Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, July 29, 2013

Emanuels baby is doing great!  He is even drinking a little bit of milk out a bottle.  Thanks so much for all of the prayers that are helping this little guy grow :D
This week was a week of spiritual growth for me.  There have been a number of things that have happened during the week with our pesquisadores that could leave one wondering *How could all of this happen in one week?*   One lady who was going to be baptized with her 2 children wasnt because her husband is betraying her and is threatening her well being if she decides to be baptized.  She is scared to even talk to us.  Many other things happened as well that I wont write, but in general, all three of us were kindof left with a feeling of emptiness inside.  We werent left murmering, but as we taught, the powerful feeling of the spirit wasnt the same.  The next day, Elder Carvalho got sick, so I stayed at home with him and Elder Hansen went to work with a member.  I studied the scriptures- D&C 24:8 *Sé paciente nas afliçôes pois terás muitas; suporta-as contudo pois eis que estou contigo até o fim dos teus dias*  I read that verse, and I felt the burn of truth within me.  I kneeled down and I was sincere with Heavenly Father.  I said *Heavenly Father, I am missionary.  I am a missionary preaching your gospel.  I have already received thy answer that these things are true, but I need a reconfirmatio...* Before I could get out the words, I had a huge rush of electricity come over my body.  I continued *I need to know if Joseph Smith..*  Wooooshh  another rush of electricity that refused to stop.  *Pai, se isso realmente é teu evangelho, faz com que essa sensação muda.  Monstra em meu coração..*  In that instant, the electricity stopped and my heart started to burn with a feeling that had never made itself manifest in me before.  Eu sei sem sombra da duvida que isso é o evangelho de Deus.  Joseph Smith foi um profeta, e isso é a igreja de Cristo.  Deus manifestou isso pra mim na mesmo jeito que Ele pode para você.  It is my sincere invitation for anyone who has never received testimony of these things, or has and feels weak, or any person who wants to be strengthened--to bend their knees and plea for this confirmation.  Someone is listening, and He will answer.  
It is a different sort of feeling to be so aware of your own weaknesses but also to see the strength the Lord gives you.  He really does strengthen those who serve Him and lightens our burdens.
Until next week,

Elder Stinnett

(From last week ~ re. family reunion letter)~I got the snail mail package that you guys sent with the HUGE letter from all the family.  I opened it in the mission office, and judging from the look of the secretaries face I received the biggest letter in the whole mission.  I am deciding if I want to put it up on the ceiling above my bed or not haha.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another emergency transfer!  There was a missionary in our district that returned to his house in the middle of the transfer.  (His twin brother was serving in Brasil too and his parents wanted to pick them up)  Having him leave left our DL in Caxias without a comp.  The assistents told us that they needed one of us to be sent over there to be his comp.  (Our house has 4 missionaries Elder Hansen, Elder B Carvalho (the ZLs) me, and Elder Asto (my son).  They didnt want us to lose the fruits that Elder Asto and I had by opening up the new area, so they sent Elder Asto over to finish his training with the DL in caxias, and they left me as kindof a third ZL with Hansen and Carvalho.  We are doing a ton of splits with the members to try to keep both areas going.  Being part of a trio is a blast!  I have learned so much already about what it means to be a leader and help out all the other missionaries have success in their areas.  I sure do miss Elder Asto, but he is coming over today to make cookies and fly kites with us :D

So we were talking to a guy by the buses the other night, and Emanuel (recent convert) passed by and asked us to come into his house.  We went there and could see that he was super worried.  He explained how his son was born with just a little more than 7 months, and has a defect where his stomach wasnt completely closed.  The outlook wasnt good for the little baby, and the doctors had told him that the likelyhood of him surviving was slim to none.  He asked for a blessing of comfort.  I dont remember what I said, but I remember the feeling I had as the Spirit worked through me, giving words that I would have never thought to say.  We left his house and later he called us up.  Immediately after we left, the doctor called him and said that after much effort, they had found the vein in the babys neck that leads directly to the heart.  They were able to give the blood and the nutrients he was so desperately needing and his chances to live had multiplied many times.  
We were able to talk to Emanuel at church this Sunday.  He said that after that call, he had gone into his room and shut the door and started to bear his testimony to himself to thank God for what He had done.  He said, *foi só lágrimas*  It is so amazing to see how our trials make us stronger and how God really does have control over all.

Well, we have got a ton of work to do in the next few weeks, but I am super stoked to do it.  Ive got a feeling that I am going to grow a lot because of all of this!  

Beijos molhados,

Elder Stinnett

PS  here is a photo of my LZ Elder Hansen (que bonito!!) and a picture I took in Flamengo when I went their to drop of Elder Asto 

Monday, July 15, 2013

This week went really great.  Emanuel was confirmed a member and he is super strong.  He reads the Gospel Principles book in his free time and is reading the scriptures as a family.  It is amazing how  recent convert can be an example for us.  

