Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hey Mom and Dad and Everyone!

We are really enjoying the work over here.  It is really funny becaue ever since the play of the Book of Mormon has been showing in the nearby region, we get a lot of people that stop us in the street screaming "EEEELLDERS!!!!!   EEELDERS!!!!  They really do exist!!""  It is pretty funny.  So we taught a couple of times this week.  I dont know if I have seen so many miracles happening with one investigator at once.  We taught him in the chapel with an RM who´s name  is Alexandre.  We had already taugh the Restoration, so we followed up a little about the Book of Mormon.  He had read ALL of first Nephi!  He said there was a scripture in chapter 13 about the apostasy and how parts of the doctrine of Christ would be incomplete and all that he will carry with him for the rest of his life. He said that sometimes he feels like baptism would be the right thing to do, and that other times, he feels like there is a veil that comes between him and this desire that gives him a little fear.  We explained that the clearness of thought and desire comes through the Holy Spirit when we read the scriptures and pray.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation using a cool little wooden puzzle board that Elder Bitnoff has.  It was one of the most powerful lessons that Ive had on the mission.  We focused a lot on the Atonement and the possiblity of change in our thoughts and actions.  At district meeting we had an example of the Atonement.  The DL asked if we wanted a chocolate, and as we responded yes, my comp would have to do a set up pushups.  As we passed through all the members of the district, the pushups grew progressively more difficult and the Sisters started rejecting the candy.  For each chocolate that was rejected, it was also required a set up pushups.  With sweat dripping from his forhead and trembling arms, the DL explained how the situation applied to the Atonement- that accepting the gift or not, Christ atoned for us.  We explained this to Darckson, and the Spirit hit really hard.  In the end, Darckson gave his prayer as he cried thanking God for "sending him His true gopel."  We taught him on Saturdayabout the Word of Wisdom and other commandments.  When we got to the end, we asked him if everything was in line to go to church the next day.  He said that he was going to talk to his boss that night to see if he could cancel the training the next morning-  the problem was that he had cancelled the week before too, and there are a lot of people that come from other states in brasil to be part of that training.  He would give us an answer Sunday morning.  We got to Church, and he showed up in the middle of the first hour.  He said that his boss on Saturday night was a little rough with him-  "no, you already cancelled, you have to do this training- you signed the contract- your church thing can wait."  Even still,  Darckson went home, ironed his church shirt, and left everything ready.  The next morning- out of the blue- his boss calls him saying " hey, just go to church, ok?  You dont need to come in today."  Wow.  He showed his faith by leaving everything ready, and God did the rest.   We will teach him Tuesday,and mark his interview for Thursday to be able to be baptized on Saturday.

Im super stoked to keep working my last few days here.  If you could pray for Darckson, it would really help him.  Ive got a lot of other stories that Ill just have to tell you another day.

Love you all!!  
Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 22, 2014

Living with 5 other missionaries is really funny.  Everyone keeps teasing me that Im going home really soon and points out every airplane that passes haha.  We are seeing a lot of cool things happen.  
So we pretty much have a mission house now- just need to get the contract going.  We are now able to focus alot more on the work.  We received the media reference of a guy named Darckson.  He is a really great guy.  He is part of the Book of Momon play- which kindof makes fun of The Church.  Well, as he was rehearsing and stuff, he kept thinking too himslef "Why couldnt this be true?"  He said a prayer when he got home and entered into the site of the Church.  He started talking to a sister from Brasil who is serving in Salt Lake.  She answered a few questions and sent his address to us.  We went there and introduced ourselves to him, left him with a pamflet of the Restoration and marked to come back the next day.  When we got there, he had already read the whole pamphlet, and was answering the questions in the back.  We got there and taught him.  As we bore our testimonies, he started to cry, and said that he really wants to know if it is true.  He has the goal of getting baptized on the 4th of October.  He went to church yesterday.  You know what he was doing the night before at 1 in the morning?  Watching online "Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration".  He really liked the church, and said that he had already read beyond the part we marked in the Book of Mormon, and has friends that want to come to church too.  He is such a great guy, and is super prepared to receive this great message.  

