Friday, November 25, 2016

Update - November 25, 2016

We have had an interesting couple of weeks.   We have included a few photos below.  There is a world map that folks use to show where they are headed.   We were organized into a small team of exceptional people.   Their destinations included Florida, Rome, Frankfurt and of course, Salvador, our new home for  the next 18 months.   The group became great friends.   The classes and instruction and homework kept us pretty busy especially during the week.   Kaye seemed to like the food more than I did, but I used the Blue Bunny freezer behind her in the picture as a frequent stopping point.   Accommodations were a little sparse - but worked out okay - our luggage seemed to take up most of the room.   

We didn’t spend all our time in classes as Jeff flew out for the weekend - which was terrific - and he, Craig, Tayler, Michael, Nathan, Harrison, Kaye and I had a great afternoon watching our alma mater play football.   Wasn’t much of a game as we played University of Massachusetts, but we had a great afternoon - perfect weather.  Jeff, bless his heart, brought supplies of homemade caramels and his specialty chocolate.  He is a remarkable chef - the only problem were the caramels were wrapped in wax paper and Kaye kept harassing me every time I opened one. Well, I guess it was about 2 am!

Monday and Tuesday we spent in office systems classes and checked out of the training center Wednesday afternoon and stayed the night in a hotel with a real king sized bed.   Craig, Tammy and their family hosted us for Thanksgiving at their home in Ogden which was perfect, except we missed our kids and grandkids.  

Last night I kept trying to check in to our flight - but the message came back every time saying their was something wrong with our tickets and we needed to be at the airport to meet with a Delta Agent three hours early.   Kind of worrisome - so we got to the airport about 8:00, met with agent and were thru security by 8:15.  Only three hours until our initial flight to Atlanta.   We have a layover in Atlanta and then leave for Sao Paulo - where we arrive at 8:20 a.m. on Saturday morning.   Our instructions are that there will be someone there with a sign with our name on it with information on how we travel the additional 1,500 miles to Salvador.  Hope someone has a sign when we get through customs

Thanksgiving reminded us what great family and friends we have.   Hope you are all doing well.   Hopefully our next update will be from Salvador.    

With love - Paul and Kaye

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Travel and Arrival at the Training Center

November 13, 2016

Well we spent yesterday packing for our mission – we noted that it was kind of hard to fit in enough clothes and helpful items for 18 months.   Kaye had a lot of heavier items than I had – mostly in cosmetics – I guess she doesn’t trust the Brazilians to sell appropriate items.   We had each large bag exactly at 48 pounds.  Kaye was exhausted as she did all the dead lifts to weigh them on the scales. 

Laurie was very kind to come out and pick us up at the cabin at 9:00 this morning and we were at the airport with plenty of time, even though we had to return to the cabin once because I forgot my cell phone.  She drove like Mario Andretti to get us there.

Getting to the MTC was pretty easy – but it kind of has a claustrophobic feel once you get here with the guards, badges and gates.   They were ultra-nice at the information desk – had everything ready for our room which is going to be fine.  We dropped off our bags close to the entry way to our room – there are 19 buildings.  A person from the front desk came and helped us.   Parked the car across the street and made it back in.

Dinner was over, but Kaye brought three pounds of trail mix, Belvitas and apples so we should be fine.  I scouted out the vending machine and the exercise room – exact same Precors we have.

We got here around 6:30 and they said they had a devotional at 7:00.   We couldn’t decide whether to go because they said you were supposed to be seated by 6:30.   We headed over and got in just before they closed the door. 

It was amazing – about 1,800 missionaries – almost all young – were singing – it took your breath away.   A young lady sang “O Divine Redeemer” and it was tremendous.  Brother Heaton who is the MTC Administer spoke and asked her back up on the fly and she talked about her testimony.

Then Elder Heaton asked who had been converted to the church for less than a year and a half.   About thirty people raised their hands. He asked for someone to help him.   Five sisters went up – he says that never happens – usually only one or two.   They talked about their conversions which were all less than 18 months – it was amazing.  All the sisters told their stories and it was incredible they were able to share their experiences so eloquently.  They basically took over from Elder Heaton. 

Afterwards, Elder Heaton emphasized that the prime relationship with all of these sisters before they were baptized and all converts is with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.  He described the pattern from scripture of what missionaries are to do which means trying our best to do what the Lord wants to do and watching carefully how the Lord is working with those we talk to.  I am not doing it justice – but if other classes are similar this will be a wonderful two weeks. 

We officially check in tomorrow at 10:00 to get our schedule.   I was a lot more emotional about saying good bye to Laurie and to all of you than I thought I would be.  Keep us in your prayers and we will do the same!