Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mission 2 - Week 36

We're catching up slowly, but still making some progress... a lot of people go to school for 7 years!
Monday, we went in late to work but made it most of the day.  I came home afterward but Mom stayed for FHE - I didn't miss much apparently, it was on getting names off of graves in North Dakota...
Tuesday, still recovering, but worked most of the day.  Passeys volunteered to teach our English class for us so we took them up on it and just came home to rest.
Oh, here's the "rest of the story" of Mom's purse getting lost at the temple.  John got a text in Portuguese from Mom's phone, telling him that this woman found the purse and would like to return it - she said she was honest and a Mormon!  What had happened is that the woman had picked it up at the temple, thinking it belonged to someone in their caravan group from a neighboring city (2 hours away).  She took it home to her city instead of turning it in to the temple lost and found (where we could have easily picked it up).  So we called before the reunion trip and got her name and number on a small slip of paper - as we were rushed trying to leave on the trip.  The maintenance people came into our apartment to do some work and apparently thought that slip of paper (which I had left on the table by the TV) was scraps from their work and they threw it away while we were gone!  It's kind of crazy.  So, we get home from the trip and can't find the paper anywhere, so we don't have her name or number - and we didn't know how we would get to her city to pick up the purse anyway.  So, as non-coincidence would have it, we had met an American who lives here in Brazil just a few weeks before in the Temple parking lot.  Well, he lives in that same city Guarujá!!  I called him and said, "I'm so sorry to bother you, but I need some help."  He responded, "Tell me what I can do, and let's hope that I can provide the help you need."  Such a nice guy - he's Alf Gunn's brother, and we had met Alf when we lived in the state of Washington - I know, the whole thing is cray cray.  I explained the whole thing and he calls me back in about an hour and says, "OK, good news, I found the purse and I'm picking it up tomorrow (Saturday), and I'll bring it in to you on Tuesday when I come to the temple."!  It was amazing, and yet another blessing we are grateful for - the purse didn't have money in it, but it had Mom's iPhone (church), and her iTouch (Dad's), and her favorite sunglasses...
Wednesday, about the same, didn't go to the temple as we usually do on Wednesdays, and just came home after work.
Thursday was Mom's birthday!!  It was great, and a lot of people called to wish her well.  Work bought her a cake and they all sang to her in Portuguese.  We went up to El Dorado Mall and got some tacos (really good!) and then saw Pirates of the Carribean, which was a lot of fun.
Friday - full day at work, and a lot more catching up.  We went to the temple after work and saw two of the Elders we worked with in Cuiabá so we took them to dinner over at the mall - all you can eat Pizza.  We ate too much, but they really loved it.
Saturday we did our usual cleaning in the morning, then some Brazilian friends (Kawai and Eliana) drove us over to Pico do Jaraguá - which is the highest peak here in São Paulo, which isn't really that high.  But it was a fun walk and we had to go up about 260 stairs to the radio and TV towers and had a beautiful view of the city of São Paulo, at least a lot of it.  
This is the back side of the mountain looking inland.
There is a 3-mile trail you can hike up from this side -
we didn't do that!

Different views of parts of the city.  This one shows just
a couple of the Radio and TV towers.

These are the Kawais, our friends that took us here.

This was taken looking down from the peak - as you
can see there is still Brazilian jungle not far from the city!

Came home and prepared our Temple Prep lesson.
Sunday we made it up and to church (it was harder than that phrase might indicate).  We taught our Temple Prep lesson and it went well, although a couple of the students weren't there.  They forgot to assign us a lunch appointment, which was nice for us because it was Fast Sunday!  We Skyped with the younger kids - Matt and family, and Becky and family were all in Texas and everyone was over at David's house for dinner (including James and family).  Too much fun.  Taylor took a new job in Denver, so Jenny and family will be moving, selling their house in Lehi.  Lizzie and Jason are moving up to Salt Lake soon.  Michelle had a doctor's appointment and is now on new meds.  Wow, a lot happens in our family each week or two!!
Love to all,
The Church is True
Dad and Mom

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mission 2 - Week 34 Reber Reunion Trip!!

OK, here it is, what you've all been waiting for (and didn't even know it!)
Thursday morning we got up early and took Uber to the airport, met the Reber's (after a long wait, their luggage was last off the plane), then flew up to Recife in the Northwest.  This afternoon we rented a car and met up with Eduardo and Priscila Veras, who were overseeing the reunion.  They took us to a very nice beach area called Porto de Galinhas, just south of the city.

Lots of sail boats - these were all stopped
at a coral reef close to shore.

Priscila Veras, Mom, and Stephanie Reber

As usual, the clouds were amazing!

You can see why this is a big tourist area in Brazil

Mom and I at the beach

All four of us at the Porto de Galinhas entrance sign

We ate some really awesome shrimp tacos, and enjoyed walking along the beach.  When we got back to the hotel, the Rebers decided to call it a night because they were tired from the long travels and we decided to go to dinner with the Veras.  Well, about three blocks into our trip to the restaurant we got t-boned by another car that wasn't paying any attention.  He hit us full speed without even trying to stop.  We were very blessed to not be hurt but for a few bruises, he hit in just the right spot right in the middle of the car - so he got the support between the doors and the frame.

His car - probably totaled.

Our rental car - definitely totaled.  He hit on the side Mom and
I were on - I was driving and she was in the back seat.  We had
a few bruises, but nothing more - which was amazing!

It took over 3 hours for the police to arrive, and then another hour and a half to resolve what they were supposed to do - which wasn't to attribute blame or investigate, just take our reports then it goes to another agency to determine blame, etc.  Fortunately, I had purchased the rental insurance (it's much cheaper here in Brazil), so the next morning Mom and I drove down to the car-rental agency and swapped out the car for another one.

Friday morning, the Veras came and we went to see the older part of Recife where the city was first settled about 500 years ago, called Olinda.  When we arrived, we recognized it as a place we visited in 2010, when we came with Becky and Brett on the cruise.  It was very pretty and historical as well.  

From Olinda looking back at Recife

As is our custom, I paid these two to sing to us.  It was
funny because they just made up the words as they played.

Another view from Olinda

Us with the Rebers

One of the old churches in Olinda

Us with the Veras - they were awesome to show us all around

Becky and Brett should remember these little wooden carvings
of the city, we bought one when we came last time

After Olinda, we came back to Recife and walked around a bit.
Recife is in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco.

We decided to all put our foot into the picture...
There were a lot of nice older buildings in town

Afterward, we went through a session at the Recife temple, then over to the reunion, which was all very awesome.

The Recife Temple - beautiful day

Missionaries and Spouses at Recife reunion
All the missionaries that served in Cuiabá - they were all
older, so Mom and I actually didn't know any of them on
the mission in Cuiabá!  But they are all awesome!

We got up early on Saturday and flew back to São Paulo, arriving in time to drop our luggage at our apartment then head over to meet everyone at the São Paulo temple.  We went next door and had a great lunch.  Mom had left her purse at the temple (which we didn't know at the time), so we retraced our steps trying to find it but to no avail.  The rest of the group had gone over to the chapel for the reunion - but being a chapel that we had never seen, we got a little lost and ended up in front of the institute building.  A nice young couple drove up and asked if they could help.  The wife got out of the car to go teach her class, and the husband offered to give us a ride to the other chapel.  He spoke perfect English so I asked him if he learned it on his mission.  He said, "Yes, but not in the way you might think."  He then explained that the day he arrived in the mission field he was mistaken as an American (he definitely looked like an American) by some American missionaries.  They came over and started talking to him in English.  He said that to his amazement, he understood everything they had said, and then he was more amazed when he answered them in English!  He said that from that day he's been able to speak and communicate in English just fine... Amazing.

Our São Paulo group was by far the biggest.  You can see
where Mom's purse was left - it's in front on the bushes on
the bottom right side (red Boston purse)!
Our group and the restaurant, and for those with
inquiring minds, yes, I was able to snag a bunch
of the missionaries' tabs and pay for them before
they found out!  It was quite fun - and they really
appreciated it.

This is our group in the chapel after the reunion

This is Mom with a bunch of the Cuiabá Sister Missionaries

So we met with the missionaries from São Paulo, by far our biggest group of the three reunions.  It was a great meeting and I was really impressed by the callings that these returned missionaries now had in the church - just fantastic that they were all doing so well, and that their leaders recognized the need for church callings for them (and for everyone!).

Sunday morning we were up early again and flew to Porto Alegre.  We checked into our hotel (very nice), and then went to lunch at some friends of the Rebers.  It was delicious and they were very nice to us.  They own an Orthodontics practice in a nice area of Porto Alegre, not too far from the temple.  They built their house up above their office and it was very nice.  After lunch we headed over to the church for the reunion.  It's the same building next to our mission office when we were young missionaries in the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission.  The office was still there, but was used now for Stake offices and the new mission office was built next to it.  Our reunion was held in the institute building, also new.  We knew and worked with all the missionaries that came to this reunion so it was very special for us (as were the others!).

This is their nice Orthodontics office - house upstairs

This is the family on the left, with us on the right. (Delvaux)

This is the old mission office - you can barely tell that
the door was moved to the left, the original was patched
over to the right of us in the picture.

This was the group of missionaries that met in Porto Alegre
and in this case, we knew them all!

After the reunion, Keith Reber and I found the apartment where we had worked (at different times) while young missionaries.  Here's a picture of us pointing to it - it was my first apartment in Brazil, up on the third floor.  I remember shooting bottle caps with our finger and thumb off the balcony onto the street below.

This is us in front of our old apartment

On Monday morning we slept in a little, after three straight days of early mornings it was nice.  Then we took a walk around that area of Porto Alegre.  It was very nice and relaxing.

Fountain at the park

Oh, and we saw this very modern trash collection service - two
guys throw big trash bags into the back of a truck...

This statue was at a park that we walked
through on our morning "passeio".

Afterward we headed out to Gramado, about 80 miles from Porto Alegre, I think.  It's a very nice area, settled by european settlers - mostly German.  Our hotel was awesome, right at the side of a lake, and that afternoon we went out in swan paddle-boats on the lake - too fun.  We then went downtown and did a little shopping (I bought a "cowboy" knife made out of a railroad tie) and found a new treat - a Trudle.  It's kind of hard to explain - but it's a hollow roll of belgian bread that is baked and then the inside is lined with a think frosting of either doce de leite (sweet milk candy) or nutella (chocolate), or other goodies.  Here's a picture.

That's our hotel in the background.

These are "Trudels" - delicious.

Afterward we went to a Fondue place that was all you can eat - but we really only managed one round, which was cheese, vegetables, meat, and sweets (dunked in chocolate).  It was very good.

At the Fondue restaurant

Tuesday we went on a bus tour of Gramado and Canela, the neighboring city.  It was only Stephanie Reber and us because Keith picked up a cold that kept him in bed all day.  The tour was a lot of fun and we stopped at a place that had tram rides, so we took a ride on them.

We started the bus tour in Canela, right next to Gramado
That sign says "Love one Another" - it's in front of the
church made out of rocks - below.

This church is quite famous because it's
made entirely out of rocks.

This is what the town looks like, defitiely European influence

This was the entrance to a big amusement park outside
of town, no, we didn't go into it.

Another tourist attraction called Frozen World.

Entrance to the tram cars

This is a picture of the waterfall at
the park taken from the tram car

Mom and Stephanie in the tram

This was dinousaur world - looked like Jurrasic Park!

We also saw a transformer on the tour

Famous entrance into the town of Gramado

We thought that this train coming out of a building was
... interesting!

After the trams and the beautiful views of the waterfall, we stopped at one other stop - a chocolate factory!  It was amazing.

This is the chocolate factory - it was like an amusement
park on the outside.
And this was the inside - we may have bought a little
too much chocolate, as in we still haven't made a dent
in it - even after giving a bunch away as gifts
Then we headed home and did a little more shopping and visited the Trudle place again!  Then we had asked the hotel where the best hamburger place was, so we went there.  But it was a fancy Italian restaurant and we were tempted to stay but I really wanted a hamburger (this is important later in the story!) so we asked to doorman at the restaurant if they had hamburgers and he said no but the place next door does!  We had stopped a little too soon.  So we went next door to Me Gusta ("I like"), a specialty hamgurger place, and ordered three hamburgers.  We asked for them to be cut in thirds so we could each try the others' burgers.  So two hamburgers came, MarJean's and Stephanie's and they were cut in fourths because the guy had forgotten.  So we shared them as we waited for mine.  When we finished we realized that mine wasn't coming - I was the one that wanted a hamburger!!  So I asked the owner (and waiter who took our order) and he hadn't realized we ordered three.  I don't know how he missed it and he was very apologetic.  So, in the end, I never got my burger.

Wednesday, we drove Keith around to some of the sites we had seen the day before, as well as to the waterfall in the cool park.  We didn't ride the tram cars, but we went for a nice little walk (Mom wasn't feeling well at this point) at the park, with more pictures.  Oh, and we saw a guy burning a wasp nest out of a tree - kind of exciting!

A different rock church in Gramado

This was the guy burning out the wasp
nest, which was even more exciting
because we had to walk right by him (and
the wasps!)!

We stopped twice and bought "pine nuts" - but these are a
lot different than the ones you get in the USA.  They are
huge balls of seeds - which you can see here being taken

Mom and I almost got eaten by dinosaurs!

Then we drove back to Porto Alegre and the bid the Rebers good-bye as they dropped us at the airport and we flew back home to São Paulo.  What a fantastic trip.

Thursday, Mom was very sick and I wasn't feeling too well either.  I went to work for a half-day and Mom stayed home.  On Friday, I went to work in the morning and stayed home in the afternoon, and Mom went in the afternoon after staying in bed in the morning.  Saturday and Sunday we were both down, but managed to make it back to work on Monday - which will start our next blog!

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