Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hey Everybody!!!

This week was super cool.  We had the baptism and confirmation of Cilene!!! She is a sweat little lady that seems like she has been a member her entire life.  She walked into the sacrament meeting and noone recognized her as a pesquisadora. The night of her baptism, we got to the chapel and took pictures, had the reunion and then it came to the part of the baptism.  We had explained atleast 100 times that when Elder Namanny says Amen, you plug your nose and bend your knees.  Well, he said amen and she jumped in the air, tucked her knees to her chest, didnt plug her nose, and went under part of the way.  Elder Namanny using good instinct gave her a little push down to get the full immersion effect.  It was while she was down there that she thought it would be good to plug her nose.  She wasnt coming out on her own, so Elder namanny started to lift her up, until her torso was out of the water.  With her eyes shut, legs stuck out straight like a board, and her hand still plugging her nose tight (I think she thought she was still under water) Elder Namanny held her in the air for a few seconds until she finally realized it was finally over. hahahaha.  When she came back from changing her clothes, she said it was the best experience that she has had in her life.  Im glad she was able to feel that even though that was maybe the funniest baptism that I have ever seen haha.
Sunday, I was able to confirm her a member of God´s true church.  (The first time that I have done that).  It was such a special experience, and I think of how the angels up in heaven were writing down in the books her name.  It is so cool to be part of God´s work!!

We also found a beautiful family to teach.  They are Rogerio, Kate, and Thaiane.  We taught them this Sunday and we shared the message of the restoration.  I was bearing my personal testimony about the restoration of the church and Rogerio started to cry.  The Spirit was definitely strong during the lesson. They want to go to church this week, but they are worried about Carnaval.  They told us that we need to go to their house Sunday morning and they will drive us to church hahaha.  (There are some crazy people that go around with plastic balls on strings hitting people hahah)  This family has a bunch of parakeets that run loose in the bushes in front of their house.  Kate started grabbing them and putting them in our hands. I felt kindof like a pirate.  

We also marked a baptismal date with a woman named Yolanda.  She was the reference of a crazy less active member that rides his bike in the street and sells chocolate bars.  Yolanda has a son that fell on the ground and hit his head because of an epileptic seizure.  She had been asking for someone to visit her and lift her spirits.  We taught her the restoration and marked a baptismal date for 15 de Março.  When she prayed, she thanked God for sending her the true  gospel and asked that she can stay in this road.  I think that with this case, our challenge will be helping her to stay firm, not just baptizing her.  Retention!!!

Ive got to go now, but Im really thankful for all your thoughts and prayers.  See yah next week!!!
Elder Stinnett 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hey YÁLL!!!!

Thanks for the emails.  Laughed a lot while reading them.  Seems like everyone is telling me lately that my mission is ending...I dont feel that way in the least haha.  I am powered up and ready to give it my all to the end (and speaking the truth, I have a long time left here :)  OH P.S.  I got the valentines (THANKS!!!) and I didnt get the Christmas package (Ill keep praying it gets here someday.)  and for my birthday, I really dont have anything that I am wanting.  To be honest I am pretty satisfied with my rice and beans and caju juice. haha  I do have to buy some socks.....I havent gotten around to that yet......
I really liked the photos of Maddie.  She is getting so big!!!  I show the photos of the family that you sent in the valentines card to everyone!!!!  They all say that Sara and Sammy are pretty and that Dad looks like he could be my brother, and that Mom looks like a brasileira. hahaha.  I tell them that she looks more like a mexicana. ;)

We are super stoked here in our area.  We did an open house in the chapel of Realengo (which has the Realengo and Bangu wards) with all of the zone.  We marked 9 baptismal dates and did a whole bunch of lessons.  The assistants were there and were very impressed.  A good part of these people with dates are progressing well towards baptism.  We are wanting to do the same activity here in the Madureira chapel (with the Madureira, Bento Ribeiro, and Sulacap wards)  Im super excited!!!  The zone is doing quite well at the moment.  Madureira will baptize a family that they are working with to get married, Elder Jorge in Agua Branca will have the first baptism of his mission!! and we will get to be part of the miracle of the baptism of Cilene.  She is such a sweet lady-  a little bit sassy- but super funny.  She is pumped to get baptized and is convinced that only the gift of the Holy Ghost will give her the courage to take on eye surgery.  She is a spiritual powerhouse!!!

