Monday, October 22, 2012

A week of Hosting and being Hosted

We started off our P-Day with some wash and intent to shop for storage/filing type furniture to use for books and paper in the office.  We got an early morning phone call saying that the Elders would be needing someone to meet them at the bus stop and help be with them as one would leave and another be left alone for a period of time.  What ended up happening is.... We visited with Elders Smith and Reeves until Elder Reeves left just as Elder Een got off the late bus and he and his companion, Elder Smith were stuck at 11:30 a.m. waiting for a 4:00 p.m. bus to Irati.  Soooooo .... We had the Elders over for lunch.  Did I tell you that Elder Een came off the bus with a guitar, 3 pieces of luggage and a backpack?  They gladly walked the mile to our apartment.  We spent a few hours getting to know them, cooking lunch, listening to some great primary songs with background guitar accompaniment and learning about Elders Een and Smith.  They both have musical backgrounds. Elder Smith was a drum major for an Idaho Band at the same competition in Idaho where AF performed and then had a tragic bus accident.  Elder Een is from Ivins in southern Utah.  When they found out we had internet, they stayed a little longer to e-mail their reports to President Cordon and then e-mail their families before they were off to Irati.  

We had seen several churches in our walks and decided to get photos on Friday, October 12th when everything was closed for the holiday here. 

We took our own bus ride on Tuesday the 16th.  Upon arriving we then took a long taxi ride to the apartment of Brother and Sister Beihn (pronounced Bean).  They were so gracious and fed us many meals during our stay. Sister Beihn is dealing with a broken foot and is apartment bound until they leave for home next month.  They gave us many helpful hints, showed us apps for the i-pad, gave us three keyboards to take for me to teach piano lessons to the members, and took us to the mission office for supplies. Tuesday afternoon was pretty open so we attended our second temple session  in Curitiba after another long taxi ride. We were again the witness couple.  They do not get many couples during their sessions.  Elder Heppworth was very kind to me in the Celestial Room and urged me to be patient about learning the language.

Wednesday we went to the mission office in the morning but the afternoon was taken by a rather long bus ride to the Policia Federal to get permission to stay in the country.  Elder Valdez very patiently shepherded us through our bus ride, paperwork, fingerprinting, and return to the mission office.  On the way back we had a copy of the paperwork notarized to be sent to Sao Paulo for safe keeping. That stop took over an hour and we ran errands while waiting for a number to come up.  Then we arrived at the mission office to have our papers laminated and had some laughs with the office Elders as they wrapped our hard won paper work around the laminating machine.  After much time and taking the machine apart, they pried the papers off the machine, peeled the laminate off, re-laminated the somewhat shredded papers and then reheated them and they don't look too bad!

We finally got back to Beihns for a late supper and preparation for an early morning (5:30 a.m.) taxi ride to the bus station for a bus ride to Ponta Grossa for the Regional Missionary training conference.  I was supposed to play the piano but when we arrived at the station the bus had gone at 6 a.m. instead of 6:30. We called ahead to let the Zone leaders know we might be late.  We were able to make the bus ride in record time, get a tax, and walk into the chapel at Ponta Grossa just as the meeting was to begin.  We prayed, sang an opening song, and heard our names announced as bearing testimony as the program began. I took a deep breath and bore the limited testimony that I can in Portuguese. Elder Godoy was very kind in giving me encouragement as John spoke.  I later sat by Elder Godoy at lunch and he told me that he travels all we to teach at mission training and weekends for stake conferences.  He commented that it is a very lonely calling as his wife does not travel with him.

After a really terrific luncheon we loaded our suitcase, three keyboards, our temple distribution center purchases (mine included a scripture carrying case -- all they had was a primary one -- so mine is red, yellow and blue!), and ourselves in the van with our Zone to travel back to Prudentopolis. We had a really fun group of Elders with us---The sister missionaries were transferred out on Monday--- so no more sisters in our Zone for awhile.

