Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas? I think yes!

Hey Mom!

This week was SO COLD! It was so fun though! I got to break out ALL of my winter gear so that was fun. Literally, I wore all of the winter gear I own... it was so cold haha! I'll talk more about that in a bit. 

I got my Christmas package! And The slacks you sent me. Thank you for that! I have not opened any of the presents yet though, they are placed under the tree we have in our apartment, waiting for Christmas. (and of course, our presents form the PJ elf for Christmas Eve!) I'm so excited cause on Christmas Eve, My district is going Caroling that night and then we're going to get Slurpees! It'll be so fun. 

I bet Jordan did such a good job. I know he was just a great missionary. I hope I can be as good as him! That's also super cool that you were able to talk to a lot of Jordan's family! There's so much good that is going to happen in his family. It'll be great. 

So this week got SO COLD. Virginia weather is just the weirdest thing on the planet. I will never understand it. On Thursday and Friday, it got down into the 20's (which on  a bike is not very fun) I had on all my winter gear, including my beanie, and my scarf wrapped around my face! Man we were out in the cold most of those days too, but it was so fun. We were just trying to find people to teach, and we didn't find anyone really, but if we don't find anyone to teach it's not going to be because I didn't try as hard as a could! It was a good feeling to stay out. I love missionary work!  But the weirdest part about the weather, yesterday morning it got up to 80 degrees. I just don't understand! And then by about 6 last night it was back into the 40's and raining. Crazy haha! We stayed out in the cold last night though and coming back to some nice warm hot chocolate felt really good. 

I got to go on an exchange with our Assistants to the President earlier this past week and it was a lot of fun! They're in a trio right now, so they just dropped one of them off with us to spend the day with us! It was cool. I learned a lot from him and found some ideas to improve my missionary work and to use my time better. 

The Welkers came to church again this past Sunday! Well Jasmine didn't (that's Ashley's sister) but Brother Welker did and he's not a member! It was actually a surprise to see him there. We are really going to start trying to work with him soon. 

Tomorrow our mission is having a Christmas conference! I'm excited for it. Elder Richins, one of my zone leaders, and I are going to sing What Child is This? and a sister in my district is playing the piano. It'll be good! And then my district is going to sing Stars were Gleaming from the Children's songbook, and I'm playing the piano for that! It's going to be a lot of fun! 

I'm so excited for Christmas this next Sunday! That sounded like you had a packed house at church yesterday to have them sing Christ the Appletree! I love that song so much. Christmas is going to be awesome, and I will call y'all about 3:00 your time!!! I can't wait to see y'all. It's been a long time since I've seen ya. 

I hope y'all have a great week leading up to Christmas. I love you so much mom! Don't party too hard! My ponderizing scripture leading up to Christmas is Alma 7:7 "For behold, I say unto you there be many things to come; and behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all-- for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people."  The Savior truly did come to Redeem each one of us. In verse 11 later in the same chapter it goes on to tell us what he Redeemed us of. I love my SAvior Jesus Christ and will forever be grateful for what he did for me and for all of us. 

I love you so much Mom! I can't wait to see you. 

Love you,

Elder Collier

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Time is Here!

Hey Mom!!

I'm doing pretty great! Mission life keeps moving forward... a little too quickly. I'm fine I didn't get hurt after my bike wreck! I shouldn't have said anything... haha! But I just got my bike back this week, so it's working fine! It's so much better than the bike I was borrowing. And yes like a tan or light tan  color! We can wear light colors for slacks! I just checked the dress and grooming section so it's approved! Recently they've started to approve light colored clothes.

Restaurants, we have all kinds! Panda, 5 guys, Noodles and Company, Subway, Taco Bell... there are so many different ones! As long as it is not Burger King... haha! Norfolk has a pretty big selection of things. 

I can't believe Jordan is home. That's so cool to think! I love him so much, he's such a great example to me. Just him going on a mission and his conversion story has helped me so much in my life in general! Not to mention my mission. 

So for the call on Christmas, we can do Skype or facetime! I haven't confirmed with the member that we're going to be at whether Skype or Facetime would be better, but just in case, what is your Skype information? And we're having dinner with those members so maybe we could do our call around 6 over here, and 3 for y'all? If that works. I think we could do it anytime, cause we'll be done with church by 12:30 or 9:30 for you. Elder Hargraves family I think will be done with church early too. Let me know what you think!

We've been doing good over here! IT's been COLD the past few days. It got down to the 20s on Friday and Saturday night! I had to bust out my scarf and my beanie! Now snow yet... just freezing weather. I think being on a bike makes it a little colder just cause you're outside all the time. But it's been a lot of fun! People will let us in more because of how cold it is! 

We have been really struggling to find new investigators recently. We haven't found one in the past few weeks. But a lot of the new investigators that we've found in the past haven't been committed at all, so we haven't seen them in a while. We think it's because we're spending more time in the nicer areas so it's harder to have lessons with people. But the lessons that we are going to end up having are going to be much more quality lessons rather than quantity lessons. I'm excited for those! 

We have a less active member that we're working with, Angie, who is just doing awesome. She has been coming to church a lot recently, and our lessons with her are always so great! She finally started to live the Word of Wisdom, and it was because we really tried to help her. It took about 3 lessons in a row, but it was awesome because we really taught to her needs in those three lessons. And because of it, she not only started to live the word of wisdom, she also trusts us more, and has been more willing to live other commandments! She came to our ward Christmas Party and it was so cool to have her there! I love working with her. The Welkers are also still doing super good! Jasmine (Ashley's sister) read from the Book of Mormon for the first time!!! She was so excited to tell us. We haven't set her baptismal date yet, but it will be soon. Slowly but surely it's all coming together with them. 

I can't really remember anything else that happened this week. I've been thinking a lot about the Christmas story recently, and just how it's such a blessing to have a Second record of Jesus' birth! In the Book of Mormon Samuel the Lamanite prophesies of the birth of Christ, and in 3 Nephi, the prophesy comes to pass. "And it had come to pass, yea all things, every whit, according tot he prophets. And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word."  (3Nephi 1:20-21) With this #lighttheworld Initiative, we can really spread the Light of Christ to all those around us! I love helping people follow Jesus Christ, because He truly is the Light of the World! 

