Send Jonny a Letter!

Send Jonny a letter!!

Elder Jonathan Collier
1015 Norwyk Ln.
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Gospel is Simple!

Hey Mom!!

Oh my goodness Sammy just keep getting closer and closer to getting his call. I can't wait to find out where he's going! I keep hoping that it's going to be this mission, I think that would be so sweet! 

That's cool that you've talked to Elder Shill's Mom! Yeah he's been a ton of fun to be companions with. Definitely one of my favorite companions. We found out that we are going to stay together for another transfer too, so that's going to be fun! And transfers got pushed back a week, so that's why I'm going home on the 13th now! So I'm still going home on the same day. They called me this week and confirmed my departure date with me... Time is going by super quick. Can't it just slow down a tiny bit?

This week was another really good week. We've been still driving to areas, and biking around them, and we have seen a lot of success from it! We went to this place called Pollocksville on Friday and spent the whole day there. We saw a sweet miracle! We were contacting a potential investigator, who wasn't home, so we knocked on the neighbor's door. They were a younger couple, and they let us right in, and we started to teach them about the Restoration of the gospel. During the lesson, we invited them to church, and they said that they had literally just been talking about finding a church because they didn't like the one that they were at, right before we knocked on the door. Miracles like that are everywhere on a mission and I feel like I'm able to notice the little things so much more since I've been out here. It was a great lesson because they noticed the Apostasy, and they wanted to find where God's church was. We essentially just told them, you've found it! So i hope they will pray about what we've shared and continue to meet with us! 

I've felt really good most days this week. The best days I think are the ones where you come home just exhausted and sleeping sounds like a great thing! I have slept the best I have the past couple of weeks compared to the rest of the past transfer. So things are going great. 

Last night something funny also happened! We were driving by a less-active family's house and we saw all 4 kids pulling weeds outside, so we called out to them and asked if we could help! They were like, "Sure?" They looked kind of confused, but we got out and helped and after a few minutes they were having so much fun! We had mainly been working with the Mother to help her come back to church, and hadn't talked to the kids very much, but all the kids are teenagers, so this was really good. And then the mom came out and she was like, "Why are you doing that in your white shirts??" she was so upset haha! But she was really happy and thankful that we stopped to help. Then we were able to teach them, and actually teach the whole family instead of just the mother and the oldest son, so that was a lot better than what it had been before! It was just a really cool blessing to see. The more we go about doing good, the more opportunities will arise!

My ponderizing scripture for this week is Mosiah 2:22, and I thought it was super profound! "And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you." So even after all that the Savior has done for us, all that he asks us is to follow Him and keep His commandments! And when we do that, we can have the Spirit more present in our life, and we can KNOW that we are on the right path! I know that this is true!

Thank you for sharing that experience with me Mom! That is so cool to have already known because of how well your parents have taught you. I feel the same thing, because you and Dad have shown such great examples for all of us boys and I'm so grateful for that. 

Thank you for all that you do Mom! I love you so much! I'll talk to you soon, have a fantastic week!

Elder Collier

Pictures of Downtown New Bern!
We went to the birthplace Pepsi Cola last week, and the soda there is pretty good!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Praying With Real Intent

Hey Mom!

I'm still doing great. Elder Shill and I really like working together, and we are having a ton of fun. Transfers are not this week actually! We had another 7 week transfer because of something with the MTC again, I'm not sure why, but my mission got extended another week so that's a plus! So transfer calls will be this Saturday, but I think Elder Shill and I will probably be staying together, but you never know! I really hope we stay here because we have a lot of things we have been doing to help the work get moving. 

I'm glad that Cali is doing better! I bet it was a crazy couple of weeks. And that is so good that Tyler went back out on his mission! Good for him. 

So this transfer I think I've told you how it's been a focus to help others pray with real intent. Well in order for us to help others, it's really helped me to be more mindful of my prayers. It's an uphill battle trying to improve sometimes, but the Lord just wants us to keep moving and be the best we can. But praying with real intent works. There's a promise in the Book of Mormon that if you pray with real intent about the Book of Mormon that you will receive an answer from God that it is true! And I think with any prayer with real intent that that is so true. But Elder Shill and I have been praying a lot more humbly and with real intent and it has payed off. We have just seen the Lord's hand guide and direct us so much. And that real intent means that we just have to humbly submit to do whatever the Lord will send to us. And when we do that, more promptings come, and it becomes easier to recognize the Spirit! We can always pray with Real intent for Missionary opportunities. 