Last night we got to see a preglimpse of what Carnaval is going to be like here in Madureira---A mess.  We were heading to the chapel 5 oclock at night to go to a meeting with the bishop and the other organizations and we had to enter into the main road- Intendente Magalhães.  THOUSANDS OF DRUNK PEOPLE!!!!! It was the rehersal of a Samba School. With giant crowds of people on all sides, we had no way out.  Elder Namanny and I puffed out our chests and started cutting throught the people heading towards the only outlet street that was less full of drunk people. Though not letting any sort of emotion show on my face, I was appalled at what I was seeing.  Hundreds of guys dressed as girls, everyone drunk, girls shaking like there was an earthquake, and straight up apostasy.  As we walked with firmness towards this little street, various people were grabbing out ties or touching our chests or trying to grab our attention.  It wasnt until we fought our way to the little outlet that I realized that my abs were super tense and my hands balling up in fists and then releasing over and over again.  It is not something I ever want to pass through again.  We went to the meeting, called up President, and he told us to go straight home.  Luckily it poured rain during the meeting and a majority of these party freaks had lost the urge to do evil and had gone home.  Crazy right???  We heared that from now until carnaval, this will happen every sunday.  We will be heading over to Agua branca this Sunday to work to avoid this danger in our area. 
The experience we had reminded me a bit of a talk that a sister gave in stake conference.  She was talking about the great abyss in the dream of Lehi- and how well that abyss divided those who follow Christ and those who dont.  In days past, those who made part of the church werent as easy to pick out from those who didnt.  Today with the change of standards, the division becomes ever so much clearer- as the saints strive to live the standards as those who dont work to bring the saints down.  Unhappily, the conditions wont get better during our time here on the earth, but we do have the resources necessary to live our standards- our testimonies, prayer, a living prophet, and the scriptures.  We were chosen for these days, and I know that God expects that we live our standards to the fullest.  We are capable, and repentance is real-  For I know that the Lord our God does not give commandments unto the children of men, unless he also provides a way for the commandments to be fullfilled. 

I was really impressed by the missionary work that is happening back home.  Here in Rio we are focusing on retention and reactivation.  In a mission counsel we were bearing witness of the work done in our zones.  One of the areas had no baptisms, but had reactivated a family.  Many started to criticize.  *You couldnt have done more that just reactivate a family??*  President Lima stood, and said, *I too had this question,  What is more important,  Baptize a Family or Reactivate a Family?  I asked God.  He told me that they are the same. **  The room went silent.  The Spirit was strong, and many tilted their heads and looked at President.  Since that day, many are saying that President Lima is a special witness of Christ.  

Thanks so much for the prayers and the thoughts for me and for the other missionaries in the field.  I know that God hears and values all of our petitions.  Ill see you all next week!

Com muito amor,
Elder Stinnett 

Monday, February 10, 2014

.  I am the Lider de Zona Lider right now and Elder Namanny is my Lider de Zona.  They have pretty much the same responsiblities.  We each take care of one district and combine together to see what are the zone´s necessities.   However, even though we are both zone leaders, all of the sins of the zone fall on my head.  So yah.  Im learning to be super humble really fast.  It gives me a little bit of understanding when the prophets in the book of Mormon told the people that they are helping the people because if they dont, then their clothes will be stained with the sins of the people- or even` as in 2 nefi says *For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry*  I never really understood before how mine own actions have such a large effect on the life and the salvation of others.  We really do all have a mission here and if we do not fulfill, we will certainly be held responsible.  I really came to understand the gratitude I have for the temple yesterday.  Even though I am a missionary- representative of Christ,  I can never feel at ease and rest.  During the day, we have goals and projects to complete, and also we have to vicariously complete the goals and projects of the rest of the zone through inspiration, divisions, and tough love.  Even in the chapel the feeling is changed.  Instead of focusing on the speaker, you focus on the pesquisador and if he is understanding, and distract them when that old toot member gets up and starts to bear his testimony about some profound-doctrine-that-i-have-never-ever-heard-of-before.  I miss that feeling that I have in the celestial room of the temple, so much. More that home, or on dates, or playing golf, or eating a whole little cesars pizza on the way home from a date,  I miss that room.  I pray that God can build His temple here fast, because this is one of the places that is needing this peace most. 

