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!

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