Monday, February 24, 2014

Gaucho shop, Carnaval and the big green bean

Artur's baptism

Beautiful evening in Cachoeira

Glimpse of Caranaval celebrations taken from apartment window

Carol's baptism

FHE with the Rodrigues family

Posing in the foliage in front of the Cachoeira chapel

Lidianei's baptism

Elder Shirley out and about visiting members

Sunday dinner with Sisters Biddulph and Rodrigues

Now THAT's a green bean!

February 24, 2014

We started out the week on Monday with a Noite Familiar (FHE) with the Rodrigues family in the evening.  Monday is our P-day, but most times we do a FHE with someone in the evening.  We were able to take a bus out to their bairro.  Four of their five kids (all boys!) were there plus both mom and Dad (Daniel and Cristiane).  We sat out in their front yard, gave a lesson, showed a short mormon message video, and ate pipoca (of course). Jean, the 10-year old who likes to sit by us in church, was worried about a test at school the next day.  He asked Elder Shirley for a blessing of comfort.  (By the way, we heard yesterday that he passed his test!) We really enjoyed the evening and this family. They have been on our list of visits we really wanted to make for a long time now.   We called a taxi to get us home as they live far out and there are no buses that time of night.  And it gets dark so early now.

District Meeting was Tuesday morning.  They always put us to work giving us assignments.  It is sometimes a challenge, but good for us.  We took fudge jumbles for a treat.  Evidently, we all were thinking  the same thing as everyone brought some kind of a treat.  It turned into a regular “festa”!  It really is a fun group!

We spent the week trying to visit less-active members, some whom we have not met yet and others that we just want to maintain contact with.  We spent one evening walking in an area we were not acquainted with to find a non-active member on our list.  It was a beautiful evening.   We found the da Silva family.  He works in a dentist office.  They had just got home from work.  They were tired and the house was hot.  (We have had some hot days this week!)  But, as is the nature for all Brazilians, they invited us in and offered us a drink.  Their children came in and introduced themselves.  We are always impressed with kids who do that.  He told us that he hardly remembers being baptized as he was only 19.  Kids came along, life got busy and he just kind of forgot about the church.  But he still has a Book of Mormon.  We don’t think he reads it though.  He evidently has a book written by a “Billy Graham” type of preacher, which he seems very interested in.  We offered to come back and talk to him about the Plan of Salvation since his Dad has just passed away.  He politely, but firmly, told us that he would speak for his himself, his wife, and his family and said that he was not interested in returning to church. He seems to think that life is easier for him with the philosophies of this book he has!  They did agree to kneel in prayer with us before we left.  It was one of those disappointing visits, but we were glad that we had the opportunity to meet them.  And it was a beautiful night.

One day as we were walking around the city, we decided to stop into a little “Gaucho” store right on Avenida Brasil.  There we met Teka.  She was very friendly and showed us all of the authentic gaucho stuff they sell.  She was also happy to show us that she had a Book of Mormon and some of the brochures about the Plan of Salvation, etc.  Evidently, this store is on the path that lots of us missionaries walk.  She says the BOM is good reading.  (In fact, the portuguese word for good is “bom”!)  But she doesn’t want missionaries to try to teach her at home as she is only there to eat and sleep. She wants the visits at the store.  We had a nice visit.  Later in the week the sisters called to say that Teka has stopped them and wanted us to come back…mainly to see more of her merchandise.  We returned the end of the week.  Teka’s dad, her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were there.  We visited with them for a long time about the city, gauchos, and the church.  She wants us to come to her home for dinner some Sunday.  We think we have a friend (and maybe a good customer in Elder Shirley).

English class went well again.  But we are sad because it the last week for Ariellle as she is starting night school.  But Lucas wants to keep coming.  So that is good!  We will try to maintain contact with Arielle though. 

