Monday, February 13, 2017

January 1 - February 16, 2017

The first transfer of 2017 took place on Tuesday, January 3rd. We sent 8 missionaries home and welcomed 10 new missionaries. The next and final transfer for us is scheduled for February 14th, Valentines Day. The two new office Elders are doing great and as they have started to assume the daily responsibilities we previous fulfilled, Sister Burkinshaw has spent her time putting together the 2016 Mission History and the February mission newsletter. Elder Burkinshaw has been working on a couple of special project for the area which have kept him very busy with computer work and meetings. It is always wonderful to see the growth of the church. 

Lunch at Outback - we usually sit on the porch, as there is more light, no music and less noise, but there was limited seating, so we had to sit inside in the dark.

Elder McDown, who trained Sister Burkinshaw, Sister Burkinshaw, who trained Elder Aguiar and Elder Aguiar - Three mission office Executive Secretaries.

We have had opportunities for lunches with the missionaries and the members, a final discourse in the Maruípe ward and to participate in the recent Zone Conferences where we did a short training for all the missionaries on FINANCES. Plenty to keep us busy and not a lot of time to think about what comes next in our life. 
Sunday afternoon almoço (lunch) with the Cordeiro Family - Three generations of Church members in Espírito Santo.  (Left to Right) Sabrina, Bruna, Felipe, Elder and Sister Burkinshaw, Evandro (patriarch), Gabriel, Thiago Zardo, Vera Lucia (matriarch), Evelyn, Katia, Ewerton, Gustavo, Tonzinho, Edoriedson, Rita Zardo, Guilherme.
Cordeiro Family--such a great family and a blessing for the family to live close.
Sunday afternoon almoço with (left to right) Mira da Silveira, Renata da Silveira Cardoso, Paulo Roberto Cardoso, Mayra Roberta da Silveira Cardoso Gonçalves, Sister Burkinshaw, Raphael Ribeiro Lisboa, Elder Burkinshaw, Rosane Ribeiro Alves.
Almoço (lunch) with lasagna, rice (arroz) and black beans (feijão prêto), chicken (frango) and salad.
The obligatory selfie with almoço!
Elder Burkinshaw with 9 year-old Mayra.  Mayra´s grandmother Mira was the first to be baptized, then Mayra was baptized 2 years later, when she turned 8, then Mayra´s mother, Renata was baptized a few months later and we are still working with her father, Paulo.
Irmã Drª Mariselma Morães working on Elder Burkinshaw´s teeth in her new Consultório.  Sister Burkinshaw commented that it was the first time she had to go to the dentist with Elder Burkinshaw and wait while he had his teeth cleaned and fixed - which was a little boring (no pun intended). ;-)

Vitória, Colatina and Nanuque Zone Conference in the Jardim da Penha chapel.
Elder  Kenedy Antonio Lima Dias (Cabo Verde) and Elder Burkinshaw after the morning session of Zone Conference--"so alegria".
Sister Burkinshaw, Sister Teran (Cartagena, Bolivar, Columbia), Sister Silva (Maceió, AL) and Sister Chopin (Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico) at the Zone Conference.
Sister Souza (Jundaí, SP) and Sister Gonzales (Yankton, SD) taking a selfie following the group photo at the Zone Conference.
A group of the Elder getting in a picture before lunch. Front to back of those you can see: Elder Dial, Elder Braga, Elder Silva, Elder Garcia and Elder Dias.
The Colatina Zone Leaders, Elder Braga (Santos, SP) and Elder Dial (West Jordan, UT), two of our favorites, serving almoço (lunch) at the Zone Conference.
Elder Marques (formerly Elder Oliveira when he was in Teófilo Otoni with us, left from Manaus, AM but originally from São Mateus, ES) and Elder Castro (Leme, SP) with Elder G. Moreira (Annapolis, GO) in the background at the Zone Conference almoço.
Almoço (lunch) at the Zone Conference with rice and beans, churrasco (barbequed meat), molho de pimento (pepper sauce) and farofa (milled corn and mandioca - which is a root - flour cooked with butter to be served with meat) and, of course, guaraná Antartica!
Elder Burkinshaw with Elder T. Santos (Aracaju, Sergipe).
Sister Ochoa (Martinez de la Torre, Veracruz, Mexico) and Sister Monteiro (Campinas, SP) with Sister and Elder Burkinshaw in the overflow of the Cariacica Stake Center at the Cariacica, Campos and Vila Velha combined Zone Conference.

Our final days here in Vitoria are turning out to be very interesting. On Saturday, February 4th the military police (Polícia Militar) went on strike. Since it is constitutionally illegal for the military police to strike, the storyline is that their families have blockaded them into their compounds so they cannot leave to go work in the streets.

Buses stopped running because people were being robbed on the bus and several bus drivers and the bus drivers union president were murdered. With the general lawlessness, most stores, Government offices, banks and post offices were closed. 
The strike continued for eight days before an agreement was reached between the state government of Espirito Santo and the military police unions on Saturday morning.  However, the families continue their blockade so only a part of the Military Police have returned to work.  However, the President of Brazil has mobilized armed forces and national guard troops to stop the violence and robberies. In January of this year there were four homicides in the greater Vitoria area. During the strike week, there were 144 homicides, many grocery stores, appliance stores and clothing stores were looted, not only by the criminal element but also by ordinary citizens that unfortunately decided to take advantage of the chaos.  It was a disappointing reminder of a talk by Elder D. Todd Christopherson, addressing how the teaching of relativistic morals had weakened our society:

"As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become. There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone. In the memorable phrase of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, 'We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.'" (D. Todd Christopherson, Moral Discipline, General Conference, October 2009)
The police in the state of Espirito Santo went on strike Saturday, February 4th. The strike lasted eight days, leaving the city a virtual ghost town.  We had to exercise in the fitness room on the top floor of our apartment building rather than walk along the beach. This picture of Vitoria was taken from the fitness room looking west. The mission office is the taller, grey building in the very center of the photo.
This is a picture of the traffic, or lack of traffic, across the Third Bridge (Terçeira Ponte) during what should be rush the week of the police strike.
This is the street in front of the mission office around 4:00pm Thursday during the week of the police strike.  Normally, the street is packed with cars and people. On Monday, the first workday of the strike, around noon we saw two cars racing down this road one cutting off the other and then raced away.  The driver of the other car jumped out with a gun, ready to shoot at the other car but fortunately, by that time, he was well beyond range. The street was full of people at the time and all just froze in place, shocked by what they witnessed. Most people, on learning of the police strike went home early on Monday and for the rest of the week, the entire city appeared deserted as in the photo above.
This is inside the Shopping Vitória mall, which is about a ten minute walk from the office.  The only stores that opened during the police strike  were those in the food court and even then for just a few hours at lunch time. Since there were no other restaurants open, we took the office Elders over to Shopping Vitória for lunch via Uber.
Friday morning the week of the strike from the top floor of our apartment building.  Vitória is a stunningly beautiful city but it was very eerie to see things so quiet and deserted.

Article in the local newspaper:  Merchandise Robbed from Stores Begins to Be Returned  Yesterday, the civil police began to recover products robbed during thefts from stores in Greater Vitoria and Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, in the south of the State.  Some people delivered the products to the police stations voluntarily - many of them after having been recognized on videos posted on social media networks.  At the Goiabeiras station in Vitória, taxi driver Fabrício do Nascimento Dantas returned a refrigerator yesterday morning.  "I have 25 years as a taxi driver, and I have never messed with anything of anyone.  It was a moment of weakness.  I repented and came here to deliver (the stolen property).  I did not think of the consequences at the time he said in an interview with TV Capixaba.  The station manager, Izaías Tadeu Vieira explained that those who turn themselves in can have their penalty reduced. " A person responding to the crime of qualified theft, could expect a sentence of 2 to 8 years in prison but by turning himself in, can reduce the penalty by 2/3 he explained.  Yesterday afternoon, teams of Civil Police also were confiscating products from residences in Maria Ortiz in Vitória.  There were televisions, bicycles, microwaves, purses and electric fans among other merchandise.  One person was arrested.

Infographic from the Globo News showing that the Military Police strike resulted in 144 murders, over 200 cars stolen on Monday, the first weekday of the strike, R$300 million (US$100 million) in lost revenues, 3,130 armed forces and national guard personnel, 3 helicopters, 7 armored carriers and 180 vehicles mobilized to stem the violence.