This last Friday, we had zone conferences.  We got there at 8AM and left at 730 PM.  President Cabral did a great job.  We learned how to work better with the ward organizations and the bishop.  We had a new mission counsellor get called.  He is a RM that got back less than 3 years ago from his mission. Super young.  He served in north Brasil where he baptized like 400 people.  NUTS!  At the end, they called me to go up to give my last testmony in a zone conference.  It was a strong moment for me.  For just a few seconds there, it really hit home that I have to go home.  I got really sad, but really grateful too for the time that the Lord has given me here.  At the end, they got all the people that will go home, and put them in front and did President Cabral's little "thankfulness chant"--Grato, Grato, Grato, Bravo, Bravo, Bravo.  
Still isnt really sinking in, but Im grateful for that.

The ward counselor this week was talking about how Pres Monson is now advising us about being prepared with food storage and stuff.  He said that war has broken out back east---what is happening over there?  The news here is kindof corrupt, so the true story never gets here, but I was kindof interested.  

Anywhoo, Ive got to go, but I hope that you all have a great week!

Love you,
Elder Stin

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hey Mom and Dad!

are you worried about me doing something stupid????  haha.  Ummmm as far as the homecoming talk, Ill just wait to get home to write it.  I want to focus here with the time I have left.  Im sad that Grandma wont go to Croatia, but anywhere she goes, she will love it and will do awesome.  Hey so you bought new sheets?  can I throw mine away please???  they have years of mission and a a year of college all over them.  gross!  Also, Im really going to need to buy some new g´s.  haha.  UMMMMMM my foot has turned back to normal.  Ill talk to the secretaries about my plane ticket home. We havenet had any rats back in our house yet.  

I think Im more tired now than I was when I was new on the mission and getting used to the pace of mission life.  We are walking a ton--from Meier to our area and back every day.  I am praying that my last pair of shoes lasts me this transfer haah.  We are searching for a house here and the members are helping out a ton.  They are really worried about losing us, so they are always calling us up and giving us references of houses to rent.  For some reason, realestate places dont accept the church, so we are struggling to find some houses to rent directly with the owner.  We are seeing some miracles happen as we tear the area apart searching-- finding less actives and pesquisadores to teach-  seeing the ward become more unified.  It is really great.  It is not the easiest work, but I feel really satisfied with our effort.  The members are seeing the effort and started gossiping how they are so glad that they have a good pair of elders in the ward because the ones that were here before us were slackers.  Im just glad I havent had to worry about members saying that about me.  The guilt would probably eat me alive!  
We go to work a little bit with a member who recently returned from his mission (about a year ago).  He was a really good elder and was full of little tips and opinions about how I need to get home and establish my life.  He kept emphasizing finding a wife that I am not going to have to spiritually carry on my shoulders- but that will encourage me to live the gospel....He is having problems with this right now, and it´s being really hard for him.  I totally agree.  You´ve got to be really careful when it comes to picking out a wife.  At the end of our visits, we went back to his house and we met his step mom- non member.  She is a sewer.  I feel like we totally won her over when I told her that I had learned how to sew when I was at home.  She really opened up, and we will go back tomorrow to visit and set some goals to stop smoking.  Saturday night, my comp comes up to me with this little box and hands it to me.  I open it up-  hair clippers.  He let me cut his hair!!!  Let me tell you-  he looks beautiful.  Ill have to take a pic and send it later.  I was pretty proud.  
Hope all is well with you guys!
Love you,
Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hey Mom and Dad and Public!

So lots of stuff to say so Ill cram it into one email.  Alright, so lets see.....
This last week I went to the mission office.  Got interviewed, renewed my temple recommend, got the BYU endorsement sent, and figured out from Elder Maciel that my airplane ticket will be getting forwarded to you guys very soon.  (like probably tomorrow).  OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, super stoked for the open house at the temple.  I pretty much tell anyone that will listen to me that I get to participate in it haha.  
Also, sorry in advance for using personal funds alot.  We live outside of our zone and we are still trying to work the secretaries into giving us a reajustment to our mission funds.....

