Monday, January 26, 2015

Loving Those You Serve

Elder H. Silva in skater hat we gave him

Artur's new puppy

Banana splits at last meeting before transfers

Elder H. Silva (Brazil) and companion Elder Campbell (Oregon)

Elder Buhler (Texas) and his companion Elder Gorham (California)

Elder Gorham (California) and Elder H. Silva (Brazil)

Elder LaTorre (Peru), Sister Costa (Brazil) and Elder Freeman (Missouri)

Flowers along the trail

Gelson & Rosi's daughter Fran (almost 2 years old now!)

Elder Campbell (Oregon) - good to the last drop!

Chips and guacamole on the veranda

Leaving a note for Gilmar and Luana

"Night of the Marrieds" - sharing some chimarrao

More "Night of the Marrieds" with chimarrao being passed around

Sister Harrick (California) and Elder H. Silva

Sister Harrick (California), Elder H. Silva (Brazil), Elder Buhler (Texas), Sister Foutz (Colorado) with camera

Sunrise from our apartment

January 26, 2015

It’s been another busy, but good, week.  We have spent a bit of time pondering how you come to love those that you serve and those that you serve with.  We care about them.  We worry about them.  As we look back a year, we realize how things have changed.  We now know people more personally and are more aware of some of the difficulties in their lives.  We have seen some of their struggles throughout the year.  We seem to worry more if they aren’t at church or if they miss an appointment.  We worry if we are helping and supporting them as much as we should be and in the way that they need.  Time is getting short for us to make a difference. 

We love the young Elders and Sisters serving here in Cachoeira too.  Once again, we are reluctant to see another transfer day come.  Transfer day is next Tuesday.  This week, we celebrated our last District Meeting together with a good lesson, practice, goodies and gifts.   We took the “fixins” for banana splits and others brought cookies.  We made some strawberry topping from fresh strawberries which resembled strawberry freezer jam and seemed to bring back memories of home for several of the U.S. missionaries.  We also made hot fudge sauce.   We had drawn names for a “secret friend” and had brought gifts to exchange.  We took lots of pictures too.  They will get the news about transfers sometime Monday morning.  Most of them have talked to us about stopping by on Monday for a visit and a possible goodbye. They are all good missionaries!  We love them all!

 The Uniaõ branch held a “Noite dos Casais” (Night of Marrieds).  So we spent a bit of time early in the week issuing invitations.  And there was a good turnout which included a couple of non-members.  They had each couple recall memories of what we considered our greatest treasure or blessing at the time of our marriage.  So it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for everyone.  It was fun to hear of everyone’s hopes and wishes and experiences in their marriages.  It was followed up by hot dogs.  It turned out to be a late night though.  They didn’t get around to the hot dogs until almost 10 pm.  We left before the hot dogs were served.  Also, we had been to visit Renato, the hot dog man, in the park earlier in the evening and had one of his hot dogs.  On the way home, we came across some other friends who sell hot dogs out of their van.  We had to turn them down too.  Elder Shirley said it was a “Three-Dog Night”! (or “could have been”).

The visit with Julio and Roseangela and family was especially good this week.  Julio’s attitude seemed to have softened.  He hasn’t had a Doctrine and Covenants and has been requesting one.  So we took it this week and had a nice discussion about it with them.  Julio told us that he would like to see his 10-year old son, Julian, be baptized soon and not wait for Julio, himself, to be prepared to do it. And his daughter will be 8 in May.   He was also in hopes that Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham won’t be transferred. We think he would like them to be here for Julian’s baptism.  In fact, he asked us for President Castro’s email so he could write him and request that these Elders be left in Cachoeira for one more transfer.  Funny!  Guess we will see what kind of influence Julio has as we are afraid that Elder Buhler is due for a transfer.   Although Julian has been to church, he needs to start coming again.  Julio told us that the family would be to church on Sunday.  The Elders, as well as us, were disappointed when they didn’t show.

We caught up to Elisa again and gave her a lesson about the Articles of Faith (Regras de Fé).  We do worry about that girl as she didn’t come to church again this Sunday.  Artur got a lesson about the Articles of Faith also.  Happily, he did come to church!  We also gave the same lesson to José.  He hardly ever makes it to church as his health isn’t too good (unless the branch sends a bus around).    But he enjoys discussing the gospel and his reading of the Book of Mormon.  He sits out in front of his home, scriptures in hand, waiting for us.  So we continue to visit him.  He is an inactive member and regular, young missionaries probably wouldn’t continue to visit.  But we feel that it is a good thing for us to do.  As a married couple, our calling is a little different. We feel good about continuing our visits with him.

Claudia and her daughter, Juliana, were home when we stopped by to tell them we had waited for them at church and had missed them. It was a short, but sweet visit.  We also talked briefly with them about the Articles of Faith.  Juliana told us that she had once had them memorized.  They are such a nice family!  They told us again how much they had enjoyed the Family Home Evening with us last week and that they had all really meant it when they had told us that they would be to church.  They said, “But then Sunday came and nobody went!”  We recognize that the first time back has to be hard.  They invited us for another FHE this next week and requested that we talk about forgiveness with the family.  Claudia told us that her daughters worry about coming back to church with their extensive tattoos.  They worry what people will think about them.  The daughters are beautiful and so sweet.  Our hearts went out to them!  We really love this family and hope we can present a message that will help them.  We found a good Mormon Message called “New Years:  Look Not Behind Thee” based on the scripture in Genesis 19:17 about Lot’s wife. We also saw an article about a Mormon girl with tattoos.  It looked good too.  We know the “Prodigal Son” video is so good too.  We want to remind them that not a one of us is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  We are pondering!  Hopefully, we can come up with something that will help them feel better about themselves.  That’s our big challenge for the week.  We spent a bit of time researching scriptures, lessons, etc. 

The rest of the week was filled up with Branch meetings, more visits, helping the Elders with English class, studying, etc.  There is always plenty to do.  And we pray that we are doing it right!
Our thoughts and prayers are also with you at home!  Hope you are all healthy and happy!  We love you!

Eu te amo!

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