Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, February 29, 2016

March is here already???

Hey Mom! 

This week has been great! We have been keeping busy! That is the most important thing. We have been teaching a lot. We seriously had a miracle happen. The Spanish Elders found a family in our area that we have been trying to contact literally since February 2nd, and we finally got in contact with them on Friday. We taught them Friday, and Saturday, and they all came to church yesterday! All 6 of them! Their four kids are 13, 14, 16, and 17. And not only were they there, we also had another investigator there as well that is friends with one of the youth in the ward! We had 7 at church yesterday, and none of them had ever been there before! It was crazy. The craziest part was, we could still have more at church! Good things are starting to happen here in the Poquoson ward, and I'm glad that I get to be a part of it! Our teaching pool pretty much doubled in size this past transfer!

Saturday we also got to go to a baptism in the Yorktown ward. It was my district leader, Elder Black's area. He goes home tomorrow, so he got to have one last baptism before he left. We were able to go because we had our investigator, Bryce, there, who was also at church the next day! He's doing really well. I also had to play the piano at the baptism... Not only that, but I was told that I was playing the opening hymn, and the closing hymn I was accompanying someone singing! So I pretty much had to sight read a song on the spot... I was praying so hard. It turned out really well though! And Bryce had a really good time! I was happy for him. He also went to the stake dance that night with his friend! We're hoping we can set a baptismal date with him soon, because he's really seriously looking into this!

Locked in the closet for a tornado warning!

Jonny and Elder Black

Elder Black is going home so they had a "funeral"

My companion and I get along most of the time, but sometimes we disagree on things... But we have a lot of fun, and we have been able to see a lot of success together!

I did get a card from the choir! That was awesome! I loved it. And the recordings of the choir that I have on my iPod are seriously so good! They are a great choir this year.

Transfer calls happened this past Saturday and.... me and Elder Sorensen are both staying! Nothing changed for us, and the Sisters in our ward are both staying as well! This upcoming transfer is a 7 week transfer though so that will be interesting. Apparently everyone's missions have been extended one week due to the MTC time being brought back up to 3 weeks! So this transfer is going to feel a lot longer than some of the others that I've had, but I'm excited! I don't want to leave Poquoson so that gives me a little more time here for sure!

You sound like y'all are doing great! You'll have to let me know how the ACDA choir is, and how the kids do at solo and ensemble. 

I hope you can get everything figured out with the house as soon as possible! It sounds like it's really coming along though. What does it look like? 

This morning I had a great experience during my personal study! We are reading through Preach my Gospel as a mission, and today we read in Chapter 9, the section "Working with Members." This is something that I have come to know is so crucial in missionary work! Investigators and new converts always do better when they have good member fellowshippers, or even better, when the members find the people to teach! I have found that definitely through my own experiences. And during my study today I thought that a great way to keep working with the members, would be to get involved with the youth and help them with their missionary work! I want to share with them some of my experiences and let them know that missionary work is possible. The youth of this ward are so awesome and I really think that good things can come from doing this! I'm really excited. It's just so great being a missionary!

Thank you for your scripture, that was really helpful! I know, and have seen, the Lord's blessings so much in my life out here. It is amazing the things that happen as a missionary! I absolutely love it. My ponderizing scripture for the week is "And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God." (Alma 31:5) I know that the word of God is really that powerful. By reading the scriptures, the Holy Ghost can come in and testify of their truthfulness. I love being able to read them so much every single day. 

I love you so much Mom! So much. Glad to hear you are doing well, and I will talk to you soon. 


Elder Collier

Monday, February 22, 2016

What A Great Week!

Hey Mom!

I'm going to be honest, it feels exactly the same being 19 as it did being 18! haha! We were at dinner with one of the members and she said, "I remember when I was 19... I just couldn't wait to turn 20." And then her husband said, "Honey, we're trying to make him excited for his birthday!" That was pretty funny. I love this ward so much! 

