By Rosemary Pollock
Elder Learns Mission is Hard, Great
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL -- Salt Lake Tribune religion writer, Peggy
Fletcher Stack, has been following the progress of LDS missionary
Elder Colin Timothy, who is serving a two-year mission in Sao Paulo,
Brazil. "I got up at 6 a.m. today, no problem," he proudly wrote his
family of his second day in the LDS Missionary Training Center
located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. "It is great, except that I couldn't
sleep all night," Elder Timothy added.
Prior to leaving for his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, Elder Timothy was an avid snowboarder, a New York
City model and a consultant for a Boston-based dotcom. The Olympus
High School graduate joined other North American missionaries who
have been called to serve in the 26 missions in Brazil.
The seven-story Missionary Training Center was completed in 1997 and
is the only full-scale training center for missionaries that exists
outside of Utah. Brazil is the home of one of the largest Mormon
populations in the world. It has 775,822 members, in 186 stakes with
1,264 wards and 615 branches. It is here that the English-speaking
missionaries will learn to speak Portuguese and memorize the
discussions that will be used to teach potential converts.
Elder Timothy relates one of his first experiences while
proselytizing during a rain storm. After knocking on one last door, a
woman who said she was not interested in their message, allowed them
to stand on her patio until the rain stopped. "I stuttered through
the lessons, but the spirit was there," Elder Timothy wrote home. He
explained that as the storm lifted, he and his companion asked the
woman if she would like to be baptized. She replied, "Yes!" "
Needless to say, it was very cool."
"I can't understand why missions are supposed to be so hard. All you
need to do is be a good teacher, enjoy new people and walking," Elder
Timothy wrote. Back home his mother, Barbara Bowen says, "He is
finally in a place where he can be who he truly is--a giver and a
lover of people."
As of March, Elder Timothy is serving in the Mountains of the
Petropolis, in Rio de Janeiro, about 1 and 1/2 hours from the center
of the city. He will keep in regular contact with his Mission
President, Mark D. Ringger. He was assigned a Brazilian companion,
Elder Alveida, who Elder Timothy describes as, "The hardest working,
fastest walking elder in the mission."
During the next month, Elder Timothy suffered from a sprained ankle
which never properly healed after an injury while playing basketball
in the mission home and from a head-cold that leaves him getting only
four hours of sleep a night.
"I honestly can't wait until I'm back to 100 percent in my health,
because I can't stand giving a half-baked effort," he tells his
family. "I've come to realize that turning ourselves over to Christ
is what's paramount," he writes. "Everything else is secondary."
Mission: Brazil, Elder Timothy can't understand why missions are supposed to be so hard . . . until he enters the field.
Salt Lake Tribune 28Apr01 P2
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune