Monday, July 28, 2014

 I saw Adão!!!!!!! He was sooooooo excited to see me! It was the cutest thing! Haha. He went with us on the metro as far as he could that his pass would let him so he could talk with us. haha. I loved seeing him! Haha. (He is a little special. :)...)
Baptism of Vasil!

 Irmã made gorditas. .:) They were yummy. 
An inexpensive mexican food. :)
 Elder that finished and member we 
ran into on the way to the hospital!
us and Vasil!

This week was amazing! Vasil was baptized! It was a miracle baptism! The spirit was so strong! It was amazing! I can't tell you how happy we both were as we watched Vasil go under the water, and come back up completely clean! It was hard keeping back the tears. We call him our Bulgarian father. ha. And he calls us his daughters. It is actually really common for others to call us their daughters. it is just something they do when you have a close relationship with them. I think it is so cute. I am not sure if I ever told you that or not. But we call Vasil pai. ha. Also, we found that the essential oils really help Irmã! And a member in our ward gave her hers. She actually has the exact same thing that my comp has, and sadly, she told her it won't get better. But that the oils are what help her be able to function. We will see what happens. But starting this week we are going to hit the ground running! Even with my comp almost dying in bed. The Lord blessed us with a baptism!! Just think what will happen now that we both can go out and work! The Lord has big plans for Quinta do Conde. And we have high goals! And I am pretty darn sure that they are in line with what the Lord wants to happen! I am soooo excited!!!!!! I hope you all have a fabulous week! Don't forget to pray and talk to our Heavenly Father every single day! Many times per day! He is our closest dearest friend. Whether we know it now or not. It is only us that weakens that relationship. I love you all so much! Stay safe!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Email to Dad :)

Ha. Stinker. Killing two birds with one stone. Mom did the same thing. Haha. That is known as a little thing called, laziness! Ha. Jk!!! I loved the email! I am always really happy when I see I got an email from you. :) I love the quote Steff said. It truly is so true. That is why I am still out here, even amist all the hardships and trials that come with this work. Because of the happiness, and blessings that we are more than spoiled to be able to bring to our brothers and sisters. The light that the gospel brings out of people is just breathtaking and there simply aren't words to describe the joy that I am able to feel as a result of being an instrument in the Lord's hands in being able to bless these people. I can't thank you and mom enough for helping me and encoraging me to serve a mission. It truly is the most humbling work. There isn't anything else that can compare to the experiences we have on the mission. And it truly is the time where we can truly understand our Savior better than we ever have before. Because we are doing exactly what He did when he was here. Loving, helping, serving, sometimes shedding tears, but in and out of it all, experiencing a profound joy and learning how to love more than we ever thought was possible. I am so greatful to be a missionary. And I wish every member of the church had the opportunity to serve a mission, and see the Lord's hands in His work every single day. And in the end, see how the Lord wasn't only helping us to mold other people, but how the Lord was truly molding us, and helping us become the sons and daughters He needs. And one thing I am so excited about is that when the mission ends, it isn't even close to an ending. But it is a beginning. A beginning of true discipleship in the church. We are being trained to live the rest of our lives as member missionaries. And we can have just as much a part in the work here as in our normal lives. I am excited to be a member missionary! Though I still have loads of time as an actual full time missionary. I will be so sad when the time comes to a close! I will probably cry. But I will also shed tears of joy due to all the hearts I have been about to touch, and all the lives I have had the priviledge to change- as an instrument in the Lord's hands. I have learned for one thing that we truly are nothing. But with God and the Lord, we have everything. And the only way we have success is when we have the Lord on our side and when we are worthy to have the companionship of His spirit. That is the only way we will be able to touch hearts and change lives. I love you so much dad! I hope you know what a big example you are to me. I hope that this week goes well at home. Love you!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes
So this past week was a little rough. My poor comp has been suffering with massive migrane´s. And she has been stuck in bed. And no pain killer has been helping, and even when she tries to take something, it comes right back up. She can't keep down food either. I feel so bad for her. Today she seems to be doing better. She still has pain, but it isn't as bad as earlier. She is a trooper! So our marcado (marked investigator) didn't make it to church.... We were soooo sad! So he can no longer be baptized on te 26th.... And what is even more sad is that he hasn't been answering our phone calls since sunday... We are so worried! Cause he is truly so amazing! He was so firm, and so excited! When we taught the Word of Wisdom. He accepted it promptly and was already working on stopping smoking. (And he only would smoke when his guy friends offered it to him) He said he would drop coffee and black tea and everything! Even the law of chastity. He said he has lived that his whole life! :) So I am not sure why we haven't heard from him. I hope everything is ok. Cause he is just the sweetest person! I love him so much! He is Bulgarian. But he speaks portuguese ok. It is really cool to hear him speak bulgarian. We also met a brazilian couple! They are amazing! The husband has already been taught almost everything (Luis) and his Girlfriend (they are living together and aren't currently married) Leir, hasn't been taught anything becaust of her work schedule. She was never home when the missionaries taught Luis. But they are literally perfect. The only thing right now that is keeping them from baptism is the fact that they aren't married. And it is super complicated. For they can't just go and get married because they don't have their documents.... So we are stuck unless they decide to separate. When we mentioned that option, they just looked at each other and then said that they will have to think about that. So we will see what happens. If they don't separate it could be a year or more till they are baptized. I know everything will work out the way it is supposed to though. So I told you that our goal was to make a branch. Actually, the goal that the stake president has is to make it a ward right away and skip the branch. So, no pressure! Ha. But I have faith that we can make that possible. My comp just has to get better so we can go out and find all those whom the Lord has prepared to start a ward here in Quinta do Conde. :) I am so excited!!! The Lord has big plans for my area. Well, I hope you are all doing well! Sounds like a lot is going on back home in regards to trips and changes! I am so happy for Cory! You guys have to send me pictures. :) know that I love you all and that I am soooo happy here! Stay safe!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

