Sunday, November 29, 2015

Baptisms are so great November 29, 2015

On Saturday, we began putting up the decorations for Christmas.  We relaxed a little.  We received a call from Elder Castro and Elder Bowers that they had a baptism.  We hurried to get there, but went to the wrong building.  We finally arrived and were greatly blessed to hear Elder Bowers sing, and to hear the great story of the man's conversion.  It was a sweet meeting.

Today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began a new seasonal offering to the world.  I hope you will feel the spirit of the holiday through these messages.

A Savior is born

It was a Happy Thanksgiving November 29, 2015

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  On Thanksgiving Day, we had some of the Senior Missionaries who work in the office and Bala and his family.  My sister would be proud.  I made turkeys out of the napkins!

 We had a wonderful meal.  We had the traditional foods that our family has, and Sister Nebeker brought a traditional dish from her family (yams with apples).  The company was terrific.  My Senior friends and Bala's family got along really well.  Sister Nebeker got to hold Aksaya while the other Seniors played with Varnika.  Sister Underwood stepped right up and did the dishes that were left.

I learned several years ago that paper plates are great to use for big family dinners.  My family hated doing dishes so we quit using the china and pewter.  We have found some great paper dishes over the years!

My heart is heavy, though.  Bala and his family are moving to Tampa.  I guess I always believed that we would return home from our mission before they would move.  Even though we have not been able to see them as often, we love them just as much.  They gave us gifts.  I just want someone to love them and look out for them!

 On Friday, we went to Stone Mountain Park with the Senior missionaries since the office was being painted.  We enjoyed the holiday entertainment.

 On Friday evening, we were able to spend some time with Elder Dixon's brother's second family.  We really love those people.  Pete always cooks wonderful food and all of those who come are very kind and loving.  We enjoyed the evening.

When we returned, we had this sweet note from our Assistants.  What a great way to end a day of gratitude.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Brazilian Thanksgiving- November 22, 2015

This week the Branch had a fun activity.  We had a Thanksgiving feast of dishes that were very American and also those that were very Brazilian.  We had many friends come who were not of our faith.  It was great.

The Branch is experiencing wonderful growth.  Today we had at least 10 people come to Church who are investigating the Church.  It is so wonderful!

Enjoying the journey- November 22, 2015

Along with transfers, we received the privilege of spending time with Elder Cruz.  While he was in Brazil, he had a surgery on his foot.  The surgery involved pins and a plate in his foot.  The pins had moved and were causing a lot of pain.  He had the plate and pins removed, but now needed a place to stay for his rehab.  He has been great to have around.  He has learned so much as a missionary and it has been great to learn from him.  He is very committed and will be serving as a Zone Leader.  He is a good leader.

While we have had him with us, we decided to go to a Honduran restaurant.  Since our daughter served her mission there, we have tried to find food that was as good as she remembered it.  The restaurant was fun.  We enjoyed the food.

Transfer In November- November 22, 2015

Sorry about being absent for the past few weeks.  It has been really busy.  The transfer did not involve a lot of missionaries, but there were some interesting issues.  On the Friday before transfers, one of missionaries transferred to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.  Elder Dixon and I took them to the airport.  We also said goodbye to Elder Pond who has now returned to regular missionary service, and hello to Elder Farr as the new Assistant to the President.

On the Monday of transfers, President and Sister Bennion took two of our missionaries who had been waiting for their Visas to the airport to report to their mission in Mexico.  On Tuesday the new missionaries arrived.

On Wednesday, Elder Dixon and I had the privilege of taking Sister Oliveira to the airport to return to
Temple Square.  It was hard to let her go.  She is such a wonderful missionary.  I am sure they were happy to have her back.

On the way back from the airport, we received a call that a young man from Indiana had come to Atlanta to get his Visa only to find that the consulate was closed for Veteran's Day.  We picked him up and he stayed at President and Sister Bennion's home until he could return the following day and get his Visa.

We then returned to the airport to pick up two new sisters who will serve with us for 3 months.  They are Sister Gomes and Sister Costa.  We were SOOO excited to continue the great things that have happened in the Branch since we have had Sisters.

On Wednesday evening, we had a beautiful fireside for all of the outgoing missionaries.  Sorry about the quality of the pictures, but here is the "thanks" to this set of missionaries.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Taking a break November 1, 2015

I am not a fan of Halloween.  However, I really love the creativity of the pumpkin carving, pumpkin painting and the costumes.  We are not allowed to wear costumes on the mission, but I certainly have enjoyed seeing the costumes of my grandchildren.

This week was a good one for regenerating.  I admit I was tired emotionally, mentally and physically. Fortunately, there was a little bit of a slow-down, so it gave us a chance to leave the office earlier and to take a day off.  I love the Senior missionaries in the office and they encouraged us to take a break.  I guess the exhaustion was showing.

So, we took some time to go to the Indian Pow Wow at Stone Mountain.  We were able to hear the drumming, watch several styles of dance from different areas, observe some huts and teepees with demonstrations and explanations of Native lifestyle.  We ate gator nuggets, an Indian fry bread taco and fresh corn.

We also watched a presentation on falconry.  I really enjoyed it.  While we were there, the man who was doing it came up to Elder Dixon and said "Hello, Brother." and asked where we were serving.  He is a member of the Church.  He does not live in our mission area, but it was choice to make that connection.

The lady in the outfit above has pheasnat and macaw feathers in her headdress.  Her outfit was intricate beadwork in an Aztec pattern.

 The teepee was one of several set up in a field.

The dancers to the right had headdresses of porcupine hair.  Their outfits (not costumes) were really amazing.

After we saw all that we could see at the PowWow, we decided to "Ride the Duck".   Stone Mountain has something they call "The Duck".  It is an amphibious craft and takes people on a tour of the land and the lake.  We decided that we probably would not have another opportunity to ride the Duck, so we did so.  It was fun.  I thought the transition from land to water would be more bumpy but it was not.

 Our guide was Jamaican and did funny things.  Mostly, I enjoyed his attempts to get Elder Dixon to smile.  When he could not, he had me come up (as he had done with the young children) and steer the boat while blowing on the duck whistle.  I still can't believe I was willing to do it!  It was a good break and helped regenerate us.
If you look closely at the picture of our guide, you will see Elder Dixon in the rearview mirror.

One privilege that we have is to be able to talk about the gospel with the Elders who live here.  They have deep discussions with investigators, sometimes from some who are not looking for truth, but seeking to destroy the faith of others.  It has been really good for me to understand the importance of faith.

We have slowed a little bit for just the past week, and so we can focus on needs for the future.  I have been trying to find apartments in two areas and having little success.  Our sweet missionaries are helping out, so it will all work out.

We also attended a soccer game for one of the Young Women and the birthday party for a little guy who was born after we came into the Branch.  I have commented before at how sweet it is that the Branch supports each other like this.  Many people came, in addition to these family members.

There is so much good in these people.  I love them dearly.  They have changed me and helped me more than they will ever know.