I forgot to pick a ponderizing scripture before we emailed... I'll do one for next week though! 

I love you so much Mom! I'm very thankful for the love and support that I receive from you every day. It's such a blessing. I love our family so much! 

Love you Mom! Have a great week! 

Elder Collier

Monday, December 5, 2016

Light The World!

Hey Mom!!

December is already here and it's crazy! We found a lot of Christmas decorations in our closet, so we put those up in our apartment! We also made a Christmas Countdown. Christmas time is the best time to be a missionary! You can just say Merry Christmas to random people and it's a great way to talk to them haha! And no cannot believe Jordan is coming home already... That's crazy! It'll be so good to see him again. 

This week was a crazy week. It was filled with ups and downs. On Tuesday I got in a bike crash... haha! I got distracted and just road straight into a piece of cement that was sticking out! I flew over my handlebars, but I'm okay! I just ripped my pants through the fabric and got a little bruised. My bike kinda fell apart, but I took it to a bike shop and should be getting it back later this week. I got lucky and I am borrowing another missionary's bike for now! But later that day we had a great active member lesson with our Elders Quorum President (who's from Vancouver by the way! His last name is Sahim) and his wife. So that's just an example of our up down week. 

Because I ripped my pants, I was wondering if you could send me some new pants for Christmas? I was thinking maybe a khaki colored pair, and then possibly a blue pair too. My address won't change before Christmas! Transfer calls are on Christmas Eve, but transfers aren't until the next Wednesday! 

We decided to stop keeping track of a few of our Key Indicators! We now are no longer tracking Progressing Investigators, Other Lessons, and Referrals received and contacted. We are hoping by doing so that we will really focus more on getting members out to our lessons. We are going more for quality not quantity of lessons. I like the change, it'll be really good for our mission. 

Elder Hargraves and I have also decided to stop working so much in the ghetto parts of our area. It'll be safer for sure... but also we just haven't seen anything come from it. We teach a lot, but we never see them again, or they just don't commit. So we are going to work more in the better kept parts! All our members live over on that side too, so it'll be easier for active member lessons! Member missionary work is so important.

I don't know if you've seen the Light the World video yet but you should definitely check it out! it's on It's going to be great this Christmas season to Light the World with acts of service, and by doing it we become more like Jesus Christ! Christmas is such a great time. 

What time will work for you to call on Christmas? I am not sure when our church service is, I just know we are only having Sacrament Meeting. 

I decided to ponderize John 16:33 this week. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Especially after President Eyring's talk last night about peace, Peace comes because of our Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him, we truly can find peace in this life. I believe He lives today. I love being able to testify of Him every single day! 

Thank you so much Mom! I really appreciate all the help you have given me, and continue to give me. I promise to keep using my name for good! I still hope to one day get to Four Oaks, NC! I hope you get feeling better too. 

Have a great week Mom!  I love you so much. 

Elder Collier 

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Hey Mom!!

This week was super good! Not very eventful, at least nothing really coming to mind right now, but I just know that it was good! 

I'm really sad to hear about Grandpa. I sent him an email. I love him so much, he's such a great man! Please tell him and Grandma that I love them both so much! The plan of Salvation is so real. Teaching it as a missionary really confirms to you that because of Jesus Christ, we will ALL live again. And we can be with our families forever because of the restoration! I promise to do all I can to move forward and to help others know about this so they don't have to mourn over similar situations. 

Thanksgiving was fun! We went to a member's home, and it was pretty fun! He just kinda wants us to come over and hang out, so we had to talk with him and tell him that we can't do that. We are hoping to continue to go over to help bring the spirit into their home, but we can't go over every week if they aren't going to make any progress, so we limited it to every other week. We'll see how that goes! We didn't do any contacting or tracting on Thanksgiving, but we did bike to a lot of the member's houses and dropped of thank you notes! I thought it was a pretty fun day! We talked to some people on the street. I was glad that it was a full proselyting day. IT's so boring to not proselyte! 

Elder Hargraves is doing great. He's working through some trials, but it's really bringing us closer as a companionship. We've had some good talks and I just love being his companion. He's so willing to go outside and work! 

I went on an exchange with an Elder that's going home soon! He goes home before the transfer is over because the transfer ends after Christmas, and he started his mission before Christmas in 2014, so they let him choose whether or not to spend another Christmas in the mission! But it was his last exchange so that was pretty cool. I'm not looking forward to that time to go home. Don't take this the wrong way Mom, As much as I love you, I want to stay out here haha! 

I recently read through Preach my Gospel and highlighted all the times it said help or helping or assist or something like that. It was super cool! I counted 421 times throughout the manual, but there could be more. It's just super cool to see how much of our purpose is helping people to receive the restored gospel. It's all about helping! 

My ponderizing scripture this week is in Helaman 5:30 "And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul--" WHen I read this this morning, it really stood out to me. when God answers our prayers, it isn't this big sign that let's us know He's there, at least not all the time. Most of the time, it'll be something we have to work toward to notice. We have to be looking for it. But I do know that He answers our prayers. 

Anyway I love you mom!! You are the best. I honestly don't know how you do everything, teaching, work, being sick, taking care of grandpa, and being the best mom ever. You can just do it all! I really appreciate all that you do. I love you so much. Have a great week! 

Love you

Elder Collier

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Mom!!

I hope y'all have a great Thanksgiving! It sounds like it'll be fun for y'all. I am so thankful for you Mom! You have done so much for me to help me get to this point in my life, and on my mission. I'm so thankful for all of you that have helped me. And I'm thankful for my testimony of the gospel that gets me through hard days. Tell everyone there how thankful I am for them, and that I love them!!

