Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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