Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Miracles Come AFTER the Trials

Hi everyone, well now that I have officially scared the crap out of my mom;) I would now like to send my email! Yesterday the free LAN house in our area the we go to email was closed and everywhere else here in Jardim da Penha was 10 reis for an hour of emailing. I am a POOR missionary, so my comp and I called our Mission President and asked if we could email today and he gave us permission.

Homemade Cookies

Last Monday my mom gave me the recipe to CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!!!!! We went over to Fatíma Maias house and made them. I also learned how to make amazing Feijão!! We then talked to a member who has a lot of non member friends and he invited some of them over and we had a family night at Fatímas home with cookies and Pão de queijo! Her husband, Geraldo, gave a HUGE message that allowed one of the investigators to really feel the spirit! He didn’t have time to for us to come and teach him a lesson last week but hopefully we will be able to meet with him this week!
                                                 Tuesday was amazing! We have a 15, almost 16, year old boy who has a GIANT testimony! The only thing that is keeping him from being baptized is his dad. His dad is a Baptist but Daniel, the son, has been going to church for the past 2 YEARS!! He reads the Book of Mormon every night and is so excited to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost! His dad, Wagner, told him that on his 16th birthday, which is in just a few weeks, he could use his free agency and decide for himself if he would like to be baptized!! We have also been helping Wagner with his English trying to gain his trust. We would love to see Daniel baptized sooner but we are NOT pushing it! After that we were walking back and Elder Torres took out his planner and had a feeling that we needed to try to talk to a guy we met a while ago. We walked all the way down this street and weren’t able to find his house. At the end of the street was a little park and there was a family there. I asked Elder Torres if he would ask the family if they knew where this apartment was. When they said that it didn’t exist and then asked if we were Mormons I was expecting the worst. I thought we were in for another Bible Bash but it didn’t happen! They were very nice and very interested.  They told us that they have been looking for a religion for a very long time. We sat with them at the park then they invited us into their house where we had a prayer and talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The spirit was SO strong! We ended with a prayer and they have invited us to come back this next week. This was a huge miracle for us and we were able to learn a lot of personal things during this time!

Wednesday we had another lesson with William. It was the FIRST lesson that he was really attentive and willing to listen and accept what we were teaching! Again, the spirit was so strong. I am so excited about his continuing progress.

Thursday was a little rough.  We are still working with the member who has not been confirmed.  We had asked the missionaries that were supposed to be working with him if they could please help us with him because we had a full schedule. On Thursday we asked them how he was doing and the one Elder told us “We cut him”! I was so angry. Wait…How can you cut someone? I have to admit, I freaked out! I can’t justify my actions and yes now I need to repent but I really don’t understand these two Elders and their lack of care and concern for this member.  My fear is that my companion and I will be transferred this next week.  We need to get him confirmed before the transfer.

Friday was awesome!!! We had Elder Eduardo Gavarret, a member of the quorum of the seventy, come and talk to us. It was amazing! I was so happy that I was able to understand what he was saying.  He talked to everyone about the mission discussed D&C 100:1. It was a great meeting and a privilege to hear from him!!
 Halloween Box from Home!

This is the last week of the transfer and I don’t know why but I have been a little nervous. I don’t know why but I have yet to feel like this is my mission. When I was in Colorado I honestly felt like that was my Mission. I felt like I had such a purpose there and really connected with so many of the people there. This week Satan has really worked on me and has used that as a tool to try to get me upset and nervous about things. For example, there are a lot of very sketchy parts in this mission where I really nervous about serving in. In Colorado I felt much safer and there wasn’t an area that I was worried about serving in like I am now. I have been discouraged about the language; not understand what people are saying and not being able to answer simple questions. I pray always and I have been trying my hardest to keep a good attitude but serving outside of your country is HARD!

