Monday, May 26, 2014

 This is manuel. A member in the Almada ward (The ward that shares the building with us) 
He went on a mini mission and I saw him 
at our conference! Craziness!

me my comp and Sister Call!!!! (From Viseu) 

 me and Elder Ryan!!!! (mission office- Benfica!)
A pretty flower :) haha
 haha irmã this morning! made me laugh so much!!!!!!!
 horses next to the highway. :) (it is more or less a highway ha) I just had to take a picture :)

So, Transfers happened! And I am super happy, we are both staying!!! (Me and Sister Cardoso). We are going to have two baptisms this transfer at least! Diomantino is marked for the 8th of June, and Kinita is marked for the same date! They are both truly amazing! Diomantino was already pre-prepared for the gospel. In our first lesson with him, he accepted everything. And everything made sense to him. But the part that was incredible was the part when we showed him the Book of Mormon. As soon as he saw the front of the book, his eyes lit up! He said that he has already seen this book before, and that as a matter-of-fact, he already has it. (Though he isn't sure where it got put). He told us how one day, he saw a book in the trash can, and as soon as he saw that it had the name of Christ on the front, he pulled it out and took it home. After that, he basically bore testimony of the Book of Mormon, and how it is a book that we all need. How it is a book of God, and that it clarifies the Bible for us. It was absolutely amazing! That has never happened to me before! Then we explained a little more about how it is that we have the Book of Mormon and such. But he has already got a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon. :) He will be an incredible member! And Kinita is also amazing! She has had the goal to stop smoking for quite some time. We actually had already met her in the home of an old investigator. But we found her knocking doors! She invited us in, and we talked with her about our message, and she told us of her desire to quit smoking. We told her that we have a perfect plan that will help her stop! We left the first pamphlet with her to read and marked another appt. to talk with her about this plan. When we saw her again, she told us that she had only smoked 3 cigarettes the day before, and that that day, only 2. She said that she received additional strength because of our message! She was so happy! :) We were so happy! Since then she has only smoked 2 cigarettes each day! Sorry this is getting long. But basically we are super happy! And we are seeing miracles! I can't even begin to explain how much I have changed since the start of my mission. Being a part of the Lord´s work is truly a huge blessing. I am so grateful that I have been blessed with this opportunity serve, and truly have a complete change of heart. I feel like I am seeing out of a new pair of eyes. Everything appears so differently to me than it used to just over a year ago. It is incredible. I would recommend to everyone to serve a mission. It truly is one of the greatest decisions that you can make. :) Anyways, I hope all is well at home. Stay strong and always remember to do the little things each day. And find ways to serve! Service is a selfish thing really, ;P Ha.we are blessed so much when we serve! Love you!
Love Always, 
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

 me and Irmã at the beach!!!!!

 The beach! With flowers. :)
Me and Mayara (member)

 My footprints on the sand. :) 
Yea, not a very attractive picture. lol. 
And Fabrícia didn't quite make it into the air. haha.
 I think Elder Mehl has a better one on his camera. 

 me mayara and fabrícia
my name tag! 

 Me and Castro (member) 
me and Irmã!

Ha, It looks like a jungle almost! 
 Did you know that there was a international day of the family?? And that that day was on my one year mark!? :) 15th of may! haha. I still just can't believe it that I am already past my one year mark!
my 1 year mark, Elder Walker´s 4 month mark, Sister Cardoso´s 7 month mark, and Elder Mehl´s 20th Birthday!!!! :)
  Me and Nuno

