Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving leads to... Christmas!

Hey Mom!

Thanksgiving was awesome! After our studies we went to the Denbigh Community Center (which is like their Firstenburg) and we helped out over there! They were doing a free Thanksgiving lunch for the community and we set up the decorations and the tables and brought in food and everything. Then we walked around and talked to people. Just gave them company, because some people are really lonely on Thanksgiving. I felt really good listening to their stories and just what they had to say! We also got to talk to a lot of people about the Church, but no lessons came out of it. But at least we helped out and they saw us! Service always leads to good things. Then later that day we went to dinner at the Piggott's! It was SO GOOD. I ate so much I thought I would explode. But it was really fun over there. Then afterwards we went home and had to do our weekly planning like we do every Thursday. Normally we do it in the morning, but since we were doing that service we had to do it later! It takes about 3 hours so it took up the rest of our day... Overall I had a great Thanksgiving. It sounds like you all did as well! 

So this week within the span of 5 days it was crazy. On Saturday we met this guy on the street and he told us we could come by his house. Then on Sunday we taught him with a member from the ward there, then on Monday we taught him again, and he had kept his commitment and agreed to be baptized on December 19th! Then on Tuesday we were going to see him again and he wasn't home and wouldn't answer his phone! Then on Wednesday, we finally got a hold of him and he's like "Yeah.... I moved to Virginia Beach." So we went from having an investigator who is progressing with a baptismal date, back to nothing! It made me so sad! But we're trying to get the missionaries over there to go see him because he is super cool. 

This is one of the tougher areas of the mission I think. President Baker sends out a Monthly newsletter at our Zone meetings and it shows the total number of baptisms for the year by zone, and our zone is 8th out of 9 total zones. But I just keep plugging along trying to find new people to teach! We have also been working with a lot of less-active members because getting them to come back to church is a great feeling. We are so close with this one Sister! She just can't get work off on Sundays so we keep praying and praying that she will, because she wants to be there. 

And Mack Daddy can't get me all the way out here! Haha I actually laughed out loud when I read that! He's the best, I love that guy.

I can't think of anything I need for Christmas... I just would like some more music! How should I send my iPod home? The rules on music are pretty easy over here so I could use some more! Thank you so much. I can't think of anything else specific though!

You got a new tree?? The old one was perfect! Ah well...

I am doing well. Thank you for your segments from your lessons everyweek! They are awesome. 

I had the opportunity to speak this week! I was asked Saturday morning two days ago to give a talk yesterday in our Sacrament Meeting. But I did it! I also ended up giving the same talk at the group on Fort Eustice because one of the speakers didn't show up. It was about keeping Christ in Christmas. I used the song "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day" And an article by Elder Gary E. Stevenson in the December 2014 Ensign as my main parts of the talk. You should definitely check out that article it's really good! He wrote it while he was still the Presiding Bishop. 

My Ponderizing scripture for this week is Alma 7:13 "Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."

Thank you for everything you do Mom! I love you so much and I pray for all of you every day. Thank you for your prayers as well. I'll talk to you next week. 

Love your son,

Elder Collier

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pictures from Jonny's P-day at Fort Eustice

Doing Service!

Trust in the Lord and Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Mom!

I'm glad that trip ended up going really well! I think I may send my iPod home soon. How should I do that? Should I just put it in an envelope or should I get a package? And I think I remember Ellensburg... what year was that?

Tell Linda and all their family that I said Hi! I'm glad to hear that she's done with her radiation. Is she feeling better?

Tell Zach and Skyla that I love them too, and I pray for them. Skyla is so nice, she has sent me two letters recently, and she responds to almost everything in my emails! Tell her I'm sorry I haven't written back, I haven't had a lot of time.

Tuesday was our P-day this week due to the Mission Conference and we were able to go and see the Army Transportation Museum on Fort Eustice! It was really cool. But it is only open on Tuesdays, so this was the only day we could go, and it closes at 4:30 so we barely got any time there! That was kinda disappointing but it is super cool!

