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!

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