Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, December 31, 2012

Glad to hear about Christmas!  Realmente, nada aconteceu on Christmas for us.  Christmas eve was great with the feast at a member's house, but Christmas was just like other days-preaching the gospel and all of the good stuff.  It was great!  Here serving a mission feels like the days crawl but the weeks fly.  Not really sure how that works.  
I'm not sure if I told you, but we had Zone conference on Christmas eve!  It was a blast.  I attached a picture of everone.  My companion is the one on the far right.  Oh, remember that nasty smelling fruit that Andrew Zimmern (The guy from bizzare foods on tv) can't eat?  Yup.  Ate it.  It's name is Jaca.  It has spikes on the outside, giant seeds on the inside, smells like Sammy's feet, and tastes like a banana and a mango had kids....with the aftertaste of feet.  So, as long as you keep eating it, your fine.  I love it!  kindof.  There is a pic if you can't remember.  Anywhoot, we had five pesquisadores attend church yesterday!  One of them is Fortunado.  He is a guy who has had a lot of hardships, and seems to really be opening up to us.  We went in to his house for the second time, read him the story about Joseph Smith (My son, peace be unto thy soul, for thine adversities and afflictions shall be but a small moment..)  and then sang "Sou um Filho de Deus"  The spirit was really strong.  After, he offered my companion and I some suco (Juice)  It was night time and the suco was dark, so we both got our cups full and I took a sip expecting grape juice...huh.  Not juice.  I pulled it away from my mouth, sniffed it a bit,  and looked at my companion.  It smelled a bit like coffee.  My companion started smiling really big. I asked him was it was...He thinks it was some kind of cha gelado (chilled tea)  which he quickly assured me that here it is not contra the word of wisdom....So, with nothing I could do, I chugged that cup full of gross stuff.  Not reeeallly sure what it was, but I repented just in case.  :D
Also, we've been with no water for three days.  You know what that means!!!  NOOOO SHOWERSSS!!!!!  Just kidding.  We fill a bucket with water from a tap below (Because the pressure isn't sufficient to pump it to our room upstairs)  and run it up to the shower and use that.  Also, the water smells like eggs.
Today, nós vamos subir um montanha perto de casa com 2 pesquisadores jovens.  We will pick mangos and try to find more of the foot fruit.  Yup, it's a crazy life.  Pray that I won't get eaten by an anaconda or attacked by little monkeys.  I'm so excited!  
The work is going great, and if all goes according to plan, we will a baptismal service this week!

Espero que tudo é bem.  Eu oro por voces cada dia.  A igreja é verdadeira, e com a mão do Senhor, tudo e possível!  
Eu amo voces
Até proximo vez,
Elder Stinnett.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The part of Rio that the president lives in is exactly like the pictures.  Beautiful de mais!  But the part that I'm living in is not really what you'd imagine.  Well what I imagined.  I love it here.  It's kindof like downtown Phoenix :PI'm starting to get a feeling why I'm here in Brazil.  It is hotter than AZ right now.  Well, it's probably 90 or 95 but the humidity is killer. You know how people gross out if you hand is sticky from sweat when you shake their hand in AZ?  NOT HERE!! Everyone is sweaty and sticky and panting haha.  
We got a chance to eat at a member's house and that is why she shot bethany a friend request.  I had a couple of ideas that I shot dad about skype.

