Monday, February 25, 2013

Power, Problems & Protection

A few burdens for a branch president.

Support makes things easier!
Our last post ended with us headed to Guarapuava for Zone training. John was a live visual aid for the Zone Leaders as they were talking about missionaries supporting local leaders. [The visual was to bring to mind Moses holding up the rod of God while Joshua did battle with Amalek as was told in Exodus 17:9-12 ]

Guarapuava Zone - February 2013

The following Monday we lost both zone leaders, Elders Alvez and Lopez (who went home), when transfers were made. Elder Een from Irati and Elder Griggs from Guarapuava were also moved.  So our zone picture will be quite different next month. In even bigger news, we were contacted by the Assistants to the President and included in a total mission conference call were President Cordon announced the forming of 7 new missions in Brazil. Our mission is one that will be split into Curitiba North and South.  We have not been told when that will be yet or which one we will be in. However, it does mean two new mission presidents by July and should mean a lot more missionaries. Things will have to be aided by heaven since on last transfer all the Elders from Provo MTC were held up with visa problems.

We have spent Saturday afternoon, the last two weeks, at the church. The yard work includes mowing, trimming, and sweeping up what used to be a school campus and is now our branch property. The young men and the missionaries came today (23 February) to help Elder McKinney out with extra outside work: one of the neighbors had asked for pruning overgrown trees along the back of the soccer/basketball court. I worked on the sidewalk fronting the property, pruning and weeding around trees and in the gutter. The members have mentioned how beautiful the building looked while the Wells were here. [We don’t know who the Wells are!] What they don’t seem to realize yet is the care and upkeep of the building are their responsibility and they can make it as beautiful as they want.

Cordons & Assistants at EFY
Our 6 young people came home from EFY all excited.  This quote from the Cordon’s blog might explain why: “We drove out into the country past Colombo to speak at EFY.  We took the assistants with us.  The location has an old castle that was built back in the early 1900s furnished with antiques from Europe.  There were some 500 youth from Curitiba, Pinhais, Ponta Grossa, Guarapuava, and Joinville in attendance.  Elder Petla, Area 70, and his wife presided over the event.”  The six youth each spoke in sacrament meeting about their experience. There are a couple of good prospective missionaries in the bunch. Since we needed to be in Guarapuava for branch president’s district training Sunday the 17th, we also got to sit through the EFY fireside put on by the other Guarapuava district participants. It was a very spiritual day.

The Davis’s came to visit with me while Elder McKinney was in those training meetings. They brought a box full of seminary supplies to be used by our students in Prudentópolis. Elder McKinney has been boning up on New Testament stories and teacher training while I try to help him download information in English to help his studies. He is able to get the training in English online since the Portuguese trainer simply dropped off the supplies for him with Elder Davis.  It is really weird to finally see some of the films and hear the music all our children saw & heard years ago. The songs on those $1 seminary DVDs make a lot more sense when you have seen the corresponding seminary film.
Tree down across from our apartment. There is a power line in the middle of the tree.

These guys don't look very professional but they had that tree cut up into logs in no time. 
We came home late that evening on the bus and after our walk home, it was about 11:30 when we arrived. The first thing we noticed was our internet equipment blinking red meaning that we did not have service.  Early the next morning we still did not. As I looked out the window I realized that we had a large tree split down the middle and down in the neighbor’s yard taking a power pole with it. Turns out that we were away during a big storm in Prudentópolis and there were many trees down and quite a bit of ground water while we were away. We later received an e-mail from President and Sister Wilkins showing the water running in the streets in São Paulo where they were apparently without internet for two days also – following a bad storm.   

I spend a lot of time looking for Portuguese versions of LDS films to use with our lessons. We have a lot of very right-brained young people who love music, pictures, and films.   I continue to study Portuguese music terms. Elder McKinney is probably the best music student right now. He practices daily and I practice my musical terms on him.

I can picture a temple here!

The Stadler's dogs chased the car 1-2 miles from their
home to the eucalyptus farm.
We were invited by Presidente and Ivaldette Stadler to have lunch with them in Guamiranga on Tuesday the 19th. With the bus trip both ways and the irregular bus schedule -- it took about all day to have lunch there. Elias Stadler gave us a tour of the beautiful fields planted with soy beans, tobacco, black beans, and a seeded forest of eucalyptus leaves. Tobacco is a big crop here. Elias stopped growing it when he joined the church but his neighbors still grow and harvest it. We looked out over the beautiful Book of Mormon film-type scenery and could easily see a temple site on any number of the hills. We also met President Elias’ sister. He has a large number of family members in the valley and none of them are members – thus there is a lot of work to be done.

Elder McKinney & Elias talk about farming trees.
We returned to a member family interview at the church. There are a lot of things that we cannot write about but needless to say we are very much bothered when members choose to sin and don’t understand the repentance process. This is then complicated by the judgement & gossip of others. President Stadler made an astute comment about not throwing the sick patients out of the hospital. We want to continue to fellowship and try to give loving help to those with problems.

We are now planning to broaden our search for inactive members. On one of our bus rides we met a girl who said she was a member whose family was converted in Guarapuava. They have since moved to Imbituva and become inactive. We then found some people on our branch list with Imbituva addresses. Now the Elders have found that another of the large inactive families we have been searching for probably moved there. The four of us are planning to set a date to all go out and tract the city looking for these members. 
We are going through a period of high humidity.  It rains daily – some days a lot more than others. When the sun comes out it is very hot but the cloud cover modifies the temperature.  Hopefully the Utah families will get some sunshine and warmth soon. We love you all, pray for you daily, and know that we are all watched over by a loving Heavenly Father. 
Look at the different things growing on this tree!

I love these yellow birds

Look at the long legs on this bird.

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