Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yes I got transferred! I am in Benfica. So literally in the central of Lisbon. I live literally right next to the mission office! So I am excited cause I can get everything right away! And I finally got the package!!! And I love it! Thank you so much! It has been here for a while. I just haven't been able to get it and no one wanted to bring it with them back up. Ha. But thats ok. I have it now! So my new companion is Sister Wach. But it is pronounced walk. She is super sweet! This is the smallest apartment though. My last one was so big! But this is only a two Sister apartment... So it will be sad... But, we get tons of other sisters staying with us because we are the "mission office sisters." Ha. So I am excited. I don't think I can send pictures because they aren't loading on this computer.... But I will try again. But I don't have much time today. But Catia will be baptized on the 9th!!!! I am sooo sad that I will miss that.... Cause I love her so much. But that is a part of mission life. I am just so happy that she will be baptized! We were still working on the smoking thing. But she is doing a lot better! So we know she can quit in time! Well. I love you all so much!!! Until next week! (And I will be able to write more!) 
Love Sister Amanda Stokes

Monday, October 21, 2013

 That area we were exploring. It was raining

Monday, October 21st

    So I definitely believe that Steff is just teasing all them boys. :) She is just so darn cute. ha. Oh my goodness. That is aweful... I can't believe someone broke into their apartment to steal his tithing money. And the fact that is was his tithing money... It makes me so sad when I see and hear about things that happen in today's world. It is just ridiculous... So it makes me sooo happy to meet people that still have high standards, and really strive to be good virtuous people. That is so great about the successful hunt for Ty! Hey! Alyssa is going where I was born! ha. I love it! So we had a family night at the church with members and investigators. It was fun. We watched a little film, and the Elders talked a little about it afterwards and applied it into our lives. It was about the man who had a debt to pay, and he couldn't pay it himself. And so they talked about the Savior, and how He has payed the debt for us. How we just have to do our part in reaching out to Him to receive it. Because it is just sitting there waiting for us. But it won't do any good if we don't grab it, if we don't exert ourselves to prayer and ask for forgiveness. And even more than that, in our times of trial and we need to receive the comfort that comes from the Atonement. The comfort we need is just waiting for us to reach out and claim it. To apply the Atonement in our lives. I don't remember exactly what they said, but these were my thoughts. ha. You know how that happens and you start going off on your own and teaching yourself almost. That is what happened. :) Then afterwards we had desert! So craziness! Last week on the 15th I hit my 5 month mark! And so this next month will be my 6th month mark. I can't believe that! That will be 1/3 of my mission complete! That is a little sad. But I have already had so many growing experiences. I don't feel like I am different personality wise. But characteristic wise I have grown so much! My testimony along with that. It is incredible. I used to think that I was a really good person. Well, I was but I had so many weaknesses that needed to be worked on. And I still have so many weaknesses and being here is showing me just how many I have. Ha. Which is a ton. But I am able to work on them and have the Lord's help in strengthening them. It really is a neat experience. I feel like everyone should serve missions. It truly just helps you change your perspective on everything and truly helps you love every single person so much more. Even when they are telling you that they don't want anything to do with you. Instead of making me mad or annoyed. It makes me sad. Sad that they aren't willing to hear what we have to say. Sad that they won't give us that opportunity to make their lives so much better. To help them really see the love that their Father in Heaven has for them, and the blessings that they have already received in their lives. Being here I don't think I have ever felt so much joy and so much saddness all at the same time. So did I tell you that I sent a package home? Well, here is another reminder if so. :) Just so you are expecting it. It is Christmas stuff! And transfers are this next monday! At this point, it is a little nerve racking because this time it truly is very likely that I will be leaving this area... it will be sad because I love it so much here in Viseu. But I know I will love whatever knew area I am brought to. It will just be the biggest change so far. Because I have been here the whole time! 18 weeks!!!! (Well, this will be the 18th week. But still!) So we will see what happens. I am a little nervous to train. But President Fluckiger mentioned last transfer, when we had interviews, that I would probably be training soon. So that made me panick. But then I found out I wasn't training. I am actually glad I didn't. I think this transfer was really good for me. I got the normal missionary schedule, and I was finally not a "greenie" anymore. ha. So with Catia. During one of our lessons, We were talking about her baptismal date. And I asked her how she was feeling about it. She said she didn't feel like she could be ready and about the smoking thing and all. Then I told her that I knew without a doubt that she could be ready by that date and that she could feel ready as well. And that with the Lord, really anything is possible and that we can overcome all of our weaknesses with His help. But she still felt a little nervous I think. Just because of the smoking thing. And the date was set for about a week and a half later at the time. The 26th. But then Sister Warburton asked her, "Well, what date do you think you would feel ready by" (And this caught me completely off guard, and I was a little confused, but I thought, well this might be a good idea to make her feel better about being ready) So Catia thought about it and she finally said the 11th of November. So Sis. Warburton told her to pray about the date and that we would too. So now, the next time we see Catia, Which is tomorrow. We will make it a firm date. Me and Sis. Warburton are feeling the 9th. So on the 16th we had divisions with the sister training leaders! And we actually did then the normal way this time for the first time-for me that is. So I split with Sister Parker and Sister Warburton went with Sister Lofgreen-yes she was the other Sister that lived with us my first transfer here! And it turns out she was Sis. Warburton's MTC companion, so thats fun!. Though in the morning the Sister Training