Monday, September 30, 2013

 ha we were supposed to be making serious faces and pretending like life sucked. 
i was the only one who could do it! Isn't that odd!? ;P
This is the train we rode last p-day with the elders. did i tell you guys about that. 
They were what made it fun. haha. 

 I had to get a picture next to the fair wall thing. It is completely gone now! It is a little sad. 
Sis Warburton cooking in our newly bought pan. The last one was just ridiculous!

 A cool leaf I found! I wish I kept it. But it has the three colors! I was so excited I just had to stop and take a picture of it!
A silver birch tree! So cool! The leaves have two completely different colors on the two sides of the leaf! 

 We found a new cute path! 

 The path and our shadows. ha

 The sky looked so pretty. But I was on the bus so it was taken through the window :\

 Sister King and Elder Lee! I saw them cause I had to get my residence card in Lisbon!!! So did they!

 Toilet and you flush it with your foot! ha. I thought it was funny
One day I forgot to take my shorts off from underneath my skirt.... oops. 
Cause thats how I dress! I put my skirt on first them pull my shorts out from under. 
But today i forgot I still had them on. oops. ha.

 Slippers and PJ bottoms! Yay colder weather! 
 Ha. We watched the General Relief Society thing on the computer. and her face is so funny! 
We watched this part like at least 5 times! haha. So I had to take a picture. 
Yes, that is an underwear chandeleir (I'm not sure how to spell that word) 
But it is like and old looking picture and then the man with the unbrella. i love it!

Monday, September 30th #2

Dear Family,

Well, I just finished emailing President but turns out I have a little more time... So did I tell you guys about Bruna? Well, she did come to church. Then later when we saw her again. We asked her what she thought  and felt. She said she didn't really like it. She is Evangelical, so she loves the lively music they have and it is good with her kids. But we asked her if she would be willing to give it another try and go next week, but this time to the whole 3 hours and the classes. But she said no... And we have had a hard time seeing her since. So we think she just doesn't want anything anymore. And it is so sad! But her kids still love us! Last week, her daughter saw us and yelled after us and was smiling and waving. it was super cute! But who knows. We will see what happens. Maybe the next time she runs into the missionaries she will change her mind. Cause I know she liked our message. Oh! Also, funny story. So me and Sis. Warburton had planned to walk down this walkway where there are some benches near the little river and bridge. When we got there. it was completely deserted. Not a single person was in view. But instead of turning back around. We still felt like walking down it. So we decided to show forth our faith even though it literally didn't make any sense. So then, as we were walking, there was a women who had just popped out of a bush! Well, not literally, but almost. She was behind it! So we contacted her and set up an appointment! But how cool is that! We made a plan and Heavenly Father knew what our plan was, but we still had to show forth our faith to continue to walk down the path, and then, only after that, he made a women pop out of the bush! Ha. We had a couple laughs at that one. But it really is a miracle. It is so awesome! Oh! So Bruno, we still are teaching him english. The same from when i was with Sis Brooks. Though the Elders are actually teaching him because it is hard for us to teach him because he is a man and we have to have another women with us for us to be able to teach him. But I said something and he just started busting out laughing. it was the funniest thing because I have never seen him laugh like that before! Ha. But then after, he told me I should be an actress. Lol. And then, when it is that I am famous, I can't forget about him. Hm... Oh! The last thing is one day, we decided to make all our phone calls on these cute little kid swings! But then some sort of official man came a long and told us we weren't younger than seven.... ha. We were a little embarrassed. But it was also funny. :) But it made us happy that we got a little time sitting on the little swings. We were basically done anyways. So we had already been sitting on them for a little bit. So it was perfect timing. But I am doing good! And I love being able to wear jackets! Though I guess really it is just mainly my rain coat cause of the rain. But still!  :) Though I know I will start missing the warm weather after a little while of the rain. But I love you guys! 

