Sunday, April 27, 2014

Investigating the Roads Less Traveled

Raquel's baptism

Walking in the countryside

District meeting with new missionaries: US, Brazil, Argentina and Australia represented

Indoor soccer

Power company lineman outside apartment

Raquel, mom and sisters

Overlooking rural Cachoeira

Sister Morales and gauchos in street outside chapel

I wonder where this trail will lead?

Taking the road less traveled
April 28, 2014

The week started out with a power outage on our P-day which lasted a good part of the day, making it difficult to do laundry, send emails, etc.  They were replacing old wooden power poles with concrete ones on the street right in front of us.  Again, we had a birds’ eye view out of our window of the action on the street.  It was also a national holiday, Tiradentes Day, and all the stores were closed.  Since it was P-day and our power was off, we found our restaurant down the street open and enjoyed filet mignon for lunch!  Not a bad P-day after all!

We focused our efforts this week on the Cachoeira branch searching out inactive or less active members.  We felt like detectives as we tried to follow the clues, searching on maps, clapping at gates and asking questions of neighbors and passers-by.   It was an interesting week with lots of walking again.  Sometimes we found beautiful areas and beautiful homes.  Other times, we followed paths that dwindled down to little trails overlooking shacks in the ravine beside us.  We found that people are most generally very helpful.  Although we found some that crossed the street to avoid us, we had some actually cross the street to help us.  Like the EMT who was with his crew washing their ambulance out on the street.  When he saw us stop to study our map, he crossed the street to ask us how he could help. On his shirt it said “Assistencia”.  We were grateful for his assistance and glad that we didn’t require the medical kind. He lived up to the words on his shirt!

We walked a lot, but we also took a wild bus ride out to an area called Fatima.  We had to hang on as we flew over bumps and around corners.  It felt like a ride at Disneyland almost!  We had to laugh! We were welcomed by all we sought out. Many lived far away from the church and had no car which always makes it difficult to get to church on Sundays.  Some said they just got lazy.  But everyone we met remembered the name of the missionary who baptized them!

English class was especially good this week.  We had quite a few there including members and non-members.  Lucas continues to come and is very friendly.  Nilson, a non-member, has missed a couple of weeks.  We always seek him out and give him his homework for the next class.  He and his namorada showed up just as class was beginning, apologizing for having to miss class yet again.  We had not met his fiancee.  But she was very nice and friendly and teaches at a night school.  They brought us cupcakes as an Easter gift and in apology for missing class yet again.  We felt really good about that. 

The Reinbrechts accepted another visit.  Yay!!!  We met with them to discuss the Book of Mormon, as part of the lesson on the Restoration.  As always they were full of questions.  Our challenge is to try to keep the visits from going too long.  We presented our lesson and visited.  The kids are always so fun.  Melissa always has lots to show us. Although we had stressed that they didn’t need to prepare dinner for us, they still had lots of snacks!  We invited them to church, but they are going to Porto Alegre for the weekend as part of his schooling and to shop for school clothes for the kids.  Roberto admitted that he was hesitant to go to church as he would rather discuss gospel with us in a setting where he could ask questions.  He said, “I like to visit with you because you don’t get upset about anything I ask and I can say what I want”.  We try to explain how the meetings are.  He said that he wouldn’t make any promises, but would think about going.  They welcomed us come again next Friday to talk about the Plan of Salvation in relation to families.  We also plan to visit his mother, Magali, and his father in their own home.  They are all a great family.  It kind of scares us to think about the responsibility we have to teach them. 

It was a lovely baptism on Saturday for a little 8 year old girl in the Uniao branch, Raquel.  Elder Shirley got to do the baptizing.  The water heater in the font is still not working.  So the water was very cold.  Elder Shirley said it felt as cold as the water in the river.  The Sisters heated some water in a very large pan on the stove to warm it up a little.  But it didn’t help much.  Elder Shirley said it was freezing and he felt little Raquel’s whole body stiffen up as she went under.  You should have seen the expression on her face when she came up out of that water.  We felt bad for her.  But she was smiling anyway!  We also tentatively have another baptism scheduled in the Marina branch for Idalia, the mother of Artur and Lidia who were baptized recently.   She has asked Elder Shirley to do the baptizing.  We hope the water heater gets fixed this week.    

