Monday, November 24, 2014

Transfers - Staying put

November 17, 2014
         I am still not feeling 100%, but I managed to eat today.  Today was also transfer day and no one moved in our zone.  Not even Elder Dorneles or Elder Rogers.  This is their 4th transfer together.  Elder D. has been here for 5 transfers.  The hard part is that they don’t like each other – that is probably why they are still stuck as companions! 
         We taught several really good lessons today.  One of our investigators is really ready for baptism but she is not able to attend church on Sunday right now because her daughter is in jail and the only visiting day happens to also be on Sunday. It is more important right now for her to try to help her daughter. 
November 18, 2014
         We went back to teach our lawyer friend.  He is super cool.  He has a huge dog that is a cross between a rotweiler and a Doberman.  He calls the dog, Judge and yeah he is an intimidating watch dog. We taught an unusual lesson on the Restoration that included church history discussion about Kirkland, Far West, and Nauvoo.  It was very interesting.  I really hope that he continues to stay interested to learn more.
November 19, 2014
         So our new zone leader has been in Brasil for all of 2 months.  Elder H. was serving his mission here for 10 months but then went home because of back pain.  After a few months he came back and now he is here in our zone.  It is really different…and there are a lot of other really strange things that happened with this transfer.  I will just keep on working and keeping my head down as I work.
         We finally caught up with C., our investigator who has been dodging us for a while now.  She says that she has been missing church because she was asked to be a Godmother for a friend’s baby and so she has been attending the Catholic Church for the past several weeks.  But, she says that she is excited to be finished with that and she is now ready for her baptism which is scheduled for next week.
November 20, 2014
         We met with our lawyer friend today and he is looking forward to church on Sunday, but he still hasn’t read the Book of Mormon.  We focused on the importance of scripture study and in particular reading the Book of Mormon.  Today was the first day that we made friends with his monster dog – Judge.
November 21, 2014
         I got my birthday package!!!! I opened it in honor of my Dad’s birthday.  It was also one of our Zone leaders birthday and an older guy in our ward’s birthday.  We sand happy Birthday in English to the older man and he absolutely loved it.  He is a humble fisherman and he loves the missionaries so much. 
This is the shell that the old fisherman/missionary dad gave me for christmas and my birthday. I think that it is super cool
 Anyways, I loved my package!  By far the best thing in my package was the photo book with pictures of all the people from the ward holding “Happy Birthday Elder Colvin” poster.   It was so cool to see everyone.  Freckles and Tootsie Roll look ancient!  I also loved the guitar book that my parents sent me.  It says that it is for absolute beginners and literally starts out like this: “What is this thing sitting on my lap? It is called a guitar.”  It is super fun, and funny.  My companion (the pro guitarist) looked through it and he said that it is a really good book and would really help me out.  Also – loved the corn nuts…a LOT!  The bug toy is hilarious.  I was reading the warnings on the package and it says in big bold letters:  “DO NOT EAT HEXBUG!”  haha.  Anyways, Mom, it was a fun package. Thanks!
         In the missionary department, we had another investigator delay their baptismal date.  I am not too worried about it though because we still have some things that we could review with her that might help her feel more prepared.  We will keep trying to help her.
November 22, 2014
         So funny story, we have a recent convert who is a super smart and nice young man of 12 years, who went out with us on teaching appointments.  He is quite small for his age which made for a terrified little boy when he first met Judge.  The dog was bigger than the boy!  Things got complicated in our discussion so I am thinking that we will not likely see our investigator in church on Sunday, but he is going to have lunch with us on Monday.   

Monday, November 17, 2014

Zone Conference

       So this week was actually super super good. We taught plenty, but a couple of investigators had some accidents and couldn't come to church. We did have A. come though! She is super great and hilarious. She absolutely loves church, and already gave up coffee. I got to play piano for the primary today and that is always fun for me. We also had our zone conference one Wednesday where our president was trying to roast all of the missionaries who baptize people just for the numbers' sake and not actually taking care of the people. (See Ezekiel 34:1-10) The cool part of the conference was that 6 of the Elders from Canada stayed at our place. Yeah, 12 elders in 2 houses right next to each other is definitely not a good idea, but it was fun. I have no clue as to how we got to bed on time, but we managed to do it. I gave my bed to another Elder who has a hard time sleeping.  Sadly, I don't sleep well on the floor either.  I ended up getting up early and making breakfast for everyone. I made tapioca saborosa which is a crepe-like dish. 
        We also met this guy who is studying law to be a judge.  He has studied a lot of different religions and he was curious about ours. He was very interested in the Book of Mormon and says he wants to read it.  We set up an appointment for this week and I'm pretty stoked. One of his best friends lives in the states and his first name is Colvin! Weird, huh? I hope that everything goes well when we're gonna teach him. 
        On Saturday we had this huge CHURRASCO  (barbecue),  at the stake presidents house with all of the missionaries and we all ate a ton!!! We started our fast right after (we are fasting for rain in drought ridden Sao Paulo) and I have no clue what happened to me. I decided to fast and I was going to do it for the full 24 hours, but I was not up for it because I started feeling sick. Still, I did it anyways, and then for some reason I could not manage to actually 'break' my fast. I tried to eat, but I couldn't because my stomach hurt so much. Ironically, lunch was so bad today that another Elder actually threw up the lunch after a couple of bites.  I didn't end up eating lunch, and I tried eating when we got back to the house, but I just didn't feel like eating at all. It was super weird. I almost threw up, but there was nothing to throw up. I couldn't sleep very well. Elder Rodgers had some peptobismol that I took and I managed to eat a little bit of bread and drank some water. Seriously, this fast broke me. 
        But, this week should be a good week and I just hope that I'm feeling better by tomorrow. I forgot to take pictures of my journal this week, but that's all of the major stuff that happened this week.  We had a Joseph Smith; Prophet of the Restoration film as a ward activity and 6 of our investigators showed up. They all liked it and thought that it was interesting. They didn't end up coming to church, but they will once their relative that they visit every Sunday gets out of prison. Really, this week was just a whole lot of ups, with just this big down at the end with me getting sick, but I'm pretty happy with it. I hope that this week goes even better. I love you all and hope you guys have a ton of cool experiences this week. Tchau!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another week