We ended the week with heavy rain storms here.  Friday after we had laundered all our dirty clothes, we headed off to try and find an open Papaleria, paper store, where we could laminated things I had prepared for Primary. We had also made a contact earlier in the week that we wanted to stop and visit.  It stored raining a little and was quite overcast.  Our walk was out in the direction of the bus station about a mile away. We took our papers and umbrellas and headed out.  The laminating took awhile and it was raining a bit harder when we came out but since we thought we were close to the home we were looking for, we headed out.  After about four blocks it really began to pour and there was no home in sight for either of the people we were to contact in the area.  We ducked into a loja to get out of pouring rain.  As we began to talk to the owner, we realized that we were finally in a large enough store that they had the type of bookshelf/office equipment we needed. While we waited for the torrential rain to abate we purchased two pieces of office furniture.  We finally took of in the down pour to find a bank since the owner didn't take credit cards and needed cash.

That was another experience since none of the ATMs would take our card on a late Friday evening. Our phone wasn't working. I was able to get internet for just long enough to e-mail Philip Gunther at Bank of American Fork who tweaked something that allowed us to get just enough to purchase the furniture.
It was a miracle! The furniture was delivered Saturday morning and the internet was down from the minute we got Philip's answer until late Sunday night. Did I mention all of that wash out on the line when we left to run errands was soaked and we got to start over Saturday morning. What a week"

When we woke up Sunday morning, we found that they had "sprung forward" in their daylight savings program.  Thus we are temporarily four hours different from the western US until they "fall back" when we will be 5 hours different.  There were several families late for church.  The Elders called to see if we would cook dinner for them if they provided ingredients.  They brought meat, cheese, & tomato sauce and wanted Lasagna. We through in carrots, onions, garlic, and some spices and had a dinner that I would not have thought to try. They have no cottage cheese here so the Elders brought a cream cheese that is salted to take it's place. I am constantly learning 

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Araucaria Tree

Above the rest
Cut through the trunk of the Araucaria
turned to make a nice bowl.
The araucaria tree has two types of wood in the main trunk. The lighter wood is soft much like pine and the inner columns are very hard. As you can see, the tree grows to great heights and normally sheds the lower branches as it grows. When you see an araucaria tree you will notice that it is always taller than its neighboring trees and the lower branches will be shed from the tree to the height of the surrounding trees. This is, presumably, because those branches are no longer useful to the tree since, they are no longer exposed to sunlight. The remaining branches will be long and grow horizontally to increase exposure to the sun’s rays. This long flat branch will be extremely heavy and it is supported by the hardwood in the middle of the trunk of the tree. Since I don’t have a lot of time to study down here, I will speculate that the trunk is made up of the two types of wood so that the branches have the support they need form the hard wood, and the soft wood decrease the amount of hard wood and allows the tree to grow faster and outdistance other trees in its quest for sunlight.

Lunch with Eva Oliveira

Eva Aparecida Pereira de Oliveira, children & missionaries 
We were again invited to a member’s home to meet them.  Eva Aparecida Pereira de Oliveira invited us to her lunch for the Elders. The members here take turns making lunch (which is the big meal of the day) for the elders.  From the schedule on the RS wall it looks like this rotation happens about every 2 weeks.  Eva has 6 children.  As we ate and talked we learned that she was the 1st member baptized here in Prudentopolis.  She was curious when she saw the missionaries walking by and eventually stopped them and talked with them.  Separately her husband, Julio Jordão de Oliveira, had a dream about two young men coming to visit them.  He is now working away on a farm because there is no work here for him but we met him on the 1st Sunday we were here.  Ezequiel Pereira Oliveira is their 15 year old son and is active at church, wearing a suit and worthy to pass the sacrament. He is also more than willing to go on visits with the missionaries.  Most of these families are willing to pass out Books of Mormon to friends and acquaintances. 

We attended a funeral for a member’s father Tuesday, October 9th. Nevair Erdmann’s father had died around midnight.  The service was held the same day.  The Lutheran church where the service was held was bright blue outside and a peaceful paler blue inside.  It was packed full to the back were John and I stood. Our walk took a little longer than anticipated and we were 5 minutes late.  The pastor gave a talk mostly from the scriptures and it was technically doctrinally correct, he then played the piano, prayed, and read the obituary. Only one other person participated, a grandchild. The group then loaded up in cars and followed the casket to the cemetery.

