Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, February 25, 2013

A new mission is opening up!!!  the mission Rio de Janeiro will divide and a new mission named Juiz de Fora will start.  We had gotten a call from our ZL's the night before and we were told we needed to be seated in the chapel 7hrs in Campo Grande for an emergency meeting with the president.  We all thought that we were going to get burned for our results.  Instead, Presidente Lima brought glad tidings of great joy!  Anywhoot, I think it went out on Church News, and the new mission will start the first of July I think.  No one knows who will go and who will stay, but man it is pretty exciting.

So, the 23rd was Elder Lima's birthday.  Our LMA (ward mission leader)  took us to a churrascaria (super fancy BBQ place)  I had no clue what the heck was happening, but I sat down in the chair, and all of a sudden there were waiters dressed up all fancy with these giant metal skewers with giant chunks of meat that they cut pieces off for me.  They just kept coming and coming, faster than I could eat.  I was in heaven!  For the most part, I have no idea what I ate, but it was all juicy goodness so I just ate.  I know for a fact there was beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, lamb, and chicken hearts.  When they brought the lamb, initially I refused.  I felt a bit guilty because it's so innocent and fluffy, but then the LMA told me that probably never again will I eat this again.  So, he called the waiter back and commanded him to put it on my plate.  It was super good!  Like a mix between pork and beef that's super tender.  Also, before I realized what they were, I accepted chicken hearts (I thought they were little sausages or something)  I looked at it for a second, and realized what it was.  I figured what the heck and popped one in my mouth.  Wouldn't you know, it's not half bad.  It's not half good either, but not half bad :D  

Other than that, we met this new family.  They have a dad, mom, a daughter our age, and a little boy.  It started off just talking with the Dad because he was curious about the Book of Mormon.  He let us inside, and we started teaching.  Then the wife came in, the little boy, and when the girl got home from work she joined us too.  The lesson went great and afterwards, they gave us some pizza and started asking us questions about our lives. (Why are you here?  Is it your choice?  Do you have a girlfriend?)  It was all good.  Then it started getting a little weird.  They started telling me how I need to find a girl here in Brasil to take back to the US with me (frequently glancing at their daughter).  I told her that that's not why we are here, and that we need to dedicate all of our time and efforts to the Lord.  Then the mom said that I needed to return afterwards to marry one and take her home.  The Dad butted in and said "Yes!  You have good priorities. "  then turning to the daughter "These young men know where their priorities are.  They are serving here solely out of the love of their God.  Look at them. (pointing to us)  Handsome, young, fit, and with the love of God in their hearts.  You need to marry someone like that.  This one (pointing to E. Lima)  already has a fiance, but this one (pointing to me)  is single."  That was when I said, "Oh, it's getting late.  We've got to head out."  I wasn't going to wait around for them to grab a preacher to marry us.  

Well, this is more or less my week.

Espero que vocês vão ter um otimo semana e esforçar ser mais perto de nosso Pai Celestial cada dia.  Amo vocês.  
Abraço forte,
Elder Stinnett

Monday, February 18, 2013

So this week has been super spiritual and hectic at the same time.  Elder Lima and I decided to make it a big deal to make as many contacts as we could.  That means that at any moment, one of us would stop, shake someone's hand and start talking and the other one would have to stop too. Well, one day, I was having the worst time with allergies.  I don't know if there is some fancy kind of pollen they have here in Brasil or what, but I could not stop sneezing.  We were walking to lunch and I was just recovering from a sneeze attack, when Elder Lima stopped and started to make a contact with this really attractive Brasillian girl.  Well, normally both missionaries shake the person's hand, but my hand was occupied by something else (I was sneezing ok? and I was about to wash them)  The girl turned to me and stuck out her hand, and I wasnt about to wipe my hand on my pants....I tried my best to explain that my hands were dirty, but she started to get offended.  So yup, you bet ya, I shook that hand.  I hope she thought it was just sweat haha. She asked for it right? :P

