Monday, September 1, 2014

We Are Part of the Army of God

Artur sharing some pinhao nuts

Visiting Isaura

Elder Shirley with Geneci

The district trying to spell Cachoeira

Elder de Alves, Sister Rosado, Sister Pikula, Sister Souza, Elder Hiatt

Elder Shirley fixing the shower for Sisters Rosado and Mendoza

Eating well with Geneci

Making plans with Dione

Elder & Sister Shirley walking the streets of Quinta

Another friendly person in Quinta

The Sisters with Geneci

Sisters Costa and Mendoza

September 1, 2014

It’s been a good week.  Weather-wise, we went from needing our air conditioner on Sunday to needing our long johns for the rest of the week.  Tuesday was especially cold, with a strong breeze.  The weekend brought more thunderstorms and heavy rain. 

We had an especially good District Meeting with the Elders and Sisters.  They showed some good church videos and gave everyone the opportunity to bear their testimonies.  What a good bunch of missionaries!  Afterwards, they wanted to take pics with everyone spelling out the word “Cachoeira”.  We kind of failed at that as we had trouble getting everyone in the picture.  But it was fun trying. 

There are shower problems again.  This time it was in the apartment of Sister Rosado (Brazil) and Sister Mendoza (Peru).  The shower started to smoke and Sister Rosado ended up having to take a cold shower.  This was the day of our District Meeting.  It was a cold, windy day.  She was not happy when she arrived at the meeting, with her parka on and the hood up.  She said that she was “ready to fight”.   It’s a good thing that Elder is so handy at fixing things.  We made a visit in the afternoon to their apartment and he had them fixed up in no time.  They rewarded him with some cake!

We spent time this week in the neighborhood of Quinta seeking our members and being fairly successful.  We met a lot of really nice people.  It is always amazing to us how things work out.  We met one young mother who told us that her mother-in-law was a member of the church and had just moved from Quinta to Centro (downtown close to us).  She also indicated that she would like to have visits from the missionaries. We gave her name to the Sister missionaries. We later found her mother-in-law, Isaura, who hasn’t been to church in many years.  Isaura  said that she would like to have visiting teachers, etc.  She lives within the boundaries of the Cachoeira branch and they are now aware of her and plan to visit. 
In the process of searching for members, we invariably run into non-members.  Fortunately, we have had many agree to accept visits from the missionaries this week.  It has been a really good week that way!  

One of the Sisters asked us how we have been able to get so many names.  The secret this week seems to have been talking about families with the people we meet.  Everyone always seems happy to talk about their family and seems interested to hear about ours.  We especially like to talk about our grandkids and their interests.  It is a good icebreaker and seems to have worked especially well this week.  Thanks grandkids!

We also continue to be amazed at all of the “coincidences” we encounter.  If we miss one bus and catch the next, there always seems to be someone on that next bus that we needed to talk to.   If we are out walking and get lost or turn back, we seem to run into someone that we have a good visit with or someone that knows the person we are looking for.  It happens often.  We are so amazed!  It truly is amazing to be a missionary!

It was another good visit at Artur’s.  When we arrived at his house, he was sitting out front, all cleaned up and with a suit coat on.  He said that he cleaned up just for us. Lately, he always seems to have some kind of a treat for us.  This week, he had Pinhão nuts for us to try.  They were pretty good.   We had a good discussion with him. We talked a little about the conversion of Alma, the Younger, in the book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.  Artur still insists that he would like a vision.  So Elder told him about the angel visiting Alma the Younger, which was not necessarily a pleasant thing for Alma as he became helpless and dumb for 3 days and 3 nights.  Because he had previously persecuted followers of Christ, Alma had to “suffer the pains of a damned soul”.  He later went on to convert many people, trying to make up for his evil acts.  We told Artur, be careful what you ask for.   Artur told us that he would actually make a good member and that he could influence some people to join the church.  Hopefully, he will begin by talking himself into baptism.  An interesting thing, Artur has never smoked or drank!  He says that he has always avoided those things.

There was a birthday party for one of Artur’s daughters on Sunday.  She was turning 37.  Of course, Artur was going.  But first he came to church.  He said he needed to be to church to hear Sister Shirley’s talk and then he would leave for the party. He showed up at church with a new haircut and shave and dressed nicely.  He even shook hands with the man who had previously offended him.  He knew how worried and stressed Sister Shirley was about speaking in church in Portuguese.  He probably came to see if it would actually happen.  When Sister Shirley finished her talk, Artur clapped out loud, right there in the chapel!  He said later that he even understood everything she said!  We really like this guy!

A sweet lady in the Marina branch, Geneci, invited us to have lunch at her place with Sisters Rosado and Mendoza.  She has been a good member for a long time, but her husband is an atheist.  She had been busy cooking lots of good food!  She stuffed us!  We finished lunch and had a spiritual thought (her Book of Mormon looks well-used) and then she brought out a big cake!   She also sells Avon products.  It seems a lot of people do that in Brazil.  She insisted on slipping Sister Shirley a bottle of lotion.  Elder insisted on paying.  Then on Sunday, she came bringing a bottle of Avon perfume for Sister Shirley, saying that she would be really offended if we tried to pay again.  What a sweet lady!

 Dione went out with us one day.  We always enjoy him.  He is good help too.  We had a very successful afternoon, finding more people who wanted visits from the missionaries.  It’s just been a good week! 
Marina branch is doing an interesting thing.  The first Sunday of each month, they have arranged for a bus to go to the outlying areas and pick up anyone who wants to come to church.  So many people don’t have cars or money to ride a bus.  This will start next Sunday.  We hope that we can help spread the word this week.    We hope this is very successful!

Unfortunately, we missed the trip to the Porto Alegre temple on Saturday.  We just couldn’t get over our nagging coughs and were afraid of trying a session in the temple.  We were so disappointed.  But they seem to take a bus over there about every two months.  So, hopefully, we will get more chances.

Four of the Sister missionaries are coming to lunch at our place tomorrow and to use our computer to send pics home.  So we are sending off our letter today.  Tomorrow should be a fun, but busy P-day!  We love our P-days, but we also love these missionaries!  We enjoy having them come.  So we will be having an “international” lunch with the countries of Brazil, Australia, Chile, and the US represented.

Reminder for the week from President Castro was “Have faith and smile!  We are part of the Army of God!”  Reminder for all of you:  “Have faith and smile.  You are a child of God!”

We love you all!  Have a great week!
Eu te amo!  

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