Saturday, December 8, 2012

Presidents, Peddlers, & Preparations

Saturdays are Seminary – John has taught for 3 weeks now because Alana is studying for finals at school – the course is Old Testament.  He got a call from the area coordinator saying they should be finished by the end of the year and the kids are only in Exodus because they do one lesson a week on Saturday.  The stories do not seem familiar to the kids, so Elder McKinney gave each of the youth the assignment to study one of the stories and come back and report to the others in the next few weeks before the end of the year.  Hopefully the preparation will make at least one story stick in each of their minds.
John’s Sunset shot from the front of our apartment
– note the sky line.  

Meanwhile, during seminary time, I have been teaching music lessons to one of the younger brothers using the organ in the chapel since he did not have access to a keyboard at his home.  I have two youth and one adult who seem to be taking lessons seriously and two other people who like the idea of playing but have not yet caught the concept of practicing (repetition to help embed the learning and make it natural). John has even started practicing since he listens in on the majority of lessons while I am teaching.

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012, was noteworthy because we had so many area authorities arrive at our small building for our branch meetings.  District Presidente Guilherme Lustoza Araujo and his wife and two beautiful children; district primary and young woman’s presidents; Presidente Lustoza, a counselor in the mission presidency and father of Presidente Araujo; a driver named Brother Helãman all arrive before the 9 a.m. meetings.  They greeted many of the members by name and were great representatives of the igreja (church). So they attended the block meetings ending with sacrament meeting – when we found that Presidente Cordon, Sister Cordon, and their son Dallin had arrived to participate in the release of the branch presidency who have been serving since 2007.  

Cordons – Elders – Presidente McKinney
Elder John Leslie McKinney was sustained as the new branch president with Renato Mehl and Paul Bonfim as counselors. Daniel Oishi was retained as the Elder’s Quorum President but released as the 2nd Counselor in the branch presidency. Needless to say it was a busy and an exciting day for us.  Presidente Cordon gave John a blessing and explained that as a missionary he already had the keys necessary for a branch president.  He then alternated with Presidente Lustoza in setting apart the others.  The most noteworthy part of the blessings was that having patience with Elder McKinney was mentioned. Virginia Mehl, Michalina Bonfim and myself as well as newly released Presidente Elias Jair Stadler and his wife, Ivadette, were at the setting apart.

The Cordons and Elders Brooksby and Affonso ate lunch at our home. There was a period of time while the new Branch Presidency counted offerings and the Elders helped some of the young investigators return to their homes that I was able to visit with the Cordons in our apartment.  Dallin is 15 and in international school in Curitiba. We talked about the advantages of having a broader education – knowing people from all over the world – and I think he is probably already a great missionary in his own right.

Christmas tree
from the Biehns.  
The Cordons brought some great packages from Casal Biehn for us.  When the Biehns returned to Bountiful in November they left us their Christmas decorations and two more teclados so I could teach more students here in Prudentópolis.  Monday, I promptly got on line and made my first Portuguese internet purchase since there were no printed materials or music books included with the keyboards.  I hope the distribution center here in Brasil will be able to get things here to me quickly.  I found that not only was the material cheaper from this distribution center when I converted the Reais to dollars but I did not have to pay the $135 international shipping.  My CPF number finally came in handy and the time and money it cost to get it have almost been paid for by saving me the shipping.

The week that followed involved a lot of study and preparation.  We did spend a little time at the branch going through materials in the president’s and clerk’s offices and the library.  There is a lot to be recycled in old leadership manuals.  The Elders would like to make up Christmas baskets of the extra copies of old lesson manuals that are stacked in the library.  I will report back later on how that works out.  

I was also given the assignment of collecting baptism pictures from the missionaries and putting a Power Point together with the pictures and Christmas music to be shown at the mission Christmas Party December 21st.  I am now trying to figure out how to attach the music to the program since, of course, the Power Point is a newer version than I have previously used.  Wish me luck!  I have found some beautiful music.  Remember, I am trying to prepare Portuguese lyrics.  I am learning from these translations that interpretations of language are broader than I would have imagined before.

Adela & Kris at Oishis' with Elder McKinney
Friday, Dezembro 7th, we met Adela and Kris from Poland.  They are biking around the world and information about them can be found at:  We were able to visit with them for the evening.  They have a small tent and all their equipment with them on their bikes.  They do not know where they will stay from one day to the next – kind of like without purse or script.  If you are interested, access their website and hit translate.  They are learning the language of the countries as they bike through.  Though they are both Polish, they met in London, England where they worked at the same restaurant while they were in England with the intent to learn English. Adela observed to me that they have found good people everywhere they have been and none of the bad that is so publicized on the news. They have relatives in Texas so they will try to cross into the U.S. at the border there then ride up through California to Alaska and the across the Behring Strait.  This process will take years (already 2 years and 10+ months).  We may be home before they are in the U.S.

Nativity souvenir to add to my collection!
Our 1st  Christmas decoration here.

One purchase that we have still been unable to make is that of a good fan.  It is getting warmer here every day. With the humidity, 90 degrees gets pretty warm.  It is warm enough that I have acquired some blisters on my heat rash.  I am working on overcoming that!  Elder McKinney just roams around trying to get cool enough to sleep at night. 

Christmas tablecloth becomes our wall decoration!

We are off to finish sorting through materials at the branch and decorate for Christmas. 

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