Tuesday, February 25, 2014

 Yes, those are not my glasses. haha. They are Adão´s (to my right, on the right side of the pic) And Joaquim on the left. We thought it would be fun to take a pic of us all wearing old men glasses. haha
Sister Fluckiger gave us balloons. Haha. They were from some Elder I guess. I have no idea. 
All I know is she came into the church and stuck mine on my head. haha. It was funny.

Relief Society activity! Though I might steal this idea for, when in the future, 
I have a baby shower. :) haha. How cute!?

 Cool wall that we found. :)
Pretty with the sun behind the tree. :)
 Yay! Portugal! The city is a million apartment buildings!

 And they have a million buses. So many people use the bus and metro!!!! We do too. :)
 Me and Odete (one of the members here. I love her!!!!)
Well, little 5 year old Joyce took this pic. And I was really the only one ready and in it. Haha.

Monday, February 24, 2014

So this week we have seen miracles! We have this fabulous investigator and I love her!  Maria Helena, our marcada (marked for baptism) is amazing! The day we taught the palavra de sabadoria, sorry, word of wisdom, she got up from her seat, walked over and grabbed her cigarrettes, and gave them to us and kept just one and said "this will be the last" !!!!! And since that day, tuesday, she hasn't smoked a single cigarrette! In fact, she hasn't even had the desire to smoke another cigarrette! Prayers really are one of the most powerful things that we have! And Heavenly Father truly does answer them! Maria showed an act of faith, a grand act of faith. She knew that that cigarrett would be the last one she would ever smoke with the Lords help. And in turn because of that act of faith, Heavenly Father blessed her! Answering her prayers, as well as ours. I love this work! And I love seeing how much love Heavenly Father truly has for each and every one of His children. As well as seeing how ready and willing He is to answer our prayers of faith, for it is according to our faith that miracles happen. And Maria had the faith, and the will to put that faith into action by giving us her cigarrettes. Though, she was meant to be baptized on sunday... And she was sooo excited to be baptized! But her grandson got really sick and had to go to the hospital. After he had to have someone stay with him 24/7 and his parents weren't able to with work and school. So Maria had to go to Sacavém (another city). She is still there. She should be baptized this coming weekend as long as everything runs smoothely. We are praying and we already fasted that the grandson will get better before this weekend! So for now that is the most important news. :) OH!!!! We watched The Work and the Glory yesterday for our Movie Night!!! It was amazing! It has been soooo long since I have seen that movie! I love it! Anyways, I just want to thank you guys for being the best family I could have. I love you all so much! Don't ever forget it. And never forget that the most precious thing that we can gain in this life is our testimonies! For that in turn gains us a place all together in heaven!!! I am so grateful for this gospel. And I know with all my heart that it is true. I can't explain in words that joy it brings me to see the difference the gospel makes in the lives of people who come to hear and accept it. They become a whole new person! They become more loving, and more caring. More willing to help and lend a hand. Even the most subtle feelings you get from them as you are conversing with them changes. I don't know how to explain that one very well. It is crazy, but it is amazing. It is a miracle! I love you all so much! Stay safe and never forget to say your prayers and to read the word of God everyday! Until next week!
Love Always,
Sister Stokes :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

 Going to the Benfica stadium! A little tunnel
In the stands in the Benfica Stadium!!! 
 We had hot chocolate!

 celebrating my 9 month mark! And sister Kunz 6 month mark 
(Which was almost 2 months ago but we didn't celebrate it... :(

 Me in the Apron Ana (Jason's mom) made for me

 Benfica's mascott (The soccor team) is the bald eagle!!! 
How cool!in the tunnel


 Where all the news people go with the cameras after games. :)us in the stadium!

 Yes, that is a real bald eagle!!! Their mascott, and our countries moscott!!!!! So cool!

 First off, AH! I can't believe Steffy is going to be going out to the field! I still can't quite grasp the fact that she is a missionary just like me! ha. Can you send e pictures of her! I haven't seen a single one since she left! It will be so weird seeing a pic of her with a name tag on. I am excited to see one! Anyways, last week, we had a family night in one of our members homes. And they invited their neighbor. She is super sweet by the way. I love her! So I gave Bruna (8 yr old daughter... member.) one of our invites for church with all our information on the backside. So at the end, Bruna gave her the invite and asked her if she would go to church with her and her family the coming sunday. Maria Elena paused, sincerely thought about it, and then responded with a confident "Sim, eu vou" (Yes, I will) !!!!!! We were excited! Then we made a time to meet with her again to talk to her more about our message. So we taught her about the restoration in her house. Oh, it was amazing! She loved everything, she accepted everything. And we have come to find out that one of her sons (already married) was baptized and is a member! We taught her again in Benvindo's home (that same member family-they are so helpful and ama<ing!) and we taught the plan of salvation. And in it, we marked her for baptism for the 23rd! And she did not hesitate a second to say yes!!!! We are so excited! We have a lot to do to get her ready. But we know she will be ready! We have to help her quit smoking. The Lord will help us with that one. But oh, Heavenly Father is blessing us sooooo much! I can't tell you how grateful I am to be on a mission and be a missionary. Thank you mom and dad for supporting me and giving me this opportunity to be here, and to see all these miracles in the lives of others. I love you all so much! Stay strong and always remember to make good choices! No matter how small the decision is. I love you all to pieces! Until next week!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

 Yes! Torre de Belém again! And the Monte do Discovery!

 Sister Training Leaders
Donut Stop!

