Thursday, December 23, 2010

Laranjeiras


Well, this was a good week. Yesterday was our Christmas conference and it was way fun. We went to the Manaus temple, took some pics, and had a little testimony meeting. It was so much fun to see some old friends and comps again. And the temple is really coming along! It's always a motivation booster to see the temple coming along. After that, we went to a churrascaria. It was so good! It's all you can eat meat, if you guys don't know. They come along with meat and cut it off for you at your table. I ate SO much. I even brought the Red Robin Seasoning, just to add a little America to the meal. After that we watched a Christian football movie. Defeating the giants, or something like that. It was ok....Kinda cheesy, but it's always fun to watch football, and it had a good message. Pres then talked with us and we had a really spiritual meeting. Oh, yeah. And we had a little talent show. We did a remake of the 12 days of Christmas to some mission/Manaus things, and it turned out well. I played guitar, Sister Jayme had a guest appearance, and we got some pretty good laughs. And Pres said he liked it and it was perfectly appropriate (unlike some of the other acts...). It was a good time.



I got to see Elder Wolfe, the first missionary that I trained, at the conference. He shared something with the mission that I had told him. (I had no clue that he even remembered.) He quoted me and said, "Every transfer for a missionary is a new start. You get to be a new person every transfer. You can decide how you want the new "you" to be. Just look back, see the good things and apply them. Leave the bad things behind. If you do that, you'll grow, learn, and be happy." None of us are defined, we can make ourselves into who we want to be...

On football and America, we had a pretty fun day this week. We have a member of our ward who served his mission in Provo, and since he knows English, he now makes bank down here. So, he had us over for lunch this week and made us Baby back ribs and BBQ chicken. It was so good. American food is just so flavorful....But that same day we were walking past a college in our area that has a field where we play football and frisbee. We saw a game, so we walked past just to see what was going on. Turns out it was the Manaus Amateur football championship game. We ended up watching a little while. It was pretty funny. Only half the guys had football pads and you could tell they really didn't know what they were doing. But, some of the guys and coaches saw us watching and came over to us wanting to talk about football. So, we chatted for a little while and we invited them to church and everything. They want to mark a time to play with us..so, who knows. Maybe one P-day we'll play with them. But, it was nice to have an American day...


The work is still going well. We still have some baptismal dates for next month for men and families, and we helped the ward make a ward mission plan this week. So, we are hoping for some good success over the next few months.


Well, I gotta go. I'll quickly just bear my testimony that I know that Christ lives! I'm eternally grateful for Him and for His loving sacrifice. I know that through Him and our faith, nothing is impossible, and that we can see miracles in our lives. I'm grateful for His example, humility, and sacrifice for me, and I'm striving to become more and more like Him everyday. I know that He lives, and that He loves all of us more than we can imagine. I know that He restored His church, and has prepared a way so that we can live with our families for all eternity. I'm so grateful for Him and all He has done for me. I love my Savior, and I leave this testimony in His name, the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Love you guys!!!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!


-Elder Eric Stapley

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Laranjeiras


Well, this week went well. We had a wedding last week and the baptism of a cool lady, who was living with a less active man. They are now going to church every week and the baptism and wedding both went really well. While we were filling up the baptismal font, I found a manual about eternal marriage and studied it- just to get in the Spirit for the wedding. The service was simple and personal, but at the same time, more special because of that. The baptism went well and I was asked to perform the ordinance. After the baptism, the husband came up to me, thanked me and then said he would be honored if I participated in their recently born baby's blessing next month. I've not done that yet, so should be fun. I was just honored he invited me to stand in.



The work still goes on and we are preparing for some more baptisms next month and possibly another one this month, if all goes as planned.

This Sunday was the regional Stake conference and we heard talks from Elder Ellis, Elder Anderson, Elder Ucthdorf, and Sister Dalton (I think that's who she was at least...) It was cool, but it was funny to hear the accents of the ones that actually spoke in Portuguese, and didn't have their talks translated. Let's just say I made a few goals to try my best to keep up my accent as best as I can after the mission. Not like I'll be an apostle or something, but just to keep my Portuguese sounding like....well....Portuguese...It was funny. Even Elder Lewis noticed. During Elder Anderson's talk he looked at me and asked, "he doesn't have a good accent, does he?" But, their talks all had good messages and it went well.

We also watched the First Presidency Christmas message. I love Christmas music, especially in English

We just got done playing frisbee today. BYU frisbee season will be coming up before I know it, so I need to get ready.

Speaking of.....as of yesterday, I only have 6 more months on the mission!! It has gone by so fast. I called up the other American going home with me and we talked about how it still seems like yesterday that we were in the MTC. But, I'm now on the home stretch....

We'll be having our Christmas conference next week, but it doesn't look like we'll be going to the meeting of the waters this year, and we'll have a talent show. Our district has prepared the "12 days of Christmas" with some changed lyrics, including a letter from a girlfriend, 5 large packages, 3 pacu (a fish from here..) and other random stuff. Should be pretty funny.

Merry Christmas for all who are reading this! And Happy New Year! Best wishes

-Elder Eric C. Stapley

Monday, December 13, 2010

Laranjeiras


Hey guys,


Well, this week went pretty well. Running around ans getting everything ready for the wedding and baptism this week. Everything is looking good and we are setting up more baptisms for this month and next. So, the work is going really well...We are finally having some good success in this area. It took awhile and a lot of work, but now we are getting the rewards for it. Tomorrow we are going to do the wedding for a couple where the man is already a member, and the wife isn't. Her name is Michelle and has been going to church for a few months now, and is really prepared for baptism. She pretty much got a testimony early on and then just accepted the rest, so it was fun to teach her. But, we already have some good baptisms set up for next month too. If all goes well, we'll get this ward baptizing every month....



We had zone conference on Monday. I always love hearing from Pres and Sister Jayme. They really are the best! We talked a lot about obedience, loyalty, and the purpose of the Holy Ghost in conversion. It was really good, and I took a bunch of notes. It's always fun to see some friends and old comps, so it was a good day.


Elder Lewis is cool. We are becoming good friends, and he's already getting better at Portuguese. He's a stud.



I'm excited for Christmas! Just another 17 days. I'm sure Erynn is counting as well. Next week, I'll try to get the number for you guys to call. Oh, I also got the "Feliz Navidad" singing card from you guys. Thanks! Only thing is- I think Callen's handwriting is better than Megan's.....speaking of...


Happy Birthday Megan! Parabéns!


Well, I know that this really isn't the longest email ever, but other than that it was pretty much just a normal week in the life. We'll probably be buying a Christmas tree this week and putting it up in the house. But hope all is well and I'll talk with you next week (well, I guess REALLY talk in 3 weeks!)


Love you!


-Elder Eric Stapley

Laranjeiras

Hey guys,

Well this was a good week. We baptized Alexandre on Saturday, and it went really well. He had origionally asked for Bishop to preform the baptism, but Bishop didn't bring clothes to change. We decided that since it was Elder Lewis' first week, we'd let him perform the baptism. I think he would have appreciated more notice, as he had no idea what the baptismal prayer was in Portuguese, but he did just fine and the baptism went really well. We are looking forward to the wedding/baptism in 2 weeks from now.

Elder Lewis is way cool. He's from Spring City, which is close to Manti, and we are becoming good friends. I've been blessed with some cool comps on my mish.

Thanksgiving went well....we honestly really didn't do anything. We just celebrated by buying some milkshakes at night. Exciting huh...? And lunch was...rich and beans. Of course.

It's December! I got the Christmas package. Thanks for everything! We've already started listening to some Christmas music, in honor of you Erynn..But I'm stoked for Christmas. It marks the beginning of the end... Just 3 more weeks!

So, we had the Primary Program on Sunday. It went well, and fortunately I didn't mess up in front of the entire ward as I was playing the organ. It turned out well, and the ward was appreciative that I helped out.

Today we played some American football and frisbee. We later had a district party, and ate pumpkin pie and brownies. It felt like Thanksgiving. I just wish I had more time to take a nap now....But oh well. Im going to sleep so well tonight.

But yeah. Life is going well. Im enjoying training again. I need to take a picture with my 2 filhos (sons) soon. Everyone keeps saying I need to train one more to tie with my trainer, Elder Christensen -who trained 3 times. We'll see what happens I guess. But anyways, I hope all is well with you guys. Have a great week!

Love,
-Elder Eric Stapley

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Laranjeiras Thanksgiving 2010

Hey guys,

Well this was an eventful week....First of all, transfers went down. I stayed in Laranjeiras, Elder Woolf was transferred, and I'm training again. His name is Elder Lewis. He came from the CTM in São Paulo, is from Spring City, UT, and he's way cool. It took me a little by surprise that I'd train again, but I guess I'm down with it. I talked with President before Elder Lewis showed up, and he was telling me that it takes "the best" and that he's sure that the Lord wants me to train again at this time. So, should be fun...I'm excited. Elder Lewis showed up yesterday afternoon.