Saturday was a good day.  There were two baptisms in the Cachoeira chapel at 5 pm and one in the Uniao chapel at 7 pm.  We love going to baptisms!!  Elder Shirley had to speak at the one in Cachoeira.  Artur, the son of one of our english class students was getting baptized.  Artur’s dad, Claudinei, is a very active member, very “on-the-ball” and has been coming regularly to our English classses.  Sometimes he brings his wife, Marcia, and his son, Artur.  Artur is studying English in school and the family is pretty proud of him.  Claudinei asked Elder Shirley to speak.  The other baptism was of a little girl, Lidinei.  Her twin sister was baptized a month or so ago, but she didn’t feel ready yet.  She was all smiles.  Before the baptism, the two girls showed us their song and dance to “I Am a Child of God”.  So cute!!! 

Then we hurried down to the Uniao baptism.  This was for an 8 year old girl.  Her grandparents are very active in the branch.  She comes often to meetings with them and usually volunteers to say the closing prayer in our leadership meetings.  She gives great prayers.  She sang a Primary song with Sister Biddulph and Sister Rodrigues at her baptism and she gave the closing prayer!  She is pretty amazing and so pleased to participate.  She was confirmed on Sunday and was the first person up to bear her testimony and then said the closing prayer in Sacrament Meeting! 

Saturday evening walking home in the dark from the baptisms, we found ourselves in the midst of “Carnaval”!  It seems we live right in the middle of all the activity!  They had all traffic blocked off and bleachers and lights set up on both sides of the roads.  They painted a section of the road with white paint.  We have seen all of these preparations going on, but we didn’t realize the impact it would have on us, living where we do. We found the gate closing off the alley to our apartment was locked earlier than normal.  Businesses were closed and locked up early. The gas station across the street had their gas pumps fenced off and only a window open to their convenience store. Things really got into full swing around 10 pm or so and continued throughout the night until 4:30 am. (Elder Shirley says that there is a reason that they do all of this celebrating in the dark!)  They have huge speakers all up and down the street.  The sound “rocked” our apartment.  Carnaval is something we have been cautioned to avoid.  Considering where we live, it has been hard to avoid.   There was a parade of people in costumes, singing and dancing.  Luckily our apartment is on the back side of the building.  But the singing, music and chanting literally vibrates our windows and whole apartment.  It was hard to sleep!  We catch just a glimpse of the parade from one of our side windows.  And it is not over yet.  Sunday night was a continuation of  the celebration.  We don’t know how many days it lasts in Cachoeira.  Natives tell us that they do some nights here before the big celebrations in Rio, etc. and then finish up with more back here which will take us well into the first week or so in March. 

It has been interesting to us that they have a kind of EFY (Especially for Youth) scheduled for all youth in the region during this time.  Their purpose is to take the youth out of the city at least for a time to get them away from the influence of Carnaval.  The youth in the ward have been busy preparing their dances and skits for their EFY.   It has been fun to see that.

So we haven’t had a lot of sleep the last two nights.  It has been a bit “unsettling”.  It sure leaves a mess on the streets.  But the city is out there early cleaning up.  There are lots of people out “scavenging”as well.   
Sunday was a nice day though.  We always enjoy meeting people at church.  We had lots of requests yesterday from people to visit them in their homes.  Several asked us why we hadn’t visited them yet.  Guess we had better get busy!  We have quite a list of people we need or want to visit and many that we just need to maintain contact with. 

 One member brought us a bean (just one!) from his garden.  He was anxious for us to see how big it was.  That one green bean was long enough to feed both of us…about 14 inches long!  Sister Biddulph and Sister Rodrigues joined us for dinner as their appointment fell through.  That always makes for fun times! (It was a good kind of a party!)

President Castro is coming to town this Wednesday.  There is a meeting in the evening for all missionaries and branch leaders.  He wants to talk about the forming of a stake!  Exciting news!  But we are a little apprehensive about what it may mean for us.  We are loving the people here in Cachoeira and have been “putting down roots”.  We are anxious to hear!

In the meantime, we have been invited to FHE tonight with Sister Biddulph and Sister Rodrigues at the home of Rogeiro and his wife, Ilsa.  He is active.  She is not.  Rogeiro invited us to come and is also inviting another couple.  It should be a fun time! 

Here is hoping for a calm, peaceful week and at least a break from the noise of Carnaval!  Wishing you peace as well!  Love you all!  Eu te amo!

No comments:

Post a Comment