November 2, 2014
            Today was another depressing day at church because yet again, none of our investigators came to church.  The main reason is because it is “the day of the dead” here.  It is not super huge in Brasil, but everyone does like to use the holiday to travel to visit family and pay respects to their dead relatives in the cemeteries.  After church, we passed by a less-active member’s house because he asked us to translate a document into English for his cousin.  The member actually studies English and knows a lot, but got stumped on some formal terms.  I have to admit that it was actually quite hard for me to do even though I know both languages.  The whole experience gave me a stronger testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and his gift of translation of the Book of Mormon. 
            Ward council meeting was interesting because they discussed the ward budget and it really shocked me how little money this ward has to operate on.
My comp is the only one who has more than a year to go! And his usually chilling spot is just sitting in the hammock playing guitar.
November 3, 2014
            We went to Centro for p-day (against my wishes) and wasted a ton of time.  I ended up enjoying it though because we got our money, and I bought a new messenger bag. We spent so much time that I didn’t have any time to write letters or play the guitar.  I limit myself very strictly to playing guitar only during our allotted free time, so if I use up all of my free time doing other things, then, no guitar.  We did get to visit with C. and she explained that she missed her baptismal interview because she didn’t feel ready to make the commitment of baptism.  We will visit more with her tomorrow to figure things out.
November 4, 2014
            C. set a new date for baptism of November 29.  She wants to make sure that she is really able to live the standards of the church before baptism.  She is very sincere and making progress all the time, so hopefully she can continue. We also found a very cool less active man who was very good to us.  He treated us to just about everything that he had and wants us to come back and teach him.  We have a companionship goal to make contact (as in visiting) 10 men every day.  We are almost reaching our goal, but it does chew up time.  The men are very hard to contact because they are working, but that is what we need in our ward.  It does help us to get to know more people in our ward. 
November 5, 2014
            We passed by A. today and she is still working on quitting coffee.  It is hard for her and for many Brasilieros, but she said that she would buy Cevada and replace it ASAP.  She still is pretty excited about the gospel and we love working with her. 
            We had a great meeting with our ward secretary who is acting as our temporary ward mission leader.  It was probably one of the most productive church meetings that I have ever been to.  It looks like we are finally going to get the help we need to organize the members and put them to work helping us.  Our new WML gave us a good pep talk and boosted our faith. Now I feel super pumped to work harder and I hope that everything will work out as he outlined.
November 9, 2014
            Our week went well after our meeting with our WML.  We found a lot of people to teach.  Many of them literally said, “I want to be baptized”.  The only problem is that most of them work on Sundays and cannot attend church.  Seriously, out of all the commandments, keeping the Sabbath day holy is actually the hardest one for people to obey.  So this week we were super pumped for church because we had more than 18 of our investigators say that they would come to church for sure. We even had members help us to check up on investigators…then, no one came. Ughhh, it is hard to stay excited for the work when this happens week after week.  Yesterday we helped one of our investigators move and we got super filthy ad worn out.  She promised that she would come to church today. Promises really don’t mean a whole lot to people here in Fortaleza. 
            We did have a good class on missionary work in Elder’s quorum where we were able to get the few elders there excited to help us.  We had another small blessing after church when we were able to get a ride in the bed of a pick up truck to our lunch appointment.  There were 13 other people in the truck…a tight fit, and not very safe, but totally worth it!
            I am really excited for p-day because I am totally wiped out: physically because of the move on Saturday, spiritually because of the disappointments and lack of progress, and emotionally because Elder Yarrington is struggling emotionally and needs extra support from me.  He tends to get stressed out, emotional, and take things way to seriously.  Yeah, in other words he reminds me of me when I first started my mission.  I can see a lot of the same types of thinking that I used to have in him so that makes it a lot easier to try to help him.  Because I understand him, I am able to help him or at least try to help him so that he doesn’t have to learn the hard way like I did.  I actually have changed a lot on my mission, mainly about the taking things super seriously. I've developed a lot of patience and be a lot more grown up while at the same time being sensitive to people. I'm not quite so emotional or easily offended like I used to be.
          So I got my Christmas package and I am not ashamed to say that I have already eaten a good part of the candy therein. Yes. Haha, I also realized this week that here in Brasil, people start celebrating Christmas as early as November 2! Like Christmas trees and everything! It's weird seeing Christmas trees so early in the season!  I loved Sawyer's Symphony performances!  The symphony is really really good this year!
One of the missionaries in our house really likes classical music (Elder William Percival.) He plays the oboe. He is always playing classical music in our house. All the time. I like it, but other missionaries are starting to get sick of it.
My comp placed his visa picture in my guitar so I'll always be able to remember him.

