Monday, October 6, 2014

A Wonderful Conference Weekend

All of the missionaries in the zone

Enjoying a visit at the zoo

Out and about on a rainy day

Garbage sacks - the universal rain coat

A jaguar at the zoo

Leaving a note for Gilmar & Luana

Sister Shirley visiting the zoo


P-day at the apartment with the sisters

Rainy day in Quinta

Sister Castro with sister missionaries

Studying with Jose

Toucan at the zoo

October 6, 2014

This week flew by.  Was it really still September just last week?  We remain amazed at how fast time passes.  And if you look at percentages, one week is now a smaller percent of the total time we have spent here in Brazil.  So, I guess that means time really is going faster now.  Anyway, the past week is kind of a blur to us now.

P-day was what has become the regular for us ….an afternoon spent with the Sister Missionaries in our apartment.  We hurried and got the laundry and housework done early and then baked bread again for the Sisters. They love bread.  We have the luxury of having a toaster.  So the Sisters had toast and jam.  They also sent off their photos to their families on our computer.   Sister Souza is still having trouble with her knee.  The doctor has recommended a couple of weeks rest for her to see if it will heal.  She has been in contact with President and Sister Castro.  So we will see what happens.  She is a worry to us!  We hate to see a good missionary down.   

We have had a rainy day or two again, just when we thought the cold days were done for the season.  We spent a day or two shivering in our coats and hats again and carrying umbrellas.  But for the most part, the days have been pleasant.  After experiencing the hot days of summer last year, we are trying to enjoy and appreciate the cooler temps that we are having right now.

The week was spent visiting and spreading the word about upcoming General Conference.  We had some enjoyable visits.  Jose, as always, greeted us with open scriptures and questions.  Once again, we had to sing.  This time it was “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet”.  We aren’t the best singers, but we love the hymns and feel that they are a great way to get a message across.  His request was that we also sing in English for him.  We feel like it also helps him become familiar with the hymns we sing at church.  We also had a good visit with Rosangela and the kids.  They give us such a warm welcome.  Julio was off campaigning as elections are this Sunday.  We had a framed copy of the Family Proclamation for them.   We had some nice visits with several others also this week. 

One day, some of our visits took us close to the Zoo.  So we stopped by again.  It was a cooler day and it was feeding time for the animals.  It was a good time to visit.  The animals were active.  We saw peacocks out courting, panthers fighting over their food, chatty birds, monkeys washing their food before eating it, etc.  We also marveled at the trees, flowers, and gorgeous vegetation.  It was a fun stop. 

This week we talked to Artur about belief in and evidences of God.  Artur’s son, also named Artur, came by and listened in on the lesson.  Maybe he wondered just what we have been teaching his dad.   We read about Ammon teaching King Lamoni about the existence of God in the Book of Alma 18.  It was a good lesson.  We were impressed with Artur’s son.  He already has a Book of Mormon.  He told us that his wife was a Seventh Day Adventist, but that he might like to have the missionaries come by.  He asked to look at the pictures we had brought.  Artur, the father, said that he was doing some better health wise this week.  He fixed up some chocolate milk for us.  We were pleasantly surprised when Artur showed up at the General Conference broadcast on Saturday morning.  He came in a little late, spotted us up front and came up to sit by us. 

Nelson, the pan-maker, also came to conference, telling us that he has decided that he was not going to miss any meetings anymore.   He told us that a married son was having some drug problems.  Nelson helped him and his wife and children move back close.  Nelson is pretty worried and upset, especially since this son has small children too.  Nelson feels like he needs the Lord’s help in their lives.  He has been attending Sunday meetings for some time now.  We asked him if we could help.  He says he thinks that only the Lord can help now. 

Sunday was Election Day in Brazil.  It is their general election when they vote on Brazil’s president and the Congress.  Voting is obligatory in Brazil.  You have to vote if you are 18-70 years old.  16-18 year olds may also vote if they want, as well as those over 70.  If those 18-70 fail to vote, they lose some of their rights as a citizen of Brazil.  We were told that they can’t get a passport, bank account, or credit, and may also face fines.  If they are unable to vote for some reason, they have to fill out a form justifying their reasons.  So that affects some of our missionaries.  They have to fill out their justification papers or be penalized.  Anyway, the streets this week have been filled with campaign noise and advertising. Even the little bairros have been filled with it.   I guess it has been on TV a lot too.  But since we don’t have a TV, we don’t have to see any of that.  If no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, they will have a run-off vote the end of the month.  It will be interesting to see if Dilma is re-elected.  She has been Brazil’s first woman president.  There is a lot of controversy.  Anyway, branch members had to fit in their voting around the General Conference broadcasts on Sunday. 
Conference was wonderful.  We looked forward to it all week.  We especially liked to hear Carlos Godoy, of the Seventy, give his talk in Portuguese.  He was the one who told Sister Shirley in the MTC that she was a “woman of courage” and about scared her out of going.  It seemed to please the congregation here to listen to him speak in Portuguese.  We loved it!   We had conference sessions beginning on Saturday at 11 am with the Women’s Conference re-broadcast, which was followed by the general sessions at 1 pm and 5 pm and the Priesthood session at 9 pm…..a long day.  Sunday’s sessions were at 1 pm and 5 pm.  Most members just stay in between sessions.  They bring snacks, etc.  On Saturday, the Marina branch provided sandwiches for everyone after the women’s broadcast.  President and Sister Castro and their family came to town on Sunday and joined us for the conference broadcasts.

President Castro interviewed us and some of the other missionaries after conference was over.  He asked us to help facilitate some family history efforts in the branches.  He would also like us to go more often with the young missionaries as they teach families in the branches.  He would also like us to give extra encouragement and support to the branch presidents as most of them are so young.  We may also be involved in some reactivation efforts in an outlying area called Candelaria.  We also are to continue to give support to missionaries here as they need it.  They continue to be plagued with health issues.  One of the Elders asked Elder Shirley to help give him a blessing for health following conference.  The Elder is worried that he may have high blood pressure.  Besides the blessing, we and President and Sister Castro encouraged him to have his blood pressure checked tomorrow.  That is another of our assignments…..make sure this Elder gets to the Doctor tomorrow.  (What is the deal?  We thought it would be the old people who would have health problems!  But we are thankful that we are healthy and hope it continues!)  

Following conference and our interview we got a call from President Torres.  He and his wife had just been in a car accident on their way home.  The Castros left immediately for the hospital.  Fortunately, no one was hurt too bad.  President Castro asked us to close up the Cachoeira chapel.  We didn’t have keys, but were able to get hold of a member who did.  The four Sisters missionaries were still at the chapel.  Since it was late and Sister Souza has her bad leg, we called for a taxi to take them home.  Also, tonight the Sisters asked to visit us again tomorrow (P-day) in our apartment.  Not sure if we will have two of them or four.  But this week, they want to come just before lunch.  Guess that means we had better come up with a plan for lunch!  We are tired!  It’s been a long weekend!  But if the helps and lifts the spirits of these missionaries, then we are more than happy to do that!  It always makes for a fun day too! 

We are missing you all!  We are still busy, healthy and happy!  Elder says that our batteries are now recharged after conference and interviews with the President!  Hope life is good for all of you!

Eu te amo!

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