Monday, December 23, 2013

Pictures of my district

Sent more pictures...

Evan got a note from Connor saying he may be heading to Brazil next week????  This is an unconfirmed rumor.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Email to Mom

Hey mom! I got your package today! I shared the cracker candy with my district and they love it! Big success!

I just wanted to tell you I really enjoyed that longer letter you sent me. made me think of home. Can you believe I've already been here for a month? Whaaaaat. Weird. Hows the blog?

Polly wrote me a couple letters/emails, so its nice to hear from them. Dakota emails me once a week, and it sounds like MTV is sending a crew over to Minnesota to film a thing. If that goes well, then they're in the clear!

How are Rowan's ice balls?

I got the funniest letter(s) from uncle ned and his kids last week. I don't know if I'm just around terrible humor all the time or if uncle ned is secretly a comedy genius, but man I was laughing so hard reading his letter. The millers also sent letters, also very funny. 

 I really hope my visa comes in. I've been working so hard to get this portuguese and I don't want to just lose it. I'll go where the Lord wants me to go, but it would just be very hard to have to relearn what I worked extremely hard to get.

 So i guess zach got bit by a dog. Thats pretty funny. What mission is zach in? 

Well I'll be able to email you on wednesday, so look forward to something then! I love you mom. 
Elder Stallings

Friday, December 20, 2013

Weekly Letter December 20th

Oi Familia! Tudo bem?
Today marks 1 month of me being in the MTC! This mission is just flying by. It honestly feels like I got here last week, but I know how to navigate the MTC.
Speaking of navigating the MTC, I was able to help host the new missionaries that came in on wednesday. I was kinda nervous just because I wasn't 100% sure where everything in the MTC was, but it turned out awesome. The best part was just making the missionaries feel good about themselves. A couple were going to west campus, so I told them I have a brother teaching there and that they were gonna love it. Definitely went better than anticipated.
Like usual, the week was filled with ups and downs. This week we were able to teach the law of chastity & eternal marriage to an investigator who needed to hear both. It was an incredible lesson, and the spirit was testifying the whole time. Later on though, we asked if he would be baptized but he said he was still living with his girlfriend, so it killed us! That was discouraging, but we learned that we can improve. You know that quote in Batman that says "Why do we fall, Bruce?" And he responds "So we can learn to pick ourselves back up." That's exactly what I'm learning to do right now. Sometimes, to get to a high point, you're gonna have to experience a major low. Glad I'm learning this when I'm in the MTC than in the field.

I had a heart to heart interview with one of my teachers, Irmao Barlow, and it was truly uplifting. He told me that at first, he was worried because Elder Schuman and I were at a severe disadvantage due to our lack of spanish/portuguese (below ground zero is what he said). But he told us that he is so impressed with how far we've come in that. He said some other things which were great to hear, but I won't write them here. Truly an awesome teacher.
I gotta go, but the next time I'll be writing you will be this wednesday, which is christmas! Thank you all for the great letters and packages you were able to send. I love you all so much!
Eu se muerte poco portuguese, mas eu amor isso evangelho. O espirito santo e o verdade professor, nao meu.
Com Amor,
Elder Stallings
your letter you sent on wednesday was so good. Thank you so much for your constant ecouragement.
Elder Schuman recieved a christmas package, and in it was a stocking with my name on it! I haven't opened any of the presents, but It was just kind of sweet how that worked out. I have a picture I'll send to you later today.

I've been so tired lately! How did you get over being tired? i see missionaries taking naps but I don't think that's okay. They say they can because the temple's closed, but I don't want to start taking naps.
The lotion is working so well. Thank you!
Didn't get a chance to see evan this week, but he came into my classroom when I was eating dinner and delivered an envelope from the millers. Kinda nice to know he was there.
I love you so much dad! I'll email you wednesday!
Trying to keep life in balance

Weekly Letter from December 11th

Oi Familia! First off, let me just say that I am so grateful for all of the letters, packages and love everyone has been sending me. It helps so much! I am one of the lucky elders in my district who gets mail more than once or twice a week. So thank you to all of you!

