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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week 34 - September 25, 2017

Zone Conference Lunch

GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEKEND!!!! Ahh, I'm so excited. I can't believe I went so many years of my life taking it for granted that we get the chance to hear our living prophet and his apostles speak to us. 

For the past couple weeks, we've been inviting all the members to do two things in preparation for General Conference, because we know that this is a super unique and sacred opportunity, and we need to really prepare ourselves for it (Mosiah 2:9), and I'd like to challenge you all to do the same, with the promise that you will have some hecka cool experiences:

1) Write down three questions or doubts you're having- about your life, about the gospel, anything- and have that paper with you for all the sessions of General Conference. At the end, I promise that something one of the speakers says will answer that question or doubt, if you're really listening with faith.

2) Invite someone to come to General Conference with you!! A friend, a neighbor, anyone. You have four sessions to choose from, lots of options! And remember that the prophet is called to be a prophet of the whole world, not just of members of the church, therefore everyone deserves and needs to hear his words. 

I don't have many updates for this week...we went to Pelotas for a Zone Conference, which was super good. I received a chocolate bar from my mission president for my birthday, which still isn't for another month, but I'm not complaining. That's about it. The work is still going well. Everything's great....difficult, as it should be, but great. I'm happy and loving what I'm doing. Love you all!!
Sister Coleman

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