Sunday, October 23, 2011

They're back

After being on our own for the Portuguese effort in Toronto for the past three months, we finally have Portuguese elders again. It's a good thing we cleaned their apartment last week. Elder Woodruff, after spending several months in the mission home while his broken foot healed, finally returned to Toronto. Elder de Moura also returned from Trenton where he was speaking English. To round out the threesome, Elder Seabra is new from Las Vegas. He was born in Brazil of Portuguese parents and raised in the United States speaking Portuguese in the home. Sounds just right for Toronto, doesn't it?
Elder Woodruff, Elder Seabra, and Elder de Moura
This has been a busy week. After spending Monday morning preparing a lesson we went out in the cold to deliver Family Home Evening invitations to the Rosw and Rocca families. Sister Wheeler had her Portuguese lesson in the afternoon then we rushed off to the other side of town to give a first lesson to Marcia Sousa. We got a call on Sunday October 9th from someone called Sara (Sara Dominguez) who had a Brazilian friend called Sauza (actually Marcia Souza) who wanted to have the missionary lessons. Marcia has been attending church with her friend, Sara, from Mexico and wanted to learn more about the church before being baptized. Sister missionaries have visited her in the past, but she couldn't understand them. Three Portuguese elders also visited, but she felt uncomfortable with three men in her home while her husband (a flight attendant with the airlines who was often out of town) was away. Marcia was running late and had not eaten so we had a light supper with her before the lesson. She was so delighted to be able to speak Portuguese that it was a little difficult to focus on the lesson concepts. She loves the church, however, and wants to have more visits.
Back - Sister Wheeler, Marcia and Sara
Front - Marcia's son and Sara's daughter
We needed to rush off and were a little late getting to the chapel for a Portuguese Family Home Evening. It was an attempt to have an activity for Portuguese members of the ward. We had five people there (besides ourselves). Elder Wheeler gave a brief lesson, Sidy had an activity, and fortunately, Sister Wheeler had some cake left over from Sunday for refreshments. Tiago Bettencourt, a 12-year-old  boy actually spoke to Elder Wheeler. He has been so shy he had looked away in the past whether he was spoken to in English or Portuguese.

Tuesday was a different day for us. It was transfer day with many new missionaries in the mission and several leaving. President and Sister Scott have a full schedule of meetings at the mission home to greet the new missionaries and say farewell to the leaving missionaries. This includes meals. Elder and Sister Ratto have often helped in preparing meals, but they are some of the leaving missionaries. Sister Scott asked if we could be available to help, so there we were. Silvana Padron, a sister from a ward in Brampton planned the meals, but needed help in preparing and cleaning up. It was a busy day, but it was also fun to see all the new missionaries and say goodbye to the old ones. We were also able to eavesdrop on some of the good counsel given by President Scott. We finished by about 8PM and headed back to Toronto. A side benefit for going to Brampton is that the repair shop finished our car and we were able to drive it home. Elder Wheeler commented that he could see a future experience reporting to the High Council after the mission. High Counselor - "What was your most spiritual experience on your mission?" Elder Wheeler - "Washing dishes in the mission home."

Elders and President Scott at the mission home
Sisters at the mission home
Silvana and Sister Wheeler
Elder and Sister Ratto with Sister Wheeler

 Things didn't slow down on Wednesday. We got a call Tuesday night asking if we could pick up Adla dos Santos (a new member of the church) at the airport at 6:30 AM. She had gone to Brazil to get married and was returning to Toronto. Her family couldn't pick her up. This meant a late night Tuesday and an early morning on Wednesday. We were able pick her up and get home to get a quick breakfast before going to give a first missionary lesson to Tony and Simone. We really enjoyed the lesson and they were really receptive. On our way bak home we stopped by to see if we could give an invitation for a baby shower to Maria Carreiro. We have tried several times to meet her without success. She was at home so we delivered the invitation just in time for the phone to ring. She was saved by the bell, but at least we met her.We then stopped to visit a Portuguese man named Filipe (the name given by some Spanish elders that had talked to him earlier). Like all Portuguese we were told, "I won't close my door on anyone." This is usually followed with a declaration of Catholicism with no inclination to change. Mamede and Natalia Filipe (their real names) are Seventh-Day Adventists, however. We had a nice discussion about the Book of Mormon with an invitation to return and a promise to read it along with the Bible. They will be going back to Portugal for an undefined period of time (it looks like their house is for sale) so we don't know what will come of it.

