Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Visit by an Apostle

I missed creating the last two blogs because I couldn´t get pictures from the camera to the computer. It connects by Wi-Fi which stopped working. For this reason you will get two blogs in a row (Yes, I finally found out how to get them on another computer).

This was an exciting week (April 27 - May 3). We received visits by several general authorities. We had our Family Home Evening as usual on Monday, but it wasn´t like others we have had. Bishop Caussé of the presiding bishopric and his wife gave our lesson. It was kind of them to take time out of their busy schedule to visit with us. They brought a wonderful spirit with them.
Bisho and Sister Caussé
On Tuesday Bishop Caussé gave a devotional for all of the church employees. He talked about the church needing to simplify as it gets larger. We received several ideas that will help us in our call as technology specialists here in Brazil. As part of the devotional we were able to see the first showing of the new video of the church "Sealed Together: The Manaus Temple Caravan" It told the story about members of the church in Manaus giving all they had to make an 8-day journey (half by boat and half by bus) to be sealed in the São Paulo Temple. Now there is a temple in Manaus.
Click here to see the video
Wednesday night was the big night - the 1st Celebration of Religious Liberty.
Brazil: one voice for the world
According to the Pew Research Center, Brazil is listed as number one in having the fewest regulations restricting religious freedom. The United States comes in about number eight. The celebration was held in the São Paulo Mosque, the first in South America.
São Paulo Mosque
Elder Hall was one of the major organizers of the event, which included many different religious traditions, including Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

The Wheeler´s, Zaugg´s, and  Hall´s
 Our little senior missionary choir had been practicing for the occasion, but we were preempted at the last minute. It was a good thing, however, because we were preempted by Liriel, a popular Brazilian singer who had soloed with the Tabernacle Choir. We were able to have a nice visit with her while waiting for the event to start. She is delightful.
Liriel with Elder Wheeler
It was interesting to hear the different points of view of the speakers, including a chanted prayer, but there was a common theme that we are all children of God and should work together in spite of differences in belief. The highlight was the keynote speech of Elder D. Todd Christofferson, an LDS apostle. His speech was in Portuguese.
Elder Christofferson meeting the Imans

On Thursday we went through a temple session on Portuguese. It was like going through for the first time. Wagner´s 12-year-old daughter came by to see him in the office so we were able to meet her.
Wagner and Leticia
Friday was another national holiday - Labor Day (Andrea´s birthday). They actually call it Worker´s Day, but no one works. We started the day with a pancake and maple syrup breakfast at the Zaugg´s. We still need to perfect the gluten-free pancakes in Brazil. We then went to the Feira. It´s a lot of fun to interact with the people there as we buy fruits and vegetables.
Paula - the fruit vendor
Marco sells potatoes
In the afternoon we attended a missionary conference with Elder Christofferson. Everyone had the opportunity to pass by and shake his hand. He told us that sometimes we may not get an answer from the Lord on what direction we should go. We should get started the best way we know how and the Lord will let us know if we are going in the wrong direction.

On Saturday we stayed in the apartment to catch up on a lot of odds-and-ends that we have not had time to do. In the evening we had a special couples conference (for all couples in Brazil) by Elder Christofferson. Our senior missionary couple choir was able to sing "I Am a Child of God" in Portuguese. It went very well. We really enjoyed the informal, candid way Elder Christofferson led the conference. 

We decided to attend the São Paulo 5th Ward (it´s where we actually live) for our meetings rather than the Morumbi Ward which is smaller and where the other senior couples attend. In the evening we attended a devotional at the CTM. Elder Hall was the speaker for the missionaries in the CTM. They are young, but have a special spirit about them.

As I said, this has been a special week with general authorities. We had some type of activity every day.

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