I'm so glad that you got the letters!  They took a while to write, but I figured that if they would take a month to get there, they better be good neh? (That's the Brazillian way of saying Eh?  like the Canadians do haha)  
It's so nice to know that there are so many people back home that support me.  It gives me even more assurance that I'm out here doing the Lord's work.  It's difficult though.  While fazendo contatos na rua, I can talk to anyone that I want.  We actually have a game where we pick contacts for each other, because you can talk to 99 percent of anyone you see.  They just have the courtesy to talk to someone.  They respect us a lot.  I feel pretty safe here because everyone here believes firmly in Christ and respects anyone that talks about him.  Also, there are tons of cavalos and packs of wild dogs that run wild here.  But it's weird.  They don't attack you...unless you are my companion and like to growl at them....I have the sutaki (accent) of Sao Paulo mixed with white boy, so it's difficult to interpret what the Cariocas are saying and for them to discern what I am saying.  But, eu vou melhorar.  Also, on the bright side, the world didn't end a couple days ago.  
While studing the first lesson, I remembered the advice that one of my teachers at the CTM told us.  He told us to pray about Joseph Smith.  Even if we already had, just do it.  I knelt down and started to pray.  I had before, but I figured more times=better.  I didn't feel much while praying, so I stayed there kneeling for a moment.  Then all of a sudden, this rush came over me from head to toe that lasted a solid 30 seconds.  He's indeed a prophet.
Nos temos a pesquisador that we are teaching.  
Have a merry Christmas.
 Ate mais, a igreja é verdadeira!
Elder Stinnett

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guess what?  I'm already in Rio!!! Today is my first Pday and eles vai ser em Segundo (Monday from now on). We got to leave a day early from the MTC so we took a plane ride yesterday at 4 in the morning.  It was onle 45 minutes, but the landing was amazing.  We passed right by the Pao de Sucar (sugar loaf mountain) and saw the Cristo Redentor.  Then we got picked up by President Lima and went back to his house and ate lunch and were oriented and such.  It was so incredible!!!  The view from his house is one of the coolest I've ever seen.  After that, we went to the capela para receber nosso companeiro.  O nome de meu companeiro é Elder Lima.  Ele é um bom missionario e eu ja aprendi muito dele. After, we walked about a mile and hopped on two different buses and a van to get to our area.  Stuff gets heavy when you carry it a mile...  Anyways we got to our lar. Its definitely a humble one, but I like it.  No ac but we do have a fan we move around to each room we go in.  
We gave my first lesson of the field to a sister named Maria.  Ela foi batisou otem e nos se ensinamos novamente sobro o Espirito Santo.  Eu solmente entendi um pouqo, mais eu vou aprender.  The accent here is different than Sao Paulo so I keep having to ask everyone to repeat what they say alot.  Oh well.  I will try to attach a few pictures to the email I will send mom.  I hope it works.  Also, if sending a package, apparently if you declare a worth of more than 20 dollars, the governement will take it and make me pay double its cost in reals to take it say its less than twenty dollars I guess....
My companion says that we will probably use skype in a members house to talk to you on Natal, so im excited for that.

Sorry it isnt longer, but we have a lot of things to do today.  Até mais!
Elder Stinnett

Well, I got to help teach a new convert yesterday as I wrote in the letter to Dad.  Everyone here is very nice and less busy than Sao Paulo. That's cool to hear about India's mission and Boyd's farewell.   I'm feeling a bit lost here with the language, but I'm grateful for the chance to be knocked down so I can learn more.  Also my area is campo grande cesario de melo ....bye


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

That is great news to hear that Adrian is getting married.  That was really cool that he said that I would have been one of the groomsmen.  I'll definitely send him a letter to congratulate him when I get some time. 
Today we went to the temple again.  My last time for two years :(  I got the chance to do Annointings.  It was completely in Portuguese and the were whispering so I only got to pick out a few random words.  But the spirit was definitely there. 
Tell Ashlee and Adam thanks for me.  I really appreciate every bit of help...I can't stop thinking about everyone who has supported me being out here.
Yesterday guess what sister came into my classroom to say hi?  Sister Mendenhall.  (I think that's how you spell it)  I'm not sure which one of the twins it was, but her mission is Belem (Bethlehem in Portuguese). 

