Thursday, February 20, 2014

It Has Been Hot!!!!

We held six temple preparation lessons, in our home, in the evening, to prepare Sister Mehl for her endowment on Feb 1st. Then we were lucky enough to participate in her endowment session. She came through the door to the Celestial Room smiling. We really enjoyed our time at the Curitiba Temple. We shared a bus with Guarapuava this trip.  We also were able to purchase Preach My Gospel manuals for all the youth that participate in the class on Sundays after our regular meetings. We also purchased more scriptures for new members and Temple magazines to help us motivate them to keep progressing. The distribution center is a very busy place during our temple trips.

Caloroso - Calor - Quente   These words were repeated by everyone we saw for weeks as we all sweltered together. We were feeling exceptionally hot and did not remember it being so last year. We were invited to Mehls for dinner on a Wednesday evening and in talking to them they agreed that this has been an exceptionally hot year. The first thing the missionaries ask for when they walk in our door is water.

We took a trip to see the chácara of a friend of a friend to try and find a place to hold our district Youth Conference since our district presidency did not have time to do so and was way too late in planning to get any of the known good ones in Guarapuava. This farm had some small homes for rent but the presidency decided to have our youth from ‘out of town’ come to Guarapuava and stay in the homes of the members there. Then during the day they will meet in the branch building for activities. They had even considered renting hotel rooms but decided against it. Youth Conference will be during Carnival here in Brasil.

I had a real misconception of what a Chácara was. I had been told it could mean it was a small shack.  I just didn’t equate that concept with it being a farm of one size or another since everyone was always going away for the weekend to their chácara in the interior. The pictures remind me of the old Mutual Dell. We enjoyed our visit having never been previously invited to visit one. We enjoyed some very good conversation with our hosts who are really intelligent people and gave us a ride on the way to and from the farm since we are always without transportation. These owners are really special people who run a business in town and have a couple keep up the farm for them.  Then, they take clients for classes or “get aways” on the farm where it is quiet and peaceful.

We have had three more baptisms since we last wrote. Elder McKinney presides, then we supply music and the printed programs, fluffy white towels, and the washing up of baptismal clothing for each of the baptismal services. We have also had some really musically talented Elders in the area and have had several special musical numbers during this transfer. 

We had an Elder’s Quintet singing parts to “Lead Kindly Light” in sacrament meeting last Sunday because we knew that a couple of the good voices would be transferred the next day. It is a rare opportunity for the members to hear the song using harmony. I still don’t feel like I have one member that can lead on the beat for a whole song. They have learned the hand motion from the back of the hymn book but don’t understand that the beats begin again for each new measure.  I really despaired when one of the most musically talented missionaries told me he had just taught people to stand in front and write their name in cursive because it did not really matter anyway.

Elder Hogge held 2 district meetings here in Prudentópolis on Tuesdays: 28 January & Feb 4th. That means 6 elders for lunch since Tuesdays are our day to serve the Elders lunch. Problems: (1) we don’t have enough chairs for 8 to sit (2) we only have silverware for 6 (3) it is hard for me to prepare the meal while I am in district meeting – This is an interesting problem because even preparing or pre-preparing takes me a lot longer here because of the lack of equipment and the juggling of stovetop or oven to serve things hot.  We got away with serving watermelon for dessert several times since it can be pre-cubed and cooled in the fridge.

Zone Meeting - There are even more Elders on my left but I couldn't get a clear shot. 

We have also had 2 zone meetings since our last post. Feb 11th was the last zone meeting with Elder Long as our zone leader since he is headed home. We knew that several others would be transferred and not be seen again. Elder and Sister Davis really did a great service for the 6 Elders that now live in the apartment they found.  There are 5 sisters in Bonsucesso . The two zone leaders also serve as trainers and so there are 4 Elders in Guarapuava branch. With the 2 Elders from Irati and the 6 of us in Prudentópolis, we have a pretty big zone right now.  President Fernandes held a special priesthood meeting for all the priesthood holders in the district telling them he wants Guarapuava to be a stake before he leaves and he is sending the missionaries to make it happen.  We were excited to have an attendance of 72 people in our branch last Sunday.

School has started up again so Seminary is also beginning again. This time our schedule is not as easy.  Most of the kids want to meet either on Saturday or Sunday to report their home study for the week but we have two interested in Tuesday – Friday evenings after work from 7-8 p.m. So, there will be lots of seminary days to serve the 16 students here.  We’ll have to see how that works out.

Brother Oishi has become interested in being trained as a family history consultant, knowing that we will not be here for long. We have set aside time on Friday mornings to meet at the church and use the computer to help him learn what is available for the members here.  He and Elder McKinney are determined to get Home Teaching going and have set out as companions to visit everyone until the priesthood holders here can be motivated to split up the work.

Best News ever:  Brooklyn Emmy Sermon was born on February 4th. We are so grateful that mom and our newest grandbaby are healthy. Now we just pray for them to get sleep. Not long after, we also heard we would be having a Brady granddaughter in July.  We hope both mothers are feeling better.
Prudentópolis Distrito - Jan & Fev 2014
Our bus leaves at 6:15 a.m. so we are always waiting at the gate for someone to let us into Zone Meeting in Guarapuava!

February 2014 – Prudentopolis District
Ëlder John L McKinney & Irmã Jan McKinney
Ëlder Dayslan Rodrigues da Silva & Ëlder Ian James Forsyth stayed
Elder Cesar & Ëlder Jason Hogge  were transferred
New this week:  Ëlder Jonah Lavar Skousen & Ëlder Mauicio dos Santos Rocha

In Irati: Ëlder Paulo Victor Reboucas Cavalcante & Elder Chase (who was transferred)  New this week: Ëlder Skyler Young

This cat always looked like it owned the farm.