Monday, July 8, 2013

June and a Little More

Last week of June:
Today I was preparing for my Primary Lesson on the Construction of the Kirtland Temple and I was having a hard time finding anything to show the children in Portuguese when I came upon the YouTube link to “Dentro de um Templo Môrmon - Curitiba Brasil” or Inside a Mormon Temple - Curitiba Brazil with the background music If You Could Hie to Kolob. I wanted to share this with those who want to take time to watch this YouTube video for two reasons: (1) It will touch your heart because it is a beautiful house of God and (2) We have been blessed to be there several time since our arrival in Brazil. 

We walk by this tree on our way to church
& I love the combination of pink/white blossoms

These blossom during the winter here.

On July 14th we will be having our branch conference. The themes will be “Turn the Hearts.” Last Sunday (the 5th week in June)  we had a joint meeting with our Young Men, Priesthood and Relief Society members where Elder McKinney presented information about Family History Work.  We gave each individual a packet with pedigree charts, family group records, places to find records, and questions to ask relatives as they try to gather information to do the work of their families on earth and in the temple for their ancestors. 
Not many wall flowers for this dance!

29 June 2013 - Festa popcorn man is popular!

Members & friends on Onibus to Guarapuava for Festa Junina 

Bonsucesso Branch has the newest chapel. Prudentópolis members enjoy it!
Many of our young men are the only members in their family and they come faithfully on their own each week. We hope that through seminary class, piano lessons, service at the branch, English lessons, and games where they can bring their friends that we are helping them to prepare as future missionaries and life-long members of the church.

We have spent many hours over the last few weeks preparing to teach the leaders of the branch to lead. Our greatest concern here is that even the leaders only consider it necessary to attend church for the three hour block on Sunday and don’t know how to minister to other members of the branch. Fellow-shipping, home teaching, and visiting teaching are about nil. We can’t share with you how hard it is when members of the branch fall away because they make a mistake and do not understand the Atonement – how they can repent and be forgiven because of our Savior.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon Elders Fereira & Santos Silva were the only ones at choir practice - We had fun!
This set of Elders replaced the Sisters who were transferred. We have them to lunch every Tuesday.

We have had a lot of changes in the last 6 weeks. We finally received a new set of Elders to replace the Sisters who were transferred out and into the north mission. We had two different zone conferences in Guarapuava and since we had many transferred they were really very different zones. The last conference was the last for the Cordons here in Brazil as we got a new mission president on July 1st.  Then we were bused for another zone conference into Curitiba with the new president and his family for our first meeting as part of the new Brasil Curitiba Sul mission. 

Do you think this photo was a little unorganized?
After this group photo everyone wanted individual photos with the Cordons. 

Elder & Sister Fernandes - our new mission president - 1 July 2013
They had us on a bus to Curitiba for a Zone Conference on the 4th of July.

We have found the Auxiliary Training by the Brazilian Area Presidency that is available to us online to be inspired.  Along with sharing a packet containing their talks we are also trying to inform the leaders by showing films of the General Auxiliary trainings and World Wide Leadership Training. The topics of our sacrament meeting are from the talks giving in General Conference since most of the members only watched one session of conference. For many in the area even that was a first. They are not feasting on the words of the modern day prophets. We were fortunate to have good attendance at the latest missionary broadcast because of the efforts of Elder McKinney to obtain the equipment necessary to show these broadcasts.

Elders McKinney, Fereira, & Santos Silva with Beto. They have been working on the leaking roof of our courtyard and
baptismal font. When Elder befriended Beto he challenged him to be baptized and he has invited us to Londrina on
27 July for Elder McKinney to baptize him so that we can go to the temple next year with him before we leave.

Elder McKinney is at this moment on the roof of our chapel with Beto, who is the assigned repairman for the whole area, fixing the many leaks that we get when it rains (a daily event). He has been instrumental in helping to branch to get a new working piano for the chapel.  They will be coming to take away our old organ that frequently shorted out while I was playing in sacrament meeting. They have also promised us an old projector so we can quit borrowing one from a non-member for our broadcasts. In a separate batlle we have also have to fight to get our materials for the youth program delivered to us – here – and on time to be used-- instead of to Guarapuava or Irati where we have been routed to before.

We have a break from seminary for the month of July – scheduled by the area here since many of the schools have holidays. (Remember that it is winter here!) We are making plans to use the time to start up Primary Activity days for the children; they have not had them for years.  We are also hoping to do one-on-one genealogy work and enter data on the computers and in the Family Search Family Tree.  I have spent a bit of time researching the tree and getting up to speed on its use in Portuguese. I am learning a lot.

Elder McKinney took down the
drapes for me to wash mildew out of.

The mildew fight is constant.

This is a good drying day. My court yard
had lots of sun. The tenants upstairs hang
clothes from their windows. 
I am often frustrated by the amount of time it takes me to do laundry and cooking here because of the poor equipment made available to us as missionaries. With no dryer in this humidity, I spend a lot of time working on a batch of clothes that would dry in less than an hour in a clothes dryer.  Often, if the weather is good on our preparation day, I will spend the whole day washing and hanging out clothes.  In the summer it is easier because the intense sunshine dries them in an hour or so. Now, it is colder, rainier, and there are fewer hours of sun -- so everything takes much longer and the frustration comes when I want to be studying Portuguese and I am out hanging up clothes then moving them off the line since it starts to rain at which point they often take three days to dry.  (I can hear Phillip with his tiny violin as he thinks of his clothes in Ukraine drying inside with icicles.)  It does explain why so many of the members come to church in really varied dress, especially those with many children in their family. Sometimes when the boys (from non-member families) come without their white shirts they say things are difficult at home --- this is also another consequence of the weather and lack of modern equipment.

Our oven is so small that it only cooks one pan or tray of something at a time – thus extending the time of meal preparation. Our 4 burner stove won’t hold four pans unless they are very small. Since we are members of a small branch, we take our rotation feeding the younger missionaries weekly.  It takes almost a whole day for me to prepare food that I would make in less than an hour or two at home because of all the juggling I do with lack of counter space, a small sink, no hot water, and the need to clean all the vegetables and fruits with chlorox before their use.  I am grateful for this experience because it helps me to empathize with the sisters here and with my ancestors who dealt with similar juggling acts.

July 8th
On a lighter note I was the chorister instead of the organist in church yesterday since we had no power for our meetings and the chorister didn’t show up. I did really great (I can lead on beat – which is not true of many people here) until the closing song when I was so lost that I went to stop on the second verse and everyone wanted to keep singing and did!  Oh well, I was brave enough to bear my testimony and hope I was understood.  The primary kids were great even though I was the only one with them --- I was presidency, teacher, and music leader. Do you think they still depend on the missionaries to much?

Love to you all!

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