Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mission 2 - Week 32

Well, we had caught up and then got behind again.
This week was another great week.  We started off on Monday with a Family Home Evening Lesson on the development of the brain in children.  It was presented by Elder Sharmahd, one of our doctors here.  He talked about the importance of interaction with kids, especially at young ages, like 1-4 years old.  The full development of the brain is dependent on this interaction and attention to them.
Tuesday was another busy day at the office, with Jouber still on vacation there is a lot more to do.  We taught our English class and they surprised Mom with a bunch of gifts and sang "Mother, I Love You" in English, it was very tender.  Afterward, Mom went to "book night" with the other Sisters.
Wednesday we went to the temple after work and did sealings with some of the other couples.
Thursday we walked over to the transit office to find out what happened to our "everything" transit passes and found out that they were never mailed to us but instead were waiting at the main transportation office in downtown São Paulo.

 Friday morning we fed the Elders from the South mission French Toast for breakfast, then went to work in the office for awhile. 

Secretaries from the São Paulo South Mission
Afterward we took a bus then Uber to the main transit office downtown and finally picked up our bus and Metro (subway) passes!  We used them on the Metro coming home and they were great to have.

We saw some pretty cool government buildings on our way.
And there was a demonstration going on outside the building!

Here they are!

We went back over to work for awhile then went to see Guardians of the Galaxy II with Sharmahds and Sister Cox.

Saturday we went to the MASP (Museum of Art, São Paulo) art museum, which is a very nice museum with some classic art work like Rembrandt, Van Gough, Renoir, etc.  It was fun and we found one painting called Bryce Canyon!  

You probably guessed, but this is Bryce Canyon!

We had lunch at La Mexicana restuarant and were able to buy some corn tortillas from them - they don't have corn tortillas here in Brazil at the stores.

On the way home I got this cool shot of a
glass building with the blue sky and clouds
reflecting in it...
Sunday we barely made it to church on our usual two-bus ride, but we got there in time and it was a lovely mother's day meeting.  We taught our Temple Preparation lesson for the first time and it went well, we have about 10 people in the class.  We came home and Skyped with most of the kids since it was Mother's Day and it was very nice.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Special Post - Schoiser

For FHE last Monday we had a lesson by a Brazilian couple, Elder and Sister Schoiser.  They are really awesome and just extended their mission another year.  They head up Public Relations for the Brazil Area, and they are very good at it.  Well, he told us a couple neat stories in his lesson that I thought I would pass along before I forget.

There was a city in Brazil (he didn't identify it), where all the pastors of the other churches got together and formed a pact against the church - committing to speak against the church and not support anything done by the church, and ensure that they warned their members against hearing the missionaries, etc.  This made missionary work in that city just about come to a standstill, and even the members were having a hard time.  After praying about it and considering the circumstances, the mission president announced to his assistants that he had decided to put a brand new pair of Elders in the city (he even used the term Greenies).  There was quite a bit of discussion as the assistants thought the area was hard enough already, without having new missionaries there.  But, the President was convinced and put a new pair of missionaries in the city.  When they arrived there, they knelt and prayed then went out to work - feeling that they should go to the local radio station and see if they could get an interview to smooth out relations - not knowing, of course, about the pact of the pastors.  Well, it turns out (not coincidence, of course) that all the pastors were having a meeting with the radio announcer that very afternoon, which was just finishing up when the young missionaries arrived.  The secretary thought that they were part of the group so she ushered them into the room.  The pastors, I'm sure a little embarrassed, closed the meeting, having achieved their objective - committing the radio announcer to speak against the church.  When they left, the missionaries were there in the back room with the radio announcer by themselves.  The announcer looked at them, and noticed one of the name badges and asked, "Elder Amoral, are you from ... ?" and named a city up in the North of Brazil by Teresina. The Elder responded, "Yes." and the announcer said, "And your mother is Maria Gabriela Amoral?"  A bit astonished, the Elder said, "Yes!  But how did you know that?"  The announcer then said, "I know it because I am her brother."
The radio announcer, his family and several others were baptized within a two week period, he began to announce in favor of the church and church activities, and the church started growing like crazy in that city - the fastest growing in the whole mission.

The second story is similar, in one of the activities - like "helping hands", some of the young people brought a friend that ended up getting baptized.  His father was a pastor for the Assembly of God church, which is really big in Brazil and speaks against the church regularly.  But when his son decided to go on a mission, the father would proudly tell people, "My son is Mormon Missionary, serving the Lord."  When his son came home from his mission, he baptized his father into the church.  His father is super active and one of the local leaders and has helped teach the gospel to many of his former congregation.

Just a couple stories to show how much the Lord is involved in the missionary work - here in Brazil and throughout the world.  I am more and more convinced that there are very few (if any) coincidences when it comes to the Lord's work - His plan is awesome... and as God's children, we're all awesome!

Love you all,
Dad and Mom

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mission 2 - Week 31

Well, like I promised I am trying to catch up this week... I know it's Saturday!  Lay off me... 😁
Monday was a holiday here, so we did more cleaning and organizing.  We had the Whitings over for dinner, potato bar with chili.  It was fun and they are nice folks.  No Couples' FHE because of the holiday.
Tuesday we had a staff meeting in the office and found out that Elder Costa is being released as the Area President and Elder Aidukaites is taking his place.  We taught our English Class after work and it was another full group.  We went for a walk to get Mom some exercise as her sugar was still high this week.
Wednesday was a very busy day in the office.  After work we went with the Whitings to the temple and it was a very nice session - but very small.  Neither Mom nor I were feeling well today.

