Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, January 30, 2017

Change is Good!

Hey Mom!

I'm glad you got that picture! The Whaley's are awesome. They have 4 boys too!

So looking at the subject title, you'd probably never ever think I would say that... haha! But some big changes are happening in the mission, for me, and for all the missionaries! And I actually am SUPER excited for the changes. 

This week was really good. Elder Ward just went home today, so that was sad, but he's pretty excited to see his family again. Elder Ward went home a week early, so I'm going to be in a trio with Elders Oldroyd and Davis (the other elders in our ward) until transfer day on Feb 8th! so I don't know who my new companion will be yet, but this week will be fun! I'm excited. 

They put up a hammock in their apartment!

Jonny and his companion Elder Ward

We had a worldwide Missionary broadcast this past week and it was SO cool. They just filmed a meeting of the Missionary Executive Council about them discussing missionary work and how to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ more and to help others live it. I got a lot of good things to work on, one of them being to focus more on helping others understand what Real Intent is! But the big change is that they changed the missionary schedule! And also the key indicators that we track. But for the schedule, what they did was instead of having a structured schedule in the morning, they just told us that from 6:30 to 10, we have to wake up, Exercise, have 60 minutes of Personal study, 30 minutes to plan our day, and get ready to proselyte by 10. We can plan when we want to do those things and how we want to use our time! I think it's super cool. Then from 10am -9 pm we proselyte with 30-60 minutes of Companion Study, 30 min of lunch, and 1 hour for dinner thrown in when we best think it can be used. Then we don't plan at night any more. IT's going to be hard to get used to, but essentially, they are giving us more agency to use our time better! I want to try a bunch of different things to see what will actually be the best use of the Lord's time. 

I just want to say, it is so true what it says in Doctrine and Covenants when the Spirit will give us in the very moment what ye shall say. I was on an exchange with one of the district leaders in our Zone, Elder Staheli (who I was in the MTC with so it was so cool to go with him!) But we had a GREAT lesson. There was this couple that I met last week that allowed us to teach them and we had a great lesson, one of the greatest of my mission. Elder Staheli did such a good job, and I KNOW that the Spirit was working through us. There were so many things that I know I couldn't have come up with without the Lord's help. It was just so cool, and we are going to see them again tonight! I'm so excited, I'll keep you posted on them. 

We found a Less-active member that's not on our roster! It's so cool to be apart of that, especially when they are looking for the church again. We haven't been able to see him since then, but we have his information to find his records so that was cool! 

Please tell Grandma and Grandpa again that I love them.I'm glad that he's still fighting. I'm praying for them both every night. Grandpa is just a stud doing missionary work! 

But yeah things are going great here. I am excited for the change. Elder Ward was awesome, but he was definitely ready to go home, so I hope I get a companion who's not going home for a while... haha! But I'm excited for this week! 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Doctrine and Covenants 88:63 "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." I know that we can draw close to the Lord. We do that by keeping the commandments and seeking after Him in our life through prayer and scripture study and partaking of the Sacrament. Everything in the Gospel of Jesus Christ roles into one, and it's just so amazing to be apart of helping people receive this. I love this gospel! 

I hope you have a great week mom! I can't believe Sammy will be 18 this week... he's so old! It's so weird to think that he can be an adult... 

But you sound like things are going awesome and I love to hear from you. Thanks for being amazing. I love you so much! 


Elder Collier

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Endure to the End

Hey Mom!!

Oh my gosh those pictures of the musical are SWEET! It looks like Sammy had a good time. I'm so impressed with him, and with the rest of them as well! I bet it was a great show. I'm just glad they finally got to perform it! 

It sounds like y'all had another crazy week! I'm glad everyone is doing okay. And I pray for Grandpa every night. 

Here in New Bern things have been kinda slow with our teaching... We didn't teach a single lesson to an investigator with a member present this week. Actually we only taught two lessons to investigators period, and they were both new investigators that allowed us to teach them on the spot. They seemed really nice! 