We ended up dropping a lot of our investigators because he hadn't seen them in a few weeks, and they wouldn't respond to our calls. So we were down to 3. One of them was the lady we were doing dishes for, and we went back on Wednesday and helped her out again. Her house is just a mess so I just want to help her get it back in order. And she loves us coming by, but she is very set in her beliefs and doesn't want to really make a change. She said she would repay us by coming to church! But then she called us on Saturday and said she wasn't going to go with us.... That made me really sad. But we are still going to go over and help her out again this week. 

I do have a really funny experience! We knocked on a door one day, and no one answered. So we knocked again and this is what we heard from the outside:

Little Boy: Mommy someone is at the door!
Mom: Tell them to go away!
Little Boy: What is going away? What does that mean?
Mom: It means that I want them to leave.
Little Boy: But they are our neighbors!
Mom: I don't care I want them to leave!
Little Boy: That's mean and hateful mommy!
Mom: How is that mean and hateful?
Little Boy: You should apologize.
Mom: Why should I apologize?
Little Boy: Because they are our neighbors!
Mom: But I don't want to talk to them, they weren't invited to knock on our door.

After that we realized that no one was going to answer the door... It was so funny to us though. That little kid was sticking up for us! Way to go little dude. 

Friday I went on an exchange up to the Jamestown area, and I feel like everything cool happens in my area when I'm in another area! Elder Nutter got a new investigator while I was gone, so I'm excited to meet him at our next meeting on Wednesday! While I was in Jamestown, we didn't have any lessons... the people are mean over there! But the Elder that I was with Elder Cole and I got along pretty well. The next morning was very crazy though. After our studies we were planning on exchanging back at the church building at around 2. So Elder Cole and I went tracting for a little bit and we were able to help a family move some furniture! But no one really wanted to talk to us. But at 2 we drove over to the church, and then when we got there we realized that we didn't have our cell phone. It was all the way back at the apartment and that was about a 20 minute drive! So we thought we would just wait it out because that is where they were going to meet us! After about an hour we realized something was up, and we decided to go back to the apartment. We checked the phone and we had like 7 missed calls... haha! They were trying to call us and tell us they were running later, and then they called us when they got to the church... 10 minutes after we left the church building. If we would have just waited a little longer we would have seen them! But we finally just met up at the apartment and exchanged back. It was pretty hectic! But once we figured everything out it all worked out.

We also met another new investigator yesterday! We had a member present with us so that definitely helped. Members are ESSENTIAL to missionary work!

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Proverbs 3:5-6: "5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 
6 In all thy ways  acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
I hope that I can put more trust into the Lord because, as a missionary I know I really can't do anything without His help! It definitely takes hard work but I'm getting better at it. I know that when we do what the Lord commands us then He will provide a way!

I hope you have a great week this week. Thank you so much for your emails every week, they are awesome to read. The Holy Ghost is definitely working through you!

I love you Mom! I'll talk to you next week. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Love your son,
Elder Collier

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nothing Can Beat a Testimony!

Hey Mom!

This week was slow on lessons, but it went by really fast! Before I knew it, it was Sunday! But the best part was being able to hear from Elder Mervyn B. Arnold at our mission Conference yesterday. We woke up at 5:30 so that we could leave the apartment by 6:30 and drive to the Virginia Beach stake center. The conference had all the missionaries from the Newport News stake, the Chesapeake Stake, and the Virginia Beach Stake. Elder Arnold is really cool and he gave us a lot of really awesome ideas. I talked to him for a bit afterward, but I didn't have enough time to get a picture with him! One thing he kept saying was, "Who's not going to get embarrassed today?" and then we would all raise our hands haha! He would say that because he was really bold when he would tell us to do things, so I'm going to try my best to do the things that he has told us to do! At the end of the conference he said that we should all be out of the parking lot in 5 minutes so that we don't waste any time!

Yesterday I also got to see almost everyone from my zone at the MTC! I got a picture with the Elders that I saw, but not with the sisters because I think it's against mission rules... But the only people that were gone was an Elder and a Sister that are both down in the stakes in North Carolina! It made me really happy to see that they are all doing well. 
Jonny's zone from the MTC
It's getting colder! Yikes!
Jonny's desk... I love the lamp!