Monday, May 12, 2014

Helena Baptism :)
Family!!! :)
Ah!!!!! Talking to you all was amazing! Right when I heard mom´s voice the tears just came down! I hope you didnt notice. Haha. But it made me just oh so happy! I miss you all so much! I just cried after. But then I recovered and I am perfectly happy. I feel like that veil was just put up again. As missionaries I think we have some sort of veil to help us focus and work. Ha. So, this past week was incredible!!!! Helena was baptized! Her story is truly an amazing story. So 7 months ago she lost her husband, and has been struggling with heartache and as well problems with finances. She also had to decide between two churches to join. She had just prayed to God to help her in this decision, to know which of these church's she should join and if one had more truth than the other. At this same time, we were having difficulties in finding new people to teach. There is a verse in the scriptures that says that God will prepare His elects in the suburbs. So, we said, "Let´s Go!" We went far into our area, an hour´s walk. And we started knocking doors. And behind one of these door´s, was Helena! She let us in, we introduced ourselves... and wah lah! She recognized us as servants of the Lord. And the timing was so perfect, she couldn't deny it as a response from the Lord. Though she had a really hard time accepting baptism because she was already baptized and didn't want to do something wrong in the sight of the Lord by being baptized a second time. But we kneeled in prayer with her. She asked Heavenly Father if this was the right step she needed to take in her life. After the prayer, we sat in silence (we told her beforehand to do so and to pay attention to her feelings and wait for an answer from the Lord) After we asked her how she was feeling and if she had received and answer. She said she felt at peace. We helped her recognize that as an aswer from God, and how if it was not the right thing, she wouldn't feel at peace at that moment. She made the connection and we invited her to be baptized again, and she accepted! She was baptized this past Saturday, May 10th , and confirmed yesterday. After her baptism, she told us that she had prayed to God to be sure she didn't just do something wrong in His eyes by being baptized a second time. (Cause her first baptism was by immersion and she was 30 years old). Then she said she received an answer so clear, the words came to mind as if speaking to her "you did the right thing. When you were baptized the first time, you were not yet married to your husband and therefore were not keeping the commandments of God" She felt such a peace in regards to her baptism after that confirmation! It was the sweetest thing to experience and to see her happiness and joy as she realized that this new path she has taken is truly in accordance with the will of the Lord. I have learned so much from Helena! And I hope and pray she stays firm in the faith! So that is the big news! :) We also have this other investigator José. He is incredible! He knows almost nothing about God. Has never read the Bible or anything. But he is progessing fabulously!!! We are excited! He has already felt and recognized the spirit. :) I will keep you updated on him! He is a single man. And his house is decorated so beautifully it looks like a woman did it. But he lives alone! Ha. He has good taste. :) Well, I love you alll soooo much!!! Stay Safe!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Part of an Email Elder Jason Rees shared with me that Amanda wrote :)

" Oh Jason I am soooo happy! You want to know why? Because this week was amazing!!!! We had an inspired lesson with Helena. We answered all of her doubts and questions. And we helped her recognize the spirit better and the hand of the Lord. Her daughter who lives in Spain has stopped believing in the church she has been a member of for quite some time. Helena had spoken with her daughter about our church and how she is talking with the missionaries (us). We do not know what all Helena said, but whatever it was, it sparked interest in her daughter. Her daughter told her mom (Helena) to give us her email address so we can talk. We then told Helena that we have missionaries there in Spain who can talk to her in person. So we are going to pass her email and her phone number to the missionaries in Spain. This was truly an answer to Helena´s prayers because she has always wanted a family united in one faith. Helena was in tears as we spoke to her about how Heavenly Father is blessing her because of her faith and her desire to find and know the truth. And how now her daughter will hear the gospel and feel of its truthfulness. And she and her daughter will be united in one faith. But not just one faith, in the true church of Christ on the earth. It was hard getting Helena to see that she needs to be baptized again. And I think a big part of her resistance was because her husband (who passed away about 5 months ago) was a pastor. And she didn't want to believe that he was wrong. (We have already taught about the spirit world and how those who die without a knowledge of the gospel will hear it there) We then told her that we both felt that he has been introduced to the gospel there. And that he is currently learning or already learned (we aren't sure which one just that it is or did happen) about the restoration and the need he has to be baptized correctly. She felt the spirit bearing testimony of our words and we invited her to be baptized on may 10th. She finally accepted!!! It was so great! We had her pray at the end and we sat in silence after the prayer. She said she felt a peaceful feeling. We bore testimony that that was the spirit letting her know that it is right. :) She came to church yesterday which makes it two times she has been in church. We are super excited for her and for her daughter!!! The Lord is truly aware of all his children! It was truly a miracle! So yes, I am just so happy!"
 Me and Irma
The flowers we got for Mothers Day 
(Mothers Day here is the 
first sunday of the month) 
Yes, we aren't mom´s, but we still got flowers! 
And yes, we are in the bathroom of the church. hahaha.