Monday, September 29, 2014

The Lord Provides Help With Big Things AND Small Things!

Beautiful tree in bloom

A bat in the trash can

At the bus station with Sisters Picula and Munoz

At the bus stop in Promorar

Dinner at President Torres' home

With Dione, Elder Buhler, Elder Soares

Elder Hiatt buying his bus ticket on transfer day

Receiving a gift of a flower start from Jose

Enjoying good food at the Torres home

Saying goodbyes at the bus station on transfer day

Good pizza makes good medicine!

Sisters Oliveira and Souza (Brazil)

Sister Rosado and Sister Mendoza, ready to board the bus

The smiling dog who followed us around 

The Wizard language school

September 29, 2014

After celebrating gaucho week last week with the branches, it was back to the more regular routine of missionary work this week.  There is a real satisfaction that comes with just getting out there and working hard.  We enjoyed our week.

Monday was the day that missionaries received news of their transfers.  Our P-day was filled with telephone calls of their news, visits, and calls asking things like how to “clean a microwave”, etc. as 5 missionaries here in Cachoeira prepared for their transfers.  We lost 5 of the 10 missionaries serving here in Cachoeira.   Leaving Cachoeira are Sister Rosado (Brazil), Sister Mendoza (Peru), Sister Munoz (Chile), Sister Pikula (Australia), and Elder Hiatt (Arizona).  We have five new arrivals:  Sister Oliveira (Brazil), Sister Foutz (Colorado), Elder H. Silva (Brazil), Elder Buhler (Texas) and Elder Soares (Brazil).  Two of the Sisters are being replaced with two additional Elders.  Cachoeira has been known as the “Sisters District” as we have had 6 sisters serving here, more Sisters than Elders.  But things have changed.  We will now have only 4 Sisters.  Elders will outnumber them now.  Working in the Marina branch with us will now be Elder Buhler and Elder Soares instead of two Sisters like we have had since our arrival in Brazil.  This will be interesting.  We can already see that they will be great.

Sister Pikula and Sister Souza asked to come to our apartment on Monday afternoon to “hang out” one last time.  Elder Shirley made his famous milkshakes for all of us!  Sister Rosado and Sister Mendoza asked to visit us Tuesday morning before their bus left.  To save them a little time, we decided to go to the bus depot to see everyone off.  We don’t usually do that, but this time we had a lot of missionaries leaving.    We will miss these missionaries.  Sister Pikula put it nicely when she said, “This is like saying goodbye to family all over again!”  We all felt that way!

President Torres (District President) asked us to come to his business Monday evening and visit with some of his English classes.  His business is a language school called the “Wizard”.  There are branches of it all over.  He wanted us to come speak English with them! So it was a fun assignment.  We spoke with a class of 22-24 year old young men and then a class of adult women.  Afterwards, President Torres’ son, Gabriel, who also works there, asked us to return on Tuesday evening and talk to a couple of classes of teenagers.   We enjoyed the experiences a lot.  We had interesting conversations with these students on a variety of topics, except the Gospel. We weren’t supposed to talk about the Church.  But they did ask us some basic questions about what we were doing in Brazil, etc.   They were intelligent and asked us a lot of good questions and informed us a lot about Brazil as well.  Children here in Brazil take English classes in school.  So English classes they take at the Wizard are in addition to that.  They all spoke English well and some spoke very well.  We were interested to hear of their goals and education plans.  Another different type of an assignment for us!

We had a surprise visitor in the wee hours of the morning one day this week.  As the weather has been warm on some days, we had a window open and a bat flew in.  There are lots of bats flying around our apartment building.  Elder woke up and heard it “swooping” around the apartment.  Sister Shirley hid her head under the covers.  The problem became Elder’s to solve.  Not knowing how get rid of a wild bat, Elder asked the Lord for help.  Immediately, the bat flew into the trash can in our bedroom.  Elder picked up the trash can and put it out on the veranda.  The bat climbed up on the edge of the trash can and flew off.  Just like that!!  Just goes to show that the Lord will help us with small things as well as with the big things in our lives!

