Monday, March 3, 2014

An eccentric solteira and an overly friendly gaucho

Another day of hiking


Chimarrao: "Tastes like weeds and dried hay!"

Chimarrao:  "Mmm, that's tasty stuff!"

"C'mon back!" or "Can you believe this farmer wears shorts and flip-flops?"

Goiaba - a common fruit here

Maria Trindade, the solteira

Oliverio, the gaucho

Prickly pear cactus

District transfer meeting

March 3, 2014

We have had a full week with lots of visiting and checking out addresses.  In our meeting with President Castro, he has asked the branches to clean up and update the branch membership records.  Paperwork has been turned in, but there is still no official word yet about becoming a stake.  We are helping other missionaries to update the records.  So we do lots of visiting.  We meet a lot of new and interesting people who have been baptized but many of whom have not been to church in a long time.  We have been enjoying the visits and have done a lot of walking, actually “hiking”.

Can’t believe that it is March.  We can feel “fall” in the air although we still have some warm, humid days.  We have had a lot of rain storms.  But we just grab our umbrellas and go out anyway.  Mostly it’s been very pleasant weather.  We enjoy it, especially when we hear about blizzards in Idaho. 

We enjoyed Noite Familiar (FHE) with Rogerio and his wife and some of his family.  He has been the branch mission leader, a good, strong member.  But his mother and daughter and a grandson are not members.  And Ilsa, his wife is not active.  We took pipoca and a short video.  Rogerio made a fuss about the famous pipoca!  (Kettle corn)   Sister Biddulph and Rodrigues had a lesson and games to play.  Rogerio fixed up some chimarrao (A drink made with chopped up leaves of the mate herb, drenched in hot water that you drink through a special straw) .  Everyone drinks it here.  We think that it is a social thing as everyone talks about relaxing with it and having good conversation.   It is a big thing here.  The Sisters and Rogerio were determined that we have some.  Now we can at least say that we have both tried it.  (We thought the flavor was somewhere between weeds and dried hay.)  It was a fun evening with good people!

We had our last official District Meeting before transfer day.  Word went out to the Elders and Sisters today about tomorrow’s transfers.  We love these young missionaries and hate to see any of them go.   We are especially sad to hear that Sister Biddulph (from Idaho Fallsl) will be leaving!  She is a sweetheart!  She will be going to Porto Alegre.  We will also miss Sister Gurreri (from Argentina).  Two of the Elders, Elder dos Santos (from Brazil) and Elder da Silva (from Brazil) will be leaving as well.  We will miss them!  It will be interesting to see who comes in. 

English class was good.  We have a new student.  He works at Delta Sul with Lucas.  His name is Nilson and he is engaged.  He is a sharp guy and already knows a lot of English.  He is anxious to learn more.  After class, he asked for a copy of the Bible in English.  We have put in an order to the mission office for a Bible and a Book of Mormon each in English.  In fact, we hope to get several for other class members as well.  We had a great class.  We enjoyed church videos in both languages, games, and music.  We try to get variety for them.  We found a good church video by Elder D. Todd Christofferson about the Bible first being translated into English, called “The Blessing of the Scriptures”.  We think that now would be a good time to show that in class.

In our visiting to update church records, we met Maria Alice Silveira Trindade.  She is a “solteira”, never has married or had kids and proud of it.  She lives all alone in a run-down house. At first, we thought that no one lived there.  Interested neighbors assured us that she was there.  When she finally heard our clapping (You don’t knock on the door; you clap outside the gate!), she proclaimed that “This is my blessed day!”  We felt very humbled. She told us that she hasn’t had a visit from the church in years, but proudly showed us her certificate of baptism, framed and hanging on her wall.  She claims to be 60 years old.  We question that.  (Or maybe we look older than we thought).  She has the cracks around doors and in walls stuffed with newspapers.  The door frame and her front door is partially detached.  We could hardly squeeze through the door opening.  (Future service project?)  We asked about food and her comfort.  She has a cat as skinny as she is.   She said she goes out and shops for food regularly but did not like winter and did not need any help.  Very independent!  She was anxious to just talk to us.  It was hard to get a word in.  Neighbors say she is crazy.  She says they are crazy.  To us, she seems a bit eccentric, but definitely not crazy!  She was so glad to see us and visit with us.  We felt so glad that we persisted in finding the address.  We never know just what we will walk into.  On Sunday, Presidente Samuel told us that he actually knows of her, but did not know that she was a member.  He and the Sociade de Socorro (Relief Society) will visit.    

We visited with a member who is pretty active.  He is an old Gaucho who like to hug and kiss when he can sneak it in. You have to be careful around him.  He gave a tug on the hand of Sister Shirley and she nearly fell on top of him! And without thinking, let out a scream! He was so happy to have us visit him and wants to plan a churrasco with us.  He can hardly get around.  Members pick him up on Sundays and he is met at the door by someone else with a wheelchair.  Nice guy….sometimes too nice!

The youth of combined branches are away on their church trip to Gramado, a kind of encampment.  They will be gone all week.  Carnaval will hopefully be done by the time they get back.  We think there is another big celebration here in Cachoeira tomorrow.  Hopefully, it will be further down the street as we don’t see the bleachers being set up out in front of our place. 

Anyway, we are keeping busy!  Hope you are busy too!  Keeps us out of trouble, right?
Eu te amo!

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