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the freedoms and blessing I have living in the USA. I had a really hard time last night with all of this so I got on my knees and prayed to my father and poured out my heart. In the middle of my prayer
I almost fell asleep that is how strong I could feel MY comforter. After I finished my prayer I opened the bible to a random page, it was Proverbs3:5-6... I have never had this big of an assurance before in my life. I need not worry. Everything is going to be ok! Right now all I can do is believe. I love the talk, Lord I Believe, by Jeffery R Holland April 2013. I believe that this is my mission and I know that someday soon I will be able to say I KNOW this is my mission. Just as the apostle Peter taught "The trial of your faith is more precious than gold..."(1 Peter 1:7). I have been tried so many times in my life and the majority of my trials seem to have happened while I have been out serving, but the miracles and blessings that I have received are incomprehensible! I know that the lord knows me and will do what is best for me! He has sent me here for a reason and every day I look for those reasons that I am here! Transfers are coming in a week and "I’ll go where you want me to go dear lord!"

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Elder Stilson

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Can Understand Him!

Brazilian Fruit
 WELL... where to start? This week one of the Elders, who lives with us, was really sick. Due to this, someone has had to stay with him at home while the other 2 Elders went to work. We did a lot of splits this week with his companion, so that he could get some lessons in as well.

Last Monday was really good! We went to a member’s home and learned how to make cake BRAZILIAN STYLE ;) We then ate it with Ice cream! It was legit! After that we had our Family Night at another member’s home. She is the only active member in her family but her kids sat in while we gave the lesson and also came to church this Sunday!

Tuesday we had our 3 month interview with our Mission President. We were supposed to start at 2:30 and just have a quick 30 min interview but he was late so we didn’t leave until about 7:30. So that was a really long day but it was good because we were able to talk to the President and I COULD UNDERSTAND HIM!!!! I was so happy!!!! Haha After that we went and visited a part member family and had a quick lesson with them! I think that the husband will be baptized here really soon!!!
Letters From Home
Wednesday we had RIBS!!! They weren’t Dad’s ribs but they were still RIBS!! After that we were supposed to work with a member who has a car. But she wasn’t home so our day was kinda blown. We went and saw a man who was baptized almost a month ago but he has yet to be confirmed. We heard about this man from an Elder who decided that because he wasn’t the Elder who baptized this member and he wasn’t his investigator that it isn’t his responsibility. So now Elder Torres and I are excited to work with him.  Anyway, while we were there (my little siblings will be happy to hear this) I ran into a nasty looking spider. It had a yellow back and it was a spider that not even my Brazilian companion has ever seen before! 

Strange Yellow Backed Spider
After that, we were waiting for a mango to fall and as I was talking to my companion I turn to look at him and his face had this look and he was pale white! He brings his arm back to smack me and I KNOW what the look on his face means now. I have no idea where the spider is, all I know is that it’s on me and so I do what anyone would do...



Yeah, I had no clue that there were that many people were on the sidewalks though. I can only imagine what they are thinking when they saw me, this giant white man in a white shirt and tie dancing in the street... So now my siblings can stop praying that these things happen to me!!! ;);) WIFE POINTS!!!

Thursday we were able to help a member move a small fridge up to her room. 
  Friday was interesting. We had to take our sick Elder that is living with us to the doctors. On the way back we took a taxi. Well, we get in the car and notice that it is making a goofy sound and it's sputtering.  I look at the gas gauge and we are outta gas. Now instead of looking for a gas station which was right next to the hospital, he tries to make it back to Vitória... we were in Serra. ANOTHER CITY AND ANOTHER ZONE! So yeah, it’s pretty far. We ran out of gas on a one-way highway.... MORE WIFE POINTS AND FOOTBALL TRAINING!!!!! We pushed this car about an hour to the nearest gas station. Haha that was really fun though.

