Thursday, October 29, 2009


It's another P-day and I'm in the center (downtown) with Elder Christensen. He goes home in December and is buying some stuff for his family. We are also looking for a purple tie for the groom in the next wedding we have. It's hectic, but we have another wedding/baptism marked for the 14th. The couple loves us and are determined to get married/baptised before either of us get transfered. So, we are looking forward to that. Also, we have the potential for another wedding/baptism. Yesterday, we did splits with another companionship in our district. When Elder Christesen was in the other aea, someone on the street stopped him, told him she has been an inactive member for years and that she wants to go back to church, get married, and her non-member 'husband' wants to be baptized. I haven't met them yet, but we are going to visit them later this week. I guess the family of this girl are active members in the ward right next to us. So, looks like there is potential for another wedding in the near future.

It was deathly hot this week. One day, it was already 110 degrees by 11 am. The rainy season starts up in December and I can't wait. It's not too unbearable during the day, but it can be at night. A lot of houses (specifically ours....) steal power. It's normal here. But since our house and a bunch of houses around ours are stealing power from another line, we lose power a lot. And, sleeping at night without a fan is impossible. Last night the power was out for a few hours, and I was dying just trying to sleep. I cant wait for rain...

So, in my last email- I think I called an avacado a guac. Shows how much English I'm forgetting. I had to think about how to say advocado and still called it the wrong thing. You figured it out. I tried something else new. They have a bunch of random fruits. I tried some açai juice. It was alright. They make an ice cream out of it, and it's terrible. It's like a bitter fruit thing. The people like to give me fruit from here, even the terrible ones...but it's all good.

Yesterday, I was on a division with an Elder from Rio. He's cool and it was good for me because I only spoke in Portugúes. Everyday I speak and understand more.

It was Manaus' birthday. We were walking and saw a parade from one of the schools around here. They were playing trumpets and drums and it sounded pretty terrible. But, cool to see. It was the same day as our Bishop's birthday.

Oh, I ate some other weird food this week. Cow intestines and cow stomach. Neither of which are as good as chicken heart. I preferred the intestines to the stomach, but I wouldn't recommend either. They are really squishy and slimy and just kinda weird. They don't really have a great taste either, so it's not a great combo. After that, we made an American cake that Elder Christensen got (complete with rainbow chip frosting!) and it was great. The Brazilians didn't like it too much, but I ate 5 pieces. So good!

So, is Shannon getting her call this week? I'm placing my bet right now. Canada. I haven't decided if she will speak french, english, or mandarin (yes- they have mandarin speaking canadian missions). Just callin it.

I guess it's Halloween this week. They don't celebrate it here and people are actually pulling out all the Christmas decorations already.

I'll try to send some pictures next week. I think that's pretty much it for now. Have a good week and I'll write next Wednesday. Love you guys, Tchao!

-Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Olá familía. Well, it's been another week and I'm back. It went by pretty fast actually. It was nice to be done with the last wedding, we had more time to find people and teach. Though, it seems like the good ones come to us. We are on track for another wedding and baptisms before this transfer is over- only 3 weeks or so! The ex-bishop of our ward lives with his brother and sister and they have never really been interested in the church. But, they went to the wedding last week, stake conference and some other activities, and have decided that they will be getting married and baptised before this transfer is over. They don't want to take the chance that one of us gets transferred. They've already picked out who is going to baptize them and are making wedding plans. I love it when people come to us and tell us that they want to be baptized! I guess we'll see what happens with that, but these next few weeks could be a little busy.

Here's a story you might like. We have to fill up the font on Saturday before a Sunday baptism, because sometimes the buildings randomly loose water. So, like usual, we filled it up Sat night. We looked in the font during church the next day... and it was full of dead bugs. Lovely, huh? Just gotta love Manaus. But, we couldn't empty the font during church and we didn't have time to refill it. So, during priesthood, I changed into a macacão, a white baptism jumpsuit. (It actually translates to mean "big monkey" though...) I jumped into the font with a cup and started fishing out all the bugs. During all of priesthood, I was emptying dead ants and bugs from the font with a little cup. By the time priesthood was over, it was looking pretty good. Be happy you don't have to worry about fishing out a bunch of dead bugs with a little plastic cup.

Speaking of fishing/fish, these people have been holding out on me the 2 months I've been here. We usually don't get fed fish because they think it's poor people's food, but this week, I had some good fish. The little fish are annoying because they have a bunch of little bones that you could choke on and die, but they taste good. This week I ate tambaqui and pirarucu, they were so good! I've decided river fish are SO much better than sea fish. Tambaqui still have some bones, but they are pretty big and you don't really need to worry. But, pirarucu is so so so good. It's a 6 foot long massive river fish without bones. We had some kinda filet of pirarucu and fried pirarucu. It was so good. I don't know why they have been holding out on me. We also ate some sea fish, but it just wasn't so good. River fish beat sea fish, hands down.

