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! 

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