I hope you are all still praying that I can learn Portuguese, every week I go to church and have a renewed determination to learn the language so I can understand the talks and testimonies and communicate with people and most importantly feel more of the spirit. This determination lasts about a day and then the office work gets overwhelming and I flake out yet again on my language study. I do not seem to be able to pay the price required for the miracle. I am totally open for ideas, suggestions, reprimands, commands, etc. Now except for the fact that I can't understand anyone or anything we are having a blast. Missionary work is awesome. Last week we had transfers and because the mission is so large it is always an adventure but this time it was the perfect storm. Some Elders needed paper work done for the government before they left,(when you use the word government in a sentence just insert the word nightmare), Over sixty tickets had to be marked and the transportation system was down off and on, Some were needing to take English tests, Some flights were overbooked, One of the elders missed the plane, the office elders were transferring and the new elders (although very excellent were new to their responsibilities and their were gaps in the training) add in that nothing in Brazil is ever a one step process, and you get the idea. Going on at this same time was preparation for the leadership training conference for the north and south. In addition to preparing presentations, handouts,outlines etc. Because this conference was longer more meals needed to be scheduled and transportation arranged. Then it is Christmas Conference where we replace all water filters and Co detectors batteries, update and check all area books and help with all packages from home and the mission. It is a party, and of course dad continues to do his magic with the finances, (which of course seems to require daily miracles). It would be impossible to do what he does if this wasn't the Lords work. There is always some house with a crazy landlord or without water, lights or a contract, plus the normal problems of putting money here and taking it from there. The man is amazing and sometimes I get tired just watching what happens. It will be difficult to describe the money miracles required in a mission this large but one of these miracles needs to be recorded.
Several weeks before this event, the mission key fob battery went dead and the account that was attached to it was in the name of someone who no longer worked for the church. The account - used for paying most of the mission bills became unusable. The nightmare that transpired was an ongoing battle and lasted about 3 weeks. Bills were paid by withdrawing money off the presidents card whenever money was available, and trying each day to get a new mission account set up. I wish I could even remember all the crazy miracles that happened as Dad daily tried to pay the right bills and juggle money around. I remember thinking, "Why can't they resolve this problem, this is the Lord's work?" When all was finally worked out, Dad retrieved the four thousand reais he had "borrowed" from the president's account (a little each day for a week due to restrictions), so he was ready to put the money back into president Reber's account. This was on Saturday when he made the last withdrawl and that afternoon he received a phone call from President. "Elder Harris, I don't know how or even if this is possible but we need three thousand five hundred reais to help the Aquidauana group pay for the bus to get to the temple for the first time. We will be reimbursed when they get back but we need the money up front, and we have to send it to President Oliveira in the south by Monday in order for them to pay the bus company in time!" If you understood the bank regulations here you would know that request would really be impossible. But Elder Harris was able to reply, "President you are not going to believe this, but right now I have four thousand reais in our safe waiting to deposit it back into your account on Monday." President said, "That is unbelievable, and what adds to the miracle is that Sister Reber and I offered to put five hundred reais out of our own account towards their trip - so just take the full $4,000R and send it!" The exact amount of money needed for their trip to the temple -- that is not just some lucky moment. Weeks before, the Lord was preparing a way for the young families to get to the temple to be sealed. And although it seemed like a huge problem for us in the interim, we were so grateful to be a part of the miracle. This really was a testimony that this is His work and no unhallowed hand will stop it.
We have traveled with the president to Primavera and Campo Verde. And with the Davises to other places. Dad has some pictures.
Our first stop is Diamantino, where we went last weekend with the Davises. I'm showing the bread store because everything we got there was very good. One of the loaves of bread was laced with "doce de leite", which is like carmel - very good!
|Just wanted to show the "cobblestone" streets in Diamantino... awesome.|
|This river is usually crystal clear - all the rain has it completely brown with dirt.|
|Sunset as we came back into town.|
Departing Missionary dinner at our place
|The 3 on the left and 1 on the right are office workers, the other 5 were leaving.|
These two are from our trip out to a dam on the Cuiabá river. Yes, we did indulge in some dam jokes. :)
|Yes, we're getting older and older (just no other place to sit!)|
We have had missionaries stay with us and the father of a departing missionary stay also. And great activities in the area so enjoy whatever dad puts up in the way of pictures. I hope the pictures will give you a feeling of this lovely area and some of the things we do. Most importantly thank you for your support and prayers they are felt and so appreciated. We are so blessed to be here in this place, with these wonderful people, at this time. This I have found to be a true principle -- we are all unqualified to do the Lord's work but he can use us if we let him. The Church is True. Com Amor, Mom and Dad