Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Braganca



This week was a week of miracles. So much has happened in the last 7 days. Because it was conference we decided to get some teaching done on P-Day. We took a bus for 20 minutes and then walked another two miles ish...before we got to teach Lucianno, a man who is friends of a member. He agreed to be baptized on Saturday! Then on Thursday, we took another bus for 15 minutes and taught a 12 year old girl named Karoline. She’s best friends with a member...Bruna. So we taught Karoline at Bruna´s home. We were originally only going to teach her the first lesson. But, by the time we got to teaching her about Joseph Smith, all of us were crying...me, my companion, Karoline, Bruna, Bruna´s mom...so we asked Karoline to be baptized on Saturday, she said yes and we taught her the commandments and she said she wanted to get baptized two days later!! It was an amazing moment!! So great! We then walked the two miles to Lucianno and taught him the commandments. He needed a little help with faith but in the end he agreed to be baptized. Friday. We had the interviews, both passed with flying colors, and Karoline´s mom said that she could be baptized!

So we had TWO baptisms on Saturday. Karoline was so excited, she was filled with the light of Christ. She was beaming as she came out of the water. She is going to be a great leader in the church. Bruna, her friend as well. Karoline brought her sister, Inara and her cousin Julia to the baptism and we’ve been teaching them. They both want to be baptized on Saturday. Fingers crossed!!!

As well as Inara and Julia, Bella, Carol, Gabbi and Ana came to the baptism. Bella jumping up and down said that she wants to be baptized on Saturday so we’ve been working with her. They are all so excited, we are teaching them the law of chastity tonight and hoping that Ana will see that she should marry the man she’s living with.

We’ve been teaching so much. And the Lord has blessed us through our efforts. 12 non members came to church on Sunday. We’ve been teaching them all. Yes, I’ve had a bit of a challenge here, but I love being a missionary. It is so amazing. I love it so so much.

Love you all!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Braganca Paulista

Hey everyone!

Yesterday was conference, it was good but I didn't get your package. Next time...I hope. But I got wonderful letters from the Zeke Hsu family (Lucas drew me a picture! I hung it up.) Amanda Brown and Patricia Summerall. As well...I got a gift package from Grandma care of Mr. Cheney's. Thank you all! You all have letters coming your way.

I have now spent 7 hours in a Brazillian ER. Nope, not kidding. Although it´s pretty much the same as an American ER. Lots of people coughing and crying. Don´t worry everyone, I´m ok. My companion has a really bad cold and so she went to the ER. She (and by extension me) spent 3 hours waiting to be called, and I sat around for 4 hours after that. It was boring...and hard because the World Cup was on and we aren't allowed to watch it. So, I pretty much read my bible in Portuguese for 7 hours.

Yesterday was conference! It was great to see members of my CTM district. Sister Poast (she says thanks for the letter btw), Elder Corbitt, Elder Rathsmusen and I found a corner and talked for 20 mins. It was great to get to talk to them. One elder I know is having a tough time, his companion (a brazillian) doesn't have any patience and hates speaking English...so he's in the dark half the time. Oh...HAPPINESS, I GOT MY PILLOW! HAPPY FACE!

Every week we have a fast for our investigators and to find new ones. Last week, after finishing (we go lunch to lunch) we met this woman named Ana. She has three daughters, Gabi, Bella and Carol (13,9,6). We taught them the first lesson. The spirit was so strong. On Sunday, Bella, Carol and Ana came with us to church! Ana needs to get married to her husband, but if she says YES, and fingers crossed, we can baptize them as a family...if it takes more time, Bella wants to get baptized on Saturday. I love this family!!!

In conference, President Castro Deus said something that I really liked. He said on our name tags we have three names. The first is our Family name-the name of our birthright, of the sacrifices of our family, of our personal history. The other names are of our wonderful older Brother, Jesus Christ and of the Church that we all serve. It is through these three names that we know our potential. If we don´t live up to our potential we disrespect our families and disregard all their teachings. That really hit me hard, I recognized the sacrifices of our family. Dad, Mom, Grandma Johnson, Grandma Heaton and her mom, and so on and so forth gave so much to their families. None of the women in my history ever sat around waiting for something to happen, they made their own stories. And that is what I am doing now. I´m paving a path that I can be proud to stand on, proud to show my children.