Leaders got a phone call and the other Sisters were already late for their appointment with our investigator João. (Me and Sister Warburton were a little frusterated about that because they were making him wait for us and they could have told them they would call back because they have an appt to go to) They ended up just telling me and Sis. Warburton to go to it and they will meet up with us after. I felt so bad.... João wasn't super mad. But he was a little irritated. We told him we were so sorry and I promised him we will really do are best to not be late and make him wait again. But the lesson with him went really good! He really is super cool. He is the one that wanted us to go to his church and watch his priest's cast out evil spirits. But right now he is praying to get an answer. And he told us he hasn't gotten one yet, but he knows that he will. And we know it too! :) And it will be a positive answer. Because we already know that this really is Christ's church here on the earth. And that is why we are here! To let others know about it. And to bless their lives with it. It is so great. But when we meet with him, they generally are really long lessons because he just talks sooo much! Ha. But it is all about gospel things so it is good. It just makes it really hard to have a lesson with him. But he already knows and believes so many things! And true things. :) Oh, I love Eduardo's son. We went over to his place just to see if he happened to be home because we were in the area. Though I was almost positive he would be at work. And his son answered the door. He has some sort of special need. But he is the sweetest and cutest thing. He smiled so big when he saw me! I just asked him how he was doing and if his dad was in. Then I told him we would come back to talk more when his dad was home. Ha. But he was so sweet. And I love how big his smile is! Sometimes I wish I could just get pictures with everyone and it wouldn't be weird. :) Then we had a lesson with Maria de Manuala. She is the one that was baptized in the beginning. Though I felt bad for Sister Parker cause when we entered her house, it was hard for her to hide her disgusted face... It was pretty bad though. Maria has 9 cats. And they pretty much own her house. Or they think they do. But Maria lets them. So there is cat icky, both kinds, all over the floor throughout the house. I almost slipped on the cat pee. That would have been aweful. But I caught myself. :) But that just isn't healthy for her to be living like that. The whole house smells aweful. So we have it already planned to go do a big cleaning service project with all the missionaries! Us and the Elders. :) It will be great! Gross, but great! And we will try to convince her to get rid of some of her cats... Some of them or most of them are cats off the street. So they won't let you pet them. And they go up into the ceiling in her house (Theres a hole in her kitchen ceiling above the fridge where they go) She is planning on moving as soon as she can though. She is currently looking for a job though. But Sister Parker literally wouldn't touch anything and she didn't say a word during the lesson. So I made it quick and left her a chapter to read. Afterwards, Heavenly Father blessed us with a bus! (Sis. Parker has a foot problem and it hurts her really bad to walk far, plus she wouldn't touch anything with her hands and was holding them out like they were diseases. Ha. It was funny. She laughed about it but she was utterly disgusted. I was too. But it was just one on those things we can't do anything about at the time. But we will on Saturday! She will have a clean house!) So we hopped on that back to Viseu (We were in Pascoal) and went to the restroom to wash our hands. We tried to go home but we realized we didn't have the keys. Ha. João came to church! (the other one that is a less active! He also had come to English class) We had a lesson with him last weak and he nearly broke my heart.... He is in a tough situation right now. He is living out of his car because he moved out of his girlfriend's house about a month ago. And we haven't heard from him before in over a month. But he realized something was missing in his life and so he decided to come talk to us again. So he is coming back! :) But in our last lesson with him, we watched two talks from conference with him. The one by Uchtdorf and the other by Holland. I can't remember the names of them right now though. But they were perfect for him! And after when we were talking with him. He started crying... And heput his head down cause he couldn't hold it in and he didn't want us to see him crying but it just broke my heart and then I started crying. Well, tears started falling. After he told us that he truly feels so much better. And that we helped him a lot. The poor guy... So Manuela! She is our knew investigator! She came to all three hours of church yesterday. We found her on the side of the road on some steps asking for money to be able to eat. And it turns out she is super cool!!!! She loved church and we made another appointment to see her this week. So funny thing that happened last night. we did a little division. Cause Sister Duran wasn't feeling good. So I volunteered to go out with Sister Cutler and the other two stayed home. We ran into a women on the street. And she told us that she was good at reading people. So we thought. Yes! She can tell we are good people and that we really are disciples of Christ. Then she leans in and looks around to make sure that no one else is around to hear, and she tells Sister Cutler that she does drugs. Hahahaha!!!!! I died! it literally took all of me not to start laughing. It was because Sis. Cutler's pupils were big. And when I looked they actually really were. Ha. But then she told me that I would make a fortune at a night club becuase I am so pretty and all the guys would like me and give me money in my cup.....So as in I would make a good strip model... I felt uncomfortable.   So..... Don't know which one is worse..... It was interresting. We left hat conversation wondering what just happened. Me and Sister Cutler just looked at eachother and started laughing. But that just happend yesterday.Oh! We also explored a new area in our area. We have plans to go there more! Cause one of the families we found that want to talk to us lives their. though at the time they said they couldn't talk because their boys were sleeping. Even though that was the time we had marked to come and talk with them. But at least we found their house! Well, with a help of another family and they sent their daughter with us to show us which door was theirs. Then we just explored! :) Well, that is all for this week! :) I hope you guys had a great week! And that this next week will be even better. I miss you all a lot and I love you all a lot too. Stay safe! 
Love Always, 
Sister Amanda Stokes

