Saturday, November 2, 2013

October Sundays

Na 20 de Outubro 2013 o Ramo Prudentópolis teve Apresentação da Primária na Reunião Sacrmental. 

As a primary we practiced our songs all year long but with greater intensity for the month before our primary program. We had several Saturday practices where we tried to get the children to stand up to the microphone in the chapel and speak loud enough to be heard by the congregation. We even practiced standing up and sitting down in unison.  Mari Kelli, a 16 year old, was the chorister for the children while I played the piano. One by one the children spoke of the monthly themes and scriptures we had learned for the past year to help us be able to say, “I AM CHILD OF GOD.”  They each picked up the book or paper and read scripture from the Bible, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon and the Family Proclamation. We sang of the Savior standing beside us, of the beautiful world that he created, of belonging to his church, having a prophet to follow today, the gift of being baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost, our eternal families, and the fact that we know he hears and answers our prayers. That pretty much covers the Gospel.  These songs will live in their hearts and minds forever.  I was so proud of Thais, Juliana, Sabrina, Luana, Lucas, Marina, another Lucas, Juliano, Luan, and Gabrielle as they sang their hearts out. Michalina and Eva stood by to help the kids with their parts and Julio and Paulo stood to sing with the children in their classes. Presidente McKinney and Daniel Oishi sang counterpart to the children in A Child’s Prayer.  For the closing song the congregation sang the three verses of I Am a Child of God with us and we concluded by singing the 4th verse alone. Our district president, Presidente Guilherme, told the children’s parents it was one of the best primary programs he had ever seen.

This is our group after our primary practice - the morning of the program. Since my picture taking skills are not very good
you can see a better version of some of our members below. 

While I did capture Brother Oliveira in this picture, you can see that the results were not better for some of the children.

My heart was soooo touched as we sang I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ because during the year we had several non-members that sang that song with gusto as we practiced and talked about what it meant. Two of these kids from non-member families have been baptized this year and two others last year and have made this statement come true. Thais, a non-member, actually sang and participated with us in the program. (She and her older sister really want to be baptized but live with non-member parents in a town next to ours, without missionaries, and I haven’t been able to get our young missionaries persuaded to teach her and her sister when they come to town to stay with their aunt. We will figure out a way to make it happen before we leave!)

My piano teacher skills seemed to be lacking as I had assigned several young men each one simplified song to accompany the kids for the program. I was actually quite encouraged as they came to lessons and were so close to being able to play their pieces well. However, they all evaporated when it was time for practice and the actual program.  It is the only time I saw them all sit on the back row in the chapel.  I will have to develop better language skills to encourage their bravery for another attempt.

Meanwhile, Elder McKinney continued to recover at home from his operation.  He held seminary in the afternoons for those few who were willing to come to our home.  He was able to help a young woman fill out her mission papers from our home.  Later in the week he received a call from the district assigning him a talk on Adversity in the Plan of Salvation.  So, on Sunday October 27th we boarded the bus with 30 other members and again traveled to Guarapuava for District Conference with the other 4 branches at the Bonsucesso Chapel.  Elder McKinney did give that talk. Other speakers were our Gurapuava District President Guilherme (whose actual name is: Guilherme Gonçalves Lustoza Araujo), President Lustoza (who is President Guilherme’s father, Edson Lustoza Araujo, and a counselor in the mission presidency), a return missionary, and a preparing sister missionary, and finally President & Sister Leonel R. Fernandez of the Brazil Curitba South Mission.

Elder McKinney had spent some time at the branch building working with Beto to help repair the extensive damage the hail caused to all the roofs of our several buildings and the covered patio.  He had started to walk that distance to the chapel and back and was grateful to have no pain. However, as we again returned to Dr. Diegus in Guarapuava for a final check he had incurred some blood in the area of the surgery and was told to again refrain from walking very much for another three weeks to keep from letting the blood calcify and undo the good of the surgery.  To say he is disappointed about another imposed period of inactivity is putting it mildly.  We continue to prepare lessons for church meetings, piano lessons, and seminary.  We have had several district meetings with the younger missionaries and actually had pizza dinner again with Daniel Oishi at Mister Gordon’s Pizza to help plan our branch Christmas Dinner with Ceasar, the owner. We are however paying out money to taxi drivers, who have a set fee no matter how far the trip, for each short trip to comply with the doctor’s orders.

Some of my kids will remember me trying to
get them to listen to all of the conference
sessions at our home. Guess what? Now I am
working on the members here. It is a new concept
for them to watch them all.
We have met weekly with our district leader since they come on Tuesday’s for lunch.  Elder Matamala is from Santiago, Chile and is our new district leader. He said he liked potato salad – so we tried it out last week.  I frequently miss celery in my recipes down here since it is not to be found. I substituted green and red pepper for color and found out very rapidly that neither Elder likes them and pushed them politely off to the side of their plate. However, they really like hot rolls and are always grateful. They always share a message with us and often stay to have a meeting with the branch President about investigators.

We have been really blessed to have our internet connection so see we can see the Halloween costumes of the grandkids pretty much in real time and see how our family members are doing each week.

Love to you all,  Elder and Sister McKinney 

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