Sister Souza has been in pain for a while with her leg.  She has had some joint pain in the back of her knee. It has been painful for her to be out walking so much.   She has been in contact with Sister Castro.  Sister Souza is a powerful, ambitious missionary and this has been hard and discouraging for her.  We made her a rice bag that she can use cold from the freezer or hot from the microwave.  Since we don’t have a way to sew it, we just filled a cute sock with rice and tied a knot in the top.  (No shortage of rice here!!)  It works great.  We have been using rice bags like it to warm our cold feet all winter.  Hopefully, it will help her.  She thought it was pretty funny.  After one particularly hard day, she and her companion called us wanting a blessing.  The new Elders, Elder Buhler and Elder Soares were out with Dionne.  So they all met at our apartment for the blessing.  Afterwards, we treated them all to pizza at the nearby “Paulista” (with a wood-fired brick oven).  We figured it was “good medicine” for all.
We met with Jose again.   We had another good discussion with him.  This time it was about the atonement.  He always asks to hear some English. So we sang another song, once in English and once in Portuguese.  We did a rough rendition of “I Stand All Amazed”.  Love that hymn!  Jose wanted to send us away with a start of a pretty plant in his yard.  He wrapped it up carefully in wet newspapers and put it in plastic bags.  Since we don’t have a place in our apartment for it though, we stopped at Julio and Rosangela’s and left it with them.  Rosangela was happy to get it.  We just found out that she isn’t a member.  (Julio is).  That surprised us as she always talks like a member and tells us she has a testimony of certain things.  We also found out that they aren’t married yet.  We hope this will be a good year for them with a baby coming, and, hopefully, their marriage and her baptism.  They are a wonderful family.  Except we were disappointed on Sunday. The bus arrived at the church and Julio and his family were not on it.  Not sure what the problem was as he had told us he planned on coming.  But Jose was on the bus, as well as a lot of others again.  Attendance at church in the Marina branch has been really good this month, partly because many don’t have to walk so far and can attend. 

It was an especially good visit with Artur this week. We discussed the Atonement with him also.  He told us again about some difficulties in his life with losing his wife to cancer and then having financial problems and losing most of his farming equipment to the bank, etc.  He seems to feel a little like Job.  He also has a few health problems and asked if he could get a blessing after church on Sunday, just before his doctor appointment on Monday.  It turned out to be a pretty powerful blessing on Sunday.  President Glauber gave the blessing and was joined in the circle by Elder Shirley, Elder Buhler, Elder Soares, Brother Alves and Brother Elpedio (both from the branch presidency). He was given a blessing for health and also for knowledge of the truth.   Artur left with tears in his eyes.   So did some of the rest of us. 

On Sunday, we had been invited to the home of President Torres and his wife, Carolina, for dinner after meetings.  We love this family.  Carolina is so kind and sweet and good.  She treats us kind of like Judy Swensen does!  So you know she is wonderful!  She had a lovely lunch prepared.  She had asked us to bring dessert.  We decided that this was a good opportunity to contact Nilson (from our English class) and have him ask his sister to make some of her tasty chocolate filled cupcakes for us.  She bakes and sells cupcakes.  They are yummy!  That gave us the opportunity to visit with Nilson about three times this week.  We also made a batch of Amber’s lemon brownies to take for variety.  It turned out that President Torres doesn’t like chocolate and he loved the lemon brownies.  We had a really good time at the Torres home.  Their son, Gabriel, and his wife, Renata, and their 19 month old daughter joined us.  Carolina told us that Gabriel and his family join them every Sunday after church for dinner.  So it was a good family dinner.  Reminded us of home!  They are one of those families that will stay in our hearts! 

The week was filled up with district meeting, branch meetings, bus rides to outlying neighborhoods visiting inactive members, lots of walking, and just general good ole missionary work.   We continue to be blessed with good health and have suffered no ill effects from all of our walking.  We feel blessed!  It was a good week.  In addition, we were able to tune in on Saturday evening to the Women’s Conference on  We listened in English to the broadcast.  Later we will have the opportunity to listen also in Portuguese.  It was great!  We are looking forward to a good week to see the month of September out.  We are looking forward to General Conference!  We love that it is available on (in English if we want).  We also will love attending the broadcasts with members here in the Cachoeira branch chapel and hearing it in Portuguese. Sessions for us here will be at 1:00 and at 5:00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.  In addition there will be re-broadcasts of both the Priesthood and the Women’s meetings.   Hope you get a chance to enjoy Conference too.  

Love to you all!

Eu te amo! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Celebrating Gaucho Week!

