Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hey Mom and Dad and Everyone!

We are really enjoying the work over here.  It is really funny becaue ever since the play of the Book of Mormon has been showing in the nearby region, we get a lot of people that stop us in the street screaming "EEEELLDERS!!!!!   EEELDERS!!!!  They really do exist!!""  It is pretty funny.  So we taught a couple of times this week.  I dont know if I have seen so many miracles happening with one investigator at once.  We taught him in the chapel with an RM who´s name  is Alexandre.  We had already taugh the Restoration, so we followed up a little about the Book of Mormon.  He had read ALL of first Nephi!  He said there was a scripture in chapter 13 about the apostasy and how parts of the doctrine of Christ would be incomplete and all that he will carry with him for the rest of his life. He said that sometimes he feels like baptism would be the right thing to do, and that other times, he feels like there is a veil that comes between him and this desire that gives him a little fear.  We explained that the clearness of thought and desire comes through the Holy Spirit when we read the scriptures and pray.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation using a cool little wooden puzzle board that Elder Bitnoff has.  It was one of the most powerful lessons that Ive had on the mission.  We focused a lot on the Atonement and the possiblity of change in our thoughts and actions.  At district meeting we had an example of the Atonement.  The DL asked if we wanted a chocolate, and as we responded yes, my comp would have to do a set up pushups.  As we passed through all the members of the district, the pushups grew progressively more difficult and the Sisters started rejecting the candy.  For each chocolate that was rejected, it was also required a set up pushups.  With sweat dripping from his forhead and trembling arms, the DL explained how the situation applied to the Atonement- that accepting the gift or not, Christ atoned for us.  We explained this to Darckson, and the Spirit hit really hard.  In the end, Darckson gave his prayer as he cried thanking God for "sending him His true gopel."  We taught him on Saturdayabout the Word of Wisdom and other commandments.  When we got to the end, we asked him if everything was in line to go to church the next day.  He said that he was going to talk to his boss that night to see if he could cancel the training the next morning-  the problem was that he had cancelled the week before too, and there are a lot of people that come from other states in brasil to be part of that training.  He would give us an answer Sunday morning.  We got to Church, and he showed up in the middle of the first hour.  He said that his boss on Saturday night was a little rough with him-  "no, you already cancelled, you have to do this training- you signed the contract- your church thing can wait."  Even still,  Darckson went home, ironed his church shirt, and left everything ready.  The next morning- out of the blue- his boss calls him saying " hey, just go to church, ok?  You dont need to come in today."  Wow.  He showed his faith by leaving everything ready, and God did the rest.   We will teach him Tuesday,and mark his interview for Thursday to be able to be baptized on Saturday.

Im super stoked to keep working my last few days here.  If you could pray for Darckson, it would really help him.  Ive got a lot of other stories that Ill just have to tell you another day.

Love you all!!  
Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 22, 2014

Living with 5 other missionaries is really funny.  Everyone keeps teasing me that Im going home really soon and points out every airplane that passes haha.  We are seeing a lot of cool things happen.  
So we pretty much have a mission house now- just need to get the contract going.  We are now able to focus alot more on the work.  We received the media reference of a guy named Darckson.  He is a really great guy.  He is part of the Book of Momon play- which kindof makes fun of The Church.  Well, as he was rehearsing and stuff, he kept thinking too himslef "Why couldnt this be true?"  He said a prayer when he got home and entered into the site of the Church.  He started talking to a sister from Brasil who is serving in Salt Lake.  She answered a few questions and sent his address to us.  We went there and introduced ourselves to him, left him with a pamflet of the Restoration and marked to come back the next day.  When we got there, he had already read the whole pamphlet, and was answering the questions in the back.  We got there and taught him.  As we bore our testimonies, he started to cry, and said that he really wants to know if it is true.  He has the goal of getting baptized on the 4th of October.  He went to church yesterday.  You know what he was doing the night before at 1 in the morning?  Watching online "Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration".  He really liked the church, and said that he had already read beyond the part we marked in the Book of Mormon, and has friends that want to come to church too.  He is such a great guy, and is super prepared to receive this great message.  

This last Friday, we had zone conferences.  We got there at 8AM and left at 730 PM.  President Cabral did a great job.  We learned how to work better with the ward organizations and the bishop.  We had a new mission counsellor get called.  He is a RM that got back less than 3 years ago from his mission. Super young.  He served in north Brasil where he baptized like 400 people.  NUTS!  At the end, they called me to go up to give my last testmony in a zone conference.  It was a strong moment for me.  For just a few seconds there, it really hit home that I have to go home.  I got really sad, but really grateful too for the time that the Lord has given me here.  At the end, they got all the people that will go home, and put them in front and did President Cabral's little "thankfulness chant"--Grato, Grato, Grato, Bravo, Bravo, Bravo.  
Still isnt really sinking in, but Im grateful for that.

The ward counselor this week was talking about how Pres Monson is now advising us about being prepared with food storage and stuff.  He said that war has broken out back east---what is happening over there?  The news here is kindof corrupt, so the true story never gets here, but I was kindof interested.  

Anywhoo, Ive got to go, but I hope that you all have a great week!

Love you,
Elder Stin

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hey Mom and Dad!

are you worried about me doing something stupid????  haha.  Ummmm as far as the homecoming talk, Ill just wait to get home to write it.  I want to focus here with the time I have left.  Im sad that Grandma wont go to Croatia, but anywhere she goes, she will love it and will do awesome.  Hey so you bought new sheets?  can I throw mine away please???  they have years of mission and a a year of college all over them.  gross!  Also, Im really going to need to buy some new g´s.  haha.  UMMMMMM my foot has turned back to normal.  Ill talk to the secretaries about my plane ticket home. We havenet had any rats back in our house yet.  

