Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, September 9, 2013

Roberto and Ana Paula went to church again this week with their two girls, and are doing as great as ever.  Roberto says that his testimony is stronger now than it ever was on his mission and every time Ana Paula says *Eu sei que nossa family pode ser eterna..*  Roberto responds *Não Ana Paula, Nossa famila vai ser eterna*  They are prepping to grab the caravan to the temple dia 15 de Novembro to be sealed for time and eternity as a family.  We showed their daughter Leticia the baptismal font and she got super excited. (Her baptism will be next sunday)  Julia (their daughter 7yrs old)  Patted my leg and motioned for me to kneel down.  She whispered in my ear *I think I will be baptized next Sunday too. Dont tell my Mom, but I told my primary teacher I am already eight!* haha
We were walking down the street and we hear *Elder!  Elder!*  We look over and this elderly Lady and her daughter (24 yrs old)  were motioning for us to come over.  The lady introduced herself as Helena, a member who hasnt gone to church in 20 years.  her daughter Jamine had been vaguely remembering of the chapel as a child, and was curious to talk with the missionaries.  And so, as we walked down a street that we had never taken before, she saw us and called us over.  Jamine has had a difficult life as a single mom and unceasingly talks of self repentance.  How she regrets a lot of decisions she has taken and just wants to start over.  We left Alma 7 with her and came back a different day.  When we got there, she had read and prayed and believes the Book of Mormon is in fact the word of God along with the Bible.  However, she did not understand why this whole thing of *repentance and baptism* applies to her.  We asked her who Christ is for her.  She responded that she didnt know.  We paused for a second to search the Spirit of what to say.  Without knowing what I was saying, I opened my mouth and I started to tell a story.--When we were at the family reunion and the little boy fell in the pond.  I told her how I ran over to the dock, and looked down to see the little boy with wide eyes and a panic - frantically trying to reach the surface, but was not making progress.  I laid on my chest, put my arm in, pulled him closer by his long wavy hair (didnt tell her that part haha) and then grabbed him by the arm and he grabbed onto mine and lifted him out of the water.  We explained to her that this is how we are.  We are kindof trapped because of our mistakes.  We can try to escape them, but really our efforts are not effective.  However, we do have the hand of our Savior reaching for us.  The eternal sacrifice He made that makes repentance possible.  However, we have to choose to grab on, and take the steps necessary to receive this relief.  She looked at us, and looked at her young boy, and then paused.  *I understand now.*  The Spirit was strong as it testified of our necessity of a Savior, and my understanding of the Atonement was deepened.  I really think that the missionaries learn more in each lesson than the converts...

This Sunday was great.  Jamine went to church and loved it (we will mark her goal of baptism for 23 de Sept),  we have a teacher aged boy that has been to church 5 times that has been reading his scriptures who came up to us and asked *When can I be baptized?*  I looked at him and responded *I had no idea you werent a member!*  We just have to teach his nonmember parents and get their permission.  Also, we had another family reactivated this week of Paulo and Giselle and their three kids João, Mariana, and Jonas.  Heavenly Father truly blessed the effort we made and made miracles happen.  While I was sitting in Priesthood, bishop tapped my shoulder and told me one of the people who was going to give a talk fell through.  Sooooo, super missionary to the rescue!!!!  He gave me free access to whatever topic I wanted, and so I chose the prodigal son.  It has become one of my favorite stories in the bible as I strive each day to live the standards and become more Christlike.  I think that I am ready to be a member of the high council, because I got up there and the time passed by super quickly!  (But my talks wont put people to sleep :)  just kidding haha

Anywhoot, I am doing really great.  I really would like to put more, but time is kindof an issue.  Eu amo vocês!!!

Abraço e beijos molhados,

Elder Stinnett

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