Well, I would like to end my email by sharing 2 Nephi 7:1. While in life we try our hardest as a natural man, sometimes we forget that we have someone who can help us. When things don’t go as we had planned sometimes we like to blame others and one of the choice people is the person who runs it all. In this scripture we learn that it is NOT Heavenly Father who has given up on us but us who has given up on him! We need to ALWAYS remember our Father in Heaven and thank him for all of our blessings! Heavenly Father wants to bless us but he can’t if we are away from him or don’t ask! I know that I have forgotten Him at times but he has always brought me back and has ALWAYS accepted me back! I know that He loves me. So come back to him! Thank him! Rely on Him! Trust in Him! HE WANTS TO BLESS US!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.




Monday, October 14, 2013

McDonalds & a Package!

Bom dia! Well, this week went by really fast again. Most of this week was spent getting addresses, then going to the church to call and set up appointments, then being told that they either don’t have time or to call back later (AKA call back later so I know your phone number and know NOT to answer your call... EVER!)  Just another way of having a door slammed in your face. Haha but it’s whatever.
Tuesday we were given a list of people whose kids hadn’t been baptized so we went and visited some of them. The first person on our list who lives in our area was Adelina and her son Felipe. We went over and talked to Adelina and it turns out that her son was baptized but that they are inactive right now. We taught her and met with her father who has been really sick. Later in the week they took him to the hospital and sadly found out he is very sick.  

Wednesday was a frustrating day. It’s hard when you work with and teach your investigators and get them to the point where they are ready to set a baptism date and then you have help from others. Even though their intentions are good, because they are not used to our area, they seem to do more damage than good.  Hopefully through the Spirit these investigators will know that even though some people do things differently and seem to be pushy, the Church is still true. Even though we have taken several steps back, we will continue to teach and love these investigators and hopefully get them back on track and lessons can continue again in a few weeks.
McDonalds Run!
Thursday we helped our Fatíma Ma Mãe with giving her husband a blessing. He isn’t doing very well but hopefully he will be ok!! After the blessing she says "I am hungry, let’s go to McDonalds".......... WHAT?!?! YAY!!!!! I haven’t been to McDonalds in months! IT WAS AWESOME! She is amazing! Wow, McDonalds is expensive here, it is ridiculous!!! It was worth it though.  She is amazing!

Friday I got my SUNSHINE PACKAGE!!! First off thanks to Lisa Letts, Denise Webb, Kris Harrop, the other moms and the BEST MOM IN THE WORLD, my MOM, for such an amazing box!!! Everything that was in it made my week!!
William, Adelina, Angela & Mae

Well back to Adelina, on Sunday she came to church with her non-member husband! She is going to be active again!!! We were able to teach her husband and we really think that we will get him baptized in the next couple of weeks!

Well thanks everyone for all of the emails! This week I had so many and it was amazing!!I love knowing how everyone is doing! I love you all and hope to hear from you again soon!!!!!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Conference Weekend!

The Notorious Lava Lava!
What an awesome testimony growing week!! To start out, last P-day we played volleyball with a bunch of elders and sisters! It was awesome and I am trying my best to start a new trend here in Brazil...wearing LAVA LAVA’s!!!! Haha yep I played volleyball in my lava lava last week and it was awesome! I had the thought before we started playing to throw some shorts on underneath, JUST IN CASE. Well I didn’t! What could possibly go wrong?! Well NOTE TO SELF when you are playing volleyball in a lava lava make sure you wear shorts and Don’t try to kick the ball!!!

Elder Bybee: "OPA"!!!

Sister Santos:"OPA!!!"

Sister ARAÚJO (Our Mission president’s wife):"OPA!!!!!!!!!!!"

