Sunday, February 22, 2015

That's What We Do!

On Story Trek on BYUtv they often say "That's what we do." We have decided this is the motto for our mission. No matter what we are doing we say, "That's what we do!" An example is Tuesday. We were just ready to leave the apartment for district meeting when we got a call that Elder Grahl Baptista was sick. I spent the morning with him so Elder Araujo (a new missionary) could attend his first district meeting. Diane also attended and met the new companionships.
Elder and Sister Duke (not new)
Elder Lyon (DL) and Elder Kimball
Sister Hinckle (Hinckleville, VA) and Sister Meyers
We spent the afternoon at the ICS office in Riverton trying to solve technical problems which keep the STSs from Brazil from accessing the Internet training course we set up. From there we went to teach a 2nd lesson (Plan of Salvation) to Laerte. We were on our own, since the elders were sick.
Laerte with his member friends Tony, Katie, and Euli
From there we went to the opening of the mini-CTM (MTC) for the youth of the word.
Mini-CTM for the youth of the ward
We then had our missionary coordination meeting. After the meeting the bishop pulled us aside to talk about missionary work in the ward. We got back late. That's what we do! One thing you don't see here is eating (What's that?). Some days we just don't have time. 

We'll break up our walks along the Jordan River. We like to pick a different section each day. On Monday we walked along a section just south of our new house. This section has a lot of nice parks next to a business park.
One of several nice buildings in the business park
A fishing pond along the trail
The central section of a roundabout 
We had our monthly meeting for MLS missionaries on Wednesday. Diane played the organ for the meeting. It has been a while since she has played, but she did great (or was that swell and pedal?). We broke up into four groups with our coordinating couples. Our group had 10 couples. As we were talking to Elder and Sister Lawrence he mentioned he had a grandmother named Wheeler. Elder DeHaan mentioned his aunt married a Wheeler. We are very used to people who have Wheelers in their families, but are not related. It ends up that Elder Lawrence's grandmother was Rose Anna Wheeler (sister of Frederick John Wheeler - my grandfather) and Elder DeHaan's aunt married William Robert Wheeler Jr (my father's cousin). What are the chances of having three cousins in the same group of missionaries? Thanks to the Family Tree app we were able to find the connections right there in the chapel.
Elder and Sister Lawrence
Elder and Sister DeHaan
Our walk on Wednesday took us through a golf course. We stopped one golfer and said, "Don't you know you can't go golfing in February?" He replied, "Isn't this St. George?" It was a good comeback.
A Hex house close to the trailhead
Sometimes Sister Wheeler takes things for Granite
February golfers
We always welcome the Canadian Geese
While at our MLS missionary meeting we got a text message from our ward mission leader saying he had a nephew who wanted to be baptized. Since Elder Grahl Baptista was sick he wanted us to get the lessons started. On Thursday we had the first lesson (with the elders who were better by then). On Saturday we had the second lesson and plan a baptism next Saturday. The ward mission leader's family was at the lesson. What a great opportunity it was for him to bear his testimony to his family as he bore it to Caiu, his nephew. 
Caiu with his uncle Val and cousins Ethan and Melany

Our Thursday walk was a blustery day, but that brought beautiful clouds and a view of the Draper Temple.
What do you see in the clouds?
Draper Temple framed by mountains
A while back I bought a book about catapults and trebuchets that came with a kit for building your own catapult. I read the book, but haven't had time to put the kit together. One day we were talking to Sister Dishman (we live in their basement) while 11-year-old Jacob was watching. I decided to ask him for a favor - put the catapult together for me. He was so excited that he hurried and did all his chores so he could start on it. It didn't take very long, but it didn't throw the clay balls very far so I asked him to work to improve it and I would show him some physics on projectile motion to maximize the distance. Before I knew it he had figured out the secret of releasing the clay ball at a 45 degree angle. Before long he returned after solving the problem of increasing the tension in the ropes and modifying the firing lever. I was impressed. I told him he could keep the catapult for himself.
Jacob showing his sister Grace and brother Beck how to fire the catapult
The ward missionary committee planned a special Family Home Evening at the church for Saturday evening. The turnout wasn't great, but it was a nice activity. It gave us a chance to get to know some of the members better.
Female bonding time
RMs from Bahia, Brazil and Porto, Portugal
Val and Joel - ward missionaries
Brother and Sister Celestino, the bishop' parents
It has been a busy, but good week, after all - That's what we do!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day

We are finally unpacked and are getting settled down in our new apartment. We have been working to catch up on the technology side of our mission. It doesn't take long to get behind.