My birthday was really good. Thank you so much for the package and all the different things! I was on an exchange with my district leader, February 18th, to the 19th, so when we exchanged back we had a little party with the cake and my presents! Plus the ward found out it was my birthday so at dinner that night we had a birthday cake! And I have just gotten so many sweets... I'll send a picture. It's ridiculous how many there are! We have caramel apples, cinnamon rolls, cake, more cake, a gallon of chocolate milk, and a ton of milky ways! The ward was just so kind and loving and it was really awesome. But what was even better about that day was that we were able to go out and teach a few lessons. They were both less-active members and I just love being able to help them out whenever I can. 

Sister Moon is the one that texted you! She's our Ward Mission Leader's wife. They have a son on a mission too, so I think she knows how you feel! They are the best.

I did get my bike fixed! the only thing that was broken was the rear derailleur hanger. So I had to by a part and then they put it on for me. It works great! I love having my bike back. Although I fell off of it again last night... haha! It started raining during one of our lessons, so I came out without a jacket in the rain! after riding for just a little bit, my white shirt was covered in mud and dirt, but we were still pretty far away from our apartment! So we kept going and I tried to go up a curb, but I was going to fast and my bike slipped and I fell and rolled on the cement and then through the muddy grass... haha! So my white shirt was pretty much brown on the back. I rolled a few times and ended up sitting down.  I just kinda sat there for a few seconds and got up and kept going haha! Luckily my white shirt is okay! I washed it and it all came out! My tie has a  little mud spot so I'll have to take that and get it cleaned. It was a pretty eventful Sunday night!

We also had 3 investigators at church yesterday! 3! That was the most the Poquoson has had in 18 months at least. the work is really starting to pick up here and I love it. The three investigators are Matt, Ted, and Daniel. They, Matt and Ted are both dating members of the church, and Daniel is Ted's girlfriend Shannon's son. I love working with all of them. They have not wanted to set baptismal dates yet, but it's getting there! We also are meeting with a guy that we met tracting who is a senior in high school and knows a few members of the ward! And we got a text this morning from a member saying that her friend wants to meet with missionaries! The work is really starting to pick up and I know it's because we've been diligent. Just keep working hard and the blessing really do come. I know it! Our Heavenly Father wants to bless us, and we just have to be patient and do what He asks! 

I hope you get everything figured out with Grandma and Grandpa's house. They have always had a lot of stuff. It's really going to be weird to see it empty. It would be weird to see what it  looks like now! 

I did not hear about that happening in Pittsburg! Jordan never tells me anything... haha! I email him and he says I never email him! But I bet that was a very spiritual experience for him. 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Romans 8:38-39 "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I know that the love of God is real. He knows us perfectly. Nothing will ever take that love away from us. His love is always there! This gospel is so true and I love being a missionary.

Thank you so much Mom for everything! You have done such a good job raising 4 boys. I am forever grateful to have been placed in such an awesome family. Don't work yourself too hard! I am always so amazed at how much you put into everything you do. I hope that the choir is going well, that you can get the house all cleaned, and that you can do well in magnifying your calling. I know you will do a great job at everything just like you always do. I love you!

I hope you have an amazing week, and I will talk to you soon!

Love, Your son,
Elder Collier

Monday, February 15, 2016

Go and Do!

Hey Mom!

I can't believe my birthday is this week! I've gotten a few letters that I haven't been allowed to open until Friday, so I guess I can wait with the package too... haha! It'll be a good day. I'm excited! 

I have not been able to have a chance to take my bike to a shop yet... we were going to do it today,and then it snowed! So we are going to do it tomorrow! I hope they can do it. I like that bike! 

And  you're going to do such a good job in your new calling! I'm so excited for you. Don't be nervous! 

Oh my gosh this week has been crazy! I felt like so many things happened. The weather for one thing is just out of control... It snowed this morning. Again! It's all going to melt tonight (hopefully) but I can't believe this weather. On Saturday and Sunday it never got above 32 degrees. But it should finally be getting warmer. 