We were able to give Neva and her granddaughter, who was un-consolable, a hug. Neva is the only member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in her family. Her mother had died and her father remarried so there is a second wife and step-siblings.  One gentleman stopped and purposely shook John’s hand.  We think it might have been her step-brother who has at times asked about the church and been friendly with the Elders. We saw only one other member of the church in attendance at the funeral to support Sister Neva. Things really happen fast here. We only heard about it because a member had stopped by earlier in the day and told us about the death and funeral. 
Wednesday, we stopped by the house to meet with her and take a salad and dessert. A grandson took it in and put it in the refrigerator but we did not catch her at home.  The missionaries had an appointment during the funeral time yesterday.  They met us at Neiva’s and as their appointments had also fallen through, they came to our apartment for dinner and to finish off the sorbet they had left in our fridge.  They were on their way to Curitiba, a 4½ hour bus ride, so that Elder Hartley could attend the temple there before he returns home next week. 
There are a few other observations to add to this week’s list.  John and I stopped at the local version of the IFA to see what we could buy to cover our window openings.  It does get very hot here.  The windows have no screens. Everything is wide open.  We bought some green mesh and John has rigged some pretty colorful screens for our windows.
The garbage collection is also different here.  There is a small basket on the fence or wall in front of the houses in town.  You take your garbage sacks out and set them in these baskets.  As far as we can tell, about three days a week someone comes by and picks up this garbage.  Most of the sacks are about grocery sack size which makes sense because with no air conditioning, wet things could get stinky pretty fast. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

General Conference in Guarapuava

Monday, October 8, 2012
We were so lucky to have had an opportunity to watch all the sessions of conference and in both languages. On Saturday morning the Elders called early to say that they were hungry and could the come eat lunch with us. We invited them to finish off our chicken soup and some cookies. John helped Elder Affonso try to index before conference and I talked with Elder Hartley about temples while I cooked.  I am already thinking about what conference talks apply to what investigator or member and how it will help them with the problems that they have conveyed to us. Most of the members do not have internet in their homes and so could not watch the sessions at home.

I am still experimenting with cooking.  Shaliese I used your Café Rio recipes on black beans and chicken and they turned out pretty well. We have listened to two sessions of conference.  Our visit to Armando and Evette was preempted as we got to their home because John did not feel well.  
John was able to watch priesthood session early on Sunday morning before we left Prudentopolis.

John walking down our street with a suitcase
We are headed to the church to catch the bus - look at the flowered trees!
We are in Guarapuava as I type this Monday morning.  We have spent the night at the home of Elder Reed Winslow & Sister Joan Merrill Davis. Sunday morning at 11:30 we met at the chapel and we rode on a church chartered bus from Prudentopolis with members of our branch to one of the chapels here.  The other members only stayed for the first session of conference which was broadcast live in both English and Portuguese from 1-3 pm in Brazil.  After visiting with the 4 investigators who came with us, we wished them well as they boarded the bus. We stayed to eat our pre-made lunch of sandwiches and apples. We then attended a 3:30 baptism for an older couple from a branch in Guarapuava.  I was asked to play interlude music between the baptism and confirmation. It was unusual because I was accompanied by an Elder on his violin.  After the baptism, John and I met with a genealogist from the area in the small family history center. {The building itself was large and very nice!} She opened  and to show me. I tried to communicate that I was well acquainted with these resources but wanted to know more about local resources available in Brazil (spelled Brasil here!).  She showed me how to order films on line from SLC. I will have to do my own research in order to help members of our branch.

After the second session of conference, which ended at 7 pm here, we rode on a bus (suitcase and all) with the Davis’s to their home.  She had used a crockpot to cook a roast, carrots, and potatoes. Along with a fruit salad and a variety of beverages, we had a late meal and then prepared for bed.  They have a small home and told us how they had furnished it.  They have previously shared some great tips with us before coming and while at their home that will make things easier for us.