Love Sister Stokes

Monday, September 30th #1

Dear Family,

Oh, I ran out of time to do a true one big email. Ha. But we have a new investigator. Catia. And she is amazing!  We received her as a referral from the elders two weeks ago. We finally got in contact with her last week. She is about 22 and she is so cool! She just has a smoking problem, but she also knows and wants to quit. But she came to church yesterday with us and said she would come next week! I seriously love her so much already! We would definitely be friends. :) Oh and did i tell you guys about José Luis? He is this other man that is like 35ish and he is so cool! We marked him for baptism last week. But his brother-in-law just died and he is having a hard time and especially his sister. So he didn't end up coming to church and we haven't seen him again yet. But he said he believes in our message and he said we have a beautiful message. But we will have to mark him again since he didn't come to church. But I have high hopes for him too. He loves our message about what happens after death. He is definitely a seeker of truth! We love him. But the rainy weather started last week. It was so crazy cause it was still warm and even hot. Then there was one perfect day. Then the next day, it was rainy all day! Ha. There was literally no inbetween! it was crazy! Anyways, I love you all! Till next week! 

Love, Sister Amanda Stokes

Monday, September 23, 2013

 This was the family night we had!
 Me and Mikaela!
 mirror that says to show your beauty. So we did! :)
Saying bye to mikaela

