Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Special Break - January 2013

Tuesday, piano lessons: Tiago and Otavio Bonfim come to the house weekly for lessons. Otavio brought a friend by a few weeks ago to meet us. This 12 year old, young man, a non-member, is very interested in learning to play the piano. As I explained that the purpose of my teaching here was to prepare someone to play for our church meetings, he expressed a willingness to do so in order to be able to take lessons. We felt the need to meet his parents for several reasons. He came to church with Otavio on Sunday, January 20th. We set up a time to meet his mother. After a rather long walk to his home, we had a wonderful visit with his family. There are two other children, an infant daughter and a 4 year old son. They are Evangelists. She offered us tea as we talked. Elder McKinney then explained our Word of Wisdom so she wondered if we could eat “bolo” or cake. We said yes and had a delicious angel food–like cake topped with a peach sauce.  It turns out that it was made by Elieser Filipi Demschinski, my very apt, new student. We were soooo impressed with his family and are glad to have them as new friends. His father drives truck and is out of town working. So far he comes prepared each week and ready to learn.

On Tuesday afternoons, we walk to the home of Romildo dos Santos to teach his daughter, Thais. The missionaries had reported that they already had a keyboard in their home and she wanted to learn but her older sister was unwilling/or maybe unable to teach her. She is one of our older primary children (she gave the first talk I have heard in primary sharing time, last week). She too is very apt and learning quickly.

It is because of these four bright young people that I have had to search out more material to help them cement the grand staff and use of two hands at a time on the piano. Having already downloaded all the simplified songs from The Friend & Liahona, I then downloaded simplified songs from several other web sites. I was also very interested in Jill’s piano studio blog and her willingness to share information with me.  

We have had some unusual privileges as Senior Missionaries. Last week was filled with them. On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 we called a taxi to take us to the rodoviária (bus station.) We then took the 4 ½ hour bus ride through Ponta Grossa to Curitiba to stay at President & Sister Cordon’s home for three nights. We unloaded our suitcases, had a rice & beans lunch, and went to the Curitiba temple grounds. We first went to the distribution center to see if we could better supplement our sparse branch library. We met President Hepworth, an American in the temple presidency. He took my two cards needing baptisms and promised to have them ready for us when the branch caravan’s into the temple on Feb. 2nd. We were also able to purchase a few supplies. Os Testamentos was a golden find in Portuguese DVDs.

We then entered the temple and spent two hours completing sealings. I had 3 women, 7 men, & 7 sealings do, thus completing work that we had begun in the states in August of 2012. We had many willing helpers.  I am getting better at understanding the ceremonies in Portuguese.

Millie & Alan Batt with Sister McKinney
at the Botanical Gardens.
Does it look like I'm protecting that flute?
Elder McKinney with Alan Batt

After returning to the apartment on the bus, President Cordon took us to the Mission Office to meet Eduardo Henrique, Marcia, & Nilson Brunetti, a family of Italian descent, and new converts since December.   Their son was somewhat conversant in English so we were able to show them how to load information in a data base then have them get on-line at and help them find the family members that were already there. What a delight to watch their faces as they found relatives doing work on their ancestors from the United States. I had purchased several temple and family history manuals for them at the distribution center earlier in the day. I gave them to her and we exchanged e-mail addresses in case she has questions. It was a very heartwarming experience to see such dedicated new members. The father has lost two siblings, at a relatively young age, recently, and has many questions. The son is Deborah’s age.

Downtown Curitiba from double decker bus.
The next day we more or less had a vacation as we met with Alan & Millie Batt in downtown Curitiba.  Elder Batt, Alan, was a contemporary of Elder McKinney the first time they were both here in Brazil.  He was also the best man at our wedding. 

We walked and talked, shopped for music for my young students, purchased a flute for me to use here (we got a good deal), took a bus tour of the sites in town, visited beautiful gardens & a zoo, and found the place where the Elders used to live 40 years ago.  

The Batts have been mission president & matron (?or Mrs. President) in Fortalesa and were here to renew their permanent visa and visit some of their former missionaries. We were able to join with the Cordons in the evening for dinner at Batel, a churrascaria.  



The next morning we rode the tourist train (much like the Heber Creeper but better) through the Atlantic Rain Forest to Morretes on the recommendation of Sister Cordon. She feels like we should become acquainted with the area to better relate to the people here. 

Train to Morretes

View from the inside of the train

Plums and Araucaria
on train route out of Curitiba
Purple & White blossoms
on the same tree - abound 
After a quick lunch, we returned to the city by bus.

The Batts had brought us chocolate chips, licorice, taco mix, and some spices from home in addition to their very warm friendship. They were so thoughtful. We hope it isn’t so many years before we see them again.
We entered several tunnels in route

Our Saturday morning started bright and early. We called a cab to get us to the mission office by 7 a.m. in preparation for the arrival of General Authorities on their mission tour. All the Elders and Sisters as well as the couples had the privilege of hearing from Elder Craig C. Christensen (Presidency of the Seventy), President Claudio R. M. Costa (President of the Brazil Area), and the Presiding Bishop of the Church, Gary E. Stevenson. They arrived late Friday afternoon, went to the Curitiba Temple from the airport where they received a quick tour from Presidente Arias, president of the temple. They spoke to us from 8 until 10:30 a.m. the next morning then they took the plane to Porto Alegre to continue their tour. We then took the long bus ride back to Prudentópolis. 

(Left to Right: Presidente Augusto, 1st Counselor - Mission Presidency, Sister Augusto and their son Lucas, Miled and Marli Mechaileh and their son, Bonnie, Dallin and President Cordon - Curitiba Mission President, Elder Craig C. Christensen and Sister Christensen, Presidente Claudio Costa and Sister Costa, Bishop Gary Stevenson and Sister Stevenson, Bishop Roberto and Mel Triumfo)

Parting thought from Cordon’s piano: 
mis.sion.ary, (noun) someone who leaves their family 
for a short time 
so that others may be with their families for Eternity.

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