Sunday, August 31, 2014

End of Another Month, August 31, 2014 (Pictures!)

I promised some more pictures, so here they are:
View to left from our Apt - the tile roof you see at the far left is the church.

View from Apt Right - the bldg with the design and blue windows is the office
This is our Apt - it's nicer than it looks!

These are missionaries we work with - and a banana split.  Elder Bonaro and Phipps

Same missionaries at a baptism (before the banana split)

Carly when we were in St. George
I sent a jump drive to Jenny with all the pictures I took from Atlanta and Houston, so get with her to get copies.  It seemed the easiest to make sure I didn't just take them with me or forget to give them to you.
Nice picture I took of our plane before leaving Atlanta.
Us and the Romrells at the airport in Cuiaba!  We really are here.

I thought I'd include this Picture of the office door, to show what a nice environment it's in.

Here we are again - with President and Sister Reber in the mission home.

OK, you made it through the rest, so I'll tell you this is our REAL apartment!
Our apartment is quite nice, on the third floor of the building above.  We have three bedrooms and three bathrooms, a front room, a kitchen, and a little utility area with a washing machine (that we are grateful for, but no dryer).  No dishwasher, but we know how to do that.  And we kind of miss our griddle.  Outside of that, the house and kitchen were well stocked when we arrived, even food in the kitchen.  As you saw from the pictures above, we are one block from the church and one block from the office - which is awesome!!

Love to all, the igreja is verdadeira.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

We are in Brazil, no phone, no internet but all is awesome! August 30, 2014

Dear Amazing family
We were so thrilled to get to see some of you on our return trip to St. George.  Thank you for your love and hospitality.  And thank you for traveling and making time to visit.  You must know how much you all mean to us, we love you like crazy. 
Brazil is just like I thought it would be is some ways and completely different from my expectations in other ways.  It is lovely here (one of the expectations).  Right now we are in the dry hot season so the weather has been like St George (but not quite as hot).  It hasn't bothered us at all, and we have good air conditioning in our apartment and our office is air conditioned - oh, and we have a pool at the apartment!  Nice Right? The people of course are wonderful.  Everyone is kind.  I met a lady in our building who wants to learn English and she will help me learn Portuguese, which is a little blessing because I don't think I will learn as much in the office since we speak English most of the time. 
So they also have a hot wet season and that is it really, just two seasons here. There is no summer, winter, fall, or spring. We have not learned the bus system yet so we are at the mercy of Elder Davis, who has designated himself the "mission driver".  They are the other couple working in the office.  I am sure we will love working with them.  Yesterday I was feeling a little like Mulan in the match makers house :).  Ancestors hear my plea, help me not to make a fool of me. But as usual Dad came thru and made me look good.  The new rule is Dad cannot leave me for too long in case president expects me to do something for real (Dad: the mission president sent an email to mom asking her to print a bunch of copies of an attachment - she actually picked up the email and let me know when I got back to the office.  We got it done right away, impressive!).  I know it will take time but I feel that I am not building the kingdom here.  Not yet, but I know things will work out well.  We went to a baptism this morning and they asked dad to give a talk on baptism and asked me to pray.  It was scary for me but it felt wonderful to be needed.  I know this is probably sinful but I am a little envious of the other couple that are going to Sorriso (up North), they get to go to different branches and work directly with the people.  They already know all the cities they will be working in.  Ok, no more whining - I did check the box that said anywhere/anything.  Don't read that part to the grandkids! :)  Our apartment is huge, so any of you could come, we have three bedrooms.  There are two sets of bunk beds in one of the bedrooms, which helps us house the missionaries at transfer time (or other needs).  We live one block from the office and two blocks from the church.  Tomorrow is our first Sunday in the "Brazil" mission field...Awesome! 
We love you all so very much.  The Church is true. xoxo Mom
(Dad: We'll try to post some pictures soon.  It doesn't look like we'll get too many P-Days, everyone just keeps working through them!  Laaame, oops Mom said no whining so I'm good.)

