Monday, August 25, 2014

Walking 'Til Our Shoes Are Worn Out

Late afternoon in the Quita area

Aldeni and Maria at "Fast Shake"

Artur in his shop

How's that for a saddle?!

Brazilian fast food restaurant

Lots of foggy days recently

Enjoying fresh squeezed orange juice with Artur

Friendly folks that you meet

A Brazilian lemon

Enjoying a visit with Mateus and his aunt Beatriz

Oranges, lemons, sugar cane and cookies

One of Brazil's rarest trees - a Parana Pine

Picking oranges with Artur

Pretty yard near Rosi & Gelson's

Looking for shade while out in the Quinta neighborhood

Another welcome sign of the approaching springtime

Taking a shortcut with Sisters Pikula and Souza

Girls playing soccer in Quinta

A street in Quinta

Waiting at the bus stop with Dionne

August 25, 2014

It’s been a week of contrasts.  Weather-wise, the first half of the week was filled with lots of fog and humidity.  The fog would last until afternoon, almost mid-afternoon.  Kind of yucky!  Also we both had “gripe” (head colds and coughs).  Yucky also!  We missed District Meeting on Tuesday morning and pretty well stayed home that day.  The younger missionaries kept calling to be sure that we were ok.  Good kids!  Nice to feel like we are not alone.   Our colds improved rapidly as did the weather.  Every day was a little warmer than the day before until by Sunday, the temperatures were in the high 80’s.  We are supposed to drop down into the high 50’s starting tomorrow though. Another cool down.  With such warm weather so early, natives are wondering if we are in for a real scorcher of a summer!

We did try to go out to have lunch on Tuesday at a lancheria close to us called “Fast Shake & CIA”.  Their version of “fast food”, we guess, but better!  It is run by some really nice people by the name of Aldeni and Maria.  They have a little buffet that is usually full of veggies which we like.  We had plates in hand and were about to dish up the food when Elder had a coughing fit and we had to make a fast exit.  Aldeni followed us out the door to give Elder some potent cough drops.  But Elder never did recover enough to return to eat.  So we just kind of took it easy the rest of the day.  We returned later in the week to have lunch at their place and to thank them again.

It was wonderful to visit Tuesday afternoon with someone from home.  Mateus, a native Brazilian, brought his Aunt Beatriz to visit us.  We first became acquainted with Mateus and his cute wife up in Idaho.  He goes to school at BYU-Idaho and is a student mechanic assistant in the department on campus where our son-in-law, JB, works.  We were waiting for visas and living in the home of JB and our daughter, Jessica, at the time.  JB and Jessie invited Mateus and his wife up a few times for food, guitar playing, a little Portuguese, etc.  We enjoyed their company.  Unfortunately, Mateus’ mother, who lives here in Brazil, was hit and killed by a bus this last month.  She was only 52 years old.  Mateus came back to Brazil for the funeral and to help with other arrangements.  His wife and new baby stayed home in Idaho.    He was nice enough to make time to visit us.  It was almost like a visit from home.   We enjoyed talking with him about good times back in Idaho as well as good times now here in Brazil.  He and his aunt brought us all kinds of treats from her orchard, bergamotas, sugar cane, and lemons.  And cookies besides!  We found the lemons to be very different from what we are used to.  The yellow lemons we know from home are hard to find here.  Mateus brought us lemons that are orange in color, but have a wonderful lemon taste!  They make great lemonade!  Anyway it was a fun visit!

We spent the rest of the week trying to make up for “slacking” a bit the first part of the week.  We met with Artur for another discussion.  We found him in his shop repairing what we call a weed whip in Idaho and he called a lawn mower.  He took us out back to pick oranges from his tree.  We then went inside and he made fresh-squeezed orange juice for us.  It was really good!  We had a good discussion.  We read the Family Proclamation with him and presented him with a framed copy.  We also continued to encourage him to pick a date as a goal to work towards for baptism.  He told us that he would for sure be baptized before we go home, which he said would give him lots of time.  Elder reminded him of how fast time goes.  He told us that he could probably be ready for baptism sometime this summer.   He still has a few issues that he is working on.  But this sounds like a good goal!  We are hopeful!  Since Elder has so many white shirts, we presented Artur with one along with a tie.  Although Artur is fine wearing what he does to church, we thought it would be nice for him to have another option if he would like.  Besides, he had admired one of the kids at church in their white shirt and tie as the boy had come up to Elder for help in tying his tie before meeting started. Artur told us that a young Elder had given him a tie a few years ago.   There have been a lot of us working on him!  We always comment to each other how much we enjoy our visits with Artur.

