Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day in Guarapuava

Elder & Sister Davis
We spent the day at the home of Casal Davis. We are called the Casal McKinney; casal meaning married couple.  We were spoiled to have an American thanksgiving dinner in the middle of Brazil in the springtime.  Elder & Sister Davis invited the whole zone – 10 Elders and the 2 couples making 16.  The traditional Davis Thanksgiving dinner included two small turkeys served with dressing, mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, sweet potatoes, layered Jello, carrot sticks, and water or Guaraná (Brazilian pop). Very shortly after this tableful of food disappeared it was again covered with three apple pies and blackberry tort served with ice cream.  There was a plateful of colorfully wrapped home- made chocolates filled with coconut, cherry and a caramel-chocolate mix.  Needless to say, I was stuffed.

Brightly wrapped chocalates
await the rest of dinner.

Elder McKinney & I had traveled by onibus to Guarapuava a day ahead to help in any way that we could.  We were able to wash, cut, cook, cleanup, and then start over again.  Most of you that have done this type of cooking have an idea what the drill is like.  What I had not imagined was trying to fit all of the trimmings in a very small refrigerator. That is all that is allowed senior couples in our mission.  The Davis’ did a magic trick getting everything in fridge and freezer only leaving three covered pies on the table overnight. 

We cut up, cooked, peeled, and sliced the sweet potatoes the day before but the mashed potatoes had to wait ‘til morning.  Though most stoves are equally as small as the refrigerator, the Davis’ have one that twice the size of mine.  Still there is only one rack and it was good that the two turkeys were smaller or the height would have brushed the top of the oven.  We cooked potatoes and corn on top while turkey and dressing moved out to make way for berry tort.  The slow cooker was used for the sweet potatoes.  No rolls since there was not room or time.  The giblet broth was used in the dressing along with onions, celery, cubed bread, bacon and sausage – all part of the Davis family recipe.  Apple pies were prepared with crisscross tops.

Classy marshmallows
Just as lemons look like oranges but taste like lemons; the sweet potatoes had red potato like peels with white insides though they have the standard shape and taste. The marshmallows here are assorted colors, not white.   

The cooking and overnight stay were made more interesting by a rain storm and several power outages.  We were glad to have completed the hour long seminary class we attended and that the pies were cooking in a gas stove.  We continued preparations until the length of the next outage sent us to bed by flashlight.

This is a new apartment for the Davis’ last five months of their mission. Their old landlord decided not to renew their contract and move back into their leased home himself.  The Elders and the Branch president moved them using farm crates and his truck.  They have a larger, but more expensive, apartment.  They had purchase a second-hand table and six chairs.  By adding these to 4 chairs and coaches everyone was seated and able to eat off paper plates on their laps.  The food was so good that it was pretty quiet for a while. 

Guarapuava Zone - Thanksgiving 2012
Of course, we had to have the zone pictures since transfers are coming soon.  This is a great bunch of hard-working, exemplary young men. There have been several baptisms since our last zone meeting and this always creates a lot of excitement.  What a terrific P-day.  We now have several more Brazilians saying “Happy Thanksgiving”.

As I write, we are at the area district office so John can meet with the president to ask questions and clarify differences in how branches run.  It is a bit different than our home ward and stake.  We are learning a lot and want to how best to fit in to this part of the vineyard.

Marina & Sabrina
Elders Affonso & Brooksby
The Elders in our district did baptize Marina, 9, and Sabrina, 11, last Saturday.  They have two very supportive aunts in the branch.  The girls have attended church since we started coming here and I did not realize they were not members until we were invited to attend the baptismal interview with them.  On Saturday we were able to meet the additional family members.  As we arrive to church on Sunday morning a glowing Marina ran out and gave me a hug.  She is sooo excited to be a member and have the Holy Ghost. I hope the rest of her family will follow her lead soon. 

My lack of language skills was a small hindrance on Sunday as we completed the practice for the Primary Program and found there was no teacher for the younger children.  I fortunately had crayons and a coloring page of Nephi building a boat with me.  After the coloring and mounting of these artworks we sang the program songs a Capella and they helped me with the Portuguese words.  I have to learn faster.

Well as I write it is getting late and we are awaiting the bus to take us back to Prudentópolis this evening.  Hopefully it will be the short ride today.  Thanks to all who have shared your well wishes and love with us.  Happy Thanksgiving!  We are very blessed. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you had such a wonderful meal. Hopefully your bus ride wasn't too bad! Love you both!