I think Im more tired now than I was when I was new on the mission and getting used to the pace of mission life.  We are walking a ton--from Meier to our area and back every day.  I am praying that my last pair of shoes lasts me this transfer haah.  We are searching for a house here and the members are helping out a ton.  They are really worried about losing us, so they are always calling us up and giving us references of houses to rent.  For some reason, realestate places dont accept the church, so we are struggling to find some houses to rent directly with the owner.  We are seeing some miracles happen as we tear the area apart searching-- finding less actives and pesquisadores to teach-  seeing the ward become more unified.  It is really great.  It is not the easiest work, but I feel really satisfied with our effort.  The members are seeing the effort and started gossiping how they are so glad that they have a good pair of elders in the ward because the ones that were here before us were slackers.  Im just glad I havent had to worry about members saying that about me.  The guilt would probably eat me alive!  
We go to work a little bit with a member who recently returned from his mission (about a year ago).  He was a really good elder and was full of little tips and opinions about how I need to get home and establish my life.  He kept emphasizing finding a wife that I am not going to have to spiritually carry on my shoulders- but that will encourage me to live the gospel....He is having problems with this right now, and it´s being really hard for him.  I totally agree.  You´ve got to be really careful when it comes to picking out a wife.  At the end of our visits, we went back to his house and we met his step mom- non member.  She is a sewer.  I feel like we totally won her over when I told her that I had learned how to sew when I was at home.  She really opened up, and we will go back tomorrow to visit and set some goals to stop smoking.  Saturday night, my comp comes up to me with this little box and hands it to me.  I open it up-  hair clippers.  He let me cut his hair!!!  Let me tell you-  he looks beautiful.  Ill have to take a pic and send it later.  I was pretty proud.  
Hope all is well with you guys!
Love you,
Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hey Mom and Dad and Public!

So lots of stuff to say so Ill cram it into one email.  Alright, so lets see.....
This last week I went to the mission office.  Got interviewed, renewed my temple recommend, got the BYU endorsement sent, and figured out from Elder Maciel that my airplane ticket will be getting forwarded to you guys very soon.  (like probably tomorrow).  OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, super stoked for the open house at the temple.  I pretty much tell anyone that will listen to me that I get to participate in it haha.  
Also, sorry in advance for using personal funds alot.  We live outside of our zone and we are still trying to work the secretaries into giving us a reajustment to our mission funds.....

Also, I turned into Spider Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It actually was kindof scary this week.  I think it was like thursday- I woke up with my right ankle really itchy.  I just took a shower and ignored it.  We worked the whole day, and my right leg was kindof weak.  I took off my shoe when we got back and my foot was really swollen.  I tried to call the Sister--didnt answer the phone.  Luckily Elder Jimenez (ZL) was a nurse and told me that I needed to keep it elevated.  The five elders in the house were kindof concerned cause I had a fever and my heart was accelerated.  The Sister called back and asked what was up- then told us to go to the hospital.  So, at like 1030 PM a member and his non member dad came over and got me and my comp and drove us to the hospital.  I got to have an IV!!!!  It was pretty cool cause he like shoves the needle in and then it leaves a long plastic bendy tube in your vein.  The woman that was on the other side of the room waiting for her IV was looking and all of a sudden threw up lime green hahahahahahaahahah.  I had to put my jacket over my face to hide my smile.  The IV made me fall asleep for like an hour and a half, and then the doctor sent us home.  When we got there it was already 230 AM.  It was cool because we were able to talk to the nonmember dad a little bit about missions (his son is going to send his papers now) and the gospel.  He was telling us how he hopes that the people will take good care of his son.  Anywhoot, my foot was too swollen to put pressure on it for the next to days, but yesterday I was able to work.  (it is almost back to normal)  Im still trying different combinations of hand positions with my fingers to see if web shoots out......

Also, a giant rat woke us up in the middle of the night.  We heard it, and saw it run under the oven and up into the storage drawer.  We blocked all escape roots off and opened up the drawer.  It was full of food and trash and rat pee!!!!  The rat jumped up into the uper part of the oven.  naturally, we turned the oven on......    The rat jumped out and my comp caught it in a bucket, and beat it with a meat hammer.  Our victory screaches woke up the other Elders and we all celebrated together ahaha.  We got some rat poison from a member and it seems to be working well.  

Because we werente able to work well this week, we were praying a lot to be able to have someone go to church.  Calling up the people we had marked to go, they all cancelled.  We kept praying and praying that we could have soemone go.  Welp, out of the blue the bf of a member decided he wanted to visit.  He is Emanuel.  19 yrs old, already knows the missionaries, and it way cool.  The whole time, I was just thinking how grateful I was that God was kind enough to answer our prayers.  

Well, Im all out of time, but Ill see you next week!
Love you,
Elder Stinnett

Monday, September 1, 2014

So I got moved this week to Abolição.  Cool name right?  Abolition (is that a word in english?)  Anywhoot we are living in Meier  which is in another zone.  It is super hard to find a house in Abolição and the next area over (Engenho de Dentro) is sisters, so we live in the next   area over.  It is pretty entertaining because we are 6 elders in one tiny house, so you can imagine the craziness that happens there.  The elders are super cool.  There are a couple of other americans in the house- including my comp elder Bitnoff.  He served about a year in Colorado wating for his visa, so he doesnt really understand Portuguese yet, but we are working on it together.  He is pretty funny, and way chill.  For now we are sleeping on the floor and living out of our suitcases because they dont have space to put more furniture in here.  We have made it our priority to find a house in our area so we can be a little bit more organized.  
I was sad to leave Ramos.  I was only in that area for 6 days with Elder Martinez, but we became really quick friends and worked really well together.  It seemed like every person that came to the door turned into a new investigator, and it seems like a few of them even went to church yesterday!  Atleast I can feel that I left that area better off than I found it.  
One of the elders in our house has like 10 months on the mission (american) and is super trunky.  He keeps asking me questions about what it is like to be ending the mission and all.   haha.  For me, I cant really imagine not being on the mission.  Weird.

