Monday, November 13, 2017

Week 41 - November 13, 2017

Ohhhhhhhh, I'm halfway there...

Guys, I hit my 9 month mark. Literally halfway through my mission. How crazy is that. I'm not gonna lie, it makes me a little sad. Of course I miss my family and friends and some things about home, but I feel like being a missionary is all I've ever done and all I'm meant to do. I'm amazed at the privileges and opportunidades I've had, the people I've met, the growth I've experienced, and especially how I've felt closer to my Savior. I think the best part of being a missionary is having such a sure purpose. Knowing every day when I wake up that I'll get to help people that day. That I'm here to live for them and not for myself. Getting to see how the Spirit is changing their lives. So, anyone who's reading this who's still thinking about whether or not you want to go on a mission, just go. I promise you it's the best decision you could ever make. There are seriously zero downsides to this.

Despite the sadness of realizing I'll leave this all behind in 9 months, I think it's given me even more excitement for the work. I only have 9 months left to invite everyone to be baptized and call everyone to repentance and bring everyone to the gospel, so I'm going to take advantage of every moment.

A few cool things that happened this week: We had a zone conference in Pelotas, and to get there on time, we had to stay at the apartment of some sisters in Pelotas the night before. And it just so happens that one of the sisters serving there is Sister Pertab, my MTC companion. It's been awhile since I've seen her, and we got to pass our 9 month birthday together, which was great. 

Also, one of our recent converts, Gabriel (14 years old), has been struggling with some friends that are pressuring him to drink. He used to drink, like, A LOT, before he was baptized, but gave it up because he gained a super strong testimony. So now, while all his friends are drinking beer and crap, he drinks chocolate milk. Which I think is super cool of him. Now, whenever he comes with us on visits, we all buy chocolate milk to drink together. I'm convinved we'll start a trend and everyone in the town will drink chocolate milk instead of alcohol :) That would be pretty nice.

Also, Gabriel's dad is apparently reading the Book of Mormon! We've already tried teaching both his parents several times, but they never really wanted anything to do with the church. But the other day, Gabriel told us that his dad took the BoM to work with him and read a large part of it during his lunch break. He said he only didn't tell us earlier because he didn't think it was a big deal. We were like, um, yeah, it's a big deal!! Most people don't just pick up the BoM and start reading because they want to. Needless to say, we are super excited. We also have 3 baptisms marked for this pray for us that everything goes right!! 

I think that's it. Eu os amo, tenham uma boa semana!!
Sister Coleman

Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 40 - November 6, 2017

You guys, I am seriously in a city of miracles. I can't stress that enough.

This weekend, our investigator Viraldo got baptized. We've been working with him since the start of the transfer, and he's been going to church every Sunday and living all the commandments, but he said he didn't feel ready to be baptized right now. But, we had a super powerful lesson with him a few days ago. We talked about the importance of repentance, and how it isn't complete until we're baptized. If we truly want to be better people and follow Christ, we'll have the desire to baptized (Moroni 8:25). The Spirit was crazy strong, I didn't even feel like I was talking. It was for sure just the Spirit speaking through us. At the end, we invited him to pray that night, simply asking God if he needed to get baptized, and pay close attention to how he felt afterwards. 

The next day, when we passed by, he answered the door with a huge smile on his face. We asked him if he received an answer, and he says, "I think I need to be baptized this Saturday. If you came all the way from the United States to baptize me, I should probably do it." I cried. It was awesome. God answers prayers, you guys.  His baptism and confirmation were super spiritual, it was such a privilege to be a part of it. 

We also had some cool cultural experiences this week. Thursday was the Dia dos Finados (Day of the Dead), which means everyone goes to the cemetery to decorate the graves of their loved ones with flowers and such. We stopped by quickly to see, and I was seriously touched to see the graveyard so decorated and so many people there remembering people they love. Several people throughout the day commented that they don't like the holiday because they think we should enjoy the time we have here with those that are alive. Which I think is true, but I'm also so happy to know that those who have passed on are in a better place, and that we can continue to help them here on earth through temple work.

Another cool thing that happened this week: there are a lot of youth here in the branch that like to visit people with us, and yesterday three of them came with us to all of our appointments from like 3 until 9 at night. It was awesome, I felt like we were a small, unstoppable army. Yeah, it was only 5 of us, but it was cool, and I was super impressed by their testimonies and willingness to help us (they were 10, 14, and 15 years old). 

