Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 17th, 2017 - Mission Update

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

Go Cougs!

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 2nd, 2017 - Mission Update

We are definitely not very good at keeping this blog up—especially when it is my (Kaye’s) turn to write!!  We went on another tour down south to the areas of Itabuna and Ilhéus a couple of weeks ago—we still need to get down to Porto Seguro this week or the next to finish up getting to all the mission houses for the second time.   We are still convinced we have the greatest missionaries ever and we absolutely love visiting them.  Below is a picture of Ilheus’ beach—a storm was rolling in here… 

We are heading into winter and the heat is getting a little more tolerable for us—it rains about once a day and then clears up.  Here is a beautiful picture we took off the balcony of our apartment  the other day. 

They had Festa Junina—June Festival—It is right at the beginning of winter and it is also known as festa de São João, (Celebrating the birth of John the Baptist).  They have special costumes, hats, food and dances that they do for this festival.  Men dress up as farm boys with large straw hats and women wear pigtails, freckles, painted gap teeth and red-checkered dresses, all in a loving tribute to the origins of Brazilian country music, We were coming back from Itabuna/Ilhéus on a Friday afternoon and all of these tiny little towns were all decorated up and streets blocked off for the big festivals!!  We went to the ward party—Festa Junina—we stayed until the dancing began and then took off before Paul could show off his “dancing” talents—and No—we did not dress up!  Below is a picture. The party was just getting started—when we left the dance floor was full.  The firecrackers were endless that weekend!  They also build these fire forms—always the same and then at night they all light them—looks kind of cool!

Below are a couple of our good finds—although Paul was not real happy with the amount of icing in his golden Oreo—we call these thins in the United States!  They were still good.  The other is Kibon—ahh—yes—they sell these Magnum bars where there is a Kibon sign—fortunately there is one right down the street from our apartment and Paul is very good about keeping me in supply!  He tells the gal that is always the checker that they are ALL for his wife—I don’t think she believes him!  They are a little bit of heaven…  

This last picture was taken one afternoon while we were out helping our office Elders find a new apartment.  Sorry it is such a poor picture! They have these cute little monkeys all over the place. This one was scampering along the telephone wire.   We are close to the zoo in this picture—so maybe it  was an escapee!  

We hope everyone is happy and healthy and having a wonderful summer!  We love you all and miss you and think about you and pray for you!  Please continue to take care of each other.  Paul and Kaye

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 24th, 2017 - Mission Update

It’s been a great three weeks since our last update.  The weather has started to change a little bit – cooler by about 3 or 4 degrees, more rain and more humidity – we are not sure it’s better but it is changing.  It usually only gets down to about 73° at night.   During one of our weeks we traveled again and visited Vitória da Conquista – which is more in the south of the state.  It was actually a little chilly at night – which was wonderful.  It is the only place in our mission where the missionaries actually have a blanket on their beds. 

During the week we drove from Salvador and visited Jequié, Itapetinga, Brumado, Pocões, Livramento da Nossa Senhora and Conquista.   It was a lot of driving and we were able to get a lot done as we are staying out later at night..  We don’t like doing that at our place in Salvador – too many gun shots and fireworks.  Kaye refuses to believe they are gunshots and just says it’s thunder even when the sky is clear.  We visited with a lot of different missionaries – helped them with their needs as best we could.  Kaye brought larger bags of M&M’s for all of them.  It was a challenge for me – the M&M’s had a suitcase of their own and I could hear them calling to me every night.  They were so lonely. 

We had some great conferences  since our last update– Elder Costa – who has been a Seventy since 1974 and is the President of the Brazil Area visited.   He has a very interesting history of helping Brazilians and his time in ministering in the Church.  A few pictures below.  First is with our Mission Office Group and the second was during a larger leadership/training meeting.  Just to identify us, we are the really old and tired looking couple – well Kaye isn’t, but I am. 

We put in a few other pictures to show a little of the differences in Brazil – the first is large white rock on the side walk.   We walk past this rock every time we go the Mission Office from our apartment.  Somehow it fell down the hill and landed on the side walk.  The road crew evidently came through and took a look at it, found it to be too heavy, but in true Brazilan fashion painted it white so no one would trip over it.  It looks like they repaint it every five or six months rather than move it somewhere else. 

The second was on a trip to a nice supermarket here – they have great ice cream.  Kaye was looking for some meat to put with the beans she has down pat now.  We found this table of hams – if you look the hams still have the hoof on them.  Easier to carry I guess, but difficult to put into a pot without some kind of a saw

The next one is the smallest avocado Kaye could find at the market and the last two show some handy carpentry work done by some of our Elders.  Someone tried to break into their apartment and broke part of the door.  Rather than replace the door – they fixed it up well with some nails and fence stakes.

It’s a really interesting country.  Right now we are taking some Portuguese classes – three hours every day for a couple of weeks.  The teacher is a person who has traveled the world and speaks three or four languages – she is teaching us a lot about the language, history and culture. 

We miss everyone and are so appreciative of the pictures people send – it helps us stay connected.  Love you all.   Paul and Kaye