Over in Ramos, most of the place is hills with favela.  Right by the church there is a hill that is called Morro Adeus.  Scary!  From on hill to the other, they constructed little zip lines that have little cars that run on it (like the sugar loaf mountain).  They are only one real to use!!!  On my last day there, Elder Martinez and I went up to see what it was like and to get to know a different part of the area.  Super cool!  

Well, Im going to have to go now,

Love you!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hey Dad and Mom and everyone!
Super pressed for time.  You will have to forgive me.  
Sounds like the family is doing great.  I will remember Uncle Bryan in my prayers and Uncle Terry and his new job aspirations.  
Cool beans that you guys got to do a service project.  You always leave feeling really satisfied.  One of the best feelings there is.  
This week we had Interviews with the President.  It was really good to talk to him and make goals to finish out the rest of the mission. This last week I have become abundantely aware of the infinite number of things that I can change and make better, and perfect.  I also have been made aware of how long I have come, and how much I have changed.  I am grateful for this.  
One of the things that the President told us alot about was how our decisions now effect our eternal future.  If we had the vision that our Heavenly Father has, I dont think that any one of us would sin or do anything wrong.  From what I can see, study of the scriptures and prayer, and fasting, and sincere repentance opens our minds and lengthens our vision so that we can see a little bit more as our Heavenly Father sees.  This change in vision inspires us to do more and do better.  
Yesterday, we went to get an investgator for church, and she wasnt there.  We were a little sad because we had everything combined with her to go to church to be baptized this Saturday.  We didnt know what happened.  We went to the bus stop to go to church, and a car passed and stopped.  Hey missionaries!  want a ride?    He introduced himself as a less active and his wife as a non member.  WOW!  a family to complete!!!  
The transfer here will end this next week and Monday will be transfers.  It is pretty likely that I wont write on Monday because we live so long from the center of Rio, but we will write maybe Tuesday.

Love you!!
Elder Stinnett

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hey Dad and Mom and the fam!

That is so cool to hear that the PHX temple will be didicated!  Even more nuts that Conner and Sammy will dance in the festival.  Will it be with President Monson??  We are looking at the possiblity of Elder Holland coming to Rio.  The Presidente is apparently trying to see if he will come visit the mission too, but atleast he will visit some stakes.  Maybe he will even open the ground for the Rio temple!  (that is my dream!)
Have you guys heared any news about some virus going wild in Africa?  let me know about that a little bit.  the people here are freaking out that it is the start of a zombie apocolypse.  
This week we had the mission counsel, so we had to grab a bus on tuesday night to get to a mission house over in Rio Cumprido to stay the night to wake up early and get to the counsel  on time the next day.  The counsel was one of the best that I have ever participated.  We had a lot of changes made in the way we will work, and Im praying that I can be moldable enough to put everything into practice.  When we gave the training to our zone, the same Spirit was felt as we felt in the counsel the day before.  The results, this week, was more working with the members, and more people going to church.  Excellent!
Yesterday I got to give a talk in sacrament meeting, about the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve.  I learned so much as I studied it out.  I chose to focus a lot in the Spiritual Death-and how we can reach a higher level of happiness here on earth as we work to become as close to our Savior as we possibly can.  I have kindof come to love giving talks....we´ll see if that stays the same when I come home and have a huge congregation to speak in front of instead of just 100 people.  
I also got to do a division with my LD which was really fun.  It is always a little bit of a weird feeling sleeping in the bed of another man, while you are conscious that he is also over at your house sleeping in yours........ God always seems to bless us a lot when we do divisions and we got to know eachother really well and make some plans to keep the work flowing well.  
Eu só queria prestar meu testemunho para vocês....faz tempo que eu faço.  Sou muito grato para poder estar aqui.  Não sei exatamente por que O Senhor me permitiu a nascer na igreja, e ter tantas bençãos na minha vida até este ponto, mas sou muito grato por isso.  Sei que arrependimento é real, é um processo, é maravilhoso.  Quero ser melhor cada vez mais, e sei que através A Expiação de Cristo, que isso é possível.  Ele me ama--sei disso.  Por isso, Ele reque muito de mim.  Eu amo vocês e espero que possamos continuar em nossa busca para seguir O Nosso Salvador.
 "I just wanted to add my testimony to you .... time is what I do. I am very grateful to be here. I do not know exactly why the Lord allowed me to be born in the church, and have so many blessings in my life up to this point, but I'm very grateful for that. I know that repentance is real, it is a process, it's wonderful. I want to be the best ever, and I know that through the Atonement of Christ, that is possible. He loves me - I know that. So he require a lot from me. I love you and hope we can continue in our quest to follow Our Savior."

