Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday, June 28th

Hey! So I am in Portugal now! It is so pretty! I love it. It is kinda warm now though. But I am in Viseu, Portugal. My address for sending me letters is:
Ave. Antonio José de Almeida
Lote 4-352
Apt. 302 3º Dto.
Viseu 3510-044
Ok, I have my flash drive so I will do that from now on. Thank you for sending me that. One of the RMs said that his mom would just send those flat rate envelopes with the cushiony bubbly things and she would just stuff it full. Há. He said it was cheaper that way. So ya. Anyways, I don't have much time to write. But I thought I would just give you my address and let you know I made it here ok. Love you! I will be able to write on Monday.
Love Sister Amanda Stokes

Wednesday, June 26th

My card that I have wont work here... So I don't think I can call without it costing a lot. And I have a question. We are here in London and I don't know what to do because I think that I got pick-pocketted... My camera is missing and I have that yellow bag that isn't zipped up and I thinksomeone took it out so I just lost ALL of my pictures. I seriously feel like crying... But I don't know what to do cause I am out of a camera.Should I just buy one here? Or do you want to send me the one in my room that small black one? But I need a camera and I don't know what to do. I have 5 minutes left on here so if you read this know please respond! I seriously feel like crying.... This is so lame but I am not letting it bother me yet. But maybe it just hasnt hit that I just lost my pictures...

Tuseday June 25th

So, I thought that I would be able to call you guys but at the Salt Lake airport we didnt have enough time and here at the Texas airport we can't find phones! Ok, we found two different spots that had two pay phones, but they were all out of service! So I cant call and I am sooo sad.. I even bought two calling cards and i cant call in london i dont think but i have to go cause our flight is boarding! but who knows maybe i will find a way to call love you though!!!!

Monday June 24th

Hey! So just so you know I can call you tomorrow at the airport. We leave here at 11 so whenever it is that we get to the airport and can call that is when I can call. I can try calling again in Texas too. But who knows what will happen. (: So I will call your cell phone so make sure you have it. It takes a ton of minutes just to call! So please answer! :) And I may send another box of stuff through that pick up thing so it is free but maybe annalisa could grab it for me. But I'm not sure if I will but I will let you know. I will write more later love you

Monday, June 24, 2013

MTC June 24th

Monday June 24th

So this week has been fantastic. Why? Because I got to be in the same room with our General Authorites!!! And super close too! I can't tell you how amazing that was! And the spirit I felt when they walked into the room and sat down was amazing! That was the first time I have ever seen any of them in person! I was super happy. There were many tears that day. I think for a lot of people in there actually. But guess what!? Me and Elder Russell M. Nelson got eye contact and I waved at Elder Oaks and he saw me wave and he waved back at me! And when he waved all the missionaries around me that saw waved back at him. But his initial wave was to me! (: I was so excited!!!!! Ha. I know it is cheasy, but I think I get more excited about our church leaders than the worldly celebrities. So I honestly can't believe right now that I leave tomorrow! Tomorrow! Where has the time gone!? I am seriously going to miss it here at the MTC and everyone here that I have grown to love! I get a little longer with my district, but not much... :( My teachers (Brother Taylor and Brother Chamberlin) Have been fantastic! I will miss them. Especially Brother Taylor! He got so close to us! And he brought some of his mission pictures and shared with us his stories. I don't think I told you this but he came and ate lunch with us one time. I think he ate everything he could chose from in the cafeteria! He had so much