Monday, November 24, 2014

A week of Thanksgiving

Hey everyone! So I had another amazing week here in Missão Brasil Vitória! This week started out a little funny. So spent a lot of time running around, going to meetings, appointments but we didn't have a lot of time for our Language, companionship, or planning session study. And with all of our running we didn't have anyone who wanted to hear our message.  We walked across our entire area and the area next to ours where the sister missionaries work. It is so much walking!! People would schedule appointments and then not be there. It felt like we were just running in circles. It was so stressful and by
Friday I was frustrated. We walked for about 3 hours and nothing was happening, appointments kept falling through and my knees were killing me. Feeling a bit defeated, I stopped and prayed. I thanked the Lord for all of the blessings but told him of my needs. I was so grateful to just be able to stop and talk to him on the street, and I was grateful for my companion being patient with me. After a few tears I asked God what we needed to do at that moment. I got the impression to call a contact that we met last week. I called and she didn't answer. When she didn't answer I thought we
should have gone to another bairro to look for someone else. But Elder Gonçalves said that we should pass by just to see if she was at home. We went there and a different young lady answered the door and allowed us in to teach her parents and her. What a huge blessing. It was such and an amazing lesson! Then Saturday morning we got to teach 4 references in one lesson. They were all very attentive and really wanted to learn. They loved the Book of Mormon and when we made the baptismal invite I will never forget the response of one of the ladies. We asked when God answers your
prayers and you know that these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone who holds the authority of the Priesthood. She said " I wouldn't think twice!" What if all of our responses were this way? What if we were as obedient as Christ? We would all live in a peace that is needed for all. I love you all and know that when we are obedient we will be blessed. I love you and hope you know that you are all in my prayers. Huge Shout out to Elder Stilson, thanks for  being such great example of obedience and dedicated, diligent service to the Lord. Your service is blessing me. Thanks for your faith and the love you have for me!! Love you Cuz!!! Congrats to Hermana Stilson on her first baptism!! LOVE YOU SISTA!!!!
Love you all,
Elder Stilson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Holy cow! What a week!!

Hey everyone! So, I feel like it has been FOREVER since I have emailed. I had so many things that happened this week but a lot of it was just traveling. Tuesday I was transferred. We had to catch a bus in Campos to go to Vitória then another to go to the chapel. We got there and I found out that I was transferred to Linhares!! Ever since my first area I really wanted to serve in Linhares. It is a really nice city. The only thing that would make it better is if they would have the streets organized. They haven't figured this out yet in Espírito Santo. It is a beast to work with. There are many houses without numbers and then the rest are all out of wack! It will take some time figuring it out and getting used to but that's ok. So Tuesday night we traveled to Linhares which is a 3:30 hour drive from Vitória but the traffic was so bad that we didn't get out of VITÓRIA until a hour later. There was also a big accident so we didn't get to our house until about midnight. By the time we got there we were all exhausted!! We woke up and went to work at 6:30 on Wednesday. 

Thursday morning we had to get back on a bus to go to Colatina, a city another 3:30 hours west of Linhares to have a "Mission Conference" with half of the mission. We were able to hear Elder Mazzagardi from the 1st quorum of the 70 and the 1st counselor in the Area presidency. Elder Mazzagardi is so funny and he is awesome!!! I learned many many things from him. One thing that he talked about was a "Neutral Zone". He told all of the missionaries that there is no such thing as a "Neutral Zone" after baptism and conformation. And even more after you enter the Temple. He said that a neutral zone is where we can stay safe from any type of gun fire but once we leave and make that decision to follow Christ, the bullets start flying and if we take time to rest, look back, or anything else than focusing on the real prize and what we are fighting for, we will get hit! And it is SO hard to get back up and back on the right side. He quickly stated that this doesn't mean that you can't come back, this is why Christ died for us, but it is hard. It is so much better and so much easier if we don't fall. We can get through this in many other ways than taking a bullet! He talked VERY direct with us. As humans we will be sealed. EACH OF US!! Either we will be sealed to Jesus Christ, or to Satan. Everything depends on what we do here on this earth. This is why the angels are noting everything that we do. It is to try to help us return to our Savior. It was an amazing conference and I am so glad I was able to hear him speak. He went way over because of the things that he taught us. He is such an amazing man of God!!