This Thanksgiving will be very interesting for me... We've had dinner over there before and it's always really awkward, but they keep inviting us back... and they won't let us teach anything! we don't know what to do. We've also been told it's a regular proselyting day, so that'll be fun! We'll definitely be looking for a lot of service activities. We scheduled an appointment though so that's nice to have!

Thank you for sending Uncle Mike's talk. That was so nice to read. He did a great job! Tell him he is awesome. 

 Ummmm... what happened this week.. To be honest it's all really starting to blur together. It's been super hard this past week, but opposition, always comes when good things are about to happen! 

Ashley was baptized!!! That was so cool to be apart of. I really love that family. She was ecstatic the whole night, and at church she really was happy to be confirmed. It was just all a good event. And now one of her older sisters said that she wants to start going to church more so we'll see where that goes! I know her dad will get baptized eventually, it'll just take time. But that's the good thing that happened this week.

Jonny and his district at the beach
Jonny at Ashley's Baptism

The opposition was that Elder Hargraves and I finally started to disagree a bit in our companionship. For about a day, it was super tough, but then we figured it out, and now we're teaching and following the spirit so much better. Elder Hargraves is the man. He's really helping me realize how to use my time effectively and really how to follow the Spirit again. Actually, just last night, it was FREEZING cold. We hadn't had dinner yet, but we were going to go back and eat when we got home, but it was about 7, and we had nothing else to do. Everything fell through, and we had been outside for a couple hours, I was about to just call it and go home to eat! But Elder Hargraves said we should stay out and I knew he was right, so we contacted one last person on our list. while that person wasn't home, the person who answered the door was super nice and we set up an appointment to go and teach her! It was super cool to see that blessing of just being diligent and pressing forward. 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is D&C 50:22 "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." I have experienced this so much more during this past week. It's so true that when you really teach by the spirit, you are both edified after a lesson! It's amazing to see. The Holy Ghost testifies to us of truth! So what we're teaching must be true. I know it is. 

Thank you for all that you do Mom! I really appreciate everything that you do for me. Thank you for everything. I can't think of anything I need... maybe another sweater? I don't know... haha! I'll let you know if there is a desperate need for something! 

I love you Mom! Have a great week this week!

Elder Collier

Friday, November 18, 2016

Okay Week!

Hey Mom!!

I'm doing great! This week was an okay week, although I feel like I can't remember a lot of what happened... Filled with missionary work probably! 

The weather is starting to change... It's getting colder! I feel like my body has adjusted to the super hot summers, so it's like only in the 40's and I feel cold! But biking warms you up a bit! We just don't have any time to ever go back to our apartment throughout the day, so I have to hopefully grab everything I need for the day before I leave! Have I told you we live three miles outside of our area? So we basically leave for the morning and don't come back until the night every night! It just takes so long to bike that! 

We haven't been teaching as much the past two weeks... We just find a ton of investigators that we never see again! So that's been a little discouraging sometimes... But! We keep pressing forward. That's what this life is all about! We have gotten a lot better relationship with our ward leaders. There's still room for improvement... But it's a ton better I think! We just need to find some investigators to bring them out to lessons with us. 

I went on two exchanges this week so that was pretty fun! We did one from Tuesday night to when it was supposed to be Wednesday night, but the other companionship didn't get back till late, so we had to exchange back on Thursday morning! And then on Thursday we exchanged until Friday afternoon! I didn't proselyte with Elder Hargraves for two straight days! It was so great to get back with him to do missionary work. He's such a good missionary! I can't believe he's already about to move onto his second transfer! 

Miracles are definitely everywhere as a missionary! You see just a TON of little things throughout the day that are totally blessings from the Lord. I think I'll be a lot more aware of those in my regular life afterwards, but as a missionary it's so apparent. Something that Elder Hargraves and I do every night to be more grateful is point out 6 blessings that we saw through that day. It's a lot of fun! And then you write them in your planner to see them again when you look back so it's been sweet. 

Ashley passed her baptismal interview!!! So her baptism is going to be this Friday at 6 pm! I'm so excited for it! The whole family is really supportive, and I think the ward is going to have a lot of support too! We've got a ton of assignments given out to make sure people are there... haha! She's so excited to be baptized. 

Transfers just happened, and only one person is leaving my district! And she just finished her mission so we all knew she was leaving anyways. But it's going to be pretty fun with so many people staying! The district here that I get to serve is such a hard working district. I love them all so much. 

My ponderizing scripture is Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;" It's always just good to remember that ANY time we feel these feelings, we know that the Holy Ghost is with us! We have such a powerful gift that He can be with us as we are faithful and obedient! Isn't that so cool? And it's all because we have the proper priesthood authority on the earth today. 

So Thanksgiving, I think we're going to an ex communicated member's home to eat with his family... It's kind of a weird situation... but I think it'll be fun! We've been told it's a regular proselyting day on Thanksgiving. I hope y'all have a great time! 

I love you so much Mom! Thank you for all that you do for me. I love being out here so much and I know y'all have done so much to help me get to where I am. So thank you!! 

Have a great week! Love you.

Elder Collier

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Mission Tour and Happy Halloween!

Hey Mom!!! 

So first off, I'm really sorry that I forgot to tell you this! We had a mission tour yesterday, where Elder Randall K Bennett and  his wife Sister Bennett came and visited us and gave us a training! So that was all day, so our P-day was moved to today. So that's why you didn't get an email yesterday! Sorry about that! 

I did get the package! The letter and the package actually came on the same day haha! Thank you for sending that music! I was hoping that we would be able to do the musical number for the mission tour yesterday, but the APs never got  back to us and there was no musical number... kind of a bummer. But hopefully I can do it some other time! That Christmas music is much appreciated though! I think I'm going to offer to sing in our ward soon, and also (if we do it the same as last year) then we'll have a Christmas mission conference with some musical numbers! Thank you so much for sending the package! 

Thank you also for sending what you shared in that 5th sunday lesson. That was really good and inspiring. The Book of Mormon changes lives! I know it does. Honestly if people just read it, it leads to them keeping almost every other commitment we leave with them. They just have to read the book! 

