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

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 26 - July 31, 2017

EU AMO DOM PEDRITOOOOOO!!!!! Seriously guys, this city is awesome. I've already fallen in love with the members and all the investigators here. The town is a lot bigger than São Jeroônimo, so we do a LOT of walking. But maybe that's good, because Dom Pedrito also has the best churros I've ever tasted in my life, so I probably need to walk off a little of the weight :) 

There's a recent convert here, D., who's 12 years old. She has quickly become one of my favorite people in the world. She reminds me a lot of Gillian- probably because she's sassy. Her grandma, C., also a recent convert, asked that we call her Vovó (Grandma), because she has claimed us as her other granddaughters. I'm already dreading saying goodbye to them, and I've only been here a week.
Also, for those you don't know, there's another Sister Coleman in my mission, and she just happened to serve in Dom Pedrito a few months ago. So, of course, everyone who knows her here asks we if we're related.

The apartment here is a lot smaller than the last, but nice and cute none the less. Apparently the outlets have some problems here, though- as in, if you use the wrong outlet, it might start a fire. 
We were supposed to have a baptism this Saturday- a wonderful woman named D., but she's been having some major health problems, so we had to delay it. But we're praying hard that she can recover soon. 

As for Portuguese- guys, I'm feeling great. Yes, there's still a mountain of words I don't know and I'm sure I don't use exactly correct grammar all the time, but studying your butt off and relying on the help of the Lord pays off. One of the members told me this week that, other than my accent, I sounded like a Brazilian. (Yeah, she was probably being overly nice, but it was good to here, anyway). I definitely have a long way to go, though.

Hope everyone is doing great. Amo vocês!
Sister Coleman

Photos from São Jeroônimo before Sister Coleman was transferred. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 25 - July 24, 2017

Well, friends, it's finally happened: I've been transferred. This morning I left São Jerônimo and arrived in Porto Alegre: I'm still waiting here in Porto Alegre because the bus for my new area, Don Pedrito, won' t leave until later. So, I don't know much about my new area, expect that it's a 7 hour bus ride from here and that it's super cold. My companion in the MTC, Sister Pertab, just finished serving there and says it's a great area, so I'm excited!

I'm feeling super good about going to a new area. It was sad to leave São Jerônimo because I'd been there 4 and a half months and had really grown to love the people....but I'm not gonna lie, it was a hard area. I didn't baptize anyone and the brach was super small, but I learned a lot and I know I needed to start my mission there. There was a good amount of tears (mostly on my part) as I said goodbye to everyone, especially this little 4 year old boy named Lucas who started bawling when I told him I would be leaving, so that was super sad. But I'll come back one day and adopt him.

My companion this last transfer, Sister Riberio, stayed in São Jerônimo, and my new companion is Sister N. Souza. She's from São Paulo and has been on her mission for a year and 2 months. Other than that, I don't know much about her, because we just met about 10 minutes ago, but she seems super cool and I'm excited for what lies ahead.
I want to share an experience that I had on Sunday, because it was one of the biggest miracles I've seen so far on my mission. There's a recent convert in São Jerônimo named V., who's around 80 years old and has a load of health problems. It's hard for him to walk more than a few steps without sitting down after. He owns a horse and a cart, which he normally uses to get to church on Sundays, but this week there was some problem with the cart and he wasn't able to use it. Had we known, we would've tried to find a ride for him, but he didn't tell anyone. Instead, he started walking to church at 6:30 in the morning to get there on time (9 o'clock), using a stick he picked up off the ground to help him walk. For us, it takes about 20 minutes to get from his house to the church, but with his pace it took about an hour and a half. When we went to unlock the chapel in the morning and saw him waiting, I almost cried. That man has more faith and more determination to keep God's commandments than almost anyone I've ever met.

So just remember next time you don't feel like going to church, that it's a lot easier for you because you have two perfectly functioning legs and a car!
I love my mission, I love this gospel, and I love my Savior.
Amo vocês, e estou com saudades de vocês também! 
Sister Coleman

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 24 - July 17, 2017

Our family had been in Rochester, New York this week - Madison's birthplace.   We brought up the youth from our ward to attend the Hill Cumorah Pageant. . . 

Thanks for all the updates! You're gonna have to take me back there, for sure. This week has been practically uneventful, and unfortunately I don't have time to write a weekly update because I have a lot of people I need to email this week. But I'm happy and healthy and feeling the Spirit and loving what I'm doing, so don't worry about me!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 23 - July 10, 2017

This week we had splits again with the sister training leaders, and this time I went to Charqueadas, a town similar to São Jerônimo, about 15 minutes away. It was a super cool experience. The sisters there have a few investigators- a couple in their early 20s- who used to drink and smoke a ton; their house was always a mess of beer cans and cigarette butts. But Sister Carrillo- the sister I went on splits with- said that after only a few visits, they started to notice that the house of this couple was way cleaner and that the investigators were acting way more receptive to the lessons. Both of them stopped drinking and they're trying super hard to stop smoking. All this after only about 2 weeks of teaching them. The Holy Ghost has more power than we know. This is my favorite part of missionary work- watching the Spirit and the gospel really change people for the better. To see people becoming happier because of the gospel we've been able to bring to them. 