Oh, so I am also addicted to another food here. Abacatada. This will sound gross, but it's legit. We make it every day in our house. It's a guacamole smoothie. You throw in half a guac with some ice, water, powdered milk (yes, we use powdered milk- we're too poor for the real thing and it works) and the ocassional banana. (And lots of sugar, of course.) It sounds gross, but they are so good. The guacs here are bigger than the ones in the US. But, yeah, abacatada, way good.

We had zone conference yesterday, it was good. President gave some training and a lesson about being better planners. It was cool to see some other missionaries. One of the guys I knew in the CTM, is off in the interior. He's got a picture with this fat sloth- just chillin. I can't wait to head off to some sweet interior...

Our power went out Monday night (which happens all the time) and we expected it to come back on in 5 minutes- like usual. It was out until 1am. We sat around with little candles, waiting. It was so hot that night and without fans- it's impossible to sleep. Finally, we went to bed, but it took a long time to fall asleep. Gotta love Manaus!

I got the package! Thank you! Peanut butter is so good. American candy has Brazilian candy beat. What was up with only pink starbursts? Did Callen eat all the other ones? Thank you, though, it's appreciated. Ideas for the next one (just saying): Cheez-its (not Cheese Nips, they're terrible) poptarts, any variety of M+Ms, American deoderant (the stuff here just doesn't work). Just some ideas if you are throwing one together. I'd love anything American. So, thanks!

The rainy season is coming. Some days it rains a lot, and other days it's still hotter than anything else. Last night it rained for 5 minutes and it was crazy. I think it might have even had Seattle beat, if that's possible. The alleyway to our house was like a river. I was out in the rain for- honestly- 20 seconds running to our house and I was drenched. I love it! It gets so hot here sometimes, the rain is just a nice break.

Well, I guess that's it for now, hope all is well, have a good week, and love you guys! Tchao!

-Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It was a pretty hectic and busy week, but overall pretty solid. We had a wedding on Saturday and that was a lot of work. We were running around all week and pretty much all of Saturday, preparing for the wedding and making sure everything was on tract. It turned out really well! It was well attended and the bride and groom really enjoyed it. We were able to mark a lot of appointments with the nonmembers in attendance. Some tell us that they want to get married and baptised before the next transfer (just in case Elder Christensen or I get transferred...) We'll see how that goes. We've already talked to one of the couples and it sounds like they really want to join the church. That's pretty sweet. We'll see what happens. I was looking fresh at the wedding- I wore my suit and a pair of shoes I hadn't worn yet, they were all shiny...Luckily, I didn't get robbed or anything... The baptism went really well on Sunday and a lot of people attended, which is always good.

It rained! That's always nice. We had a few storms, mostly during the night, but it's so nice waking up to rain and a cool little breeze. The rainy season doesn't start until December and apparently it will rain every day...a lot! I'm stoked for that- because it's really hot here....

I finally ate fish. It was pretty good. It was some little fish that was kinda hard to eat with the spine and bones all over the place. I'm getting used to rice and beans all day...which is good, considering we eat it every day. I saw a chameleon this week, surpising to see it this close to the city. I tried to catch him but he was a fast little guy.

We played soccer this morning with our zone. Portuguese is coming along. I'm able to joke around more with the people now, so that's pretty cool.

Still haven't gotten the package. At this point, I'm just hoping that it shows up. The post is still on strike and a few days ago we saw a large area of red and smoke. Turns out, our post office just burned to the ground. So...that's unfortunate....

Well, we had a really good week as far as lessons go and are teaching some families that have potential. We are always trying to find new people to teach, but are doing pretty well for this area.
Have a good week, love you guys, and tchao!

-elder eric stapley

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Week 15 Manaus

Hey guys!

It's Wednesday again! This week went well! I'm still here in good 'ol Lagoa Verde with Elder Christensen. I knew I'd be here, but I wasn't sure if Christensen was going to be transferred. He wasn't, so we're both here for another transfer. This transfer should go well. We have a wedding on Saturday, followed by their baptisms on Sunday. We marked 2 more baptism dates for later in October and we are working hard. One of the dates is for Camilla, which is cool. She wants to get baptised, but her family says we are an evil cult that will lead her to "inferno." So, it's tough, but I think she will get baptised on the marked day.

It's hot here! I'm pretty used to it and have accepted it will always be hot. This week was kinda gross. There were a few fires in the forest, and it was all smoky and muggy and dirty in the whole city. I'm glad it's warm here and not snowing. I'll take the heat any day!

