Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Monday, February 27, 2017

More Miracles!

Hey Mom!

That's so exciting that Zach and Skyla had their baby!! I can't wait to meet her! She looks super cute, and I'm just so happy for them. 

I'm also glad that they burial for Grandpa was good. That's really cool that Seth was able to participate in it. I'm praying for Grandma every day!

So this week... I can't really remember what happened this week! I know we had a Zone Conference... And we went on exchanges with the Assistants afterwards... Yeah that sounds right! The weather just did what it always does! It hit in the 80's two days in a row, then was in the 50's yesterday and now today it's almost 70. We were on bikes this whole week because our zone is out of miles, but we saw miracles come from it. Miracles are everywhere! 

We've been staying local because we are just on bikes and can't go very far, but we've found a few new investigators this week! One was a former investigator that we went to contact and then we pulled weeds for them right there which was super fun! Then the next day we taught a lesson that was pretty good... He's an active member of his church which is super common out here. But we've got another lesson set up with a member coming so that'll be exciting. We also contacting one of our investigators for the first time in weeks and brought a member to a lesson with her! 

I think another great thing this week was that we got to talk with the members of the church more who came to pick us up and take us places. It is awesome to have gospel centered conversations with them in the car. And we have seen a few active members really get excited about sharing the gospel recently! Preach My Gospel is a gold mine for teaching skills for members to use in their own missionary work! So we taught some members about the section "How to Begin Teaching" which is perfect for starting gospel conversations and sharing the gospel because you sincerely love the people you want to share it with! I'm really starting to love helping members share the gospel, because it's all about helping THEM to receive the blessings of missionary work, because we are all entitled to them! 

Elder Shill and I are going to from now on have more of a sense of urgency about our work, even though we don't have many teaching appointments. The thing about deciding to work with the members, is you still have to do ALL you can to find new investigators through your own efforts! We are going to try and actually tract more just to get out and talk to as many people as possible. As our Mission President Says, "Go where the people are!" We've also gone to Downtown New Bern a few times to try and walk around and talk with everyone. It's hard, but pretty fun! 

On Saturday we had a crazy day, we helped a family move and none of their help showed up, so it was us, and the dad of the family. Elder Shill and I had a lot of fun though because we both like puzzles, and that's exactly what it was! No one else knew how to load up a moving truck, but were able to use that space so well! It was a lot of fun, I was just SO tired afterward... haha! 

Recently I've really needed to strengthen my faith to find because it's been tough to do that, so my ponderizing scripture is Alma 13:24 "For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory." I always need to remember that people are always being prepared to receive the gospel, and we just never will know who these people are if we don't share it with them and ask if they're ready! But I know that as we share the gospel, We truly do develop love for the people that we serve. I just love my mission so much! And time is just going way too fast. 

Thank you so much Mom! I love you and I hope you have a great week this week! Being 20 doesn't feel any different, it's just cool to tell people haha! 

I love you!! 

Elder Collier

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Work Goes On!

Hey Mom! 

I'm doing really well. Yesterday was such a fun day! I opened my package, and thank you so much for that picture of Grandpa Doty. It's up on my study desk now. It was definitely a lot easier after I talked to y'all on Monday! I haven't been distracted one bit! I'm so thankful for Grandpa and his example, and that's really what's been keeping me going. I was having some trouble sleeping this past week, but I'm doing better now! I'm glad you got that picture! It was really nice because after I left, they called me and sang happy birthday to me since I hadn't told them it was my birthday... it was really nice. I love this ward here!

Jonny is 20!

His birthday box!

His picture of his grandpa

His companion made him a birthday biscuit instead of a cake!

Yesterday was filled with missionary work just like every day! I think honestly that was the best way to spend the day. The work has hit a stand still this week though. We didn't find a single new investigator this week, or teach any lessons. We taught a few less-active lessons. But it was tough! We were out all day, and when we weren't out, we were in member's homes helping them with their missionary work. Oh, our zone also ran out of miles (because a companionship went way over...) so we have parked our car for the rest of the month and are on bikes. We aren't going to get very far in our area without rides, but we've been biking around town a lot which reminds me of Norfolk!

