Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015- week 56- P-day in Poços de Caldas, Brazil!

Hey family!

So yeah, this past week I was still a little sick and all. I'm still coughing some, but at least I'm not in the hospital haha. This week went by pretty fast as well.

So, on Tuesday after the District meeting, I did a split with the Zone Leader Elder Carter (who will be going home in some 3 weeks). It was pretty cool to work with him. Anyways, we found this really cool family too. We were knocking on doors and entered this one house. We found out that the dude was an inactive member of our church and that he also went on a mission. Actually, he went to the CTM (Missionary Training Center) and then one day before he went out into the mission field, he had to go back home to help his dad that later passed away. Some stupid people said some stupid stuff, and he stopped going to church. He helped the missionaries a lot when he was active, but then for some 15 years didn't do anything with the church. My comp and I knocked on his door and said that we were an answer to his prayers. He told us he had been talking with his wife about baptizing his son, because he hadn't been baptized yet. The next day we knocked on their door. Nice. Also, this dude is an opera singer. He's so cool. I like him a lot. On Sunday he went to church for the first time in 15 years. It was really neat to see him there. We'll be working with him these next couple of weeks.

The rest of the week went by really fast. We knocked lots of doors and met lots of new people. And, it was really hot this whole week right until Sunday when it started to rain and cool down a lot.

Something I was thinking. It's gonna be really weird for me to do laundry when I get back to the States. Here, they don't have dryers (or they do, but it's super expensive because of the initial cost for the machine but also for electricity) so we have to hand dry our clothes on clothes lines. I'm so used to doing it. There was also a time when our washing machine broke so I had to hand wash and dry wash my clothes. Ah, the experiences of the mission.

Also, I am SUPER excited for Aaron having gotten his mission call to California- Vietnamese speaking! I've been waiting for a while to hear this haha. It's too bad I won't be able to see him for some time though.

Well, there's not much else to the week. Thanks for all the emails. I hope you all have another great week!

Elder Collins


Lunch at a member's house.

District Meeting!!

Poços de Caldas

That's a sweet view.

That's the city.

Brasilian sunset.

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015- week 55- Dog bite and hospital visit in Poços de Caldas, Brazil!

Para a minha querida familia,

So, this week was something different. I wasn't able to work as much as I wanted to, but hopefully this week will be better for me. So, on Tuesday I had my first District meeting as the District Leader! Woohoo!! That was fun. I think I did pretty well. I dunno. Everyone seemed to like my training. We'll see how tomorrow goes too! The Zone Leaders are gonna come to the meeting and then do splits with us afterwards.

Also, I decided to buy Tereré and a bomba (this metal straw that keeps the herbs out). I don't know if you guys know what that is, but it's a type of drink that they have here. Actually, it's a flavouring herb. You see, you dump these herbs in a cup, fill it with lemonade and then drink out of the fancy metal straw. It's super good.

Also, I think I've already told you, but we found this awesome family that loved when we went over to their house and shared our message with them. They all (the mom and two sons) want to be baptized, so we're working with them. We visited them on Tuesday too. On Wednesday, it got real hot. Also, we were went to visit one of our investigators, so we knocked their door waiting for them to come out when their two fluffy cute dogs came running out barking at us. They're about regular sized dogs. Not BIG, but also not small. I went out to pet one of them when the dog latched out and bit my finger. Ouch. It started bleeding a lot and that just ruined my day because 1, the investigators weren't even at home, and 2, my hand hurt for the rest of the day.

On Thursday, things got even worse when walking to our lunch I had a bad stomach ache. After eating lunch, it only got worse and the pain spread to my chest. It got real hard to breath, so they took me to the hospital. Once I got to the hospital, I had an attack of some sort. I'm not sure if it was like a panic attack or whatever. Basically, I had difficulty breathing and my body started going numb. My hands clenched up and I couldn't do anything. I felt so hopeless and scared. And the pain in the chest and stomach was still there. After some 10 or 15 minutes, I calmed down and went back to just the pain in the stomach and chest. They did some tests on me including attaching some wires to my chest, ankles, and arms. They diagnosed me with "gastrite nervousa". I'm not sure what that is in English, but basically its inflammation of the stomach. I talked with Sister Canuto and she told me that I can drink little or no soda, that I have to eat breakfast everyday, and that I have to take this one medication everyday. She's gonna mark a consolation with the Doctor the next week or so for me. So yeah...

That incident pretty much destroyed my week. I couldn't work anymore on Thursday, but on Friday and Saturday I went back to work. We weren't able to visit this awesome family and Thursday when we had marked, so that meant we couldn't talk to them more the past week, and they ended up not going to church...

Hopefully this week will be better. Thank you all for writing me emails. I love you all and pray for you all.

Your brother, son, and friend,

Elder Collins

Photos (sorry, I wasn't able to take many photos, but this week I will)

All Brasilians.
Yeah, it kinda hurts to get bit by a dog...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Septermber 14, 2015- week 54- new Brazilian companion in Poços de Caldas, Brazil!

Hey Fam bam!

