Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015- week 69- Christmas Skype call from Brazil!

Hello everyone!

Well, this email won't be too long, as I just talked to you guys via Skype like 3 days ago. It was great being able to see all you again and can't wait for the next time in 4 months! I must say, John's voice doesn't ever stop getting deeper. Melissa and Sarah look much older. Mom and Dad, you look and sound the same, so that's good, right? Like you aren't getting older? haha

Noo! Your beloved iPad! Well, it was getting a little old right? Haha, way to spoil yourself- an iPhone 6plus, hahaha. SO JEALOUS. I'm gonna get one of those when I get back from the mission, right? haha 

Yes, Elder Lloyd had plenty of time to talk to his family. I got to see his family and house in Idaho with all the snow. That was definitely a sight to see.

This Friday is New Years, so I'm also pretty excited about that! It's about time that 2016 got here. 

So, to answer Mom's question from last Friday, the Brasilians here don't really have a super different Christmas culture. They like to spend time with family. Christmas Eve is the time to gather everyone around, party, eat, and have a good time. They all stay up super late. Christmas day is like the hangover day. That can be interpreted in both the literal sense as well as the metaphorical. It's like a big build up and then- Christmas!! It's pretty relaxed. No one stays on the streets. Terrible for work if you don't already have a family to visit that likes you. So yeah, not too much tradition, but the Brasilians do like spend time with family.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful New Years! Enjoy the time with family and the fireworks and that big ball from New York.

Love you all!

Elder Collins

P.S. Wait, were those Sister missionaries from Apopka ward talking about a YSA activity from the Leesburg stake that happened, or will happen, or like after the mission with them kind of thing? haha

(Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures...sorry)

My wonderful family.

Close up. (our photo)

Awesome Skype call! (our photo)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 22, 2015- week 68- Christmas week in Brazil!

Hello all!

Yes, the last week before Christmas. I can't believe its already been a year since the last Christmas. This mission roller-coaster is starting to give me those powerful butterflies at the steepest drop. Well, this past week was pretty cool. Now I've only got one more week of 2015.

Anyways, on Tuesday we had a District meeting where we rehearsed an original play that we performed at the Mission Christmas Conference on Thursday.

Wednesday was a stressful day because the girl we were going to baptize decided she didn't want to be baptized because of some family problems she was having. We went over there and talked to her about baptism. Definitely one of the most spiritual lessons I've had on the mission. We asked her and her family to all pray and talk with God about what they should do.

On Thursday, I had my last "Conferência de Natal da Missão" WOOO!!! It was awesome! It didn't last as long as I thought it might, but nonetheless. Yes, that is definitely me that you saw in the video. For the first time ever on the mission since our first day in the field when we got our first companions, all of the guys from my group and I were at the same conference! It was awesome sauce cool! In the video, we all sat together and got super excited when he got his call to go to Utah. We've decided that we're gonna go and visit him when we all get back, since we'll all be in Utah haha. President Canuto talked about what we were going to give Christ as our present and what we could do to be better missionaries. I liked that conference a lot.

After the conference, I went and did a division with the DL's comp at Piracicaba. We were both feeling pretty sick, so we rested afterwards. On Friday, I had to go to the hospital and they told me I had an ear infection. Man, Brasil is slowly killing me. I think when I get back from the mish, the doctors are gonna diagnose me with skin cancer. Anyways, I'm better now, but my ears were hurting pretty bad. Friday night, I found out that the division with my comp in Capivari had been a success and that we would still be having a baptism like we scheduled.

On Saturday, I got back home and we set everything up. So, our baptismal font isn't like an actual font. It's a portable swimming pool. I mean it's large enough to baptize someone, so that's cool. We were happy to see Thuanny be baptized. She was pretty happy too haha.

On Sunday, she was confirmed a member and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. After church, we went and visited some members who didn't make it to church today.

