Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014- week 8- Sumaré, Brazil!

Querido Família,

This past week has been pretty cool, indeed these past few weeks. I know I wasn't able to send you too much last time, but the work is still the same. The people here are super cool, because everyone will talk to you. It would be even cooler if I could actually understand what they are saying, but that will come with time, I am sure. Anyways, my Portuguese is coming a long pretty well. The Potuguese that they taught me at the CTM is really not enough to be able to communicate effectively, so I've had to relearn a lot of things. Also, the Portuguese is different! And unlike Spanish, there aren't as many conjugations, but the people talk so fast and with so short of words. Another thing that I have learned about different languages, at least with Portuguese, is that you just can't phrase things the same way you would in English. There are some phrases which do work, but most everything is worded differently. Its really hard to explain, but this is something I've only recently learned. As I continue to strengthen my Portuguese, I will be able to communicate this better.

So, this past week, we did a lot. We found a lot of people who were interested, and there are a lot of receptive people. We also taught a lot of people, and that was pretty crazy. One of the days, we had a super tight schedule because there were 4 families to teach and many others to visit (Menos ativos e inativos). And because we had all these people to teach, we walked a ton. Needless to say, I have blisters and whatnot. Also, my shoes are basically trashed. The soles are pretty much ruined, and because one of my shoes had that gell-insert sole, that completely broke off and moves around. I'll have to glue it or something. Oh well. But, like I was saying, we taught a lot of people and they were all located in different areas of the city here in Sumare. Also, there are two sets of missionaries here for Sumare (Elders) and basically the area is split into two parts. Elder Holder and I have Sumare ''A'' which covers half of the city and everything outside on that side. We teach a lot of families who live outside of the city. There is a family who lives in a Favela named ''3 Pontes'' and a family who lives in a community a ways out in a place called '''J.D. Paulistano''.

Like I said in the previous letter, our Ward is really active and there are a ton of activites. Every other day, kids from all over the city come to play futebol and there's an activity every Thursday which includes a special message, a brincadeira (game), and a lanche (snack). Also, every Saturday, the Ward holds free classes to learn Spanish, English, study Mathematics, and Informáticas. We were given a referral of a family that went there, and they glady accepted us and they are now one of our best pesquisadores.

Anyways, I have a some sad news to report- I was doing something with my camera the other day, and I unknowingly deleted ALL of my pictures!! Aggghhh. Now I have nothing but the picture that I sent to you guys in the last email. I have taken a couple pictures here, but now there is nothing from the CTM. I'm really upset about that, but then at the same time, not really. A lot of my companions took the same pictures, so I can get pictures from them. In the meanwhile, I only have new pictures I took. Which, those aren't even good either. Just of what it looks like down here. I don't know if the two pictures I attached will send, but I have my fingers crossed.

Well, that's basically it for this week. Oh! Last week, we did have a Mutli-Zona for three zones here- Sumare, Americana, and Hortolandia. President Canuto came down with all the APs, and other assistants and we got some training and orientation. I also got to meet up with two others from my district at the CTM. That was pretty cool.

I look forward to hearing more from you guys,
Elder Collins


Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014- week 7- First area is Sumaré, Brazil!

Oi minha Familia!

For some weird reason, I can't login to my own email so I am using my companion's email. Anyways, the past week has been unlike any other. We left on Tuesday of last week and rode a van to Piracicaba, where we met the President and his wife there. President Canuto is really cool. We ate lunch at their house and then went to the chapel there in Piracicaba to recieve our new companions and areas. I was assigned to the area of Sumaré! And my companion is Elder Holder! He is pretty cool. He is an American from Maryland and has been serving for 9 months. His Portuguese is really good and he knows what he's doing. 

Anyways, like I said, its a lot different out here than in the CTM. It's also a little bit harder for us than other missionaries, because we are opening up this area. My companion and I are still getting to know Sumaré, but so far its pretty amazing. The ward here is super awesome and very active and excitied to help move forward the missionary work. Its unlike anything I've ever seen. They also have a lot of weekly activities. I'd say most of the members are converts, but many of them have served missions themselves, so its really cool to see that.
So! The real Brasil is quite different from the United States. I haven't been able to take too many pictures here in Sumaré, but in the next email (hopefully It'll be on my own), I'll send some. Included with this email are some pictures. The housing here is very different from the States. Its hard to explain unless I have pictures, but in most of the areas the people live in these brick houses. They all have the same kind of brick, because its the cheapest, and so I see it in piles everywhere around the city. Oh! Also, we walk a ton. I already have blisters on my feet, but I am recovering haha. I think the farthest we've walked to an investigator's house was probably 30-45 minutes away. But we walk everywhere.

