Monday, September 29, 2014

 Train station! 
 A cake that we were given so yummy! 

 me and Kaique. (son of a less active- 8 yrs old. 
not baptized yet. our goal was to baptize him! Hopefully the other sisters will get on that! 
We got red tongues! ha
 Our District! Last District picture... 
Me and Sister Harper saying bye... ;(

So I don't have much time. But to start off.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY SNAP. 16!!?? How is that even possible. That just blows my mind. You weren't ever supposed to be allowed to date. You are my baby sister! But I can't wait! Me and Jason will just have to go on a date with you!!!! Oh how fun! ha. :) But I love you to pieces!!!! And I love all the pictures I get sent! You are too cute! I hope you have a fabulous birthday! So I got transferred! They closed Quinta do Conde.... We were so unhappy about it! Those poor members... But the Sisters in Seixal will try to tend to our area a tiny bit. But that won't be much.... But I am going way up north! To Braga. :) I am excited! My comp is Sister Stewart. She is super cute and lively! I can't wait. This will be a transfer of miracles! She is in her 3rd transfer. So she is still a baby. Just out of training. :) But for updates thats it and I don't have more time... But I love you all so much! Stay safe! 
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

 The Baptism of our other Sister Missionaries 
in our ward. A Family!!!!!!
Our District!

Monday, September 22, 2014

So first off I heard it was Kaylin´s birthday! And that she is leaving in October for her mission. Just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And that you will LOVE the mission! :) So interresting experience with the rain. We met up with an investigator named Marcio. He is 18. We were teaching him on a park bench. but we had only just started talking when the rain started. It started off soft. But quickly grew. We luckily had our umbrella's so we set them up. I shared with Marcio cause he was on my side and plus my umbrella is bigger. Then, seconds later, the rain builds and builder. Until it is literally shooting waterfalls out of the sky! Hahaha. So we book it over to Pingo Doce (the nearest grocery store) And get under the over hang out front. And holy snap.,, We got soaked!!!!! haha. My shoes and skirt were completely drenched in water! And it was cold..... So we decided to just say a prayer with him. And we both went our separate ways so that we could get into dry clothes. ha. And not soaked shoes. I only had my boots. But they have a hole in the side where the sole and the boot part have separated. But they worked. :) I need to get shoe glue for that. We were going to pass this place today to fix our boots. Sister Harper needs to as well. Anyways. It was quite the experience, and super strange because, running with an umbrella, and sharing it with an 18 yr old teenager, in pooring rain, as we are getting soaked by the second.... ya.... weirdest feeling ever! haha. The weather is just ridiculous. Some days it is like summer. And hot. And then we have days like that. wet... But he is amazing! He came to church on sunday. And the members were incredible! They went up to him. Greeted him. And they invited him to a broadcast that was going to happen at another chapel. And got him a ride for that. And also got him an official ride for each weekend to go to church! I have never seen the members so engaged! It made me sooo happy! And it made Marcio feel so comfortable and he loves the ward now for it! The members truly make all the difference! Anyways. We are super super excited for him. :) We also got to serve this week! It is sad cause here we don't get to serve very much.... No one accepts the help. They say thanks, but don't let us do anything. So we passed Edite. She is very pregnant! And it is possible she already had the baby! We will call her today. Her 9 month mark was Friday! But we helped her with her groceries. We passed right at the perfect time! She had just gotten home. So we helped her put her groceries away. And we chit chatted with her for a little bit and shared a message. It was amazing! She is the cutest thing. And so creative! Almost all the decorations in her living room are things she made. It looks like she had boughten them! Anyways, the only sad thing is she hasn't been to church in months. The members say pretty much her whole pregnancy. But she has had a hard pregnancy. She talked to us about that. But she has got a strong testimony still and is planning on going to church every sunday after the baby´s birth. speaking of babies. I still can't believe Brooke is pregnant! haha. Anyways, I love you all so much! I hope life at home is going well and that you are all making good decisions. :) ha. Till next week.
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes

Monday, September 15, 2014

This week we found Ivan and Betia. They are super cool! They have already been prepared and are ready for baptism! The only problem that we have is that getting them to church is super hard! The are 15 and 13. And they leave on the weekends to visit family.... We are going to talk to their mom this week and see if they can come to church next week! They have already been taught by missionaries in the past. And church was the problem as well. But with lots of prayers, miracles happen! Especially if it is in concordance with the will of the Lord. And I am pretty sure this is. :) We are super excited about them! We also have another investigator- who we have yet to meet in person. Haha. He was a reference. His name is Neka. He is 17. The missionaries that contacted him had talked to him about chastity in the road. And he still wants to know more! Talk about a miracle! He sounds really cool! He was supposed to be at church... but the saddest thing happened. We called the night before and in the morning. Ha. When we called in the morning he had been sleeping so his voice was hoarse. But, we asked, and he said he would go and that he would ask his mom to bring him to the station that is close to the church. We told him to call us when he got close. We didn't hear from him... So I planned to call him just before sacrament meeting. But I was going to be giving a talk and one of the counselors told me to sit up on the stand. So I gave my phone to Sister Harper to send a message to him. Well. In the end. Turns out he made it to the station. But he couldn't call us or get a hold of us because our number starts with 91. And his with 96. And he didn't have money on his phone! We called after church- and he said that he had been at the station waiting for an hour! I felt aweful!!!!!!!!!!!! He was super sweet though! Next week! But I can't tell you how sad we were! I was a little nervous about my talk. Especially cause in our ward we have Elder Moreira. (Who is an area seventy over three countries) But I tried not to think about him being right behind me. haha. But I don't know if I told you. But we ate at his house once. And we will be eating there again this week. :) They are a really nice family. And his wife. Isabel. Cook really well! Ha. But other than that, and an experience on preparedness-the rain came.... and I hadn't yet boughten an umbrella. And I had spoken on obedience and preparedness. So I included my little experience in my talk. Everyone laughed. :) Oh! And we found a really cool guy the other day! We don't know if he is interrested in our message cause he didn't really let us get to that. But he would be an amazing leader! Turns out, the other day, he was one we had said "good afternoon" to, and to him I said "bom trabalho!" (good work!) cause they were doing construction stuff. And he laughed. Then, we ran into him and he recognized me as the one who had told him "goog work!" haha. It was funny. So we will see what happens! We marked a time to meet with him at the park this week. :) With Vasil being gone, that made one less potential priesthood leader! (Vasil left before he was able to get the priesthood. But he will get it in Italy. :)...)So we need them! Well, I love you all! Stay safe! And have a fabulous week! :)
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

 Saying bye to Vasil. He is now in Italy!!! 
He left last week... Saturday
Me and Sister Harper! Waiting for the train. :)

 We went to the castle today!
Me and Sister Briggs.
(Sister Harper and Sister Lacey were 
in the MTC together and they 
are tied at the hip when we do things as a district. Ha)

 We died...
Then came back to life! ha. ;P JK.

Our district! ON the castle!
 Everyone behind me, leaving the castle :)
 me and sis. harper

 it got foggy so fast! And then shortly after sunny! ha.

Well, today was fun!!! We got to go to a castle in Setúbal. :) I will send pictures. But the work is still going. Though it feels as though we have hit a rough patch since this transfer started.... We have fasted though! I know we are just waiting for the dawn to come! But our other Bulgarian friend came back! We got to talk to him last night. He speaks english actually! Though his mom is Jehova´s Witness, and he is currently studying with them. But he is amazing! Though, since he had left for a month or so, we haven't been able to talk to him much. OH! The rain came out of no where! And then left again. haha. One day (a couple days ago) We left the house with sun. Then.... WHAM! Downpoor! For like 4 minutes and then it abruptly stopped. It happened about 3 times. And it hasn't rained since... hahaha. It was interresting. so our investigator João kinda took a wrong turn. He is Catholic because he was baptized as a baby. But doesn't know a whole lot about the whole religion thing. So we got to our second visit and we had our member, Elizabeth, with us. Well. It started well. We talked about baptism, and read about christ's baptism. But then, out of no where he brought up the debated topics of abortion, hunting, homosexual relationships... etc. Ha. Elizabete saved us. :) But he said he really likes talking to us because these are things he can't talk about with his friends. Let's just say it was an interresting lesson. But, we thought for sure he would be baptized, but now, we will just have to keep working with him... So Vasil left for Italy!! ;( It was so sad saying bye. Though I don't think it has hit me yet... He truly is so amazing! He changed so much! Like, he was already a good person. But just in his way of being, and the happiness that you could see coming off of him. The gospel is incredible! Antonio was also our new investigator. He is from Cabo Verde. But we are worried about him cause we haven't been able to get a hold of him. We had a marked lesson with him, but we wasn't answering his phone.... I got a phone call from sister Decker! Though it wasn't a good news phone call. (My last comp) She is going home on tuesday (3 weeks early) .... I hope she can start feeling better once she gets home and can get some good help. :) She is such a trooper! She´s fabulous! :) But when we got to talk to Vasil on the phone for the last time, the things he said made me so happy! He basically said he has so much to thank God for. For finding us, for the huge blessing of the gospel, for all of his brothers and sisters in the church... etc. And he told us he prays for our happiness and that god will bless us with helth, and good families etc. He is so sweet!  We also got our interview with President! It was really good. He made me feel better about training. He said he is really glad that I am training, and that he knows I am a good trainer. Though sometimes I just wish I could do more to help. But, yeah. Anyways. I love you all! Stay safe!
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Letter to Jeff from Amanda :)