Well, that was my week. I'm super excited for this Friday when I will be able to see you all again. Remember the questions! I will be preparing some for you guys, so I will be expecting some too! Ah, I was thinking that it was a two hour difference, but we are 3 hours ahead of Florida . Okay, so I'll be on around 15h for me, so like noon for you guys. Sound good? Hopefully the internet at the member's house will be good haha.

Thank you all for the emails. Hope you all have an awesome week of Christmas. MERRY CHRISTMAS YOU PEOPLE.

Love you lots,

Elder Matthew Collins


MTC Group 36-A

Zona Piracicaba

The river that goes right through Piracicaba.

Thuanny's baptism.

After baptism party.

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015- week 67- P-day in Capivari, Brazil!

Hey guys!

Well, this past week went by pretty fast. I still can't believe that Christmas is next week! It's so different here. There aren't as many decorations, if any, so it's just a little bit harder to sing "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." haha So, this Sunday was the Branch's Primary Program! My second to last Sunday in the ward at Piracicaba was also the Primary Program there. And now our ward in Italy just had the Primary Program too! Sweet! Unfortunately, I have not been able to watch the Christmas Devotional yet. I'll have to check it out.

So, this week we will be having the baptism of an 11 year old girl who has been going to church for quite some time. She's pretty excited for this Saturday. We had planned the baptism for a different person, but we postponed it so that his girlfriend could go to it too. Both of the investigators are super receptive and really looking for a better life. It's always so cool to see people like them.

Also, we have a Mission Christmas Conference that will be going on this Thursday for this part of the mission.

Well, as Brasil now enters Summer, the sun's burning flames just get hotter and hotter. There's not much we can do about that, so I wouldn't be so surprised if I came home with skin cancer haha. jk
I have not yet gotten all of the information on where and when I will be calling you guys on Skype. Just know that it'll be on Christmas Day and after lunch. This week, we'll settle all the details and stuff.

I hope you guys are all having a great time and preparing to ride first class to Florida for Christmas. Man...I remember how awesome it was to go to the States in luxury.
Well, talk soon.

Elder CollinsP.S. There is this one supermarket in our area called Covabra that has a section with imported foods. I found pancake mix and maple syrup, but it's SUPER expensive haha. I think my companion is thinking about buying the maple syrup for Christmas. haha


Almost back in Florida-only 7 months!

Capivari, Brazil

Pancake mix here is almost $16 a box!

Maple syrup here is almost $16 a bottle!

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015- week 66- Napoleon Dynamite connection with NEW area and companion in Capivari, Brazil!

Hey Fam Bam!

Well, I am now in the little city called Capivari. My companion is Elder Lloyd. He is from Preston, Idaho (where the movie Napoleon Dynamite was filmed; yes he went to the same school) and is on the mission one more transfer than me. He's from my graduation class- 2014! He's pretty sweet and my new companion knows how to cook really well. My favorite companions have always been Americans and we already get along pretty darn well. Also, to answer your question, I am no longer a District Leader. But that's okay. I learned a lot of stuff from being a leader and have improved a lot on maturity as a missionary. 

Two of my good friends from the mission have all ready passed here, so it was cool to know that I was gonna come here too. So, it's just us two here in Capivari. I think the people who bought our current house were imagining that there were gonna be four missionaries in the house, because it's absolutely huge. At least I think it is in comparison with some other houses I've lived in and seen. We each have our own bathroom and there is a bedroom that we use for storing our bags. Yes, no more having to put them under my bed. 

The branch is pretty cool. There is about 60 members that go every week. One of the past weeks was the Branch Conference and they were able to get an attendance of more than 100 people. 

Also, I was called to be the new Branch pianist. Dang it. I thought I could escape. Everyone was so happy when they saw me sit down and start to play piano. Seriously. You know the usual chatter there is before the Sacrament meeting starts? Well, I sat down on the bench and turned on the piano and all of a sudden the chatter quieted down and I started to play piano. Everyone was watching me. Haha. Good stuff. 

We visited a lot of people this week and began teaching the boyfriend of one of the members who is really interested in the church and wants to change his life. We've taught him two times and he is preparing to be baptized on the 19th of December. Pretty cool! We only had one investigator at church on Sunday. We have a lot of investigators, but they all had work or other stuff to do. 