We got to go to MLC on Wednesday and that was a lot of fun! Plus we got to have our Zone Meeting on Friday. Our focus for the transfer is that Missionaries will Teach in the Savior's Way, which includes also teaching members how to develop their own teaching skills! It's a pretty cool focus. Elder Shill and I have really been trying to use our time the best, so we essentially planned Zone Meeting during the 3 hour drive back from Portsmouth after MLC! It was super cool, because the Spirit just guided us during that time as to what our trainings should be about. And during the Zone Meeting on friday, our Zone was just so great! My trainee Elder Hargraves just got transfered into our zone so that's super cool, plus everyone was just ready to learn before that meeting! They were all sitting, quietly preparing about 15 minutes before it started, and that was just amazing. 

Even though the work has been slow (almost to a stand still), I feel like Elder Shill is helping me become the best missionary I've been on my mission. We are focusing on praying with Real Intent. We have been praying a ton, and our prayers have been very heart felt and sincere every time. If nothing else, this week helped me learn how to better recognize and rely on the Spirit in answer to prayers. After what I've experienced this week, I KNOW that God answers our SINCERE prayers. It's been hard with not very much teaching, but we feel successful. 

I'm so happy the NAFME conference went well! I'm not surprised at all the reaction that the crowd gave. That's just normal for y'all! 

My ponderizing scripture for this week is, James 1:5-6 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."  It's amazing to me that this led to what it did. Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, because he simply sincerely wanted to know which church was the church They wanted him to go to. And from then on we've known that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth in our day. What a blessing it is! I just get so excited to tell everyone about it. 

Thank you for all that you do Mom!! I'm going to have a fun birthday and celebrate it today with the cake and everything. It's going to be fun! I love you and I hope you have a great day today! I also hope everything goes well with Skyla and the baby!

There's one more part I wanted to expound on in my email... The reason why we feel successful without much teaching. We have been trying to act on every prompting, no matter how awkward it seems! So, first off, we try to not let anyone pass us and not talk to them, but even the other day, I got a prompting to stop by one of our old investigator's houses. It was late and when we got there I was scared she would be upset at us knocking on her door unannounced. So we were about to leave and we said a prayer, and we just got a calm feeling so we went and knocked on the door! And it went super well! We were able to set up an appointment to bring a member to. It's moments like that that make you feel very successful as a missionary.

Love you so much!

Elder Collier

Monday, February 13, 2017

O How Great the Plan of Our God!

Hey Mom!

My Mission President did call me on Wednesday night. So I've known since Grandpa passed away. I chose not to call just cause I didn't want to distract myself, and I had just gotten a new companion, like that day, so I didn't really know what to do. But I want you to know that I love you and every one else so much. Thank you for your support during this time. Honestly, it didn't really hit me until today when I read your email that he's actually gone now, but I'm doing okay. This last week was just filled with Miracles though and I just want to let you know some of them that happened. Because this was one of the most Spirit Filled weeks of my mission, and I think Grandpa was with me through out it. And I hope he can still be with me. 

Thank you for telling me the story of what happened that night. I'm sure that was a very Spiritual Experience. It was super amazing to hear. Grandpa was an amazing man. He loved grandma so much, and loved and cared about us all. 

It feels so good to have a legit companion with me. Elder Shill is THE MAN. I swear he's going to be one of my favorite companions. I'm glad I was with him when I got the call from President Weed. I'm learning so much from him. We made a focus for the transfer that we are going to remember and live, "Because we Love Christ: we humbly submit our will to his by praying with real intent, and acting on the first prompting we receive." And putting this to work has been amazing. It has just been to cool really follow the Spirit while you are out here. We decided this because we are focusing on helping the members of the ward pray with real intent for missionary opportunities, and then act on those promptings, so we are doing it ourselves. 

We taught very few lessons this week, but one was an awesome lesson. HIs name is Jalon, and he is the friend of a Young Single Adult member of the ward. She wanted to have us over for dinner, but we needed a third male with us in order to do that, so she invited him. And we ended up teaching him the Restoration and it went SUPER WELL! He wasn't able to come to church on sunday because he got called into work, but he still wants to meet with us again! And Madi, the member, was super excited after ward and she has been doing such a good job at following up with him and helping him keep his commitments. She is just super excited about missionary work now which is great to see!! 

There wasn't a lot else that happened this week, just that I love working with Elder Shill! He's super fun, from Farmington, Utah. He's been about for 2 transfers less than I have, and this is his first transfer being a zone leader, so we are figuring this out together. 

