<![CDATA[ OUR MISSION TO BRAZIL! - Blog]]>Wed, 30 Dec 2015 18:40:42 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[canal bridge "comes falling down!"]]>Thu, 22 Oct 2015 15:51:33 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/canal-bridge-comes-falling-downSoon after we arrived, on one of his first morning walks, Dennis took pictures of scanty foot bridges that spanned the drainage canal (sewer -  :) .   Then, in September, he captured the fall of one of the sewer canal bridges.  Before the final collapse, he watched 2 teens crossing very carefully.  We wonder if someone was on it when it finally tipped over on Oct. 4.  Some day when we visit Brazil and Campo Largo again, it will probably still be there, an untouched piece of evidence that broken things are rarely fixed in Brazil.
<![CDATA[ENGLISH STUDENTS IN CAMPO LARGO]]>Sat, 17 Oct 2015 18:15:47 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/english-students-in-campo-largo
Although there were only three people who came for English lessons con-sistently, Elder Thomas enjoyed the progress and friendships that were made with Israel (left & above), 16 yr. old Luiz (above right) & Melissa, 19 yrs. (Bete's daughter).
<![CDATA[Piano students, ward choir, stake youth choir]]>Sat, 17 Oct 2015 16:26:43 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/piano-students-ward-choir-stake-youth-choir
We arranged for a keyboard from the Mission, which arrived two weeks after our coming to Bocaiúva.  Everyone was excited to finally have a "piano" for their hymns, plus a person who could play it (Sis. Thomas).  We offered lessons and started teaching.  At first, there were several kids intereste--or rather, intrigued; but no adults were able to come.  After a few first lessons, then lots of no-shows and waiting for long periods of time at the church, it became apparent that they weren't ready for committed attendance to lessons or practice.  After we realized that the kids had hoped to learn how to play the Casio in a lesson or two (like it was a new video game), and lost interest.  After we were transferred to Campo Largo, where the youth and young adults had been well prepared and were motivated to learn, I LEARNED another reason why piano lessons were not successful in Bocaiúva:  Brazil uses the "Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Si" system, not North America's "A-B-C-D-E-F-G" system!   .  .  .  .
A BIG PART OF MY MISSION WAS PLAYING THE PIANO / ORGAN FOR ALL MEETINGS & EVENTS. Why did I wear my coat in the chapel? In Brazil, buildings are not heated. Even on the coldest days, doors and windows are opened for ventilation. So, everyone wears their coats while in the church.
I challenged several teenagers in Campo Largo to take turns playing preludes, duets & a few hymns. It is a VERY difficult thing for new learners to play while FOLLOWING the director and LISTENING to the congregation! I hope lessons will continue, with a Sister missionary.
. . . So, the next few days after this realization, I had to teach it to myself, learn a whole new music system and vocabulary, and change teaching methods to match their system.  My students were MUCH more receptive, motivated and successful!
Hover curser over the pictures for names, comments.
Andreza tried a few lessons, but was hoping to learn quickly, like the piano was a video game to play with.
Hold your curser over each picture for names and comments.
There were others who started lessons, but for one reason or another, couldn't continue (Táina, Maria de Lourdes, Leticia, ___, ___, ___).  For example, 17 yr. old Rodrigo (not shown) was another piano student for a while, until his school schedule changed and he couldn't come when I was available.  His twin brother plays very well; I think he wanted to learn, but didn't realize that it is a long process to learn to play the piano.  He often brought his Simplified Hymns to the church and practiced the piano in the Primary room.  I hope he will soon be asked to play for Priesthood.
PictureChoir director Bete is not shown here.
Funny story:  When we first came to Campo Largo, Bishop Elico Santo asked me to help with the choir, and prepare for the August 30th Ward Conference.  I assumed that was a call to be the choir director AND pianist, somehow.  The first week, I came prepared with a grand plan.  Just as I began talking, Bete (Primary President) came in and took charge  (I didn't know that she was also Ward Music Chairman, Sacrament Meeting Chorister AND Choir Director).  Apparently, she had tried to tell me, when she gave me the two songs we would be singing; but I couldn't understand her running Portuguese!  I smiled at Dennis and quietly walked to the piano, where I was expected to be . . . and no one knew the little drama that had just taken place.  Dennis and I laughed about it for quite a while.  We practiced nearly every Sunday to sing "Helaman's Warriors" and __?__.  Then the choir disbanded.

ÍGUAÇU STAKE YOUTH CHOIR, July-September, 2015
PicturePoor picture, but you get the idea -- don't you?