Elder Namanny is from California.  He spent most of his mission in the mission office, (Speaking english with the other secretaries) so Im trying to help him get back in the swing of things- with teaching, and Portuguese, and people skills.  It has been interesting, but I have come to realize, for each of the flaws that I have seen in him, Ive got 10, so we have been learning together alot.  It will be a good transfer.  He is finishing his mission here in 1.5 transfers (He leaves early to go back to school) so we have got to make every second count!!!
I am not understanding Rosangela- she saw angels, received an answer of God so strong that she called us crying, saying God told her to be baptized, she had prayed to find us- and we made a contact with her,,,,,and we cant find her at home and she doesnt answer her cell.  I dont know why she would be running, but I have a guess that she heard something about the church and got shaken.  We are praying like Enos for her, and we will go there tonight to see what we can do.  However, God has given us many elects to visit.  We visited a family that our Patriarch pointed out to us.  In the end they went from *we are  jewish and I dont like my wife enough to marry her for real* to *Sure, if God touches my heart I will get married and be baptized in the church of Christ* haha
An old lady went to church with us- Silene. We went to visit her Saturday, and we had planned to read 3 Nefi 11 with her (She has bad sight) and before anything she said, *I have to tell you about a dream I had 4 years ago.*  It was about 3 nefi 11.  Christ descended from the heavens in a white robe and showed his scars to her,and invited her to follow  Him.  WOW

I just want to say that even though Im a bit complainer,I am super grateful to be here in the mission field.  I dont know where I would be at spiritually if I didnt decide to come.  Christ has touched my life, and each day I come to know Him better.  I know that this work is true, necessary, and is our responsiblity as members of the church.

Ill see you all next week,
Elder Stinnett

some pics with me and Elder Hansen.  this is the family of the patriarch

Monday, February 3, 2014

Transfers!!! again. Seems like this transfer,President made some huge changes in the mission.  A lot of ZLs were taken down (He is taking out the old missionaries, because the new ZLs are going to have to *train* the new president/ give him an easy entry to the mission.)  Elder Hansen will now open Nova Iguaçu 2 as a DL.  He is super excited. Im going to give him all my references and addresses of my recent converts for him to visit haha.  I am going to stay here in Sulacap and *train* a new ZL. (Elder Namany)  I was his DL for a short time on the Ilha do Governador, so it will be way cool being his comp here in Sulacap.  Elder Hansen and I are making tons of plans to get this ward motivated to do missionary work.  This zone/stake has been having a ton of diffuculties for more than a year.  Little by little we are taking these areas out of the hole they have dug themselves into.  I dont think that these members understand the importance that they have in the missionary work.  We can baptized people as we find them,but if the ward will have a real growth depends on the integration.  We are planning on talking to the pres. of the stake to get some action going.   This last week the pres. of the Elders quorum was released and we are getting a new one, but in the long run, we think the key will be to help to bishop(ric) cobrar  (ask/follow up??) with the organizations- which is not happening.  It is way cool to see how much power/input missionaries have in the church (especially here in Brasil). 

Rosangela went to church yesterday!!  She loved it and told us that she wants to come back.   Her dificulty is that she doesnt know if God will be mad at her if she gets baptized again.  However, I think that after the visit she made at the church, we will be able to mark a baptism date tonight. 
Vani also brought one of her friends to church.  She is a missionary already!!  We are teaching another friend of hers who works with foreigners- teaching them Portuguese.  She was talking to us and then asked us from what part of Brasil we are from. hahaha  She was surprised that we spoke so well and asked if she could get some tips on how to teach her students.  It was pretty flattering.  She has already marked to go to church this next week.  The work here in the area is progressing well, and we will reap a lot this transfer.

I got a little confused about the whole comments on the blog thing-but I saw something about a girl to marry, and Im totally in haha.  Cool to know that you are still putting some stuff up there.  I should have a lot more stuff to say to you guys, but it seems like when PDay comes I am so wiped out my brain shuts off.  Ill start taking notes on what to write you haha. But for now I am doing well, my zone getting better,and we are working super hard to get the members to understand that they are important- and that they have a mission here as well.  And so I ask you guys to not forget of your mission that you have in your designated place.  God has placed us here for his purposes, and we need to search to realize them.

Love you all!!

Elder Stinnett