The weather has cooled off enough that we have had to wear our jackets.  We have even had some wind, although nothing to compare with Idaho wind!  With the change of seasons, everyone seems to be catching a cold….including Sister Shirley.  Although it is mild, we thought we had better reschedule our visit with Nelson and his family that was scheduled for Saturday.  So we will meet with them this week. This week brings with it another full schedule.  We have been invited to a Family Home Evening at the home of Airton and Gorete.  Airton serves in the branch presidency.  They have become good friends to us.  They have invited several others.  There is a “Sisters” conference in Porto Alegre on Tuesday.  Elder Shirley got a personal invitation to join in since missionaries aren’t supposed to leave their companions.  So we will travel by bus to Porto Alegre to attend the conference on Tuesday. Also this week, Cachoeira branch is holding a “Night of Casais” (Night of Married Couples) as is the Uniao branch….on the same night.  So we will have to choose.  Thursday is another national holiday.  It is a type of Labor Day holiday.  No one has to work. The English class requested that we still meet that night.  With District meetings and other visits, there will be plenty to keep us busy.

Josh and Emilee, enjoy your birthday week!  Also, Happy Anniversary to Brian and Shiree on May 1!  21 years, right?  We are sure glad that you two got together!  Love you lots!  And it’s also the birthday of my sister’s husband, David, on May 4.  We don’t always get cards sent as they are a little difficult to find.  Seems like that isn’t a big thing to do down here.  Happy birthday/anniversary to all!  We love you! 


Boa semana (good week) to all!  Eu te amo!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sometimes You Have to Stand Alone

Beautiful countryside

Elder Tapp (Rigby, ID) & Elder Paz (Brazil)

Helpful bus driver

Horseback riders

Kevin & his sisters

Nelson and Lucia

Another successful day completed

A picture of pink for Joanna Clements

An Easter cake:  Torta de Bolacha

Practicing cow tricks taught by Elder Ritz

April 21, 2014

Feliz Pascoa!  (Happy Easter!)  It seems like it has been a week of holidays and Easter celebration, which can sometimes get in the way of missionary work.  We had hoped to get the Reinbrecht family to church this week.  But they had family come early for Easter and had dinners, etc. planned. The kids were out of school for Good Friday.   We delivered Easter baskets to them and to his parents, encountered them in the grocery store and talked to them by phone during the week.  We hope to meet with them again on Friday and will try for church next week.  Roberto called us on Sunday to wish us a Happy Easter.  They are surely a nice family! 

The holiday also interfered with our English class.  Many were out of town.  In fact, we only had Lucas.  We went ahead with the class.  He is getting really good with his English!  After class, we took advantage of the opportunity and talked with him about the church.  He told us that he had missionaries visit him a few years ago and that he had some friends who were members.  But for right now, he didn’t want missionary visits.  But we had a good visit with him.  We like him a lot and hope we can be a good influence for him. 
Missionary transfers were Tuesday.  Sisters Almeida and Rodrigues left as did Elder Maximiliano and Elder Ritz.  We will really miss them.  But we gained Elder Paz from Manaus, Brazil, Elder Hiatt from Mesa, AZ, Sister Holden from Fresno, CA and Sister Picula from Austrialia.  While Sister Holden waited for her visa, she served for 8 months in Chicago!  Sister Picula is a “greenie”, just arrived in the mission field.  They are all so enthused!  We neglected to get pics of them at District, but will do that soon.  It is so amazing to work with all of these great missionaries from all over the world!

We have had some good experiences this week.  We have taken lots of bus rides.  On one particular bus ride, we boarded a bus which we were not sure would take us where we wanted to go.  We asked the bus driver about a particular road.  He didn’t know where it was, but actually stopped the bus to ask someone on the street.  He was great!  We love the people of Brazil!

We met another friendly guy in the supermercado.  Saturdays are always busy in the grocery stores, but this Saturday was especially busy as it was the day before Easter.  Everyone was preparing for their Easter celebrations & churrascos.  The stores were filled with Easter candy, etc.  Lines were super long, snaking clear down the aisles.  We only had a few items and were trying to find the shortest line when a guy called to us, “You probably don’t have this problem in the United States”.  He was disgruntled about having to wait so long.  He had a cartful of bottles of beer and cookies.  We stopped to visit and asked how he could tell that we were from the U.S.  He said, “That’s (facil) easy!” Guess we don’t blend in very well.  We had a long wait but a good visit.  Everyone around seemed interested in the conversation.  His last name was Lehman, a German and an agronomist.  We discussed everything from religion to politics to eating habits.  Wish we had a picture of Elder Shirley helping to load all 24 bottles of beer into his cart at the check stand!  Fun times!  We really enjoy our visits with people when we are out and about. 

