Monday, March 10, 2014

Porto Alegre temple trip

Elder Shirley at the Porto Alegre temple

Sister Shirley at the Porto Alegre temple

Family Home Evening with the Moraes family

Mrs. Bird's great-great-granddaughter?

The new district following recent transfers

Rosie and Francine

Sister Biddulph

Sisters Almeida and Gurreri

A group of Brazilian soccer fans

Sister Shirley considers swinging from the vines at the zoo

Monday, March 10, 2014

This was the week to say good-bye to a few great missionaries.  Sister Biddulph, Sister Gurreri, Elder dos Santos, and Elder Silva were tranferred from Cachoeira.  We will really miss them.  But it looks like the new ones will be great as well.  We now have Sister Morales (from Mexico), Sister Techmeier (from Brazil), Elder Tapp (from Rigby, ID…Yay!), and Elder Julca (from Argentina).  We have already had some good times with these new missionaries. 

We met for Notie Familiar on Monday with Sister Biddulph and Sister Rodrigues at the home of Valdomiro and Ivone Moraes.  They are good, strong members.  They have some very active married kids and some not so active kids.  We had some of each at the home evening plus Filipe, a non-member neighbor boy of about 10.  Filipe and his Dad have been meeting with the Sisters.  But his Dad couldn’t make it this particular night.  A couple of active neighbors also showed up.  So it was a houseful!    The Moraes family has just completed a little house remodel.  So this was a kind of “house warming” / send-off for Sister Biddulph.   The Sisters had prepared a lesson and we  took our laptop and followed up with a short video and message.  Ivone had prepared a regular meal with rice, chicken, lettuce and tomatoes and a drink.  We had just tried out JD’s no bake cookie recipe.  So we took those. They were super fast and easy to do and were a big hit!  So thanks to JD!  It was a fun evening! 

We also managed a short visit with the Sisters to the home of Rogerio and Ilsa.   Although Ilsa isn’t very active, Rogerio has been the Uniao branch mission leader and they have both been really good to the Sister missionaries.  And they had a little gift for Sister Biddulph. We think that she will be sorely missed!  We enjoy visiting this family also.  Rogerio and Ilsa really liked the pipoca (kettle corn) that we brought a couple of weeks ago.  They want us to come sometime and teach them how to do it.  Rogerio talks the pipoca every time we see him.  Funny!

Tuesday was a surprise to us!  It turns out that it was some kind of holiday connected to Carnaval.  Nearly every store plus the banks and post office were closed.  They were televising Carnaval in Rio and competitions associated with it.  The whole town was dead, so quiet.  It was a hard day for missionary work.  We decided to take advantage of the opportunity and visit the zoo here in Cachoeira.  It was like entering the jungle.  They had monkeys, parrots, turtles, peacocks, owls, etc.  The trees and plants were amazing.  And it was free.  There was hardly anyone there.   We enjoyed it a lot!  We think we met some of Mrs. Bird’s relatives!  Fortunately, we think Carnaval is done now. 

The week was filled up with District Meeting where we got better acquainted with the new missionaries, branch meetings, visits and lots of verifying of names and addresses for the branch.  We visited Gelson and Rosi and Francine again.  In fact, we took her a few sewing projects as she sews professionally, making dresses, coats, etc.  We always enjoy this family.  They always say they will come to church.  But then they don’t.  Gelson and Rosi so obviously adore each other and Francine and talk about wanting to go to the temple and be sealed.  We hope and pray that it will happen for them.  We keep encouraging.  They want us back next week with the Sisters for a Family Home Evening.

Walking in the same area where we visit Gelson and Rosi, we go by the gaucho store.  So we stopped in for another visist with Teka, who works at the store.  She is always enthused to see us.  We think that she is looking for a customer.  She insisted that we try on shirts and have our pic taken with her.  We met her son on this day.  She likes to tell everyone that we are her amigos!  Elder Shirley actually bought a flag and a hat.  She has her Book of Mormon and pamplets at the store.  She is always so enthusiastic.  It makes for a fun stop.

The highlight of the week for us was was a combined branch trip to the Porto Alegre temple on a big bus on Saturday.  It was the first time that we have been able to go to the temple since we began our mission.  We had to meet at the branch at about 5:45 am to board the bus for the 3 hour trip to Porto Alegre.  We got to do sealings and a session and help in the baptistry.  We also shopped at their bookstore for supplies that we needed as well as for the Sisters.  It was an all-day event.  We left PA for home about 5 pm.  We got brave and both did the session in Portuguese!  It was pretty scary, but amazing!

 It was also wonderful that we got to meet several other couples from the U.S. that work in the temple.  The mission President for the Porto Alegre Brazil Temple is President John M. Warthen.  He and his wife are from California.  There was also the Leavitts from California who got their visas about 3 weeks before we did.  We met Elder Denney and also Elder Anthony…all from the good ole U.S.!  It was so great!  It felt like greeting family. We knew them by their names and e-mails from the support group that we were a part of while we were all waiting for visas.   We all feel lucky to have got our visas.  They told us they thought that we were the last couple to get visas before things shut down again.  But they said about 8 new mission presidents are being called from the US, so, hopefully, visas will start coming through again soon.  We had a great visit, exchanged phone numbers and just compared notes.  It felt good!   We got home about 9 pm – too late for the baptism in the branch.  But it was a great day!  It was one of those items on the “bucket list” for Brazil.  We hope to be able to attend the temple again.

Our thoughts have been with a couple of birthday boys in the family this week.  Hope Tanner and Dan had happy birthdays! Happy Birthday to Scott too!   We were sure thinking of them and miss and love them lots!   It was good to be able to watch Josh and the Sugar-Salem boys’s basketball team through gamestream on our computer.  So amazing to be able to do that!  We loved watching and were sure proud of Josh and the team!  Congrats on doing so well!  “Meus pesames” to JD, Amber, & fam on the loss of JD’s Grandpa. So sorry to hear that!  He must have been a great man to have such a great family!  We  are feeling grateful for our family and friends! 

Eu te amo!  

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