Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015- week 52- Happy 1 year anniversary serving a mission in Brazil!

WHAT!!!!! Have I really gone through a whole year of being a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? And all this in Brasil? That's incredible. Now, I've only got some 11 months left before I come back home. I have a feeling that from this point onward, it'll zoom past like a roller coaster. I have learned so much these past 12 months that will bless me for my entire life. Being my first time to live by myself, I've had to learn a lot of self responsibility. Being a gospel teacher, I've had to increase my knowledge and understanding of God's plan. Being in Brasil, I've had to learn the language and use it to help others come unto Christ. I cannot even explain how grateful I am to have come on a mission. 

To those who are thinking of serving missions: Do it. Of course it's tough. But, it is the most rewarding thing you will have done in your life. I promise. Also, it is a lot different than what most people think. At least that's how it was for me. I had no idea what being a missionary really was. You learn so much. I promise, if you stick to the decision, you will not regret going on a mission. It will help you for the rest of your life.

So, this past week was a good one. I got sick in the beginning and couldn't really do much because I was feeling so weak, but by Tuesday, I was already feeling pretty good again. Tuesday, we had the last District meeting of the transfer and this week we will have our Zone conference over in São João da Boa Vista. I've really enjoyed this past transfer. It was the fastest one yet. Elder Stone is so awesome. I remember that I went on a split with him a couple of transfers ago and thinking how cool it would be to be his companion. Well- look where I am now.

Anyway, it also rained a lot this week. It's been almost 2 months since it has rained here in Poços de Caldas, so that was really nice. We switched up where we work some, so we found some new people that we are teaching. We found this really cool family and taught them about the Restoration. The mom absolutely loved it and told us that she was feeling something very very different that she really liked. That was a great opportunity to tell her about the Holy Spirit. She said that we were different from other churches that she had gone to. She said that the other churches (including hers) always talked about Satan. And how Satan that and Satan this, but that in our message, we only talked about good and pleasant things. Nothing about hell or evilness or Satan. That was interesting to hear. 

Also, we are working with this one woman. Her children have been members for a while, but went inactive. We started visiting them and the mom really has showed a lot of interest. We've been teaching her for a while, and she's told us that she would like to go to church as much as possible and that she would like to be baptized. We're working with her for a date, but I'm thinking in 2 weeks. The only problem is that she works every other day so that means she can only go to church every other week. 

Well, that was a little bit about my week. I guess for a scripture that I liked a lot this week was John 13:15. Jesus was the perfect example for us all, so we should follow that example. 

Have a great week y'all!

Elder Collins


Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015- week 51- P-day in Poços de Caldas, Brazil!

Hey all!!

Whoah, that's awesome that a family will be baptized over there in the Caserta ward in Italy! That's interesting. I remember one time I left with the Elders in Italy, we went and taught a family where the dad was from New York and the mother Italian with two daughters. 

So, yup- this past Sunday, we baptized our investigator Fladenilton!! It was a super neat experience. We did it before church because he couldn't do it after church. We woke up at 6:00am to head over to the church and clean the baptismal font and then fill it up. At 8:40am, we had the baptismal service. It was really spiritual. The day before, he had asked me if I could baptize him and so I did. When we were changing clothes he kept telling me that being baptized was the best thing that he ever did. He told me it was the happiest day of his life. That was really cool to hear, but then I realized that I had forgotten to bring another I wore a soaking wet shirt to church haha. 

Anyways, this week went by SUPER fast. I don't even know how many times I've told you guys that haha, but it's so true. The mission is flying by. I went on splits this past Tuesday with one of our Zone Leaders- Elder Sanchez. You guys might recognize that name. He was my District Leader over in Sumaré. That was a good day. We even taught this one dude who hadn't been baptized yet. The lesson was really powerful and he told us that this was what he was looking for. The only thing was that he said he was leaving for Rio the past Friday. And wasn't going to return until the end of this year. Bummer.