You got to see Mack Daddy?? Tell him that I said hi, and that I hope everything is going well in his job! I wish I could have gone on that trip again, it was always so much fun. You'll have to tell me how the clinic and the performances went. 

Service is a great way to show love for people. We helped this woman wash her dishes on Saturday. She had a lot of dishes. I had my hands in the water for about an hour and a half, and we had to go and we weren't even done! But she said that she would go to church this upcoming week to repay us, so hopefully that works out! We're going to help her out again tomorrow. She loves when we come over, but also loves being Catholic so doesn't really accept the Spirit when it testifies even though it is there. We're going to keep working with her!

On Sunday we were walking down the street in a trailer park and we saw this little kid throwing rocks up into a tree. We decided to help him and for the longest time we were throwing things at it, but it wouldn't budge. We decided that the best thing for us to do would be to say a prayer. The little kid wasn't convinced, but he decided to join in anyway. I asked for help that we could come up with an idea to get the ball down! It didn't take long, and I realized that one of the branches that was hanging low enough for me to reach it (and let me tell you that's pretty low) was branching off of the big branch that the ball was stuck in! I started tugging at it, and eventually the ball came down! The kid said thank you and ran off with the ball, so hopefully we planted  little seed there. I know prayer works! 

Then another story, about 10 minutes later we walked down the street and talked to these guys with megaphones that were preaching about their religion in Spanish. We talked to the one that wasn't yelling in the megaphone and were talking to him about Joseph Smith and the fact that we had a modern prophet, and he couldn't get over the fact that it wasn't in the Bible. He kept saying that revelation ended with the Bible, and that we needed to have a confirmation from the Holy Ghost, and started preaching to us. But then I said, "I have received confirmation from the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is true. And I can promise you that you can find out for yourself." And he realized that he couldn't argue with that. He didn't really know what to say. Eventually he told us he had to go and him and his friend with the megaphone left. But it just really stood out to me that nothing can beat a testimony of the gospel. People can argue with us all they want, but I KNOW that the church is true, and there is nothing that will change my mind about that. My job is just to help out everyone so they can come to know "by the same power" what I know. 
"For I am called to speak after this manner, according to the holy order of God, which is in Christ Jesus; yea, I am commanded to stand and testify unto this people the things which have been spoken by our fathers concerning the things which are to come." (Alma 5:44) 
That's my ponderizing scripture for the week and I know that I am called to preach just like how Alma was called to preach and testify. I know that I can have the Spirit with me, and my job is to be as obedient as possible and to help people have that same conversion experience that I have had.

Those are just my thoughts for the week! I hope you have a fantastic week this week. For thanksgiving we are actually going over to that same family's house, the Piggot's! You probably will get a lot of pictures... haha! 

I'll talk to you next week, and I'll keep working hard! 

Love your son,

Elder Collier

Monday, November 9, 2015

Begin With The End In Mind

Hey Mom!

This week was pretty crazy even though not much happened! We only had 3 lessons, and none of them with any investigators. But our three lessons were with less active members and they all went really well. It's kind of hard sometimes to look at the numbers at the end of the week and not see any lessons, but I know that as long as I'm working hard and trying my best that's all that matters! 

That sounds like an awesome plan for scripture study. I will try my best to add when I can, but I read a lot more than one chapter a day haha! 

So you know that there are 4 missionaries in our ward. The other two missionaries, Elder Rice and Elder Weber, had two investigators get baptized on Saturday! A woman named Sita and her 12 year old son Eric. They are so awesome and they were definitely prepared by the Lord. The baptismal service was really good, and Elder Nutter and I were the witnesses for the baptism. Elder Weber baptized Eric and Elder Rice baptized Sita. I was so excited for them. Then at church the next day we got to help confirm them. The ward already loves them and I can't wait to see them continue to grow as members of the church!

