Monday, November 3, 2014

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Farroupilha Park entrance - looks the same as when Elder Shirley was here 46 years ago

Cassio and Tiago in baptismal font

Cassio, Tiago and family prior to baptismal service

Christmas has arrived in the storefront windows in Cachoeira

Cute Halloween card from Judy Swensen

Enjoying dessert in a restaurant in Porto Alegre

Elder Buhler & Soares at English class

Farroupilha park in Porto Alegre

Fernanda in Pedal de Ouro

Lunch with President and Sister Castro

View of Porto Alegre from bus window

Selfie in Farroupilha Park

Sister Costa and Sister Foutz at the apartment on P-day

Sister Nerenberg and Sister Souza - we miss these two great missionaries!

Sister Oliveria at the apartment on P-day

Sister Souza on her last P-day in Cachoeira

Swan boat in Porto Alegre park

Turtle in Porto Alegre park

Potential investigator??

November 3, 2014

It seems like a lot has happened this week.  Weather-wise, it’s been a week of extremes.  The first part of the week we had a heat wave.  Temps were in the 90’s+ and very humid.  We heard lots of complaints from natives as well as missionaries.  We have also had some windy, rainy days, the kind that turn your umbrella inside out and we had to resort to jackets again. 

P-day was fun.  The four Sister missionaries came for lunch and to do their e-mails.  Little did we know that this would be the last P-day that we would get to spend with Sister Souza.  We called a taxi and went to pick her and her baggage up on Tuesday morning and accompanied her on the bus her to Porto Alegre.  President and Sister Castro took her to a doctor there to have her knee evaluated.  Before her doc appointment though, they took us and Sister Souza and Sister Nerenberg out to lunch in Porto Alegre.  Sister Nerenberg was catching an afternoon flight, headed to her home in Lehi, Utah.   She has completed her mission.  Hers was one of the first missionary faces we saw when we arrived in Cachoeira last year.  She was transferred from Cachoeira just before Christmas and we haven’t seen too much of her since then. We have exchanged a few emails and have heard many good reports about her.  She made a lasting impression on us.   She has been a great missionary!  We were excited for her and for her reunion with her family.  Even though we haven’t seen too much of her since she left Cachoeira, we think all of the mission will feel the lack of her now.  She will be missed!

Someone else who will be sorely missed is Sister Souza!  We received the sad news that Sister Souza needed to return home to take care of her knee problem. We anticipated this sad news, but were hoping it wouldn’t actually happen. She has struggled with a bad knee for some time now.  She lives somewhere around Rio and left for home the end of the week.  She has been an amazing missionary, a really knowledgeable and strong missionary!  We will miss her a lot!  We have felt especially close to her.  The two sets of Sister missionaries are now one set of a trio, at least until transfer day in 10 days or so.    We know this was especially hard for Sister Souza.  We wish her the best and hope she can heal quickly (her knee, as well as her sad heart)!   

While in Porto Alegre, we visited Farroupilha Park (now called Redençao).  Forty-six years ago this park was in the district of Elder Shirley and his companion and brother, Elder Shirley (Dale).  They taught some missionary lessons in this park. So this park holds lots of significance and good memories for Elder Shirley.   Elder has been anxious to re-visit the park and see how things have changed.  Not too much has.  It still has the same lake with turtles in it. It still has boats to take out on the lake. Although they have added swan paddle boats now.  It is still a rule for missionaries not to take out the boats.  The amphitheater has been closed in to become a concert hall.  The street cars that went around the outside of the park are extinct.  But most everything else remains the same.  It was a trip down memory lane for Elder Shirley!  It was a hot, but fun afternoon.  We caught a late bus back to Cachoeira.

The next morning, we had District Meeting which was followed by a call from Gelson and Rosi.  Francine had to go back into the hospital.  She had just been there the week before.  She had fevered up again and was coughing.  Gelson was at work and Rosi was at the hospital, unable to leave Francine to get lunch.  So we packed up a lunch for Rosi and went to the hospital to visit.  The hospital was packed!  They will only let one person at a time visit. They are really strict about this too.  So Elder went up first and then Sister Shirley went up to take Rosi lunch.  Francine had to stay in the hospital for about three days, but is home and feeling better now.  Hope her health improves now.  The extremes in the weather are hard on everyone.