The Campo Largo youth were kept very busy with activities and challenging assignments.  They were assigned to sing in the Stake Youth Choir in The November 1st Íguaçu Stake Conference.  Since now the Campo Largo had a Chorister (Bruna) AND a pianist (Sister Thomas), permission was granted for our youth to stay in Campo Largo for initial practices of two very difficult songs ("A Child's Prayer," EFY Medley "As Sisters in Zion / We'll Bring the World His Truth").  I was given EXTREMELY POOR COPIES of music to learn.  I couldn't even see some of the notes on several pages, or even see where they were on the staff.  The Stake music leaders couldn't give me better copies, so I spent hours--days--guessing what notes were meant to be played and re-writing the music.  I still didn't do very well on the medley.  When the Stake Music Chorister came for a couple practices, she was patient, as Bruna had been, but disappointed in my accompaniment of that music!  After that, the youth traveled to Curitiba.  Oh well, I did my best.

<![CDATA[. . . and yet another change in elders . . .]]>Wed, 30 Sep 2015 20:13:13 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/-and-yet-another-change-in-eldersPerhaps our paper chain countdowns did not keep Elder Bryan from being "trunky."  His release date is the same as ours, October 26; but he was transferred last Monday, Sept. 28, with one day's notice.  Of course, we will never know why.   Elder Lima (Rio de Janeiro) completes our quartet.  Elder Bryan is in Curitiba, serving with his companion of Elder Low, who was serving in Campo Largo when we first arrived here.  To the right of our banner, I tried in vain to keep up with the changes!
Elder Péres (Peru), Elder Fontes (Uruguay), Elder Lima (Rio de Janeiro), Elder Reis da Silva (Rio de Janeiro)
<![CDATA[What?!  Again?!  another transfer of elders!]]>Sun, 27 Sep 2015 20:06:07 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/what-again-another-transfer-of-eldersWe'll never know why, but Elder Núnes was transferred, after less than a month with Elder Fontes.  Elder Pérez (Peru) filled his spot.  He was excited to return to Campo Largo, since he served here about a year ago.  The first night he as here, Elder Bryan brought him to meet us.  We were having our famly night with Ronaldo and Raquel.  What a surprise!  Elder Péres baptized them a year ago!  It was a great reunion.  It looks like Elder Péres has many people here who already love him and will help the Elders even more than usual.  He speaks some English and is very personable.
Elder Bryan (Las Vegas), Elder Reis da Silva (Rio de Janeiro), Elder Fontes (Uruguay), Elder Péres (Peru)
<![CDATA[sHORT TRIP TO oTÁVIO & ARLETE'S CHÁKARA]]>Thu, 24 Sep 2015 15:10:29 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/short-trip-to-otavio-arletes-chakaraBispo Elico (Bishop Elico Santos), Janete and their son Gabriel treated us to a short trip to the hills, were Otávio and Arlete live in a small chákara (forest home).  There we had a wonderful almoço (lunch) prepared by Otávio (killed two chickens), Arlete and their good friend Maria.  It was a wonderful relaxing day with very special people who are dedicated to living the Gospel of Christ.  We found out later took us beyond the boundaries of the Curitiba Mission.  Oh well - - - -
<![CDATA[our 13th team of elders===maybe the last one?]]>Wed, 23 Sep 2015 19:47:33 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/our-13th-team-of-eldersmaybe-the-last-oneWith Elder Carvalho's release, his space was filled with Elder Núnes (São Paulo).  He was brand new, from the Mission Training Center ("CTM") in São Paulo.  Elder Fontes was his Trainer (Dad).  Elder Nunes is older than most Elders, since he served in the Brazilian military before his mission.
Elder Bryan (Texas), Elder Reis da Silva (Rio de Janeiro), Elder Fontes (Uruguay), Elder Núnes (Rio de Janeiro)
<![CDATA[curitiba mission baptized and confirmed 364, earning the missionaries another supper p-day!]]>Thu, 10 Sep 2015 19:33:16 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/another-super-goal-met-another-super-p-dayIn June, the Brazil Curitiba Mission baptized and confirmed 345 people, surpassing its 4 month old goal of 340 people.  They earned another Super P-Day.  In August, our missionaries baptized and confirmed an unprecedented 364 people!  Once again, the mission goal of 450 was smashed, and the Elders and Sisters were rewarded with another SUPER P-DAY.  It included several kinds of sports, snacks all day long, a super lunch, movies, free time to visit all day, and time to grab some well-deserved shut-eye.  Also, graphic designer Sister Monteiro designed a celebratory T-shirt for everyone.  We ordered ours, which we will hopefully receive before we leave in October.  "If they fit," we'll add a photo of us in our T-shirts on this post.  We took few pictures of this Super P-Day, but watching the "kids" enjoy themselves never gets old.  We left about an hour earlier than most so we could keep our 7:00 p.m. home visit appointment with Kika and her family. 