Com amor,

Elder Stinnett

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dont worry, you´re not making me trunky--  that just happens on its own hahaha. But dont worry, we are working up a storm over here in Macaé.  We have a couple people we are teaching here, but for the most part we are working to construct a teaching group.  We are using everything we´ve got, both techniques and Spirit.  Up until now, we are not having as much results as we have hoped for.  Not anything to get sad about, just means we need to search for ways that we´ve never used before, and try again.  
One of the things that I am really happy about is the unity of the zone.  We´ve got just about half of the zone in the lan house right now, and we will head over to the chapel afterwards to make some food together.  There are a bunch of newbies here, and seeing them makes me want to be a dad again haha.  I love training!  I just feel like it is wrong to ask the President for a certain position on the mission (I dont want to interfere with revalation, you know)  So, for right now, Ill just have to be happy watching them grow as missionaries as a leader, and help their trainers out.  
This week, we had a chance to see the ward really come together.  There is a really young couple in the ward that was praying and fasting for almost a year so that they could have a baby.  Well, she got pregnant, and when we got here, she was almost due.  This last week, she had her baby, but she retained a lot of liquid, which went to her lung and she was induced into a coma.  She soon fell from an induced coma into a heavy coma. This last Sunday, we learned of her situation and the bishop called everyone together to fast for her.  Everyone was really worried that this new child would lose his mom.  I had a dream that night that the mom was awoke from her coma and left the intensive care room, and was placed in a normal hospital room.  I told my comp when we woke up and we decided to keep it quiet.  Two days later, we were talking to a member, and miraculously, it indeed happened.  The doctors had no idea why she woke up.  She still has to stay in the hospital to get better, but her chances of living have skyrocketed.  
This Saturday, we got a call from the bishop again, asking the ward to fast for the people that are sick in the ward.  When we got to church on Sunday, we heard bad news.  The child had suffered a heart attack and died.  We just had Sacrament meeting and then went to eat a quick lunch, to come back to the chapel for a viewing.  The dad got up front and started talking how he was grateful for so many people to be there supporting him, especially when he cant even tell his wife what happened, for the fear of her getting worse.  When the meeting ended, everyone went more towards the front to console the family members.  Up in the front was a tiny little white casket, with the little baby.  He looked like a little baby doll.  Everyone was crying.    I kindof stood there in the behind the bench with a few silent tears rolling down my face.Many bore there testimony of eternal families. He is a returned missionary, he knows families are eternal. I still dont think that stops a loss like that from hurting.  I guess that is why in Mosiah, the Lord commands us to cry with those who cry, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort.

Love you guys!  Have a great week!

Elder Stinnett

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thanks for the emails,  sounds like you guys are enjoying the last bit of summer.  Here it is pretty dang cold-  Im only wearing flipflops cause my tennis shoes are completely ripped open.  Im tempted to buy new ones, but the are a little expensive, and probably wouldnt last very long.  Speaking of cold, our bathroom is still in reform, so in the morning, we are still using the freezing cold shower from the abandoned apartment next door.  It usually involves running around in the apartment for a few minutes to warm up before jumping into the icy water.  It has been pretty rainy lately, which has given the ocean a greenish hue.  Way cool!  I am so tempted to go swim in the water, but alas, the little rule book tells me I cant.  Maybe one day when I am rich, Ill come back with my wife and 12 children to go walk on the beaches here. haha
We are doing really well here.  Elder Brasil is a boss.  We teach really well together and he is a hard worker.  We are looking at having a good bit of results in this next month.  We have a woman that we are teaching with her grandson that is really wanting to be baptised-  she is practically part of the ward already-  she is wanting to pay tithing and will give us lunch this Saturday.  Her cousin lives on the road, and we are teaching her too.  She has a desire to learn about the church, and her son has been going alone to church for about a month-  he has been asking her if he can be baptised (even before we had the chance to teach him!)  We are helping some other great families that need to be married (super expensive -  750 reais)  so that they can be baptised too.  It is a lot harder of a fight to help someone stay excited and progressing for so long (about 3 months) while the marriage process runs without them having the gift of the Holy Ghost.  
When we got to the area, we met a recent convert that has a drinking addiction.  Apparently the missionaries that were here before didnt help him cure his addiction before baptizing him- very sad.  Now he is having difficulties.  Every time we go there, we smell alcohol on his breathe.  He has had a really difficult life- his wife left him and took his child to the Bahia (very far away).  We got to his house one day,and he told us he drank.  He was very sad.  That day he got an envelope in the mail from his wife.  He grabbed it, and slowly opened it and slid out the contents-  it was the photo of what looked to be the elementary school graduation of his little boy. -a smiling boy that he hasnt seen for years- I looked up to his face and saw his watery eyes and that half smile pulled to the side of his face, without the need of words to express what he was feeling,  and I almost started to cry.  Up until then, I wasnt able to tell how much pain and regret he must pass through from not being able to see his son.  I guess that is how our Father must feel when we conscously make decisions that draw us away from Him, or choose not to speak with him in prayer. 

On the other hand, God is very happy with us when we choose to change for the better.  We taught the word of wisdom for a family that the husband has a few addicitons.   We decided to start with the most simple to tackle first.  We taught the lesson and said *we would like to invite you to stop drinking coffee.*  *OK*
*Ok, so will you thow it away, and not drink it any more?*  * I will*  *Can we do that now?*   He laughed a little as he grabbed a tupperward full of coffee grounds and dumped it into the trash, grabbed his thermos and emptied it out into the sink.  Wow.  Without questioning, or complaining.  This man has some faith.  

Hope you all have a great week!!!

Love you,
Elder Stinnett

Monday, July 21, 2014

The new area is doing really well.  We are a little ways away from the city of Rio, so the lifestyle here is completely different.  The city macaé was made completely because of offeshore petrolium drilling-  petrobras.  So a lot of people that live here work for them, and work embarked for 15 days and then at home for 15 days. a little weird.  Because we are so far off, the food they ship to the city costs a lot more which kindof stinks. however, we dont have the traditional amount of trash on the street and stray dogs haha.  
There arent too many people that are actually from rio here.  There are a lot from the NE Brasil, and from minas gerais, and other places.  Coolo t hear some new accents.  The people here are a lot more receptive than my last area.  I think it has to do with where they are from.  Im liking it a lot.  We are changing the way we are working to be more direct simple which seems to be a better tactic here.  
Our ward is pretty cool.  The WML is super involved with the work, and we have the support of all the organizations.  This week we will have interviews with the new pres, so I will be able to talk to him about the eclesiastical endorsement.  

