Monday, December 15, 2014

Keeping Our Hook in the Water

We found Mrs. Claus!

Elder Lopes, tired from a long bus ride

Baptism of Felipe and Eliza

CD that we made for Eric's birthday

Some of the Christmas lights in the park

Elder Buhler and Eliza (15 yrs old)

Felipe and his Dad, Joao

Jose and his aunt

Kevin performing in the park

Last meeting before transfers for these missionaries

Lighted bus that drives around town with Santa Claus

Us with Felipe and Eliza before their baptism

Musical number by the missionaries

Park across the street from our place

P-day with Elders Buhler & Gorham

Wonderful sisters: Sisters Foutz, Oliveira, Costa, Harrick

Sunset from our apartment

Another view of the beautiful sunset

December 15, 2014

Well we were thinking that this week would be a little more “low key”.  Elder Shirley caught a cold and has been coughing.  We thought this might slow us down a little this week.  And it did, for a day or so.  But it seems like we made up for it as the week progressed. 

Monday was looking like a quiet P-day for us.  It was a holiday and most businesses were either closed all day or closed at noon.  So the whole city was more quiet than usual.  The Elders had not anticipated the LAN house (the place they go to send their weekly emails) closing at noon.  We were happy to have them come to our place for a bite of lunch and computer time.  We had not had Elder Gorham and Elder Buhler over on a P-day before.  So it was their turn.  These two Elders are assigned to the Marina branch, as are we.  So we have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with these two on a regular basis.  We enjoy them a lot!  

This week we had the last zone meeting before transfers.  Transfer day is this next Tuesday.  Notices will come on Monday.  We all brought treats for our meeting and took pictures.  We knew what we had to bring for a treat.  Ever since the birthday of Sister Shirley, Elder Lopes (Cape Verde Islands), has been asking for “bolo” (cake).  He asks for cake every time we see him.  He asked again as soon as arrived at the meeting.  Happily, this time we could answer in the affirmative.  He replied, “Finalmente!” (Finally!)   He and Elder Freeman work in Caçapava which is a couple of hours away.  We usually only see them at our weekly district/zone meetings.  They have to get up early to catch the bus to Cachoiera in time for our morning meeting.  We just have some good missionaries.  We really enjoy all of them.   Once again, we hate to see transfers come. 

On Wednesday, the coughing seemed to hit Elder Shirley pretty hard.  But he refused to go to the Doctor yet.  We had some visits scheduled and a birthday party to attend for Eric, who was turning 13.  His mother told us that Eric likes us.  He seems to have a good connection with Brother Shirley, especially.  We really hated to miss the party, but felt like it was best.  So, we cancelled most of our plans for the day and made a bunch of phone calls.  We also cancelled our visit to Artur.  We know he is kind of paranoid about his health and being around sick people.  So we thought it best not to visit him this week.  We just stayed home mostly, made chicken soup and rested.  It seemed to pay off.  Elder Shirley seemed to improve a lot that day and throughout the week.  We gave Eric his birthday present on Sunday.  We made another CD like we made a few months back for Christopher Reinbrecht with the music on it that was recommended by some of our grandkids.  It seems to be a popular gift.  Eric seemed genuinely pleased.   

We also thought it best not to visit Julio, Roseangela and kids and the new baby this week.  We would hate to take a cold into them. We did call to check up on them though.   Fortunately, Elder Buhler and Gorham visit there too.  They encouraged Julio to come to church on Sunday.  Sure enough, Julio and Emanuele and Julian showed up at church.  We were tickled to death!  Julio likes these Elders also.  We are really hoping they don’t get transferred yet.  They are good for Julio and family. 

A temple trip to the Porto Alegre temple was planned for Saturday.  They were leaving at 4 am and wouldn’t return until that evening.  We also didn’t dare schedule to do that.  It is not good to be in the temple and have a coughing fit!  We were sad about that.  But hope that we can go on the next trip. 

Although we cancelled a few of our appointments, we felt like we made up for it through phone calls and lots of visiting later in the week.  We felt like we kept “our hook in the water” which was President Castro’s message for the week.  The message this week really got Elder’s attention as it was about hunting and fishing!  (Jeremiah 16:16).  However, President Castro cautioned us not to spend all of our time preparing to “fish and hunt”, but to keep our hook in the water as much as possible, spending most of our time on the actual fishing and hunting rather than on the preparation.  So this week we tried to “keep our hook wet” even though we were slowed down a bit. 

