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!

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