Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, December 23, 2013

Meeerrrrrrrrry Christmas!!!!

Hey everyone!  I am super excited for this week.  We have got so much cool stuff lined up. We have a pesquisadora that went to church who is planning to be baptized this Saturday, who invited us to pass by on Christmas; we´ve got skype, and also, Irmã Leda said she is going to give us socks for Christmas!!!  (Somehow she figured out that they are full of holes haha).  It is going to be the best Christmas ever!

So a little bit on what happened this last week.  

A new lady moved into the ward and gave us a fruitcake kindof thing that is called pantetone...but instead of fruitcake, it was full of delicious chocolates!!!  I think it was a call for us to go visit her and baptize her non member husband. haha

Fabiano (our Ward mission leader) and I sang Oh Holy Night in front of everyone at church and then we went around doing visits singing them carols.  We went to the house of two old ladies- a mom and her daughter.  Her daughter had just lost her husband.  We sang the portuguese version of White Christmas and we felt the Spirit hit like a wall.  It was a sensation that I have only felt a few other moments before.  She was smiling and sobbing at the same time as we finished the song.  She wants us to go back and give her the missionary lessons.  Im so excited!  Im just thinking, how do you baptize an old lady??

Last night there was a training for the ward counsell of the entire stake of Madureira.  We received a call that we would have to be there too.  We went and there was a 70- Elder Cruz.  He called us up to the front and had us give a training to the stake with him!  Coolest night ever!!!   

We had a mini miracle happen this week.  We are working a lot with Paulo to help him grow his faith.  We left the goal with him that if he feels ready, he will be baptized on Christmas as a present to Christ.  However, for him to be able to do this, he had to go to church this week.  Saturday night we went there to confirm everthing and he told us that he wouldnt be able to go, and told us an excuse.  We used all of the techniques we know and he still was firm in the *i am not going* decision.  We invited him, *tonight, you pray and you ask God where he wants you tomorrow, and if you decide to go, Lilian will pass by to pick you and your family up.*  We prayed that night as a zone- a lot- so that the Lord could change his heart and help him go to church.  We were sitting in the sacrament meeting and lilian wasnt there yet. All of a sudden the door opened and Lilian walked in with Hugo and Davi.  The door opened again-  Paulo!!!!!  We showed him the baptismal font and all that good stuff.  We will go there tonight to reinforce the invitation to be baptized this Christmas.  If you could keep him in your prayers, I know the Lord will hear you, as I know that he has heard our prayers.

I am loving being the comp of Elder Hansen again.  Im learning so much and we are finding a lot of eleitos (elects?? idk)  For instance, we were walking in the street and I saw a woman walking towards us with her head down.  I poked Elder Hansen and was like - this is an Irmã from the church.  As she got closer, I called her attention and started talking to her.  Welp, it wasnt someone from the church.  She told us that she had already been taught by the missionaries 2 years back and that she had left her church to be part of the LDS church.  However, after going to church like 4 times, the Elders stopped going to her house and she got really sad.  (Transferred??)  We went there and taught her, she went to church Sunday, and is really excited to be baptized this Saturday.  Só milagres aqui em Sulacap!!!

Well, Ive got other stories, but I will have to tell you on skype.
Love you all!!!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hey everyone!
I am going to have to write super quick because I have noooo time left whatsoever.  I was trying to send photos.  I hope they went through.

So this week was way cool.  We had the confirmations of Vani, Hugo and Davi.  They are really firm in the church right now.  Hugo and Davi even were part of the primary program in sacrament meeting.  It was so funny to see them up there singing the songs that they only have heard for two weeks haha.  They even went up and said their part (memorized!) in the microphone.  They are such a special familiy.  We are still working with Paulo to soften his heart a little and help him to receive an answer to his prayers.  He excitedly told us that he was reading about nefitas, but doesnt feel like he knows it is true yet.  Vani bore a powerful testimony to him saying that being baptized was the best decision that she has ever made in her life.  I hope that Elder Hansen and I can work well with the members to help Paulo open up a little more.

We had a family reactivated this week!  It is an elderly couple of Reis and Angelita.  We went to visit them during the past few weeks and they are super funny.  They are the classic old casal that the husband has the personality of a little boy, and the wife is very sweet, and sometimes sassy haha.  Reis had a surgery a few weeks ago in the lower region and has been having a lot of pain, but when he remembered how much he liked the church before, he committed to go to church with us this week.  Everyone ran to hug them when they saw this family return this Sunday.  It was such a neat experience, and reminded me a little of the story of the prodigal son. 