The members here are super sweet. I felt very welcome here in the area and I don't think there's anyone who didn't greet me. This was cool as I have passed in too many areas where the members ignored the missionaries. 

Sounds like everyone is having a good time over there in Italy. Yes, you are right, only a couple more weeks until Christmas and then the best present I could get from you guys- a skype call! Speaking of presents, I received another package from you guys! Woohoo! I love you so much! I was very surprised to see the package. I was thinking I was gonna get it later. Thank you for the candy and food, the SD card and USB pen drive (wow 32GB!!), and also the book (btw please don't worry, but the book that you got me wasn't exactly the book that I asked for, but nonetheless I'm liking it quite a bit). 

Well, I hope you all have another great week of December. It is now that time of the year where I play Christmas music every day until December 25th.

Love you all,

Elder Matthew Collins

Lots and lots of Photos!

Saying goodbye.

This kid.

My twelfth planner.


These dudes! Elders Arnson and King

Elder Pereira!

Ur mur gursh Elder Stone!

Ganhei uma caixa! (I got a box.)

Yes, I love my family!

That would be Elder Lloyd (new companion).

This is basically Capivari.

Most of the Zone Piracicaba.

Yup, Capivari's got a "Cristo".

Lots of farm land.

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015- week 65- Received transfer to Capivari, Brazil!

Olá família!

Well, sadly the past week was my last week to be here in Piracicaba. Transfers came in today, and I will be moving to a city called Capivari. I've been to the bus station there once when I was coming to Piracicaba from Monte Mor. Elder Maxwell (my second companion and member of my group) recently left from there and he said that there are lots of receptive people there. 

My new companion will be Elder Lloyd. Another American! I met him in Hortolandia and he seems pretty cool. Let us see. But, I'm actually pretty sad that I'm leaving. We were having a lot of success. We had 2 more baptisms this past Saturday! A boy named Wesley and a girl named Debora. 

Last Tuesday, we had a Noite Familiar (Family Home Evening) with several families and lots of recent converts and members. We taught about the Doctrine of Christ and focused on baptism. We then invited the family to be baptized. We had been working a lot with the boy from this family-Wesley- but his mom said he needed to change some things first. We decided to not only invite him to be baptized, but everyone. The Spirit was really strong when everyone started bearing their testimonies. We also brought Bruno, the youth that will be leaving for his mission on Wednesday. It was his sister that was baptized this Saturday along with Wesley. Slowly, his family is accepting the church. His parents are not baptized, but I was working hard on trying to bring his mom to church, and last week she went.

Anyways, I'm grateful for this transfer. My area was actually closed. There aren't as many missionaries coming in as there are leaving the mission. But I'm still not sure why they closed my area, which was having success. We had 8 people at church again. 

Well, this reminds me that Elder Holder-my first companion and trainer- has now completed his full-time mission here in Piracicaba. I'll miss him. He was a good missionary and a good friend. I'll have to meet up with him some time after the mish. Although it made me pretty darn trunky, it was cool to get to see him on his last transfer and then say goodbye to him.

Well, that's this week for all you guys. Thanks for the emails! I know how it is to be without internet and the frustration that comes with it, but sometimes staying unplugged from the cyber world is good. Unless it's to email me, then internet should definitely be used. haha

Have a great week!

Elder Collins


Wesley's baptism.

Wesley's family.

Debora's baptism.

Yeah! 2 baptisms!

Good bye Elder Meira (now Henrique).

He saw me when I was born, and now I'm watching him die...

Good bye Elder Holder (now David).

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015- week 64- P-day in Piracicaba, Brazil!

Hello Family!

Well, only one more week left in this transfer! Which also means one more week until Elder Holder goes home. It's so weird, but whatever. Also, this past sunday was pretty cool- 8 investigators at church! We're working a lot with incomplete families so there's lot of work to be done. We might have a baptism this week or the next. It all depends, but we're gonna work hard this last week. 

