Monday, November 25, 2013


 Holy cow it is hot here! 

(Commentary here from the missionary mom, I don’t ever remember using the phrase “Holy Cow” in my kid’s younger years….where did they BOTH get that phrase from?)
 Holy cow it is hot here!
It's definitely the worst right around 2 in the afternoon, because we're walking, and walking, and walking with NO ONE in the streets! Seriously! Everyone is sleeping at that time, but we're out melting like popsicles! We haven't had too much success as far as baptisms go, but we have seriously worked like crazy this past week! I really know what people say when they say that numbers don't matter. It's seeing a change come about in people’s lives that really makes the difference. It's helping them and watching them grow in their faith that is really the best feeling in the world! It's hard work, but it's definitely worth it.

So one of the things that my companion said to me this past week was something that kind of opened my eyes. He was talking about how we see other people who have been 'saved' from drugs, alcohol, etc. in other churches.  He explained that the devil is super crafty, seriously, the devil is one of the smartest guys around. My companion explained that the devil will encourage us to settle for something that may be good in order to keep us from finding and doing what is best. We must always remember our worth in the sight of God, and ALWAYS remember to make the BEST choice. This life is a series of making good, better, and best choices. Always choose the BEST.

Anyways, I have to go, Tchau!!

PS. I am having a craving for pizza. Good old American pizza. The pizza here sucks. A lot. I'd seriously go crazy if you could find some way to send some pizza to me! Haha!

PPS Sorry my letter is so short this week.  I will get to talk to you in a few short days.  (Thanksgiving call was approved for Elder Colvin since his family will be out of the country for Christmas.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

My first package!

Hello Family and Friends,

I got the first package and have already made one of the packets of cookies! Sort of. Haha we added a bunch of other things into them and they turned our AWESOME! Thanks a ton! We are already decorating for Christmas.

Some advice for Fortaleza bound missionaries:  
     1) One thing that I would not advise (in Fortaleza at least) is bug spray. Seriously, it will torment you more than if you don´t use it because the only time you need it is at night, but it doesn't last all night, so you wake up with a bunch of bug bites. However, Elder G shared a little secret with me. You know those electronic mosquito repellers? Well if you buy one of those the canisters last for 3 months if you only turn it on during the night (the only time that you need it for). All in all it only cost about $15. About 30 reais.  
     2) I figured out that it is less expensive to pull money off of the debit card than to actually use the card itself to pay. 
     3) There is no real way to prepare for a mission emotionally....  Seriously, the only thing like it would be marriage, but I have heard that the mission helps prepare you FOR marriage! 
     4) Backpacks verses side-bag issues:  I figured out that it's better that I don't use my backpack because the other Elder's took one look at it and said that I'd get robbed in a heartbeat! My sidebag isn't all that bad, especially since I'm doing some stretches and exercises to help loosen up and strengthen my back.

I have no clue how to manage my time on the computer! It certainly doesn't help that this time we had to use Internet Explorer (slowest thing around) for emailing. Talk about frustrating! This week was pretty rough, but fortunately ended on a very good note. My companion and I had been having some difficulties working together, and it was definitely affecting how we treated each other. We kind of had a breaking point on Saturday and ended up talking for about an hour. It was interesting because it was the first time that I felt like we actually opened up to each other and expressed our thoughts. I found out that I often don't speak my mind because I'm afraid of some of the things that I would say and that they might offend someone. Elder G encouraged me to speak my mind and that I shouldn't hold things in (because of the type of person that I am. Everything shows on my face. EVERYTHING!). I don't cope well with harboring hard feelings. Also, we reached the conclusion that we simply need to talk more. Elder G didn't realize (now he does) that I don't understand everything or I don't read people as well as he does. Shocker. I'm too focused on trying to speak another language!!! Anyways, during the past 2 days we've decided to talk more about the needs of our investigators, what problems we saw when we were talking with them, how we can help them, thoughts, feelings, promptings, impressions, etc. So far the tension has gone way down and we're working a lot better. I think that that would be my advice for anyone out there. If you have a problem, talk it out! It'll help for sure! Having good communication is vital when you're working with others, and I hope that it's something that I will learn by the end of my mission. We're still working our butts of and sweating and walking and all that jazz. 'Tis the life of the missionary! I definitely have a love-hate relationship with that! 

