Wow – I know it’s been awhile since we have updated our blog – we have been pretty busy doing our work for the mission. Still taking care of houses and helping out at the Mission Office. We have had a lot of missionaries come and go in the last few months and have had a lot of moving and housing activity to take care of. I think we are up to 57 houses now – but we need to close some of them as we will not be using them for a while.
Our traveling is always interesting – most all of the “freeways” here are two lanes and we get behind a series of trucks like the one pictured below. “Long vehicle” for sure – about 100 feet long. There tends to be quite a build up behind each one of these – they go like crazy downhill – but uphill it’ a very slow crawl.
We do love it when we are on the road visiting places – it’s a lot more interesting than being in Salvador doing more administrative work. We have been in Salvador for a while now – this next week we are going to start another round of visits. It is amazing visiting these young men and women that are serving here. Some complaints – but mostly just focused on helping people learn about the church and helping others they meet in any way they can.
Here is a recent picture of one of our training sessions – we have seven zones in Bahia and this is the one in the southern part of Salvador – all such great kids. My boss – President Bangerter is beside me and his wife. He has more energy than any three people – especially when it comes to training. Hard to keep up with as he is constantly on the go. Our missionaries are mostly from Brazil, a few from the US and Mexico in this picture.
We had one disappointment this last month. Aaron, Kristen, Kacey, Sam, Veronika and Chase were going to come down for a visit for a week. Everything went smoothly until they got to the airport and checked in and learned that Brazil is one of the few countries that requires a tourist visa to come here. Most places in the world let you in for travel – but Brazil is different. We had to have visas because we are staying here for a year and a half – but even if it’s a week there is a tourist visa required. I think they loosened things up during the Olympics –but tightened things up – maybe after they finally got Lochte to leave. Any way, we have rescheduled their coming down – now end of October and early November. The weather during “winter” here is a little spotty but mostly cooler. I think it starts to warm up again in October. Cooler means it gets into the low 70’s with rain and some wind.
Kaye and I decided we would go up to the resort ourselves that we had planned for the family and had a great few days off. Some pictures below – it was tough duty but someone had to step up:
This was my favorite picture below – we were having strawberry smoothies and a monkey was jumping from chair to chair to figure out what we were doing. Kaye caught a great picture of him in mid air:
We are looking forward to their visit – October is supposed to be whale month up at the resort we are staying. Hopefully, the whales will hang around for our visit
We lament not being at the festivities and visiting friends and family in the US during this period – we can’t tell you all how much we appreciate the pictures and videos that you send and the conversations we have.
But there are some pretty incredible people here in Brazil – not only the ones that are working through their personal situations without much in the way of material possessions – but also some really bright and interesting young people. Here is a picture with one of my favorites – Elder Costa e Silva. He is from São Paulo – although after his mission he will be heading for the U.S. to school and his family has moved there. Incredibly smart, caring and personable. He speaks English very fluently and also took the time to learn Danish – “just because he likes learning different languages”. He is our financial secretary and has been doing a great job. With more like him the future of this country, despite its current hardships is going to be very bright.
Lastly, I thought I would throw in some pictures of some of the graffiti that is all around the city – a lot of it is the “tagging” you see in the US, but there is a well-known artist here who does a lot of them. Here are a few that reminded me of the U.S. – for “some” reason:
Take good care of yourselves. We love and miss you. Paul and Kaye