Yep DONT KICK!! Haha 
Tuesday was the first day since I have been in Brazil that I woke and actually thought "We can do this". We tried to get into 3 people’s homes on the main island of Vitória but none of them were home. I was getting a little frustrated but I decided I needed to change my attitude! We started talking to a bunch of people on the street and Elder Torres asked if I wanted to play a game that should help with your Portuguese?  The game was to take turns coming up with one random word in Portuguese that we had to use while we were talking to people that we had just met on the street. I came up with a really good word for Elder Torres, it was Sorveite which means Ice Cream!:) Haha that wasn’t nice but he did an awesome job with it! It was a lot of fun meeting and talking to new people and trying to learn new ways to use the Portuguese language. That day flew by!
So grateful for New Glasses!
Wednesday we knocked on doors. Now this is not something that we usually do here in Brazil and get success from but it turned out it was actually pretty good and we have three new potential investigators. We are excited to see what happens!

Thursday was a very strange day! We were talking to people on the street again but we as we walked by this one guy we decided to continue on because he just seemed a little creepy. Now USUALLY we don’t do that but it was definitely weird. As we passed he started yelling and stopped us.  He wanted to talk to us about the Book of Mormon and some things that other missionaries had taught him. He started telling us about some things that he had done in the past. NOW IT GETS WEIRD! Here in Brazil a lot of people believe in voodoo. He then tells us that he can never be loved by Christ again because of his past. I took the restoration pamphlet that we had given him and told him to look at the Lamb that Christ is holding and HE COULDN’T. He then took us over to the spot where he was sitting and showed us all of his Voodoo stuff! I HAVE NEVER FELT SO WEIRD OR LOST; ESPECIALLY FROM THE SPIRIT IN MY LIFE!!! I grabbed his shoulder and told him that anything that he had done in his past could be forgiven! When I touched his shoulder I had a very sharp pain on my wrist... I didn’t think anything of it at the time. We decided to pray for this man so we started praying and just as Elder Torres said "Please bless this man." SOMETHING pushed us both back. Elder Torres finished the prayer and just as he said amen and the man almost fell over. My companion grabbed me by the arm and we took off! We tried to talk to each other both in English and Portuguese but we could not understand each other. We had to stop and kneel on the corner of the street and pray. I started my prayer in English but somewhere in the middle changed to Portuguese. It was the biggest relief that I have EVER gotten in my life. I want all of you to know that Satan is VERY REAL and VERY POWERFUL! But through the power of the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ we have to power to ALWAYS over come him!!! Even though this was a very scary ordeal, it taught me a very valuable lesson!

Is anything better...Guava & General Conference?
I was able to listen and watch General Conference in English this week and was so grateful for that!! I loved all of the talks that were given but there was one that really stood out to me. I can’t remember who gave the talk but he started out by talking about the Jaredites coming across to the Promise Land. In my personal study I studied this and it is true. Why didn’t God just take away their hardships and give them a nice smooth sailing to the Promise Land? By this talk we learn that is was for the best of the Jaridites! When they were in need of something like air they HAD to pray. This was the ONLY way that God was able to keep fear in their hearts so that they would always remember Him. Now this morning I was reading on in Ether 6 after the Lord has touched the stones. In verse 3 is says “And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness". To me I think of this as the Holy Ghost or in everyone’s case the Light of Christ. The chapter continues as the Lord explains that He WILL send forth hard winds. I always thought that it was so they could get there and it is but it was to keep them strong in their faith as well! I was reading in 1 Peter the other day as well and I love chapter 1 vs 7 where he talks about the trial of our faith. These winds WILL come, these hard times are here and we don’t want them BUT the lord has given us a way that we can see the light always! The brother of Jared thought he was tempting God by bringing the stones to him to touch and maybe he was. But the Lord gave them so that we would have a way to continue on. Sometimes we are scared to pray for things because we don’t know if they are going to come true or we are scared that they will come true. Through our faith however all things are possible!

I love you all and hope that everyone is doing good! With what I have been given today I honestly hope that I can go through this probationary life together with you all and with Christ! I love you all and miss you but just as Russell M. Nelson said "We need to love our Heavenly Father more than we love our mortal parents." I am here because I love Him and I want others to find that love! A mission is hard but I know that I can make it through. God had given me you all as MY Light!



Elder Stilson