Monday, February 19, 2018

Week 55 - February 19, 2018

You guys, perhaps the greatest miracle I have seen yet on my mission happened this week: we didn't get lost. Before my mission, I had trouble getting around my own city without a GPS, and yet this week, with just a little paper map (a pretty crappy one at that, like half the streets don't have names) and some addresses, we managed to find our way around. We also used the members quite a bit, and a lot of prayer, and a lot of asking people on the street. The good thing is that opening a new area gives you a great conversation starter for street contacts.

Areal seems like a good area: the ward and chapel are a lot bigger than all my other areas, which is weird to me. The members seems great and are super helpful, and luckily they seem happy to have sisters in the ward. One thing I was worried about was that the area would be super hilly- walking all day is hard enough without hills- but luckily it's not. THE BEST PART OF PELOTAS: it's known as the city of sweets. They make hecka goot truffles and stuff here. God really does love me you guys.

My companion is Sister Carlota, also from...guess where?....São Paulo! Again! (I'm starting to think 90% of Brazilians are from São Paulo.) She's a little shy, but very sweet, I'm sure we'll get along great. It's funny because both her and my last companion told me that they're a little shy, I said "Me too," and they were both like, "No, you're definitely not shy, Sister." Well, I guess I WAS shy, but seems like  that's something you just gotta lose when you're on a mission.

That's about it for this week. It's still crazy hot, and I think Pelotas is hotter than my last area because there's more pavement and cars and tall buildings, but somehow I'm surviving. Thank you all for your prayers and support. Amo vocês!
Sister Coleman

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week 54 - February 12, 2018


I was indeed transferred from Arroio Grande. Much sadness, many tears, but I kind of knew it was coming. I'm so grateful for the time that I had in Arroio Grande. I truly found a second home there, and I have never been so sure that the Lord sent me there because He knew that I needed those experiences.
My beloved daughter (aka, my trainee, Sister V. Araujo) will stay in Arroio Grande, and will be training a new sister this next transfer! She's super nervous because she thinks she doesn't know enough to train, but I know she's be amazing. Super proud of her. (I'll have a granddaughter!)

As for me...I'll be training again! Wooo! And opening a new area, a part of Pelotas called Areal. So, basically, neither me nor my companion will know the members or know how to get anywhere or where the chapel is or where we're living...but it will be a fun experience. Actually, when I found out that I'd be training and opening an area, I could see how much the Lord has helped me to grow as a person. For sure, in the past, my first reaction would be to get super nervous and anxious and start thinking about everything that could go wrong and doubting that I would be able to do it. I still have some of those feelings to be honest, but my first reaction was excitement and gratitude for this new opportunity. I know it will help me to grow..mostly in patience and courage...and that it's what the Lord wants me to do. But still, any prayers for me and my companion and those in my new area would be much appreciated.

Also, I passed my one year mark on the mission this week. How insane is THAT. Only 6 more months. The branch president's family (in Arroio Grande) invited me over and bought me cake to celebrate (they are the freaking greatest). And they tried to teach me how to samba, since it's Carnaval and all and I obviousy can't go home without knowing how to samba. But let's just say it's still a work in progress.

So, yeah, crazy week. Hope you're all doing well, like always. Remember to always trust in the Lord and His timing; He knows way better than you do!
Sister Coleman

Monday, February 5, 2018

Week 53 - February 5, 2018

Nothing out of the normal happened this week. Sadly, I think it'll be my last week in Arroio Grande because I've already been here 3 transfers, so as my grand goodbye to these people that I've grown to love so much, I'm going to make them cookies. Few people here have cookies, can you believe that. Que horror. And I discovered that vanilla is hecka expensive here...but it's worth it because I'll get to eat some of the cookies too :)

Something cool that happened: Our recent convert, Doca, that I talked about last week, got her visiting teacher assignment this week and she got SO EXCITED to go do her visits. She immediately contacted her companion and asked when they could do their visits and she went and bought some skirts (she didn't own any) because she wanted to "do her visits right." She says she knows she doesn't know as much about the gospel as the sisters she'll be teaching, who've been members for years, but she's just excited to help. She is amazing, I love her. 