Monday, October 14, 2013

 Me Sister Cutler and Sister Warburton
then me and Sister Warburton!

 So, I decided to wear my tights. But they just kept falling down. So I finally decided to just leave then and walk around as though I did this on purpose. It reminded me of those little kid socks we used to wear with the frilly lace when we were younger. So yeah. I just got annoyed and let them stay down. Apparently they just don't do so well when y ou walk all over the place. :)

We are doing secret santa's with our agenda's. And this is the one I made for my person! 
I have Sister Cutler. :) I love it and I wish I could keep it as mine. 

Monday, October 13th

This past week has been simply amazing! I am so happy! You know Catia? The one I just love to pieces??? She has a smoking problem. And she already had been wanting to quit. But we had the word of wisdom lesson with her. And we asked relatively around how many cigarettes she would smoke each day. She said between 20 and 30. So we then asked her how many she thinks she could cute down to. And she responded "10" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha. Isn't she so great!? We were going to say 15. But 10 is even better. And what is even better is she was able to achieve that goal the very first next day!!!! When we called to check up on her, she told us she was still under 10. And that was in the evening some time. I don't remember. But she is going to be baptized. She just has to because she is perfect and I just love her. We would be best friends! Ha. You may or may not be getting a Facebook friend request from her. :) And our plan is to make those cute little ccigarrette paper roll things with the scriptures on them that missionaries love to make. :) It will be perfect and super cute. Oh! And I love the picutures with Steffy!!!! She is just so cute! I miss her tons! And Cassy and Meg!!!!! Oh, I have sister deprivation. :P When does corbin leave on his mission again? I am sooo excited for him! Oh, I forgot. I am going to be sending a package home! I am not sure how much it will cost.... But just so you know and can expect it! :) So João, one of our investigator's-I don't know if I mentioned him to you guys or not. But he is the one that kept asking us to come with him to his church to watch his priests cast out evil spirits from people. They do this every friday at his church. But he really is super cool and he has a lot of faith. He told us he will pray about our church and our message. And if he gets an answer, he will come to church and continue and be baptized. But if not, then we won't talk anymore. So that is perfect! Because we know that if he sincerely prays, he WILL get an answer and it WILL be a yes! :) So we are excited. So we are praying that he gets one and that he recognizes the answer. Oh! I almost forgot! Did the government really collapse!?? That is insane! How is Dad's work doing? Oh, I guess he is hunting. ha. But Judy is still working right now right? How is she? You should tell her I say hi! And that I hope all is great with her and her family! So you know how we have english classes once of week for free for those who are interrested? Well this past week, we taught how to give directions. Then as the last thing we played a game. We put obstacles all around the room (it is held at the church in the bigger room where the baptismal fonte is), which consisted of chairs, the table, and our backpacks and a flower pot with fake flowers that we always have as decorations in our church's. Ha. Then one person is blind folded as another person gives them directions to get around all the obstacles and the goal is our friend the red trash can. :) Ha. So of course, everyone says that I just have to go first. So.... basically I just made everyone laugh. And one of the Irmã's held out their hand and I ran right into it. It actually quite scared me. But it was super fun. then Elder Later was blind folded and Bruno (A Brazilian) gave him directions. Basically we learned to never let a Brazilian give you directions. Hahahaha. It was hilarious! We'll just say he took a very long detour and went around many rotundas, oh I mean round abouts. :) It was great! I also realized lately that when I come home I am probably going to have a problem of speaking in Portugles. English and Portuguese mixed. ha. And I will just assume that you guys can understand me. So you know that cute red road that we discovered that I told you guys about? Well, we went there again and this time we called it the "Red Road Challenge." The challenge was to talk to every single person that we pass on it. So..... the end result was a little harder than we had planned. Ha. We just have to improve our skills when it