I have read the email that you sent me about the plan of salvations tons of times, and I often catch myself thinking about it.  i dont think that there could exist a more perfect plan.  The part about our own individual identity really gets me thinking about our own divine potential.  I get really anxious to see what things will be like on the other side, but I guess it is one step at a time. hahaha.  Speaking of which, we have a hilarious brother that likes to go to gospel principles class even though he has like 30 years as a member, and likes to drop some heavy DDB´s (deep doctrine bombs) on the investigators.  The first few had my comp and I cracking up a little, but halfway through the class, I was wanting to get the bishop to escort him out of the class haha.  Every ward has it´s own personality.  
We are going to play some bball at the church right now to relax our minds a little bit (Im over a month without a normal pday, and Im needing it right now) 

I have kept up the daily study of the Atonement, and Im really glad I have.  Every time I read about it, I find a new attribute that Christ has that I can see in others, desenvelop in myself, and come to recognize in Him when I see him.  Highly recommend it- just taking a few scriptures each day about the Atonement and searching them out and thinking about them throughout the day.

Love you all!!

Elder Stinnett

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Soorrrrryyy!!!  I really have no time at all to write today.  So what ended up happening is that I got transferred to Cavaleiros, Macaé.  It is just about the farthest away from everything that you can get.  Yesterday we got a bus for about 4 hours that cost us 65 Reais each  :O  It is pretty cool here.  I got transferred with Elder Brasil- who I met in zona nova iguaçu and served with in Fonseca in the zone niteroí that I was in right now.  We are opening the Zone Leader area together.  It is really strange for me to think of white washing a ZL´s area, and we are suffering a little bit trying to get on our feet.  (Especially because the other elders used all of the phone credits, broke the toilet, and we are without a map :O area difficulty level 10.  We are happy to work and have to get off to lunch.  Wish us luck that we make it there.  Cool news is, busses are only 1 real!  Maybe i can use the rest of the money on food :D  

Im really sad to leave elder richmond, but I know he will do well.  We had so much going there in the area.  I hope that He and his new comp will be able to continue the work.  
My goal for the last few months of my mission is to come to know better my Savior.  I feel like I am getting better at it, but I want to be able to be in the middle of a huge group of people, and be able to quickly recognize the face of my Redeemer, and be able to adore Him as such.  My comp and I have the goal to study the Atonement every day, and work at it to be able to come to know Him better.  Ill let you know how it goes.  

Sorry, Im out of time,
I love you all!!

Have a great week.  Next time Ill be able to write more!  

Elder Stinnett

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hey Mom and everyone else!

Things are doing pretty dang good here.  I have that feeling Im getting transferred this next week though :O  They Cant Make Me!!!!!!  This is one of my favorite wards with one of my fav comps Ive ever had.  But change always helps me learn, so just go with it....

This week was awesome.  Brasil is going nuts for the Cup.  Their star player fractured a vertabre, so the atmosphere is pretty tense.  I hope they can pull out a win today.  If not, everyone here will be rooting for anyone but Argentina to win.  (the rivalry here against them is pretty strong haha)  
This last Saturday we did our first English class.  We had put a banner out on the main road and we receiveing a bunch of calls from people signing up.  We started off with a prayer, did introductions and taught everyone some basic phrases, and even left them with homework.  They loved it.  We invited everyone to come to church the next day, and Fonseca ( one of the students)  actually came!  He loved the church, and we will be able to teach him this week.  Elder Richmond and I both realized that it is really difficult to translate Portuguese to English and vice versa  on command.  We can speak English fluently,and Portuguese fluently, but trying to dicern between the two languages is a battle.  Sometimes we end up making up words because we cant remember very well in the moment haha.  
We went over to Eni´s house on Saturday to make sure that everything was ok for her son, Alex, to get confirmed the next day in church.  She was laying down in her house with pneumonia in both lungs.  She showed us her XRay, and told us she wasnt feeling too well.  She said that she really wanted to see Alex get confirmed, but she didnt think she would be able to.  She was supposed to be interned in the hospital, but because of her family duties, she refused to stay there.  She asked us for  a blessing of health.  We gave it.  In the blessing, it was inspired to say, that she would have the health and strength to see her son confirmed.  We went to church the next day.  During the transition between the classes, going to sacrament meeting (the third hour)  I saw her.  She was completely fine, laughing, and talking.  She told us that God decided that she needed to see Alex be confirmed, and cured her. 
Francine went to church again!  She is doing really well, and tells us that every time she reads the Book of Mormon that she feels something she never felt before.  She is really liking it.  Even though she is passing through a lot of trials, she has so much faith and desire to follow.  She is a spiritual powerhouse.  We went their yesterday just to say hi and she was watching *The Testaments* that we had left for her, and as we said goodbye, I said *We´ll see youon Wednesday*.  She was like *Ok!*  then she breathed in through her teeth, and was like *Oh, I dont know if that will work.  I have a friend that is passing some difficulties that I need to visit and tell her about the church.  Do you have a Book of Mormon I can give her?*  That was the first time in the whole mission that someone told me that they didnt know if we could visit them because they were too busy helping other people get to know the church.  hahaha
It is pretty entertaining having another dupla of missionaries in the house.  It seems like Elder Richmond and I are their parents though-  they are new on the mission and havent really learned how to pick up after themselves, or cook, or pretty much anything. haha.  The good news is they work hard.  Our ward is going to grow so much with 2 duplas!!!!

Well, my time is up, Hope you have a great week!

Love you all!

Elder Stinnett  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

You are making me jelous talking about your soft king sized bed.  For now, Ive got a nice thin, twin sized with the special option of curling up in a ball or hanging my feet off.  haha.  
Glad the date with ex Elder Anderson (calling him Aric is weird for me) and Sara went well.  They make  a good looking couple.  A couple of Elders in the mission are jealous of him hahaha.  (one of the assistants saw her pic on the front of her graduation envelope and has been asking me for her contact info hahaha)
Im still super jealous that you all got to see Grandma without me though!

