Sunday, June 29, 2014

Another Few Days! (June 29, 2014)

Fruit Market  (Mom)
So we decided to take one of our investigators to a huge fruit market in Boston.  Which is always an adventure anyway because of traffic but of course she knew where it was, sort of.  She and her children an uncle and a cousin came along.  The market is crazy wonderful all kinds of fruits and vegetables at great prices but the gas in and the cost of parking negates it all but it is definitely worth the adventure once.
District Meeting Food (Mom)
So every week at district and zone meetings we feed the zone.  We there three senior couples and we take turns.  I did a potato bar, easy but filling.  This last week we had these wonderful sandwiches called Hawaiian ham and cheese {aka tailgate sandwiches} I got the recipe if you want it let me Know.
Proxy-Beep (Dad)
We decided to start counting the really extreme driving or pedestrian events that occur somewhat regularly here, just to get an idea of how regular they are.  We didn’t count things like running solid red lights, illegal U-turns, turning left in front of other cars going straight, walking into traffic, pulling your car out into moving traffic to get them to stop, etc. as these are too normal.  We reserved the counts for things like making a Y-turn in the middle of a busy road, stopping traffic on both sides of the street or walking across the street when your walk signal turns red and the cars stopping for you have a green light – especially when there are a lot of cars trying to make it through the intersection.  So far, in the month of June we have 97 extreme events and I’m sure we would make it to 100 but we decided to stop counting.  Today a kid (14 or 15?) riding a bike, doing a wheelie, came across the street right in front of the Suburban – the evil in me wanted to hit him, I have to admit – so I hit the brake and waited to him to drop and get out of my way.

So last week the evil got the better of me when a guy (probably 25 and should have known better) started walking across the street when his light was red and we just got a green light.  I was behind the first car and as the pedestrian passed by I beeped my horn (I call it a proxy-beep now, I’m beeping for the person in front of me because they don’t – and they pay the price!).  The guy walking got super upset at the car in front of me as we started to pass by (remember our light was green) and yelled at him.  I thought it was pretty amusing, but Mom didn’t like it… go figure.
Ward Activity (Mom)
We had a great ward activity last Saturday.  Our ward is so very diverse and friendly that the activity was awesome.  Everyone is welcome, fun games of kick ball, softball, balloons with and without water and huge sub sandwiches etc.  That kind of activity is so great to bring investigators to because everything is totally kick back and have fun.  Dad and I brought three car loads of people only one doesn’t count because it was full of missionaries.

Sister Gomez’ birthday (Mom)
Fun, we took the four sisters in our area shopping at thrift stores.  Then to a salad bar and to our apartment to email etc.   What she didn’t know is that we had planned a surprise party at an investigators home that evening.  Of course dad parked a mile away just in case then carried everything that mile to the party.  It was a fun surprise.

Baptism (Dad)
So today we had two baptisms in our little group.  Oh, it officially got “Group” status today as the stake president talked with Brother Aguilera about being the group leader!  Anyway, Mom spoke in Portuguese on the Holy Ghost and I spoke on Baptism.  And, this is cool, I was asked by one of the investigators to baptize him, so I got to perform a baptism in Portuguese today.  That was sweet, until we started walking into the women’s changing area by mistake (luckily no one was in there), that quickly brought me back down to earth.  It was a fun time, lots of food afterward, etc.
Sister missionaries we work with, Nanda, Mom, Gastao (I baptized), Me, Br. Aguilera (new Group Leader, did the other baptism), Manuela and grandson (she got baptized, he didn't)

Walks in the park (Mom)
It is hard to explain the spiritual uplift I get when we walk early in the morning at the park.  Perhaps these pictures will help.  We call it exercise but everything is so beautiful we have to stop and take pictures.  One time we didn’t take the camera and had to go back the next morning to take pictures of all the beauty we saw.  Franklin Park is a one square mile park about ten minutes from our apartment.  Emerson lived in an old cabin in the park.  We are still looking for that spot.  There are tons of beautiful trails, lakes, tennis courts, ball diamonds, play grounds, even a beautiful golf course.