Last Monday night we had an appointment set and it was pretty far away in a town called Pollocksville, and the phone number we had didn't work so we were wondering if we should even go there because there was a chance she might not be there. And with all the travel time and the miles used we didn't want to waste anything. But we truly prayed and asked Heavenly Father what we should do, and we felt like we should still go to that appointment. We drive there, 25 minutes drive later, she's not there. So we pray again to see what we need to do. We've started keeping track where we've tracted and who we've talked to, and it was a big help! Because there were a ton of doors that didn't have answers the last time, so we knocked on those again (we call it "retracting), and we met this woman named Sherry! At first she wasn't interested, but somehow (because Elder Shill is brilliant) we ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and she was very interested. We set up a lesson too! When we called to confirm, she had been reading from the Book of Mormon!! That was awesome. She ended up getting called into work so we haven't had a lesson yet, but we will soon! 

Friday was a super fun day also. We drove to the other district in our zone's district meeting, and that was an hour away, so we decided to bring our bikes and we drove to another area on the way back and stayed there all day until it was time to go home! It was so fun. This place was about 30 minutes from where we live, so we can't get there very often because of limited miles, but we were able to talk to a lot of people there. Plus we got to have Five Guys, and it was the first time I'd had it since I've been on my mission! I had forgotten how good it was. It was a fun day on Friday. 

Elder Shill and I did a musical number in Sacrament Meeting yesterday! the Spirit was so strong in that meeting. We did the EFY arrangement of I know that My Redeemer Lives, I sang and Elder Shill accompanied me. The ward gave us a lot of compliments, but I'm just glad that we could bring the Spirit strong into that meeting. I've never heard our chapel so quiet. 

But the work continues to press forward here! And we hope to get every member praying with Real intent for missionary opportunities. I think the hardest part is helping them see that success isn't getting someone baptized necessarily. Success in Missionary work, in the words of Dallin H. Oaks, "is inviting people with love and genuine intent to help them, no matter what their response." And I think when people see that, missionary work won't be as scary. My ponderizing scripture has to do with this same concept as well. In Alma 17:3 it says that Ammon and his brothers to prepare for their missions gave themselves to much fasting and prayer, but then in Alma 17:11 they receive their answer: "And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls." The thing I love about this is not just the fact that they were told to be good examples, but Ammon received personal revelation on what he was supposed to do! And that personal revelation will come as we ask the Lord what we can do to be better missionaries. Because He will give us the answer as we sincerely ask Him. 

Sorry that I wrote so much this week, I just wanted to share some cool insights that I had! I love being on a mission. 

Yes Austin told me that he's getting married! That's super exciting! It's super weird at the same time though... Crazy. I think I may want to live in the Dorms now because Austin and I were supposed to room together... I guess not anymore... haha! But I don't know where else I'd live... what do you think is the best idea? I'm just glad I'm on a mission right now! I honestly love it here and I know for a fact that this is the Lord's work. 

Thank you for all that you do Mom! I love you so much. You are such a great example! I hope you have a fantastic week this week! I'll talk to you soon.

Elder Collier

PS I'm sorry I've been so bad at taking pictures... I'm going to take more this week I promise! I love you!

Missionary Work is Loving Other People

Hey Mom!

So this week was another week! It was pretty good. I'm glad that you are doing well! It sounds like you had a fun trip to Utah. I hope Cali is doing better. 

I'm glad you got that picture! Yeah I was able to baptize Ruth Solis, she's an 8 year old girl who's dad isn't a member. I'm not sure why I was picked, but it was a pretty cool experience to be apart of that. It's always a privilege to help someone else with those sorts of ordinances. It was kinda crazy cause afterward the drain started to back up and over flow a bit so we had a few inches of water in the bathroom... But we got it all cleaned up so it was okay. 

Oh, we also did get snow yesterday! First snow of the year... in March. I can't believe it. It was like in the 70's earlier in the week too. Nothing stuck to the ground, but everyone was freaking out haha! Classic East North Carolina. 