Well, on to missionary life stuffs-
 we have been locked in our houses for the brasil games, which is driving me nuts. This last monday, we were at home and the phone rang-  Elder Richmond yelled "hot potato!" and threw it to me...  President Lima.  I aswered it and he started asking me questions.  How is your area?  are the members helping?  how is the DL is your district?  I aswered the questions, and he said goodbye and hung up.  I looked at Elder Richmond kindof confused.  5 minutes later, we get a call from the assistants "congrats Elder!  Mutua is getting another dupla of missionaries!!"  You have the rest of the night to prepare your house, organize the delivery of beds, and desks, and dresser, and be ready to receive them at 10AM tomorrow.  
The next day, we received Elder Ostrowskyj  and Elder Rocha da Silva. two brasillians.  Our house just got a lot smaller haha.  Ostrowskyj is an incredible worker, and Rocha da Silva has the incredible tallent of eating 50 pieces of pizza in one sitting (not even kidding on that)  Needless to say, we are pleased to have some help in the area now.  Nice to feel like the Pres. can trust in us enough to put another dupla in our ward.  
Yesterday, we didnt have PDay because the new Presidente (Presidente Cabral) came and wanted to do a mission cousell with the ZLs.  We woke up early and headed out.  We received a great training.  He likes to joke, but is very stern as well.  Im stoked to see the changes that will happen.  Today, we just get to send emails and head off to lunch and then give the training to the zone.  I guess next Monday Ill be able to rest a little.  
I dont know why exactly, but the Spirit's promptings to me seem very stern lately.  Maybe I am just more alert to hear them, or maybe God needs me to do something in the very moment and doesnt want to chance me missing an opportunity, but it seems like the little whispers have the volume turned way up.  I know that it is the Spirit, because each time I act, I can see almost immediately why the Spirit asked me to do it.  For example last night I was prompted strongly to talk to a homely lady who was passing, and it turned out she was a member that had fallen away that needed to be invited back, or when you are in a lesson, and you change the topic suddenly, and the pesquisadore starts to cry, because they have just heard the answer to one of their worried prayers.  I kindof like it- being able to hear so clearly.  I hope it stays like this.
Sunday was the baptism of Alex.  Sorry I cant send pictures this week (under the risk that the computer wipes out the memory card) but Ill try to send them next week.  He is the 26 yr old son of Eni (a member of about 5 years)  When he was young, he had a problem where there was a lack of oxygen in his brain, that effected the locomotion part of his brain.  He walks with a limp and his vocal chords are paralyzed. When I got to the ward, Bishop told us how he wished that we would go there to see what had happened to him, and gage his understanding.  Turns out he understands EVERYTHING.  The bishop brought it up with the members of the ward counsel, about the possiblilty that he is aware of everything in the church, and is feeling left out that he was not offered the same opportunity as everyone else, and asked what they thought.  After talking with Presidente Lima and the ward counsel, Bishop went and invited him to be baptized so he could pass the sacrament.  He was so excited, that it brought tears to the eyes of everyone that was in the room.  A counselor the the mission president was brought to interview him, and he was baptized this Sunday.  It was really touching to see how happy he and his mom were.  Not exactly the routine baptism that missionaries see, but Im definitely never going to forget it.  
Welp, my time is up again, but Ill see yal next week!!!!

Love you,
Elder Stinnett

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hey mom and Dad and the rest of everyone!!!
We are all sharing the computer in the chapel so we have very little time to write hahahaa (the lanhouses are all closing early today because of the Brasil game)  Hopefully they can pull out a victory and move on to the next bracket. --the same for the US -  seems like the US selection is pretty good this time!!!  Maybe we will see a showdown US vs Brasil in the end.  (in which case the American elders would have to go into hiding) 
This week we were running around like NUTS.  We had a great zone conference with Pres. and Sister Lima.  They will be leaving us on the 27th.  Almost everyone was  crying when Pres Lima bore his last testimony.  He kindof opened up in a way that he neve had before.  Turns out that even though he loves to chastise us, he trusts in us a lot too.  Im going to really miss him.  Sounds like our new president is an older guy.  Im excited to see what he is like.
This week we had a lot of miracles.  We are teaching some references of members and one of them is an older guy named Britto.  He went to church last week and we invited him to be baptised, and he said that he is ok how he is.  We stopped by this week to say hi, and we left a liahona from conference with him.  He read it and decided that he wanted to go to church again.  We had a recent RM give the Gospel Principles class and it was about----dum dum duuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmm  BAPTISM!!!!  At the end up church I asked Britto what part he most liked, and he said that class.  I asked him what he felt there. He told me that he feels that it is the first pass that he needs to take-  he wants to be baptised, not immediately, but wants to prepare for it.  He is such a great guy.  He has some really bad knee problems and walks with crutches.  he told us that he needed us to give him a blessing- to heal him.  When we finished, he said Amem, -  eu creio, eu creio.  He is a man of a lot of faith.  
Also, before church, I was standing outside of the fence, and i saw Vanessa coming up the road with a woman I never saw before.  Apparently as Vanessa was coming to church, this lady asked her "where are you going??"  and she responded "the mormon church"..  "me too, I was just too scared to go alone".  Vanessa guided her in and started showing her everything, like an experienced missionary would do. It is so hard to believe that she has only a month in the church.  Francine (the woman who came to visit)  is the ex gf of a catholic pastor that just got baptized in the LDS church.  She felt the need to visit the church and came.  She loved it, and said she wants to be  apart,  but wants to learn more first.  To top it all off, this next Sunday will be the baptism of Alex!!!
sorry I dont have time to write any more, but I love you all!! have a great week. 
You are in my prayers,

Elder Stinnett

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hey Mom and Everyone!

