Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, December 23, 2013

Meeerrrrrrrrry Christmas!!!!

Hey everyone!  I am super excited for this week.  We have got so much cool stuff lined up. We have a pesquisadora that went to church who is planning to be baptized this Saturday, who invited us to pass by on Christmas; we´ve got skype, and also, Irmã Leda said she is going to give us socks for Christmas!!!  (Somehow she figured out that they are full of holes haha).  It is going to be the best Christmas ever!

So a little bit on what happened this last week.  

A new lady moved into the ward and gave us a fruitcake kindof thing that is called pantetone...but instead of fruitcake, it was full of delicious chocolates!!!  I think it was a call for us to go visit her and baptize her non member husband. haha

Fabiano (our Ward mission leader) and I sang Oh Holy Night in front of everyone at church and then we went around doing visits singing them carols.  We went to the house of two old ladies- a mom and her daughter.  Her daughter had just lost her husband.  We sang the portuguese version of White Christmas and we felt the Spirit hit like a wall.  It was a sensation that I have only felt a few other moments before.  She was smiling and sobbing at the same time as we finished the song.  She wants us to go back and give her the missionary lessons.  Im so excited!  Im just thinking, how do you baptize an old lady??

Last night there was a training for the ward counsell of the entire stake of Madureira.  We received a call that we would have to be there too.  We went and there was a 70- Elder Cruz.  He called us up to the front and had us give a training to the stake with him!  Coolest night ever!!!   

We had a mini miracle happen this week.  We are working a lot with Paulo to help him grow his faith.  We left the goal with him that if he feels ready, he will be baptized on Christmas as a present to Christ.  However, for him to be able to do this, he had to go to church this week.  Saturday night we went there to confirm everthing and he told us that he wouldnt be able to go, and told us an excuse.  We used all of the techniques we know and he still was firm in the *i am not going* decision.  We invited him, *tonight, you pray and you ask God where he wants you tomorrow, and if you decide to go, Lilian will pass by to pick you and your family up.*  We prayed that night as a zone- a lot- so that the Lord could change his heart and help him go to church.  We were sitting in the sacrament meeting and lilian wasnt there yet. All of a sudden the door opened and Lilian walked in with Hugo and Davi.  The door opened again-  Paulo!!!!!  We showed him the baptismal font and all that good stuff.  We will go there tonight to reinforce the invitation to be baptized this Christmas.  If you could keep him in your prayers, I know the Lord will hear you, as I know that he has heard our prayers.

I am loving being the comp of Elder Hansen again.  Im learning so much and we are finding a lot of eleitos (elects?? idk)  For instance, we were walking in the street and I saw a woman walking towards us with her head down.  I poked Elder Hansen and was like - this is an Irmã from the church.  As she got closer, I called her attention and started talking to her.  Welp, it wasnt someone from the church.  She told us that she had already been taught by the missionaries 2 years back and that she had left her church to be part of the LDS church.  However, after going to church like 4 times, the Elders stopped going to her house and she got really sad.  (Transferred??)  We went there and taught her, she went to church Sunday, and is really excited to be baptized this Saturday.  Só milagres aqui em Sulacap!!!

Well, Ive got other stories, but I will have to tell you on skype.
Love you all!!!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hey everyone!
I am going to have to write super quick because I have noooo time left whatsoever.  I was trying to send photos.  I hope they went through.

So this week was way cool.  We had the confirmations of Vani, Hugo and Davi.  They are really firm in the church right now.  Hugo and Davi even were part of the primary program in sacrament meeting.  It was so funny to see them up there singing the songs that they only have heard for two weeks haha.  They even went up and said their part (memorized!) in the microphone.  They are such a special familiy.  We are still working with Paulo to soften his heart a little and help him to receive an answer to his prayers.  He excitedly told us that he was reading about nefitas, but doesnt feel like he knows it is true yet.  Vani bore a powerful testimony to him saying that being baptized was the best decision that she has ever made in her life.  I hope that Elder Hansen and I can work well with the members to help Paulo open up a little more.

We had a family reactivated this week!  It is an elderly couple of Reis and Angelita.  We went to visit them during the past few weeks and they are super funny.  They are the classic old casal that the husband has the personality of a little boy, and the wife is very sweet, and sometimes sassy haha.  Reis had a surgery a few weeks ago in the lower region and has been having a lot of pain, but when he remembered how much he liked the church before, he committed to go to church with us this week.  Everyone ran to hug them when they saw this family return this Sunday.  It was such a neat experience, and reminded me a little of the story of the prodigal son. 

This week, I did the interview for a baptism in Água Branca.  It was the niece of a member who is 12 years old.  She was born normal, but had an accident when she was little that stunted her progress.  In essence, she has the mind of an eight year old.  However, she decided that she wanted to be baptized.  After conversing with the bishop, and the mission president, it was liberated to teach her to prepare her for baptism.  When I got there to do the interview, I saw her, and I felt such a special spirit that she has.  Her aunt asked to accompany us during the interview to help her niece if needed.  She passed the interview with flying colors, and the aunt was chosen to give the closing prayer.   As she prayed, she started to get choked up, and the spirit came flooding in.  With an utmost knowing that she was being heard by God, she pleaded to Him that that day could be the rebirth of her niece, that she could be made whole- as she was when she was born.  I dont know if I have ever seen so much faith in one person.  It was an incredible example to me.  Elder Cost (seventy) told us at the CTM, if you have done all that you can do, you have the right to ask for a miracle.  This prayer was putting this counsel in practice.

I am so excited to see you guys this Christmas.  I will stay in Sulacap, so there wont have any problem doing skype, but this next week I will give you the details.  Love you all!

Elder Stinnett

familia resgatada

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hey Everyone!

Wow, Ollie is a little cutie.  I had a feeling that he was going to be born this week!  That is great that everything went well, and Bethany looks like she is great.  I am super jealous that you guys are getting to spend some time with Grandma.  That should be really fun.  So, from now on, I would like to be addressed as Elder Uncle Taylor Clark Stinnett!  hahaha It´s got a nice ring to it. 

This week was very special.  We had the baptisms of Vani and her two sons Hugo and Davi.  (no pics right now.  this lan house is super shifty and I dont want to risk anything) We are working with Paulo (the dad).  He is very shy and didnt feel ready at the moment.  We planned everything out really well.  The families that helped us integrate Paulo and Vani into the ward had parts in the baptismal service.  Elder Sea has a problem with his lung, so he couldnt baptize, but was a witness, I baptized Hugo and Davi, and Marcello (member) baptized Vani.  It was very powerful as the spirit bore witness.  However, when we all got into the bathroom to change out of our wet clothes, Hugo and Davi started laughing really hard-  Marcello had split the bum of his pants wide open when he squated to baptize Vani hahahahah.  He had put on a bit of weight since the last time he used those pants, but it´s ok because Vani didnt even notice haha. 
Bento Ribeiro (in our zone) also baptized this week- the grandson of a member that has been less active for a long time.  I had the opportunity to go and interview him.  Passed with flying colors.  Elder Krepsz had warned me that the grandma was a little weird and had been talking about how she doesnt want to live anymore- her husband had passed away less than a year ago.  When we got there, she told us she had just gotten back from the hospital where she had her stomach pumped.  She had taken 92 relaxing pills the day before, felt her heart slowing down, freaked out, and decided to get help.  I was just thinking, how in the world can you do that when you take care of 5 grandkids?  We were able  to talk to her and explain about the great responsibility she has to take care of these kids.  Then Elder Krepsz made her promise on the spot never to try to commit suicide again.  She agreed.  I hope she keeps that promise. 

I was talking to one of the members of my zone, Elder Siebers.  He is finishing his first transfer here.  He had served previously in Gilbert, AZ before his vista came.  He was explaining how it is Waayyy different here.  He said that there is success to be had, but it all depends on having the right attitude.  Im glad to be here in Rio, with a President that is always breathing down your back to have results.  I think right now, I am the most tired that I have ever been on the mission, but at the same time, I am the happiest.  I have unnumerable preoccupations (is that a word?) , but the success of the members of my zone is giving me fuel.  Ive got to head, but Ill see you next week.

Love ,

Elder Stinnett

Monday, December 2, 2013

This week was way cool.  We had a mission tour with 2 members of the 70.  Elder Gavarret and Elder Cruz.  Elder Sea and I even got to have an interview with Elder Cruz.  He lives in our zone in the area of Realengo.  He was talking to us about how for the past year our zone has had some difficulties with some of the liderança and how we are the missionaries who were called to put everything back into order.  He showed the trust he has in us and even wants us to go eat dinner with him one night to go discuss tactics to help this stake have great success.  Elder Gavarret is from Uruguy and has an amazing way of teaching that helps you to pick apart the scriptures.  It is good I have an Argentinan for a comp to help me practice, because Elder Gavarret´s Latin accent is really thick and difficult to understand.

The family of Paulo, Vani, and Hugo and Davi werent able to go to church this Sunday, because they had to travel to a different city for the day, but Vani and her sons are really wanting to be baptized this Sunday.  Paulo is a bit more reserved and we are working with him to gain his confidence, and help him to see his divine role as the head of a familiy and how there really doesnt exist another road to heaven.  If you could keep them in your prayers, that would be really great.

This Sunday, we had a stake activity - A Present for Christ.  It was a musical play with a fantastic choir, piano, and acting.  They told the story of Christ´s birth and life, and restoration of His church through the stories of the Book of Mormon.  When they told the part about the restoration, they sang *Oh how lovely was the morning* the first 3 verses and then had me get up in front of everyone and say the first vision.  then they sand the last verse.  It was way cool and the spirit was super strong. 

Unfortunately, today was my day to pass the numbers of the zone online, and so I am out of time.  Sorry, but Ill see you all next week.

Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts. 

Love you all!
Elder Stinnett

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hey Everybody!!
This week, we were working a lot on helping our zone get excited.  Weve got a few elders that have been in there areas for 9-10 months and are a little dead, but we are seeing a great change take place.  We have started the tradition of calling everyone up in the zone on conference call and start our comp study together with a prayer and sharing our studies.  It has been a great way to have some more unity and hear some cool experiences from the other elders.  I am learning so much from them!
We found a family this week that we are teaching.  It is Paulo and Vani with their two sons Hugo and Davi.  We were by one of the member´s houses and we decided to knock some doors.  Vani attended and she was very kind and invited us to return when the family could be all together to hear.  We marked a day and said tchau. As we left, Elder Sea looked at me, and started to ask *Did you feel that?*  I did.  There was a serene feeling of peace as a confirmation that we were being guided by the Lord to help this family.  We returned with the husband of the member that lives close and his son. We got their and everyone was already for us.  Waiting in the front room.  We taught them the doctrine of Christ, and the member and his son bore their testimonies with power.  In the end, everyone had accepted the Savior´s invitation to prepare to be baptized and the husband, with Elder Sea´s help said the closing prayer.  They went to church, and loved it.  Vani told us afterwards that her sons had declared they want to come back every Sunday forever.  She didnt understand it. Every other church they had went to, her sons had complained and whined.  She said their is something different here.  We taught them later that night the restoration of the gospel, and gave them Books of Mormon to read as a family.  The spirit was strong, and the whole family interested.  The all agreed that as the receive answers of the Lord that all is true, they will prepare to be baptized on the 7th of December.  There is something marvelous about working with families.  Maybe it is because their relationship with one another reminds me of my own family, or maybe it is because they are working not just to be baptized, but to become an eternal family.  I love it!
Yesterday, President Lima came and spoke at a priesthood session of our stake. It was great!  The example was given that we hear every day that there are homicides every day that we see on the news and robbers like crazy.  But we dont get afraid until we hear that it happened in our neighborhood.  Familes are unwinding and becoming destroyed all around us.  we need to be worried and strengthen our ties as families.
Well, Ive got to head, but I hope that you all have a great thanksgiving and Ill see you next week!!
Elder Stinnett

Monday, November 18, 2013

So, Sulacap is one of the hottest areas in the entire mission.  It reminds me a lot of Arizona, but instead of the Mexican beats we´ve got funk and pagode, and instead of dry riverbeds, we´ve got a valão that passes right by our house!!  (open sewer)  It is pretty much paradise. 
We are working right now to boost the animo of our ward members and our zone.  Seems like there have been some strange missionaries that passed here that didnt like to talk to the members very much and turned a few of them against us.  So right now our mission is reactivate, boost the frequency, and get these members happy again!  Im super excited.  I got to give a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting (a surprise welcome present from Bispo haha) and it really turned out well.  Just by talking with the members and making them laugh and complimenting them made a HUGE difference in the few hours we were at church.  Ive got a really good feeling about this new area. 

Being an LZ is a bit different, and a lot of work.  We get to pass numbers a lot, talk with the assistents frequently, and anything that isnt exactly how it supposed to be falls on our shoulders.  It other words, it´s a lot of fun haha.  I like it a lot, and Elder Sea is a great comp.  He is a big guy from Argentina, and teaches with a certanty so strong, that sometimes I think that our pesquisadores are scared to not believe what he says haha.  

