Monday, January 27, 2014

 So this week, most of it focussed on Fransico. We were on the way to meet up with him for our appointment on the 22nd, and when we were about 30 seconds from being at the church, we got a text from him that said, he was just coming to say goodbye. We panicked and started to walk as fast as we could. We came around the corner and saw him standing by the church. We went up to him and he told us about how he just couldn't find work, and how he wants to stay, but in France he already had a job, and his mom is there. And he can't go any longer without work cause he has got two kids. So we ended up saying bye that night... And we cried! I couldn't believe it. We had only known him for a week and a half to two weeks. And he was already a good friend to us. We went in the church after he left and sat and talked. Then, we realized that we hadn't left him with a prayer! So we called him back! Haha. We told him we would meet him by mini preço, Just before we got there, we saw him walking towards us on the road. Then he came over. He offerred to saw the prayer. Oh it touched me. He really just says the best most heartfelt prayers! So I may have shed some tears as he prayed. Though I was embarrassed because he noticed after and told me not to cry. So we talked a little and sad our final last goodbye. Ha. And we got his address in France. Though, the next morning. As we prayed together after studies. We felt impressed, really strong, that we needed to keep working with him, and try everything we can to get him ready to be baptized on Saturday, so that he can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost on sunday. So we had a huge lesson with him. It comprised of all of chapter 4. In that lesson we had three members with us. And it was amazing! If it wasn't for the members, Francisco wouldn't have accepted the palavra de sabadoria, oh sorry, the word of wisdom. But two of the members shared really powerful, personal experiences. It really hit me that we need to start using more personal stories of our own. It hits our investigators in a way that really gets them to see the fruits of what we are teaching by example. Just telling them what it is and saying we know it is true sometimes just isn't enough. We did literally everything in our power to help Francisco to be ready and prepared for baptism in just those two days. We did fast with him too. We went into the church and offerred a kneeling prayer to begin our 24 hour fast. We even sent him texts every now and again with uplifting spiritual messages with quoted scriptures to help him stay strong. He said he had to face the inferno by himself. But we were there supporting and encouraging him the best that we could. Needless to say we prayed a lot. In the end, we received a text at 6h30 in the morning the next day, telling us he didn't resist, and he had smoked... our hearts broke! But yet, at the same time we felt happy. Cause all in all. I believe that we still did everything acording to the will of the Lord. And we did everything that we possibly could have done on our own. We had gotten special permission even from our President because he had only been to church once and to baptize them, they are supposed to go to church at least twice. But he was already prepared. And President gave him the baptism interview. They were in there for a while. Oh it must have been a spiritual explosion in there. Elder Brooksby, our new district leader said sometimess President will go over and re-teach everything, but with more power. I was hoping that was the case! When they finally came out of the interview. President called us over. He had been crying!!! It was so precious. He told us Fransisco had just given a powerful prayer. President told us that He had smoken 6 already, but that if he can go 24 hours without smoking, he would be good. He advised us to fast with him. So we did! Even President was impressed with him. He is so ready! It is just that darn smoking problem. I am just so not happy with whoever it was that created the cigarrette. All of the addictive aweful things of the sort. Fransisco has told us he has tried stopping so many time... But in the end, he gave in to that temptation. It was really hard for us because we had such a firm conviction that he would do it. We truly felt that the Lord would bless him. He got a priesthood blessing too. And I know that the Lord helped him. He had gone so long without smoking! Especially for cold turkey! It was a miracle. But when it got truly hard... he gave in. But thats ok. Now, he is just that much stronger. And now, he has everything he needs, except for his smoking problem, to be baptized. And I have a firm conviction that he will be baptized in France. We already looked up the address of the church for him. Fransicso truly is an amazing person, and friend. I am sad that we weren't able to baptize him, and that he has to go to France. But I believe that we did our part. And so, because of that I am happy.Well, I am out of time. But I am doing good. We now are in need for more progressing investigators. We still have some. But they all have their own personal challenges they are dealing with, so it is hard for them to continue progressing to the point of baptism at the moment. But I hope all is well at home! Ah!!!!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED TO HAVE A NEPHEW! HE IS GOING TO BE SO CUTE!!! Send pictures as soon as possible! Though I won't be able to see them till next week. Ha. Oh well. It is the thought that counts. Well, I love you all so much! Goodluck Steffy!!!! You are going to be an amazing missionary!!! Oh, I can't believe you have already gone through the temple! I miss it sooo much! It is so hard that we just aren't able to go... Well, Love you! Till next week!
Com Amor,
Sister Amanda Stokes! :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

 Baptism of Fabio!!!