 Saying bye to Elder Zaccaria. :(  He is so amazing!!! We were in the MTC together if you remember! I got to see him a lot these past couple weeks. :) We were so sad to hear he had to go home because of his back. He has to get surgery on it. I hope everything goes well for him!
 Well, I definitely was not ready for the picture! Haha. I didn't know she was taking one!

 me and Joaquim
Why I am so white, I do not know. It was the flashes fault though ha

 Our lunch (that was meant for after the baptism which didn't happen until late at night) though it took them 3 hours to prepare!!!!!!! Craziness!
 Luana me and Junior

So first off. This week was crazy yet amazing. Ha. It was crazy because getting this baptism of Joaquim to happen was stressful and almost didn't happen! So He passed the interview and he was so excited. And everything was planned for sundayright after church. They got dressed in white and were ready to take pictures. And I felt like I needed to go and check the baptism font. So when I went to go check it, as soon as I opened the curtain and looked in, I panicked!!! There was no water!!!! Someone had unplugged it during church! I went straight to Sister Kunz who was just outside the door and told her what I had just seen. She came in and looked for herself. The news spread like wild-fire. We all just couldn't believe what had happened. The members had already started making almoço for after the baptism (Cause Adão wanted it- he wanted Joaquim's baptism to be exactly like his. haha. He was upset when we told him an Elder was not going to baptize him- but the Elders don't even know him and we wanted a member. And Edson was there every step of the way. Our members are soooo amazing!) So we changed the baptism for at night at 8. When the time was close we called Adão to make sure he would come with Joaquim. But Adão showed up along. Without him. When we asked him where Joaquim was, he didn't know. (Adão is basically family to Joaquim) We called his phone time and time again. But he never has his phone on him. Adão finally went to go see if he was home. But when he got there, No one was home.... We were so sad!! We literally could not do anything except for wait, and pray. And our members were just so fabulous during this whole time. They came back for the baptism. And they waited so patiently. We told them the latest we would wait would be until 9. Cause we have to be in the house by 9:30. We had 15 minutes till 9 and we were just sad.... Though I still felt really hopeful for some reason. Ha. So I wasn't super sad. But with only 15 minutes left, Benvindo, our member, came up to us and said that we should sing hymns to help us feel more happy and to feel the spirit as we waited. Inspired!! So we did just that. And it helped me a ton! I was so much happier. Then when Sister Kunz said it was nine, I said we should sing just one more song. And I had the thought that he would be here by the time we finished this last song. Or just that something would happen. So after we sang the last song, we called Adão, and.... guess what!? He was with him on his way to the church!!! Oh we were so happy. We went back into the room to tell the good news! There were smiles all around. So when he got here, they quickly dressed and we quickly took pictures. We had to cute down the program though because it was already9:30... So we did go past our curfew at 10... But we talked to the zone leaders. But oh it was just the best miracle! Joaquim was baptized! And afterwards he was just so happy. He came up to me and said, "I am a new man" with the biggest smile on his face. I love this work so much. God is a God of miracles. And we couldn't ask for better more supportive members. They were so supportive and patient throughout the whole thing. So I am full of gratitude. For Heavenly Father, and his help and guidance every step of the way in helping this baptism take place, and as well as for our members. In staying, and always having so much love and support for all of our investigators and recent converts. We are so blessed here in Benfica! So Sister Duran is now at home too! It is so weird to think about these Sisters that are home! It just doesn't click well with me. It just isn't possible. They were just here with their name tags on, and thinking of them home, and not wearing skirts everyday with their name tags is just the weirdest thought to me. I will probably cry the day I have to take it off... Not in front of anyone though. Haha. Man, I can't th ink about that. Ah! I can't believe my half way mark is this week! It just can't happen. I feel like I just got here! I just have so much more to learn and to do! And holy cow!!!!! How is it possible that Steffy. My little Steffy is in the MTC wearing a missionary tag over her heart! Ah! Though I am so happy for her! Well, I love you all. Sorry, my baptism story took to long to tell. And I still wasn't able to tell everything! But I got the important things. I love you all so much! Please stay safe! Until next week! :)
Love Always,
Sister Stokes
p.s. Maybe now that steffy is on a mission she will understand and I will hear from her more. Haha. I can hope. :)

Good Luck Steffani :)

 Good Luck Steff!!!!!! I made the posters (And they took so much longer to do than they look! Ha. But I just wanted to wish her luck and tell her I love her and how excited I am for her!!!! Ah!!! I still can't believe it! It is going to blow my mind the moment I see a picture of her with a missionary tag! Crazy! Well I l love you!

Luana baby Amado and Francisca (mom)

 The arch and statue.
The women in the background looks like she is nervous or something. Haha
 This was on the outside wall of a bank.
 But it looks really cool. :)
Thought this looked cool with the bus and everything else.

 thought this looked cool with all the "layers" haha. It is like a mirror effect. 
But it's not. It really goes on that long! :)
This is a better look of it with Sis. Kunz

Me and Sis Kunz!

 I think this one is less blurry than the last
We thought this building was cool. :) Plus it matches my side bag. :) Haha

 Yes, that is Irmã all the way down there. Yes, I was getting distracting and taking lots of extra pictures of the statue. Haha. So she got a little far from me. :)

 Weird tiny cars! haha.
 cobble stone pattern
Me and Irmã


 My feet and the cobble stone. haha
Fabio not wanting me to take his picture ha
 Me and Renato. I keep telling him to smile but he won't.

 Me and Fabio
Me and Sister Brooks!

 Eating at the restaurant (The one we usually go to once a week, a member pays for us to go. So nice I know!)
Columbo and the stadium. It was a pretty picture. :) 
I love the colors