Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mission Conference with an Apostle

Here's probably the last time that I will see Elder Cetraro before he heads home! He was a great example to me about how to always stay upbeat. He's probably one of my greatest examples in my mission until now.
So this week was really good. We worked hard, we're super tired, and we got to have 8 people in sacrament meeting! Really the best day of the week had the worst ending. We had a day when everything just went right. Every little thing that could go right went, and the bishop's son even bought açaí for us!

Unfortunately, that's when things went wrong. I found out that both the bishop's son and my companion are both fans of conspiracy theories, especially on the side against the United States. So we had a long discussion about that when I tried my hardest not to say or do something stupid. Anyways, I made it through that just to spend 2 hours at night talking with my companion about war and communism and the sort. Anyways, it took us 2 hours to realize why we didn't agree on our standpoints. My companion thinks in theory, and I think in practice. Anyways, that has been a frustrating topic that has been coming up a lot lately.

As far as our work goes as missionaries, it's definitely starting to pick up the pace! We're going to have a baptism this week! We met our neighbor and he went to church with is two little girls and he said that he is willing to do anything to follow Jesus Christ! It is going to be super cool working with him.

This P-day was really really really good. Really good. We got to have a conference with Elder Andersen and might I say that it is really weird to hear an apostle speak português. He spoke pretty dang well for someone who doesn't have a whole lot of time to practice. I got the opportunity to bear my testimony about general conference in front of both missions and I was talking directly to Elder Andersen. Seriously, I don't think that I've ever done anything so weird. I bore testimony to an apostle about apostles and the prophet. Missionaries from my zone sang a choral piece during conference that I played piano for – Lead Kindly Light.

Anyways, after conference I took some money off of the account for the next couple transfers. We went to a barbeque place with our zone leaders! Think Tucanos but in BRASIL. I can't even remember the last time that I tasted meat so good!!!!!!!! Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves silly and now I'm feeling super tired. Definitely worth it. Conference with an apostle, I got to see a bunch of friends from the past transfers, and barbeque. What could be better?! Haha, I'm happy and tired. I think that those are the best feelings that a missionary can feel.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


We had a great skype visit with Elder Colvin and Sister Colvin on Mother’s Day. This was his message to me sent the day after: I just want you to know that I love you. I know that it was probably difficult to teach all of us kids and struggle with each and every one of us. And yes, we did think of you as the bad guy a lot of the time. However, as I'm looking back, I can only feel an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for what you have done for me. Who I am today is all because of you and I'm grateful for the preparation that you gave me and I wish that I had listened to you even more because you always were trying to tell us what was the right thing to do. I love you tons and I'm super happy her even though I got super frustrated this past week, like seriously angry. I had to just stop working, then I bought a pizza and a coke for me and my companion, and we just chilled for about a half hour. Seriously, it was incredible how much it helped me get back on my feet! Even with everything else falling to pieces this weekend, I could confront everything with a smile and a laugh! That's going to be my goal as leader in the mission is that I can help other people to be happy. I think that that's one of the things that I'm good at, so it'll be fun! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spoiled in Aerolandia

After a run with my new comp, Elder J. Silva
May 1, 2014

            Well this move has been a killer! I got transferred from Bom Jardim to Aerolandia to take the spot of Elder Oliveira.  He served in this position ever since I set foot in Brazil, and he is just now leaving…that’s 8 months in one area!  Kind of scary for me.  Everyone in the ward kept playing around that he would have to start paying tithing soon.  Anyways, my new companion is Elder J. Silva.  The J. is to distinguish themselves from all the other Silva’s (it’s a common name!) He has only been a member for 2 years, and he was a hard core rocker before his mission.  He gave up his long hair, metal t-shirts, leather jacket, and torn jeans for the mission – but he still loves and misses his rock music.  He is 23, from Sao Paulo, and he has a fiancé (member) waiting for him back home.  We’ve hit it off pretty well, and this first week is going better than expected. Below are pictures of our new, tiny, but clean apartment.

May 2, 2014

             It is hard to find the time to write in my journal because of my new job as district leader over 8 sisters.  The only other missionaries in my district are the zone leaders.  I call the sisters every night to check on them.  I try not to be too brief with the sisters because I want them to know that I care about them and I don’t want to be just another leader who gets after them for numbers.  I know that it takes some effort to talk to sisters in order to build a relationship of trust with them and really be helpful to them.