Yesterday, we were walking the street looking for novos because our appointment fell through.  We knocked one door and a man answered and let us in.  We taught him about Heavenly Father and His love.  He seemed a bit different, but we were excited to teach him nonetheless.  Just before the closing prayer a woman came out of the house and sat next to him (his wife) and started explaining that he had an accident a number of years back and now he has the memory and the capacity of a four year old.  She started crying as she explained how hard it was for her beause she has noone to help her with her husband.  We felt impressed to offer a blessing of comfort.  She accepted and asked me to do it.  I don't have much experience in this department, and in Portuguese, you can imagine how nervous I was....But I wasn't.  In the words of Joseph Smith, "I was calm as the summer's day"  The language wasn't a barrier and the spirit was definitely present and the words were said.  The weird thing is, I don't remember any part of what was said.  All I know is Im grateful for the experience.

Also, the day before we headed over to one of our golden pesquisadores that is moving along slowly but surely. We didn't intend to pass by because he normally isn't home, but Elder Lima had the feeling we needed to stop by.  We got there and  he let us in and we started talking.  It was about five minutes in and we noticed what he was wearing...a garment top with the sleeves torn off!  We cautiously asked him where he got it.  He sayed it was given to him by someone who had received it from someone else.  We explained to him in the words that we could that it wasn't just a shirt to sleep in and he gave us the garment without any questions asked.  I know it wasn't without reason that the stray garment top ended up in his hands, that Elder Lima felt we needed to visit this pesquisador, and that he just happened to be wearing it at this time.  Our Heavenly Father has his hand in everything. 

Well, I am all out of time for this week.  But Thanks for the emails, the support, and the love.  I love you all.  The church is true, and I know this for myself.

Abraço forte,

Elder Stinnett

Monday, February 11, 2013

So this week has been interesting... and a bit frustrating with Carnaval happening and all.  Nobody seems to want to talk about Christ when there are parties on every corner with men running around dressed in womens clothing haha.  Also, there are people with giant puffy, colorful suits on that run around smacking people with these balloon things made of plastic. (you will have to search for pictures to get the jist.  I think it is called bate ball.)  My companion disse que ele pode sentir a cheira da apostasia na ar. hahaha He is a pretty funny guy, but most of the time it is unintentional because of some of the insane things he does.  He was trying to open a can earlier this week after we were supposed to be in bed, and all of a sudden the light flicks on in the room and he is shaking me to wake me up. *Elder!  Do you have a bandaid for me??*  His finger was sliced open and dripping blood, but I was so out of it that I got the bandaid for him and fell back asleep...until I heard screaming.  I guess he tried to use cologne to sterilize his cut.  Wasnt his best idea hahaha.  

So esta Terça fomos pra casa das Sisteres para ajudar elas com a transferencia.  To get there on time, we had to wake up at 430.  For the first time in the mission I felt super sick, but hey, they cant carry their bags for themselves, so vamos la!  The van drivers here are crazy because they cant get pulled over, so by the time we got to the area of the Sisters, I was super shaken up.  We walked abit, and when we got outside their gate, I totally threw up in the grass hahaha.  After that, I was fine we helped them get their bags to the bus and returned to our house.   Im just grateful for how you are blessed as a missionary to be able to heal that fast and get back to work. 

Aside from the normal snakes, I had an experience that made me gross out a bit.  We were walking from a members house to Campo Grande for a District Meeting.  Elder Lima and I were walking and talking and we passed this woman who was strangely tall and had a strangely manly face.  As we passed, a deep voice said *oh, um brancinho, que delicia!*  When all the information got processed in my mind that a tranny was hitting on me, I almost barfed.  You bet your buns we got out of dodge super quick.  My companion still hasnt let me live that one down.