 This week was pretty interesting. It went by way quicker than I was anticipating. It seriously just feels like yesterday that I was emailing all of you! My companion, Elder Schuman and I have been trying to focus on the work. I want to tell you about wednesday, which was a pretty interesting day. Well first off, you know how you just have those off days, where things are just weird? That was wednesday for me. To start the morning off, I woke up with a bloody nose (great way to start the day). At breakfast I was trying to get some frosted flakes, but when I went to pull the thing down the entire container of frosted flakes fell over all over the cafeteria. Luckily some elders came to help pick it back up. The lesson that we were teaching kind of failed, as we found out our investigator was no where near to being baptized as we thought he was. I also did a really hard calf workout on tuesday, so wednesday I was walking like I had a disability. I got lucky though, because that was the day that Evan and Josh decided to show up and eat lunch with me and my district. Even though it was only like 15 minutes that we got to talk, it was so nice to see them. They were there at the right time.

 Yesterday was kind of an off day too. Not as bad as wednesday, but I was just kind of feeling down. We got one of our investigators to be baptized, which is great! But at the same time we have another one who is going to take a lot of work, and It makes me sad/frusterated that I can't communicate with him as well as I can to help him out. Near the end of the day, me and elder schuman were both feeling discouraged. 5 minutes before we were supposed to go back to the residence hall, a sister in our district asked for a blessing because she was sick. Elder Schuman and I went into a storage closet for 6 or 7 minutes and prayed, that we would be able to feel uplifted and ready to give the blessing. I annointed, and he sealed, and it was an incredible experience, and an awesome way to end a not so good day.

 So after a week full of ups and downs, I looked in the mirror this morning and saw I had another mark on my forehead. I looked closer, and kinda laughed. On my fore head, I have a tiny little smiley face. I'm sure this is just coincidence/me hitting my head on my bed, but it's pretty funny that after such a weird week I have a smile on me. I think that's a great lesson to remember, especially when things get way worse. I love you all, and thank you for all the support! Com amor, Elder Stallings
Smily Face Scab

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekly Letter 12/6/13

Oi Famila/Amigo's!

This week went by  pretty fast. The days are long, but the weeks are fast. Learning Portuguese is pretty tough. I'm definitely making progress in it though. I'm to the point where when our teacher is speaking fast, i can usually pick out 1 or 2 key words to let me know at least what the sentence is about. Not super impressive, but progress is success. So thats fun.

It snowed a lot! I'm not sure how much but its making me regret not bringing enough warm clothing. I'm going to Brazil though. C'mon.

This week we are teaching a lesson to 2 different investigators; 1 each day. So Elder Schuman and I are constantly planning and learning as fast as we can. Yesterday we taught the plan of salvation to an investigator. I was pretty nervous to teach it, because even when taught in english, it can be kind of a difficult subject to grasp. So when having to teach it in Portuguese, I was just nervous. My companion, Elder Schuman, made notecards with pictures of each step of the plan of salvation. I thought that was a good idea, but I still wasn't super confident with it. I think i was worried I wouldnt feel the spirit, because of how hard I had to focus on other things. See, I have a slightly better grasp on Portuguese than elder schuman, so usually our lessons consist of me helping him translate his sentences into portuguese, comprehending/answering questions the investigator has, and trying to remember what to say or where to go with the lesson. But our lesson had a good mixture of laughing & getting to know the investigator, and also feeling the spirit. When the spirit was helping us, it made itself known just enough. I wouldnt have been able to do it without the spirit.

An Elder in my district got his visa on wednesday, and another Sister from my home ward, Sister Roberts, also recieved her visa. I really want to be in Brazil, but I trust things will work out. I still have a lot of learning to do, portuguese wise! Not sure how Elder Brogan survived the Brazillian CTM!

I want to let you all know I miss you all very much, but I think I thought about home and the things that are happening back there only once or twice this week, which is incredible. I'm trying to hard to stay focused on the work, because the second I get distracted it will be hard to grow and progress. I need to go, but i love you all! Thank you for all the letters and support!
Com amor,
Elder Stallings

Thank YOU for the letters you have sent me. They help so much. I'm one of the lucky elders in my district that gets letters almost every/every other day. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Email 11/29/13

