Monday, July 29, 2013

July 22nd

 Me and Sis Brooks
And a baby bunny that we got to hold (there were 4) at Sofia's! There bunnies 
had babies and they are so cute!

July 22nd

This past week was hard... But thats ok. Missionary work is never supposed to be an easy thing. But we gave a church tour! It was kinda funny because I have never done that before! But João came to the church with a friend to show it to her. And it just so happend that we were there doing training stuff for me and so the church was unlocked. So we ended up showing her around. But wow! I have never met someone that can talk sooo much! Ha. We ended with the Sacrament Meeting Room and she talked for 30 minutes straight without anyone else talking. Ha. Crazy! And this was the first time we had ever met her. I am telling you the Portuguese are the biggest social butterflies I have ever met in my entire life! Usually I just run out of things to say, but they can literally go for hours if allowed. It is quite funny. So sometimes our lessons can go on forever. So João is an in-active that is starting to come back to church. We are trying to get him to find a new place to live because he is currently living with his girlfriend and he doesn't want to marry her. Sad I know... But we just taught him again yesterday, and we asked him if he is having any luck with finding a new place. Then his response was something like this. You know AnnaMaria? Well, I am thinking about moving in with her. Haha. And then Sister Brooks asks, well, you plan on marrying her before moving in right? And he responds. Oh yes of course. I want to marry her. I want to break up with my girlfriend and marry her and move in. Haha. So funny! It is actually kinda sad. But he doesn't have any money. So that is why he is living with his girlfriend. But now he wants to marry his other friend and move in with her and that solves everything. He is funny. I guess we will see what happens. So recently, since we can only listen to like hymns, Efy songs, or really old classical type music, we sing a lot without listening to music. And I have been randomly singing to the tune of church hymns, but I will change the lyrics to whatever I am thinking and Sister Brooks thinks it is the funniest thing. I love it! Plus it changes it up and it's a unique song that none of us have ever heard before. (: So as of right now, I have about 6 blisters on my feet... and two of them are on the balls of my feet... So I had to stop wearing my sandals and go back to full shoes. Which helps a lot! But then my feet burn up during the day. I guess we all have to pick and choose our battles. Ha. But I don't think I have ever had so many blisters at one point in time. It's crazy! And painful. But thats ok, it really isn't too bad with normal shoes. But me and Sister Brooks do joke about our feet falling off on certain days. Because sometimes it literally feels like they will. ;) So we went on splits! Cause sister Brooks went down to Lisbon so I was without her for a little bit. Well, almost a full day. it was so weird! Oh, I have so much more to say but I am out of time! But Armando got the Priesthood on Sunday! That is the only big news this week! Cause no one has really wanted to talk to us this week. It is really sad.... But its ok cause we have faith! Oh! And Sofia gave us a big bag of onions she picked from her garden. haha. don't know what or how we are going to use them all with. But it was super nice. Anyways, I love you guys so much! And you should get me Steffani's address! So I can write her so she will write me little punk! And tell Cass and Meg they have to write me too stinks! (: But I still love em to pieces!
Love Sister Amanda Stokes

July 29th Photos

 The picture of us outside with the table and posters. We decided to find people in a more fun and creative way. So we set up the table with all of our "free stuff" and we sang hymns and took turns contacting the people! It was awesome! We are going to do it again on Saturday. i think we said saturday. ha

 This is a bolo de berlin. It is actually super yummy!
And a big milk! It is a little different but super good! The Elders bought us our first ones. And this was my second time eating one. (: just a couple days ago

Just a pretty picture, and the clouds looked really cool. The second is outside our apt window

 Me and all the sisters!

