Sunday, February 28, 2016


This Monday we went to Goiânia, the capital of Goiás, which is a 3-hour bus ride from Brasília. We took a 10 am bus so it wasn't too rushed. We enjoyed watching the green fields between the two cities.
Green fields of Goiás
Going along the river
 We checked into the hotel then went across the street for a late lunch. The traditional foods in this region are prepared using big wood-burning stoves.
Lunchtime in Goiânia
Goiânia is a planned city like Brasilia but much larger. It was built about 40 years earlier using construction that reflected the old Bandeirista style rather then the modernism of Brasília. Roads form rings around several large circular squares (a round peg in a square hole?) with roundabouts about every other block, some of which form little praças.  I walked around a bit to get oriented and find the nearby chapel where we would have our meetings the next day.
Cute children on the streets of Goiânia
Tuesday was our work day. We started with breakfast, which had good fruit and pão de quejo (cheese bread).
Goiânia from our hotel window
We walked to the church for a 9 am meeting with Lucas (assistant FM) and Jeferson (CTS). We went through an orientation then information on the new webcast. 
Jeferson and Lucas
After the meeting we went out for lunch.
We visited 8 chapels in Goiânia, many more than we anticipated. It took all afternoon. We passed the first airplane invented by a Brazilian in Goiânia before the Wright brothers.
The first airplane
I'm going to save you the pictures of the outside and inside of all the chapels except for this one.

Cute, eh!
Lucas did not have a car available so Jeferson took us around. At one point he had to drop off some decorations for his wife at a bottling plant where she works.

Shift change at the plant
 We passed the "Grande 'Ole Opry" of Goiânia. The city is known for Seranteja (country) music.
Giant electric guitar
 One of the chapels had an overgrown garden in back with various fruit trees and plants.
I can't remember the name of this fruit
 We had nice weather all day, but some clouds moved in to make the skies more colorful.
Blue sky with clouds
Jefferson took us to his own neighborhood on the south side of the city. It felt good to see the "real" Brazil outside the big city.
Southern neighborhood
Caught some missionaries in action
 He took us to see his sister-in-law where we had some Goiânia cheese (It's famous in Brazil) with goiabada (guava jam). It was quite tasty.
Snack time
Jefferson with his relatives
A fruit vendor asleep on the job
When we got back to the hotel it wasn't quite dark so we decided to see a bit of the city. We walked to a local park which had a small art museum.
Looks like he needs something to eat
Paining in the museum
Giant insect infestation
We enjoyed the walk through the park.
Big Foot was here
Small lake in the park
 We went to see the central square (circle) of the city where there are state offices and several sculptures.
Is that the leaning monument of Goiânia?
Wednesday we returned to Brasília by bus. There was a man at the bus station that looked like a typical cowboy from the Brazilian Cerrado.
Gaiânian Cowboy
We checked back into the same hotel in Brasília and got a quick lunch - pequi chicken. Pequi is a common fruit for this region. It has sharp thorns as part of the seed which can stick in your tongue and lips if you bite into it. Fortunately they had removed all the spikes when they made the lunch.

In the afternoon we had a chance to walk along the tail of the airplane (the city is designed to look like an airplane) to see the JK monument. We saw a few other sites along the way.

Flowers in the garden
 We stopped at a little museum that honored the Brazilian Indians.
Two Indian warriors
Indian baskets
Indian dwelling
 We finally got to the memorial for Jûnius Kobecheck, the Brazilian president who built Brasília as the nation's capital. His motto was "50 years in 5 years" and he did it. The whole city seems to be a monument to him.
Sculpture on the grass
 The monument showed a lot of worldly honors, but now he's dead.
Sepulcure for JK
 We then had a long walk back, seeing some of the famous buildings on the way.
The stadium
 We stopped for a look at the choro club where they perform folk singing in the evening.
Choro club
 We went into a fancy Shopping on the North wing, but didn't find anything to eat.
Mall on the Asa Norte
 We decided to climb the tower again for one last look at Brasília.
I love Brasília
On Thursday we flew back to São Paulo, arriving just after noon. After a taxi back to our apartment we did some quick grocery shopping and headed back to the office. As of now we combined English classes so Elder De Paula is teaching the class. That meant we could go home and rest.

Friday, after a busy day, all of the ICS department went to the temple. It was nice having the whole group there together. 

On Saturday we took a little walk to some stores in the neighborhood (we usually don't have time to explore the stores close by) then worked in the apartment to catch up from our trip. 

It's now Sunday and we have a new week (and month) ahead of us. We'll see what it brings.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


We are in Brasília this week.

Monday was spent getting ready for Family Home Evening. It was our turn again. The lesson was on the history of the First Quorum of Seventy - how it was formed, lost, then formed again. Diane fixed a nice Chicken Pineapple Salad for dinner with valentine sugar cookies for desert. It is not easy to find heart-shaped cookie cutters here, but she was able to pinch round cookies into the shape of a heart. Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening - especially the food.