food! Lol. But the World-wide Broadcast was amazing, and i was on tv!!!! We found out after it was over and went back to our classroom to see if they had already posted it on that new website. And they had! So we opened it and watched just the parts where we sang to see what we sounded like and to see if we were seen. And we were! Our entire district, every single one of us got a close up more so! And that made me so happy because- I know it is cheasy- but I prayed that we would be able to be on it. During our rehearsals they practiced with the cameras and we didn't get on once, but I told Heavenly Father that I don't care about being seen on the screen during the practices, but I asked Him if it was ok with Him if I could be on it just once so my family can see me and make them really excited and happy! (: I told Him I knew it wasn't an important prayer, but that it did mean a lot to me. And He really did answer my prayer! Better than I could have ever asked for! us Sisters were seen twice and our elders as well, and then the picture they used on their website to click on, it is of us Sisters again! (: Heavenly Father answers prayers even if they don't seem like they are that important of a prayer or you don't think He would care to answer such a prayer, He does! He really does and it is absolutely amazing! Another example is one of our Sisters, Sister Dumis, we found out didn't get her visa. And they had already given her her travel plans before telling her she didn't have her visa. (I don't know why or what happened with that) But she was devastated. She was so sad she was going to be left behind. Honestly our district is so close. We are a family. And we wanted her to come with us. So we all fasted on Saturday for her. And it just so happened that for lunch on Saturday, they had grilled hamburgers. And they were grilling outside for hours! It smelled AMAZING throughout the entire campus! And Elder Zaccaria has been wanting a cheeseburger for weeks! And he would always talk about it. It was so hard! But we all stayed strong and fasted for Sister Dumis even though everywhere we went made our mouths water. haha. And just today Sister Dumis went down to the travel office and the lady said she didn't have her visa still and that she would talk to some guy to see what he wanted to do. Either keep her here or re-assign her. She was so sad. But then Some other guy a little bit later told her that her visa had just come in two minutes ago!!! (: So she got her visa and is coming with us!!!! Our fast worked! And I am so glad because it was a difficult fast. But we all believed that if it was ok with the Lord and it was what He wanted to happen, she wouldget her visa and would come with us! :) I am so greatful for the opportunity to be out here on a mission. I can't tell you how much my testimony has grown. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He was an amazing man. I hope to develope the faith that he had. I have grown to respect and admire him so much more since being here. There is no way anyone would go through what he did without this gospel being true. And I still can't believe everything he went through just for holding true to what he knew and for obeying The Lord. But how greatful I am to him. I honestly want to go and give him the biggest hug after this life for what he has done for all of us. I know without a doubt that this gospel is true. And I am so thankful for it everyday of my life, and I can't wait to get over to Portugal to share the sweet message that we have that will bless every person that is willing to listen and learn for themselves the truthfulness of the message we teach. I know this is the Lord's church restored on the earth. I love you all so much! Never forget that!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)
p.s I can't send pictures still... The computers that let us attach pictures is in building 1M and all the mission presidents are in there so we aren't allowed in. Ha. So one more week and I can send some home! (: Sorry.... Love ya! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday, June 18th