The reason that we stayed overnight was we were to participate in the zone conference held Monday morning at another brand new building in Guarapuava.  We got up early to purchase the buns for the sloppy joes that had been requested by the missionaries in the Zone.  I had made several batches of cookies, oatmeal & chocolate chip, to bring. (Apparently they do not have our type of cookie here and they do not have sloppy joes.  Just as an aside, there are only three other American missionaries in our zone. One young lady is from Oregon, Elder Hartley is from Ogden, and there is an Elder from Black Foot who recognized my band bag as being from AF. He was apparently a drum major there the year that we had the bus accident.)

John was asked to give the opening prayer for the zone meeting. I was asked to play prelude and opening and closing hymns.  Due to a mis-communication, Sister Davis and I spent quite a bit of time practicing hymn #146 in the Brazilian hymnal, titled Se a Vida Ë Penosa, which is not in the English hymns. Then we ended up not using it but it was pretty lively and I hope to use it in the near future.
Guarapuava Zone Meeting - October 8, 2012
There are about 10 cameras going off and everyone ran to get in the picture the last minute!!!!
Elders protecting their balloons!

The victory for some came after a great loss!
 Zone conference was all new to me since I had never attended one before.  We sang, had prayer, had announcements about Elder Hartley’s trip to the temple (He is going home next week!), the meeting on October 19th with Elder Costa in Ponta Grossa, and other things I still can’t understand.

The different companionships took turns teaching about different points in the Missionary Handbook, Elder Davis gave a talk, we had a fun activity with balloons in the Cultural Hall where the Senior Missionaries and Zone leaders played the devils advocate trying to keep the companionships, who were tied together, from  getting converts (balloons) into the church to stay.

Now, what did we learn?
The sisters worked hard!

We then finished the training and had lunch.  Afterward while the Elders and Sisters had some relaxing time, we hurried by bus to the Davis home to take back the leftovers and get our suitcase to return by bus to Prudentopolis. We were so tight on time that a member gave us a ride in his car to the bus station where we met the returning Elders and took a 2 ½ hour bus ride. The chartered bus had taken only 45 minutes to make the same ride.

More Visits & Visitors

Sunday, September 30th, after church we were invited to have a meal at the home of Sonia Marieade Bahls de Mello, the RS president. I did not know that she was president since we have only attended one meeting and it was fifth Sunday.  I found out later the relationship of all these members. Her daughter, Virginia Mirian Bahls de Mello Mehl and her husband, Renato, who is 1st counselor in the branch presidency, live next door to her and she helped to cook a meal for us and the Elders.  Their son, Thiago de Mello Mehl, has been the Teacher’s quorum president and he was set apart today as a priest.  He is darling. It is said that he will be the only active priest.  The missionaries have been blessing the sacrament.  Virginia’s daughter, Thalyta de Mello Mehl, is a young adult attending college. Sonia looked at me close after church and told me that I was the only American she had ever met who had dark hair and eyebrows.  She has two sons and their families living in Boston and working on computers.

We found out that Daniel Hiramine Oishi, Elder’s quorum president, who is also the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency, is married to Dinorah Nair Bahls de Mello Oishi , who is a niece of Sonia’s. Daniel is of Japanese descent but born in Peru.  He speaks Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, and English.  He currently works teaching English.  His mother is 82 and lives with them.  When we dropped into visit one evening she stopped to visit and said she likes me. She is small and shy but reminds me a lot of Grandma Bowen.

The members are quite inter-related and I have to learn to understand the naming system.  It seems that the a young Elder, Anderson Garcez Faccio, straightened out the ward records then left on a mission two months ago and they haven’t been changed since.