We also met a woman named S. while knocking on doors. About 1 minute into teaching the Restortation, I mentioned that Jesus taught that we needed to be baptized to live with God again, and Sandra goes- completely serious- "Well then I need to stop smoking and get baptized." So, we invited her to get baptized on August 5, and she accepted right away. Like, wow, the Lord is seriously preparing people to recieve this gospel, because that was 100% not us. The only downside is that none of this happened in my area, so she's not my investigator. But it's fine, I'm holding on to my faith that the Lord will help me find the right people here in São Jerônimo. ]

Other than that, this week was pretty normal. Oh, also Saturday was my 5 month mark!

 I'd like to end with a scripture that I came across while studying this week that really hit me. This is at the end of the Last Supper when Jesus is talking to the apostles:
"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I wish the best for all of you, and thanks for all the love and support.
Sister Coleman

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 22 - July 2, 2017

HAPPPPYYYY INDEPENDENCE DAY AMERICANAS!!! Sadly, no one cares about the 4th of July here, because it's not the US, so no celebration will be had. But I hope you all enjoy the fireworks and barbecue and whatever else. 

Speaking of America, several people have said something to me about how all Americans are terrified of terrorism and how the US is in a state of panic over bomb threats and stuff. Did I miss something big? Did Trump destroy the country already? Just kidding. But really, Brazilians seem to think that Americans are expecting to die from a terrorist attack at any moment. But it really made me think how we judge other countries, other people, national leaders, etc. all from what we see on the news. Heck, one lady told me she was sorry I didn't have freedom of religion in my country. ?????? Just my random thoughts for the day- don't pretend you understand another culture or country when you actually don't, because it's kind of annoying, and I think Americans are probably the most guilty of this.

Fun Portuguese fact for the week: The verb for giving birth is most commonly "dar à luz," which actually means to give a light. Which I guess is kind of cool since you're giving life to another human being and bringing their "light" into the world, but also, why don't they just use a normal verb for this? 

Anyway, this week has been fairly undramatic. We're continuing to not have any baptisms, which is kind of discouraging, but I'm working hard with the faith that the Lord will help us find those who He is preparing. The attendance in sacrament meeting, which had been steadily increasing, fell back down to 19 this week, which is also kind of sad. But since it was fast and testimony meeting, Sister Ribeiro got up and thanked the 19 that were there, saying how grateful she was for the faith of the members who keep coming even when everyone else falters. It's true, the members who are active here are truly amazing. 

Hope you all have a great week! And remember how much the Lord has blessed you!
Sister Coleman

Some of the member families in São Jerônimo

Sisters Coleman and Suarez before transfers

Sister Missionaries

Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 21 - June 26, 2017

Good news: The weather this week was fantastic. No rain, perfect temperatures. Beautiful. Bad news: That probably means this next week will be horrid, because that seems to be how the weather here functions.

Not a lot out of the ordinary happened this week. J., the investigator that I was positive would be baptized, seems much less certain/excited about baptism now, and is also kind of avoiding us, which is super, super worrying. I'm praying crazy hard that he'll come around and continue with the desire to be baptized. Other than him, we only have two other investigators that really have the desire, but they both need to get married, which is a crazy long process here. All the other people we're meeting are good people...but don't really want to be baptized. Why people don't want to gain eternal salvation, I don't really know. But I'm trying to do everything in my power to improve as a missionary so that the Spirit can work through me and help people have that desire. 

A few funny things that happened this week: My companion, who is trying to learn English, wrote some sentances in English and afterwards had me help her correct them. One of them said "I need marriage me," meaning I need to get married. It's super understandable why she wrote it like that because it's phrased super differently in Portuguese, but I couldn't stop laughing. Also, fun fact for the day, Portuguese has two different words for snot, depending on if it's green (catarro) or clear (ranho). So that's what I'm learning here, what about you guys?

Love and miss you all!
Sister Coleman

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 20 - June 19, 2017

OLÁ de São Jerônimo!

This week was pretty darn fantastic. We had a branch activity (that we planned) on Thursday where we played games using the scriptures. Sounds lame saying that out loud, but it actually turned out great and the members got really into it. We also had a whopping attendance of 12 people- which also sounds really lame, but considering the average attendance for activities is 4 or 5 members, it was a miracle. 

