Saturday, July 5, 2014

4 de Julho provavelmente vai ser normal (Letter from July 4th)

Oi Família!

We´re having P-day early again this week due to the World Cup! Brazil is gonna play today, so we have to stay in our houses all day after this. I think they´re gonna play Colombia today. 

I just want to note that the internet cafe or LAN House that we´re using right now is a bit strange. The guy who owns it is watching videos on his computer, but his computer is hooked up to the huge speakers in this place, so we´re hearing everything he´s watching. We listened to a guy screaming at the top of his lungs for a solid 4 minutes. Oh he´s listening to a vaccume cleaner sound right now. Not sure whats going on. I´ll keep you guys updated. Bem gostoso. 

So this week we´re really trying to bring our numbers up. A lot of the same things that we´ve been doing in the past: finding people to teach. The problem here (generally) isnt entering into houses and teaching people. The problem is getting them to say yes to us visiting them again, and even when they say yes, they´ll flake out. A LOT. I´ve really had to stay on my toes keep myself motivated this week. 

But something awesome happened! Our investigators, who are the kids of a less active (super less active), have a baptismal date! The problem with them was because the Mom is less active, she didnt want her kids to be baptized until she was active in the church. But she really wasnt doing anything to get back to church, so we were stuck in this pattern of her not going to church, and the kids who´re 13 and 11, wanting to be baptized but not having the chance because of the mom. As we were studying for them, I had the idea to share the story of the 2000 stripling warriors. I remembered one part in particular in this story that would be perfect for them. Alma 56:47 talks about how these youth ``did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.´´ Who taught them this wonderful truth? Their mothers.

 I then went to Mosiah 28, and talked about how the sons of Mosiah had the desire to serve God. Their father knew that this could be dangerous, being that they would go into the land of their enemies. But verse 5 says ``And it came to pass that they did plead with their father many days that they might go up to the land of Nephi.´´ They had the desire! They wanted this! So, what did their father do? Verse 6 says ``And king Mosiah went and inquired of the Lord if he should let his sons go up among the Lamanites to preach the word.´´ I like how even though Mosiah wasnt sure, he asked the Lord if they should go. And the Lord responded, and said ``Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites.´´ They recieved the promise that the Lord would deliver them out of the hands of the lamanites. Returning to the story of the stripling warriors, we explained that even though many were wounded after the battle, none of them died. 

With the combination of these 2 stories, the spirit was able to help this mother understand her responsibility, as well as the responsibility of the Lord. We recieve the gift of the holy ghost, to guide and protect us in these days. She was able to finally mark a date for this month for the kids! I´ve never been so happy in my life! Once again, its interesting to see the Lord compensated for our work this week. We didnt really find too many people who were solid, but we recieved this instead. My testimony about this work has never been stronger.

 I´ve never been so tired in my life! Helping my district be obedient, reach our goals, and help my area is crazy. The weather is great right now. High 70´s today. And i think last week was offically the start of winter. I know it probably wont stay like this, but its nice to not get slapped in the face with winter like Minnesota. 

I love you all so much! Your letters and prayers mean everything to me. 
Elder Stallings

Estou fazendo email mais sedo hoje! (Letter from June 28th) NonFB

Surpresa! Oi Família! 

Due to the World Cup, we have p-day today. They told us 2 days ago that today would be p-day, so its kind of a bummer that the work is getting slowed down this week. I´m trying to stay focused on the work, but its pretty much impossible not to talk about the World Cup and how the teams are doing with the investigators. Brazil will play today, and its gonna be a big deal if they win. 

But I won´t talk too much about the world cup with you all, other than the fact that its slowing the work down a bit. The work here in São José Centro is pretty tough. We´re pretty much running on fumes here. Yesterday was super difficult. We had 0 appointments for the day, and even worse 0 people to visit. Yeah, we have couple people that we can ``teach´´ but they´re not going to progress, and it would ultimately be a waste of time. So I was super determained to find new investigators. We taught one of our few investigators with potential, and after decided that we were going to find new investigators. We went for a solid 2 hours without entering into a single house. We finally found a girl, very receptive, who said her dad had died and she was curious where he was. Plan of Salvation. It was a great lesson with the Spirit, and she definitely has potential. 