Tuesday was completely different than expected. We had a meeting scheduled with Emerson to go over the presentation he will give the seventies in our behalf (since we will be in Brasília the day of the meeting). He hurt his leg and was at home so Paulo and I went to his house for him to sign some papers and review the presentation. While there we got a call to go to the police station as soon as possible to renew our visas. We got a taxi, met Fabiano (our facilitator) then went through quite a process for renewal since we were the first to be renewed using the new system. The others would make an application then wait forever for the renewal, hoping it was renewed before they went home. Tuesday night was our first English class of the term.

Wednesday was spent making a new slide for the presentation Emerson will give. In the afternoon we gave a class on the Leadership Pattern, a Portuguese class, and were able to get ready for our trip to Brasília.

Thursday we caught a cab and went to Congonhas Airport and flew to Brasília. Lehi, the CTS for Brazilia met us at the airport, took us to the bus station to buy tickets for Goiânia, then took us to the Shopping for a late, but very good, lunch. He then took us to our hotel to check in.

Brasil 21 Suites 
Our hotel is right across the street from the TV Tower, which provides a nice view of the city.

TV Tower
We actually do love Brasília
View from the tower
At the top of the tower we met a family that were members of the church. Marcos, the father, remembered David Babbel when he was mission president here and related two stories he remembered from talks David gave.

Marcos and family
Since we had a nice, late lunch we were not very hungry so we went to the Shopping close to the hotel and bought ice cream sundaes from McDonalds and some pipoca (sweetened popped corn like hominy) from a street vender.

Friday was our day with Joênio, the FM. He picked us up at the hotel and took us to the FM office so we could go over the training we have for FMs. It went very well.

Joânio (sitting) and his assistant Eclemilson
Just as we were finishing Sister Rowe came over. We knew Elder and Sister Rowe in Salt Lake when we were all waiting for visas. They helped us get started with the Meetinghouse technology work. They are now the office couple for the Brasília Mission. Their office is next door to the FM office.

Elder and Sister Rowe
 We all walked over to the nearby Shopping for lunch then we went with Joênio to visit three chapels and discuss changes needed for the new webcast. On the way back he took us across the JK Bridge   (I´m not Just Kidding, the bridge was named after Brazilian president Jucelino Kubitschek who had Brasília built in the middle of nowhere).
JK Bridge
 After we got back to the hotel we went to the shopping and had some panelinhas, meat and rice in small pots.
Panelinhos for dinner
Saturday was our training day. Lehi picked us up at the hotel and took us to the Asa 
Sul chapel for the training meeting. It was really good to see him take charge in the training of the STSs with the FM there as part of the team. If this can be established in all of the coordinating councils in Brazil they will be on their way to self-sufficiency.

Training meeting in Brasília
 The stake was having a meeting with the bishoprics, which included lunch. We were invited to eat with them - gluten-free stroganoff.

Brasília was laid out in the shape of an airplane, with north and south wings. It included man-made lakes. Brasília became the capital of Brazil in 1960. We have actually enjoyed the city.
An airplane called Brasília
 On Saturday afternoon we decided to see some of the sights. We started by going to the Arts Feira by the TV Tower, which had a lot of handicrafts and souvenirs. From there we took a bus to the bus station then walked to the Praça dos Três Poderes, the center of government in Brazil. We went to see the National Museum. It was a big, empty dome with only a few black-and-white photos.
National Museum
Next door was the Metropolitan Cathedral. It was very impressive.

Metropolitan Cathedral
Inside the cathedral
 On the way to the National Congress we saw two owls on the lawn.
Whooo is this?
 The Brazilian congress building is known throughout the world for its modern architecture.
Congress building
Justice is blind at the Supreme Tribunal
Os Guerreiros
 With all our riding and walking around, today was a day of protection. It started out when we left the hotel this morning. we were inches of being in an accident when another car cut in front of us. While waiting for the bus after seeing the Praça dos Três Poderes a man came by and offered us a ride and was quite insistent. We held our ground and waited for the bus. People are often robbed or kidnapped in this way. While riding on the bus another man came in front of the bus with a huge rock, which he threw at the windshield of the bus. It fell short of the bus and everyone was OK. for some reason the man was angry at the bus. There is a saying in Brazil about throwing rocks at the moon, meaning someone is crazy. What does it mean to throw rocks at a bus?

We walked back to a Shopping on the north wing and had a nice fish dinner at Coco Bambu. On the way back to our hotel (on the south wing) the fountain in front of the TV Tower was on - a beautiful sight.
Evening at the TV Tower fountain
 Lehi picked us up and took us to church with him and his family at the Aguas Claras ward. We really enjoyed the meetings (we could hear the speakers). After the meetings we went to his house for lunch. It was really a nice day.
Lehi and his family
Tomorrow we head off to Goiânia, which will be a new adventure.