Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Treasure These Things Up in Your Hearts

Artur in his white shirt and tie at church

Alair, Lisi and family

Elder Campbell (Oregon) and a happy Vera

Elder Campbell (Oregon) and Elder H. Silva (Brazil) with Vera and her husband

The end of a hot day

English class with Elders Gorham and Buhler

FHE with Claudia and three of her daughters

Good food with Alair and Lisi

Julio and young son Fernando

Lesson with Eliza

P-day milkshakes with Elders Gorham and Buhler at our place

Renato, the hot dog guy is back!

Vera ready to be baptized

View from our apartment late on a hot day

January 19, 2015

It’s been a busy week.  Sometimes we have literally had to run to catch a bus to get to an appointment on time.  Sometimes we have had to miss a meeting (like the branch council) because we have been double- booked.  We went to bed every night feeling like we didn’t get to everyone that we wanted to get to.  That is the way it seems to be every day, every week, and we suppose that it will be that same way at the end of our mission.  But we have had some very good experiences too.  We are reminded of a scripture that we read in one of our recent missionary meetings in D & C 43:34:  “Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.”  That is kind of the way we have felt this week.  We are having great experiences, but it is a serious business that we are about. 

We have had some really hot days this week.  January is typically one of the hottest months of the year.  It also rains a lot in January.  We have had both rain and sun this past week.  We had days in the 90’s.  The weather report said that with the humidity, it felt like 107 F.  We believed it!  It was so hot that we left sweat prints on the benches at the bus stops (and we don’t mean fingerprints).  We also have had some really heavy downpours of rain along with thunder and lightning.  We rarely left the apartment without our umbrellas.  But leave the apartment, we did!  A sister from one of the branches, was complaining about the heat and said “You don’t leave the apartment when it is that hot do you?”  Yes we do!  A motto we hear from a lot of the missionaries is “There is no excuse!”  One advantage of it being so hot is that we now have hot water in our kitchen sink.  Normally we don’t.  We have a holding tank for water on top of our apartment building.  When the weather is hot, the water in that holding tank is pre-heated.  It comes out of the kitchen faucet pretty warm now.  Nice for doing dishes!  And our shower water hardly needs to be heated at all.
Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham stopped by on P-day to use computers to send pictures home.  They brought ice cream with them.  So we made milk shakes.  We thought that was very thoughtful of them! 

Iná is an older member of the Marina branch.  She and her married daughter, Karla, are very active members.  Karla is married to Elpídio who is a counselor in the branch presidency.  But Iná has a daughter, Claudia, who is inactive and has gone through a tough divorce.  This week we had a wonderful family home evening with Claudia.   She also invited her daughters.  By the end of the evening, all four daughters (Juliana, Gabriela, Natalía, and Debra) showed up, along with a couple of grandkids.  It was a full-blown family home evening with songs, lesson, games, and treats.  It was really fun.  For an opening song, we sang “I am a Child of God”.  Most of them knew the words and sang along with tears in their eyes.   They had requested a lesson on the family.  We had a short lesson and also showed a few short videos from the Mormon channel about the importance of the family and the Plan of Salvation.   We finished by playing our favorite Brazilian game, Escravos de Jó, with the new twist we learned.  Some of them knew the game.  Some didn’t.  But everyone participated, even Iná, who showed up just after the lesson.   It was a small house, with the bed in the center of the room.  We all gathered around the bed, or on it, to play the game.  It really was fun! We had told them that we would bring treats.  (We brought fudge jumbles.)  As a surprise for us, they had prepared sandwiches and drinks.  It was such a fun.  They welcomed us so nicely.  We left with good feelings and promises to come to church.  They really did seem to be touched by the Spirit.  But Sunday rolled around and they didn’t come to church.  We were disappointed.  We know they had good intentions.  Guess we just keep trying.

Elivelton and Bruna are now in their own home since their marriage.  They invited us to come visit them in their new home and resume the follow-up lessons for baptism.  They told us they had missed us.  So we prepared a big bag of “kettle corn” to take and a lesson on the priesthood.  It had been a rainy day.  But the rain quit just as it was time for us to leave for their place.  When we got there, they were gone!  They had forgotten and decided to run to the grocery store as there was a break in the rain.  We were disappointed, but we will try again. 