 The moon looked really cool and with the building!

 me and sister Lofgreen

Having Fun :)

July 29th

Thank you mom!!! I am excited to get all of that! And I was getting blisters once I started wearing my sandals I bought. Cause I would wear them every day. So I think that it was just from rubbing. But they are getting better! Because I started wearing my flats with a pad thing on the back for the back of my heels because it was rubbing.That is the weirdest thing to me that Steff if going to have finished a semester of college!!!!!!!!! What is this! Lol. That is soooo crazy! Where is she going to be staying when she goes up to BYUI??? I haven't gotten the postcard. But if you sent it to the mission home I will get it this week because they will bring up all the mail from the mission home at our "emergency" zone conference. Ya, that sounds bad. Ha. But I was told it is just to boost our spirits because our whole zone is having a hard time. We haven't been having a lot of success recently. It is crazy cause the first two weeks were really good, and then we still have really good things happening. But not as often. But thats ok! We are doing everything we can to help the people here in Portugal! The only problem is they don't want to listen. And I think people have heard untrue things about our church so it makes me really sad. So a lot of people don't want anything to do with us. It just makes my heart hurt. That is soooo exciting! I really hope I get to see Gary! That would be the coolest thing! Though transfers are coming and I don't know what will happen. We shall see! Though I don't want to leave these sisters. Well, just my district in general. They are so amazing! I will miss them so much if we get split. But thats ok. Then I can think that same thing about all the new people I will meet if that happens. Ah!!! Adyson has teeth! I miss her so much! I get random cravings of wanting to hold her so bad!!! Lol. Tyson and Brittany are the luckiest parents ever!!!!! And yes, it is still a little weird for some reason to say parents when referring to them. ha. But I love it! And I can't wait because recently we have been talking about how (us sisters) we are all going to be the bestest friends because we have eternity after this life and we are all going to live with our families forever and we are all just going to be so close! It will be that greatest thing! I have never been so excited about eternal life! I think I just never really thought about it for a long period of time because I always got distracted by other things in my "past" life. But it really is such a blessing to be able to be with our family and loved ones for all of eternity. Eternities of eternity! Lol. We can't comprehend that now and it makes my head hurt just thinking about it. But I honestly just can't wait! And I am sooo grateful that we have such a good family because I know I don't have to worry about not being able to live with all of my family after this life. I have come to appreciate the temple so much more now because I have never been so focussed on helping and blessing the lives of others. And genuinely loving and caring for them. And wanting them to be an eternal family. So I am sooooo excited for Brittany and Tyson to get sealed with Addy!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am super sad that I won't be able to be there for it. But I know that when they do get sealed, it will be an amazing, spiritual experience. I am so excited for them! They are such a cute family! It makes me so excited to have my own family one day and know that I can be with them forever because of the blessings of the temple! Ok, so this is random, but I love cereal so much! and I try new ones every single week! I have never liked change so much before. And I think the reason is that my life has been the same without change for so long that I like to change as much of the little things that I can. (: Ha. So it is fun because I go into the grocery store excited to find my new cereal for the week. I know it is kinda sad. Haha. Oh! And thank you for giving Cheyanne my address! I got a letter from her and it made me sooooo happy!!!!!!!! So yesterday we were walking and a man sitting on a bench stopped us to talk with him. (In my head I was like, yes! he knows who we are and wants to know and learn more! So I got super excited!) But then further into the conversation, I realized he was kinda just trying to prove us wrong with weird theories of his. (ya, I still don't understand a lot of what people say...But I am getting better! I can understand pretty much everything the other missionaries say! Ha) So this last week, we asked if we could offer a prayer with one of the people we cantacted and had been talking with. And she said no... It was the first time anyone has ever said no to us before. It was really weird! Lol. And it just felt a little awkward. But it also kinda made me sad that she didn't want to pray. But thats ok. We told her that we know God loves her. So we ate at Sofia and Armando's house again this week. And it was a three course meal! And I felt bad because they always talk about how they work so hard for their money to pay for the