Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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

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