Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sumare

CH, Ch, Changes!!

So, as the title of this blog says, change is a part of life. Yes, officially, I will serve until Oct. 4th!! As well, happy one year (Mar. 23) to me!!!

Thursday morning we get a phone call from 2 sister missionaries saying that one of them received an emergency transfer to work in Nova Veneza. The sister was not happy. So, what did they do? They called the President and told him that she couldn´t go to Nova Veneza because she has bad knees (and not because the new companion is difficult), but whatever. President listened and probably thought to himself..."who can I send who has good health (cross out most of the sisters) and who won´t complain (cross out all the others)...oh I know, Sister Stapley!!!"

So, yeah, here I am back in Nova Veneza. I've been sent here to roll up my sleeves and work (I'm co-senior, but I´ve been asked to walk on eggshells because she is overly sensitive). The members remember me and we are trying to work hard. My comp is sick and my health seems to be failing too...lots of throwing up , but hopefully I´ll get better soon. It´s as hot as I remember and I hate these buses. Honestly, I look forward to getting in a car someday in the future, with air conditioning and well paved roads. But, hey, at least I´m not in Japan! (So glad Rachelle and Steven are safe!)

Yesterday, I got to go back to the office and hang out there to get my visa renewed. I am now free to stay in Brasil until the 22 of September, which means that I will get to go renew my visa once more before I leave the country. It wasn´t hard but they took a while longer on mine than the others. I think it was because I've visited lots of other countries. One of the secretaries said that I would get deported...but it all worked out in the end. I knew it would.

We´re in a small zone, only 10 of us and it seems to be going well. We´re living with some of the young women here and everyone is feeding us. One of the elders in my zone is the elder who closed Bragan├ža, we've spent some time talking. Ana and her girls are doing well, my little women are still going to church. They baptised Jean´s Grandparents and so the work goes on.

That´s life. They Lord is planning everything, so hop on the train and ride the ride. It will all work out in the end. If something´s not right then it´s not the end. I just, I don´t know, my best guess is that I will probably be here until the end of May. (There´s a kid here who is staring at what I´m writing because it´s in a different language, cool huh!) Just trust in the Lord and work. I need to find some excitement, fall in love with the area and with our investigators, and then the work will just fly...like it did in Jau. Know that everyone is in my prayers and that if there is one thing that I know it´s Mosiah 4:9, Acreditai em Deus...our God does know everything, and he is aware of our problems and our tears. He will send his angels and if we do our part, we will grow. (The kids are now pointing at me and whispering that I´m from Italy...wow, good thing I speak Portuguese). So, I love you guys and believe it or not, I do miss you! If people who are reading this blog wanted to be nice and send letters, I would really appreciate it...no one really writes me (other than my parents) and the office staff is sure that no one loves me.

I know that this is the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that we still have prophets and authority and the power to act in the name of our God. I know that God truly loves us that he will never leave us alone, that there is a plan of salvation for each and every one of us and for our families. (Dad-when we die do we remember our life in the pre mortal existence?) You guys are amazing and thank you for your examples and for your strengths and for your prayers, I can feel them down here.

I love you all-

S. Stapley

Monday, March 21, 2011

Campinas



I´m in Campinas, right next to the University, and doing well. The supermarkets have American food (it is very expensive} and I'm still getting used to it. Sister Carvalho is now safe and sound, home in Manaus. Sister Costas and I are here working. We´ve been working with two girls, named Samara and Marina, for baptism. We are helping some other people get married. (Eye roll at all the paperwork and expenses! But hey, commandment of God right!)


Highlight of the week was going to the temple!!! We get to take investigators and it was amazing! When we got there, all of the young women from Hortalandia (Nova Veneza my area with S.Wagner) were there! I was bombarded with hugs and hugs and more hugs. I didn´t think I´d see any of them again and there they all were! When they saw me, it was like heaven. So, the girls we're teaching will be getting baptised in two weeks. Their mom is recognizing the blessings of the church.

We spent most of Tuesday in District meeting and then at the office waiting with S.Carvalho. I got to talk to Elder Corbitt! He´s doing well and working in the office. Then, we took several buses to get back to our area. The people in this area are either students or extremely rich...should be interesting.


I´ve been thinking a ton, next week will be my one year mark (scary, right) and I´ve come to some serious conclusions...

1. When you have a difficult area-you learn to love it (Bragan├ža)
2. When you have a difficult companion-learn to love her.
3. When you have a difficult leader-learn to love him.
4. When you´ve done all of that-learn to love yourself.