We got to teach a lawyer this week, and she went to church Sunday.-Clarice.  We taught her about the Book of Mormon and told her we would mark a part to have her read and pray to ask if it is true.  She grabbed the Book of Mormon from my hands and put it between her hands as if she was going to pray, closed her eyes, waited a few seconds, and then suddenly opened to a page.  She said *Eu quero ler esta pagina!*  I looked at the page and then at my comp, and then at the page, and my comp again.  We left it marked for her to read- still not believing that she was inspired to open to a page so powerful of the book.  She went to church- and said that she liked the reading a lot.  She was feeling differenty, but didnt know how to describe it.  She went to Gospel Principles- which was on the gathering of Israel- and questioned EVERYTHING!.  By the end, she had decided that she wanted to visit the temple, wants to meet the patriarch, and would like to receive her Patriachal blessing to see what her liniage is to see if she agrees before thinking about being baptized.  Wow.  I led her to the relief society.  When the hour was up, she stayed in there socializing with the rest of the old ladies and one by one the others started filing out.  Each one looked at me with big eyes, and in a hushed tone each told me the same thing.  *She asks a lot of questions!* or *She took over the class!!*  or *You Elders are crazy!*  Overall, Clarice made a ton of friends, and wants to go to a canning class this Saturday.  Im super excited.  we have various other pesqu that are coming out of the woodwork that Im excited to see.  
Welp, Ive got to go, but I hope that everyone is well, and Ill see yall next week!!


Elder Stinnett 

Monday, November 11, 2013

This week was way cool!  Eduardo´s family was completed!!!!  Roseni, Maria Eduarda, and Bárbara all received answers to their prayers, and were baptized yesterday.  The baptism was beautiful, and the Spirit testified of the truthfulness and sacredness of the ordinance.  Roseni who is generally more reserved and serious couldnt help but smile as she came up out of the water.  It was definitely a day that I will never forget.  The history of this family has been changed forever, and the next step of being sealed in the temple is only 364 days away!  

This week, we also had a great service project cutting Robertos lawn and mango tree.  Good times.  When we said we needed to leave, Julia and Leticia grabbed onto my legs to keep us haha.  I’m really going to miss their family.  I received notice that I will be leaving this ward of Nova Iguacu and will be headed to Sulacap Madureira and my new comp will be Elder Sea.  I think he is Argentinan!  Gonna learn Spanish baby!!!  I’m super excited to see what this new area has in store for me. (Taylor will be a zone leader in the new area.)

We are going to go over to Belford Roxo to say goodbye to our LD and his comp and then weve got to make the rounds and visit the families of the ward.  Good byes never are very much fun :/

Welp, Ive got to go pack my giant duffle bag (Thanks again bishop pobst :D  
Ill see you all next week!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, November 4, 2013

This week was way cool-  interviews with the president, activities as a mission, and tons of new experiences.  
We went to Caju Cemetary on the day of the dead as an entire mission to teach the people there about the Plan of Salvation.  We woke up at 330 AM to get there at 7.  We had done various practices as a zone to teach parts of the lessons according to the necessities of the people.  As we walked in the darkness towards the overpass that we needed to pass to grab the bus to the cemetary, we heard several shots ring out, and they werent far away.  As we doubled back and hit a different route to get to our destination, I started to ask myself why I was so calm.  maybe I am just used to that kindof thing now or maybe I am so dead tired that my body isnt reacting.  Nope, I think the difference was that I finally came to a true testimony of the plan of salvation, and that if my hour had come, I could pass to the other side without wondering where I was going.  Surely, I will do all that is possible to not die here on the mission haha, but I also have a peace knowing that I am sealed to my family and that Heavenly Father has His hand in all things.
We got to the cemetary and conversed with tons of people, saw some huge tombs and a few that were broken and open and you could see the bones.. cool!  They had a part that is for *temporary burial*  You bury your loved one for 20, 30, or 40 years (without a casket) and pay a small fee each month.  Once you stop paying or forget about the burial, they dig them up and open the grave again for a newbie.  It freaked me out a bit to see the bones sticking out of the ground where they were digging it up...but hey what can you do?