Not a lot happened this week that I can remember... We still have not reset Ashley's Baptismal date yet... She's been doing so good, but their car died so they weren't able to come to church which was really sad. But we should be seeing them tonight so we'll try and set it for next week. We want it to be as soon as possible! We met a really solid investigator that ordered a bible online! We had a very spirit filled lesson with her, and she recognized that it was there and it was just awesome. She is actually looking for something missing in her life, and we testified that this was it! it always is. We even set up another appointment for the next day with a member to bring, but she had to cancel, and she didn't come to church, so we are really looking to contact her again. 

The mission tour I think was the highlight of the week. It was just a super revelatory experience to go there. The spirit was in that meeting, and I wrote down a lot of things that I can start doing to implement and become better. The coolest thing I thought was instead of having a break to have lunch, (and Elder Bennett said that he doesn't do this with most mission conferences he goes to) He had us grab our food, and all the district leaders grabbed their districgts so we could meet with our districts in a room somewhere in the building. Then while we ate, we came up with specific goals of thing that we want to improve on, and counseled together, and came up with ways to hold each other accountable. It was so cool, and I felt so unified with my district during that time. We came up with 3 specific things that our district can do and I'm super excited. This is putting us on the path of becoming even more consecrated. 

Then last night for Halloween we couldn't proselyte, so we went over to the Zone leaders apartment and made some treats for our investigators and members of our ward so we can deliver them! It was a lot of fun, and it's going to be fun to deliver them. It might be hard on a bike though... haha! 

I'm super excited for this week too! We are going to have our interviews with President Weed on Thursday and I can't wait. I just love being out here and learning so much. And the best time I learn, is when I act on the things that I want to be better at. 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Alma 43:1: "And now it came to pass that the sons of Alma did go forth among the people, to declare the word unto them. And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth." I just love the part where it says Alma could not rest. This work, the work of the Lord, is so important that we just can't rest! We have to constantly do our best and give our all. And that's what I am sincerely hoping to do for the rest of my time here. 

I hope everything continues to go well for you mom! Good luck teaching! That's always a pretty hectic job for sure with all those kids. But you always do a great job! 

Thank you for everything mom! I love you so much! 

Love you,

Elder Collier

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mini MTC

Hey Mom!!

This week was so good. It was tough at first, but we got through it and it ended up being awesome. I think the highlight this week was the Mini MTC activity that the stake put on on Saturday! It was SO much fun to participate in! For multiple reasons. So the activity was super cool. Basically it was a big youth conference, and they had the youth come and seperated them into zones and paired them up with companions and taught  them about missionary life! We came in during the middle part of it. All the missionaries in the area were given a group of youth, and we showed them how to make lesson plans, and then we had them plan a lesson, and then all the missionaries brought real investigators that we were teaching, and had the youth teach them! It was so cool to see! And then afterwards we evaluated and talked about it with them. So much fun! We brought Ashley Welker (the girl who is getting baptized soon) and she had so much fun! And the youth loved teaching her too so it was good. 

I think the thing I liked most about it though was that there were youth from Poquoson and Currituck (my last two areas) both there! It was so much fun to see them. I was so excited. And Sister Moon (the one who texted you) did get us Sonic haha! She is just the best. Man I love being a missionary and getting to know all the awesome members out here. I was so happy to see them. 

Other than that this week was sweet. There's wasn't a lot  of noteworthy things that happened this week. Elder Hargraves is just doing awesome. We've been teaching quite a bit and it's been fun! It's so much fun to learn from him. I love it. He's teaching me again the importance of getting the members involved. It's sweet. 

Ashley Welker is still doing fantastic! She had a part in the primary program yesterday and it was just awesome! She spoke about the restoration, and it was fantastic. She did such a good job, and she is so excited to be baptized! We have to reschedule her date, so it won't be this week anymore, but it should be in the next few weeks! I love that family. 

Nothing else really happened this week I don't think... It wasn't that much of an eventful week, just a really solid one. We are still meeting crazy people every day, but what else is new in Norfolk haha! It's so funny. 

It sounds like you had a great week this week! So much happened! And it sounds like it was all super fun. Thank you for sending me that music! It will definitley be used! 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is D&C 100:5 "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;" I know that when we speak by the Power of the Holy Ghost, we speak what God would want us to say. I have come to know this through personal experience! It has been so cool to witness this on my mission. 

That experience you had in Relief Society is awesome. I love the scriptures for that same exact reason too! It's so cool to see that happen daily! 

Thanks for being awesome Mom! I love you so much! I hope you have a fantastic week this week! 

Love you so much!

Elder Collier

Monday, October 17, 2016

Member Missionary Work!

Hey there Mom! 

Another great week. This week was so good, I don't even know how to explain it. We had so much fun, and we did a lot of great work. He was baptized into mission life for sure haha! 


So this week was tons of fun. It was really tough early on in the week for my new companion, but he did so great. He's going to be such a good missionary, better than I'll ever be! We were having a tough morning on Tuesday or Wednesday, (I can't remember which), and it was really tough on Elder Hargraves. I could see that, and we went to the nearest fast food place and I got him a milkshake and we just sat and talked for a little bit. It was such a good experience. I feel like I've been go go go with him, and it was good to sit down and talk things out with him for a couple of minutes. After that, I wouldn't say a flip switched cause it wasn't that quick, but things picked up! He was more excited and since then every day has just gotten better and better. He's going to do amazing things during his mission. 

We were able to teach Ashley Welker a ton again!! It is so fun going over to their house. Every time I just feel the Spirit stronger and stronger. She is more converted at 9 years old then I was at 16 years haha! She just loves going to church and loves reading the Book of Mormon! This Saturday our stake is doing this thing for the youth called a "Mini MTC" and we're bringing some of our investigators to be taught and Ashley is so excited to help out! She loves being able to "teach the new missionaries" hahaha! But it's just amazing helping them. She is able to recognize the Spirit in her life when she prays and reads the Book of Mormon. I couldn't do that at 9! 