food when their little boys don't eat. And just in general they mention how they don't have a lot of money. So when I saw all the food I felt bad eating it. But it was really good! We started with soup. I had a HUGE bowl and she filled it all the way to the top. By the time I finished it I felt super full. So she cleared away all of our bowls. And there were plates under the bowls, but she left the plates on the table. So I thought, oh no.... I literally can't eat anymore! Then there was a huge pot of pasta! And she grabbed my plate and completely filled it too! She gave me so much pasta. Hahaha. And I was just thinking to myself, I am going to be sick. But I was actually fine once I started eating it. And the noodles were kinda weird, but it tasted good! So that is all the mattered. And I just had to be careful with the meat again. But it doesn't make me feel sick anymore. (: Like, loosing my appetite. Ha. So I ate all of the pasta! I was glad. So she cleared the table again. And brought our four different desserts! I could only try one. Cause my stomache was literally going to explode. But I tried this dessert that was somewhat similar to some type of pudding type thing with graham? cracker type things on the top. It was really good! I actually wanted to know how to make it but I forgot to ask. But ya. That was the most I have eaten in a very long time. Lol. I don't know how it all fit. So I tried my first Bolo de Brigideiro!!! It is soooooo good!!!!! It is a chocolate cake, but it is the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever had in my life! I am actually craving it now as I talk about it. Lol. So if you guys actually do end up picking me up you have to try it! Also, that night (this was before we ate our 3 course meal) Tiago was playing in a cardboard box and it was the cutest thing! I seriously want to take him home with me! Ha. Actually, the first time I told Sofia and Armando that Tiago was seriously the cutest little boy ever! She responded and said, ya? Well, you can have him. Hahaha! It was so funny cause she sounded so serious about it. Then Armando said something about how I couldn't because I was on my mission. So she said, well not now. Then I agreed, to some point in the future. Lol. But the funny thing is I was lost and I didn't know they meant I could take him. I thought they meant I will have a child of my own just not now, but in the future. So I was serious when I said, "yes, not now, but in the future I will" >Haha. Then Sister Brooks just laughed at me and told me what they said. But I don't really have any investigator stories to tell because we currently don't have any progressing investigator stories. But Sofia (her and Armando were just recently baptized) and she is already doing missionary work! She gave a Book of Mormon to her friend. And she was talking about how her friend is going through a hard time in her life right now and how she really just needs this gospel in her life. She is amazing!!! And, Armando payed their tithing yesterday at church!!!!! They are so fantastic I love them so much! I wish I was better with this language though to be able to say and understand everything without needed Sister Brooks to give me "recaps." But I will get there in a couple months! I can't wait! So we got flirted with by a group of guys around 22 years old on Saturday. It was really weird! They were black and super funny. We shared a message with them and then after is when it got weird. Ha. The one guy that wouldn't stop trying to talk to me and looking at me asked me if I had a boyfriend and told me many times that I was beautiful and really pretty. And other stuff that I didn't really understand. I was so glad I had a language barrier! Lol. Only one of them was genuinely interested because he already had a Book of Mormon and he knows where the church is. And he was the one that came up to us. His friends showed up a little after cause they were in a store. But ya. So we invited them to a movie night that night (We were going to watch a movie about Christ) and I think the only reason they agreed to it was because they thought of it as a date. They were punks. Oh! And they wanted to take us away to their Island in Africa. And they sounded so serious! They were funny. But it was weird. And at the end they were fighting over which one of us was prettier... Sister Brooks and I were just trying to figure out how to leave! But Elias, the one that "liked" me made me stand up next to sis Brooks to "prove" I was prettier. It was sooooo weird! And he grabbed my arm. But me and Sister Brooks just laughed about it afterwards. But really, I think Sister Brooks is prettier. She is super gorgeous! But that is a problem with us, all the younger men and the old men always tell us we are beautiful. It is funny. Same with the other sisters. Anyways, I am still loving it here! Even though some days are really hard, but there is always something in our day that just makes the whole day amazing. The Lord is so good to us! But I love you guys so much!!! I hope everything at home is going well! Don't forget about me!!! Ha. JK. Till next week!!!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