So guess what!!!!??? I leave in exactly ONE WEEK!!! Well technically, less than one week now! Cause I leave next tuesday at 11 am!!! I can't believe how fast the time has gone by it is crazy! But I can't tell you how excited I am. Though I don't want to say goodbye to my district! Luckily we are flying together most the way. Though we are split into two groups. We fly together to Texas. Then in Texas my group leaves an hour before the other group and we fly to London! Yes London! Though there we have a 3 hour lay over! So hopefully we cn go out and walk around! But I don't know if we can. But that would be fantastic! Though I guess we are at an airport so we can't really go anywhere outside. But I don't know if I can call home without it costing a lot in London... I will have to find out. But just stay around a phone and I will call when I can. :) Though in london that will be in the early morning for you guys and I think we figured our plane leaves from London to Portugal at 8:05 in the morning. So I guess I can just call and we will find out if you are able to answer. (: Ok, so I have a blonde moment I thought I would share. So our alarm goes off in the morning and the first thing I do is grab my toothbrush and toothpaste and walk like a zombie to the bathroom to brush my teeth. So I chose the sink next to Sister king, and I go to put my toothpaste on my toothbrush but I look down and see that I am holding two tubes of toothpaste in my hands! I was so embarrassed and Sister King just laughed at me. So I had to run back to my room and make the exchange. It was morning though, so I was so tired, but even so, I don't think a tube of toothpaste feels that much like my electric toothbrush. ha. Ok. I seriously can't believe Steffani is officially graduated and she is going to college!!! Or is at college. That just blows my mind! Did she get a lap top for her senior "second" gift? Ha. Ok so the Devotionals on tuesday night have officially been changed to be held over at the Marriot Center on BYU campus!! I love it! We get to go on a little walk over to the marriot center now. Though we only get to go one more time this sunday because of that world-wide leadership training meating broadcast! And we are singing in it, and I am so excited because the President Thomas S. Monson is speaking at it! We are all so excited! And it was perfect timing! Right before I leave! So I am now going to remind myself of this quote given at one of our devotionals every time I look at another person. Especially when it is someone that tends to annoy me (and I mean that in the nicest way possible.) He said, "When our spirits first came into our bodies, they were as pure as the angels in Heaven." I love that! It is so important to remember that every single person that has or will live on this earth once lived with God. They were once the sweetest and kindest spirit. And they were on God's side during the war in heaven. We need to see people with who they truly are (children of God) and for who they can become (heirs of God's Kingdom and much more depending on what they decide is important to them and what they want after this life.) Just thought I would share that. It made me tear up a little. So I hope it means something to you as well. So I got to host the new missionaries! They are seriosly the cutest things! They are so excited their family is so sad to let them go, and they ask me lots of questions and think I just know everything there is to know about everything because I have been here for 4 or 5 weeks. Ha. I love it! Sister King has been sick for the past week and a half! Elder Zaccariah started it and Sister King then got it from him. But I still haven't gotten it! I am so happy! I am super surprised too cause I am with Sister King 100% of the time except when we go back to our redidence to get ready for bed. But I have been praying to not get it so I think I am being blessed. (: So we got to go on a little trip because Sister King auditioned with a musical number. She sang and another Sister played the piano for her. She got a "yes" and she was assigned to sing at the welcoming of the Elderly couple missionaries! It was amazing! And the church was one of the older churches so the set up of it was unique and it was so pretty! It felt awesome getting out of the MTC gates! ha. The only other times is when we go to the temple or if we go up to the field or sand volleyball area for gym. We played sand volleyball for the first time as a district yesterday. It was soooo fun! Though it was early so the sund wasn't out from behind the mountain and the sand made my feet freezing!! So Me Sister King and Sister Hancock went and put our socks back on to play. it was so fun! (: Though Sister hancock got hit in the face with the Volleyball! It was so sad and funny. I would tell you the story but I don't have time. So i officially got out of speaking at Sacrament meeting!!!!! Haha. I didn't know if I would or not. And you know our talk has to be in Portuguese, though it is only a 4-5 minute talk. But the only person in our district that had to talk was Elder Bowden. Cause next sunday is the broadcast! I am so excited! Well I just love it here at the MTC! I hope everything back home is going well! I can't believe all that things that have happened since i have been gone! And I can't believe Steff is so old and Cass can drive and Annalisa is married! Ah! Well I know I am where I am supposed to be. And I have been so blessed in learning the language. i realized the other day that I know a lot of words that I definitely could not have remembered or retained without the Lord's help. It is crazy and it is amazing! I love you all! Remember that Heavenly Father loves you all so much! And I love you all so much!
Love Sister Stokes