Oi, Familia!
Wow, its already been a week in the MTC! Let me say right off the bat that this has by far been the toughest experience I've ever done. But it's the kind of tough where you know you won't die, and the pay off will be incredible.
Alright, I'm sure you're all wondering how my companions, roomies, and portuguese is coming. I will answer all of these questions. There's so much I want to say so I dont even know where to start. Starting with my companero, Elder Schuman, he is very awesome. He is our district leader, and we got along just fine. We're definitely different, but we know when to get serious and when to have fun, which is something I see a lot of the Elders in our zone having problems with. On the 3rd day (2nd actual day), they had us teaching lessons to investigators in Portuguese. If you want to know how the lessons went, picture dad's "wheeze" laugh. That sums up our first 2 lessons perfectly. So on the 4th day when we had to teach our 3rd lesson, I decided we needed to try something different. I suggested putting ourselves in the "silla caliente" which i'm pretty sure is espanol for "hot seat". We ended up condensing our pages of notes and scripts that we wanted to say onto 1 single note card, IN ENGLISH. So we had zero portuguese words in front of us while we were teaching. As we walked into the lesson, we were relying 100% on the spirit to cover the portuguese we didnt know. I've never been more amazed in my life, as we were able to teach a lesson in portuguese without a script or anything. It was truly amazing. Our next two lessons were also incredible, and the last one we did the investigator told my teacher, Irmao (brother) Barlow that he felt the spirit so strong that it was as if he was learning about the restoration for the 1st time. My portuguese is a solid 3/10, but the spirit is a 10/10. So me and Elder Schuman work pretty well together when it comes to teaching the lessons.
My teacher, Irmao Barlow, is incredible. On the first day I walked into the class, he saw my name and broke from his portuguese rant and said "do you know josh brogan?" to which i responded yes. Apparently, he served in Mozambique with josh, and I was able to talk with him for a little about it. He said Josh was his favorite companion, and he knew our families were good friends. He loves our whole district, but it feels nice to have a connection right off the bat with the teacher. It's always the best whenever we have classroom instruction with him as the teacher.
My roomates are very cool too. there's elder Kautai and elder Bishop, both of which are serving the in the Brazil, Belem mission. Elder Kautai is the district leader of his district, so we have two district leaders rooming. Elder Bishop is basically Derek Johnson. So funny. Elder Kautai is really fun too. Pictures will be included of everyone.

Thanksgiving was pretty good too. We got to hear Russell M Nelson speak, which was great. But honestly the best part for me was as my district was walking to the temple, Evan just happened to be pulling up and so he walked with us. I talked with him for like 30 or 40 minutes, basically about everything I told you. It was so nice to see him though. Definitely needed that.
Okay one more thing. If you look at the pictures, you'll see one with my head and a huge cut on it. I woke up 2 nights ago with pain in my head and my hands covered in blood. I'm pretty sure what happened was I sat up really fast for some reason and nailed my head on the bed (i'm on the bottom bunk). I either passed out or was just so out of it that it took me a while to realize what happened. I ended up putting a bandaid over it just so i could sleep, but then in the morning I took it off and have a scar now. fun.

I'm really glad I'm here right now. It IS tough and stressful, but I know it's all worth it. I love you all very much! Enjoy the pictures!
Elder Stallings

That's going to leave a mark

Evan & Tawn (Evan's nickname for Connor)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

First Letter Home

2nd Day . . .  What is happening?

Dear Family and maybe some friends,

Hi: It is currently the 2nd night in the MTC and I have yet to comprehend I'm actually here.  Seriously though, I've never had so much information thrown at me in such a short amount of time.  I have an awesome set of elders living with me though.  

My companion, Elder Schuman, is very awesome.  Seriously, I couldn't have asked for a better first companion.  Me and him clicked right away.  He reminds me of Sam Haskin in a way, just not as dry on the humor.  But he's still funny and plays percussion.  

Tonight when we were meeting our Branch Presidents, he got called to the the District Leader.  If that's not cool enough, my other roommate, Elder Kauti (I spelled his name wrong) also got called to be a District Leader.  His companion, Elder Bishop, is pretty much Derek Johnson, so everyone gets along great.

I won't have a P-day until Friday, so that's when you'll get an email. I gotta go to bed, but I love you all very much. I'm growing more and more each day.

Elder Stallings

Elder Connor David Stallings
2005 N. 900 E. Unit 134
Provo, UT 84602


Leaving Minnesota....

Elder Stallings leaves Minneapolis on November 19th for Provo, Utah for his 2 year mission to Curitiba, Brazil!! Connor will spend up to 6 weeks in the Mission Training Center (MTC) learning the Portugese, but he will leave for Brazil immediately as soon as his visa is approved. Missionaries who are awaiting approval of their visa will be temporarily assigned to stateside missions.    

More pictures of cousins saying goodbye!