 This is me and Sister Call. She is one of the other sisters in my district and the four of us live in the apartment together

And then the three of us sisters! 
Sister Brooks is taking the picture. (:

 These are also outside of our window (where me and sister Brooks study) We have a little porch thing there

 I took a picture at night outside our apartment window!

 These are my new sandals! I love them!
 This is Tiago! He is 4 and he is sooo cute!
 I want to take him home with me! (:
 This is Sophia and Armando and there family!
 They got married just before civilly and 
there baptism was later that day!


 little festa after the baptism!
Haha look at Tiago's face! He wanted it sooo bad!
 And yes, those are Tiagos hands. Haha. He was sooo excited he couldn't wait to have the chocolate cake!
 Aren't they so cute! These are the never ending stairs that we have to walk up everytime we go to the chapel. And it doesn't help that there is that steep heel just before. We get a good work out everytime. Lol.
I took a panorama outside the church's window. this is viseu! It is pretty. Though some parts are a little gross.

Monday, July 15th

This week was good. But it is hard to keep being patient when I can't understand what people are saying! But Sophia and Armando were married and baptized on Friday!!! It was fantastic! We had a little "festa" after the baptism and it turned out so well! It was to celebrate their wedding and baptism. I made sooo many sandwhich's which I cut into 4's (so they were cute little triangle sandwhich's) Those went really quick. And Sister Brooks made cookies and cucumber bread. Which is actually really good! It wasn't anything like I was thinking. Ha. But there was a lot of people there and other members brought food and another member made the cake, and she made two! And they were heart shaped! It was so cute! But Sophia and Armando don't have money so they couldn't really do anything themselves so we all helped out and it was fantastic! And we got a little notebook thing for people to sign because it was all we could find with such short notice at a little chinese store thing. But I know I didn't write the language correctly. Ha. When they read it they will probably just laugh. (: But I try! And yesterday, on Sunday, Armando wore a white shirt and a tie! He looked so good, and they all just looked so cute and happy! I was so happy! And they also received the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday as well! They were just so so happy! It was a fantastic day! (: So I found out a week ago that they don't have taxes here when you buy stuff! That made me excited and it was weird. Ha. Cause I bought a pair of sandals because it is hot and my feet were so hot! But we took a taxi for the first time! And it was the fanciest taxi I have ever seen. It was a really nice mercedes car. So the third and so far last time we ate at Sophia and Armando's house, we had potatoes and a meat sauce thing to put on top-with the chunks of meat with bones. But this time I was prepared and didn't just bite into the meat. I picked at it. So I saved my teeth and my appetite. :) But the potatoes were super good! I was literally surprised at how good they were! But it was funny because Tiago (The little boy) was trying to help us say the Portuguese word for ear which is "orelha." And we just couldn't make the sound the Portuguese make when they have the "lha" or "lhe." I don't understand it. They use the back of their tongue or something. But he was literally trying to correct us for 8 minutes! Lol. And he would have us pronounce each individual sound after he pronounced it. It was so funny and so cute. It is kinda sad that we still can't get it and a little 4 year old boy is trying to help us by slowly pronouncing each sound of the word. Haha. Everyone at the table was just laughing at us. So after dinner we went back into their family room, and Armando turned on Ghangam Style (if that is how it is spelled lol) And Tiago danced along with it. It was the cutest thing ever and he was so excited!!! Haha. though it was a little weird because we were listening to a song that we know from America. But you know what is so funny!? The Portuguese love American music! They listen to it all the time! So we will be in a store or on the bus and they will be playing American music that we know! I love it. (: It actually makes me really happy. So I don't know why they won't let us listen to it. Cause it helps! Ha JK ;P Oh, I don't know if I mentioned it again, but it just makes me laugh, another guy