 A tin man we found!
me shaking the tin man's hand

Monday, September 23rd

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) So! I love that you guys got to have a lot of fun!! And see both grandparents! And I love that they both love eating at Sizzler. haha. So Sister Warburton has been out just about a year. I seriously am loving her British accent!!!! :) Ha. She is awesome. Her birthday was yesterday so she just turned 23!!! I can't believe that I am going to be 22!!! Ah!!! That is so weird to me. Lol. I mean, I still have over 3 months, but still! It is close! And I am glad that Tara is good. It is weird that that is her name though because I sometimes refer to Taralyn with that name... ha. So it makes me think of Taralyn. But, não faz mal. So, I went running this morning with Sister Cutler. The other Sister that stayed here from last transfer. She reminds me of Cassidy to be honest! I love it!!!!!!!!!! But her companion has a bad leg because in the MTC she had fallen and something happened, so it was pretty bad and now she can't really do much and it is a little hard for her if they have to walk a whole lot in a day. But, I don't think Sister Warburton really likes to run. But I get to run with Sister Cutler so we do tradezies! (even though I know that isn't a true word, I still don't know if I spelt it right. ha) Crazy!!!! Devon is engaged!!!??? Oh, how good for him! I hope she is awesome!!!!! I haven't heard from him in a while. And I also haven't heard from Tavin little punk. But I also don't have his address with me so I can't send him a letter. And I can write long letters, but it just takes a long time to make them long. :) Ha. So It has been a month since I sent Jason a letter. Oops... But we email every week! Thank you I am super excited to get the package!!!!!!!!! :) So last P-day, we rode this little train that takes a tour of viseu. Ha. It is only 2 euros and so we decided to do it with the Elders. Honestly, the only thing that made it worth it was how funny the Elders were. Ha. Elder Richins was pretending to be a tour guide and talking about the random "cool" things we were seeing. And in a funny voice. It was funny. Oh Elders... We love em! So now that I am no longer being trained, and I have the normal missionary schedule, I actually really like it. We aren't in the house for so long. We get to go out and talk to people! I actually really love talking to random people on the street. Cause it is so funny how different everyone is. Though we still find a lot of creepers who only want to buy us cafézinhos and things of that sort (like a little cup of coffee). This guy two days ago, when we started walking back with him he grabbed both of us around the back holding our arms and I felt so uncomfortable! Ha. And then he went in to kiss Sister Warburton and I quickly twisted out of his arms before he could try it on me! Ha. Luckily Sister Warburton saw it coming and so she turned her head so he kissed her hair. Ya, so we probably won't meet up with him. He would always call us "linda" as our names instead of Sister.... so and so. Oh, and linda just means "pretty".So remember Mikaela, last week, we decided to read a story from the BOM to catch her interest so she would like reading it more. So we read the story about Ammon and where he cuts a bunch of men's arms off. ha. She was actually really engaged in the story. It was funny and cute. She is the 12 year old girl that I seriosly love so much! She also brought out and showed me her big poster of Justin Bieber. She loves him it is funny. She likes to sing parts of his songs to us. She is actually a really good singer! Which is funny because most of the people here can't sing. At least not very good. It is kinda weird but I love it. So, funny story, one morning we were getting ready for the day, and then all of a sudden I just heard laughing. So I went into to the hall and over to where they were laughing, and Sister Warburton had been brushing her hair, but she had dropped it in the toilet!!!! Ha. She took a picture of it! So funny. She ended up buying a new hairbrush. Cause, well, first of all that is just gross. Second of all, there just happened to be poop stains in there. So ew.... Ha. Also, we started talking with this man because we were walking home for lunch and he just happened to be walking to the side of us. So we decided to talk to him. Then he got talking about the Catholic Church and then he got out his wallet and he pulled out a little strip of newspaper to show us something. On it had the percentages of all the main religions here in Portugal. He had us find where it said the Catholic Church to show that it said that 95.5% of all Portugal is Catholic. Ha. It is just so funny that he just brings it around everywhere with him. But It is interesting