I should've gotten a picture now that I think about it! haha!  And we rode our bikes there, so I had to ride back with the stings.. But we stopped and got some benadryl, so I took that and fell asleep so fast that night.

Friday was a lot better. During companion study we were practicing the "How to begin teaching" points in Preach my Gospel during Companion study. While we were doing that I said during our role play, "We may not be perfect teachers, but we know that our message is true." And I just this overwhelming feeling of peace. And I know for a fact that the Restoration is real, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. And I know that if we read the Book of Mormon, we will really be able to have that knowledge for ourselves if we Read, Ponder, and Pray with a sincere heart. Later that day I went on an exchange to Williamsburg because my companion is the District Leader. So I spent the night up there. We did some service for this guy named Henry, and he had this massive pile of garbage in his backyard that we were just shoveling into garbage cans. Apparently missionaries have been there once a week working on that since MAY. Hopefully they can get it done soon. But we got to talk about faith with him afterward and he really seemed like he enjoyed it. 

Saturday. I had a crazy experience Saturday. So after the exchange, we were low on miles, so I said, "Hey we should ride bikes today!" It's also easier to talk to people on the street with bikes, so we decided to go. So we decided to go see an investigator named Stephen, who never seems to be able to set up a for sure time to meet with us. So we talked to a few people on the way, and he couldn't talk with us that night. So we talked to a lot of the people walking around the apartment complex and then we stopped this guy who was walking his dog. We starting talking to him and he said that he had just moved in, so we asked where from, and he said Washington! So I was like, oh I'm from there! And he says, "What part are you from?" And I said Vancouver, and he said "No way, that's where I'm from too." So he started to describe where he lived, and he described that big stone catholic church on 172nd, and I was like "Yep I know where that is. Do you know my friend Emma? She goes there!" And he said, "That's my sister!" So I met Emma's older brother just randomly while street contacting. I knew there was a reason why we should ride our bikes. It was just a cool little miracle. And we set up a time to meet with him next Sunday. So Emma better write me or something cause I found her brother! haha. 

Sunday is just always awesome. We didn't have any investigators at Sacrament Meeting which was very disappointing, but I just love that we get to go to Sacrament Meeting. It's kind of like a break where we can just sit and feel the spirit. Then afterward we went to the Branch on Fort Eustice again, and I played the piano again. I like when we are able to go there cause it is super cool to meet with the soldiers and to have Sacrament Meeting like that. 

So overall this week ended up being pretty good, and I hope that I can continue to learn and grow while I'm out here. The church is true everyone! I know it with all my heart. And I know that, "no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care." (D&C 12:8) and that the Lord will "be on [my] right and and on [my] left, and [His] Spirit shall be in [my] heart, and [His] angels round about [me], to bear [me] up." (D&C 84:88) He will protect me if I devote all  my time and efforts to His service. 

Hope everything continues to go well for you! I love you so much!

Elder Collier

Monday, September 21, 2015

1 Week Down!

Hey Mom!! 

No I never got my blue dress pants, and I forgot to tell you that at the MTC!! So if you ever get those, could you send those to me? Thanks! But they did give us bedding so I've got that! But if anyone wants to send me letter please give them my address cause I would love to get some! And could you send me Austin and Jordan's address, and also Babb's when he gets out into the field! 

I'm glad President Baker sent you an email! He's a funny guy, and he knows what he is doing as a mission president. I've only met with him once, but I can't wait to talk with him again! 

So my address is 456 Cox Landing Apartment #F Newport News, Virginia, 23608.

My apartment is pretty cool, although it is in a pretty sketchy complex. But we always talk to people there and they are all very kind to us! Except  for this one lady who hates us, but we just don't talk to her haha! I'll send some pictures of the apartment.

Elder Calkins is in Harmony Ward?? That's awesome. He is a pretty cool guy, hopefully you can get to know him. He can name like any scripture reference in the Bible. Oh yeah I forgot to mention I sang in my branch sacrament meeting at the MTC! I sang I Know that My Redeemer Lives. Elder Hansen in my district played the piano, and he has played for 12 years so he made a pretty cool arrangement. 

My companion is Elder Nutter. He's from Selina, Utah, which is an hour south of Manti. So I think we drove through it that one day when we went through Manti and Ephraim. We get along pretty well! He is a very interesting guy though, he's just very quirky. But he knows how to work hard which is all I really wanted when I came out here. I needed that to take my mind off of home. Cause as Gordon B. Hinkley's dad taught, "Forget yourself and get to work." So that's what I'm working on! He's a little OCD, so sometimes it's tough to follow the spirit in the lessons, because he likes to do it a certain way. But we're starting to work together well.