Today we went to the center and took pics at the theater and had lunch and stuff with a few other Elders. It was way chill....

Elder Woolf (my last comp) is now in Lagoa Verde, my first area. Sounds like some of my early baptisms are still firm in the church! It's always good to get messages like that. I was stoked for him to get to be in that area and I already kinda miss the guy.

We have a baptism for this weekend. Alexandre. His baptism date keeps getting moved around, but this Saturday it all will be set. We also have a wedding and baptism for early December. So, we have a few good baptismal dates lined up and the work is going well....

I'm still practicing with the Primary for their program this Sunday. Hopefully, it should turn out pretty well. But still, pray for me to not mess up in front of the ward.

So, as tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I'll throw on the new top 10 list for this year. Here goes,

1. Fam and friends.

As usual, this has got to be the first one. Love all you guys! Mom, Dad, Shannon, Erynn, Megan, Brynn and Callen! You guys are the best. And to all my friends all over the world right now. Love you guys....I wouldn't be who I am without all you guys

2. My comps

I've been blessed so far with great comps. Every once and a while it's gotten just a little stressed, but I have no complaints. I consider my missionary comps some of my best friends and I'm grateful for the things that I've learned from each of them. You guys (if you're reading this...) are studs. Thanks for everything.

3. Brazilian food

So, on my last list I put on American food. This time I'll put on Brazilian. Açai, cupuaçu, feijão, abacatada, picole da massa, manga, BARÉ, antartica, e churrasco

4. Carpet

They don't have it here. I miss it. I know it sounds weird, but I'm tired of walking around in sandals all the time. I can't wait to have carpet again. I'll even take a nap on carpet the first week I'm back home.

5. Manaus

I have a love/hate relationship with this place. But I really do love it. Just not when it's over 120 degrees every day. But, I really am going to miss this place when I go back home. The city has really grown on me.

6. Air conditioning

What an amazing invention. Man overcoming the effects of nature. Adapting his enviroment to make it better, more comfortable, bearable. Such a great invention. Whoever invented the air conditioner has my vote for the Nobel Prize. Why do I not know this man's name? I feel like his name should be included with the likes of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and Jimi Hendrix....What a stud

7. "Everlong"-Foo Fighters
It's an amazing song. Dave Grohl is the man....

8. Taco Bell

They really need one here! I consider it proof that God loves His children here on the earth.

9 Taylor Swift.

I'm going to marry her.

10. The Savior

Of course, this is the last thing too. I'm so greatful for my Savior. I know that He lives! That He loves us and cares for us. I feel like I've grown to understand and know the Savior more since I've been here on my mission, and I'm so grateful for His atoning sacrifice for us. I love the words of the song, "what joy that this sweet sentence gives, I know that my Reedeemer lives..."

Well, that's the list for this year. Hope you enjoy it. But I'm outta time, so I gotta run. Enjoy Disneyland, have a great week, and I'll talk to you all later.
Love you!

-Elder Eric Stapley

Friday, November 19, 2010

Laranjeiras

At the Manaus Opera House

Hey guys,


Well, it's been an interesting week. One of the more challenging ones, but it's all good. Our baptism fell through on Sunday. Alexandre called us Saturday, told us he was getting called in for work, so we'd have to remark his baptism. So, it's now scheduled for this Sunday. Hopefully it happens this time. We are going to have a wedding the first week in December, followed by the baptism. We'll be taking in the papers today and everything is looking good. We are still working with 2 other families, that will need weddings before the baptisms for next month. But, the work is going well.


This week a member took us out to lunch. He went on his mission to Provo, speaks English, and as a result, is a fairly successful businessman. He took us to a steak house that even had BBQ ribs. His work pays for lunches at this place, so we went to town. It was honestly some of the best food I've eaten on my mission. I was so happy to eat something other than chicken. We shared ribs and then I ate a steak. Needless to say, I was in heaven. We are going out to steak the first week that I'm back home....BTW.


Sunday went decently well. The professor of the "gospel Principles" class didn't show (like usual...) so, I taught the class last minute. I'm still playing organ with the Primary. Their primary presentation is the week after transfers, so we aren't even sure if I'll still be here. But, it's turning out well. The kids are still a little crazy...but it's kinda fun. In all honesty, it is more exciting than Elders quorum, even if it does give a small headache...


Speaking of transfers, I'll be finding out this week if I leave or not. Elder Woolf has one more transfer than I do in the area, but it's still possible that I'll leave. I can't tell if I want to or not. If I leave now, I'll miss a bunch of cool weddings and baptisms next month, but at the same time, this area isn't necessarily the easiest to work in. But, if I leave now, I won't be able to see all the fruits of what work.... So, I'm not really sure what I want. I guess whatever the Lord wants, I'm down with.


So, not like I'm counting or anything. But I'm down to 7 months left. Weird huh..? Seems like the mish goes by faster and faster...I still can't believe it's gone by this fast...
P-Day fun after the rainstorm! We had to move our game to another field.

Next week I'll try to get that Thanksgiving list up again....I'll see if I can make it different than last year. But anyway, hope you guys are all doing well. Have a great week.


Love,
Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Laranjeiras

Hey guys,

Well, it's been another good week in the life. We're going to baptize this week! Feels like it's been forever......So, I'm stoked. It's been like 2 months since I've baptized....yuckage. It took a while, but I'm praying that everything goes well this week and the baptism goes through. His name is Alexandre and he's about 24. He was dating someone in the ward. His mom is the pastor of another church, but he wants to join ours. I'll let you guys know next week how it went. We marked another baptism/wedding for early December. So, the work is going pretty well now! Finally seems like things are coming together. Watch me get transferred before I even get to see a bunch of the baptisms that we've marked for next month....

Hey, before I forget, I ran out of space in my journal this week. So, I bought a little one, but cool journals really don't exist down here. So,if you guys could send me a journal for like the last 5 or 6 months of my mish, I'd be really grateful. I've been writing in like a regular spiral that you can buy, but I'd kinda like a cool one for the end of my mission now. Thanks!

So, since they don't have Thanksgiving down here, Christmas stuff is now in full swing. I've seen Christmas trees and lights and music and all that jazz. Our house is divided with some members in the ward, and they've started decorating their house with Christmas decorations, and in the next few weeks they are going to pull out the tree....I still can't believe that Christmas is coming. It still feels like the last Christmas was just a few months ago. Time really does go by fast.

I'm used to the intense heat. It wears you down like none other and it's not fun, but I'm feeling fine.

Today we had a legit P-day. We had our Thanksgiving Turkey bowl. We started at like 9 in the morning, had to take a little break because there was a lightning storm, but it was way fun. There wasn't a lot of sun, about 20 Elders came out. 4 Brazilians played, some actually surprising well, but it was mostly just Americans. We divided into 4 teams, had a round-robin tournament, and then the championship bracket. My team was pretty legit. We got kicked off the grass field that we usually play on because there is some rule that nobody can use the field when it's raining. So, we went to a sand/dirt field that was all wet from the rain and played barefoot. I'll send some pix next week, but it was a lot of fun. One of the best P-days so far in my mish. Then we came back to our house, ate some lunch, rested. We are already making the plans for the Christmas Bowl. My team didn't come in first, so next transfer we are looking for the new chance for the championship title...Should be good.

I like the new teaching stuff. It's really not anything "new", it was stuff that we should already have know. It is pretty much just the essence of PMG. But i like it. it focuses on some things that we need to do better. So I'm enjoying it, and it's been working out great for me....

So, I know that this email really isn't that long, but I can't really remember what else really went on this week. It was just kind of a normal week in the life. I'm enjoying life, my comp, the area (for the most part...) so, yeah. But anyways, I hope that all is going well with you guys. Miss you! Tchau

Love,
Elder Eric Stapley

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Laranjeiras

Hey Guys.
It's really HOT!
We took a pic to prove that's is over 120* F. My comps' thermometer didn't go high enough to register the temp the other day.


Well, another week in the life. It's already November! Time goes by so fast. It still is surprising to me....But we had a pretty good week. We are finally getting this area baptizing again. We marked a good/firm baptismal date of a 23ish year old guy who was dating a church member. His mom is a pastor of a church, and at first he was a little hesitant. But we taught him last week, and I asked him to get baptized, and he accepted. The baptism will be in 2 weeks. We also have 3 weddings/baptisms we are working with. At least 2 of them will be in December. We are teaching some good people who all want to get baptized. I think one of the things that I enjoy the most on the mission is teaching people that actually want to listen and learn about the gospel. They just open up to us and really let us fulfill the best of the mission, the teaching. But, the work is going along well. These past few weeks we haven't had tons of great results, but it now looks like all the hard work is going to pay off and the baptisms are coming.

We made a district goal to mark a baptismal date every week and it's been going well. My district has the most baptismal dates of the zone, so we are getting this side of the town baptizing again. Also, in a meeting with the zone leaders, we made a goal to invite one person every day to be baptized. After inviting people for a week, I've been impressed that nobody has turned down the invite. Yes, not all the people are prepared or ready to set a date, but I've been impressed by some of these people, and we are enjoying the daily baptismal invite...

