Sunday, April 24, 2016

Area Seventy

When I turned 70 Elder Zaugg said we had another area seventy and if I stayed in Brazil they would have an area 71 next year. I'm over the hill now, I just don't know which hill.

We got back from Belo Horizonte on Monday and went into the office in the afternoon. Cintia brought her family by to get free flu shots. As we went to Family Home Evening on what to do when you get sick (since Elder dePaula suffered a heart attack). Several of the couples convinced us to get free flu shots and sure enough I got sick.

Cintiq and her family
Diane had another physical therapy session on Tuesday morning. One more week and she should be finished. We really like some of the Modernist art in Brazil. It has a more homey style than what you find in Europe.

Painting in the physical therapist's office
As we returned to the office they were tearing up the sidewalk in front to the temple. It is one of the best sidewalks in the city. Maybe it wasn't meeting the São Paulo standard of hazardous sidewalks.

Sidewalk reconstruction
Since my birthday falls on Tiradentes Day it is a national holiday so no one works. Diane asked if people would be in Friday so she could take something in to the office and found out many would be gone on Wednesday and others on Friday. When we got back Tuesday afternoon they had some cake, drinks and snacks to celebrate my birthday. They had three kinds of gluten-free cake: cheese, corn, and manjoca with goiaba. Fire regulation wouldn't let them put 70 candles on the cake.
Party time in the office 
How about some corn cake
We got a call on Wednesday that they are replacing the carpet in the bedrooms with wood flooring. By the time we got back from the office it was all done.
Wednesday food stands in Vertentes courtyard
I had some pains in the chest on Wednesday and also a reaction to the flu shot. By 3:30 am on Thursday (my birthday) it was so bad I couldn't sleep. Playing it safe I woke Diane up and we walked over to the hospital to have it checked out. They gave me a EKG, chest x-rays, and medication in an IV. No, I didn't have a heart attack, but they had no clue what the problem was. The medication helped it feel better.
My early morning birthday IV
After we got back from the hospital we got a call from Elder Zaugg asking if we wanted to see the Botanical Garden. Since it was a holiday and we had no other plans we went along with the Hales and Zauggs. 
The Hales, Zauggs, and Wheelers
Stream in the park
One of many small ponds 
Fish pond in a greenhouse
One of many lily pad lakes
Water lily
Bamboo tunnel
Don't drink the water!
Old man in an old house 
Monkeys in the trees 
Along a muddy trail
There is a fad in Brazil for all of the pregnant ladies to hire a photographer and come to the garden to take pictures of their bare bellies. We spared you the photos.

We invited everyone over to the apartment for cake and ice cream in the evening. I haven't had such a celebration for my birthday for many years, of course, I haven't turned 70 before. Elder de Paula felt well enough to join us. He has to take it easy and doesn't know if they will send him home after he improves from his heart attack.
Birthday party
Opening presents with Elder de Paula
 Later at night we were able to talk to the family on FaceTime. It was a delight. We miss each of them.
FaceTime with family

We were really tired on Friday. We are still recovering from our travels and we didn't get much sleep on Thursday morning. We went to the office and worked in slow gear and then went home a little early.

Diane has been wanting to return to Liberdade, the Japanese Town of São Paulo, to find some souvenirs. There is a crafts market on Saturdays in the paça and a couple of nice stores. Many of the stores are crowded, however. We stopped by a Chinese restaurant that was off the beaten track so it wasn't so crowded. There was a Choro band in the praça. It is an older type of Brazilian instrumental music that led to the samba. We didn't have time to linger, but it was fun to hear.
Choro ensemble
Buddhist temple in Liberdade
 Diane bought a lace shirt from an older lady at the feira. She really took a liking to Diane.
Diane's friend at the feira
We were really tired for our meetings today, but were able to rest in the afternoon. 

This evening we were invited for dinner with the Franco family. We have watched this family since we arrived with parents who were raised in the church and are raising their children in the church. It shows how Brazil has changed since I was here 50 years ago as a missionary.
Marcelo and Paula with Ricardo and Beatriz

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Belo Horizonte

On Wednesday evening we flew to Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais. We arrived just after 7 pm and were met at the airport for a ride to our hotel in the Savassi district, which is a very nice area of the city.

Thursday was our day to spend with the FM looking at chapels. We started at the Bandeirantes building and spent all day trying to get webcast working. The building was supposedly wired for webcast, but none of the connections worked.
Dierley working on the Internet
Belo Horizonte South FM team
How to fix a ping-pong net
 It is fun to see the statues around town. Belo Horizonte is a nice city.
Oh! I use Kindle
The FM group said that the Lafaiete stake has a stake conference in two weeks and couldn´t get webcast working. they requested that we go there (100 km away) to give special training for the STS. It is actually in the Juiz de Fora council, but Dierley drove us there on Friday.