I think one of the highlights this week was our District Meeting though. That was such a great meeting. I don't know what happened, but somewhere throughout that meeting, the Spirit just entered in and we all could sense a changed. We were so excited to go out and improve and do missionary work. We read the talk "Sharing the Restored Gospel" by Elder Oaks from last conference. It was such a good meeting. At the end I shared some of my experiences with member missionary work and I got kind of emotional (first time I have in a good minute) and the Spirit was so present in that meeting. Probably one of the best district meetings I've ever been too. Afterward I was just so excited to get the members involved in our missionary work! I even gave a talk in Sacrament meeting this past Sunday on that talk and how what our purpose here is. We are here to help y'all! It was such a good experience. I think the members are warming up so much in our ward!  I love being here so much. 

I totally got the package from Mercedes! That was so nice of her, and I need to write her a letter back. It was such a nice package! It looked like she put a TON of effort into it as well! I hope she's doing great. Tell her I said Hi and thank you! 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."  I know that Jesus Christ is the rock of our Salvation. And if we look to HIm and follow Him, we will have Eternal Life. It's all because of Him. 

Thank you so much mom for all you do for me. I love you so much and I hope you have a great week.

Love you so so much,

Elder Collier

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Training and Hurricane!

Hey Mom!!! 

I'm safe! The Hurricane was crazy but we didn't get nearly as bad as other places from what I've heard. We were pretty far north from where it actually hit. It was a lot of fun biking in it though! haha! WE GOT DRENCHED. I've never been so wet in my entire life! We just started to accept the water getting splashed on us from the cars passing by! It was so fun! Our apartment complex flooded so bad, but I forgot to take pictures! I got one of Elder Richins (one of my zone leaders) that I'll send though! It's pretty funny. 

Jonny and last companion

That is one wet tie!
Drenched from the Hurricane!

This is how their zone leader got through the flood!

New Companion!

It was a crazy first week for my new companion that's for sure! But he is awesome and I love working with him! His name is Elder Hargraves, and he's from Shelly, Idaho! He's 19, but he turned 19 right before he came on his mission. He left straight out of high school like me! It's super weird that he graduated in 2016 though! Something super crazy... He was in the MTC with Taylor Lowder! They were in the same MTC district so they went to classes together and stuff. Super crazy! 

I did not think training would be this hard! There are so many things that I do as a missionary that I just thought were regular things, but I have to explain them! It's a lot of fun though. We get along super well. The 12 week training program is a lot of fun though. I didn't appreciate it as a Greeny but I really do appreciate it now! haha! And I never thought I'd say this, but I'm glad for my experiences of homesickness at the beginning of my mission, because I can use those to help him out. It's been a pretty long couple of days but it's been so great. 

I kinda feel bad, but I'm also jealous of him, Elder Hargraves is starting his mission in probably the most physically trying area of our mission! We bike on average 20  miles a day so it was pretty tough on him the first couple days, but soon it'll just be normal! It was super hard for me when I first got here, but I'd have to say I can bike pretty fast now! I did the math, I've biked close to 1000 miles since I've been in Norfolk... crazy! It's so much fun though! We talk to so many people and Elder Hargraves is doing great. He's got that  "Greeny fire" that is real! He's super excited to go out and work which makes it easy! 

Ashley Welker is still doing great! She's the 9 year old that is unbaptized that we've been teaching. She's so excited about everything and it is just a lot of fun to teach her. She's still on date for oct 29th. On Tuesday when the new missionaries flew in to Norfolk, we had some of the new missionaries learn how to teach and we brought Ashley as a real life investigator! She loved it. At the end she said the closing prayer and she said, "Thank you for letting my missionaries let me come and teach these other missionaries." it was so funny! I was trying so hard not to laugh! She's just the best. And her mom is still super on board with everything also! 

Not much else happened this week... But it was so much fun! I loved it. I'm learning so much by going through the training program again! 

I'm so jealous that Elder Anderson is coming to our stake! That sounds like it would be a lot of fun! You'll have to tell me how that goes for sure. And the Messiah is my favorite! Good luck with that!

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Alma 30:34 "And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren?"  I read this this morning and the Spirit hit me pretty hard. I love being out here so much, and the only thing I get out of it is feeling joy for others! But that joy makes it totally worth it, and definitely has more fully converted me to the gospel. I love being a missionary! 

Thanks for all you do Mom! I'm safe so don't worry too hard! I love you so much and am so thankful for everything. 

Love you so much!

Elder Collier

Monday, October 3, 2016

General Conference and Transfers!

Hey Mom!! 

General Conference was as inspiring as ever this time! I love that we have the chance to hear from the General Authorities of the church every 6 months! Every question I bring gets answered! It's amazing! Heavenly Father truly is mindful of us all the time. I love it! I really loved President Uchtdorf's talk to open conference, and I loved Elder Rasband's. They were both so good! And I liked Elder Cornish's too! There were just too many to pick. President Monson spoke about the Word of Wisdom in Priesthood session and I truly do believe that he is receiving those blessings promised to us as we live that commandment! I love hearing from him. Our recent convert, Stacey, said that he recognized President Monson as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator so it was really great. He loved it! As a mission at our district meetings this month we are going to focus on the General Conference talks so I'm excited to do that! 

Here's the group of Elders that all live in our Apartment complex!
It's going to be way different after this week though. 

Here's the zone I was just in also! Ignore the weird face I'm making...
I don't know how that happened haha! This is the only picture! 

I always will remember you reading us the Book of Mormon every night. Thank you for doing that, even if we weren't listening, or when it came to pass, "AGAIN!" haha I still remember that! Do you remember us saying that? But thank you!! 