Sister Costa with the Shirley's

A few of the 2,000+ horses in the parade

Catiele, Fernanda & kids

Churrasco with the Uniao branch

Tending the meat at the Uniao branch churrasco

Color-coordinated for district meeting

Cristina and daughter Isabela at the gaucho dance

Elder Shirley and Aerton

Elder Shirley and Elder Lopes

Five sister missionaries watching the gaucho parade

Elder Shirley checking out a gaucho display

Jose, prepared with scriptures and questions

Lucas after his baptism

Lucas and Elder Hoopes - he was one happy kid!

Marching band in gaucho parade

Marcio Medeiros and Elpidio at the churrasco

More celebrating in the Marina branch

Sister Shirley checking out some gaucho displays

More scenes from the gaucho parade

More of the gaucho parade

President Samuel, Viviane, Aerton, Gorete

Renato, the hot dog man

Sisters Munoz (Chile), Souza (Brazil), Picula (Australia)

Uniao branch cuties dressed in gaucho style
Sister Shirley and Sister Rosado

September 22, 2014

This week has kind of been a blur! It’s been packed with a variety of activities.  We can’t even remember what the weather was like.  So I guess we have no complaints.

We had our District Meeting, the last one before transfers.  It was a fun one.  We all brought a gift to exchange.  Sister Rosado brought chocolate bolo (cake) and Sister Shirley brought cinnamon rolls.  We had some good lessons too!  No one knows yet who will be going where.  But it was fun to speculate.  Next Tuesday will be “transfer day”.  An interesting thing we think we forgot to mention last week from our District Meeting….missionaries in our mission are being encouraged to use Facebook or WhatsApp as a missionary tool. Missionaries here don’t have access to Facebook themselves.  But we are being encouraged to ask members as we make visits to them to go to their lists of “friends” and invite them to events or to receive the missionary visits and to make those appointments right while the missionaries are there.   President Castro wants a report in a month or so.  Interesting how much social media is aiding in missionary work all over the world!

It was another nice visit with Artur in his home.  He had fresh juice squeezed for us again.  We brought a freshly baked loaf of French bread.  It’s Carolyn Quayle’s recipe for “Finnish French Bread” and works out well here.  We don’t have any bread pans and we don’t need any for this recipe.  So we had Finnish French bread, baked in Brazil by an American.  Artur was pleased with what he called “American” bread!  He said it was a good present.  We also enjoyed a good discussion with him.  He offered to say the closing prayer.  This time he gave the prayer without reading it from a paper.  He also gave the closing prayer in Sunday School class last week.  He is growing in his confidence to pray. 

Visits with Renato, the hot dog man in Honorato Park and with Jessica at IMEC (super market) were a couple of our favorite visits this week.  Jessica, 19 years old, is a checker at IMEC and wasn’t feeling well. Her throat hurt.  But since she needed the money, she was at work.  She wasn’t happy about that.  We offered to buy her a soda to help her throat.  She hesitated at first.  But when we told her that we were buying, she accepted.  We had a short, but good visit!

Across the street from IMEC is our favorite hot dog man, Renato.  He was just setting up.  (His business is only there in the evenings).  He likes to talk and had requested a Liahona on a previous visit.  This time he asked to have a picture of us with him.  He had his helper take a pic and then wants it printed so we can sign it.  We walked back home to get his Liahona and a framed picture of the Family Proclamation that we had made up for him.  He told us that he had just the spot on his wall at home where he could hang it.  One of these days, we hope he will feel like his wife is ready to hear the missionaries and that he will decide to become active in the church again.  We also got a couple of his hot dogs.  His business is called “Cachorro do Galocha”.  The hot dogs come loaded with salsicha or calebresa for the meat, peas, corn, lettuce, cheese, mustard, ketchup, mayo, pimento, oil and another sauce and topped with “palha” (something like shoestring potato chips).  It’s definitely not good for us, we know.  But once in a while it is fun.  We have become accustomed to the peas and corn.  Well, maybe!  And we also get the “mini” hot dog, which is still huge!  For our health’s sake, we don’t dare visit him too often!

We also met with Jose again this week.  He always greets us saying, “I have been waiting for you!”  He meets us with his open Book of Mormon and a list of questions.  This week, he asked us where in the Book of Mormon he could read for more hope in his life.  He still likes to speak a little English and wants to learn more.  Since the weather was nice, we sat outside of his house.  His mom was at work.  At the risk of offending the neighbors, we decided to sing “I am a Child of God” for him.  We sang first in English and then in Portuguese.  That was his English lesson for the day.  Even though he had such a bad drug problem, we continue to be impressed with him.  He is very intelligent and perceptive.  When it was time to pray, he invited us back into the house.  When we asked if we could kneel in prayer with him, he shut the door for privacy.  He is a good guy!  He rode the church bus again to meetings this week. 

