Monday, May 12, 2014

Exploring Fenarroz

Sister Shirley always loves a burger!

Busy street in Fenarroz

Welcome to Fenarroz!

Mother's Day flowers lining the streets

Hamburger Brazilian style - with peas, corn, ham and optional chicken hearts

Sister Shirley's Mother's Day flower

One of many roosters regularly encountered

Overlooking Fenarroz

Posing with Sisters Holden and Morales

Sunset from the apartment in Cachoeira

May 12, 2014

Hope everyone enjoyed a Feliz Dia das Maes!  Brazil celebrates Mothers’ Day too…in a big way.  Vendors lined the streets with gorgeous flowers, stores held big promocoes or sales, gifts and tributes were given to mothers at church, etc.  This is one of the two occasions during the year that missionaries get to skype or call their mothers.  Excitement was high.  Two of the Sisters, Sister Holden and Sister Morales, came to our place to skype with their families on Sunday afternoon.  We also had our turn and were able to skype with all of our kids and grandkids!  It was a great day!  Ended the day feeling very grateful for our family and friends!

We spent a good part of the week getting acquainted with Fenarroz and trying to locate less-active members who live there.  Fenarroz is on the outskirts of the city of Cachoeira and required a long bus ride out there and lots of walking when we got there.  But it is a beautiful area and it was fun to get acquainted.   Fenarroz is a rural area famous for their production of rice.  They advertise that Fenarroz is the “rice capital of the Americas”.  They have a yearly rice festival there the end of May.    It’s a big celebration and natives tell us that we have to attend.  We found very nice houses there as well as favelas, both ends of the scale. We were stared at a lot.  We think that we kind of stand out. Once again, we felt like detectives as we tried to track down members.  Many times we stopped to ask directions.  The people were helpful. We met one young mother at the top of a hill.  She was carrying an infant and had a toddler in tow.  When she found out the street we were looking for, she walked back down the hill with us to show us where it was.  We were grateful and shared a package of “smarties” with her and her toddler.  (We were able to find a smartie-like candy in the supermercado that we take to church to share when the need arises.)  The streets were busy, full of people standing around talking, dogs, chickens, kid riding bikes, etc.  One young boy was in the street with his mom.  She was helping him learn to ride a bike.  He kept looking at us with a big grin.  He was pretty proud of himself!  We are really enjoying Fenarroz and the people there.

Once again, we enjoyed good times at the District Meeting with the 4 sister missionaries and 4 elders. They are a great bunch! We took our pipoca again.  It continues to be a hit.  In fact, we got a phone call from Presidente Glauber, president of the Marina branch.  Along with two of the sister missionaries, they are holding a branch missionary night and they want us to furnish the popcorn for about 30 people.  He said that he had heard how good this sweet/salty popcorn was.  Guess we will put our popcorn popper to good use! 

While we were at District Meeting, we received a call from Marcia Reinbrecht.  We were scheduled to teach them the Plan of Salvation lesson on Saturday.  She called to ask us if we could come a day earlier.  We had been worried that they might cancel as they are always so busy!  So it was a great surprise!  We were happy to oblige!  Elder Shirley couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face!  The lesson went well.  We took some visual aids and at the end of the lesson, 10 year old Melissa asked if she could summarize what we had talked about.  Using the visual aids, she went through all the basic points of the lesson.  It was wonderful!  Roberto said he had way too many questions and we would need to come back next week again.  We can’t wait.  Roberto’s mom, Magali, has been unable to attend the last two times at Roberto’s.  She has indicated to us that lessons in her own home might be better.  We have given her name to Sister Morales and Sister Holden.  Hopefully, she will be receptive. 

President Castro called on Saturday.  We have District Conference (like our Stake Conference) coming up next weekend.  He wants us to conduct a training session for the auxiliary organizations, Primary, Relief Society and Young Women next Saturday as part of the conference.  He has left it up to us as to what we will teach.  A challenge for us!  But we will give it a try.  We have turned to the handbook,, and our kids for help!  Our kids have had especially good suggestions!  We feel so grateful for the support of family!  Anyway, we have a week of preparation ahead of us!  Especially so since Presidente Samuel of the Uniao branch has also just asked us to teach the youth some swing dancing to prepare them for another Bailie, or night of dance.  It will be fun but also will require some preparation.   As Lucas has been out of town, we have cancelled English classes for two weeks until he returns.  Looks like we will need that time to prepare for everything!
With the help of the Lord and lots of you, we will keep on trying to do what we are supposed to do, hoping we can make a difference.  Sweet is the work! 
Eu te amo!

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