Monday, August 4, 2014

So Happy That We're Jumping for Joy

Jumping for joy at district meeting

Another shoe shine by Maximiliano

Band of Elders

Beautiful Sabbath sunrise from the apartment window

Enjoying a chimarrao by the cozy fire

Churrasco with President Glauber

The "forno" used for churrascos, a pizza oven and a wood burning cook stove.

"Frozen" dance at the branch

Good food at the Glauber's

Sprucing up Gilmar's front yard

Another beautiful sunrise

Viewing a torrential downpour from the doorway of the grocery store
Assembling the guarda ropa with Gilmar

August 3, 2014

August?!  How did that happen?!  How time flies!  Our week is off to a busy start with missionary lunches and Noite Familiars (FHE) tomorrow.  Also, a couple of the Sister missionaries are coming to our apartment tomorrow to use our computer for their pictures and emails.  So we are getting a head start and doing our blog today in between meetings.  It looks like our P-day will be pretty busy. 

Last week we were freezing and wearing coats, gloves and carrying umbrellas.  Today, the sun is out, a warm breeze is blowing, and there is no need for coats or umbrellas. We have opened all of our windows to let the breeze blow through our mold-infested apartment.  It is so refreshing!  We are loving it!

We will give you a few highlights of a busy week.  We started off the week with a Family Home Evening with Presidente Glauber, Luci, and Dionne.  They invited us to their home for a churrasco.  It was fabulous!  We arrived at the appointed time and they were just making preparations to begin cooking.  It was fun to get in on the whole process, but it made for a really late night.  Both Glauber and Luci are converts who are very firm in the church.  They told us the story of their conversions. We exchanged family stories and sang songs.  It was a great night.  We took a taxi to their home and as it was late, Glauber took us home.  It was a really nice evening.  Glauber and Luci have found a great price online for tix to the USA.  They are seriously considering buying the tickets now to come and visit us in September or so of next year.  We would love that!  Glauber would really like to go hunting!   And he says he will help us build a “forno” for churrascos at our home.  Yum!

It was “moving week” for Gilmar.  We have told you about Gilmar, Luana, and Kaleb and their plans to move from the Marina branch to the Uniao branch.  Their move began on Tuesday.  Luana was working, but Gilmar was moving a few preliminary things such as their “guarda roupa” (clothes closet).  We stopped by to help.  While Sister Shirley did some sweeping in the house and raking in the yard, Elder and Gilmar put together the guarda roupa, stood it up and put on the doors. It turned out to be a difficult job as it was too tall for the ceiling height. They had to make some serious adjustments.  Luanna and Kaleb came later bringing cake and soda pop.  They planned to finish the move on Friday.  But the heavy rain all day delayed the move until next week sometime.  Although a bus goes right by in front of Gilmar’s new home, they insisted on driving us home.  Gilmar asked again about the possibility of coming to visit us in Idaho sometime. We had forgotten that he had mentioned this a few months ago.   This seems to be the week to schedule visits to see us in the USA!  We will be delighted to have whoever can come!!   It’s a party in the USA!

Since Artur missed church because of illness last week, we stopped by his home without an appointment.  He greeted us warmly and we had a good discussion with him.  We talked more about faith, the Holy Ghost, and recognizing answers to prayers.  We talked some about “doubting” Thomas and his need to see in order to believe.  Elder asked Artur just what he hopes to gain from our visits.  He told us that he wanted more knowledge about the scriptures and about the Gospel.  We reminded him that he already knew a lot.  He said, “I guess I just need more faith!”  He has been impressed at the strong testimonies that missionaries bear to him.  He told us that he can tell that we all really believe in our message!  He wonders if it is easier to gain a testimony when you are younger.  He seems to recognize that he needs to make time to read the scriptures, ponder the message, and pray about it.  He told us that he hasn’t really made the time to do that yet.  He told us that he just needs to make time to really read, stop and think about it so he can understand it better.  He knows what he needs to do!  So that is his challenge for the week.  We were excited though…..he said the closing prayer!  That is the first time he has done that.  The Sisters had previously urged him to do that with no success.  But this time he gave a wonderful prayer!  We were overjoyed!  Hope he sticks to his commitment to read and pray this week.  However, we were disappointed today, when he told us over the phone that his son was coming and he wouldn’t be to church.  His son wanted him to go to Caxias do sul  with him.  We know that family comes first, but we were disappointed.  We have another appointment with him on Wednesday to talk about the commandments.  At least, we know that they won’t surprise him.  He has had the lessons in the past. 

