Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Fun Missionary Luncheon on P-Day

Finding some shade as the weather heats up

Drawing some pictures for Jose

Elder Hoopes and Andreza

Elder Shirley out on the street

Elder H. Silva and Maicon

In a neighborhood called Oliveira

Maicon and Andreza just before baptism

President Saulo and Cassia with young daughter Elena

Maicon and Andreza ready to be baptized

A view of our apartment from the street (under the Colortec sign)

Our apartment door.  Happy Halloween!

Paper tissue balls decorating a store window

Elder Buhler making the drink for the P-day luncheon

Elder Shirley working hard on some delicious milkshakes

Elder Soares getting ready to make Cuscuz for the luncheon

Missionaries take over the kitchen in the apartment

Sister Oliveira making the rice

Sister Souza preparing the chicken stroganoff

Esta pronto! (It's ready!)
Sitting down to eat

Elder Buhler approves of the food

Cleaning up

October 28, 2014

We spent this week seeking out the shady side of the street or of the buildings.  It feels like summer.  It has been a warm week and is supposed to be warmer yet this week.  Temperatures have been in the 80’s and will reach the 90’s this week as they are predicting a heat wave.  We have even used the air conditioner in our bedroom.  But mostly it is still cooling off nicely in the evenings. It has been beautiful!  But it is amazing; we are starting to see Christmas trees in some of the store windows.  Guess businesses like to get a head start on the season here too.    It is still weird to see Christmas trees in 90 degree weather.

Four of the missionaries, two Elders and two Sisters, came on Monday (P-day) to cook lunch for us.  They said that they wanted to thank us for what we do for them.  It was not necessary, but was a nice surprise for us.  They brought the food and cooked it in our apartment.  It was sure fun to see them cooking.  We enjoyed it a lot.  Sister Souza and Sister Oliveira cooked stroganoff with chicken and rice.  It was great!  Elder Buhler made a good drink and Elder Soares made Cuscuz.  Cuscuz was a new experience for us.  He made it with cornmeal, sardines, butter and cheese and cooked it in a double boiler.  It looked really good and tasted “interesting”.  Actually it was good!  Elder Shirley made… guessed it…..milkshakes for dessert.  It was such a nice, thoughtful thing for the missionaries to do for us.  We appreciated it a lot.  The other two Sisters joined us a little later.  Some of us also played “Escravos de Jo”.  Some of the missionaries didn’t know this game.  You can’t leave Brazil without knowing how to play this game.  It’s a favorite of Elder Shirley’s from his first mission to Brazil.  (Sister Shirley won, by the way! It was a playoff between Elder and Sister Shirley!  Yay!!!)

We went visiting again this week.  We focused on the Promorar and Oliveira neighborhoods.  We thought the neighborhood in Oliveira was quite nice.  We didn’t have a lot of success tracking down members.  Many had moved.  We also ended up making some duplicate visits from few months ago by mistake.  One lady greeted us with something like “You guys again!  I told you I am not interested!”  Oops!  Blame it on our old minds or that a lot of time has passed!  We didn’t remember, at first, that we had visited this neighborhood months ago.  But we were quickly reminded!  Oh well, second chances are good sometimes!  But we did what we were supposed to do and got ourselves out there.  Many times people comment that they have seen us out walking in the neighborhood.  It’s good to be seen!  We tell each other that we had better behave because we are always being observed!

Artur and Jose each greeted us warmly this week.  When we arrived, Artur was busy fixing bikes for a couple of neighborhood boys.  He gave us nice, cold drinks of juice.  He always has something for us.  He told us that he would have to miss church this week as Sunday is the day Brazilians vote again between the two top candidates from the election earlier this month.  He wanted to go early.  There are usually long lines of people waiting to vote.  And then he had a visit planned with his daughter.  We had a nice visit again with him.  Once again, he told us that he will be ready to be baptized by the end of the year.
Since Jose always tells us that stress is a big problem in his life, we took an article on the subject written by President Uchtdorf in a Liahona.  It talked about how you can tell the years that a tree had stress by the distance between the growth rings in the trunk of a tree.  It shows years when the tree had to cut back some when there was too much stress.  Of course, Elder had to draw him a picture to help explain.  As always, José had questions about some of the scriptures he had been reading.  We enjoyed our visit with him.
We have been missing Rosi and Gelson and decided to visit again this week.  Their little daughter, Francine, has been in the hospital again this week.  She is home now and feeling better.  We took them a loaf of bread and had a good visit with them.  They were busy making plans for a garage and hope to buy a car very soon so they can get to church and work easier.  Francine seems to struggle with her health.  They say that the weather is always too cold, too rainy, or too hot for them to walk so far to church with her.  Hopefully, a car will make the difference for them.  The Elders had just been there that same day for lunch. 