cause, everyone and their dog here is Catholic. But there are so many that aren't practicing or going to church. But they still consider themselves Catholoics. My companion gave an example that was funny. So if there is a painter, but he doesn't paint, he wouldn't be called a painter anymore. Ha. I just thought it was funny and in her British accent and all. But I don't know if she used that as the example. But something of that sort. So we found a maze here in Portugal!!! It literally is a maze! it is in our Elder's area. And there are tall buildings that have shops on the bottom floor and apartment buildings above, and some are just apartments. But it is super cool if you don't get lost. :) Cause our Elders gave us a referal. She is a women and she is hard for them to teach because of the rule about how they can't be with a women without another man. So they gave her to us. So when we went to find her apartment in the maze, I am amazed we didn't get completely lost. I felt lost the whole time. But somehow we got to it, and back out without having to turn around and waste a bunch of time in there trying to find our way. Ha. But we want to go their today because they have a ton of little shops and it really is super cool! So, we, more like I, had to pay 112 euros plus 20 just because we went to the hospital for a visit! the additional 112 is only because I am not Portuguese. That is ridiculous! But the mission covered it but I still can't believe that because they didn't even do anything. They referred me to another doctor that I will find out once I get a letter in the mail saying when and where. But it is only about that thing from before. They said I have no need to worry. I made cookies this past week!!!! I love them and I missed them so much! They were yummy. Though our oven sucks.... But they were still good. So Mikaela left for Coimbra because school started.... She missed the first week cause her mom was still in Lisbon and randomly all over the country. But she left yesterday... It is so sad cause she is like my new sister! So in case you didn't know, I am adopting her into our family and she is coming home with me ok? Oh! So did you get the friend request on Facebook from her? If so, make sure you add her! :) So Bruna is a women we met this past week she is cool. her husband doesn't believe in God. But she wants to know more about our church. And she came to church on sunday! And she has two super cute little girls! On sunday, when they were leaving, the youngest one, she is two. She was trying to get me to go with her. She would grab my hand and tug on me. So her mom told her I had to stay and they had to go and she started fussing and refusing to leave my side. It was so cute. But her mom ended up having to pick her up to take her out. Then she just cried and cried and cried all the way out looking back at me. It was the cutest and saddest thing. Ana Paula, the recent convert of about a year, but less active. I feel like we aren't ever going to get her back to church. It is sad. Her son is eight and he can be baptized. And so we really want her to come for both her and her son. She says she had a lot more faith and desire to return now because of us-well me and Sis. Brooks, but now it will be Sis. Warburton as well!- but that she isn't quite ready to return. It is a bit frusterating. And sad. So, jonathas (or something like that) is a man we just met. But he seriously pulls off the pirate look. he is super cool. Ha. He has long hair, and was wearing a bandana, he has the perfect facial hair, two gold earings, he does have an eye brow peircing too. But he seriously makes me think of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow! And he pulls it off so well! I really want to get a picture with him! Ha. Though, he winked at me several times, so... I don't know if he just does that or not. I just tried to ignore it. But truly he is really cool and he has a lot of faith. And last thing! We had a family night with Cecilia Tosé and Sofia (she is the one that is 15 and got baptized!) And I would send home pictures, but I don't have them to send home.... I will have to get the ones that sis Brooks took.. But we taught about Lehi's dream. And we bought a big poster board. And we all took turns reading a verse, and when someone would read about a part of his dream, they would draw it on the poster board. So in the end, we had a picture of Lehi's dream. it was actually really cool. And Rogo wanted to put it in his room on the wall. So he had everyone go in and his parents got the tape, and he put it up in his room. Ha. I love it! :) Anyways, I love you guys so much! And I hope school is fantastic!!!! And I hope you guys remember to read in the scriptures everyday!!! Love you!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

