Friday, November 16, 2012

Conversions of Many Kinds

Leonara takes piano lessons from me at our apartment. She was baptized last weekend.  The girl next to her is a non-member friend that she brings to church with her.  Maria Eduarda is the tall young woman on the left of the picture. She is a cousin and an investigator.  They both come each week to church.  This is very important because many parents here are not married so these young people are learning about a lifestyle that is quite foreign to their culture when we talk about eternal marriage.  

This picture is of Juliana and her father.  She just turned 8.  Their family has been sealed in the temple and they all come to church.  Her father works out of town on a farm to support his family.  He is a builder but cannot find enough work here so he is not home every night – he comes home on the bus on weekends to see his family and to come to church.

The picture on the right is of Marcos and his kitten. He is 6 years old.  His sisters, Sabrina and Marina, are getting baptized this Saturday.  Their parents are not members but they have been coming to Primary every week with their cousins. We were at their home yesterday when the Zone leader interviewed them to be baptized.  They glowed with happiness when he told them they could be baptized.  They mother signed the papers to allow their baptism – she is not a member.  The younger missionaries are teaching her lessons too.  We hope that she will be baptized soon so she can teach the whole family about Heavenly Father in their home. 

We see a wide variety of clothing at church. Many girls and women wear pants – some don’t have a dress.  Even members don’t always have special Sunday clothes. It is very cool when the young men can come in a white shirt and quite rare to see suits or dress slacks instead of everyday pants.

There is one family who lives so far away (in the “interior”) from the church that they have to ride a horse for a ways, then take a bus ride, then walk to get to church.  They want to come so bad that they do this but only once a month because it costs them so much money and that is all they can afford.

3 way adapter - top, bottom, middle
Brazilian plug & outlet, round prongs

Standard 3-prong adapter

Other types of conversion occur when we read the Conversion of Temperature - Celsius to Farenheit -- as well as the temperature on the oven when I cook and the liquid measures in liters instead of quarts and gallons. I buy food by the kilo, gram, or mil. We convert electricity using our American plugs with adapters.

My cookies are somewhat of a hit with the sisters and youth. It becomes interesting when we try to share recipes.  At one home we had “Bolo de chocolate” and when I got the recipe it involved copo de oleo, xicara de trigo ou mais, colhor de ferment royial.  So not only was there a conversion of language but of measurement.  I had the same problem when Alana, the 24 year old Young Women’s president, asked for a cookie recipe.  We are teaching her the temple prep lessons at our home on Saturdays, when she is home from college. 
Foods we purchase regularly at the store.
There are no zip lock bags only the rolls seen at the left side of the photo.
They are much like produce bags in the US.
I handed her the recipe where I had converted the ingredients.
Shortening=Gordura Vegetal. 
Brown sugar=Açucar Muscavo.
Flour=Farinha de trigo
Soda=Bicarbonato de sodio
Cinnamon=Canela em Po                       
      Etc. For other spices

I thought I was thinking great – I had even converted the temperature to Centigrade -- until she wanted to know what teaspoons and Tablespoons were.   Then I learned about colher de chá and colher de soupa being their teaspoon and soup spoon.  The copo and xicara are different size cup measurements.

One of our most interesting searches has been to find whole wheat flour. Whole anything usually has “Integral”, meaning whole or complete, on the package but people did not understand me or maybe why I wanted “farinha de trigo integral”.  Finally as we visited with Sonia Mello at her home this week the question was answered.  When we arrived for our visit she had two sisters visiting her, one from out of town.  We were going to make our visit short so we were not intruding on their visit but they had prepared a “lite” supper for us.  The daughter –in-law from next door came over with croissants – some filled with jam – others with meat and cheese. Then there was cheese and meat and regular rolls along with punch. 

Since Sonia is the only member among her living siblings, the two sisters seemed a bit uncomfortable with the missionaries at first.  We talked about their family history. Their father had 15 children by two wives.  The father had 23 children in his extended family.  Needless to say there are a lot of people involved in the family.  She brought out a book published in 1988 about the ancestors on her father’s side.  We were able to take the book home and I scanned all 244 pages and will make discs for her to give people since the book seems to be unavailable anymore.  Of course, I had to go on and see about the connections there.  Much of the family appears there but there are gaps that could make for some good research for her family.  By time we left her house that day her sisters were smiling and talking with us quite freely about children.  There are families in the US working in the Boston area and some of the “netos” (grandchildren) are looking pretty American to them. We hope to have more contact with the whole family and get to know them better.

Back to my whole wheat problem—the daughter-in-law makes all kinds of bread.  When John told her I made banana and “abobrinha” (zuccinhi) bread last week and was looking for whole wheat she gave us directions to a specialty store.  We finally found it on one of our longer walks.  The owner, Cynthia, is of Ukrainian descent, and was very helpful.  We found lots of herbs in her store.  She spoke at length about the importance of learning English.  Her daughter speaks Ukrainian at home, Portuguese in school, and is learning English from a teacher.  She also said she had taught piano for over 15 years and that Elder Carter had invited her to the branch to play for them.  It didn’t happen.  We will try to visit her again. She is golden.

We also met the barber…… story next week!

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