Also, the people here are very receptive and love to talk. The Portuguese I learned at the CTM is not enough to be able to understand what the people say here, so I'm usually lost throughout the conversations we have. But, I am learning! Because we are opening this area up, we didn't really have any investigators to teach last week, but this week will be different.

Anyways, I hope all is well over there in Italy, and I'll try to get my email fixed by next week.

Elder Collins

Pictures (I can only send one at a time):
(the view outside of my room at the CTM)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 8, 2014- week 5- last week in the MTC!

Hello family!

This is my last week! Woohoo! Only 5 days left! It feels pretty good to be the oldies in this situation; everyone looks up to us as the veterans. Its pretty funny actually, because only just a couple weeks ago, we were just like them- looking up at the older missionaries with awe and respect. And, as soon as I get into the field, I'm going to be the newbie again haha. Nevertheless, I look forward very much to getting out into the field. I have learned a ton here at the CTM. Both of the gospel, and how to teach it, as well as the Portuguese language. I've come a long ways, and I have a strong testimony of the Gift of Tongues. Its incredible to see it in action, and those who have gone on foreign speaking mission will understand this gift.
Agh, General Conference! Wow, never have I been so excited to view the conference sessions. I learned a lot, and it was also the first time I ever watched all 5 sessions. I loved all of them, but there was a few that stuck out to me, and I'd like to share who gave the talks so you can watch them. My favorites were Lynn G. Robbins, Tad R. Callister, Jorg Klebingat, of course Thomas S. Monson, and also David A. Bednar. I would encourage all of you to watch all of General Conference. I would also like to encourage you to watch Elder Bednar's talk- its is aimed directly towards those who have questions about missionary work. I absolutely loved it, and if I were at home, I would definitely share it on social media and with friends. I extend the invitation to all to watch it.
I don't have much time right now, because we got back from the Sao Paulo temple a little later than usual. Anyways, I always appreciate the emails that I get and love hearing from you guys. Hopefully by next week, or most likely the week after, I will have pictures for you guys! I leave on Tuesday to the campo, so wish me luck!
I love you all and look forward to the next week when I can send another letter.
Elder Collins

(I added 2 photos of Matthew leaving on Sept. 2, 2014 from Orlando to Brazil- JMC)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 1, 2014- P-day week 4 email

Hello Family!
There hasn't too much gone on over here in Brazil. Same daily routine, Gospel study, and continuous Portuguese! I feel like I am coming along pretty well with the language. When I skype you, I will make sure to speak Portuguese to you guys. It's a lot different from Portugal Portuguese though haha. Brandon and Melissa's Portuguese is the kinda lame Portuguese; Brazil's is the best of course. Haha just kidding.
Anyways, on Friday, last week, we went proselyting for the first time. We took a city bus to Sao Paulo, but it poured heavy rain over there. We had a great time, though. We were able to give out some Book of Mormons, and they were all really friendly and nice to talk to. Most of them wanted to be left to themselves during the pouring session, though. Nonetheless- a geat missionary experience!
I still cannot wait to get out into the field! Only two more weeks left here! Oh, so the past couple of weeks, we've slowly been having the missionaries drained out of the CTM here, until there was maybe 200-180 of us left, and today we got another batch of missionaries. Over 120 of them! A combination of visa-waiters, Americans, Hispanicos, and Brasileiros. I'm so glad today is my P-Day haha.
I don't know too much of what I'm going to do today. I think I might go with some other missionaries to a McDonalds nearby. I know some other missionaries are going to get sushi, and some others the churrascaria. I just came back from the Sao Paulo temple again. Its about 30 minutes away, but of course, us taking the bus through the city brings it close to 50 minutes. We usually take the bus, but last week we took a van.
As for church here, we have our own branches with maybe three or four districts per. I am in Branch 1, and my Branch President is President Kawai; he's from Japan, but he's super poly-lingual. Its crazy. Anyways, yes I do play piano. As soon as the zone leader found out I could play the piano, he asked me to play for a few of the meetings. I don't play too much, but I can still play the main songs. But, as for any sort of calling, we don't have those really. Just district and zone leaders. My companion is the Zone leader, so we're going to go and visit the new missionaries later tonight.
Yes, my fingers are better. They're still a little purple, but they are fully functional and they don't hurt at all.
By the way, Happy Birthday Dad! I hope you enjoy celebrating the yearly day of your birth! You've been on the Earth for a long time! Haha.
Anyways, I miss you all and love hearing from you. Till next week.
Your brother and son,
Elder Collins