 Saying Goodbye to Sister Brookes


 We took a little train ride and they said this was the first door to Viseu many years ago.
 Ha. Now it is just an arc on the side of the road. ha. 
And this is a cool picture of the top of the hill under the arch of a gas station. Lo
 One of many Catholic churches. Everyone is catholic! ha. But the churches are really pretty
 New Companion from England

Tuesday, September 17th

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Addy is gigantic!!!! And she had two teeth smack-dab in the front and it is sooo cute!!! Oh I miss her so much! So, we had transfers! And........................... I am staying!! But I lost Sister Brooks... it was the weirdest thing. I had a little bit of a break down and I don't know why. ha. Well, it was because I just love her so much and we were supposed to stay together para sempre! (forever!!) But ya, anyways, my new companion is super cool! She is from England! So she has the cutest accent! And she was an EFY counselor befor coming on her mission. She is so awesome. Her name is Sister Warburton. But our district got ripped apart.... Only me and Elder Richins are left from the very beginning. It's crazy! (From the original district. :)....) So.... you aren't going to believe what I am about to tell you and it is just a little lot bit depressing.... I lost my memory card that has all my pictures from since I got here on the mission.... Which is like 700 pictures... and videos.... Yeah, I know. I had just switched over to the new memory card because I filled the other and I had just placed it in my camera case in the plastic holder (not a smart decision) and I just know the morning we were walking Sister Call to the bus station when I pulled out my camera it fell out. We retraced our steps, but it wasn't there. Which didn't surprise me.... But I am mostly sad because we just had a noite de talentos. (a ward talent show) and the Elders said I had to clog. So I signed up for it and danced! And Sister Brooks filmed it for me on my camera... but it was on that memory card and no one else has it.... But I guess we will just have to have another talent show! :) So I saw Facebook for the first time last week. Ha. First cause Bruno (a guy we have been teaching english to) pulled his up to show us pictures of his family. And the second time was with Mikaela!!! Cause she added me and Sister Brooks on Facebook. So you have to accept her friend request! If you haven't already. So last week, we met this old man. And he and his friend talked to us for like 20 minutes. But he invited us to go see him sing in a choir he is a part of for older people. So we went, but we went late. But when we went in, it was crazy! The songs were the weirdest and they were belting out the notes and it sounded like they were yelling! Ha. It is honestly the weirdest and craziest thing I have done on my mission. We (Me and Sis Brooks) felt weird. Ha. I wanted to record some so sis Brooks said to just not make it obvious, but then I realized my camera was at the apt. charging... Ha. But they invited us to come back and share a little message in the beginning today! So we will be doing that after this. So Mikaela, last week, fell off her bike and her bike landed on her knee, so her knee got scratched up a little. But it is so funny, cause her dad panicked, and took her to the hospital and got an x-ray and wouldn't let her go anywhere for the next couple days. And she would walk around like she had broken a bone. ha. But it was only scratches. I love the Portuguese. They really are the most dramatic people I have met. It is funny. And talkative. So Sopfia, the 15 yr. old, that had her baptismal date for the 21st, we talked with the Bishop after our ward meeting and they changed her date to the 13th!!! So, me and Sis. Brooks were able to go!!!! It was perfect!!! And our ward is pretty made up of one family! Ha. Well, atleast half of it. And so Sofia's baptism was a big deal. Cause she was the only one in their whole family (including grandparents aunts uncles cousins) that wasn't baptized. So it was an emotional day. Full of tears and joy! So in our area of Viseu, we had 3 baptisms in one weekend! Cause the other Elders had a baptism too, just before Sofia on Friday! It was awesome! The only thing is we ran out of gas and something is wrong with the heater for the font, so the water was cold. And so on Friday, we were really wondering what we were going to do about Conceição (the super cool 82 yr old lady!!!), because she is old and freezing water wouldn't be too good for her. Some members wanted us to move her baptism to the next week because she could get pneumonia they said. But we decided we would call her in the morning to see what she said after we told her the water would be cold. When we called her, her response was, "No faz mal, tem que ser!" meaning, it's not a problem, it just has to be! So she was willing to be baptized in cold water because she didn't want to put it off! She is cool. And I am glad. I don't like putting off baptisms. Cause you never know, something could happen. Satan is a big fat punk... But it was perfect! But she really is a miracle, I mean we taught her everything within four times of meeting with her, and she was baptized on Saturday!!! When we reviewed the baptismal questions with her and asked her if she believed in the Book of Mormon and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, she bore her testimony on them! It made us so happy. Then when we asked her if she believed that Pres. Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet today, she said Claro! Com certeza! (Certainly! Like, of course!) She is so cute. So this past week was fantastic. The only other thing was the talent show. Elder Dunford beat boxed! It was so cool! I knew he was good at it, but now I know he is super good at it! I had recorded it but I don't have it anymore... And Elder Richins sang, he has an incredibly amazing voice, the other two sisters danced a cute little jaz dance, and I clogged! It was great! And during a little waiting period, They had Sis Brooks go up and say the Alphabet backwards. ha. It was funny. But its cool. I can't do it. never tried. Actually, never really wanted to. But it is cool that she can do it. :) But I am so glad all is well at home!!!! And we can't have any more wedding without me! So Tyler and Brooke, hold your horses!!!!! ha. JK. I am just so glad you guys are happy! And if it works out it is what is meant to be. But for Brooke, it just has to happen! Because, I mean, it's Ryan! Ha. Well I love you guys so much! And I love the pictures!!! Thanks for all the love and support! Until next week! :)
Sister Amanda Stokes

Monday, September 9, 2013

Zone Conference!

 Random place that looked cool and where we filled our bottles with clean spring water! 
Everyone does it! And we don't get sick! ha

 us and Sofia's family. (if you put this one of 
FB you have to edit out my nasty on my face! 
I got it two days ago and it is so gross! ha)
 The Elders sleeping lol (Elder Wilson, Elder Eddington, 
Elder Richins- Elder Richins reminds me 
so much of Tavin sometimes it is weird... )

 Just a cool picture I liked and Andre 
(Sofia and Armando's boy)

 Mikaela and Taylor. Someone els's 
little boy that is here a lot. ha

 We counted Paulo's (Mikaela's dad) money!!! Well, coins! 
me and sis dumis
 My heart broke when I saw this poor horse. 
And I stopped where i was standing 
and it just came over to me as 
though he thought I had food... 