General conference was a lot of fun. It went by too fast though, probably because it was my first opportunity to just sit down for a little while. We walked to the stake center (a 20-25 minute walk) and spent the day over there. Between sessions on Saturday, we taught a lesson to Camilla (who came to 3 sessions) and just hung out and talked with the members. Thankfully, they had conference in English. We had 4 Americans sitting in a little upstairs room (w/out air conditioning) in the stake center watching conference. Other than the room being so hot, I really enjoyed it. I think my favorite talk was by Elder Holland. Mas Rapaz. I love it when apostles throw down. I really enjoyed all of conference though, it was great. It was also nice just to see the United States. But, that was definitely the highlight of this week. I can't wait for the next one. Christensen kept saying next conference he would be sitting on his couch, eating abelskeviers (I'm sure I just butchered that spelling.) Turns out his family eats them, too. We both got pretty excited to find that our families both make them. That was pretty funny.

I have not yet gotten the package. They never take this long, from what I hear. Christensen's mom sent him a package 2 months ago and he hasn't gotten it yet. It's lame. They usually take about 10 days. The mail people are still on strike. So, I'm hoping it shows up soon...

We never go tracting. I've never just randomly knocked on a door and asked to share a message. I'm glad about that. We just street contact and try to get referals.

I finally ate fish. It was really good. We ate at a member's house, who is a little better off than others around here, and they got food from a restraunt. It was some kind of fillet, I don't know what, but I really liked it. That wasn't normal, though. Usually you have to pick around the little bones of the fish, and be careful not to swallow them or they could kill you, etc.

We were invited to a members house for FHE on Monday and they played UNO. It was really fun. It's cool to see members who really live the gospel. Also, the mom of the family cooks really well, so we scored some good food.

We have a new Elder in our district of 4. An elder in our district was transferred, and his comp is now training a new American. I'm not the youngest guy in my district anymore! Which feels kinda cool. Every transfer, the district leader (Elder Christensen) does a division with the senior of the other area. Meaning, sometime in the next few weeks, it's going to be me and somebody fresh out of the MTC for a day. Portuguese is getting better, but we'll see how that goes....

Portuguese is improving. My accent is getting better. Sometimes I say things in an American accent and Christensen calls me out on it. That's good.

We are going to an Amazon museum today, I'll take pics and send some next week. But, I think that's all for right now. Pray I get my package, love you guys. Have a good week. Tcaho!

-Elder Eric Stapley

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week 14 Manaus

Bom Dia!

Sou Eu. This week was really hot, like usual, but overall it was pretty good. We had a baptism that went well and taught a decent amount of lessons. I've been in Manaus for one month now! That's kinda cool. On Saturday, we'll find out if anyone is being transferred. I'm sure I'll stay here, but Elder Christensen could leave. I'm guessing (and hoping...) that we both stay here, though. I'm learning a lot from Elder Christensen and he's a cool guy. I hope we stay here for one more transfer. I guess I'll find out on Saturday. So next week it's possible (but not likely) I could be emailing you from the interior of the Amazon.

Next month should be good here in Lagoa Verde. We already have 2 baptisms marked and some potentials, including Camila (that 16 year old girl). We aren't really big into baptizing kids and teenage girls, but she wants to get baptized next month. After some decent Bible bashes and frustrating lessons, she wants to get baptzied. She wants to take her time though, so that's part of the reason I want to be here next month. So, we'll see what goes down.

Oh, I finally had some weird food. I ate chicken heart. I'm not sure how weird that is, but I ate it. A sister in our ward made lunch for us and made a bunch of chicken hearts. She said I didn't have to eat it, but they liked them. So, I tried it, they're really not bad. I actually kinda liked it. So, yeah. Chicken hearts. Other than that it's just rice and beans, like usual. I still haven't eaten fish (nobody makes it for us). In other areas they only eat fish, I'm sure I'll try it soon. We went to MCDonalds again this week, which was amazing but expensive. I love french fries and burgers.

To answer your questions- I don't know if the post office is still on strike. Also, we will go to general conference and watch it live. A little room is set up for missionaries to watch it in English.

Nothing really too different happened this week. Portuguese is still coming along, and I get better every day. Elder Christensen is really trying to help me with my accent and to get it down early. It's hard but really helpful. He speaks really well. Some Brazilians are surprised when they find out he's American. I'm still waiting for that to happen to me....but it will! That would be cool, Shannon, if you learned Portuguese

Oh, another thing. You guys should send me more pictures. Brazilians love pictures, especially of America. Tons of people ask to see pictures of the U.S., our families, and us before our missions. You can decide what to send- if you don't mind.

Well, anyways, thats pretty much it for this week. Hope your week goes well, love you guys, e por agora, Tchao!

-Elder Eric Stapley