 It's been a really good week so far!  We got a chance to watch the first presidency Christmas devotional.  That opening number was amazing.  I'm not sure whether the choir is that good or the Spirit made it seem better, but that was one of the most beautiful renditions of that song I've ever heard.  Going along with the Christmas theme, we were able to go out on Sunday night and carol just outside the CTM.  President Degn (The CTM president) was a concert pianist and a fireworks technician (weird combination) so he was at the piano.  It was really good to be able to sing those songs about Christ and remember why it is we have the holiday. 
We got to go proselyting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AHHHHHHHH!!!
Yah, I was so excited.  It was over 24 hours ago, but I'm still running off of the sharing-the-gospel-with-others-high.  We separtated into companionships and we were let loose on the streets in our boundaries for a couple of hours.  At first it was a bit difficult to figure out how to approach someone on the street because most everyone is walking really fast, but once you get them talking about Christ, it seems like you can't go wrong.  Elder Palmer, Elder Nascimento, and I ended up sharing 8 Os Livros de Mormon in the time we were given!  My first contacto de rua was a man named Victor.  He is a Brasillero, but he lived in Sydney Aus.  for a couple of years as a chef or Brazillian food.  Can you imagine a Brasillero with an Australian accent?  Legal!!!  It seemed like as we were out there longer, I stopped thinking how to say stuff and the words just came out of my mouth.  I could understand the large majority of what they were saying to me too!  Any whoot, we get to go out this weeks again.  Não posso esperar!!

So this week, a sister was ironing her clothes at like 10:40 PM.  Should have been in bed right?  I guess she was new to the whole ironing thing because her clothes caught fire and set off the alarm.  We got to walk down 6 flights of stairs in flip flops and pajamas and wait outside the CTM for 20 minutes while the guards went and checked things out.  It was pretty funny :D

Also, during service this Wednesday, Elder Haws and I found a slug in the middle of the court yard.  We finished up sweeping and then came back to play with it, but it looked like it wasn't really moving.  So we sat ourselves down on the bench and Haws started poking it with a stick.  Nothing.  Well, we couldn't just leave it there, it was on the floor we swept and it didn't belong.  And we coudn't put it in the trash if it was alive cause that is mean.  So, just to make sure that it was dead, I put my foot out and stepped on it....It exploded and went up the side of my shoe, on my basketball shorts, on my face, and in my mouth.  Ever wondered what slug poop tastes like?  Gross.  that's what.  :P 

Well, those are the highlights of my week.  Isso tempo proxima semana, eu vou ser no Rio de Janeiro!!  Eu amo voces e eu espero que voces vão ter uma boa semana.  A igreja é verdadeira e Cristo vive. 
Até mais,
Elder Stinnett

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

 I that is way cool about Maddie's priesthood blessing.  Eu sei que eles só trabalham com nosso fé, mas isto esta muito incredivel!  This week we had a ceremony on the last night of November where todo mundo gathered in the coutyard of the CTM at night and counted down till the Christmas lights were turned on.  Depois, nós cantamos hinos de Natal com Presidente Degn e sua esposa.  We always have devotionals on Tuesdays and Sundays and Irma Steadman always has the entire CTM show up an hour early to reahearse a song to sing.  This week we sang Come thou Fount.  Este é um de meus hinos favoritos.  We sang the different verses in Portuguese and then English and the last strophe was acapella.  Esta muito dificil para lembrar um tempo quando eu senti o Espirito Santo mais forte que isto tempo.  Eu amo hinos!!! 
Nós estamos ensinando um nove pesquisador.  A nome dele é Igor e ele não acredita em Deus.  Ele não vai orar para ver se Deus existir!!!  Esta muito frustrado!  We ended up figuring out that he is like an iceberg.  He had a lot more problems than initially could be seen.  Right now, we are trying to figure out a way to get him to pray.  We have a temple visit scheduled with him in a week, so hopefully he "shows up". 
If there is one thing that I've learned for sure is that missionary work is not easy.  Eu estou lendo em Alma agora, e quando as pessoas vão receber o Evangelho, o capitulo esta muito corto.  Mas, quando as pessoas estão mal, o capitulo esta mais longe.  Eu penso que preciso lembrar isso.  When I am in the field, it may seem difficult.  The good times may seem brief and the long periods of trial may seem to drag on.  I just have to remember that the Lord is on my side and that I'm doing His work.  All will turn out for the best.  Elder Holland disse "You will have atleast one convert on your mission wherever you serve, and it better be you." 
Well, it's that time again where the clock is counting down.  Know that I love you guys.  I think about and pray for you.  Mas, a igreja me precisa e eu estou animado para servir onde eu estou chamado- Rio de Janeiro.  Eu vou ser aqui antes muito tempo.  Especialdade este tempo que o año- a tempo para celebrar a nascimento do nosso Salvador, Jesus Cristo.  Até proximo tempo.
Seu missionario,
Elder Stinnett