Monday, September 9th

So this past week was so good!!!!! BIG NEWS!!! Sofia, the 15 year old who has been basically an eternal investigator. (I did tell you guys about her right???) Well, we were stressing about how we were going to invite her to be baptized. Because she is a 15 year old girl and we didn't want it to turn out bad.... And we just love her so much that we just want her to say yes! But we were on the bus riding back to Viseu (Cause we had Stake Conference in Coimbra and our mission president, the temple president, and the stake president all spoke to us) But we got a phone call from Bishop, (he told us on our weekly ward council last week that he would mark Sofia for baptism)-becuase he is her uncle as well. And we were so relieved!!!! So on the phone he told us that she was marked for the 20th of September!!!!!!!!!! Ah!!!!! We are so happy! But then he said, "And you know what else Sister? She marked herself!!!!!!!" She is AMAZING!!!! We were so happy!!!! Ah! I just can't believe she called her uncle\bishop and said she wanted to be baptized on the 20th of September! i love it so much!!! Though it is sad because that is after transfers.... So one of us won't be here. And I feel like it will be me. But who knows. So we secretly hope she will move it to this weekend. :) Haha. I know we are terrible. But we will see! Cause she loves us so much too! But it is whenever she feels ready and when the Lord wants it to be. Cause I am sure she prayed a lot about it. So this was funny, last P-day this is what Sister Brooks said "God knew exactly when we needed P-day! Because by Sunday we are sick and tired of trying to talk to people who don't want to talk to us. We just lose that desire.... And it just hurts too much to chance being rejected yet again. So then we have P-day and it feels like it has just been so long since we have talked to people that we just want to talk to everyone again! Ha" And it is so funny because it is kinda true. After a long hard week, it gets hard to keep talking to people when you know they probably will just tell you to leave or if they are at least nice about it that they aren't interrested. But P-day is just perfect timing! ha. Sometimes I wish we could have two! Haha. JK. I know I would be too distracted if we had two. It is just a nice thought. :) We had Divisions with the Sister Training Leaders again.  We did the trio thing again- which isn't normal but when I actually do it the normal way, that won't feel normal to me. Cause I guess it is supposed to be just me and a Sister Training Leader. So ya. You know. It is crazy cause I feel like we had only just had divisions, and then we had them again so fast. But when I truly think about it, It was actually sooo long ago and I remember every single hard long day up to this point. ha. I think we have a little time veil on our minds so that we don't go crazy. :) Cause it feels like I just started my mission where in reality it was almost ah!!!! Almost 4 months ago! I was going to say three. See what I mean! I can't believe it will have been 4 months on the 15th! So we are going to have a talent show this Friday at the church! And the Elders and the Sisters made me put my name on the list to clog! Ha... So... I haven't had anytime to actually make up a dance... So I might just use "Kiss Kiss" because for some reason it is the one dance that just won't ever leave my head. I think I will have it completely memorized my whole life. And I don't have cool music to clog to and I think we aren't allowed to anyways, so it will be acapela. (I think I might have spelled that wrong?) Anyways, ya. So we taught Ana Paula again (the less active recent convert) we taught her the word of wisdom. And she has never been taught it before! And so she didn't know that not drinking coffee was part of it. So when we taught it, she said she would stop right now. She is cool. Now we just have to get her to actually come to church! The thing is she really wants to and she knows it is important. It's just in the morning she lacks the will to actually get out of bed and make it there... It is so sad. We also had Zone Conference! This past week too! In Coimbra. So we went to Coimbra twice this past week. ha. A lot of bus time. yay! But we got to see Sis. Lofgreen!!! She was the other Sister with us last transfer. Sister Call's companion. And.... I got to see Sis Dumis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From the MTC!!! Because she is Sister Lofgreen's new companion!!!! Cause they are in our stake. It made me soooo happy!!! We gave eachother the biggeest hug!!! Ha. I only had to say the prayer at zone conference so I was glad. Because we always give a success story from Presidents weekly letter (he puts in success stories from the missionaries weekly letters to him each week) and we are supposed to tell one we liked and why, and I couldn't remember any of them that I had read! Ha. But before we got on the