Since President Glauber decided to take a bus around again this week (and every Sunday this month), we spent some time notifying people that they could catch the bus again.  It has been a good success.  We don’t think they can afford to keep sending it around every week.  But for this month they are going to do it.  We had a warm welcome at Julio’s home again.  Julio was at work, but his wife, Rosangela, was home.  She was so nice.  She is about 8 months pregnant and not feeling too well.  So although the bus helps the rest of the family, she doesn't always feel like coming.  Anyway, the bus on Sunday brought a lot of people.  Our benches in the Marina branch have certainly been a lot fuller since the branch started using the bus. And in the process of inviting people to come, we always meet new people.  Catiele and her daughter Isabella were two we met on the bus.  She invited us to come to her home.  We made our visit to Jose and then went to her place.  Her friend, Fernanda, was there too.  She had a few visits previously from the Sisters and had decided that she would like more visits.  So we made a call to the Sisters and they were able to visit the next day. 

 This was Gaucho week!  September 20 is called “The Day of the Gaucho” and marks the date of the Farroupilha Revolution.  In the mid 1800’s, a rag tag band of rebels fought and gained representation and more fair taxation for the state of Rio Grande do Sul from imperialist Brazil.  It is remembered as the greatest day for gauchos.  They say it’s when gauchos remember why they are gauchos.  They celebrate their independence, liberty, equality and a love for this land.  They sing their state anthem which is more widely known that the national anthem.  All three of the branches here in Cachoiera had big celebrations.  Every one of them included a churrasco!  We hit two of the three, Marina and Uniao.  Marina cooked chicken.  Uniao cooked chicken and lamb!  They had salads (mostly a type of potato salad) and rice, and tomato/onion salads.  Marina celebrated on Friday evening and Uniao celebrated on Saturday.  Uniao's celebration included another “Baile” (Dance).  With Presidente Samuel, of course, they had a dance too.  The youth love it!  Both were well attended and lots of fun!
The Elders in the Cachoeira branch managed to fit in a baptism on Friday. But first on Thursday, President Castro authorized Elder Shirley to interview the 13-year old young man for baptism.  Elder Hoopes and Elder Hiatt had prepared Lucas for baptism.  We met the Elders at the home of Lucas in a bairro in Soares.  We weren't familiar with this neighborhood.  So we took a taxi.  The taxi driver got lost too.  But we eventually made it.  Lucas’ mom was baptized about 14 years ago, but is inactive.  At first she wouldn't give her permission for Lucas to be baptized.  But she changed her mind.  She is actually a very nice lady and was so polite and welcoming to us.  We enjoyed meeting this family.  The baptism was on Friday before Marina’s gaucho celebration.  When we arrived at the baptism, the Elders asked Elder Shirley to be the speaker and Sister Shirley to pray.  Elder wanted to trade assignments.  No way!!  It was a nice service.  Lucas was so thrilled when he came up out of the water that he gave Elder Hoopes a huge hug!  The Elders were really good with him.  After the baptism, they gave him a watch engraved with his name and the baptism date.  On Sunday, we attended sacrament meeting in the Cachoiera branch for the confirmation of Lucas.  That was after we attended sacrament meeting in the Marina branch. We wanted to be in Marina for all of the people we had invited to ride the bus.  It’s a tight schedule to attend both meetings.  But we were blessed to have a city bus come along at just the right moment and we got there in time for the confirmation.  (Also good news from the Elders:  Maria Antonia, who we had taught a couple of discussions to, accepted an appointment for a visit from the Elders this week.  We are so excited!)

Saturday was the day of the big gaucho parade.  It went down the street right in front of our apartment.  The streets were packed with people.  You could hardly get down the sidewalks. They had loud speakers with music, etc.   Four of the Sister missionaries came to join us too.  We took some chairs out on the sidewalk.  Rexburg may have a parade of mostly tractors.  But this parade was of mostly horses.  According to Elder’s calculations, they were approximately 2,000 horses and was about 2 ½ hours long.  Really?!  We like horses and cowboys.  But that was a lot!  But it was a fun time.  And we think we drew a lot of attention with six missionaries with their badges! 