I didn't really have any challenges this week except maybe writing in my journal. It's been pretty hard these past weeks, but I'm still trying. haha The biggest success was the 8 people in church. This past Sunday was the Primary presentation, and we had an investigator who participated so that was cool. He's been going to church for a while, but we're waiting for his mom to give the okay. She went last Sunday, but this Sunday, just her Husband, this son, and two daughters went. One of their daughters is already baptized. 

Also, something cool that happened this past week was the baptism of a kid. The other Elders taught him. The cousin of this kid was on a mission and recently returned. He got back home this past Tuesday, and later that night he baptized his cousin. It was really cool to see that. 

There is also a youth named Bruno in my ward who will be leaving in a week to go on a mission. This past week he had his going away party. At his party, there was a swimming pool and the only thing we missionaries could do was just stare at the water haha. It was a good lunch though- churrasco. We went to his house a couple days afterwards and there was still lots of meat left, so he had a mini-churrasco with us haha. 

Sounds like everything is going well over there in Italy! Hope you all have another great week!

Love you all,

Elder Collins


Me, Elder Gomes, and Elder Holder.

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015- week 63- New shoes in Piracicaba, Brazil!

Bom Dia Tudo Mundo!

Well, this past week went by really fast, as usual. It rained some more and the wind was really strong. I even had to wash my clothes several times because the wind blew my clothes off of the clothes line. UGH. The stress of having to dry clothes manually. 

Also, my companion's birthday was this past week. He turned 20! And here I am, the same 19 year old I was last week. 

So, I've actually been looking into this and I saw that my return date, if nothing changes in the transfers, is probably gonna be the 8th of August. If a transfer of 5 weeks happens next year, then I will be home the 1st of August. We had a transfer of 5 earlier this year. Last year, there were no changes. I'm hoping that a transfer of 5 weeks happens because I want to be home for my birthday, but if not then I guess I'll be coming home as a 20 year old. I dunno. 

Also! I got some new shoes this week! Thanks to a lovely package from Amazon in the mail! Woohoo! It's so nice to have new shoes. Thank you! I attached some comparison pictures for you guys to see haha. 

My companion asked if he could use my old shoes so I gave them to him. The new shoes keep my feet warm and toasty even when walking into puddles, which is a good change from having to come home every night with wet and damp socks. 

Well, not much to say this week. Have a great one everybody!

Elder Collins


District Meeting with Elder Holder.

That's a box.

New shoe vs old shoe.

New shoe vs old shoe.

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015- week 62- Rainy days in Piracicaba, Brazil!

Hey Family!

So, this week of 5 days went by really fast. It rained a ton. Too much, I'd say. My Bible got soaked. Ugh This is my third Bible that has been soaked by rain. The members here will be going to the temple the next week, so I'll give some money to one of the members to go and buy a new Bible, a Book of Mormon, and some other stuff. But seriously. Man. 

Anyways, besides the wet days here, we've been able to teach a lot of people. We're still searching for the elect. There's a lot of people here who go to church, but we're gonna have to work harder. Also, as we are from the same ward and eat lunch together everyday, I see Elder Holder pretty much every day. Every time we see him, we tell him how many days he has left. I think it's so weird that when I got on the mission he had like 8 months. Now, he has almost 2 years. Time sure does fly by.

Also, not to scare you guys or anything, but I'm pretty sure I've contracted athlete's foot or ringworm or something like that. I had to stay in house on Saturday because I couldn't walk much. Don't worry though, it's healing and going away. It was weird though. I woke up one day and it was there. Kinda like from "The Other Side of Heaven" when the guy wakes up and his feet are bleeding. I was just like "WHAT IS THIS??" Well, just another experience to my awesome mission in Brasil.

Okay, so to answer your question as well as Melissa's- Something I'm needing is a usb and another sd card. You see, with more than 1,500 photos and videos I don't have any more space on my card. I was thinking of getting a usb and then placing all the photos on that or maybe just sending you guys the card with all the photos on it. Maybe I could send a letter or something. I dunno. But yeah, the usbs and sd cards here are expensive and I don't have enough money to buy one and then keep on with two weeks on low funds. Just a thought. Also, I loved the pop-tarts you sent me.

