Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Losing Steam

My breakfast
My companion's breakfast
April 20, 2015
         P-day was hard today.  We didn’t have anything to do from 2 until 6:00 pm and I got sick of playing the guitar.  That is how bad it was.  Elder S. knew how to get into the other companionships house so we went over there and messed with a couple of things in the front of their apartment.  We also met up with the young men in the ward while they were selling clothes to help with a fundraiser for a temple trip.  They already had made $100 when we saw them, which is really good!  Also, our district leader had an emergency transfer today and he was really badly shaken up about it.  I could only support him and encourage him to work as hard as he could where he is going so that he finishes his mission strong.  Lucky for him, he is going to a good area, but he is going to be a junior comp.  I told him that I knew how that felt and that he just had to work hard and everything will work itself out in the end.
April 21, 2015
         We found a good family a while back and they continue to be interested in learning about the gospel.  We talked about baptism today and they said that they want to know for sure before they will be baptized, but that they want to work towards that goal.  The dad might start working on Sunday mornings, but I am praying that he won’t have to do that. Other than that, we did a lot of contacts today.  Sadly, I have to be the “go-to” in the trio, which means that I have to either, do all of the contacts myself, or I have to send the other two elders to do them.  The new district leader seems super energetic so I hope that he can help me out.
April 22, 2015
         Okay, district meeting was rather weird/fun.  It was a really good training, but it was weird because as the new DL was giving his training, he kept looking at me seriously like staring at me while occasionally flitting his gaze to other people.  He has been out only about 11 months and his companion is from Chile.  Elder S. had a really hard time with our new leader, but I think he is a good hard working elder.
         After the meeting we taught a TON of really good people.  R. who came to church last week and has a strong interest in learning what all the commandments are.  His wife is not all that interested, but I think that is because of past trouble that she has had with other churches.  Then we taught F., who is a referral from other elders and he accepted a baptismal date on our first lesson.  He literally said, “I think that I have not found the yet because I haven’t been to yours!” After his lesson we taught the young men and S. , who also came to church on Sunday.  We taught the restoration and the lesson went very well.  However, we need to get on a more personal level with S. so that we can figure out what exactly he needs.  All of the youth are helping him, which is good news! 
         On the bad side of things, one of my companions is struggling with motivation.  I have been trying to help him, but then I thought I saw him flip me off.  So I asked him if he did, and he proceeded to give me the finger right in my face….while we were walking along the road. Great example huh?  We also didn’t do hardly any contact so that added to my stress.
My comp hanging out on my bed.
What rain does to these big feet!
April 23, 2015
         So we didn’t have a whole lot planned for today, so we (more like I) were determined to contact a LOT of people.  I set a goal for us to contact 8 people each by the end of the day.  In the end, we only had 12 contacts.  When I told that to the DL, Elder S.  corrected me and said, “No, WE didn’t have 12 contacts, but Elder Colvin had 12 contacts.”  Seriously, it is like they have just given up.  It is really hard when you have one companion who is just plain tired out, and the other who is so introverted that he can’t talk to strangers.
         Our new convert, M., is going great!  She is studying like crazy to learn everything about the church that she can.   
April 24, 2015
         We had lunch today with the H. family and they have a son who left on his mission a couple of months back, so they (especially the mom) have very mixed feelings about missionaries.  One moment they love us, and the other, they can’t stand the sight of us because it reminds them of their son.  Super funny thing: their son sent home a sweaty p-day shirt so that his mom could SMELL his smell again.  Yeah, that’s right.  The culture here in Ceara is a little different than what I am used to.  For example, I am pretty sure that my mom is very happy to have a 2-year break away from my sweaty t-shirts!    There is no other state in Brazil (that I know of)  that does this, but I think it is kind of animal-like.  I mean all animals have this thing about sniffing each other, but I have never seen that before in humans, at least not consciously.
         We tried to go teaching again with the young man who has received his mission call, but he said that he was too tired from work to go out with us.  He was the one who set the appointment up in the first place.  Yeah, he is going to have a hard time on his mission.
April 25, 2015
         Okay, I have had it. Today was one of the WORST days of my entire mission, and I have had some pretty bad days so that is saying something.  We didn’t teach anyone today. Not a single person.  I tried contacting people, but failed miserably.  The first guy we tried to contact yelled at us because he said that miracles are impossible and that Jesus was just an ordinary man.  Then the next people we contacted were from the Universal Church and were very rude and closed off.  Then we met a Spiritist lady who gave us the whole charity talk about how we shouldn’t judge others.  I agreed with her and testified that we follow Christ’s doctrine.  As we were almost out of earshot, she told the other people in her group that we were all going to Hell….so much for being nonjudgmental.  What is really crazy is that Spiritist don’t even believe in Hell.  We should have tried contacting more people, but I gave up.  I have no support from the other two missionaries who don’t even try to contact people.  It is an energy sucking experience.
         There was only one bright side of the day that happened just by chance as we were passing by the store owned by a less active member,  C. Earlier in the week, I set an alarm on her phone to help her remember to pray.  Ever since then, she has been reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and she paid her tithing (which she has never done before).  We didn’t actually teach her a lesson, but it sure brightened my awful day. 
Feeling trunky
April 26, 2015
I am WIPED OUT!  We had a bunch of people say that they would come to church and, SHOCKER, no one came.  We went looking for all of them, some were working, others “weren’t home”,  and others just didn’t want to come.  I don’t know what happened to S.?  On the bright side, I had all 3 of my recent converts and 2 less active families come to church today.  I had one of my comps passing notes to our recent young female convert which didn’t set well with anyone.  I had some members talk to me about stopping that from happening again. That is always a fun conversation to have with your companion who likes to flip you off.  Another interesting thing happened in church today when this brother got up to say the prayer (he also served a mission). This is what he said,  "We thank thee O God for a prophet, who guides us in these latter days…” He said almost the entire first verse of the hymn as his first part of the prayer. Funny, huh?
         After church, once again with no help from my companions, I talked to some more super disinterested Catholics. AND THEN, it was ward council (remember the council that the stake presidency has asked that each ward should hold weekly? Well, the missionaries and the ward mission leader were the only ones who showed up.  I felt like that was the moment that I just kicked the bucket.  It is one of the first times on my mission that I felt like I was aimlessly walking. I am totally drained.  Thankfully it is p-day tomorrow and I get to email with my family.  I do have a special conference coming up with Elder D. Todd Christofferson, which I hope will help me finish this mission on a positive note.
April 27, 2015 (written in email early Monday morning)
Okay, so I'm a lot better right now because my recent convert wrote me and email this morning (Evaldo) and he thanked me for everything and gave me an update on how he's been and it was exactly what I was needing right now to keep my head in the right place.
I am looking forward to my skype call in just TWO WEEKS...!!!

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