Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, January 25, 2016

Snow Storm!!

Hey Mom!

The snow was crazy this weekend! I mean, there was like barely any snow, but we were not allowed to drive anywhere or bike, so we walked for three days! Friday was when it really started, and everything was covered in good snow, it was perfect! And then Saturday it was freezing rain, and it just looked miserable... Everything was slick, and people didn't want to leave their houses. Apparently the government was telling everyone to stay inside! Then they canceled church on Sunday, but it was even that bad outside! Most of the Newport News stake canceled church... oh Virginia!

Jonny's District

My new companion is Elder Sorensen. We get along fairly well... He is super super obedient, like to the "T" on everything. So in a sense that's good right? haha. He's from
Salt Lake City and he's been out for 6 months, but he also went to a year of school at BYU before he left. The one thing I'm nervous about is our relationship we have with the people that we are teaching... I can't believe I've been in Poquoson for a transfer already too! But then again, it's only been one, and I don't know much about the area. The snow didn't help because we were confined to walking around our apartment complexes. But we did a lot of service! And introduced some of the members to Elder Sorensen. The members are so great in this ward! Members are key to doing missionary work.
Jonny And Elder Hailstone

Jonny let his companion cut his hair

I cannot believe that there is a new stake! At least I know everyone in the Stake Presidency! It'll be weird to come back to a new stake President though. I'm so excited for Uncle Kevin! They've got a big job ahead of them but they will be able to do it!

I hope everything goes well with Grandma and Grandpa's house. They have lived in that house for over 50 years! That is crazy.

I'm glad Steven and Raime are doing good! They still put Sisters there in the summer, and Elders there in the winter, I think that might just be regular protocol haha! 

I've been keeping warm! My snow gear is all pretty good, and I don't think I'll need anything new. Oooooo birthday... that's a tough one. My watch broke, so maybe a new watch? And my oil vial also broke (long story) so maybe a new one of those too! And I haven't gotten my iPod yet, is that in the mail? I can't believe Sammy is going to be 17... that is crazy!

This week has felt pretty long but it's been good. Last Monday, when I was still with Elder Hailstone, he sprained his foot when we were with the some other missionaries, so the mission nurse told him to stay off of it. We had to cancel some of our appointments, but still went to the essential ones! But Tuesday, we were in the apartment almost all day, and I was going to a little stir crazy. I was able to put all the members in my new GPS though so that was good. But we finally got to go out on Tuesday and have a lesson with one of our investigators, who is doing super well! We finally talked about the law of chastity, and we're hoping that he can see the importance of it. He was also really sad to see Elder Hailstone go. But he's happy that at least I'm staying. I love Ted, he's so cool!

Wednesday was a super cool experience. WE had a World Wide mission training broadcast for every missionary in the world! Every single one of us was watching the broadcast at the exact same time. The title was "Teach Repentance, and Baptize Converts". I learned a lot from that, and It's always nice to hear trainings from the General Authorities who don't use the "Missionary Voice" when they teach. The power of the spirit doesn't change depending on how we talk! But after that broadcast, we had transfers take place, and I hung out in Portsmouth with a temporary companion for 4 hours until Elder Sorensen got up from North Carolina. We tracted, and tracted. and tracted. We actually got a lot of names and phone numbers so it was pretty nice!

I already talked about the snow, but it was super fun, and then it wasn't super fun... I slipped so many times on the ice! But I didn't fall! Until today when I was walking to go email... haha! We didn't have any investigators at sacrament meeting because well... there was no church! I hope that they will be able to come to church next week! It's been a pretty crazy week, but nothing that I can't handle. You see so many crazy things on a mission!

Something that stood out in my studies the other day was in 2 Nephi 33:4, and I've decided to ponderize that scripture this week. "And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal." The part stood out was the first sentence "I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people." Just that simple testimony that Nephi puts in there. I can add my testimony to Nephi's. I know that prayers are answered. I also know that the rest of the scripture is true, as long as those things that we have "written" or spoken, are about Jesus Christ, those things will be made strong. The Spirit will be there! 