Something I've gotten better at is not being afraid to talk to people. Everyone here is generally pretty nice to us, even though they don't really want to hear our message. But they are at least willing to take a pass along card from us, and we invite them to watch the Because He Lives video. If you haven't seen it yet, I'd recommend you watch it, cause it is super cool! I have also gotten better at speaking on the phone, cause I know that was a skill I lacked... haha. But we have to do it a lot as missionaries so we can  contact our Potential Investigators that we meet. 

Right now I am serving in the Newport News 2nd Ward, as the B elders. The ward boundaries are so big that they split it in half, so 2 other elders (Elder Rice and Elder Weber) also live in our apartment complex, just down the street, and Elder Rice is training Elder Weber, but I didn't know him before. But we share the car, so that's why I really needed to get a bike. But I am going to get that today, and thank you so much for putting the money in my account!  

The Sacrament meeting I went to was really cool. The ward is super small. The building looks just like the North Stake Center, so it has a super wide chapel. But they didn't need to open up the overflow, and there was a ton of open space in the chapel. The ward members are super nice though, and they sing really loud for how small they are... And from the few dinners I've had, they feed us very well. The Bishop asked me to speak on "The Good Shepherd," so I spoke about how Jesus Christ loves each one of us and because of that he suffered the Atonement. Which, as the Lord put it, "18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink-- 19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men." (D&C 19:18-19) So I shared that, and I also talked about how we can use the Atonement whenever we need to. I then shared the Lyrics of "Never Be the Same" (thanks for putting that in my suitcase by the way) and I said that we will never be the same after we feel and know what the Savior's love of us feels like. I may or may not have cried while reading it... haha! I know what that love feels like, and I know He is the only reason that I have the strength to do this. Which is awesome. A lot of people in the ward came up and talked to me and thanked me for my talk.  Anyway, we invited a ton of people to sacrament meeting, both Less Actives and investigators. So many that I lost count, but we did see 3 less actives and 1 potential investigator there though! But I didn't get a chance to talk with them, because I had to leave! 

Our area also takes in Fort Eustice, which is an army base. There is a branch that meets there, so 2 of the Elders go to that branch every Sunday! That was a super cool experience to meet there. There were only about 10 of us there, including the Senior missionary couple and myself and Elder Nutter. But there was 1 non member there so we talked to him for a little bit! We aren't allowed to proselyte on the base, but if they come to church and set an appointment then we can meet with them! I also got to play the piano for the meeting because they didn't have anyone that could play there, so that was pretty cool. I said a prayer before that I could, and I know the Lord helped me because I was able to play some hymns that I had never really practiced before. 

So during the week someone that we were able to meet with twice was our neighbor across the hall. His name is Mack, but we call him Brother Mack. He's really good friends with a young couple, The Cooks, who are in our ward. So Sister Cook has been to both lessons with us. We taught him the Restoration, and he was really receptive to it and we asked him to read the pamphlet and pray about it. Then when we went back, he had put a note on the door telling us that he was glad that he met with us, but he didn't want to turn his back on his own beliefs... So we knocked on his door anyway. He let us in and we talked for a bit and we ended up having another lesson, this time teaching him about the Book of Mormon and how if he reads it and really ponders it, and prays sincerely with the intention of acting on that prayer that he could come to know that it is true. We were able to set up a return appointment for Tuesday, so hopefully he reads! He didn't show up to Sacrament meeting though so that was sad. 

We don't have any other investigators that are on the verge of progressing, so I'll let you know if anyone starts to next week. 

So something I have come to know about the people of Virginia is that they are pretty similar to what Zach said about the people in Pennsylvania. Everyone smokes and has a dog, or a cat, or some type of reptile or amphibian. Literally everyone I have met with has a pet. Most of the members don't smoke though so that is good. But everyone else that I meet smokes, and they smoke a lot of different things too... haha. 

The roads here are very strange though... There are no bike lanes first of all, so they are very narrow. Then you can make a U-turn like anywhere. I don't know if it's legal, but people do it anyway! And the roads are named, but if you don't know where that road is, there's like no way to find it without a GPS, so I might need to get one. Elder Nutter has one now, so I'll be good for a while. 

But things are going really well here, and I am excited to see what is going to happen these next few weeks while I'm here. We have 4 new investigators that we are going to meet with again this week, and like 10 other investigators, but no one with a baptismal date. So we have some work to do. But I'll let you know how the week goes! 

I'm glad to hear that Teilani made the men's chorus and is having fun and that Jordan is doing well! And that picture of Austin made me laugh. 

I know that Heavenly Father lives and that he loves each and everyone of us. I know that the Savior lives and he guides this church through revelation that is received by a living prophet. And I know that if I have the Spirit with me, I can "Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man." (D&C 84:85) As long as I am obedient then I can have that Spirit with me and the people will be able to hear our message. 

