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 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 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 a├žai 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!

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 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!

-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.


Elder Eric Stapley