Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

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