Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hey Mom and Dad and public,
It was really good to hear from you guys.  I am still shocked by how fast things are passing back at home.  I guess I kindof expected that everyone would put their lives on pause while I left and went on a mission.  It didnt quite work out that way haha, but I am glad that our family is having so much progress, especially in the gospel.  
This week was really cool.  We had a lot of crazy stuff that happened, some let downs, some miracles, and in general a feeling of satisfaction and happiness to be here.  
We have a few people that are so close to being baptized, but have some little barriers that are keeping them from taking that step.  It has been really humbling as I am figuring out that even when I give my all, the Lord has the ultimate word.  What He wants goes, and his timing is definitely not my timing.  I know that the Lord will bless these people so much as they take that leap of faith to be baptized, and that is why I get so anxious, but I have to be patient and help them one step at a time. 
There was  a 16 yr old boy that went to visit the church to play soccer a couple of weeks ago.  We grabbed his address, but we put him on the back burner because from the outside, he didnt seem to have much potential.  One day this week, with plan after plan falling through, we were led close to his house.  We decided to try to visit him.  He let us in, and we had one of the most direct and spiritual lessons that I have had on my mission.  How I need to look at all people with the eyes of faith.  He taught me  a powerful lesson that day.  I guess that even when the situation seems bleak, then that may be the moment that the Lord has a great blessing prepared for you.  We will go back this week to teach him again.
We have been really protected this week.  Here in São Gonçalo, the situation has gotten a little ugly.  The police are driving the bandits out of Rio (the city) and they are making their way to where we are.  We have had a few incidences this week where I said a prayer thanking that I had a white shirt and name tag on, because everyone seems to know that we dont have anything to do with undercover black markets or police.  We even had a dog that decided it wanted to walk in front of us (leading our way and protecting us) for a good 4 kilometros.  He would stop to make contacts with us and knock doors, and when we entered for a lesson, he wanted to enter in too.  It was really funny haha. We got separated after that, but when we finally got home at the end of the day, somehow he had found our house and was searching for us.  
This week we had a really fun ward activity that brought a lot of less active people to the church-  bbq!!!  The steak and sausage were really good, and all the primary kids liked to come and tease me to make me eat chicken haha.  This ward is really united, which is a good change of pace.  
I did a division with our DL in the other area which went really well.  I got to know Elder Diniz a bit better.  He is from São Paulo and is always smiling.  We went and taught a beautiful family  (yay families!!)  the restoration and they understood it really well, and are wanting to get married so they can be baptized.  Usually you think about doing a division, and you get a little resistant because it means leaving your area, but it is amazing how much the Lord blesses both areas when you make the sacrifice and do it.  In our area, they taught Jose, who already went to church and now wants to be baptized.  He is out of town for the next two weeks, but here in a bit, we are going to help him to enter the water.   In general in our area, we have quite a few progressing investigators. We just have to be patient and help them a little more.
That was pretty much my week.  Im loving it here in zona Niterói.  Miracles are happening!!!
Hope you all have a great week,

Elder Stinnett

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