We met a man in our apartment complex that lives 3 doors down from us who is actually a member of the church! He found us one day and said that he had been a member since he was 12, but hadn't been to church in a while. Then he went to church when he joined the army at basic training, but since he got out he hasn't been going. Well we found him and he's a really guy. And he came to church yesterday! He seemed like he was really having a good time and I was really happy to see him there. We helped him move his records over and everything and I think he's going to continue to come. He is also married to a woman who isn't a member so maybe that will lead to something soon! I am going to try my best to keep them moving in the right direction. Plus it's pretty easy to keep in contact with him haha!

I heard about the policy change when I was at dinner one night, it's weird that we don't find out anything out here! And in our letters from the mission president he talked to us about it. There hasn't been any controversy that I've come in contact with, but there are some great tools on and ldsnewsroom to answer those questions. 

With every change there will come a backlash and that's just Satan trying to fight against the church. But the real question that one must have when they have a question about a specific church policy is, "Are these men prophets of God?" which leads to the question, "Was Joseph Smith a prophet of God?" and that question can be answered by answering another question. "Is the Book of Mormon true?" Anything in the church can be answered by that one simple question. If we know that the Book of Mormon is true, which we can find out by sincerely asking and praying about it, (Moroni 10:3-5) then every other question we have about church policies can be easily answered. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and I promise that anyone can find out for themselves that it is true as well. If we can all have that true conversion through the Book of Mormon, then small policy changes wouldn't really be an issue!

Oh! I just remembered, next week we are having a mission Conference on Monday and Elder Mervyn B. Arnold of the Seventy is going to come and teach and instruct us! But since it is on Monday, we are having our P-day on Tuesday which means I won't email back until Next Tuesday. One of the things that we've been asked to read in preparation for the conference is a talk to new Mission Presidents by Russell M. Nelson called "Begin with the End in Mind". In it he talks about how as missionaries we need to begin teaching someone with the end in mind, which is exaltation. Everyone we come in contact with are children of God, and if we have saving ordinances in mind when we meet people, we can help our Heavenly Father bring to pass His work and His glory. (Moses 1:39) Immortality is given to everyone through the Atonement, but Eternal Life can only come through true conversion and these saving ordinances! 

And a line that I really like in there says, "Every missionary can have at least one convert on a mission: himself or herself!" I know that even if I don't have any people be baptized while I am out here, if I can become truly converted to the Gospel, then generations of kids born into the church can receive these saving ordinances as well, because of me. That doesn't mean I'm not going to try my hardest to help the people out here, because that's what I'm here for! But as long as I put forth my best effort, the Lord will make up the rest. 

These are just some insights I had this week. My ponderizing scripture for this week also goes along with that, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12) If we can all "be... an example of the believers," I know that people will see us and they will have that desire to learn more. We just always need to keep the end in mind! 

I'm glad to hear everything else is going well. I love getting your email every week! I know your talk is going to be awesome. And thank you for the article! It's really cool. And I do not think I will need boots, plus in the handbook it says you can't wear them unless your mission President authorizes them, so I don't even know if they are! But I'm fine, it doesn't rain every day! haha! 

Thanks so much for your love and support. I love you so much. 

Talk to you next week!

Love your son,

Elder Collier

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Pure Love of Christ!

Hey Mom! 

Are you getting the pictures that I'm sending? Cause last week I had a few, and I have a lot from this week.

Thanks for sending the music, and I'll let you know when it gets here! I don't know if there is anything I need right now, but I will let you know! 

Sammy made the Honor Choir again??? That's awesome!!! He's such a stud. And he's gonna have so much fun with all those guys again, plus Jason and Kolten! Can they do a 6 man room? haha! That makes me sad about the people who didn't make it though... but they are still going to have fun in choir this year! And yeah that time is so much better than last year's... What are the plans for Solo and Ensemble by the way?

It's so crazy that Synthia is leaving this week! She has been emailing me every week and we've been talking about mission stuff! I'm so excited for her! 

This week was super dry until today. It was super sunny and like perfect weather. It started pouring today and it doesn't look like it will stop any time soon. And we have less miles this month than we did last month, so it looks like we're gonna be biking in the rain! 