We weren't able to see those two investigators that I talked about last week... Ashley went out of town and is going to be gone for a few weeks, but I was texting her a bit one day and we were talking about how she was liking the Book of Mormon! We're going to stay in contact with her while she's gone so that we can help her understand the Spirit that she will feel as she reads the Book of Mormon. Then we didn't see Antonio cause he had to cancel his lesson, and he didn't come to church because his car wouldn't start, but we set up with him again! I really hope he has a desire to learn. 

We've been working with a few less-active members and I just love doing that. Seeing their testimony be strengthened as they read the scriptures and come to church again is just awesome. 

We also did a combined activity with the youth this week and it was sweet! We helped them all share the gospel through facebook/instagram/twitter by sending something to a specific person! They really liked it.

We started our exchanges this week, I decided to stay in the area for all of them because I'm going to be taking over the area pretty soon. But I went with a few Elders that I was able to learn a lot from! It's weird being on the Zone Leader side of an exchange with a District Leader. But then again, it's not really much different at all.

I'm trying to use our phone more, and it's actually pretty fun to use it. If you can believe it Mom, I enjoy talking on the phone now! I'm just constantly on it trying to get ahold of different people we've met, or members of the church. Something I've also started doing is just calling members of our ward just to tell them we love them and appreciate them! Cause when you're a missionary, most members see that you're calling and think, "Oh the missionaries, what do they need now?" But I'm trying to change that culture a little just to let them know that we really do love and care about them!  It's been a lot of fun. 

Going into Elder Ward's last week of his mission, I'm hoping to sprint to the finish. I think I'm going to need to push him a bit, but he can rest when he gets home! It'll be fun! I just love missionary work. It's all I want to do right now. I've just gotta stay busy with all my time!

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Ether 12:27. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I'm a personal testament that weak things can be made strong in the Lord. Even though I have tons of weaknesses, I just hope that if I do my best every day out here, that those weaknesses can be made strong. That I will have the strength to get up, the courage to talk to people. The Lord truly does strengthen us. 

I love you so much mom! You are such a great example to me and I'm so thankful for that. Everything that I have learned has been from you and Dad, and my older and younger brothers. And from our Savior. 

I love you so much! I hope you have a fantastic week. I'll talk to you soon! 

Elder Collier

Monday, January 16, 2017

Another Week!

Hi Mom!!

I'm able to write today because in  New Bern we have a family history center that we can use to email so that's pretty nice! Thanks for getting a letter off just in case haha!
That is so crazy how much snow y'all have gotten! I honestly can't believe it!! I'm very very jealous because we have gotten NOTHING haha! It was 70 degrees the other day. Now it's back down to the 40's, but that's how the weather goes over here! I am sorry that all those things had to get canceled though! That's lame. But I'm glad that they rescheduled some performances for the musical!

This week was pretty cool! It was filled with a lot of traveling again, I guess that just comes with the new assignment. But we had a lot of fun! Elder Ward and I definitely have had a ton of time to talk in the car. But it's also nice cause we can make all our phone calls while we're driving so we don't have to use any of our other proselyting time! Elder Ward is also going home in a few weeks, so we're really trying to see all the Miracles we can! We went to Greenville for a Zone Conference, and we also drove up to Portsmouth a different day to do exchanges with the Assistants! Because we are the farthest zone leaders from them, we drive up to Portsmouth and split their area in half for the exchange! It was a lot of fun being up there. I do know an Elder Richins by the way, he's one of our assistants, and he was my zone leader for the past three transfers when I was District Leader in Norfolk, so I've gotten to work with him a lot!