Anyways, a couple of interesting things happened this week:

  1. Our bishop (who happens to be our neighbor) made food for us 3 times this week. One time we ate in his house, another time he took us to McDonald’s, and another was just last night when he brought us pizza! They have a daughter who is serving in Porta Allegre annnnnnd I think that they're hoping that she's getting the same treatment.
  2. We have a recent convert who’s mom is really cruel and I am not sure how to handle it.  This young woman has a 10 month old son and a 4 year old son.  The grandmother calls the baby a little monster, the devil, and a piece of trash, etc… It is really abusive.  The 4 year old has picked up these traits from his grandmother and he is out of control.  We were teaching one day and out of the blue this little kid snatches my nametag, runs away and throws it on the ground all while cussing me out with Portuguese swear words, and then he spit on me!  Unfortunately, if the mother reprimands her little boy, the grandmother starts and ugly fight. It is complicated and very uncomfortable.
  3. Another interesting thing happened as we were walking down the street the other day.  Someone yelled out to us, “Hey Buddy!”  What???  It is super weird to hear people speak in English to you because it almost never happens.  This guy, named Harrison, moved to Baltimore when he was 18 ad worked there for 8 years.  He just recently returned, I guess to enjoy the wonders (?) of Ceara.  Anyways, we talked for about 30 minutes and I showed him my pictures, and we talked a little bit about the restoration.  He seemed pretty interested, so I passed the referral to the missionaries where he lives.  It was a cool experience.
  4. We found someone in our ward (I had lunch with him in Nova Aldeota AGES in the past) preparing for his wedding! It was really weird to see people dressed up so nice in the middle of...... basically brick huts.

 May 3, 2014

            There is seriously no time to write in my journal at night.  I always have to write in the morning in the few minutes I have before we start studying. I’m loving being the district leader this time around, and the sisters are really great, but it eats your time up. I like the members a lot in the ward. They’re always super nice where weå are.  Really everyone here takes good care of the missionaries.  Even people we don’t even know!  Someone we just met yesterday wanted to talk with us, so we ended up visiting with them and drank 4 liters of Sao Geraldo – which is a soda that exists only her in Ceara.  We had a great lesson with him. We just answered his questions this time, but next time we will have a more prepared lesson for him.  Another thing that ended up pretty cool was that our bishop made breakfast for us today!  He is an awesome support to us as missionaries.  I think that the reason why is because he has a daughter who is a missionary right now so he is more aware of the needs of missionaries.  The sisters here iån Aquanambi are both baptizing this week, so I’ve got to figure out something cool to do for them.  I’m gonna get to do two interviews today so that will be a good experience for me, I hope! 

May 4, 2014

            I realized that we had a little miracle happen in our area today! We only had 2 investigators at church, but one of the, V., was contacted while we were waiting for the bus.  We got her address, and I was just thinking that nothing would come of it, but then she ended up coming to church!  The cool part of her story is that her address number  is 317 which is the random number that President Souza dreams about, the number that he wants the mission to baptize every month since he has been the president. This number 317 is kindof a number that haunts us missionaries so we were like, whoa #317!  So we went to this address and everyone on that street is a member of her family.  It will be interesting to see what comes of it.


Monday, May 5, 2014

            First of all news for my family: Dad – I got approval from my President to call you on Father’s Day.  He didn’t even hesitate with my request.  So Mom, I wanted to tell you that I love you and will miss talking to you on Mother’s Day, but we will all get a chance to visit in June.  I hope you have a great Mother’s Day!

            So I am really really tired. We didn't get a good p-day last week because I had to move in, and this week we were practicing in the choir for when Elder Andersen is going to visit us! It went really well, but was really long. Maybe I'm going to be the pianist, and maybe not. We'll see. Anyways, we're working really hard to have success here, and I can almost see it coming. I'm having fun working with the sisters, but it's stressful at times because I don't want to cause any drama/problems or anything of the sort with them. Luckily I have a great group of sisters.  I'm going to be patient and try to be the best district leader that they've ever had. I love you all. Thanks for your update this week sawyer!

