Sunday, March 10, 2013

O Professor – Elder McKinney

March began very quickly for me as February was such a short month.  

Elder McKinney spent a lot of time preparing to teach daily seminary classes. They were to begin the first week of March. Elder McKinney offered either morning, 9-10 am, or afternoon, 5-6 pm, classes to the youth since they have school sessions from 7:30 -12:00; 12:30-5:00; or evening classes starting at 6:30. Various ones of them attend during each of these times. He traveled to the church, Monday through Thursday, both times of day. After the first week they all decided that 5:15-6:15 in the afternoon was the perfect time to meet---thus we now only have to go to the church one time a day for seminary. Their materials were distributed, registration signed, and they were taught how to use the materials and given better ideas of how to study daily. They are learning from the New Testament.

Our Monday was more Preparation for Seminary than P-day. Tuesday plans were canceled for me.  I awoke with the spinny/ear ringing/nauseated stomach symptoms of tinnitus that lasted into Friday. John threw in chicken and potatoes to feed the Elders lunch and went to the church to meet Beto – our local facilities mantainence man. Beto has been going to come for over a month now. We have waited at the church for him many days only to be unable to get hold of him to find out why he did not show up. The system here is frustrating and inefficient. We need the organ fixed (no Bs play in the lower register and the sound shorts out sometimes while the organ is being played), locks changed (some of the door handles pull out when you go to shut a door and there have been some thefts), roof repaired (it drips when it rains), floors cleaned and waxed (some of the wood is beginning to splinter), and other small repairs. We would like to do some of these repairs ourselves – it would be much faster. Elder McKinney spent time searching for string for the gas powered trimmer that edges the lawn and finally found some that would work - it is square. He also discovered that you cannot buy gasoline unless you have a car. His counselor had to purchase the gas to run the trimmer. 

On Friday morning we received a phone call saying that the very Catholic father of John’s 1st counselor had passed away during the night. Here in Brazil, they bury the dead within 24 hours of death. There was a wake at a Catholic funeraria where the family received visitors during the morning, had a Catholic service during the late afternoon, and buried him out of town in the interior because there was not room in the cemetery across the street from the funeraria. Renato was not allowed to participate in anyway in the services – being the only non-Catholic member of the family. We were only able to offer our condolences. We hope to help him dedicate the grave eventually. This was the second funeral for the parent of a member here. It was disturbing not to be able to teach the words of comfort that are needed at the death of a family member.  Elder McKinney chose to speak of death and atonement as part of our Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. On our arrival home we had a message from John's sister Cindy indicating that her daughter in law, Lon's wife, Chalyce, had died. We were grateful to know that her children will be taught about death properly and that though they, along with their father, will miss their mother forever here on earth -- they will have hope and comfort from the gospel and the plan of salvation. 

Elder Brooksby begins to teach English  - we later had practice groups to listen to pronunciation.
Another project that we participated in this week was English lessons. In this instance it was to help the member youth. They study English in school but speaking is not something they do well. I learned almost as much Portuguese trying to help as I have at my own Portuguese lessons.

I  had to show some views from where we stand at the rodaviaria waiting for the bus to come. 

Caveleiros riding through rodaviaria parking lot.
The buses pull into the stalls you see at the right.
Two of these young men were investigators
at our branch for a while.

One day during a rainy wait at the bus station, we were treated to many horseman riding through the parking lot to line up for a parade to celebrate a Catholic holiday. 

Things dry quickly in the middle of a hot, windy day.

This last shot is my clothes dryer on a good windy day.

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