Monday, June 23, 2014

Enjoying the Fruits of Their Labors

Barefoot soccer in the neighborhood

All creatures great and small are interested in these American missionaries out in the street

Elder Shirley gets mistaken for a sweepstakes representative:  "Did my mom win something?"

A wonderful day:  Elivelton's baptism

Elivelton with Vilson and the missionaries

Elivelton in the baptismal font

Fixing the sister's shower

A freight delivery in the center of town - check out the one horsepower motor on the delivery truck

More one horsepower vehicles

Luciano - a member known for powerful handshakes and great hair

A boy in the supermarket showing some Brazilian World Cup pride

P-day with the Elders

Sister Shirley with Sisters Techmeier and Rosado

Downtown Cachoeira - another Brazilian World Cup supporter

"The old Ford wouldn't have any troubles with this washed out road"
June 23, 2014

We know we told you last week was a great week.  But this week was even better!  We will tell you about the end of the week first as we can’t wait.  Elivelton was baptized yesterday!!  It actually happened!  We were thrilled for him and for the whole Morales family.  We felt blessed to be able to help the Sisters in teaching him.  He is a nice young man and we think that he will be a blessing to the church in this area.  We visited with him several times during the week to finish up the lessons.  One afternoon, after we had finished reviewing everything, we asked him if he had any questions.  He said that he only had one question, “When can I go to the temple?”  He already knew that he couldn’t be married there until he had been a member for a year.  But he wondered when he could go to do baptisms for the dead.  Our hearts were touched by his question.  The nearest temple is Porto Alegre.  The branches here join in a caravan once every few months and they take members in a big bus to the temple.  It happens that they will be going to the temple next Saturday.  Elivelton was confirmed on Sunday and was able to receive the Priesthood.  He and Bruna have had their interviews and will be joining us for the temple trip next Saturday.  The timing has worked out great 
for this!  We were excited to call President Castro and report all of this to him! 

It has really touched our hearts to see the reaction of Bruna and her family. Bruna Morales is Elivelton’s girlfriend.  Her father, Vilson, and her mother, Vera, are strong, good members of the church and have been for years.  Vilson has served as a branch president here in Cachoeira and also in nearby Ca├žapava.  Vilson did the baptizing and also bore his testimony.  Vera was one of the speakers at the service.  They were very emotional trying to get through their talks.  The Sister missionaries, Sister Techmeier and Sister Rosado, both from Brazil were thrilled too.  Transfers take place in one week and they may be transferred.  So it is good to see this happen before they go.

We spent a few days worrying about and calling about the water in the baptismal font.  It has been cold in both chapels for the last few baptisms.  We were sure hoping for warm water this time.  On Friday we got a call to meet a couple of guys who had come to check things out.  It appears that we now have hot water in both chapels.  Good news!  It was good news to Elivelton too.  He is tall.  So we ran the water deep.  It only took one try.  Vilson did a slow, easy baptism.  It was beautiful! 

We always have refreshments at these baptisms.  We decided to use this as an excuse to make contact again with Nilson, a student in our English classes.  For Valentine’s Day, he and his girlfriend had brought us cupcakes that his sister had made.  They had a filling in them and were really good.  We found Nilson at work at Delta Sul and he put in a call to his sister.  Saturday morning, he waited with us outside our apartment building for his sister to make delivery.  We had a good visit with him again.  He is a really nice guy.  In fact, he is joining a group on Wednesday to play ping pong in our Marina/Uniao chapel.  He invited us to come watch!  We hadn’t known that was happening.  And the cupcakes were wonderful!  They were a hit at the baptism!

