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!