St. Peter’s Celebration (Dad)
Every week we help serve lunch at a center for elderly Cape Verdeans.  It’s always enjoyable and most of them are super kind.  Many have learned to say “Thank You” in English so they can tell us thanks, and it’s pretty tender.  This last week when we arrived they said lunch would be a little late because it was St. Peter’s Day and there would be a celebration first.  So we waited and watched a loud and very fun celebration – consisting of three drums (the loud part) and a lot of 60-yr-old++ dancing (the fun part)!  I wish that I would have had my camera, but I didn’t.
Martha’s Vineyard (Mom)
Kathy and Pat were here, so Saturday we went with them to an Island near Cape Cod,  we had such a wonderful time we rode the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, bought some wonderful homemade ice cream then rented scooters and spent the entire day exploring the Island.  It really was too fun.  We went to the lake where they filmed Jaws.  The houses were so fun with trim that looks like lace.  The beaches are lovely and the roads have canopy trees.  What shops we found were unique.  A pretty cool light house. We really enjoyed the time we spent together just a bit of heaven.
This is Chappaquidick (sp) where Ted Kennedy killed a woman and got away with it - long before your time! :)

This is where JAWS was filmed.  Now I have to watch the movie again...

Cool lighthouse - but it's named "Gay Head Light House", so it's destined to be destroyed :)

Cool looking houses in town.

Yours truly on our moped.  It was a ton of fun...

Another walk in the park (Dad)
We have an investigator that just doesn’t make time to see the sisters so they have basically turned her over to us.  She likes to walk, so the other day we asked if we could come by and go walking with her (so we could talk to her about the church in the walk).  We ended up giving her a ride to another area to pick up a suitcase she had left with a friend – over a year ago! J  Anyway, we went walking and found a monument on a hill where George Washington beat the British for the first time.  We thought that was pretty cool.  Anyway, we got a couple pictures and we finally got the suitcase and took her back home.

Random news (Mom)
One of our sisters got hit by a car.  Sliced her neck and she got about twenty + stitches, broke her sinus cavity and is pretty bruised up.  It really is a miracle more of the missionaries are not hit by cars even if they are in the right (too many people run red lights, turn randomly in front of people and in general are crazy!)  They were working like crazy and were having great success and she goes home next transfer.  It is kind of a bummer – but we’ve learned that things happen for a reason (or more than one). 
Portuguese Progress (Mom)
Thank you for your prayers for me.  I know they are helping.  (Especially for the baptism today.)   My talk went well so thanks for your prayers.  Also great news, we were officially made a group today and the stake called a group leader.  We still have so much work to do before it functions well but the group has wonderful people with wonderful hearts and we love them. 
Baptisms for Dead (Dad)
Last week one of the ward members called and asked if we could take some kids to the youth baptism trip to the temple and help officiate.  We ended up with only one boy (from the Dominican Republic), which wasn’t that fun for him.  Luckily, one of the young men leaders took him home with some friends.  I don’t think they really needed us, but thought they might be short-handed so asked us to come.  We always enjoy being at the temple and we missed our usual Thursday assignment because we had to negotiate some travel for baptismal interviews, etc.  I did get this good night shot of the Boston temple:

Final thoughts (Mom) 
We are learning so much and really wishing we had given more time to scripture study throughout our lives.  It really is so important to your spiritual happiness.  This week I had such a fun time I took the topic of integrity and read about Job, Daniel and the lions, Shadrack Meshach and Abednego, Paul before king Agrippa, Ester, Moroni, Joseph Smith etc.  Amazing stories of faith and integrity that make you want to be a better example of the believers. 
The church is true!

Love to all, Mom and Dad

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014 - Another Few Days

This week has flown by again.  Sunday we made our usual two trips back and forth to church to the Portuguese group meeting.  Our plan to expand into an adult Sunday School and short Primary didn't happen as the sisters found that it's the decision of the Bishop (since we're officially in the ward), and he said we'd wait awhile before doing it.  Sunday night I just wanted a burger, and since Mikey Dees was out of the question, we made our own - they were a little too big to actually eat...