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanks so much for the letters!  I got the one from the family, one from Johnny boy and the gang, one from my favorite Shayla, and a wedding invitation from Julia.  Each letter you get is 50 pushups-my pecs are a little sore :P
It was so awesome to hear from everyone.  Sara's testimony in Spanish was awesome!  It is quazi mesmo a Portugues.  I showed the poem that Dad sent to my companions, and they thought it was really awesome.  In short, everyone in my district stole my letter to copy the poem.  Anyway you could put it on the blog?  I stinking love it!  I'll try to print a couple of pictures to send when I get a chance to write back.  I've had no time at all lately!
The temple was amazing today.  I went in with my patriarchal blessing and a couple of questions I was wondering about.  The feeling was surreal.  If I could put it in words, I would, but neither Portugues or English have anything that can come close.  All I can say is what I tell our pesquisadors "um fogo em meu coracao"  but the rest is just indescribable.  I'm so glad I have the chance to go each week while I'm here.
We just said goodbye to a couple of Brasilleros that we've grown really close to these past 3 weeks.  They are like brothers to me.  I was giving one of them private English lessons each night, and last night as he was packing his bags, he came up to me with a sheet of paper with a few lines written on it.  He started to read in perfect English a prayer that he had written.  Not the most elaborate or intricate, but one that came from him.  As he read it, his voice was shaky.  I asked him what was wrong.  He just hugged me for a second and then told me that he was because he was so glad-  he can talk to his Father in Heaven in two languages now.  I was sad to see him go.
Well, it happened again.  I really didn't think that I talked in my sleep that much.  I guess there is just so much going on in my head that I can't express it all while I'm conscious.  Elder Palmer told me that he was laying awake in his bed and at 5:17 AM he heard a thud (I figured out later that my alarm clock fell on me) and then me yelling, "AHHHHH!!! Desculpa!! (I'm sorry)" and then some other random Portuguese yah.  I'm hoping that doesn't happen again.  I'm starting to freak myself out.  
I've got a few really cool/ funny things to share, but I'll save those for actual letters.  
Thanks for all of your support and prayers, I can feel them each day.  The hand of the Lord has really become apparent these past few weeks.  I hope that all is happening for the best and that you all have a stinking awesome week.
Eu sei que ista igreja é a melhor coisa que aconteseu em meu vida.  Eu vou ser muito grato por isso Evangelho para sempre.  Eu sei que nós temos um profeta que vai guiar nos em um caminho então nós podemos voltar a Pai Celestial.  O Livro de Mormon é a palavra de Deus revelado por meio profetas por nos em isso tempo.  Eu amo isso Evangelho e eu estou aprendendo muitas coisas cada dia então eu posso viver com meu Pai Celestial e meu familia novamente.  Eu amo voces, e eu espero que voces entendem que eu estou grato por voces.
Até mais,
Elder Stinnett


As I sit looking through the window, a tear still in my eye
I see the family and friends I love as we say our last goodbye.
The ride is long and tiring as two questions plague my mind,
"Do I want the life that lies ahead or the one I left behind?"

Twenty-four months is such a long time for going door to door,
In my reflections I thought to myself, "There really must be more."
I climb down from the airplane and looked longingly at the beach,
But a man turned me the other way and said, "Elder, go find and teach."