How's it going? Well, not much has happened, since I just emailed you guys like 4 days ago. Also, is my English grammar really falling behind? Man. haha Well, now that I have a Brasilian companion, I can finally improve my Portuguese! Haha FINALLY! I've been waiting so long for this chance! Haha, he must be pretty annoyed with all the questions I ask about how to improve my Portuguese and what I can say better to sound more like a native speaker. As an exchange, I also help him with his English. He actually speaks English really well. I almost didn't even hear his accent. Every day starting at 8:30, we only speak English for the rest of the day including our daily planning session. I feel like we're both progressing pretty well.

Anyways, I think the only big thing that happened this past week was another baptism! Yeah! Her name is Maristela (Estela). Actually, lots of Elders have taught her. Her two children were both baptized 5 years ago, so missionaries have been going there for quite some time now. I guess the Lord prepares people for the right time. Estela was ready when I got here. I taught her with three different missionaries. My last companion, Elder Stone, was pretty sad to have left right before her baptism. We held the baptismal service on Saturday, then on Sunday she received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Overall, one of my favorite baptisms.

I still think it's kind of weird that the Caserta Ward in Italy has Sisters now. I don't think we've ever had Sisters in our ward before, so that's cool. How much time do the missionaries over there have on the mission? Is one of the Elders the DL? Tell them I said hi from Brasil and wish them all the luck over there in Italy. Also tell the Sister missionaries that they're lucky that they get to eat with you. I wish I had that opportunity haha.

Also, something that's so strange to me. Lots of the missionaries that I knew are going home. This past week, Elder Augusto went back home. He was my comp for some 2 weeks, but we lived in the same house. It's really weird to know that he's probably sleeping in every day and hanging with his friends. Elder Holder goes home this December. It felt like it was yesterday that we were both companions teaching people I couldn't even understand a little bit. Well, I guess this is the way of a missionary. One goes home, and another takes his place.

Well! Thank you so much for the email you guys all sent to me! Unfortunately, I haven't gotten any packages from you guys yet. Just two more weeks and then more mail will arrive. I've got my fingers crossed. haha Have a wonderful week all of you!

Elder Collins


These guys.
This guy is the best!
Birthday of Eduardo
Maristela's baptism
Such a great day.
Our neighbors/members from Haiti!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Septermber 9, 2015- week 53- new District Leader in Poços de Caldas, Brazil!

Well, first things first- I'M NOT DEAD! For this week, President moved P-Day to today (Wednesday). haha So yeah. Well, there have been quite a few changes for me. Also, this past week and a half has been pretty crazy. 

So last Monday, for P-Day, we decided to finally visit the Cristo statue here in Poços de Caldas. It was so awesome! Spectacular view at a completely different perspective of the city. A member took us up there in a car. I've attached lots of photos for you guys this week. We also went to this one giant rock formed by lava many years ago called "Pedra Balão". I didn't know that though- that Poços de Caldas is built on an inactive volcano.

Anyways, Tuesday was a regular day. We went to one member's house to have a family home evening with them, and they were making glass. It was really cool. You remember when we went to Venice- Murano, and they were blowing glass? Well, it's kinda like that, but small scaled. They use glass sticks and make small creations with them like birds or horses, just stuff like that. He let me and Elder Stone try for ourselves. 

For Wednesday we were going to have a Zone conference, but it was postponed until Thursday. We went and visited one of our investigators that is really close to baptism. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted for the 12th of September. We're gonna work real hard with her to realize that this Saturday. 

On Thursday, we had our Zone conference in São João. Also, that day I celebrated my official one year mark on the mission! Woohoo! This past year has easily been the fastest year of my life. And the most rewarding. At the Zone conference, there were three others with me that were one year old on the mission- Elder Arnson, Elder Heviton, and Sister Vasquez. We bought a cake and soda for the whole zone to celebrate. 

The rest of the week was pretty fast, and we taught some other people and Elder Stone did two more baptismal interviews. Nothing big and different. 

Also, it's been raining a WHOLE TON over here in Poços. It's been a while since it's rained so much. But I'm sure it's a good thing. 

Now comes the interesting part. We got a call on Sunday saying that we would have another Zone conference on Monday and that P-Day would be postponed from Monday until Wednesday. That is why I didn't email you on Monday. 

We went to São João a second time and we had our meeting. At the end, they announced the results of the transfers. Elder Moss and Elder Stone, my companion, (who were living with me) both left. Elder Moss became a District Leader and Elder Stone is now a Zone Leader for our Zone. Elder Francato became a trainer. Also, I became the new District Leader for Poços de Caldas! What the? Did that really just happen? Well, I'm kinda nervous, but I know with the Lord's help everything is possible. Any advice? Were you ever a DL dad? haha It's a good thing I've been living with District leaders for the past 6 months. 

Also, after more than a year on the mission in Brasil, I finally got a Brasilian companion. His name is Elder Pereira. He's from Goias and has 10 months on the mission. 

This transfer is defenitely gonna be a different one from all the rest. Well, thank you all for the emails! Have a great week for everyone!

Elder Collins


My new comp- Elder Pereira!

"O Cristo".

That view tho.

That's Poços for ya.

It's kinda big.

That's me on a rock.

Pão de Queijo and cevada, all home made.

I melted some glass sticks here.

One year old missionaries.

The zone conference with cake!

Baptismal interview for the Sisters.

That's my old shirt with areas served, months, and companions.

That's the shirt on fire.. hehe.