Well, thanks for the emails! Hope you all have another great week! I'm already half-way through with my first transfer here in Piracicaba. I was actually thinking about how many transfers I have left. Everyone has 17 transfers on the mission. After this transfer, I only have 5 more. Wow. Time goes by so darn fast.

Elder Collins


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November 3, 2015- week 61- P-day in Piracicaba, Brazil!

Hey Fam,

So this week was longer than the last, as you've probably noticed haha. Yesterday was a holiday here, so nothing was open- therefore we couldn't talk. Yes, we all went to the cemeteries yesterday to talk to the people. There was a lot of people. We only stayed until about noon, then we ate lunch and it started pouring hard core. Yup, it's the season of rain here. Gotta love it. It's a nice switch from blazing hot to cool and wet. We talked to more than a thousand people between 9:00 and 12:00.

Anyways, there's not much news. I'm still in the same 'ol schedule. We did find a cool family of 6 this past week. We had a really spiritual lesson with them. As we were getting to know them, we asked if they believed in God, the mom started crying, then the three daughters started crying too. We could tell that they had something that happened in their life to make them doubt their faith. They were all very attentive during the entire lesson and we could feel the Spirit. They asked questions and understood well. They all said they wanted to go to church and would also prepare themselves to be baptized.

In the coming weeks, it is very likely that some other people will be baptized as well. We're working hard here in Piracicaba.

To answer your question, I got three packages- two from you guys delivered by Brother Kraft and one from the Streeters. It was greatly appreciated, and is still being appreciated everyday haha.

Thank you all for your emails!

Elder Collins


Division with Elder Vilas Boas.

Tasty little chickenses.
This ridiculous donkey at a member's house.

Water gets in pretty easily...

Yeah I need new shoes.

Big spider on the road.

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015- week 60- First P-day in new area- Piracicaba, Brazil!

Hey Family!

So, as you all know, I was transferred to Piracicaba 8 to be comps with Elder Rodrigues. He's super chill. I have a feeling that this transfer will be awesome haha. Anyways, I always wanted to serve here in Piracicaba, but now that I'm here I realized it's a whole lot different than I imagined haha. 

The accent here is really strong haha. I don't know if I already told you, but the accent here is a lot like a hill billy accent. It's kinda funny. Also, there is almost nothing in our area. The closest grocery store is about 40 minutes away, all the mini stores are SUPER expensive, the LAN house is almost an hour away, we live 30 minutes from our area, and so on. 

But we have lots of investigators who are going to church and preparing to be baptized. Like, a lot. Let's see what we can do here in the next couple of weeks. I'm still excited to be here. Also, guess who are the other Elders in our ward? A Brasilian named Elder Gomez and...Elder Holder!!! I still can't believe it. This is his last transfer on the mission and I'm going to see him die. He saw me when I was born and I'll see him when he dies. 

We have lunch with the other Elders everyday at the members' houses, but we don't live with them. Actually, we live with 4 other missionaries who go to a different ward. So basically, there is a house in front, and then going to the back, there's a different house- that would be my house. I'm sorry if that doesn't make sense, I'm confused too.

We also had interviews with the President on Wednesday. President Canuto said dad talked with him? I dunno, anyways it was really cool to talk with President again. 

Well, that's about all that happened this week. Thanks for all the emails and PACKAGES TOO!!! I finally got them. Also, shoutout to the Streeter Family! Thank you so much for the package! I loved it! Especially the tie!

Have a great week y'all!

Elder Collins


Reunion with the peeps at the bus station in Piracicaba.

Elder Francato and Elder Pereira.

Goodbye comp.

This guy is too much.

So that was my face on the bus leaving Poços de Caldas...I was sad.


What a lovely present! Thanks Streeter family!

I love this tie!

That's Piracicaba!

This is also Piracicaba.