Saturday, July 31, 2010

Braganca Paulista

I GOT MY PACKAGE THIS WEEK! THE SHIRTS AND EVERYTHING WERE PERFECT!!! They fit and are beautiful. I LOVE THEM ALL!!! If you are so inclined to send me more stuff...well, candy is always welcome, and so is music (motab), oh- and Jesus the Christ in English, and the last conference Ensign (May 2010) in English please!! Oh- and more toys for the kids, please! They loved the glow braclets and were sad when they didn´t glow anymore

I had my interview with President and he told me that as soon as my language is better, he's going to make me a senior. I told Sister Monterio and she said, `Well, yeah` Apparently, she, President and the Assistants (they call me neta, which means granddaughter, they were Sister Monterio´s Zone Leaders, and therefore, I am family...) think that I have been working really hard and have all the qualities to be made senior. It won´t be this transfer, or the next, but when I get this language, they all say I am going to lead people. This was really humbling and suprising to me. I don´t think that I work any harder that anyone else does, but apparently I do. Also, it´s really sad. Most of the people I´m close to will be returning home in the next 5 months. Yes, I´m hanging out with all the ``older`` kids. Ah well.

Well, I have now been to my first ward party in Brasil. Trust me when I say it was fun. If you needed proof that I live in the country...well, look at some of the pictures!! Don´t worry, most of the time no one dresses like this, but as it was a Festa Julina, some people dressed up in cowboy attire. There was lots of food, lots of laughs and lots of dancing. Mom, I made a video of one of the dances for you. It is a little cold at nights, but I´m doing alright.

Monday we had the worse lesson either of us have ever given. We watched the film...The Lamb of God, and I had a bad feeling in my stomach. After the film, we asked the investigator to be baptised on Saturday. She said she knows the gospel is true, but she doesn´t want to change. She said if she was baptised on Saturday, she'd still go out and party and drink on Sunday. Well, before we could say anything, and I mean anything, her mother started to talk and the two of them got into a screaming match right in front of us. Her mom kept talking about how disappointed God is in her and that she wasn´t helping at home. Then, the toddler grandson, started screaming and every time Sister Monterio or I went to say something, the mother stopped us. The Spirit was not in the room. So after about 20 mins of this, we finally asked to pray and are going back tonight...wish us luck.

When we arrived at our house, 2 other sister missionaries were waiting for us. They spend the night on Mondays and we go to district meetings on Tuesdays. Things have been really hard for one of the sisters. This is her last transfer, she goes home in 3 weeks, and her comp is very difficult. The comp doesn't like to work, she is rude, sarcastic, doesn´t practice and doesn´t help teach. She fakes being sick all the time, and whenever people try to help or talk to her she just brushes them off. Oh and she stays up every night watching church films. It´s horrible for the comp and she´s ready to go home. This is not how someones last transfer should go.

Yesterday, we went to the TEMPLE!! Campinas is so beautiful. (I still think Seattle is prettier.) Ana, Jilson, Gabbs, Bella and Carol all loved it. The Spirit was very strong. It was so amazing. I am so blessed when I am home that I live close to the temple. We went to the distribution center where there was a film clip of the BYU folkdancers clogging (yep) and the Young Ambassadors doing Fiddler on the Roof. They did the opening monologue and several musical selections! I can NEVER escape that show!!! We showed them all around the grounds and they loved it. Gabbs will go back in a month and do baptisms. It was very peaceful and just wonderful. The temple has such a strong power. We sang 'Families can be together Forever', and oh, it was so wonderful. Hopfully, this temple trip opened Jilson´s heart.

Well, I hope all is well with you guys. I miss you and was so grateful to get the package. Anyone who wants to write me letters is more than welcome!! Truly this is the Lord´s work and when we have faith, all things are possible. For example, 10 yr old Ricardo's mother finally told his father that she's taking Ricardo to church. And so, on Sunday, for the first time in two years, Ricardo will go to church. The spirit has a way of opening hearts and when the time is right, promting actions. I hope you all remember the lessons that you´re learning in church. Remember to read your scriptures, pray every day and the spirit will be your constant companion.
Until next week, I love you,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Braganca Paulista

First off-family buisness.
Dad-read ´Men of sound understanding´ in the Ensign Sept 2008 by Daniel's about scripture study. You´ll like it!