This week we had some awesome experiences with new food.  I had secretly been praying for opportunities to eat something besides just rice beans and meat and my prayers were answered!!  We went to teach Eduardo, Rosení, Maria Eduarda, Barbara, and Ana and they prepared a dinner for us.  He called it Frutos do Mar.  One was made of salmon which was strangely delicious, and the other- which was even better- was tubarão....SHARK!!!  I ate a shark!  Woohoooooooo!!!!  The meat was really flakey and didnt even taste like fish.  They saw that I liked it so much, they put some in a tuperware and sent me home with some haha.  
Yesterday, we went to the house of an irmã to eat lunch and she had a huge pot on the stove.  It smelled delicious.  I snuck over when she wasnt looking, and took a look inside.  Chicken feet!!  My eyes lit up and Elder Ribeiro came over to see the reason for my joy.  He looked inside and almost threw up.  Tons of family members gathered round the table with this giant pot in the center.  We put the food on our plate and started to eat.  You have to gnaw the leg part and the toes are super soft, so you put the whole foot in your mouth and suck it off the leg and then work it in your mouth like a cherry- spitting out all the little toe bones.  It has the taste of chicken skin and is completely gelatinous.  I loved it!!  I couldnt eat too much because of the allergy, but I couldnt resist trying it haha.  

At church, we had our fast and testimony meeting, which was super great.  In this ward, it is a fight to get a chance to bare your testimony because everyone books it up to the front when the bishop finishes his testimony.  I was impressed because Maria Eduard (who will be baptized this week along with her sister and mother) went up on her own and bore her testimony saying how she knows the church is true.  That´s my little future missionária!!!  Remember them in your prayers that everything goes well for their baptism this week please.  

Welp, time is up, but I hope this email finds you well, and that you guys continue to search for missionary experiences.  I really am proud of you.

Elder Stinnett

Monday, October 28, 2013

This week had some great spiritual experiences and some real laughs.

This last PDay, we were relaxing a bit- Elder Ribeiro was washing some clothes, I had just finished Jesus the Christ (If you havent read it yet, stop everything and go read it right now) and I was looking at our plans for the rest of our day.  Behind me I heard a banging coming from the washing machine, a grunt of pain, and then a worried voice *Elder...Elder..ELDER!!!*  I got up and went to go look.  There was my comp with a pile of clothes in his hand.  He put the clothes in my outstretched arms and as he took his hand away a few chunks of skin fell off of his twisted finger.  He had put his hand in the spinning washer (it doesnt have a lid), got his hand stuck and almost broke his arm.  I looked at him as he stuck his sprained fingers in his mouth and couldnt help but laugh hahahaha.  A few minutes later after he put ice on it and the swelling went down, he looked at me and told me *You know it is really not funny*  haha  I guess that is what you get when you send an 18 yr out to the field who has never done his own laundry before.  

This week I got a letter from the Bart family-  it was super great!  Thanks for the thoughts guys!

Saturday night we went over to a family home evening to teach a pesquisadora Perla.  The lesson went great and she is way excited to read the Book of Mormon to see if it is true.  As is custom, at the end of the family home evening, you have a snack.  This time it was hotdogs.  I dont know why, but with each one I ate, I got more and more hungry.  I ate 7.  I got home and after planning we went to bed.  I woke up with a super bad stomach pain-  with my body wanting to expulse those hot dogs in any way it could.  I was feeling super sick and weak.  I said a silent prayer that I could have the health and strength to go to church and help out the ward and the investigators.  We got ready and walked to the chapel.  I sat down in the bishops office for our meeting and the pain and nausea went away.  We had various pesquisadores that went to church and all had great experiences.  The primary program went over with out a hitch and I was so happy to see the ward becoming more unified.  As soon as 3rd hour was up, I stood up, went downstairs, and saw all of the people leave, and then all of the energy left my body, the color drained from my face, and I became weak. My prayer had been answered.  I was given a strength that was not my own, so that I could help others have a good experience at church.  God has that power.  When you ask strength, with the intention to do good, He will sustain you.  I am a witness of this.  What a humbling experience!  

I hope all of you are well and continue each day to search for strength in the scriptures and in prayer.  If we rely on ourselves, we can achieve a good deal, but as we rely on the arm of God, He uses us to fulfill His purposes which is something a lot greater.  

