Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Life in Gramado

Our main activity is visiting inactive members and recently converted members.  We have one member we visit regularly named Jose.  He was baptized in August and is 75 years old.  He has a few health problems and has a hard time getting around, but he loves coming to church and having visits in his home.  This is a picture of his home.  He rents the upstairs part of the house where you can see his laundry hanging out front.  Most people here don't have washers and very few have dryers so you always see laundry hanging out.

This is a picture of Jose inside his home.  Although most people are poor, they always seem to have a TV, as you can see here in Jose's home.
When we go to visit Jose we go past the Catholic cemetery.  The cemeteries here are mostly little houses built above ground with places where the caskets are slid in and a little display room where there are usually pictures or flowers.  Some of the little houses are just for one family and others are like apartment buildings with lots of different people's remains.  Following are some of the pictures of this cemetery.

 This is looking through the window of the display room where there are pictures of the couple buried here.
 Here is a house under construction where you can see the slots for the caskets.  You can also see that some people are just buried in the ground without a house.
 These are the ones that look like apartment buildings with many people slid in the slots.

We went down to Porto Alegre for one P-day on a shopping trip with Kassandra, our non-member friend who runs the bed and breakfast where we stayed.  We went to some beautiful shopping centers there and even found a Sam's Club.  Here are some pictures of one the shopping centers.

While driving through Porto Alegre we saw this horse and cart in front of us.
 One of the last places we went that day was to an outlet mall where there are many outlet stores.  We didn't need anything, but Kassandra made quite a few purchases.
There was  a McDonald's there and a large food court with a Subway and a Burger King.

 Even the food court was decorated for Christmas.
 We had a Christmas Zone Conference in Porto Alegre last week with missionaries from half the mission.  It was a lot of fun with performances by each of the districts and a lovely lunch.  There are three Senior couple in the mission, one from Brazil, the Egberts and the Copas. Here are some pictures of the conference.

 This is the Gramado missionary district performing our Christmas song.

 These are the three senior couples with our mission president and his wife as well.
 These are the Egberts.  They served a mission here earlier and just came back as regular members because they loved it so much they wanted to serve more.

We walked downtown Gramado on Saturday night to check out the action.  The sidewalks were loaded with people at 10:30 at night and the traffic was almost at a standstill, making us glad we walked and did not try to drive.  Gramado is famous all over Brazil for its Christmas celebrations and people come from all over the country at this time of year to be part of the celebration.  The big Christmas performance is presented every Wednesday and Saturday, so lots of these people were here for that big show.


We stopped in a Christmas store and were amazed at all the Christmas things they were selling.  Here are some pictures of the inside of this store.

There is a park by the bus station where they have a nativity set up inside a huge tree.

Close to where we live there is a huge angel that they set up in the middle of the street.  He is a pretty ugly angel as you can see.

We spent some time this last P-day visiting the Gramado Zoo and the Gaucho Park with the Egberts.  The two parks are side by side and we could get into both for one price of about $12 for seniors. This Zoo only has animals that are native to Brazil, lots of birds, monkeys, cats and snakes.

 The state of Rio Grande do Soul is famous for its Gauchos, so in this park they are trying to give a little history of the Gauchos.  They are like our American cowboys.

 This bull has some very big horns.

President Nunes, our District President, had to defend his thesis before a very tough board in order to be able to graduate with a degree in business.  His board was on Monday night and they did not let him know if he passed or not until Tuesday afternoon.  We took him and his wife out to dinner on Tuesday night to celebrate.  We went to a fondue restaurant where the first course is the traditional melted cheese where you dip bread, vegetables and fruits.  For the second course they bring a hot stone with a flame under it and lots of types of meat that you cook on the hot stone and then eat with a variety of sauces and toppings.  The third course is a pot of melted chocolate with a variety of fruits and cookies to dip.  Needless to say we thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

This week we went to Novo Petropolis to visit an inactive lady and her 12 year old son.  We met the Elders near a park where there is a Santa in Bermuda shorts.  It is summer here at Christmas time so he has to keep cool somehow.

 This is the 12 year old boy.
We saw a beautiful quilt store in Gramado and had to go in to check it out.

Life is wonderful here and we wish you could all come down to visit so we could show you around.