I think that's about it for now. Hope everyone had a good Halloween. Since we couldn't use costumes, we just traded name tags and went as each other. Only a few people noticed.

Love you all!
Sister Coleman

Monday, October 30, 2017

Week 39 - October 30, 2017

Oh, what an incredible week!!!! Miracles are so real and God is so aware of all our needs and oh my goodness I am just so happy!

We had three baptisms this weekend: J. and A. (who are parents of a recent convert, N.,) 

and J. (the mom of another recent convert, S., who is N.'s wife). 

So, as you can imagine, it was a super happy day for N. and S.. They both gave talks about how grateful they were to know that they could now have an eternal family. N. baptized both his parents and gave them a huge hug afterwards. It was the most touching thing I've ever seen. 

This gospel is such a blessing, you guys. What did I do to deserve being a part of this wonderful work? Another recent convert, R., who was baptized just a few weeks ago, blessed the sacrament for the first time on Sunday. We've been going on a lot of visits with yet another recent convert, G. (14 years old), who has an amazing testimony. It's been awesome to see how he's changed since he got baptized, and now he's not all afraid to tell people that he knows reading the Book of Mormon and being baptized will change their lives.

I am completely convinced that there is nothing as satisfying, nothing that brings more joy into our lives, than helping other people receive the gospel and seeing their lives change because of it. I am so immensely blessed to be here, I don't even have words to express it. 

So go share the gospel! I promise you it's the best feeling in the world!

Sorry for the short update, but these were for sure the highlights of the week.

Sister Coleman

Monday, October 23, 2017

Week 38 - October 23, 2017

Olááááá!!!! This week was probably one of the best on my mission so far, to be honest. We are finding a lot of people who the Lord has for sure prepared to be baptized, and I've never felt more grateful and privileged to be a part of this work. An incredible couple, J. and A., will be baptized this week, along with the mom of a recent convert, J. We've been working with her for awhile, and she's always been great, but always said she didn't feel ready to be baptized. But when she showed up to church on Sunday, she said she received a super strong answer that the Book of Mormon is true and wants to be baptized this weekend. I almost cried, I was so happy. MIRACLES ARE REAL, YOU GUYS.

We also went to Jaguarão, a nearby city, for a district meeting this week, and walked on a bridge that goes into Uruguay. Super cool! I almost entered another country! The elders in our district also brought some dessert pizza and tapioca from my birthday, so that was cool.

My birthday this week was one of the best I've ever had. The people here are so sweet and loving; three different people made cake for me, and one family of members I've grown to love immensely put up bday decorations. 

Sister Hartman also went all out decorating my desk with balloons and streamers and chocolate. 

As a grand finale, I got "ovada." Which basically means they crack a bunch of eggs and pour flour on your head. It's a super cool bday tradition in Brazil that I think I'll bring back with me to the US. It was awesome. But it did take awile to get all the egg shells out of my hair :)
(Don't worry, I did also do missionary work that day.)

Thanks to everyone that sent me birthday wishes! Love and miss you all!!!​

Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 37 - October 16, 2017

This week has felt pretty darn long, as I've been getting to know all the new investigators and members and trying to memorize the streets and such (until now, I've completely failed on that part). But, it's also been a very good week. There are TONS of investigators here, and a great majority of them have a lot of potential and are already preparing to be baptized. This weekend was supposed to be the baptism of a very special couple, J. and A., but sadly it had to be pushed back a few weeks. But, it'll happen super soon, and I feel very blessed to be able to work with them and teach them. 

There's a member here that I've immediately fallen in love with, J. She's only 15, but she's already crazy prepared to go on a mission and has been visiting investigators with us almost every day of the week. She introduced us to some of her friends, and one of them already read the Book of Mormon and believes that it's true, so now w're preparing her to be baptized! Arroio Grande is seriously full of people who want to be baptized...something I'm not so used to, haha. 

This week was super, super rainy, which was fine when I had a coat and umbrella....but about half way through the week someone stole my umbrella. I left it on the doorstep of an investigator's house because I didn't want the house to get all wet, and when we opened the door to leave, it was gone. But, whoever took it probably needed it more, and I'll be able to buy another one.

Sister Hartman and I have been getting along great...we enjoy singing together and quoting Nacho Libre at each other. Also, we both had to give talks in sacrament meeting on Sunday, which I surprisingly didn't get at all nervous for and was able to basically improv because I didn't have much time to prepare. I think talking in Portuguese gives me more courage or something...maybe I'll have to give the rest of the talks in my life in Portuguese.