Saturday afternoon we began to see armed forces patrolling the Third Bridge.  Note that their rifles are drawn and pointed toward the front of their vehicles - no joking here!

On our Saturday morning walk, we passed the Grand Parc Residencial Resort (the three 30 story luxury apartments on the left next to the famous Golden Tulip Hotel) where last July, the parking garage collapsed in the early morning hours, killing one attendant and injuring 4 others.  All the residents were immediately evacuated and just this week (6+ months later) they are being allowed to retrieve their cars and their belongings.  Civil and mechanical engineering design is very important and this was a very expensive error.

Since the end of the police strike was not obvious on Sunday morning, only a joint sacrament meeting was held with the Vitória and Maruípe Wards.  Since this was our last Sunday, it gave us the opportunity to see our dear friend Dayane Gomes, who would normally be visiting another ward as part of the Stake Relief Society Presidency.

Elder Purser (Prairieville, LA) and Elder Burkinshaw their last Sunday together.  Elder Purser is being transferred to Cacheoiro 1 where he will be a trainer and district leader!

Sister Araújo (Brasília, DF) and Sister Bispo (Dias D'Ávila, BA) who have been serving in our home ward of Maruípe with Sister and Elder Burkinshaw.  Sister Araújo will become a Sister Trainer Leader in Estrelinha during this transfer! Sister Bispo is one of the most gentle, loving people we have met here in Brasil, she arrived in the January 3rd transfer. Sister Bispo wrote a very sweet note to Sister Burkinshaw the week of our departure.

Elder Passos (Belém, PA), Elder and Sister Burkinshaw and Elder Purser (Prairieville, LA).  Elder Passos completes his mission and returns home this transfer.  Unfortunately his mother passed away when he had been out about 6 months but many of the members and many of his companions, particularly Elder Purser, have supported and helped him.

By Monday morning, February 13, traffic was back to normal and the buses were running.  Here at the exit of the Third Bridge, you can see an armed forces station providing a reminder that law and order were back in Vitória.

Monday afternoon the street in front of the mission office was lined with cars again.  It was almost as if the past very difficult week had never happened.

Even though not all of the military police had returned to work by Monday morning, with the helicopters circling the city and the armed forces in the streets, enough normalcy was restored that we could take an early walk along our beloved beach again.
A great picture of both the Third Bridge (Terçeira Ponte) at the left and the Our Lady of Penha Convent (Convento Nossa Senhora da Penha) on the hill at the right.

A beautiful sunrise on Praia do Camburi.

Beautiful sunrise from the point on Praia do Camburi. We will miss our early morning walks along the beach--Sister Burkinshaw has loved living near the ocean.

This past transfer (6 weeks) has been quite a roller coaster of emotions as we trained our replacements and watched a very troubling police strike load more challenges upon the very good people of Vitória and Espirito Santo who are already burdened with many political, social and economic challenges.  And we know personally and statistically that the missionary work has suffered as a result.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said, "The idea that scripture reading can lead to inspiration and revelation opens the door to the truth that a scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written but may also include what that scripture means to a reader today. Even more, scripture reading may also lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time. We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation." (Dallin H. Oaks, "Scripture Reading and Revelation," Ensign, January 1995)

Thus, the following scriptures appear prophetic for our members and missionaries in these times:

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; ... For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 17-18)

Over 40 years ago when Elder Burkinshaw was serving as a young missionary in Brazil, Elder James E. Faust shared the following story in General Conference:

"On a quiet morning last week I left my office in São Paulo, Brazil, and walked over to the São Paulo Temple site. There was a soft morning mist beginning to clear away. As I walked up the gentle rise in the street onto the site, I noted with great interest and pleasure brush being cleared away and the new pegs recently driven into the ground. These pegs in the ground mark the dimensions of a new temple soon to be erected for the glory of God and the endless blessing of his children in South America. This temple will be different from any other building now standing in South America.

"As I stood where the entrance of the temple will be, I recalled how thirty-six years ago my companions and I landed by ship in Santos after twenty-one days at sea and went by train to São Paulo. There were other missionaries on the same vessel going to Argentina and Uruguay, which were the two other relatively new missions on the continent.

