Sunday, December 4, 2011

Os dois bispos

Maybe you can tell from the pictures that this has been a strange week. We tried to recuperate from last week. Monday was spent in studying and getting our institute lesson ready for Thursday. We took a little break and went downtown to see the Allen Gardens. It is a nice greenhouse with exotic plants. They were setting up for their Christmas show with a lot of poinsettias.

Christmas in Toronto
Artistic rock pile at an art gallery

Allen Gardens
Waterwheel in Allen Gardens

Poinsettia in Allen Gardens
Cactus in allen Gardens

Statue at nearby church

Black squirrel of Toronto
Tony and Simone cancelled for our Tuesday appointment so we had another slow day. We got a letter from Honda telling us we needed a software update for the car. We made an appointment with the local Honda dealership in the afternoon. We ARE in a foriegn country. They needed to check with Honda America to see if they could update the software. We walked across the street (in the rain) to wander around Yorkdale Mall while we waited for the car. We could always tell that it was a worldly mall, but it was proven when we saw an ad for ties costing $250. We had ESL in the evening after which some of the members had a farewell cake for Elder Woodruff..

No, we didn't buy any ties
Cake for Elder Woodruff
Wednesday was transfer day. Elder Wheeler was asked to drive the transfer van. The instructions seemed easy enough: get to the Brampton Stake Center by 7:30 AM; take 5 missionaries (and luggage) to the Toronto Stake Center; take 3 missionaries to the No Frills (a grocery store) in Oshawa; return to Brampton with 4 missionaries; take 4 more missionaries to the Toronto Stake Center; take one of them on to Oshawa; return the van to Brampton by about 2PM. This meant we could make our 4:30 appointment with Marzia. It didn't quite happen that way. We had to wait for an hour until 4 of the 5 missionaries showed up. We had snow in the morning which, along with traffic, slowed the schedule down. One of the vans coming from London slid off the road (no one injured) which delayed the second round trip by three hours. By this time it was rush hour traffic (but no snow) so we finally dropped the last missionary off in Oshawa about 6:00 PM. We got to Marzia's about 6:45 PM (the other Portuguese elders got there earlier).

We were able to see Elder Workman and Hermana Wheeler who will be going home this week. Sister Wheeler helped in the kitchen where they fed the new missionaries (16 with half of them sisters) and trainers while Elder Wheeler was running around in the van.

What is left from the snow (in front of Marzia's apartment)
Departing Portuguese elders: Woodruff and Workman
Thursday didn't slow down. We had zone and district meetings at the stake center (we were late because of traffic). We then went to the temple in Brampton. They have a special session for the departing missionaries to which they invite senior couples to have enough for the prayer circle. They follow the session with a 5:30 PM dinner for the senior couples and missionaries. We, however, had to leave before dinner to get to our institute class in Toronto. The traffic was really bad (about the worst yet) and we didn't arrive until 7:15 PM, after it was to start.

Toronto Temple at about 4:30 pm

 We had an inservice meeting for institute on Saturday morning during which they gave us a challenge to have a group activity. The lesson was on handling adversity in life, so we had small groups make "Mormon Ads" dealing with adversity caused by ourselves, caused by others, and just part of mortality.

Kelly, Ryan, and Melissa

Brenda, Kimberly, and Grace

Laura Kay and Sara

With Wednesday and Thursday so busy, we didn't have a chance to get metro passes for December. We thought we could just go down to Mac's on the corner and buy them like we always did. Boy, were we mistaken. They were sold out. So were all of the other stores where they sell the passes. We were told to go to a metro station to buy them. We worked (walking) our way down St. Clair without success until we finally reached the Metro station. When we asked for passes we were asked for our money (CASH ONLY). We worked our way back until we came across a bank where we could get the cash. We learned our lesson - buy before the first of the month. We caught a streetcar to go back home and encountered Natalia Ponte, a less active member we have been meaning to contact. Why don't we learn our lesson. It would have been much easier to contact the Ponte's directly than to wander all over trying to get new metro passes so we could be delayed and get on the right streetcar. As President Wallis likes to say, "There's no such thing as coincidences". We decided to investigate other libraries close by. The one on Oakwood has mostly children's books. We checked the one on Eglington which also has mostly children's book. The library on Dufferin has wider selections.

We had our normal ESL on  Saturday, except there were only two students in our class. Since Sister Wheeler wanted to practice the organ and we had a missionary coordination meeting at 1:00 PM, we didn't get lunch until late. We decided to pass by the library on Eglington to see about museum passes (which come out each Saturday morning). They were all taken by the afternoon. We learned you always need to be careful how you act because you never know who is watching. A picture of Sister Wheeler beside a metal snowman by the library revealed some ministering angels watching over us. We went out to find Christmas cards in Portuguese for some of the members by visiting a Portuguese bookstore and a Brazilian shop. No luck.

Sister Wheeler by the "metalman"

Our guardian angels: Sisters Fotheringham and Brown with Victor
Sunday was a roller coaster day for emotions. Marzia didn't come to sacrament meeting for her confirmation. Only one person showed up for the "Portuguese choir" rehearsal. Maria was gone today so Sister Wheeler played the piano for sacrament meeting, primary, relief society, and the Spanish choir rehearsal. We have mentioned how weak the Portuguese members are, but there is a lot of leadership among the few active. They reorganized the bishopric of the Toronto Ward today after having the same bishop for 10 years. Pres. Wong, the stake president, said they have been trying to find a new bishop for five years without success. The new bishop is Gilmar Landim, a Brazilian who started attending the Toronto Ward to improve his English. We now have Brazilians as bishops for both wards meeting in the Ossington building.

As we get ready for Christmas, we had a treat today with Joaquim and Fatima Verdasca who brought their new baby to be blessed. It reminded us of Christmas, but maybe it was more like Elizabeth and Zacharias who gave birth to John in their old age.

Grandmother, Fatima, and Joaquim with their new baby son

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