On Monday, in order to work off the burgers we ate at 10:00pm the night before, we took a little walk to a grove of trees we found by our house.  Mom calls it our little gift from heaven to help us exercise.  Only we found out it's much bigger than we thought.  We got a little lost and walked about 6 miles!  Here are a few of the pictures I took while wandering... the park is called Stonybrook Reservation.

Then on Wednesday we had transfers!  No, Mom and I are still companions... I knew some of you were worried :)  But since we have the suburban, we got to take missionaries to the meeting and then take others back home - yes, the zone leaders love us!  Anyway, the important thing was the awesome transfer meeting - the first one Mom and I have ever been to.  When we were missionaries you just got told where to go and when, then made arrangements and showed up at your new area.  Here, all the missionaries being transferred, including those going home, come together for a big meeting.  It was very cool.  Sister Packard spoke on a term she had heard several times recently - "Sally forth" and said how all the missionaries being transferred, especially those returning home, are sallying forth courageously into difficult situations.  Then the President spoke and it was great, but the best part was at the end he pronounced a blessing on all the missionaries there (including us!) by the priesthood power and his calling as mission president.  One of the many blessings he gave was the gift of tongues, so we're pretty excited about that.
We have an investigator who really wants to learn English, so we've been going by and visiting with her and teaching her English and she's "teaching" mom Portuguese.  She's pretty funny because tonight we showed her our family picture and she didn't even know we were married!!  Life is good.
Love to all.  The church is true.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dear family
We are so very excited to skype with everyone tomorrow for Fathers day.  Life is awesome.  We just came from three spiritual experiences in three different homes.  We love the people from Cape Verde. Two good moments with the spirit.  One of the children in the last discussion asked how we know if we have done something wrong?  So the thought came to me, that when we hurt ourselves physically our bodies feel pain.  The pain is a blessing so we can fix what went wrong and get better.  When we do something wrong spiritually the light of Christ lets our spirit feel pain so that we can fix what went wrong and feel better. The discussion went on to other things but my mind was thinking some people have to live with physical pain but we should never have to live with spiritual pain He already felt it all. Second experience,  last week in the temple the matron said, her little grandchild said hold you grandma and she likened it to the Savior holding us.  This was a beautiful setting for the rest of my temple service.  All of you at one time or another when you were small said, "Hold you mommy" and now my grandchildren say it , "Hold you grandma"  I know it really means will you hold me, but the feeling I experienced as I imagined myself as a little child saying to the Savior, "Hold you Jesus" And having complete trust that He would was wonderful and I wanted you to imagine it too. We have been so so blessed here.  And thank you Mary for putting the video on the blog.  I love it so much. Love to all the Church is true

Our Mission Call

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014

Dear family

Sorry every four days got away from us.  We think of you always but we are so busy and we are having such a blessed time.  Quick update, we were having a lesson with a great young man and I began to understand a few words can you believe it? I can be taught.  It was so fun.  We had an amazing day at the temple with all the senior couples, there are about thirty in this mission.  They work in the colleges, in record extraction, at temple sites, in employment and the list just keeps going.  This mission has a lot of couples and president Packard says he could use anyone who would come but he gets in trouble for recruiting.  But really this is an amazingly run mission with a powerful spirit.  For senior couples we pretty much just do whatever we can to build the kingdom and there are few restrictions.  We work on Thursday at the temple and we had a ran the baptistry yesterday... good times.   The conference with the senior couples after the temple session was held at the mission home, and it was awesome.

Here are some more pictures for your enjoyment:

Does this market name make you want to shop there "E-COLI" market anyone?!

This is a picture with a recent convert, who came to do her mother's baptism and confirmation in the temple, it was awesome.

 This is us at the site where "Gone with the Wind" was filmed - outside of Boston!  Who knew?!

This is our Zone - we are losing a few missionaries to transfers next week.

