Monday, July 14, 2014

A Good Week Working in the Promorar Neighborhood

Elder Shirley in Promorar

A visit with Elpidio and Carla, good active members

The end of the road in Promorar

Following trails in Promorar

Kevin and his guitar

Kids and horse in Promorar

At the end of the day in Promorar (in the distance on the right)

Supermarket closed during the Brazilian World Cup game

Sister Shirley in Promorar

Looking good in Promorar

Some entertainment on the bus to Promorar

Overlooking Quinta at dusk

Papaya tree

"Super moon" as seen from the apartment

A warm day in Promorar

July 14, 2014

It’s been a good week.  The weather has been mostly great!  Very pleasant for walking.  If this is still winter, we like it!  It is surely not winter as we know it in Idaho.  However, natives tell us that we haven’t experienced a typical winter here.  This week has been just cool enough to make us appreciate the sun.  We have really enjoyed it. 

We have spent quite a bit of time this week in Promorar which is quite a ways out from the center of the city where we live.  So we grab a bus and then walk around the neighborhoods in Promorar looking for members, both active and less-active.  There are a lot of members of the Marina branch who live there.  We have had several members warn us about the area, especially one young man about 19 years old or so.  He told us that there were areas of drug dealing and crime in Promorar.  He warned us that we were obvious targets and that we should be careful.  He stressed it quite a bit to us. We met the Sister missionaries on the street out there one day.  They pointed out an area we should avoid, especially after dark.   It worried us a little, but not much.  We are only in that area during the daytime.  We are careful to not carry much money.  Sister Shirley does carry a big bolsa (purse).  But it only contains scriptures, books, maps, branch member lists, etc. (If people realized that, they would be disappointed if they did rob us.)  The one thing that we carry that President Castro has warned missionaries not to carry is our camera.  We love to take pictures.  But we try to be careful when we take them and watch to see who is around to observe.  We try to transfer our pics to the computer regularly and only use a small SD card in the camera so we wouldn’t lose all of our pics if we were robbed. However, we try to be safe and really do feel safe.

Actually, we have found Promorar to be very friendly and welcoming.  Multiple times this week we have had people, young and old come up to us and ask if they can help us find someone.  We must look lost as we stand around a lot studying maps and branch lists.  One day, we observed a young girl who must have been around 14 or so.  She was up a hill some distance from us.  We saw her stop, turn around, and watch us.  Then she came walking back towards us.  Since it was obvious she was looking at us, we waited to see what she wanted.  She wanted to help us locate a house number.  House numbers don’t always go in order and can be pretty random sometimes. She couldn’t find it either.  But she was sure nice.  We had a guy stop sawing wood to help us.  Another was cutting a big metal can out by the road and stopped to help. Several times women have come up to ask if we needed help and actually walked with us.  One such women was walking with us when we met the Sister missionaries.  They assumed we knew her and gave her a wonderful, friendly greeting, complete with hugs and kisses.  The woman just hung around listening to us visit for a few minutes. She had to be impressed at our friendliness.  Another time, a young boy of about 9 came up and wanted to help.  He also walked with us.  He was also full of questions about what we were doing and what church we represented.  He wasn’t timid with us at all.   Needless to say, we have given out lots of cards this week.  Promorar has been good to us and we have met lots of good people, including members and non-members. We also keep running into Alidiane Tischler.  She is always happy to see us and wants to know what we have been doing.  We have also seen some really pretty areas.     We are enjoying Promorar and are anxious to continue our work there this week. 

We had the privilege of teaching Artur, a non-member, the lesson on the Plan of Salvation.  He is the man that the Sisters asked us to take over on.  He is 66 years old…..the same age as us.  He enjoys working with tools and showing us his shop.  He makes his own parts if he can’t find them and enjoys repairing most anything.  He welds.  He likes guns and gunsmithing and owns guns.  He plays the guitar.  And he is retired.  Sound familiar?  Elder Shirley finds a lot in common with him and enjoys our visits there.  His wife died a few years ago from a brain tumor.  He says he hasn’t found a woman that he can live with since.  He has had quite a few visits from the missionaries in the past.  So he knows a lot about the gospel already.  He has all of the pamphlets and the Book of Mormon.   He loves his family.  Most of them are Catholic.  He says that he has been to church a few times in the past.  However, we hear that he has a problem with one of the active members in the Uniao branch.  Uniao and Marina meet in the same chapel.  So he resists attending church.  But he seems to be interested and enjoy our gospel discussions.  He committed to come to church on Sunday. Since the Sisters live nearby, we asked them to stop by on their way to church and remind him.  But he was waiting for his son to pick him up as they had plans.  We were disappointed.  However, we have another appointment with him this week for another lesson.  We put a bit of pressure on him already.  We tell him, “Knowing all you already know and already having all of the pamphlets and the Book of Mormon, our only question is when will you be baptized?”  He seemed to take it ok and just kind of laughed it off.  We are anxious to see how it goes this week. 

We filled in our week with lots of other good visits.  We stop by Pedal de Ouro regularly and visit with friends and workers there.  Gilly is a member who works there.  She made us a treat this week.  It was a chocolate bolo (cake).  It was delicious.  When we returned her bowl, we filled it with our fudge jumbles.   We have visited a couple of times this week with Rosi and Gelson and Francine.  Francine was sick again, so they didn’t come to church again.  Rose is a professional seamstress.  She had made some really cute coats and has already sold 3 to the Sister missionaries.  So we bought one too.  It will be a good remembrance of her for us to take home.  We also visited again with Edson, Luciane, and family.  She is Nelson’s (the pan maker’s) daughter.  They are both less-active members.  Their teen-age kids have not been baptized. Their son, Kevin, played his guitar for us again.  He had been working on a song in English (by Lincoln Park).  It was a good visit.  They agreed to let us notify the Sister missionaries to contact them.  We also enjoyed visiting with several other members. 

We attended sacrament meeting in both the Marina and the Uniao branch on Sunday.  There was good attendance in both, but especially in Uniao.  In sacrament meeting in Uniao, it was really good to see how many young women they have now.  They also are getting quite a few young men too.  It was good to see some passing the sacrament today.  Many of them are recent converts.  And many of them participated in our dance at the Baile.  One young woman that comes from a strong, active family received her Young Women medallion today.  She comes from a family of 7 kids.  Everyone, including mom and dad are very active.  It is rare to see a family with seven kids down here.  Most only have two or three.  And it has been rare for a young woman to get her Personal Progress completed.  So Presidente Samuel made a fuss over her in Sacrament meeting.  He read about the requirements and put the necklace on her.  She was so pleased and so was everyone!  It was fun to see. 

It is also good to see soccer end.  It was getting tiresome to have to be in our apartment during Brazil’s games.  Businesses closed up too during game time.  Although everyone wished that Brazil would have done better, they didn’t seem too surprised.  More embarrassed than surprised.  It has also really been a political thing too. 

We had some especially good thoughts given out at District Meeting this week.  One was a thought from Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”  For us, we always feel like we should just keep trying.  That is what is important.  That is what we try to do.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  (Philippines 4:13)

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you.  Lots of Love,
Eu te amo!

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