Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jau Thanksgiving 2010

I got my birthday package!! Dad, really....you sent me music to Edward Grieg and the Great Escape?! Only you!

So, another wonderful week in Lago Silvera! We had a baptism Friday and it was amazing. His name is Carlos and he came to church on his own. When we taught him, he accepted everything. We had a branch activity and the whole branch came and then we had the baptism. It was TOTALLY AWESOME!!! The members here are helping us so much. His heart is so pure, it's great to see how the gospel is blessing his life. When we first talked to him, he said he wanted peace and the spirit to help him stay away from the bad things in the world. When he was confirmed on Sunday, the Branch President said that the spirit would guide him and protect him from the evil things in the world...yep, it rocked!

We´re working with others and it's so obvious how much the people need the peace and joy that the gospel brings. My DL yesterday in DC gave us the doctrine on how because of our testimonies, we don´t need to fear when we testify and invite others to keep the commandments of God. We know, and oh, how I know, that without the gospel in our lives we would literally have nothing.

Another reason why we truly live in a small small world...at this activity a young man came up to me and asked, "Do you know an Elder Stapley who is a missionary in Manaus?" I replied that yes, he was my brother. Well, he served a mission in Manaus and knows Eric... only in this church could two siblings who serve in a different country know the same people...

Oh and a funny story, on Thursday, our DL and companion (Elder Adam and Elder Luciano, who live in Jau as well) were with us to interview Carlos and as we were walking we saw a cat...only this cat had a bird in it´s mouth. Sister Carvalho started screaming at the cat and the cat ran into the house. So she started clapping and when the lady of the house came out, Sister Carvalho started talking really fast about the cat and the bird, and started yelling at the elders to do something (they were too busy laughing) and then the bird died...yeah, I´m gonna remember that one for a while...

It´s great to have a missionary couple living in the city with us! They give us food and helped us fix our oven (HALLELUJAH)! And after 7 hours, I know everything about fixing ovens! So now, along with my pen making abilities, shoe creating abilities and horrible Portuguese abilities, I can add oven fixing to my list of skills acquired here in Brasil!

Here's my Thanksgiving List:

Things that I am grateful for here in Jau:

1. A wonderful Companion
2. Trees and rivers and flowers
3. Sunscreen (yes, you can laugh)
4. A good DL and his companion
5. Members who help us fix our ovens and give us food
6. The wind
7. A great apartment

Things that I am grateful for in the mission:

1. Friends
2. President and Sister Tanner
3. My recent converts
4. Patience and love
5. Sister Monterio
6. Christmas and Birthday Gifts (The Elders cooked the brownies you sent because our oven didn´t work, and the goldfish were perfect!)

Things that I am thankful for;

1. A mom and a dad who never yelled at me
2. A mom and a dad who have a practically perfect marriage
3. A bunch of sisters who have never given me a reason to be ashamed, and of who I have so much pride in
4. A brother who is serving with his whole heart, might, mind and strength
5. Examples of wonderful leaders and friends who taught by example and by the spirit
6. Of older boys and girls who showed me that it´s okay to be different
7. Of always having food on the table
8. Of the opportunity I have to receive an education
9. Of living 5 mins from the temple
10. Of knowing what things are most important
11. Of friends and of dancing in the rain
12. Of culture and knowledge
13. Of living in a home where the principles of the gospel were taught by example and with love...truly an amazing gift.

Of these things I am thankful, but I must speak of one more...my Savior Jesus Christ. He is my brother, my Lord and my friend. He has always been near to me, he was there in sad and in happy moments. He is my comforter, my King. He suffered for me in the Garden, I do not know how many drops of blood were shed for me. Afterwards, he died for me that one day I might live again with him, with my Heavenly Father and with my family. He is my perfect example. It is now, during my mission, that I have come to know Him so much stronger than before. Dad-it´s like you said, this is the 'spirit quest' of the indians...it is here where we truly come to know ourselves and to know our God. I have so much more to learn, so much more to do, but my heart is filled with gladness. Thank you all, you're amazing. I have been so blessed because of my family.
Meg have a great birthday!
Thank you all!
Shan

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jau

Hey,

So, Christmas has come to town! Trees and lights and so many cool things! And there are so many nativities, Mom, I´m searching for the perfect one. I´m in heaven. And yes, this is the shoe capital...everyone works in shoes, and they are PERFECT!!!!! So beautiful and so cheap, I will probably buy some, sigh! And we have green everywhere, it´s like 'SOMEWHERE THAT`S GREEN'...after 4 transfers, I am now near TREES!

