Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, October 26, 2015


Hey Mom! 

I finally got my pants! It took forever but they are finally here, and I'm not gonna lie they look pretty good. 
Jonny and his new pants!

I'm glad Mr. I liked the email! How was the reaction from the class? I hope that they continue to have fun, and it makes me happy that the concert went well. That choir is just so good. I hope I can hear some of their new music, maybe if I send my iPod home and get the new music? I want to hear those songs! And we never did an exchange with Gonzaga! How was that? It makes me happy that Spencer Martin is still singing! Tell him I said hello too if you ever get the chance!  I wish I could see how the concert went. 

It's alright that you didn't get it in the mail, I understand that things get busy! Especially around concert time, you are always so busy, I never understood how you did it! 

How is Grandpa doing? It makes me happy that he keeps on going! Tell him and Grandma that I love them. 

And I don't know if we are ever getting iPads... We may sometime in the future! But we always joke about how much easier everything would be if we had one! But as of right now, you don't need to send any money!

This week was a little tough. It seemed like we had so many lessons just fall through, and I was starting to get a little frustrated at myself. I went on two exchanges this week, and the first was on Tuesday with Elder Weber in the other Newport News area. Elder Weber is on his first transfer too, so to be honest we were a little nervous. And EVERY single plan fell through that day. We met a lot of new people and talked to a ton of people, but no one was home for their scheduled appointment. And we even were supposed to have this lesson with this family who is getting baptized in a few weeks, and that one fell through! I was really excited to teach them, cause they are awesome and super excited about everything, but it didn't work out that night. 

Then Thursday I went on another exchange, this time with Elder Coltrin in my area, who is going home after this transfer. 

Elder Colton going home!

Crazy shift of experience in those two days, but pretty much the same outcome. A lot of our appointments fell through, including one that I was super excited about! We had run into him one day and ended up teaching him the Restoration on the spot and he was super excited about church and baptism and prayer and everything! Then while I was on the exchange on Tuesday Elder Nutter introduced the Book of Mormon to him and he was super excited! And I was supposed to see him on Thursday, and we had brought a priest from our ward with us because the guy that we met was 18. Then we knocked on the door and the people inside said that he had moved out. I was shocked. We tried to call him and his phone is turned off. We have no way of contacting him and it makes me really sad. But right after that we were able to bring the priest that we brought, Nick, with us to see a less active member. We were able to teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and emphasize the importance of the sacrament and coming to church! It went really well, and then after the lesson when we were driving Nick home Elder Coltrin and I were able to talk to him about serving a mission because he was kind of on the fence about it. And I hope that that helped him and gave him a greater desire to go, because a mission is awesome, no matter how hard it gets.

Crazy story about the end of the exchange, that next morning Elder Coltrin and I decided to go run, and then we wanted to make a smoothie afterward. Well when we were using the blender, it blended about halfway and then there was a flash, and then smoke starting rising from the blender. It just exploded for no reason! So now our blender is broken... haha! Oh and our dishwasher broke too but that's a different story, that one also wasn't our fault! But the apartment complex is hopefully going to fix it soon!

I read a great article in the September 2015 ensign called, "Don't Run Away," and it talks about not running away from fear. The girl in the article has a heart problem, so she has had to run throughout her life in order to keep her heart rate up so that it doesn't slow down! At first she was scared, but she talks a lot about how fear is the opposite of faith. And when we are afraid, we can't have that faith that everything is going to be alright. It just really stuck out to me this week and if you get a chance you should go read it! 

On Thursday we also got to be on a conference call with all the new missionaries and their trainers! It was pretty cool, we all just shared faith promoting experiences that we have had. It was nice to hear from the missionaries that I new when I was in the MTC!

Saturday was the toughest day. We got yelled at a couple times, people were angry at us, all our lesson fell through, our dishwasher broke. But through  it all I felt happy at the end of the day because I KNOW that the church is true. I am going to keep my head up and work hard. The Lord has asked me to work in this area for a purpose and he will provide a way for me to do so. My ponderizing scripture is 1 Nephi 3:7: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." I'm working hard and trying my best and that's what the Lord expects of me! I'm still trying to get over my homesickness every once and a while, but I can do this! 

