Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 33 - September 18, 2017

It's decided: I've completely fallen in love with the Dom Pedrito ward. This week we had a ward activity- simple, just a short spiritual message about families, then playing some games and eating hot dogs- and it was one of the funnest activities I've been to in my life. It felt like a family reunion (which it practically was, seeing as a large marjortiy of the members are related). Everybody in the ward knows each other so well and had no shame in making a fool out of themselves during the games. This ward has really helped me see how we, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, are a family. The kingdom of God is built on brothers and sisters helping each other. And church will be a better experience for everyone (and more people will want to know about the church) if we remember that. If we treat all the other members like they're our family and welcome new people with open arms. 

I think all too often, as members of the church, we do things very mechanically. Automatically. We got to church on Sundays because it's what we've always done, we take the sacrament because it's what we do, we pray and read our scriptures and have family night because we know we have to. But all these things are privileges and things that we need to do to have more happiness in our lives, not just extra tasks to add on to our busy day. I fully believe that the purpose of life is to be happy- truly happy, not that artificial happiness that the world is offering- and that the gospel is the root of this true happiness. Everything we're asked to do in the church is to help us have more joy in our lives. So, this week, I'll try harder to find joy in the little things in my life. Rediscover the joy of the gospel. I challenge all of you to do the same, and to continue praying for those who still don't have the joy of the gospel in their lives.

I don't have much updates to give this week. This Sunday was Stake Conference, and this week we'll have a Zone Conference in Pelotas, which is like 5 hours from here. But I've gotten very used to long trips. 

Hope you're all doing well! Amo vocês!
Sister Coleman

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week 32 - September 11, 2017

This week has been....exciting. Monday afternoon, which started out hot and sunny, brought an unexpected, full-out storm. Right as we were leaving the grocery store, carrying a mountain of shopping bags. And of course, this was the first day in my entire mission that I forgot to bring my umbrella with me. So, we got completely drenched walking home. Like, it seriously looked like we'd gone swimming. A member who saw us passing now calls us the "Sisters molhadas" (wet sisters). 

Then, a few days later, my companion Sister Silva broke her tooth eating dessert because she bit down too hard on the spoon. She got mad because I laughed...I felt kind of bad about that. Then, the plumbing in our hecka old apartment went crazy. The toilet stopped flushing, so now we have to poor a bucket of water in the toilet every time to make it flush. But worse than that, the bathroom flooded with nasty, moldy water. We had no idea what to do. But we called a member and he helped fix the problem...thank goodness. 

We also had a district meeting a few days ago that was SUPER good. We have two new sisters in our district that just arrived on the mission, and because they appeared kind of nervous and discouraged, we took some time to really bear our testimonies of why we were there and how much our missions have changed us. A lot of missionaries shared some stories about how hard it was when they first got here, but that, with time, the Lord helped them see how much their missions were bringing blessings to their families back home and how the people here in Brasil needed their service. A few other missionarieswho have only been members for a few years shared their conversion stories. It was a very powerful moment, and I'm more sure than ever that there's no way anyone could come out here and do this work- REALLY do this work, with all their heart, might, mind, and strength- without knowing 100% that this gospel is true. 

I'd like to end with one of my favorite scriptures, but one that I thought about a little differently this week. John 15:13- "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
 Jesus Christ layed down his life for us, his friends, we know that. But He did more than that. He dedicated His life for us. Every moment of His life, He dedicated for the cause of our Heavenly Father, to help us know what we need to do to find true happiness. And we, if we are His friends, His disciples, need to give our lives for Him. Dedicate every living breath for this cause. For our Savior.

Love and miss you all,
Sister Coleman

Monday, September 4, 2017

Week 31 - September 4, 2017

This week was a long one. As much as I love Dom Pedrito, I think it has a curse that makes it so that all of our appoitments fall through. It seems like none of our investigators, recent converts, even members were home this week. But, it gave us a lot of time to knock on many, many, many doors and teach a lot of new people. Many of them seemed to be interested, so I'm excited to work with them, especially as we're having to drop a lot of our old investigators that weren't progressing. That's still one of the hardest parts for me, because it's super easy for me to see the potential of someone. To see how much of a testimony they could have and how their life could change with this gospel. But then they don't want to go to church or be baptized, they don't want to try to reach that potential, and we have to stop visiting them so that we have time to find people who do want to recieve the blessings of this gospel. I think, until I finish my mission, it will always be hard for me to stop teaching someone. Mas a vida de uma missionária é assim. 
I'm really enjoying being with Sister Silva- she's a great missionary, we have a lot in common, and she loves Harry Potter, so obviously I have to like her. Unfortunately, she doesn't like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings because her dad made her watch them so much (another thing we have in common) that she got sick of them, but I'm trying to convince her to give them another chance.
That's about it for this week. Hope all is well back home and that everyone's excited for a new school year!
Sister Coleman

Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 30 - August 27, 2017

Olá família e amigos! Today was transfers again (for some reason that I'm not aware of, this transfer was only 5 weeks instead of 6). Sister N. Souza was transferred, and I received a new companion, Sister Silva. We met about 5 minutes ago, so all I know about her is that she's been out for almost a year and she's from Recife. I am crazy happy that I'll be staying in Dom Pedrito- if I could choose, I'd stay here a good while longer.

This week was super good. We had a family night with a family of investigators; we played a game where, if you lose, everybody else gets to draw on your face with lipstick. We ended up walking home that night with the lipstick still on our face...luckily not many people were on the street and it was dark outside, but the looks from the people that did see us were pretty funny.

