Friday, September 26, 2014

Birthday Party - 24 Sep 2014

It was my birthday, so I thought I would post some pictures.  We had a BBQ our by our apartment pool with the elders in the office and the other office couple.  It was fun to have hamburgers and hot dogs, and cake and ice cream.  We even had french fries with the meal!
Mom had the great idea to burn a bunch (two boxes full) of paper from the office instead of shred it, so that's how we got the charcoal started - they don't have lighter fluid here.

Me - cooking burgers, etc.

Yes, I'm now 61... I know, hard to believe! :)

Elder Bonaro with office papers to burn

Love to all.  The church is true.

Monday, September 22, 2014

21 September 2014

Hello Everyone,

Another few days in paradise.  This week we went to an open market in Tijucal, close to Cuiabá. (Oh, notice that my Portuguese accents are working now that I have connected a Brazilian keyboard)  Anyway, there is a member that sells french fries at the market, so we got a bunch of them and they were good.  We also bought a "pastel" filled with cheese and it was really good also.
A couple pictures from the open market (notice the "bounce house" at the end of the row!

Sunday we drove the president's car to a group meeting in Campo Verde (we posted a picture of the group previosuly).  They called the night before and asked me to speak, and then asked Mom to speak (bear her testimony) just before the meeting - they give me notice and not her, go figure!  My talk went well and I was feeling pretty good about my Portuguese since I spoke about 20 minutes without notes...until (here's where pride goeth before a fall) afterward one of the members asked how long we would be on our mission and I said "18 years!" instead of 18 months! :(  It was actually pretty funny when I noticed the look on their faces and then realized what I had done.  Mom's talk and testimony was awesome - she came prepared with a little book of thoughts that she's been working on, so that helped.  And I should add, since she does most of the blogging, everyone loves her here - just as we knew they would.  She communicates just fine and gets along with the Brazilians even when I'm not around.

Here's a picture of the president's car.
This is President Reber's car.
The car picture was taken at the Brazilian "Bridal Veil Falls" (Cachoeira da Noiva) - here's a picture of the falls, it's beautiful!  I'm guessing it's probably a 200ft drop to the bottom.

On the way home we saw some other fun things:
This was our friendly neighborhood armadillo out for a Sunday afternoon stroll (on the side of the road)
This is a big lizard we saw along the road (it may have been a gila monster,
but we couldn't tell, it was about 2 feet long)

These three pictures were all taken at a river just off the highway on our way back.

The trip takes us though a place called "Chapada dos Guimarães", which is a lot like St. George, with red cliffs, etc.

All is well here, we survived the travel with no GPS, no access to AAA, no phone service, no decent maps, and definitely no decent roads!  Life's an adventure.

And lest you think all we do is travel about having fun, most of our days are spent working in the office.  We've actually only taken two P-days in four weeks... and those were the two days we spent in the Pantanal last week.

Love to all, the church is true!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dear Family
We have been having a great time, spread out around missionary work, of course - which is also great.  We found this cool little museum in Cuiabá about Cuiabá History and we love Cuiabá even more.  It has such beautiful people.

One of the exhibits in the Cuiaba Museum
This was the inside of one of the Catholic churches here in town
We also visited the Pantanal (where all the animals are) on our P-day.  It was totally beautiful and you will love some of these pictures.  Our room's air conditioning did not work (well, it did run but it was VERY loud so we shut it off) so we were a little hot and we didn't get much sleep.  They fed us three yummy meals and it is fun to eat different things especially if I don't have to make them.  I don't love passion fruit, who knew?, since I am pretty passionate about a lot of things.  And they serve potatoes cold with the salad bar, makes sense they are considered a vegetable.  I can eat anything if you put Nutella on it and wash it down with Guaraná!  I might be Brazilian.  We had a delightful guide which I am sorry to say we did not get a picture with. He works six days a week, always Saturday and Sunday and makes about five hundred dollars a month.  He has six children which he sees on the one day he he has off and returns home.
He walked us all around and showed us monkeys and birds in the area.
This is a Tuuu (Two-U-U) bird, they are huge.