Good things are happening here.  From what we hear, good things are happening at home.  We are so grateful for our many blessings!  Stay healthy, happy and faithful!

Eu te amo!

Monday, September 15, 2014

One of the Most Memorable FHE's

Some of the Rodrigues family at FHE

Doing more shower repairs for Sister Rosado & Mendoza

Artur's dog Bola (ball)

Daniel and Cristiane

Elder Snow from Winnemucca at zone meeting

An elementary school in Promorar

Flowers at a home in Quinta

Franciele & her dad in the baptismal font

Franciele & her parents at her baptism

Jean & Elder Shirley

Enjoying a late night hot dog (actually more like a salad on a bun)

Some new friends: Lisani & her daughter Natiele

Moon over Cachoeira

Heading out to install fire alarms

An orchid corsage from Jose

With Sister Castro

Sister Munoz braiding Franciele's hair for her baptism

Sisters practicing their hymn for the baptismal service

A view of the emerging spring from the apartment

The Sunday bus that picks everyone up to go to church

Wild orchids growing in the trees

September 15, 2014

It’s been another week of variety.  Things are never dull in Cachoeira.  The weather has been hot one day, cold the next, with lots of rain mixed in. Elder has been calling it “Cough-oeira” as there are so many people with coughs.  They all blame it on the weather. There has been such a great variety in our work too.  It’s great.  We never get bored.  We love it!

Monday evening we set out for Noite Familiar (Family Home Evening) with the Rodrigues and Garcia families.  We were invited by Cristiane Rodrigues.  They live far out of the city.  Since we had our computer, a Texas Sheet Cake, scriptures, etc., we took a taxi.  Cristiane and her husband, Daniel, have 5 boys.  They live next door to her parents.  Her sister and her sister’s husband and kids live nearby too.  Cristiane’s mom and dad, Jussara and Adao were there too.  They are all stalwarts in the Gospel…..except for Cristiane’s husband, Daniel.  Cristiane really wants her husband to become a member.  Needless to say, missionaries have worked on him for a long time.  She loves her family a lot and really wants them to be sealed in the temple one day.  Daniel is a hard-working guy.  He works as a farm hand.  He puts in long days at work.  It is obvious that he loves his family.  He cannot read so it makes scripture reading difficult.  But they do have tapes to listen to.  But we aren’t sure if he actually takes time to do that.   Recently, he has been pushed pretty hard by a branch member.  He let everyone know that he wasn’t ready yet.

Even though Cristiane invited us to come, we were a little nervous and unsure as to how to approach things.  She requested a lesson on the priesthood.  We each prepared a portion of the lesson each from the perspective of a man and also from a woman.  We also took a couple of short Mormon Message videos to share that were available on  One was called “The Blessings of the Priesthood”.  The other was called “Sanctify Yourselves”.  The latter one was especially good.  We could really relate to it as it took place in Inkom, Idaho (near Pocatello).  So it happened near our home.  And since it was about a boy playing football (Americana), we knew the Rodrigues boys could relate.  A boy on the team was struck by lightning and another young man who was 18 and had just been made an Elder used his priesthood power to give the unconscious boy a blessing.  It is a powerful and interesting video. 

It turned out to be an especially good evening.  To begin with, Cristiane announced that she was pregnant.  Her youngest is 8 and was just baptized.  They are all so excited.  Elder teased Daniel that he might have twin boys, making a total of 7 boys in the family.  Daniel responded, “That would be great!”  (He loves his family!) She is due in April or early May.  Since we are due to go home sometime in April, she requested that we stay here or maybe even move here.  We showed them pics of the family that we miss so much.  She thinks that the whole family should all move here!  We were among the first to hear the good news.  It was fun to be a part of their excitement. 
The kids were anxious to read the scriptures and help with the lesson.  One of the teenagers had a story to add too.  The two younger boys sat close to us.  The little 8 year old kept taking Sister Shirley’s hand and putting it on his knee.  Jean, the 10 year old, sat on the other side of Sister Shirley and helped her with any words she had trouble with.  (Jean also had a super-hero puzzle he wanted Sister Shirley to put together with him.  We finished it just as it was time to begin FHE).  They simply melted our hearts!  This is one of those families that we will really miss when we go home!  We felt like it was one of the most enjoyable FHEs we have had. We always worry about being able to call a taxi when we are out there.  The cell phones don’t work well in the electrical storms.  And we have been having a lot of them.  But we had no problems and got home without any trouble.  In fact the taxi driver was especially friendly as well.  He showed us some interesting sites on the way home (including his home) and told us he would like to invite us to his home for talk and “coffee” one day.  Guess he doesn’t know yet that Mormons don’t drink coffee!  It was just a great evening!  We think Daniel enjoyed it too. 

