Sunday, March 15, 2015

Everything Will Work Out

Bus station on transfer day

Another puppy for Artur:  "Lobo"

Artur playing the guitar

Cake at the birthday party

Dusk from our veranda

Elder Shirley made milkshakes for everyone on P-day

Goodbyes on transfer day are never easy!

A great dinner with Luciano's family

Great food on a hot, humid day

Leticia:  celebrating her 15th birthday

Leticia changing to grown-up shoes at Festa dos 15 anos party with her Dad's help

New restaurant in the neighborhood

Our table at the birthday party

P-day at our place with the sisters on their last day together before transfers

Pretty view looking out of Jose's door

Samirtza and Lorena making "pastels"

Samirtza at her candy shop "Cacao Show"

Samirtza, Daniel and family and grandma Lorena

Sunday dinner with Luciano's parents

The new district following transfers - only 3 who speak English counting us!

These three are leaving:  Elder Freeman (MO), Elder Gorham (CA) and Sister Harrick (CA)

Young Women from the branch at the party

March 16, 2015

It seems like the less time there is left, the faster time goes.  Maybe it is because we are trying to fit in all that we can in the remaining time.  We have faith that “everything will work out”.

The Sisters came to our place on P-day for lunch and to send pics home. It was a fun afternoon!   It was a little bittersweet as it is transfer time once again.  Sister Harrick (CA), Elder Freeman (MO), and Elder Gorham (CA) were transferred this week to other areas.  Including Elder Campbell, who went home, we lost four English speakers.  We now have a new group consisting of six from Brazil, one from Argentina, one from Chile, and one from Peru and three of from the USA.  Missionaries here in Cachoeira now are Elder Costa (BR) and Elder Purificação (BR) in the Marina Branch.  Missionaries in the Uniâo branch are Sister Saavedra (Peru) and Sister Cabajero (Argentina), and Sister Oliveira (BR) and Sister Carvalho (BR).  Elders in the Cachoeira branch are Elder da Silva (BR) and Elder Mackay (Boise, ID!!)   Caçapava Elders are Elder Latorre (Chile) and Elder Soares (BR).  Elder Soares served in Cachoeira a few months ago with Elder Buhler.  We are excited to have him back!  We like this Elder a lot! We are always glad that we ourselves can remain here in Cachoeira.  We will have been here for the entire 18 months of our mission.  We love Cachoeira and the people here!  It has been a wonderful experience to serve here. Unlike the young missionaries, we have had the opportunity to serve in all three branches of Uniâo, Marina, and Cachoeira.   

We had some requests from the missionaries to see them off at the bus depot, so we did.  It is never easy to say goodbye.  But besides some tears, we see excitement and new energy.  As always, the new group looks like a great group!  It is also a bit sobering for us as this is the last transfer that we will be here to witness.

We met with Gabriele and Thais again this week to help prepare Thais for her baptismal interview with President Glauber on Sunday and to make sure that they had a plan to wake up on Sunday and get themselves to church. We wanted to be sure they felt good about everything. We were worried after last week when Gabriele and Thais slept in and missed church and the interview.  The baptism had to be postponed a week. We wanted to be sure that they understood how important it was to be to church on Sunday for the interview.   Family is good to support one another.  They all assured us that they would help each other get to church on Sunday. We also had a good visit with Claudia and Natália at the home of Claudia.  Claudia walked us out and quietly explained to us some of her concerns about her family and her wish for them to turn their life around.  She asked us to join her in prayer this week for them as well as for her as she is still trying to quit smoking.  She has a lot of faith in prayer. She expressed her testimony to us and told us that she knew that things would work out!

Anyway, Thais’ baptism is set for Saturday, March 21, at 2 pm. Elder has been asked to do the baptizing.  We were delighted when Gabriele and Thais came to church on Sunday!!  This was the first time for Gabriele.  She had been really hesitant.  But she came!  Thais went in for her interview.  Gabriele joined her later to help fill out paperwork.  Exciting!  Juliana came too.  Claudia had a bad headache and didn’t come.  That was the first Sunday in several weeks that she has missed.  Natália stayed home with her.  Debra has yet to come.  Carla and Iná (the great grandma) were all there too.  They are all planning on coming to the baptism on Saturday and singing the special musical number, “Secreta Oraçao” (Secret Prayer).  We are looking forward to this!  Since Thais is eight years old, this will count as a branch baptism, not a new convert baptism.  Can’t wait to see it actually happen!  It will be a big weekend coming up.

It’s been a long time since we visited with Nilson from our English class.  He works in a store just down the street from us.  We stopped by to say hi and he told us that he had been watching all of the Mormon Moment videos that we had given him and would like more.  We plan on getting him some more and also hope to get the missionaries in the visit them.  The challenge will be finding a time when Nilson and his girlfriend are home.  Between work and school at nights, they are gone a lot.  He also requested that the missionaries visit in his home and not Carla’s as her parents are strong in their Lutheran faith.  We are hopeful things will work out with him too.

We had good visits with others.  We are still working on our list of people who need visits and lessons before we leave.  We seem to be adding to that list as people keep giving us more names of people they would like to see us visit.  We wonder if we will be able to get through the list.  But it is fun trying. 