These are like the Rio birds.

This one I caught in the wild, on our long walk.

One of the many monkeys we saw.

A hawk I caught taking off (on our walk)

More Tuuu birds with their babies (two on the right are about 2 months old, can't fly yet)

Also got an owl during the day.

This one was taken at our"Pousada" where we spent the night.
I found the iguana all by myself! and the guide gave me a "Muito Bem!" for my find.
Here is "My" Iguana (Dad took the picture from about 2 feet away!)
The termite hills are everywhere.  They are built so strong even when the rainy season comes and floods them they still stand.  Some are six feet tall or more.
Termite mounds (Yes, it looks like a graveyard)
We did not take a boat down the river, but there are thousands of alligators, also paranha, anaconda, and various other snakes.  We hope to go back durning the rainy season and do that.    If Kevin is reading this we did find the "rodents of unusual size" and Dad took a picture:
Here it is, and they are as big as a large dog (a fat one)
They are crazy big but the nice thing about that is you would see them if they came into your house so there really isn't a rodent problem in our apartment :).  And we live on the third floor. The birds are beautiful, I could easily stand on the observation tower for hours and watch them. The pit is that you need to get them in flight because for some birds when the wings are closed they are brown when they fly there are reds, whites, yellows, oranges, you get the picture - also some have enormous wing spans that are absolutely incredible in flight.  I did try to get a picture close up of an alligator but he hissed and scared me almost to death.  We had a frog in our room which we made the owner come catch because although it was small I didn't know if it was poisonous.  I know... chicken baby (probably unlikely you'll call Mom that after seeing the alligator picture).  But just to show you how tough I am I grabbed a Gater by the tail and even though he had already eaten it was still pretty brave (just a note, when Dad grabbed his tail he hadn't eaten yet! - His picture is on FaceBook).
Yep, it's a real gator, but maybe not as dangerous as it looks... kind of tame, really
We are back to the office this afternoon with only the fun memories of this enchanted area.  Tom is off financing and I need to get some transfer papers done, so just know we love you all very much.
The Church is True.
love mom

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 17th 2014
Dear Family
So it seems like a long time since I updated the blog, sorry about that.  Life is wonderful and we are loving things here.  We got our new little couch and love seat they are the perfect size and we are thrilled to have a place to sit down when we come home.
Night view from our Apt
This is really our apartment building (we're on the third floor)
We had great training for the zone leaders and the Sister trainers. President talked about alignment to the commandments comes with a desire to pray, follow the prophet,  study the scriptures, and also heed the council from local leaders.  He really wants them to push getting those they teach to church.  We had that same goal when I was serving in Indiana.  We have excellent missionaries here.  They want to be obedient and serve well. Most of the training was done by the missionaries - it is wonderful to see the great leaders they are being trained to be.  We house the elders or sisters when they come for meetings or transfers and dad makes french toast for breakfast.   They all think it is amazing so they want to be assigned to us.  We love them all. We worked on the house for the San Mateus Group and Sunday they had their first meeting there.
San Mateus house - missionaries on top and meeting house on bottom!
It was awesome, they had 44 people attend and even though dad and I did not attend we were so thrilled for their progress.  So we had breakfast at president's home... sort of a thank you for the work being done in the office, and the assistants challenged us to a First Ever Bake off contest, so we called David and got "the cheesecake" recipe. We received the Best in Taste award!

Here are the 4 Elders in the contest - Our cheesecake is on the right...
This was somewhat of a miracle because we had to change the recipe from metric to ounces - also our oven's lowest setting is 350 degrees (which is only shown in Celsius!).  But the oven turned itself off after about fifteen minutes and we reheated it after we discovered it about an hour later.  It was nearly perfectly done so I truly believe there is no way to duplicate the process :).  The bake off was a blast and dad brought the indoor bocce-ball set so we played a round and it was crazy fun.  This Sunday we are heading to Campo Verde to meet with that group,

Group in Campo Verde, where we went with the mission President (far left in back, next to us)
Dad is driving the mission president's car, Puxa!.  We totally love the group there so we are so excited to get to go.  When I am not doing office stuff I try to write talks on different subjects in Portuguese.  If I ever get called to teach the sunbeam class I already have two lessons completed :).  Life is so fun.  Dad and I are so enjoying this experience. The church is true.  Dad will (did) fix this and add pictures.
xoxox mom

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sept 9, 2014

Hey everyone!