Love you all!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, October 21, 2013

This week was way cool.  Full of difficulties, but worth every moment.  We went to teach a guy who had gone to general conference.  We showed up at his door and he came out sporting a nice pair of boxers and invited us inside.  He showed us his crib and all the books he is ´reading´.  He told us in a hushed wisper that the federal police is out to get him because he has special DNA that doesnt let him sweat.  He reminded me a little bit of nicholas cage in National Treasure, because he took the book of mormon and was folding the pages and making weird designs that looked egyptian, and told us of all the hidden secrets that the book has in it.  He freaked me out a little, so I used the fake call app on our phone to say it was an emergency, grab our bags and left.  Life as a missionary is entertaining haha.

On Thursday, we went to Irmã Neia´s house to eat lunch.  She has a really great heart, and always strives to give the best she has for the missionaries.  She made a feast with rice, a corn jello-y thing, meat, and mocotó (Cow foot stew)  Elder Ribeiro had never heard of mocotó, and I think it is tasty, so I was just going to let it slide and tell him afterward what he ate.  But then Neia asked him, `Do you eat mocotó?` He *I eat just about anything*.  Then her little girl asked him *Do you know what it is?* and then before I could stop her from saying it, with wide eyes told him * pé do buoy!!!!*  Elder Ribeiro almost threw up haha.  I thought it was tasty 

This week, our family went to church again.  Eduardo and his wife and three daughters.  They are so special!  Eduardo got to talk with the bishop afterwards,and expressed for us his sincere desire to do whatever is necessary to help his children and his wife be safe and happy.  I guess that is the desire of all fathers.  We are going to teach them all tonight and invite them to prepare to be baptized.  We had gone there to visit them Saturday, but Eduardo had to leave on emergency call.  When we got to their house, their daughters saw us and ran to us like we were friends they had known for years.  It was such a great feeling.  They introduced us to their friends who were playing ping pong in the street on an improvised table.  I told one of the rapazes that if I beat him, he had to go to church Sunday.  I won but he never showed up at the chapel haha.  

Well, I hope that all is well with you. I miss you guys,and I hope that you are giving references to the missionaries!  

Love you,

Elder Stinnett

Monday, October 14, 2013

:So this week has been a bit interesting.  Ive been sick with a sore throat and then lost my voice.  Each day it is getting better and then it gets worse as I talk with tons of people each day.  Jeffrey R. Holland said that *Satan cannot directly take a life.  That is one of the many things that he cannot do.  But he can effectively stop the work of God if he only binds the tongues of the faithful.*  I refuse to keep my mouth shut!!!  So pray that my voice gets better because I cant stop talking to people haha.  I also woke up with my right eye sealed shut with goobeys.  Guess who has pinkeye!!!  whooohooo!  I put my washcloth with warm water on my eye and it seemed to help a bit.  If it gets bad I will go to the doctor.  
This week we saw a miracle happen.  A man who was baptized with 12, fell away at 17 and now is a military policeman with 55 showed up at church with his three beautiful children.  He said that he felt inspired to come.  it was stake conference, so it was a bit long for the children to sit through, but he said that he wants to come back next week and even try to convince his wife to come too!  It is amazing how God can just do that.  He was baptized in a different city and never entered our chapel, but for some reason he just decided to get up and show up at the chapel.  

So funny story, we were with a member who needs to be reactivated.  This member was walking in the street with sandals and stubbed his pinky toe on a piece of wood.  He gasped in pain, tried to shout, but nothing came out....annnnnd soiled himself hahahahahahaaha.  Stuff that only happens on the mission.

sorry to keep this one short, but I am already running out of time.  I love you!!!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference!!!  WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Stinking great!  Not quite the same hearing it from the translater in Portuguese, but great just the same.  There are so many great things that you can pick out of every talk.  One of the speakers was bearing his testimony, and said *Ele viveu e morreu pra nós* or Christ lived and died for us.  The way I hear things, I pay more attention to the last part of sentences.  I always knew that Christ died for us.  His suffering was immense and undescribable.  However, I had never quite grasped that He lived for us.  Every single moment of His life was for us.  He served everyone around Him and searched for ways to lift them up.  He set such a perfect example in all things and showed for us the one and only path that leads back to our Father in Heaven.  Wow.  I look at me and my life.  How selfish I am!  I never once found a verse in the scriptures when Jesus said *I am tired*  or *Im hungry*  or *I dont have time to help them, I have stuff to do*.  I realized that and felt so unworthy to wear his sacred name on my chest.  How short I come.  But I am grateful for Him and what I can become.  This process of change is long and stinky and sometimes hurts a little bit, but it is so worth it- because every step that you walk to become more and more like Christ, your eyes open up a little bit more, and the world becomes even brighter.  Repentance is indeed one of the greatest blessings that we have.

