Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 17 - May 29, 2017

I don't have many updates from this week, so I'm gonna take this opportunity to talk about the importance of missionary work.

Sisters Coleman & Suarez-
eating dinner in their apartment
Elder Costa, the area authority over Brasil, visited our mission this week. The talks of him and his wife were amazing and so, so inspiring. One thing that he said that really stuck out to me was that a lot of members of the church seem to think the whole world can be converted just by us (members) being good examples. Well, it's not true. We need to ACT. We need to WORK. And if we don't, it's on our heads that they don't have the joy of the gospel in their lives. Go read Jacob 1:19 and Mormon 9:6.
I'm gonna be honest, I was a terrible missionary before my mission. I was always to afraid to invite nonmember friends to church activities or share my testimony. Which is so stupid, what did I have to be afraid of? I had the greatest gift in the world- the knowledge of the gospel- and my fear over what others would think of me overpowered my love for them, my love for the gospel, and my love for the Savior. Don't make the same mistakes as me.

This gospel is everything. You guys, we can LIVE WITH OUR FAMILIES FOREVER because of it. We have find peace and support and love even in the hardest moments of our lives. All of the guilt and pain and sadness that this life will inevitably bring can be taken away. Because of our Savior. Because of this gospel. I KNOW this church is the only true church on earth. And I know a lot of you know it to. So have the courage to share that with those who don't know yet.
I challenge all of you to pray for a missionary experience this week, and trust in the Lord's promise that he will tell you what to say when the opportunity comes. This gospel is the greatest blessing we can have in our lives; love others enough to want to share that with them.

Love you all!!
-Sister Coleman

****  When we spoke on Mother's Day, Madison told us that their apartment is one of the nicest and largest in the entire mission.  She's trying hard to not feel too spoiled.  They have their own laundry room (Just washing machine, everyone air dries their clothing, which can be a challenge in the humidity.)  They also have 2 bathrooms, both with showers, 1 with hot water (another rarity).

notice propane tank


Bathroom 1
Bathroom 2

Laundry Room

"Extra" Room


Common Room

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 16 - May 22, 2017

This week was crazy busy, but crazy productive too, which is fantastic! Sadly, we're still not very close to having any baptisms and very few people are accepting baptismal dates. BUT, I have faith that the Lord is helping us and that, if we're doing our part, He will put people in our path that are prepared to accept the glorious message of this gospel. 

One lesson we taught this week was with three sisters who are very sweet and super friendly. As we started talking with them, they told us that their brother died less than a year ago. So, we taught them the Plan of Salvation. As we told them about where their brother was waiting for them and how it was possible for them to see him again and be together as a family forever, they started crying. The Spirit was so, so strong. Sadly, they don't want to be baptized right now, but I'm praying so hard that they'll see the importance of it because they're such a beautiful family and I know how much this gospel could help them. I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have of this gospel; that I know death isn't the end, that I can be with my family for eternity. 

Sinto saudades muito de todos de vocês!
Love, Sister Coleman

Plan of Salvation

We lived with Heavenly Father before this life as His spirit children, and we came to earth to gain a body and to learn and grow and eventually return to Him.

Long before the Creation of this earth, our Heavenly Father provided a plan that made it possible for us, His children, to become like Him. This plan is called the plan of salvation. Understanding this plan gives us greater purpose in life.
Before this mortal life we lived with God as His spirit children, without physical bodies. We chose the Father’s plan, which included the Creation of this earth and provided us the opportunity to come here to gain a body, make choices, develop faith, and accept responsibility for our actions. This allows us to progress beyond what was possible in the spirit world when we lived with God.

Sin and death are also part of mortality. The Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to provide a way to overcome sin and death. This He did through an act called the Atonement. Through Christ’s atoning sacrifice we can repent of our sins and someday live with God and with our families forever.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 15 - May 15, 2017

From Madison's Mom - 
We had the blessing of SKYPEing with Madison yesterday.  She is really doing well and working hard.  We found out more about her area.  She is in the municipality of São Jerônimo.  Todd was able to track down some satellite images of her area.  She says that her apartment is one of the nicest in the mission - she even has hot water for the shower (which is a rarity in southern in Brazil).

Feliz Dia das Mães to all the moms out there! I hope you all know the power that you have to shape lives for the better; I know I wouldn't be the person I am today or would even be on a mission without my mom. I'm so grateful for the gift of being a woman- I know there is a huge power and responsibility that comes with it. And I hope all you non-mothers realize how amazing your moms are and that you thanked her sufficiently yesterday :)
(Side note: Most people here say that I look really young, but then one girl asked me yesterday if I had kids. Like....goodness gracious no, child. Mother's Day will not be my day for a long time.)