This was transfer week so after our district meeting on Tuesday we took some pictures of the district. Ordinary pictures aren't good enough for this district.
Lehi's family
Lehi's modern family
Nephi and Sam's wives?
Someone brought a mask that many of the missionaries had to try on. In late 17th century Brazil there was a community of runaway slaves in the state of Alagoas called Quilombos dos Palmares (Yoruba for dwelling place). It was led by a man name Zumbi who defended the community from repeated Portuguese attacks until finally Quilombos dos Palmares fell and Zumbi was beheaded. The event is celebrated in November as Zumbi dos Palmares Day or Black Awareness Day.
Zumbi joined the church?
As we went out to the car one morning we found a flock of Cedar Waxwings enjoying the fruit from the flowering pear left in the tree. Spring must be here!
Cedar Waxwings
Crocus - spring must be here
On our way to our training meeting on Wednesday we passed a bright colored store so we decided to investigate after the meeting. This is what we found:
How can you pass this store up?
Her coat just adds to the color
One of the fun things about the store was that they had many miniature things to create a fairy garden.
A fairy garden
We passed by a large store called Scheels, so we stopped by to see what it was like. It is a big sporting goods store. We had lunch (as well as gelato and fudge) in their deli.
Our founding fathers
How's this for a fish tank?
From our apartment we can walk to the Jordan River Parkway. We went out one morning and saw frost on the golf course lawn and a reflecting pond as smooth as glass. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera so you will have to imagine what it would have been like.
Just add a little frost
Our reflecting pond
Feeding the ducks
As we went walking on Friday I noticed I wasn't wearing my glasses, which was strange. When we returned to the apartment we couldn't find them anywhere. We finally gave up and said a little prayer to help find them. We decided to walk along the street where we had walked in the morning and Diane remembered that a tree had attacked me along the way. A branch hit me in the face. Sure enough, we found my glasses on the lawn under the tree that knocked them off without me being aware of it.
I like this house with a great view
We visited several families this week. One of them is the Peart family. He was a missionary in Brazil and she is from Brazil.
The Peart family
The stake had a dinner dance for Valentine's Day. The dinner was roast beef, mashed potatoes and carrots, so I was able to eat - great! 
Two missionary valentines
For our entertainment we had Luis Meneghan sing for us. For those who follow "America's Got Talent" you will remember the Utahn who spoke with a Brazilian accent and brought the audience to tears with his opera singing.
Luiz Meneghan
 We then had a fun dance. It was casual, except for the missionaries.
The Wheelers and the Wheats
As I mentioned we had transfers this week. Elder Telles went south to Herriman and Elder Grahl Batista is training a new missionary, Elder Araújo. He's from Brazil, but his family moved to South Carolina about a year ago. Welcome Elder Araújo!
Elder Grahl Batista and Elder Araújo

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Transfer Day

This was an exciting week. On Wednesday we got a call from the mission office saying they have found an apartment for us in South Jordan. We were excited. In the afternoon we were able to pass by the house owned by the Dishman family.
This is where we now live
 On Saturday we packed up all of our things and moved from the InTown Suites into our new apartment in South Jordan.

Our new bedroom
Our new kitchen - wow, an oven!
Our new office
Now back to the beginning of the week. We took another walk on Monday. This is cleaning day so we leave the room while a lady comes in to clean. We take a different section of the Jordan River Parkway each time we walk. We took our lunches and ate at a nice gazebo.
This is the section in Murray
Ducks along the river
Lunch site
 The Wheat family attended the Portuguese ward a few weeks ago. They are not actually in the ward, but we visited them anyway. Don't worry, we made sure they were gluten-free. She is from Brazil and he was a missionary in Brazil.
The Wheat family
Every so often we have a zone meeting. This week it lasted for about three hours (10:15 am - 1:15 pm). We were really hungry by the time we got something to eat in the afternoon. They are good meetings, however.

Setting up for zone meeting 
We also had our regular missionary coordination meeting on Tuesday evening and our MLS missionary training meeting on Thursday morning. The ward is planning a special Family Home Evening in a few weeks. A list of names were given for special invitations by ward missionaries. We were given three names. Two of them had moved. The ward members seem to know where they live (they can find the house), but have no clue to the address. We visited with one young man and gave the invitation.

While we were out hunting people down we talked to a Brazilian named Gus (Actually he was born in Germany, moved to Argentina, then moved to Brazil). We were talking about the experience working with Germans in Brazil so he brought out a book "Ipoméia" that recounted the history of the pioneers of the Church in Brazil. It was interesting reading (in Portuguese), especially since I had a chance to meet some of the pioneer families when I served as a missionary earlier.
The Blind family - German pioneers in Brazil (1966)
We had lessons with two investigator families this week. Laerte showed up at church one Sunday and wanted to learn more. We had a great 1st lesson with the elders at a member's home where he is currently living. We planned to meet him at Temple Square on Saturday evening for a 2nd lesson, but he didn't make it.
Laerte is on the right
We also had a 2nd lesson with Max and Tamiris on Sunday. The elders were sick so we gave the lesson ourselves. Val, the ward mission leader went with us. It was about 4:30 pm and we hadn't eaten since breakfast. Fortunately, they gave us some cheese and cake (for Diane) that kept us from fainting away.

We decided to go to the Jordan River Temple on Friday afternoon. It was crowded. We were pleasantly surprised to see Pres. & Sis Chambers there along with 19 missionaries who are returning home from their missions. We used to enjoy attending the temple in Toronto when the missionaries were leaving.

Well, the week has gone by and we have a new start in a new apartment. It is feeling more like home. As we left Midvale we decided to take a picture of an elk we found at the sport's store next to our motel.
The stuffed elk are inside the store