Rock wall
Ice in our water pitcher - it does get cold in Toronto
 As we mentioned we got some Portuguese Elders back in Toronto. We invited them to lunch on Thursday followed by a planning session. We gave them a list of potential investigators and members that could use a visit. It was really lonely here without the elders. Now there might be some progress among the Portuguese in the city. We had another institute class on Thursday evening. The lesson was on developing the talents we received in the Pre-mortal life. We had a good turnout and a good discussion.

Friday was another "let's see Toronto" day. This time we went downtown to see the Museum of Inuit Art (MIA). The Inuit are the extreme northern First Nation people (Native Americans) we sometimes call Eskimos.   We had free tickets from the library, but didn't need to use them since it was a free day anyway. We also went to Dufferin Mall to find some winter boots for Sister Wheeler. No luck.
One of the pieces of art at the MIA 
We got a call on Saturday morning telling us we were not needed at ESL so we had some time to make some visits. We had several invitations for a baby shower to deliver to less-active members, so we planned our route. We decided to visit others (for whom we didn't have invitations) as well. We first visited Antonio, a Spanish member married to a Brazilian. It was a good visit because he has injured his back a couple of years ago and is not able to work. Hopefully our visit cheered him up a bit. We dropped off two invitations for sisters who were not at home then went to see Celina Oliveira. Her son has turned 8-years-old and she would like him baptized. Very few in the ward even know her. She agreed to have us talk to the bishop and arrange for the elders to giver her son some lessons (good practice for the new elder). It was interesting that we started out to deliver some invitations, but the people who really needed our visit were added on at the last minute. Could this be the spirit at work?

Sister Carroll, the mission nurse, called to tell us that Sister Hodgkin was sick and needed to go to a clinic to be checked by a doctor and get some medicine. The problem was that it was getting late in the afternoon and no one knew where there was a clinic nearby their apartment. It "just happened" that we were not too far from their apartment so we went to Bloor St. and finally found a clinic that was open until 5 PM.  We got her there by 4:15, but the doctor had just left to go home. We asked about another clinic and were told about one on St. Claire (close to our apartment). We hopped on a bus and arrived in time. After a long wait and a two-minute consultation, she had a prescription (the pharmacy stayed open to fill it) and was ready to catch a bus back to their apartment. Sister Hodgkin is an example of a great missionary. Even though she was not feeling well she talked to a girl on the bus, telling her about the church and inviting her to church on Sunday. At the clinic she talked to a lady who accepted the Book of Mormon with a promise to read it. She also left some pass-along cards to be handed out by the clinic. Her companion is Sister Hurst, a new missionary from Idaho. If you can't tell the "Greenie" she's in the green coat.

Sister Wheeler, Sister Hurst, and Sister Hodgkin at the clinic
By this time we had missed lunch and were hungry. We hurried home for a quick bite to eat then rushed off to the stake center for the Saturday adult session of stake conference. Yes, we arrived late, but we made it. We were about to get on the bus after the conference when Tina (our relief society president)  got a call from the bishop offering us a ride home. It was good company with a valuable discussion about the needs of ward members.

Now here we are at Sunday, the last day of a busy week. We had the main session of stake conference this morning. Simone said she would meet us at the Ossington subway station at 9:00 AM to go to conference together (Tony had to work). We called just after 9:00 and she said she was behind schedule, but would get there as soon as possible. It ended up she had to work until about 3:00 AM and had little sleep, but she still met us at about 9:30. We were late for conference, but we found seats and were able to listen to the messages. Sister and Elder Scott were two of the speakers. We were a little worried when President Burns started talking about tithing. Simone, who has good English asked what it was. When I said "Dizimo" she said that she understood and agreed that tithing was important. Adla, who speaks very little English passed by and asked about translation into Portuguese. I was able to get some headphone receivers for her and her mother. While I was looking for them I saw Marcia in the foyer with her son. I also got some headphones for her. That means that two of our new investigators attended stake conference.
Simone and Sister Wheeler waiting for the subway
On the bus to the stake center an older Filipino couple named Cesar and Julieta Dimacale greeted us and sat by us. They joined the church in the Philippines. After being a member for a year and a half, he was called to be the stake president.

Julieta and Cesar Dimacale
Maybe you are wondering if this week will ever end, well, so are we. This evening we visited Lucia da Cruz with the portuguese elders to give a lesson about families. It was a good visit. Sister Wheeler said she understood much of the conversations. That's pretty good since they are from Angola. Well, this blog is getting quite lengthy, so we will sign off until next week.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Wow! That was quite a week. I'm glad you have Portuguese missionaries again. We're praying for you!
Melissa, Steve & Anna