Wait, Steffani is in Kentucky!!?? I thought she was in
Ohio???? But thank you so much for the email! And thank you for being such a wonderful father. I know I also speak for all of us kids that we were soooo blessed to have been sent to be your kids. I don't know  how we all got so lucky. And I realize everyday, more and more, just how spoiled we are! I can say that I am a very very blessed spirit daughter of my Heavenly Father. And I know that even if I work myself
to death our here- which sometimes I feel like I come close. ha. that I won't ever come even close to giving back sufficient in comparison with what He has given me. I love you so much! I hope you know that. And thank you sooo much for supporting me and Steffy out here on missions. It means so much to me, as I know it does for her. I hope you have a fabulous week and that work goes well. :)
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes :)
 We were making our planners. And this -obviously- is of a temple and so Sis. Briggs took a picture of me with it saying that is where me and Jason will be going soon. Ha. The punk.

 Me and Sister Harper. "Minha Filha" :)
 Our train station! :) We use the train a lot. (We have to take it to get to our church) That is why we are working on getting a church here in Quinta do Conde! The members need one. But I am realizing that this area is really hard... So many don't want to change their lives. Many claim to be catholic, 
but don't go to church, or do anything
 So basically, there are just a lot of people that have 
put God on the side. it is really sad… 
Many don't even pray. It makes me sad.

My Blessed Wonderful Family <3
So this past week was... well, hard. We are having a hard time finding those who are willing to make commitments, and follow through. Also, we are meeting a lot of people that say they have faith. But, that don't do anything to act on it. It makes me super sad. There are actually tons of people like that. But recently, we have been running into even more. So as of now we don't have any firm progressing investigators... If you could pray for us and for the people here in Quinta do Conde, that would help a lot. Vasil and José give me hope! They are our recent converts (I still haven't sent the pictures from José´s baptism because I didn't have my camera with me that day. But monica (member) will be sending me the ones she took. So next week! :) But there really aren't any novidades. :) Just walking as always, searching for those who are looking for the gospel-even if they don't even realize they are. :) I love Sister Harper! She is super cute. Though I still feel bad cause she can't understand or talk very well. But she seems to be better than I was at this point! But in all honestly, I just don't remember. But she is doing great! Oh right! So we ran into a man one day, basically, all he had to say to us was, well, nothing good. He wasn't happy that we had decided to put off schooling to walk around and talk to people about God, especially a people such as the Portuguese. Cause they are all Catholic and we won't make a difference, and that we should just go home cause we are wasting our time.... yeah. That made me pretty sad. But not because it hurt me. It made me sad for him. What is sad, is a lot of people don't realize just what it is they are saying. And one day I know they will be sad because of it. But I have already forgiven him. :) He just didn't realize he was talking to a disciple of Jesus Christ who had been called and sent in His name to preach His gospel. That is one of the biggest things I have realized where I have changed a lot. In the beginning of my mission. It used to hit me and hurt a lot more- on my part. But now I have been able to build my own personal testimony to the point where, when others say unkind things that go against what we know to be true, I don't tremble or feel as though my testimony had just been weakened. It is the craziest most amazing thing! Cause I know what I know, and it makes me sad to see others fleeing from it, or not willing to know it because they don't want to change their way of life. But I know from the bottom of my heart that this gospel is true. That we have a living prophet today, and 12 apostles. Cause God does NOT change. He called a prophet again just as he has always done. Today, people deny and reject the prophet, just as they always have. And we who have the knowledge of the gospel, just have to keep pressing on, one day at a time, doing everything that the Lord asks. And in the end. We can hope that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will look upon us and say "Well done my good and faithful servant, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father" I can't wait for that day! And I want to help as many of our brothers as I can so that they can hear those beautiful words one day as their Savior calls them to rest. :) I love you all so much! Thank you for the amazing examples you are to me, and to all those around you. You don't even realize how incredible and special you are. I hope you have a blessed week. :)
Love Always,
Sister Amanda Stokes