Monday, February 17, 2014

Wild horses, Pipoca and Scrambling (

Filling the baptismal font via bucket brigade

Shopping for a pipoqueira (popcorn popper)

Gilmar and family


Restaurant "Love at First Bite"

Nelson and Elder Shirley

Vera at her baptism
Monday, February 17, 2014

After a very emotional week, we are just trying to “go to work”.  But we have to say how grateful and how proud we are of  family for the way they handled funeral arrangements and all the details that go with it.  We really appreciated the way we were included in all of the happenings and updated all along the way.  The funeral sounded just beautiful.  From everyones reports, music, talks, flowers,  etc. were beautiful!  It was hard to be so far away, but it sure helped knowing everything was being taken care of in such a beautiful way.  We are sure Grandma was pleased!  It makes us more anxious than ever to spread the message of the gospel.

We have made lots of visits the past few days.  We have been following President Castro’s suggestion that we focus a little more on the Uniao branch.  We have been focusing on the Marina branch the last couple of months.  Now we begin to make more visits in Uniao.  However, we still plan to maintain some contact with the good people in Marina as well.  Here are a few highlights.

We enjoyed noite familiar (FHE) with Gilmar, Luanna and Kalebe.  We prepared a lesson about being a child of God and were planning to focus on Kalebe as he is almost 4. We had prepared games, music, had coloring pages, etc.   It was a hot, hot day.  When we arrived, we found Kalebe and friends in the swimming pool.  A friend of Luanna and Gilmar’s was in the kitchen frying up salgados.  We could see that no one would want to come in and sit in a hot house and listen to our lesson.   So we changed our plan.  Gilmar and Luanna were actually quite emotional as a friend of theirs….a mother with kids….had just passed away.  We could relate to their tender feelings.  So we focused on the Plan of Salvation.  We kept the lesson short and showed a video about “Moments that Matter Most”.  Gilmar said that he would like to do the closing prayer.  He gave a very emotional prayer.  We ate with them.  We also  showed them the crazy videos our family made for us at Thanksgiving!  They loved it!  Now they are wanting to come visit us in Idaho someday.  They insisted on taking us home.  It was a good visit after all.  

There was a baptism in the Uniao branch.  Elder dos Santos and Elder Ritz were the missionaries.  When we arrived, they were still trying to fill the font.  The youth and their leaders were there making pizzas for a fund raiser.  The water pressure was not high enough in the building to allow them to use it in the kitchen as well as in the font.  The Elders found a faucet that they could fill buckets from without affecting water pressure in the kitchen.  So we had a kind of bucket brigade.  It was a sweet baptism of a mother of three young kids.  She was very emotional and clung to us like we were old friends.  A ferocious rain storm came up and Sister Biddulph and Sister Rodrigues arrived drenched.  No umbrella.  But they stepped right up and helped this sister get dressed for her baptism and did her hair.  Things turned out great!

We made a new friend in Nelson this week.  He lives in the Uniao branch and has been inactive for about 10 years.  He has quite a nice home surrounded by lots of trees and tropical plants.  He showed up by himself to church last Sunday.  His first wife passed away a little more than 10 years ago.  He found someone else, but they have never married.  They have been together for almost 10 years.  She gets a pension from a previous divorce as long as she doesn’t re-marry.  Nelson works with metal and makes all kinds of interesting things from pans to plaques.  Not long ago he had a dream which made him feel a need to reconnect with the church.  However,  his “wife” is Catholic.  He has kids living close who are not members.  He says his “wife” is like a “wild horse” and he doesn’t think she will accept the gospel message from anyone but him.  He wants to work on softening her heart himself.  He is a very nice, on-the-ball guy.  He insisted on giving us a gift of one of his plaques.  It is a key holder with a metal impression of a horse and rider.  He would not let us pay for it.  We hope to see a lot more of him!

English class was fun, as usual.  We really enjoy it.  Arielle arrived on her motorcycle.  There are lots and lots of motos down here.  She arrived dripping wet as we had another rainstorm.  Lucas was not there.  He was not feeling well.  We had a total of about 9 in attendance.

We visit regularly with a couple of ladies who own a tiny, little store down the street called “Casa Hoffman”.  One is a German and one is an Italian.  We have developed a nice friendship with them.  They call us their amigos!  We bought a pipoqueira from them.  It’s like a “whirly” popcorn popper for on top of the stove.  It works great and we have made a lot of kettle corn to take to District Meetings, FHE, and on other visits.  Pipoca has become our specialty!  It’s been fun!

Sister Biddulph and Sister Rodrigues organized and headed up a branch “multirao” (don’t know an English equivalent), at the request of President Samuel.  Branch members and us met at the church and were assigned less-active members to go out and visit that evening.  The Sisters had addresses, maps, and a message for us to take.  They were so organized!  They are impressive!  Meni and Paulo (really good ward members) dropped us off in the area we were to go and then we walked.  We visited Glassi, who used to be in the Relief Society presidency.  She became inactive after she got a lot of hassle about church attendance from her husband.  Our visit “foi bom”, was really good.  She was very welcoming.  We caught Lepido pouring cement at his home.  So it was a short visit.  Then we set out to find Ana Maria, Ana Paula, and Bruna.  We found the area but had to stop and ask directions.  We were sent down the back side of a hill with hardly a trail and lots of shale rock, trees, and brush.    We weren’t sure that we could do it without rolling down the hill.   It was the scariest path we have been on yet.  But we found a lovely family with lots of curious kids and a very humble abode.  Ana Paula and Bruna have been baptized, but don’t attend church.  We had a nice visit with them.  Afterwards, they directed us on an “easier” path….a sort of rock stairway that went straight up the hill.  We were left just a little weak-kneed afterwards.  They will need some follow up visits.  We hope there is an easier path around on the other side.

As you may have noticed, the weather has changed.  We have had quite a few rainstorms and temperatures are down.  It has been so pleasant!  It seems strange to think that we are starting into fall!  Daylight Savings time just changed here over the weekend.  We probably have a little more heat ahead, but we sure see a cooling trend.    

On Sunday, we attended sacrament meeting at both Uniao and Marina.  In each branch, they had speakers fall through.  So Elder Shirley got to speak in each of the two sacrament meetings, with no advance warning.  But he did great!    

We have a FHE scheduled tonight with the Rodrigus family,  Daniel, Cristiane, and kids.  Daniel is not a member of the church.  Cristiane is the daughter of Jussara and Adao Garcia….the family we had Christmas and New Years dinner with.   They are a good family.  They live in a bairro far out.  Only an occasional bus goes out there.   Their kids are very friendly.  Jean,  a boy of about 10, like to hassle Elder Shirley.  He occasionally sits with us at church.  Cristiane is always so sad when the subject of eternal families comes up.  Daniel has a few issues to clear up before he can be baptized.  He wants to wait for baptism until he can fully live all commandments.   We plan to take a lesson,  a treat and maybe play our Brazilian cup game…Escravos de Jo.  The kids really liked that at Christmas.  We will try to take a bus out and call a taxi to get back.

It looks like a busy week ahead as well!  We wish you all a good week as well!

Eu te amo!

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