Thursday, May 12, 2016

Various activities and events from our mission in Brazil.

 In late March we had a lot of heavy rain. On one of the little back roads we take to go from the country farm of the Leonidas family to the Brunelli family in Vale Real, we have to cross a river.  The little wooden bridge we normally cross was completely under water.

 One of the investigator families we visit in Picada Cafe, a small town outside Nova Petrópolis, has a very cute eight year old boy named Alison.
 The mission president and his wife arranged to have a conference for all the sister missionaries in the Porto Alegre North Mission, held at a chapel in Porto Alegre.  Sister Copa was able to participate, and I came along for the ride..

 We are often amazed at how labor intensive are some of the things they do here.  Below is a group of men trimming the side of the roadway with weed eaters.

 For our Gramado Zone one of the sister missionaries, Sister Nieznanski on the right below, designed a "fishers of men" t-shirt showing a hand holding a fishing line.  Our sisters from Nova Petrópolis, Sister de Paula and Sister Nieznanski, are displaying their shirts at the zone conference, along with Sister Copa.

 We love the hydrangea flowers that are everywhere around the city of Gramado.  The different colors are amazing. We always have fresh hydrangeas in our condo.

 This pink color is rare and very beautiful.
 We are often amazed with the colors people paint their houses.  The house below is obviously from some people with a lot of money, but they still pain their house these bright colors. The pictures don't show just how bright pink this house really is.

Between Gramado and Nova Petrópolis there is a craft store with the name below.  We had to stop and ask if the name was meant to be The Store, but they told us it was the abbreviation and combining of two German family names of the owners. We explained how funny it looks to anyone speaking English.
 We received two new Sister Missionaries for the Gramado Branch, Sister Hanna from the U.S. and Sister Rodrigues from Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Sister Hanna is the daughter of David Neeleman, who founded Jet Blue in the U.S.. and Azul Airlines here in Brazil.  The church leaders here advised her not to use her last name, but to go by her first name, just so no one would think of kidnapping her and holding her for ransom.  We gave them a little tour of Gramado when they arrived, including Lago Negro.

We love the panoramic vistas we see driving from Gramado to Nova Petrópolis.  We drive through this beautiful valley and are amazed that the mountains are mostly flat on top. A lot of the cities are built on the top of the mountains. These mountains stay green all year round because of the amount of rain we receive.

 For one of our P-Days we took the Sister Missionaries of Gramado and Nova Petrópolis to the Wax Museum.

 Sister Rodriguez had them cast her hands in wax.

 Below the Wax Museum was a Harley Davidson museum.

 After the Wax Museum we took the sisters to the World of Chocolate, where everything in the photos below is made out of chocolate.

The condominium next door is continuing to rise.  We are still amazed at how slow the construction process is here.  We will not live here long enough to see this building completed.

 This is a beautiful flowering tree in front of our condo.  The colors in the picture do not show how deep purple the flowers really are.

Below is our washer and dryer outside the back door of our condo.  There was no room in the condo for them.  Our neighbor's wash basin is to the right, which is all we would have had if we had not purchased the washer and dryer.

The is our back yard.  We are the last condo in this complex, so the yard is next to us.  Only three of the ten condos in our complex are used on a continuous basis; the other seven are used only infrequently on week-ends.  We rarely see anyone in our yard.

 The picture below is from inside our condo looking out the front door.

There is a couple in the Gramado Branch who were married, had four kids, then divorced.  She remarried, had two more kids, and then her second husband died.  The original couple were remarried in the Gramado chapel after 35 years apart.  Their oldest son is walking her down the aisle.  Their granddaughter is the ring bearer.

 All of the six kids were able to be at the wedding.

 Sister Nieznanski was transferred, then Sister Molina, on the right below, arrived in Nova Petrópolis to serve for one transfer.  They have a program here where 18 year old girls can serve a "Curto Prazo" (short term) mission for one six week transfer period.  We enjoyed getting to know her, and know she will make a great missionary when she goes on her full time mission.

We have been looking hard for a place to hold church in Nova Petrópolis, but have had a very difficult time.  We have looked at many places, including the beautiful German house below.  Unfortunately the owners only want to sell and not rent.  The church will not buy property until we have a larger number of members attending the branch.

As you can tell, we love the hydrangea flowers.  We found some paintings of them that we purchased for our condo here and to take back to Pleasant Hill.  The artist, Lizzie Heidrich, opened a little shop in the Expo center here in Gramado for an exposition the city was sponsoring, and we took her picture there.

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