My comp Elder Stone also did another baptismal interview for the Sisters in Conjunto (the branch here in Poços). Right before the interview, President Canuto had a Zone conference with us over the phone. He talked a lot about the baptisms that were happening and also a little on what Elder Costa had to say about our mission. It was cool.

Well, that's pretty much all the big things that happened during the week. Thanks again for all the emails!

Elder Collins



Interview with the Sisters.

Stop playing with my camera!

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015- week 50- P-day in Poços de Caldas, Brazil!

Heya fam!

Just another week down here in Brasil. This past week went by so fast. Well, on Tuesday we had our District meeting, as usual and then after that a member here drove us to lunch. The members here give lunch to the missionaries unless they are busy that day- then they give money. Anyway, on this day the member drove us half an hour to a different city called Divinolandia. There are members that live there, but the closest church is here in Poços de Caldas. Divinolandia is a city in São Paulo, but holy cow that city has got some beautiful sites. Sadly, I forgot to bring my camera and take pictures...Later that day we left with a recent convert who plans to go on a mission! That day was cool.

Also this week, Elder Stone did two baptismal interviews for the Sisters. One on Thursday and the other on Friday. I attached two pictures that week that I took with each Sister dupla and their investigators. Although it took away a lot of our own work time, it was cool to see them excited for their baptisms. They were both baptized last week; one on Saturday, the other on Sunday.

Speaking of baptisms, Saturday this week, our investigator will be baptized. He's really excited and can't wait. Because he lives in a different city, we usually call him during the week, but- all of our credit is gone so we can't really call anyone except for the other missionaries...Also, the other Elders are planning to have a baptism this Friday. It's kind of early notice, but we'll see what happens.

In response to one of your questions. The young man that was baptized- Adrien- is super active. He loves going to church and keeps asking me if there are gonna be other activities at church. His little brother also likes to tag along to go to church, but he's a little rascal. We were also able to get someone to give him a ride to church every Sunday. We asked a less-active to help us out, and he has! He's gone to church every week for 4 weeks now! And he will be receiving the Aaronic Priesthood with the office of Priest! We're super excited for him because it had been some years since the last time he went to church! He's 21 I think, so maybe he can go on a mission too! That would be so awesome! There are a lot of youth here 17 and 18 years old who are getting ready to go on missions!

Anyway, that's cool that our Caserta ward in Italy will be getting Sisters. Yes, we do interact with them often. More so with me and Elder Stone because he does baptismal interviews. There is one Sister from the States- Sister Nash. This is her first transfer on the mission. She is actually in one of the Pictures. I'm sure you will recognize her as she is the Sister with the lightest skin.

Well, I'll leave you there. Thank you all for the emails! Talk to you next week!


Elder Collins

After the interview with Sister Tavares and Sister Nash.
After the interview with Sister Vazquez and Sister Menezes.
A part of our area with this bug made out of trash.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11, 2015- week 49- P-day in Poços de Caldas, Brazil!

Hello my beautiful Family!

So this week was super crazy and SUPER busy. I'd say I spent more time traveling to other cities than staying here in Poços and working here.

On Monday and Tuesday, I went to São João and worked there with an Elder named Elder Heviton. He's from Cabo Verde (Africa) and he's from my group!! He's really cool. On Wednesday, I turned 19 years old! On Thursday I woke up 2:30 again to catch a van that drove some 4 hours to Rio Claro where we had the privilege of hearing from one of the seventies- Elder Costa. It was so amazing! I learned a lot with him. He has a ton of awesome stories and is very wise. He's a little GH, or a lot (all the missionaries who went to Brasil know this term), but it's okay because he's just legit.

Anyways, we got back home really late and spent the night with the other Elders in our Zone because we had a Zone meeting the next day. The Stake President gave us a breakfast before the meeting, and then during the meeting, he talked to us and showed his appreciation. It was really cool.

OH ALSO- there is this one member in our Ward that recently went to the United States and brought some stuff back for us! I took a picture of it along with an American Flag made with our ties haha. MURICA!! We were super excited to get it. He tried bringing back Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew, but they blew up in the airplane due to the pressure eesh haha.