"In all of South America there was but a mere handful of members of the Church, mostly emigrants from Europe, many of whom were converted in Europe. As I stood last week on this site where this new, special, multimillion-dollar building will stand, I recalled how difficult and unpromising the future of the Church appeared in South America thirty-six years ago. In all of our mission we had only three baptisms in one year, despite the conscientious labors of over seventy missionaries. We did not have the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, or the Book of Mormon translated into Portuguese. We held our meetings in rooms that were small and unfit for the lofty message we were trying to teach. We often had to sweep out these rooms before meeting to remove the empty bottles and trash from the revelry of the night before. It was always difficult and often discouraging." (James E. Faust, "The Keys of the Kingdom," General Conference, October 1975).

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw recently walked upon the grounds of that Temple in São Paulo for the first time, seeing what was only a vision in 1975.  It was a sacred, revelatory experience.

"Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.  For after much tribulation come the blessings." (D&C 58:3-4)

In 2017, with a few more years of experience, we hope to be able to share that vision.

The best is yet to come!

Avante, Avante para a Vitória!!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw

Sunday, January 8, 2017

November 1 - December 31, 2016

It is the end of the year and we have much to be grateful for. We have been in Brazil for 21 months now. Although difficult at times our experience has given us a great love for the country, especially for the people. We have grown to love the Brazilian "abraço". Our love for the missionaries has grown as well and the eternal friendships we have developed with these dedicated young men and women. We have made it through another transfer! For our Christmas video this year the kids put together a video using the primary song "The Family is of God". As our amazing seven children with their spouses and our grandchildren sang, we were reminded of the powerful doctrine taught in this Primary song and also how grateful we are to be involved in sharing that message here in Brazil. 

On the day of transfers (every 6th Tuesday), we arrive about 7:20am at the Vitória airport to greet the missionaries arriving from the CTM (Centro de Treinamento - Missionary Training Center) in São Paulo and load them on a bus to take them to the Mission President`s home where they receive their initial training.  Here´s a quick selfie before the missionaries arrived.
President Young greeting the new missionaries as they arrive. The missionaries hardly sleep because they have to pack and then depart the CTM at 4:30am to travel to the airport in São Paulo departing at 6:30 and arriving in Vitoria about 7:45am.
Elder Merrill (Gilbert Arizona) is greeted by Sister Young. Elder Merrill's mother had sent Elder Burkinshaw an e-mail with a couple of questions and mentioned they were anxious to get a picture of him from Brasil, so Elder Burkinshaw sent one  on our ride to the President`s home.
New missionary training with President and Sister Young.  The President`s home has a beautiful view of the the beach in Vitória (the city is an island) and the Terçeira Ponte (Third Bridge - there are two others) that connects the island with the mainland.
Our Thanksgiving lunch, Subway turkey sandwiches, with Elder Dial (West Jordean, Utah) and Elder Lighten (Riverton, Utah). Elder Dial had done such a great job in assisting with the rental of a new apartment in the Ibes neighborhood of Vila Velha, that he more than earned this holiday lunch!
Sister Burkinshaw played the piano (again) for the civil wedding ceremony the precedes the temple sealing and it happened to be on the evening of Thanksgiving (although Brasil doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving) in the Cariacica Stake Center. The building looked great! The couple was sealed the next day, we were fortunate enough to see them at the São Paulo Temple the next day!
Elder and Sister Burkinshaw at the São Paulo Temple, Friday November 25, 2016. When Elder Burkinshaw served in São Paulo 42 years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball announced that the temple would be built but this was his first opportunity see it.

We were in São Paulo to meet our son John (who also served a mission in Brasil - Porto Alegre Sul) and his wife Emily who came to visit us.  We began our trip by taking some pictures and then participating in a temple session, our first since April 2015.
Following the temple session, we took a quick selfie with the Angel Moroni in the background!
While in São Paulo, we stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in Novo Brooklyn which was very nice.  Here´s a picture of Sister Burkinshaw on Satuday morning before departing for our next adventure - Iguaçu Falls!
We arrived at Iguaçu Falls early Saturday afternoon and it was warm there and the humidity for all the water vapor generated by the Falls made it quite toasty.
Although not immediately visible, we were in a cloud of atomized water from the Falls in this picture.  It was hard to keep your eyes open because it was so wet.