District and Zone Leaders at Leadership Training
Yesterday I had a leadership meeting. President talked about how we need to teach the people and not just the "lessons", and what we need to do to help investigators keep their commitments. I enjoyed it. There were some world-wide changes with the structure of the missions, and one of them is that we have monthly leadership meetings. But I always like learning from President and Sister Jayme.

On Saturday, we had a devotional with the members and talked about how they could help in missionary work. It went pretty well and was well attended. We shared an article from the Ensign (we had to translate) talking about 6 ways that members could help the investigators feel the Spirit at church. It worked and on Sunday, more of the members greeted the visitors than the last few Sundays....so, I guess it was a success.

Today, we played some frisbee and American football. It was so much fun...I'm a little sunburned, but it was a lot of fun. Manaus actually has 3 or 4 amateur Americana football teams. And I guess one of them wants to play us (the missionaries) sometime. I'm not sure if it will actually happen, but it`d be fun. We are having the terere bowl next week, and have already put together a few teams. We`re going to have a tournament. I'm stoked...

I made triple chocolate cookies this week and gave them to some Brazillians. One of the ladies said that "I'm the most marriageable material."

But anyways, hope everything is going well with you guys! Have a great week!

Love,
-Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Laranjeiras

Eric mentioned he's preparing his "Thanksgiving top 10 list for 2010". We expect it to rival last year's memorable edition. If you missed it, see the end of the Nov 26, 2009 post.
These are the fab five from Washington state!

Hey guys,
Well, it's me again. We had a pretty good week. The work is going well. We are so close with some investigators! For an area that hasn't baptized in a while, we are getting close to some success. We have some good investigators, that need to get married, and some men and families. My goal is to have this area baptizing again, by then end of this transfer. We are having a training with all the members on Saturday about missionary work. Bishop, one of President Jaymes' counselors, and my comp and I will speak. We are going to try and make it fun and get the ward animated. We are getting close though.

We are teaching an ex-Adventist family that will get married in December. This week the wife (who actually knows the Bible pretty well, I've been impressed) asked us to tell her why we don't keep "Saturday" instead of "Sunday" as the Lord's Day. I quickly tried explaining it to her, but she wants so full detail and scripture evidence and all this stuff. But, I told her before I would fully explain about it, she had to read the Book of Mormon, honestly pray and ask the Lord if it's true, and when she gets the answer, we'll teach. It makes the teaching process a lot easier when someone knows the Book of Mormon is true. You can pretty much use it to back up anything or to explain any doctrine or doubts the person has. So, we'll see how it goes this week.


Yesterday, Elder C. Scott Grow of the 70 was here and spoke to the mission. It was really good. He talked a lot about obedience, not just on the mission but in all of our life. He talked about how to become personally converted. He then opened up the conference to questions and we spent a while talking about the apostles and their duties and relationship to the prophet and the Lord. It was really interesting and the Spirit was really strong during the meeting. I learned some new insights to the gospel. I really enjoy it when General Authorities come to the mission. It was also fun because I was able to see a bunch of old friends. Overall, it was a good day

This week I did a baptismal interview for someone in my district. It went well and the person passed the interview. It was hard because there's no bus from my area to where we had to go. We had to go the bus terminal and catch another bus. We left our house at 3:30, got to the interview late and 2 full hours later! After the interview, we ended up taking another 2 hour bus ride to my part of the city, which should only be like a 30 min bus ride tops. Oh gosh, I was dying. You also have to understand that buses here are like trains in China. It's pretty much a fight to get on, with plenty of pushing, cutting, elbows, you name it. It's like a brawl. Then you get on the bus, which has a great smell of BO. I always seem to end up next to the largest, crankiest, smelly old lady on the bus. I was ready to kill myself. I've been in mosh pits at concerts less crowded than that. And there is no personal space. I always feel like I need to repent or talk to President or something by the time I get off a bus, just from all the contact fighting to get off. I didn't work the entire day. But, it's the joys of leadership...


Today, we just got done playing soccer. In the rain. It was way fun. I'll send you guys some pics now that I got the camera. But, I hope you are doing well. Love and miss you!

-Elder Eric Stapley


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Laranjeiras

Well, it's been another good week. We've marked another baptism date for early next month for a guy that stopped us on the street. He didn't make it to church on Sunday, but we hope that he'll go this Sunday and progress more. We also marked another wedding, but it's for December. It's a little ways off, but should be really good. So, we are doing some decent work and are hoping to see some more success in the area...

This week I taught the Principles of the Gospel class, as usual. It went well, I guess. The topic was the law of chastity and I don't think anyone visiting (or member, or even my comp...) made any comments or responded to any of my questions. Let's just say it's a tough croud.... But, they keep coming to church...so hopefully I'm doing an alright job.

I've also been recruited as primary pianist. Actually, our ward doesn't even have a piano, it's a cheap organ that sounds terrible. Too bad I don't remember how to read bass clef. So, I just play the treble clef and they are happy about it. But, I practiced with the kids all Sunday and have another practice on Saturday this week. Looks like I'm going to be busy practicing with them for the next few weeks. Let's just say I've gained a greater appreciation for anyone that works in Primary.

Today, we played soccer for the first time in 6 weeks. I was a little out of my groove. But, it was still fun to run around a bit. We are preparing for Thanksgiving and have already marked to play football in a week or two, then have a Turkey Bowl right before Thanksgiving. Should be tight. But after soccer, we made tacos and avacado smoothies. Legit.



I went on a division this week with one of my zone leaders. It was pretty chill and we had a good time. It was nice to speak in Portuguese the entire day. We also had a district meeting and made a goal for every companionship to mark a baptismal date for an investigator every week. We'll see what goes down, but we are hoping to try and get this part of the city baptizing better...

Still no camera....I bet it'll show up in the next few weeks though....But thanks for the emails! Hope all is well with you guys. Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hey guys,

Well, this week went well. Both Elder Woolf and I stayed in the area. So, at least 6 more weeks here in Laranjeiras. But, Elder Woolf and I get along well, so that's good. It also gives me some more time to get some future baptisms in here. We didn't baptize last transfer, which was kind of frustrating, but staying here gives me another chance at it. Maybe it's just the Lord humbling me. I've had the chance to baptize decently well in my other areas, so who knows. I'm excited and ready for one more transfer here...


This Sunday was kind of tough. We don't have a chapel here, we meet in an old building that is small, and smells bad. Usually it's not too bad, but this week the air-conditioner (which normally isn't even that great anyway...) was broken. I felt like I was in an oven. Even the Brazilians were having a tough time and a bunch of people started leaving after sacrament meeting or Sunday school. By the end of church probably a third of the people had left early....Gotta love Manaus....So, that was kind of frustrating, but we're all hoping it's fixed before next Sunday!


Half of our lunches this week fell through. But, the members ended up giving us money when they forgot, so we could still eat something. But, we ended up getting so much money this week that we went to the nicest restaurant in the city....Pizza Hut. Only problem is it was like R$50 for a pizza. But, it was so good! I miss American food so much. We've been making a bunch of American food on Pdays. Tacos, Chili Dogs, Burgers... I'm getting sick of rice and beans everyday. Like it has grown on me, but still. Every single day..? Same thing with chicken. I like chicken. But, I feel like that is all I have eaten this entire transfer...Let's just say that I can't wait to be eating some good American food again...


We have a few potential baptisms for this transfer. We're still working through two possible weddings, an 18 year old guy in our ward told us that his girlfriend wants to get baptized, and a few other references. So, we have some people that look like they have some potential....


Still haven't gotten the camera, but you guys know it takes forever to get things down here. But, if you guys don',t mind could you please send me some more taco and chili seasoning in an envelope, it would be appreciated. But, I hope all is well with you guys. Miss you! And have a great week.

Love,

Elder Eric C. Stapley

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Laranjeiras

Hey guys,
Well, this week went pretty well. The work goes on. We are still working hard and looking for more people to teach and baptize. We are finally starting to get some good references from the members, and it looks like we should be having some good success in the future. So, the life goes on...

The blistering heat is still continuing. My comp even got a pic of our thermometer at 49 degrees (Celsius....) So, yeah. It's a little warm...So, yes. I'm very jealous of the cold autumn weather....

This week we had interviews with President Jayme. Mine went really well. I love that man. He told me that part of the reason I'm in my area is so that I can get a full experience of the mission. I've been in some very poor areas, left Manaus- 650 miles to Rondonia, and now it's my turn to pass in one of the richest parts of Manaus. I had a good chat with President, and I look forward to the interviews with him.

