Monday, December 8, 2014

A Week of Bugs, Buses, Babies and Baptisms

With Eric from the Marina branch

Daniel and Cristiane at the party

Elder Buhler's shoes - there's a good example of a hard working missionary!

Elder H. Silva and Felipe in the cold water of the font

Elders H. Silva and Hoopes with Felipe just before his baptism

Felipe and his family just before his baptism

Us and Felipe just prior to his baptism

Luci and President Glauber

Merry Christmas from the John Deere dealership

The mulheres dressed up for Christmas

With Lisi at the "Night of the Marrieds" party

New baby Fernando with Rosangela and Renato

Short cut from the bus stop to Julio and Rosangela's

December 8, 2014

Well, the weather is heating up here in Cachoeira!  The online report says the temperature reached a high of 95 on Sunday and the next couple of days are supposed to be in the 90’s as well.  Then we are supposed to, hopefully, drop back to the high 80’s.  And strange as it still seems, Christmas music is playing in the streets and Christmas decorations and lights are everywhere here on the main street where we live.  The Christmas season is upon us once again!  And as missionaries, we are all hoping for a “white Christmas”, one with lots of baptisms!  We got a good start on it with the baptism of Felipe this week by Elder Hoopes and Elder H. Silva in the Cachoeira branch.  That night we also met a young mother that they are teaching who wants to be baptized too.  Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham also have some upcoming baptisms as do the Sisters.  Chances for a white Christmas look good!  To summarize our week, Elder Shirley says it was a week of bugs, buses, babies, and baptisms! 

About the bugs, we don’t have them, yet anyway.  But Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham do.  They have had both hobo spiders and an army of termites marching down the walls and over their beds.  We hear that this is the season for them to be on the move.  President Castro asked us to help the Elders find someone to take care of the problem.  We found a company close to where they live.  We got them on the schedule, but it hasn’t happened yet.  Hopefully, it will this week. 

It has been a busy week.  It seems like things just piled on top on one another.  Some days, we had trouble finishing in one place before we were due at the next.  So we ended up taking a lot of buses.  With the heat, it seems like lots of people are riding the buses, rather than walk.  The buses have been super crowded.  We often times stand body to “stinkin” body.  One bus ride made us laugh.  It was standing room only, body to body.  We were towards the front of the bus when it made another stop.  We didn’t know how any more people could fit on.  Elder Shirley observed a woman coming through the turnstile on the bus.  He said, “Oh! She’s comin through, and I can’t move!”  It gave us the giggles!  Sometimes even in the heat, walking is preferable to riding a hot, smelly bus. It makes for good missionary memories though.

This was the week for Julio and Rosangela’s baby to be born.  The baby was overdue.  On Tuesday, Rosangela went to the hospital to be induced.  Fernando arrived the next day, weighing a little over 9 pounds.  On Friday, we took a gift for the baby, a flower, homemade bread and some meat and cheese for sandwiches.  Their 3 year old, Renato, was pretty wound up about the baby.  He was anxious to show us the baby’s belly button.  He was pretty concerned about it!  Now they are a family of six.  And Rosangela is ready to be baptized, just as soon as they get married.  Oh how we hope that will happen for them!  The Elders visit regularly too.  Branch members plan to take in some meals too.  Hopefully, some good friendships can be formed.  This is a good opportunity for that to happen. 

We had another good visit with Elivelton and Bruna.  Visits with them “recharge our batteries” as missionaries.  We showed them the video, “Mormon Temples, a Conversation with a Church Leader”.  It is in English, but we made a Portuguese translation.  They requested a copy of it.  Their only concern was that they had to wait for a year before they could go to the temple.  Elivelton was baptized in June and they are being married this month on December 26.  They bought the paint and are trying to get their new home painted.  Bruna found her wedding dress.  With work besides, they are busy as can be.  Elivelton’s work hours change a little this week, but he still wants to fit in more lessons. They also come to church every Sunday. It is like they are thirsty to learn more!  It makes us happy to see!

Our visits with Artur and José this week were good.  José never makes it to church now that the branch bus isn’t going around.  His health won’t permit him to walk that far and he lives with his mother and we don’t think he can afford to ride the city bus.  But he reads and studies the Book of Mormon faithfully and is always prepared with questions.  He told us this week how much he loves the Book of Mormon.  He still enjoys speaking some English to us.  He told us in English, “My mind and heart are religious”!  He had been practicing his English.  We read the scriptures with him about Nephi and how obedient he was.  So we just had to sing (in English) the chorus of a Primary song, “I will go; I will do the things the Lord commands”.  He always smiles at our attempts to sing.  We feel our weekly visits with him are important and we enjoy them. 

Visits with Artur are always enjoyable too.  His potential baptism date of December 13 is coming up.  That is the date the Elders asked us to challenge him to be baptized on.  But he says that is too close.  He insists that he wants his teeth fixed before he gets baptized. He continues to say that he will be baptized before we go home in “March”.  We actually are supposed to go home in April.  But we didn’t correct him.  He has trouble finding time to read much in the Book of Mormon.  He says that he is just too tired most nights.  He is a hard working guy.  We tried to encourage him to read, even if it is just a little.  When we arrived this week, he had just finished preparing his lunch.  So we read the Book of Mormon to him while he ate.  He comes to church most Sundays and seems to feel more comfortable there each week as he gets acquainted with more members.  After meetings, he complements speakers on their talks, etc.  He is fitting in better all of the time.  So we still have hope for him.  He also likes to participate in the Gospel Essentials class that Elder Buhler teaches. 

Another challenge for us has been and still is Rosi and Gelson and Francine.  We continue to visit there too.  They are another good family.  Rosi told us this week that they are still working on getting a car so they can come to church.  But it hasn’t happened yet.  She says that they have the money, but haven’t found a car yet.  Gelson wants to build a place to park the car first. So we don’t know what will happen with them.  They have a picture of the Porto Alegre temple on their living room wall.   It is their goal, but they aren’t working towards it very fast, unfortunately.  We keep encouraging!  We have come to love this family too.  It worries us, especially as we see the end of our mission approaching rapidly.  We could get discouraged.  We try not to. 

We ended up having two District/Zone meetings this week in order to get all of the info the Zone and District Leaders needed to get out.  The one on Friday was especially fun as they asked us to help them with a little skit.  Elder Hoopes narrated the fairy tale-like story.  Elder H. Silva and Elder Shirley used broom handles for a sword fight as Elder H. Silva stole away the princess (Sister Shirley).  At first Elder Shirley fought hard.  But Elder H. Silva kept telling him that he would never be successful and that he would never win.  Finally, Elder Shirley believed him and became discouraged and just quit fighting and left Sister Shirley behind.  Sad!  It was a good lesson on never becoming discouraged.  Keep up the fight!

The Marina branch had a party for married couples this week, “Noite dos Casais”.  That was the night of the baptism in the Cachoeira branch downtown.  But we hurried and arrived just as they were finishing the program and started eating.  We had cachorros quente (hot dogs with all kinds of trimmings).  We enjoyed the party!  Daniel and Christiane were there.  Daniel is another one that the missionaries have worked on for a long time, including us.  All of the family are members, except the father, Daniel.  Daniel attended church last Sunday too.  So this week Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham got brave and decided to ask Daniel, one more time, to be baptized.  They tell us that he thought about it and then said no.  We could get discouraged!  But we won’t!   

With other visits to less actives and non-members and English class, we kept busy.    Occasionally this week we have been stopped on the street by people who know of the church or know members and request a visit or want to know the schedule of meetings.  A walk down the street or out in the bairros is always interesting.  Missionary work continues to be amazing!  We always feel the hand of the Lord in what we do. 

We love you! We pray for you!  Be safe, healthy and happy!
Eu te amo!

1 comment:

  1. This is Jenna! I love hearing of your adventures! I want to send you a card. Can you Facebook me your address?