We started attending the Petropolis Branch in December. On the first Sunday in January Ken was called as the Branch President of the Petropolis Branch, which meets in a school in Nova Petropolis, a town about 35 kilometers from Gramado. We drive over there regularly to visit the members and to attend our meetings on Sunday. It is a small branch, with about 55 members of record. We are enjoying the opportunity to work with this branch and to help it grow. The first Sunday we attended church in Nova Petropolis there were 13 people in Sacrament Meeting. We have been doing lots of visits to the members homes and have also been blessed with several families moving into the branch. The last three Sundays we have had 43, 40 and 32 members in Sacrament Meeting. When we have an average attendance of 35 for a month, the church will rent a house for us to use for meetings.
When we first started meeting in Novo Petropolis we did not have any other missionaries assigned to the branch. On the Mission transfer of January 5th, two Sister Missionaries were transferred to work in our branch, Sister Nieznanski from Lehi, Utah and Sister De Paula from Sao Paulo. The picture below is of them at the center of the green maze in the central park of Nova Petropolis.
We have started collecting pictures of the members of our branch to put on a picture board. Here are the ones we have so far. Brother Joao and his three kids, Gustavo, Rebeca and Harissa. Joao is our branch mission leader. They moved into the branch in December
Gustavo is our Elders' Quorum President, and his wife Ana is a counselor in the Relief Society. The dog is named Ruffus.
Everaldo is a recent convert that is inactive now, and we are working to try to activate him.
We are always surprised at how labor intensive everything is here. Below is a garbage truck collecting trash. They usually have two or three young men that ride on the back of the truck and jump off to get the garbage that people leave in sacks beside the road. The minimum wage here is equivalent to about $10 per day.
We have seen very few lawn mowers here. People usually have someone with a weed-whacker who comes to cut their grass. We see men cutting the grass with weed-whackersd along the main roads and in huge parks.
We took the Sisters to lunch in Nova Petropolis at a sandwich shop where they serve huge sandwiches they call "Xs", pronounced "shees" (like cheese). One of the Sisters had chicken hearts in her sandwich. The other Sister had a stroganoff sandwich, Heidi had a chicken sandwich, and I tried the hamburger sandwich. They put lots of things in them like lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, eggs, peas and corn.
Christmas goes from the end of October until the middle of January, so when the Miners were here we were still able to show them the Christmas lights and decorations.
Vanessa and Ricardo Nacarado, and Vanessa's mother (visiting from the north), came over to play Qwirkle with us one night for family home evening. We do a lot of things with Vanessa and Ricardo, as they are like our family in this area.
We are always amazed at the bright colors people use to paint their houses. Here are some examples.
Irma Maya has a busy humming bird feeder in front of her house,
Irma Isabel has a beautiful house and a cute dog in Nova Petropolis.
Here's a funny car that someone decorated with a beer barrel to advertise his toy store.
There is an immigrant park in Nova Petropolis with a re-creation of a small German village from the late 1800s. Here is a picture of the old church.
In the hotel beside our condo they have a nursery dubbed the "Copa Baby"!
Gramado has two entrances with beautiful gates to the city. Below are the two gates.
The sisters were able to baptize a young girl, Julia, whose parents are not members because they are not married. Julia's older siblings were already baptized last year, but she was not yet old enough.