I was able to watch all the sessions of General Conference, but in a mix of languages. I watched half the sessions in English and the others in Portuguese. Even though I'm able to understand everything in Portuguese, I really prefer English. So much better. I loved being able to hear the real voices of the prophet and apostles and really enjoyed all the messages. It seems like every general conference seems to go by a lot faster than the last. I've realized that I've grown to love general conference so much more. Instead of seeming like the 10 hours it did when I was younger, it now seems to go by in half an hour. I really enjoyed the comments on gratitude, and I've even begun preparing this years edition of my Thanksgiving list again. Be prepared.

Yesterday, I had more leadership meetings. I really enjoyed the trainings from President. We talked a lot about the importance of prayer, the book of Mormon, and going to church both for our investigators, but also in our own personal lives. it was really good and the trainings reinforced some good techniques that I can better in my mission and my teaching.

Transfers go down this week. Like usual, I have a range of mixed feelings. I want to stay, go, stay with my companion, get a new one....I guess whatever the Lord's will is, I'm down with it. But, most likely I'll be staying. But who knows....I'll let you know where I am next week...


So, some of the highlights of my week come from Porto Velho. Elder De Jesus, my second comp on the mission (in Porto Velho) passed through this weekend before the leadership meetings. He was greeted at conference by one of our old baptisms, Dionizio, who was there (in a suit!) with his family. He told Elder De Jesus to send me a hug and thanked the both of us for what we taught him and helped him with. He told De Jesus to tell me that he's firm in the faith and is going to church every week! Today, I also got a really cool email from Teles and Lucimar, another couple that I taught when I was in Porto Velho, but due to wedding paper complications, I was transferred before the wedding. ....
But today they sent me an email with wedding and baptism pictures, telling me they also are loving the church, and also firm in the faith. It was a great email, and I honestly loved hearing that some of the people that I taught are still going to church and have really embraced the gospel....Pretty much made my week.

But, yeah. Other than that, life continues. The work goes on. Hope all of you are doing well, and have a great week. Miss you guys!

Love,
-Elder Eric Stapley

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Laranjeiras

Hey guys,

Well, it's been another good week in the life. It's really hot today though, but I guess that's life. This week we've found some new people to teach and are working with a few of our other investigators. This week we had a meeting with Bishop. Our ward has been without a ward mission leader for some time and he ended up pretty much apologizing to us and telling us the ward is going to get on board with missionary work. This week we should be getting a ward mission leader and are going to start having correlation meetings. We are really hoping to get the work started with the members in the ward. Bishop is even offering to buy a plane ticket to the temple in Sao Paulo for whoever gives the most references over the course of 6 months. Good work Bishop! So, we're excited. We are now hoping to work a lot more efficiently and with more help from the members.


This week I went on a divison with Elder Head, our ZL, who I lived with in Porto Velho. We had a fun time talking about the old times back in Rondonia and how fast time has gone by....we realized that all of this just seems to go by too quickly.


Today, we had a little district get together. We ended up going to McDonalds and played a few games. I can't wait to go back to a place where McDonalds is cheap...I think Im going to buy rootbeer in the airport when I'm coming home though....


This week in district meeting we talked a lot about the purpose of the Spirit in our teaching, and spent a lot of time talking about how we, as missionaries, can't convert anyone. It's the Spirit that converts. I still say a phrase Elder Christensen always said during lessons, "we aren't here to convince anyone. We are just here to invite them to get an answer from the Lord and from the Spirit." It was a pretty good meeting...


This week I saw the Reheses on the back of the Liahona! Good work!! I hope one day one of my old investigators or baptisms can make it into a Liahona....


Elder Woolf and I are still getting along really well. Our little Washington group is pretty cool. Elder Woolf even has a tourist book that has a bunch of pics of Washington and Seattle....every once in a while I like to pull it out and look at the snow and ocean again. It's been really hot this past week. Like ridiculously hot...but I guess that's life here...


I'm really excited for general conference this weekend. I love conference. But, it still seems like yesterday that the other conference just got over. I think I'm going to go to the stake center of my old stake for one session to see some old friends and baptisms. And their stake center is within walking distance of our house. So, I'm hoping to be able to see some old friends this week. But, I'm excited to hear the words of the prophet and apostles.


Well, thats pretty much it for this week. Hope all is well with you guys! Love you!

-Elder Eric C. Stapley

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Laranjeiras

Hey guys,
Everything is going well. We've been working hard and we're still trying to sort through this mess of wedding papers and find new people that we can teach. And it's still really hot over here. So, everything is pretty much the same old....We've been having a decent amount of meetings and we've been talking a lot about how to find new people that we can teach, and that we need to show our faith to find the elite. So, the missionary life continues.



Today we had a pretty good p-day. We called up a bunch of Americans and we played football. Real american football. We started playing in a church parking lot and then we moved to an large tent-covered area where some church holds outside meetings. It wasn't being used and the sun is hot, so we played some fun football today. Gosh, I miss the USA! After emailing, we are going to make some tacos or Amerian burgers...

Speaking of American burgers, I got the package! Thanks!!! We should be making some good American food this week.....

I've been teaching the "principles of the gospel" class on Sundays. Since I've been in this ward, the real professor has showed up only one time to church. So, I always get the opportunity to teach at the last minute. I usually try to read through the lesson during sacrament meeting to try and get an idea of where the lesson goes. My first week in the ward, Bishop came up to me right after sacrament meeting and said,"Elder, you need to teach the principles of the gospel class...." I'm enjoying it though. We have a decent class and some people that participate and are willing to learn.

I talked with the Monteiros, by phone, this week. (It's the family of Shannon's companion in Campinas.) Sister Monteiro's mom is so nice! She's adopted me as her son. She's sending me guaraná in piraucus tounge. I guess it's good....whatever. I really want to go to Maues now. She said, "if you need anything, you call us and we'll send it to you, ok?!" I might ask President if I can go to Maues. Not like that changes anything, but who knows....

Elder Woolf and I get along really well. He's way chill and turns out he knows some of Brian's cousins in Spokane. He has a tourist book of Washington that his family sent him, and I made myself homesick once or twice staring at the pics or Mt. Rainer and Seattle....At least it's now raining over here. It's just really hot rain and a lot more uncomfortable than the rain in Seattle....but that's life.


But yeah. that's pretty much what's been going on this week. The missionary life goes on....I hope everything is going well at home with you guys, Have a great week!

Love,
-Elder Eric C. Stapley

Laranjeiras

Hey guys,

Well, it's been yet another week in the life. Time sometimes seems to go by so fast, and at the same time so slow. Not like that makes any sense at all. But sometimes it seems like every Wednesday comes quicker than the last. As exciting as that is, it's also kind of depressing. Just 9 more months....

So, we've been working a lot with a couple that is preparing to get married and baptized. Israel and Marilies. The challenge is that he doesn't have a birth certificate. So, we are running around trying to find out what we can do to get him a new one. He was born is some other state and his mom who "might" have the origional birht certificate is travelling for 2 weeks. So, I'm talking to my friends in staff to see what we can do. Sometimes I feel like my calling on the mission is just to take care of wedding proccesses. Other Elders find people, run into complications, Elders get transferred, and others almost end up forgetting about the old investigators. I feel like I just get put into areas to try to work out all of the wedding complications. It's fun, and I guess I enjoy it by the end of it, but sometimes it can be kind of frustrating. What's nice is the couple lives just on the other side of the road from us, so at least we don't have to walk too far to talk with them...

This week I've been busy with more meetings and doing some more baptismal interviews. I was pretty impressed with one of the interviews that I did. He knew all the answers and bore a sincere testimony to me. At the end of my interviews I like to ask if I can do anything to help the person or explain anything to them. The man got a little embarassed and said he wanted to ask something. He said,"Well, I know Thomas S. Monson is the name of the prophet, but what does that actually mean..?" So we were able to sit and talk for a while about what it means to have a living prophet and about what he does. It was a good chat and it also reminded me general conference is coming up. Crazy! It feels like the last general conference just got over....Time sometimes goes by too fast.

So, it's getting ridiculously hot again. Sometimes I feel like Im used to it, but then some days it honestly feels like I'm walking around in the very pits of heck....No joke. It's been well over 100 this week....I'm not sure if the themometer on my blog is actually right....There are some days when I'd even consider moving to Alaska after the mission, just to be away from the heat...I know some of you really want to know this, but yes. I do have tan lines where my neame tag/tie/garments are. Yes, through my clothes! I'm going to have the grossest tan line when I get home.

A few other people asked me if I was Brazilian this week. I love it when that happens.

We ran into a kid (I guess he's 20...) on the bus who came up to us speaking in English, asking if we were Americans. He then switched to Portuguese and asked if I speak...Hmm. Falo mesmo (with my manaus accent...! People from manaus say it in a weird way....I can't really explain. But it's a regional thing) I asked him how long he had been learning english. He said more than 6 years. (and he was still kind choppy on it....) He then asked me how long I'd been speaking. I told him for a little over year. The kid was blown out of his mind (as with a few other people on the bus who gave me some looks...) He was like, "but you speak so well! How?!?! You even have a good accent....How...?" Oh yeah. Way to go gift of tongues. So I invited him to go to church. It made me remember though really how much I have learned in a little over than a year....and how much the Lord helped and still does help....