Great to hear from you guys!  I havent been able to make the corndogs yet, we have been really busy getting everything ready for our English course to start, but I am going to translate and pass the recipe to the RS Pres.  
This week was pretty amazing.  Last Monday night, we left to work and we kept seeing people in the ward on the street.  We passed them and said hi each time, and they kept looking at me kindof weird.  Our meeting with the WML fell through, and we decided to do contacts.  Then my comp remembered me that we needed to download a movie to pass for the zone in the training we would give the next day.  We headed over to Marcos´s house and when we got there we knocked- they opened up- SURPRISE!!!  there were so many people crammed into that little house.  They were all dressed up in party stuff, and had made a cake, and sang to me for my birthday.  It was awesome!  They gave me some soda called Guaraná Jesus that you cant find in Rio, and we took tons of pics.  Coolest Bday Ever.
The cup is kindof making work a little hard.  For all the Brasil games we have to lock ourselves in our house and keep quiet, but I guess I kindof expected that.  On the bright side, we got to make a stinking delicious homemade lasagna that kindof tasted like Pizza.  Dont know how we managed that one.  We just kindof throw whatever we had in the sauce, and it turned out pretty dang good.  
Also, Elder Richmond made some choc chip cookies for us.  We both got diareah.  
Yesterday was the confirmation of Vanessa!  She is doing great, is happy and feels included inthe ward.  I guess that´s all I could ever ask for. She is completeing the young womans personal prog. even though she is already 22 because she wants a medallion.  I told Sammy that she has got to get working on it or else Vanessa will beat her hahaa.
This week, I made a contact with a guy in his front yard, and we marked a day to come back.  He seemed a little weird.  We got there and we asked him about his life- he is like 50, lives alone, has a big house with almost Nothing at all in it, and has gone to church like 4 times in the past (like 4 yrs ago.)  We were a bit confused.  Normally if you go to church like 3 times, you are already wanting to be baptized.  What was even weirder, is that me and my comp both had a weird feeling in that house, and for the first time in our whole missions, we had absolutely nothing come to mind as of what to say to teach him.  Nothing, at all.  It was as if someone had turned off my mind, and took away my tongue.  Weird.  We decided we needed to leave, and he told us he would go to church that sunday.  We left there confused, and weirded out.  Welp, he went to church.  A member came to talk to us after he left, and told us that he remembered him.  He wasnt baptized because something pretty grave happened with him, that has to do with Homosexual tendencies.  Now we have a lot better idea why we were prompted to get the heck out of that house hahaha.  I think we will just pass by and tell him that we cant come back alone, but if he wants he can keep studying the scriptures, and visit the church.  
Well, I just want to end with a quote that Elder Richmond´s greatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreatgreatgrandpa said.  It doesnt really have to do anything with what I already wrote, but I really liked it. "I´ve often thought how wise it is that we cannot see the end from the beginning- for often the difficulties would be greater than our faith, and we would fail to make the progress that we do." William Mourley Plack
Love you all!
Elder Stinnett

Monday, June 9, 2014

Im having a great birthday.  We are running all around Niterói exploring and stuff, and then we went to a members house to send the weekly report of the zone (cause the lanhouse is stupid and doesnt open excell spreadsheets- and they told us to stay and eat lunch with them!  They made chicken for my comp and some cool ham and egg mixture for me haha.  Then we had the chance to give the wife a blessing because she was feeling really dizzy.  Ive been telling Heavenly Father that all I want for my birthday is for Him to help Dad get a good job.  He is the owner and creator of everything, so I dont think that was toomuch to ask :)
Thanks so much for the corndog recipe.  Im going to combine with the RS pres to get the activity rolling!
We met with our WML this week and today he is going to go get a banner made that we are going to put on the main road in front of the chapel advertising our English Course.  I am super stoked for it!  Who wouldnt want to learn English from two beatiful gringos like Elder Richmond and I?  haha
We had stake conference too this week!  Vanessa went too (Even though it was an hour away by bus.)  She told us that Michel and her have the goal of reading the whole Book of Mormon together. - 2 chapters per day.  Her confirmation will be this Sunday! :)
In the stake conference, all of Brasil had a transmission from Elder Ballard, Elder Scott (who spoke Portuguese and Spanish mixed),and Elder Costa.  It was really a great conference that got everyone thinking about prayer, and standards, and missionary work.  
I have gotten some really good news at the last mission counsel I went to.  All the LZs are there from all the zones so I get to ask how some of the people are doing where I have already passed.
- In Vila São Luis- Emanuel is doing great.  He is a member of the elders quorum presidency and has gotten the Melchezidech priesthood!  He is very excited about doing hometeaching visits (a rarity here) and told the quorum that whoever doesnt do their visits is going to have to wrestle him. His sealing in the temple will happen 18 of July!
- Nova Iguaçu- Roberto e Ana Paula are doing really well too.  Last week they bore their testimonies as a family in  sacrament meeting. 
                -Eduardo and Roseni are strong and firm.  Eduardo is the first counselor in the elder´s quorum
                -Daniel is really happy too.  He is the elders quorum as well
Im really glad that so many people are progressing sowell in the gospel.  It makes all of the sweat and hard work worth it.

