Thursday, November 27, 2014

Greetings from Brasil 11/27/2014

Dear Family,
We send our greetings to all of you from Belo Horizonte on this Thanksgiving Day. We were very sorry to hear about Mom’s/Grandma’s fall. We are grateful for family members who are able to help at this time. We keep her and all of you in our prayers.
We have been kept very busy this past week teaching in all three wards. Over 10 % of the missionaries from the Brasil Belo Horizonte Mission are serving in the Pampulha Stake. All three wards have baptisms this week. Lagoa Ward has planned for all members to be visited before Christmas. To accomplish this goal, the ward has reserved four Saturday afternoons for priesthood companionships to make visits. This past Saturday, we made visits in the nearby becos with the help of a member who lives there. Becos are extremely poor alley-like communities that make up the favela. The housing sprang up brick by brick in a region that not suitable for normal use. While the particular area where we worked is named after a famous beach in Rio de Janeiro, it is not a holiday spot but rather a last resort. I find it odd that tourist in Rio can arrange with their hotel concierge to take paid tours of these favelas.
This weekend we participated in Stake Conference of the Belo Horizonte Pampulha Stake. Saturday evening, the session was held close by in the Pampulha building. I had the chance to give a talk on the process that we need to pass through to exercise our faith in a manner that leads to the miracle of people accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Sunday session was held in Riberão das Neves, starting with stake priesthood meeting at 7 AM, followed by a general session at 10 AM. Fortunately, members offered us a ride, so we could sleep in a little longer instead of taking the bus. Sunday evening, Diane had the opportunity to speak in a missionary fireside in the Venda Nova Ward about her conversion story (I translated) and to share her testimony (in Portuguese). It made for a long day. While the other Elders had a day to recuperate on their Monday Preparation Day, we had a full Monday of lessons as well as a family home evening at our apartment.
Culture Moment: Futebol (soccer) in Belo Horizonte
There are two principal soccer teams in Belo Horizonte (Cruzeiro and Athlético); each with its rabid fans. The ties to the teams cross generations. At times, it seems like everyone is wearing a shirt for one team or the other. Sunday, Cruzeiro won the championship of Brazil. Fireworks were going off in the neighborhoods after every goal. Wednesday, was the championship of the Brazil Cup, a different tournament, this year between Cruzeiro and Athlético. Even more fireworks from early in the day until late into the night as Athlético won. Now a short break until the championship for the state of Minas Gerais begins, and the rivalry continues.
That’s all for now.


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