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.