Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 19th, 2017 - Mission Update

We have had an interesting couple of weeks here in Salvador. We seem to be saying that a lot!  Another one of the things that we are finding we say quite a bit as we travel around is—well you don’t see that everyday—like someone balancing a washing machine on a donkey’s back and walking along—or a guy riding down the road on his motorcycle holding onto a bicycle behind his back - or a herd of cows running at your car!!
We started visiting all of the missionaries in the interior of the state of Bahia on Jan 4 and were on the road for almost two weeks drove about 2100 kilometers - doesn’t sound like much - but these are Brazilian roads - pot holes and cobblestone or worse.  We left from Salvador on a ferry boat for Valenca very early in the morning.  We rented a car and drove with the Brazilians, which is a real challenge—they have more motorcycles than cars and nobody follows the rules of driving, but somehow they make it work, but for us Americans it is a little intimidating to say the least.  We were going to miss our ferry but one of the attendants in an unopened line saw our name tags and motioned us into her line from the back of our very long line and sold us a ticket—she wrote on the back of the ticket in Portuguese that she was a member of the church.  We took a taxi to our car rental—which is a whole other long story…

We made it to Valenca and were trying to find our missionaries and Paul decided to go across a bridge that was just for motorcycles—fortunately our car—which was called an ELF (really - just a little larger than us)—did fit and we made it across and through the round metal posts that I am pretty sure were put up to keep drivers like Paul off the bridge!  We did not find the Elders and had to move on to the city of Ilheus, which is a city on the beach—full of buses of tourists—many of which were also staying at our hotel!  We were able to find all of our missionaries and attend church there on Sunday.  We had a GPS on our car which worked some of the time.  We stayed in Ilheus a couple of days and then headed to the city of Una.  OK.  We took the wrong road—there is an easy road and then there is a road through the rainforest up in the mountains over washed out very BAD roads, with no signs of life and at one point a 24 inch bright blue iguana on the road!  We took the latter!  Someone said there were more iguanas than people on this road. It was only 60 kilometers and it took us 3 hours to get through!  It was a nightmare but when we did start seeing some people, they were very helpful and assured us we would eventually get to Una—we did and with about 20 other people helped us find our 4 missionaries there.

We also ventured to Jequie, Itabuna, Itapetinga and then Conquista—which is for the most part a very modern city with people obeying traffic laws etc.  We got to visit with many wonderful missionaries —took some of the Elders out to lunch at a Pizza Hut and a set of sisters invited us back over that night for brownies and juice.  Juice is really big here because they have so many kinds of fruit here—you can buy little pods of fruit pulp concentrate in the freezer section of the stores and then you just add water and sugar and swirl in the blender.  Some of it is pretty good.
Next we went to Pocoes, Brumado and on to Livramento de Nossa Senhora .  When we went to Livramento we stayed in a city called Rio de Contas which is up a mountain by some really pretty waterfalls.  We attended church in Livramento on Sunday and they had a young family that had been coming to church for the last two Sundays—investigators.  We were able to give them a ride home home—they had walked 3 kilometers to the church building and they had a little 4 year old boy and the wife was 6 months pregnant!  They didn’t have any furniture in their little home and were very poor yet they asked if we wanted to stay for lunch.  We are hoping they will keep coming—unfortunately this is a very small town and there are few buses for people to ride.

We cannot tell you how many times a day our Heavenly Father has reached out to us everyday to guide us to these 28 missionary homes—sometimes the address would be old and our phone would not be working up in the mountains or these small towns—yet we would be walking down the street at the same time as another member and they would show us where the missionaries lived, or and address would be wrong and we would ask a neighbor and they would know where a member lived that could guide us to the missionaries.
We met one missionary who was a nephew to some friends of our in Albuquerque—that was a fun connection for us.  
We are on a mission for the Lord, and we have seen His hand in our lives every day, guiding and directing us to these missionaries, but as I have thought about this over the past few days since we have been back, I know that He is trying to guide and direct us all the time—but sometimes we just keep ourselves too busy to notice or take the time to be aware of that guidance and how He is blessing our lives.  It is so important for us to take the time to listen, hear and be aware of His guidance.
We are getting ready to head out here again to go visit another eleven sets of missionaries down in Porto Seguro on the Coast.  We would like to get that in before Carnival which basically goes for the month of February—we hear it is the largest in the world and can get a little crazy, so we would like to stick around close to our apartment during that time!  We love and miss you all!


  1. Thanks for sharing these stories! I can see them in my head and am so glad Heavenly Father is watching over you both. We love you! ❤❤

  2. Thanks for keeping us updated on your adventures!! I love that you got the VIP treatment on the ferry, one of the many perks of being part of the "club" ;) We think about you and pray for you every day, Veronika says AMEN really loud towards the end of the prayer, love you guys lots!!! Stay safe!!!