For the first (and last) time in my entire mission, I forgot my nametag one day this week. We were rushing early in the morning to catch the bus to go to our district meeting, and I completely forgot to put it on. I know, I'm a terrible missionary. Of course this just happened to be the district meeting that our mission president showed up to as well. I thought I was gonna die- everyone talks about how angry he gets when missionaries break rules, even the smallest ones. But luckily he just joked with me about it and told me to not forget again. 

A cool experience that I had this week: we have a 15 year old investigator, Vitória, who asked was asking us a bunch of questions of what it was like to be a missionary. What we had to leave behind, how we stayed in touch with our families. And then she asked, "Was it hard to go on a mission?" That made me stop and think about all the difficulties I've passed through so far. The pain of saying goodbye to my family at the airport. The many tears at the MTC. The heat and the cold and bugbites and sunburns. The exhaustion at the end of every day. The goodbyes when being transferred. The sadness when you watch people walk away from the blessings of this gospel and the potencial happiness they could have. And yet, with all of that, I didn't have to hesitate to say to her, "No, it wasn't. I know I needed to come here."

That's about it for this week. I'm continuing to LOVE what I'm doing, and hope you're all happy as well.
Sister Coleman

We just get the photos without any explanation.  I would assume that the pictures of the animals are from when she visited the Bishop's home several weeks ago.  The other sister in her pictures are of Sister Souza, the companion that just got transferred out of the area.  I am assuming the apartment pictures is her current apartment.  You guess is as good as mine on the rest.  But she looks beautiful and sounds so happy!!! - Tiffaney

Monday, August 21, 2017

Week 29 - August 21, 2017

News for this week! A new bishop was called this Sunday in the Dom Pedrito Ward. Bispo Fernando has only been a member for 4 years, but he's a very kind and hard-working man, so we're excited to see how this ward can grow and strengthen with his help. He's also super willing to help with missionary work, which will be great.

This week we had a cool experience with a new investigator. His name is WIlliam, and he's about 17 or 18 years old. At the end of our lesson (the Plan of Salvation), we asked if he had any questions or doubts. He said, "Just one. How do you know all of this is true?" I think that's the first time anyone has asked me that. So of course we went on to talk a little more about our testimonies and how he, too, could know it was true if he prayed and asked. He was like, "Alright, I can do that." So, of course, we're super excited to continue working with him!!

Also, Feliz Aniversário to President Monson! I was reading an article in the Liahona the other day about his life and everything he's done in his callings in the church. It made me realize how much we take it for granted that we have so many people willing to dedicate their entire lives to the cause of the gospel and to service in the church, and of course, how fortunate we are to live in a time with a living prophet. 

In fact, I've been thinking a lot about all the things I've taken for granted as a member of the church. Since I've grown up with the gospel, things like baptism and the Book of Mormon and a living prophet and the blessings of an eternal family- all huge, life-changing things- have always surrounded me, so they felt like ordinary things. I'm eternally grateful for my mission for a million reasons, but one of the greatest being for how it's made me more grateful for the gospel in my life. Meeting more and more people who've never had the opportunity to have these blessings makes me realize how valuable they are. I'm also so humbled to meet the members here in Brazil. The great majority of them are converts, and they don't waste a single day talking about how grateful they are for the missionaries that brought them the gospel and for the blessings they have now because of it. 

So my challenge for all of you today: Think for a moment about how blessed you are. Think about the amount of people who've never even heard of, much less recieved, the blessings that we have as members of the church. And pray that those people can have the opportunity to encounter these blessings.

I love this gospel, and I love my Savior.
Sister Coleman

Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 28 - August 14, 2017

This week we had splits...again! I went to Bagé, a nearby city, to stay with Sister Cirqueira, another Brazilian. She is amazing, and I hope she's my actual companion one day. She also makes the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted in my life, which I will for sure be making frequently when I get home.

This week has also been one of the most rainy so far. In fact the house where I was staying in Bagé lost power while we were sleeping because of the storm, which means I had to take a shower in the dark in freezing cold times, you guys. When I returned to Dom was still raining. And has been for days. I don't mind working in the rain, but the problem is that no one seems to leave their house when it's raining (which means much less people go to church), and also no one answers their door, which makes it super hard to visit people. So a large part of our rainy days are spent walking all over the city, knocking on doors (or clapping our hands, in truth), until someone answers and lets us in. Everybody says we're crazy for working in the rain, but the work of the Lord doesn't stop, right?

Hope everyone's enjoying the warm summer weather in the US! 

Sister Coleman

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 27 - August 7, 2017

I am continuing to adore this area and to love my companion, so things are going pretty well. This week a lot of our commitments fell through because almost none of our investigators were home...even though we tried at each house about 3 times this week. But, it's all good, because it gave us the opportunity to knock on a lot of doors and meet a lot of new people, so we have high hopes for this coming week.

This past week we also ate lunch at house of the Bishop, who lives on a farm. So we got to spend some time with horses and sheep and pigs and such, which was pretty cool. 

A little miracle that happened as well: we fasted that we could find someone to help get baptized this transfer, and this Sunday, two members came up to us and gave us references for friends of theirs that they want us to visit- friends that are passing through hard times that are really needing the gospel in their lives. We're super excited to work with these references and hope that they're an answer to our fast (because it's super rare here for members to give out references like that).

As of tomorrow, I will have been out on the mission for 6 MONTHS. That's crazy. Only a year left you guys. But I'm loving every moment and plan to make the most of this next year.

Sister Coleman