I love being on a mission, even though it is hard. No work is more gratifying than this. 

I love you Mom, and I'm so grateful for the example that you and Dad have set for me! The church is true!

Talk to you next week.

Love, your son,
Elder Collier

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Transfer Week and Snow!

Hey Mom!

Those pictures were so cool right?? haha! I should have told her about the dead possum! She probably wouldn't have liked that though... she loves her possum. That was so a crazy story.

My week was really great. We have two investigators that we meet with consistently every single week and they are doing so well. They have both come to church the past two weeks! But they also both don't want to set a baptismal date quite yet... But I love both of them. Our lessons are always filled with the spirit and they always talk about how they look forward to the lessons! Matt is one of them, and we actually went running with him one morning! That was pretty fun. And we are going to go have lunch with Ted today. 

Elder Hailstone is getting transferred! We got the call on Saturday, and he is going down to Woodington North Carolina which is near Kinston. My new companion is going to be Elder Sorenson, who apparently was in the MTC with Elder Hailstone. So another companion that has only been out for 6 more weeks than me! I'm a little bit more nervous because now I have to "Take over the area" but apparently I will be able to do it. I feel a little unqualified, but I know that "the Lord qualifies whom he calls." I am so glad that I can stay in this ward though because this ward is so great! The members are awesome and I love being able to spend time with them at dinners and at our meetings. They are very supportive and love missionaries. 

A little tender mercy happened on Sunday. I was still pretty nervous for the upcoming transfer, and Elder Hailstone was sad to leave, but right after Sacrament Meeting it started snowing! It snowed until the end of church and then for a couple more hours after that! It was so awesome to just get some pictures, and we even went tracting in it later that day. It was so unexpected too! The day before, I wore a short sleeve shirt and the sun was out. Then it snowed yesterday, and now the Sun is out today, although it is below freezing temperatures. I don't understand Virginia weather!! It's so unpredictable. But it is pretty fun.

Snow storm!



This Wednesday we are having a World Wide Mission Training! It's pretty cool that every single missionary in the world is going to be watching this at the same time. I am pretty excited! It's also transfer day so it will be a little hectic, but we'll make it work. We are driving down to Portsmouth with the Sisters in our ward, and then watching the conference, then Elder Hailstone is staying and going to North Carolina. I am then going to go back up with the Yorktown Elders who are in the ward right next to mine and then I will spend a couple hours with them proselyting while I wait for my companion to get to Portsmouth from North Carolina. Then I have to drive back there with my Ward Mission Leader and pick him up. It will be a crazy day, but I am so excited for the conference! 

P-Day Basketball!


I'm glad that Grandma and Grandpa are doing better. I hope everything goes smoothly with getting the house in order. 

My scripture that I am ponderizing this week is 1 John 4:7-9 "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." I know that God loves each and every single one of us. There is a reason why the first thing we talk about as missionaries is "God is our loving Heavenly Father." that's literally what he is! He loves us, He cares about us, and He knows us. 

I will always press forward with a perfect brightness of hope. That has been one of the most read scriptures on my mission! 

I love you so much Mom! I love reading your emails every week. I hope everything continues to go well for you all back home. 

Talk to you next week!

Love, your son,
Elder Collier

Monday, January 11, 2016

Average Week as a Missionary

Hey Mom!

I cannot believe that they are finally making a new stake! I figured it was going to happen eventually but not right after I left! That means I'd come home to a new Stake President and everything. Crazy. I love seeing the growth in the church though. The gospel is real and the church growth is only a testimony to that! I know it's true!

I wish I could be over there to help out with Grandma and Grandpa. Tell them that I love them! 

I did a double take when you said Danielle was going to Pittsburgh... haha! you gave me a heart attack! But Nashville is so cool! And I'm so excited for Miguel too. 

