We finished the Provo MTC experience on Friday February 16th and spent the weekend with Kimberly and family, and the famous grand cat, Kit Kat.
On Saturday we had a great time visiting with Paul and Patty, Meredith and Steve, and Todd, since we would be leaving for Brazil before Aunt Pat's funeral on Tuesday. We went with Meredith and Steve to see the grave site where Aunt Pat will be buried next to Uncle Bob.
We also had a fun time visiting with three of the Sister missionaries we had know in Gramado, Sister Hanna, Sister Rodriques, and Sister Snyder. On Sunday after church we went with Kimberly's family up to Kirk's house for dinner, where we were able to meet our newest grand dog, Uinta
We them visited Chris and Linda, staying at Destry and Matt's house, although Destry wasn't home.
We had a nice visit with Stella and her girls,
We then enjoyed a lovely visit with Aunt Lois, Shelley and Ashley.
Monday morning Kimberly and Eddie drove us up to the Salt Lake airport, where we started our journey to Sao Paulo. It had snowed about six inches overnight and was pretty cold. Because of the weather our flight to Atlanta was delayed a couple of hours while we waited to have the plane de-iced. Our schedule had a four hour delay scheduled in Atlanta, so it ended up being just two hours. Our overnight flight to Sao Paulo was long but uneventful.
We traveled with the Olsens, another senior couple going to the Sao Paulo Area Office also. We were met at the airport by two couples, the Passeys and the McAlisters and a large van to take us to our apartment. We were pleasantly surprised by our apartment. It is in a large apartment complex of 11 adjoining 12 storey buildings, six on one side of a beautiful garden area and five on the other side. We are in the building called Aguas de Cambuquira on the third floor, really the fifth floor because of the ground floor and a parking garage floor.
The gardens between the buildings are beautifully landscaped, and there is a nice playground and a gazebo there.
This is the look through our front door of the apartment.
We then have the kitchen to the right with a bathroom, a utility room and a store room down past the kitchen.
Through the front door past the kitchen is the living room and the dining area.
Down the hall we have a second bathroom, a small bedroom also used as the study, and the master bedroom.
This is s picture of the building we live in from the outside.
The temple is just a block down the main road from our apartment. This is a look from in front of the temple back at our apartment buildings.
The temple is so beautiful and well landscaped.
Next to the temple is a stake center where we are attending church until we receive an assignment from the mission president to attend another ward somewhere.
There is also a building that used to be temple housing but is now being converted into a visitor's center. There is a statue of the Christus inside the rounded glass part.
The Area Office building is behind the temple and the stake center. A young couple we knew in Gramado, the Nacarados have since moved to Sao Paulo, and we were able to meet with them and have lunch and dinner.
All in all, we are very happy here and it is so much better than we had imagined for the largest city in the western hemisphere. Brazil is such a large country. Here is a map in our office building showing just how big Brazil is in comparison to South America.
On February 9th we flew from Oakland to Salt Lake City and had some wonderful visits with family and friends. We visited with Aunt Pat and Meredith in Salt Lake, then drove down to Orem for a visit with Aunt Lois, and then on to Kimberly's home. We had dinner at Olive Garden with several of our friends we knew from our last mission as shown in the picture below, Katlin and Murl Eggbert, President and Sister Warthen, David and Ann Eggbert, and Antonio and Elis Nunes.
On Saturday we did some last minute shopping and had a nice home visit with Elder Joseph Andrew and his wife Lara, who were just recently married. They joined us and Kimberly's and Stella's families for dinner at Cafe Rio. We attended a temple session in Portuguese at the Timpanogos Temple that evening.
On Sunday we attended church with Kimberly's family and then went to the Provo City Cemetery to visit Canyon's grave site.
Kimberly made a wonderful dinner at her home for our family and friends, including the families of Kimberly, Kirk, and Stella, as well as Ed and Fay, Chris Dixon, and the Nunes. Kimberly fixed tuna roll-ups and tomato soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches. We had a great time visiting with everyone.
Monday morning we checked into the MTC.
We are having a wonderful time at the MTC and enjoying being able to share some meals with our granddaughter, Megan, who is at the MTC preparing for the Chicago Spanish speaking mission.
We will be at the MTC until Friday the 16th, and then back to Kimberly's for the weekend. We fly to Brazil on Monday the 19th, arriving on the 20th.
Since returning from our last mission, we have been doing a lot of traveling. We have been to see all of our kids and grand kids and have had reunions with them in Beaver Mountain Lodge and at Lake Powell. We have traveled to China, Mozambique, South Africa, India, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, and Finland. All those Scandinavian countries we visited on a two week cruise. We also returned to Brazil for a visit to the areas of our mission and some Temple weddings.
