Monday, July 20, 2015

See How the Rich Live

One day as we were shopping in a grocery store a couple noticed we were talking in English and came up to introduce themselves as Antonio and Vera.  They said they had lived in the United States for 46 years, but when they retired they came back to Brazil and built their retirement home.  They invited us to come visit them in their house.  We went there last week and were very impressed.  The house has about 4,000 square feet and is on a 10 acre lot with a lake in the back yard.  We thought you would like to see the house and the furnishings.  Heidi's mother would have loved to see this house, as it has many of the same things she collected.  It was a foggy day so the outdoor pictures are not as clear as they would be on a nice day.

This is a look off the front porch where you can see our car parked.
This is a fountain with a huge waterwheel in the front yard.  You can see their second house, where their garage is, behind the waterwheel.
This is a picture of Antonio and Vera at their front door.
This is a collection of lighted houses they have collected over the years from around the world. Some of the lights don't light up anymore.

 These are pictures of their family.

 This is a lamp they purchased in Italy.

These are the porcelain dolls she has collected.
This is a very large and majestic stairway to the second floor.

Each of the four bedrooms on the second floor has its own bathroom fully decorated.

This is a collection of plates they have in their kitchen.
Looking out the back the lake is normally in view, but because of the fog it is hard to see.
In the kitchen they have a large fireplace that can be used as a barbeque.  Antonio kept the fire going while we were there.
Here is Vera in her kitchen.  She prepared a great snack for us which we ate on the large table in the kitchen.
This is a large pantry off the kitchen where she keep her dishes.
This is one of the guest bedrooms upstairs.
Each bedroom also has its own balcony with beautiful views.
Here is another bedroom.
And another bathroom
They bought this beautiful tapestry in Europe.

Vera has the biggest towel closet we have ever seen.
Another bedroom.
This is the master bedroom.
We have a stained glass lamp similar to this one in our home in California.
This is the chandelier in the master bedroom.
This is part of the master bathroom. It is so large we could not get it all in one picture.
This is a little sitting area in the master bedroom.
A view of the staircase from above.

Looking down at one of the sitting rooms.

We had a great visit with them and found out that they are trying to sell the house and move back to the United States.  Two of their kids live in the states and one in Italy.  They decided that they would rather be closer to their kids.  They have decided to sell the house with everything in it and will not be taking anything back to the states.  They are asking R$5.3 million (about $1.657 million US dollars) for everything.  There is a second house next to the big house where they have a garage, a big country kitchen and a bathroom.  They spend a lot of time out there because it is more cozy.  They are including a big two seat pick-up truck in the sale price.  So if any of you would like a nice home in Brazil, this is your chance.  We will be going back this week to talk some more about the gospel with them.  They were happy to receive a Book of Mormon from us, and said they would start reading it.
One Sunday we had a visit from the Saucedo family at our church.  When I was a missionary in 1967, I baptized this man's (in the middle) father.  His father went on to become a bishop, stake president and a patriarch before he died.  This man has been a missionary and is now a bishop for the second time, and his two sons have served missions.  One of the sons is in the picture on the left.  He is now studying at BYU in Provo.  There is also a married daughter in Australia.  It is amazing what one seed, planted 48 years ago, can grow to be.
Even though it is winter now and late for flowers,  I am still cutting beautiful hydrangeas for our apartment, which Heidi decorates so well.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July

We are in the middle of winter here in Gramado, so it is hard to get the spirit of the 4th of July.  We did dress in red, white and blue today in remembrance of the day.  But we are mostly just trying to stay warm.

We had a surprise visit from one of the former missionaries that worked here in Gramado, Sister Alves.  She came from Brazilian with her parents and her sister.  They arrived on a Saturday night while we were having a branch party for couples.  We invited them to spend the night with us, and they spent two nights.  We played Qwirkle with them and on Monday showed them our tourist places of Lago Negro and Caracol falls.

 While at Lago Negro they rented paddle boats and had a great time.

 We took this picture in front of our chapel with Sister Alves
 There are still some beautiful fall colors on some trees in the area.

 After touring the falls they treated us to a fondue lunch that was delicious. 

For one of our recent integration nights we had a talent night.  Many of Heidi's piano students performed as well as others.

We are still amazed by the housing here.  No matter how poor the house, they always have a TV and a big satellite dish outside.

We like how the street curbs are all painted white, as you can see below.
Our former District President had a birthday recently and we went to celebrate with them.
When Sister Alves was here, she took a picture from the back.  You can see that Heidi is trying to catch up to me in the gray hair look.

Our mission president and his wife, President and Sister Wright, finished their mission on June 30th.  We will miss them greatly. 
On July 2nd we went to Porto Alegre to meet our new president and his wife, President and Sister Campos from Natal Brazil.
 We went to the conference in a small bus with all the Elders from our district.

The Hortencias Branch in the neighboring town of Canela had a party last night to celebrate the Junina festival, even though it was in July.  We were asked to bring some of the youth from our branch to their party, so we stayed and enjoyed the fun.  They played musical chairs a couple of times and just had fun dancing and talking.  This is the party where they dress like hillbillies. 

 We thought at one point one of the Elders was going to win the musical chairs, but it came down to these two girls, and the one in the costume dress was the winner.
Hats are a big part of the costumes, and this sister had a very large hat.

 This is the branch president of the Hortencias branch.
We are having a wonderful time on our mission and love the people.  We are having some success with reactivation.  We are getting people out that have been inactive for many years.