|Branch President Medeiros|
|Dione's house with Sister Gurrieri, Sister Almeida|
|English class with Arielle & Lucas|
|FHE with Joao|
|Another picture from Luisa's baptism|
|Who knew there were polar bears in Brazil?|
|Looks a bit wet out there today!|
January 27, 2014
Monday went well for our a noite familiar (Family Home Evening). We met with Valdomiro and Ivone Moraes. They are a strong family in the church. Their daughter is married to President Samuel, president of the Uniao branch. They had invited an investigator that Sister Biddulph and Sister Rodrigues have been teaching, Joao. The sisters went with us, but could only stay a few minutes. We presented the lesson and bore testimony. It went well. His main problem is that he is trying to quit smoking. We took our laptop and played a mormon message by President Uchtdorf called “Our True Identity”. Ivone prepared popcorn and juice (suco) for refreshments. It was a nice evening.
But is has been a hot week! No breeze and very hot. It is the topic of conversation with everyone. Some of the sisters complained that they thought they would suffocate at night. We have an air conditioner in our bedroom, but we still suffered from the heat, especially when we were out walking. We take a small towel with us to mop up and notice that lots of Brazilians do that too. We see that on the bus a lot. And we thought it was just our own idea! But Friday afternoon things changed. Clouds, rain, wind, and cooler temperatures moved in. It was wonderful! We have had a whole weekend of cooler temperatures. It was great to pull out a cardigan!
Dione wanted to hold another meeting with us and Sister Gurreri and Sister Almeida at his home which is quite a distance away. However, it is closer to us than it is the sisters. We walked. The sisters took a bus, but ended up getting lost. It was a good meeting, but it ended up being another late night. We waited at the bus stop with the sisters as it was late. 45 minutes later, the bus still hadn’t come. So we all caught a taxi. Everyone was tired and it was one of those really hot days that didn’t cool off at night.
It was Sister Biddulph’s birthday this week. Her Dad served a mission in Brasil with our branch president’s father, who is a strong, strong member of the Uniao branch. So it is a great experience for her to serve here and get to know him and his family. Sister Biddulph’s brother also served a mission to Brazil as did her boyfriend. In fact, her boyfriend got home just before Christmas. Before her mission, she has left a “message in a bottle” for him in Idaho Falls close to where they do fireworks, on the river bank. He actually found it. It’s been fun to hear her stories.
We had an early morning meeting with the District on Wednesday. It is always fun to mingle with the Elders and Sisters. Elder Staples from South Jordan, Utah, was transferred. Elder Ritz, also from Utah, has just been transferred here. Everyone else stayed, at least for another six weeks. We always hate to see them go. We really liked Elder Staples. We get attached. But we always love the new ones too. So there are still 4 of us “americanos” serving here in Cachoeira.
Arielle was back to our English class this week, as was Lucas. We had 4. Usually we have a few of the non-English speaking missionaries. But there were all involved in the watermelon party the branches were holding. Class went well. We always have lots of handouts, crossword puzzles, stories, etc. This week we also worked on a song…..”I Can See Clearly Now” It was fun. Arielle and Lucas already know a lot and are anxious to learn. So it makes it fun! Since we begin and end class with prayer, Elder Shirley decided to go over the steps of prayer with everyone. It seemed to go over just fine.
Another highlight of the week was the baptism on Saturday of Luisa, a young girl that Sister Biddulph and
Sister Rodrigues have been teaching. It was pretty sweet. We fit in lots of visits too. We were anxious to visit Gelson, Rosi and Francine. We had heard that Francine had been suffering again from the heat and had been a little dehydrated again. But this time, she didn’t have to go to the hospital. When we arrived at their home, Rosi’s friend was there helping her make some salgados. They were rolling out the dough, called rissole. It is a little croquette filled with shredded meat or sweets of some sort and deep fried. They were filling theirs with shredded chicken for Francine’s birthday party. We wrote down the recipe. It was fun to watch. They warned us they would not be to church if it rained. Sure enough, it rained and they weren’t there. But they are a great family. We enjoy them. One night, when we were walking home after dark, a bike rider stopped out in the street and called to us. It was Gelson. He is always so friendly. Guess we will do a family home evening with them in a couple of weeks.
It was exciting to catch Gilmar, Luanna, and Kaleb home one evening. They greeted us warmly. They insisted we sit up to the table with them for cake and cold chocolate milk. Their son, Kaleb, is nearly 4 years old….about the same age as Tanner. We showed them pics of our family. They seemed interested and asked lots of questions about the family. Kaleb was anxious to show us all of his pre-school papers and toys. We had a fun time laughing with him. They all piled in the car and insisted they take us home. Saved us from a walk home in the dark. Gilmar said no church this Sunday, but would try to get his act together for the next Sunday. He is with the military police in Porto Alegre and works on a lot of Sundays and they only have one car. We scheduled a FHE with them on Feb. 3. Another great family!
We spent a lot of time trying to find homes of inactive members. Dione, the Marina branch mission leader, doesn’t even know where some of these people live. We feel a little like detectives. We are also just trying to visit members and find out where they live and what their needs are. It takes time and lots of walking. But we keep at it.
It continually happens that I get called on to pray everywhere we go. Yesterday just as sacrament meeting was starting, someone came up and asked if I would give the closing prayer. Elder Shirley was still snickering about that, when someone else came up and asked if he would be a fill-in speaker. Hahaha! Usually he has a talk prepared just in case on his tablet. But he had left it home. He thought he would have a few minutes to think about it, but he was the first speaker. Anyway, he did great and I survived! But we were both a bit stressed. Portuguese is coming a bit more all of the time, but I still have a long ways to go. We like to speak English at home too well. The young missionaries only speak Portuguese. I know that slows the learning down for me. But I study every day and am improving little by little. Elder Shirley continues to speak like a native.
Hope all is well at home! Eu te amo!