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 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´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

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