I keep getting fun temple pictures because we
are always walking by it.  This one with the
Brazilian flag...

Thursday I got up early and went with the Whitings to the Police Station to help with their government registration (for all foreigners coming into Brazil).  It went very well, with Fabiano's help - he is a person that the church pays to expedite government processes at the Police Station.  After work we ran into Marcelo and Renata from Cuiabá, what a pleasant surprise.  They took us out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant in the "Liberdade" neighborhood, which is a predominantly Asian neighborhood here in São Paulo.  It was very good food, but we ate a lot because it was all-you-can-eat.

Marcelo, Renata, and David, their youngest

Friday I finished my Mission President report for Ricardo and Deborah - this is only important because I promised it this week in the staff meeting on Tuesday!  Tonight a couple that we had recently befriended took us out to eat...again.  And, once again, we went to an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant and it was very good.  It was by our apartment so we just walked over, but when we came out it was raining so the wife made the husband walk over to their apartment and get their car to take us home.  It was amusing.

Eliane (no, not Elaine) and Mom at the Japanese Restaurant

Saturday we went to the early morning Feira and bought vegetables.  

They always have a lot of fish, and cool displays

I didn't realize there were this many types of potato!

Later we went with some couples to Ibirapuera park and walked around.  Mom almost bought a nativity, but it was R$1,000 (about US$330) - hand-carved and pretty big, so she decided not to.  So another couple (Salisburys) went ahead and bought it!

Nice skyline shot of some of São Paulo

A lot of the trees were in bloom, beautiful

So, cows of different colors and design have shown up all
around the city, we don't know why...yet.  This one was at
the park.

Gorgeous flower at the park

It was a beautiful day, so everything was lovely

Mom was even conquering her fears - this was a huge spider
sculpture, luckily it was behind glass...

Sunday was our first really bad transporation day for buses to our Ward in Perdizes.  We had to take alternative buses each leg of the trip and then walk a bit in the end.  We got to church about 20 mintues late!  This is the first time we've been late to church here in Brazil - not bad for 7 months.  After Sacrament Meeting we were told that we weren't going to teach again, so we have yet another week of preparation.  After church we went over to Mike and Carliana's house for lunch - it's nice because we speak English there since he's American and they used to live in the US.  After lunch we made it home on the bus, rested some, then Skyped with the younger kids.

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mission 2 - Week 30

I think we're getting a little behind, so we'll catch up this week sometime.
Monday (4/24) seemed like a very long day at work.  Jouber started his vacation for 3 weeks.  We did get a lot done.  FHE was by Sister Cox and she had each couple tell about themselves, a "Getting to Know You" activity.
Tuesday we taught our English class after working in the office. We played a few rounds of Bingo with the students and it was fun, and definitely a learning exercise :)  We walked over to the mall afterward and bought a few groceries and picked up some money at the bank - not in that order.
Wednesday we worked quite a bit again - the FM group folks came by and changed our internet name and password so for the next few days it only worked intermittently - it had worked for six months without a glitch after I put in a new user name and password shortly after we arrived.  You see more on this episode in tomorrow's note. Tonight we went with the Sondereggers (last meal), Shumways, and Sister Cox to the Mancini Italian restaurant (where we went with Celso from Cuiabá).  The Lasanga was delicious... again. 

Inside the Restaurant, a lot of "Atmosphere"!

The fountain at the entrance to the street, the
Mancini family owns the whole street and they
have several (5 I think) restaurants on it.

I know it's not a great picture, but I tried to get more of
the street in the shot (next to the Fountain)
Walking to the bus stop after was a bit dicey, but we made it home just fine.  Oh, Mom had another "fell into her purse event", if you know what I mean.  This time the really nice silk napkin from the restaurant FELL into her purse and she found it there when we got home.  Yes, a little embarrassing.
Thursday the maintenance folks had to come by as our internet wasnt't working at all!  So, after playing around for awhile they decided it was the router that had gone bad and they went and bought a new one and installed it.  It worked after I finished setting it up for them.  Tomorrow I will have another entry on this topic (seriously!).
Friday was another long day in the travel department.  After work we went to the temple and it was great.  Afterward we saw Ricardo (our supervisor, really nice guy), who had just gotten sealed to his mother and now-deceased father, with his brother (who was our stake president when we first arrived in São Paulo).  It was very cool to see them there.  The maintenance people had to come by once again to "fix" the internet problems and put in yet another username and password.
Saturday we had dinner with the Whitings, the new couple next door.  They are super nice, he's a doctor and she's a nurse and neither one speak Portuguese.  Passeys also came over, so it was a nice visit and meal.
Sunday we were a little concerned about making it to Perdizes ward because there had been a bus strike over the weekend, but we made it with no problem - which was a good thing because Mom had to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting!  It went very well and she got a lot of nice comments afterward.  We didn't teach our Temple Prep lesson again, and didn't have a lunch appointment so we went home after church, then Skyped later with the older kids - James and Amanda are buying a house!

Love you all.
The Church is True.
Dad and Mom