We have also had trouble catching up with Eliza, the 15 year old girl who was recently baptized.  Elder Buhler and Elder Gorham had asked us to do the follow-up lessons.  We stopped by on a whim one day and caught her home.  We only stayed a minute.  (Her step-mom was there and obviously not thrilled to see us.) But we made an appointment for the next day.  The next day, we came well with scripture book marks for her, visual aids, etc.  We even had framed the photo of her baptism by Elder Buhler.  We wrote her baptism date and a brief message on the back of the picture.  That is a special day we don’t want her to forget.  (She doesn’t have any support at home.)  The lesson went well.  And the step mom didn’t seem to mind too much.  Eliza also promised to come to church on Sunday.  But the difficulty for her is that she doesn’t have a way.  We don’t think they have much money for the bus.  Before baptism, President Glauber would pick her up for church.  But since baptism, she is kind of on her own to find a way.  Most people in that neighborhood ride the bus.  So it is a problem.  Also, Eliza is out of school for summer vacation.  Lots of people take vacation time during January and go to the beach or somewhere.  Eliza told us that she had plans to visit a sister who lived out of town sometime during the month.   We hope we can catch up with her again soon.  We will keep trying.  We feel the importance of doing that! 

It was a good visit with Artur.  He now has a puppy, thanks to Elders Buhler and Gorham.  They found a stray puppy and gave it to Artur.  It is a really cute, nice puppy.  Artur seems really taken with it too.  We had a good lesson with Artur on the priesthood.  He is a real family guy.  He often breaks down and cries when talking about family.  At church on Sunday, he wore a tie for the first time. We had given him the tie and the shirt.  He also told President Glauber that he was “coming along”.  We were happy to hear that.

We had a really nice evening at the home of Alair and Lisi and their two kids and the mother of Alair.  They are an active family.  We just want to give them some support.  We like this family a lot.  Alair is one of the first branch members we met when we arrived in Cachoeira.  He sought us out on the street.  We had prepared a lesson about setting goals and about the priesthood.  Even though we had told them that we wanted to come after their evening meal and just do a lesson, they insisted on feeding us too.  They were just starting preparations when we arrived at 7:30 pm.  Alair cornered Elder Shirley to talk “music”.  Alair performs in a band.  Sister Shirley helped Lisi in the kitchen.  Afterwards, we had a nice lesson, but it was a late night.  (It usually is when we visit them.  Don’t know how to get around that.)  They live far out in Promorar.  We had to wait a long time for a bus. 

It was busy all week.  We had other nice visits with people like José, Julio and Roseangela and family.  We had district meetings, helped with English class again (which included two non-members), and attended a baptism in the Cachoeira branch.  We also were happy to see that Renato, the hot-dog vendor, had returned to the park after a several month absence.  He had his leg broken after his motorbike fell on him.  We have missed this nice guy.  He acted happy to see us too.  We think the whole city has missed him as well as his hot dogs.  He seems to be very well respected by everyone in the city.  (He only sets up his hot dog stand in the evenings.)  His wife also has a restaurant.  We have talked to him a couple of times this week as we have been walking through the park on our way to appointments.   He told us that while he has been laid up with his foot, he had read all of the Liahonas that we had given him and that he would like more.  He also lost his mother during this time.  He said he couldn’t find our phone number, but had wished we could have been there to speak at the funeral.  He told us that we looked like angels.  When Elder told him that he possibly needed to clean his glasses, Renato said that he was not seeing us with his eyes, but with his heart.  (He is a member, but has been inactive for about 30 years).  We had a good visit with him and plan to get back soon with more Liahonas and church videos.  And a hot dog might be nice too.  They are probably the best in the city.  People here like hot dogs! 

So it has been a good week.  We have worked hard, but we feel good.  It feels good to do good!  It feels good to be good!  We continue to have great experiences.  We try to “treasure these things up in our hearts”, but we also feel the responsibility that rests upon us as missionaries.  We hope it has been a good week for each of you!  We miss you bunches!  We love you lots!

Eu te amo! 

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