We didn’t visit Maria Antonia this week as the Elders are trying to make contact.  We are anxious to hear how their visit went.  Hopefully, they were able to catch up with her. 

Monday began a 40-day fast in our mission.  Missionaries in every district have been assigned a day to fast.  The 26th of September will mark the 40th day.  Interesting idea!  It’s nice to be able to be a part of that.
Dionne wanted to go out visiting with us this week.  We always enjoy doing that.  We had a list of less-active members to visit in the bairro of Quinta and planned to take him there.  We all boarded a bus. But before we arrived in Quinta, we got a call from the Sisters asking directions to the home of a part-member family.     So we bailed on our plans to go to Quinta and met the Sisters.  We spent some time with them walking neighborhoods in the Cohab area.  We took everyone to meet Nelson, the pan-maker. His wife, Lucia, wasn’t home.  But Nelson took all of us back to show everyone his set up for his foundry.   There were 5 of us!  Quite a force for good!  Nelson seemed to really enjoy the visit and meeting the Sisters.  We are glad for them to know who he is and where he lives. He lives in their assigned area.   And as for Dionne, instead of working in his Marina branch, we ended up in the Uniao branch.  But we think he enjoyed it too.  He has asked to go with us again one day this next week.

Later in the week, we spent a lot of time in the Quinta area.  We saw everything from really nice homes to little shacks.  In some areas, we had more than one person caution us about it being dangerous, especially after dark.  But we don’t stay around there after dark.  So we are ok.  One man who works at a garage, painting cars, followed us down the street.  He told us about his 2 year old son who was in the hospital with gripe.  Some Batuki people had told him that his little son was cursed as he has been sick a lot lately.  This father wanted to know what we thought.  He said that he would accept visits from the missionaries.   We had another really nice discussion with a man who has been very active in the church until the last few years.  He said that his life just got so busy when children came.  He knows the Sisters already and knows that he needs the church in his life and in the lives of his children.  We were really impressed with him.  In fact, we found so many friendly, nice people.  We had four non-members agree to have visits from the missionaries.  On the poorer side of Quinta, by the railroad tracks, (where we were told it was dangerous), we seemed to create a lot of interest.  Many came out of their homes or right up to us to visit.   If it hadn’t gotten so late in the day, we probably could have had more referrals for the sisters.  We also managed to fit in a visit to Rosi and Gelson.  We love this family and sure hope they can get to the temple one day!  It seems like they always have a good reason why they can’t attend church.  We hope they will recognize the better reason to go!  They need the blessings of the temple in their lives!

With all of our walking, we are proud to say that we are wearing out some of our shoes!  With summer approaching, we decided to take Sister Shirley’s sandals to be repaired at the “Sapataria” across the street from us. He sells all things gaucho, including saddles, etc.   It took him a week or so to locate the glue that he needed.  So he went to a bit of work. He is not a member of the church, but is always friendly to us.  When we went to pick them up, he wouldn’t accept payment.  Nice people here! 

It must be the angle of the light as we approach the spring season, but everything is just so beautiful!  We have really enjoyed walking around and seeing the different neighborhoods.  And we have certainly had a taste of hot, summer weather this week.  The weather up home sounds crazy.  Hope things settle down up there! Or you can just come visit us in Brazil!!

 It looks to be a busy week ahead.  It may also be a scary one as one of the speakers in sacrament meeting next week is Sister Shirley. (Not Elder this time!  No fair!)  It will be a week of frantic preparation and cramming Portuguese!  We also have another opportunity on Saturday to take the bus to the Porto Alegre temple, along with Branch members.   Good times ahead still! 

We think of you all every day and love you!  Be safe, happy and CTR!

Eu te amo!

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