So transfers happened this week.... Elder Horton is leaving and I'm going to be getting new missionary! I'll get him on Wednesday and then we'll start training... I'm super nervous! I just have to rely on the promise that the Lord will qualify those whom he calls! I hope it goes well! I'm thankful and excited for this opportunity though. I'm also remaining the district leader so it just added to my responsibility haha! We'll see how this goes. I'm super sad that Elder Horton is leaving though! We have had so much fun this past transfer!! He's a great missionary and I'm sure we're going to be great friends for a while. This has probably been one of my hardest working and most fun transfers of my mission. It's been so great! I hope to keep it up as my new missionary comes in! In missionary lingo... "I'm having a son!" haha! 

This area is very interesting. We teach and drop investigators all the time! We found over 30 new investigators in the past 6 weeks, and now only have 6 that we are "actively" teaching. Only the Welker daughters (the two unbaptized youth) are the ones that we meet with regularly though. They are doing so well though! When the new missionaries come in tomorrow they have then teach real investigators by the missionaries serving in Norfolk, and we're trying to get them there! That would be so fun! Plus my future trainee will meet them! Hopefully we can do that!

Not much else for this week... I think that's about it! We've been working hard and having a lot of fun along the way! I love this area. I did see Taylor in the missionary choir! that was crazy! And that's crazy that Sammy did that well on the ACT also. HE's so much smarter than me! 

So my release date is now September 5th 2017.. Ah I don't like that. I did have a question though that I was hoping to ask at Christmas but I guess I'll bring it up now... That will bring me back after the Fall semester at BYU starts and I differed to that semester. Should I see if I can change my differment to winter or should I come back a few weeks early for school? I don't know which one.... 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Alma 29:13 "Yea, and that same God did establish his church among them; yea, and that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto the people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full."  This stood out to me because it reminded me of how important and great this calling I have is! And that I know that my success comes only from God. 

Thank you so much mom! You are so great! I love you and am so thankful for all that you do! This is going to be a great week. I hope you have a great week also! 

Love you so so much,

Elder Collier

Monday, September 26, 2016

Using Time Wisely

Hey Mom!!

This week started off tough, but ended so great. I'm excited to hear President Uchtdorf's talk! I think, he shared that story in a video I watched at the MTC! It's really inspiring. I think that really applies to how our week went this week! We just had to keep persevering for sure.

It POURED down rain the first few days. IT was like I was back home! I was soaked through and through on Tuesday and Wednesday! and a lot of our appointments fell through as well, so it was tough to stay out in it, but we did it. We ended up having a sweet lesson on Tuesday though! We are teaching two daughters of a returning less active member who aren't baptized, and they are great! We set them with a baptismal date of October 29th! They are really excited. After the lesson, the member we brought with us asked us if we had dinner that night, and he offered to feed us right then! So we biked over to his house (still soaked) but at least we got some food, and got to be inside out of the cold! Diligence definitely brings blessings for sure. 

Wednesday was really tough... so tough that Elder Horton and I went to bed at 9:45 after planning cause we were just so done... haha. But Thursday to the end of the week was just great. We had a zone conference on Friday! I love President and Sister Weed. They are great as mission president and wife! The whole conference was based on chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel: How do I use time wisely. It was sweet! He ended up breaking down the concept of time, and told us how short our time really is. After wards I just wanted to only use my time wisely and effectively. IT helped me realize not only how short how mission life is, but how short our time on earth is! Our missions prepare us for the rest of our lives. 

The ward has been getting so awesome. I'm starting to love these people so much! AT first the trust you could tell, just wasn't really there with the missionaries. IT was on the verge of coming back, because I definitely didn't do all of it, but since I've been here, I have noticed a ton of the members are really happy to see us! I feel  like we've been serving them well, and working hard. It's so important to gain the trust of the ward. Missionary work just doesn't happen without it! And now that we're working with these two unbaptized youth, the primary has been key in helping us. We hope to get them more involved! But working with the ward is one of my favorite things. It's also probably one of my weaknesses I've figured out! Maybe that's why I was sent here, so I could get better at it. 

That's so cool that Sammy got to sing at the teacher conference! I loved doing that. That's so weird that he's the last one though! and invitation sundays are sweet! Our ward decided to do Fast sunday yesterday instead of after conference so that was really different! 

I can't believe the fence is down... everything is going to be different! haha! IT'll be so weird! 

I think I've heard of Freetown... but that sounds so cool. I hope we can watch it, but I'm not sure! As of right now I think that we can only watch things with the Church stamp on it! Do you know if it has it? 

I think that's about it for my week this week. It sounds like Y'all are doing great. I love hearing from you Mom! My ponderizing scripture is Alma 17:3 "But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God." I read this the other day but the line "They had given themselves" is what stood out to me the other day. I know that as we give ourselves to the Lord, and submit our will to His, we can have the power and authority of God. I hope to be more in tune with HIs will as I continue to give myself over to Him. 

That's about it. I love you so much Mom!! THank you for everything and I hope you have a fantastic week this week. 

Love you so much,

Elder Collier

Monday, September 19, 2016

Everyday is a Blast!

Hey Mom!!

Oh my gosh that is so weird that Austin is home now... We've written back and forth a ton throughout my mission and he's helped me out a lot.I love that guy. I  hope he continues to adjust back home! I'm not excited for that at all... haha. I can spend all my energy worrying about other people and not myself. It's seriously the greatest thing ever! It's just the only way to go as a missionary. 

My pants did come!! They fit really great! I think I may have gotten a little taller because my other pants are a little bit short on me  now! Not bad at all, but just short enough to where I'm wearing them and they come up past my sock a bit! But these new ones fit great! Thank you so much for sending them Mom!!! 

This week was a great week. We had been teaching a lot of lessons in the past few weeks, and that dropped off dramatically this past week. It was crazy. But we were still working as hard as we normally do. I think we biked 30 miles on three separate days and 20 miles every other day. It's crazy, but I love it. We had some great spirit filled lessons though. One with a less active woman named Angie, who hasn't been to church in a long time. We just told her about the blessings of church and being a member. She came to church yesterday! it was so cool. She slipped out after sacrament meeting, but at least she was able to feel the Spirit there. It was great .