thought I was Brazilian, and then another guy thought I was Italian. Ha. I guess I don't look super American. Which is weird because I always have thought I look American. And white. Ha. So I miss clogging so much! When we are at the church- they have tile floors-and I love the sound it makes with clogging. So I just can't hold my feet still. So when we were walking down the hall I was doing shuffle steps off to the side as I was walking. And when we stopped and turned around, Elder Checketts was laughing at me a little and then gave me a high five cause he thought it was cool and funny at the same time. But we are planning to go to the church and write letters and dance a little today! Cause today is P-day and we can do it! I am more excited about it than I should be! Lol. I seriously appreciate so many things soooo much more since I have been gone! Especially in relation to not wasting time. So there are birds here that are like swarms (like bees) and they are so annoying! I think of gangs when I see them. And at night they hop, yes they practically hop from tree to tree cause there are a bunch of trees in a row down the road outside our window, and the first thing that popped into my head was "Gaddianton Robbers." Cause they are secretly hopping from one tree to the next and they are all together in a secret pack. (: And they are black birds so they just look hidden and scary. Especially at night. So what we do at night when it is super hot and we can't sleep, we all get our hair wet using cold water (it feels amazing!) in the shower and go to sleep with wet hair. It works wonders! So we have a new investigator. She came to church with us yesterday! And I felt a little bad because we don't have any really good teachers because they all just "read out of the book" and so Anita-that is her name- was falling asleep! Ha. I felt bad. But the other classes were a little better. But I think they need to be taught how to teach. But I couldn't help because I can't speak the language. (: But none-the-less it is still good. But we were excited because she had already read and prayed and we had just met with her for the first time on Saturday, and she asked us on Sunday to give her more to read! So we were excited about that. Though we got so lost when we were trying to find her house. She had to walk all the way to where we were to find us to take us back to her house. So the thing about the Portuguese is that they aren't very good when it comes to cleanliness or hygiene-though some are. But her house was cluttered everywhere. There were even piles on the side of her house of stuff. But about a month ago they had a fire in their house. And there was ash tracked through the house and you could smell it. I don't think it is good to breathe the air in that house. But she is super nice, and she loves to talk. That was our longest lesson ever because she just wanted to talk. And I didn't know what to do and Sister Brooks didn't know what to do so we would let her talk and then get back on track with the lesson. It is funny cause she would respond to our question and it would be about the lesson, then she would start telling us a story that is completely unrelated. And it would take a sec to get back on track. I have never met so many people in my life that just love to talk and could literally talk for hours! It is quite funny. Even to complete strangers, they just are so social! Anyways, this week was hard to find new investigators because no one wanted to talk to us! And there are so many people on ferias. Like, vacation. So they aren't from here or our area. One thing that I have noticed that tends to happen quite frequently, is when we are having a difficult day, and no one wants to talk to us or isn't interrested, and we get sad, but as long as we keep doing our best, at the very end of the day, it is like the Lord blesses us and we find novos! That happened yesterday. on our walk home, we hadn't found any new investigators, but there was a father and a son sitting in the park. We decided to talk to them and they wanted to know more! So being here is definitely helping me to strengthen my faith and hold out to the end. Even though it is hard not to be discouraged sometimes. I am learning that as long as we continue to do our best, even in hard times, the end will come and we will be blessed! Isn't that just like life!? Cause life is not easy, and it is so hard sometimes. But it does get better. We just have to keep pushing till the end! Anyways, I love you guys! (: Be safe!
Love Always,
Sister Stokes