The Lord had a perfect plan for each of us and we need to trust in Him enough to follow, even when things are not how we want them to be. This is God´s plan, He see´s the end from the beginning. When we trust in Him, our faith grows. Come what may and love it (Conference is in a few weeks!!!)

Sending you a ton of photos now!
Love y'all-
S.Stapley

Jau

So, we worked a ton in Jau for my final week. We got a reference from the Elders to teach a 15 year old girl named Talita, who lived in the US for 10 years (Utah and Mass. She said, "hi, I speak English." She speaks English like US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, we taught her the first lesson in ENGLISH!! It was so different but I really liked it. It was weird, but I felt like I was able to express the feelings of my heart more clearly in English. She is going to pray and we´re getting her a Book Of Mormon in English.

Also, rainy Seattle weather has come to Brasil. It is seriously Seattle weather with rain and rain and more rain. My feet were so ugly.

And then, got transferred! Cried at Michelle´s house, she has truly become my mom on the mission and I´m going to miss her. Went and got pastels, going to miss banana and chocolate.

Woke up at 4:30 and started walking to the bus station. We were stopped by the same car 4 times by a guy who kept telling us to get into the car with him. Told him no, told him no again, called the elders, told him no again, walked faster and got to the Rodoviaria. These things only happen at 5 am in the morning.

Took a 4 hour bus ride and ended up in Campinas.

I was really lucky to have S.Forsyth for 5 weeks. She was always calm and not over the top and it was nice to just take a breather and not have to be loud, but just to be quiet. I want to work. When everything doesn´t seem right or you're tired, you just keep putting one foot ahead of the other. Develop that inner strength that the pioneers had, remember the things that they did and realize that God does have a perfect plan, we just see it through a broken pair of binoculars...but God knows what he is doing. He always does. It´s keeping that faith and moving along, even though it seems like nothing you do makes a difference, I can promise that my life has been defined by normal people, working hard, and not by huge entrances and grand applause, but just by the small and simple things.

Congrats to Brynn!
Love, Sister Shan

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jau

So, Conference pretty much rocked! We got to shake all of their hands! Totally worth the unpleasant 8 hour ride in a small van with 10 elders just to get there. Elder and Sister Goday were amazing and so were Elder and Sister Snow. Dad, Elder Snow, who served a mission in Germany, said that they had a saying...for every door that gets knocked on in Germany, someone gets baptised in Mexico...we all laughed. Also, there was a live translator there and during his talk, E.Snow said he was a pack rack and the interpreter paused and said, "Excuse me?" To which E.Snow explained to him and he said, ``Pao Duro,`` or 'hard bread' which is an expression here in Brasil and we all laughed. Elder Nelson talked about the Gathering of Israel, it was really really sweet, about how the work is rolling forth, how the prophecies of old are being fulfilled. He then commanded us to keep up the good work. Sister Nelson talked about obedience and how we can be pure.

The prayer went fine. I got to see all my dear friends. Sister Poast sends her love, and E.Corbitt is doing great, he´s been in the same zone for his entire mission, poor guy. E.Rasmussun is healthy, and Mom, E.Adam confessed his undying love for you and asked me to send you a big kiss to thank you for the book (it was a great book, I read it before I gave it to him), and S.Carvalho is good, too.

We've been teaching a young woman named Ana. She was about ready for baptism until our Zone leader 'burned' her and she ran. The gospel can help everyone to be better and live a better life. But, as members, we need to love them into the fold. It can be tough to change your life and we need to be patient with those that are trying.

Oh, to continue with the smallness of our world, my companion, Sister Forsyth, was companions with Sister Hart in the CTM. Yep. (insert our theme song here, 'It's a small world'!)

I dyed my hair. It´s dark brown now. I like it.

We got into a bible discussion on Saturday. So, we were teaching this man named Marcus and his friend who started talking about how we should perform miracles, how religion is of the devil, how only faith and works and salvation are individual and how we don´t need to be baptized, and how the Bible states that there can be no other bibles and all that jazz. Well, at first we began to explain a little, but when it became obvious that they just wanted to talk and not to listen, we just bore our testimonies and left. Oh, well.

Work is work, but you can see how the Lord is shaping us, day in and day out. Truly we are the Lord´s servants and this refiner´s fire is turning us into the Lord´s servants. We are becoming (for the most part) men and women of God with the power of heaven in our lives. This work, this happiness, is the most wonderful feeling in the world. I love my mission. I love the feelings of happiness, peace and wonder that are in my life. And this is just the beginning.

I´m probably getting transferred next week. I will be really sad to leave Jau.

Oh, Eric, Elder Pires is going home to Manaus this week. He's going to look for you.

That´s my life. Hope all is well. Love you all

S.Stapley