It's been two weeks now since we arrived in Brazil.  Today was transfer day and we got 16 new missionaries - none of which came from the US!
Here are the new missionaries with President and Sister Reber

It was great to skype with everyone on Sunday evening, wonderful to see everyone!  John, here is a picture of the shoes I was telling you about - not sure if it does them justice...

And they're only $169,99 reais - about $80 dollars.

 This is a church I stepped into yesterday to take a look at the inside, very ornate...

I'm learning a lot from the financial secretary - mostly about how Brazilians do things.  He's from Jacksonville, FL and has been in the office 9 months.  It will be hard for him to leave, especially since he's held a position of authority and power... I'm sure it won't have the same effect on me! :)

More news soon, I'm sure!
Love to all, the church is true.

Another week, Sept 3, 2014

Well, we've been in Brazil a week already.  Time keeps flying by.  Our apartment is getting set up and we're supposed to get internet today, but everyone else thinks it's a long shot.  The other couple in the office have been waiting over three months and still don't have it.  We had our first mission conference yesterday - it get's split into the north of the mission (the state of Matto Grosso) and the south of the mission (the state of Matto Grosso Sul [south]).  So the mission president is down south today doing a repeat.  Elder Campos, the area rep, was one of the speakers, along with his wife and it was a very good meeting.  I understood it all (95 - 99%), and mom understood quite a bit.  Mom was in charge of the English test sign ups, which had been lagging in the mission.  She and I made a sweet poster and sign up, which got about 20+ missionaries to sign up - which was awesome!  Then, perhaps because we were thinking that was too cool for school, the sheet was lost when cleanup was done! :(  Bad news.  We're still hoping it shows up sometime soon as we won't be able to recreate it...
Last night we went to our first Churrascaria here.  It was very good, although we didn't need all the extra meat.  It cost us about $16 each for the all-you-can-eat feast.  When I was here forty years ago, it was only about half that - which means inflation hasn't been all that bad here :).

Here we are at the churrascaria - I can't explain why my plate is full of meat and Mom's isn't!
 Church on Sunday was great.  There were two youth speakers and one high council speaker, all of which were excellent speakers and very enjoyable.  Then we went to Gospel Essentials, and it was also well taught.  Mom had to read a section in the lesson, and everyone gave her a thumbs up for reading so well in Portuguese!  She is really awesome, she went up to many of the sisters at church and talked with them in Portuguese, and they loved it.
This is the chapel of the ward where we meet.  It's pretty nice.

Oh, we also went to two baptisms on Saturday.  Right before the first one, the bishop came to us and asked me to speak and mom to give the prayer.  So, I gave the baptismal talk with 5 minutes notice!  Mom was a little nervous, but did great.  At the second baptism, she went over and talked with a woman there for about 15 minutes.  After the meeting, the lady came over to me and said "Sua esposa e bem bacana!" - which means, "Your wife is really cool!"  Mom was a little irritated with me for not "saving her" and leaving her with the lady that whole time, but I think she knows it was for the best (maaaaybe).  She really is awesome and everyone loves her.

Cuiaba - View from across the street from the office where we work.
I met Elder Wright at the mission conference - his brother taught me once at the senior language training center in Provo when we went up.  I promised him then that I would give his brother a big hug (abraco) for him when I saw him in Brazil.  So, Elder Wright thought it was a little odd, but when I explained who I was, he hugged me again and said thanks so much!  His brother had told him about me, but he had forgotten since it was months ago. :)  It was pretty cool.
Love to all, the church is true!