Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our Mission Starts

No, we haven't received our visas yet! In talking to the mission department we decided to take a temporary assignment while waiting for our visas. We were assigned to the Mountain Shadows 1st Ward (Portuguese-speaking) in West Jordan, Utah starting on December 29, 2014.

Dec 29, 2014
We left Logan early on Monday, drove safely through the canyon and had a severe weather slowdown through Davis County and made it only 15 minutes late for a 9:00 am meeting with President Chambers, our new mission president, and his wife. We are in the Salt Lake South mission.
President an Sister Chambers
After our meeting we went to the InTown Suites extended-stay motel and moved into our new home for the next few weeks. It is small (255 ft2), with a queen bed, small kitchen table, chair, refrigerator, microwave, and a 2-burner stove.
Our bed and walk-in closet
Our kitchen, dining room, and office
In the afternoon we unpacked, did some grocery shopping, and Diane had her last Portuguese lesson with her tutor. We met with the Portuguese elders in the evening. They are Elder Grahl Batista from Porto Alegre and Elder Telles from Vitória Brazil.
Elder Grahl Batista and Elder Telles

Dec 30, 2014
We got a slow start on Tuesday. We went to the AAA office to get a map of Salt Lake that included the south valley. We then drove around a bit to orient ourselves. We ran across a fun Asian store.
Sis Wheeler in front of the Asian store
In the evening we met with the bishopric of the Mountain Shadows 1st Ward. The meeting was in Portuguese with some English thrown in. We were really impressed with the bishopric as well as the ward mission leader who was there. We got a copy of the ward list.
Mountain Shadows 1st Ward bishopric
Dec 31, 2014
Wednesday was the last day of 2014. We started with an orientation meeting for MLS couples (us) in the morning. they really have things organized here. All the other couples are living at home and are assigned to their home stake. We are the odd balls. They have an 8-week training program that we will start next week. We hope our visas come before we finish the program, however. In the afternoon, I worked on plotting the members addresses on the map so we would know where they lived. The ward is actually larger than the mission which includes 80+ stakes. Meanwhile Diane worked on responding to emails from STSs in Brazil.
      Being New Years Eve we decided to eat out. We went to the Golden Corral where we happened to meet Elder & Sister Peterson who are coordinators for Area Technology Specialists and got us into our mission. 
Sister Wheeler with the Petersons
We had a zone meeting in the evening since the missionaries would have trouble meeting with people on New Years Eve. We enjoyed it and were able to meet our district.
Missionaries at our zone meeting

Jan 1, 2015
Thursday was New Years Day. In the morning we again worked on ward maps and answering emails from STSs in Brazil. In the afternoon we went visiting. We just picked a neighborhood and found two member families. The first was the Vieira family. Her grandson has a friend that just came here from Curitiba where his father is the mission president.
The Vieira Family
From there we visited the Goes family. He helped build the Brazil area office building where we will be working. In both cases we were able to speak Portuguese.

The Goes Family
In the evening we met with the Portuguese elders again to go over the ward list to determine who could use a visit from us.

Jan 2, 2015
On Friday we went through our training book for next week. It is well organized, but a lot of reading - almost overwhelming. We went out and visited families again. We visited a lady who is less active in the church who is married to an American who doesn't like the church. She enjoyed talking to us in Portuguese until her husband came home who doesn't like her to speak Portuguese. We tried a couple of other families who weren't home. On the way back we stopped at Fashion Place Mall to find something to eat. What did we find - The Container Store - Diane's favorite store. It has finally come to Utah now that we will soon be leaving.
Diane's favorite store
Jan 3, 2015
We tried to organize our technology tasks this morning. We are actually juggling two mission. We are still Area Technology specialists for Brazil and have duties related to that mission and are MLS missionaries for the Mountain Shadows 1st Ward. We went out in the afternoon to see if we could find some people. No one was home. We went to the church to log into the internet since it is more secure for banking than in our room. The youth in the ward were playing volleyball at the church.
Volleyball at the church
Jan 4, 2015
We got the firehose today. Our meetings started at 1 pm. It was fast Sunday and we were planning on bearing our testimonies, but before the bishop turned the time over to the congregation there was a long lineup for testimonies. That's OK, though, because many others said what we would have said (and in better Portuguese). We had an excellent Gospel Principles class taught by the ward mission leader. It was larger than our Gospel Doctrine class at home. We then had priesthood and Relief Society meetings with more than 5 talking at once sometimes. What a dose of Portuguese today. We were able to go back to the room for a quick supper before meeting with the missionaries for a lesson with Val, an investigator. She is visiting her daughter who is a member. It is fun to get back into real missionary work again.
Val (in the middle) after the lesson
Well, our first week has come and gone. It has been busy and enjoyable. We'll see what next week brings (hopefully our visas).

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