Wednesday, September 25, 2013

President Fernandes teaches us at Guarapuava Zone Conference

Elder McKinney waiting outisde
Bonsucesso Chapel in Guarapuava
More Spring blossoms
- the wind is starting to blow them away

This truck is carrying the gas canisters that we use to cook with - one of these sits by the side of our stove.
We watched them unload the truck while we waited for the zone leaders to come unlock the gate & let us in. 

Friday, the 20th of September, was the first Zone Conference held in Guarapuava since President Fernandes arrived.  Elder McKinney and I boarded the bus in Prudentópolis along with Elders Long and Pereira from here and Elders Souza & Bestenlehner from Irati.  After our arrival at 7:45, we were able to get in an hour of study before the conference started at 9 a.m. 

President Fernandes’ presentation started with this quote:

“Yes, men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life.” – Ezra Taft Benson

Beautiful Bonsucesso Chapel

Christ knocking - waiting for us to let him in!
One of the beautiful pictures in the church & a favorite of mine.

Parquet flooring is used here and in our building.

He continued speaking on Faith with some incredible references to scriptures and the words of the prophets. At 12:30 we all walked down the street and had lunch at a local launchenette where they had a meal prepared for the 20 of us with our choice of meats, salads, feijoada, etc. Then they also served a jelato and a fruit cup. It was a group of happy campers that left that meal and returned to training by the mission assistants.  Their presentations and practice ended at 4:30 then we caught our bus for home after a long day.

This letter began in Brasil July 19, 2013 and was delivered to us on September 20th in Guarapuava

The Fernandes Family with McKinneys

Letter to our family!
    We have to note that we were so excited to receive a letter – a first for us at zone conference! Then we noted it was addressed to Shaliese in A.F. then forwarded to Texas, after which it returned to us via the mission office and then from the assistants to Guarapuava. It turned out to be the letter the Fernandes family sent out to all missionary families in July. I guess they didn’t know what to do with us since we are the only couple here at the time.

Elders & investigators clean up roof hole pieces! Notice the light
shining through the holes in the roof.
Friday evening at about 11:00 p.m. we were awakened with another hail storm and this one was so severe that many people here lost their roofs. The repair projects depleted all of the roofing material in the city. On Saturday morning as we walked to the church to meet with some investigators that came to play soccer, we found that the whole covered area between our chapel and the other rooms was sprinkled with holes.  The group was kind enough to sweep up the leaves, branches and hail size holes from the roof. We took pictures and e-mailed them to the facilities management group. Beto was here Monday morning but unable to fix things for lack of materials in the city. He will return next week with materials at ½ the cost from Guarapuava.

This is what are protected area looked like the next morning.

Meanwhile when we returned to church the next morning amid a nasty rain storm, we first found the whole chapel was dripping water inside. We moved everything away from the drips and made a place to hold sacrament meeting in the salon. Our attendance was sparse but it was our day to have district leaders. Most of them did not come but Helaman (one of the counselors in the district presidency) and his wife did. We shortened our Sunday School time since none of the teachers were there and broadened the combined RS-Priesthood Meeting and had a slightly longer sacrament meeting. 

Daniel Oishi mopping up chairs in the RS room
 - if you look close on the wallyou can see it dripping.
The Primary was small. One teacher & K were there with 2 of the children for the 1st hour. The primary president arrived the second hour only to find it was almost time for the sacrament meeting to begin. We had already practiced some songs for the primary program and were playing a matching game with Articles of Faith keywords for our lesson time. I again had the opportunity to lead the hymns acapella. No one knew one of them (They are picked ahead of time by Dario Santos and written in the meeting record book that is kept in the chapel) and Elder Pereira had to start us off with the first few measures of the song.

Elder McKinney’s surgery is scheduled for October 2nd in Garapuava. We had to go get one more blood test to see if it would coagulate properly. Then, he is to stay off his foot as much as possible this week to minimize the swelling in the area that will be operated on. We are holding seminary and all piano lessons in our home, studying a lot, and taking a taxi wherever we need to go.

We had an unusual day when Jill let us know that Vegas, a friend of Rachel’s, had contacted Jill via Facebook and found out from her that Rachel had passed away. It reminded us of the weeks while we traveled to Colorado for the memorial service and the returned home to have a funeral. It is hard to be without Rachel for these last two years and we think of her often. We are so glad for the Plan of Salvation. Hopefully, she and dad are working together.

We had had a week of really warm weather previous to our hail storm and it has been followed by some pretty cool days. We have been here a year today and are starting to recognize the same pattern of days that we had when we arrived.

We are in a beautiful place. As I hung the wash on Monday it was like being in the Bird House at the Zoo—there were so many various different foreign sounding chirps and warbles. As the various insects become active again, we are so grateful for the screens on our windows. Thanks to Jeremy & his boys for helping me find screen while I was home in April and to Andrew for cutting them to size, we are in a lot better shape this spring than last. 

It is hard for the finite mind to imagine God creating the world but we know he did.  May we all recognize our great blessings every day.  We are looking forward to General Conference. Hopefully, we will all take to heart what we are taught by living prophets – especially for us – in our day.

Love, Casal McKinney

CTR room sign - Bonsucesso

Valiant sign - Bonsucesso
Another favorite picture in the hallway of Bonsucesso

1 comment:

  1. Hi to both of you. I finally found some time to catch up on your blog. Sorry to hear about your Father's passing, Jan. So glad you were able to return to Utah to visit with him and your family. Touching pictures and thoughts. Our sympathies. Know your Dad and your family were thankful that you returned too. Aren't we thankful for the Gospel and Forever Families!!
    I was made RS President just nine months after moving into Pleasant View 8th Ward. I was shocked and it's been a BIG learning curve! But the Lord has blessed me and us as I've began to know the sisters and their situations and where they live! The Ward here is great and the sisters amazing. Of course, we miss all the AF Ward and our dear ward members there. But we're thankful for our situation here in PV and being close to our son and his family in Layton. So that's why I've just now been able to check out blogs, etc. to catch up.
    Sounds like your Misson is going great and what a wonderful experience it conts. to be for you both. Glad to hear that John's heart, etc. is o.k. Big blessing there!! Hope his heel is doing better!
    Take good care of yourselves and know that you are both being thought of and are in our prayers always.
    Becky and John