You are going to do so great as the Sunday School teacher Mom! you've done that before when I was 15. You were so good at keeping us in line. I wish I just would have listened more in Sunday School back then. But I know that truly you seek for the Spirit when you teach. You are going to be great!

I do remember singing at that conference last year! I sang "Learning for Myself" right? Christ the Apple Tree is just a great song. Can I get a copy of Dad's talk? I would love to be able to read through it. His talks are always so great. I posted the lyrics of Christ the Apple Tree on the wall in front of my desk when I study so I can read it every day. It has such a beautiful message. I love the verse "For happiness I long have sought
And pleasure dearly I have bought
I missed of all, but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the Apple Tree."
I know that true happiness is only found in Jesus Christ and through His Gospel.

 I also know that my previous experiences are what give me faith that things will work out. There are so many times when I have been able to use my experiences to help me get through a situation. It really makes me think about how Heavenly Father knows exactly what I need to help me learn and grow and help someone else out later. All our trials are for our benefit. 

I went on an exchange with my District Leader on Friday! It was so great. I have missed going on exchanges almost every week... so this was a nice change. My district Leader Elder Black is super fun. And I was able to learn a lot about how to talk with people. It's important to let people know that we actually care about them. A lot of people don't really care about when you talk about yourself, but when you ask them questions about them, they start to open up! We were able to have a lot of really good conversations with people. This one lady opened her door and we talked to her for about 7 minutes, and then she started asking us all these questions about what we believe about life after death and resurrection, and a lot of other things. We were able to have a really good conversation with her for about 25 minutes. At first She didn't want to have us come back because all her questions were answered and she said she has a problem with Joseph Smith, but we invited her to church and she said, "I can come even if I don't want to convert?" And we said "Of course! We have a sign on the front that says 'Visitor's Welcome'" She said she might come to church to see what "You Mormon's are all about." And she said we could stop by any time to see how she's doing! It's just little things like that when you know you made someone like the church a little bit more than they did before that make you feel good about the day.

Later that day we also went to dinner at a members house and it was a lot of fun! We were able to really connect with them, my District Leader and I. After dinner they asked us if we wanted to see their snakes and we were like, "Sure!" And they brought them down and we got to hold them. At first I was a little nervous but it ended up being really cool! I have a video and some pictures. They also had some geckos that were super cool. It was a really good day on that exchange. Also as a side note, I have another picture of me at a different members house with her pet Possum. No joke, she has a pet possum! She found it when it was a baby, and she takes care of it and lives on their porch! She holds it and everything!

Jonny with the snakes and Gecko!

Jonny with the Possum

Also I finished the Book of Mormon again! It just keeps getting better and better each time. I decided to start it again, but this time I am going to mark a color for every time it talks about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. It has been interesting to see not only how much They are mentioned, but you can see how much They work in unity. But also how much They are different from each other. I love personal study time! We also are reading through Preach my Gospel as a mission, so we are reading a couple pages every day. I have been able to learn so much more than I have before from that book. And we only finished Chapter 2 today!
Jonny's Zone
He says.. "Yes, I know I am blinking!"

We had two investigators come to church yesterday as well! They are both doing really well, they just don't want to commit to baptismal dates yet. But they are keeping their commitments! And I really love talking with both of them. One of them we thought was married to a less active member... but apparently they are just living together... So we will need to address that soon. But other than that they are doing great! And our new investigator that we got last week, Bryce, had to reschedule, but he said he has been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon! He's doing great so far. 

I honestly love being out here as a missionary. Lately it hasn't really been hard. Some mornings it may seem hard to get up, but I just apply what I used to apply all throughout high school. Every morning you can decide to be grumpy and miserable, and then you can be sad and have a bad day. Or you can get up and choose to be happy and cheerful, and then end up having a fun day. I personally would rather choose the latter. I know sometimes it's harder to do that, but I know when I put forth the extra effort to be happy, I feel so much better. The work is hard, people yell at you, people aren't interested, yet it's the reason why I'm so excited to get up every morning. I just keep in mind what Jesus Christ said to His apostles after He was resurrected, (Which is also what I'm ponderizing this week,) "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20)
I know that when we do what he asks of us, and go and Teach all nations, He will be with us always. Even to the end. We just have to be faithful!

