So here we are- getting ready for the world cup. Everyone here is going insane. There are a few different teams of futebol here in Rio.----Flamengo (the wonderful and glorious that I claim as my own), Vasco, Bota Fogo, and Flumenese. Flamengo is the worldwide most rooted for even though all the other teams say that only the favelado (ghetto) people root for them. You can make a contact with someone in the street and say *Hey, my name is Elder Stinnett, and I am Flamengista and a missionary.* and they would be 5 times more likely to stop and listen to you haha.
Here, the culture is a bit different. You walk in the street, and you try to talk to people and all of a sudden a car with a speaker the size of a double doored refrigerator passes by playing music so loud that you can feel your teeth chatter. It is pretty hilarious and reminds me a bit of our Hispanic neighbors at two in the morning with their music by the pool haha.
I love the people here, you can stop and talk to almost anyone at any hour of the day and they will hear a bit of what you have to say. You know how it isnt common to see people go to church in the US? Here the house to church ratio is about 10 :1. There are soooo many churches! A lot of crazy stuff like the pastor beating the head of the person to expulse demons and stuff, but hey, youve got to start having faith in something right? haha
This week was super cool. We were able to help out a family menos ativo that has been away from the church for 8 years. Roberto is a returned missionary, Ana Paula, and their two little girls Leticia (9) and Julia (7). We went there to do a service project because Roberto has a problem with his feet, and we left a message full of the spirit. We invited him to go get his Book of Mormon, and after 20 minutes of digging, he came back with the BOM he used on his mission. As he opened it up, he looked at all the marks and was like a child on Christmas day with his eyes lit up and a big smile on his face. We gave them another copy of the Book of Mormon and the invite to read each night a little and pray as a family. The next time we got there, Roberto told me that Julia had stolen the Book of Mormon and sleeps with it under her pillow and the two girls refuse to sleep without reading and praying first. With this, the parents started to gain a testimony again. One night, Ana Paula told Julia that she needs to choose. *You can go to Mommys church (Batista) or you can choose the church of the Book of Mormon, but you need to pray tonight and ask God which you should go to.* Julia said her prayer and went to bed. The next day, Julia walked up to her mom with the Book of Mormon and told her. *Pai Celestial told me I should go to the church of the Book of Mormon.* When I heard this story, I looked at Julia, so innocent and smiling at us, and I remembered a bit of how the same thing happened with Joseph Smith. He needed a question, 14 years old, and he received it. Various other miracles happened to help the testimonies grow of the parents, especially Roberto, and they returned to church. Ana Paula told us, *It was like I was sleeping for so long. After 8 years, I finally woke up again!* The little girls asked their dad if they were allowed to live in the church and never leave haha. In a later lesson, the spirit testified that all was true, and with tears in their eyes, they promised to do all that is necessary to be sealed as a family. How great is the miracle of the Atonement!
We continue to work with Daniel and Regaine (a family to complete). Daniel wants a stronger witness and prays each day for it. Remember him in your prayers please. They are so special!
Eu amo vocês. Eu sei que essa obra é verdadeira e ao nós esforçamos a viver o evangelho e colocar em pratica o que acreditamos e sabemos, Deus vai colocar as pessoas que precisam de nosso testemunho em nosso caminho. Nunca tenha medo a falar sobre o evangelho pra as pessoas. É uma benção por todas, e o maior forma de expressar nosso amor por nossos amigos é através a coragem que usamos para testificar da verdade e mostrar o caminho pra verdadeira felicidade. Eu sei que vocês vão ter uma alegria maior de que já senti.
(translation: I love you. I know this work is true and we strive to live the gospel and put into practice what we believe and we know God will put people who need our witness in our way. Never be afraid to talk about the gospel to people. It is a blessing for all, and the greatest way to express our love for our friends is through the courage we use to testify to the truth and show the way to true happiness. I know you will have a greater joy than I've ever felt.)