After that it POURED in Colatina! It was SO BAD!! So I am trying to herd cats to try to get our district out of the Chapel and get everyone back to the Rodoviário. We left and it started to rain a little while we are walking super fast. Then we get a call from the LZ saying that the bus is at the station and is ready to leave and to run. We sprint and it starts to POUR!!!!!! Everything is flooding and there are 4 missionaries sprinting in the middle of the city asking how to get to the station. They all tell us wrong so we have to run back where we came from and at this time I thought we lost and that were too late. We get there and the bus is just leaving!! WE MADE IT!!!!!! Soaking wet but we made it! Then we had a bus transfer and waited in another station for SO LONG! Because of the rain many buses were stopped and didn't get there so everyone is cold and wet but again right around midnight we got home. But everything is good! I love the mission! I love where I am serving and who I am serving with! What a good week!!!!! Can't wait to tell you more about this week here on Monday! I love you all!!!


Elder Stilson

This is Elder Stilson & his companions beds

 Elder Stilson calls this his Narnia Door, Narnia Hallway and the Garbage shoot that leads to Narnia!

 It's not often Xavier sends home pictures of his apartment.

Monday, November 10, 2014

18 weeks... No I am NOT Trunky!

Hey everyone!!! So my amazing companion said to me this morning, "You only have 18 weeks left on your mission!".  Oh great, ITS GOING BY SO FAST!!!! Well this week was a little slow. We made lots of contacts and lessons but few people want us to come back. They tell us they already have their religion or we should use our time wisely and teach those who don't know about the message of Christ. I get very frustrated at that response but I love serving and helping those who are willing to allow Christ to change their lives. This week we finally had LeideSônia go to church!

It was an amazing blessing to us and a testimony of Diligence. We were also finally able to teach Luis. On Tuesday we were able to take a member with us to make these visits and we saw that Luis changed. He was actually really interested when a member was with us. He wasn't able to go to church this week because of an ACT test that he was taking but he said that WITHOUT FAIL he will go this next week. Other than that nothing has really happened. That was the highlight of our the week. Last night were transfer calls. Elder Alarcon and I being transferred. So tomorrow I will find out where I am going and possibly what I will be doing the last 18 weeks of my mission. 

I don't think Elder Stilson's shoes can handle any more flooding!
We were received a letter from the area Presidency of Brasil. Here in Brasil there is a HUGE drought. Everything is drying up and the country is needing help. The area presidency has asked that we all do a fast on the 15th to the 16th of November asking God for rain. BUT just enough that the earth needs that way we don't have the flooding and other problems that typically happens around Christmas time here in Brasil. We are asking anyone who would like to join in this fast to help the Saints in Brasil as well as all who are affected.  Everyone would appreciate it.
There has been one major theme that Elder Freire and I have been using to teach this week. With Luis we taught about the Plan of Salvation and how important it is that we listen to what Christ has given to us. In the 34th chapter of Alma we learn a lot about this special plan and what we need to do while here on this earth. What an amazing blessing it is that God has prolonged our days so that we can repent of our sins and come back and live with Him again. BUT today is the day that we must prepare to meet him. We need to remember that no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of Heaven and that God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. He sent his beloved son Jesus Christ to save the world from an everlasting destruction where we would never have an opportunity to have a body again or an opportunity to live with our families. We need to be prepared for the coming of Christ.  Each of us needs to be personally prepared and also help those we love and even don't love as much as Enos taught. Christ is our great example of Obedience and we need to follow that. If God responds to our prayers saying that these things are true, "Not my will but Thy will be done". These are things that we all need to learn and then share it with those who don't know it. I love being a representative of Christ!!!  I love you all!!!