This week, I did the interview for a baptism in Água Branca.  It was the niece of a member who is 12 years old.  She was born normal, but had an accident when she was little that stunted her progress.  In essence, she has the mind of an eight year old.  However, she decided that she wanted to be baptized.  After conversing with the bishop, and the mission president, it was liberated to teach her to prepare her for baptism.  When I got there to do the interview, I saw her, and I felt such a special spirit that she has.  Her aunt asked to accompany us during the interview to help her niece if needed.  She passed the interview with flying colors, and the aunt was chosen to give the closing prayer.   As she prayed, she started to get choked up, and the spirit came flooding in.  With an utmost knowing that she was being heard by God, she pleaded to Him that that day could be the rebirth of her niece, that she could be made whole- as she was when she was born.  I dont know if I have ever seen so much faith in one person.  It was an incredible example to me.  Elder Cost (seventy) told us at the CTM, if you have done all that you can do, you have the right to ask for a miracle.  This prayer was putting this counsel in practice.

I am so excited to see you guys this Christmas.  I will stay in Sulacap, so there wont have any problem doing skype, but this next week I will give you the details.  Love you all!

Elder Stinnett

familia resgatada

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hey Everyone!

Wow, Ollie is a little cutie.  I had a feeling that he was going to be born this week!  That is great that everything went well, and Bethany looks like she is great.  I am super jealous that you guys are getting to spend some time with Grandma.  That should be really fun.  So, from now on, I would like to be addressed as Elder Uncle Taylor Clark Stinnett!  hahaha It´s got a nice ring to it. 

This week was very special.  We had the baptisms of Vani and her two sons Hugo and Davi.  (no pics right now.  this lan house is super shifty and I dont want to risk anything) We are working with Paulo (the dad).  He is very shy and didnt feel ready at the moment.  We planned everything out really well.  The families that helped us integrate Paulo and Vani into the ward had parts in the baptismal service.  Elder Sea has a problem with his lung, so he couldnt baptize, but was a witness, I baptized Hugo and Davi, and Marcello (member) baptized Vani.  It was very powerful as the spirit bore witness.  However, when we all got into the bathroom to change out of our wet clothes, Hugo and Davi started laughing really hard-  Marcello had split the bum of his pants wide open when he squated to baptize Vani hahahahah.  He had put on a bit of weight since the last time he used those pants, but it´s ok because Vani didnt even notice haha. 
Bento Ribeiro (in our zone) also baptized this week- the grandson of a member that has been less active for a long time.  I had the opportunity to go and interview him.  Passed with flying colors.  Elder Krepsz had warned me that the grandma was a little weird and had been talking about how she doesnt want to live anymore- her husband had passed away less than a year ago.  When we got there, she told us she had just gotten back from the hospital where she had her stomach pumped.  She had taken 92 relaxing pills the day before, felt her heart slowing down, freaked out, and decided to get help.  I was just thinking, how in the world can you do that when you take care of 5 grandkids?  We were able  to talk to her and explain about the great responsibility she has to take care of these kids.  Then Elder Krepsz made her promise on the spot never to try to commit suicide again.  She agreed.  I hope she keeps that promise. 

I was talking to one of the members of my zone, Elder Siebers.  He is finishing his first transfer here.  He had served previously in Gilbert, AZ before his vista came.  He was explaining how it is Waayyy different here.  He said that there is success to be had, but it all depends on having the right attitude.  Im glad to be here in Rio, with a President that is always breathing down your back to have results.  I think right now, I am the most tired that I have ever been on the mission, but at the same time, I am the happiest.  I have unnumerable preoccupations (is that a word?) , but the success of the members of my zone is giving me fuel.  Ive got to head, but Ill see you next week.

Love ,

Elder Stinnett

Monday, December 2, 2013

This week was way cool.  We had a mission tour with 2 members of the 70.  Elder Gavarret and Elder Cruz.  Elder Sea and I even got to have an interview with Elder Cruz.  He lives in our zone in the area of Realengo.  He was talking to us about how for the past year our zone has had some difficulties with some of the liderança and how we are the missionaries who were called to put everything back into order.  He showed the trust he has in us and even wants us to go eat dinner with him one night to go discuss tactics to help this stake have great success.  Elder Gavarret is from Uruguy and has an amazing way of teaching that helps you to pick apart the scriptures.  It is good I have an Argentinan for a comp to help me practice, because Elder Gavarret´s Latin accent is really thick and difficult to understand.

The family of Paulo, Vani, and Hugo and Davi werent able to go to church this Sunday, because they had to travel to a different city for the day, but Vani and her sons are really wanting to be baptized this Sunday.  Paulo is a bit more reserved and we are working with him to gain his confidence, and help him to see his divine role as the head of a familiy and how there really doesnt exist another road to heaven.  If you could keep them in your prayers, that would be really great.

This Sunday, we had a stake activity - A Present for Christ.  It was a musical play with a fantastic choir, piano, and acting.  They told the story of Christ´s birth and life, and restoration of His church through the stories of the Book of Mormon.  When they told the part about the restoration, they sang *Oh how lovely was the morning* the first 3 verses and then had me get up in front of everyone and say the first vision.  then they sand the last verse.  It was way cool and the spirit was super strong. 

Unfortunately, today was my day to pass the numbers of the zone online, and so I am out of time.  Sorry, but Ill see you all next week.

Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts. 

Love you all!
Elder Stinnett