Saturday, April 29, 2017

Special Post - Mosiah

Life here is awesome and we will love the mission.  Yesterday I was supposed to talk in church, Dad was supposed to teach a lesson, and we were supposed to go to lunch.  Everything fell through, I was so very excited we had such a nice Sunday.  So relaxing and needed.  Of course next week will be hectic but I was thankful for a reprieve. The Bishop forgot he had asked me to speak.  They forgot to ask people to attend the temple prep class.  And they were off by one person on the lunch list. 
We went to the temple in Campines to Sister Barbosa's wedding.  Her husband Mosiah has a pretty cool miracle story.  About a year into his mission he was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph-nodes.  He was released from his mission and sent home for treatment, and the mission president asked all the missionaries to fast for him each fast Sunday until he was able to return.  When they took the cat scan he had cancer in several places and the diagnoses was not good.  After seeing the test results the doctor, who was not a member of the church, went into a separate room and prayed to ask God to help him save this young man (as he was certain he would die).  They started a very aggressive eight month treatment.  Four months into the treatment, the doctor said they needed to do another full scan to see if the treatment was having the desired affect, and the determine if the medication needed adjustment.  After the scan results came back, they could find no cancer at all.  The doctor said to the family, "You must have an incredible amount of Faith."  They answered, "We do."  So Mosiah, at the recommendation of the Doctor, completed the eight months of treatment.  With all the issues it took almost a year to get back into the mission field, all the Elders and Sisters knew they had helped participate in a miracle, so with gratitude and rejoicing he returned to his original mission!  A side note, Mosiah was concerned he might die before he could finish his mission so he continued being the best missionary he could be under the circumstances and during his hospital visit and treatments he put his name tag on top of his scriptures on the night stand next to his bed.  When he was well enough he went out to work with the local elders and maintained the mission schedule.  His mission time ended up being three years, but his blessings were innumerable. We love mission stories.
While at the temple we met another Sister Dias from the Cuiaba mission - she was getting sealed that day also.  The temple was so crazy busy because it was a holiday.  We saw five or six large buses and at least that many mini vans drop off people.  I just love it when the temple is so crowded.  The Baptistry was across from the waiting room for sealings, so we were able to see that as well, and it was packed with youth.  The law in Brazil says, that couples have to get married in the court house before they get married in the temple, so they have 24 hours after their wedding to get to a temple and be sealed.  So there were back to back sealings.

Love, Mom

Mission 2 - Week 29

I keep thinking that we'll have a "normal" week here in Brazil, but it hasn't really happened yet.

Monday night we had a Brazilian friend of the Sonderegger's come in and sing Brazilian and American songs for us.  He was very good and we really enjoyed all the songs - some Roberto Carlos from Brazil and Frank Sinatra from the US.  It was very enjoyable.
Tuesday we taught our English class after work in the office.  We still have a good group of students, about 16 in attendance now.
Wednesday marked 7 months on our mission (but who's counting?!).  I went with Elders Sonderegger and Shumway to pick up our tickets for the soccer game Saturday night.  It was a "Brazil" experience, we went over at 4:00pm because the office closed at 5:00pm (for some reason we all had to be there in person to get them).  Well, about 5:45 they finally had things figured out - Elder Sonderegger hadn't brought the credit card he used to buy the tickets so we couldn't get them, we then decided to buy them with another card but couldn't figure out how to cancel the first ones, then finally bought new ones in a different part of the stadium with a different credit card.  Anyway, it took forever, and we got back home a lot later than we had anticipated.  Mom and I went up to the El Dorado Mall with the Sondereggers and bought them a going-away dinner at the Fifties restaurant there.  They are going home next Friday.

Here is the ticket office where all the fun took place, we
were outside waiting because it was after hours, and the
place is really locked down - I guess to avoid robbery

Thursday was a good work day in the office, but also a long one.  It was Jouber's last day before he leaves on a three-week vacation.  We went to the temple afterward and I just couldn't believe all the mistakes the officiator was making.  Afterward Mom talked with another person in the session and this sister told her that an excursion bus had arrived and they pulled one of the men aside and asked him to officiate.  He said he would prefer not to because he had never done it before.  They said they really needed him, so he agreed - hence all the mistakes.  And hence, yet another "quit judging people!" experience... I may never learn that very important lesson.
Friday, we got up at the b...-crack of dawn, as John would say, because we had to get over to Sister Barbosa's house by 5:30am to hitch a ride out to Campinas to attend her sealing in the temple.  She is one of our favorite Sisters from Cuiabá.  She had arranged a ride for us with her sister-in-law to-be and her husband (that may not be clear, but it's consistent!).  So we took Uber over there and got the ride, and it was a lot of fun - the husband was hilarious and a big goof-off.  We really like all the members of Mosiah's (groom) family, and his story is pretty amazing itself - there is a separate post after this one telling about his miracle.  Of course, we got to the temple in plenty of time and waited around for about 3 hours (really), then went to the sealing.  It was very nice, and we could hear and understand it all, which was also very nice.
Afterward, we took some pictures and then got a ride back with two other former missionaries in Cuiabá, but they served before we got there.  It was so nice to get a ride back because we had no way back and were going to attempt the bus, etc., so we bought them lunch when we got back and it was really enjoyable.

Husband of Sister-in-law, Me, Mom, Father-in-law,
Sister-in-law, Mother-in-law - basically us with the in-laws!

