Tuesday, November 25, 2014

25 November 2014

Well, another couple weeks have passed and we have a few more pictures and updates:

"Valentines Dance" (actually couples activity for one of the wards:
A bunch of fun, we even did some dancing...
The local fresh meat store - you don't see this in the USA:
Lots of meat hanging for purchase.  I bought a slab of bacon - it was excellent!
The next was our "Torta na Cara" (Pie in the Face) activity:
We have to credit the Elders with this socializing activity at the Cuiabá ward.
This was a fun activity, with people getting pie in the face if they didn't answer church questions right.  The bishop was hesitant to go up and compete, but I went up with him - then accidentally gave him the wrong answer for how many plagues there were with Moses in Egypt!  Luckily they didn't make him take a pie, they just redid another question... whew!

This is the Windmill Padaria (bakery), where we shop once in awhile - we would go more but it's quite expensive.  They do have the best little french bread rolls:
Pretty sweet sunset, não é?
Then there's the always pleasant, but too filling, churrascaria:
This was grilled pineapple with cinnamon, to die for!
We'll call this one "Journey to the center of the Earth", only it's just the center of South America (the other one, we already showed you one).
We went late one night, so no one was here.  It's all about timing.
This was a huge religious expo here in Cuiabá and the church was invited to host a booth.  We went over and helped feed the missionaries working there and watched the entertainment:
There were literally thousands of people and probably forty or so religions.
The sad part about this one was that the stake youth choir didn't have time to sing because they took so long raffling off a motorcycle and a car.  The good part is that is was great exposure for the church and the missionaries got about 75 referrals from it.  And, I know food keeps coming up, we got to try a new food - Palito.  It's kind of like a pastel (deep fried with cheese or hamburger inside) on a stick.

One of the members brought us a Jaca fruit (Jack fruit in the US).  It was huge at about 25-30 lbs:
It's got little spikes all around it, but you can pry it open with your hands easily.
This is the inside - those are seeds, not bugs.
You kind of cut the fruit off the center and pull out "bulbs" of fruit that have a seed in the middle of them.  We saw on the internet that you could roast the seeds like chestnuts, but one of the blew up in our oven so we stopped trying that.  The fruit itself doesn't taste bad, but the smell is something awful.  We took the fruit and froze it and now we put it in shakes and it's really good.

This is the Paraguay river that separates Brazil from Boliva (and Paraguay at times):
If you look closely, in the distance you can see people playing volleyball.
I got to go with President Reber to Cáceres to visit with some Elders.  It was a long drive, but very pretty and the roads weren't too bad.  It was also fun to visit with the Elders - all from Brazil and all from the Northeast.  Cities that Brett and Becky would remember from our cruise, Fortaleza, Maceio, and Recife.

An open-air market called a feira, in Tijucal not too far out of town:
The Elders were choosing a watermelon to cut in half with rubber bands... I know...
We go to this place for the french fries (they are awesome and sold by a returned missionary), but I also had a crepe (pronounced crappy), and a pastel with ham and cheese in it.

A beautiful picture of downtown Cuiabá from a distance:
Yes, I did take this with my iPhone... :)

Next is Mom and I by a lovely waterfall, where we stopped on another trip with the Mission President:
We might not have been as close to the water as we appear.
The water in the river was quite dirty because it had rained hard for the last couple days.  Amazingly, it didn't rain on us at all when we walked down and back.  The rainy season is just beginning.  The other day we walked over to the office in a heavy rain and we were soaked - yes, we did have an umbrella!

One more cool thing, and then on to the main event:
This was a huge roach that we saw on the same trip.  That's a dum-dum sucker by it.

OK, now the fun stuff, these are pictures from a "Fazenda" (Farm) that we went out to on Monday to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Mom made a pumpkin and apple pie (they don't really have pumpkins here, so it was squash, but you couldn't really tell) that were awesome.  She also made the dressing, which tasted just like the US version.  Other people brought mashed potatoes and deviled eggs, etc.  But the main dish was chicken (turkey was too tough and too hard to kill) - the three Elders all picked out a chicken, caught it, then killed it and gutted it and cooked it.  OK, to be honest, none of them would cut the heads off so one of the employees at the farm did it.  Then they took off the feathers and mom showed them how to gut the chickens.  Pictures are following:

This was the group of guys at the farm.  President, me, Richards, Phipps, Bonaro, Edson (not missionary), Davis

This was behind the farm, right on the Cuiabá river.  Very cool.