The twins, Maiara and Sara, are also doing great. They go on visits with us several times a week and introduced us to their grandma, who we're now teaching. 

I think that's about it, honestly. I'm doing great. My companion's great. The work is fantastic.
Amo vocês!
Sister Coleman

Monday, January 29, 2018

ONE YEAR - January 29, 2018

What a stinking good week, you guys! And super busy, which is definitely a good thing. Sara and Maiara, the twins, along with Doca were baptized on Friday, and it was definitely a very spiritual experience. The twins are already best friends with the young women in the ward, and even asked to go on visits with us a few times this past week. Their mom, Franciele, should be getting baptized in a month or so- she needs to get legally married first, but they're already working on the papers and everything.

I want to tell you a little more about Doca, because teaching her and seeing her conversion has been one of the greatest miracles I've seen on my mission. When we met her, she had very severe depression. She'd already tried to kill herself several times and was convinced that God absolutely did not care about her. As we visited her and prayed with/for her, helping her see the love our Heavenly Father had for her, she started reading the Book of Mormon like crazy and recognizing little by little how the gospel would help her. Now, when I look at her, I see a completely different person. She has the light of Christ in her eyes. She's happy and loves her life. A couple days before her baptism, she told me about an experience that really touched her: in our first visit with her, I felt prompted to share a scripture with her- 1 Nephi 21:14-16 (I'll let you guys go look it up, because it's super good). I remember her saying that she thought it was a beautiful scripture, but now, months later, she told me that it was what made her want to change. I feel so blessed to have been able to see her find the happiness and hope that this gospel and our Savior offers.

Love you all. Continue looking for the miracles in your life, and never hesitate to share the gospel.

Com amor,
Sister Coleman

Monday, January 22, 2018

Week 51 - January 22, 2018

This week has been crazy busy, but as always, full of...wanna guuess?....miracles! We had a Zone Conference on Wednesday- which was super inspiring, I'll share some of my thoughts about it below, and a Stake Conference on Sunday.

Since the city where I'm serving, Arroio Grande, is about 2 hours from the stake center, and very few people here own cars, the branch rented a bus to take us all to the conference. Who would've thought that spending 4 hours inside a bus with people that I didn't even know a few months ago would be one of the funnest things I've done in a long time. These members and investigators have literally become my family away from home, I loved it.

So many people went to the stake conference that we were literally putting chairs in every available space, and even then a got chunk of people ended up having to listen from the hallway.

But it was super good, very spiritual. AND, 3 of the investigators that went to the conference with us- Sara, Maiara, and Doca- will be baptized this week!!! (maybe 4? It's complicated, I'll keep you updated). I'm so stinking happy, these people are amazing.

So, something that was talked about at our zone conference was about the moment in John 21 when Christ asks Peter 3 times if he loves Him (one of my all time favorite parts of the scriptures). We watched a video of a talk by Elder Holland (a video I highly recommend, if you can find it) where he said that Christ was asking Peter is he loved Him more than fishing, more than the nets and the oars and his boats. Of course, Peter says yes. But Christ reminds him that, if that were true, he would never go back to fishing- in actions or in his heart. When Peter was called as an apostle, he was told to let go of his nets, and that was a commandment that lasts forever. That wasn't a mission that would end after Christ died or whenever Peter felt like going back to fishing.

How does that relate to me? When I was called as a missionary, it wasn't just for 18 months. When the Lord asked me to "let go of my nets" (leave behind my personal affairs and serve with all I have), He was actually calling me to be a part of this work forever. When I get home (which there's still a lot of time before that, thank goodness), I'll still be a missionary. In a different sense of course, but I was still called to let go of my nets, my own will and desires, for the sake of the Lord's will. I was called to be a disciple and His representative until the end.

