Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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