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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April 30th, 2017 - Mission Update

So the big news for this month is that Paul and I celebrated 40 years of marital bliss!  Quite an accomplishment in and of itself it you ask me!!   Can’t think of a better way to celebrate here in Brazil than with about ten missionaries—so we made cinnamon rolls and then had a few missionaries over to play ping-pong at our apartment complex’s “play floor” (actually it is called “pingue-pongue” here in Brazil),—I know that doesn’t sound like a real celebration—The actual celebration was in the fact that I could  actually make and bake cinnamon rolls in my little Coleman like mission oven!  I am learning the Brazilian ways!!!  Although Paul does groan if I say I’m making beans again! I had to make my own powdered sugar…Never done that before!   Will the real “pioneer woman” please stand-up!  Thank-you…….and she takes a bow!

It was actually very fun and the missionaries really had a good time and one of the American missionaries said to me, “Sister Briggs, when I was eating my cinnamon roll, I actually cried a little bit inside and said, I miss my mom!”  They are great!  They had a big championship tournament and then Elder Briggs made the winner play me and I got slaughtered and  he was even trying to let me get a few points—it was embarrassing!

We are officially the housing coordinators for the mission!  There is a lot of work to be done with  housing because the missionaries are always changing houses—the paperwork is endless but we have made great strides in trying to get the records to where they should be—we still have a long ways to go!  

We are still feeling the pressure and desire to learn to speak Portuguese better.  (I am really struggling —I think Paul is doing great!)  Last night we went to a baptism, three people were getting baptized, and they came and asked Paul to share some words and his testimony—it turns out HE was the one and only speaker!  By the way, he did a great job!!  Anyway, we found a lady that is Brazilian and speaks English, so we signed up for a couple of weeks of intense lessons—3 hours a day for 2 weeks to start—unfortunately after that she is booked until August—but at least that will help us to know if taking these lessons is going to help us.  Below is a picture that was on our way home from one of our favorite spots here in Salvador.  For our actual anniversary we ate at a little restaurant that is right here looking over the beach. 

They don’t have maple syrup  here in Brazil in the stores—or maple flavoring—you can find real maple syrup in Sam’s Club but it is really expensive so many of our Brazilian missionaries have never had pancakes for breakfast  so a few weeks ago we came in early to the mission office and surprised the office with pancakes and eggs.  This Elder that is leaving said he would like that again so we did pancakes this last Friday again for them.  Three batches of pancake batter later, they were fed!  We will miss you Elder Estevam!!

This last month has been spent mostly in the office trying to update the housing records correctly.
We will be heading out of Salvador around May 9th  for the week, to travel again to visit the different missionaries and their houses to see how we can help them.   We are so grateful to be helping the Lord in anyway we can here in Brazil.  We hope our small contribution will be pleasing to Him.  

We love and miss you all so very much and hope that in our absence you will still be able to feel of our love and concern for each of you!  We also hope that you will keep calling and staying in touch—that is so very important to us.  All of you are continually in our prayers!  Love, Dad & Mom, Paul & Kaye

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 21st, 2017 - Mission Update

Wow – we are really lousy at keeping our blog up-to-date.   I guess we haven’t had too much sensational to write about.   We kept busy trying to avoid the Carnival impact – we didn’t realize it would go on for so long and most everyplace shuts down except for the stores that sell beer.   At least that’s the way it seemed.   Our apartment is on a street that leads to one of the main areas and for a week it was jammed with cars.   They put up plywood boards all in front of the complex and the stores – to protect against people throwing stuff out of the cars at the buildings – looked like they were preparing for a hurricane.   We didn’t go down to the party but did have one picture that got in a couple of the costumes – everyone dresses up in some way I guess.   Not my style though.

We spent another several days in a city across the bay called Valence.   They are having some problems there and needed some assistance.   You need to use the ferry boat to get over there.   Takes about 45 minutes and the taxi ride is about an hour.  Our hotel there was fumigating the kitchen area for cockroaches and other pests – so I think we will choose other accommodations next time.

We went up north to a youth and single adult encampment – President and Sister Bangeter asked us to go with them – they spoke and did a great job.   We met a lot of great people there – about 450 folks attended.  On the way back we stopped at an old castle – that had been built in the 1500’s.   The main house burnt down but the stones are still in place.  Pretty impressive when you consider how old it is.   We were going to visit the beach there – but ran out of time – they have a turtle conservatory there and evidently every evening at 5:00 the turtles head for the ocean.   Worth the trip here, yes?  Here are a few of the pictures we took at the castle – good sized fig tree and a few more.

We spent on of our Saturdays with Kaye learning how to make feijão e carne. (Beans and Rice – the national food here.   Kaye had tried to follow the recipe but it just didn’t work out right.   So we went to the best to learn – we have made a great friend in Robert Barbosa – he is in the mission presidency and just a terrific man.  He teaches school but for several years he was a cook, including in the marines.   So he invited us to his house to show us (Kaye) how to make the national dish.   It was really quite a process – we sped up his invite a bit with a jar of Jiff Peanut Butter that Craig managed to get to us.   He loves Jif – so he said it was a good trade.  He would reveal all of his secret ingredients and processes.   You would just love this guy – I hope some of you meet him some time – he is the quintessential Bahian Brazilian – loves life, loves others – is so animated and loves to help people out.  He also is an expert in Brazilian fruit juices.  He always has a mix of juices at meals and you are required to guess what they are – usually about six or seven fruits.

He is a character – the whole process takes about three to four hours.   But it was worth it and the food was superb he is the best entertainer we have met.  He could make pulling weeds fun – well maybe not that good.   At the bottom of the picture is Kaye’s plate tonight – she made feijão e carne yesterday with arroz and it was great.

We did have one major food mistake – we ordered a pizza – Kaye ordered her half as an Italian pizza.   We couldn’t figure out why it tasted so awful until we translated the main ingredient – which was minced tuna. We don’t recommend it.

This was a fun Saturday night –we went to the Farol da Barra – a really old lighthouse.  Wonderful views of the beach and ocean – great restaurants and a terrific ice cream place.   It’s on our list.

This last picture Kaye didn’t want me to put in – but it’s so funny in Brazil when they can’t figure out what words might mean in other languages.   This is a sign advertising a company that specializes in branding and creating a great image.   Their name speaks for itself – well I thought it amusing.

Well – “ending” on that note wouldn’t do justice to how much we love getting your packages, notes, emails, pictures and updates on what’s happening back home.   They are super important to us.   Some of the videos I think will be worn out--if that’s possible.   It was especially great to see all the birthdays and especially our newest birthday boy – Chase.  The hospital also thought he was great and put a picture of him up on a billboard in Albuquerque! What a wonderful and special family we have.  We couldn’t ask for a better group.   You are the best and we love you all – like really love you all.   Take care and we’ll talk soon.  Go Gonzaga!!!

Sister Briggs and Elder Briggs in Salvador and the rest of the state of Bahia in Brazil