I love this Gospel! It's so true. The Book of Mormon is true. 

I love you so much and I will talk to you next week! 

Love your son,
Elder Collier

Monday, January 4, 2016

Trial of Faith

Hey Mom!

The New Year was pretty fun. We didn't have a member to go to... but we did have to be inside at 5:00 so we had dinner with a member and then just went home afterward. We went inside and played some games and stuff! Spot It has been a good addition!

 I was also taking some time reflecting on the past year. I cannot believe everything that has happened within just the last twelve months. Last January, I was still a Senior, hadn't even been accepted into BYU yet, and then so many things happened. I was accepted into BYU, I graduated, got my mission call, went to the Temple and then started my mission! Not to mention the musical, going to Salt Lake for National ACDA and countless other choir and sports events. And just all the friends that I made this year alone. It was honestly one of my favorite years. And I was looking forward to what this year will be like. At the end of 2016 I want to look back and say, "This was the best year of my life." And I know that that can happen, I just have to keep working hard, learning from my mistakes, being obedient, and good things will come!

I'm glad you guys had a lot of fun! What snow?? I can't believe it. It finally got cold here... again. The weather keeps going from hot to cold to hot to rainy to cold. It's so random I never know what it'll be like. Now we just have been bundling up in so many layers! That sweater is really coming in handy! 

There was a pretty big change that happened in the mission recently. So all wards that had two sets of missionaries were told last month to divide the area geographically. We had already done that so we were already working on our half of the geographic area which is basically just the York County side of the ward. But we were just told that we are never supposed to leave our boundaries for ANY reason. Including dinner with members! So that has been a really tough one for a lot of missionaries. We can only have dinner with the members that live in our half of the area, and the Sisters can only have dinner with the members that live on their side. A lot of missionaries have been struggling to deal with it, and even some wards have tried to call the mission president... But I know that this will just be a trial of our faith. When we do what our Mission President asks, we are blessed, so we just have to do it. I'm not too concerned about it because we still have a ton of members that feed us on our side. I just feel bad for the sisters because not a lot of members live on their side! We may have to redraw the line, but we are still trying to work it out. 

This last P-day was pretty fun, we went to a gymnastics gym with 8 other Elders in the Zone and just hung out there for a couple hours! It was owned by a member so she let us all in for free. We played dodgeball and jumped in the foam pit and stuff, it was pretty fun.

We got a new investigator this week! I was so excited, it's the first new investigator that we have gotten since I have been here. We knocked on his door and we taught him the Restoration in about 15 minutes. Our mission has been stressing short powerful lessons, so that's pretty normal. We found out that he knows one of the Priests in the ward so the next day we brought him with us and we talked about the Book of Mormon with him. I hope that he will read it. We are going to meet with him again on Saturday.

Oh crazy thing, I tried an avocado smoothie the other day... It was really interesting. One of the members went to Brazil on his mission and he said he made it all the time so he made it for us. The taste got better as you kept drinking it... haha! But I actually kinda liked it! I may have to make it sometime.

I hope everything gets figured out with Skyla, and with Grandma and Grandpa. I will keep praying for them that everything will be okay.

My ponderizing scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 31:20: "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." I know that if we press forward with a perfect brightness of hope as Nephi says, that we can really be happy. That happiness is real! 

I'm glad everything is going well. I love you so much and I'm glad that you had a good new years. It's fine that you haven't sent my iPod yet! But could I possibly get it this week or next week? Just whenever you find the time, I know you are busy!

I love you so much, hope you have a great week this week!

Your son,
Elder Collier