            I bore my testimony 2 times this sunday! Haha that's probably the first and the last time that I will do that, but I think that it made a good impression on the ward. None of the other missionaries shared their testimonies..... BUT, I've made it my goal to share my testimony as frequently as I can!!! So far I haven't missed a chance in any one of the testimony meeting that I've had here in Brasil. Try to bear your testimony as much as you guys can! It's so good to let other people feel the truth of what you truly believe. It is the most effective way to help others to feel the spirit.

            What is a testimony? To me, a testimony is what we believe. What we have faith in. What we know for ourselves to be true. I highly recommend to everyone to find their own testimony. If you don't know what you believe…well, you just don't know! haha It's incredible how many people do not have testimonies of anything. I walk around for days and weeks and months here in Fortaleza, and it's amazing how few people actually have testimonies. A testimony can be as simple as 'I know that Christ lives and that He is our Savior'. Until today, I still have not met anyone outside of the church bear testimony to me of what they believe to be true. All that I've heard are facts that other people have told them. A testimony is something that we gain for ourselves and is a confirmation of what we have diligently searched for ourselves, confirmed with God, and CONTINUE to strengthen it. The only way that we can strengthen our own testimonies is by sharing. I have not let by a single chance to bear my testimony in a fast and testimony meeting. Please please please remember to share what you know with other people! If we do so, then there can't be any confusion of people saying 'oh, you believe____ (insert rude comment)'. If we bear witness of what we believe, people can't deny that. My time is up, but I hope that all of you who have a testimony go about sharing it this week, and if you don't have one, you might want to start think about getting one for yourself.


Elder Colvin

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Transfer to Aerolandia

Today was transfer day!!! I left Bom Jardim to work in Aerolandia and I once again get to experience the shock of going from something that I know and am familiar with, to something completely new, and strange. I know that the only thing that we can do under these circumstances is press forward in our work. I always think back on the talk that Elder Edward Dubé gave a couple conferences ago. The part that I like;

 "While I was a boy working in the fields with my mother, she taught me one of the most important lessons in life. It was late in the morning, the sun was up, and we had been hoeing for what I thought to be a very long time. I stopped to look back at what we had accomplished and said to my mother, “Look at all we have done!” Mother did not respond. Thinking that she had not heard me, I repeated what I had said a little louder. She still did not reply. Raising my voice a little higher, I repeated again. Finally, she turned to me and said, “Edward, never look back. Look ahead at what we still have to do.”

We can never stop working. If we stop working, we stop our progress. If we stop our progress, we start to regress. If we let up on the gas, we slow down. It's a fact. Sometimes we need to put a little bit more gas in our tanks, check our engines, etc, but we should be as efficient with our pit stops as possible. If not, we're going to lose in the race of life.

Enough with the analogies. Haha, I just want everyone to know that I'm doing great and that I hope that everyone is doing the same. If you're not doing great, fix it! We are in control of our lives and we can always do better!

I don't have a detailed update for this week because I accidentally left my journal in the other house. The other elders there are going to pass it along and it should get to me in a week. Fortunately, I have a ton of pictures to send! Unfortunately I still haven't taken any with my new companion, or our new (tiny) house, or my new district. I'm in Aerolandia now, which is a safe and pleasant area,  and my new companion is Elder J. Silva. We hit things off pretty well, but I'll write up a better description of him next week and send it.  I'm district leader over all of the sisters in my district (8).... It's all so new, and kindof intimidating.  I guess that all those years of growing up with older sisters will come in handy.  Haha,  it'll all work out.

We had a few interesting experiences in my last week at Bom Jardim:
Some recent converts that we taught when Elder Cetraro was on splits with me.
They were all his recent converts, so they absolutely adore him!

Our last meeting with Erivan....... I'm going to miss him!
Last district meeting!!!
Elder Wall and I matching and playing on the piano together!
I'm going to miss Bom Jardim!!!

My old district and a tv flower pot that one of our investigators made. It ended up looking pretty cool. 
I got to watch TV!!!!!!!
Last night in Bom Jardim!
 We ended up helping the other Elders in our district to fill the font by hand because the pump broke. We joined in after sacrament meeting so I went at it like a madman and was hauling these trashcans of water. Towards the end I needed the help of the other elders to get them to the font. You have to sweat to baptize here!!!

Elder Colvin