Monday, April 21, 2014

A Happy Easter

 April 14, 2014

            I really enjoyed this week’s emailing session!  I heard from a lot f people and I felt like I was able to write many people back.  I am excited that Sister Rogers is going to send me and a bunch of other missionaries some conference quotes, especially because I missed a lot of conference this past session.  I think that I might make a study out of each card.

            After emailing, Elder B. watched “UP” while I played the piano.  We waited for the zone leaders to show up and then we all watched “Frozen” in Portuguese.  It was really horrible because it lost a lot of the meaning in Portuguese.  We weren’t able to understand any of the songs, and very little of the wit.  Afterwards, Elder Packard kept singing “Quer brincar na neve?” (Do you want to play in the snow?)

            That night we taught 2 family home evenings with recent converts and members.  They turned out pretty well and we got a couple of referrals so we’ll see how it turns out.

April 15, 2014

            I hope that we are able to actually follow through with baptisms this week.  There are plenty of people who have committed, but they keep postponing for some reason or another. We are working really hard to involve the members in our missionary work.  The thing that I am doing specifically is to gain their trust and with humility, ask for help.  One of our members said that he will start doing contact again so that he can help find some people for us to teach. 

April 16, 12014

            So we talked with P and C this morning before our district meeting , and I got kind of sad because they used a bunch of excuses and stuff for why they couldn’t be baptized.  This time their excuse is that their baby was sick (she is always sick).  Anyways, we ended up giving him a blessing which he wiggled and cried through.  We will see how everything is goes.  


April 17, 2014

            P. and C. are going to be baptized!! Apparently our blessing helped their baby to sleep all night long.  They were super excited to be baptized so we scheduled it for this weekend (again).  I really hope that this time everything goes well for them. 

            Funny story, my companion was sitting on a member’s couch and we were talking about how some other missionaries broke a sofa of a member a while back.  Right as wee were talking about it, the sofa just gave out on my companion. 

            We are planning an Easter activity for Friday night so we have been inviting lots of people to come to it. 

April 18, 2014

            We ran around like crazy getting everything organized for the activity tonight.  But all of our hard work paid off and it turned out great!  A. and A. came!  We played the fin “ the lamb of God”, and elder Cetraro gave a little talk about Easter.  Then the zone leaders baptized a family!  It was really a great activity with a great turnout including ward members.  It was our first “integration night” that this ward has had in a long long time.  We finally gained the trust of the wad council and now we are going to have these meetings every other week!  In the end of the activity we had chocolate fountain for a treat.  It was super tasty, but I got it all over myself. It was worse than a little child. Haha 

            I am starting to really love this ward, an that probably means that I am going to get transferred soon.

April 19, 2014

            P and C. were interviewed this week!  Again. I hope that this time is it.  The missionaries from Nova Conquista baptized someone who had been investigating the church for 14 years!  Also, Al. was interviewed for baptism, passed, but said that he doesn’t really feel that he wants to be baptized right now.  We’ll just keep working with him. 

April 20, 2014

            Easter Sunday…packed house!  We had 7 confirmations in our ward.  P. and C were baptized and we had a couple more investigators show up for church.  I accompanied Elder Packard in a musical number, and the talks were great.  Even the lessons were exceptional this week.  It was just awesome. 

            Elder Cetraro and I went on splits and taught a bunch of recent converts.  It was his area before the re-division of the area, so he knew a lot of the recent converts better than I do.  One of the sisters of a recent convert want to be baptized. It’s funny because she was the first member of her family to come into contact with the church, and now she is almost the last to be baptized.  It was super cool because when we asked if there was anything we could do to help her, she said, “Yes, just baptize me!”  I really enjoyed my split with Elder Cetraro, and I was just feeling good. Seriously, he's one of the oldest missionaries in the field (he's at the 1 year 11 month mark) and we just talked about the mission and I realized how much I have ahead of me, and how much I've already learned and accomplished. I'm coming up on what could be the best part of my mission, so I've decided that I'm going to make it the best part! The most important part is that I'm happy… I am really happy just to be a missionary.  I'm super grateful for all of your prayers, but you guys also need to pray for yourselves! One of the things that I need to do now is focus on how I can get better, but how can I do that if I don't even pray for myself? Pray for missionary opportunities and they will come! Sometimes all we need to do is open our mouth! It's not really something that's part of the American culture, but if you talk to everyone, someone is bound to be interested in the gospel.

            This week I have reflected a little bit more about what our Savior, Jesus Christ, has done for us. I have been reading a lot of the Pauline epistles, and he states repeatedly how we are not our own, and about how we have been bought by Christ so that we can be set free. Something that my Dad told me about the great sacrifice that Jesus has made for us is that we all have our problems. Big, small, it doesn't matter. In comparison, our little cups of problems are nothing to the suffering that Christ went through in the garden of Gethsemane. He suffered for us all, and that is something that we really truly can't comprehend. We can't even begin to understand great our own suffering would be if we felt the weight of everything that we have ever done wrong come upon us all at one time. However, our Redeemer paid that price so that we don't need to feel that weight. Now, I would like to ask a question, what does Christ want from us? Everyone should ponder that question and find out for themselves, what Christ wants for each and every one of us. I know that our Redeemer lives and loves us. He wants each one of us to be eternally happy and that is why he guides us today. I love Him, I love His work, and I love you guys!