Elder Shill and I found a new investigator!! His name is Charles. Our first lesson went pretty well, he understood the Restoration and that it meant that this was the only true church on the earth. He missed his second appointment cause he was sick, but he called us this morning and said that he felt good after he prayed about the Restoration!! That was super exciting. He wanted us to come by tonight. We also found him tracting, but Elder Shill and I have split up our area into smaller areas and have been driving there to bike around. It's been super fun and I feel a lot more productive. Plus, people see us out and about on bikes which I think is great!

We had a good district meeting this week. I'm not going to lie, it's pretty nice to not have to prepare district meetings any more, we can just go to enjoy them! But our district leader talked about the Doctrine of Christ and how it's all centered on Love. And it was just a super Spirit filled meeting. I was so excited to go out and to love people. Cause that is really what we are called to do, to first love them, and then when we truly do love them, we will Invite them to make commitments and help them to keep those! I feel like I always have to relearn how to be a missionary, but it's good to refresh your memory. Missionary work is all about loving other people. My ponderizing scripture goes along with that! It is John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another."  When we do missionary work, it truly shows the people that we love them. That should be the motivation! and the great thing is that the success comes in extending the invitation!! 

Anyways, I'm still having fun out here. I love it so much. Thank you for all your support and love Mom. I really feel it all the time. You are the best. 

I love you so much. I hope you have a great week this week! Tell Skyla and Zach that I say hi!!

Love you,

Elder Collier

PS we also made some bread!! It's actually super good and super cheap. I sent a picture of it.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Another Week in New Bern!

Hey Mom!!

THAT IS SO GOOD THAT SAMMY GOT INTO BYU!! I cannot believe that every single one of us have gotten into BYU. That is so cool! It'll be so much fun to all be there together. And that is a lot of people that all got in as well. Vancouver is going to take over the school!

Sounds like Solo and Ensemble is the same as it always is... I'm happy for how well y'all did though! 

So this week was a pretty good week this week. We are still struggling to find new investigators, but we are still going. Our active member visits have shown a lot of success. Along with finding new investigators ourselves, I think Elder Shill said it best when he said, "We need to teach the members how to fish." And that's what we're going to do!

We had a special MLC this week which ended up being really really cool. MLC's throw off our day because it takes a little over 3 hours to get to Portsmouth, so we spend more time in the car than actually at the meeting, but it's totally worth it. We had some people from the MTC come to give us training. The whole time Elder Shill and I thought that we were going to get iPads... the whole ride up we talked about it and it seemed more and more possible! We even had a funny plan to introduce them to the zone. But even though we did not get iPads, we had some really cool training that we received. It was about what we call the Plan-Study-Teach cycle, and how everything we do should be focused on others that we are working with. It wasn't anything new that we learned, but it was some great reminders. That night we on our ride home we had to prepare a Zone Meeting because we had an appointment for that night. We decided to really apply what we had re learned, and the member that we were visiting said that we "Shined brighter than normal." It was pretty cool to know that we had applied it right! But then we had a surprise Zone Meeting the next day that we didn't know about before we went to MLC so it was a pretty crazy couple of days because we needed to plan a good meeting for all the missionaries in our zone. But it was super fun!

After Zone Meeting on Friday, it was super cool because I got to go on an exchange with Elder Hargraves, the missionary I trained! I've never been on an exchange with on of my former companions before. It just felt like we were companions again, it was so fun! And he just looked so good, he was enjoying his mission a ton. I got to take him into New Bern and we had some fun going and talking to a lot of different people. 

We had a less-active couple come to church on Sunday! We had visited them a few times, and they finally said that they knew they needed to come to church, and they came! The whole ward was super happy to see them there. 

So while teaching is slow here, I'm super excited and still loving everything out here. I know that there is someone out there that is looking, and even if I don't find them, it's not going to be because I didn't look everywhere I could. My ponderizing scripture for this week is D&C11:21 "Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men." This verse has had a special meaning to me the past couple days, because I want to make my studies more effective to prepare me for those that I am seeing that day or those that I may meet. And I know that if I really prepare myself that the Lord will open my mouth and fill it with what I need to say in the very moment. And I know the same will happen to you! 

I'm sorry that I don't have a lot that happened this week... But I'm happy for y'all! It sounds like you had a great week! 

Thank you for all that you do for me Mom! I'll send pictures soon! I keep forgetting.... But I promise I'll take more! 

I love you so much!!! Have a great week this week!


Elder Collier