This week we visited Nelson, the pan maker, several times.  One day, we worried as it was a holiday and we wondered if his wife, Lucia, would be home.  She was the one he referred to as a “wild horse” and he didn’t necessarily want us preaching to her.  She was home!  It turns out that she isn’t such a wild horse after all.  She was very nice and very welcoming.  We visited, gave a short message and a prayer.  They invited us back on Easter Sunday for “Torta de Bolacha”, the layered dessert made from cookies soaked in the soft drink, Guarana.  They also scheduled a Family Home Evening.  We suggested that they invite Nelson’s daughter and family.  We have met them and they are very nice.  Lucia wanted to invite some of her family that lives nearby as well.  It should be a good Family Home Evening. 

Nelson asked us to stop by and invite his daughter Luciane.  We found her, her husband, Edson, and the whole family at home.  He is an inactive member.  They tell us their situation is “complicated”.  They have 4 kids, one of whom plays the guitar and sings gaucho music.  Kevin, 15 years old, played and sang for us.  He was really good!  And the family is proud of him.  Two of their daughters are dancers and were in a competition on Easter Sunday.   They are a talented family!  They agreed to come to FHE.  We have had a good week with Nelson and his family. 

Sister Morales and Sister Rodrigues (and now Sister Holden) have been teaching Luciano (23 years old) for a long time now.  He comes to church and all of the baptisms.  He is the one who always asks Elder Shirley so many questions.  He gave up his coffee and decided to be baptized on Saturday.  Elder Shirley was asked to do the baptizing.  We were all excited.  Presidente Samuel went to Luciano’s home to interview him the day before the baptism.  Luciano’s mother was not happy.  He lives with her and she does not want him to be baptized! He has a lot of family opposition.  He would be the only member.  We proceeded with the plans for baptism.  The sisters had the font filled and the program ready.  We waited, and waited, and waited.  No Luciano!  We were all disappointed, especially the Sisters.  But we recognize what a difficult decision it must be for Luciano with such family opposition.  It will be interesting to see how things go in the future for him.  Our hearts (and prayers) go out to him.

There are many who stand alone when they join the church.  Elder Julca, from Argentina, who serves here with us, is an example.  He is the one who always hugs Elder Shirley and tells him he really likes him!   He is the only member in his family.  He has no support from them while he is here serving a mission.  We know that he feels bad sometimes.  But he is a good, strong, missionary and is our zone leader.  But it has to be hard to stand alone!

We have had lots of good visits this week.  We have begun our work in the Cacheira branch and attended church there on Sunday.  It is hard to not go the church in Marina/Uniao though.  We were just starting to know lots of people there and feel a little comfortable!  Weather-wise, we have had beautiful fall weather with lots of sun, a little rain, and lots of very foggy mornings!  It is beautiful here!  It has made for pleasant walking!  We have also had some thoughts of home with Amber’s birthday on Saturday as well as birthdays coming up for a couple of special grandkids, Josh and Emilee!  We send birthday wishes to Ard as well! We love and are so grateful for good family! Love to all!

Eu te amo!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A great visit with a special family - the Reinbrecht's

The seasons are changing - here comes the rain

Lots of branch support at a baptism

At the Reinbrecht's

Claudinei & Marcia - members from Cachoeira branch - we love these guys!

Eating pipoca at a district meeting

With Elder Ritz and Sister Morales

Elder Shirley with Jean

Irma Mariza Quijentais - good member

Jonatas & Gizleine Quijentais

Love notes from Melissa

April 14, 2014

And the rains came and the weather cooled off!  The week started out warm, but turned cloudy, rainy and much, much cooler.  By the end of the week, we needed jackets!  We enjoy seeing the seasons change.  Rain and cooler weather didn’t stop the missionary work though.  It’s been a full week of great activities.
 
