Monday, November 17, 2014

Opportunities to Help The Young Missionaries

Waiting on a member's doorstep

No snow here!

A few of the youth at the Baile

A real hamburger!

Aerton and Gorete at the Baile

Baby chicks at the Cachoeira version of Cal-Ranch

Baile Fantasia!

This birds song says "Peek-a-boo"

Edi - she likes to call Elder Shirley "Presidente"

Elders Hoopes and H. Silva looking for a shower

Fun at district meeting

Saying goodbye to Elders Soares & D. Alves

Lunch at Per Tutti with Elders Buhler & Gorham

Marcio & Marta Medeiros at the Baile

On the way to district meeting with Elders Buhler & Gorham

Presidente Samuel & Vivi at the Baile

Sister Foutz making chocolate chip cookies at our place

Sister missionaries at the Baile

Sisters Costa & Oliveira:  hope the floor is clean!

Sisters Foutz & Oliveira on P-day

Sisters Harrick, Costa, Oliveira, Foutz with rice bags

Sisters Oliveira & Foutz at the Health Post

Waiting at the hospital

Young Women getting ready for the Baile

November 17, 2014

Well, the Christmas season has officially started here.  We sang “Joy to the World” in sacrament meeting today!  They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here.  So I guess it’s ok to get an early start on singing the Christmas hymns.  We can never get enough of them!  And there are never enough Sundays to get them all in.  But it is still hard to believe that the season is upon us or at least almost upon us.    We hear of all the snow and cold that you are having and it’s easy to think of Christmas.  Then we look at our tropical setting and it is more difficult to believe.  Life is interesting for us!
Like usual, the week took a different direction than we had planned.  It seems like we did a lot with missionaries and for missionaries and because of missionaries this week.  But that is part of the work we do as missionaries too.  And we enjoy it!

Monday was the day missionaries received the official word of their transfers.  It was interesting to us to receive their calls informing us of their news.  We were happy though to hear that we would only lose two of them though.  Elder Soares and Elder D. Alves (both of Brazil) will be leaving Cachoeira.  And we are sad about that.  Both of these Elders always have big smiles and we love them and will miss them.  Everyone else will stay.  In addition, Sister Harrick (California) will be the new companion of Sister Costa.  Elder Freeman (Missouri) will replace Elder D Alves as the new companion of Elder Lopes.  And Elder Gorham (a greenie from California) is the new companion to Elder Buhler (Texas).  That puts us North Americans in the majority!  Eight of us are from the U.S.; three from Brazil; and one from Cape Verde, South Africa. 

On Monday, the Sisters came to our apartment for lunch, computers, and to make chocolate chip cookies.  We just had a simple lunch of sandwiches, chips, watermelon, etc.  It was easy for a hot summer-like day.  

Then Tuesday was the official transfer day, the day of travel.  We received a call inviting us to the bus depot to say good-bye to the two Elders leaving.  We will miss them.  It pulls at the heart strings to stand and watch the bus pull out with them.  Hopefully, we will get to see them at Zone Conferences sometimes.  We spent the day out visiting and got in about dark, just before a rain storm. Shortly after, we had a nice surprise.  Elder Buhler and Elder Lopes, his companion for the day until his new companion arrived later that night, called.  They were downstairs with a couple of milkshakes for us.  What a thoughtful, nice surprise!  As they had been out walking in the rain, they were dripping wet.  We offered umbrellas to them, but they declined.  They are still trying to earn those pretty wives by letting a lot of rain fall on them. We really enjoy Elder Buhler and his enthusiasm for everything, even the rain! We really enjoy all of these missionaries.  It is fun to watch the new ones especially.
Wednesday was District Meeting.  We were anxious to meet all of the new missionaries.  It was another rainy morning.  Just as we started out, umbrellas in hand, we ran into Elder Buhler and his new companion, Elder Gorham (from California).  Once again, they were walking in the rain with no umbrellas.  We enjoyed the meeting.  The new missionaries will be great.  The dinner appointment for Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham had fallen through for the day.  Elder Buhler was anxious to have his companion get off to a great start on his mission and here in Cachoeira.  So he asked if we would have lunch with them.  As usual for special occasions, we went to Per Tutti, our favorite place in Cachoeira.  It’s quite an adjustment for new missionaries. Poor Elder Gorham!  He could hardly keep his eyes open when we met with the Marina branch for Branch Council on Thursday evening.  He had an overload of a new language combined with lots of walking, time change, etc!  Hard work and little sleep!  His eyes just kept falling shut!  But he got better as the week went along!  They are just hard-working missionaries! 

We did get to meet with Elivelton and Bruna this week which was such a pleasure for us.  It is so nice to see them searching the scriptures and anxious to learn.  We just went over the first missionary lesson about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   They want to hear all of the lessons again.  They asked questions and participated.  It was just a nice visit!  We talked about how the gospel can strengthen families.  What a great way for them to start out a marriage.  They are still planning on being married next month.  We are excited for them.  They are a really nice couple. 

