Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Life here is good! We're going proselyting on Friday...yeah, I'm kind of terrified! I can read the language and can speak it fairly well with my district, but as soon as I speak to a real Brazilian...brain memory loss. Oh well, I need to fail 1001 times before I get the language. Reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese is helping... I know this is a confidence issue but I'll get it.

First off...Meg- congrats on polar dipping, Erynn- hope you had fun at Youth conference, and Cally- look for a birthday card in the mail!

I SHOOK AN APOSTLE'S HAND!!!! ELDER NELSON CAME AND SPOKE TO US. It was amazing. My teacher got to translate for Sister Nelson. She's totally awesome! Elder Nelson talked about why we are teaching and how we need to teach the atonement. He then blessed us, how totally cool is that?! He blessed us with strength and spirituality, and promised that our families would have blessings. His wife talked about how if we could view just 10 minutes of our PreMortal Existence DVD (or VHS for the older people) all our fear and doubt would wash away...because we would have seen that we wanted to come to Brazil at this time! Elder Nelson also said that this was the time for missionaries in Brazil! So so cool. Elder Holland was in Sao Paulo, too, but he didn't come to the CTM. Heleman (our teacher) went to listen to Elder Holland with stake. The building's power went out right before the meeting started. The whole congregation began to sing "We thank thee, oh God, for a Prophet" and the lights came back on. Elder Holland went on to say that he's, `Seen things we have never dreamed of, heard things that we have not heard and witnessed things beyond all belief!` Wow- Goosebumps- when Helaman told us that. Heleman and Luiz took us to a Brazilian Barbecue and it was HEAVEN ON EARTH!!! So much meat. We ate and ate and ate. I had two chicken hearts, they were great! So now...I have the courage of a chicken...(thanks Elder McCown).

So, okay. Temple trip. The temple is always so nice and wonderful. I love going there every week. The Campinas Temple is apparently- even so much prettier. Just FYI, never drive in Sao Paulo. The only way I can describe it is terrifying madness and no rules whatsoever. Motor cycles spin around all the time, dashing in between cars and buses. It´s madness.

On Sundays when we have a bit of free time, I think of you and the kids and I miss you guys. Other than that, I´m too busy to miss anything. Though, you remember that movie..."Somewhere in time?" Well, whenever I hear a cell phone or certain songs, part of me zips back to Seattle for a second, but then I remember that I'm here on the Lord´s errand.

Our elders are good. I´m just going to come out and say that I miss you all and letters would be great. Could you send me the letters/emails via missionties. I only get a half hour to write and email you all. I´m so happy here. The language is challenging, but, I´m always on a spiritual high (well...until my elders start to joke :) The food has grown on me. You would all be proud. This church is true and I get to tell people about it! I´m smiling all the time, it´s super contagious. Thanks for sending me info on Eric...tell him that 3 elders just flew up to Manaus. Elder Snyder is really good, we were friends. you all! Shan

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Greetings from the CTM! Here’s a little update.

My district seems to think that I’m somewhat of a blunt person, who has no problem telling them what I think. So, last week they began giving me “Stapley Stars” whenever I said something nice. They take them away if I ever say anything that is too when I told one of my Elders that he’s such a girl for listing to pop music.

As well as having “Stapley Stars,” I have also been given the nickname of Sarah Palin...not joking. The elders know that I am a tree hugging-independent thinking-feminist so they find it funny to call me Sarah Palin. We also have Jude Law, Moose, Montana, Barbie (my companion), First Blood, Jett Lee, Comet, Tarzan, Michael Phelps and Elder Bold.

So this week we threw a surprise Birthday party for our teacher Sister Fiallo. We decorated the room with streamers, balloons, paper snowflakes and notes! She was so surprised. Then our morning teacher Luiz and two of the other teachers Sister Gaspar and Helaman came up with the food we had bought (Doritos, Cheetos, chocolate) as well as Gardava! We ate and laughed and had such a fun time. Then a few nights ago, at snack one of the elders was wearing a CLUE tee shirt. I asked him if he had seen the movie, he literally squealed and pushed me over to Elder Lyon (who has a tie of President Benson’s, his grandma was his secretary) and Sister Judkins. All of them are major Clue fans and we quoted the movie. Best of them starting saying “Dum De Dum De Da” to which we all started singing, “I am your singing telegram! BANG!!!”

One of the people we “pretended” to teach was a man who had been coming to church for years and had not been baptized. Amazingly, I totally knew what to say! This was one time that I knew exactly what to do! The Portuguese is coming, I can read and understand it but having a hard time speaking it.

We had the chance to go to the Temple, and it was beautiful. One of the senior sisters showed us the baptistery and the sealing rooms. The baptistery has two huge mosaics of John baptizing Jesus. It was so beautiful!

I had to go get my flue shot! NOPE NOT KIDDING...even though they said it was optional. We walked four amazing blocks to the immunization clinic. It was great to be outside for an hour. It didn’t hurt or anything and it’s free so we’re okay. But the clinic honestly looked like a slaughterhouse...dim lighting dark corridors.

Our branch president knows our new mission president who will be here in July. He used to be the church’s legal council in Brazil, but he’s an American from California. The sun and heat are growing on me too. The food is great, still not used to any of the soda. I’m such a water drinker.

Okay, now for the fun news. So pretty much ever Brazilian Elder is in Love with my companion. She had a stalker two weeks ago, but this week a Brazilian Elder gave her a box with a ring and a note inside saying that he wanted to be with her for eternity. We told our Branch President's wife, and then we received a lesson on "locking our hearts." No problem with that here!

We just went out to a barbecue place and I AM SO FULL! We had everything...and yes I had chicken hearts and yes they were good.

Reading that Nana died shocked me, but I’m really glad that I know that I’ll see her again. Of that I have no doubt.

Love you all-Shannon

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


(Shannon's great granmother, Nana, died this week. This is her response.)

Wow. I knew this day would come and it shouldn´t be a shock. How is everyone? Are the little girls okay? -and gramma and mom? I knew when I said goodbye to Nana on my last day that it was only a matter of time...but wow. It´s good to know that she´s with Grandad now and that everything is okay. Still, I miss her and wish I could've been there.


Shout out to Grandma Cooney...we learned "Popcorn Popping" in Portuguese! I´m not kidding. It was lots of fun!

I had to give a talk on love and charity this week. The Branch president randomly picks people to give talks, so that we know how to be prepared. The portuguese is coming, I´m still slow though. Any good tips on memorizing? One of the elders has a great quote, "Yesterday was history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift." That's how I´m trying to live my life. To love every moment. How many people get to move to Brazil and teach people about God? How many people go to the Sao Paulo Temple? And... we met President Richardson of the SaoPaulo South mission. He´s from Edmonds! He knows President Busse and President Dance!
One of my teachers, Brother Luiz, is getting married in 70 days and he´s so excited. Sister Fiallo´s birthday is Friday so we're throwing her a suprise party!! Yeah!
We taught the first lesson and it ROCKED!!! I love teaching the lessons. I am honestly so happy to be here. It´s great, I´m loving every minute. Today it´s nice and warm. I love the sun!! I´m still the whitest person in the entire CTM (Helaman and Fiallo mock me for it) but I´m having a good time. Portuguese isn´t easy for me to learn but I´m trying my hardest and have faith that the Lord will help me. I can read it just fine and the grammer isn´t an issue, but when someone starts speaking...I can´t understand it. I know that the Lord will help me. He didn´t send me down here to fail, but to be a true missionary. And that's what I hope to become in the next year and a half. Know that I love you all, and I´ll get to see Nana again. Of that, I have no doubt. I will see my Nana again! I know that this gospel is true and I am happy to be serving the Lord. SEND ME MY BROTHER´S ADDRESS SO I CAN SEND HIM A HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARD. Love you all, give mom and grandma a hug for me, and a kiss to the little girls. Erynn and Megan, love you too. Take care. Shan

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CTM week 2

So, apparently I brought the weather with me to the CTM. Yes, it´s raining! And even though it´s 50 degrees, we are all cold. Mom, please send me some more cardigans! Oh, and PICTURES please!!! Life is good, our morning teacher, Brother Luiz, got pink eye and was out for 4 days. So, Sister Fiallo taught us for 7 hours each day, and it felt like my head was going to explode. She gave me some #50 sunscreen -so I can keep being the very white girl! Language is not coming as fast as I´d like, but I´m trying. The food is growing on me. Thank Grandma for sending me cookies. Seriously, pictures and letters...!

So, we´ve added four elders to our district. They were in Provo at the MTC for a week. One of them is from DC and we´ve talked about how great it is and how I´m going to move there someday. Also, I´m the movie buff...they throw quotes and see if I can name the move and who´s in it. Still working on Portuguese. It´s getting better. Conference was amazing. You think there was some sort of theme? Haha... Seriously, I am grateful for my family, mom and dad you raised me right and I hope to be able to do half as good a job when I´m a mom. Favorite quote though was Elder Holland's... "You don´t invite thoughts in and give them tea and crumpets and show them where the silverware fact you shouldn´t be serving tea anyway." But, Elder Ucktdorf was fabulous too. I missed Easter. Elder Rathsmusen and I talked about the perfection of ablescewers, yes- we both knew what they were. The 'original six' (missionaries in our zone) are doing well, we went shopping today for post it notes and stamps. The temple is beautiful, we went this morning. The stained glass art is perfection, the celestial room was the most beautiful one I´ve ever seen. I love the temple so so much. It was fabulous to feel of the spirit and just relax for a few hours.
I love it here and right now I need to be serving the Lord. He would not have sent me here unless He had a really good reason. Yesterday we taught the first discussion. We have new sisters and they seem nice. Mom, Erynn, Meg- glad to hear you had a good trip. Brynn and Callen- hope you're well. Mom, good luck with Nana and putting on your senior dinner. Dad- hope all is well. Thank you for all that you do. I love your letters! All my love-Shannon