Thanks so much for everything Mom, and I can't wait to hear from you soon!

Elder Collier


Monday, October 19, 2015

Last week of the first transfer already?

Hey Mom!

I'm glad you liked the email last week, and I'm doing pretty well. Every once and a while I may get a little homesick but I always think about what you told me, (and I actually put it on a sticky note on the wall in front of my desk) "I love you, but I don't want to see you for two years." I know that I'm supposed to be out here and now I get that reassurance every day. I also put a quote from Dad on there, "Always remember to look on the bright side and don't for get to laugh." That's something I think that I had been struggling with, I just hadn't really taken time out of some of my days to have fun. But I can say that I've been doing a better job of that recently and I have seen the improvement of seeing the Spirit in my life. Laughing can honestly really help in lessons! If you are too serious the people my not want to keep talking to you, but if you can make them laugh and let them know that you can still have fun and are a normal person, it really helps you to gain a better relationship with them! 

I'm glad to hear that Skyla is doing better. I have been praying for them every night, and for you guys as well, and for Harrison and Jenni. I hope she will continue to get better! And I also got a package from Zach and Skyla! It had a green notebook that said, "Hey there Greeny!" and then everything in the package was green. Washcloths, a toothbrush, silly string, giant sunglasses, candy, a water bottle, you know the basic essentials. Haha! And they also wrote their testimonies in the notebook and that really was awesome. 

Great glasses from Zach and Skyla

And I'm so excited for the concert! I'm gonna write Mr. I and I hope he reads it to the class. I know the Stars Stand up in the Air, and Papa Loko! Those are such cool songs. I'm excited to hear them! If I send my iPod home could you put the recordings on there? And also some more music too? 

But as for this week, it's been awesome. According to my MTC teacher Brother Depperman, "The days are long but the weeks are short." It is so true, and weird! The days feel so jam packed and long and hard, but before you know it, it's P-Day again. It's crazy how that works. But last Monday we played Monopoly again, it's becoming addicting. I won this time for real, like we finished the whole game! I ended up with so much money. 

We also had our interviews with President Baker this week! That was really cool. It's crazy how he can know us all so well, even though there are almost 200 missionaries in the mission! But I really feel loved by him. We are actually going to have a conference call with him and every other training companionship this week and I'll let you know what that is like! 

We did this stress test thing that every missionary has to do during training, and apparently I was in the Orange level... (Green is the lowest, then Yellow, then Orange, and then Red is the most stressed.) But I don't feel stressed! I think that's just how I am. I'm pretty sure that I don't work hard unless I feel stressed, so that's probably good that I'm there! 

Crazy story, we now have like hundreds of Ensigns. We were given them by this Less- Active sister that we went to see. It is really nice to have something to read! 

Tons of Ensigns!
The craziest day I think was Friday. We went on another exchange, and this time it was my turn to stay in our area and run it! I was really nervous, especially because the other missionary that was coming down is also being trained. So I definitely had to trust in the Spirit! It did not start off very well... After the exchange happened, which was up in Williamsburg about 25 minutes from our apartment, Elder Nutter left, but he didn't give us the phone, or the keys to the car. We were stranded there for a while. Luckily there are 2 sets of missionaries in our area or we would have not been able to do anything! So they called Elder Nutter and they had to turn around to give us the keys and the phone. We did have something to do while we waited for them though... One of the Elders, Elder Bullinger pulled out this helicopter right after District Meeting and he got it stuck in a tree in the church parking lot. So as we were waiting for Elder Nutter to get back, we were throwing rocks trying to get the helicopter down, probably not the best activity... haha! But it was fun. We didn't get the toy down though! 

So my companion for the day Elder Cole and I were heading back down to Newport News, and so many of my plans fell through. There was a time when we had an hour and a half with nothing to do because our backups all fell through, and so did our backups backups. But we were able to meet some new people as we were tracting and we also helped give some service to some people! We also knocked on one door and a guy came out with a shotgun, that was a little crazy. Then the next morning still on the exchange, we went to check on one of our investigator's Rosemarry. She had just had surgery. She said that we had "Shown up just at the right time!" I know that wasn't a coincidence. We helped her move a TV and some other boxes and talked about Faith with her! That exchange really let me know how planning is super important because not everything is going to work out, but if we listen to the Spirit, things will work out! 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is all of Psalm 100. I just love the message it has about serving the Lord and how He will always love us, but whenever I read it I can only hear the song Psalm 100 that the Women's Ensemble sang that one year, and then I can't get it out of my head haha! 

