To see captions for these small photos, hold the cursor over the desired picture.
The eleventh Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men to same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." We are grateful and proud to be members of this church, which supports free agency in worship. Below are three pictures of four LDS Church chapels that have become very dear to us: Guaraituba Ward chapel, Boa Vista Stake Center, Campo Largo Ward chapel. We haven't yet been to the Iguacu Stake Center, Curitiba.
Our chapels are our local places of worship. Our temples are the pinnacles of our worship, where we can feel the quiet, peaceful Spirit of God, make sacred covenants to our Father in Heaven, and perform saving ordinances for ourselves and our ancestors. A temple is the House of God. We have been privileged to attend 2 of the 7 temples in Brazil: Porto Alegre Temple, Curitiba Temple.
OTHER CHURCHES IN BOCAIÚVA, CURITIBA, PINHAIS, CAMPO LARGO:
Yes, the Catholic Church is very strong in Brazil, but in Bocaiúva do Sul, the Evangelical churches seem to be even stronger. In that little city, there are about 30+ churches. They sprout up in every neighborhood, may or may not have identifying signs, may or may not be separate buildings, often aren't even noticed by passers-by, and usually are planted in a garage or rented "space." But the sounds of their ministers and congregations are unmistakable: very loud music from speakers, singing, chanting, and praising God. The first three rows of photos are of churches in and around Bocaiúva. The first three photos are of Bocaiúva's Catholic Church, which we were never able to enter because there is a locked fence around it at all times, except when there are services (there must have been a lot of vandalism at one time). The last two rows of photos below are of churches in Pinhais, Curitiba and Campo Largo. . Many wonderful people are loyal to these churches.
With the Thomas Reunion mostly over, Dennis and I stole away to St. George for 1 1/2 days with the Baird siblings: Leadene, Adele and Rick, Bob and Virginia. After an entire year of not driving a vehicle, Dennis slipped back into "civilization," and we arrived in St. George, UT, 2 hours away, and returned to Henderson, NV, with no problems. We talked and talked, enjoyed the driving range and putting range next door, talked, shopped, talked, ate, talked, ate, took pictures, hugged and said good-bye's. The time was short, but our time together was a treasure, as our "Dolt Get-Togethers" always are! Bob and Virginia (upper left couple) will soon be starting their second mission as public affairs specialists in Indonesia, and will be gone before we return to the United States.
Most full-time missionaries commit to stay their entire mission within the boundaries of the mission to which they've been called. Senior missionary couples ("Casals") enjoy a bit more leniency. Before we left for Brazil, we promised Darin that we would be back to attend his graduation from medical school in May, 2015, after only 12 months in the mission field. Soon after we arrived in Brazil, we got permission to return to the United States for a brief visit for this very important event. We even received help from the mission office to get our flights at 1/2 the price expected. Our flights went without problems, and our 5 days in Henderson, Nevada, were the absolute BEST! We had but one regret: We didn't have much 1:1 time with anyone! Maybe next time, after our mission! Hover cursor over pictures for captions.
GATHERING, GETTING RE-ACQUAINTED, MEALS FOR THE MASSES, FUN !
SUNDAY MORNING: CHRISTMAS IN MAY !
For Christmas gifts to everyone in the family, we gathered items for months and had several packages ready to go in plenty of time to reach the States. BUT--Mailing anything from the post office in Bocaiúva is super inconvenient, difficult and not-at-all secure -- let alone expensive and SLOW. So nothing was sent. When we came home for the Graduation/Reunion in May, we filled one huge suitcase with Christmas gifts from Brazil. So, in the short time between breakfast and our family photo shoot, I very unceremoniously handed out eight family bags and let them open and distribute the token gifts they should have received five months earlier.
FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT IN HENDERSON PARK
WE MISSED 9 MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY: ZAK; BEN, KAYLEN, TYUS, JACOBI; SAM, CALEB, GARRETT, RYAN !
MAY 17 - DARIN GRADUATES FROM MEDICAL SCHOOL!
With the main event competed, we all went our separate ways until there's an event that will bring us together again. What a wonderful family! What a wonderful weekend with that family! Thanks goes to Darin and Shannon, our hosts, and to those who assembled photo collages for me to use!
When we first arrived in Bocaiúva, our District leader Elder Ramos asked us to teach Seminary. Since shortly after the Grupo was begun in Novmeber, 2013, they had worked really hard with some new members and investigating youth and had been teaching lessons; they needed someone else to take that responsibility. Sure! We tried four days a week--that lasted less than one week. We tried three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)--that seemed to get the most consistent attendance. We usually had 1-3 students, and sometimes as many as six. Elder Thomas and I divided the lessons in ways that gave him more of the speaking and me more of the audio-visual aids portions of the lessons. It was a great learning experience for us; and we learned to love those kids! Below are pictures of the more faithful Seminary students & a few "treasured" experiences.
Hold your curser above each picture for names and comments.
After we were transferred to Campo Largo, we didn't hear what was happening with Bocaiúva's Seminary program. In Campo Largo, we substitute taught only one lesson for Fran, the teacher.
When President and Sister Monteiro first brought us to Bocaiúva a year ago, they told us that they would probably not be able to visit us, because of their busy schedule. That was disappointing, but we accepted it and didn't worry about it. Then on Fast Sunday, the second week in April, we were greatly surprised when the entire Monteiro family walked into our humble outdoor garage chapel in Bocaiúva! We had been fasting for strength and help with some on-going challenges in our Grupo--and here they were! It was like a huge burden was lifted, as they attended all three hours, plus an impromptu meeting with Bishop Braga and Grupo leader Wildiner Rau. Without our having to say a word, they witnessed first-hand some of the things that were concerning us. . . Prayers answered.