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 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!

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 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

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Terra Nova

Hey Guys,

Well, it's been another week. Transfers went down. I'm still in my same area with my same comp, which really isn't any surprise. I'm happy to be here for another transfer. I was a little bummed that 3 of my best friends in this district got transferred. One of the guys was my roommate in the CTM and we've become really good friends. First, they told him he wasn't going to be transferred, so we were stoked to stay in neighboring wards, but later he got a call saying he was moving after all. He went to some little island city in the middle of the Amazon. I still have a bunch of other friends in the district, so that's nice.

The work is still going well. One of the teenage girls we're teaching just went to girls' camp and is excited for her baptism. She's integrated with the youth. Good stuff....

This morning we played soccer (it just wouldn't be p-day without soccer) and we made Mexican food at my house again. I'm starting to improve my soccer skills. I had a sweet header and some good goals/jukes. I think it's because of my Argentina jersey...My new nickname...Messi.

This week I made DVDs for the couples that were just married and baptized. They turned out pretty well. Alcione (one of the brides) even started crying when she watched it. We eat lunch at her house every Tuesday, and yesterday she thanked me for teaching her and her family. She said we were like angels that showed up on her front porch at the right time. Her mom (who's kinda against the church) always calls us "gum"- because we don't go away. Alcione said she's alright with that though because she says, "we were sent from heaven to her door." It was a nice feel good moment on the mission. Their family also accepted my challenge to give a book of Mormon to a friend this week. I'm stoked.

Let's see...what else went down this week. Oh yeah. Elder Wolfe got pretty sick on Monday. We were coming back from transfer meeting and on the bus when he went really pale and almost passed out. I asked someone to give up their seat for him. When we got to lunch, he didn't eat and ended up lying down and resting all during lunch. After that we just went home. He had a pretty bad fever and was shaking and stuff. But, after tylenol, a lot of water, rest and a blessing, he got better and we were able to work yesterday. I'm pretty sure he thought he was going to die. I'm glad I've not had to go to the hospital (other than to give an occasional blessing).

We had a good sacrament meeting this week. A lot of really good testimonies on missionary work. We were called "angles" several times. One of my favorite testimonies was from a man that gave us a reference last week. We taught the first lesson to his friend - with him there- and it went pretty well. I had the member share his testimony. On Sunday, he shared part of that in his testimony and even started to cry when he was telling about our experience. He said he felt the same Spirit when we taught that he had felt when he was baptized. That same spirit had converted him and changed his life. He then bore his testimony on missionary work and said he was grateful for the missionaries in the ward. It was a really good testimony meeting.

Have you sent more taco seasoning? We are preparing the biggest 4th of July party ever. No joke. We're having a bbq also. Could you throw in some bbq sauce? (my comp is from the south) Thanks!

Just another week in the life. Work, rain, sun, soccer, teaching, and trying to mark weddings and baptisms. Hope all is going well at home.

Love you!

-Elder Eric C. Stapley

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Terra Nova

What's up guys?

Sou eu! So yeah. We had a pretty good week. Marking baptisms and weddings and such. Just the life. It looks like on June 13th that we'll have 3 baptisms (3 teenage girls....) and we marked another wedding for July. Not too bad. It's usually against my personal principles to teach a lot of teenage girls, but they were references from members, so what can I do? The ward seems pretty appreciative about it. I'm getting a lot of support from the members and leadership, which is great. Yesterday, when I mentioned we marked another wedding, I was asked if I was trying to beat the record of Elder Davies (he was here about a year ago and had tons of weddings). I responded, "sure, why not?" Another member said, "I don't get how you guys baptize so many people and have so many baptism dates set. You are 2 Americans who can't even speak Portuguese straight!" It was meant for a joke...but it's nice getting support from people in the ward.

I've been really impressed with the last couples that were married. Especially one woman that was baptized. She asked me this week if she can start having family night with her family even though she hasn't been confirmed yet. I love that! One of the families has already made a goal to never miss a day of church this year and made a goal to go to the temple here in a years time. So cool! I love these guys!

So, Elder Wolfe is coming along with the Portuguese. I'm trying to help him and be a good trainer. I sometimes forget how hard it was to learn, but I'm trying to help. He's good though and here in a few months he'll speak well. I feel like my Portuguese isn't as good as it was a few weeks ago because I speak English with him a lot. I can still say everything, but it takes a little longer to think in Portuguese again...He's a good guy though and really has a desire to work hard.


Sunday was stake conference here. It was cool. Pres and Sister spoke. Not a ton of people went, but it was still cool. We are teaching a lot of lessons and have a lot of people to teach. We are working a lot with referrals and teaching a lot.

It's starting to turn into summer again, and it's getting hot! In August and September it will get a lot hotter. I'm not looking forward to it.

Our lunch appt fell through last week. So we got together with some other Elders and made Mexican food! I finally found something that resembles a tortilla, so we made it with the taco mix you sent and everything. It turned out so good! The Brazilians were impressed. I can honestly say it was one of the best meals on my mish!

We have transfers on Saturday. I'm pretty much positive that I'll stay here. It's possible I'll leave, but really not likely. Our district leader is probably leaving, and at our district meeting this week we took bets who the new one would be.

Anyway, that's pretty much what went down this week. I've got Elder Wolfe hooked on avocado smoothies and açai. Hope all is well. Have a great week.
Love you guys!

-Elder Eric Stapley