Also, this girl that we helped reactivate a few weeks ago, D., is preparing to go on a mission at the end of the year. I know it wasn't an easy decision for her because her family isn't super strong in the church and there haven't been any other youth to go on missions from this branch in like 30 years- so she's full on relying on her personal testimony. She's such an inspiration to me, and I'm low key hoping she gets called to North Carolina so I can see her when I get home :)

This week has also been a lot lighter on the rain and a the temperatures have been rising just a little- enough that the weather was absolutely perfect all week. I'm hoping that continues...but from what people say about fall and winter here in the past, it's doubtful.

Other than that, it's been a fairly normal week. So I'll just end here with possibly my favorite scripture of all time. 
Moroni 8:16- "For perfect love casteth out all fear."

Like seriously, how perfect is that? And it applies to everything on my mission and in our lives otherwise. There's no reason I should be nervous to talk to a stranger on the street or invite someone to be baptized or tell someone that they need to repent of something, because if I really love them (and if I really love my Savior), I know that those things can only help them. I know that this gospel will give them everything they need in this life, and my own personal fears should never get in the way of that.

This also greatly applies to repentance. I've made some hecka big mistakes in my life, and confessing and repenting of them was something that took a lot of time and a lot of courage, because I was afraid to face the consequences. But: perfect love casteth out all fear. I love the people I'm teaching, so I know I need to be worthy in order to be led by the Spirit to help them. I love my life, so I want to live it the best I can, which means without sins weighing me down. I love my family, so I want to live with them forever, which means being worthy to be in an eternal family. I love this gospel, which means I'll live it. And, most importantly, I love my Savior, which means I'll show gratitude for His atoning sacrifice and try harder to be a better person so I can live with Him and my Father in Heaven one day.

Love yourself, your family, and your Savior enough to be the best person you can be!

Todo do amor,
Sister Coleman

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Week 19 - June 12, 2017

This week has been pretty good. Sister Ribeiro and I are still figuring out how to function as a companionship, but she has a lot of good ideas about strengthen the branch here and help it grow, as well as how to find new people to teach. 

Also, we have another companionship living in our house for the moment. They're working in the next city over, which already has one companionship, but the house of the sisters there is super tiny. So, until someone can find another house or apartment for them to live in, we'll have 4 sisters living in our house. Which is a little complicated when it comes to showering and getting ready in the morning because we only have one shower with warm water...but we're figuring it out.

The rain and cold are continuing here stronger than ever. Part of our area includes a city across the River Jacuí, which you have to take a boat to get to. When the rain is super strong, the boat doesn't run, so we can't visit our investigators over there. Which is super bad, because apparently it rains here basically all winter. 

Other than that, this week has been pretty normal. J (the investigator that is super close to baptism) didn't come to church yesterday because he had to work, but I'm praying super hard that he'll come next Sunday so that he can be baptized the following Saturday. 

As for my Portuguese, it's a lot easier than it was in the beginning of course, but I'm not gonna lie, it's freaking hard. Since Sister Ribeiro is a native speaker, she's been helping me a lot, but the freaking subjunctive tenses will be the death of me.

I don't really have anything else to update you guys on....hope everyone has a fantastic week!
Este evangelho é verdadeiro e Deus ama cada um se vocês. (This gospel is true and God loves each one of you.)

Sister Coleman

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Week 18 - June 6, 2017

So this week has been a little crazy. First off, it's been raining super hard, enough that some areas of the city have flooded. We actually have a family in the branch living in the chapel because their house was flooded. 

Secondly, transfers were yesterday. I'm staying here in São Jerônimo, but Sister Suárez was transferred :( Luckily, she's staying the same district, so I'll still see her almost every week, but I'll miss having her as a companion. I've learned so much from her and I'm incredibly grateful for the time I had with her as my companion. My new companion, Sister Ribeiro, seems pretty nice and I can tell she's a super good missionary. She's from Recife, Brasil and has been on her mission for 9 months.

This Sunday was a Sunday of miracles. We have one investigator, Jorge, that we'e been working with for forever. The past 4 or 5 companionships before me worked with him too, because he's the husband of a member. But for all that time, he never went to church, so we never got baptized. Finally, this Sunday, HE WENT TO CHURCH! This may seem like a tiny thing, but to me it really is a miracle. I feel so strongly that he'll be baptized soon- I can tell that he is a very special spirit with so much potencial, and I want more than anything for him to be baptized. Pray for him! And for us, that we can know what to do to help him feel prepared.

That's pretty much all for this week. I want my update with my testimony that this gospel brings indescribable happiness to our lives. Despite the constant changes and frequent let downs I've experienced here, I've rarely been happier. I am so certain that this gospel is true. 

"More happines awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among [God's] children." -First Presidency Message, PMG

Amo vocês! Tenha uma ótima semana!
Sister Coleman