Monday, December 9, 2013

New apartment and a baptism

December 9, 2013


 The view from the new apartment

Things are going well....better all of the time.  We surely keep busy.  We have been with the sisters again to hold FHE in a couple of homes.  The good people here always feed us so well.  A family who does not have much money at all fed us pizzas they bought, including dessert pizzas.  I feel bad that they spend so much on us.  Dione (Johnny), the son of the Branch President of Marina went with us last week to visit some less active members and help us get acquainted.  He was great help.  We enjoyed him a lot.  He has recently returned from serving a mission here in Brazil and is still so enthused.  It was soooooo hot and we walked a lot as we were without a car.  We thought we walked a lot before our mission, but this is a lot more.  We had some really good visits and plan to go with him again this week.  We also plan to make more visits to invite inactives to the branch Christmas party.

We finally got moved about 3 days ago!   Everything but internet is connected and we hope to have that sometime this week.  Some of the missionaries want to Skype families on Christmas so we hope it is up and working.  Things are working out quite well although we are now further away from the Uniao and Marina branches, but we are closer to another.  Our shower is a better one, but still has the little heater attached.  But we actually get almost hot water from it.  There is still no hot water anywhere else...not even in the kitchen sink.  We heat water to do the dishes.  But that is very common here.

Last night, 4 of the elders came to visit.  One of them is finished with his mission and going home today.  We had purchased a little pizza and made little sandwiches.  I also got brave and baked my first cake in our new little gas oven.  It actually turned out pretty well.  I tried Grandma Shirley´s chocolate chip cookies a little earlier, but they didn´t turn out too well.  So it´s a matter of experimenting I guess. We also had Guarana....of course.  They drink a lot of soda here.  The 3 main kinds I see are Coke, Fanta Orange and Guarana.  We usually try to avoid drinking water out of the tap.  We have to call to have a big container of it delivered about once a week.  Once in a while at someone´s home we end up drinking water out of the tap when it is offered.  We don´t want to offend.  So far, we´ve been ok.

Neal had to speak again in church yesterday. This time it was in sacrament meeting in the Uniao branch.  They wanted him to talk about accepting callings and tell about our experience and challenges in getting here.  He did a great job.  We were a little worried about it as we had been in on a branch council meeting that was "semi-heated".  They had a RS president who evidently was feeling discouraged and burdened down.  She was not happy about taking on the refreshment assignment for the branch Christmas party and complained about never having any help.  Sounds like I have felt sometimes.  Guess some things are the same no matter where you serve.  The branch president evidently wanted the issue addressed by Neal in sacrament meeting.  He did a good job, mostly just telling about our difficulties and challenges in serving a mission,

Interesting thing, we met the grandson of Ron & Nina Moss.  He is serving a mission here in Brazil and his last name is Wilmore (sounds like no relation to Troy).  Ron was my first boss when I went back to work at Rick´s College after Amber started school.  It was fun to make that connection.  He took pics to send to his Grandpa.

We have the Christmas party of both branches coming up in the next week or so.  Neal may end up playing Santa Claus.  We will see.  We got an invitation yesterday to join two of the sister missionaries at the home of a member for Christmas dinner.  I have an assignment to bring sobremesa (dessert).  It will be a challenge to find a recipe that I have all of the ingredients for.  With the help of the sisters, we have found a lot of things at the grocery store.....baking powder, cocoa, baking soda, flour, sugar, etc.  But there are a lot of things that they don´t have that I am used to.  Guess we will do some experimenting.  We had a good dessert the other day that a member made.  They had taken chocolate cookies and soaked them in Guarana and put layers of them in a kind of torte pan and then frosted it on top.  It actually was very good and required no cooking which surprised me.  I got the recipe for that.  It surely is a learning process!

Thanks to all for your letters and support.  We are so grateful for you all.  It is kind of hard to find Christmas cards here, so we didn´t send out many.  But we hope you are all enjoying your preparations and enjoying the season.  It seems we hardly are able to give it a thought.  It is so strange to see Christmas decorations and hear Christmas music when it is so hot!  We have attached two pics. The first is of a baptism that we went to on Saturday.  I found something similiar to Smarties and took them for a couple of the kids getting baptized.  So we were pretty popular. The second is the view from our new apartment.

We are thinking of you all!

Lots of Love!

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