Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Braganca Paulista

Hey Stapley family and friends!


I'm in Campinas and not at the CTM anymore! But before I tell you about that, I want to tell you about my last week in the CTM. We went proselyting again. We were in Sao Paulo, near a university and a huge, gorgeous bridge. We walked past all these European inspired buildings: a church that looked like Notre Dame in Paris, an opera house, complete with statues, a church with a bell that reminded me of Prague! Seriously, it was so much fun! Luiz handed us 6 Book of Mormons and said, "Chaio." The first few people we talked to were not interested. Then, we saw this older woman and asked her if she was religious. She replied, "Yes, Methodist. Methodist!" We asked her if she read the bible, and when she said yes, we explained that the Book of Mormon was a companion to the bible. We told her that we read the bible, too, and that the Book of Mormon is true. We read Moroni 10:4-5 to her and asked if she'd read the book. She said, "Yes, I promise. I promise!" Great!

Later, we encountered a lady walking so slowly: we could tell she was having a bad day. We talked to her about eternal families. She left with a book and a happy, happy countenance! She looked 10 times lighter. The gospel is so true! If we do come back here as a family, you've got to see old Sao Paulo. It's perfection! Mom, it reminds me of when you took the original "goof troop" on the adventures in the east. We walked forever and it was so fun. Megan, you'd love it here, it's like your New York City.



Before we left the CTM, our teacher, Sister Fiallo, had us give each other compliments. I was surprised at what some in my district said about me. There was the obvious--knowledgeable (said twice actually--but then they added that I was confident and outgoing, joyful and always smiling, that I truly cared about each member of the district. I think confident and outgoing surprised me the most. Yeah, Dad, I wouldn't have used those words for me. I'm changing after only 9 weeks. The Lord is tweaking me so I can be a better servant to Him! This gospel is so amazing!

Here's some thoughts on scripture study. I love studying and pondering the Word. It puts you in an amazing mood and your soul actually feels peace. The scriptures were written for our day and for us. You wouldn't believe how many scriptures, I've read that apply to missionary work and the principles that I'll teach. I took Eric's challenge to read the Book of Mormon in the CTM and it was perfect. Truly, scripture study and prayer are the keys to a good day. Know that I'm learning to love the scriptures and hymns in a whole new way.



So, as it was almost time to leave the CTM, my instructors, Helaman and Luiz, did some really cool stuff. Luiz asked President Clark if he could call Sister Fiallo back to visit, because she left 12 days earlier. So, at 10 pm on our last night, we each got a few minutes with our dear Sister Fiallo. Then, because Fiallo and Luiz weren´t there when Sis. Poast and I left the next day. Helaman skipped his own class and came down to give us advice and missionary hugs. I'll miss them!



We had our goodbye meeting with President and Sister Clark. I love them both so much and wrote them a very nice thank you card. Dad-their story is amazing! He read us Joshua 3:5 on how the Lord will work wonders among us. Then we took pics and wrote in each others' journals. I have to tell you about one of the entries. An elder in my district is a really hard worker and I respected him. He wrote this beautiful letter to me. He said I'd be an amazing missionary because I cared about people and you could always see that in my eyes, and that I have a beautiful testimony.



The nine of us loaded in a van and drove to Campinas. We came upon a hill and we saw the temple. Oh guys, you have no idea how happy that made me. I love the temple so so very much. The streets look like they are in America. We turned a corner and I thought I was in Bellevue. There were malls and it looks very rich. We went and met President Castro Deus, his wife fed us stroganoff...I was happy...but you could tell that they were tired. We went and met our mission companions, all three of us (sisters) got Brazillian companions. Mine is Sister Monticero. She's 24, very cute, does not speak very much english, and has been out for 11 months. She's from Amazonas and lived in the Manaus mission. Eric will be glad I'm learning that accent. Hopefully, I´ll learn the language correctly.

Everyone keeps saying in Portuguese that I look like I´m 16. Oh well, at least I can understand most everything...my teachers taught me well.



Sister Monticero and I got on the bus and rode for an hour and a half to a city called Bragan├ža Paulista. My apartment shocked me. I have to duck, apparently I´m quite tall. No dish washer or washing machine. The toilet doesn't really work and the shower is without a wall...it´s just right next to the toilet. I´m´pretty sure the place is moldy and it smells bad. We were supposed to be given pillows at the mission home-but it didn't happen. So, I'm sleeping on a towel for a pillow. And I´ll only get my stuff every two weeks...since we live far away. Mom...I miss you and home so so very much.

Well, I asked the Lord to make me an instrument in His hands...and I guess He decided that I needed to be much more humble. Know that I love you all. You're wonderful. Happy graduation, Erynn. Meg, you're a rockstar. Love you, Cally and Brynn. Mom and Dad, I love you, thanks for teaching me everything.
Love, Sister Shannon Stapley

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CTM- last week

Life is awesome!!! We went proselyting in Central Sao Paulo...and it was AMAZING!!!! It looked like places I've been in Europe and New York. I´m in love with this city! I had no fear when it came to spreading the gospel. I just walked right up to people...some rejected me and Sister Poast, but you know, that´s okay, they have their agency and those who listened were truly smiling as they left with Book of Mormons in hand. Yep...I start the conversation and Sister Poast finishes it. We had to ride the subway and I was the only one in our group that knew how. Dad, thanks for taking us traveling. Thanks for showing me the world. I appreciate it so much.

I am really grateful that our district is good. MOM- MY DISTRICT IS FAT BECAUSE OF YOU, BUT THEY ARE HAPPY!!! Thank you guys so so much for the party.

Dad, we made such a cool observation from the temple this morning! It was so awesome!!! Everything leads back to the temple, doesn't it?

I´m so proud of my brother, a senior companion already?! GOOD FOR HIM! He´s grown up so much. Great job, Dad, you raised some good kids. Elder Wolfe is a great guy. I will have to tell Luiz (our teacher) that Eric is training Elder Wolfe. I´m so proud of Eric and his example. Eric's got a good mission president, the best of the best- so we hear.

This week the international director of the CTMs came to visit. He observed Sister Fiallo´s class...she did AWESOME!!! I've got the best teachers in the CTM!

Dad, don´t worry...I´m a sister, of course my apartment will be better than Eric's. I love it here. I'm so happy.
Love, Shan

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CTM

Hey Family,
Honestly, I´m glad you all know that I´m okay. Wow...I knew Rachelle and Courtney would be well prepared for the temple. I love going to the temple every week. It rocks. So, as you know, we have many many people here from Washington. One is from Redmond stake, Sister Gordon, and she knows the Dance clan. Another sister knows Elise V. Oh, and I cut my hair! Not kidding...Sister Gordon is a hair stylists, she cut it and it looks good. Thank Grandma for the letter. And poor Eric, sounds like a rough area!

Okay, we´re going proselyting on Friday , I feel fairly confident. On Saturday, we had TRC, where members come in and pretend to be investigators. Long story short...we were supposed to just do a follow up- but the member went totally off book, saying he didn´t believe in Jesus Christ...yep, the teachers were quite apoligetic to us. We certainly got a training that day!

I made a deal with my teacher that I could go 5 hours without speaking a word of English. At 9:21 when I had 8 mins left, I said the name of a movie! UGH! My elders would not stop laughing... My language must be improvong - now I am not allowed to be sarcastic in Portuguese. Yep, I can speak sarcastically in BOTH english and portuguese. I'm working on it!

Mom, one of the instructors, Helaman, was looking at my camera and thought you were my sister! He said you were way too young to be my mom. I just laughed. Brynn-sounds like you're dancing up a storm...wish I could see. Thanks, Mom and Dad, so much for the gift certificate for the party...except, we have such a large district, that everyone only gets one cookie, or my companion and I just go to town with the whole thing. (Editor's note-We're sending more money so the whole group can get ice cream.)

One more thing...the church is true! I love this gospel so so very much. In 14 days I´ll be in Campinas! I´m scared but really excited.
I love you all-Shan

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

CTM

Hey-so so much has happened.

We went proselyting on Friday in the streets of Sao Paulo and handed out six books of Mormon. I may not be able to say what I want to say, but I can honestly say what I need to say. Still, I have lots and lots of hard work to do. Sometimes, I feel like I´m going backwards...so, that's when I need to work harder and harder. I was the whitest person proselyting. People were very nice. Many people knew who we were but some had never seen sisters out there. The first guy we talked to missed his bus because he was talking to us. Next, we helped a lady carry her bags, and then handed out the rest of the books. Oh, we were talking to this lady and she touched both of our cheeks and said, `Belaza Belaza and Tchu," before walking away. We did as well as our elders. Though two of them ran into real missionaries from Suo Paulo Norche and got TO GO ON SPLITS WITH THEM!! THEY MADE APPOINTMENTS AND ARE NOW TEACHING (well, they left half an hour ago.) It was way cool.

We study in the morning and have class in the afternoon and evenings. We eat and sit and eat and sit. The streets here are crowded and dirty. Lots of stray dogs that bark all night.

There are only 17 sister missionaries in the CTM and very very few of us sing in the choir. Sister Clark asked us FROM THE PULPIT to all join the choir. Everyone who knows me, knows that although Heavenly Father has given me many many gifts, singing is most definitely NOT ONE OF THEM! But, since Sister Clark asked, my companion and I chose to go.

Sister Poast and I have gotten to be good friends with one of our teahers. He came to the temple with us this morning. His girlfriend came, too. He proposed to her after the session! Most romantic thing EVER. They are so adorable together and both of them have given me and Sister Poast great advice.

Family- for many a World Cup- we have rooted for Germany, but now I say...this is the time for BRAZIL!!! Happy thoughts. Oh I forgot! President Clark played basketball and volleyball with us this week. We totally wore him out. But it was so much fun.

We have 20 more days in the CTM. Happy Birthday to Callen! Good Luck to Megan and Erynn. Brynn- you'll rock those shoes! Tell Eric 'Hi' for me on Mother's Day! Love you all so much, Shan