I'm sure we'll write again soon.  Love to all.  The church is true.
Dad (and Mom to begin with)

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Next Four Days (6/6/2014)

Hello kids
It was so wonderful to skype with all of you on my birthday.  How I love you and I am so thankful for the way you are living your lives.  And yes my grandbabies are remarkable and thank you so much for the way you are training them.  We have had such an amazing past few days it is hard to know where to begin.  We took Adolfina to the temple on Tuesday to be baptized for her mother.  What a wonderful experience and then on Thursday dad and I both had very spiritual experiences as we worked in the temple. We had a crazy fun time at the Adult Day care center for people from Cape Verde.  We served lunch and they were so sweet I really enjoyed it. Today we had a great spiritual feast at zone conference.  Let me say our mission president is totally amazing.  In my mind a spiritual giant.  He talked about," How to receive Revelation." Coming before the Lord with complete reverence and humility, like the brother of Jared. And speaking using the right spiritual words for prayer, and kneeling as a symbol of respect.  Then how to pray: specific, individual, using questions and then waiting for the impressions, asking for guidance to pray for the right things, and being 100% willing to act upon those  promptings and then asking is there more.  We were promised sacred spiritual experiences as we write down each prompting.  Then he took about an hour to help us understand what the spirit might feel like. How it enlarges our ability to love.  We might ask for help and it will come in our increased ability to love.  The way the spirit speaks is enlightening.  Then he went thru all the things we normally think about how the spirit speaks and expounded upon them.  Perhaps the kind of spiritual answer you receive comes by how you ask your question.  Do you want a yes, no conversation or real guidance?  Learn the language of the spirit and your life will never be the same.  I wish there was a magic way to let you feel how powerful his message was and somehow bottle up the spirit for you, but just know your dad and I are being so blessed.  And we thank you so much for your prayers, for your love, and for your support.  I thought my language skills were improving but we went to teach some people after zone conference and the only thing I understood was dad prayer at the end.  Keep the prayers coming.  The church is true.  love mom

Monday, June 2, 2014

Another 4 days (6/2/2014)

Well, it looks like we're settling in on a 4-day cycle of reporting.
Last week we drove out to the Boston Temple (about 40 minutes away) three times - this week it will be four!  I guess that's a good thing, but the mileage may kill us... and the Suburban.
We had a baptism yesterday, on Mom's birthday.  Helena (Landa) Barbosa Fonseca was baptized by Alberto Aguilera, the leader of our little Portuguese group.  No, I didn't see the stickers on her when the picture was taken... :)
People often go by nicknames, hers is Landa.  I had to bribe her 10 year old son, Jaden, to be still during the baptism - a wise use of 10 smarties, I think.
Today (P-Day) we went in to Boston for Mom's birthday and took a Harbor Cruise...
Not too bad of a selfie for us old folks (Mom's older than I am today!)
Here's the harbor, it's beautiful...
This is the steeple of the North Church where the laterns were lit as a message to Paul Revere...
And we learned he didn't say "The British are coming" because we were all still British back then!  He said "The regulars are coming."  And here's the old building where the constitution was read to the public for the first time - from the balcony up on the third level.
Boston is full of national history and we had a great day touring around.  We took the subway into town and the station is right under this same old building (also where the Boston Massacre took place).  We got to see where the tea was dumped into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party, and of course, we got to see the Constitution - the oldest functioning Naval vessel.  To qualify as "functioning", it has to travel at least one nautical mile under its own power.  So, each 4th of July, the ship is towed out to sea and comes back toward the docks for a mile, then is towed into port.  I don't think they want to risk the ship, since it only travels by wind power, which isn't totally predictable!
We had fallafels (sp?) for lunch, and a vanilla shake (my choice), both of which were delicious.  We are trying to eat all kinds of different foods while here, at least when we eat out.
It was great to talk to everyone last night, and we'll try to do it again on Father's Day (applying the "equal time" rule - which, as we know, is really just a guideline...).  If you kids want to work out times and let us know, that would be great - we're fine with the last set of times, but some of you might want to adjust...
Love to all.  The church is true.