This week was totally filled with the Spirit. He will always be with us, we just have to do things that will invite Him into our lives. I was thinking about a ponderizing scripture, and the first scripture I turned to this morning was 2 Nephi 9:13 "O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand ,the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a  perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect."  I KNOW that the plan of Salvation is real. I feel the calming assurance every time I read this that we will live again. And through the Restored Priesthood authority, that Grandpa held, we can be sealed as families for eternity. It's such an amazing truth to have and I just love it so much that I literally share it with someone every day. 

Good things are happening here in New Bern. Thank you so much for everything Mom! I love you so much. I promise to work as hard as I can! And I just know that Grandpa and Grandma Collier have been helping me, and now Grandpa Doty is going to be right there with them. 

I hope you have a great week this week. I pray for you all every day.

Love you so much,

Elder Collier

Another Week!

Hey Mom!!

This week was pretty good! It was super weird because I was in a trio all week after Elder Ward went home, but it was super fun. The elders I was with were fun to be with, but I'm definitely excited to get back to my area, with a harder working companion. I just felt kinda lazy all week, like I was wasting some time. So I can't wait till Wednesday. We had to cover the whole New Bern Ward for the past week, and until Wednesday. The New Bern Ward is massive geographically. You could drive for 2 hours and still be in the ward. 

My new companion is going to be Elder Shill! I'm super excited. He's a brand new zone leader, never been one before, so obviously, since I don't know what I'm doing he'll teach me how to be a better leader haha! The last time I was even serving in the same zone as him was a year ago when he was in training. He came out about 3 months after me, so I'm really excited to be with him! 

So I didn't get a lot of work done in my area this week, but we did see a few miracles head our way! That couple that I talked about last week, Lauren and Tyler, are super fun. We ended up teaching them last Monday at the church with a member with us and it went okay. The other Elders and I never really established a good teaching pattern with each other. I've stayed in contact with them, but we don't have another appointment set. But they are so solid so I'm not giving up! 

Yesterday was a really cool day though. The Spirit was just so strong in a few lessons we had in a row and it's days like that that you just live for! We found 2 new investigators that are again, actually looking for something more in their life, and answers to questions. So we were able to give them the answer to a lot of their questions, and a lot of things come down to the Restoration of the Gospel. It's so true though because if that is actually true, then EVERYTHING that we teach is true, and this is the one true church on the Earth. It went pretty well, and we're going to see them again this week. But after that we had a dinner appointment with a family in the ward, and we just taught them simply about the Restoration! And I thought it was super Spirit filled. Just helping them to see the blessings that they've seen as a family because of the Restoration of the Gospel. Then right after we drove to the other Elder's only investigator that they meet with consistently, and we had to tell him that we couldn't keep meeting with him. That was super hard. After 6 months of trying and trying, and him showing just little signs of progress, it was enough to keep meeting with him. But we had a sweet discussion about how he needs to just put forth the effort, and he said himself that he just hasn't really tried. You could see the Spirit working with him, but we told him that he's gotta make the choice and when he does he should contact us. It was super hard on everyone. I honestly felt love for him, and I'd taught him twice. And more importantly, you could tell how much God loved him. But everything comes down to whether or not we will make the choice in our life. 

That's a really cool insight from Ethan Sperry! Psalm 100 is a really good chapter. I think that it is spot on. Happiness and Joy are two separate things. And true Joy comes from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's one of the ways that we can know for ourselves that this is the truth! The Spirit speaks to us in feelings of Joy, and thoughts that come to our head. 

Actually my ponderizing scripture goes right along with that. It is Moroni 7:13 "But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God." Any good feeling that we get comes from God! I know that this scripture is the truth. And I love this because it let's me know that no matter where I may think the thought I get comes from, if it's a good thought, and helps others, it really comes from God. And those thought bring us pure joy in our lives. 

That's fun that you celebrated Sammy's Birthday at Gobi! That place is so good! I bet it was super fun. 

I cannot believe that I'm going to be 20 soon... It feels so weird. I feel like I don't really need anything... My clothes are fine, maybe just another pair of Basketball shorts to exercise in? I can't think of anything else though! Yes we do have a microwave! And I will be at the same address for my birthday! 

I hope you are doing well Mom! It sounds like y'all are working hard with choir and having a lot of fun there. I loved having clinics and things! Y'all are going to do so well at the conference! I love you so much and am so thankful for all that you do.

Love you!!

Elder Collier