We received our call to serve another mission. We had been expecting to serve in Mozambique, but because of the plague outbreak in the neighboring country of Madagascar, and the primitive medical conditions in Mozambique, the church medical department said that we would not be called there. We then had to wait until our call letter arrived to see where we would be called to serve.
When the call arrived we were surprised to see that we were called to serve in the Brazil Area Office in São Paulo as Travel Specialists. We have since talked with the couple that are there now that we will be replacing. They said it is fun work and there are great people in the travel department.They work about 6 hours a day, 9 to 12 and 2 to 5, five days a week. They said that the things they are doing might change by the time we get there, but generally we will be helping the travel staff with foreign missionary registration and visa renewal for all the 34 missions in Brazil, and helping make travel arrangements for Brazilians called to serve missions in other countries. They also said that there are 13 American couples working in the Area Office. These couples get together often for Family Home Evenings, dinners out and excursions on Saturdays. They are always doing things together and have a lot of fun. We will also be assigned to a Brazilian Ward that we will attend on Sunday, and we could receive callings in that ward.
We are looking forward to this next mission and are getting down to the last preparations for leaving. We fly to Utah on February 9th and will be in the Provo MTC from February 12 through the 16th. We will spend the week-ends before and after the MTC visiting family and friends in Utah, while staying with our daughter Kimberly and family in Provo. We fly out for Brazil on February 19th, arriving on February 20th in São Paulo.
We had a Zone Conference with President and Sister Campos. Sister Campos announced that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and would be starting chemo therapy treatments. She received a blessing from Jeffrey R. Holland where he blessed her that she would be able to complete her mission. President Campos also informed us that we were being reassigned to the Sao Francisco de Paula branch. We were sad to be leaving Nova Petropolis branch, but are ready to serve wherever the Lord needs us.
Our last Sunday in Nova Petropolis we were able to move into a new building that we had helped find. Because the branch had been meeting in a school, our goal was to help them get into their own building. With our goal reached we were able to feel a sense of accomplishment on hearing we would be leaving.
This is the picture board we had made for the Nova Petropolis Branch.
Sister de Paula had heard of a waterfall called Panelao, and the pictures on the internet looked great, so we went there, but could not find a waterfall, just some rapids and an old swinging bridge that was falling apart.
We then took the Sisters to the Mina, a replica of an amethyst mine.
Sister de Paula was also transferred to Sao Francisco de Paula. We picked up her new companion, Sister Clark, and picked up some mattresses from the Elders in Canela, and then took them to Sao Francisco de Paula, where we helped the Sisters move into the apartment with the other two Sisters there.
The other two Sisters in Sao Francisco de Paula are Sister de Jesus and Sister Santana from Equador.
The Gramado Branch had a couples' night at a restaurant and invited us to participate, so we were able to be together again with some of our close friends. The first picture has Mariane, Heidi and Vanessa.
Luiz and Mara Machado
Vanessa and Ricardo Nacarado
Elis and Toninho Nunes (He is the current President of the San Francisco de Paula Branch)
Rodolfo and Mariane Rezende
In Sao Francisco de Paula the poverty level is much higher than in Gramado or Nova Petropolis. We have members living in very poor neighborhoods.
The Relief Society President in Nova Petropolis decided to remarry her ex-husband Ari Luiz, and invited us to come back for the wedding, and asked me to perform a religious ceremony for them.
We all then went to a restaurant for dinner afterward, and enjoyed the German atmo and entertainment.
Sao Francisco de Paula is not a tourist town like Gramado, but they do have one beautiful lake in the city called Lago Sao Bernardo.
We decided to do a picture board of all the people in the Sao Francisco de Paula branch, so following are some of the first ones.
Gilnei and Renata Paim with Natan
Ademir and Roberta Silva with Edwardo
Gustavo and Rodrigo Ferreira with their non member mother Roselina
Isabel da Silva
Marcos and Saionara Milkiewicz with Nataly, Lorenzo, Spencer and Larissa
Nilza da Rosa with Joao Gabriel
Alan da Silva (grandson of Isabel da Silva)
Cleumar, Cris Rigol with Leonardo and soon to be Sophia
Bruno and Tais Almeida
One of the sisters in the branch, Jane Padilha, just had a new baby (Junior), born a month early so he is very tiny.
One idea we had to try to improve the attendance at church meetings was to have refreshments after the meetings. Here is what we did the first Sunday, provided mostly by us.
The branch has many problems, like the poverty level, no local leadership, and many children and youth who were baptized without their parents. There are many inactives, including most of the children and youth. All the leadership positions are held by members from other towns, who were called to work in this branch to help out. Before our mission ends we have been asked to try to reactivate and strengthen the branch so the leadership can all be local members.