And on the note of Christmas could you please send me the words to 'I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS'? My companion loves that song and we´re going to translate it into Portuguese! If you want to email me other words to hymns that would be great, too.

So much has happened. First, Dad, could you please tell President Johnson that his blessings are totally accurate...I don´t know if you remember, but he said something along the lines about me having sick companions. Every one of my companions has had to go to the hospital. Sister Carvalho is no exception...she got a kidney stone Thursday, and we stayed in the house until Monday. She´s better now, she didn´t need the laser procedure but I spent a bit of money on medication for her. She's paid me back. We do not have an oven so we´ve been eating out, last night I had the most amazing burger that I've eaten in the past six months, oh it was perfect.

And so now, onto the work! We have a baptism marked for this Saturday, he is golden. He visited church Sunday and told me that he wanted to be baptised. If all goes well, he'll be baptised Saturday! It feels so long since I´ve had a baptism. As well, we started teaching his neighbor who the missionaries visited 5 years ago. She has a 'Finding Faith in Christ' VIDEO! Not a DVD, I nearly started laughing, wow have times changed. A ton of people here are catholic, but are willing to let us talk to them. I don´t know what else will happen, but work work work.

This Thursday we are having an activity of cake and ice cream...yeah!

Sister Carvalho and I have been working hard, it is wonderful! We´re trying to get more than 30 lessons this week and are striving to do our best, but also to still have fun and laugh...oh the work is wonderful. We´ve been talking about the places we will travel. When I get home I want to go back to Europe, to India and Thailand, to China and to- well... just book me a flight and I´ll go. Oh, and conference in October...everyone is going to be there!

I´m in the book of Mormon right now, just finished Helaman and have just read about the birth of our Savior, about the great and wonderful sign of light, of how there was no darkness...and that is what the Gospel is for us. Because of our Savior, we are able to have light in our lives. No matter what difficulties we have in our lives, no matter how sad, how hard things get, we have the light of the Savior and we can follow Him, and He will lead us back to our Father in Heaven. As Joseph Smith wrote, a voice of gladness, a voice of good tidings both for the living and for the dead. As I serve my mission, I see how merciful God is with each and every one of us. We all mess up, a ton, but He is always there with a hand if we will just accept it.

Anyway, I love you guys. Family, send me photos of my little elf sister and of you guys in Disneyland. Mom, I expect photos of Creche! Love you all, and thanks Tracy and Treyonna for the words of encouragement!

Sister Stapley

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jau



Wow!!! What a wonderful adventure! So much has happened. First, I'll share the sad news...we took the family of Jackaline to the temple and it was such a wonderful experience, but the next day they said they didn´t want us to return and share more messages with them. They are so caught up in the things of the world, of cigars and alcohol (sorry my english is horrible)that they are not ready nor do they want to feel guilty. Respectfully we left, but I felt horrible, like I didn´t do all that I could. My comp didn't agree with me, but I keep the peace by silently reciting the timeless words of the movie, Night in the Museum, "Who´s evolved?". These two words helped again, the next night, when my comp told me that I shouldn´t be listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's CD of Celebrate America...um, yeah right.

So, Monday came and I find out I WAS TRANSFERRED!!! HALLELUJAH!!! HARK, THE ANGELS SING!!!!! YEAH, FESTA!!! Tuesday morning arrived and I was at the bus station in Campinas. I got to have a chat with Elder Corbitt (he's training a Brazillian!!!) and Elder Rasmussen (he´s doing great) as well as Sister Monterio (she is opening an area and training an American, wow!) and consoling one of the other sisters because of how the transfer went. Sister Poast has been promoted to Senior and is in my new zone! So, I am now companions to Sister Carvalho (who is from Manuas, no joke! Are Eric and I destined to know all the same people?!) and am in the Zion of the mission, the Zona Botacatu (Boo-ta-cat-too)! I couldn't be happier with this arrangement!