Tuesday we picked up a former investigator who is just a little bit on the crazy side... He started telling us about this vision that he had and we're pretty sure he was drunk... but other than that we have a scheduled lesson with him! So next time when we go in I hope it goes a little bit better. We biked 22 miles on Tuesday... It was a long day! I'm still using a borrowed bike from a family in the ward.

Matt and Ted are our same two investigators that our doing really well. We met with both of them this week (Ted twice). But they still don't want to set a baptismal date... We're working on it. They come to church and love it. And they love meeting with us. But both just want to make sure that they are ready which is good. It'll take some time but eventually we will get there. 

On Saturday, we had no scheduled lessons going into that day. Nothing. We honestly had no idea what to do! We made some calls earlier in the day to try and set up lessons, but they all either were busy or we left a voicemail. So we were at a loss. But I decided to just be like Nephi and "Go and do." So that's what we did, we Went and Did. We stopped by potentials, formers, less actives, and active members, and when we couldn't have a lesson, we would knock on doors. That is what we did all day. By 3:00 we hadn't gotten inside at all and I was feeling really discouraged. It was freezing cold outside, the wind was blowing, and no one would let us in. But we just kept going. By 5:00 it was getting colder and we just kept plugging along. But as I looked back on the day, we had so many tender mercies given to us. We didn't teach any lessons, or even get any phone numbers by that time, but a member and called us back and said she would be willing to give us haircuts on Monday, a man we talked to who wasn't interested gave us water, and a family that we talked to that wasn't too interested (but they have potential) gave us handwarmers! The Lord was definitely looking out for us this day. We kept going and finally one of our investigators, Ted, called us back and we had a lesson with him that night! And then we contacted and talked to a not interested Less-Active, but at least we talked to him for a while and established a good relationship. I look back on that day and I remember how hard it was, but when I look back on it now and I think of all the good that came from it. It was a good day.

I learned a lot from Saturday and I have a new found desire to just go out and do what I'm supposed to. 1 Nephi 3:7 has a new meaning for me now that I feel like I have personally experienced it. I also wanted to focus on Ether 12:6 this week because I feel like it applies as well."And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."  Saturday seemed to be a trial of faith for me and now I have gained the experienced which leads to increased faith in Christ. Neil L. Andersen also gave a great talk in October 2012 about faith. Faith leads to trials of faith, which lead to increased faith. I know that when we have our faith tested, it will always lead to increased faith in the end. I know that our Heavenly Father watches out for us. I know that He knows our situations. He loves us so much! 

Thank you for your love and support every week! I'm excited to see what comes in the mail. I love you so much. Good luck with Solo and Ensemble preparation! 

Have a great week Mom!


Elder Collier

Monday, February 8, 2016

Make The Most Out of Any Situation!

Hey Mom!

I'm feeling a lot better! My voice was pretty much gone for three days... It was just a little frustrating when we were teaching because I could barely talk! I called the mission nurse because on Wednesday it still wasn't back, and she said to rest my voice... So I rested my voice... as much as I could! It's hard to not talk as a missionary! I couldn't help it most of the time... haha! You just have to talk with everyone you see! Finally my voice has come back, although I still can't sing fully quite yet... that part is making me a little nervous! I want to be able to sing!

I have not run into your cousins, the missionaries in that area just said that they were related to me! I was up there one time on an exchange, but it's not in my zone any more. Hopefully I can serve there sometime soon and meet them! So Nola and new uncle Carl! I remember them! 

I may need more short sleeved shirts... although right now it's back down in the 40's! The other night we were biking and it was 35 but it felt like 25 with the wind chill. We have heard that it's supposed to snow tomorrow and honestly that would not surprise me. It was hailing last night! After being 75 on Tuesday and Wednesday! 