I sit reflecting once again as this day is my last;
I say, "Lord, this just isn't fair; twenty-four months goes much to fast."
As I sit looking through the window, a tear still in my eye,
I see the Elders and friends I love as we say our last goodbye.
The ride is long and tiring as two questions plague my mind,
"Do I want the life that lies ahead or the one I left behind?"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just got back from the temple, and I'm glad to get the chance to hear what's going on back home.  Is it true 20 states are signing petitions to secede from the union?  That's the rumor that's going around.  Anywho, it is really cool that you are able to go back and see all of your funny moments.  I should have kept a journal from the start.  Instead, I just told the funny stories I had to people to try to keep them alive.  Oh well, I'm keeping my journal now.  My companions and I saw a full time elder pull up at the temple with his companion.  He was from Oregon and was out for seven months.  He couldn't speak a word of English!  I hope to have the same problem a few months into the field. 
This past Tuesday night, the entire MTC had a devotional and we sang in Coral the EFY Medley in Portuguese.  (To bring the world his truth and As Sisters in Zion)  The spirit was so strong as we sang that there wasn't a single dry eye on the stand and President Degn stood at the pulpit for a solid minute before he could speak.  There is an undeniable presence that you feel here at the CTM...I'm going to miss it for sure.  But I'm so stoked to get out in the field!
One of my instructors Irmao Armazam really impresses me.  He is 22-just off his own mission- and each day he says something that makes me really appreciate the gospel.  He placed himself as a pesquisador and asked me to tell him what the Book of Mormon is.  In Portugese I started to tell him-it's another testament of Jesus Christ.... and all that which you are trained to say.  He stopped me, and said "no, not what is it.  What is it to you. When you open those pages and poor your soul over the pages, what is that book to you."  You know what?  The Book of Mormon is so much more.  Each day, I'm more and more grateful for it.  You know how it seemed so huge when you were 8?  How you could never make it through?  Yah, right now, I'm really wishing there was more. 
I was just reading in Mosiah about Abinadi.  How King Noah ordered that he was to be killed.  He stood there with such a firm faith knowing that he was on the Lord's errand and that while he was needed to deliver that message, he could not be touched.  I was writing about that in my journal and gun shots rang out in the neighborhood, but you know what I felt?  Peace.  I know I'm hear on the Lord's errand and that I will be protected. 
Well, there are a whole host of stories that I could tell, but I'm nearly out of time.  I guess I can tell those through snail mail.  Let it suffice to know that I, Elder Stinnett, caught an awesome tiger striped mariposa (butterfly) and named him Pedro (peter).  No big deal.  
Eu te amo, o Evangelho de Jesus Cristo é verdadeira, O Livro de Mormon é o melhor livro em todo mundo, e Jesus Cristo é meu Salvador e Redentor.  Eu vou falar mais proxima semana.   Até mais.
Elder Stinnett

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Well, this week has been a trip!  It seemed like so many funny things happened all in a row-either that or we have just been finding joy in the small things because if we didn't we'd go insane.... either one :D 
One of the fake investigators we have been teaching just made a huge step in progress.  We gave him a pamphlet one night and the next morning we visited him and he was just overjoyed.  He told us that he knew it was true and that he wanted to make the steps to be baptized.  Even though he is fake, I'm not going to share the details, but it was extraordinary how happy I was that a fake investigator was willing to show the faith to commit to something so important.  I'm so excited to see what it feels like when it's a real pesquisador out in the field! 
When you're in the classroom for 14 hours a day, it's pretty easy to get down on yourself or feel discouraged for all of the little things you see you can't do while losing sight of all you can do.  I made up a few phrases I've adopted as kindof a motto I'm pretty proud of. (I don't have time to put the accents on, sorry)
Nao posso dizer todo                I can't say all,
mas eu vou tentar                     but I will try
Nao estou todo                         I am not all
mas eu vou tornar-se                but I will become
Nao esta facil,                           It is not easy
mas esta vai ser melhor           but it will be better
Nao posso agora,                    I cannot now,
mas eu tenho fe.                      but I have faith.
(It sounds so much cooler in Portuguese) :D
Well, I'll give you a couple of stories in the last bit of time I have left.
Today at the temple, I was renting my pants, and you have to say your size in Portuguese and then they convert it to centimeters.  I told them what I was, but something got lost in translation because I ended up with a waist size a a few inches too big.  We were running late for the session, so there wasn't time to exchange them!!  Yup, guess who was left waddling through the temple so his pants wouldn't fall down?  This elder.
Like I said, we have to find joy in the small things.  Most of the time, you just don't ask what the food is.  For some reason, there were some grape sized onions that were sitting on a tray.  So, naturally, Elder Haws (an elder in my district) and I grabbed a few to see what they were all about.  Turns out they were pickled and taste like barf.  We didn't want to waste them, so we hollowed out a roll pushed them in.  Couldn't even tell the difference!  The roll was placed back in the basket and not thirty seconds later a new missionary picked it up.  Oh man, he took one bite and I don't think he'll ever trust that bread basket again.
Well, bugs flying into our room at night the size of small birds (seriously.  I have pictures to prove it)  that is pretty much it for the story of my life.  I wish I could say more and share all my stories, but I'm out of time.  The church is true, the Book of Mormon is amazing, and I love you all.
Ate mais,
Elder Stinnett

