Friday, November 9, 2012

Bus Rides and Summer Flowers

Luana Oliveira - 3 on Nov. 4

Did I mention that we spend a lot of time on buses?  Since I last reported we have taken first; a bus with the branch to Guamiranga and back to participate in a service project for branch president Elias, who was moving into a new home, second; the following Monday we took the 6:15 a.m. bus to Guarapuava for our Zone Meeting then third; rushed back to Prudentopolis to host a FHE for a family at our apartment, the next day we had the Elders over for breakfast at 7 a.m. as a bribe to move up our District Meeting so that we could take fourth; the early morning bus to Irati to get our CPF numbers that day and fifth; return that same day.  All of this is explained below!


Oliveira family after FHE lesson -
The kids loved the balloons!
Friday, November 2nd, was a National Holiday based on Catholic holiday All Souls Day. It is in essence the same as our Memorial Day. Everything closes for the day. In our case almost everything was also closed on Saturday. As we delivered a keyboard to a member on Sunday evening, we noticed that there were a lot of vendors open that evening because there were lots of people in the park and back in the city. The Elders reported to us that this was their fault as they had prayed for someone to contact that day. We have not yet figured out where everyone goes, but on holidays it is like a ghost town here. {I have now gone on-line to find out what other holidays are celebrated here so we can plan.}  

This bus was very upscale -
the members are waiting to go home here!
The members had planned this holiday Friday as a service project for the Stadlers, starting at 1 pm. We were to meet the members at the church for a bus ride since most members here do not have cars. John and I were surprised to find the 1st counselor in the branch was driving the tour bus and the branch had use of it for the rest of the day

Lucas - 10 - working hard
Stadlers had been leasing a home that had no water because the owner had planted a row of trees on one side to serve as a wind block and shade-- which all sounds nice -- but they sucked up all the ground water that fed the well. Their new home had been vacant for a year and was mildewed and over grown. The growing does not take long here. The branch members took a pressure washer and tools from the church and cleaned inside and out. Many weeded the grounds and hauled off/piled up leaves and branches. The large ant pile that got disturbed was pretty interesting.

Jobs for everyone?
Wiping clorox off
his face - Elias
The water at this house comes from a well also. They put a big tub full of water at a high altitude outside the house and use that to get pressure. There was a problem with the current tub and it overflowed outside the house for quite a while. I was able to file buckets of water from the dripping water for the children, who then got busy scrubbing the wraparound porch, while the adults pressure-washed and Cloroxed inside and out.

The house and yard are much cleaner at Stadler's new home.
Resting in shade during lunch!

The RS had brought soda pop and buns with ham and cheese for dinner. Sister Ivaldete Stadler had made a cake for everyone to share. After the scrubbing was done, the busload of members stopped at the home of Graça & Dario Santos that lived in Guamiranga. She had roses, lilies, vegetables and fruit all growing around a brick fairy-tale like home in the woods. We then went to the Stadlers old home where the bus unloaded again.  The kids played soccer and the adults visited for about 1½ hours – a branch activity so to speak.  John was able to pick a sack of lemons from their tree as did many other members before we returned to town.

After work - on way to party at Stadlers!
Dario Santos had been ill with shingles for the past four months. He was excited to find out that I could play the piano -- he is in his 70s and plays by ear. He wanted to play his flute (self-taught at 72), with me on the organ, at church. When he found out that I could also play the flute he was very excited and brought it to

church on Sunday to test me out. I felt like I was on trial as a group stood around in the primary room to see if I could play it.  Fortunately I was able to squeak out a hymn.   

Hydrangea across the street
The basket is where people put garbage.

The summer flowers are beginning to be planted and many of them look very familiar to those at home. There are marigolds, petunias, coreopsis sunray, etc. Some of the beautiful orchids and lilies that we pay so much for at home grow on the side of the road or in the cracks of the sidewalk like weeds.  There are many small bushes of hydrangea in flower everywhere now.  On the bus I have often noted oasis-like areas with palm trees and ponds that could be right out of a scene from Israel.

Sundays John teaches the Elders quorum lessons three out of four weeks. There are only 10 elders on the branch rolls and one is currently serving a mission in São Paulo.  John is the only High Priest here. Last Sunday was the quorum business day and Elder’s Quorum President Daniel Oishi taught. There was an investigator (Francisco) who was well versed in Bible literature as he is writing a book about the apostasy and he felt comfortable in the quorum discussion.  John caught him at the door and was able to give him a Book of Mormon and some literature after the block meetings. 

Statue in Irati
Our Monday and Tuesday were pretty much taken up with hours on the bus rides and meetings reported above. We have tried to cut down the wasted time on these days and proposed the breakfast district meeting at our home so the Irati elders could get home on the early bus to do some work there.  It takes them days to come in for a Zone meeting and get back because of the bus schedules. (Sometimes the meetings end just as the bus is leaving. With a 15 minute walk to the bus station from the chapel, it means they miss the bus and have to wait hours for the next one. Can you tell that my mind is trying to propose a better way here! )

Receita Federal in Irati 
Why did we have to go to Iriati? We had to have a CPF number– I don’t know what that stands for – which would allow us to make purchases here.  Apparently after paying the fee at the post office in Irati we were then able to go to the Receita Federal and get clearance for this number that allows them to keep track of the purchases we make here.

Church - Irati - by Federal building.
Wednesday John and the Elders helped Stadlers move their furniture into their home (another unmentioned bus ride for them).  I gave a piano lesson to Leonara (who will be 9 on the 17th and brought an invite to her birthday party).  She brought her mother and her cousin with her.  It is a challenge to try to make myself clear in Portuguese and to overcome the natural curiosity that everyone seems to have about any kind of technology.  I think that her mother, Dinorah, will end up either playing or leading music for the branch as she is very interested in everything. I sent them home with a disc that includes the chorister and piano courses in Portuguese since they have a computer in the husband’s office at home.  One of the hang ups about me teaching a church course is that they gave me the keyboards to use but not all of the materials to pass out. I will learn a lot teaching these lessons.

We had set up an appointment with Sonia Mello for Thursday afternoon thinking she was the Relief Society president [since that was what was written on the only records we have had access to so far—it turns out that Graça is the RS president],  When we arrived two of her sisters were visiting.  Sonia is the only member among her siblings.  We thought we had better make it a brief visit because of her company. When we proposed leaving they all said, “no, no” because they had prepared a light meal for us—her daughter-in-law came from across the street with some really terrific stuffed rolls {some sweet with jam, others with meat and cheese} and we ended up having a great visit.  In the process we discovered her father had a large family. We were able to obtain a copy of book on their family history to scan.  Hopefully we will gain permission to submit these records to the church as there are few Brazilian records currently available.

I could continue to ramble forever…. More on cooking and conversions (measurements & people!) next week.

1 comment:

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    We're fine and experiencing SNOW! Take care and enjoy!