My district leader bought an inflatable airplane. Not a good idea with over 5 missionaries that are going home in less than a year.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Just working

October 27, 2014

         P-day was chill.  We cleaned the house really well. I learned how to play “Savior, I would follow thee” on the guitar.  I taught myself and that was really fun.  Yeah, it was a really nice quiet p-day.  I found out that my Dad is doing well and he is finally going to be able to get his stem cell transplant. I am not too worried about him.  Taylor is really wrapping up her mission with only 6 weeks left!  We bought some more ice cream which make me really happy. 

         On the teaching side of things, we taught C. today and she is getting excited for her baptism.  She has been very fun to teach.  We also has a family night activity with M. and all of her grand children were there.  It was a crazy irreverent night, but she said she loved it!

October 28, 2014

         Wow, we taught a lot today!  We taught a guy who has an ankle bracelet on because he just got out of jail.  We gave a very basic message and invited him to come to church.  We also found a great family.  When we first met the father of the family he gestured wildly and I thought he might be crazy, but thing we figured out that his wife is deaf and he was signing to her.  We taught the restoration using a lot of gestures and it worked out well.

October 29, 2014

         C. is ready for her baptism but she seems a little nervous.  We had another great lesson with a recent convert and his family about the tree of life.  The Dad (who is not a member of the church) made a comment at the end of the lesson that he has never partaken of the fruit before but would like to.  That was really a huge moment for us.  I really hope that he will choose to make some positive changes so that he can join his family who have all been baptized.

         I am not even halfway through the week and I am pooped.

October 30, 2014

         We have this one really annoying missionary in our district.  He is super authoritative even though he doesn’t have any kind of leadership position at all.  Anyways, he talked with our Elder’s quorum president and asked for a meeting to discuss ideas on how to help the Elder’s quorum.  Most of the Elders in the quorum wear nametags so this meeting was basically just a missionary telling the Elder’s quorum president what he was doing wrong in his quorum.  …WAY overstepping his boundaries.  Elder Yarrington (the district leader) got pretty dang riled up about that. 

October 31, 2014

         HAPPY HALLOWEEN.  I bought pumpkins for everyone because we have 5 North Americans in our district.  We were able to have a little bit of traditional fun.  Each companionship got to make their own jack-o-lantern.  I made this pretty cool frog.  The other elders didn’t put a whole lot of effort into theirs, but they had fun. 

         C. bailed out on her baptism interview for who knows why…we tried calling her, but she never picks up.  That’s the life of a missionary.

November 3, 2014

Elder Yarrington
Elder Yarrington and I went to the center of the city to buy some extra guitar strings and Elder Yarrington got to try out an electric guitar and just started shredding it up in the guitar shop. Anyways, I decided that I needed to buy extra strings too just in case mine broke too. When we got back, Elder Yarrington replaced his one string that had broken, tuned it, and then decided to switch all of his strings so that they were matching. Then he proceeded to cut the rest of the strings because that's the easiest and fastest way to take them off. The result: He cut all of them. Even the brand spanking new one that he had just bought. Brilliant! Haha I sold him the ones that I bought for the same price that I had bought them for, but he's dang lucky that I had decided to buy more of them!

My comp is doing well, except he talks in English a LOT and it's like a disease! Seriously, I'm starting to buckle down a lot more on the fact that we have to talk in Portuguese all the time, but we've gotten a pretty good plan worked out where all day we're going to speak Portuguese, and then he likes to video journal so that'll be his English time of the day. My investigators are doing well, but we have a ton of holidays here in this state and when there is a holiday, everyone goes out of town for it. It's annoying.

Our interview with the mission president a couple weeks ago was pretty frustrating because we were told that it would be at 3:20, and, being punctual as I am, we showed up at 2:40. Well. It turns out that our interviews didn't even start until 6:30. Ugh. My interview basically consisted of me telling the president that I'm tired, working hard, but tired. I didn't have any questions or comments, and he didn't have anything for me either. No big whoop. Elder Yarrington's interview was even less anticlimactic. He went in, said a prayer, president told him that keeping the rules and obeying the commandments will bring the spirit, said a prayer, and left. Yeah, we lost an entire day of work because of that. Oh well.