Sunday, September 27, 2015

Training CTSs

It has been a quiet week in the office. Most of the people were gone for training. We spent the week getting ready to train the new Council Technology Specialists.

Wednesday night the stake held a special program for the 20th anniversary of the Proclamation on the Family. The senior missionary couples sang "A child's Prayer" and "Where Can I Turn for Peace". The stake choir also sang. I sang with both.

Thursday was health day at the office. We both went for a health checkup - blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, height, weight, etc. We got a bowl of fruit for the effort.

Friday evening we went to see "Everest" (in 3D) with three other couples. We all stopped at a Mexican restaurant in the mall afterward.

Men servicing power at the mall
Saturday was our big day for training Council Technology Specialists (CTSs). Each CTS works with five to 14 stakes to train the Stake Technology Specialist (STSs) and meet with the stake presidents in the coordinating council meetings. There are 34 councils in Brazil which is easier to work with than 294 stakes and districts. We had eight CTSs from São Paulo City and São Paulo state. The training went well so they can take over training the stakes.
Our São Paulo CTS training meeting
Our new Council Technology Specialists
We have new missionaries that arrived on Saturday. Elder and Sister Burke (medical missionaries) and Sister Cox (mental health missionary). Sister Cox moved in next to us. We were able to watch the Women's session of general conference in our apartment (9-10:30 pm).

 Today after our regular meetings we were invited to the São Paulo South Council for their meeting with stake presidents. It was different from those we have attended in the past because it was the CTS who did the training rather than us. He modified our presentation and did a great job. We finally have Brazilians teaching Brazilians about meetinghouse technology.
São Paulo South stake center
Giuliano (R) training the stake presidents about technology
This starts a new era in Brazil. We now have trained 8 CTSs and only have 26 to go. The others are not as close.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bíblia Sagrada

This has been a furious week getting ready for training with a lot of emails going back and forth to technology specialists, stake presidents, and area seventies. 

Sister Wheeler had a real missionary experience this Monday. We often greeted a lady on the way to the office. We finally stopped to talk and found out her name was Iraci. Sister Wheeler bought a Book of Mormon to give to her and made a list of Ginny's favorite scriptures about the Savior. We went quite a while before we saw her again, but on Monday we passed her and gave her the Book of Mormon and Sister Wheeler gave her a hug. We don't know the results, but at least Sister Wheeler made the effort.

After a long wait we finally were able to download the LDS edition of the bible in Portuguese. It is linked to all of the other scriptures. We had downloaded a bible and would go back and forth during lessons, but now it is all linked together. A team had been working for years and it was finally released this week. The printed edition will come out next year.

Small palm trees at the temple
We don't have many pictures to show unless we go out on Saturday. This time we went to Barra Funda, the end of the metro on the northwest side of town.

We went through the Memorial for Latin America, a group of buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the designer of Brasîlia.

Memorial of Latin America
One building was a huge art gallery, almost empty except for a few photos on the walls.
Represents the Dominican Republic
Another gallery had large panels of carved stone showing scenes from the Americas.
Panels of stone murals
Detail of a mural
 Many of the buildings had ponds surrounding them
The mote
 There were also cute figures.
I like the one on the right
 And a giant Latin American hand.
All hands up!
 From there we went to Parque da Água Branca, which was a school of architecture turned into a park. It was a lot of fun to walk around the park.
Fish pond
Reading station
 It must have been scout day because there were a lot of scouts working on their pioneering merit badge. The troops seem to be mixed. We had a nice chat with this group.
This is a school of architecture, isn't it?
One delight was coming across these men singing real Musical Caipira, the old-time country music from the interior of São Paulo. It is sung as a duet with the melody playing the guitar and the other singing a 6th higher. It was a lot of fun listening to them.

The Música Caipira trio?

 The park also included a small, but very nice geology museum. Now I can name all of the minerals in Portuguese - oops, I have a teflon brain and it's all gone.

 There were some interesting buildings that reminded us a bit of India.
This building has an open floor plan
 It was hot and we needed a treat. Soft ice-cream cones fit the bill. Choose your flavor and he adds the  flavoring as he makes the cone.
Making ice-cream cones
 It worked well because I ate the top and Diane ate the cone.
Maracujá ice-cream cone
 It was hot and old people get tired so they had a Praça do Idoso (Square of the Aged).
This old man has had it
 We walked to a mall close by and had a Mineira lunch, food they fix in Minas Gerais. It was good food.
Lunch time
We had training today at the São Paulo Interlagos council. We took a bus to ElDorado Shopping then a train along the river.