Also, I turned into Spider Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It actually was kindof scary this week.  I think it was like thursday- I woke up with my right ankle really itchy.  I just took a shower and ignored it.  We worked the whole day, and my right leg was kindof weak.  I took off my shoe when we got back and my foot was really swollen.  I tried to call the Sister--didnt answer the phone.  Luckily Elder Jimenez (ZL) was a nurse and told me that I needed to keep it elevated.  The five elders in the house were kindof concerned cause I had a fever and my heart was accelerated.  The Sister called back and asked what was up- then told us to go to the hospital.  So, at like 1030 PM a member and his non member dad came over and got me and my comp and drove us to the hospital.  I got to have an IV!!!!  It was pretty cool cause he like shoves the needle in and then it leaves a long plastic bendy tube in your vein.  The woman that was on the other side of the room waiting for her IV was looking and all of a sudden threw up lime green hahahahahahaahahah.  I had to put my jacket over my face to hide my smile.  The IV made me fall asleep for like an hour and a half, and then the doctor sent us home.  When we got there it was already 230 AM.  It was cool because we were able to talk to the nonmember dad a little bit about missions (his son is going to send his papers now) and the gospel.  He was telling us how he hopes that the people will take good care of his son.  Anywhoot, my foot was too swollen to put pressure on it for the next to days, but yesterday I was able to work.  (it is almost back to normal)  Im still trying different combinations of hand positions with my fingers to see if web shoots out......

Also, a giant rat woke us up in the middle of the night.  We heard it, and saw it run under the oven and up into the storage drawer.  We blocked all escape roots off and opened up the drawer.  It was full of food and trash and rat pee!!!!  The rat jumped up into the uper part of the oven.  naturally, we turned the oven on......    The rat jumped out and my comp caught it in a bucket, and beat it with a meat hammer.  Our victory screaches woke up the other Elders and we all celebrated together ahaha.  We got some rat poison from a member and it seems to be working well.  

Because we werente able to work well this week, we were praying a lot to be able to have someone go to church.  Calling up the people we had marked to go, they all cancelled.  We kept praying and praying that we could have soemone go.  Welp, out of the blue the bf of a member decided he wanted to visit.  He is Emanuel.  19 yrs old, already knows the missionaries, and it way cool.  The whole time, I was just thinking how grateful I was that God was kind enough to answer our prayers.  

Well, Im all out of time, but Ill see you next week!
Love you,
Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 1, 2014

So I got moved this week to Abolição.  Cool name right?  Abolition (is that a word in english?)  Anywhoot we are living in Meier  which is in another zone.  It is super hard to find a house in Abolição and the next area over (Engenho de Dentro) is sisters, so we live in the next   area over.  It is pretty entertaining because we are 6 elders in one tiny house, so you can imagine the craziness that happens there.  The elders are super cool.  There are a couple of other americans in the house- including my comp elder Bitnoff.  He served about a year in Colorado wating for his visa, so he doesnt really understand Portuguese yet, but we are working on it together.  He is pretty funny, and way chill.  For now we are sleeping on the floor and living out of our suitcases because they dont have space to put more furniture in here.  We have made it our priority to find a house in our area so we can be a little bit more organized.  
I was sad to leave Ramos.  I was only in that area for 6 days with Elder Martinez, but we became really quick friends and worked really well together.  It seemed like every person that came to the door turned into a new investigator, and it seems like a few of them even went to church yesterday!  Atleast I can feel that I left that area better off than I found it.  
One of the elders in our house has like 10 months on the mission (american) and is super trunky.  He keeps asking me questions about what it is like to be ending the mission and all.   haha.  For me, I cant really imagine not being on the mission.  Weird.

Over in Ramos, most of the place is hills with favela.  Right by the church there is a hill that is called Morro Adeus.  Scary!  From on hill to the other, they constructed little zip lines that have little cars that run on it (like the sugar loaf mountain).  They are only one real to use!!!  On my last day there, Elder Martinez and I went up to see what it was like and to get to know a different part of the area.  Super cool!  