Alanna, The Elders, Evette making cookies
Sunday evening was spent holding family home evening at the home of Anderson’s parents, who are not married, and are investigating the church. The Elders brought ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies.  Armando Facchio and Evette are very gracious and warm.  She had made little meat pies, cake, and rolls. Just as we blessed the food it was mentioned that it was her birthday. So we all sang to her.  Apparently she is ready to be baptized but because there is no marriage there are complications that need to be worked out.  He is still working on his smoking habit and is more interested in making sure he makes a living right now. Apparently our picture was on Facebook since President Cordon called that evening saying he had seen it even before we knew about it. 
Faccio Home for Family Home Evening
Monday, October 1st, was our 1st preparation day here.  We watched The District. These are Preach My Gospel DVDs that demonstrated principles of planning, finding, and working with members in Set 1 [5 hr. 33 min.]. Set 2 [3 hrs. 50 min.] demonstrates principles of teaching and on extending commitments. These films center around the missionary purpose “to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” These DVDs follow real missionaries, investigators, and members in unscripted, unrehearsed missionary situations.  We have watched a little before bed each evening and have not completed the whole set yet.
Since we were unable to obtain a Portuguese Bible in the US, we purchase them at the Temple Distribution Center when we were in Curitiba. I have been marking mine and adding the scripture stickers that I had bought in the states. It has helped me to compare the English and Portuguese scriptures and find references for common Bible stories.

Doing the wash is a fairly lengthen process that would have been completed in several hours at home.  The washer is small and cannot take the same size batch as I am used to. It takes about 1 ½ hours to complete the cycle. Since we have no dryer the process of hanging up clothes takes a bit of time.  If the day is hot and the object light weight, it could be dry by time I finish hanging out a load.  If the object is heavy it takes longer. If it is raining or overcast it can take a day or two in this humidity to dry.

Tuesday we again watched the District, did more shopping to get the things we need to store and cook food, clean dishes and clean the house, and then continued to clean mildew from walls, floors, and curtains.  We are able to use our credit cards here to pay for things. There is a 1% international fee for everything we pay.  The current rate of exchange is about 1 dollar for 2 reis.  

Wednesday we met with Daniel, who brought us a member calling list.  His wife, Dinorah, came along. She would like genealogy & temple preparation lessons. She has already been to the temple but felt really unprepared. She is not yet sealed to Daniel in the temple. There are several people who would like temple preparation lessons so we have lined up a class starting Saturday, Oct. 13th.  We had to wait to get permission from President Elias, which we finally did on the 10th.  We also have several interested in piano lessons but still do not have the keyboards necessary to do that.  The organ at the church is not a good instrument since some of the keys do not work and it is not a full range. We also fed missionaries as they brought several maps and helped locate the homes of the members and then talked about members, their activity, and their needs.

Michalina was the only member to pass us her phone number the 1st Sunday we were here. We called and ask if we could meet with her family. She invited us for Thursday morning.  We met with Paulo Henrique & Michalina Baliski Bonfim and their sons, Thiago and Otavio.  We talked about Paulo’s health.  He is on dialysis for a bad liver.  For the last couple of years he has been unable to work because of his health.  He goes into another town on the bus 3 days a week for treatment.  He then goes to a larger town once a month to be checked by a doctor.  
Elders Affonso & Hartley, with Michalina
after lunch & a message.
He has done this for the last three years and even though he is only 39 he is not on a donor list. They, however, seem to be fairly self-sufficient as they have a large garden and raise their own chickens. She walked us through her garden of vegetables, fruit and herbs. I could see where our meal came from.  There is clear evidence in their humble home of church activity. When you enter there are pictures on their brick walls and church music in the background.  She told me how they read the scriptures together every morning. She wants to work on her genealogy with me. She is the first of Ukrainian descent we have met.  The boys left for school while we were still there.  They attend school for 1/2 day  for five 50 minute blocks starting at 12:30 each afternoon. They were uniforms to school. The boys are happy and healthy and active in their quorums.             

Paulo, Michalina, Elder & Sister McKinney,
Elders Hartley & Affonso
Noite do Cinema - Friday, 5 October 2012:  The missionaries had rented a space to watch “The Restoration” (John found it on and had invited members, investigators, and friends to attend. We listened in Portuguese to this beautiful film. Afterward we, all four missionaries, bore testimony of the restoration to these good people.  Many youth, 3 adult women, the Elder’s Quorum president, and 2 investigators participated. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Prudentopolis Branch

Sunday, September 30, 2012
Entrance to the church

This was our first day at church and there were about 40 members and investigators there. 