Since we made a video of Nelson, the pan maker, it gave us a good reason to pay him another visit so we could give him a copy of the video.  When he met us at the door, he said, “You aren’t going to believe this!  But I was reading the scriptures and just got down on my knees to pray, when I heard you clapping at my gate.”  (We clap at the gate.  We don’t knock on the door.)  He was quite amazed. He even went to get his Book of Mormon to show us what he was reading.  We were happy to be part of what he viewed as inspiration.  One member commented once, “God is trying to move that man!”  We hope he sees that too. 

Don’t know when we will learn our lesson. But one day as we were walking, a man stopped and was so friendly and offered us a ride home.  We didn’t know him, but he knew of the church.  He said that he was on his way to the Farmacia to get medicine for his sick dog.  We both climbed in the back seat of his car and evidently sat in the spot where the dog had been sick.  Gross!  We were wet and stinky through and through.  We were grateful for the ride, but had to take a shower and change wet and stinky clothes and do laundry when we got home!  Life is never dull!

Fernanda, a non-member from Pedal de Ouro, finally agreed to let us come and do a family home evening with her and her boyfriend at the home of her neighbors, Adao and Jussara Garcia.  The Garcias are a wonderful, very active family.  (We had Christmas and New Year’s dinner with them).  We have scheduled and re-scheduled this FHE with Fernanda numerous times.  She is always friendly, always has a good excuse and always willing to re-schedule.  She doesn’t get home from work until 9 pm, which is very late for us to start a FHE.  But the Garcias agreed.  So we agreed.  She told us that she “adores” brownies, so we made a pan of brownies to take.  The day was cloudy, and rainy. By 8:30, there was a strong thunderstorm with lots of lightning and thunder and a downpour of rain.  We were skeptical, but committed!  As they live far away, we called a taxi to take us to Garcias.  They were all prepared and their grandson, Jean, was there to join in.  He is a great kid and usually sits by us in sacrament meeting.  9:30 came and no Fernanda!  So we and Jussara took our umbrellas and walked down a very muddy road to Fernanda’s.  She was home, but her boyfriend was very sick.  It turns out he may have gall stones, so they couldn’t come.  Sinking in the mud with every step, we returned to Garcias and had a very short lesson, ate brownies and rice pudding that Jussara had made and made a plate to drop off at Fernanda’s.  Jussara also had some medicine that she thought would help.  We tried to call a taxi.  No phone service!  The Garcias told us the phones often go out when there is a storm.  They don’t have a car and there is no bus service out that far at that time of night.  We started to worry.  We stepped outside trying to get better phone service, looked up and there was our taxi!  Miracle!  The driver remembered we had told him we would call him again later.  He had been sitting out front waiting!  Someone is watching out for us!  But it was an expensive evening and late night.  We didn’t get home until 11pm.  Fernanda wants to re-schedule.  But I think we will try and find a better time. 

District meeting was fun.  We always have such a fun time with these young Elders and Sisters!  Since this would be the last district meeting before transfers, we took some pipoca.  Kettle corn has really become our speciality!  Elder Julca from Argentina brought a treat too. 

English class was fun.  We enjoy that!  We had a good turn out again.  Lucas was there and told us that he had just lost his job a Delta Sul as business was too slow and they had to let him go.  But he is optimistic and is taking classes at a technical school and now has more time to study English!  He and his girlfriend have family that live close.  And he gets one month severance pay.  So they should be OK.  He stayed after class and we had a good visit.  He is very likeable and we hope he can find work.  He thinks this may actually work out for the best anyway! 

We anxiously anticipated all week our meeting with the Reinbrecht family….Roberto, Marcia, Cristofer, Melissa, and Roberto’s mother.  We kept meeting them by accident at the grocery store.  They are always so friendly.  We took brownies, chocolate as well as lemon.  (The Lemon Brownie recipe was Amber’s.  It turns out well down here.)  Elder Shirley describes our visit as muito agradavel!  (very good).  They had prepared a very nice meal for us and liked our dessert. Since they speak English pretty well, they asked for a blessing on the food from each of us…one in Portuguese and one in English.  We were happy to oblige!  They like that we talk to God in a personal way.  Earlier in the day, Melissa had insisted that her dad take her to the store and wouldn't tell him why until they got there.  She wanted to buy us Easter treats!  She had also been busy coloring “love notes” for us.  When we arrived, she wanted to know our favorite colors.  It turns out we chose the very colors that she had used for our notes.  She was happy about that!

