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!

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