This video of the Iguaçu Falls is quite impressive but only includes perhaps a quarter of the water falls which we saw and even though we had authorization from the Brasil Area Presidency to visit, we had to stay on the Brasilian side.  There are more falls and different vistas from the Argentina and Paraguay sides as well. IIguacu Falls is one of the seven wonders of the world.

Here is a toco toucan or giant toucan that is common to this part of South American.  Its bill is 30-50% of its body surface area and is used to regulate heat as a radiator of sorts.  They are very beautiful and its call is a deep croaking song. 

One of the unique creatures we saw at Iguaçu Falls was the ring-tailed coati (quati in Portuguese), which is a relative of the raccoon. They are very agile and climb in the trees as well as run around on the ground.  We were warned that, like a raccoon, they will bite.

Fortunately this coati did not take up Emily's offer to jump into her arms.

Sister Burkinshaw and Emily on the path to the Falls. Lots of walking of course.

Another one of our favorite critters, which live all over Brasil from North to South, are the lizards.  It is not unusual to see them running up and down the walls in homes or even in the meetinghouse during Church.
Here is a picture with Pedra Azul (blue stone) in the background.  Pedra Azul is located in the interior of the state of Espirito Santo which comprises most of the Vitória Mission.  Huge monolithic outcroppings of granite like this are common in this part of Brasil and much of the granite used in counter-tops in the U.S. comes from the states of Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit) and Minas Gerais (General Mines).
This is another view of Pedra Azul.  Depending on the time of day and the angle of the sun, it may appear to be green, blue or gray.  Note the rock on the right which is called "O Lagarto" (the Lizard) because it looks like a lizard climbing the pedra. John & Emily can be seen on the road--this is on the way down so we are ahead of them!!
Another view of Pedra Azul.  Note how green the rolling hills are which surround the area.  The interior has many very scenic farms and ranches (roças).

Another, more distant, view of Pedra Azul and the surrounding countryside.
We stopped for lunch in the city of Domingo Martins, where we enjoyed a"Self-Service" meal - the Brazilians use the English words to describe it.  You load your plate with what you want and you are charged by weight. Not the weight you gain eating Brasilian cuisine, but the weight of the food (ha,ha).
John, Emily and Sister Burkinshaw enjoying their self-service meal in Domingo Martins.  In tropical Brazil, open front restaurants and stores are very common.
After lunch, Sister Burkinshaw and Emily tried a variety of flavored "biscoitos" (crackers) at one of the German-esque shops in Domingo Martins.
Our next visit was to the city of Guarapari which is well know for it's beaches (praias).  We walked out to a point that allowed us to look back at the beaches and high-rise apartments along the beach.