I hope Grandma gets feeling better soon. I am praying for both of them every night! I love them so much. Tell Aunt Linda that I love her too when you see her! I hope you can get everything done with that house. I laughed when I read about the Etch-a-Sketch. That was YEARS ago! haha! I can't believe none of the great grandchildren have touched it. that's honestly a tender mercy I think!

That's a funny story about Grandpa! He can set the example for all those guys he's living with! They can still be baptized... haha! and yes I did get Noah's address!

This week has been a crazy week. I finally got feeling better, but my voice was gone. On wednesday I took a little bit of time to rest my voice, and we made some cookies for some members in our ward! I'll send some pictures of them. We made about 38 cookies, and the box said it would only make 36... miracle number 1, and then those 38 cookies were exactly enough to have two per person for all the families we were giving them too! So that was pretty cool. But we went around and delivered some cookies to members that had been helping us with missionary work, and they have been more willing to help us out since then! Just little acts of kindness go a long way. We're going to make some more cookies this week for some other families! Plus it was so much fun to drop the cookies off ring the doorbell and run away! Honestly I felt like a kid for a little bit, haha!

Baking Cookies for the members!

Broken Bike :(

Saturday was a tougher day, I'm not going to lie. My voice was finally back, it was sunny, I was so excited to go out! We were biking and we had talked with everyone we saw. Granted, we had no success... but sometimes just talking with everyone is a feat on it's own! As we were biking though, I changed gears and my entire back gear thing... (I don't know what it's called) but it just snapped off! I don't know what happened. We were stranded, about 20 minutes biking from our apartment, so we had to call a few members to pick us up! While we were waiting we tracted a little bit, but then the Bishop came and got us. He took our bikes back and us, and then as we got out, Elder Sorensen left his helmet in the car. It was almost comical what happened! We didn't notice until the Bishop already left, and he left right after to go to Virginia Beach! Not only did I not have a bike, but Elder Sorensen didn't have a helmet to ride his bike with... I'm just so thankful for this ward though. Right now I'm using a borrowed bike from the Johnson family who are awesome. Hopefully I can get my bike fixed. I just got it! So our day was kinda thrown out of whack, and then the rest of the day I was getting frustrated with myself. But I was thinking about it, and I'm so glad for what I have learned from you and Dad! Sometimes you just have to laugh things off. During that entire experience, I never once decided to give up, I never once even let out a sigh or got mad or anything. I think I was laughing most of the time! I just think of what Joseph B Wirthlin said in his last conference talk: "Come what may, and love it." You just have to allow the things to happen and learn how to make the most out of the situation! 

I know the Lord is mindful of us. Sunday, I was still kinda wondering why all those bad things were happening to me. But as I went to church, during Sacrament meeting I was able to reflect on a few things. 1. The Savior knows exactly what we've been through. Everything. 2. Heavenly Father answers prayers. 3. Everyone of our trials is for our gain and experience! I was able to realize that during that time. I know he answers prayers, because I was honestly just praying for something good to happen, and that entire time at church we were able to just go around and talk with a lot of the members! I love this ward that I'm in! They are so great. The Lord is mindful of each one of our problems! He is mindful of US. 

I'm glad that you were able to have a great week this week. You always sound like you are doing awesome, and I know you are. I love you Mom! My scripture that I want to focus on this week is D&C 58:27 "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;" I know that if we put forth the effort and do things with our own free will and agency to be engaged in a good cause, that the Spirit will be ever more present in our lives. When we act on inspiration that we receive, it becomes easier for us to receive more inspiration! 

I love being a missionary! I can say it time and time again. Things get tough, but nothing is going to stop me. 

I hope you have a great week Mom! I love you so much. 

Love, your son,

Elder Collier

PS- That choir tour to Salt Lake and Provo sounds like so much fun! I want to go to Tucanos! Although I have had Cafe Rio... There's one in Newport News and some members got it for us!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Working With Members

Hey Mom!