We also set two girls who are the daughter of a member with a baptismal date. That was way cool! They are super excited and have been struggling in setting a date for a while, but they have finally decided to make the decision. The dad in that family isn't a member either, so we're hoping he can see the change in his daughters as they keep progressing to that point. 

I went on two exchanges with Elders in my district this week. They were a lot of fun. One elder is nearing the end of his mission, and one came out just before I did. The one who is nearing the end is starting to slow down a little, so I hoped I could just push him a bit during that day. It was a great day. We had fun together! And the other Elder I went with we just had a blast together. This district that I'm in is so much fun! We all get along so well! Even the Sisters! It's a blast to have a meeting with this district every week. 

So something I loved from my personal study this morning is what I want to ponderize this week. It's in Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of you mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." I love this because I feel like this is what a mission is all about. We give our lives as a sacrifice. A living sacrifice of our time, talents, and life, to the work of the Lord. And by so doing, we can be transformed. But in order to do so, we have to give Him everything. And I hope and pray that I can be transformed and different because of this time that I am giving. My agency is one of the few things I can give to Him, and I want to give it to Him! Here's to another week doing His work, helping His children. I love it.

Thanks for emailing me this week Mom! Thank you for all you do as my mother. You are the best mother anyone could ask for, and I'm so lucky to have you and the rest of our family. I love you guys so much! It sounds like all is continuing to go fantastic as usual! 

Have a great week! I love you so much! There's a lot of pictures to come. We did a lot last p-day and this one! 

Love you,

Elder Collier

Monday, September 12, 2016

Miracles Everywhere!!

Hey Mom!

My week was good. It felt pretty long, but by the end it was amazing. My pants have not come yet... but maybe they'll come soon! I'll let you know if they fit! 

Elder Horton and I have been noticing a lot of little miracles that have been happening and it's been so cool! I love working with Elder Horton. This has been such a fun past couple of weeks. Biking  has turned into my new favorite thing. We go like 20 miles a day, so I better enjoy it right? 

Stacey our investigator got baptized this weekend! It was so cool. He is such a stud, and I am so thankful to have been here to see him be baptized! He's got a little bit of a speech impediment and doesn't understand things sometimes, but he loves coming to church, and he's doing everything that we ask him to do essentially! He's so sweet. And the ward has done a pretty good job at welcoming him in as well! Crazy miracle before the baptism, we didn't have a key to the font, and we had to fill it up. In the clerks office there were 3 envelopes with like probably hundreds of keys in them, so we just said, "Let's just try them out until we find it!" So we were stressing a little bit, but as I reach in to try the first key, IT WORKED!! It was so cool, definitely a tender mercy from the Lord. We were able to fill the font and get everything else set up on time! 

Jonny at Stacey's baptism!

Norfolk is crazy. It's a lot of fun to work here! There arre a lot of crazy people around, but also a lot of people prepared to hear the gospel!! We don't want to pass anyone up, because so many people are open to listening. We've also  been getting a lot of referrals for people who want bibles delivered to them, so that's been pretty cool! We've been delivering them, and we have found 2 new investigators because we bring up the Book of Mormon! It's been awesome. 
Jonny says that there are random statues of mermaids all over Norfolk!

On Sunday it was a lot of fun, we got to help out in the Primary! We went in and told them about our schedule and gave them all Future Missionary name tags! It was a lot of fun. Plus it was ward conference so the Bishop and the Stake President walked in there while we were there and I think we're gaining a lot of member trust back! On a side note, i've had a pretty cool experience this year, I've been apart of 3 different ward (well one was a branch, but still!) conferences! It's been sweet to see how the church is exactly the same in those three different  units, which were in 3 different stakes. And I've had the chance to sustain the general authorities 3 different times and that has been such a sweet experience. I know those men are called of God! 

Oh, I went on exchanges with the Zone leaders this week and that was fun! they serve in a YSA branch, and that was interesting! We mainly worked on college campuses whihc was different for me! We went to Norfolk State, and Old Dominion universities and that was fun to go around and talk to people there. Both those universities are actually in my side of the Norfolk 1st ward too, so we bike past those all the time which is fun. 

I think that's about it for me this week! Miracles are everywhere. And that's because of this scripture that I want to ponderize that I read in my studies this morning. Alma 11:27 "And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God." I know that these miracles come because God lives. He loves us and He cares about our individual lives. I see His hand in my life every day, and so much more than I have in my whole life. It's amazing. 

I'm glad to hear y'all are doing well also! I love hearing about what you are up to, and about the dog and all the adventures y'all go on! 

Thank you so much for everything Mom! I hope you have a great week, even though it might be the same thing every week haha! I love you! 

I love you so much,

Elder Collier

Monday, September 5, 2016

1 Year Gone!

Hey Mom!!

So we actually didn't get hit too hard from the storm! We got some pretty big wind gusts but that's about it. It was hard biking one day because of it, and we got rain dumped on us another day, but it was so fun! I think the people that got hit the hardest were actually the Outer Banks (crazy that I just left there) but they're all okay. No one had to get evacuated so that's good! My new Mission President's name is Randall Weed. His wife's name is Brenda Weed! 

So the work in Norfolk is a lot different from the work in Currituck. We were mainly doing less active work (besides the Greens) in Currituck, but here, we teach a lot of lessons! A lot of them are one and dones, like we teach them once, and then we can't ever get in contact with them again. But we found a lot of solid investigators this past week! It was a lot of fun. I love being on a bike, because you can just stop and talk to people and even teach a lesson right on the street. It could be as short as 10 minutes! It's been quite a change, but I'm getting the hang of it. Bike riding can be pretty tiring, but I'm getting used to it now. We bike about 22 miles a day... Elder Horton just got sent an odometer so we've been keeping track! It's crazy. Fast Sunday was tougher than normal being on a bike, but it was so worth it at the end! 

Our ward is a lot different too. I haven't quite figured out the Norfolk 1st ward yet. We're working on gaining some trust cause there have been bad experiences with missionaries here in the past. We have a plan to write thank you cards and give them to the members! 