President Castro had suggested that we focus in the coming months on leader support.  We decided to begin this week with President Saulo of the Cachoeira branch.  He has been home from his mission for 5 years.  He served in Sao Paulo.  He is young!  But he is strong in the gospel and comes from a strong family.  His parents, Meni and Paulinho are strong members of the Uniao branch.  Saulo has such a nice, cute wife, Cassia, and a darling little 18 month old daughter, Elena.  We took them a loaf of homemade bread.  We really enjoyed our visit with them.  Cassia has a twin sister, Sharon, who is married to Cassio.  Cassio is a friend of Saulo’s from his mission.  Cassio is a counselor to Saulo in the branch presidency.  Cassia and Sharon look almost identical.  It is hard to tell them apart.  Cassia had prepared cheese bread, cake, banana batida, and other things for us.  Their home was nice.  Cassia had designed a really nice front door that a carpenter had built for them.  We were just really impressed with this young family!

Elder Buhler and Elder Soares have decided to start teaching English classes every Saturday morning and have asked for our help.  They are doing a lot of advertising, even in the schools, hoping for a big turnout.  We enjoyed teaching English classes a few months ago and look forward to assisting them.  Classes start next Saturday, November 1.  Hoping for a great turn-out.

Some sad news though.  Sister Souza continues to have problems with her knee, even with bed rest half days.  President Castro called and asked us to make the necessary arrangements and accompany her to Porto Alegre.  She will be evaluated by a doctor again.  Hopefully, she can continue in the mission and work in or near the mission office in Porto Alegre.  We are sad to see her go, but know it has been difficult for her here. So we have a trip to Porto Alegre this coming Tuesday! 

Elder Hoopes and Elder H. Silva had a baptism this past week.  It was a husband and wife.  They heard about the church when the Elders visited and later baptized Stephanie.  They live in the house behind Stephanie and were curious when they saw the Elders visiting her.  Stephanie is the little girl (9 or 10 years old) that Dione led us to one day when we were out visiting.  Stephanie’s grandma is a less-active member.  We referred Stephanie to the Elders, who ended up baptizing her.  And now this great couple has been baptized.  And it all started with help from a member! Wonderful baptism!

We just heard that Brazil narrowly re-elected Dilma as the President of Brazil.  It was a 50.99% win, a razor-thin victory.  She campaigned on a promise to extend more benefits to the poor.  She is most popular in northeast Brazil where there are more people on government aid.  We are glad elections are over.  It has been very noisy in the street with all of the advertising.  There have been parades of cars with flags, honking horns and trucks with loudspeakers blaring day and night.   Guess it makes it hard to forget to vote!  And the bus strike ended.  Yay!!  They got their raise, but just 8 ½% instead of the 10% that they wanted.

It’s P-day Monday.  We keep thinking that one of these P-days we will get out to “pay and fish”.  Some members have been telling us about this place.  You keep what you catch and the restaurant there will cook it up for you.  But it won’t happen this P-day.  A few of the missionaries have called and want to come over.  We just can’t say no to them, especially when it will be the last time for Sister Souza!  And we love these missionaries!

We continue to have variety in the work we do!  We never know what will happen next.  We never get bored! It’s the life of a missionary!   Hope all is well with each of you!  Keep on with the many good things you are doing! Happy Halloween!  (Can’t believe it’s that time already!)  Enjoy!  Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you!  We love and miss you!!

Eu te amo! 

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