Thanks for all your prayers! I'm glad that you are sending some music, I was going to ask if you could! Just some songs that I've sang before like, "Never Be the Same," "I know that my Redeemer Lives," "One Voice," And could you also send "Consider the Lilies," and "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul," ? And anything else that you think would sound good! Thanks so much Mom. 

I love you so much! The church is so true and we can really have a two way communication to God through prayer. It really works! 

Talk to you next week, 

Elder Collier

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"It Will All Work Out."

I love that scripture in 2 Timothy. I actually almost picked it as my ponderizing scripture for the week last night! Crazy coincidence, (like coincidences happen!) haha! But I really think that is an amazing scripture. It shows how when the tough times come, and according to President Eyring "They always do," God doesn't give us that feeling of fear. We can really overcome it just by having faith in Jesus Christ and repenting, or making that change to not have fear. Through Jesus Christ, anything is possible. 

Elder Collier
I'm really sad to hear about Zach and Skyla. Tell them I'm praying for them every night. I love them and I hope they are doing okay. Just keep increasing your faith and that fear will go away! We were reading a talk this week at District Meeting called "Lord Increase our Faith," and in it, it talked about how Joseph Smith while on his way to Carthage, could have made the decision to run away. But because he had enough faith that he was doing the Lord's will, and in his words said, "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer's morning;" (D&C 135:4)And in my experience so far I don't know if my faith is that strong yet. But I know that if we continue to grow our faith and perhaps get it to that point, it can just give us peace and confidence and comfort that what is happening is the Lord's will. Please tell me how they are doing! And I know that they will be alright. 

That's cool that you got to go down to Provo to see them though. Isn't Lilo so cute? I'm sorry that happened to your hand. How is Teilani doing? Can you get me his address? And yeah I did write a letter to the Jackson's! They wrote me one while I was in the MTC so I thought I should write them again. They are so awesome. 

Don't worry about the Nesquick, it made an interesting journal entry and I was just laughing the entire time. And the popcorn is almost gone already... haha! Thank you so much for the package. 

Sister Piggott takes soooooo many pictures.... haha. But she is so nice and very funny. She is from Colombia so she doesn't speak English perfectly so it's funny when she mixes up words sometimes. Her husband went to Guatemala on his mission, so he speaks Spanish pretty fluently so sometimes they have conversations in Spanish. I can understand a few things, but my Freshman and Sophomore years of Spanish have almost left me. Her Mom also lives with them and she speaks absolutely no English so I try my best to say basic sentences in Spanish... haha! But they have a son and a daughter on missions right now so I think that's why she sends so may pictures and feeds us so much. They are an awesome family. Brother Piggott is also the first counselor in the Bishopric. 

Eating dinner at a members home!

So miracles this week... At the beginning of the week I was getting really discouraged. We had two people set for a baptismal date and we hadn't met with them in over a week. We still didn't meet with them this week because they've been busy every time that we have called them or stopped by their house. So we don't have any people with baptismal dates any more. And all our other official investigators we hadn't been able to meet with. I was getting to the point where I was wondering what I was doing wrong because we were seeing so much rejection. And a lot of other investigators we had to drop (we ended up dropping about half of them) because they would never talk to us or return our calls or answer the door. But we made it a goal this week to talk to as many people as we could when we saw them! And we also had a lot of time to go tracting so we met a few people that way. But Thursday was when the week started to turn for the better. 

