Monday, January 12, 2015

A Sloppy Sweaty Week: Summer Missionary Work in a Tropical Climate

A week of drenching rains

Artur and "Elder" the cat

Elders at the hospital to give a blessing

Elders H. Silva and Campbell at the wedding reception

Pimentas - finished product.  Hot!!

Is this the right trail?

With Juliana, the new bride

Karina and Maximilliano

The newlyweds, Roger and Juliana

Nobody has keys to the church

Photo op with the newlyweds

President Torres and his wife, Carolina

Visiting Olibio de Souza and his wife at the hospital

Waiting at the church for a zone meeting

January 12, 2015

Oi!  Elder Shirley describes our week as a “sloppy, sweaty” week!  It has been hot and humid with thunderstorms every day.  Most days the temps have been in the 90’s.  But even on days like Monday, when the temperature was 88F, the weather report said that with the humidity it felt like 99F.  One day the sky was pretty scary looking.  We ran into Maximiliano and Karina on the street and they told us that a funnel cloud had been spotted.  People all around were stopping to take pictures of the sky.  We have also had some real downpours and have been caught in some of those gulley washers.  We have had to carry umbrellas every day. Although with the winds, it has been a challenge to keep them from turning inside out.   The forecast for the upcoming week is for more of the same.  Although we still walk a lot, we are glad that we have our bus cards and can ride as often as we do.  One of the storms caused a power outage in some areas of the city when the wind blew a tree down on a power line.  We were lucky.  Our power stayed on.  But the four Sisters and Elder Buhler and Gorham lost power.  The Elders lost water for a time too and had to come to our apartment to take their Saturday showers! 

We have had some good visits this week.  We hadn’t seen José for a couple of weeks.  So it was good to see him again.  And Artur still hasn’t found his dog, Bola.   But we got to meet his new friend, a cat he has named, Elder.  We discovered that “Elder” should really be named “Sister”.  She is a friendly kitty and has a good “motor” when she finds a lap to sit in.  So she joins our discussions now.  Artur has been tired this week.  He says it is because of so much work.  He is always repairing something for someone.  But we had a good discussion with him.  We told him about President Monson’s message about “The Bismark” from the priesthood session of General Conference and tied it into setting goals as well as the power of the priesthood.  This has turned out to be a good message that we have shared in several homes this past week.  Our goal for this next while is just to visit and support the leaders of the branches and to visit those who have been missing Sunday meetings and seem to need an extra help.  We also enjoy being able to teach some lessons to follow up new- member baptisms. 

One day Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham called.  Olíbio, a relative of a member from Santa Cruz, was visiting and had a tree fall on him.  He had some head injuries and was in the hospital about to have surgery.  He was requesting a blessing.  So we met the Elders at the hospital and they were able to give a blessing.  Elder Shirley and I returned the next day to see how the surgery went.  Olíbio was in good spirits and doing better.  His wife was there with him.  They seemed happy to see us and we had a nice visit.  They seem like very good people.  They live in a town some distance away that doesn’t have the church in it yet.  But we hope there will be a way to get the gospel message to them.  They seem very receptive.

President Castro, Sister Castro and their son, Lucas, came to town this week.  A couple of assistants came with them for a Zone meeting.  All 12 missionaries from our Zone met with them for instruction and interviews and a blessing for some.  We always love to meet with President and Sister Castro.  He will be released as mission president in June of this year.  President Swensen was mission president when our mission call was first issued.  We had the opportunity to visit with him and his wife several times on the phone as well as at our home after his release as mission president.  President Swensen was instrumental in us getting called to Brazil.  We feel grateful to him.  And we have really loved President Castro.  He is a spiritually powerful leader.  You can really feel it in his presence.  He is also kind and caring.  He will be missed in the mission.  So we will be on our third president!  Except that we will go home before the new mission president actually arrives.  President Castro told us that he will make the announcement as to who his replacement will be in March.  Since our zone meeting, however, we have seen the announcement on the internet about the new mission presidents.  It is hard to keep a secret now days!   (But we aren’t telling anyone!)

It was another wedding week!  We love attending weddings!  This was the marriage of a couple in the Cachoiera branch, Roger and Juliana.  The ceremony was held in the chapel and the reception at another nearby location.  Fortunately, the rain held off for this event!  There were a lot of people in attendance, music and a nice meal including a churrasco!  President Torres and his wife, Carolina, gave us a ride to the reception and then home afterwards. He has been President of the District for 10 years.   We really love this couple.  It was fun to sit at the table with them.  President Torres has a business, the Wizard, teaching English.  So when we visit with them, we speak a mix of English, Portuguese and Spanish (as they are from Peru).  Carolina is learning English as I am learning Portuguese.  It was a fun time!

Sunday was a marathon day for Elder Shirley.  Since it is summer, a lot of people go out of town to the praia (the beach).  It is vacation time here in Brazil!  Several leaders in the branch are out of town.  That means that leaders fall back on the missionaries a little more.  Elder Shirley had the opportunity of speaking on Sunday in two different branches, Marina and União, on two different subjects. It was tricky to keep track of which talk was for which branch.  He did a great job!  Sister Foutz also got recruited to speak in the União branch.  Elder Buhler was recruited to lead the music the last minute.  Good for missionary minute men (and women)! 

A few Christmas cards just caught up with us.  It was a real treat to receive them.  We like to think of Christ every day of the year too, not just on Christmas!  We are so appreciative of those who took time to send cards.  They are a boost to us!  It is so nice to hear from friends!

So we are just spending our time seeking out those who need a visit.  Before our mission, Elder Shirley dreamed of a trail in Brazil that led to someone that really needed a visit.  So every trail that we come across that looks like the one in Elder Shirley’s dream, we take.  We always ask ourselves if this is the same trail, the right trail.  And actually, any trail that leads to someone wanting to hear the gospel message is the right trail!  Right?   But we keep looking and wondering! 

Happy trails to all!  We miss you!  We love you! 
Eu te amo!

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog, Elder and Sister Shirley! I am Elder Gorham's mother and I love the pictures you take of Elder Gorham. You can see why I miss that smile so much. Thank you for taking care of my dear son. His dad and I mis him so much. May the Lord bless you in all that you are doing.