How does this relate to you? Maybe you've already served a mission- 1, 5, 10, 30, 40 years ago- or maybe you're preparing to go. Maybe you never will go. But the Lord has still called you to this work. We were all called to let go of our nets and follow Him. We were all called to be true disciples until the end.
"If ye love me, feed my sheep."

Remember the Savior and everything he's done for you. 
Love you all! Hope you have a good week.
Sister Coleman

Monday, January 15, 2018

Week 50 - January 15, 2018

I think you guys are probably sick of me saying that I had a week of miracles, because I feel like I say that almost every week, but it's true. A mission is full of miracles.

This week we had the baptism of Zaida- a super adorable older woman.

She's now known in the branch as the one who tries to talk with everyone even during the sacrament :)

Nycolas- a 15 year old boy who decided that he wanted to be baptized after teaching him only once. This week, as we were finishing to teach him everything, he asked us if he could go with us to visit other investigators. We were like....sure, okay. 

Another investigator, Raiane, who's only 8 and refuses to get baptized- I think just because she's stubborn- also asked to go on vists with us several times this week.

While in other areas it's a struggle to get members to go on visits with you, in Arroio Grande even investigators will ask to go on visits with you. I never want to leave this city.

While knocking doors earlier this week, we found a woman with severe Alzheimers. She was super sweet and very receptive, but it turned into a pretty funny lesson because she kept saying to Raiane (the little girl aforementioned) "Oh you're so cute, do you want to come live with me?" and Raiane just looked at us like "What do I do?" But it was a cool experience, we talked to her a little bit about the Plan of Salvation, and even though she probably won't remember what we said, she was very touched by our visit.

That's about it. Espero que todos vocês estejam bem!!!
Sister Coleman

Monday, January 8, 2018

Week 49 - January 8, 2018

Despite it getting so hot that I almost fainted this week, it has been a week of miracles. Yet again. 

We've been teaching a woman named Franciele for a few weeks, and the other day she told us that her husband- who works in another city and only comes home a few times per month- started reading the Book of Mormon and loved it and asked her to tell him about what we're teaching her. He encouraged Franciele and their 3 kids to go to church with us on Sunday, which they did, and now they all want to be be baptized. So, yeah, that was pretty awesome.

Another investigator, Nicolas (15 years old), went to church for the first time yesterday, after us teaching him only once, and already decided that he wants to get baptized next week. We were super surprised, but obviously extremely happy.

Something funny that happened: we were teaching a family that we'd just met, when a friend of their's walked into the house. She stopped in the doorway when she saw us and started panically doing the Catholic cross thing, as if we were demons or something that she needed to protect herself from. We just kept teaching, every time we looked at her she stopped, but throughout our whole lesson she was doing it. I thought it was pretty funny.

I had a wonderful experience during fast and testimony meeting yesterday. The spirit was SO strong. I love hearing the testimonies of the members here, all of them have passed through some things that most of us can't imagine, and their faith is so strong because of it. I've also developed a deep love for getting up and sharing my testimony, something I was always scared to do at home....maybe something about doing it in Portuguese gives me courage :) 

Something one of the members said in his testimony really struck me: He said that we pray and search for miracles every day, but many times we forget that WE are the miracles. The fact that we are who we are today, compared to who we were years or even months ago, is the miracle. The fact that God could take such a flawed, imperfect person and mold them into his servant and instrument. Really, when we look at who we are today, where we are and what's going on in our lives, compared to before we truly chose to completely follow our Savior, there's no way it's not a miracle. 

I love you all and I hope you had a fantastic week and a great start of 2018!!!! And always remember: you are the miracle.

Sister Coleman

The young woman in the yellow in top photo and in the middle in bottom photo 
is a teenager in the branch Sister Coleman is serving in.  
Madison told us at Christmas that this sweet girl made her own name tag and goes teaching with the sisters all the time.