Monday, February 24, 2014

"I went through it"

Hey everyone! Well this is week 4 of this transfer. We have been teaching Fátima and she will be baptized on the 27th of February. She is an awesome investigator and has a super strong testimony! I am excited to send you pictures and tell you all about the baptism.

This week was very interesting. We had 2 drunks tell us that they were going kill us, a lady told us all about her nephew and the crazy life he’s living and a kid who says that he doesn’t believe in God because of the choices he is making. Holy Cow it was a lot to take in! But even though I have had these crazy experiences it is all right!:) We are teaching a 14 yr old girl who is getting ready for baptism as well. She is probably the MOST religious person I’ve met. It is crazy to hear about the things that she believes in and what she loves. We have her marked for this Sunday so we should have another exciting busy week!!:)

Elder Stilson's House in Nanuque

The other things that happened this week were really not worth mentioning. Actually it doesn’t help that I have a horrible memory... I should start bringing my journal with me when I email. Everything else has been alright. I have been learning how to be patient and learning how to be humble. I need to thank all of you that send letters and emails especially my grandparents. I appreciate your advice, encouragement and personal experiences. At times, when I am teaching, It seems like no one is listening. We walk and walk and walk up and down and up and down these morros (hills).  I feel like I am killing myself and the only thing that I am receiving are "Rain-Checks". It is very frustrating and it seems like I am wasting my time sometimes. This week was especially hard and I hate to admit that I thought to myself, "I don’t want to be here, I want to be home with my family. Why can’t these people do things different, what am I doing, why am I here" something hit me and it hit me hard...

"I (Christ) went through this. Yes these people are less fortunate than you! They do not have the luxuries that you have back at home. I went through this. I left MY home next to my father to just try to give them the happiness that comes from a family that can live together and they rejected Me."

After thinking about that I realized that the only thing that I can do, what I NEED to do is help these people, to share a simple message that can change the rest of the eternities for these people.  It made me really look at how small this sacrifice really is. YES it’s hard! Christ NEVER said it was easy and at times he really didn’t want to do it but he did anyway! It is VERY hard but I know that I will be blessed for this. I will help these people and there is ALWAYS Joy in the Journey!!! I thank you all for your prayers and I love and miss ya'll so much but I still have work here that the lord is having me do!:)


Elder Stilson:)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another week in Nanuque


Bom Dia! This week was another week in Nanuque! Haha thanks for everyone’s prayers on my behalf! Know that it is working and I have been given the strength of the Lord to keep going everyday! My knees and ankles are getting better so thank you all so much!!! But this week again flew by and it is hard to talk about everything that has happened but I will try my best!:)

I can’t remember if I have talked about Fátima or not but she is the mom of 4 members that we have in our ward here and she is almost ready for baptism! She has a testimony and everything and is keeping most of the commandments. But we are really working with her and I am sure she will be baptized this transfer!!! It is great to watch people as they progress in the Gospel! When we first met her she didn’t want to pray and she was very shy, but now she is praying and has a very strong testimony. She tells us that every time she reads about Joseph Smith and when we watched the video of the restoration with her she says "I get goose bumps all over my body!" She has now recognized that she is receiving these answers from our Heavenly Father. It is such an amazing feeling when you sit in a lesson and you and the investigator recognizes and can feel the Holy Ghost. The very best is when they say that they want to feel this all the time and you are right there to help them with the answer!

We have also been working with a young woman whose name is Ester. She is 21 and has really wanted to know why we are doing what we are doing! We have talked to her and have tried to help her and now it is just up to her to let the Spirit talk and answer her questions!! She feels good when she reads and prays but it is a little hard for her to commit because she wants to visit ALL of the churches here in Nanuque (there are more than 100 churches here) before she wants to make a decision. But we are teaching her and hopefully helping her. She really likes what we are teaching and feels that the doctrine is basic and easy for her to understand.

We also have a family who has had their children baptized and now just waiting for them to be baptized and the parents will be as well! They are a great family and I love all of them! We visit them daily if possible and are trying to help strengthen their family.

This week I have really been taking to heart and studying a letter that I received from one of my cousins that talks about a spiritual impression that he had to talk to me about serving a mission. In the letter he talks

about 2 things 1) The importance of being strictly obedient and 2) Just completely giving it your all for those whom you are serving. He told me how he studied the life of Christ and that is what I have been doing as well. I have been looking for those things that made Christ happy when he was serving people who did not accept his teachings. I feel like working with the people here in Brazil has been a challenge, one of the hardest things that I have ever done.  I feel like Brazilians and Americans are completely different in many ways. Even though this may be, I have to
take the example of the Lord who didn’t look at anyone and think less of them. He loved the Rabbis, Pharacies, Priests, Samaritans, lepers, whoever came into his path! In the book of 2 Nephi we learn that if He would have come at any other time to any other people they would have accepted him and His work as the Savior of the world but knowing this he came anyway. He wore himself out by serving those he lived with, never thinking a bad thought, never submitting to the devil. He was the Savior and they didn’t believe him. So at times when we feel as though we are lost and no one knows what we are going through, we need to remember that He has gone through it. He knows how it feels! He suffered in the Garden and on the Cross to know what we have to deal with. I am so grateful for all of the people in my life, like Kam who are willing to talk to me and are always there for me! I love my family and friends so much! You mean the world to me and I don’t know where I would be without you guys!!! THANKS!!!!:D:D:D


Elder Stilson

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Physical Pain, Spiritual Blessings!