Senior Primary Room
The range of activity in the Branch is varied just like it is at home and the knowledge of the members is widely varied also. 

Junior Primary

For this post is will simply give information about the church and we will tell about members as we become better acquainted with them. The church is a house that was converted and used as a school and then purchased by the church.

Relief Society Room

Proceeding down a very narrow hallway we find the Relief Society Room (kitchen) 

Young Women Room

and the Young Womens Room.
The door on the left is the entrance
to the Priesthood meeting room and
the window is in the chapel
(there is also a door in the chapel,
not shown)

There are several other rooms in the main building that are used as the Branch Presidency Office, storage and other classrooms. 

The Chapel

Next we proceed out the back to the chapel and one more classroom that  serves as the Priesthood Meeting Room.

The last feature is the "Salao de Futebol" that is in the back of both buildings.

Also not shown, because I couldn't open the door to the
storage room, is the Baptismal Font, which is a small,
plastic pool about 3 and a half feet deep and
7 feet in diameter that can be moved for the service.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What do Senior Missionaries Do?

September 28 & 29, 2012

“In the leafy treetops the birds sing good morning.”  That song must have been written about here!  Starting around 5 in the morning I can hear many different warbles, chirps and whistles surrounding our apartment though I have yet to see any of these vocalists. 

Everyone seems to be off to work each morning by 7 to 7:30 and they seem to stay up quite late at night.  We have had several evening appointments that end with a meal that starts at 8 or 9 pm.

We arrived here on Thursday. Our first visitors that afternoon were Branch President Elias and his wife, Evaldette.  They came into town about 20 kilometers from their farm to the bank and to meet us. I understood very little of the very fast speaking conversation but the abraços & sorrisos (hugs & smiles) are the same in any language.  

That evening missionaries invited to us to accompany them to meet with some investigators in the home of Daniel Oishi and his wife, Dionorah nair Bahls de Mello.  Their sister-in-law, Susannah, and niece, Maria Eduarda, who is Duda are investigators that the young Elders are teaching. I took my Proclamation on the Family and we used it to introduce ourselves and bear testimony. I connected with Dionorah as I told about Rachel’s death and she mentioned her mother had died two years ago. Then at 8:30 they brought out food and we were astounded at the amount of food the Elders could eat.

We met the land-ladies on Friday as we tried to set up internet service and find out how we paid our bills here.  Friday evening we attended a family home evening sponsored by the Elders at the church.  I had been asked to make 4 dozen cookies to bring.  I had most of the ingredients for oatmeal cookies so I began the adventure of cooking one cookie sheet at a time in my tiny oven. Mind you I only have one cookie sheet so the cooling, washing the pan, and re-loading made this process quite long. I had been given some kitchen spices in a care package from Elder and Sister Biehn and purchased some things with Sister Cordon so I had to figure out which brown powder was cinnamon, which bag contained oats etc.  I was grateful to have my own measuring cups and spoons so I did not have to convert the measurements. 

Many young adults and mutual age kids along with families with young children came to Noite da Familia. After the missionaries had me lead a song, John prayed, the Elders gave a lesson and played a game, then everyone visited, played ping pong in the courtyard and had a good time eating sandwiches, cookies, and pop. The missionaries said we were celebrities since so many people in the area loved The Carters and they came to check us out.

Saturday we cleaned our apartment and then translated in the aisles of the grocery store as we shopped. We found a hardware store were John could buy tools and met the owner. (Nice guy! --- future member?) We had to buy converters for any of our electrical appliances that we brought with us from home.

Ooma works (the name of our voice over IP-- it works through the internet and is our phone service to talk to loved ones at home): We have been able to Skype with Shaliese and have talked to Deborah on the phone as John was setting up our phone system.  We usually have a good internet connection here in the morning but seem to lose our service in the evening which is unfortunate since that is when most of our family members would be available.  [We are currently 3 hours earlier than those on Mountain Daylight Time.]

Sunday was a busy day!  ..... more later.