We had some sweet experiences with investigators this week! One we found named Ashley who is super cool. She is married, but her husband isn't interested right now. We taught her once, and left her with a restoration pamphlet to read over, and then when we went by the second time, she had downloaded the app with the pamphlets on her phone to read! It was so cool cause she went out and found those! She couldn't come to church yesterday because she was out of town, but she's going to come when she can! So we're super excited for that. Then we found another man named Antonio, who really believed in the Apostasy when we left it with him. Well we come back for our second lesson last night, and there's a Church Printed Quadruple  Combination (with all the standard works) sitting on his desk! I saw that and thought, "That book looks really familiar..." and then it hit me haha! We asked him where he got it, and he said one of his friends had it, and that's where the conversation ended... so we don't really know where it came from, but it's just sweet that he has it! He said he can't wait to come to church!! We had some sweet lessons this week, and the Spirit has just been really present in my life. I feel like I am guided by the Spirit all through out my day and I just love it. And the best part about it is that it's all to bless the lives of others. I've just been so tired recently though, but I love that feeling because then I know I've worked hard. Eder WArd bought a hammock last monday, and we put it up in the apartment, and I fell asleep on it after planning on Saturday night and woke up at like 10:40 super confused... haha!

That's good news that I have my deferment accepted!! And that I may have a job too! that's really exciting! I will definitely take that chance to have a job when I get home, thank you!
I'm loving working as a Zone leader. This zone is so fun! We're having a Zone P-day with all the Elders at our building and we're going to play some sports and games and stuff today.
My ponderizing scripture is Alma 32:27 today: "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even, if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that can give place for a portion of my words."  I know that this is true. I have seen it among people that I have worked with, and myself. And I'm thankful that you know this is true too Mom! Your faith is amazing and I love seeing that.

Thank you again for everything Mom! you have helped me so much, and I know you do so much for me so that I don't have to worrry about things at home. At times, I'm not going to lie, I get distracted with thoughts about the future, and it makes me scared haha! But I'm just grateful that when I get to work every day, things just fall in to place and I feel confident and happy. You're the best Mom!

I love you so much! Have a fantastic week!
Elder Collier

Monday, January 9, 2017

Snow Storm... or Not!

Hey Mom!! 

This week was a lot of fun! The past few days our mission had a Winter Storm that hit Virginia pretty hard, and some parts of our mission in North Carolina. But our Zone got like nothing! It was crazy. Everyone else can't drive their cars because of the ice, but our zone is fine! It is just really really cold though. It was 18 degrees this morning! We were grounded yesterday though so we walked everywhere we went yesterday. Church was canceled for us too (although we have no idea why.) Classic eastern North Carolina, they over react about any winter storm! That's crazy that you had a winter storm back home too! 

We were supposed to here from Elder Cook who was coming to visit the Virginia Beach stake and speak to all the missionaries in our mission, but they had to cancel it because Virginia got hit pretty bad with snow and ice. So that was a bummer. But we saw a miracle because of it! Friday night we were supposed to travel up to Elizabeth City to stay the night with some missionaries, but we ended up teaching a woman that night who really accepted the message of the Restoration! It was super cool because she is super Family oriented. We have a lesson set up tomorrow night with a member and I'm super pumped for it. So even though we missed out on hearing from an Apostle, because we worked in our area that night we were blessed! 

I traveled up to Portsmouth for my first MLC (mission leadership council) on Wednesday and that was super cool! Essentially we hear from our mission President and the assistants, and all the zone leaders and sister training leaders discuss what our focus for the transfer will be! We are focusing on Finding New Investigators and having more creative finding ideas. Then we take what we've learned there, and make a Zone Meeting out of it the next Friday. So friday was my first Zone Meeting and it was such a cool experience. I loved it! The Spirit was so strong in that meeting, and I just love each one of the missionaries here in my zone. 

Other than that, there's not a lot else happening here! This ward is just great. I haven't gotten to know them super well yet because church was canceled, but I'm excited to work with them! Elder Ward and I are getting along a lot better! We have a lot of fun. He used to Rodeo and his event was calf roping. It's pretty sweet! He also was a wrestler. So we don't have a ton in common, but we have a lot of fun joking around together. We're going to do some good work here! Things are just great here in New Bern though. I love it. 

Rushmore is awesome. I can't wait to meet him! 

I bet the musical is going to be great! 

Thank you so much for changing my differment! I think that is what I need to do, what do you think about me waiting until January for school? 