Also at conference, we received old Laihona magazines both in English and Portuguese (HAPPINESS!!!) In the October 2009 issue, I read Elder Holland´s talk on the Book of Mormon. Dad- I was reminded of you. Now, I´m not an apostle or a leader, but I too have a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph was a prophet. Thanks Dad, for sharing that experience with me, I´m gonna always remember that

On Sunday I fell and twisted my ankle. I was fine after 2 Tylenol and some rest. Whenever it´s a world cup Brazil game, we have to stay in the house, so I didn't have to walk much anyway. The food´s good. I eat a ton of bread. I love rice and beans, the salads are great too. Meat is yummy. I have found that I can only drink water...whenever I drink anything else I get sick. Seriously... sprite, juice, anything. Oh, and two nights ago when we were visiting Inez, she was making Ginger tea and she gave us a ginger root. Whenever I smell it, I feel like I´m at Benihana's Restaurant! Monday night, we visited a family for family night and they made SCONES!!! Well, scones without the sugar, but still, I was in heaven. Yeah it´s really hot. Everyone says I´m either really white or really red...whatever!
Happy Birthday, Brynn! Cally- draw me a picture! Miss you all!
Love,
Sister Shan

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Braganca Paulista


Hey everyone!!

I had my first baptism this week!! WOOT!!!!!! PARTY! Her name is Inez and she has two children. She made me this beautiful necklace. We´re teaching her daughter, Talita, who has this beautiful 4 year old son named Gabriel. She works a lot. Talita knows the gospel will make her happy, and needs to see that breaking the commandments drinking won´t. They live with Inez and her brother, a 22 year old.

So, as many of you have guessed...Portuguese is not my strong suit! Words, phrases and things that have come so simple to me since I was a little child (as many of you can attest...I talk a lot) are now a struggle. Yes, you heard me, it´s hard for me to talk (yep, all of my teachers can now laugh their heads off). This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I´m working super hard. It´s coming, and I´ve developed a ton of patience. My area has lots of hills(not a problem for me), and my companion thinks this is a huge `city` (Mercer Island size- maybe a little bigger).

Similar to Eric mission, the baptism font in our ward has issues and the water is freezing! Initially, and the ward wanted us to wait until the font was fixed, but our investigator wanted to get baptized, we moved ahead and had the baptism!!! YEAH...FIRST BAPTISM!!! It was really cold when Inez got baptized. But her smile was worth it. Then the next day she got the Holy Ghost. It was awesome!!!

This ward is kind and they feed us every day and they are trying to help the missionaries. I've also learned that even if there are leaders that may not appreciate the missionaries, I still will respect them. It is a good lesson to learn. I´m praying that everyone´s hearts will be softened. Because I don´t speak very good Portuguese, I don't know how to ask everyone to get along and get to work. It's showing me that I can´t be negative.

Sister Monterio has been sick this week so we haven´t been teaching as many people. She is from a small town and is not used to a bigger area and how long it talkes to get to our appointments. To get to Inez and Talita, we have a member drive us or we take the bus. The first day we waited for the bus, (Sister Monterio said only one bus went there) and that bus never showed up. So we had to cancel the appt. The next day, when walking, I picked up a bus schedule and discovered we could have taken two other buses to get to Inez and Talita...so yeah, I'm getting know the city pretty well. I really don´t want to get transferred because this is a decent sized for me and we have a huge chapel. Every week for zone conference, we walk all of five minutes to the chapel and everyone else has to take buses from other cities. So yeah, I like it here.

Yesterday was Cupo do Mundo! (World Cup) We aren't able to watch and had to stay in our house. Outside, there's lots of screaming for goals and fireworks. Lots and lots of fun! But we took pics and are sending them to you. Also, we received the love of my life this week....a WASHING MACHINE!!! Such simple blessings! WOOT WOOT!

Dad asked if I could send a picture of my apartment. Mom would have a heart attack if she saw where I was living. Today...I deep cleaned the kitchen. Oh, I need a new first aid kit...Sister Monterio´s feet and fever has taken many of my supplies. I should be fine until Christmas though. Oh, and I forgot. Sister Monterio knows Eric´s mission pres. She stayed at their home for a few days before she left on her mission. She writes them both. Until recently, all missionaries in the Campinas mission got to attend the temple once every two months... now only those serving in the city of Campinas get to go. Tear.