Hey everyone, first off I want to thank my Aunt Kristin and Cousin Brittney for taking the challenge to become missionaries at home and for my emails. It truly is a blessing to have such a great family that is centered on the Gospel and that are willing to share it with others so thank you all so much and thanks to everyone else who is doing this as well! 

But this week was really good! I have continued to have some physical pain with my knees and ankles but recognize some AMAZING spiritual blessings!!!!! Maria and Julia, the ladies that I talked about in my last email, have been struggling with the Adversary but we visited them every day this week and they has an amazing surprise for us on Wednesday night! THEY WANT TO BE BAPTIZED!!! Not only were they ready but they wanted to be baptized the next day. Thursday night we got everything ready and they were baptized. It truly was an answer to prayers. How amazing it is to know that the Lord will touch the hearts of millions and lead us where we need to go.

This week we also met a new family. Now the parents aren’t married yet but it was amazing to see how interested they are about the Gospel. One of the best parts about meeting with them is that they are REFERRALS from members. Teaching them has been great. The member who referred this family thought it was important for us to teach the principle of prayer, which we did and then we were also able to give the father Deraldo a blessing. It was amazing!! We invited them to church and when we passed by their home on Sunday morning, he was waiting for us ready to go. This week I really felt the Spirit and His love through all of these blessings. Explaining about the blessings that we have the power and authority to give, really was just a small and still voice that I followed and was blessed for it.

There are several other people here that we are teaching but it is hard. Many of the people are not ready to give up their Sundays to attend a church. We have been invited to several people’s homes and then after we have walked all the way there they decide they do not want us to come in.  We have even had the door slammed in our faces many time. It is very frustrating at times but it is alright. I know that I need to just keep working and sifting the wheat from the tares. 

Thank you all for everything you have given me and done for me. You are all a great blessing to me in my life.  Please continue to pray for the people in Brazil.



Monday, February 3, 2014

Transfer to Nanuque

Hi everyone, well I have been transferred. I am serving in the Zone NANUQUE in the area NAKNUK.  My new companion is Elder Martin and I have been assigned to be his trainer.  He is from Sao Polo Brazil and has been out of the CTM for about a week now. I am excited about my new area but unfortunately Nakuque only has morros (hills) where we are serving.  I was hoping to give my knees and ankles a little break but I guess I am needed here. So Tuesday night we took a bus drive 8.5 hrs to Mines Gerais. I am no longer in the state of Espirito Santo, I am in the most NORTH part of the mission. I am excited to see how these next 5 weeks go.

So the area I am in has just been reopened so we are starting fresh. We have old investigators in our area book but there are no more than 20 names listed so we are going to be doing a lot of tracting and talking to new people. We did meet one lady who seemed very interested when we talked with her and we even marked her on date for baptism this week! Her name is Maria, she is really funny and she tells a million stories over and over and over again but we love teaching her. When we got to her house we opened with a prayer and I had a strong impression to share Alma 7:11-13.
When I shared this scripture she started to cry. She told us that this was the only comfort that she has heard! In between sobs she asked where our church is, “I need to go there this week!”  The next day we went to visit with her again. It went so well that we were able to mark her on a date for this Saturday.  She really wants this so we are excited to see how things go. Last night after church we went to visit her again, we taught her about the law of chastity. All of a sudden she put her head down and said I can’t be baptized anymore. She told us that she lived with another person and she is a sinner and can’t be forgiven right now. We were able to have some good discussions with her and asked her to continue to pray. We are hoping that she will continue to do that and will receive answers to her prayers just as she had before. I think it will be good and she will still be baptized. Please pray for her this week.

This week we also ran into our first Buddhist family. I don’t know why but I was not expecting that here in Brazil. We had a great discussion even though it was a little weird. We were able to talk to the daughter who believes in Christ and hopefully we can continue to teach her. I can’t believe how hard it is to teach someone who wasn’t raised with a Christian background or belief.  It is a great opportunity and we are working hard with her.
Yesterday we were knocking on doors and were invited into a man’s home. He is a pastor for the Assembly of God. It was really hard because he wanted to preach to us.  When we realized we weren’t going to get anywhere with him we decided it was time to go but he didn’t want us to leave he wanted to continue to preach to us.  He told us that he would only learn things taught from the Bible.  We didn’t accomplish much there but it was a great learning experience for me and my companion.

Well, I want you all to know that I love being a missionary and love serving the Lord.  I am happy that I am sharing the Gospel with the people here in Brazil and hope that I can continue to have success in this area.  I really appreciate all of your prayers, love and support.  I miss you all.
Elder Stilson