The snow did melt. Like very quickly! It was all gone by Tuesday! And then yesterday and today it hit 65 degrees. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND VIRGINIA WEATHER! It changes all the time! Apparently we're supposed to get a thunderstorm and then more snow later this week... All I know is that I'm wearing short sleeves right now! It feels so nice outside. 

Finding people to teach is another story... Since I have been here we have found 2 investigators... and we have dropped one of them. But the three investigators that we are teaching right now are doing super well. We have plans to have lessons in member's homes with all of them and I'm super excited! There is something very special about having a lesson in a member home. I have so many experiences with that. But we have been working with the members more and more! We had stake conference yesterday, and Elder Arnold (the same general authority that toured our mission) was there. President and Sister Baker also spoke. He's our mission president. At the adult session something that they were stressing was the use of members in missionary work. Members are so important in all aspects of missionary work! The numbers prove it. On average, 1/60 investigators that our found by missionaries (and these are people that become investigators and have been taught at least one lesson) is baptized. 1/6 investigators found by a member is baptized! It is just so much more likely for people to be baptized through working with members!

Lately we have seen a couple miracles come from working with members of the ward! We have decided to teach short lessons to active members to invite the spirit into their home, and then to ask for referrals! We haven't seen anything come from it yet, but we have seen people be more interested in getting referrals for us, and people have offered their homes to teach investigators! We set specific goals for these members to talk with their friends and neighbors and then we will follow up with them to see if they did what they said! I know that as we keep working with members that good things will come from it! We definitely still try to find people on our own, but when they come from members they are just so much more prepared. 2 of our investigators right now have come from members! And the other one is good friends with members, we just happened to find him first!

One of our investigators is just doing super well! We meet with him twice a week, and we see him at church and on Wednesdays we also teach a Book of Mormon study class at the church, and he comes to that! The last time we were there, we asked him how he would explain the Restoration to his friends, and then he got up and did like his own role play with us of him being a missionary! It was so cool! He really loves going to church, and he has said that he wants to be baptized... he just doesn't know when. He is so close and I know that as we get the ward more involved that we will start to see more and more progress! 

I got sick this week, so of course I just did everything as normal. I had a small cold but that went away! Only had a fever for a little bit one night,but it broke the next morning, so I never had to stay inside! I think it turned into the croup though. My voice is just gone, so nothing that will keep me from being a missionary. I feel fine!

I can't believe that you are going through everything in that house! I wish I could be there to help out. There are so many memories there! They had so much china... haha! I'm glad that all those people have come over to help though. That is so nice of them! 

So there are only 7 wards in the stake... that's so strange. Although it's even stranger to think that Lacamas Creek ward is in our stake now! I'm so happy for Uncle Kevin! I know he will do such a great job!

Thank you for sharing what President Rushing said in sacrament meeting. That really gives me confidence that I'm doing the right thing. I always wanted to set a good example and sometimes it seemed like it was overlooked. But people do notice! They notice everything you do. Mom, people really do notice everything you do! Thank you for being my Mother. You and Dad have raised us strong in the gospel and I know it is because of the two of you that I am able to be out here. Thank you so much!

A scripture that I want to focus on this week is Mosiah 5:15. " 15 Therefore, would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good worksthat  Christ, the Lord God Omnipotentmay seal you his, that you maybe brought to heaven, that ye may have  everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power,and justice, and mercy of him who  created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen."
I know that as we are steadfast and immovable, we will have the Spirit of God with us always. Being steadfast and setting that example is really what people notice. And that promise in the scripture is real. We may have everlasting salvation and eternal life! It is there for us! It is real! As long as we keep doing our best then we can make it there. 

Thank you so much for your example Mom, and for all that you do for me! I love you so much! I hope you have a great week and that you can get everything figured out with Grandma and Grandpa's house! 

Love, your son,
Elder Collier

PS- I was told by some missionaries today that someone who lives up in New Kent, Virginia (or at least goes to the New Kent branch) is related to me somehow? His last name is Christofferson and what they said was that he is related to Doty's! Do you know who that would be?