Sunday, June 1, 2014

Major Update

Me, making my nightly phone calls.
 May 12, 2014
This is the only type of watch I can wear because of a metal allergy!
            Man, I don’t have any time!  I have resolved to write in my journal in the morning before my day starts in order to make sure that I don’t run out of time at the end of the day.  It is the only time that I can find to write!  I have to talk to five different companionships every night, and four of them are sisters.  I actually like calling the Sisters better than the Elders because they will let me know how their day was, instead of the standard, “it was good” answer from the Elders.  Anyways, I like all of the sisters and I don’t have any problems with them.  There is one sister who struggles with poor health, but that is the only problem. 
            We haven’t had any time in the last two p-days to write letters because we have been practicing a musical number for when Elder Andersen comes to visit the mission.  He is going to give a conference next week and it’s going to be so cool.  I will get to play the accompaniment, which is nerve wracking since I don’t get much practice time other than p-day. 
            We did teach F., she is a super receptive lady who asks a lot of really good questions and is fun to teach. 

May 13, 2014
            We have a few serious investigators who are making progress in learning the gospel.  We had a perfect day of teaching with lots of appointments and we worked super hard.  My companion is a great companion and the only problem that I can find with him,  to tell you the truth, is that he always thinks (or talks like) his opinion is the only thing that exists in the world. A little bit like Levi in that aspect, BUT I'm glad that I learned to work things out with Levi so I had some practice with that. The other is that he never uses a watch. Sadly, that means that we teach lessons that are on average an hour long. Other than that, he works hard, know the gospel, has a firm testimony, and doesn't have fear when it comes to inviting people to do stuff.

May 14, 2014 (Sister Colvin’s 22nd Birthday!)
            Well today as a riot!  Our district meeting was super good. We got to practice with Sister Jackson and Sister Brasil.  We practiced being missionaries first, and our first time was good, but lacked showing a personal interest in the investigators lives. So we practiced again and this time, well, I could barely keep myself together because one of the Sisters pretended to cry because of a personal crisis and I was trying so hard not to laugh.  Seriously, I was laughing so hard that I was crying too.  I managed to pull myself together and make it a good practice.
            Last night my comp got on another political rant.  I was getting super frustrated until I realized that my companion thinks in theory not in practice.  It took me a long time to figure this out.  I just don’t want to get into these discussions with him anymore. They are not good missionary topics.
            We went to teach a lady tonight and as we were arriving at her house 5 cop cars pull up in front of her house.  Someone threw a gun in her house as he was making his getaway.  Anyways, we were going to teach her at another members house, but she didn’t want to go because she thought I was flirting with one of the members.  I am completely lost at times in understanding how these people think!

May 15, 2014
            L. is excited for his baptism!  He finally says that he feels ready. She still has to work out a day that his family can come, but it’s finally going to happen. We went to teach C., but her mom was going to send us away because she was busy building dog collars.  We helped her out. After about a half an hour of building dog collars, we gave a great lesson on faith and works and invited everyone to church.  Then we had a meeting with our ward mission leader tat went well.  (side note: C. ended up coming to church and brought two of her friends!)

May 16, 2014
             We had a frustrating day of teaching people who don’t really want to change their lives or be helped.  There where two exceptions though. One is a woman who is a little intellectually delayed, but has a very sincere and pure heart. She is 24 years old but thinks like a 12 year old.  It was pretty cool to interview her and see what she has learned about the gospel in the past 5 years that she has been investigating the church.  The time finally arrived that she was prepared to be baptized and she was so excited.
            We also were able to teach Ev. He has worked so hard to prepare himself for baptism.  He got out of rehab a little while ago where he spent 7 months cleaning up his life.  He knew that he needed spiritual strength to withstand temptation so he is highly motivated to change. He locked himself in his house for 3 days and prayed fervently to God to help him find out how to be stronger spiritually.  That’s when we knocked on his door (he was a referral from our Bishop) and he said that it was an answer to his prayer.  He is by far the most prepared person that I have met as a missionary. He even cancelled other appointments on Sunday so that he could go to church. 

May 17, 2014
            Well today was mostly frustrating and discouraging.  The only thing that went well was our interview with Ev., and it was awesome.  I have never had the chance to interview someone so ready to be baptized!  We talked and talked and really got to know one another and I could actually see his conversion in my mind. 

May 18, 2014
            We had 8 investigators at church today!  The coolest Sunday ever!  We have our conference with Elder Andersen tomorrow and I am looking forward to it!