Them plucking the feathers off one of the chickens

A tuacahn bird that was in one of the trees at the fazenda.  It was hard to get the picture.

This was inside one of the fazenda buildings, not too shabby.  Yes, my partner and I won at pool.

I got this picture of a parrot of some kind in the trees.
Unfortunately, I didn't get any good shots of the monkeys that came by the fazenda jumping from tree to tree - it was pretty cool.  The whole day was very nice.

The church is true, love to all

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The tooth, the miracle

How time keeps getting away from me I will never Know.
For the sake of remembering I will add my dentist experience.  This is truly an adventure to be recorded.  I broke off a tooth that had been capped by eating a peanut.  It couldn't easily be repaired so I had to have it extracted.  I made an appointment at a dentist office not far from our apartment - it had been recommended by one of the missionaries here.  I had an x-ray taken and I should have realized how old the equipment was when the dentist started reading my x-ray by holding this little 1" piece of film on a clothes pin and reading it by the light of his iPhone trying to figure out the problem. Most importantly, I should have received a blessing before the tooth was pulled instead of after so I would have been more calm through the ordeal.  I kept thinking what if my face is paralyzed, or what if he breaks my jaw after two hours of prying and drilling and getting little pieces out. I was no longer hoping they would find all the pieces and that I wouldn't get an infection I was praying that I wouldn't have to go somewhere else and start over again!  Crazy, they had to turn off the overhead light to cool it down because it was over heating - the removal was taking much longer than he thought it would. The suction tube they used was slow so we were all had blood all over us - the dentist had to change his goggles and they put rags around my neck to catch the blood running down my back. When I left, there was blood everywhere and I asked if I should help clean it up.  They just laughed.  I showered and soaked my clothes so all is clean for me I can not say about their office.  If I hadn't been so frightened it might have been humorous.  Tom tried taking a picture through the glass but it really doesn't capture the whole experience.  I did survive and I have a great story to add to my foreign mission experience.  Bad things can happen anywhere but the equipment here makes it so much more possible.  Fun times, I was hanging around while Tom was at the office.  They put in about nine stitches which needed to be removed next week.  There was so much pressure trying to pry the last root out they actually blistered and bruised my lip and chin.  So I did feel some what ready for Halloween.  The root was hooked on the jaw so he actually pushed it down and out the other side. Talk about painful. Muito dor!  Hey, be excited I learned to copy and paste.  Perhaps I can be taught.
Miracle, here is a little experience that we learned from one of our Elder's while in Aquidauana yesterday.
Elder J. Santos - is one of our Brazilian missionaries.  He hasn't been here long but was having some health problems with his eyes.  Terrible headaches and sight problems.  The doctors felt that these special glasses would cure the problems.  The glasses would cost him $500.  The mission funds do not pay for glasses so we encouraged him to try and get some help from his home branch and family.  We agreed to help him if he could come up with part of the funds for the cost. He knew that his family and branch could offer little or no help so he began fasting and praying for a solution.  After a couple weeks or so he shared this experience.  "Not knowing what to do or how I could come up with the money, one day I was going through my wallet and found an old Bank Card that I had forgotten about.  I didn't even remember having it on the mission. I had opened the account years before in preparation for my mission. I took the card to the bank to see if there was any money in the account.  When I checked I discovered there was $500 in this account!!   I was able to afford to get my own glasses!"  There are many blessings that come to us as we have faith.  When you ask with sincere faith, miracles happen in ways we least expect. 
We love you all so much.  We love every opportunity we have to skype.  Your goodness and faithfulness brings us so much joy.  We love, love, love the mission and so appreciate your support and prayers.  Com Amor, the parental units.