Monday, March 31, 2014

 So... this week, we finally decided that none of our investigators are progressing... And none of them have been meeting with us. It is so sad... But we met some really cool new people!!! We are excited. Though most of the people we have been working with are less actives and recent converts. I finally don't feel super sad about not having a baptism still. I still feel sad. But I realized that keeping the recently baptized members strong and bringing back those who have already been baptized is vital to our work as well. Because we can baptize and baptize. But if they aren't taken care of... they may fall away and add to the number of less actives. And that doesn't help our ward or the kingdom of God here in Portugal. My goal is to leave our ward better than we found it. And if that means bringing back and strengthening. Then that is what I will do. For that is just as important as baptizing! :) So we are happier now. We both were pretty depressed. But it's already passed. Something I read in my studies this morning helped too! I told Steffy as well. But I was ready about Paul, and oh goodness. He went through a lot. But the pattern of missionary work is the same. Many don't want to listen. Generally a lot more want nothing to do with us, and only a few are ready to listen and feel the truthfulness of our message. It has always been that way. With all the prophets, up to Christ. And the apostles afterwards. But they always received rejection and opposition. Knowing that helps a ton in my mission. And it is so cool to make that comparison with ourselves. That we are similar to the prophets of old. Going out to other lands to preach the good message. To find those who are willing to humble themselves before the Lord and turn to him with full purpose of heart. I am so glad that I have this opportunity to be here! It is really hard at times yes, but I have never grown so much in such a short amount of time, ever. Thank you for all you do for me! I am so blessed to have you guys as my family!!! I can't thank you enough for everything over the years. I love you all sooooo much! I hope you all have a fabulous week! <3
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes

Monday, March 24, 2014

my cute comp!!! Sister Cardoso
Cristo Rei and the bridge! And the freeway. Ha

 We bought gummies and they had gummies of dentures! (basically ha) 
then she accidentally dropped them on the ground Lol

 They also had a gummy in the shape of a toothbrush. :) I thought dad would love it. :) 
A Gummy that is GOOD for the teeth!!! :)
I thought that these flowers were pretty! Sister Cardoso said she wants them at her wedding. Ha.

 I love this! "With God there is no crisis" cause right now portugal is in a "crise"
Yeah! Rainy weather again! :)

This week we found Rui! He is amazing! He felt the spirit in the street and we made an appointment with him a couple days later. We taught him in the church with a member. He felt the spirit strong! It was so precious. I bore testimony about the first vision and how I know that this is the true church of Christ on the earth, and then told him that I knew he would come to gain a testimony of that as well. And his response was "Ja estou a sentir que isso é verdade." (So that means that he is already feeling that that is true) Oh!!! It made me jump for joy! (On the inside of course, ha.) But he is fabulous. Then we marked him for the 30th of March. Then he went on the talk about how he was never baptized, but how he wants to be. But we said he was never baptized because his parents were atheists and didn't want anything to do with religion. So he is fabulous! And I left that lesson soooo happy! And feeling just soooo much love for Rui!!! Though sunday came and he wasn't answering his phone.... And he didn't show up at church.... It broke our hearts... We don't know why. We tried later as well. But still no answer. We are going to try calling him again after this. I truly hope nothing bad happened. I don't understand why he isn't answering his phone. But we will have to remark him. Jorge as well. Jorge didn't show up in church either... Oh how much I dislike our free agency! Well, I love it, I just don't like it when those I really want to help and bless their lives use it in a way where they miss out on so many blessings! And delay the blessings that are on hold for them... just that. Anyways, Things are getting better! It is hard when we go into a pink wash and neither one of us know nothing of the area. Plus the fact that the sisters that were here are basically bed ridden so the area was dead with no true progressing investigators. But I am loving it here! I love the members. And they are helping us alot. They go out and walk the streets with us. They are so great! Well I love you all. And I hope you all have a fabulous week! Till next week!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes

Monday, March 17, 2014

 We decided that this meant Joseph Smith :) Haha
 Me and Sister Cardoso sitting on a bench! We were waiting for a member to show up. 
Plus our feet were killing us! So it was a nice little break. Ha.

 On the metro on the way to Cristo Rei! (Yes again. ha)
Ha, yes the Elders were taking the
 same picture we were. I love this ha

 This is Nuno. :)
 My cute companion!

Monday, March 10, 2014

 me and my new comp! Sis Cardoso!
  Companionship tiles!
Elder Fuller Edson (I love him so much! hahaha.) And me. :)

Our ward -in Benfica- had a dance and the theme was 
from the 60s 70s  80s and 90s (basically all the years. haha.
 Our investigator- well he was my 
investigator in Benfica ha. Andr

 Me and Adão. Yes... he blinked! Why! Haha. 
Me and Irmã Erika
 Me and Irmã Josefa!
 Me and Riardson
 Me and Luana!!!!!! <3