comes to talking to people who are riding on bikes or running with ear phones. It is just hard because I just feel bad because it is so inconvenient for them. But we had a meeting about how when we stop people even when they are doing something or when it isn't the easiest contact, it shows them the importance of our message. So our goal is to get better at that one. Ha. But it was fun! Oh! Something I was quite embarrassed about. On the way to the red road, we walk across a parking lot and down and mini grass hill. When we came to the mini grass hill we go to walk down it and I go first. And our dog friend is there! (He is so cute and he has the stripes in his fur, he is really pretty) But I am petting the dog, and I go to take a step forward down the grass hill, and my foot slips from under me and it is a very dramatic fall where my foot flies up as the rest of my body falls down and I slide all the way down the mini hill. Ha. The grass was wet! And my shoes just slipped. I was laughing so hard. My companion was laughing too. Then I said. Well, at least we didn't go at the same time. We would have both gone down. Haha. So she took the dirt path way and avoided the fall. Yesterday right after church, we went to a members house for lunch. We got there and went in, and they have such a nice little home! Like they have expensive nice furniture and I loved it so much! It has been a while since I have been in a home that nice! I loved it! Cause usually it is an apartment or a shared home thing. I don't know how to explain that. But the food was super good! And afterwards Irmã Monica showed us her band studio room. And Elder Later played the guitar! He is actually really good! He played both the acoustic and the electric. And she had plugged them into her amplifyer so it sounded amazing. And she played the drums along with it. It was loud and so great! It sounded so good! Then when Elder later was playing a tune Elder Wilson went up to the mic and made up a song with lyrics about missionaries, missionary work, and the Book of Mormon! It was actually super good! Ha. It was so fun and funny. Then at night (yesterday) we decided to go to the little red road and see if it was lit up. We got to it and there were lights on either side of the bridge. But the bridge itself wasn't lit up. But the light extended a little so we decided it was fine. I got a little nervous feeling, but it was just a little one and I ignored it and kept walking. Then right about at the same time, Sister Warburton got a feeling, and my feeling came back even stronger. Then Sis. Warburton turned to me and said we should turn back. So as we walked back and got back under the light I started pondering about what had just happened and the creepy feelings I had just had. Then my thoughts just started putting pieces together and it was so cool the connections I made. I thought about how most people get weary feelings in the dark. And how whenever we are in the light, we just feel so much happier and safer. Then I started thinking about how evil is always sided with darkness and how good is always found in the light. Then I thought about spirits on the other side, and how we know that there are evil spirits. And then, how it is most likely that they like to reside in the darkness. And then I thought about the light of Christ and how one of my religion teacher's taught us some of his ideas. Like "doctrine according to him" So it isn't doctrine stated officially by the church. But the connection between the Light of Christ and light in general. And the power that makes it exist. And how we don't know everything about light. We can make light by harnessing that power, but we can't just control it completely, only harness it. And how light, and it's power comes from the light of Christ. And the fact that light dispells darkness, and so then maybe literally when we are in the light, evil spirits don't like it and so they avoid those areas and that is why we feel more at peace in the light than in darkness. And how as missionaries, that is a rule. To stay in well lit areas at night. So maybe there truly is something more behind that than we think. So it was just a really cool experience. Anyways, I love you guys so much!!! I hope all is well and you are enjoying life to the fullest! But being smart and doing good things at all times! Like, praying and reading the scriptures! There really truly is a power that comes from doing these things every day. So I hope you do them! Love you! 
Sister Amanda Stokes

Monday, October 7, 2013

 Someone wrote this on a wall in an apartment building. It says Jesus love you. I thought it was cute. 
We put and article in the daily newspaper!!!! :) I will send one home. 