No, we don't usually teach the missionary lessons; nor has Elder Thomas baptized or confirmed anyone during our mission.  But we're in the "APOIO," or SUPPORT role--that's our calling as Member and Leadership Support" missionaries.  As well has helping the ward, we help the Elders any way we can, so that they can be successful in their calling:  finding, teaching, baptizing and confirming people who have felt the Spirit, believed the Elders' message, and asked to be baptized.    (See comment added at the end of our July 30 post of the previous Super P-Day.)
<![CDATA[ anniversary visit to bocaiúva do sul - Sept. 5-6]]>Sun, 06 Sep 2015 21:10:21 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/-anniversary-visit-to-bocaiuva-do-sul-sept-5-6We had been in Campo Largo for three months, and missed our dear friends in Bocaiúva do Sul, where we had served a full year, from May 27, 2014  thru June 8, 2015.  We had promised to return.  We were able to make only one visit, which was our way of celebrating our 46th anniversary.
After a lovely anniversary dinner with the Monteiro Family at the M___Restaurant in Curitiba, we were taken to the Hotel Bristol, a very nice hotel close to the Cabral Bus Terminal, where we had planned to go on our short journey to visit Bocaiúva do Sul and dear friends there. 

Here are views of Curitiba from the hotel.
It was a "short" walk to the nearest bus stop; the bus took us straight to the Cabral terminal, which we are very familiar with.  We had no trouble getting to Guaraituba terminal, finding the bus to Bocaiúva, waiting for us in its customary place.  We arrived in Bocaiúva as planned, by 10:30 a.m.  As we got off the bus, we were welcomed by  "Sister Thomas!  Elder Thomas!"  It was Francinelli and Ingride, walking into town!
We left Dieniffer and walked to the other end of town, where we were expected for almoço at Eduardo and Sandra's house.  They are such beautiful people, some of the few strong, totally converted members.  There had been a few changes made in town since we had left, and some new flowers to enjoy.  I remember that w-a-l-k, from many times!
  We walked up to Livino's--not home; then to Aparacida's---not home.  We had missed them several times.  Back down the hill, to the center of town, caught a taxi out to Nino and Ana's.  All were there; nice visit.  We were still full from lunch, were offered lunch, but turned it down.  Ana's son Henri was looking good, without his bleached hair & nose rings.  They're still working the house, and have built a high security wall in front of the house. 
We headed uphill to find Alvaro and Tatiane's new home, with very scant directions.  As they were shopping in town, we went to visit Larissa and Paulo (Daniela and Willian weren't home).  Still, Alvaro and Tatiane hadn't come home, so we walked into town to visit Cleiton at "his"store and Dieniffer at "her" new clothing store.  She had quit her exciting biology lab job at the faculdade in Curitiba (hard on family).  She is such a loving, sweet person--LOVE HER!
Nino, Ana & Suellen gave us a ride back into town, to Dani & Dimis's home--where they offered us more food!  They are such fun, gracious people. Her older daughter, son and his girlfriend were there.  We visited a bit, left so they could eat their lunch, then walked back to the church.  Just before we got to the church, we witnessed a car-motorcycle accident.  The motorcyclist was thrown and probably broke his leg.  We were amazed at how long it took for the police to come from across their street office and how poorly their investigation was handled.  We weren't even questioned for our account.  We waited until the ambulance arrived, then went on our way, past the locked, dark church, up the hill toward our apartment, over to see Maria and Inacio (new members), Ilda and José.  As is their custom, we were again invited to eat an early dinner with them; we ate a little this time, hoping to ignite some of our dear friendship.  Even though their picture at the Curitiba Temple was still prominently placed on the table, it was evident that they had returned to their old church, the Universal Church.  With little in common to talk about, since they hadn't been to the LDS Church since before we left, we said good-byes, with hugs and invites to sit with us at church the next day.  It was a "flat" visit---we left feeling heartsick.
<![CDATA[our 46th anniversary dinner]]>Fri, 04 Sep 2015 20:16:43 GMThttp://dennisandalvaretta.weebly.com/blog/our-46th-anniversary-weekend-visit-to-bocaiuvaOur anniversary weekend began with an invitation to a nice dinner with the Monteiro family.  The timing was perfect, because we were planning to stay in Curitiba on Friday, September 4th, before our two-day trip to visit Bocaiúva do Sul, where we had served for the first year of our mission.
Sister Monteiro and a sister missionary picked us up and drove to Curitiba, dropped the sister off at her apartment, then when to the Mission Home, where we met the rest of the family.  President Monteiro drove all of us to the M___, a VERY nice Italian restaurant, with fine foods and many entrés. 
After dinner, we were taken to the Bristol Hotel, where we stayed the night.  It was a nice hotel for an incredible price, with a lovely breakfast.  It also was close to the Cabral bus terminal, where we planned to begin our short trip to Bocaiúva.