Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year from Brazil!

"Mulheres on the balcony"

Kids acting like moneys in the tree

Elder & Sister Shirley on New Year's Day

New Years Eve fireworks as viewed from the apartment

Outside view of the apartment - named "Pitt" (pronounced "peach")

January 4, 2013

Happy 2014!  For us, this will be a year like no other.  It still seems surreal to be here in Brazil!

There were fireworks galore bringing in the new year.  The streets here in Cachoeira were eerily quiet on New Years Eve in the afternoon and early evening.  Then the fireworks started and continued way past midnight into the wee hours of the morning.  There was no way we could avoid being awake to see in 2014!

On New Years Day, we were invited to dinner with the Garcia family, the same family we joined for Christmas dinner.  However, the sisters did not join us this time as they had another commitment.  That meant another long bus ride and lots of walking again.  We had another good churrasco with all the trimmings.  We took another bolo for dessert.  They are a great family, with kids and grandkids living nearby.  We had a fun time.  They had a son-in-law who was not feeling well.  He had been to the doctor the day before.  He was dehydrated and the doctor had given him an IV.  So Elder Shirley helped in administering a blessing.

It seems things come in bunches.  That is the way it has been this week with blessings.  There seems to be a lot of people sick with something like the stomach flu.  And with this heat, they get dehydrated and end up in the hospital.  This was the case with Francine, the 11 month old baby girl of Gelson and Roselaine.  They are the good family we have been visiting, the ones who want to get back to church and start preparing to go to the temple.  Francine ended up in the hospital because of dehydration.  So we made our first hospital visit.  They would only allow one person at a time into the room, so Elder Shirley went in to help Gelson give Francine a blessing.  Later Gelson would tell us that they had been having a struggle getting an IV in.  But as soon as the blessing was given and Elder Shirley had left, they had success on the first try.  Francine responded well and was released the next day.  We visited them at home and they were all smiles, including Francine.  It was good to see and a testimony builder for us all.

Another interesting visit was with the hot dog vender in the park down the street from our apartment.  We had been told how good his hot dogs were.  He only sets up in the evenings.  So we made it a point to go down one evening.  It was an interesting conversation.   He had been baptized a member of the church at the age of 15.  But he said that he "got lazy" and quit going.  His wife was Catholic and his kids live in Porto Alegre and know nothing about the church.  He said that he had been thinking a lot about the church lately though.  In fact, just the day before he was getting out a magazine when the pamphlet "The Plan of Salvation" fell out.  And he said, "Now you appear".  Elder Shirley asked him if he was ready to let the missionaries talk to his wife and kids about the church.  He told us that he thought he was really close to being ready.  He gave Elder Shirley a big pat on the back as we left.  We stopped by again a couple of nights later with the Sister missionaries and the Elders were planning on doing a follow-up visit as well.   And we had a good hot dog too!

English classes started this week.  We had made some fun preparations with games too.  We had invited a few people.  We had been quite selective in whom we invited.  We wanted a smaller class of people who were serious about learning English and who might possibly be ready to receive the gospel.  We were disappointed because we only had two of those people turn out plus Sister Biddulph and Sister Rodrigues.  But we had a really fun time.  The sisters were great help too.  And both Lucas and Ariele were great.  Ariele wanted a tour of the building while we were waiting for Lucas to arrive.  She told the sisters that she was Catholic, but did not feel good when she went to church.  That got the sister missionaries excited.  Class went well.  They both already know some basics.  Elder Shirley told them that our purpose for being in Brazil was to teach the gospel and be missionaries.  He also told them that we would not be preaching to them in our English classes, but we would be starting with prayer as we think we can all use the Lord's help to learn.  We hope we didn't scare them off and that they will come back next week.  We also hope others will decide to join us.  We are teaching our classes in the chapel here in Cachoeira, not in the chapel for Marina and Uniao, where we attend church.  It is a nice building with air conditioning.  A very nice place for our classes.

We still don't have our car.  We are waiting for the wire transfer of the money to go through.  We were told it might take 5-7 days.  Brian has been such good help to us.   Holidays have slowed the process down. Hopefully, things will go through ok.  It makes us a little nervous!  Good news though, the building we live in is just finishing up a little parking lot in back where the car can be locked up at night.

Don't tell old James T, but the name of the building we live in is "Pitt", but pronounced "peach".  So, no, we don't live in a spud pit!  We wonder if James T owns the place though.  We are including a pic of it, plus a picture of some "mulheres" (women) on the veranda of a near-by building.  They are cute statues.  We have enjoyed walking by them every day.

The weather cooled down yesterday.  It was probably the coolest day we have seen since our arrival in Brazil.  Along with it came some rain.  It rained on and off most of the day yesterday.  But we see things heating up again today.  We sure enjoyed the cooler temps while we had them though.

Hope the new year is off to a great start for all of you!

Eu te amo!

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