Artur seemed anxious for us to visit this week.  He surprised us with some guitar playing when we arrived.  He was fixing a guitar for a neighbor.  He actually plays well.  As far as baptism goes, we don’t know if things will work out before we leave.  He is still coming to church each Sunday and seems to really enjoy the visits from the missionaries, us as well as the young Elders.  President Glauber calls him the eternal investigator.  We have hopes that things will eventually work out!  He also had another cute little puppy that he named “Lobo”.

We were happy to hear on Sunday that Elder Costa and Elder Purificação were able to give the first lesson to Rosangela and Julio and family.  Julio actually helped with the lesson.  We hope to see Roseangela, Julian, and Emanuele baptized.  Emanuele turns eight in May.  We hope everything will work out!  We visited there too.  Julian turned 11 on Monday.  We gave him the illustrated children’s version of the “Stories of the Book of Mormon”. 

Nelson, the pan-maker was at church on Sunday.  He told us he had another one of his dreams.  His dream indicated to him that he had better go to church.  We need to pay him a visit this week to get the details. 

Turning 15 years old is a big deal for girls in Brazil.  Families hold big celebrations for the occasion.  Some of them are pretty big celebrations.  We were invited to attend the “festa dos 15 anos” for Leticia, a young lady in the Marina branch.  It was fun and very interesting.  She looked beautiful.  They held it in a large hall.  It was decorated beautifully.  They had lots of food and music.  Everything was in purple!  Family each took turns talking about Leticia.  It was fun to hear her story.  She was adopted by Alves and Lucimar.  When Lucimar was expecting, Alves dreamed that they would have a girl.  He saw her in his dreams.  But they were surprised when they had another boy.  It was only a short time later that they were surprised with an unexpected opportunity to adopt Leticia when she was only one day old.  They knew that she was meant to be in their family!  It was a touching story and so fun to see the celebration.  It was particularly interesting to see her father help her change from simple flat shoes to her grown up high heels!  It was a touching tradition.  But it was a late night for a couple of old missionaries like us. As it was a long ways from our apartment, we had to catch a bus.  On Saturdays, buses are few and far between.  We found ourselves wandering some dark neighborhoods looking for bus stops, etc.  But things worked out!

We had two invitations to Sunday dinner this week.  Although we visited Luciano and his family last week, he sought us out early in the week and told us that we just had to come to Sunday dinner and try out his mom’s cooking.  We accepted the invitation.  He was right!  His mom is an excellent cook.  We had chicken, rice and feijoada, and all of the trimmings.  They are all so nice to us.  They had a table that seated four.  They had us fill our plates first.  Then one by one, his mom called in the rest of the family.  She filled their plates and they went to eat in other parts of the house.  I hope we left enough food for everyone that followed us.  It was a really nice lunch!

We received another invitation to Sunday dinner mid-week.  We have been trying to set up an appointment with Daniel and Samirtza and their family.  She is a fairly new member.  Daniel comes from an active family.  He was Elder’s Quorum President earlier.  But recently, they have fallen into inactivity.  Work seems to have gotten in the way.  Samirtza works at the chocolate store, “Cacâo Show” (Chocolate Show).  We like to visit her at work, of course!  The smell is heavenly.  They have a chocolate waterfall!  She is super busy with Easter coming up.  She took our phone number and said that she would call when they had time to see us which would probably be after Easter.   (Yeah, right!)  But to our surprise, she called a couple of days after our visit and wanted us to come to Sunday dinner.  We couldn’t do dinner, but we scheduled a visit Sunday evening.

Bus systems were shut down for 1 ½ hours late afternoon on Sunday.  They were having a “manifestação” or protest in downtown Cachoeira, right in front of our apartment.  There were people on foot, bikes, in cars, trucks and tractors and on horseback.  They honked horns and carried signs and flags calling for the impeachment of Dilma, the woman who is President of Brazil, because of what they view as corruption in the government.  Buses were at a standstill. 
Fortunately the demonstration was over in time for us to catch a bus to visit Daniel and Samirtza and family.  They were very welcoming.  Samirtza, along with Lorena (the grandma who is very active in the branch as well as very musical), made “pastels” for us.  We had a really nice visit with this good family.  They have a lot going on in their lives.  They both have daytime jobs, working 6-7 days a week.  They both go to school at nights also.  Fortunately, both grandmas live very close and help with the two young children.  They will finish school in a year or two and hope to be able to have more time then.  We think that they both have pretty firm testimonies but they really need to find a way to get back to church.  We hope they can find a way to make everything work.  They gave us a ride home which saved us from walking in the dark again.  We really enjoyed our visit with them.

There have been some hot, humid days this week.  A couple of days have probably been as hot and humid and miserable as any we have experienced so far. Or maybe it is because we have been out walking a lot.  But it seems that summer is not letting go yet!  Although the temptation is great to stay in by the air conditioner, we have felt motivated to get out and visit.  How else will everything “work out”?

Hope everything is working out for all of you!  We continue to miss all of you.  You are in our thoughts and prayers!  We love you!

Eu te amo! 

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