Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Doing What Matters Most

Cute 8 year old at his baptism

Walking the Fatima neighborhood

Anther pic from the Fatima neighborhood

Walking through the Santo Antonio neighborhood

Dog bite - a missionary tradition

Sister Shirley with Eva Aida

Fall leaves

Park cleanup day

Hot dog vendor Renato

June 9, 2014

It’s been a busy week…muddy shoes, lost hats, forgotten umbrellas, power outages, etc.  But it’s been a week filled with lots of good missionary work.  We began the week with our interviews with President Castro.  It looks like we will be able to continue serving in the city of Cachoeira, probably for our entire mission, which makes us happy. That means we can continue to live in our same apartment and not have to move.  We love Cachoeira and the people here!  So far we have spent time in each of the three branches in the city, Marina, Uniao, and Cachoeira.  President Castro asked us to once again focus our efforts on Marina, the branch where we started out.   They are working on activating more priesthood holders.  So we hope we can help.  President Glauber, his wife, Luci Mara, and Dionne are in this branch.  We enjoy this family and many others there. 

We focused our efforts this week on finishing up our assignment from the Cachoeira branch to verify a bunch of member addresses.  We took lots of bus rides and did a lot of walking.  Many of the days were rainy and chilly.  But we enjoyed it.  Most trees here don’t lose their leaves, but there are a few that do.  When we see them, it really makes it feel like fall.  We saw a variety of homes, from the very humble to very nice.    

I guess we are full-fledged missionaries now as Elder Shirley got bitten by a dog for the first time.  Doesn’t that happen to most missionaries?  The dog was actually in a fenced-in yard.  But Elder Shirley was visiting with the man in the yard and had his hand up on the top of the fence when the dog jumped up and bit.  The bite wasn’t too bad and is almost healed now.  But was enough to draw a little blood.  We have had tetanus shots so we think everything is ok.  Elder Shirley didn’t even let on.  He just kept right on talking.  What a tough missionary!

We always have interesting experiences when walking in the streets.  This was a week for them again.  Elder Shirley was stopped several times by different people and told that he resembles the former President of Brazil!  (Guess he fits right in down here!)  One person told him he looked like Kevin Costner, but “mais gordo”!  (Haha!)  And some old guy that we keep running in to tells Sister Shirley that she looks like the most famous person in the world….Jackie Kennedy.  Interesting that a couple of the people we are compared to are dead!  For Sister Shirley, this was a week for kisses from strangers, at bus stops, or even just walking down the street.  In front of one farmacia, a fellow surprised us as he stepped out and gave 3 kisses, alternating between cheeks!  People are always friendly, but Sister Shirley has had more than her usual number of kisses this week. 

It’s always interesting out on the street. We have been able to visit with both Nilson and his girlfriend at their places of employment.  They are both so friendly.  In fact, Karla (the girlfriend) actually came out to the street to stop us when we were walking by.  We hadn’t known where she worked.  We had a good visit.  Nilson has been in our English class, which by the way we have suspended indefinitely.  With only two non-members in the group now (Lucas and Nilson), we thought that maybe we should focus more on our visits in the Marina branch.  Both Nilson and Lucas have been presented with the Book of Mormon.  We plan to keep up with visits to them.  We really enjoyed teaching English though and associating with the non-members and members we met there. It was fun.  Maybe we can resume classes again at a later time.  President Castro just lets us decide what we should do. 

Another good visit out on the street was with our “hot-dog” vendor again.  Renato is the “famous” hot dog vendor here in Cachoeira.  We have talked about him before.  He joined the church when he was a teenager but hasn’t been active since.  He is always friendly and talkative with us.  He is retired but keeps very busy….too busy (he says) for church.  He asks us if we ever sleep as he sees us out and about so much.  This day he told us that someday he would see us in the after-life,  “up there on the highest point and he would holler to us”.  Elder Shirley told him that we didn’t want him to ask us up there why we hadn’t told him more about how things would be!  So he needed to make time now for us (or other missionaries) to visit with him!  A good reminder…”.Now is the time to prepare to meet God.  Tomorrow may be too late!”  We hear that a lot…  “I’m too busy”.  We have said it ourselves.  Sometimes, we show a short video with President Uchtdorf called “Moments that Matter Most”.  It is a good reminder for all of us to focus on what matters most!  Don’t be too busy for what matters most!

All across Brazil, Saturday was a “Maos que Ajudam” day.  (Hands that Help)  The branches here volunteered to help with the effort by cleaning up Honorato Park in the city center here in Cachoeira.  It involved members, young and old, as well as missionaries. There was lots of raking, weeding, picking up trash, digging up old bushes and tree stumps, painting of the playground equipment, etc.  The weather was good for the event and there was a good turnout.  I think missionaries, especially, enjoyed the physical labor!  With so many of us in our yellow vests in a small park, right in the center of the city, by the busy bus stop, we drew a lot of attention.  We had several of the less active members we had visited previously just happen to walk by or get off the bus and stop to talk to us.  Gelson was one of them.  He and Rosi and Francine have been on our minds a lot lately.  So it was good to see him.  Also Eva Aida, who we had just met the day before when we were out verifying addreses, got off the bus and saw us and came over to visit.  She was all smiles and told us that she would probably be to church the next day.  (Sadly, that didn’t happen though.)  But it was great to visit with them all.  A good activity!

Sunday was a marathon day!  We got up to no power.  The power trucks were lined up out in the street.  We knew we were in trouble.  No showers, no hair dryers or curling irons.  The weather was kind of wet and drizzly.  Humidity just runs off the windows inside our apartment.  Pillows, papers, etc feel wet all of the time.  It was a challenge to get ready for church.  But we attended meetings in both Marina and Cachoeira and visited briefly with Uniao members.  After church, we still had no power.  But they told us it was close to coming on.  We ate cold sandwiches.  But that was great as we had turkey and wonderful avocados.  The avocados here are huge and wonderful!  Shortly after lunch, the power came on.  It gave us time to turn on the heaters and warm up a little and get ready before we had to return to the Marina branch “Multirao”, the missionary activity they had planned for 3 pm. 

The Multirao actually turned out great.  They divided us up to go out and make visits to less actives.  We got to go out with Cristiane Garcia and a couple of her kids.  We walked with them over to visit Ivete and Moises.  Ivete is active, but her husband, Moises, drives truck on weekends.  Their children are grown and active in the church.  In fact, one daughter is married to the President of the Cachoeira branch.  Moises was sleeping, but got up to visit.  He is always really nice to us and has given us rides on occasion.  We had a nice visit, but he insists he is too busy for the church. (Another one of those…too busy!) 

After the Multirao, Vilson and Vera took us to their home to give a missionary discussion to their daughter’s boyfriend, Elibelton.  This is the one President Castro asked us to teach.  No pressure here!  What a nice young man.  We had a great visit with him and scheduled the next discussion for Tuesday! We have high hopes for him!  From there we hurried to the Cachoeira branch for a Marina branch baptism of a cute 8 year old boy.  They are still having trouble with the water heater for baptisms in Marina.  So it was moved up to Cachoeira.  The Sister missionaries were there and wanted the four of us to sing for the special number.  We hurriedly picked a song. (no piano for accompaniment)  Good or bad, we did it!  Whew!  What a day! 

So things are busy here!  We know things are busy there too.  It makes us tired just hearing what everyone is doing up there.  Hopefully, we are all doing what matters most! 

Eu te amo!

No comments:

Post a Comment