Monday, May 19, 2014

District Conference Training Report

Band in the Fenarroz festival parade

Cooks at the District Conference luncheon

Waiting for lunch at Per Tutti Grill

District photo with the addition of four new missionaries

Fenarroz festival mascot Arrozinho (little rice)

Hungry missionaries walking to Per Tutti Grill

Melissa Reinbrecht at parade

Sister Shirley and Melissa watching the Fenarroz festival parade

Sister Shirley and Sister Torres

President and Sister Castro with son Gabriel

Queens of the Fenarroz festival

Roberto & Marcia Reinbrecht

Lots of tractors in the Fenarroz festival parade

Watching the Fenarroz festival parade

May 19, 2014

It’s been quite a week!  We spent quite a lot of time in preparation for the district conference training session for auxiliaries that we were in charge of on Saturday afternoon.  We are grateful to kids who sent ideas and examples.  That helped a lot.  We are also grateful to have our computer and printer here with us and to have the internet.  That is a blessing we as senior couples have that the younger missionaries don’t.  We think often of when we were first arrived and left our bag with computers in one of the two taxis that were transporting us and the missionaries who came to greet us from the airport to the mission office.  That still stands out as such a blessing that the taxi returned with our computer.  It was our first huge blessing in the mission field.  We use it often.   Also, is a wonderful and helpful site.  We were able to find the handbook on line and prepared our discussion from it.  Our preparation felt a little like when we prepared discussions with Douglas for our skype language lessons.  Good memories!

 The theme we chose was “The Savior’s Way of Leading”.  We also found 3 short videos to add to our discussion. We tried to make it a discussion because we know that leaders learn a lot from each other as well.  We had them do some role playing of a presidency meeting.  Besides acting out a presidency meeting done the right way, one of the groups acted out a presidency meeting done the wrong way.  It was fun!  We think everyone enjoyed it.    For the intro, we stood up front together and tried to make it a discussion between the two of us as well.  It was a challenge and, hopefully, they understood what we were trying to say.  We also had the recorded music to accompany the opening song as they rarely have anyone who knows how to play the piano.  What a blessing that talent is in the mission field.  Wish we knew how!  Typically, the song leader stands up front and sings out the first line and then we all join, hopefully on the same note.  We also found nice tablecloths.  A really nice touch was the picture of the Savior that we had brought with us.  Brother Austin Thomas from the Centerville, UT, ward gave it to us as a parting gift.  It had a spot on the side where we could insert our theme.  It worked out so well and added a lot.  We were feeling grateful to Brother Thomas. 

We prepared a little treat with the message “Sweet is the Work” (in Portuguese: “Doce é o Trabalho”).  Of course, we used our pipoca (Sweet and salty popcorn)!   The table display with it turned out nice thanks to grandkids who taught us how to make tissue puff balls.  We found some tissue paper and made yellow and white ones to go with the popcorn.  We had lots of sisters wanting to know how to make the puff balls.  Sadly, we only had three to give away.   Sounds like they want to schedule a time to have us teach them how to make them.  Reminds me of the good times we had learning to make them with granddaughters.  It also brought back memories of good times with young women in the ward!  We sure made lots of puff balls with them!  When we were making them, it made me homesick and I almost wanted to cry thinking of the good family and friends and good times we have had! (We will have more again!)  We also had lots of requests for the pipoca recipe.  We have to make some this week for the branch missionary night (about 30 people) on Wednesday night.    

However, as nice as things turned out, we had our stressful moments.  Of course!  It seems that nothing every goes as planned. (We will get to that in a bit.) We had district meetings with the other missionaries scheduled for Saturday morning.  Two more sister missionaries have been called to serve here in Cachoeira.  We now have six sister missionaries and four elders, counting the elders from Caçapava who always meet with us.  Counting us, we have a total of 12 missionaries here.  An amazing force for good!  It feels great to be part of this group! 