This week was great.  My son (Elder Ribeiro) and I were able to take part in the baptism of our pequisador Yuri!  This rapaz has had great changes in conduct and has been able to feel the difference of the gospel in his life.  As the only member of his family right now, he has decided to take it upon himself to be the light that will guide the rest of his family.  He is super excited to be able to pass and prepare the sacrament and Ive got him convinced that he is serving in Arizona for his mission (he thinks Ive got connections with President Monson haha)  It was all the more special because his neighbor Marcelo was the one who introduced him to the church and also the one who baptized him.  It was so awesome to be apart of!  

Welp, out of time

Fique firmes e fortes.
Amo vocês!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 30, 2013

How is it going?  I was thinking about your (mom) crockpot beans too.  I have no idea whether I would be able to eat them or not.  I would definitely have to put some rice on top and mix it around really good haha.  But, I was also thinking, I definitely want a little cesars pizza at the airport here in a year :D   I think that I am capable of eating a whole one in one sitting now haha.  Im not getting any fatter here in Nova Iguaçu, but we spend so much on buses that we dont really have a lot of money for food.  Remember when Christ called his apostles in the Bible, and sent them on missions?  Dont worry about the things you will wear and eat.  Look at the birds in the sky.  They do not sow in the field, and yet they eat.  Are ye not greater than these?  Yup, just when we think we are gonna starve, some irmã comes to us with a bag of crackers, butter, milk powder, and nesquick mix.  (Yesterday Irmã Bernadete) or with a loaf of hommade bread with ham and cheese inside (Irmã Rejane)  The Lord´s promises are real, and the fact I am alive here is proof!!!  Just kidding.  Dont worry about me too much haha

This week was super awesome.  We were able to see the baptism of one of our eternal pesquisadores- Daniel.  He has been going to church for 8 years- até paga dizemo haha.  He is the husband of a returned missionary (who has been rooting for his baptism for 8 years.  Daniel was a strong 7th day adventist, and was going to church just to please his wife.  However, with the reading of the scriptures and Our Search for Happiness, his heart was softened and started to search with real intent.  He gained a stronger testimony of the things we taught and was baptized this Sunday, confirmed, and ordained a priest.  
President Lima caught wind that there was going to be a baptism, and out of the blue showed up to watch.  Having the mission president show up de nada in the middle of a baptism is enough to make most any missionary poop his pants, but we continued as normal, and had a great reunion.  Daniel felt the Holy Spirit of Promise testifying of the veracity of his actions and could not stop crying.  I could see the difference in the way that Rejane (his wife) looks at him now, and their house has so much more unity and harmony.  I am so happy for the decision he took and hope to hear notice of them here in a year of their sealing as a family!

SOOOO, transfers happened!!!  I am going to train again!!!  So, for this we have to leave here in 5 minutes to go to Andaraí for the training of the trainers, and I get my new son tomorrow.  So, until now I have two sons- one Peruano and one Brasilero.  Im rooting for an American!!  We will see what happened.  I will continue here in the area of Nova Iguaçu and Elder Leal will be transferred to Jacarepagua.  

Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts in respect to Daniel.  I know that it wasnt us that changed his heart, but the effort we all put in made the difference, and now he is one step closer to uma familia eterna!

