Sunday, April 5, 2015

General Conference

It was nice to attend General Conference in the comfort of our apartment. We were told that in Brazil it is a sin not to go to the chapel to attend conference. We had the excuse of testing out the technology  we will be teaching. It ends up that some of the methods to receive conference are not available in Portuguese.

We started our leadership lessons on Monday. Every day from 9-9:30 am we have a "Pattern of Leadership" discussion (following the Savior's way of doing business for Church employees) in English with the ICS group. On Monday, however we were also responsible for the 8 am devotional. Just before noon we were informed that the Swenson's needed to go to the airport with a missionary and couldn't give the Family Home Evening lesson, so Diane prepared one on "O, Divine Redeemer" from Elder Maxwell's talk in 1981 when he was first sustained as an Apostle. She developed a Power Point with videos and music. That's pretty good since last week she had never developed a Power Point. That means we had three presentations on Monday.

Let's introduce some others in our ICS group.
Helemã - a bright young volunteer
Henrique - sits next to me so he gets lots of questions
Evanir - a bishop in Santos
Vagner - not the composer
At lunch we passed by the travel team who helped us get our Brazilian documents from the police station.
Fabio and Jonas in front
 At easter time instead of baskets they get a big egg filled with candy. They hang tham all over in the stores.
Hanging Easter eggs
We get a lot of nice fruits. Bananas come in several varieties as well as mangos. Papayas are good for breakfast, avocados are large  (yes I eat avocados here), and maracujá (passion fruit) is ... - well you can really smell it and the seeds are crunchy.
Our fruit collection
A view from our window
Every Monday and Wednesday the senior couples have a song practice. At the end of the month Elder Christoffersen is coming to visit Brazil and will be speaking in the large mosque in São Paul. We will sing "I am a child of God" as the closing number.
At our practice
 On April Fool's Day Evanir went to the CTM (MTC) to solve some technical problems. We asked if we could tag along so we had a nice tour. Typical of Brazilian facilities it's like a guarded prison complex. Yes, the missionaries can leave the compound, but they have everything they need there.
We made it inside
Where does that wire go?
Isn't Portuguese fun to learn?
The CTM track
 As I mentioned a lot of the facilities in São Paulo are fenced off and guarded. If you want a job in Brazil, try being a security guard - there are a lot of them around.
The guard for the Area offices
Friday was a holiday (Good Friday) so we didn't go into the office. We decided to take the bus to Paulista Avenue, the business and shopping street in town. Even though we got on the wrong bus and had to find another we found it. 
Resting in the park
Artwork in the mall
Here is the pica-pau again
How would this be in your bed?
We stopped for lunch in a food court. A man walked up and introduced himself and his family. He is a bishop from Curitiba and his son is here for a chess tournament. Later a couple from Tennessee stopped and talked to us. He was a missionary in Argentina who will be moving his family to São Paulo.
Potential investigator?
The big city
We took the metro to the station closest to our apartment then walked home (about 1.5 miles). A family passed us on the way home from the temple.
Typical Paulistanos?
Between sessions of conference on Saturday we went over to the Zaugg's apartment to wish Sister Zaugg a happy birthday. We fit a lot of missionaries into a small apartment for cake and ice cream.
Birthday party
 When I turned on the kitchen light we got some sparks and a burning smell. We called maintenance to replace the ballast. Sure enough, the circuit board was burnt. They came by to repare it, so we hope we won't have a fire in the apartment.
Light work
 Since the first session of conference starts at 1 pm here, we had a little time Sunday morning for a little walk to a park up the street.
A mural on a wall
School kids
This is called a lake on the park map
Bamboo forest
Well, another week has passed and we haven't been sick yet. The dange fever seems to be going around. It is estimated that about 100 missionaries in Brazil got it last month.

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