Happy Easter
~Elder Colvin

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pepperoni Pizza Pacifies

 April 7, 2014
       This P-day was not much fun.  I decided to be nice to Elder Packard because his back was hurting.  So I took his place with Elder Cetraro and went to the mission office to carry materials back for our zone.  That was basically ALL morning and we got back around 1:00 pm.  On the plus side, I bought Burger King for Elder Cetraro and I.  I always like to buy American food for special occasions.  This special occasion was “be-a-zone-leader-for-a-day” haha (not a very fun job BTW). In the second half of the day we emailed, bought stuff, and played Big Boggle.  It is a 5X5 Boggle.  Elder Packard is way good, but I’ll catch up to him!  I just need to refresh my English.
       We taught Al. and Ai. tonight, and they set a date for baptism on April 20th!

 April 8, 2014
       I think that our planning session went pretty well today, but we’ll see how it actually turns out during the rest of the week.  Nothing happened today out of the ordinary.  We taught, we walked, we ate, we slept.  It is getting pretty routine, unfortunately.  This means that I need to find a way to break this routine, or a way to make my own personal mark…to be myself and to teach more effectively.

April 9,2014
       Our zone training was really good today.  We talked about how to work more effectively with the members.  I learned a lot about how we should prepare the members before our lessons, and I would have tried to put that into practice, but, ALL of our members flaked out on us today.  It was really frustrating because a bunch of our other appointments fell through as well.  I don’t know if it is faulty planning, or if it’s just one of those things on a mission, but I am frustrated.  I am not a huge fan of making Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C and then have all of them fall through.  Maybe the Lord is trying to teach me to make more than three alternate plans.

April 10, 2014
       Soooo this week is starting to develop a theme, the week of frustrated plans. When our appointments with a member don’t fall through, our investigators flake out on us, and vice verse.  Anyways, we’re working hard and trying out best.  I am satisfied with my efforts, but not with the results.  We are teaching a lot of people who flake out on everything.  It’s super frustrating or as I am trying to teach Elder B.  – it’s complicated.  Today, Elder B was trying to pronounce “complicated” and in the end he just said, “it’s complicated saying complicated.”
       We did find one family who actually listens to us and applies our lessons.

April 11, 2014
       Today was another slow day in keeping with our weekly theme.  We only taught 1 recent convert and 1 investigator.  We did talk to a bunch of people and invited all of them to church.  It was all right, but we could have done a lot better.  We’ve got to make more alternative plans for next week.

April 12, 2014
       Finally, a decent day this week!  We taught a lot of really good lessons and a ton of people showed interest in our message. We taught P., Ci., B., and Br., (a family who accepted the challenge to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it).  The father of the family was very interested in finding a way to get his daughter to Washington state….hum, seems that parents here want their daughters to marry north american missionaries.  Don’t worry!

April 13, 2014
       We had a baptism planned for today, the one that fell through last week, and it fell through again this week. I think that the woman is a little scared about the actual baptism part, but she is super prepared and ready to be a member of the church.  Also, none of our other investigators came to church today despite our extra efforts to invite and encourage people.  On top of all that, our ward mission leader passed a message to our zone leaders to give to us that one of the members complained that we STINK! I have to admit that I got a little upset because I am doing everything that I can including 2 showers a day, 2 layers of deodorant twice a day, and wearing a clean shirt every day!!  Ughh.  It is impossible to walk 15 miles a day in this heat and not sweat. If a missionary does not sweat in Fortaleza, they are not working.
       So probably the most spiritual experience happened to me in a long time in fast and testimony meeting. One of the kids of the other elders´ investigators bore his testimony! He's only 9 or 10 and he went up all by himself and just said 'I know that God loves me, and I love him. I love this church.' I can't remember the last time that I cried in a testimony meeting, but I cried in this one. I have not felt such a pure and innocent love in a long time. You guys know that I'm not much of a crier as far as church goes, but it was pretty cool. 

April 14, 2014
       So this weekend kind of sucked a lot. We were kind of depressed, so we ordered pizza today for p-day. Then we got better. I know that the only thing that I can do is look for ways to improve, but even though the week was kind of bad, I can still say that I worked hard every day. I hear a lot about missionaries fubecando. It's a mormon slang term for someone who breaks the rules (fu-fumar-to smoke, be-beber-to drink, and ca-castidade-chastity, a combination of the major commandments) anyways, I get utterly revolted when I hear about missionaries slacking off and staying in the house and playing video games, and stuff like that. I want you guys to know that I am working at all times. 
       Just to finish it up, I'd like you guys to know that We're going to start working a lot with the members and try to get them more involved with the missionary work. This isn't just visiting people with the missionaries, but it's being a missionary even when the missionaries aren't there. For example, our mission president gave a training for another ward, and he said that one idea would be to have a 'missionary day' for every member in the ward to choose a day to think more like a missionary. We can find ways to invite our friends, include the church more in our casual conversations, etc. I'd like to invite you guys to do so as well. Even Dad in his pain and suffering, can still find ways to share his testimony with those around you! I love you guys, and I hope that you all have a great week!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Conference Fiasco