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

MTC Photos June 11, 2013

The one where we are laying on the ground we were so tired that after lunch just before class (cause we got to class a tad early) we just layed on the ground and it felt sooo good!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

   Ok can I just say that it so so weird that Steffy is done with High School!? I seriously can't believe that! But I love it! She looks so stinking cute in her graduation clothes. :) What day was graduation on? Did it feel weird having it at Foothill? (That is where they had it right??) Ok so this past week has gone by so fast! I feel like I just emailed home. Though my last email wasn't very long and I am sorry about that I ran out of time. But it is crazy, I feel like time is slowly speeding up more and more. It is crazy! Like I seriously can't believe that I have been here for 4 weeks already! I leave to go to Portugal in 2!!!! I am soooo excited!!!! Though it makes me realize I am not even close to having the language down like I would like. Ha. I can say prayers and bare my testimony and talk about gospel things and Christ. But I don't know how to have a normal conversation! Lol. But I know I have been blessed in the time that I have spent here so far. I am surprised at how much I have been able to ratain with only having studied it or glances at it but a few times. It is amazing! I have never felt more smart and yet so humbled. Without the Lord I am nothing, but with Him, anything is possible. I am holding onto that and I know that it is so true. I know that if I do everything I can to serve and love others and only try to do the Lord's Will and not worry about what I want that I will be blessed and I will be able to more fully bless the lives of others. I am honestly getting so excited to leave! Though the language thing still makes me nervous, but I know that it will come as I continue to study and try my best to learn it. So funny thing. I was talking to another Sister in line waiting to get my food and she asked where I was going. She then said wait, and then she guessed Brazil. Ha. Everyone always thinks you are going to Brazil if you are speaking Portuguese. It is funny. But I told her no and that I was actually going to Portugal. She then asked if I was a native and already knew the language! Ha. That made me happy. That is the second time someone has thought I was from a place like that. (in this case I'm not sure if she meant Brazil or Portugal) The other time was from another Sister that was from Brazil I think, and she asked me if I was from there. I guess I look Brazilian or something. (: I love it! I took it as a compliment. So I will fit right in! I am hoping that once I get the language down really well people will ask me if I am native. One of our teachers said that is the best compliment he has ever received. So I am soooo excited! Have you guys heard about some kind of a missionary broadcast thing that is going to be taking place on the 23rd??? This is right before I leave and I get to attend! I am singing in the choir, my whole district will be singing in the choir. There will be like 1200 maybe more missionaries singing in the choir and then that many more members singing. And we have been told that President Thomas S. Monson will be the one speaking at it! I can't wait! And today, or tonight is our tuesday devotional so it will be the very first devotional we will have in the Marriot Center on the BYU campus. I love it! I get to do new fun things! So I may be on t.v. singing in the choir. So you should definitely watch it! I am seriously so excited! I guess we just have way too many missionaries here at the MTC. It is fabulous! Oh and yes I got the package thank you so much! You are the best! That came quickly too. (: Ryan is going to Puru!? Super fun! The girl that asked me if I was a native is going to Puru and already knows the language so she is only here for like a week. Oh and I didn't bring my clogging shoes. Ha you can really do that on your mission!? I love that! Do you know who set that up for him to teach the people clogging?? That would be so fun! And I would love to see Gary over there! Hopefully we are in the same area at that point. That would be fantastic! So me and Sister King made this goal that we aren't going to eat deserts except for Sunday and Wednesday. (: I haven't gained any weight and I am so glad because everyone says that they gain weight here. Ha. But we are gym buddies and we run a mile at each gym time and use the weight machines a little bit for our arms and then do abs. It is fantastic! Even though volleyball is fun. I did it many times but I just want to work out. (: Um... so I can't remember if I told you this already. I may have and if so sorry. But I got called to be the Sister Training leader of our zone. Me and Sister King both of course. So it is like being a zone leader but for the sisters. Brother Christofferson calls us the sister zone leaders because it is easier. Lol. I love all of our leaders and teachers. They are all amazing people and they all have such tender testimonies. Can I just tell you how grateful I am to have this opportunity to be on a mission and to serve the Lord and His people over in Portugal for 18 months? :) Well I guess technically 16 1/2 relatively once I leave. I have heard so many good things about Portugal and that the missionary work over their is just booming and that the people are super nice and loving. So I can't wait! But I am so sad to think I am going to have to say bye to my district in two weeks. We have all become so close! I love all of them. Well I hope everyone is doing well back home and I hope everyone is staying safe! I love you all! Never forget how much the Lord loves each and every one of you. And trust me, He is more involved in our lives than we know. Till next week! :)
Love Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday, June 4th 3rd week

Dear Familia,
So here are some pictures. The cupcakes are from Jason's mom. I was so excited when I got them. That was really nice of her to do that. I put in a picture of my bed (: Ha. So you can see what it looks like and I posted some of my pictures on the wall. The one with the elder wearing glasses, yes, those are my glasses. ha. he wanted to see them. He says he is on the verge of needed glasses and wanted to try mine on. And I thought it was funny so I took a picture. In the one of me and Sister King. We are wet becuase that night we got locked out of our room! And we all left our keys in the room! So we had to run over to the front desk to get a spare key. But since we were all ready for bed we had to go around the building because it is a dedicated builing so they made us go around, and lo and behold, it was pouring rain! Sister King described it as "a waterfall from the sky" haha. we counted to three and ran! At the end sister king held the key up high all triumphantly and said we got it. haha. it was so funny! Oh, and at one point I stepped in a hidden puddle (or I just wasn't paying attention) and it scared me so bad that I let out a squeel! ha. It made Sister King laugh. I was super embarassed. But yeah so we took a picture when we got back to our room. Ok so I have like no time left... But this past week has been amazing! I know we are being so blessed with the language. And it is so crazy! I can tell the difference between how good I am with the language depending upon whether I have the spirit or not. Cause when I don't it is so much harder for me to call upon words but when I have it I can talk so much better and the words just come! It is the coolest thing! I love it. And I am so grateful becuase I have been so comforted since I have gotten here. Like, I should and would normally be stressing a ton with everything I have to do and everything that is required of me. But I feel at peace and I just feel fabulous! But I am out of time sadly. So I just want everyone to know how much I love it here! And how involved the Lord is in this work! It is so amazing! I love you all and I will make sure I leave more time for me to write longer next week! I love you guys so much and I miss you!
Love your daughter and sister (and friend!)
Sister Amanda Stokes