I am out of time, but I love you all!!
Elder Stinnett

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hey Mom!!!! and Dad and Everyone Else!!
Im just going to make one big email cause I have a lot to say.  
So you asked about me coming home....I am going home together with a Brasillian Assistent Elder Maciel, so he has the inside info on Everything.  When I was doing a division with him about 4 months ago, he let it slip when we were going home.  Da-da-da-dummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.............................The 8th of October!!!!  I leave the 8th at night and get home in the morning on Maddies birthday! That will be pretty special.  The crazy thing is that this transfer right now, I will get my *trunky call* where they ask me what airport Im returning home to and buy my plane ticket :O  Scary right?
The good news is transfers happened today, and I am staying here in Mutuá with Elder Richmond!  We´re probably the coolest pair of American LZs known to Rio, but we´re really humble about it. We have been working really well together and have been having all sorts of adventures.
Ill start off with the most important one.  So do you remember Vanessa?  She was baptized yesterday!  It was definitely the best planned baptism that we´ve ever had.  We even made her a cool baptismal program (just like the US has!).  The meeting was super spiritual.  Her boyfriend Michel was the one who introduced her to the church, and after a lot of searching and praying she decided that it was right to be baptized.  As Michel gave the message before the baptism, she couldnt help but cry.  She will be confirmed here in two weeks because we have stake conference this week.  It was really funny- she was joking around about being a Sister missionary, and apparently got really squirmy and told her that he thinks its best only when they are old and married. hahaha.  I dont think he wants to get dear Johnned hahaha.
We also had a lot of miracles that happened during church yesterday. Everything just seemed to come together, and we had eight people visiting!  They all loved it.  Fast and testimony meeting was great and a few of the pesquisadores were moved to tears along with the members.  I love this ward! 
Saturday we got to see Mateus Martins open up his mission call.  He is going to Teresina, Brasil. -  It may be the only place in Brasil that is hotter than Rio.  It´s ok though, because he is wanting to lose some weight haha.  He asked me to give the message before he opened up his call in front of everyone, and after a bit of thought I was able to tell him how I was feeling when i was in his spot, and I read Alma 26:12 (the scripture on my plac).  This ward has the most spiritual young men that I have ever seen-  it is amazing to see how that can change the atmosphere of a ward.
Oh PS before I forget- Im totally serious about the corndog recipe.  ive already talked to the relief society president about it, and she is wanting to make a corn dog making activity haha.  So any type of easy and fun food recipes that you can send my way, Ill be grateful. (cookies, corndogs, etc)
Today we went to a place called Costão in Itacoatiara.  It is a huge granite rock that you can follow a little trail to and climb up on.  A member took us to it, and we got some really cool pics.  We even saw some little monkeys that were jumping from one tree to another.  While we were up on the rock, we were sitting and resting a little bit, and then we got up, and decided to take one last photo together before we left.  We just didnt have anyone to take it for us.  From the middle of the trees came an old man- that we never saw come up- that took our picture for us.  We stood there looking at it and then we looked up and he was gone.  Im pretty sure that he was one of the three nephites sent to take the pic for us...........
The work continues as normal.  We are really having to take care of where we walk here now.  As they are cleaning up the city of Rio, the crime seems to be pushed to where we are working.  I never feel like I am in any danger.  One of the members reminded us that it is all of the prayers that the whole world offers up for the safety and protection of the missionaries.  Im definitely really grateful for them right now.  

I love you guys!  See yah next week.

Elder Stinnett

                                                                 Vanessas batismo!!!

                                                             Costão at Itacoatiara!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tell Tanner congrats on the call!  I heard they have some wicked pink river dolphins in Ecuador.  He will have to send me some pics.  Im totally sad that I will miss him and Spencer.  That will be a solid four years without seeing them i know they will be great missionaries.  Im still using this cruddy lan house computer keyboard that sticks a lot and I still have not found the question dont be too harsh on the grammer.  Im english retarded as it is.  
Hey so I got your birthday package!  Weird huh one took a lot longer.  We really enjoyed the peanut butter and twizlers.  The tie was beautiful and I think Im going to save that super hero shirt until I get home to impress the ladies. Thanks so much!!!!  Speaking of ladies- I am still in shock that Little Sara graduated already.  One day we (me, sara, sammy, conner, adam, madeline) are totally going to have a statue dedicated to the stinnett family outside of the UH campus haha.
Hey Ive got a question.  How can you make homeade corndogs I think that would be so cool to do for a integration night for the ward here.  #coolamericanfoodstheydonthavehere.  We went over to a less active families house last night and she made cuzcuz amarelo for us.  It kindof tastes like the white part of mexican tamales.  I almost died!  I totally miss the mexican refried beans (los compadres!!  mmmmmhmmm)  but I am colecting some cool recipes from the members here so I can make some brasilian food for you guys.  
This is one of the fastest passing transfers in the history of the mission.  I really hope we arent transferred this next week!  Today we decided to go to Niteroi to go see the famous art museum that looks like a satelite dish.  It was totally closed, but we got some cool pics and got to look at the ocean a bit.  (Ill send the pics in a separate email)  Area Niteroi is super beautiful.  I get super jealous sometimes that the pretty areas are always given to the Sisters!  oh well, I guess they deserve it.  
We are teaching this really cool girl named Vanessa.  She knows someone from ala Jacarepagua.  We had lost contact with her for a while and then finally we were able to mark a lesson in the chapel.  We taught her the plan of salvation- a very powerful message.  She had already been to church a few times, and told us that she wants to be baptized, but she wants to know more, and wants to wait to be sure that this is what she really wants to do.  We understood.  We also explained a little how the Gift of the Holy Ghost will help confirm each step she takes after she is baptized.  We left her with the invitation to pray that night, and talk to us in the church the next day about what she would like to do.  When she came to church, we got done with the block and she came up and said she wanted to talk to us.  She said *I was praying and thinking last night, and I realized that there is no way for me to know everything before I am baptized, so I want to be baptized this next Sunday*  I probably looked pretty goofy, because I had the biggest smile on my face hahaha.  I am so excited for her.  We are working to prepare everything so that it can all run well.  
Sorry, but Im out of time!  Ill talk to you guys next week.
Love you!
Elder Stinnett

the satelite thing is the famous art museum!!  the other one has the pão de açucar and the Cristo waaayyy in the back haha