Monday, April 6, 2015

A Long Way to Go and a Short Time to Get There

Lunch with President Samuel and Viviane

All of these senior missionaries are going home soon: Shirley's, Burnett's and Sister Ataidas

Easter bunny at our favorite chocolate shop

Elders Latorre and Purificacao:  no water in apartment, looking for some at ours

Helping tie a member's tie at conference broadcast

Lunch at the mission conference

Sisters Saavedra, Caballero, Foutz

Sisters Oliveira, Costa, Carvalho

Renato with a fat lip

Van ride home after conference - nobody was tired!

Lunch with President and Sister Castro

Van ride home after the conference

Van ride to lunch at a nice restaurant

April 6, 2015

This week the words to a song kind of express how we are feeling:  “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there!” It kind of expresses the feelings that we have.  We have a lot that we have hoped to accomplish before we go home and not much time left to do it.  Two weeks from today, we will be released as missionaries! 

We spent time this week visiting and delivering the little cards “Because He Lives” (#PorqueEleVive) and talking about the message of Easter.  We had some nice visits.  Easter is celebrated in a big way here.  Friday was a holiday.  Everything was closed.  We hadn’t anticipated that.  But we didn't starve either.  Stores opened again on Saturday, which surprised us.  We thought they might be closed all weekend.  And, of course, we loved General Conference.  We met in the Cachoeira chapel to view the broadcast on Saturday and Sunday.  Sunday evening, halfway through the afternoon session of conference (which began at 5 pm for us), there was a deluge of rain and also wind.  We lost power.  They ended up just saying a closing prayer and sending us all home.  We have to catch the end of conference later.  It was a dramatic ending for the last time that we will have the opportunity to view conference in Brazil!
It was a nice visit with Thais and her mom, Gabriele, this week.  They seemed happy to see us.  Gabriele never did explain why she missed Thais’ confirmation.  And we didn't push it.  Her main concern was that we would be going home soon.  She really wants to be sure that they will continue to have missionaries come!  She says that they need to be strengthened!  She said that all missionaries seem to have a special spirit about them.  We felt glad that she recognizes and wants that.  Our concern, also, is that missionaries will continue to visit.  We also had a nice visit with Claudia and Natália.  Claudia is making progress in her struggle to quit smoking!  This entire family has a lot of potential and is making such good progress.  We know that we will continue to worry about them!

We had an interesting visit with Artur.  In our efforts try to strengthen him in all areas, we decided to give the lesson on chastity.   When Elder told Artur he wanted to discuss this “delicate” topic, Artur told us to go ahead because it didn't bother him!  We had a good and frank discussion with him.  In closing, we prayed for him to have courage to do what was right.  We pray for that pretty much every week. He seems to take note of that and sometimes prays for courage himself when it’s his turn to pray. It evidently reminded him of a poem that he had learned in his youth called “A Coragem” by Olavo Bilac (Olavo Bilac is also the name of a street here in Cachoeira).    During the week he had taken the time to write the poem out as well as he could remember it.  He wasn't completely sure about it and asked us to look it up on the internet if we could.  It was a nice poem, but not one that we were familiar with.  However, we found it on the internet.  It will be fun to compare it with him on our next visit.  He also wanted to discuss guns with Elder Shirley.  We covered quite a variety of topics with him this week.  He wasn't feeling too well when we arrived.  But had perked up by the time we left.

We finally caught Julio home with Rosangela and family this week.  The kids were out of school for Easter break. We were glad.  We love these kids! Paperwork is still not completed for them to get married before we go home.  But Julio agreed to the next best thing.  We have an actual appointment with Julie and Rosangela next Saturday to take a picture of Julio down on one knee, proposing to Rosangela.  He told us that we can take a picture, but we can’t leave a picture with Rosangela because she might use it against him in the future.  Actually, we think he might be afraid that she will say no!  She says, “We will see!”  It should be fun.   

Mission conference was held this week.  They divided the mission up into four areas and it was our turn this week. We, along with the young Elders and Sisters who serve here in Cachoeira took an early morning van ride to Porto Alegre.  They picked us up at 5:15 am.   It was a good conference, as usual.  They always give missionaries who are going home the opportunity to bear their testimony to the group.  It was hard to believe that our turn to do that had arrived! It is something that kind of looms over you the entire mission.  They gave each of us 3 minutes.  It was also hard to believe that both Elder and Sister Shirley got flagged that time was up!  Every one of the senior missionaries serving here in POA do sul mission will be going home before the next conference.  There were also quite a number of young missionaries going home.  It was a pretty emotional meeting.  We are glad to have that over though. It was another thing checked off of our list of “to dos” before we leave. Although they didn't give their farewell testimonies yet, President and Sister Castro will be released the end of June.  So there will be lots of changes.  It was a nice, but long day.  We didn't get home until 11 pm.
We reached one of our goals this week.  It was a challenge from President Castro to read the Book of Mormon before the end of June.  It was our personal goal to complete our reading of it before we go home. We were thrilled to reach that goal this week!   We have already read it once since we have been here in Brazil.  In fact, we started to read it before we left home for Brazil.  A good nephew suggested that doing that might help with the language!  He was right! The reading went much faster this time through.  It has become a very enjoyable habit each evening to take turns reading out loud in Portuguese. We have looked forward to that each day.  We hated to come to the end.  It is a habit we want to continue!    

Although we are nearing the end of this “época”, we realize it also signifies the beginning of another for us.  Life is full of beginnings and endings.  We are thrilled with a couple of grandkids who will be experiencing “beginnings” in their lives.  Marissa will be getting married in the Ogden, Utah, temple two days after we get home.  She will be our first grandchild to be married.  And we were fortunate enough to be able to witness (thanks to modern technology) Josh opening his mission call.  He will soon begin serving in the Czech/Slovak mission, speaking Czech.  Josh will be our first grandchild to serve a mission.  We look forward to being a part of these wonderful experiences.  Wonderful beginnings for a couple of good grandkids!  We are grateful for all of our wonderful family and look forward to reuniting with them!  However, we still have a couple of weeks left in our mission.  We hope to be able to put it to good use.  We really do have a “long ways to go and a short time to get there”! 

Love you all!  Be safe and happy wherever you may be this week!
Eu te amo!

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