Waiting for the train
The river is so contaminated it smells like a sewer all along it.
Don't let the nice reflection fool you
 We had a metro ride then a walk to the Santo Amaro chapel.
Santo Amaro stake center
Two missionaries on a hot day
 We enjoyed giving the training. In the future the Council Technology Specialists will give the training to the coordinating councils.
São Paulo Interlagos council
It has been a busy, but good day.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sete de Setembro

Sete de Setembro (Sep 7) is Brazil's national holiday (like our 4th of July). It rained hard all day so it was a good day to stay in our apartment and get some things done. As we looked out our window we saw a homeless man sleeping on the ground. Some of the Brazilians say they are mostly crack addicts who sleep all day and get their fix at night. We had some pizza left over from our tailgate party and Diane felt sorry for him so she packed it with some ice to keep it cool then we left it where he could find it. He got up to change positions and looked at it carefully before going back to sleep in the rain. After dark he was gone, as was the food.
Our homeless neighbor
We held Family Home Evening in Zaugg's apartment rather than going over to the office building. Usually on Mondays we are all over there for work, but today was a holiday. We celebrated Elder Zaugg's 70th birthday.
Happy Birthday
Tuesday was another rain day, but not a holiday so we had a normal day at the office. We need the rain. Diane commented on what a miracle rain is. If you look at all of the conditions needed for rain it's a miracle we have any rain at all. Part of the miracle of creation.

On Thursday we went to the Policia Federal to get our documents. We were able to take a taxi and have him wait for 10 minutes while we went and got them and returned. There is an advantage to being old in Brazil; we can go in front of lines (but there wasn't any line).

We went to a session at the temple on Friday. There were a lot of missionaries in the session using headphones for English (Diane didn't need them). We have a lot of missionaries arriving from the states now as well as other English-speaking countries like Malawi.

We decided we had better go someplace on Saturday so we could take some pictures for the blog. We went to the neighborhood called Consolação which started out as a mule train trail to bring things in from the town of Sorocaba, but is now a major street in the center of São Paulo. It didn't have the charm of some other neighborhoods, but had some interesting buildings.
Education building at Praça da Republica
I liked this painting at the art and antique fair
Father of the Boy Scout movement in Brazil
Edifício Copan
Mário de Andrade library
We stopped by the Igreja de Consolação, but they were having mass so we didn't take pictures of it's lovely interior.
Igreja de Consolação
The Indians have invaded
We had stake conference on Saturday evening. We both sang in the choir after weeks of 2-hour long rehearsals. It was a good conference with inspired leaders. We had the main session on Sunday. The choir sang for the main session also. Part of the dress for the women was matching necklaces.
Stake choir members
It has been a different week with a national holiday and a lot of rain.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Missing Volunteers

What started out as a normal week had some twists and turns. We had our normal language classes this week: English on Tuesday and Thursday and Portuguese on Wednesday and Friday, but we didn't have our morning Leadership Pattern training sessions (they seemed to be too busy). We did have an hour-long Leadership Pattern in Portuguese on Monday afternoon, however. They really get into the role playing!

We had a different Family Home Evening on Monday. The Swensens will soon be leaving so Sister Swensen told her conversion story. We then we went to a churrascaria for a farewell dinner. He has been the area doctor responsible for all the missionaries in Brazil.
Elder and Sister Swensen
Since it is the first of the month, Diane has been working on compiling our new technology specialists. We also worked on Webcast in preparation for training the new Council Technology Specialists.

A wheel of shipping boxes
On Thursday we were informed that the young volunteers would no longer be working for the ISC office. They have been a lot of help, but there are some legal ramifications for the volunteering. The department went to Outback for lunch to say farewell to them.

Sharpshooter Helemã
Our volunteer crew: Vanderson, Helemã, and Carlos
Dinner at the outback
Elder and Sister Romrell were here in São Paulo again for eye treatment. They usually come from Mato Grosso for only a couple of days so they stay in the housing by the temple. This time they will be staying for a week to see if the eye is improving so they moved in next door. We invited them over for dinner and had a nice talk.

On Saturday we went to Embu das Artes with four other couples. It's always a fun place to go with a lot of arts and crafts. 
Art student in the studio
Colorful headdresses
There was a museum of an old Jesuit church. We are old enough to get in free. It was actually pretty good, but we couldn't take pictures inside.

Museum of Sacred Art
The old monastery 
Embu from the window
We had lunch at a German Restaurant.
It seems all we do is eat here in Brazil
Last night was the opening football game for BYU at Nebraska. Since we have access to the Dish Network on our TV we had a tailgate party in our apartment. The TV worked for the first 3 quarters then the internet failed. We rushed over to the Halls to watch the last exciting moments of the game.

BYU football in Brazil
As I said, a normal week ended up exciting with a "hail Mary" in the final second of a BYU football game.