 A cat that came up to us! She was so sweet and cute!
An address we were given of a less active... apparently our records aren't kept
 up to date very well... ha. It had been abandoned for years at the least. 
 Our article in the newspaper. :) It costed about 200£! (euros) Ha. all eight of us gave in 25£ each. So we just will be eating lots of sandwhich's and cereal. Though that is what we eat most the time anyways. Plus my canned peas! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

The cabin trip looks like it was super fun!!! I really miss the cabin and riding four wheelers! When I come home we have to plan a trip! so it is crazy. The weather is funny. The weather went from hot to rainy, cold and overcast. And now the past few days have been sunny and gorgeous! Ha. Yea, we got to watch all the sessions! We even got to watch priesthood with the Elders. I haven't sat down for so long in the longest time!!! It was nice until towards the end because then I was a little tired of sitting cause my back started hurting a little bit. But conference was amazing! I don't think I have ever loved conference so much ever. It was so amazing to hear our leaders speak to us! Looking back I don't know why I didn't just pull up talks on my phone and watch them when I had them right there in my hand just waiting to spiritually lift me if I would just but push the play button. ha. I know I am becoming a missionary that just thinks it is the coolest thing to just sit and listen to the prophet talk. But it really truly is! We have a prophet of God here on the earth just like in the olden times! He is a profet just like Moses! And if needed he could split the sea! But that isn't something that should be viewed as weird to want to spend some of our extra time listening to conference talks or other discourses. Cause they bring such joy and a special spirit! I am secretly super excited to have a phone where I can just pull up all the talks since ever and have all of our scriptures on hand in a little piece of technology. We truly are so blessed in our day. So last week, we had an adventure with these lobster things. They are such a strange creature. Ha. But I was taking a picture of one when a man came up and started talking to us about them. Then he grabbed a leaf and tried to get the thing to grab onto the leaf to carry him back to the water. (little small river thing) It took a while and a lot of falling and being picked back up. But eventually and with time he got him to the water and back to where he belongs. Isn't that so much like life!? Ha, I just made that connection just now. But in life we all will have moments of hardships and we will fall. That is an innevitable part of life. Though we all will experience this in different ways. But we all face difficulties in one way or another. But we can always get right back up with the help of the Lord and keep pressing forward making our way to the finish line and our ultimate goal. Eternal life!!! :) Or, seja, the life of God. Cause we have been promised that we can enjoy all the blessings of God, we have the promise that we can receive all that God has, if we but remain faithful and keep picking ourselves back up each time we fall and endure to the end! Its that simple! :) So just like the ugly lobster thing made it home by continually reaching up and clinging onto the leaf with all it's might-though he slipt and fell many times- he always got back up, regained his grip, and endured until at last he landed himself in the water where he belonged! It was funny though. Cause a bunch of Portuguese people started coming and helping the other lobsters back to the water. But the greatest was one women, with her umbrella, was hitting em like they were golf balls. The poor things. Ha. So I came to a realization the other day. I think that sometimes, Heavenly Father makes us forget things for a reason. For example. Me and Sister Warburton had just said a prayer to head out the door. We had already left our apartment when Sister Warburton realized she had forgotten her umbrella. So we go back and it was right next to where she was standing so it was funny that she didn't see it or think to grab it. Ha. Especially because we knew it was raining outside. So then we headed out again and we felt to walk this one direction. Then a few minutes down that path. With absolute perfect timing on both our parts we ran right into João. A recent convert, less active. And we got to talk to him a little and say a prayer. And he told us how he knows he needs to come back to church and that he knows this is Christ's true church. But if Sister Warburton hadn't had forgotten her umbrella on accident even though it was right next to her feet when we had left, we wouldn't have ran into João. God is so good. :) I am so glad to hear all is good at home! And I hope dad and Tyson are having fun hunting! And that the girls are having fun and staying happy!!!! Just so you know Steffani, Cassidy, and Megan. I love you each soooo much!!!!! Don't ever forget it! And Tyson and Brittany!!!! You guys are fabulous and I love you! And Brittany you are the best sister-in-law I could have asked for! I hope things with Addy are going great and that she is just as cute as ever! And I love you so much mom and dad!! Thank you for all that you do and have done for me. I couldn't have asked for better parents. I hope this next week goes well and that you get to make more fun memories without me. ;P Ha. Jk. I love Portugal, even all the old creepy men! :) I love you! Fica bem!! 
Love Sister Amanda Stokes