So, In all honesty. I feel like my emails are getting a little dull. I hope I'm not boring you guys. Cuz sometimes I feel like I even bore myself writing the same things every week. So, sorry. It's not like my life has tons of "new" and "exciting" things going on. Just pretty much the same old. Work, do weddings, baptize, die in the sun....So. yeah. This week I've been contemplating what's something else I could write about, but in all honesty I'm not thinking about much that would really even interest all of you. This week I've been up late at nights. Our neighbors (we live in a divided house shared with some really cool members) got a new puppy this week. Oh my gosh. I'm ready to kill this thing. It cries all night long, and the wall between our houses really isn't that thick, so it keeps me up all night. I've honestly considered punting this dog...But, in the long waking hours of the night I've been debating what new blog article I could share with all of you. But, the sad reality is, not much else is coming to me...So, since I'm not really coming up with tons of new "blog inspiration" I'm going to ask it from all of you. I'm allowed to recieve emails from anyone, but I can't respond. If any one reading this (it doesn't even matter if I know you or not...) and wants to know about something else going on over here, or has a suggestion, throw a comment on my blog. Or just send me an email. I won't respond, but I'm always looking for new ideas....

Well, other than that, life is going well. I'm loving the mish, and it all seems to go by so quickly....In all honesty though, there are the days when it all seems to be going by way to slow. It sometimes reminds me of the Eagles lyrics "this could be heaven, or this could be hell...." In my blog I always try to just include the good things, but there are the days when the mish is hard and it doesn't always seem to be the "heaven" part...if you get my meaning. But even though there are the hard days when it seems like nothing goes right and nobody wants to talk with us, I love my mission. My mission means everything to me...and I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything. I know it's the Lords work, and I love it. I love Brazil and Manaus. And I'm really going to miss all of this by the time its over....

But yeah. That's pretty much what's us. Hope all is ok with you guys. Have a great week. And love you guys!

-Elder Eric Stapley

'

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Laranjeiras

Hey guys,
Well, it's been another week in the life. Nothing too exciting really. I've been sick for the last week and had to rest a little bit... My voice is finally starting to come back. I feel like I've been coughing up a lung for a full week. But, we are still trying to work and find more people to teach and to baptize.

We are working with a couple that one of my friends found when he was here a few months ago. They seem way cool and are excited to get married and baptized. Now we are just trying to finish everything with the papers and get them baptized as soon as possible. It seems like this wedding should have happened a long time ago, but some of the last Elders were kind of lazy on the whole wedding process... So, that's what we're working with right now. Other than that, we don't have too many investigators. The last missionary that passed in this area "died" (meaning he finished his 2 years...) and didn't necessarily leave too much for me to work with. I've realized in every single one of my areas (other than my first) I follow up in the place of someone who just went home. Fun... hmm... But we are working hard and trying to find more good people to teach. We have a few references, so hopefully one of those turns out well.


This area is very rich. Everyone has a big gate in front of their house. A lot of members have air-conditioning and even maids...uuhhh....I miss my little poor areas with humble people. I get annoyed when memebrs try to show off how much money they have during their lunches for us. But, oh well. It happens. If anything, it just makes me more grateful for my poor areas where you could just walk up to a humble family sitting outside the front of their houses....


Yesterday I had leadership meetings pretty much all day. With the new mission program, we have a decent amount of leadership meetings. It was fun to see a bunch of old friends and get some trainings from President Jayme. We talked a lot about the purpose of the Spirit in conversion and how to start teaching investigators. I really like President's trainings. We studied the scriptures a lot and talked about how to pass the new trainings on to other missionaries.


I also ran into one of my old comps, Elder De Jesus. We were having a discussion after the trainings about which type of comp is better. American or Brazilian. But, Elder De Jesus said that his best 2 comps so far have been Americans, and I was one of them. It was a nice little moment...I spent a while talking to one of my old friends who is in Porto Velho right now and said that Teles and Lucimar (a family that I taught when I was there) are now married, baptized, and Teles has the priesthood and blesses the sacrament. Good work. And Marcizo, another one of my baptisms, now has a stake calling and is way involved in the stake. I was happy to hear that my old investigators and baptisms are doing well and are strong in the church.


Monday morning we helped two other missionaries move to a new house. I'm still a little sore....


Elder Woolf is cool. He's way laid back and we are pretty good friends.


Other than that, not really anything else is going on. Just the usual life. Hope all is going well with you guys at home. Love you


-Elder Eric Stapley

Friday, September 3, 2010

Laranjeiras

Hey guys,

Well, here’s what’s up. transfers went down, and I’m now in a new area. Laranjeiras. It’s pretty close to my old area actually. But richer....Get transferred was bitter-sweet in many ways. I almost felt like I had become a member of the ward after 6 months. My last day was hectic! Everyone wanted me to visit them, eat food, and have family nights.....I ate so much! After I found out I was getting transferred I just ended up eating with members who wanted to give us food. Good stuff. I was able to visit everyone I needed to though, and in a lot of ways it was actually kind of sad leaving the area. On Sunday I bore my testimony in front of the ward. I only cried a little bit though. I even ended up crying saying goodbye to a few ppl. I hate that....But one of the coolest things was our Amazon hunter friend Nirol, made me a sweet berimbau. Rapaz. The berimbau part of it (its kinda like a shaved out coconut looking thing) was tight. He told me that he made it for his grandson when he was born, but that he wanted me to have it...It was legit. I kind of miss Santa Marta now. It was time to leave, but it was time for me to leave...my last lunch was with Gelcimar and Russellyce, the last couple that I baptized here...Also to top things off, Fernando, one of the other men I baptized/married in my last area got the Melchesidek (sp..? help me out..it’s different in Portuguese) this weekend and was sustained at stake priesthood meeting. All in all, it was a great weekend, but in many ways bitter-sweet...Even leaving Elder Wolfe. He’s a good guy and good missionary...

So, my new comp is Elder Woolf. My last comp was Elder Wolfe. I almost thought it was a joke when I found out. He’s a cool guy though .Really chill and laid back. He’s from Spokane and has about as much time as Elder Wolfe on the mission. About 6 months or so. Washington power....Good work.

But, what’s nice about my new area is that it’s closer to where we play our weekly soccer than my last ward. And it’s not even in the same stake. Instead of having to take a bus, I just walked here this morning. I was stoked when I found out. So, I still get my weekly soccer in! I’m still a DL, and my district seems to be geographically large. Unfortunately....But oh well. I’m stoked.

As far as the work goes, it looks like we have potential for a wedding. It’s not marked yet, but it sounds like the ppl are interested and have been going to church for a while. We even have all the papers. I’m not really sure why the wedding hasn’t happened yet, it seems like everything is all set. We just gotta finish it. So, that’s my goal for this week. Get this wedding all sorted out. I love weddings....

My only problem is that I lost my voice. I can barely even talk....Its kind of frustrating actually. But oh well...I don’t think I’m sick, I just can’t talk....

Well, hope all is going well with you guys and that you all have a great week. Love and miss you guys!

-Eric

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Terra Nova

August 25, 2010

Things have been going well for the most part. Gelcimar/Russellyce (the couple we married and baptized) were confirmed on Sunday. It went really well, and they are looking like good members that will stay active. We are now just doing our best to find more families to teach and baptize.

This week Elder Wolfe has been having some health problems, so we haven’t been able to work as much as either of us would like. He ended up throwing up at lunch on Saturday and has been having some stomach problems. But he’s been getting better, so we are hoping to finish out the week well....He’s a good guy though. I’ve really grown to like Elder Wolfe. He’s a good worker and missionary. I’ll miss him after transfers...

Speaking of transfers, I found out on Saturday if I go or stay. Some members are worried I’ll get transferred, and everyone is trying to give us lunch on Monday, just in case I go....so yeah. Might be a little interesting. I honestly don’t know if I’m going to be transferred. Something tells me I’m going to leave. But I also kind of want to stay, just because I've become such good friends with the ward members and my baptisms. And when you want to stay in an area, you always get transferred. But I also have been here for such a long time....I’m not really sure what I want. I guess whatever the Lord wants....whatever the outcome is, hopefully I’ll be happy. So, next week I might be sending an email from Tefé....legit...I just hope my berimbau and bow and arrow get done in time. If not, I’m making Elder Wolfe send them to me.