After our morning meeting, we met President and Sister Castro and their son (we think he is 15) for lunch at Per Tutti Grill….the nicest restaurant in town.  President and Sister Torres met us there as well.  President Torres is the District President.  We really enjoy him and his wife.  He has helped us out a lot, especially when we were starting out the mission.  They are both so helpful and friendly.  They speak a little English.  In fact, President Torres has a business/school teaching English.  We had a table for 18 at this restaurant.  The food was good as was the company!

As our training session was scheduled to start at 4 pm at the Cachoiera chapel, we left the luncheon a little early.  The chapel was on the other end of town and we were on foot.   In retrospect, we should have taken a taxi.  We arrived at the chapel about 3:30.  We set up tables and chairs.  We still needed to test out the DVD we had burned with the music and videos on the TV.  But Brazilians seem to run a little late.  We were counting on that.  But then we couldn't find the DVD.  We were pretty sure that we had packed it.  But we looked everywhere and couldn't find it!  Panic!  A member gave us a quick ride home to look for it.  Still couldn't find it.  But we grabbed the computer and figured that we could always play the videos from it if we had to.  He had to stop and pick up his wife.  She was running a little late.  It was hard to sit and wait and watch the minutes tick by.  We arrived at the church at 4:05 to a full room.  We had been told to expect 15-20.  We thought maybe 10.  We had at least 25 or more!  So glad we had the tables and chairs already set up!  We tried to appear calm and begin our meeting.  I moved a stack of handouts on the table up front and the missing DVD fell out.  Yay!!!    Anyway, things worked out great. Our meeting went for about 1 hour and 40 min. We had been assigned 1 ½ hours.  We ended up cutting out a little.  We had lots of good input from the sisters.  We feel like that is when we all learn the most!   The music and videos worked out great.  We finished with the little video, “I’m Trying to be Like Jesus” with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  It is a really good one.  There were sisters with tears in their eyes.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it!

We came away feeling so grateful for faithful members and leaders here.  Several had traveled from Caçapava which is about 2 hours away.  They would have to find places to stay overnight to attend conference the next day.  Also, as we talked in our training a little about delegating and read the wonderful scripture in Exodus 18:18 about the need to delegate, we had several sisters let us know that sometimes they are the only one serving in their organization!  What strong, faithful sisters!  It made us feel pretty humble.  They are really wonderful!

The meeting that evening and conference the next day were great and much more relaxing for us.  Besides President and Sister Castro, we also had President and Sister Worthen in attendance.  President Worthen is the Porto Alegre temple president.  They are from Las Vegas.  We met them when we attended the temple a couple of months ago.  It was so good to see them again!  It always feels like family when we visit with someone from the U.S.  Sister Worthen surprised me with a gift…..measuring cups!  We haven’t been able to find measuring cups here.  We didn't anticipate that need.  So that was a fun surprise! 

After conference, Elder Shirley was asked to give a blessing to one of the missionaries.  Also, it seemed some of them just needed to talk.  We were glad we could do that.  As we were finally leaving, a branch member took us by the hand and led us to the kitchen where they had prepared a luncheon for President and Sister Castro and family, and for President and Sister Worthen.  They wanted us to join.  We enjoyed roast beef and potatoes and green salads with ice cream for dessert!

Upon our return home, we discovered that there was a parade down the street right in front of our apartment.  It was a kick-off for the 18th annual Fenarroz fair.  This is the rice festival that celebrates being the rice capital of the Americas!  There will be activities all week…kind of like the Blackfoot fair we think.  We looked across the street and there was the Reinbrecht family.  Amazing!  (They can’t get away from us!)  Melissa joined us on our side of the street.  We enjoyed the parade together.  We are scheduled to meet with them again this week.  We can’t decide if they are really taking our discussions seriously or if they just like to visit with us!  We will keep working on them!

Anyway, it was a busy but great week!  Thanks for your interest, and your love and support.  We miss you and love you!

Eu te amo!  

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