Nothing really out of the ordinary happened this week, except that it's been much more rainy. Also, we did have a really cool experience the other day: We were walking down the street when we heard a voice from one of the houses calling, "Sisters, sisters!" We couldn't see who it was (and we thought it might be some drunk guy, which isn't too uncommon in our day-to-day experiences), so we kept walking. But then we heard someone running after us and continuing to call for us. It turned out to be a guy named L.- he's a member of the church who's been inactive for a long time, and he's just now moving to São Jerônimo from Porto Alegre to live with his dad, who's not a member. He said that right before we'd walked by, he'd been thinking about visiting church again, but didn't know where it was here in São Jerônimo. Right then, we walked by- knowing we were missionaries, he ran after us to ask for the address of the church. Then, on Sunday, he and his dad both came to church! It was such a cool experience. I know that God knows each and every one of us- what we're going through, what we're feeling, what we need. And life is so much better when we rely on Him.

Amo vocês. Obrigada por o amor a apoio. Espero que possam ter uma boa semana!
(Love you. Thank you for the love of support. Hope you can have a good week!)

-Sister Coleman

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 14 - May 8, 2017

Well, you guys, as of today, I've been on my mission for 3 MONTHS! In some ways, it feels like a lot longer; it feels like this is all I've ever done and everything before was an entirely different life eons ago. But at the same time it feels a lot shorter; as I hear of all these weddings and babies being born and big stuff happening for just seems like yesterday that I was in the midst of all it. Time is a strange thing here. But I still have 15 more months to get used to it!

Something funny that happened this week: the 6 year old son of one of our investigators this week asked me if the reason I'm so white is because I bathe really well. My companion, who is much darker than me, asked him if that meant she was really bad at bathing, and he just said, "I guess so." Aren't kids just a delight?

We had some really cool experiences this week during our lessons. As I think I've said before, we have many investigators who are super good people and enjoy listening to our lessons, but don't want to be baptized. We've been praying and working really hard to know what we need to do differently to help them have this desire; sadly, none of them have accepted baptismal dates still, but as we met with them this week, the Spirit was so, so strong. There's one mother and daughter in particular that are so sweet and we want so badly for them to be baptized, but they say they don't want that kind of commitment right now. Yesterday, we taught them the Plan of Salvation, and testified at the end that we knew they couldn't live together as a family for eternity unless they were baptized. They promised to think about it, so we'll see what comes of it, but I have rarely felt the Spirit so strongly as I did when both I and Sister Suárez were bearing our testimonies.

Guys, I KNOW this gospel is true. There is no way on Earth that I would have the strength to leave my home, family, friends, and everything I've ever known without the knowledge that I had the ability to help families be together forever. This is why I'm here. So remember the importance of the gospel and how lucky you are to have it. Live your life worthily of the knowledge you have.

Love you all!
Sister Coleman

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Week 13 - May 2, 2017

So I'm a day late today because yesterday was a holiday (I think it's the equivalent of Labor Day), and on holidays in Brazil, everything closes, including the Lan-House where we do our emails. I mean everything; we had to do all of our shopping and stuff today because not a single store in town was open yesterday. But that meant more time for taking a nap yesterday, which was super good.

Slowly but surely, I can feel my Portuguese improving. I could understand an entire prayer from the old member in our ward that I mentioned a few weeks ago; I can never understand anything he says, so that was a big deal to me. A lot of people are complimenting me on my progress, but I also think they're just being nice because they feel bad for me :) Luckily, I've gotten to the point where I can understand almost everything that people are saying. My vocabulary and grammar and such while I'm speaking are a different story, but for now, as long as people can understand what I'm telling them, I'm content.

Sister Suárez and I had a pretty funny experience this week. We were visiting a newer investigator who we knew didn't have a lot of interest in learning more, but we kept visiting because we had hope. D.'s (our investigator) husband answered the door and told us that she wasn't home. We talked with him for a little bit, and then saw D. pass by inside the house and quickly go into another room when she saw us. We said to the husband, "That was D., right?" He said no, it was her daughter. It definitely wasn't. So, Sister Suárez asks if we can leave him with a scripture and a prayer, he accepts, and she starts reading some verses from the Book of Mormon about how lying is a sin and we need to repent for it. I'm not sure that he caught on, but it was pretty darn funny. 

Spiritually, this week has been pretty hard. We had to cut (I think they call it drop in American missions, but here it's cortar, which means cut) several investigators because they're not coming to church or won't stop smoking or a variety of different reasons. We're also trying to invite more and more people to baptism, but not many people are accepting. We're praying every day to know how to better help people recognize the importance of this gospel and the necessity of baptism. I'm praying every day to know how to be a better missionary. This work really isn't easy, but it's completely worth it, and I'm so grateful for this opportunity I've been given to grow in my testimony and share it with others.

Amo vocês. Tchau!
-Sister Coleman