So, before I forget, I’ll tell one of the more interesting stories of the week. After church and meetings we were heading to talk to an investigator when one of my old investigators stopped me on the road. He was drunk out of his mind (not too surprising....) and really wanted to talk with us. He pronounces my name Heypley. So I heard him call me from down the road and came running. He greeted me with a drunk hug that lasted about 20 seconds. I love drunk people. I know you all are jealous. He then started telling me how mad he was. I started telling him he needed to calm down, but it didn’t do much. He almost resembles The Hulk. He would randomly scream and make noises saying, "I’m ANGRY" then would jump up and down. I asked him what was wrong. He told me his wife was drunk, and he was mad at her. I resisted saying, "well yeah you idiot. Look at yourself..." he then got really serious and said, "Heypley, I have a gun. I’m going to kill my wife." I flipped, and responded, "you can’t kill your wife!" he said, "I’m mad and I’m going to kill my wife, you want to see my gun?" Oh gosh....I spent about 30 minutes talking to him, telling him he couldn’t kill his wife. He wanted to walk with us, so we went for a little walk. For a while I tried to convince him to give me his gun (by the way, its illegal to own a gun in this country...) but he wouldn’t give it to me. So, I tried reasoning with him. Not like its easy reasoning with a drunk person. I said, "Look, if you kill your wife you'll end up in jail." He responded, "I don’t care." Ok....that didn’t work. then I tried, Well, what about your kids....? You want them to grow up on the streets, fatherless and motherless, left to fend for themselves?" That got to him. He stopped for a second and said, "yeah...what about my kids..?" So I jumped on the answer and started elaborating on how his children would grow up without parents. without food. maybe even using drugs and selling who knows what to get money. It seemed to work. He walked with us, with his arm around my comp (Which Elder Wolfe really enjoyed by the way...) and said that he would bury his gun, not kill his wife and thanked us for the help. I saw the newspaper the next day and didn’t see anything about a dead woman killed by her drunk husband....so, I'm assuming he didn’t kill her. One more life saved. Moral of the story, give references to the missionaries so they don’t have to teach drunk idiots on the road. I was only scared for my life a few times in that 30 minutes....

So, yeah. Lets see. what else is new....Oh yeah. So, since I’ve been here almost 6 months, I’ve been running out of lunch messages. So, I’ve started telling stories. This week I’ve been telling one of Grandpa’s Hawaiian folklore stories about the 2 brothers that found the pearls on the beach, and then tie it into the gospel and missionary work. Its been going pretty well actually. I’m digging it. It also scores points with the kids. So, yeah. thanks Grandpa! If you guys at home (dad...) remember any of the others hit me up with an email or something, cuz now everyone is wanting stories for their lunch message...


Well, that’s pretty much what has been going on this week. Just another week in the life. Today we played soccer and made tacos. Legit. Hope all you guys have a great week. Love you!

August 18, 2010

Well its been another good week on the mish. The wedding turned out great! It was well attended, and the bride did a good job making everything really nice. Only prob is that it started like an hour late, but that’s pretty much normal for here. But, I took some good pics. I’ll send some to you guys.

The baptism went down on Sunday. Everything went pretty well. Only prob is that the bride’s brother (the Elders Quorum President of our ward) was supposed to baptize her, but he got called in last second to work. So, they asked me to baptize them instead. I always like performing the baptismal ordinance, and it went really well, but I think it would have been more special if it was the bride’s brother that baptized her. The baptism was also really well attended and some good testimonies were borne about baptism. Everything turned out great.
For dealing with such problems with the papers for this wedding and working with this couple (I’ve been working with them since I pretty much got here...) everything turned out really well. Only prob is that Bishop didn’t go to the baptism, and was just sitting in his office during the baptism. But the counselors went and were really supportive. I love baptizing families and doing weddings. It makes the baptismal meeting that much more special. I was happy with the way things went down

This Monday we had zone conference and reviewed one of the trainings that Pres gave to the leaders 2 weeks ago. It went well, and its always nice to get to see a bunch of old friends...

Transfers go down in 2 weeks, and I’m pretty much ready to leave. I’m kinda banking on it actually. I found myself even making a list of members, converts, and investigators that I need to say goodbye to. I just hope that its not bad karma and I’ll end up staying. I guess I wouldn’t mind the area for another transfers, but this is the longest time I’ve been with a comp and its always nice to just get a little switch. We'll see what goes down though. Whatever the Lords will is...

I’m trying to think what else is new. Not really too much. Just trying to find more good families to teach and baptize. Our mission is doing fairly well. Over the past years the mission was baptizing a lot, but not too many men and families. These past few months our mission has been baptizing more than 25% men which is pretty legit. President is really trying to have us work with men and families. So, I’m looking for another wedding to mark...

Well, that’s pretty much all that I can think of...A lot of the week we were just getting ready for the wedding and everything. Dad, happy birthday! Mom, thanks for the package on the way. Erynn, have a last good week at home. Have a good week guys.

Love,

Elder Eric Stapley

Monday, August 16, 2010

Terra Nova


Hey guys,

Well, sorry, but I don't have too much time. Today, we had a churrasco and played some soccer with the zone. I'm digging the zone. Cool Zone leaders, a lot of friends. It's fun....

So, this week has gone pretty well. It looks like we are finally going to have the (recently postponed) wedding this Saturday and the baptisms on Sunday. They just need to pass the interviews tomorrow, which I'm hoping won't be a problem. We marked 2 more baptism dates, and if everything goes as plans, we should have a strong transfer--it's best to leave some unfinished work for the new elders coming into the area. We marked the baptism date of a man named Moses. He needs to stop smoking, so we'll see if he's ready to get baptised this month. I hope so, just so it can be said that I baptised Moses...

I've been pretty proud of my district too lately. Right now we have enough baptismal dates to baptize 15 people between our 3 duplas this month. With each of us baptizing at least 1 man and a family. Legit. We'll see how it goes, but things are looking pretty good....

Transfers go down at the end of this month. I think I'm ready to leave. Of course I'll miss the people, but sometimes it's nice to just get a new area and a fresh start. I guess we'll see what goes down though. Sounds like there are some openings in Tefé....some city in the middle of nowhere.

This week, I've been trying to put everything I learned in last weeks' trainings with Pres into action and it's been paying off. I shared one of the trainings with my district and really tried to prepare a good training and it looks like it worked. I've gotten compliments from the entire district and one Elder even said it helped him to mark a baptismal date with someone he's been working with for a long time. We spent a lot more time studying the scriptures during the training and I tried to have the people in the district talking at least half the time with stories, feedback, ideas and all that good stuff. I'm excited and the work is going strong.

My entire zone sends their love. We'll just say the Red Robin seasoning is getting famous...

Anyway, that's pretty much what went down since I emailed last. Hope everything is going well at home. Have a great week! tcahu

Love,
Elder Eric Stapley

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Terra Nova

Hey guys,

Well, sorry for not writing on Wednesday. I've been in meetings this entire week with all the District and Zone Leaders. So, I'm taking off a little bit of time for my P-day today. I didn't even have time to let you guys know. So sorry about the delay.

Things have been going well. The trainings were a lot of fun...It was nice to see some old friends and get some great trainings from Pres. I've been spending the entire week with Elder Soares, another DL who is way cool. It's been a fun time. The trainings really didn't present any new material, but just reminded us of things we already knew or that we need to apply better, such as teaching more of the "investigator" than the "lesson." And teaching by using a lot of questions. I learned some good things that I'm going to apply and pass for the district. We even got Subway for lunch. We'd show up each day and have breakfast (made for us!), get some trainings, do practices, and we really studied the scriptures. It was a good time. Pres even gave us an extra lesson....eternal marriage and how to find your future wife. It was a hit....

The wedding situation (I referred to last week) turned out better than I thought it would. The family was pretty upset that the wedding didn't happen on July 31st and there were some tears shed. But, overall I guess it turned out ok. The wedding should now happen on Aug. 14th and the baptisms on the 15th....I'm just hoping everything still ends up going well....

Transfers are going down in 3 weeks or so. I'm ready to go. I love this ward. I love my baptisms. I love the people. I'd like to hit up an interior area in the middle of nowhere. Like Tefé or something. Just to work with a little branch or something. I feel like it'd be a fun time. I guess I'll find out soon though.

I've been busy doing baptism interviews and it's been a while since I've even been in my area. It was all good. But hope you guys have a great week.

Love,
Elder Eric C. Stapley

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Terra Nova

Hey guys!

Well, this week's been....a little hectic. First off, the wedding. There were some problems going down with the papers and now the wedding will be postponed for 3 weeks or so. It's been kinda rough, especially since the family has invited relatives from the middle of nowhere in the Amazon to come see the wedding. I still don't know what's going on, but I'm trying my best to keep all the parties happy. After I told Bishop, he got very upset...it reminded me of a child actually, but I'm trying to work through everything and keep everyone happy. I actually got frustrated these past couple days because of it. Lots of phone calls and nervous people. I like doing weddings and baptizing full families, but weddings are tons of work...and it's kinda killing me. So, I have no idea what will happen, but please just pray for my sanity...it would be appreciated.

Life as DL is kinda fun, a little more hectic though. Especially now that the missonary dept is making world-wide changes in the training of new missionaries. So, now as a DL, next week I'll have meetings for 4 days in a row. Even p-day. I just hope my area doesn't get burned while I'm in meetings all week long. But, we had a fun district meeting on Monday. We started with a little game and had breakfast. I have a pretty fun district, which is nice. I've alrady done 2 baptismal interviews and it looks like I'll have another one or 2 this week. Fun stuff.


On Saturday we helped the stake in a service project,"Helping Hands..." and we planted some açai tress. It was pretty chill. A lot of people went and there weren't tons of tools, but we ended up planting 5 or 6 trees and had a pretty good time. Throw in the free breakfast and it was perfect...

So, in addition to my Berimbau training, our friend Nirol (the less active who is a capoeira master and crazy Amazon hunter) made me a sweet blow dart gun. It's pretty legit actually. He even taught me how to make the poison that the Indians use in the Amazon. I don't really know when I'd actually make it, but at least I know how. He also told us some crazy amazon hunting stories, like him killing a jaguar with a bow and arrow. We asked him about some crazy looking spider that we saw in our house this week and he informed us that the little spider we saw, is one of the most dangerous in the region and can actually kill a man. Pretty sweet huh? This weeks activity with Nirol, we'll be making bows and arrows...this guy is so legit!

That's pretty much what's going on though....trying to work hard and find another family to baptize. Or set up another wedding. I hope that everything is well with you guys. Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Eric C. Stapley

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Terra Nova




Hey guys,

Well, it's P-day again. The work is still going well and I'm enjoying life. We are still firm for a wedding next week and have another young man that we're working with that went to church on Sunday. The work is still going on and it looks like we should have some success over the next few weeks.

So, transfers went down this week. Here's the update. I stayed and so did Elder Wolfe. This is the longest that I've stayed in an area, and now will be the most time that I've spent with one companion. I'm happy with it though. Elder Wolfe is a good guy and the ward is really good. I'm starting to really become good friends with a lot of the ward members. The biggest update with transfers though is that our district split. Pres realized that our district was bigger than some of the other zones....So, our district divided and I'm now district leader over 6 missionaries. It's a good group of guys and should be fun. I was a little surprised to be called... Tomorrow, I have to do my first baptismal interview. Not sure how I feel about that.... But, should be fun.

It's funny that you say that it's getting warm at home. "Into the 70s", you say? Ironically, this week got into the 70s. But the difference is that here, 70 degrees is really cold. I've seen people wearing sweaters and bundled up in blankets. I think I'm getting used to the heat though, because even I wore a long sleeve shirt this week. It's some random phenomenom. The natives are freaking out, but I'm enjoying it....



Friday night, we had a little mini-party for the Elders that were being transfered or going home. We made burgers. Again, everyone thanks you for the ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, and the Red Robin Seasoning. Even the Brazilians are addicted. Today, we made Mexican food again. So, your package is really appreciated. The spagetti stuff was good, the paste and seasoning. I'm not as big into the BBQ sauce, but the others love it. And there is a brazilian that would actually love you forever if you sent more Red Robin Seasoning. He's been trying to buy mine off of me, but I just can't let it go. Candy is good too...Starbursts are always a hit. Next time- Starburst fruit snacks and more glow sticks (we used them all at a ward party.)


Today we played soccer, like usual. I bought myself some new shoes to play in. It was legit. Last week, we stopped by the church at night to drink some water. The Bishop and a few young men were playing soccer and invited us to play for a minute. So, I took off my shoes and played with my shirt and tie. I don't think they were expecting much of 2 American missionaries. But, one of the first times I got the ball, I pulled a sweet juke on Bishop and then one on a young man and made a pretty impressive goal....it was fun. I'm not sure if I'll be invited to play soccer again after embarassing a bunch of Brazilians....

I've been learning a new instrument. Berimbau. Doubt you've ever heard of it. But there is a sweet less active man that we visit every week. He's a master of capeoira. One day I asked if he would teach me and he got really excited. He said he's even going to make one for me that I can take home. But, last night we had a pretty sweet jam session with a congo, berimbau, and a tamborine. You should google it and check it out...

Well, that was pretty much it for this week. Just enjoying the cold 75 degree weather...So nice. but, hope all is well with you and have a great week!

Love,
-Elder Eric Stapley

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Terra Nova

Hey guys,

Well. it's been a good week. I love being on the mish. There are some days that I do wish I was just home already, but I’m honestly loving life, and loving the chance I have to be here on the mission....

So, I’m emailing a little bit late. The LAN (internet) houses in our area just randomly close down. And I don’t have too much time. So...we'll see how long this is. But overall this week went well. I’ve gotten all the wedding papers and most of the money (we'll have to help out a little bit to pay for it...) for one of our investigator couples, and everything is looking good. The members are excited and the ward ard is excited. I guess we'll see if I’m still here for it though. We did mark another baptism date on Monday of a young man from some random "interior" of Manaus. Sounds like he’s from the middle of nowhere....The work goes on....

Only thing is I’m not sure if I’ll be here for the wedding. We find out about transfers on Saturday...and it’s possible that I’ll leave. I’m not really sure what I want. I’d be happy staying or leaving. So I guess it really doesn’t matter too much. I’m anxious to find out though.

Yesterday I was on a division with my zone leader. It went pretty well. Only problem is that our house was robbed. We left one of the back windows open and they reached through the metal bars and jacked some stuff. Luckily they didn’t get into the house, but they stole my Zone Leaders backpack and wallet and another Elder’s MP3 player....They didn’t get any of my stuff. But it’s just frustrating. We're praying they don’t come back again and break into our house this time....Considering our neighbors have been robbed at gunpoint....we're just praying for the best...

So, today we had a churrasco and played soccer all day. I actually got a little sunburned. It was legit though. But I brought my BBQ sauce, ranch, and Red Robin seasoning. My district now loves all you guys. The Americans especially send their love and thanks. BBQ sauce pretty much just blew some of the Brazilians minds. So unfortunate that some of them had never tried it before. But it was sweet. So thanks guys!

Also, speaking of food. On Sunday my comp and I made a legit spaghetti. with meat sauce and everything. So good! It's been such a long time. The Brazilians that we live with are repeatedly amazed by American food....

Other than that life is pretty much the same. Just working hard and having a good time. Elder Wolfe is really coming along with his Portuguese. He’s making me proud. Gotta live up to the fam tradition of speaking well. It was fun though to go an entire day again without speaking English when I was with my ZL. I miss the days where I never spoke English.....But yeah. Hope all is going well with you guys. Have a great week. Love you!

-Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Terra Nova

Hey guys,

Well, it’s been another week on the mission, and went fairly well. We are still working towards a wedding at the end of the month and are trying to find a lot of good people to teach. Transfers go down in 2 weeks though. The 20th. So, if it turns out that I get transferred, I’ll miss the wedding that I marked and prepared and all that. So, I can’t really decide if I want to stay or not. I’m kinda getting ready for a little change up....but if I stay I'll still enjoy this area. I’ve already missed a wedding that I’ve set up and it’s kind of a bummer...but we'll see I guess. Whatever the Lord wants....

Lets see...what else is new...Tomorrow two other Elders will be moving into our house. They live in the middle of nowhere and are moving so they can work closer to the chapel and the people that live close. So, that’s how I’ll be spending all tomorrow. We've also marked a bunch of service projects for this week. One is with a way cool less active member. He goes to church like every 2 or 3 weeks. Way cool guy though. He was like a capoeira champ. its like some kinda dance-fighting thing. It’s hard to describe....but its legit. And in return he’s going to try to teach me how to do some stuff (I think he’s more excited about it than I am....) But should be a fun week....

Brazil’s loss...was a very depressing day here. I don’t think I’ve seen so many drunk people ever. I saw tears shed by grown men. Even teenage girls who "don’t like soccer.." were crying. It was an emotional time. I made sure to stay at home for an hour after the game...just in case some drunk mistook me or my comp for someone from the Netherlands. We also made sure to not wear orange ties.... Sorry dad about Germany. That was rough. I was cheering for Germany. But, for the win....I’m undecided who I want. It’s cool that neither of the teams have won a World cup championship yet. But I think I’m feeling the Netherlands. Not like I’ll watch or anything. I have church during the middle of the game...



So, today, we played soccer, of course. We played at a legit field though. The problem is that fields don’t really exist here. Open space doesn’t really exist. It’s just jungle. But, we had a good time.

I GOT MY PACKAGES!! Thanks for everything! The Red Robin seasoning was a nice touch. I was pretty excited about it. So, today we made BBQ burgers for lunch. The Brazilians were pretty impressed. I think BBQ sauce and the Red Robin seasoning blew their minds. Also, I told my Brazilian friend that you guys sent a Michigan hat for him. He’s saying if he knew English, and could call you guys, he would call you up and that you guys personally. So, yeah. Only prob though is that he’s on a little island in the middle of the Amazon, so I’m not sure how I’ll get him the hat...but oh well.

It’s weird I’m halfway done with my mish....I can’t really stop thinking about it. It really does go by too fast. Sometimes it makes me want to work harder, but some days I just feel like I’m broken and don’t have the same energy that I used to. It’s a weird feeling. I’m just trying to do my best and press on, even on those tough days. I really do love my mission though. I can see myself really missing it when I get home....

But that’s pretty much it for this week. Ty, not sure if your are reading this or not, but I’m remembering you in my prayers man. I’m praying for the best! Fam, love you guys, miss you, and thanks again for the package.

Love,

Elder Eric Stapley

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Terra Nova

Hey guys!

Well, it’s been another great week on the mish. Life is going well. We are trying to find new people and families that we can teach and baptize. It still looks like we are good for our wedding next month though, which is good. Soon, I’ll have to start getting all the papers and everything. I wonder if I’ll even still be here to see it. Transfers go down in 2 and a half weeks, and probabilities are that I m leaving. I guess anything could happen and I wouldn’t mind staying here a little longer, but I think I’ll soon be ready for a little change of scenery.

The World Cup has really affected the work here. I was told of the US loss and I have to say that I’m proud of them. I was pretty upset though....but, what can I expect? I feel like all of my sports teams (BYU) lose. Soon I might just have to give up on sports.... I know this probably sounds terrible, but I’m not rooting for Brazil to win...After tons of comments about how the US didn’t make it...I’m sorry but, I honestly can’t say I want brazil to win. Of course in front of my Brazilian friends I love the Brazilian team...but deep inside, my heart cries when they make a goal. We'll see what goes down though. Also, the last game is at 2:30 on Sunday here. Considering church is at 3, that just wouldn’t go over well. Germany...lets see some work!

So, yesterday we had interviews with Pres. I love that guy! He drilled everyone on obedience and diligence though. But, we had a nice long chat. I like interviews, and mine usually end up going for a while, just because I like to sit and chat with Pres. He told me about when he decided to marry Sister Jayme and I asked him a few random doctrine questions. When I told him I just have one more year on the mish he replied, "me too Elder Stapley!" I’ll be his last group of missionaries. But, he told me I can only speak Portuguese with Elder Wolfe on the road. Its kinda frustrating, because I’ll need to explain a lot of the things that I’m saying...but if Pres said it....I gotta do it. So, we'll see how that goes.

Training is a lot of fun, but at the same time I’m exhausted....I think this last year and all the walking has been taking its toll on me. I also think I’m killing my comp sometimes. Apparently I "walk fast," which is news to me....I guess I’m just getting used to the mission life.

Today we played soccer for like 3 or 4 hours. Good stuff. Of course, I rep my "Messi" jersey. But, next week, its official. Football! Not fútebol....Football!! American. The zone is going to have a party and one of the Americans has a ball. There are only like 10 Americans in the zone, of which probably only 8 will play. But, I’m pretty stoked. One of the Elders played college football...so we're going to try and get a legit game going. I’m feeling a sweet touchdown. Considering I can still catch....Hopefully soccer is rubbing off too much on me.


As an FYI, we have a tradition in our mission of burning something once we hit the one year mark. I burned one of my worn out shirts.

Well other than that, life is going well. Just pretty much the same old stuff. I hope all is going well with you guys. Have a great week!

Love
Elder Eric C. Stapley

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Terra Nova

Hey guys,

So, we'll start by getting rid of the worldly stuff first... USA!!!!!!!!!!!! First in our group! It's P-day, so I ended up watching the game with some other missionaries. We played soccer this morning and then watched the game. I was pretty nervous. I had already accepted defeat, but- Donovan...what a man. That guy keeps our team alive. Goal with 91 minutes of game time? If I was in the US, I'd totally buy a jersey with his name on the back. The blue one is legit... World Cup is going strong here. More and more roads are being painted and the game was intense this week. Why does the world cup only happen every 4 years.. Go USA! And Brazil....of course....

So, Brazil's game was at 2:30 on Sunday. Guess what time I have church..? 3:00 So, we had a total of 1 investigator at church! My leaders were actually proud of me for getting one there! During sacrament meeting you could tell when Brazil scored because the city erupts in fireworks and yelling. Not a lot of people went to church....but, we ended up having a confirmation, which was good.

Saturday, we had a baptism of a young woman who had been referred. She's gone to seminary a few times and to church. The baptism was really well attended, with lots of youth...which was good. I baptized her. I forgot my camera at home today or I'd send you guys some pics.

On Monday we had Zone Conference. It went well and it was nice to see a lot of old friends. Since the missionaries from the interior (little cities....) of Manaus come in for Zone Conference, today I played some soccer with the missionaries in Maues. One of them is a good friend of mine. He told me the family of Shannon's comp (who live in Maues...) asked him to find me and to get a picture so that he can show them who I am....Maybe one day I'll head over there and meet them. But that was kinda cool....

So, as far as the packages go. Today I got one from Grandma. Thanks! But, I still haven't gotten the two from you guys. It takes a while I guess. But, I'm sure within the next few weeks they'll be here....

Other than that, life is going well. We still have a wedding marked for next month, and are working with some good people. Today I'm planning on setting the baptism date of a young family, who are already married!! I was so happy to find that out. They have a lot of questions about baptism and stuff. I'm hoping that today we can get some more baptism dates...

Elder Wolfe is coming along with the language and we are becoming better and better friends. But, I can understand some of Shannon's difficulties with the language. It helped me to have an American trainer that could teach. Elder Wolfe will soon be speaking really well. He's got some good potential. He's also getting rid of his southern accent at the same time

So, Friday I'll have been on the mish for one year now. Time goes by so fast. I honestly still feel like I left yesterday. In 11 months and 2 weeks I'll be home! So crazy....But I'm hoping to have a even better year than I did last one. It's interesting to see how I've changed and seeing the differences the mish is making in my life. Good stuff. It goes by too fast. Here in no time I'll be home...

But yeah. Hope all is well with you. Have a great week. (Happy Birthday Brynn!)
Love you,

-Elder Eric C. Stapley

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Terra Nova


Hey guys!

So, we have a baptism this week. The paperwork is filled out and the only thing left is the interview. Baptisms always make life better. Our couple for next month is really starting to warm up to me. You know that people like you when they start making you food. We taught the plan of salvation the other day, then they fed us a homemade cake and had bought us pop. Good stuff....I wonder if I'll still even be here for the wedding. Another one of our baptisms (a teenage girl) is having a few problems. Her family and friends are against the church and are telling her all sorts of stuff. I can tell she wants to follow the church and be baptized, but it's hard for her. The ward members (especially the yw leaders) are really helping out. I'm sure in no time she'll be baptized (if we can get her family to sign the baptismal form...) But the work is going well.

This has been a pretty fun week. The World Cup has started! I've been able to keep pretty good track of what's going on....The games are all over the place here. I've been able to watch parts of some of the games. I watched all the Brazil game, but after, we had to stay at home for one hour (mission rules). I gotta admit, I'm proud of the U.S. Our goal was a little lucky, but when I saw it (I was able to see part of that game) I stood up and started screaming goal as loud as I could. I even lost a little bit of my voice. Way to rock it USA. Tied with England. If the US wins it all, I'll be so happy....Germany did play well though....Brasil's game was kinda lousy. I wasn't exactly impressed. Hopefully they'll step it up in the future. They've got all the talent, just need to work a little harder. But times are good in Brasil. All the streets are lined with flags and the streets are all painted. It's a pretty impressive time to be here, actually. I love the world cup...

Today we played soccer with the zone. After that we watched the Spain vs. Switzerland game.

Yesterday, I had lunch at Alciones (one of our baptisms) and we were talking about temples. Their family has made a goal to go to the temple next year in Venezuela. But, yesterday she told me she just wants to do baptisms and get to know the temple a little more in Venezuela, but wants to get sealed here in Manaus. She told me she had been reading a book we left with her on temples and read that the first time they go through the temple they need to have an escort. Long before, I had mentioned my desire to come back to see the dedication of the Manaus temple. But Alcione said, "we think it would be so cool if you could be one of our escorts and see our sealing right after the dedication!" Mom, Dad...I might need to come back for the temple dedication. Just the chance to be able to see a family that I taught and baptized get sealed in the temple would be one of the coolest things ever. I felt really honored that they want me to see their sealing.... I might be coming back to Manaus the start of 2012.....

We also had a family night with Fernando and Alcione this week. We taught them what to do and how family nights have blessed our lives. We ended up watching "The Testaments" with them and they really liked it. Even teared up. It's fun to do family nights with converts and families on the mish, but every once and a while it does make me think of home....

Speaking of home....in one year I''ll be home!!! Due to my visa, I'll be back 2 weeks before I left. Maybe 3. So, it's official. I'm more than half of the way done!!! WHOO!!! It goes by so fast though. I honestly felt that it was yesterday that I was in the MTC. I'm excited about being half way done, but at the same time, it is kinda sad. Every time a plane passes by I point to it and say "just one more year..." estou chegando ja!

We did a service project on Saturday and I've got some blisters on my hands. It's getting hotter and hotter here all the time. But life is good. It's the World Cup! Hope all is well with you guys. Love you!

-Elder Eric C. Stapley
"Stapleyzinho"'