Campinas temple, very pretty, sits up on a hill at the edge of town

Yours Trulys

The two on the right are Elder Nascimento (Cuiabá) and
the groom, Mosiah.

After the sealing, Mosiah and Tamiris

The two returned missionaries from the Cuiabá mission

Saturday we got a new US couple - our new neighbors in our apartment building.  They are the Whitings, and are very nice.  He's a doctor and she's a nurse, and they work in the area office also.  We went with several couples, including the Whitings, to a new park in downtown São Paulo, called Burle Marx - so we joked that he must be Groucho's brother!  The park was awesome, we saw birds, fish, monkeys and turtles.  We went for a walk and then ate at a little lunch place with several vendors.

This was a cool mural painted on a block wall, we saw
it along our long walk to the park.

Burle Marx Park - right in the middle of the city

Monkey ran over and got inside one of the vendor's vans!

These are the small Marmoset monkeys - a lot in the park

It was a very pretty park with several walking trails.

One of the many flowers along the trail we took

This turtle was sunning himself on a log

There were also very pretty ponds along the trail

Another fun turtle shot

These are the Sondereggers, from Rexburg, ID

This is a funny sculpture we saw along the trail - it's a
full room made of steel.  But the odd thing is that it was
hung upside down...

That night was the Palmeiras soccer game against Ponte Preto - a big game here, and important because Palmeiras had lost to them the week before.  Palmeiras ended up winning by a score of 1-0, but got eliminated from the tournament because they had lost with a score of 3-0 so they had fewer goals and that made the difference.  The game was fun, but the swearing was unbelieveable.  We stayed for the whole game only because we didn't know what they were saying anyway, although some of the hand signals they were using are apparently universal.  That was the sad part of the game, and I wouldn't go again, but it was a fun experience otherwise.

Shumway, Harris, Sonderegger - at the big game

Sunday was a very nice day.  Mom had been assigned a talk in church, and I was going to teach the first Temple Preparation class, and we were to have a lunch appointment after church.  Well, the bishop came over to Mom (on the stand) during the Sacrament hymn to tell her he had forgotten and she wouldn't be speaking - and it was a good thing because he ended up passing "sit down" notes to the other two speakers before the High Councilor!  Then after the meeting, the Sunday School president told me that I wouldn't be teaching for another couple weeks, and when our lunch appointment fell through Mom and I looked at each other and said "Win-Win-Win!"  It was pretty funny, but it made for a relatively casual and easy Sunday - then we Skyped with the youngsters and it made our day.
A few other photos:

Since we walk by the temple every day,
sometimes we just get some gorgeous
pictures of it

At the temple on Thursday, we ran into
Sister Jeronymo, another Sister from the
Cuiabá mission.

Another pretty flower from the park walk

This is the new Visitor's Center they are remodeling
right next to the temple and next to our Area Offices
(it used to be temple apartments)

Love to all,
The Church is True,
Dad and Mom

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mission 2 - Week 28 (Paraty)

Another week in paradise - this week we took a trip with Cristina and her family to Paraty.  It's a city by the ocean between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with beautiful bays, islands, and beaches.  They own a boat, so we slept on the boat each night.  Friday was a holiday, so we got permission to leave on Thursday to go up early.  So, we did work a few days before partying...  We stayed from Thursday to Sunday morning and then came back home to São Paulo.  A fun note - the name of the boat is "toatoa", which sounds like 'tou a toa', which means "I'm doing nothing, just hanging around wasting time."

Cristina worked with us in the travel department until a week ago, when she asked to be let go - so that she could take advantage of unemployment and other benefits, which is common here in Brazil.  We miss her a lot because she was always very nice and very helpful, especially to Mom who helped her with VISAs for England and other things.  Mom always brings treats to work on Monday and Cristina would always wash the container or pan and give it back clean, etc.  So, it was a double pleasure to go with them on the trip.  It was Cristina, Douglas (her husband), and her two daughters, Tábata (18) and Ana (11).

I'll put all the pictures at the end to make things easier to follow.  The first two days we spent going around in the boat to different areas and beaches, swimming, then eating churrasco (BBQ) all afternoon.  Saturday night we went into the quaint little historic part of town - it was like going back in time.  The streets were made of stones (not neatly carved stones, but big round ones that were even hard to walk around on).  The buildings were of 1700's architecture.  It reminded me of San Francisco - buildings close together, a caricature artist, a man-statue painted gold (only moving when you put money in a can), another man spray painting futuristic space scenes with moons, and of course, a lot of souvenir shops selling magnets and key rings!

Here are the pictures to enjoy!

These are just on the trip to and from Paraty:

This is just one type of many flowering trees in Brazil, and the
cool thing is that different colors flower during different
seasons of the year!  This one was just covered in yellow.
Some of the islands and beaches:

Mom swimming with Cristina, the water here was really green

Some of the boats we saw:

This one "Sussurro" (Whisper) was together with us.

This is Douglas with a little get-around boat they tow along

They had a lot of older tourist boats that hold about 50 people.

Yes, this is photo-edited, cool old boat though...

This is the "Toatoa" that we were on

These are of an old ruin of a mill - it was used to get the sugar water from sugar cane and make "cashaça" - a famous liquor here, like Vodka (they tell us).

This was actually the entrance from the beach back into the
jungle where the mill was run

These are of the night we went into town:

Love you all
The Church is True
Dad and Mom