Happy late birthday to me, Happy on time birthday to Bailey!
Monday March 31st
            So this P-day was pretty good.  First off I really enjoyed my emails and especially Dad’s email when he shared the thought: “The refiner’s fire has the power to reduce you to useless ash or to turn your spiritual strength into a gift worth giving!” 
            I finally made my birthday cake that Mom sent months ago.  I guess I can celebrate Bailey’s (my oldest sister’s) birthday since she turns 25 today.  The cake was actually pretty good.  The sad part is that was my last of the cookie and cake mixes in my stash.  I guess that I will have to wait until my next package! 
            The rest of P-day consisted of watching both Mulan and the Lion King.  It was so great to watch Mulan in English!  But we watched the Lion King in Portuguese.  "O Circulo sem fim" does not come close to “The Circle of Life” that I grew up with.  All- in-all it was a good distraction for me for a little bit.  Now I am ready to work again!
Elder B. made a little bed for his Movie watching.

Tuesday April 1st
            Today we were going to visit with P. and C. before our weekly planning session, but Elder Cet. didn’t think that it was a good idea, so we didn’t go.  I hope that nothing will happen to them to affect their upcoming baptism…because we can’t visit with them again until Thursday.
            Anyway, we got a referral from a member at lunch to visit a non- member family who lives above a bakery.  When we went to visit them that afternoon, I had to go upstairs alone because the only access was a very rickety spiral staircase that could not hold my companion.  It went okay, but it felt weird not to have my companion by my side.  Other than that, nothing super exciting happened, just the typical missionaries routine/marriage counseling.  I don’t know what it is with people, but within the first 15 minutes of talking with them, you can know how their marriage is and what their family problems are. 

Wednesday April 2nd
            Today we had specialized training from the assistants and interviews with President Souza.  Elder B and I were last on the list to be interviewed.  Training was good. We learned how to explain the Book of Mormon in a little bit better way so that people would actually read it instead of throwing it away.  It was pretty good, especially for Elder Car. first training that he has given.  Anyways, at the end of our meeting we all decided that our goal for baptisms this month as a zone….80, EIGHTY!!! Not even joking. The cool thing is that I think that we can actually make it this time because a bunch of us have entire families on date for baptism. 
            The interviews went a little long, so we ate lunch and came back to the chapel and still waited for our interviews.  While we waited, we got the chance to talk to Sister Souza and she LOVES the piano!  I talked with her for a while and she basically did exactly what mom did with our family.  All five of her kids play the piano.  During the interview with the president I think that I spoke pretty well. President Souza and I talked for a while about how I could be a better missionary.  He said that the trait that is holding me up from being a better missionary is my willingness to accept advice from my leaders.  Well I already know that it is a problem of mine that I have a comeback whenever I am criticized…this actually boils down to PRIDE.  So I need to work on this.

Thursday April 3
            We had our weekly meeting with Erivan, our ward mission leader, and got some things accomplished.  We also talked about funny stories and experiences Erivan has had.  We had a blast.  He fed us lunch too.  I am going to miss Erivan, he is really a great ward mission leader! 
            We spent the rest of the day/week teaching people about prophets and general conference.  I hope that it catches on so that we can have a good turn out for conference.  We passed by one investigator and had a difficult conversation with the.  He was so contentious that it was very frustrating for me.  I have never had such a desire to punch someone like I did this guy, but still I kept my cool on the outside.

Friday April 4th (missing page)

Saturday April 5th
            Where to begin…All of our efforts and planning for this week fell to pieces with trying to broadcast General Conference in our chapel.  Well, WE didn’t have any problems with it, but our Bishop didn’t even show up so without the “presiding priesthood” present they would not broadcast the session to our chapel.  We had to turn away lots of our investigators and less actives who showed up for the conference, and Of course we also missed a session because we had to wait at the chapel to tell people who we had invited that it would be shown at the stake center instead.  We did end up getting the second session broadcast and we had 6 investigators show up for that.  The other missionaries hat 5, so overall we had 11 visitors watching conference.  That turned out well, and I personally really enjoyed conference. I hope that everything goes well tomorrow.  P. and C. passed their interviews for baptism!!

Sunday April 6th
            Well I didn’t think that things could go much worse that yesterday, but they did!  C. got really sick last night and ended up going to the hospital to check it out….so the baptism fell through.
            We watched the priesthood session on Sunday, which was lucky because we only had one counselor from the bishopric present to preside.  That is really tough when your leadership fails to follow through because there is nothing that we can do to compensate. Our bishop actually told us that our investigators aren’t important and his concern is the members of the church.  So what can we do? I didn't get to watch Sunday’s conference because of the same authorization issue and we couldn't watch conference in our chapel and so I bit the bullet with one of my zone leaders and was running behind everyone trying to relocate them to the stake center (we had marked 42 investigators just in my companionship alone) annnnnnnd we had to wait in the chapel to apologize to anyone who was late. Other than that, this week was great and we still had 9 people visit conference, so that was good.