We visited Artur again as usual this week.  We took a little doggie treat for his dog, Bola. We showed Artur a nice video called “Temples, a Conversation with a church leader”.  Elder had it translated into Portuguese for him.  It’s a very informative, plain talking video.  We also read a chapter in the BOM in III Nephi, chapter 18, about the sacrament.  Artur told us the Elders had challenged him to read it.  He started reading it outloud to us.  We ended up with all of us taking a turn reading.  It was great!  The Elders also visit him weekly.  They had asked us to challenge Artur to an actual date for baptism.  They were in hopes he would agree to baptism on December 13.  They think they won’t be transferred until the December 16 transfer day.  And they would like to be here for Artur’s baptism.  Artur wouldn’t commit to that actual date, saying that he didn’t know if he would be ready by then.  We wrote that date on a sticky note and he put it in his scriptures and agreed to think about it.  But he kept reassuring us that he is a “man of his word” and will be baptized before we go home.  We tell him baptism is for him and not to do it for us.  We try to emphasize that he needs those blessings now.  We know he has health concerns.  And we realize that he is feeling a lot of pressure now from us as well as the Elders.  A branch member, who knows Artur well, also paid him a visit with the Elders this week.  That’s three visits for Artur this week, plus a phone call.  We think Artur has a testimony.  We think he may just be afraid of the commitment.  Guess the pressure will either “make it or break it” for Artur. Hopefully, he will ponder that date.  And if not that date, we hope to get him to pick the date that will feel right to him.  We always comment on how much we enjoy visits with him.  He is a funny guy.  He also has a soft heart.  We see discussions about family bring him to tears often.  One time, he specifically asked us to include a granddaughter, Betina, in our prayers.

The visit with Jose was good again too.  We love that he always has been reading in the BOM and has questions he wants to discuss.  We also discussed and read about the sacrament with him.  As we read and underline scriptures with him, he will occasionally come across scriptures that “Elder Zundel” had discussed with him a few years ago.  He remembers Elder Zundel well and the lessons he taught.  Jose also likes to throw in questions about English words. Every week we have to talk a little English with him. This week he asked us about the word “shoulder”.   We quite often sing to him.  So we just had to sing the Primary song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”.  He grinned all the way through it and then just put his head in his hands and laughed.  Guess that tells you how we sang!  It was fun anyway!   

Elder Buhler (Texas) and Elder Soares (Brazil) started the English classes this week.  They asked us to help.  We spent some time this week notifying people that we thought might be interested.  They are holding classes on Saturday morning.  Many of the people who were in our previous English class are working Saturday mornings. So this class is catching a different group of people.  Elder Buhler took charge and we assisted.   Elder Soares was also a student in the class!  It went well!

On Halloween day, we went out and about.  We needed to re-fill the ink cartridges in our printer.  To do that, we always go to a nice store in the center of town called “Dipel”.  They already have a nice display of Christmas trees.  They also had a witch out front.  We invited her to English classes.  She said she had a passion about learning English.  But she has to work Saturday mornings!  We also ran into some spooky characters in Pedal de Ouro.  They don’t really celebrate Halloween here in Brazil. No trick or treat.  But in the schools and in some businesses, they dress up for fun.  They do celebrate a day called “All Souls Day”.  It is a Catholic holiday where they sometimes take flowers to the cemeteries.  It is a national holiday on November 2 and fell on Sunday this year.  They also don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving.  Last year, it was just a regular missionary day.  But, just like in the States, they get a jump on Christmas.  The stores are full of Christmas already. 

Elder Hoopes and Elder H. Silva had another baptism on Saturday and invited us to come.  Again, this one was the result, in part, of the efforts of a member. It seems that Cassio, a member of the branch presidency, is a convert of some years back.  He credits his baptism to a man who is the Uncle of Tiago, the young man who got baptized on Saturday.  Cassio felt like this opportunity presented itself to him as a way to repay Tiago’s Uncle for bringing the gospel into his life.  So when Cassio encountered Tiago again, he introduced him to the missionaries.  And now Tiago was baptized.  It was pretty special!  Members can do a lot! 

Health problems continue to abound.  Although Elder Hoopes was at the baptism, he wasn’t feeling too well.  He had been to the doctor the day before and has a bit of pneumonia, not too serious yet.  He has antibiotics and should improve soon with some much needed rest as well.  Elder Soares’ knees bother him when it rains.  Sister Foutz has some kind of red bumps.  Don’t know if they are heat related or from some bug.  She had a little more difficulty getting into the doctor.  (Elder Hoopes got right in, fortunately.)  She has an appointment for this next week.  If the weather will moderate, hopefully, health problems will go away!  It seems to be either scorching heat or wind and rain.  We are always hesitant to mention health problems on the blog.  We try to warn the missionaries that they had better tell their parents about their problems, or their family may read it on our blog.  I always say that if I was their parent, I would want to know.  Often times they don’t want to worry family.  So, hopefully, we aren’t the ones informing family first.  We continue to be impressed with all the missionaries here.  Elder Hoopes and Elder H. Silva have been seeing a lot of success.  Elder Buhler and Elder Soares are two of the hardest working missionaries we know!  
Sister Foutz, Sister Costa, and Sister Oliveira are doing their best as a trio now to cover both areas of the Uniao branch, dealing with the loss of Sister Souza.  We are sure it hasn’t been easy for them.  Elder D. Alves and Elder Lopes who work in a nearby city, Caçapava, called us last night just to check up on us.  Great missionaries, every one!! 

We have been thinking of you all as we saw on the calendar that you got to “fall back” on your clocks.  For some reason, it makes us a little sad that we are now 5 hours ahead of you time-wise.  We seem too far away!  But we hope you enjoyed your extra hour of sleep! 

We love you and miss you!  But we are trying to be the best missionaries that we can!  Take good care of yourselves!  Love to all!

Eu te amo!

No comments:

Post a Comment