 me Sister Cardoso, and Paloma! Our marked investigator. She will be baptized on sunday in the "ocean" the part where it will be is actually the river. But it continues out to the ocean. :) I will talk to president to see if I can go. I am sure he will say yes and Sister Decker (new comp) agreed to go with me! .:)
 me and paloma

So I am super happy! We got to see two baptisms yesterday!!! The Elderes baptized yesterday. He actually lives in our area. But there wasn't anyone in our area because it was closed. So they taught him. And also, Paloma was baptized!!!!!!!! Yes, she is the one that I taught! I got permission from President to go to her baptism. :) I was super happy! She was super happy to see me! She told me she was just so so sad when she saw that I wasn't wilth my comp the next time they went to her house. She clung to me during the whole thing. haha. It was cute. She is 15. She was actually baptized in the river! Emalidio baptized her (member) And they almost fell over. Ha. There were waves, and he said where they had gone in there were also rocks. (Cause where they entered wasn't where you usually go cause there were a lot of people at the beach. It was funny. So many people were looking over and staring as she was baptized. By the look of it they all thought that was the coolest thing. Haha. I just smiled. So I love my new area! Though we were really disappointed once we got here. The area book was like a bomb had exploded. There were investigators who had been made x-investigators in the progressing section. And there wasn't a single thing written about anyone since December of last year. Na verdade, I saw one that was from January. We weren't left with anything. We didn't know who had interest or who the missionaries had been talking to or anything. It was rough. And it took quite a bit of time to organize our area book. But at least the Lord is leading us to others who are ready for our message!  But we are truly super excited!!! So we share a church with Seixal. The members here in our area have been promised a branch for so long, and still nothing has happened. (Sadly we have heard some things from two guys here -who were best friends with the past Elders- about the Elders that have been here, basically they weren't doing their part and keeping mission rules. It broke my heart when we found that out.... But we have a goal to make Quinta do Conde a branch!!!! We are soooo excited! It is going to happen. I have 3 transfers left, including this one. And I have served 3 transfers in each area until now. So I am pretty sure I will end here. So my mission goal is to make a branch! I am so excited! I have actually always wanted to do that! So any prayers would be greatly greatly appreciated. :) So we have our investigator, Vaçil. He is absolutely amazing! If I have ever met anyone with real intent, it is him. He is marked for the 26th! Vaçil was definitely pre-prepared! We are so blessed to be able to be the instruments in the Lord´s hands to bring him to the knowledge of the gospel. Up to this point in my mission, I love looking back and seeing just how much trust the Lord puts in His missionaries. It truly is our responsibility to show the Lord that we are trustworthy. And when we do that. He puts those who are ready to hear the gospel in our path because He knows we will take care of them.We also have Janéti. She is super cool as well. She is catholic and was baptized there at 17. She is now 20. She was marked for the 20th. But she didn't make it to church because she got a fever.... We are going to call after this to see how she is doing today. It is gotter here. Ha. we definitly swett more here. Sister Decker (my comp) says it reminds her of her home town in California. Pretty much perfectly! But yeah, we are super excited! Oh and Sister Decker only has 2 transfers left! Counting this one. So she came in one transfer before me. (she was in the big group of missionaries that came into our mission- about 50 came in at the same time!) That is probably why I had to wait for so long to come out. ;P Well. I hope all is well at home! Don't forget the little things that keep us grounded for the difficult times that come. I love you all too much for satan - the little punk- to have any hold on anyone in our family. It seriously makes me so sad to see so many people get answers and feel the spirit and truly recognize it, and then turn away because of the difficulties that rise.... Anyways. I love you all! Stand tall! :)
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

 Oh our Elders.... hahaha
Our lunch at Helena´s

 Helena and Bruno

 Today! at our picnic 
"Dangerous. Do not take baths" hahaha
 So cute! All in a row!

