Monday, October 27, 2014

Learning about the Atonement

Hey everyone, I hope that everyone has had an amazing week. First off I have to tell Big old JACK JACK HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are awesome little dude, I hope that you have a good Thursday and a Happy Birthday.  Love you buddy!!!
This week was amazing  but I don't know where to start!! We had to go to back to Quissamã to help the Sisters with a baptism. I had to interview Felipe and then Felipe and Gabriela asked me if I could baptize them. It was an awesome experience. It was way legit!!! But everything here was amazing! I don't have much time but Elder Freire and I are working hard and well together. There are lots of blessings. Few people are allowing us to come back and teach them again but we aren't getting unexcited and we are just continuing to work hard. Leide Sônia is running from us but we will get in contact with him. This week we had 7 people who were supposed to go to church but they all slept in or just didn't want to go.... It was hard but we know that we are doing all we can.

I have been studying a lot about the Atonement and how important it is. If we truly understand the Atonement and want to be grateful for such an amazing blessings, we must share this with other people. The Atonement was given to all freely and when we know the blessings of this we have to share it with others. I love the savior and I love what I am learning on the mission. Please study the Preach my Gospel and learn how to give more referrals to the missionaries. If we love our Savior we must love and serve others. We need to help those who don't understand the blessings of the restored gospel. I love this gospel and I am getting closer and closer to my Savior every day. I thank all of you who email me and help me every week with your experiences. I love my Baby Sister, Hermana Stilson and for her example of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Keep up the good work sista!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love you all and can't wait to email with you next week.

Love, Elder Stilson

Friday, October 24, 2014

Birthday Shout Outs!

Hey friends and family, I hope you all are doing good. I am doing great! I am learning so many things while helping others come unto our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To start out I have a lot of BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUTS that I need to give.
Happy Birthday Makhai and Happy Birthday Josie!!!! You are both so cute and such special girls!!! I LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday Uncle Davin! Thanks for the love and support that you have given to me and for being like a second dad to me!

Happy Birthday Uncle D!!! Thanks for all the things that you have taught me as a coach along side with my dad and as my friend! 

Happy Birthday Conner! Hey man, it's been awhile but thanks for all the support. Thanks for being such a great friend and even a better brother. Thanks for taking care of my family while I am gone. My siblings and parents love you and you are a great example to them. Thanks man!

Well this week has been really good. There have been lots of flecks of gold. As a missionary we are here help others come unto Christ. Elder Freire and I are working hard to find those who want to change. This week we only found people to teach out of the MANY people we talked to. The power of the Atonement of our Savior is here and given to everyone freely but a lot of these people aren't ready to accept it yet. I pray every night for these people that they will have another chance to accept this amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We did find an amazing family that we have been able to teach. Their names are Leide Sônia and Camila. These 2 amazing sisters have a great spirit and really want to learn more about the Gospel and to do what the Lord wants them to do. They are very open and have a TRUE desire to learn. This week  we taught them about the blessings of the Atonement in the Plan of Salvation. There was such an amazing spirit in the room that testified to their hearts that these things are true. They truly believe and want these blessings. This week we get to go back and teach about the commandments and how we can all repent. How commandments are given because of the great love that the Lord has for us. They are not restrictions to anything but a way to use our free agency to its best ability. We know that alcohol, drugs, pre marital sex and other things take away our great ability to think straight. Once we are caught into one of these things it is VERY hard to get out of. Satan knows what is pleasing to the carnal mind and knows how destructive these things are. Each and every one of us can be free from these things as long as we have a desire to change. 

Other than this family there really aren't many other investigators that are willing to continue to hear the teachings we have. We teach many lessons during the day and testify to many people about the divinity of our loving Heavenly Father but many reject because they don't want to listen to the sound doctrine because many times it is hard to follow. We are working hard and are striving to be exactly obedient to receive the blessings that our Heavenly Father has for us.