That's about it for this week! Amo vocês!
Sister Coleman

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Week 36 - October 10, 2017

This week was INSANNNEEEEEE. Probably one of the most emotional of my mission so far...other than my first few weeks. 

First, our golden investigator, D., who I've been working with to be baptized for three months, was going to be baptized this past Thursday. Very sadly, the baptism fell through, but is now marked for this Thursday. And I have complete faith that it will happen this time, because D. is 100% prepared to be baptized and has a stronger testimony than almost anyone I've ever met. For this, the fact she will be able to take this important step in her life and receive the blessings that she needs, I am extremely happy. But it's a little bittersweet, because yesterday I was transferred to a new area, so I won't be there for the baptism. 

Also, very surprisingly, Sister Silva and I had to close our area, because both of us were transferred. But we left everything clean and organized for the new missionaries to figure everything out. In saying goodbye to everyone on Sunday, there were many, many, MANY tears. It didn't help that it was Fast and Testimony Meeting, which means, as I bore my testimony, I was feeling a crazy mix of the Spirit testifying to me and comforting me, sadness for having to leave these people behind, an immense love for them, and a lot of gratitude for having the time with them that I did and getting to grow spiritually with them. Even Sister Silva, who basically never cries, was crying. Almost everyone in the congregation was crying. It was a crazy day. But, despite all of it, I am mostly feeling happy, happy that Heavenly Father send me to Dom Pedrito to grow to love those people, and happy knowing that one day I can see them again....even if it's not until the next life. (Wow, that was depressing, sorry.)

So, I spent all of yesterday, from 6 in the morning to 10 at night, riding the bus. First, to Porto Alegre to drop off Sister Silva. Then, to Pelotas to meet my new companion. Then, to my new area, Arroio Grande. My companion is Sister Hartman, from Orem, Utah, who's been on the mission for a year. She seems super fun, although we're both worried about how we'll be able to improve our Portuguese together. Arroio Grande, from the few hours I've been here, seems pretty cool. It's a branch here, instead of a ward, but a much bigger branch than Jacuí (my first area). The town seems pretty similar to Dom Pedrito, and is also super close to the border of Uruguay. Apparently, the city where we go for district meetings, Jaguarão, has a bridge that goes directly into Uruguay. When I heard that, I was like, "That's so cool! I'll almost be in a another country!" Then I kind of realized that I'm in Brazil. 
So yeah, a crazy week, crazy day. But I'm excited for this new transfer and for the new opportunities and experiences waiting for me. On Sunday, I had my mission birthday of 8 months, which means I'm almost half way through my mission......insane. I feel like I just got here.

Love and miss you all!
Com amor, 
Sister Coleman

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 35 - October 2, 2017

Wasn't General Conference marvelous!? I was very sad to not be able to hear the words of our prophet; I always feel like his words are the anchor of the entire Conference, and I did feel like I was missing a piece of personal revelation and spiritual guidance because of the lack of his presence, but none the less it was a wonderful conference and I feel so grateful for this opportunity we had to receive guidance from servants of God. I felt even more grateful because I was able to understand everything that was said, unlike the last conference that happened just a few weeks after I arrived in the field...meaning I understood very little.

Something very cool that happened this week: when we told one of the recent converts, Duda (12 years old), about Conference and urged her to go, she said, "They're gonna talk to! From the United States? That's SO COOL!" Then, as we were walking to the chapel with her for the first session, about five minutes before it started, she says, "We need to walk faster! I don't want to miss a single second!" Her excitement and faith touched me, and I hope I can be a little more like her every time conference comes around, remembering what a wonderful blessing and opportunity it is to listen to the words of living servants called by God.

And, a few strange/funny things from this week: I ate capybara meat!  We ate it in the house of a member, and they only told me what it was after. But it thought it was pretty cool...not super good, but it kind of tasted like a dryer verison of turkey or chicken. Some people here also eat armadillo, which I've yet to try, but I'm up for it.
Also, my companion, in making fun of my whiteness, said to me the other day, "You know how the scriptures say that we're all made from the dust? Well, I think you were made from the dust of rice." The white jokes will never end, you guys.

That's about it. Hope you all enjoyed conference and the rest of the week as well...and I hope at least some of you fulfilled the challenge I left last week! Love and miss you!
Sister Coleman