Monday, December 1, 2014

A Second Thanksgiving in Brazil

Playing with some kids in the street

With Elder Burnett at mission conference

English class locked out of the church with no keys

Our dance teacher Jamir and his chimarrom

Jean Rodrigues - a future stake president?

A birthday rose for Sister Shirley from Jessica (checker at the grocery store)

Learning to dance the gaucho way

Lunch with Elder & Sister Torgan (7th quorum of the Seventy)

Our neighbor's apartment door

New look for Dione at church

An old friend from Elder Shirley's 1st mission to Brazil (Alceu Arndt)

Our apartment door, decorated for Christmas

P-day lunch at our apartment with the sister missionaries

A birthday dinner at Per Tutti

Elder Torgan with President Castro

Renato's birthday party

Singing happy birthday to Sister Shirley at mission conference

Sister Shirley with Sisters Castro, Burnett and Torgan

The sisters of Cachoeira:  Harrick (CA), Oliveira (Brazil), Foutz (Colorado), Costa (Brazil)

Riding the van home from the mission conference

December 1, 2014

A scripture President Castro brought to our attention has been in our thoughts this week:  1 Cor.15:58:  “…….know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”.  We try hard, sometimes without success.  It is nice to be reminded that what we do in the name of the Lord is not in vain. 
We have had a good week, a busy one.  We tried to fit a lot into a shorter than usual week because of our trip to Porto Alegre on Friday for a missionary conference. 

Julio and Rosangela have been on our minds a lot this week because their baby is past due now.  We visited there several times this week as did Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham.  Julio is a member, formerly very active and a leader in the Marina branch.  Rosangela tells us that she is ready to be baptized.  The only thing holding her back is that she and Julio are not married.  Julio gives us excuses for not getting married like insurance, etc.  We aren’t quite sure of his real reasons. We do not fully understand.  He tells us that he has a testimony.  Rosangela is wonderful and the kids are so great.  They seem like such a happy family.  We would really like to see this family become an eternal family.  It is frustrating when we want so bad to see it happen for them.  Their youngest boy (youngest until the baby is born) had a birthday on Tuesday.  We stopped by their home.  They weren’t having his birthday party, cake, etc. until Thursday.  So we ran to the corner store and bought a carton of ice cream so he could have a treat on his birthday.  Then on Thursday, we returned for the official birthday party.  They had cake, salgados, etc.  We brought watermelon and a package of three little balls for a present.  He and the other kids loved the balls.  We checked with them either by phone or in person about every day.  This baby will surely come soon!  Some of the branch sisters plan to visit with food, etc.  We think that is what this family needs, some support from branch members.  Julio did mention to us, “What happens to us when you are gone?”  Hopefully, they can form some good friendships with branch members.  It just might make all the difference.  Anyway, we are excited for this baby (Fernando) to be born! 

We had another great lesson with Elivelton and Bruna.  We talked about the Book of Mormon this week.  We also talked about how nice it is to read the scriptures together and pray together as a married couple.  They are moving along with their wedding plans.  We will probably be able to get in another lesson or two before the wedding.  We have been amazed that they still want to make time to hear more lessons when they are so busy fixing up a house to live in, with work, etc.  We also gave them some of the “Share the present” cards.  Bruna went straightaway and got her computer and looked up the video. We watched it together.   By the time we got home that evening, Bruna had already shared it on Facebook.  Love it!  We have had a lot of fun passing out these cards.  “He is the present” is such a great message!  We were given a ton of cards to pass out and have already given out a lot.

There was a lot to fit in on Thursday.  But we managed to visit José and Artur.  Both were good visits.  Artur had a lot to talk about it seemed and his brother was there visiting.  We had trouble fitting in our gospel message this week.  But we enjoyed the visits. 

Our friend, Jessica, who works as a checker at the IMEC grocery store, found out that the birthday of Sister Shirley was coming up.  She had made us promise to come back.  She presented Sister Shirley with a birthday rose and a nice note.  A nice surprise and very thoughtful!

Elder Torgan of the Seventy and Sister Torgan were in Porto Alegre for a “Tour of the Mission” conference on Friday.  We all loaded into a van at 4:30 am Friday morning for the 3 hour trip to Porto Alegre.  It was an all-day conference, lasting until 5 pm.  They served us lunch there at the chapel.  We got to see lots of familiar faces of missionaries who had previously served in Cachoeira.  It was an informative, spiritual conference. It was really special.   We enjoyed it a lot.  And during lunch, Sister Shirley was surprised with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” by about 150 plus missionaries.  We also slipped away for a few minutes to visit Elder Shirley’s old friend from his first mission, Alceu.  Alceu has an office next door to the mission office.  It was a short, but nice visit with him.  We try to do that every time we are in Porto Alegre. It was a great day.

Those are some of the highlights of the week.  In between, we filled our time with Branch meetings, English classes, lots of other visits, playing ball in the street with kids, etc.  We were also invited to some gaucho dance instruction at the Cachoeira branch.  They want to do that once a week for the next several weeks.  It was fun.  They hope to have a “baile” or two in the Cachoeira branch before we go home.  We also had a really nice birthday dinner, just the two of us, at Per Tutti Grill which was all decorated for Christmas!  Speaking of Christmas, we hung a cute Christmas decoration on the door of our apartment.  A couple of days later, our next-door neighbors, hung up a very similar one.   So we are enjoying that. 

We missed being home for Thanksgiving.  It was hard not to think of what you all were doing.  Although, Thursday was such a busy missionary day that we didn’t have time for our thoughts to linger on homesickness very much.  It was just a normal missionary day for us.  We did have some turkey deli meat and made a turkey sandwich.  Some of the Elders had pizza.  Good thing for lots of work.  There is nothing like working hard to cure homesickness.  In fact, work cures the majority of problems in the mission field.  President Castro has reminded us that our time in the mission field is short, but of eternal importance!  We are happy to be serving! 

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  You are in our thoughts and prayers!  Now it’s Christmas to look forward to!  Remember “He is the Present”!  Love to all!

Eu te amo!

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