Bridge over the freeway. Benfica stadium behind us
Boat we road

 portas de Benfica! (doors of Benfica) Pink castle. 
They do some sort of official paper stuff in there.
 Ha. But it is cute!
 Me and Sister Kunz
us and Fabio!!! Before he was baptized
 Cristo Rei

 On the boat! Crossing the river to go to the Cristo Rei!!!
Me and Aline!!!! Love her!
 Junior me Aline (dont know why 
junior«'s eye looks so weird ha) 
 Me and Fabio. After baptism. 
(When we were eating the refreshments)
luana me Alex

me and Luana! I love her to pieces! (15)
We thought this was our last time eating at Guacomole together. But its not! ha!

me luana bruna (sisters)

 we got wet
me jessica (10)

Got a picture of Fabio and Ruben walking out of the baptismal font. Look how happy he is!!!!!!

This week was also so fabulous! We had the baptism of Fabio Filip Borges Gomes on saturday!!!! Haha. Yay!!! We were able to help one more soul enter the waters of baptism!!! Oh, and yes, I remember his whole name. Haha. But he is 21. And he is perfect! He started talking to us about how he would like to serve a mission!!!! How cool! We were so blessed. So yesterday (sunday). Both Manuel and Fabio received the gift of the Holy Ghost and were confirmed as members! Oh it made me so happy! I love being a missionary! I understand perfectly what they mean when they say that this is the best, yet the hardest, days in their lives. It is so hard, but it is so humbling and rewarding. I love seeing the difference the gospel makes in the lives of others. You can see such a grand change just looking in their eyes! I am so excited that me and Sister Kunz are going to be staying here one more transfer together! We are going to be seeing so many more miracles. And all that thanks goes to the Lord. We just marked our investigator Francisco for the 1st of February! He was already pre-prepared. He shoes me that there really are people out there already perfectly prepared for the gospel. They just don't know where to find it. He walked out of church asking, "So what do I have to do so that I can be baptized?" He loves the gospel, and he can feel the spirit bearing record that it is true. He is one of the most humblest men I have met. He had come to the baptism of Fabio. And I know he felt the spirit really strong there. He is going to make an amazing member. And I am sooo grateful that I can stay here and help him make it to the waters of baptism as well. We are receiving so many blessing here in Benfica. I think that is why yesterday was a hard day. Not a single person wanted to talk to us! That hasn't happened in so long! And we talked to so many people that don't believe in anything. God or anything bigger. Just that life is life, and when we die. Thats the end of it. It makes me so sad that so many people believe in that. How sad life would be! But knowing that there is more. What joy and excitement that brings! So it just makes me so sad. There are so many who don't even accept our invite to just pray and ask God, if he truly is there. And even to just say " Dear God, I had talked with these two Sisters, and they said that there was a God, and I don't know if thou art there, but if so, if thou truly dost exist, couldst thou help me feel that though really art there, and that there really is more to this life that just to be born, live, and die. But so many people are unwilling to do that little, simple prayer. And I don't understand why... But sometimes, all we can do, is try to help them. And the rest is up to them. Well, I just want to say that I am so grateful for all of you. And for all of your prayers, love and support. I love you all so much!!!! I heard Steffy's mission farewell went really good!!!! Congrats girlie!!! I am so proud of you!!! I am so excited for us to be out serving the Lord at the same time!!!! You will make a fabulous missionary!!! :) Love you!!! Till next week! :)
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

 Burger King! Ha
That view again. :)


 Everyone! The ward-not everyone of course. But lots of them. Those that came. :)
oh Adão hopped in the picture little stinker.
 I don't think manuel was quite ready for any of the pictures. Little stink!

 Elder Fuller-tall compared to Elder Munoz-short haha
 The Castle!

 My birthday!

 ´I'm 22!!!!! And the Sis. Kunz made those signs I was holding up and put them throughout the room. There were a couple more but I could only hold and so many!
Alex making a Cape Verde dish. It was really yummy!

Luana me and Aline!!! My favorite members!!! i love them so much!