Monday, October 13, 2014

Marking the One Year Anniversary - It's Been a Wonderful Year!

Cactus in Noemia

Waiting for the doc with Elders Buhler (Texas) and Soares (Brazil)

Caught in the rain

One of the many chickens in Cachoeira

Elders Buhler (Texas) and Soares (Brazil)

Lunch with Elders Buhler (Texas) and Soares (Brazil)

Jose:  Proud of his grandparents

New store in town: Lojas Americanas

Spring rain in Quinta

Relaxing on P-day

Sister Souza at our computer

Sisters Foutz, Oliveira, Costa on P-day

Skater dudes putting on a show at the bus stop

Nice view of a sunrise from the apartment

Elder Buhler with the doctor

October 13, 2014

We have just been thinking that it is just over a year now since we heard that our visas had arrived in the church offices in SLC.  And 2 years and 5 months since we received our mission call to Brazil.  We received our call on May 4, 2012.  We had been delayed 10 times.  We had a total of 11 different MTC dates given to us.  Each time, we would get nearly to the date that we were supposed to enter the MTC and then would receive a call that we had been delayed because of visa problems.  Then on October 2, 2013, we received the phone call that we had been longing for…..our visas had arrived!  This week we have been remembering how excited we were when we heard the news.  There were other couples like us.  One couple had waited even longer than we had.  Their visas arrived at the same time as ours.  We were both given the opportunity to pick the date we wished to leave or as in our case, pick the date we wanted to enter the MTC.  (The other couple had already done the MTC).  The other couple wanted to leave as soon as possible.  Although we were beyond excited and so anxious to get to Brazil, we decided to wait until the end of the month to leave.  That seemed strange at the time when we had been so anxious to go.  Kids asked us why we were delaying until the end of the month. Our bags had been packed or semi-packed for over a year. We really didn’t know why we chose to wait until the end of the month.  It just felt right to us.  And how amazing the timing of everything went!  Sister Shirley ended up having to have an unanticipated crown which was finished up barely in time to leave for the MTC.  And actually within minutes of finishing the MTC classes, Elder Shirley had his kidney stone attack, just two days before we were supposed to fly to Brazil, but after we had been able to complete the MTC.  He was able to have surgery in the States.   Although we were disappointed with a two week delay while he recovered, we realize, especially now, what a blessing it was.  It was all more than just a coincidence!  It reminds us that the Lord is in charge.  As we look back on everything, we feel very blessed. We see the Lord’s guidance and direction in our lives! Now we just have six months left!  It’s all been so unbelievable! This week has been a week to reflect on the blessings and opportunities that are ours and to really appreciate where we are and what we have the opportunity of doing.  We still feel so grateful to family for their love and support.  They have been right there with us.  One pulled up roots and moved back to Idaho to live in and care for our home.  Others took turns housing us for over a year until we were finally able to leave.  They were amazing.  We count them as our biggest blessings!  Our decision to serve a mission certainly affected our whole family!  Choices in life are that way.  It may be our choice, but it affects a lot of people around us.  So we have renewed determination to make the most of the opportunity that is ours right now.  We know six months will pass quickly.  We hope we can be the best missionaries possible in the remaining time!

We had the four Sisters here for most of the day on P-day.  We fixed lunch for them and they took turns on the computers and tablet.  We visited, sang hymns, etc.  It was a fun day!

