Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28, 2013

Family & Friends!!! (:

So this past week was fabulous! Our district has already grown so close and I love it. We finished teaching our first investigator and we got to teach our second one for the first time yesterday! Can I just tell you that it was soooo hard! Our teacher (Brother Chamberlin-who was our first investigator actually- yeah took me a little bit to get used to him not being Vander. Haha) gave us all our own investigater (And they are all investiger's that he had taught on his own mission. So that is pretty cool) But he took a long time to finally decide on one for me and Sister King. He said it had to be a good one. And holy cow it was hard! Haha. The guy we got lives on his own and his whole family are members. But he doesn't get along with his family and he doesn't want to do anything we ask him to do. He wants to feel God's love for him, but he won't pray. We finally got him to say he would think about praying. But it was so hard. We had planned to talk to him about families and the importance of families. But he straight up told us he did NOT want to talk about families. So our whole lesson went out the door and we had to try and go from there with no rehearsed or practiced lines in Portuguese. It was pretty hard. But it was amazing because at one point I felt the spirit and I started to tear up because I was telling him that I know that God loves him and that if he will sincerely pray to God, that He will let him feel of His love. And it was then I felt the spirit enter the room, and after my companion said she felt it too. So I know Nathan (our investigater's name) felt it as well. At least I hope he did, and I don't know how he couldn't have. But I honestly felt so much love towards him and I don't even know him. I thought that was such an amazing testimony builder. And it helps to remind just how much God loves all of his children. No matter where they are in their life. Nathan likes to drink, party, smoke, and just kinda go his own way. But that doesn't even matter. Well, I mean it does. But I had started to love him anyways. Even though he was being very difficult. Haha. It was weird. I don't think I have ever felt like that before. Normally I would have just gotten frusterated and wouldn't want to keep trying. But I felt an urge to help him strengthen his relationship with God and to try and get him to pray and to understand the importance of prayer. As well as the big difference prayer makes in ones life. Even though we didn't get much out of  him. I definitely learned a lot in that first lesson with him. I hope our second lesson will go better and that he will be more willing to try the things we ask him to do so that he will be able to feel for himself the love of God and to feel His spirit. So at gym the past two times we played volleyball. I have decided I actually really like volleyball again. Haha. I felt like I was doing really good. And Elder Lee said I was doing good. So I felt pretty good about myself. ;P Ha. JK. Anyways, I had picked up the volleyball to toss under the net to the other team to serve, and as I tossed it, I hit Sister Dumis (one of the Sister missionaries in my district) right in the back! And she was standing just in front of me! I was so embarrassed! I don't know how that happened! I mean usually it is the case that you missed something, but in this case I had tons of room to miss, and I actually HIT. Everyone laughed. I mean it was funny but I couldn't believe I had just done that. Sister King said Sister Dumis's face was priceless when it happened. Haha. Sister Dumis thought it was the funniest thing! Anyways, so the food here is super good! I don't know why I always heard how the food sucks. I mean I don't know what people are used to eating, or maybe they improved the food. I honestly don't know. But I love it. So I am grateful. Though I am avoiding the chocolate milk. Haha. Though I let myself have it like twice or maybe three times so far. But the past two days I have been trying to only get two glasses of water. Cause I am always dehydrated. And they give us legitamate (I don't know if I spelled that right.) meals. So just having water works perfectly well! So I think I should bring my journal with me when I go to email. Cause honestly I can't remember what I wanted to say. Ha. Honestly some days it feels like something we did that morning happened two days ago. The time here feels so weird! The days are so long and so it feels like they never end, yet at the same time I can't believe I have almost been here for two weeks already! I seriously don't understand it. ha. So I think it is a curse and a blessing at the same time. (: JK. Anyways. We are teaching our 3rd investigater tomorrow. And he will be Brother Taylor (Our teacher from day one), so I am super excited for it. I think it will be fun. (: He went to Brazil so we were learning Brazilian Portuguese. I may have already told you this in my last email. But I really don't remember. But switching over to Portugal Portuguese is really hard. Brazilian Portuguese is a lot easier than Portugal Portuguese! So that first time we switched over we were all overwhelmed. haha. But it is good. I love it because we can understand Brazilians perfectly well, but Brazilians have a harder time understanding us (Well, once I learn the language). So thats kinda cool. It is almost like I will know two languages! Well two languages and a dialect ;P Anyways, I am loving it here. And I still think Sunday's and P-days are my favorite days! But I am so excited to be a part of this work. I can't wait to get to know the people over in Portugal! Heck, I have already started loving our "investigater's" that we have here and technically they aren't even real! So I am so excited! I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve the Lord and my testimony has already grown in the short time that I have been here. It is absolutely amazing how much the Lord blesses us as we prepare to serve His children. I can't wait to make people happy! I love you all! Till next week! (:
<3 Sister Stokes

