We have just completed our first week here in Brazil. We have been assigned to the Pampulha Ward in the Pampulha Stake. This is a section of Belo Horizonte. The mission has provide a furnished apartment near the chapel for us. The mission presidents wife has been very kind in helping us get settled. We have already begun our labors with the ward leaders. As Elder Costa (President of the Brazil area has said), retention, not baptism is the biggest challenge here. We are part of an excellent ward with a Bishop who loves his flock. There are many returned missionaries in the ward.
The area is very hilly, making Sammamish look flat in comparison. We get to enjoy long hikes and bus rides between appointments. The area varies from middle class to poor. The people are as I remember them, open and friendly.
The members have been very kind to us. They provide a large mid-day meal every day. Unlike the beans and rice that I ate every day in Sao Paulo, the food here is diverse and delicious. The Mineiros, residents of the state of Minas Gerais (location of Pampulha) are proud to say that they have the best food in Brazil.
We are working with a pair of sister missionaries in the ward. One of the sisters is from Brazil. We have also learned that there are many missionaries from other South American countries. We have an elder from Peru in our district.
The bishop is excited for the miracles to come in the ward regarding reactivation. We have already had an interesting success. Diane wrote down a name and address in a certain area, all unknown to us. We met Joao de Fatima, a poor man who had gone inactive. He had a house made of rough brick blocks (abt 10 x 10 feet) He offered us his "best chairs". We had a great meeting with him. He accepted the challenge to come back to church. We were happy to see him on Sunday, as were many other of his friends in the ward. I am grateful that the ward could see the start of the miracle here.
This coming Sunday, we are giving during the 3rd hour with the ward mission leader and the bishop regarding reactivation. We meet with him tonight to discuss his vision and the challenge that he plans to give the ward.
That's all for now. We love you all. Diane will be sending pictures to Christian to upload to our blog.
FYI, our P-Days are Wednesdays.
Dad (or Cliff--your choice.