Wow, Wow, much has happened this week. Thursday, we went to Campinas and met the new mission president. The other two sisters in our Zone, Sister Lira and Sister Santos spent the night at our house since we had to leave at 5am. We now have a new way to teach. There are, now, 8 lessons, not 6, though it´s more of fine tuning. I´ll get it figured out. Because we have a new mission president, we'll get changes that other missions won´t get for a conferences only once every three months instead of once a month.

The mission president, President Tanner, is really cool. I love his wife! It wasn´t a full multi-zone meeting, so there were only 10 sisters and only two are Americans. Sister Tanner doesn't speak Portuguese, so I got to talk to her for a while. She´s amazing!

My packages arrived and I'll get them tommorow when we have interviews with President and the Assistants!!!

On Sunday, there was a Pioneer Day broadcast from Salt Lake. It was actually about the Motabs! The Motab sang some of their hits...Battle Hymn of the Republic, Hallelulah, etc. The orchastra played as well, and oh, I was happy! Most of the ward was there, I´m pretty sure I was the only person who understood all the words. I almost started crying when the choir sang, 'Amazing Grace', and did cry when they sang 'Climb Every Mountain' ...and nearly died of laughter when they sang '76 troumbones' (no- I´m not kidding) and 'It´s a Grand Night for Singing.' Yep, musicals follow me everywhere!

On Saturday we went on splits. I took Gabi with me, and we visited 5 of our investigators and did our contactos. I admit, I was kind of nervous, as anyone will tell you, my portuguese is quite horrible (I´m serious), but everyone has a lot of patience for me. Thankfully, all was well, and we had some very strong spiritual moments. Sister Monterio said it was a training for me for when she leaves...for the first two weeks, I´ll be senior, showing my new companion around and introducing her to everyone (even though I don´t speak well). Apparently, it went so well that either this week or next we´ll do it for a whole day with Sister Lira and Sister Santos. Honestly, that scares me!

There are 18 sisters in my mission. 6 of us are American, the other 12 Brazillian. My companion's parents saw a picture of Eric (they live in Manaus), they think he's very handsome.

Still teaching, though not as much. It´s vacation and tons of people are gone...but WE´RE TAKING ANA, JILSON, GABI, BELLA, AND CAROL to the TEMPLE on Tuesday. Our ward is taking a van, and we get to take them!!! So excited for the temple! So, in one week- pictures!!! Oh, I´m so so happy!

Talita still has some issues to work through, but we´re hopeful. Yesterday, we tracted into two men, who honestly scared me. One of them went to kiss my hand and after asked me to move in with them. The other man put Sister Monterio´s hand on his head and asked her to bless him. They were both fairly drunk. I told them I had a very serious boyfriend, and afterwards Sister Monterio said I should have a picture of my `boyfriend` to show to these people. Rolling of my eyes, seriously!

Anyway, love you all, take care, Shan

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Hey family and everyone else!

We had another baptism on Saturday. His name is Jean and he’s been coming to church with one of the Sisters in the ward. He’s 12 years old and it’s all good. The baptism was nice, and the Bishop (to the surprise of my companion) asked if he could help us. So, hearts are being softened here.

What else is new? Oh yeah, remember how my companion has been sick lately?’s gotten worse. She has a really bad cold, complete with issues with nose, throat and coughing. So, we called the new Mission President’s wife...who doesn’t speak Portuguese, and I had my first English conversation in a few months...only problem was, I couldn’t remember all the words in English. YES!!!!! So, Sister Monterio spent all of Monday in bed and so I spent all of Monday cleaning, studying Portuguese, and yeah...this was how bored I got, wrote a play. Yep...complete with stage notes.

And now, Rainy Seattle has come to Bragança! It’s pretty much January rain here, constantly pouring rain. I’m okay with it, well I wish I had one of my comfy sweatshirts and could wear pants instead of skirts...but I’ve got a rain coat and an umbrella. Only thing is, my companion has neither. She has a jacket, but it doesn’t have a hood, and so, she is using my umbrella. So, she’s nice and dry whereas I am the opposite...but whatever, I’ve dealt with worse rain in my life. The weather is not so great for missionaries; tons of us have colds, fevers and sour throats. I have a cold, but it’s not that bad. Our district leader wants everyone to keep working hard through the rain, but that means that most of the sicker missionaries are getting worse, not better, and that includes my companion. Yeah, I’m worried about my comp.

On Thursday though we get to meet our new mission president. Also, to just let you now how Small a World we live companion’s mother had the missionaries in her ward take a picture of Eric (since it was conference) and Eric just sent me an email where he congratulated my companion on becoming an aunt...yes he is "in the know!" Oi Vai.