And sorry if this email is very jumbled, I would start to type things and then remember something else and have to type it, there's a lot that goes on and I can't remember everything that happened all the time, but I am keeping a journal so I'll have that! But everything in this email should be okay for the blog! And are you sending my emails out to everyone that we got emails from? Just wondering cause they wanted to get them! And there are some emails that are on the notes in my phone just in case you haven't added those yet. 

 I love you! Thanks so much for the emails and letters. Can't wait to talk to you next week! 

Elder Collier

At the Provo Temple

With Elder Napavong (a longtime friend!)


His district at the Prove Temple

His new desk in Virginia

His Room in the MTC

MTC companion

Provo Temple

With district again at the temple

With Elder Griffin!

MTC District

New Companion, Elder Nutter with Elder Collier!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jonny has arrived in Virginia and will be serving in Newport News, Virginia. 
His address is:

Elder Jonathan Collier
456 F Cox landing
Newport News, VA 23608

Jonny with President and Sister Baker

Jonny with his new companion, Elder Nutter

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

First email from MTC

Hey Mom and Dad! 

I made it through week 1! I'm not going to lie, the first three days were some of the hardest of my life. But my Zone leaders really helped me get through it, and so did my Branch President. He's a funny guy, he's super old and he forgets almost everything but he loves each and every one of us and I can feel it. But what really got me through those first few days was the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Knowing that I can pray and ask for strength was really nice, and I have definitely gained a testimony of that. And it hit me pretty hard when I remembered what President Randall said about how I would learn empathy through the Atonement. I'm still learning it, but I think I was meant to feel that homesickness and it has helped me grow. And the scripture you shared with me and Sammy when we were little and going to school has helped me. 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  Once Saturday hit, I felt so strong with the spirit, and every day has just gotten better and better.

So in my district there are 9 of us, there were 10 but one Elder went home on Friday. So because of that I have 2 companions. Elder Calkins, who is from Arizona, and he's going to Vancouver, Washington! And then Elder McCammon from Idaho Falls who is coming with me to Virginia. We get along pretty well, and the more we teach the better we are able to work together. The other two Elders in my district are Elder Hansen from West Jordan, and Elder Davis from Seattle, and they're both coming with me to Virginia. We joke around and say that all 5 of us are companions cause we pretty much are. And we get along so well, every day we always hang out in class and at meals and we have so much fun. There are also 4 sisters in our district, Sister Hibbard from Arizona, who's going to Vancouver, Sister Palmer from Idaho, who's going to Vancouver, Sister Finn from Richomond, Virginia (crazy right) and she's going to Vancouver, and Sister Iverson (still weird to me haha!) who is from Las Vegas, and going to Virginia with us! All 9 of us have become so close and it's going to be sad to split up. We keep talking about how in two years we're going to meet up and hang out.

The more I'm here, the more I am able to feel the spirit. I have been able to recognize that the Spirit is what really converts people, not the missionaries. I am trying my best to follow the prompting of the Spirit, but it is hard! I need to get better. Something else I'm learning is that Love is the most important tool we can have in order to convert others. If the people know that we genuinely love them, because I do, then they will know how important it is to be converted and come unto Christ. In the words of Elder Bednar (no he didn't actually come speak to us, it's from a video), "We must have a character of Christ." Which means that when the natural man would turn inward, and be selfish, we must turn outward and be selfless. We must learn to love others even during the toughest of times.

A very cool moment happened on Monday. All of the sisters in our district were feeling kinda nervous and asked for blessings. Sister Iverson asked me to give her a blessing and so I did. During that time I had never felt so confident in speaking before. The craziest thing was that I barely knew her, but I felt like during that time I was able to speak to her and tell her exactly what she needed. That is the power of the Priesthood. If we are worthy of it, we can act in God's name and perform miracles. It is crazy. Since then she has felt very good about where she is supposed to be.

Thanks for the cinnamon rolls! They were really good! So many people have been getting those care packages so we just have a party every night because we have so much food. Plus the Elders that left last night to go out into the field didn't want to take it, so they gave it all to us! 

Tell everyone in choir that I love them and to work hard and that I know they will sound great this year! And tell those freshman guys that they better be working hard. 

And I heard about the BYU game, it makes me so happy! I literally yelled and celebrated when I found out. 

I leave for the field Tuesday morning early. I have to wake up at 3:30! But we get a chance to call you at the airport, I just don't know what time that will be. So be prepared Tuesday morning. 

And if you could send me just some recipes while I'm out in the field that would be great! And yes Mom I'm doing my laundry today... haha! 

I'm glad to hear that you are all having a good time! Just remember 2 Nephi 31:21 "And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," The Doctrine of Christ is real! 

I hope you have a good week and I can't wait to talk to you.

Love you,

Elder Collier