We were able to keep our appointment with Elivelton and Bruna.  We had another great discussion with them.  They are two weeks away from their marriage and are busy making preparations.  They got their future home painted this past week.  Knowing how busy they are, we suggested that we not visit for the next couple of weeks until after their wedding and until after they get moved in and settled in their new home.  But as we were leaving, they told us that they would like us to come again next week.  They told us that they liked our visits and since we didn’t stay too long, they still had time to do what they needed to do.  That was nice to hear.  So we will visit again next week.  They also invited us to their wedding on the 26th of December.  We look forward to that.  We are excited for them. 

José and his Aunt were waiting outside for our weekly visit.  His Aunt is Catholic.  So our discussion this week was interesting.  José was sounding like a missionary as he joined in the discussion about the Book of Mormon. We gave José a Book of Mormon in English since he likes to practice his English.  He was really pleased.  His Aunt seemed pretty proud of him too. 

Our Christmas is looking whiter all of the time as there were three baptisms this week.  Sister Costa and Sister Harrick had one, Filipe.  Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham baptized Eliza.  Elder Hoopes and Elder H. Silva had a baptism in the Cachoeira branch.  And they all took place on the same night.  We were able to attend the baptism of Filipe and Eliza, but missed the baptism in the Cachoeira branch as it was at the same time.  Elder Shirley was asked to speak at the baptism of Filipe and Eliza.  He loaded up on cough drops and really did a nice job.  They had some problems filling the font in the Marina/Uniaõ chapel.  There must have been some kind of blockage as the water was slow to come in.  The Sister missionaries joined the Elders in a bucket brigade to fill the font.  It was a lot of work and a bit stressful.  But they made it in time.  It turned out to be a really nice baptism.  Filipe was baptized by his father, Joaõ, who was baptized almost one year ago.  Pretty neat to see!   

The streets here on Saturday were filled with people and all the sights and sounds of Christmas.  It hasn’t been quite as warm, but it has been really humid.  It was fun just to walk down the streets here in front of our apartment.  The city is decorated.  Trucks with huge speakers drive up and down the streets, blasting Christmas music.  There are concerts in the park.  People are out shopping.  Despite the temperatures, it felt like Christmas!  Our calendar is filling up with branch parties, a bus trip this week to Porto Alegre for a mission conference for Christmas, dinner invitations, special programs, etc. We wonder how we will fit it all in. 

Best of all, the benches were filled at church on Sunday with members, less active members, and investigators.  It was great.  We really enjoyed visiting with so many after church.  Rogerio, a member of the Uniaõ branch, always asks us for “pipoca” (popcorn).  We haven’t made it for a long time.  But he remembers it.  He is the “taxi of choice” for the Sister missionaries.  He is always ready and willing to help. His wife is not a member.   Last week, he told us how much he missed our pipoca and how good it would taste after lunch on a Sunday.  So we made up a batch and took it to him this week.   We double bagged it so it wouldn’t be so obvious that we were taking popcorn to church.  But he got into it during sacrament meeting and proudly announced to us after meeting that he had already tried it!  We reminded him that he had to share with his wife,  Ilsa. 

Sunday evening the three branches joined for the re-broadcast of the First Presidency Christmas Fireside, which we loved!  We saw it previously in English on line in our apartment.  When we walked home afterwards, we stopped by Honorato Park where the city was holding a talent show celebrating the 155th year anniversary of Cachoeira along with Christmas. Edson and Luciane’s son, Kevin, was a participant.  They are a less active/part member family and had told us about his upcoming performance a week ago.  He played the guitar and sang.  He did a great job.  He is 16 years old and his family is really proud of him.  They all seemed really pleased that we came.  We walked home afterwards and enjoyed more sights and sounds of Christmas. Once again, the streets were full of people, lighted buses with Santa Claus, etc.   It made for a fun walk. 
The people here are good!  We love them! They make us feel loved too.   We really enjoyed visiting with them all.  We see so many that need visits and support.  We wish we had more time.  We also wish that when we leave, there would be another couple to replace us.  It would make leaving easier!  But for now, we will just do the best we can! 

Hope life is good for each of you!  We love you!
Eu te amo!

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