I'm glad to hear that you are still doing great. And that Grandpa is still fighting. He's amazing. I love him! 

My ponderizing scripture this week is in 3 Nephi 27:16 "And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world." And On my mission I felt like I have learned what repentance really is. It's not just stopping the bad things that you are doing, but it is also changing and doing more good things in your life. And better things. It's constant improvement, and that's what the Lord asks of us. And I know that He does really promise us Eternal Life with Him. 

I love you Mom!! Thank you for everything. Oh I did get my package from Harrison and Jenni! Those pants they sent me are sweet! You are the best. 

Hope you have a great week! Love you.

Elder Collier

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Hey Mom!

I cannot believe it's the new year... It's just crazy. Last year I was just starting my mission and I felt like I had my whole mission in front of me. 2016 was the only full year I'm going to spend as a missionary! I don't like that at all. 2017 has come and I don't know if I'm ready for it. I still have plenty of time left on my mission though so I'm happy about that. I hope to continue to progress forward with my teaching skills and just to be a better missionary this upcoming year. With how fast I'm moving around I still could probably have another area, maybe 2 more haha! I think the thing that weirds me out the most is that Sammy graduates this year. Ah that's so weird! Time just continues to fly by that's for sure. 

Jonny with current and past companions

Jonny's district in Norfolk, VA

Jonny with his bishop and family

Christmas Eve! Everyone got hot chocolate but Jonny!
He got a Slurpee! That's my boy!

Jonny and Elder Hargraves

Christmas Morning!

For New Years eve we just stayed at our apartment and played some games with the other Elders in our ward. It was pretty fun! Went to bed at 10:30, woke up at 6:30, the usual. New Year's day was super cool cause I got to go to church in my new ward and I love it here! The whole ward is awesome. They LOVE the missionaries and love missionary work. This stake is doing really good work too, and as a Zone Leader I guess I'm going to work with Stake Leaders a lot more so that'll be exciting! 

So New Bern is super cool! Our apartment is really old and has probably had missionaries living there for at least 10 years, and everyone in our little complex knows us SUPER well. But it's a cool little apartment. New Bern is a funny little town. There's about 26,000 people that live in the town (or so I've heard) and it's one of the oldest in North Carolina! Pepsi was founded here too. North Carolina is just the best. The people here are super funny too. EVERYONE in North Carolina loves to talk. They will just fill silence with talking about random things! You have to learn to tactfully cut them off when you're trying to teach so that'll be a new struggle for me. 

My new companion is Elder Ward! He goes home after this transfer so he's been out a while. He's from Howell, Utah, it's a little town outside of Tremonton. He's super fun! 

Jonny and current companion, Elder Ward
We're teaching this guy named Calvin who is super cool! He had come to church before I got here, but hey had never taught him so he technically wasn't an investigator. But we taught him this last week and he came to church again. The lesson went okay.. .the member we had with us talked for a long time so we're going to have to probably teach the lesson we had planned to teach again, But we were able to find some stuff out about what he was looking for! He really enjoys coming to church and I think he's going to get baptized. Other than him there's not a lot going on, it's kinda slow like how my other areas have been when I've come in. So it's time to pick it back up! Getting the ward super involved is going to be key. It always is. 

There's not much else that is new... This week is going to be super fun though! I'm going up to Portsmouth for a Mission Leadership Council meeting, and then up to Virginia Beach because Elder Quentin L. Cook is coming and is going to speak with our whole mission! It's going to be a really good week. 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is in D&C 50:26 "He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all." This stood out to me because has a set apart missionary I am ordained of God and sent forth, and to be an example of Jesus Christ and be the least of all. And it's so cool to be on the serving end all the time. I just love it and there's nothing better. I know for sure that this is God's plan. 

I hope you have a great week Mom! I love ya so much and am so grateful for you. I hope you had a great New Years! Yes I was sick for a little bit, but I'm over it now! 

Love you so much Mom and I'll talk to you soon!

Elder Collier