This week was a little bit difficult. Just due to the fact that it was a white wash and we both don't know our area or the lines. Ha. We found out that the first day we were working in the Elders area.... But we found out our lines. :) Though apparently where the Elders are now working used to be the Sisters area. So it made us sad because that area is prettier and there are more people in the street and it is closer. Cause we have to walk a while before we get to our area... Ha though in the beginning to figure out where our area was we had even asked the members and tried to consult our map. Though the members in the office (the church office for the country of Portugal-which is right next to our church here) here said the areas were changed and the lines are different. So we had a lot of confusion in the beginning. But now it is all good. So our area is all apartments pretty much. And we don't have a lot of people on the roads. At night it is literally dead! Ha. Even sometimes during the day. It is so strange. So we have decided that with the area that we have we are going to have to change the way we find people. And we will have to knock a lot more doors.... Which I do not like doing very much because I feel so unproductive and so many people don't answer. And everyone always asks "Quem é?" through the door, so they don't ever just answer the door and let you talk. So it makes it a little hard that way. But we will make the best of it. :) So the last sisters left us a list of progressing investigators. But sadly none of them except one want anything to do with us.... So that was strange. And the one, Alina, we still haven't been able to meet because things would happen, she would cancel, and craziness. So we are starting from ground zero. We are trying to love our area, cause right now we are a little bummed that our area was basically a dying area. Though we figured the reason they switched the areas was because they thought sisters might take better care of it and give it more love. Ha. (That is what we said because we just didn't understand why it switched, especially since it makes the sisters have to walk so much farther. Ha. But thats ok, we will stay skinny! Yay!) So ya, we were a little down hearted when we got here and realized our area was going to be really hard, however I know we can make it successful with the Lords help. So really we have just been trying to find people, get to know our area and our ward. So nothing big to report. Though, even though we aren't having a lot of success right now. We are still seeing the Lords hand. One night last week, we were just so sad, and tired, and literally no one was on the streets and we had been walking for a while with no luck, and we hadn't found anyone who was interrested. Lets just say it was a rough night. At one point. There was a flight of stairs, and we decided to take a little break and before we get up to work again, we felt we just needed to say a prayer. So we began to pray, and at the end of the prayer we heard a noise... it was footsteps! Someone was in the road coming our way!!!!!!! We quickly ended the prayer and sprang up and probably startled the man. HAHA. Though the first thing we did was say hi and we told him exactly what had just happened! He was super cool. He was also really grateful that we had stopped to talk to him about the word of God. He actually thanked us for that many times. Ha. After we stopped and looked at eachother. And I know we had the same thought. Which was, " Wow.... Heavenly Father answered our prayer so quickly! We weren't even finished with our prayer when He answered it!" It was fabulous. So I think this area is really going to teach me to see the hand of the Lord in even the smallest of things. (Which, the mission does in general) But especially here. And in helping me see even the littlest of successes that we have. Even if it is just increasing the faith of someone, even though they don't want anything from us. I also just want to thank you guys for everything! I really have the best family in the whole world! I love you all so much and you better know that and not forget it! Stay safe! :) 
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

 Our wonderful District!!!! Oh the office Elders. 
I am going to miss them! Ha. 
Though the poor things are always so stressed. 
But Elder Fuller got out! 
He is back to being a normal missionary 
after 7 months of being in the office! Ha. 
That is so long!

 Adão haha
the Elders
 Saying bye to Sister Kunz!!!! :((

 Family Night! 
Fabio cutting the chocolate for our chocolate chip cookie cake
Benvindo with his baby boy Amaro. He is so cute!!!! I love their family soooo much!!!!

 Bruna mixing the cookie mix. Haha. Oh her face! 
And Luana 
(The one I said I just might be taking home with me) 
checking the cookie cake

Brooke is getting married this weekend!!!! OH I am so happy for her! But I just might cry when the day arrives and I am not there to be there for her.... But I know I am exactly where I need to be. So, I got transferred!!!!! Oh my heart just got ripped out. I love the people in Benfica just oh so much!!!!! The sweet family of Benvindo made me a goodbye dinner and Luana made me a cake. :) I love her soooo much!!!! I just want to take her home with me. I just might if I get permission from her parents and from you guys. :) Ha. So my comp is native!!!! Ha. So it is all portuguese this transfer!!! Craziness! She is from here. Porto-which is up north. She is so cute though! I am excited. Though we both just got here so we are going to be lost! Haha. Cause we don't know where anything is. It will be fun though! Oh! But when we got to our new apartment, it was a disaster! The others who were there left a mess! Trash, clothes, and books. The floor was aweful. And where they keep all the BOMs and pamphlets and stuff was a disaster! I could not believe they treated everything the way I saw it.... It took me quite some time to organize it. I had to throw some stuff aways because of how badly bent and messed up it was.... But I don't know how they ever found anything. It was a mountain of stuff just pilled on eachother. It was aweful. It made my heart hurt that they would just throw the stuff in there like that... So I am going to be spending even more of my p-day cleaning. And unpacking still of course. But I am so excited to be here though! I hope they left the area book good. Cause we don't know who the progressing investigators are or anything. Ha. So... I forgot to bring my camera with me! But me and Sister Kunz told eachother we would send eachother the pictures we send home. So the ones I sent are from her. Yay! Though we have a lot of the same ones. But I will just have more to send next week!!! Ha. Oh. But I am so sad that I am not going to be there for Maria Helena's baptism! It makes me so sad... She was sad when she found out I was being transferred. That is one of the worste things about transfers. Sometimes you get pulled out and the timing is just bad... But I can't wait to fall in love with the ward here! I have heard good things about it. :) Well. Other than that, nothing else has happened. Ha. But, I love you all so much! I hope all is going well at home and that you are all staying super happy and just loving life. And I hope you are remembering to read and pray every day!!! I can't tell you how important and how big the difference that makes! Stay safe, I love you!
Love Always,
Sister Stokes :)