I don't have too much contact with my mission president, so I'm just kind of stumbling through things on my own. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it, but we'll see in the week to come! Also, I'm not sure how I feel about this, but our mission is basically trying to compete with the other mission in the city. I'm grateful that my companion is focused on our area, and the needs of our investigators and not numbers in the mission. 
We have a piano in our hous now! Haha I'm trying to learn a Christmas piece for the ward talent show coming up, and I found a way to practice. Sort of. Haha, it's better than nothing!
~Elder Colvin

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bucket Brigade

So do you all remember the analogy that I used last time about the bird? Well this week I found a solution for that. Run faster than the bird! Nossa! We had a super busy week this week, with hardly any time to rest. Still, the busier we are, the less problems bother us. We've been working hard, with little results, but if you remember ' by small and simple things are great things brought to pass'. Seriously, all of the little victories, like an investigator keeping a commitment, or finding someone that MIGHT be interested, are what keep me going. Right now we are working with a lot of people, but at the same time we are stopping our work with some of the people who aren't committed to working with us. If someone is not committed to something, not only is it a waste of our time, it's a waste of their time as well. The only way that something can progress or become better, is through change, and if someone is not willing to change, we can't force them. Change is essential to our work as a missionaries, and this is what we've been trying to help people do: change for the better.

My first Zone
My first district.
One thing that I really like about what we do as missionaries, is exactly that: change. Let me explain. As missionaries, our purpose is to help others to come unto Christ by helping to receive the restored gospel. This will be a change in the lives of people, but it should be only that. We aren't here to destroy beliefs, we're not here to tell people that they're wrong. We are here to point people in the right direction. We are guides for the path that leads back to God. Just like a guide, we can only tell you information and show you the way. It's all up to the person whether or not the choose to follow. Whether or not they will make that change in their lives. Watching some of these people take the first steps (the first little changes in their lives) is something that is really exciting. It's kind of funny because it's frustrating at the same time. I know it's the right thing to do, I know that you should do this for your happiness, so why don't you just do it! Haha it's all about that person willingly making that change and as much as we want someone to change, it's completely up to them if they want to change or not.

Anyways, our best investigator right now is definitely P. She was using drugs and alcohol to the point that the doctors said that she was going to die by December if she didn't find some other way to live. she decided that she would have God in her life and decided to start reading the Bible for the first time. She is super awesome, and we met here about 18 days after she quit using drugs, smoking, drinking, etc. As of today, she has 1 month without anything! She justt quit cold turkey! I think that that's something that really shows her dedication to find something better in her life. She still hasn't come to church, but she loves the missionaries and is searching for God super diligently in her life. She is by far the most involved person that we're teaching. During our lessons she asks questions, listens and understands our explanations. (Which is really saying something because of my broken portuguese!) Haha it's definitely worth the time that you put in as missionaries when you can see the difference that God brings into peoples lives.

Sometimes its not a big difference. Sometimes all we have to do is point the way out to people and they say things like 'oh, this makes sense'. We have another investigator I. who came to church and said that he really liked our church because it seemed more like a unification rather than the division that is so apparent in other religions. I just about cried because we have been searching and searching for an investigator like him who is completely ready and willing to learn.