This week President Young asked us all to take a questionnaire about Preach My Gospel. As I took this, I realize that there are many things that I need to work on. Things that I wish I would have learned at the beginning of my mission are coming to the light. For those of you who are planning or not planning on serving a mission, obtain a Preach My Gospel and start studying it now. Those of you who are just members should study it too. It has so many things that can help in your lives as well. We need to know these blessings and promises if we live worthily. Study it cover to cover that way you don't get to your year and a half mark and wish you would have! The best time to plant a tree is yesterday! Go! Plant your tree!!! Members find out how you can help your missionaries serving in your ward or branch. I know the power of preach my gospel. We need these teaching established in EVERY HOME. I am learning more and more every time I read the passages. I am so grateful for the opportunity to Serve the Lord. I love being a missionary. Thank you all for the love and support you give to me.
Love you!!!

Elder Stilson

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Physical and Spiritual Protection

Hey everyone! I would like to wish a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Grandpa Stilson. Thanks for everything that you have done for me Grandpa! I am studying Portuguese really hard so that when I get home way we can talk back and forth along with Taeten. I am excited to come home and see how much you have learned. It is an awesome language. But I love you Grandpa!

But this week was kind of crazy really good. It started out a little rough and slow but I know that the Lord is aware of our needs and anything that we need. Thursday afternoon we went to Quissamã again and did 2 more baptism interviews with these 2 kids, Gabriela(14) and Felipe(15). Because they are minors we have to have permission from their parents to be baptized. Their dad is from the "7th day" church and he really doesn't accept the church especially because he doesn't think that Sunday is the Day of the Lord but that Saturday is. But I fasted for them before we went to the interviews and they turned out really good. Felipe has the same questions that Joseph Smith had. During the interview he said he was still looking for an answer that touched his heart. He wasn't expecting to see Christ but he wanted a feeling that helped him know it was true. I promised him, in the name of Christ, that if he would pray and ask God if the church was true, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, if the Book of Mormon was true, and if President Thomas S Monson was the prophet of today, he would receive an answer that he would feel that it was true. That night he prayed but didn't feel anything. He went to sleep and dreamed that he was walking in front of the church and someone called him to enter. He went in and saw Christ. He was so surprised that he woke up and then remembered my promise. He knelt down and prayed. With every word that he said, with everything he asked if was true he received the feeling he was waiting for. He received the answer to his prayer and HE KNOWS IT IS TRUE!!!!

We also have 4 other really good people we are working with who we are going to try to mark baptismal dates with. LeideSônia, Felipe, Fabrício and Edson. They are all way awesome and we are working hard with them. They are planning to go to church with us this week and are excited to learn more.
Well, we also had a very scary incident happen last night. We were walking down a dark street and a car pulled up next to us and the driver of the car yelled "Pass your cell phones!"and had a gun pointed at us through the passenger window. We look at the man a little scared, not really knowing what is going on. The passenger jumped out of the car and blocked us so that we couldn't run out on the main road. He also had a gun and he held it to my companions stomach. He was looking at Elder Freire and tells him to hand him his phone. Elder Freire shows his empty pockets and says "I don't have anything!" and then looks at me. Quickly the guy puts the gun on me. I am taking out the phone and remembered that I had my memory card in the phone. I am trying to pull the memory card out of the phone and take the phone out at the same time. Then I say to him "Brother can I say something?" I don't know why but I was going to ask him if I could please keep the memory card but before I could say anything else he says "Wait, are you guys form the church?" At that point I finally got the memory card out and was ready to hand over the phone. When I answered yes he puts the gun back in the car and sticks out his hand. I go to put the phone in his hand and he says "NO! Give me your hand!" He then shakes our hands and says "Have a good night" Then he gets back in the car and drives away. We were a little shaken but so grateful that we were protected and nothing else happened.

Later my companion and I were joking a little and we talking about the 3rd Ice age movie when the opossums asked Buck "GASP!!! DID YOU DIE!?!?!?!!" Buck responds "Sadly YES..... BUT I LIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  
We have made it through again!!! Ya, I'm sure my mom doesn't think that is very funny!