We got our Visas! August 6, 2014

Hey Family
I guess the big news is August 6th we received our visa notification so we really are going to Brazil (already there at the time this is posted, sorry!).  I need to report on a few wonderful experiences before we leave this sacred place.  August 5th we took Gastao to the airport to pick up his daughter and grandson.  They were flying in from Cape Verde.  We met three lovely sister missionaries that were returning home from their mission and were going to a hotel for the night and were flying home the next morning. 
The 3 sisters from Cape Verde
They really wanted to get to the Boston temple.  We told them we would try to take them after we had taken our people back to their home but we probably would not be able to connect and get them to the temple in time for them to go inside. Well, of course as you would expect everything worked out perfectly and we got them to the temple.  We went in and dad and I were proxy parents so they could be sealed as daughters in a sealing session, what a lovely time we had.  When we entered the Celestial room they all began to cry for joy.  We found out they had prayed before the flight from Cape Verde that they would find a way to get to the temple.  But wait there is more, while we were taking pictures we talked to a couple from Cape Verde and offered them a ride home but their ride came. So two days later when we working our last shift in the temple the same couple came in and needed help with translation and dad walked by and saw them and recognized them from two days before and was able to help translate in Portuguese for them. Oh, the goodness and mercy of our Great God.  We can't begin to record all the wonderful experiences we daily have but for sure we know this time in the Boston Massachusetts Mission has been a wonderful gift to us.   We had a wonderful zone conference today and we know we are going to miss these awesome missionaries.
(Dad) And there is even more from that story.  One of the sisters that served in Cape Verde said that a companion of hers had her father living in Boston.  His name was Daniel dePina, which is a common name, but mom and I kind of freaked because we had been trying to connect with a Daniel dePina for some time and couldn't catch him home.  We had gotten his phone number once, but couldn't find it later on.  The sister told us that his daughter went by Sister Pina because it was easier.  So... the rest of the story... as we were packing up to leave, we found the number for "our" Daniel dePina, so I called him just to see if I could reach him for once.  He answered the phone and I said hello and then asked him if he had a daughter serving a mission in Cape Verde and he said yes, but she is Sister Pina there!!  He was the same person, and we had a great talk because I was able to tell him I met one of his daughter's companions and that she was a great missionary, etc.  We hadn't been able to contact him all this time and he had never been to church, but he was excited to hear about the Portuguese group and committed to attend.  Isn't the Lord wonderful?!  It was a great experience for us - how all these things were so intertwined and all in alignment with God's plan for his children.
Love to all, the church is true
Mom and Dad  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Connecticut Temple Trip, August 3, 2014

Great experiences everyday.  Yesterday we traveled to Connecticut to see the temple that is being built there.  We had a great time with other senior couples in our mission.  We learned that those construction workers who work on site aren't allowed to smoke, drink, swear, or even eat inside the walled area of the temple - only water is allowed inside. 
Hartford Connecticut Temple under construction.
We ate at a very delicious restaurant called Wood N Tap (no, we didn't Tap!).  The view was awesome, as seen below.

View from behind the Wood-N-Tap Restaurant

We went to the birth place of Wilford Woodruff and heard some great stories from a church historian there.  One of Wilford's favorite sayings was, "And we continued on rejoicing" no matter what situation they were in.  I want to be like that.   We just had another beautiful day in paradise, with the corn in the fields tasseled at ten feet, flowers everywhere, huge trees so thick it's a mountain of green, a lovely breeze, red barns, and good people talking about great things, it doesn't get better than this.
This is the Wilford Woodruff Monument

This is our group at the Monument.
(Dad) Individuals in the picture worth noting (you can see us, of course):  Pat Brady's sisters - one above me and to the left with her husband right behind her, and one to the right of the rock (Susan) with her husband right behind her with his hand on the monument.  The woman to the right of Susan is Sister McBride, the mother-in-law of the mission president.  Two people more to the right is Sister Packard and her husband, President Packard right behind her, she's wearing a dark blue dress.

Sunday at church we had a great testimony meeting, our new converts and reactivated members all bore their testimonies and four of them got recommends to go to the temple to do baptisms.  (Dad) Mom bore her testimony in Portuguese!  It really was a great meeting, and I didn't know it but the Stake President came in the back during the meeting and stayed until the end.

Friday, August 1, 2014

End of Another Month, July 31, 2014

This week has been awesome.  We went to transfer meeting on Wednesday, this is for all missionaries being transferred and those going home.  It was totally amazing.  We have thirty one missionaries going home and they all got to bear their testimonies.  It was a great spiritual experience. Everyone has a story and that story is sacred because of the atonement.  Here's a picture of those going home (6 from our Zone!):

Today (7/31) was our day to work in the temple and we stayed and went thru the session with the missionaries who were leaving.  Dad and I were the witness couple.  The session was such a peaceful experience.  When we were all in the celestial room it was so quiet and reverent - a truly sacred experience.  The missionaries had come to make their accounting to God.  When they enter the mission they go to the temple and make a personal promise and when they leave, they return and report.  As each Elder or Sister entered the room the spirit increased until the feeling was remarkably powerful.  Something that cannot be put into words.
Another Temple picture:
It just needed some white puffy clouds to be perfect...

We took the missionaries to the mission home and then stayed for dinner (at the insistence of the mission president and his wife).  They really give them the red carpet treatment (that's where the picture was taken above) .  There really is no way to convey the powerful spiritual experiences we are enjoying.

Tomorrow is August 1st, "Speak No evil Month"  Good luck.

Us with the Delarosa Family
We went to a great lesson this morning (8/1) with the Delarosa Family.  They are so sharp.  They were baptized last week and have become member missionaries.  His sister is now taking the lessons in their home and they are teaching and testifying.  They are remarkable.  Their young son (Louis - 9) was teaching the Plan of Salvation and he was explaining the "whys" in detail.  It was awesome.  The spirit was strong and Elder Harris has the ability to say just the right things to connect the dots and bring it all together.  The father had a very spiritual experience at his baptism as he listened to Elder Harris' talk on the Holy Ghost and he shared those feelings with us.  I was crying and unable to add anything to the lesson.  This has been a pretty awesome day.  And the zone lunch we were in charge of was yummy.  Or everyone was hungry, you really can't go wrong with chili dogs with watermelon on the side.
The church is true.  Love to all Mom (and some fill-in from Dad)