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!

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