My city is Jau (you pronounce it Ja-U, think like Jane talks in Disney's Tarzan movie). We have the great opportunity to have a park near our house, a river (dirty- but who cares) filled with lovely turtles, and a central market with all the cheep clothes you could want! I'll be buying some new shirts soon, (it´s really really hot). There are two elders working on the other side of the city! YEAH!!!!!!! WOOOOTT!!! Yes, I am totally happy! (Jau is known as the national capital of women's shoes. Could this be heaven?!) We are almost on the western edge of our mission. we're about 150 miles from the mission home.
The river running through Jau.

Now the grand adventure...how we got to Jau. So, here´s what happened. We (Me, Sister Poast, our two companions, the zone leader and a new elder) left Campinas at 11:30 am on a bus for Paricicaba. We arrived at 1. We got some lunch and got on another bus for a 3 hour bus ride. We even left our mission boundaries for 1 hour (into the Sao Paulo Norte mission) before arriving in Botacatu around 6. We walked for a while with our suit cases (Mom you´d be proud, I have the smallest suitcases of any of the ELDERS or SISTERS) and stopped at the house of missionary number one...the house was horrible. So, we had three hours and did contacts and encountered a GOLDEN CONTACT, we gave her name to the Elders. They visited her later that night and she accepted the invitation to be baptised. After that we walked to missionary #2 house (much much better) and ordered Pizza Frita (baked pizza) with chicken and bacon. Oh, it was like the chicken thing (chicken bake)you buy at Costco but so so so much better! Then Sister Poast, me and our companions stayed up talking until 1 (normal- for sisters that need to catch up after months apart!) and then went to sleep. We woke up at 6am and left at 6:30 for the bus station, the other elders met up with us again. Our bus left at 8 am and after two hours we arrived in Jau! We dropped off our suitcases in my PERFECT APARTMENT, and are now here in the internet house with our Elders. We'll be grabbing some lunch because all 4 of us are starving and then we'll get to rest for a few hours... three buses for a long amount of time is not very good for my head or for my stomach!

I am so excited to work. I am ready to roll up my sleeves. As long as we actually work, I will be happy. I feel like I didn´t do my very best in Nova Veneza but now I have a blank slate and I'm going to work and work and work. My comp, from what I have heard, is good and so here we go...work work work.

In the Book of Mormon, I´m to the wars with Moroni, Lehi and Teancum. Wow, they broke all of the rules but the did it because they had the right reasons. They worked and they worked and truly they're all examples to follow! Be brave and be full of courage and always do your best. Every day you learn something new, and every day you have the opportunity to show what things you are most grateful for. I love all of you guys and hope all is well.

Shan

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sumare

Got the package, thank you!!!

Oh and J/K, A and B-CONGRATS!! I WILL SEND HOME A COOL SOCCER JERSEY FOR THE NEWEST STAPLEY!

Sharee is the coolest of all...she sent me a letter!!!

So I have a challenge for you guys! Yesterday, in District meeting, we learned about how our bishop and stake president need to be our best friends...so here is the challenge. Dad, rest of the stake presidency and bishops...go on a division with the elders at least one time this month. You will learn alot and the elders will as well. Good luck!!!

This week has been intersting. We encountered a modern miracle. Friday night, Jackaline said that she wasn´t interested any more and that she was going back to her old church. Before we left, we taught her about the Sabbath and Tithing and it was quite powerful. She agreed to come to church on Sunday. When she came to church, she brought her parents and one of her sons. Her dad decided he's going to be baptised this Sunday! Jackaline and her mom need some more time, but we´re taking them to the to the temple tonight to show them around and teach some more. Fingers crossed.

We also have transfers in a week and I'm not sure what's going to happen. I love this area, but I don´t think that I'll be staying with Sister Wagner. Still, it´s the will of god and so as the song says, "I´ll go where you want me to go, I´ll be who you want me to be, I´ll say what you want me to say." I´ll be an instrument in God´s hands, and I´ll change into the woman that I was meant to be.

So, that´s how things are going. It takes tons of patience and humility an knowing when to just smile and nod...yes mom, I am finally learning!!! I know, WOW! If you try really hard you can see and learn something every day, with every new ward, every new leader and every new companion we learn more about ourselves and about the things that we will be and the things that we won´t do in the mission and in our lives. I think of my amazing zone and district leaders in Braga├ža and I learned from the best.

Well, guess that's it for now. Take care, know that all of you are in my prayers.

Shan