We had no investigators at church... And we seem to be losing investigators. But we are meeting with a lot of new people this week that can become investigators! We'll see how that goes. People here like talking with us, but they don't understand what our purpose is, which is to Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the end. People don't understand that we are trying to help them grow closer to Christ by inviting them to keep commitments such as, Coming to church, reading the Book of Mormon, getting baptized. But we're still trying to work with it! I think I'm getting better at inviting others to make commitments. 

On Friday at district meeting I was able to give a training on the use of music as missionaries. It was super cool to be able to give that lesson! I used a lot from the Preface of the Hymn book, and I talked about how in Church meetings music is important because it helps bring the spirit, and investigators can feel that spirit. And it can help us grow closer to them. I said we can use it in our homes because we sing a hymn to start our companion study every morning, and it can help us grow closer together. And it invites the spirit. And I talked about using hymns in our daily lives to help us feel the spirit more and to keep our thoughts on good things! I know that music really does bring people closer together. Some of my best friends in high school I would have only met through music. There is just a special spirit around it that brings people together!

Then Halloween was actually pretty fun. We had run out of miles though so we could only bike that day! We found out that you can bike on to Fort Eustice, and it's a lot easier than driving cause they don't inspect the bikes! The guy at the gate was funny, he lifted up my bike looked underneath it and said, "You're good!" haha! But the people we were trying to see weren't home, so I had a great idea to go bike up to the north end of our area to see one of our less active members! Well it was a lot farther than I thought and it took us like 35 minutes to get up there, plus I'm pretty sure we biked on a freeway for a little bit. But anyway we got there right as she was leaving and we were able to talk to her for a bit! She's really nice, she just never comes to church so we're trying to work with her. Then it took us like 40 minutes to bike back... I have a greater appreciation for the car in our area! I hadn't realized how big it was! But we had to get back because Elder Nutter had to do a baptismal interview for Sita and her son Eric in the other Newport News Elder's area! They're getting baptized on Saturday and they are doing awesome. Then that night we had to be indoors by 7:00, so after we finished all our stuff with our area book, the other Elders in our area came over and we had some fun with our decorations. Elder Nutter had a red and white striped tie and put a piece of paper on his name tag that said he was "Elder Waldo". And I wore my mustache and sunglasses that I got, and Elder Rice taped a bag of Rice to his body. It was pretty fun that night!

Happy Halloween!

I want to share an experience I had last night. We were talking to this guy as we were biking through a neighborhood, and he kept saying the same thing, "Why would God let bad things happen to innocent people?" So we were trying to explain it to him, but he obviously didn't want an answer he just wanted to argue. Elder Nutter was trying to share the story of the people of Ammonihah who were burned while Alma and Amulek were imprisoned to show that the wicked would be judged for their actions but everyone that was hurt would be saved. But every time he started talking, the guy would say the phrase, "Why are you still trying?" After he had said that three times, a thought popped into my head. He said "Why are you still trying?" a fourth time and I said, "We're trying because we care about you." But after I said that he just said, "Goodnight," and walked away.

I know this event didn't end in a key indicator other than an I/O, but it was really special for me. I know we are taught to love our investigators and to show charity at all times. That is how we bring the spirit. But I hadn't noticed until this very moment that we are supposed to love everyone, not just our investigators. We are out here to be representatives of Jesus Christ, and He would love everyone that He would come in contact with. The reason why as missionaries we share our message with the world is because we care about the people's salvation. We want to help them. We don't just do this because we're trying to get more people baptized, but we're doing this because when they get baptized they are making special covenants that they need to make in order to make it back to our Heavenly Father. I want these people that I talk to, to be able to make it back. If we don't have charity, we are nothing (Moroni 7:44). We can't have the Spirit, and the people we talk to won't listen to us. 

Because of this I decided I'm going to Ponderize Moroni 7:45-47 this week,

 "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all  things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--
"But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." 

Thanks so much for your emails. Every thing in them brightens my day and is exactly what I need to hear. And I know that you know exactly what your Sunday school class needs to hear as well! Just keep listening to the promptings of the Spirit. As long as you do your best, the Lord will make up the rest.  Always remember to have that pure love of Christ for everyone around you! 

I love you so much Mom! Talk to you next week! 

Love, your son, 
Elder Collier