We have had some cool days again with fog and mist, but not much rain.  Sounds like the rain will be coming tomorrow and throughout the week.   Lots of people have stuffy noses and coughs.  But we are staying pretty healthy.  We continue to wear our long johns, gloves, etc.   We have done quite a lot of walking again this week.  We are still looking for the homes of members as well as less active members, just trying to get better acquainted.  We have been in Quinta, Promorar, and Habitar Brasil (a government housing development).  We take a bus and then walk the neighborhoods.  Many times, we get warned to be careful and not to let people see we have a camera.  But we just can’t resist taking pictures.  We are amazed at the many sites we see.  And we have never had any problems.  But we always see lots of faces peering out their windows at us.  One day we had a lady offer to just walk with us and help us find the places we were looking for.  She was almost more help than we needed as we have to do a lot of studying of the map and the branch register to even know where we want to go.  But she was nice!  She even comes out and waves to us on the bus as we go by.  We were way out there one day when we ran into the Sisters.  We surprised each other.  It was fun.    We also found where our shoeshine guys live.  One of them is an inactive member.  He assured us that he would be to church today.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t.  Guess we will have to keep after him.  He has a good customer in us anyway.  He comes often to the downtown area and finds us and gives Elder a shoeshine!  His shoes always look good as a result! He seemed pleased that we would seek him out at home. 

We had another one of those days out walking again when we came across so many good contacts.  At every turn, we encountered someone that we needed to visit.  Roberto Reinbrecht was one of those.  We saw him and a visiting brother in the supermercado.  We had a good visit with him.  He says that they have missed our visits.  We have missed him.  But they have been out of town a lot.  So we were able to schedule a visit with them for Friday!  We also saw Ariele, another former student of our English classes.  She always greets us warmly.  She will be graduating from her night school and has invited us to come to her graduation in August. Out walking, we also met Emilyn, a 14 year old girl that we met back in December.  Her Dad had indicated to us that they wouldn’t be wanting any more visits.  Emilyn asked us why we hadn’t been by to visit.  Guess we should try again.  Good things happen when we are out and about.  Walking is good!  Also bus drivers and corbradores (those who take the money on the bus) are getting to know us well.  They are also friendly and often visit with us.

But it feels like there is never enough time to get to visit everyone that we want to.  We still haven’t managed to visit recently with Gelson and Rosi and Francine in their home.  We also want to visit in the Garcia and Rodriquez home.  Christiane Rodriquez is really hoping her husband, Daniel, will join the church someday.  We have given some FHE lessons there, but need to visit again. 

Thursday was a national holiday, Corpus Christi Day, a Catholic holiday.  All stores were closed, but we found quite a few people home.  We visited at the home of a good member, Maria.  She gave a talk in church last Sunday.  Members get that opportunity really often here.  Her cell phone kept ringing in her purse while she was trying to speak.  She would leave the pulpit to go silence it and it would go off again.  She was so embarrassed that she almost passed out later on in Relief Society.  We paid her a visit and she helped us find the homes of some members.  A really good lady!

Everyone, everywhere is still hyped up about soccer.  More than ever, kids are out in the streets playing soccer.  Everyone is wearing Brazil’s colors.  Even the statue of Christ on top on one of the buildings is sporting Brazilian colors.  We are still following the rules about staying in before and for a bit after the games involving Brazil.  They have another game tomorrow!  But it is interesting to hear everyone talking about it and seeing their enthusiasm. 

We enjoyed our visit with the Elder Hiatt and Elder Julca last P-day (Monday).  They came for lunch and then stayed to visit and send off their emails. So it was a day of it.   We made homemade bread for the turkey/avocado sandwiches and Texas Sheet Cake.  That was the first attempt at making it down here.  It turned out fair.  But I missed my nice pans from home!  We were reminded that Elders can eat a lot!! 

The Sisters’ shower burned up or shorted out.  President Castro asked Elder Shirley to personally see to it that things got fixed for them.  It is in the house where four sisters live.  But Marcio (President Samuel’s dad) beat us to it.  He is such a good, funny guy!  But we gave him moral support and the shower is working now!  It seems like we all have our shower problems!  Lots of variety in the things we do!  We enjoy it!
All is well here!  Hope it is there!  You are always in our thoughts and prayers!  Stay safe, healthy and happy!

Eu te amo!

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