July 8, 2013

 Went on a Hike with a couple of Members and Youth on PDay :)

 Sister Brooks and Myself

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday, July 8th

So it is sooo hot here! I didn't think it would get this hot here. Especially because we are further north. But it probably has something to do with the fact that we aren't on the ocean... Ha. But that is the only thing that is hard cause we only have two plug in fans. So last night it was so hard for all of us to get to sleep! Ha. I have never sweated so much in my life! At least not constantly. So I now have a newfound respect for AC! Oh, and American food. I don't know why but our food is just so good! I never realized it until now. Lol. Ok, so everytime that we walk to the church we have to go uphill and up these never ending stairs! And I was already dying, so as we approached the stairs, I said a prayer to give me strength in going up the stairs (cause we already had sweat dripping down our faces... it was so gross! Haha) So once we started up the stairs, I felt each step getting easier, and after the first set of 4 stairs, I felt like I was gliding up the rest of the stairs! It was amazing and it was a miracle! I can't tell you how happy I was after that! I know it was a simple prayer and it isn't that big of deal on the surface, but we had been out for hours in the hot sun already and just thinking about going up those stairs was killing me. God is so amazing. And he answers even our little prayers for comfort and strength. So that gave me energy and I was more ready to take on the rest of our day. (: So we had a sports night. Our district planned it-us four sisters and the four elders. I realized just now that I haven't told you their names... Ha. So it is me, Sister Brooks, Sister Call and Sister Lofgreen, Elder Checketts and Elder Eddington, Elder Richins and Elder Dunford. I love them all sooo much! Anyways, we had volleyball (Which we played the majority of the time and it was so fun!) basketball, ping pong-I didn't get the chance to play that- That donut game that you play as a race and you have to eat the donut off the string without using your hands. (I came up with that idea ha) Us sisters all raced eachother and it was hilarious! One of the members here-and she served a mission in the U.S. so I can understand what she is saying! ha-recording the whole thing on her camera. I want to get a copy of it from her cause it is funny. Anyways, I don't remember if I told you about Edna. She is so cute, she is 16, and she read in the BOM and prayed before we met with her for the first time because she was a referral from the sisters because she lives in our area. And she felt it was true and agreed to be baptized once she knew for sure because she didn't want to be baptized just because it is cool (She said that in her own words ha) Anyways, she is golden! So we ran into her mom one night and told her how awesome her daughter was and her mom was so nice! Then we tried to call Edna and she didn't answer so we decided to call later. And since then we haven't been able to get a hold of Edna! I am sooooo sad..... She is just so perfect and cute. It seriously breaks my heart... Anyways... we have this other new investigator named Maria. I love her so much! We met her on the street and said we could come back to teach her more. So we have met with her twice so far. The first time-oh, and she speaks English! So she will speak in English for a while and then go back to Portuguese, but when she changes back to Portuguese I can't understand what she is saying. They speak so fast and they don't pronounce their words very well or clearly. But Maria said when she first say me in the street, she recognized me, but she knew we had never met before, but she knew that she had met me before because I was so familiar to her. How cool!!!!! I was starting to tear up when she told me this because her words touched my heart and I truly believe that we probably knew each other before this life. She seriously has the sweetest spirit and I feel so much love for her. She is amazing. When I was baring my testimony to her about how much God loved her it made me cry because I could feel how much God really does love her, and I loved her so much more and it was just an amazing experience. I can't say it in the way that I would like to. But it was just so good. So our other investigators, Sophia and Armando, have been together for 10 years and have two super cute kids! The youngest, Tiago (Which means James in English) is the cutest little boy I have ever seen!!!! Ha. He is so funny. Anyways, Sophia has wanted to get married for a long time, but Armando had no desire and didn't want to because he didn't see the reason why it mattered cause you just have to pay and get some paper signed and what not. But they have agreed to be married! And it is so cute because Sophia said that it is because he has found God, and now has God in his life that he wants to get married. It was so cute! And me and Sister Brooks are planning it! I picked out the paper for the invitations and we are just hand writing them and Sophia only wants her Family and a couple close friends to come. I am sooo excited! And then after the wedding which will be on Friday at 3:30 they are getting baptized at 6:00! It will be an amazing day! Two huge events in the same day. Ah! I love it! Ok, I can't believe Cassidy is 16!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How is this possible!!!!!!! Our family is growing so fast! You HAVE to tell me when she goes on her first date and EVERYTHING about it! Actually, tell her she HAS to tell me! (: Anyways, so HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY CASSY!