Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Mission Conference, Good Visits and Lots of Rain

With Sister Fiorella (Peru)

Another beautiful sunrise

Artur, Elpidio and Carla at church

Elder Soares (Brazil)

Heading home in a full van

Holding to the rod

Lesson on temples with Jose

Lunch with Sisters Fiorella and Rodriguez

Adding some touches to make lunch special

Monday night with Elders Buhler & Soares

Sister Ataides (Uruguay) and Elder & Sister Dornelles

With Sister Rodrigues (Brazil) at conference

Sisters at the apartment

Traffic jam leaving Porto Alegre

Working in the Valley of the Sun

October 20, 2014

It’s been a wet week!  We have had a ton of rain.  It has rained most every day with lots of thunder and lightning.  It seems like the thunder rumbles nonstop throughout the night with some close lightning and heavy downpours throughout the day.  We always worry about losing power, but we haven’t.  We have just tried to “go forth” anyway, umbrellas in hand.  To make matters worse, the bus people have gone on strike.  So catching a bus has become “iffy”, especially towards the end of the week.  We have had a few buses running, except on Sunday, when there weren’t any.  Fortunately President Glauber and family came by as we were waiting at the bus stop, wondering if a bus might come by.  They gave us a ride to church.  (It was another rainy morning.)  As we were walking home after meetings, Aerton, from the Uniao branch stopped and picked us up.  Hopefully, the bus strike won’t last long.  And the weather is supposed to improve.  We may get a lot more walking in.  It takes almost an hour of walking to get to some of the bairros that we have been visiting.  It may be an interesting week. 

On Monday last week, the Sisters told us they were giving us a break and wouldn’t be coming by for lunch and computer time.  But after having difficulty sending pics home at the local computer place, two of them stopped by briefly in the afternoon.  We love the Sisters though! 

We went with Elder Buhler and Elder Soares on Monday night to visit a non-member by the name of Braulino.  It was the one year anniversary of the death of his wife and he wanted a lesson on that day.  It was a dark, rainy night.  But it was a really good visit.  We took the first part of the lesson and the Elders took the second part.  They challenged Braulino to read a section of scripture this week.  Braulino’s grandson was there also.  He told us that he would read the scriptures each day to his grandfather.  The Elders also taught Braulino the steps of prayer.  Braulino was a little hard of hearing, but he agreed to offer the closing prayer if someone would help him.  Elder Soares pulled his chair up close to Braulino and helped him pray, word by word.  It was very touching.  Braulino finished with tears rolling down his cheeks.  It was a good evening.  We walked home in the rain.  At least we had an umbrella.  The Elders didn’t.  We love seeing the shoes of these hard-working Elders.  Most times they are covered with mud.  It touches our hearts!  We offered to share our umbrella.  But Elder Buhler told us that the more it rains on an Elder, the prettier his wife would be!  So we just let the rain fall on them!  We love these Elders!  And Elder Buhler has been playing the piano in the Sunday meetings.  He has kind of picked it up on his own since being in the mission.  He practices every time we are waiting for meetings to start.  Pretty amazing!

Speaking of Elder Buhler, his health seems to have improved a little.  He is still waiting for official test results.  You can’t just set up an appointment with the doctor.  You have to call early each day to see if you can get in.  He tried twice last week and was told to call back.  He will try again tomorrow.  Some of the blessings of socialized medicine! 

We spent a lot of time this week in Quinta, Valley of the Sun, and Funcap, visiting less-active members mostly.  We enjoy visits with Jose.  He is always so happy to see us, and always says, “Welcome, friends!” (In English).  We especially love our visits with Julio, Rosangela and their family.  The kids always have pictures and things to show us.  Rosangela’s baby is due in a little less than a month now.  She has concerned us as they don’t have a car.  But she has arranged for a neighbor who has a car to take her to the hospital when she goes into labor and for someone to stay with their three kids at home.  We have come to love Rosangela.  As she is a non-member, the Elders visit there also.  At times the Elders go there for lunch.  Our hope for this next year for this family is that they can be officially married and that she can be baptized.

On Saturday, we went with President Glauber and his wife, Luci, to visit with Julio and Rosangela.  It was a nice visit.  And on Sunday in Relief Society, they announced about her baby being due soon.  Many sisters asked for the address so that they can visit.  We are grateful for that.  She needs friends in the branch. 

Wednesday was a big day for us.  There was a missionary conference in Porto Alegre.  They rented a van for the missionaries in our area.  We had to meet at the branch chapel at 5:30 am.  There were 12 of us missionaries going over and 14 came back.  It was a full van.  We made cinnamon rolls to take for everyone in the morning.  There was road construction going on and it really slowed us down, especially coming back!  Our driver was a talker and he worried all of us a lot.  Roads are not divided.  They have two-way traffic.  I think every missionary in the van was saying a little prayer!     The driver must have known that he worried us because as we got out at the end of the day, he apologized for anything he may have done that we didn’t like.  We got home at 10 pm, a long day, but a good one.

Mission conferences are always fun!  We got to see lots of missionaries and others that we have become acquainted with.  And the messages are always great.  They also always remind us of mission rules.  One rule is that companions should be able to see and hear each other in all places and at all times!  We like that rule!  We got to hear from President and Sister Castro, missionaries, see church videos, play object-lesson games, etc.  They always take us out to eat at a great restaurant too.  Fortunately, this was the one day of the week that it didn’t rain on us.  On a sad note though, the other senior missionary couple here in the mission, the Dornelles, were leaving for home on the weekend.  They served a two-year mission in the welfare office and then extended.  They have served about six months of their extension.  Unfortunately, Elder Dornelles has developed a heart problem.  So they won’t be able to complete their extension.  It has been fun to get to know them when we go to Porto Alegre.  They have recently been doing member and leader support, like us.  We will miss them! 

Sister Fiorella and Sister Rodrigues came back with us from the conference.  We knew these two dear Sisters from the early days of our mission.  They both served here in Cachoeira and are now trainers.  They came to do some training of the Sisters here.  They are both full of life and lots of fun.  Sister Fiorella is from Peru and Sister Rodrigues is from Brazil.  They asked to come to lunch at our place on Thursday.  So we had a fun reunion.  It was another rainy day.  They arrived wet.  It has been hard for all of us to stay dry this week. 

It was another good lesson with Artur.  He wanted to confirm again just when we are going home so he can be baptized before we leave.  We continue to try to talk him into not waiting for that blessing in his life!  We took a paper with the baptismal interview questions on it.  We wanted him to see that he was actually ready for baptism.  He asked to read it out loud for all of us.  We enjoyed that!  He came to church again on Sunday and was a good contributor in both Sunday School and Priesthood.  At one point in the Priesthood lesson, he reminded everyone that we all have a responsibility to share to gospel with others.  (He is talking like a member!) He also said the closing prayer in Sunday School and was once again moved to tears.   We know he is feeling the Spirit. 
This was the weekend for the time to change here in Brazil.  We are now on Daylight Savings time or as they call it “the hour of summer”.  (They think to say “Daylight Savings Time” is too complicated!)   So we did the “spring ahead” thing and lost an hour of sleep.  Now we are four hours ahead of the time at home.  In a couple of weeks when you “fall back” in Idaho, we will then be five hours ahead again.  It makes us feel further away when there is that much time difference.  We don’t like that!  It makes Skyping a little more difficult too. 

All is well here!  We hope to dry out a little this week!  Hope all is well with each of you!
Eu te amo!

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