May 19, 2014
             We went to the conference REALLY early because all of the missionaries were excited to see each other and visit with each other before the conference.  I saw Elder Gino, Nogueira, Curty, Zuniga, Freeman, Butuly, Cetraro, and a bunch of others.  It was great to see so many familiar faces.  Then we spent a half hour organizing everyone into groups to get pictures with the Apostle.  Everything went really well.  Elder Andersen did a pretty good job with his Portuguese.  I was pretty impressed.  The musical number went well.  It was a great conference and was more like a discussion than a conference. He focused on the Atonement and how we can only help people to be converted to Christ when we are converted ourselves. This requires a better understanding of the Atonement on our part as missionaries.  I wrote more about what I leaned in my study journal.  One of the cool things that I got to do was bear my testimony about general conference directly to an apostle. It felt super weird, but I could feel the spirit present as I spoke.  It was once in a lifetime experience.

May 20, 2014
            So weekly planning went well, but our zone leaders called us and wanted the entire zone to do a special fast.  I really don’t like fasting (it must be a Colvin thing), so this spur-of-the-moment idea was kind of annoying for me at first.  BUT, we went ahead and did it anyways. 
            We visited a recent convert who has serious family issues including depression, and just doesn’t even want to go to church anymore.  We’ve been visiting her a lot to try to give her courage and she literally complains and cries about the exact same thing every time we visit her. I actually think that she uses the exact same words every time we talk to her.  I explained a few principles of the gospel that would help her and she acted like she hadn’t heard a word of what I said.
            We visited with Ev. and he was the shining star of our day.  He is going to be baptized this week.  He is very excited to start a new life and he has such a strong desire to improve himself.  I really like helping him!

May 21, 2014
            Today was really a good day!  For one, I got my package today, which always makes for a good day!  We had our district meeting and I gave the training.  I think that it went well. For my training, I was super creative and I had interactive activities and an object lesson and a practice. I started off explaining a little about our purpose as missionaries and then I asked all f the zone to write on a slip of paper what they thought their purpose was.  To my surprise, it worked even better than I imagined.  There were very few repeats and only our zone leaders put down “to baptize”. (Actually it was anonymous but you could tell that it was our Zone leaders who wrote it.) Then we talked about what everyone wrote down and I summarize by finding the common thread, which was change.  Our purpose is to change and help others to change and become better people. My object lesson involved a container of dirt and water. I asked to look for the greatest change and then I dropped rocks in each container.  The rocks represented us as missionaries. Most of the missionaries said that the container of water changed the most because the water splashed, rippled, and rose when the rocks were dropped in.  Not a whole lot happened to the container of dirt when the rocks were dropped in.  Then I said, it is time for transfers, and I took the rocks out of the containers.  Again I asked which container reflected the biggest change.  There was no visible difference in the water container because the splashes and the ripples didn’t last, but with the dirt, the rocks left marks in the sand - marks, or changes that left a lasting impression.  That was the focus on my training, not to just make a temporary wave or splash, but to leave a lasting impression, make a real difference wherever you go. After the zone training, we broke our fast together.  I shared the jellybeans that Mom sent in my package and they were a big hit. Most of the zone is made up of American sister missionaries, so I was happy to give them a treat from home. Everyone loved them!

May 22, 2014
            We taught the commandments to E. today and it went well. I really liked when we taught him the Word of Wisdom. He understands addictions and how they have a negative impact on the quality of life.  When we explained that coffee wasn’t something that is good for our bodies and can be addictive, he immediately got rid of his coffee and said, “I am going to find something else to drink tomorrow!”  He is so open and willing to obey all of the commandments so that he can have a better life.
            My camera broke today…uggh, something screwed up the focus mechanism.  I guess that I will have to buy a new camera. 
            We had family night with some of the members and I made snickerdoodles for everyone!  It was great! I didn’t eat too much though because I was feeling kind of sick.

May 23, 2014
            Well today I feel like crap.  I hate getting sick as a missionary because it makes work even harder.  We taught some lessons and I had an interview with some sister missionaries.  I had to go to Aguanano and then the interviews fell through so that was a waste of an evening.  I did have the opportunity to buy a Brazilian shirt that is a special edition for the world cup.  It’s a cool shirt and it only cost $12 so I was pretty excited. It was the highlight of my day.

May 24, 2014
            We had a de-roofing service project today.  I was still feeling like crap so it was hard for me.  I worked until I had to leave to talk with L. about his baptism.  He chose to move his baptism until June 22, almost a month from now.  Anyways, I didn’t eat anything but a banana for lunch because I was still not feeling well.  We taught another lesson to a less active family and then I took another trip to Aguanambi.  This time the interview went well and we were able to set up the meeting between the President and Ev. for his baptism.  Everything worked out really well, even though I still felt terrible. 

May 25, 2014
            Ev. was baptized today!  It was a super experience for everyone.  He was rally happy. I know that I will always remember him and that moment in time.

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