People here are very opinionated. I've been called thin and white more times than I'd like and random men call me beautiful as I walk down the street. It's weird.
Also, all three sisters in my zone have `special` elders - that they write to in different Brazil missions. They want to know why I don´t have a `special` elder. I roll my eyes. Seriously...I write my brother, Eric!

Next week is conference so we´ll get mail! We only get letters once a transfer. Hopefully, I´ll get at least one. I´m really excited to see friends from the CTM.

Congrats on graduating Erynn...you´re a beautiful and amazing. Meg-YOU CUT YOUR HAIR! PICS! Brynn- Happy 11th birthday. Calley, I miss you a ton! Give Rachelle my best...she´s gonna be totally awesome!
Anyway, love ya all.

Sister Shannon Stapley

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Braganca Paulista

Hey guys...so here´s what´s new this week.

First off...small blessing. My companion didn't feel well this morning and slept for an extra three hours. This gave me the opportunity to get the apartment clean. I´ll be gracious and say that it hasn't really been cleaned in 10 weeks... I spent an hour on the bathroom and it now smells fine and looks great. I scrubbed the floors and the living area and now I'm pretty much okay with where I live. My movie theater job really prepared me to clean a crappy living space! And yes, my companion is feeling better!

We have two baptisms scheduled for this week... Talita and Inez. I love them both. As well, Miriam (the 17 year old with a boyfriend and a child) committed to baptism and wants to marry her boyfriend, which is great! We have so many situations where the children are members but the mothers are not- because their `husbands` don´t want to marry them...even after 30 years!! (Or several who are married to other people.) It´s because the men's hearts are so hard.

Last week we went to the really, really poor part of town and taught 10 children. I love them already. Every time we go visit, they all run up and give us hugs. I taught them to name the colors and sing, "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" in English.

Bragan├ža is very very hilly...it's fine for me, I´m a Washingtonian....hills are no biggie, but it´s hard on my companion. Her toes are not happy with her and she is always out of breath after we walk to the church (about a 15 min walk). My ward is about the size of Mercer Island. I have James Earl Jones' look-alike in my ward. The members are very nice! They feed us everyday. We're looking forward to a mission conference on the 22nd!

Know that I have a prayer in my heart at all times. I had a feeling that the family fasted for me last Sunday, because I felt about a million times lighter that day and I know it was because of you.
I love you and am glad to be your daughter. I´m so proud of my siblings and especially my brother. I have such strong rocks with you, Dad and Mom. I´m really lucky.
'til next week,
Sister Shannon Stapley

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Braganca Paulista

CTM Sisters on Mother's Day

Hello from Braganca Paulista!

This is definitely not Seattle. I am very blessed in that my companion and I are are teaching a ton, particularly about the Restoration. I can do most of that...but the language is killing me. I know the gospel and it makes me so angry when I can´t form words to say what these people need to hear. We´re teaching so much though. When people don´t want to listen or don´t have much time, we sing them a hymn (not kidding, I sing about 10 times a day) and offer a prayer. Right now we´re teaching a man, Antonio, the commandments; a family, the plan of Salvation; and Mariam- lessons on the Word of Wisdom. We have a baptism marked for this week, 2 for next week and a family in 2 weeks.

We follow preach my gospel but when showing the photos...to explain about the apostasy we place three fingers under the pic and hold it up. Then when talking about Jesus dying we take one off, and then we take one more off when we talk about the deaths of the apostles and the photo falls. It´s quite specific.

The ward has around 150 members...the bishop seems nice. Also, there are cats, dogs and horses everywhere!!

Oh and tonight I´m teaching English to 50 people. Yep...I´m an English teacher!

We only get our mail once a transfer- because we're out in the boonies....so hopefully your package will come. Our town has some pretty rich areas- but not where we are.

I miss you guys so much though. I need to count my blessings. I have a bed and a warm blanket. It´s sunny so my wet clothes dry...I have a shower (cold), well a shower head, my companion speaks a tiny bit of English and no one has spit on me. I get to email you once a week. You don´t know how happy that has made me. People here are very nice.

I'd love letters!

Love you,

Sister Shannon Stapley