We have a baptism planned for this Saturday! His name is Stacey. He was scheduled to be baptized this past week, but because of some opposition we had to postpone it. He even had to be interviewed again! But he passed and we're good to go for this Saturday. He's the nicest guy and he loves the church. We set a lot of other people with baptismal dates as well! We were teaching this guy named Colby and we asked him if he would be baptized October 8th, and he was like, "Yeah of course! What time will it be at?" And we were like, "So we actually have a few more things to teach you..." and then he cut us off and said, "Oh okay sorry, let me put the brakes on a bit." It was so cool to see that! I just love seeing people be excited about the Gospel. 

Elder Horton and I are still getting along great! He's sweet. It's so much fun to be companions with him! 

So I haven't got the pants yet, but those are the right colors! I'll be looking for them! CTR clothing is great! Those ties I have from them are the ones that are lasting the longest right now. I'm good on ties and shirts I think for now. Thank you! Maybe just a care package of snacks and candy would be nice haha! But only if it's not too much of a hassle! We don't get fed nearly as much as in my previous areas, so that's different! 

I can't believe my 1 year mark has already passed. It has moved by so quickly. My year mark was so much fun! We had a Zone meeting which was great, and this month we found out our District meetings are going to be planned, completely by the Spirit. We have a chapter in Preach My gospel, and that's all we have! I'm so excited to see how this will go. Before we have gotten outlines and we change what we need to based on our districts needs, but now the whole thing will be to the needs of our district. It'll be great! Then we also got rained on pretty hard on our way back and it was fun. 

Jonny with the Green Family from North Carolina.

A Brother he was teaching from his last area.
A family from his last area.

New Area!


That's exciting about the NAFME conference! I'm excited for them! Rutabaga and Carrots were some of my favorite songs. What other songs are y'all going to sing? 

I think that's about it for this week... Everything is going great. My ponderizing scripture is D&C 68:4 "And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation." I know for a fact that the Holy Ghost puts words into our mouth so that we say what needs to be said. I have experienced that so much, especially here! It's so cool. And I know that when we speak by the Power of the Holy Ghost it is what the Lord would want us to say. 

I love you so much Mom! Things are great here. I'm glad you got to go to the temple! I'm not gonna lie, I miss it there. But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!

Thank you for all you do for me. You are the best. The church is so true! I love it.

Love you so much,

Elder Collier

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Biking Like There's No Tomorrow!

Hey Mom!!

I cannot believe at all that my year mark is this Friday... It's so crazy. We're going to celebrate some how haha! It's amazing how time just flies so fast. I wish it would slow down! Although This week has felt so long, but it's been great. Transfer weeks are just crazy! What I'm going to do with the time I have left, is continue to work hard. There's so much that I can improve on, and I'm thankful that I've been place in an area that gives me the chance to do that. 

Norfolk is going to be so much fun! It's already been a blast. Elder Horton is so much fun to be with! That's my new companion. He's from Orem Utah, although he moved to American Fork right before he left. He's like 6 foot 5, so he's way bigger than me, but we get along great. He's so funny! he's making jokes all the time, and he works super hard which is awesome. So Our area in Norfolk 1st, is the downtown area. IT's pretty sketchy in some places and it's pretty nice in some others. We get both ends of the spectrum. Our apartment complex is awesome cause all the Elders in my district live there with us, plus the Zone leaders, so we go work out together every morning. It's so fun. But since we all live here, only one of us lives in the area we proselyte in, and that's not us. We live about 20 minutes biking away from our area... about 3 miles ish. So we get a really goo dbike ride in every day! We probably average about 20 miles a day... it's crazy! I was so sore the first couple days since I've had a car for 4 months, but I think I'm getting used to it now. I'm just always going to be tired for sure, but hopefully I'll be in pretty good shape! 

So The Norfolk 1st ward is pretty transient cause of the military. Norfolk has the largest Naval base in the world, so we get a lot of military. Our ward isn't too big right now... we don't even fill up the chapel. And I think some missionaries in the past lost some of the trust with th emembers, so I hope we can gain that back! I think we can. A lot of the members help us out though! I'm in the Virginia Beach stake now which geographically is pretty small! But there's just a TON of people everywhere. I'm deffinitely in the city again haha! It's so much different than Currituck. My district right now has me and my companion, 2 other elder companionships, a sister companionship and a Senior Military relations couple! I'm really impressed with the work they are doing. Our district meeting on Friday I think went pretty well. 

There's a lot of members in Currituck I want to add to my email list, but I forgot the paper with all their information on it at our apartment! So I'll get that to you next week. My last few days in Currituck, and the rest of my time there was the best. I'm going to miss that branch so much! One of my zone leaders right now served there too so It's been pretty cool to talk with him about it! 

So I almost walked into a baptism this past week! A man named Stacy, one of our investigators, was supposed to be baptized on Saturday, and he had passed his interview and everything, but he called us on friday and said that his family didn't want him to get baptized. We met with him again, and asked him to pray about his baptism and let him know that this was the right choice. He did and he said he needed to get baptized, so we reset his date for September 10th! He was at church yesterday too so he's serious about this. It was sad that it didn't work out, but at least he'll still get baptized soon. 

I can't think of much else that happened this week... Transfers are crazy and I've got a great new area. We talk with so many people every day it's hard to keep them all straight! 

I can't believe the teachers might go on strike! That's so sad! hopefully that doesn't happen. And that's so funny what happened at Grandpas "Recital". I love hearing him sing! 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 26:27 "Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance."  I read that this morning and it just got me super excited. We have the opportunity to bring everyone unto His salvation, and I know that that only happens through the proper priesthood authority. And I have the chance to be a part of this! But we all can be as well. I know that repentance to so important in our Heavenly Father's plan. 

Thank you so much for everything Mom! I love you so much! I can't believe how fast time flies. And it'll only go faster.

Love you so so much.

Elder Collier