Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hey guys,

Well it's another week. I’ll start with responding to some questions. I’m technically still junior... I’m still a little "young" to turn senior, but I really thought Pres was going to let me turn senior. But my comp, Elder Lopes just turned senior this transfer and I’m able to help him a bit. And no, I’m not opening an area, but the last missionary that was here is now home in the U.S and it sounds like they didn’t really work that much. But, I’m trying to invite people to get baptized and mark some dates. My comp was amazed that I asked someone to get baptized after talking with him for only 20 minutes or so....but you just gotta do it. He ended up we'll see how that goes. But it looks like we will have a wedding/baptism this month if everything goes right. I’m working on it....

My comp is from São Paulo--another Brazilian. It's been a while since I’ve had a conversation in English. He’s a nice guy. He’s really trying to be a good senior....With all my comps I usually liked to tell stories about home and stuff. I asked him what he liked to do Saturday nights and he told me he liked to go to institute. That’s pretty much it. I like him though.

So, this area is pretty gnarly. Lots of hills. Lots! We cross rivers, walk across tree trunk bridges, hike up stairs cut out of the side of the hill... it can be a little tiring at times....but it's kinda a cool area.

Our ward split on Sunday. It was a cool experience. The new bishop’s "testimony" seemed more like an Oscar acceptance speech to me than a testimony. My favorite line was: "I’ve been a member of the church 17 years and have only missed church 1 time!" Gotta love it...

So, this has been an interesting last 2 weeks. I’ve had to deal with harder/stranger situations in these past 2 weeks than I have in my mission. Two weeks ago when I was in Porto Velho all of our commitments fell through one day so we ended up visiting a member. Turns out the day before she found out that she would lose her unborn child (she’s pregnant) and ended up telling me about it just the day after. She was rightfully pretty upset about it. This week we visited a less active family and talked to them about going to church. The wife really wants to go to church with all the kids, but her husband just wants to play soccer all Sunday. "Soccer is sacred on Sunday." We talked to another less active family where the wife gets beat by her drunk husband. We went to one of our commitments that was supposed to be with a member family and some of their relatives. But the husband of the member family was at a bar with the father of the relatives. So we went to the bar, convinced them to go back to their house and taught them the Word of Wisdom. And to top it off, we found another inactive family. They went inactive when the father of the family killed the wife’s brother. The wife has since been divorced, but hasn’t been back to church because her old ward pretty much just abandoned her and told her how condemned her husband was. Talk about an easy week! In almost all these circumstances, all I could think was, "what can I say? I’m a 19 year old kid..." But I can honestly say that the Lord really guides missionaries. In all these situations all I did was pray and ask the Lord to tell me what I could tell these people. I ended up saying things in some of these circumstances that I can’t say I could have even planned before the moment. It was a testimony builder to me that the Lord really gave me the words to say in the moment. Hopefully, I was able to help somebody out. But it’s been an interesting week...

Let’s see...what else went down this week... Elder Holland comes on the 20th and 21st. I’m stoked. My zone here is pretty sweet. I’ve got some good friends here and it looks like we'll have some pretty sweet P-days in the future. I’m stoked for general conference this weekend--I need a few hours to just sit down.

Oh yeah. Our house is pretty gnarly....I take my showers outside. I think the water pressure of the shower rivals our sink. And that’s not "your" sink in the U.S, because I KNOW that has more water pressure than the shower here. I’m talking about my sink here in Brazil. I know you guys are jealous....I’ll send a pic sometime.

But, yeah, pretty much just that. Loving life, working hard. Just the life. But hope all is going well with you guys. Until next week. Tchau!

-Elder Eric Stapley

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