After dinner, we had planned to show a couple of short videos and talk about family and the gospel.  (The Plan of Salvation).  But after dinner, we never left the table.  They were full of questions which led right into Joseph Smith and the restoration.  They had been searching on line for information about the “Mormons”.  We took our family picture.  They were very interested and asked about names and ages of each one in the picture.  One of their first questions was “Why would you do this?  Why would you serve a mission and leave your family…your kids and your grandkids and serve without financial compensation?”  It led into an interesting discussion and gave us opportunity to bear testimony.  They all had questions, especially Roberto’s mother.  We really liked her too.  We spent two hours at the table.  We kept telling them that we were only supposed to stay 45 min – 1 hour.  They told us that we would have to come back as they have lots more questions.  We are excited about that. We left them copies of the Book of Mormon with our written testimonies.  We really like this whole family and are anxious to talk more with them.  We invited them to witness Saturday’s baptisms.  They showed us the invitation they had for a baby shower at the same time.  We invited them to church on Sunday with us.  They had a previous dinner appointment.  But they indicate they want to go in the future.  Easter also complicates things as they are supposed to leave town for the holiday.  But we are hopeful that we will be able to continue our gospel discussion and friendship with them.  They are full of questions and so welcoming.  Melissa (10 years old) hugs us all the time just like our grandkids.  We love it, although Elder Shirley has warned her that as a missionary he can’t hug the girls. She respectfully gives him a handshake! They live in the boundaries of the Cachoeira branch.  We think this is probably a good time to start working in that branch.  We will continue to visit some in both Marina and Uniao however.  We think we will keep busy! But we love it!

Rosi and Gelson had good news this week.  Rosi decided to try to find work as a seamstress.  She said after praying, she had 3 job offers.  She felt like her prayers had been answered!  She accepted a really good offer and they hope to buy a car and start paying tithing so they can get to the temple.  We still have high hopes for them!  She was excited!
 
Saturday was baptism day in Uniao branch!  They ended up with 5 baptisms!  It was a great day!  For the special musical number, all of us missionaries, 8 total, sang “I Need Thee Every Hour”, some verses in English, some in Spanish and a couple of verses in Portuguese.  There was a lot of support from branch members and it was a beautiful day! Sister Rodrigues and Sister Morales have had 8 baptisms this month! Every one of the missionaries here are great.  They all work so hard!  We love them!

On Sunday, after meetings, the Uniao branch prepared kind of a thank-you meal for all of the 8 missionaries in our area.  It was a fun time!  The food was good (rice and potato salad) and there were lots of people.  It was also kind of a celebration of Elder Julca’s birthday and a send-off for Elder Ritz.  Elder Ritz leaves for home tomorrow (Farmington, UT).  We will really miss him!  He has been a great missionary!  Tuesday is also transfer day for the young missionaries again.  They will receive their notices tomorrow!  We hate to think who might be leaving.  We’re glad we can stay.  There is still a lot to do!
 
Have a good week….wherever you may be! 
Eu te amo!  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Strangers asking for money aren't always who they appear to be

Banana tree

A bat in the house

Car advertising outside their window

All creatures are interested in the gospel message

Huge cactus

Stray horse who's always on the loose

Assessing a new restaurant - food could be better but check out the view!

Another day walking the streets

The shoe shine brothers

Brazilian version of Target?

April 7, 2014

What a good day for a blog!  It’s our son, Brian’s birthday!  This is a day we celebrate too!  April is a good month, filled with lots of family birthdays!  Happy Birthday to all!  We feel so blessed with our great family!

It has been a really good week.  We have been out on the street a lot this week.  And it has been another hot week.  But things are supposed to cool down starting tomorrow with some thunderstorms.  We will be glad to see things cool off a little. 

On a day with no specific appointments, we went out on the street and met all kinds of people. We get lots of comments out walking. We often hear “God bless” or “Go with God”.   Once a lady said as we approached, “God comes”!  It makes us feel pretty humble.  We almost want to look over our shoulder to see what they are seeing!  We are certainly aware that we are being watched.  It is amazing!  This was one of those days when, at every turn, we met someone we knew, or someone in a store would wave, or someone would just stop us to visit.