On the road to Lafaiete
 We stopped on the way to pick up Marcone, the STS who lives in a Congonhas.
Marcone and his family
 We finally got to the chapel after a 2-hour ride. Even though the system was more complex than normal the training went well and we were able to complete a test transmission.
Lafaiete stake center
Colonial house next to the stake center
 We ate lunch then went to see the Cristo Redentor of Lafaiete. It´s smaller than the one in Rio, but much easier to get to.
Cristo Redentor of Lafaiete
City of Conselheiro Lafaiete
Old church 
Cristo Redentor
 On the way back to Belo Horizonte we stopped at Congonhas, one of the colonial cities of Minas Gerais.
Street of Congonhas
 We payed a visit to the Basilica do Senhor Bom Jesus de Motosinhos, a Baroque church from the 1700s. It is known for the 12 Old Testament prophets carved by Aleijadinho, a famous Baroque sculpture in Brazil.
Basilica do Senhor Bom Jesus de Motosinhos
Daniel and the lion
Courtyard in front of the basilica
Missionary at the basilica
Little houses contain sculptures of the life of Christ
 It was a hot day so we stopped to get some pineapple and papaya Picoles (popcicles)
The popcicle lady
We got back to Belo Horizonte in time to visit some museums close to the hotel. The first was the Bank of Brazil Cultural Center. They were remodeling and didn´t have much to show.

Banco do Brasil Cultural Center
Liberty Park
 We went to see the Minas Gerais Vale Memorial, which showed life in the 18th and 19th centuries using technology of the 21st century. It was fascinating. We could have spent a lot more time there.
Talking pictures tell about attempt for independance
An Indian tells the story of his people in a movie on a hand
Bomba-de-Boi celebration
Dressing up
 The park had extra large drinks.
Puts the Big Gulp to shame
We didn´t have anything scheduled for Saturday so we walked around the neighborhood looking at free museums. It took all day and we still didn´t see everything.

We walked by the Liberty Palace, which is now closed to visitors.

Liberty Palace
 We really enjoyed the art at the Fiat House Cultural Center. There was also a very small church getting ready for mass.

"O Ceramista" by Antônio Gomide 
The small chapel
 We next went to the public library that has a small gallery (closed), but it did have a selection of photographs.
Photos in the public library
From there we went to the UFMG Knowledge Space which has exhibits on the origin of life and a planetarium. We had trouble getting in because they were having political debates.

Native American creation story
The debate
 This is an unsettled time while Dilma, the president of Brazil is up for impeachment. There was a caravan of cars riding around the park calling for the impeachment.
Fora Dilma!
 We passed by two churches that were close by.
Nossa Senhora de Lourdes
Nossa Sehnora de Boa Viagens
We had a great lunch then went to the Mineira Museum, which opened at noon. It also had some nice pieces.

"A Má Notícia" by Belmiro de Almeida
Sculpture of Romeo and Juliet
 Belo Holozante is a hilly city (as is the rest of Minas Gerais). Walking around has its ups and downs.
Sidewalk along a city street
We stopped at a museum dedicated to the works of Irim´s De Paula. We liked some of the works, others we just passed by.

Museum of Irimá De Paula
One of the works we liked
De Paula´s studio
 We stopped at the CR Moda, which was not on our list to see. There wasn´t a lot there, but they did have an old buildings with stained-glass windows;
CR Moda
Stained-glass windows
 From there we walked around Parque Municipal. It was a nice park with a lot of people enjoying their Saturday.
Feeding the ducks
Train ride
Booths for snacks
By the lake
 We went to the Arts Palace. It really had macabre art by Farnesse de Andrade
Don´t ask me what this is!
 We had a delightful time at the Popular Arts Center that had art from the common person rather than from famous artists.
Home is where the heart is. A lot of work went into embroidering this.
Is this our family tree?
Two popular art lovers
The trinity 
No strings attached
 We had our own private guides who gave us each a book about the museum at the end of our tour.
Our guides
 Minas Gerais was named after the minerals and gems found here, especially gold 100 years before the gold rush in the USA. Of course they had a Mines and Metals Museum.
Circle of  minerals
Many minerals were on display.
Saturday was a big day with a lot of walking, but all of the places we visited were free.

On Sunday we went to the Bandeirantes Ward for church. We were able to rest a bit in the afternoon before our training in the evening. Sunday is the big day for the vote to see if Dilma will be impeached. The city was full of demonstrations.

Time for demonstrations
 The training went very well tonight. We want to leave the CTSs responsible for training.
Our technology training session for Belo Horizonte
It has been a busy week and we are ready to return to Sao Paulo.