 This is the back side of our church (half is the church the other the church office) The front has a bunch of windows just like this side. But I didn't take a pic. 

Our lunch today! Some members (young adults) wanted to make us lunch and have an activity today)

This week was good and very sad. We marked Sebastião, He was sooo excited! He went from saying he won't go to church or do anything. To reading the Book of Mormon, saying he would go to church, and accepted to follow the example of Christ with tears in his eyes, to telling us not to pass by again. Apparently his brother told him that if he continues to study this religion, he will basically no longer be a part of his brother's life... And Sebastião, he is in a wheel chair because he lost his foot. And his brother is the one that helps him with everything... But it is sad and out of no where because Sebastiaõ told us that his brother isn't very religious. They are catholic, but they don't practice. It broke our hearts! Though he told us he would keep reading the BOM. We have been praying that the brother´s heart will soften and let him make his own decisions. Sebastiaõ even said that he knows everything we taught him is true. That makes me even sadder... For he is putting the fear of man above the fear of God (or in other words, the love of men, above the love of God) ... We will keep seeing how he is by phone calls. But he said very strictly not to pass by...So needless to say, he was unmarked for baptism... And Bruno, he is also no longer is marked for baptism... He gave us his word (again) that he would go to church. And we had to talk a while with him about putting God first. For he had a birthday party of one of his friends that he wanted to go to instead of church. But he had already told us he would go to church before he talked to his friend about going to his party. But sunday arrived, and he never walked through the doors... It is so sad, because there truly is only so much that we can do... And it makes me so sad to see that Heavenly Father gives all His children many many chances to accept Him, and put Him first in their lives; but many times we don't.... That must make Him so sad. Not angry with us, but sad. And making Our Father sad because of our personal choices is much worse than making him angry. I just wish everyone would recognize that this life is so short. And that if we don't use our time wisely and make good choices, the day will come where we won't have more sundays. We won't have a tomorrow. And we will look back and ask ourselves... "Why did I not choose to act when I knew I needed to." Anyways, with Bruno, we will try again with one of our members. He lives super long, and we have to walk, so it is hard to get members to go with us. But We think that is what is lacking. If not, we will have to drop him... It is so hard when we try to do everything in our power to help our investigators, but in the end, they have to make an effort. If not, nothing will avail... We also have Paloma! We re-marked her for the 13th. She didn't make it to church due to a miss-communication in giving her a ride. We had talked to her dad about driving her to the church and we would meet here there out front. But he remembered what we had said the week before. That we would arrange a ride and for her to wait in front of the hospital for animals. We were so sad when we found out that was why she didn't make it... But she will make it next week! This sunday was still a miracle! It has been so long since we have had investigators in church! It was making us truly depressed because we were trying so hard... And this sunday, we had a family! (4 sisters) And Patrícia has the most potential. She LOVED church! She said that our "misa" was beautiful. And she wanted to stay for the next class (They had planned to leave after because they are in the choir in the catholic church) But they all stayed. And she LOVED the gospel principles class. She said that she learned so much. And here they actually TEACH. She asked if the topic changes every week. When we said yes, she was awe struck. haha. She said we learn so much! And that in the Catholic church it is boring and nothing special. ha. She told us that she will come next week too. And that she wants her mom to see that this is what she truly wants.:) It was so sad... When we taught her about authority, she made the connection that no other church has the priesthood- because it was lost- then turned to us and said sadly... "Então nossos pastores não tem esse autoridade?"  "So our pastor´s don't have this authority?" She truly is amazing and super cute! She asks the perfect questions, and she feels the spirit really well. :) We are being so blessed! Yet at the same time We are seeing difficulties. I feel like satan has been truly fighting against us. So many problems came up out of no where with many I felt would for sure be baptized.... There are so many already that should have already been baptized that haven't been. It makes me so sad.... But I am so happy for those who have been able to make it to the waters of baptism! I love you all so much! Never forget just how blessed we are to have the restored gospel in our lives! I have never realized so strongly just how huge a blessing that is! Stay safe and have a great week!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes