Thursday, February 11, 2010

Porto Velho

Hey guys,

Transfers went down and I'm still here in Porto Velho. Elder De Jesus went back to Manaus and my new companion is Elder Paredes (Elder Walls). He's Brazilian and has been serving a year and 7 months on the mish. He showed up last night and seems friendly.

New companion

We now how one more companionship living in our house. Last week their contract ended and we moved them into our house. It's a little crammed, but the other elders are cool. One of them is brand new, an American, who was in the Provo MTC for 13 weeks while waiting for a visa.

Elder De Jesus and I had some ups and downs, but by the time transfers came around, we'd become good friends. I wanted to stay with him one more transfer. It seems that when you really grow to love your companion or your ward, that transfers go down....but that's life.
When we found out that Elder De Jesus was going to be transferred, we visited a lot of our baptisms and members. We also took some sweet pics. I'll send you guys some.

Yesterday I got letters! It's been a while. I got 10. Thanks to all you faithful letter writers out there. One of my favorites was a letter from Manaus. It was from Kamila, a young woman that Elder Christensen and I baptized back in Lagoa Verde. It caught me by surprise and I really enjoyed the letter. Sometimes the mish can be frustrating. There have been nights where I just lay in bed and wonder if I'm really making a difference. If these people will even remember me in 10 years. But, in the letter, Kamila thanked me for all that I did for her and said that I was an essential part in not only her baptism, but also in her being an active member of the church. Rapaz. It was really touching to get that letter and it made me realize that even when the mish is hard, it's hot, and I feel like nothing is going right, that because of some of my efforts, somebody's life was changed. That letter was one of the favorites I've gotten.

She reminded me of a story that I don't think I shared with you guys. If I did, sorry, I'll share it again. I even consider it to be a miracle of the mission. To review, Kamila was from some crazy church, and after a long time of teaching and deep doctinal discussions (with the occassional good spirited Bible-bash...) she finally decided she wanted to be baptized. Her mom was from some other crazy church in Manaus, and wasn't going to let her get baptized. It seemed after trying to convince her mom for some time, everybody was starting to give up. One night we went to visit Kamila and she was pretty upset. She thought her mom would never allow her to be baptized. I then reached for my scriptures, opened up to 1 Nephi 3:7, and (looking back, with my horrible Portuguese) I read the scripture, testified and promised that the Lord would provide a way for her to be baptized. Within 2 days, her mom allowed her to be baptized and a few weeks later I was transferred. I almost forgot about that story, but in her letter, Kamila thanked me for sharing that scripture and said it was the perfect scripture for the perfect moment. I consider it to only be inspiration. But, sei lá. When I feel like nothing is going right, it feels great to be able to read that even one little experience- months ago-
is still remembered by someone that I had the privilege and honor to teach and baptize. It's times like that, that make the mission all worth it for me.

Eric as Clark Kent

But anyways, hope you guys have a great week. I'll send some pics. Love you guys e tchau

-Elder Eric C. Stapley

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