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

1st Week MTC

MTC in Provo 1st week

1st Email Part 2 May 21, 2013

So.... I just found out that I actually get more time!!!! I didn't realize it but I am excited. I was gonna say I didn't get to finish saying everything that I wanted to say. Though I am not a big fan of their keyboards. They kind of tire my fingers to type. Haha. But thats ok. So my district is fabulous!!! I absolutely love them and I think I have the best one here at the MTC! So I know we are all being blessed in learning our different languages. Becuase I know I never would have learned AND retained nearly as much language as I have been able to since I have been here. Not even close! Cause I tried! Haha. Same with everyone else who is learning aanguage. It is amazing! It is just another thing that has really strengthened my testimony. So, we are in our classrooms for a while during the days and we have rolling chairs! Ha. We love them! Though we don't get to just roll around in them often. But when we go out in the hallway to talk with our companion for a sec for our little "interview" at least we did it once, we got to roll out in our chairs. It was super fun. I will have to take a picture of the chairs. Actually. I have a picture of Sister Dumis and Sister Hancock in their chairs in the classroom. So I think in that picture you can see the wheels. But yeah. (: Elder Zaccarias loves it the most I think. Cause he will spin in circles in his chair. Haha. That is when he can. But the food is actually really good. So I don't know why people have ever complained about the MTC food. Oh! I will attach some pictures also to send home. The Blonde one is Sister King. The light-ish brown haired one is Sister Dumis, and the other blonde haired one - with longer hair - is Sister Hancock. They are amazing people! I have come to really love each of them. Before we go to bed we have prayer all together and then after prayer, we do "I love you's" So basically the person who said the prayer that night starts and they chose someone to say why they love them. And usually it was because of something that happened or they did that way. Or it is just because of their personality or whatever. Then we move to the next person and we go in a circle so everyone gets told they are loved by one of us. I love it! I think it has also helped us to get really close. I will definitely be sad when it comes time for us to leave and get new companionships. So we got to go to the temple this morning. Super early this morning. We went to the 6:20 session. But it was really nice cause it gave us more time in the day. And we get to wear jeans today and flip flops! Haha. Though I actually really like dressing up all the time. I didn't think I would like it so much. But it is nice being able to dress down once a week. (: So... there was something I was going to ask for but now I can't remember cause I didn't write it down... Oh! one thing was Judy's email. I was going to write her and she gave me her email address but I forgot to write it down to bring with me. Another thing is Cheyann's address. I didn't write that down either.... So if you could send me those two things that would be fabulous! So it is the weirdest thing. We study a lot and so we are constantly tired. Yet at the same time we aren't. It is like we are mentally drained and exhausted but physically we are feeling great! So it is a super weird feeling. And it makes it hard to keep my eyes open sometime. But somehow we are able to do it and get through the day. Our language teacher told us someone counted up the amount of hours spent in the classroom throughout the MTC for their 9 weeks. They totalled it up to about 21 days. Crazy! But we do it! I am just so glad that we have the Lord's help. Cause honestly I definitely could not be doing this without having a testimony of Him and knowing that He is there and will help us every step of the way. I know I definitely could not have succeeded in everything I have thus far without his help. I have been blessed so much so far. It is incredible. I want you guys to know that I have a firm testimony of this gospel and it means everything to me. And that I know we can come to know the truthfulness of anything as we humble ourselves and earnestly pray to God with all our hearts. We have so much to be grateful for! We have been royally blessed! I am so grateful everyday to have the basic necessities of life. Cause there are people out there who do not. So I hope we are able to remember and not take advantage of all the blessings in our lives and to reach out and help those in need. I am so excited for the next 5 weeks here at the MTC! It has already proved to be so uplifting and amazing. I know the next upcoming weeks will be even better! Expecially as I continue to get the language down. I love you guys and you are all in my prayers!
 Love Sister Stokes

1st Email May 21, 2013

So I didn't get a single email from you guys!? What the heck! I did get mom's Dear Elder letter. But the only people I have heard from was mom, grandma, Jason. Anna (Jason's mom), and taralyn. So I would like to thank them!!! I was so excited to get letters and emails! I actually understand now why it is missionaries make it such a big deal! So I LOVE it here at the MTC. It is challenging with the language. But I thought it would be more difficult the first week. Everyone always says to just make it to Sunday. And I made it! We have now taught our investigator three times. He "only" speaks Portuguese so it was definitely challenging. But me and Sister King felt so good after our third lesson. We had the spirit with us that time and it just went really well. Even though we did struggle with communicating, the feeling in the room was peaceful and we could tell the spirit was with us. So I ablsolutely love sundays. It was incredible. Especially Relief Society with all us sisters. We started out singing "As Sisters in Zion" but with MTC lyrics. The spirit was so strong I honestly have no words to describe how I felt and how I know every single sister in that room felt. I definitely needed that. And honestly, I ahve never before in my entire life felt closer to heaven than I did during those few minutes as we stood and sung that song. I hope to get the lyrics they made for that song because they are just amazing. So I just realized I am being times and I only have 30 seconds left... But I love it here and it has definitely increased my testimony a ton! I love you all!
Love Sister Stokes