Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 Feliz Natal!

To wrap up 2013 I wanted to document some of our end of the year activities and add some odds and ends that have not fit in previous blogs. 

Presidente and Sister Mazzagardi surrounded by half of the Brazil Curitiba South Mission.
We are the ones that live farthest away! 

Our white Christmas began when we had a baptism for Elisiane e Franciele on the 21st of December. They are two beautiful young women. Daniel was grateful to be able to perform the baptism.

Prudentópolis members and friends - 21 December 2013 baptism! That's a lot of white shirts.

Our Christmas choir and scripture reading was very well received. President Elias and Sister Mehl were our readers for the scriptures in Luke and Matthew about the birth of our Savior, his early trip to the temple, and the visit of the shepherds and later the wise men. The concluding remarks by Elder McKinney about the signs spoken of in the scriptures leading the wise men to know where and when to look for Christ and how that ties in with our ability and obligation to know the signs of our times in preparing for the second coming, were spoken in a room where you could hear a pin drop.

Of course that was not the end of the day for President McKinney as there were still interviews, tithing settlement etc. When we finally did arrive at home, we took a deep breath, and as we rested for a minute, we realized that we had a brand new year coming and that there was one last opportune 5th Sunday to use for teaching everyone together.  So, we started preparing again.

I was looking for stores that celebrated the true meaning of Christmas. There were a few nativity scenes.

Meanwhile, since we had a mid-transfer, transfer of Elders, we had 4 Elders here just in time for Christmas. We had them all to dinner for Christmas Eve, and then the two new Elders came back on Christmas day to making phone calls to their families. That was an experience. The Brazilian Elder really knew how to get around on the internet as he talked to different branches of his family. 

We chose to make hamburgers, baked fries, cubed watermelon
and chocolate ribbon pie to celebrate Christmas Eve with all
four Elders serving in our branch. Two are in their first transfer.
We were very fortunate to speak with all of our children and grandchildren either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We even got to watch James’ children get up and open gifts.  We were able to get the inside story on how James and Chelsea made the kitchen set for the younger girls.

We hired a taxi one day to visit all the members in the farthest areas of our branch. We chose to take a plate of cookies or zucchini bread and wish them Happy Holidays. Most seemed quite surprised, others were teary eyed, and all grateful. Since many of our members live in part member homes, it gives us a chance to visit with other family members and learn about them.

Toys in downtown park.
We have a neighbor down the street that is an older woman with an extended family of 8 children and many grands and greats.  She has always been interested in me and why I do not communicate as well as she would like.  She invited us over to see her beautiful Christmas tree and showed us her garden.  She made me feel right at home. She was growing corn, squash, beans, etc. and had grape vines growing across the eves of the house. Her Christmas tree was a young araucária from her back yard and decorated with beads, balls, and tinsel with a beautiful nativity scene below.  One son and one daughter dropped by while we were there.  The son had co-written a book about Prudentópolis and another about Irati (Elder McKinney purchased one!)

Local soccer quadra - there are a lot of McKinney's that would like to play here

This is looking from our quadra into the patio at the branch.

The 5th Sunday presentation, translated from the December 2013 Ensign (not in the Liahona in either language) Making a Living, Making a Life By Elder Lynn G. Robbins Of the Seventy, was given to all the adults and youth present. Our Elder’s Quorum President was very excited about President McKinney sharing the concepts of making the world a better place with our service while making a livelihood here on earth. He used examples from different motivations in the work place and their results. Hopefully the youth will listen and understand while they still have time to prepare to care for a family of their own. 

I use the folder on the left to teach music in primary. This is their plastic
sleeves.  All of the paper here is 8.5 x 12 (not 11).  The yellow folder is called
a "pasta de plástica" Note the two punch set up. Behind is the plastic box I
use to keep things dry when we are walking in the rain.

The following week we prepared lesson manuals, yearly schedules, and packets for the teachers in all the organizations. Then, just after New Year’s Day, we received two Christmas Cards.

Our friend, BenHur, at the local post office!

We spent a pleasant lunch with the Mehls on Sunday. They are still waiting for the mission call. It seems to have been delayed by the holidays and we hope it will arrive this week. Meanwhile this is the listing in the church directory:
Missionários  Designados - Prudentópolis Branch de Guarapuava
Ëlder Cesar Martines da Silva
Ëlder Cristobal Ignacio Matamala Henriquez
Ëlder Dayslan Rodrigues da Silva
Irmã Jan McKinney
Ëlder Jason Hogge
Ëlder John McKinney

This clock shop is where I replaced my batteries for my watch and Elder McKinney bought a new watch. 

Typical door knob.
This is on our front doorl
Note: the toilet has no water tank. The toilet paper holder is
Bathroom door knob.

armário de roupas or clothes closet -
there is nothing attached to the
wall or built into the wall

This is an old and new water tank. This is how we get water pressure
on our homes here. That is why the toilet doesn't have a tank.

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