Also, exciting news! One of our investigators has committed to a baptismal date for the 23rd of August! He really wants to be baptized and follow Christ. He was kind of disappointed that he couldn't be baptized this past Sunday but he's really excited and he loved church!!

I hope you guys had a great summer over in Florida. Your guys' first summer without me? How was it? haha Well, can't wait to see you guys next summer!

Love you all,
Elder Collins


Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015- week 48- Happy birthday week in Poços de Caldas, Brazil!

Hey Family!

Thank you all for the Birthday wishes!! It's weird to think that I'm turning 19 in 2 days, but then again, it HAS been a whole year since I turned 18...and plus I'm pretty sure I'm like the youngest missionary out here so it's good to be able to say yeah I'm 19. So, this past week was SUPER busy.

So, on Tuesday, we had the transfers and our comps actually left on Monday, but our new companions got here on Tuesday night along with all the new Sisters too. I have a photo included with most of my district (two of the Sisters had already gone flying out of the District meeting). Anyways, they also changed the date of the Mission Tour with the Seventy to Thursday instead of Friday, so on Thursday, we got up even earlier than ever. We had to wake up at 2:30 in the morning, walk an hour and a half to the chapel in the Sister's area, then catch a van that drove some 3 hours to a city called Rio Claro. When we got to the city, the driver got lost, so we just drove around for an hour looking for the chapel, so we were late. BUT, Elder Costa wasn't even there because he had to go back to São Paulo because of a health problem in the family. So, the Mission Tour was canceled, but we ended up having another Multizona there and then we drove all the way back home. I was completely exhausted. We might have the Mission Tour this week, but I'm not even sure about that.

Needless to say, I do NOT like waking up at 2:30 in the morning to drive some 4 hours away. It's not as fun as it seems. We went back to work on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but appointments fell and we got behind schedule big time. Nossa Senhora...And I think this week is gonna be just as hectic if not more.

Yeah, about the birthday week baptism- so the situation with him is that he lives in a city about an hour and a half away from Poços, but he doesn't have the church where he lives. He's dating a member here and wants to marry her. He found out about the church through her and prayed and already got an answer to his prayers. He'll be able to come back to Poços every two weeks, but he wants to be baptized as soon as possible, like this Sunday. He hasn't yet gone to church, so I talked to my President, and he said I needed to talk to the bishop. I haven't been able to yet since that was yesterday and today is P-Day and is gonna be pretty crazy for me. I'm going over to São João today (the stake center and where our Zone leaders live) to do splits while my comp (Elder Stone) goes to Piracicaba for a leader meeting. I'll be over there for two days away from my area. Then, we get back on Wednesday and on Thursday we have Zone meeting and I think we might have Mission Tour on Friday. I really can't say for sure. We would have to teach this one guy on Saturday, do the interview on Saturday, then baptize him on Sunday. *takes a deep breath* *exhales* Man, I need some rest haha.

Well, as a notice, I got a package and letter from you guys after the District meeting! Thank you so much! All the Americans were over me trying to get to the Chik-Fil-A sauce. I was very happy to get that along with Sour Patch kids and Airheads!! Also, thanks for the tie! It's always great to get new ties! I love you guys!

As for some our your questions, my comp Elder Stone is from New Jersey and got here on the mission one transfer before me (meaning when he was leaving the CTM, I was taking his place there). The camera is awesome. I write in my journal every single day. We haven't yet gone to the Cristo here, but we're planning to go there one of these P-Days here during this transfer. I'll be sure to tell you when we go.

So, thank you very much for the emails! Remember that I love you all and appreciate the time you take to communicate with me. I know it sometimes gets boring or annoying, but it really means a lot to me as I only have one day per week to talk with people I know. Have a great week!

Your brother, son, and friend,
Elder Matthew Collins

P.S. Okay, so as missionaries, we teach 3 main lessons. The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Plan of Salvation. I think if there was one that I would share with you guys, its the Plan of Salvation with emphasis on the Atonement of Christ. There's a lot that I didn't know about the Atonement before the mission that we really need to know to have it's full effect.