Our new home -- Prudentópolis!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The Cordons, John and I filled two cars with our luggage, household items, and groceries and again began a drive in separate cars, being trained along the way, during the 2½ hour drive to our new home. We made one stop on the drive at a place called Anila Lanches – Anila’s lunches or snacks –  where we were able to purchase some honey, ham, and cheese. (It was a good thing we did because this became our lunch before our 1st kitchen stocking grocery shop!)  One piece of advice that stuck with me was to note the difference we found in the beginning since soon we would not even notice them.

Dad, the only way I can describe our drive to the interior of Brasil is it was like riding to Mosida with you…. Only green!  The landscape had many native grasses and scrubs that I don’t have a name for and will get a picture of the next drive through the area but it was repetitive like driving through the sage brush covered undeveloped land when you used to take turns taking us to Mosida with you.

Apartment  - 1460 Rua Marachal deo Doro
Sister Cordon said it has been a dry year here and they are worried about the water for the summer months ahead.  The weather has been quite tempered here compared to their normal winter.  She noted that we may have come during the coldest spell that they have had yet. It was only in the high 40s & low 50s for a few short days.  The cold outside is not what you notice. It is the lack of heating inside. Armando Faccio, one of the investigators here, explained that heat isn’t needed because they have short winters that amount to only 10 days of bad weather. That means that inside and outside temperatures only vary by 10 degrees, so everyone dresses up in layers to stay warm and sleeps under heavy blankets at night.

Front Door & Living room
In Prudentópolis, we were greeted with a loud “Oi” by Elders Hartley and Affonso who walked around the corner with our keys just as we drove up. They had been to the apartment earlier to open it up and make sure the utilities were working.  They had even cleaned up a little and taken down the draperies for cleaning.

Courtyard - note clothes lines

Our apartment is #2 on the ground floor of a four story building with 8 units. The entrance has a living area on the left and the kitchen on the right. There are three additional rooms and two bathrooms.  There is a laundry room attached to the kitchen but accessed through the courtyard.  We also have a large outside, tiled area where we have clothes lines.  


This is an unusually large apartment for a missionary couple. It was picked out by The Carters, the couple who lived in the area before us. They have been gone for 10 months, having to leave for health reasons, so it has been vacant until our arrival.  Most of the furnishings were taken by Elder & Sister Davis to Guarapuava when they arrived and set up house so everything had to be replaced except the window coverings.  I have spent several days scrubbing, bleaching, and hemming the long, mildewed curtains that cover our windows.

Master Bathroom sink 
Only source of hot water -
look at those loose wires

There is only cold running water in all faucets. The shower head (no tubs!) has a chuveiro (little rain maker) that heats the water for our daily shower.  

Laundry room looking into the kitchen

We do have a washer but no dryer. Mom, it is just like the old clothes line days. Our laundry has two big sinks with wash boards on them and indoor clothes lines for rainy days. 

I used hand soap and rubbed like crazy to remove the mildew spots on the curtains.  When the sun was out it took only a few hours to dry the heavy canvas like curtain liners but takes days when then sky is overcast and things are dried inside.

Study Room

Storage room

The walls and floors also had to be scrubbed. John has spent days cleaning and scrubbing while I washed and sewed. This place is bigger than the ground floor of our house.  He has done some repair work and we have met the cheerful, helpful man at the hardware store several times to buy tools. 

The kitchen is small.  We moved the table into the living area to make more work space.  All the cupboard and counter space is made of separate units.  We pulled them each out to clean and kill the brown spiders that are everywhere.  Opening and arranging all the new appliances (toaster, blender, hand mixer, microwave, stove, and dishes) then grocery shopping to stock the cupboards took a day.

You might note two things about the shopping: one, we have no car so we are very lucky to have several stores within 3-4 blocks of our home. We brought some of Rachel’s recyclable shopping bags to carry things home in; two, everything is in another language and measuring system so we had to find spices and dry goods with various different names.  We also have to wash all of our food in chlorox water so we will not become ill.  It takes 30 minutes to soak each piece of fruit or vegetable or leaf of lettuce etc. 

We have been fitting in visits with members and investigators and participation in church activities in between these housekeeping chores.  Coming in the next post…..