We have been doing lots of visiting this week.  We have done lots of walking again and also have been on lots of buses.  We are getting to know bus drivers and the money-takers pretty well.  As we boarded one bus this week, the driver said to us, “This bus goes to the United States!”  Elder asked if it came back.  “Sure” the driver said! 

We tried to fit in an afternoon of visiting with Dione again.  But on the day he wanted to go, the Sisters called with shower problems again.  They had no hot water again.  It was a different problem this time.  (They are old showers).  Elder bought the parts and we got it fixed.  But we never did find another time to visit with Dione this week. 

We had a treat this week.  Sister Morales called us via skype Tuesday evening.  Guess we can call her “Abby” now as she is home in California.  It was so good to see her, especially to see her so happy.  Although she told us that she would come back to Cachoiera in a minute if she could.  We were happy to see that her life is going well and things are falling into place for her.  She was a great missionary!  We have missed her!

We had a good lesson with Artur again this week.  Elder did a little “theater” with him as he acted out the part of Artur to let Artur see himself.  It was pretty funny.  Artur seemed to enjoy it.  Artur came to church again this week too!  

President and Sister Castro came to town this week to do interviews with the younger missionaries during our Zone meeting.  We actually didn't see much of him as he was in interviews the whole time.  But we visited with Sister Castro.  President Castro will interview us when he comes back in October, we think.  Guess it is good that he doesn’t worry much about us.  Guess that we had better behave and work hard and warrant that trust. 

We did get the assignment from the Castros to install fire alarms in everyone’s apartments.  So we spent the day visiting the apartments of the young missionaries, installing fire alarms and new hoses and regulators for their gas tanks.  Sister Castro asked us to not delay in getting them installed.  So we felt the need to do them in that same day.  What variety in our work!

The branch bus went out again on Sunday to the far reaches of the Marina branch.  So we spent the week visiting again, inviting people to ride the bus to church.  And we had pretty good results.  We had several less actives members show up on Sunday.  In fact, it was hard to know just who needed us to sit by them the most.  Julio and his 10 year old son came!  We were really excited about that.  But his pregnant wife didn’t feel up to coming.  And a couple of the other kids stayed home with her.  But Julio just seems to feel right at home at church.  Formerly, he was very active.  When we visited him in his home, we found the Sisters there too.  He should feel wanted!  Rosi and Gelson and Fran came to church too.  They walked instead of riding the bus.  It was wonderful to see them there.  Nelson, the pan-maker was there for the second week in a row.  But there were also several who had told us that they would be there and then weren’t.  Guess we still have work to do.

The Uniao Sister missionaries (Sister Picula and Sister Souza) had a baptism on Saturday.  Franciele, a cute teenage girl, was baptized.  Her parents have been inactive.  But since the missionaries have been working with Franciele, her dad decided that he wanted to be the one to baptize her.  So he has been working towards that goal.  It was wonderful to see him be able to baptize her.  He also bore a strong testimony at the baptism.  He says that he is praying every day that one day he and his wife can go on a mission like the “Casal Shirleys”.  He says that he may try to work on his English so that he might be able to serve in the U.S., maybe even in Idaho he says!  But he says that he would love to serve anywhere!  The Sisters sang a hymn and it sounded great!  Great baptism!

Anyway, it’s been a week with lots of good visits.  We have met more new people.  Some have some pretty sad stories and challenges in their lives.  We have really enjoyed meeting them and visiting with ones we are already acquainted with. We know the Gospel can help us all have better lives.   It’s been an especially busy, but an especially good week.  We have felt pretty happy with our lives as missionaries.  Challenges come to everyone.  Life is never without challenges.  We have seen some of the younger missionaries struggling with health problems.  But they remain determined to continue.  We have been fortunate and have had great health, a real blessing for us.   What an amazing experience this continues to be!

Hope you are all well and happy!  You are in our thoughts and in our hearts!  We love you all!
Eu te amo!