Anyways, one of the funny stories of the week, we had NO water in the chapel this weekend. Seriously, the water had been shut off to the church and we had 2 baptisms that day! One in Mucuripe and the other in Nova Aldeota. Both of them were old investigators of the other elders when they had been working in the area, but we were able to help them make that first step of baptism. However, that is really really hard when you don't have any WATER. So we found out that there was one tap on the outside of the building that was working. Let's just say that I´m really glad that we had four elders there. (and prior training hauling water buckets at horse camps)  We spent our Saturday and the afternoon of Sunday filling the font with BUCKETS. Not to mention that the font was leaking a little bit (this is why we had to keep filling the font on Sunday). Anyways, I was definitely a little bit tired, but it was definitely worth it when we were able to see them get baptized. I'm glad that I'm staying in this area for at least another transfer so that I can help them continue doing the right things. Sorry I don't have pictures of all of our baptism, but my camera kind of ran out of battery right before the baptism. 
This week is transfer week.  Elder C. (my good friend) is leaving the house to become a district leader.  We have another brazilian coming into the house. I am staying with my companion for another 6 weeks!
Anyways, that's it for this week. Everyone stay safe, and always know that God is with you if you so choose! 

~Elder Colvin

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pinky and the Brain

I am starting the last week of the 12- week new missionary training program. The second half as been harder than the first half because we had to jump in and do it in Portuguese!  And this past week has been the worst. Week five is always a hard week because you are coming up on the end of the transfer and you're starting to get annoyed with your companion if you haven't already. This past transfer has been especially difficult for me. I think that it was definitely a breaking point in my mission. I´m not having so much of a hard time with the language, but more with my companion. He's never been through the 12 weeks program (the 12 weeks of hell) with an American before. He expects me to do everything without talking to me about it, and he does not even begin to understand the language barrier. The other elders in our house said that I've progressed faster than any other American elder that they know, so Elder G shouldn't be as frustrated with me as he is. The one thing that he says is "com você" (with you) meaning that whatever I choose is what we're going to do. And then, when I say that we should do something that he doesn't like, he just completely shuts it down because he's right and I'm wrong and bla bla bla.  I'm lucky that I've had a little bit of experience with this, because I always just end up going with whatever he says. I figure that he knows more than what I do since he´s been in the mission longer and is my district leader. Elder C. gave me a cartoon that he says reminds him of me and Elder G....guess who is Pinky and who is the Brain? Well the only difference is that I´m smarter then Pinky and wonder why I have to be stuck with the Brain. But it is true that I try to just figure out ways to make the Brain happier so that things will go better as he plots to take-over  convert the world.  Maybe if I were dumber, then I would be happy like Pinky.

A pet bird in one of the houses we taught in.
However, I am truly blessed to have Elder C here to help me. He has already helped me more than any other person on my mission. Com Certeza. 
One of the things that he said to me really helped me and still helps me. Imagine that all of your problems are a bird. You can´t stop that bird from landing on your head, but you can decide whether or not you will let him make a nest there. You can decide if your problems truly are problems, or only a way for you to get stronger. It´s all about you mindset. I know that if we keep pressing forward with a positive attitude, we will see a change in our lives. We will have more happiness, more stability, and a better outlook on life. Of this I can testify, because it´s already helped me get through this past week. I hope that this will help anyone out there who is having difficulties or trials in their life right now, because it has already helped me. That is basically my purpose as a missionary, to help others know of the greatness of what I already have because I truly want them to have it too. I hope that everyone will have a great week and find ways to overcome all of the trials that life dishes out!
Elder C, Elder Colvin, Elder Z, Elder G
Graças a Deus for Elder C. Seriously, he has done more for me during my mission as far as supporting me than any other person. We´re already super close friends. I don´t know how I would have survived without him. I would love to visit him again in Rio after I finish my mission! It sounds like his family is helping Taylor out a TON in the ward that she´s serving in. Like, more than I ever would've imagined a ward would help missionaries!

You'd be proud of me today mother, I woke up on time and cleaned our apartment (minus doing the dishes, cleaning the other elder's bedrooms, and bathroom). All of the other elders were just laying in bed. 

Elder Z injured his foot really badly this week. It wasn't a blister, he literally tore the bottom of his foot! ouch! I think that he was walking/running really fast and he landed wrong or something. He's already doing a lot better, and I think that he's going to be fine.  

~Elder Colvin