Presidente Samuel organized another Baile (Dance) on Friday for all three branches in Cachoeira.  He does a really great job decorating.  He just got his degree in something like Landscape/Architecture and Interior Design.  He is about 24 years old.  He has a business in party planning.  We have seen some of his party set-ups.  They are so different and elegant.  A couple of the Sisters want him to come to the States and do their wedding receptions in California.  (They just lack prospective husbands right now!)  If he comes as far as California, he tells us that he would like to come see us too.  Another party in the USA!! 
Anyway, the Baile was cool!  In fact the theme was “Frozen”.  Decorations were fun and youth really turned out.  Presidente Samuel does a mix of music that the youth like and also some for the older “gauchos”.  There was music from the States as well as from Brazil.  It was a great success!  Lots of investigators were there!

We met one of our shoeshine guys, Maximiliano on the street again.  In fact, he called to us from across the street.  He knows that he can always count on getting a shoe shine job with Elder and that he will get paid well!  He was excited to tell us that he is engaged and that his girlfriend will join to whatever church he wants.  His brother, Alex, was baptized several years ago, but Maximiliano was not.  He tells us that they will be coming to church.  So far we haven’t seen them.  But we plan to give his name to the young missionaries.  After Elder paid him for the shoeshine, Max told us he was going to buy rice. 

We had our first discussion with Maria.  She was very receptive, almost too receptive.  She seems very “on-the-ball”, but we aren’t sure what her whole story is yet.  She was very quick to accept what we told her.  However, she said that she couldn’t come to church this Sunday.  We plan to ask the Elders to stop by and visit her even though she tells us that she likes visits from us.  She lives within the boundaries of the Cachoeira branch.  We are being kept busy in Marina right now.  And our calling is really to work with the less-active members. Another interesting visit, though.

Words cannot say how grateful we were on Saturday to be able to be a part of the baptism in Utah of our granddaughter, Kennadie, by way of Skype.  All of our kids, most of their spouses and most of our grandkids were there.  We felt like we were sitting right there with them on the front row.  Kennadie was beautiful!  The service was beautiful! We got to see the whole service, the baptism, the ride home with Amber and JD and the celebration at their home afterwards. At home, they just parked the phone on the dining room table and we could watch the food preparations and visit with them. We really felt a part of things!  It was so wonderful to be able to visit with everyone. We feel so grateful for kids who took the time to do this and for technology that made it possible.  We have been having internet trouble this past week. It keeps dropping off.   We have had a service repairman come and still we have had trouble.  But it worked beautifully on Saturday for the baptism and festivities.  We are so grateful!  The grandkids even sang one verse of “Baptism” in Portuguese! It made us feel not quite so far away!  Love our family!

President Castro is in town today for a priesthood meeting tonight.  We are invited to Per Tutti Grill tomorrow (P-day) for lunch with a few of the missionaries.  This will be the last week before transfers and we will be so sad to lose some of these great missionaries.  Sister Morales will be leaving for her home in California. We hope she will visit us later on in Idaho too!  We need more parties in the USA!  Life is full of changes.  They are not always easy! 

That’s the highlights of our week.  We filled in the week with visits to members, district meetings, etc.  The weather forecast here is for a week of sunny, pleasant, warm weather, with a few showers mixed in.  It’s feeling pretty pleasant and tropical!  And we are having warm thoughts of all of you at home! 

Love you lots!
Eu te amo!

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