It was pretty fun until this guy stopped us.  He was super friendly and informed us that he was a member of the church and even named a few members that we knew.  He told us that his car was out of gas and he didn’t have any money.  We gave him 20 reais ($8-9).  He promised to pay us back on Sunday as he planned to attend church.  We wondered about him and so we stopped at Pedal de Ouro to ask some of our church friends about him.  They said “Stay away from him!  He is dangerous.  He will just use the money for drugs!” Needless to say, he never showed up at church.  Guess we are too na├»ve and trusting! However, some good came from this encounter.  Since we had given him our smaller bills, we went to Tishlers (our neighborhood grocery store) to get some money from the machines in the lobby.  The machine was out of service.  A man approached us….typical for this day.  He was really nice and curious to know about us.  He had his family with him.  Although they are native Brazilians, they speak English pretty well as the lived in Canada for about 8 years. They are Roberto, Marcia, Cristofer and Melissa Reinbrecht. 

The Reinbrechts are a really great family.  We have struck up a nice friendship with them.  They are anxious to immigrate back to Canada.  Roberto is finishing up a degree in Public Administration and Marcia is working on her nursing degree.  Since Canada is in need of nurses, this will help with the immigration process.  He has worked for Xerox, and has been a partner in a type of graphic design company.  They gave us a ride and invited us to visit.  We visited the next day!  They love the teachings about families.  They attended our English class on Thursday. (We had 6 non-members there!) Melissa came bringing “love notes” and stickers for us.  And we are invited to dinner on Friday night.  They want to hear more about the church!  Yay!!  Roberto is Evangelica and Marcia says that she was baptized Catholic.  The kids are cute and smart!  Melissa’s 10th birthday was Sunday.  They were celebrating out of town or they said that they would have attended the conference broadcast with us.  Early on Sunday we dropped off a gift for Melissa.  After the last session of conference, we had a nice surprise.  Through the crowd there came Melissa looking for us.  Her mom was waiting just outside of the chapel with cupcakes, salgados, doces, etc.  We were thrilled!  We introduced them to the other missionaries and some members.  They offered us a ride home as it was dark.  They are a really nice family and we are anxious to share the gospel message with them.  (Usually we just work with less-actives and the missionaries teach the non-members.  But we like this family so much that we think we may visit with them ourselves.)  We hope the Spirit touches their hearts with the gospel message.  But we know that we are glad to have met them, no matter what happens!   

We loved conference!  It was broadcast live in the Cachoeira chapel which has air-conditioning!  Loved that!  Saturday was full of meetings.  The women’s broadcast was at 11 am, first session at 1 pm; second session at 5 and the priesthood session at 9 pm.   They provided food between the women’s broadcast and the first session.  On Sunday, meetings were at 1 pm and 5 pm.  We got a last-minute call from the Sister missionaries as they were walking a family of investigators to the chapel.  It seems the family had not eaten.  So we hurried and made some sandwiches, etc. to take for them.  We sat by one of their investigators, Lucianno.  He has been attending the last few baptisms and always has lots of questions for Elder Shirley.  Now he has decided that he wants to be baptized this Saturday.  In fact, Sister Rodrigues and Sister Morales will have 7 baptisms this Saturday!   For the baptism, all eight of us missionaries in this area will join in singing “I Need Thee Every Hour” in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. 

Transfers are coming up for the younger missionaries in a week.  Elder Ritz from Farmington, UT, will be going home.  We are sad!  He wants to get together on next P-day, his last P-day, and have pancakes with maple syrup!  You can’t get maple syrup or flavoring in Brazil.  But we brought a little bottle of it with us.  So we will make up some maple syrup!  Should be fun!  We love all of these missionaries! 

We have high hopes for the week ahead!  Hope your week is good too!
Eu te amo!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The hardest work you will ever love!

Baile

Dog or bear??

Presidente Glauber & Luci as Carmen Miranda

Presidente Samuel and the chicken & egg hat

Elder Shirley with Alair & Alex

FHE with Alair

Elder Shirley looking for suspicious characters

Kitchen prep before the baile

Elder Shirley & Nelson at the forge

Sister Shirley taking in the view

March 31, 2014

Bom dia!  It’s Monday and P-day again!  This is our day to catch up on things like laundry.  This is when we really miss our clothes dryer at home.  We have a clothes drying rack and a line strung in the laundry room where we can hang the sheets and other clothes. Some days when it’s cloudy and the humidity is up, it is hard for the clothes to dry.  So we have to turn the fan on them.  But actually, we get along just fine. 