We went for another 2.5 hours without sucess. I have to say, it was extremely discouraging and trying during this time. My faith and hope were really being tested. It was 7:45pm and I was discouraged. I knocked on a door and found a super nice couple. The guy is from Japan, and I immediately started talking about the mission and how Dad served in Japan. We talked about learning different languages and how it can be tough. This broke the ice real well, and he told us we could enter and talk with them. The lesson went super well. I´ve never been so excited to teach someone. It made me really appreciate every opportunity we have to teach someone. 

Being a missionary, its so easy to forget that every opportunity to teach is a blessing, even if they dont understand the doctrine. Often times its easy to become frusterated with the people who arent progressing, who dont want anything, who cant seem to grasp that this is the most important thing they will hear in their life. Preach my gospel says the following about this: ``When people choose not to investigate the restored gospel, your work is not wasted. Your consistent efforts in serving and teaching as many people as you can is one way God prepares His children to eventually receive His servants. He often reaches out to His children through you. Even when people do not accept the opportunity to learn the gospel, your service and words are evidence of God’s love for them and may plant seeds that future missionaries and members of the Church will harvest. When people do not accept the gospel, do not be discouraged. You have raised a warning voice. You have given them a clear choice. Disciples of Christ feel sorrow when people choose not to repent, but they maintain a vision of who they are and what they are doing. They continue to diligently move forward.´´ 

I know that every opportunity we have as members of the church to share this gosepl shouldnt be wasted. But at the same time, it doesnt mean you will convert every person you feel you should share the gospel with. It means you are doing your duty. You are giving people this opportunity, or a clear choice. This cannot be forgotten! No effort is wasted in this work.

Thank you all for your love and support. I´ve never had such a desire to be a missionary and serve the Lord as I have now. I know without this gospel, I would be lost. I love you all so much! 
Enjoy your summer!! Swim a lot!
Elder Stallings

So vai! Letter from June 23, 2014

Oi família! 

"Walter" - Connor entitled this "Fixing Good" (as opposed to Breaking Bad)

Gotta admit, this week was pretty long for me! Getting used to the thing here in this new area is pretty tiring. Meeting all the people, knowing the area, lunch appointments falling through, and helping the ward made this week a little long. But   i´m pretty sure this next week will start to speed up. I´m still trying to get to know this area...its huge. Still pretty stressed about helping this district, but i´m definitely learning. 

This week was a bit frusterating. We had P-day Monday (normal) so we didnt start to work until like 6:00pm. Tuesday, Brasil was playing in the world cup, so we stayed inside all day. Thursday I had splits and went to the area of the Zone Leaders. 

Saturday we had to go back to our house early because a group of people were walking down the street shooting at things. Police were going crazy, so I decided it would be best to return to the house a bit early. Sunday was hard too because church starts at 3:00 pm here and goes until 6:00, so by the time we started to work it was like 7:30 pm. I really only had Wednesday, Friday and a chunk of Saturday to do work in this area. On top of that, I started to get sick Friday and completely lost my voice. That makes teaching interesting! But some how we were able to do our goals for the week. This to me is proof that the Lord is here helping.

My ability to rely completely on the Lord is being refined every day. Listening to the Spirit and to the people to gain an understanding of what they need in their lives is another attribute the Lord is helping me with. Im recieving the daily help that I need. I remember Elder Christofferson shared a expereience about this. I never really actually understood the concept of how important only recieving the help you need in the moment really is. Its good to focus on the long term, but often times it will worry us and stress us out. Asking only for the help we need TODAY is what needs to occur. We wont be anticipating the hardships that will occur in the future. 

This letter is short de nova, mas ele não é importante. Muito obrigado por todas as cartas que vocês me enviarem. Amo vocês!
Love you all!
-Elder Stallings