Well, Im going to have to go now,

Love you!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hey Dad and Mom and everyone!
Super pressed for time.  You will have to forgive me.  
Sounds like the family is doing great.  I will remember Uncle Bryan in my prayers and Uncle Terry and his new job aspirations.  
Cool beans that you guys got to do a service project.  You always leave feeling really satisfied.  One of the best feelings there is.  
This week we had Interviews with the President.  It was really good to talk to him and make goals to finish out the rest of the mission. This last week I have become abundantely aware of the infinite number of things that I can change and make better, and perfect.  I also have been made aware of how long I have come, and how much I have changed.  I am grateful for this.  
One of the things that the President told us alot about was how our decisions now effect our eternal future.  If we had the vision that our Heavenly Father has, I dont think that any one of us would sin or do anything wrong.  From what I can see, study of the scriptures and prayer, and fasting, and sincere repentance opens our minds and lengthens our vision so that we can see a little bit more as our Heavenly Father sees.  This change in vision inspires us to do more and do better.  
Yesterday, we went to get an investgator for church, and she wasnt there.  We were a little sad because we had everything combined with her to go to church to be baptized this Saturday.  We didnt know what happened.  We went to the bus stop to go to church, and a car passed and stopped.  Hey missionaries!  want a ride?    He introduced himself as a less active and his wife as a non member.  WOW!  a family to complete!!!  
The transfer here will end this next week and Monday will be transfers.  It is pretty likely that I wont write on Monday because we live so long from the center of Rio, but we will write maybe Tuesday.

Love you!!
Elder Stinnett

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hey Dad and Mom and the fam!

That is so cool to hear that the PHX temple will be didicated!  Even more nuts that Conner and Sammy will dance in the festival.  Will it be with President Monson??  We are looking at the possiblity of Elder Holland coming to Rio.  The Presidente is apparently trying to see if he will come visit the mission too, but atleast he will visit some stakes.  Maybe he will even open the ground for the Rio temple!  (that is my dream!)
Have you guys heared any news about some virus going wild in Africa?  let me know about that a little bit.  the people here are freaking out that it is the start of a zombie apocolypse.  
This week we had the mission counsel, so we had to grab a bus on tuesday night to get to a mission house over in Rio Cumprido to stay the night to wake up early and get to the counsel  on time the next day.  The counsel was one of the best that I have ever participated.  We had a lot of changes made in the way we will work, and Im praying that I can be moldable enough to put everything into practice.  When we gave the training to our zone, the same Spirit was felt as we felt in the counsel the day before.  The results, this week, was more working with the members, and more people going to church.  Excellent!
Yesterday I got to give a talk in sacrament meeting, about the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve.  I learned so much as I studied it out.  I chose to focus a lot in the Spiritual Death-and how we can reach a higher level of happiness here on earth as we work to become as close to our Savior as we possibly can.  I have kindof come to love giving talks....we´ll see if that stays the same when I come home and have a huge congregation to speak in front of instead of just 100 people.  
I also got to do a division with my LD which was really fun.  It is always a little bit of a weird feeling sleeping in the bed of another man, while you are conscious that he is also over at your house sleeping in yours........ God always seems to bless us a lot when we do divisions and we got to know eachother really well and make some plans to keep the work flowing well.  
Eu só queria prestar meu testemunho para vocês....faz tempo que eu faço.  Sou muito grato para poder estar aqui.  Não sei exatamente por que O Senhor me permitiu a nascer na igreja, e ter tantas bençãos na minha vida até este ponto, mas sou muito grato por isso.  Sei que arrependimento é real, é um processo, é maravilhoso.  Quero ser melhor cada vez mais, e sei que através A Expiação de Cristo, que isso é possível.  Ele me ama--sei disso.  Por isso, Ele reque muito de mim.  Eu amo vocês e espero que possamos continuar em nossa busca para seguir O Nosso Salvador.
 "I just wanted to add my testimony to you .... time is what I do. I am very grateful to be here. I do not know exactly why the Lord allowed me to be born in the church, and have so many blessings in my life up to this point, but I'm very grateful for that. I know that repentance is real, it is a process, it's wonderful. I want to be the best ever, and I know that through the Atonement of Christ, that is possible. He loves me - I know that. So he require a lot from me. I love you and hope we can continue in our quest to follow Our Savior."

Com amor,

Elder Stinnett