Since Elder Nutter is the District Leader, I go on a lot of exchanges. He goes out with each individual missionary in the district, plus on an exchange with the Zone Leaders. We had our exchange with the Zone Leaders this week. So on Thursday I ended up going up to a place called New Kent which is about an hour Northwest of where I am. They only have a branch up there and everything is very spread out. It takes about 15 minutes to drive to any appointment. I was with one of our Zone leaders named Elder McCleary and he is super cool. He's from Orem Utah, and he's been out for about 14 months. But first thing, one of our appointments fell through (no surprise over here) and we decided to knock on some doors as a back up. The first door we knocked on, a woman answered and she invited us in! We taught her and her 90 year old father about the Restoration and they said that we could come back. We also offered to mow their lawn and she loved that. That exchange was just what I needed for this week. It really gave me the confidence and encouragement to keep going! And Elder McCleary was really supportive and encouraging as well. Plus the next morning I got to run cause he likes running and that was awesome. Elder Nutter doesn't really like running... but I'm working on that! We tried it one time and I had to run to the end of the street and back because I kept getting too far away. I think we have decided that he is going to ride on his bike while I run, and that way we can do it a little easier!

But after that exchange the week went really well. I found out when I got back that Elder Nutter and the other Zone leader Elder Sommer had met a girl named Sara who let them in a they taught the Restoration! And she ended up going to church with us on Sunday and she really liked it. We are going to meet with her this week. Then we taught the man that we met last week and helped him move in his mattresses! That lesson went really well too. He said that he wants to learn more and we're just like, "We can do that!" So I'm really excited for him. He's a really nice guy and very friendly. I feel like I'm becoming pretty good friends with him actually from the few times that we've talked and that's something I haven't felt before with an investigator! So I'm super excited. So after this week I feel energized and ready to work! I know that the Lord is watching over me and he knows me and how to help me keep going. I can see my faith growing every day. 

Oh and on Saturday we were able to help out with the Bishop's storehouse distribution because it was at the Stake Center. That was a super cool experience. 

But that's pretty much how my week went! Can't wait to hear about what happens this week for you. I know that if we are keeping the commandments and doing what's right, then it will all work out. According to Neil F. Marriott, it may not all work out now, but it will all work out. I love you so much and I know that everything will always work out. 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is 3 Nephi 5:13 : "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." At no other time in my life has this scripture meant so much to me. I know that I have been called of a prophet of God to go out and serve Him, and His people. My mission call says I will "Devote all my time" to His service. I'm doing my best. 

I know that this church is true with all my heart. There is no way that I would give up this much time in my life for something that I didn't whole heartedly believe in. The Book of Mormon is true. Read it and share it with others! 

Thank you so much for the support again, I love you so much! 

Talk to you next week, 

Elder Collier

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Hurricane and 3 new apostles!

Hey Mom!

Conference was so awesome. I received a lot of information for how I can go about doing better on my mission, and it was super cool to see those three new apostles called! Elder Renlund's testimony really helped me to understand how we have to see our investigators through the eyes of a parent. Because only then can we see their full potential. I loved that. And I loved how Thomas S. Monson pushed through right to the end of his talk. I was getting really scared because he looked like he was really struggling to stand up there for so long, but he did it and just that one little thing gives me the courage to keep on trying no matter how hard it gets. I also loved Jeffrey R. Holland's talk because it really made me think about how much you do for me. Thank you for all your support in everything. Oh and I decided to start "ponderizing" like what Elder Durrant said to do. My scripture is Mosiah 4:8. Speaking of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, King Benjamin says, "And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you."


We had one investigator at conference! She's 12, her mom is a less active member, and her cousin is a recently returned missionary. She really wants to be baptized and her cousin takes her to church when she can. But her dad does not want her to be baptized because he has read some anti stuff about Joseph Smith. Recently when we go by to see her, her Dad tells us to go away. We're hoping that we can give him the pamphlet with the testimony of Joseph Smith, and we are going to bear our testimonies as well. But we saw her in the back of the chapel, but as soon as it was over she was gone, so we didn't get to talk to her. 

The hornet stings are pretty much gone now. I have been getting headaches a lot since it happened though, but I just take motrin and they go away after a while. I've also started to take naps during lunch and that helps. 

I did get the box you sent, thank you so much! The nesquick kind of exploded though... haha I have a picture. I ended up saving it! But I had already bought a big thing of nesquick, so now I just won't run out! And I got Autumn's package, she sent me a book called "Missionary Companion" which is kind of a study book. It's kind of like True to the Faith. It was super nice of her to send that. 

Nesquik... Not such a great idea!