Anyways, with all of these stories there has got to be atleast one spiritual one right?  So yesterday we were knocking doors and noone was answering or wanting to hear anything about the gospel.  Não sei se é por causa de Carnaval ou que, mais foi muito frustrante.  After a couple of hours, we finally had a group of four accept.  We entered their house, started talking, and eventually the discussion made its way to the Restoration.  When we finished, I felt that we should sing a hymn.  We pulled out our mini hymnbooks and started to sing Mais Perto Quero Estar (Nearer my God to Thee)  As we sang, my voice was so beautiful that one of the teenaged guys (Vinicio) in there started to cry.  When the hymn ended, we asked hymn what he felt.  He told us that that was the same hymn that his dad sang to him when he was a child before he died.  From that, we were able to bear testimony of Gods plan for us.  The Spirit was really strong in those moments.  I dont know if he will accept the gospel and be baptized or if he will even read the Book of Mormon, but I know that in that day, a good seed was planted in his heart and that, if given the chance, it will grow into something great and wonderful.

Well this has been my life for the past week. Love you all, fique firmes porque este realmente é a igreja de Cristo.  Eu sei isso.  Até proxima,

Abraço forte,

Elder Stinnett

PS  I know it was the spirit that made Vinicio cry, but I cant help but think that my beautiful voice had something to do with it :P

Monday, February 4, 2013

This week was incredibly spiritual.  It made me remember just how powerful the influence of the Holy Ghost can be if you let it into your life.  We had talked to a pesquisador in the street that refuses to read O Livro de Mormon because it doesnt have logic.  I gave him a bit of logic about the Book of Mormon and then explained that knowing things about the Book of Mormon wont convert anyone to the gospel.  To use our limited minds to try to make sense of the things of God is impossible.  The only way we can know things is to leave behind our doubts, listen to the promptings of the Spirit, and trust God.  Out of my mouth came the exact words that I, personally, needed to here.  
Sometimes it is easy to push off a prompting of the Spirit because it doesnt make sense.  For intance, this Sunday we were knocking on the doors of our pesquisadores to walk with them for church.  We were about to go the last house, when I got the feeling that we should pass by the house of Furtunato.  His house is out of the way and he told us he didnt want more of the church, but we went anyways.  We knocked and knocked and noone answered.  I started to doubt it was a prompting of the Spirit. Then a family walked up to us and the husband told me-Hey I really like your religion. I want to mark a date for you to come by a teach me.-  It was a simple as that.  I knew in that moment that it was for that reason we were prompted to go to the house of Furtunato.  

In another instance this week, we were prompted to walk an abandoned road on the outskirts of our area.  I made a contact with an elderly lady and her son (about 75 and 45 yrs old)  They let us in and the Lady went to go get water for us.  While she was gone, the son was going berserk.  He was holding his head and  saying he is seeing fire and two saints in front of him (pointing towards us).  Then he told us that he is Christ and wishes to bless us and then started screaming.  When the Lady returned we asked her if he is always like this and she said yes and she didnt know what to do.  We sang the hymn Mais Perto Quero Estar and were able to give him a blessing of comfort.  After the blessing, he sat in the chair completely still.  After a minute he said in a voice completely different -Caraca!  Eu fui abençoado!-  He was completely different.  We left and we havent had the chance to return yet, but I know by what power this happened.  

Ok, heres a funny story.  We were walking home one day and we found our ward mission leader talking with one of the young men in the street.  We stopped for a few minutes to say hi.  I saw a group of 8-10 Brasillian girls about our age approaching.  We didnt want to see what would happen, so we said our goodbyes and started walking home.  What we didnt notice at first was that the group of girls increased their pace.  We increased ours too.  With the grace of my long legs, we were making space between us.  The girls kept calling out--Vem ca!  Pare!  Eu gosto de pastors!  Especialmente quando eles são Americano!  (Come here! Stop!  I love pastors, especially when they are American!)  It was really funny and creepy at the same time.  Elder Lima told me I have to watch out because they have really bad intentions....

Well, this has been part of my week.  Hope  yall are well, Eu amo voces.  E a igreja é verdadeira.

Elder Stinnett