Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March 20th, 2018 - Mission Update

Wow!  Hard to believe someone hasn’t updated this blog since December of last year! ;-)  We did make it through another Carnival season without incident!  Below are the precautions taken by our apartment security just in case anyone decides to throw rocks etc.—all boarded up!


A few weeks ago we got a surprise transfer to a smaller town in the middle of Bahia—about an 8—9 hour drive south of Salvador called Itapetinga!  It is a lot more hot and humid here—last week in the 90’s with 90% humidity but I think we will start cooling down here in a couple of weeks.  I am lucky in that whatever keeps biting Elder Briggs at night doesn’t seem to bother with me!  One of our sons came up with this brilliant idea shown below (frozen water bottles tied to fan) and his father actually tried it!  BIG eye roll!!

We live in a basement apartment, which is a lot bigger than our Salvador apartment.  They told us that we had air conditioning but when  we got here and asked the other missionaries, they said, “Oh yes!  We have two!  We call them fans!”  One night we heard all this meowing and it sounded like it was coming from inside our apartment—we found this poor little scared kitty hiding under our bed! 

Our Apartment owners had us over to dinner one of first Sundays in Itapetinga.  They are very nice people and we enjoyed getting to know them a little better.
Below is a picture of what our apartment looks like from about 6 in the evening until 6 in the morning (the door to our apartment is the second on the left:

Now this is what it is transformed into from 6 am to 6 pm, by our apartment owner who lives up above:

I think he carries everything anyone would want in Itapetinga and he seems to know everyone that comes walking by. 

We have found a little restaurant for lunch here called NoNôs.  Sorry these things are important to me!  Too hot to use a stove here.  See picture below. 

Everyday there is this guy out waiting as we park our car who is very friendly and Elder Briggs always gives him some money—and he makes this grasshoppers for him.  He has received two so far.

We have been getting up early and going on a walk around this lake and park they have here in town.  Our sweat glands are working overtime during that hour or so but it is good exercise for us. 

The next picture is one of Elder Briggs getting one of his many breathalyzer tests out on the road here in Brazil!  (Third time is a charm!)  He passes every time!

This is a picture of a “Thinker” statue on the outskirts of our little town—didn’t want to be in this picture—don’t like this picture and don’t think much of the statue or my skirt being all askew!  That’s all I’m going to say!!

We did have a wonderful conference with one of our twelve apostles, Elder Bednar one morning that we went back to Salvador for and it was really great and inspiring!  So glad that some of our sisters and elders were able to meet an apostle here in Brazil.  They probably won’t have that opportunity too many times in their lives. 
We have been trying to help find some 190 prospective elders on our church rolls and were assigned to do about 105 of them.  We spent several of our first weeks driving around and looking up—well trying to look up addresses and were pretty successful!  We had a little social last night at the church to try to get everyone in our ward excited and geared up to start their family history—which is a lot more difficult to do here in Brazil than in the United States. 

We are getting down to our last few weeks here in Brazil and are missing family and friends.  We love all of these people that we are meeting here in Brazil—they could not be more helpful and they have a much harder life here than we do in the United States, but are still happy and doing the best they can!  We are so grateful for this experience and for all we have learned.  We know this church is true and that Jesus Christ has restored His church in the latter-days and we are so grateful to know that.  See you all soon.  

Paul and Kaye Briggs

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 24th, 2017 - Mission Update

Dear Family and Friends,

As we approach our second Christmas in Brazil, it seems appropriate to remember some of the great experiences we have had this year.  While it has been difficult to be away from family, friends and home, we know how blessed we are. 

We have a wonderful city and state in Brazil to live and serve in.  The people here are so friendly and open and always wanting to help us – maybe it’s the really confused look on our faces.  A good portion of our work this last year has taken us two or three times to every city in our mission and each missionary home in those cities.  We have 53 missionary homes to help with and about 120 missionaries.  They are young men and women and have left behind their homes to help others – their desire to serve, their enthusiasm and their sweet spirits have enriched our lives. 

There have been so many times we have been lost – trying to find these locations.  In every instance, someone has reached out to help us find the right place.  Strangers, members of the church, phone calls from missionaries and even an occasional hit on GPS.  It’s a challenge for the digital maps to find house 3, on lot 16 in square R in Bairro Morada dos Pássaros, Conquista da Vitória, Bahia, Brazil.

This last week we were doing some visits in the evening before Kaye taught an English class at the chapel.  I was thinking that I was really hot and tired as I followed Irmão Martins up and down streets and stairs that seem totally random in direction and size.   We visited and talked with several people and met up with Dona Lúçia. 

We had picked Dona Lúçia up for church this past week but I had not been to her home.  She lives in a very small first floor house with a second floor that is only partially finished.  She was happily surprised to see us – flustered a bit as she put on her artificial leg that had a matching black tennis shoe.  Her home was too small for us to enter, so we sat on stools by the entrance. 

Her smile never left her face as we talked, read and prayed together.  She told us how pleased she was to come to church, how she had been blessed and how we all need to be a lot more obedient in following the Lord’s commandments.  My feelings when leaving have been with me a lot this last year – feeling more than a little embarrassed for thinking about how warm it was or how difficult it was to climb and descend small roads and stairs. 

So many of these people have so little and yet continue to search for ways to help others and through their service seem truly happy.  We keep learning and being reminded of that every day that we are here. 

We will be back home in another five months or so.  We continue to love and try to do our very small part to help out in this part of the world.  We worry, laugh, cry and wonder about what our family and friends are doing. 

We love you and miss you all.  

I have attached a couple of pictures from conferences this past week. 

Wishing you the best Christmas ever and the best year ever!

Kaye and Paul