bus to go back to Viseu we stopped at the McDonalds by the bus station in Coimbra! I got a cheeseburger and fries! Usually I hate-  I should say don't like- food from McDonalds, but I miss American food so much it was just so good! ha. So we gave Mikaela the 30 minute Joseph Smith movie, and she already watched it with her dad when we saw her again! She said her dad was confused and didn't understand it, and so Mikaela said, " Oh dad.... It is Joseph Smith, he was a prophet. Duh." hahahaha. She is so cute!!!!!!! So we have been teaching this man Bruno english. And we were wondering how we were going to lead into teaching the first lesson. But we finally did and it was perfect! Cause we brought him two copies of the Book of Mormon. One in English and one in Portuguese. Same with the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. And we got talking about the Book of Mormon and it just led into the first lesson. it was so good! :) So the Portuguese are funny. If you stop by their house just to say hi. They have to feed you!!! Cause we stopped by Irmã Donzilia's house before we had a lesson with Conceição her neighber (the 82 year old lady who is just the cutest thing!) And we told her we weren't hungary. But she started getting out bread, meat, fruit, yogurt crackers-and she knows I like chocolate milk because of the last time I told her I love it and it has been so long since I have had it- so she got the chocolate powder and milk out for me. And just tons of food and we really weren't hungary! And I ate a lot I felt like and she said I hardly ate anything. Oh Portuguese. But I love them so much. They are funny. So Irmã Donzilia said she could come with us to teach Conceição. It turned out to be too long of a lesson. But she gets baptized this weekend on the 14th!!!!!! So we have to teach her everything before and she just lives so far. But after we taught her the word of wisdom, conceição said " Oh, I'm so sorry!" for drinking coffee. Ha. She is just too cute. We just told her it is ok. She didn't know until two seconds ago. So she had us take out her cereal with coffee- I don't know what it is, some powder mixture you mix with cold milk or hot milk. And she got out her black tea. After that she started asking us if other things were ok to do. Like dying her hair, watching tv. Ha. But she was so sincere and willing to stop doing these things if we said they weren't things we should do. And at one point we talked about the bible and irmã Donzilia started talking about the Bible and all the different translations and how not all Bibles are the same. But that the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book. And things of that nature. Then Conceição asked if it was ok for her to keep reading the Bible. We responded right away saying of course!!!!! Ha. We believe in the Bible! Certainly. She is so funny. We just said we can clarify things in the Bible with the Book of Mormon because the Book of Mormon is easier to read and is more clear. And it just breaks my heart because when she said the prayer she talked about her son (he is in jail) and how she is alone and how she needs comfort and she just started crying. It hurts because she has such a loving tender heart. And she is 82 and she goes to town all the time to buy groceries and she just has to do everything alone. I hope that never happens to me! It just breaks my heart to see that with other people. She also told us that her church she used to go to was giving her a hard time and telling her that it is because she isn't going to church that God is punishing her and put her son in jail. How sad!? It is sad that they would tell her that.... she was really sad about that to. So we had a long talk on how god doesn't make these things happen. We all have agency, and that is a gift from God, but we can use our agency for good or bad things. It isn't always our fault when things happen. Things happen as a result of other people's agency. We can't do anything about it. it is sad, but it is out of our control. But what we can do is pray. :) Anyways, I am out of time. But I love you all so much! And I want you to know that I love my mission! I have days, a lot of days, that are really hard, but at the end of the day it is all better and in the morning I am ready to take on a new day! (Though sometimes I just wish I could take a two day vacation back home and just quickly come back. ha. No jk. I can't think such things) But I truly love it here and the people that I have been able to meet and work with. I have come to love so many people! It just makes me so sad to think I probably won't ever get to see them again-possibly- in this life. But we will have a fexta (party) after this life!!!!! :) Anyways, hope you all have a fabulous week!!!! And Cassy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved your email!!!!!!!! I love you so so so much!!!!!! :) 
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes

Our Zone
Viseu Portugal

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday, September 2nd

So this past week I ate squid. The tentacools and everything! I thought I was going to be sick! Sis. Brooks is so lucky she is vegetarian and they all know it. Maybe I should turn vegetarian just for my mission. :) But yeah, it lookes so disgusting. So we contacted an 89 year old man and he was so funny but just a little bit crazy. He told us he found out for himself that the world doesn't actually rotate. It actually goes up and down and that is why the sun goes up and down as well. Haha. He was really nice though. But I couldn't understand most of what he was saying. So we have been working with Mikaela still. Oh she is just so darn cute! She is 12. She looks like she is 15 though. But she came to our English class after we met up with her one night. And it was super cool becuase her dad ever lets her go anywhere. And she was so excited about it when we told her about it, but then when she realized she had to ask her dad for permission she got all sad... it was so sad. But then she asked if we could go with her to ask. Haha. (You know the kind of thing you always did with your friends hoping that your parents would be more willing to say yes if your friend was right there. haha) But he said she could go! Though he asked us if she would be with us the whole time. And then he did that little "i'm watching you" hand motion with the eyes. Ha. He is so funny. I love her dad. His name is Paulo. But Mikaela said that is a big deal because he never lets her just leave and with people he doesn't know super well. But he trusts us! And he likes us! Ha. This we now know for a fact. Well, we already knew he liked us. He always jokes around with us. He is so funny. But  we started holding an English class once a week at the chapel. this was only the second time though. But she ended up being the only one there. That is one of the things that frusterates me a little about the Portuguese. They always say they will do something or go somewhere. But they don't usually actually end up doing it. It is slowly driving me nuts. Ha. But at the end of the hour, Sister Cutler asked if she would give the closing prayer. She was so scared to give it. She wouldn't give it with us either outside her dad's shop. But that is more understandable because there are other people there and it isn't just us. But this time we were in the chapel with just her and us four Sisters. But she did end up agreeing and said the prayer. And it was so good! She gives perfect prayers! Later, when we were walking back with her (This time just me and Sister Brooks) She said that was the first time she has ever said a prayer out loud with other people. She won't even pray out loud with her dad. But she said that she loved it so much! And that it felt so good to pray with us. That made me so happy! And then we just told her how amazing she is. And she said the same thing back. Ha. I love her so much! I wish she could just go everywhere with us during the day!  Then we said something about speaking English, and she told us how she adores speaking english. (It was so cute when she said she adores it) ha. We told her we can talk in English more if she wanted. And she said yeah! But that she gets embarrassed because she doesn't want to say things wrong (I know how she feels! But I have to talk and sound like a child who doesn't know how to speak correctly. ha. But at least they understand me!) But then, after she said that, I just looked over at her and said " remember me??".... And she busted out laughing!!!!!!! It was soooo funny! But she knows I can't speak grammatically correct very well. Ha. But she loved that so much she brought it up two more times before we got back to her dad's bar. And apparently I make this certain face a lot more than I realized and she loves it so much. So everytime I make it she giggles and mimmicks it. It is super cute. But guess what!? She told us that we are her best friends! I can't tell you how happy that made me! And she told us that she loves us. She is just so perfect! So when we said bye we just gave eachother big hugs! It was precious. I am so sad that she lives in Coimbra with her mom... I am hoping I will get transfered there so I can keep working with her. :) Because I feel like it makes more sense for Sis brooks to stay and me to get moved this next transfer. But you never know. Oh! And she wanted to go to church so bad with us on Sunday! At first her dad told her she couldn't in front of us, so it was a little weird, but then she was like but why not!? So he finally said yes. Haha. Oh 15 year old girls that know what they want. :)  But when we went to pick her up we waited for 15 minutes but she never showed so we were soooo sad. Then we stopped by at night and she said "Well, you ready to go to church!? My heart broke.... She thought 9 pm instead of 9 am.... oh those darn Evangelical church's that are at night. And is was the saddest and most precious thing... she was literally devastated! She was so sad the rest of the night as we talked with her.... Oh I love her so much! Anyways, yeah! Oh! Mom, so I actually don't have the lavender oil... So that is something you can send. :) Though by the time I get it hopefully I will be out of this apartment with the bugs but you never know. Anyways, I love you! Till next week!
Sister Amanda Stokes