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hey everybody!
    Como vai?????  It's great to hear from  the family again.  That is really sad about the frankenstorm.  We got a little bit of news about it but not much.  We had a district fast for the sake of the country with the presidential election, and in my prayer I accidentally said President Romney...maybe a sign?  or wishful thinking?  I dont' know, but I'm excited to hear!  Pardon my grammer.  My English is going down the tubes right now.  With all the Portuguese going into my head, I have a hard time speaking nowdays.  I wish the amount that I'm able to say in Portuguese would go up as fast as my English is declining, but I'm sure it will catch up :D  We just got back from the temple.  We go every week, and it is just beautiful!  I've never seen so much gold in the celestial room anywhere!  The session is in english, but the end is in Portuguese.  It's a bit daunting at first.  We get to leave the CTM on 18 Dec 2012.  We were going to have 9 weeks, but they didn't want us leaving on Christmas, so they are booting us out a week early!  Hallelujah.  I love it here, but I'm way to excited to get to Rio. 
     Well, a lot of stuff has happened this week.  My companions and I taught our first TRC.  They have some of the week 6 missionaries be investigators, and they set up a room like a home and they video tape us and give us feedback.  Apparently, our Portuguese is good for a couple of second week missionaries.  I've started to realize that when I crack open my scriptures, my heart actually starts to pound a little bit--like it knows it's going to be fed.  I just get so excited any more to just read the scriptures for myself.
     Speaking of which, we read the first part of 1 Nephi as a class yesterday in Portuguese.  I understood the majority of it!  We spent a sold half hour talking about the first verse--how we, like Nephi, are highly favored of the Lord.  We have the privilege of wearing His name on our chest, speak in His name, and bring others closer to Him.  I think that's pretty special.  Each day I'm more and more grateful I can be a missionary. 
   One of the elders in the district told us that started to question whether he was adequate enough to serve.  I have to confess, before I left I initially had the same questioning.  I never doubted the church was true, but maybe there were others that could do a better job.  Then, I went over D&C 4.  "If ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work."  Well, I have that desire, that hunger.  I figure as long as you have a testimony, a desire to serve, and a willingness to work hard, that's what being a missionary is all about.  Now that I'm out here, I know with a surety that there is no place the meu Pai Celestial would rather have me that serving the people out here in Brazil. 
   PORTUGUEEEEEEEEEEESSSEEEEEEE!!!!!  Oh my goodness.  It's a battle.  You have those days you are on top of the world and others where you wish you were called state side.  I'm glad to say the former happen more often.  I can speak better Portuguese after two weeks than I could speak Spanish after two years in high school.  The gift of tongues is real.  I know that, but it is not without an insane amount of work.  I guess that language getting ground deep inside of me because my companion told me that I started talking and praying in Portuguese in my sleep :P  I love the language.  It is beautiful, but I'm already dreading coming back to AZ because Spanish sounds very clunky to me now :/
   Sorry I can't upload pics.  I just found out it's against the rules, but I hope everything is well with the families and my buddies back home. 
Eu te amo, a igreja e verdadeira, e Cristo e meu Salvador e Redentor!  
Elder Stinnett