Elder Stilson

Monday, November 3, 2014

Good Things to Come

Good morning everyone! Makiah, congrats on your decision to be baptized. What an amazing blessing this is in our lives. You will grow up and become such an amazing young lady. You are awesome and such a beautiful daughter of God!!:) LOVE YOU!!!

This morning my scripture study was amazing. Then I got to the computer and watched 2 Mormon Messages called "Good Things to Come" and "Flecks of Gold". Both of these messages are awesome and I encourage you all to watch them. We have worked very, very hard this week and have helped other missionaries in our district in preparing people for baptism and doing interviews but have not had the success we wanted with our investigators.  But it was a good week! We went to Quissamã again to interview a man who has so much potential. He had a rough week and is trying to work through some things so we will keep working with him. We are all really excited for one young man named Cawan. He is 10 years old and is so smart. He loves everything about the Gospel of the church. Elder Bean and Elder Alarcon went to take him to church but he was still asleep. The district all prayed a lot to see if we could get a miracle and right before the second hour started, Cawan walked into the building.  I interviewed him and he wants to be baptized but his mom is a little hesitant but she said she would allow him if he went to church. So now we get to go back and talk to his mom and see if she will allow Cawan to be baptized.  Elder Freire and I we are working very hard but people aren't going to chruch. We have found that we are planting lots of seeds and that we are continuing to find many flecks of gold. I love all of the little miracles that my Father in Heaven gives me every day! Elder Bean and I were on divisions we were walking to an area but had no clue how to get there. We asked a 19ish year old kid and gave us directions but as we walked away I had the impression we should go back and talk more with him. We tried to talk to him but it turned out he wasn't interested in what we were saying. I am glad I followed that spirit! As we were walking to where he told us to go a man walked out of his house. We decided to check our directions with him and it turned out that he was interested and is an amazing investigator. I am so grateful that I followed that prompting to turn back. We will go back to his house this week and hopefully he will go to church with us this week.

I would like to share some of the things I learned today. I have been studying in the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. In Chapter 16 Abinadi talking about what is to come with Jesus Christ. He tells the people in the City of Lehi-Nephi that they must repent of their sins and have a change of heart or they will NOT live with God again!

Mosiah 16:And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confessbefore God that his judgments are just.

 And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not.

 For they are carnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them; yea, even that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of allmankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.

 Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state.

 But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God.

 And now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption.

 And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.

 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

 10 Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruptionshall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—

 11 If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life andhappiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endlessdamnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation—

 12 Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.

 13 And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?

 14 Therefore, if ye teach the law of Moses, also teach that it is ashadow of those things which are to come—

 15 Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.

As we study this chapter we come to know exactly what we need to do to come back into the fold of God. That there truly are Good Things to Come. That if we repent of our sins and do good continually we will be saved and God will bless us. I love what I am doing! I know as Abinadi knew that Jesus is the Christ that he will come. And that we need to be prepared. We as members and missionaries have a huge responsibility to share this with everyone that we meet. At times many of us will fall off the path but we can come back into the fold of Christ! He has suffered so that we don't have to. If you have gone away for any reason please come back. The Lord loves and knows each of his sheep. He loves us and we need to love him. I testify that God lives! That the Book of Mormon is the word of God and proof that God still talks to men. That the Bible is the word of God and that we can understand the Bible through studying the Book of Mormon and vise versa. I love my family and know that we can live together forever. I hope that each of us can become better saints and followers of Christ. I know what I know and it will never be taken away from me. Just as Abinadi said

 Now Abinadi said unto him: I say unto you, I will not recall the words which I have spoken unto you concerning this people, for they are true; and that ye may know of their surety I have suffered myself that I have fallen into your hands.

 10 Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you...

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love Elder Stilson