We hear that winter doesn’t want to release its hold in Idaho.  Down here, summer is trying to hold on!  It is now outono (autumn), but this past week sure felt like summer.  We’ve had some pretty hot weather.  Thunderstorms came in yesterday and cooled things off a bit.  We had a real downpour in the afternoon. 

Alair and Lisi and family invited us to their home for Noite Familiar (FHE) on Monday.  They also invited friends, a non-member couple, Alex and Shayla, and their little girl.  Alair lives a ways out.  But he works just down the street from us.  So he gave us a ride to his home and back again.  Alair gave the lesson and we supplemented it with our testimonies and a couple of short videos on the importance of family.  Lisi prepared a really nice meal and we took dessert.  Alair and Alex are longtime friends who have played in a band together.  As you can imagine, it was a real treat for us, especially for Elder Shirley, to do some guitar playing and singing!  It was a fun evening, but a late one!  

We had another Family Home Evening scheduled for Tuesday with Fernanda, a non-member from Pedal de Ouro and her boyfriend.  But she got sick and we had to postpone. But we managed to have a very full week.  District meeting was on Tuesday with the Elders and Sisters which is always a good time.  We get a kick out of Elder Julca from Argentina.  He always gives Elder Shirley a hug and tells him in English, “You are beautiful!  I love you!”   He makes us laugh!  It was interesting at Zone Conference last week when they told all of the missionaries that they were encouraged to practice speaking English when they could.  There is an online test they can take to qualify for an English-speaking certificate.  It is supposed to help them get into Universities easier.  This is a little departure from just strictly speaking the language of the country in which you are serving. Interesting news. 

This week we really put forth an effort to do a lot of visiting.  We walked a lot!  We even got a few new blisters.  We met lots of interesting people and lots more dogs.  We sure feel like detectives as we try to track down people.  We continue to discover that most people here are friendly and very helpful.  Dogs…..not always so friendly!  English class was good too.  We had 5 people in attendance this week.  It is good to see them make progress.  Lucas was there, but not Nilson.  We will make a visit to him to deliver his “homework”. 

We visited Nelson again as we haven’t seen him at church recently.  He is a pan maker.  He has a forge and makes the pans right in his home.   He asked us to come again the next day and watch an actual pour. So we returned Saturday morning.  It was really interesting!  It looks like hard work.  But he says that it keeps him young!  Says he doesn’t have any wrinkles because of all the sweating he does as he keeps the fire stoked.  (We don’t see that sweating is helping us much though.  If anything, we think we have aged!)

Saturday was the night of the “Baile” (Ball) and the “Concurso de Chapeus” (Contest of hats) hosted by the Uniao branch.  It was a much advertised and anticipated event.  Lots of inactives and non-members had been invited. They had a good turnout.   Presidente Samuel, president of the Uniao branch has a party planning business.  So we knew the decorations would be good.  They were.  It was a fun evening.    The youth did their dance that they had learned for their EFY trip earlier in the month. They actually call it FSY (For the Strength of Youth).  They were so enthusiastic and did a great job.   As we have always enjoyed dancing, we had a good time.  We had comments about our dancing American style to Brazilian music. They gave us a hard time.   So they had to teach us the “gaucho” way.  Before the night was done, they told us we were almost dancing like gauchos.  We didn’t have hats.  But lots of people did.   There were lots of interesting ones.  They had a parade of sorts and then awarded prizes.   It was a really good time and so fun to see young and old alike participating.    But it was another late night.  The Sister missionaries came to watch.  They called President Castro for permission to stay later.  It was announced over the microphone that he gave permission for them to stay!  We all cheered!  Fun times!  We were grateful for a ride home with President Torres and his wife. 

We tried to work extra hard this week.  We continue to think of the phrase “It is the hardest work you will ever love”!   We met lots of people, issued lots of invitations.  Results aren’t always as good as we hope for.  But we keep remembering thoughts from Zone Conference.  Why should we expect missionary work not to be hard?  They showed a film based on an article in the March 2001 Ensign about missionary work and the atonement by Jeffrey Holland…”Salvation never was easy!”  So we will keep spreading the good word and encouraging!  We really look forward to General Conference this weekend.  We will be watching the live feed at the same time you are seeing it! 

Thanks for your support!  We love you!
Eu te amo!