Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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