One of our latest assignments from President Castro was to help an Elder get to the Doc.  He is a great young man and a wonderful missionary.  He hasn’t been feeling his best. We helped him find a doctor and went with him and his companion.  He was then sent for some routine blood tests on another day at another office.  They had him come back yet another day for the actual blood test.     It all involved a lot of waiting and he is still waiting for results. We got well acquainted with medical posts, bio labs and hospitals.   In the meantime, this Elder has been hard at work.   (In fact, he and his companion gave a blessing to an older non-member couple, who ended up coming to church on Sunday!)  One day, after a long wait at a medical office, we took this Elder and his companion to eat at Per Tutti.  He is so appreciative of everything, always wanting to repay us.  But we know many helped our son when he was in the mission field.  We need to pay that blessing forward.  And we have a grandson who is anticipating a mission after graduation in the spring.  We hope someone will be there for him too, as well as for others in the family who may decide to serve.  It was a privilege for us to go with him.  It gives us an opportunity to fuss over him just like we would over our kids.  It was an interesting experience too.  His doctor was a young woman from Cuba. Her husband, also from Cuba, is a doctor in Cachoeira too.  She has been in Cachoeira for 3 months, after spending 3 years in Venezuela and a total of six years as a doctor.  She was knowledgeable and very nice and took her time with him.  It was kind of funny as we came in a group, three of us from the U.S. and one Brazilian.  It was good to have a Brazilian with us too.   We followed him from room to room.  He had a lot of support with his companion and both of us too.  We tried to ask the questions that the Elder didn’t ask, questions that a mom or dad might ask.   The Doctor let us know in a nice way though that she was in charge and knew what she was doing.  We anticipate that this Elder will be up to full speed soon.  We also have a Sister missionary who is still struggling with a knee problem.  She has been restricted to only four hours per day of walking.  She says the extra rest may help her leg, but not her mind.  She is anxious to get back to regular missionary work.  We hope that will happen soon for her. 

We had a little bit of disappointing news from President Castro that we won’t be seeing a stake in Cachoeira anytime soon.  One of the areas wants to become a stake on their own and not combine with Cachoiera.  So it will take considerably more time for us to become a stake.

One of our goals since we have been here is to read the Book of Mormon in Portuguese.  We will soon be finished.  We have been reading it out loud together and are now in Chapter 8 of Mormon.  Sister Shirley keeps the English BOM alongside to compare when needed.  It has taken a long time, but has been fun to do together.  We have both learned a lot.  We look forward to reading each night. 

Another of our assignments from President Castro was to take the program of “My Family, Histories that Unite Us” to both members and less actives and teach them about its importance.  The goal is to get family names into the family search database and eventually get them to the temple.  We have been able to present that a couple of times this past week.  Jose was really interested in the program.  He showed us a picture of his grandparents whom he remembers and loves.  He proudly showed us a picture of them and let us take a photo.  We had a similar kind of lesson with Artur this week. 

We brought our Kindle to Brazil and this week put a good book on it.  The book is “How Do I Know if I Know?” by John Bytheway.  We bought it with Artur in mind.  We think that he has a testimony, but doesn’t really know it yet.  We’ve only read the intro, but it looks like a good book.  It would be especially good for teenagers.  It talks about what the Spirit feels like and different ways we may come to know that the Gospel is true.  A fun read for P-day!

We have been out and about on sunny days and rainy days as well.  We were caught in a rain storm without an umbrella one day.  As it was a downpour, we stopped in to a little store and bought another umbrella.  We have already worn out a couple of umbrellas, lost one, and bought several.  We didn’t anticipate how much we would use an umbrella!  The rain sure makes a mess of a hairdo!  But we love it!  We will still never get used to thinking of October as a spring month though!

October 12 was a holiday called, “The Day of Children”.  It honors children.  They get presents and treats.  It’s a little like Christmas for them and is a big deal.  Unfortunately, it fell on a fast Sunday this year.  Branch leaders were trying to figure out what to do as they usually give treats for this holiday! 

The Elders had a baptism scheduled for Sunday after the meetings.  But unfortunately it didn’t happen.  It was for two sons of an inactive member.  She wanted her sons to be baptized.  But she had a headache and didn’t feel like coming.  The Elders were disappointed.  The boys probably were too.  But, hopefully, it will happen in the near future.

Anyway, it’s been a bit of a different week for us.  But it has been a good one.  Again, we never know what we will be asked to do.  Things are never boring! 

Hope things are good for all of you!  We love hearing about everything that is going on up there!  Thanks for your love and support!

Eu te amo!  

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