We had a Festa de Junina at the church.  It kindof like Halloween but everyone seemed to dress up like cowboys haha.  It was great and I was able to see my recent convert Pamela from the Ala Galeão there.  She is the counsellor of the young womens and is also firme e forte!

We had and experience super humbling that teaches you the importance of listening to the spirit.  We were walking down the main street and a car swerved in front of us and the driver threw on the emergency brake screaming to a stop.  The doors flew open and without turning off the car the driver and passenger, two men, jumped out.  They turned to the open air bread shop 15 feet from us (to rob it) and one of the men pulled a pistol out from his waistband.  We broke into a run weaved our way through the streets until we got to our bishops house.  I dont really want to think about what could have happened their, but I do know one thing for sure, Deus protege os que lhe servem.  (God protects those who serve him.)

Sorry, I always seems like I have no time to write hardly anything, but I already ran out.  I love yall and hope that you are well.  Até proxima semana.

Elder Stinnett

Monday, July 8, 2013

Emanuel was baptized yesterday!!!
It was sincerely a journey.  He passed through so many trials that built his faith, tore him down, and made him really see the importance of relying on the arm of God during this life.  We grew together as friends and ultimately family these past weeks, until he entered into the water 4PM yesterday.  The Spirit was strong as we opened up, and soon arrived the time to enter the font.  We went around back, and just before stepping in, he asked if we could say a prayer.  We bowed our heads, and he started to talk to his Father in Heaven- pleading that if it be His will that he could stay in this church forever.  The Spirit poured down on us and made manifest the presence and approval of Pai Celestial.  With tears of joy brimming in the eyes of each of us, we entered in the water, Elder Asto said the prayer, Emanuel was immerged, and both of us helped his rise up out of the water (He is a BIG guy).  Totalmente molhados, nos abraçamos sabendo o passo que foi feito.  Right now, we are helping his family prepare to be sealed together.  Until today, I have never felt the Spirit so strongly on the mission.  
Eu sou muito grato por o que foi feito durante essas semana passadas.  Eu não tenho jeito monstrar o que me sinto, mas eu sei que foi a mão de Deus que trabalho aqui.  Foi por Ele que encontramos Emanuel, foi por O Espirito Santo que ensinamos, e foi por Jesus Cristo e Sua Expiação que ele recebeu a remissão de seus pecados.  Sendo os instrumentos na obra de Deus é uma honra e eu espero que eu posso ser digno para continuar de fazer isso. (translation: I am very grateful for what was done during these past weeks. I have no way demonstrate what I feel, but I know it was the hand of God to work here. He found that was by Emanuel, was by the Holy Spirit to teach, and it was for Jesus Christ and His Atonement that he received a remission of their sins. Being instruments of God's work is an honor and I hope I can be worthy to continue to do that.)
Amo vocês,
Elder Stinnett

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1,2013

Hey everybody!  This week I have so much more energy.  I got to rest a little bit and now I am ready to get out and work.  The members of the ward are helping out like crazy.  It has become a battle between us 4 missionaries to see how many references we can get from the members.  Hey, just a little reminder- tell your friends you have some really awesome guys that want to talk to them and help out their families.  The Elders and Sisters really work through the ward to find the elects to teach.  How cool would it be to help your best buddy receive the saving ordinance of baptism and the eternal gospel?  I have got a lot of references to give when I get back from the mission-just saying.  

So Emanuel hit a few barriers for the baptism this Sunday, but we will continue to work with him to overcome these and complete this family.  We are going to help them be sealed in the temple daqui em um ano!!!!

We have taught this guy named Marcos a couple of times.  Let me just tell you how we met.  We were walking down the street at night- *OI MISSIONARIOS!!!  come here!*  We went over there, where he was standing in front of his house.  *You guys are Mormons huh??  A lot of people dont know that Mormon was just a prophet and that his son is Moroni and that Moroni hid plates of gold written by Mormon and that is why you are called Mormons.*  My mouth dropped open.  I responed *Sim, exato.*  He continued *E vocês não adoram Joseph Smith.  Ele só foi um profeta visitado por Jesus Cristo. *  I tilted my head a little bit to the side.  I responded, *Você esta brincando comigo.  Você já é membro, já.*  He told me he wasnt but he had a few questions.  We entered in and started teaching.  He already knows a ton.  What he needs right now is the simple doctrine.  He is preparing to receive an answer that this is the true church to be baptized 14 Julho.  Vamos la!!

This week has been full of cool stuff, but Ill just leave it for the pictures to talk.  One is of the sight we have of the  SugarLoaf Mountain on the edge of my area.  One is the ZL that lives in my house Elder Hansen and his shoe after a year and 3 months.  The third is an RM from my ward.  He says he was comps with Taylor Hunsaker back on the miss.  Que legal!!!

I have to sign off, but I hope yall have a great week, and give some references to the missionaries in your ward!!
Elder Stinnett