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hey everybody!!,
Our computer time limit is very strict, and I have 26 minutes and 20 seconds left, so I'm going to just put it all in one email.  I'm sorry I can't send back any pics right now.  I don't think the computers work with cameras... Oh well.  The flight was uber long, but enjoyable.  On the way to Atlanta, I was able to talk to a Catholic lady that sat next to me.  She noticed that I was reading my scriptures and told me how happy she was to see somebody young that believed in God.  Her father and husband had just passed away, so I was able to tell her a  bit about the Plan of Salvation.  The flight to Sao Paulo was even better.  And by even better, I mean that it was nine hours with a chair reclined so far my legs were pinned so I tried to ignore it and learn some Portuguese from the lady that sat next to me, better.  I ended up giving her my Portuguese Livro de Mormon I bought while I was in AZ.  She seemed really interested and read it for a good hour.  Well, as you can imagine, Brazil is gorgeous.  It still is a bit surreal.  I keep thinking if I hop on a bus that I could be in AZ in a couple hours.  6000 miles sure does seem weird.  The MTC president, President Degn, is super nice.  He gave us a great seminar about the atonement for one of our classes.  He talked about how even though we think it is hard, we are not the first ones to ask "If this cup can be removed from us."  It gave me a whole new perspective about the little trials we go through.  The food here is kind of weird.  It definitely isn't the Canon center back at the Y.  I learned to stop asking what it is and just sniff it.  If it doesn't smell rotten or have a bug in it, then it's usually half decent---except the pizza.  I swear they took the cheese from a camel and then left it in the sun and mixed it with mucus.  But, every Wednesday night I get to eat it!!  So, I guess I better get used to it.  There is this stuff they serve in the morning.  I call it rice spit.  And yup, it's what it sounds like.  Rice milk with the consistency of spit.  It doesn't taste bad, and I'm almost to the point where I can eat a whole bowl without feeling like throwing up.  :D  I love my companions.  They are like brothers to me.  The Americans Elder Palmer and Elder Nascimento and my actual companions, and we had two Brazillians who were roommates with us.  They just left this morning to go out into the field.  Sammy would have liked one of them...he looked like a carbon copy of David Archuleta. 
I figured I'd give you a Taylor story because you guys must be so unhappy without my beautiful face to look at.  So, every night we have snack, and it has an apple, a sandwich, and a cup for hot chocolate.  Elder Nascimento likes to try to talk to the Brazillians to get better at Portuguese, so he was trying to tell them that the hot chocolate is very good.  (E chocolate quenche e muito bom!)  He said "E cocoa quenche e muito bom!)  Little did he know that coco in Portuguese means poop hahaha.  The Brazillian he was talking to gave him this stare as his jaw dropped open.  In his thick accent, he asked bewildered, "Hhhot poop???"  I don't think I have laughed that hard in a long time :D 
I miss hanging out with my friends back at institute, but I am getting my volleyball at gym time each day!  I'm grateful for all of my buddies back there pushing me to go...perhaps more than they realize.
The language is coming along pretty well.  We have taught a couple of lessons so far, and my companions and I have both of our fake investigators commited to baptism.  I was really nervous about Portuguese, but I can tell you with a surety that I know the gift of tongues is real.  My prayers are now completely in Portuguese, and I can understand the majority of what my instructors are saying.  Small steps, but I've only been here six days!!! 
So, I had the challenge to write back the tender mercies that happen on my mission.  I thought about including them, but I realize that they may be a bit personal to share.  I know the person who asked me to send them will understand.  Just thought that I'd let her know I write them every night. :D
Well, my time is just about up.  Eu sei que a igreja de Jesus Cristo e verdadeira.  Eu sei que Joseph Smith e um profeta de Deus.  Eu grato por oportunidade servir meu Salvador Jesus Cristo e ser um missionario.  Eu sei que O Livro de Mormon e umas palavras de Deus.  (Sorry for teh conjugation errors :D
I'm so glad that everything is going well at home.  I miss you guys, but I know I'm in the right place and that I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do.  I'm off to enjoy the rest of my P-Day.  I'll talk to you all soon!!
Until then,
Elder Stinnett

Sunday, September 30, 2012