Abraço forte e beijinhos,

Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 23, 2013

This week, we ran around, worked alot, and at the end of the week we had a turnout so-so.  Sorry, Im forgetting english every day- just deal with it.  :D  Yuri (the rapaz that is dying to be baptized)  needs the permission of his mom and she is a runner.  We´ll have to find a day that we can sit with her bem tranquilo and talk to her about all of this.
Jamine told us the other day that she likes the church, and knows the Book of Mormon is true, but is thinking about going back the Igreja Universal.  We explained to her about the importance of authority and the pure doctrine of Christ and invited her to read and pray again.  The next time we saw her she was doing better, and seems to be ready to progress again.  The highlight of the week was a family that was reactivated Carlos and Marta.  After 4-5 years of being inactive, the ward pulled its efforts together and they went to church this Sunday.  They were super well received and even got a chance to talk to bispo afterwards.
Leticia was also confirmed by her Dad Roberto (as Julia sat on her bench a little upset.  *All the good stuff just happens to Leticia!*   Her mom explained for the 10th time that she has to wait until she turns 8 haha)  Confirmations are some of the most spiritual experiences that I think exist.  The spirit floods the room as the words are said *Receive the Holy Ghost*  I love it.  The portion of the Spirit that is given to the person seems to overflow and the influence can be felt in everyone. 
We decided that this week, we were going to focus on serving the members.  Tuesday we went to the secretaria da ala and mixed some cement for him to fill some stairs that he built. (Stairs and pretty much everything else are built out of concrete here).  So pretty much what happens is you get 10 wheelbarrows full of sand and dump it in a pile in the middle of a street.  Then you grab 5 100lb bags of cement and break them open on top of the sand and mix it all together with a hoe.  Once it is all the same color, you grab 8 wheelbarrows of gravel and throw it on top of the pile, wet it down really good until it looks like chunky gray pudding, and throw it into buckets to dump into the stairs.  Our hands and tennis shoes got destroyed hahaha But it was pretty fun and a really good workout.
The next day, we woke up early to go help Roberto knock down part of his garage that was all moldy.  We took care of that really quick and then climbed up his tree to take down some branches with a facão (machete) and a hatchet.  It is a boyscout´s dream haha. 

We met a lot of great people this week, and I am stoked to teach them.  We will make it a great end of the transfer!!!

Love you all and hope that all is well.

Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 16, 2013

This week was pretty crazy.  Lots of stuff happened.  We had the zone conference of Rio de Janeiro and Nova Iguaçu so we had to go sleep in the house of Belford Roxo to get to the Caxias chapel as a district.  Belford Roxo looks a little bit shifty.  Ill just pray I stay in Nova Iguaçu haha  At the conference, I was able to see Elder Hansen from my old area Vila São Luis and ask him about everyone.  Seems like our recent converts are firmes and fortes there.  At lunch, I asked him how is Emanuel, and he took a deep breathe and looked at his food.  After a little bit he looked up and he and told me that his baby son Miguel had passed away.  I didnt really know what to say.  Through all that Elder Asto and I passed with Emanuel, we had become family- and to hear that Miguel had died hit me really hard.  As I sat there without words, Elder Hansen continued to talk.  He said that at the burial, Emanuel made a promise to his son- that he would do anything and everything to live righteously and be able to see his son again.  I thought about all that had happened and I have come to the firm conclusion that the mission of Miguel was completed.  It was because of his son that Emanuel´s heart was softened enough to hear the gospel and apply it in his life- and now it is because of his son that he will strive to live faithful until the end.  Kind of like our own Savior- who came to the world to give us his gospel, and because of His sacrifice gives us an eternal hope for the future of living with our families again.

This Sunday was the miracle of the baptism of Leticia.  The baptism was wonderful- prayers, a message given by her mom, and even a special musical number by the Elderes lindos.  :D  Roberto called Leticia into the font and baptized her on his knees (he has problems with his feet)  It was one of the coolest experiences I have participated in.  The light in the eyes of Leticia was bright, but even brighter still was the light in the eyes of Roberto.  I guess it´s gotta be something special to baptise your daughter-especially after being inactive for so many years.  Welp, here in a few years maybe it will be me in the font with my own kid. 
A few days before the baptism, Leticia let us know some secrets she had been keeping.  She had seen an angel.  She was up one night after reading her scriptures with her parents, and she saw him.  She said he had a white robe and had a scroll that he opened.  He said nothing, and then a few minutes later left.  The next night, she dreamed with Christ.  He talked and conversed with her, and then told her that she would yet see another angel.  I tried to think of what this all could mean.  Perhaps the scroll is the Book of Life where the angels are always *silent notes taking* -especially when she was about to take the important step of baptism.  I dont know for sure, but I have certainty that coisas grandiosas have happened in that family and will yet happen. 

After the baptism, Julia, the other daughter was begging to jump in the font too, and our other two pesquisadores got really excited.  One of them is a young man Iuri, and the other a woman Jamine (single mom).  Jamine was even asking *If I am baptized, who would baptise me??*  We are seeing a lot of miracles happen in this ward.  Rodrigo, a guy 24 yrs old finally came back to church after 5 years and is now preparing to serve a mission.  We´ve just got to keep the work going because Heavenly Father is definitely doing his part!!

Love you guys,
Elder Stinnett