Hopefully the auditions go well! You'll probably end up sending a lot of kids this year just like last year! And I'm glad to hear everything is going well for you all. I will be praying for Skyla. Tell her I love her! 

I'm getting along with my companion pretty well! The hardest thing is just that sometimes he goes into automatic teaching mode and doesn't really follow the spirit. So we're trying to work on that. But otherwise things are going well. I do get along better with the other two missionaries though but that's probably just because I don't live with them 24/7. You know me, I like my alone time. So it's hard for me to get that now but I'm getting used to it. At night I just like rarely talk haha. 

Nothing much happened on Monday. We played monopoly and I'm pretty sure that I won because I had the most money, but we had to end early so we didn't have an "official winner." But all our appointments canceled that night so we went out street contacting. We talked to a lot of people, and they're nice to us most of the time, but never interested. 

Of course Jonny won... He ALWAYS wins!

I went on another exchange on Tuesday. But it was only to the south end of our ward, so I only spent the night down the street in our apartment complex. But that was fun, I was with Elder Rice, who is also training. He went in to the MTC the same time Jordan did! But anyway, that day our appointments didn't answer the door so we went out tracting. And it was like 90% humidity that day so it was super hot, and then all of a sudden it started to pour down rain. I was so soaked. Then we had to ride our bikes back, while cars were splashing puddles at us when they drove by. I was just so happy though. I had absolutely no reason to be other than I knew that I was supposed to be out there and I was working hard. It was actually pretty fun out in the rain, I got a picture but you can't really tell how wet I was. Then that night we went and saw two of their investigators, a mom and her son. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they really seemed to like the Atonement, so I talked a little bit more about that, and I was able to bear my testimony about how because of the Atonement, He can give us strength when we need it. That was super cool that night. 
Soaked from the storm... but happy!

Wednesday we went to Fort Eustice for FHE. They have one at 11 in the morning and one at 6. It was nice because we were fed lunch and dinner that day, but we didn't end up having any lessons. The time when we were home in between FHEs we tried to stop by 5 of our investigators houses, but none of them were home, or they just didn't answer the door. But that's when we first heard about the hurricane. I got the package this day as well! 

Thursday we could tell that a storm was coming because it dropped like 15 degrees that day. We went to get water and other emergency supplies at the Food Lion near our apartment which is pretty much a Safeway. We also had to pack a bag of 5 days of clothes just in case we were evacuated. But before we did all of that we went tracting in a neighborhood and met some people that told us to come back later in the week! And we also helped a man move into our apartment complex because he had two big mattresses. We talked to him and he said that he'd be willing to talk with us so we have been talking with him as much as possible. His name is Edward, and we haven't had an official lesson with him yet, but he was at general Conference for a little bit and he said he enjoyed it. We have a lesson scheduled for Wednesday. 

Friday we had Zone Meeting and that was pretty good! I  played the piano, and I think I'm getting better at it because I've had the opportunity to play a lot. Then when we got back we went to see this man that we met named Tramane, but he prefers to go by Holy Teacher Nowawesome. We call him Tramane. I didn't feel like that lesson went well at all because he was not really listening at all. Afterward I felt really discouraged and kind of annoyed. But we went to go stop by a potential's house that we talked to on Thursday, and her dad answered the door. At first we were a little nervous, because he didn't look like he wanted us to be here. But he said, "We're gonna have some fun" and went back inside, and then came back outside with a beer can and said that we should talk to him. So we started with a prayer, and then started to teach him the Restoration. We didn't get very far, when we started talking about how Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father love each of us, he burst into tears. These were like genuine tears and I was honestly very surprised. We ended up testifying of how he was feeling the spirit and he agreed to let us come back after we said a closing prayer. Crazy how we got a new investigator there. 

Then Saturday and Sunday were general Conference and we weren't able to do much during that time. But on Sunday we tried to talk to a lot of people that didn't show up to the church to watch it, but they weren't home or didn't answer the door. It's been a little hard to have so many "investigators" but have none of them be progressing at all. But I'm just gonna keep working hard and have faith that it will bet better. 

I can't wait to hear from you next week, and let you know how the week went! I'm not gonna lie and say time's flying by, cause it really isn't, but I love it. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! 

Love you, 

Elder Collier