I know that the Lord gives us protection if we are obedient! I have seen this! He will give us physical and spiritual protection that way Satan does NOT have power over us. I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ! I love you all and hope you have a good week!




Elder Stilson

Monday, October 6, 2014

My last General Conference here in Brasil!

Hey everyone, so this has been hard week but I learned a lot! With General Conference this week I think Satan worked SUPER hard on the people here in our mission. It didn't help that everyone has to vote in Brasil and it is only held on Sunday. It was really hard to get anyone to church but this week will be better and we are going to strive even harder to get 3 people marked with a baptismal date this week. 

This week not a whole lot happened. We went and visited some of the less actives in the ward so that was good. We met with one sister whose name is Creuza. Creuza has a lot of problems in her life. She is struggling to just survive at times. But when we went over she accepted us with open arms! She was running but let us come in and share a message with her. We talked about the importance that we as baptized members have to go to church and partake of the sacrament to renew all of our covenants. She has been through the temple and has an amazing spirit. As we talked to her she said that she knows that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the face of the earth but she is going to a Baptist church which is much closer to her house. I promised her that if she would go to The Church of Jesus Christ again she would receive so many blessings but this last Saturday and Sunday she didn't go. This week we will go and talk to her again and try to get a member to bring her in a car.

One day I prayed very hard that I would be able to listen to the promptings of the spirit. As we walked and were working I had a feeling to knock on a house. We knocked and a man came to the door. He asked our names and what we wanted. As I told him we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ he nodded his head, and cut me off. "You have passed here before and I told you to never come here again. I will tell you one more time don't EVER make me get out of my chair to talk about 'Religion' again!!" As he said this there was sadness. Why do people reject their only Savior even Jesus Christ?? We left his house and I thought that I was listening to a wrong spirit but then I heard it again with a house whose door was open. I was determined to follow the spirit so I knocked. We then met Amaro and he let us in and we gave the message of the restoration. He is very Catholic but respectful. My companion started pulling the "Authority" card which helped him close personally. We went in and started from the beginning. During the lesson he seemed to lose a little interest and my companion was ready to go. We taught about Joseph Smith's first vision and my companion invited him to be baptized without talking about how we have the authority and without the Book of Mormon. After he ended I felt like we needed to go back and teach about authority and the Book of Mormon. As I did he changed. He accepted to read and to pray about the Book of Mormon and even accepted our invitation to be baptized if he received an answer. We then asked him to give the closing prayer. He said the Lord's Prayer and during it he started to cry. As he said "Amen" I asked him if he was alright. In his words he said "I have never felt something like this in my life". He felt the spirit! I know that if we would have just left without teaching the Book of Mormon he would not have had such an amazing experience. I think with the first man the Lord was just trying to see if I truly would follow His voice to see if he could trust me before we met someone who could be more prepared. We will go back to Amaro's house on Tuesday to teach him again and see his answer to his prayer.

I have seen so many amazing blessings from the lord though. Some HUGE and others small. Just to share my testimony with ANYONE who will let me into their house is a blessing. We have a message that we can share with everyone that allows all to Come unto Christ! As members and missionaries we need to this! IT IS ESSENTIAL!!! I love the time that I have here on the mission. I miss my family, I won't see my baby sister for 3 years, I miss sleeping;), driving a car, playing sports and going to the gym, but none of this matters at this point. I have a mission that is to bring souls unto Christ. I will have plenty of time to do those things after the 2 years of dedicated service. This is the time that I have to become a MAN and to learn how to listen to the spirit more in my life. The Lord lives, he has called prophets in these last days. President Thomas S Monson is his prophet today. I know these things to be true. If you have or haven't heard the missionary lessons, listen to them. They could change your life as they have changed mine. And if you already have heard them, hear them again and ASK GOD if these things are not true. I know they are and that is why I am in Brasil for 2 years. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all and send you all a HUGE "X"-Sized hug!!


Elder Stilson