During the week, we also had a nice visit again with Isaura, a member who hasn’t been to church for a lot of years.  She greeted us warmly, especially when we started talking about grandkids, and invited us back.  She remembered that we don’t drink coffee, but wants us to come back for cake and “cevada”, (caffeine-free Postum).  A few days later, we ran into her on the street and had another short visit.  She told us that she has been thinking about us a lot and is anxious for another visit.  We also thought that we would invite her to the District Conference next Sunday.  The Uniao branch is planning on sending around a bus to take people to the Cachoiera chapel for the conference.  We hope to get Isaura to go with us on the bus.

The weather was great the latter part of the week.  We walked a lot and spent some of our time trying to spread the word about the Baile (Dance) on Saturday in the Uniao branch.  When we couldn’t find people home, we left notes. We always like to have special events to invite people to.  

Sister Oliveira (Brazil) and Sister Foutz (Colorado) are now companions.  They were out walking and Sister Oliveira fell (or almost fell) and hurt her leg.  They called Sister Castro for advice and then called us.  We met Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham at their place and gave her a blessing.  It appeared that she had pulled a muscle.  We all advised her to stay off of her leg for a bit and apply ice and to see the doc if it didn’t improve.  They were also out of groceries and had no money.  So we re-stocked them with a few essentials.  By the next day, her leg hadn’t improved (possibly because she was still walking on it).  It is hard to keep missionaries down!  To be safe, we thought she should see a doctor.  So on Saturday, it was off with them to see a doc!  We started at the HCB, the hospital.  They would only let one person in with Sister Oliveira.  So Elder and I waited in the parking lot outside.  It looked like it would be about an eight-hour wait, so they advised her to go to a nearby “Health Post”.  We went with them and were all pleasantly surprised to see a member from their branch working there.  She got in after a fairly short wait.  Sure enough, she had a pulled muscle.  The advice was the same….stay off the leg for a bit, apply ice at first, heat later.  (The Sisters had already made up rice bags, like the ones we have).  Elder Hoopes and Elder H. Silva met them at the Post also, as we had to leave to help with English classes.  So the Sisters had a lot of support!  Now if she will just stay off of her leg for a bit. She did come to the Baile for a bit and then to church on Sunday.  But, hopefully, she is off of it enough to heal. 

Speaking of Elder Hoopes and Elder H. Silva, they have had their water turned off as someone didn’t get the water bill paid.  They made some calls, but even after payment, it won’t be turned back on until Tuesday of next week.  So they are without water!  They showered the first day at the apartment of Elder Buhler/Gorham.  But the shower there has no hot water again.  So they have been coming to our apartment to shower.  Inconvenient for them.  But they have great attitudes.  Looks like Elder has another service project coming up this next week to fix a shower again for Elder Buhler and Gorham. 

We also visited with Jose again.  As usual, it was a good visit.  We talked about prayer and sang “Secret Prayer”.  He even joined in.  He likes to call Elder, “Mister Elder”.  There is a sweet Sister in the Uniao branch, who insists on calling Elder, “Presidente”.  Even when we try to correct her, she just grins mischievously and calls him “Presidente” again.  So we have given up correcting her.  It has become kind of a joke with her.  We missed Artur this week as he had to help his brother on some project.  We had a short, but good visit with Idalia and her family.  We also saw Roseangela.  Her baby is due this week! 

Saturday was a holiday in Brazil, Republic Proclamation Day.  Lots of places were closed.  It affected attendance at English class. But Idalia’s son, Artur, was there for the first time.  He is pretty good with his English already.  So it was a good time.  Afterwards, we introduced Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham to the game, “Escravos de Jo”.    Artur, who is about 12 or so already knew how to play it.  It was a fun time!  Elder Buhler has the best laugh!

Friday and Saturday was also the “Festival of Summer” in Fenarroz.  It was a kind of fair with vendors selling clothes, food, and everything imaginable.  They had displays of old cars, bands playing etc.  We attended.  We found the closest thing to a U.S. hamburger that we have had here.  We watched a band perform.  We visited with some members and non-members there.  It was a good time. 

Saturday night was the Baile (dance) called “Fantasia”.  Presidente Samuel of the Uniao branch always does things up in a big way.  The youth really love these Bailes.  They dress up.  Adults and whole families dress up as well.  Presidente Samuel had done the decorations.  (He does that kind of thing for a living.)  Attendance was good.  There were quite a few nonmembers and inactives.  Dances may be a dying thing in the stakes of the church in the U.S.  But they are alive and well here in Brazil.  Everybody dances, from the young to the old!  It is so fun to see!  Once again, the young missionaries can’t dance.  But they came for a bit to watch and to talk with people.  But Elder and I are allowed to participate.  Lucky us!    We took a lot of pics.  We were just so impressed!

The week has been a little different than usual.  We have had lots of interaction with the young missionaries.  It’s been a busy, but interesting week.   The weather has been just gorgeous!  We have had to have our air-conditioner going, but it really has been beautiful!  The adventure goes on! 

It really is hard to imagine the winter you are experiencing.  Wish we could share some of our heat with you.  But at least, it should feel like Christmas is coming for you.  So enjoy! Be safe!  Stay firm in the Gospel!  That surely is the way to happiness!  We love you lots!

Eu te amo!

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