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! And I hope you are just loving life! I miss you! Ok, so I have been getting, for some reason, bloody noses more since I have been here. Maybe it is just that I am not used to it here or something. But I started to get one while we were teaching at Edna's house a little bit ago and I panicked and thought oh no! Not here, not know. So I quickly said a little prayer asking Heavenly Father if He could make it stop because we were teaching and have a spiritual experience and I didn't want to ruin it because I was about to have a bloody nose. And when I have them, they last forever it feels like! I do not like them. Ha. But as soon as I prayed, it stopped! I couldn't believe it! I mean I could, and I knew that if it was ok with God that it would stop, but at the same time, I was so excited that is stopped! Heavenly Father is sooooo amazing! Experiences like these are what keep me going strong and remind me just how much our Father in Heaven loves us and wants us to be happy and succeed in all of our endeavors. So at our apartment, we have a deck, and the view is so pretty! It is so pretty here. But the deck was disgusting! It was covered in bird poop. Like no one ever stepped out on it because of how gross it was. And we found out that there was a nest on it in the corner hiding behind some old wood. And the bird has two eggs. Anyways, me and Sister Lofgreen decided that we would clean it. So she swept it a little - but not much- but I decided to use the mop and mop it clean. It was so gross! Haha. But it it so clean now and we can walk out on our little deck now. (: I should have taken a before and after picture though because it made a HUGE difference. So we had our first creepy man! Ha. When we met up with him after our first contact just to get his information and set up a later time to meet. He said something about how happy he was that we liked him too! I thought I miss heard him because he-of course- was speaking in Portuguese, but no. That is what he said! So the whole lesson was weird and it was just uncomfortable. And he calls us ALL THE TIME! We aren't really sure what to do. But ya. He thinks me and Sister Brooks are so pretty, and as we were about to leave, he touched my arm and it was in a very creepy way. Ah! Lol. And when we were giving the lesson he would just gaze into our eyes-ya the whole thing was a little weird. Even our initial contact was weird but we thought we have to talk to everyone and give them a chance. But ya. We are going to try to give him to someone else. Probably the Elders and see if he actually is interested. So I have now had two meals at Sophia and Armando's house! Both times it was a little interesting. It was pasta both times (I think because after the first meal I said how much I loved pasta-and so the second time it was pasta again. Haha) But the weird thing was the meat. The meat in the first one was soooo weird! The texture was sooo strange, I could not stab it with a fork! Ha. And when I ate it, hm I just can't even describe it. It was hard to eat and it kinda freaked me out a little. Lol. The second time the meat was normal and I was so grateful! it tasted good and everything, but there were little bones in the pieces of meat. I hurt my tooth a little... And I had to try and get the bones out of my mouth slyly because I felt bad but I didn't want to swallow them. I ended up swallowing one on accident. Dang, this is getting long! Ha. So my feet have swollen! My shoes are tighter than before because of how much we walk! And my hands got swollen a couple times too. It is so weird! So yesterday I think was the hardest day for me because people were not being very nice to us... and I was just having a hard time and I started to think how hard a mission was. But we had Maria scheduled to teach last night. And honestly, meeting with her made everything ok again. She is seriously the sweetest person and she is funny. And when we were leaving her house, she told us through the door that she loved us! Right then my spirits jumped and that moment really made my whole day! Sister Brooks said she was so surprised because she said the Portuguese people just don't say I love you. She said when they are talking about their own wife, they will say "I really like my wife" But they don't really ever say I love you. So then I said, you know, I think God just knew we needed to hear it. Because we were both having a hard time yesterday. The thing I have learned the most since I have been out here on my mission is that Heavenly Father loves us so much and He wants to bless us so much! And He does bless us! I have seen His hand in my life so much since I have left! It is amazing and my testimony continues to grow everyday. God is a God of miracles and I know that it is true because I am seeing it first hand in this work. I can't think of anywhere else I would rather be than here, doing the Lord's work and blessing the lives of the people here in Portugal in helping them come closer to God and to Christ. I hope all is well at home. I love you all so much!  
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes
P.S. Shout out to Dad!!! HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you have a fantastic birthday!!!!! I love you!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Viseu, Portugal July 1st

Amanda's New Companion Sister Brooks and with their Mission President and Wife, Baptism on Saturday