Now, quick update on the awesomeness of Ana!!! Ana, after praying, told Jilson (the man she’s been living with for three years, but he’s not the father of Gabi, Bella or Carol) that he either needed to marry her, or she would move so that she can get baptized. This kind of freaked Jilson out, so he’s thinking about it. We want to teach him the gospel as well, but his heart is somewhat closed. So, last week we went to the marriage office to get some info. It costs 263.70 Reais (131.35 American Dollars) to get married. Seriously? I was not happy. Ana and Jilson are really poor so we prayed for a miracle. The Elders called us and told us that there is a loophole for poor people, so on Friday we’re going to look into that. Sweet!!!

Also, Talita-Inez´s daughter says she finally wants to get baptized!!! SWEET!!!!!!!! Fingers crossed.

As I have been rereading the Book of Mormon over the last few weeks, I have been very impressed with the later chapters of Alma. I could re-read those passages every day. The people of Ammon, Zoramites and the council of Alma to his sons are so wonderful. Also, when reading Preach my Gospel and some Conference talks, I have realized how everyone says you need faith, hope and charity. It’s a three way stool. I love Elder Uchdorf's talk on hope, on how when faith is eroded, hope is there to lift us up and to keep us standing. It’s those three things that are so important to all of us today. If we all cultivated those three characteristics, the world would be such a better place.

The blessings we get from living the gospel are limitless and I am so thankful to have them in my life. Til next week.

Love, Sister Shannon Stapley

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Braganca Paulista

First off, please tell Ty Bailey he’s in my prayers, and thank him for all the lessons he gave me, my Sunday School Class and Eric. He’s gonna beat this!

So much has happened this week. First off, remember how I talked about the family of Ana? Well...Ana said she’ll get married and we baptized her older daughters Bella and Gabi on Saturday. We then baptized Karoline's sister Inara. It was really special. Karoline and Inara´s mom and Dad came and cried when we showed the “Come thou Font” pictures of Christ slideshow. It was really great. I was a tiny bit sad’s why. Karoline and Inara have a cousin named Julia who’s been taking the discussions with Inara, and she was going to get baptized on Saturday as well, but when the Elders came and gave her her interview, her Mother came out and started screaming at all of us...Karoline, Inara, Julia, me, my companion, the two elders and Karoline’s mom...saying that she didn’t want her daughter baptized. She said that Julia has to attend church for a year first. By the time she was done shouting, Julia, Karoline and Karoline’s mom was crying. It was really really hard. We talked to Julia about having faith, and Julia says that if she has to wait a year she will, because she knows the church is true. So, we’re all hoping for the best.

In Brazil we have what we call “Snakes” and “Scorpions”. Snakes are girls who only listen to the elders because they think they are cute and scorpions are men who are well...insert word of choice here. For the most part, we haven’t had that many, but that changed! Remember Inez, the first woman we baptized? Well, she has a sister named Maria and we went to teach her the first lesson. Her two sons were there. But one of them left the room after the lesson. Maria’s older son, Marcus, who was either drunk when we taught the lesson or had taken too many drugs in the past, was very loud. Whenever Sister Monterio spoke, he said he wanted me to speak...which was awkward. He asked when I was returning home, and I said in a year and a half. He then said if I married a Brazilian, I could stay in Brazil. I quickly told him that I had a boyfriend (white lie, I know), and Marcus said he didn’t care. He then grabbed my wrist. Now at this moment, I was pretty much ready to punch him in the face, but Sister Monterio defused the situation, and we smiled and left. can all laugh now, but I am not excited to return to Maria’s house.

A new woman investigator came to church on Sunday, her name is Ana Paula, and she wanted us to give her the lessons. But, she lived very very far away. We had a family drive us to the appointment...and we drove to the boonies, think rural Idaho, only less houses. Dirt roads, trees, corn and lots of nothingness. After an hour and a half we realized that we were lost! We were laughing though, anyway, we finally found her house at 9:45 pm only to have her not be at the house! So we got home at 10:15, a grand adventure!

Last P-day, we went fishing! A member of the ward has a pond in her backyard. I caught a fish...I’m very happy!

This Saturday we’re preparing a boy named Gene for baptism. He’s 13, but he wants to get baptized so we’re working with him and his grandparents.

Transfers were yesterday, and thankfully I am SAFE!!! WOOT WOOT!

Everyone is laughing at me, because I’m either really white or really red. Lots of water and ice cream help with the heat!

Love you all. We have conference in a week so “fingers crossed” I’ll get the package.

Sister Shannon Stapley