Thursday, March 10, 2016

Summertime in Gramado

The seasons are switched down here so summer starts in December and goes through March 21st.  The weather in Gramado never gets too hot, usually just in the 80s.  When it starts getting hot we usually get a good rain storm that cools things down.  Here are some pictures of a rain storm looking out from our front door.  The rain comes down so hard the water just puddles on the ground.

  We entertained some people that were visiting Gramado for a wedding.  Because we gave them lunch, they gave us some of the wedding favors, intricately decorated pieces of candy.

 Some of the cemeteries here have graves that are totally covered with flowers.

 During Carnival (which is like Mardi Gras) the church likes to plan camp outs for all the youth, to get them away from all the terrible things that go on during the celebration.  This year our Gramado District had a camp out for all the youth at a farm ("sitio") in Taquara.  The kids had a wonderful time and enjoyed the beautiful setting.

The boys had an area for their tents about a 100 yards from where the girls had their tents.
There was a complex that had five different pools for the kids to use.

 There was one big open pavilion that was used for all the meals and some of the meetings.

 We visited the camp during some of the days and went back home at night.  The road from Gramado to Taquara was washed out, so we had to drive on a little dirt road through beautiful jungled forests.

While driving along this road we saw a tarantula crossing the road, so we stopped to take his picture.
 He was bigger than my hand.
On the drive we passed by a big cross that was on top of a mountain.

For one of our P-days we took the Sister missionaries to a theme park called Florybal, which is sponsored by the chocolate company Florybal.  It is in a beautiful jungle setting with lots of giant statues and fun things to see.

There is a simulated roller coaster ride that is lots of fun.
There is a section that has prehistoric animals and dinosaurs.  

One of the families from our branch that we really enjoy is the da Cruz family.  They often have the Sister missionaries and us over to their house in the country for Sunday dinner.  One Sunday we invited them all to our condo for a Mexican dinner.  We are crowded with a large group, but we do love our little condo.

Another P-day the Sisters wanted to go to the Super Car museum, so we all went together.

 The Sisters loved hearing the story about how Heidi and I met in Hawaii, when I asked her if she wanted a ride home in the corvette like this one, that my brother was letting me use.

We take the Sisters to teach one investigator family that lives about 10 kilometers from Nova Petropolis.  The last time we were there Gleice had some homemade bread that she shared with us.  It was delicious.
Now that we have enough members attending our branch in Nova Petropolis, the church said we could rent our own building rather than using the school we have been meeting in.  We have been looking hard for a place to rent, but haven't found one yet.  We did find a place for sale that has a big house we could use, and enough space in front where the church could someday build a chapel.  It is in an ideal location and would be great.  The church has procedures that have to be followed, so our mission president is trying to get them to make an exception:  to buy this property before we have enough members to qualify for a chapel.  We feel the church would be much better off in the long run by purchasing the property now,  saving on renting a place until we have enough members.

At our last Zone Conference we took this picture with one of the American Elders.  It shows just how little we really are.
Heidi is the District Relief Society President, and put on a big party to celebrate the anniversary of the Relief Society.  There were classes on exercise, flower making, napkin folding, home made soap, nail painting, hair styling, and make-up.  The ladies had a wonderful time.

After the classes they had a big lunch with barbecued chicken, rice and salads.  They then had a short spiritual meeting and finished off with dessert.  One sister had made two large cakes with the Relief Society Symbol on top.

This last P-day we went with the Sisters to Snowland, the largest indoor snow park in the Americas.  It was lots of fun, and the Sisters had a great time, especially the ones that had never seen snow.  It was lots of fun for a warm summer day.