One morning John, Emily and Sister Burkinshaw (who was the tour guide and photographer) got up early and rented bikes to ride along the beach in Vitória.  All along the beach there are lanes for walkers and lanes for bike riders.
When we went to the Convent Nossa Senhora da Penha (Our Lady of Penha - in Catholic jargon, this is Mary the Mother of Jesus) it was quite cloudy and windy and a little cooler than normal but still provides some beautiful views of Vitória to the north and Vila Velha to the South.  We were here when President Young called to advise that John and Emily's Stake President, President Bond called us.  He had seen that John was visiting Brasil on Facebook and called to advise that John would soon receive a call that would require his being ordained a High Priest.  He invited Elder Burkinshaw to ordain John before he and Emily left (which was in about 2 hour).  We quickly went to the mission home where John was ordained.  John and Emily left shortly thereafter to return to their home in Lake Jackson, TX where John was called to serve as Bishop about 10 days later.  This will be a story for posterity!
We receive lots of Christmas packages in the mission office during the weeks leading up to Christmas and for several weeks after Christmas. Sister Piussi (Piracicaba, São Paulo) stops in on her P-day to pick up her package, a picture in front of the tree was a must.
Following the package pick up, we treated the Sisters to Subway for lunch.  Sister Burkinshaw, Sister Schell (Winston-Salem, NC), Sister Rodrigues (Cascavel, PR), Sister Piussi (Piraçicaba, SP) and Sister Chavez (Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia).
Lunch at the food court in Shopping Praia da Costa after registering Elder Merrill with the Polícia Federal.  Elder Burkinshaw, Elder Merrill (Gilbert, AZ), Elder Anderson (Zionsville, IN) and Sister Burkinshaw.
As often as the missionaries stop by the mission office during lunch time, we make sure they are spiritually and physically well fed.  Elder Burkinshaw, Elder Soares (Limeira, SP) and Elder A Oliveira (Natal, RN).
After lunch, Elder Soares shares a message using Leo o Leão (Leo the Lion).  Leo is very popular particularly with families having small children.
Following registration with the Polícia Federal, we posed in front of the Christmas tree in Shopping Praia da Costa with Elder Duarte (Riverdale, CA), Elder Lugarani (Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut, Argentina).
Following visa renewal at Polícia Federal and lunch in Shopping Praia da Costa (and prior to a McFlurry at McDonalds) the Sisters posed in front of the Christmas Tree.  Sister Jube (Provo, UT), Sister Albrecht (Cleveland, OH), Sister Silva (Maceió, AL) and Sister Woodard (Boise, ID).
Sister Burkinshaw waiting for a taxi to take us to Estrelinha to deliver some Christmas packages and complete a contract for a new apartment there.
Even though we walk each morning along the beach at 5:30am, we are never quite prepared for the beautiful sunrises we are able to capture in pictures.  Just another day in paradise!
Yet another beautiful sunrise which sometimes causes Elder Burkinshaw to break out into spontaneous song:  "There's a bright golden haze on the praia (beach)!"
On this particular morning at the rock pier where we regularly walk, we were joined by a beautiful long-legged white crane.  We often see them fishing at low-tide.
Here is a picture of the rock pier with the island behind it.  You will notice a statue at the end of the rock pier and the sunrise reflecting off the clouds.
At the end of the rock pier is a statue erected in 1988 to the goddess of the sea, Yemanja from the Afro-Brazilian Spiritualist religion tradition.  There are always people fishing around the end of the pier so Yemanja must bring good luck to them.
Here is a close-up of the base of the Yemanja statue where someone has placed some white roses to remember a loved-one. She was recently repainted.
The newest addition to the Maruipe ward is the infant son of Breno and Lorena Salles who had been serving as Young Men (Rapazes) and Young Women (Moças) Presidents.  They are a great family and they remind us of our own children with new grand babies. They both shared their testimonies as it was fast sunday and are a reflection of what will allow the church in Brasil to continue to grow and prosper.
Breno's father, Wilson Salles is the Ward Mission Leader of the Vitória Ward (the other ward which meets with the Maruipe Ward) and he is a wonderful support to the missionaries.  This is a great family!

For most of our mission, Irmão (Brother) Cristiano Bazilio has been a real blessing in helping us remodel (repair and paint) missionary apartments before we return them to the landlords.  About a week before Christmas, he invited us to have churrasco (barbecue) at his home in Vila Velha.  We had a wonderful time particularly with his father-in-law, not to mention the food was awesome--nothing like a Brasilian churrasco.

Their home is quite artistic, faced with various shapes of polished granite (the work was done by  Irmão Cristiano's father-in-law) and very pretty Christmas lights.  We did not have any problem recognizing his home when we arrived in the taxi!
Sunday evenings during November and December Sister Burkinshaw played the piano and Elder Burkinshaw sang with the single adults as they prepared their annual Christmas Cantata Fireside.  Practices were always at the home of Bispo (Bishop) Jocimar.  Left to right, Irmã Renilsa Amorim Souza (wife of Bispo Jocimar), Laís Amorim Souza (daughter of Bispo Jocimar), Caroline Domiciano (daughter of Bispo Domiciano of the Vitória Ward), Dayane Gomes, Thayná Ramos, Kety Zioto, Filipe Amorim Souza and Lucas Amorim Souza (sons of Bispo Jocimar), Bispo Jocimar, Allison Paulo and Elder Burkinshaw. The group that sang was larger, but several were mission for the picture.

Elder Burkinshaw with the single adults practicing for the Christmas Cantata Fireside.
On occasion, Elder Burkinshaw would also play the piano. From his days as a missionary he still has a selection of 10 or so hymns he can play, although for some he can't use the hymnal because they changed the keys.

Sister Araujo (Brasília, DF), Irmã Ílma, and Sister Dodge (Murfreesboro, TN). Irmã Ílma was baptized on December 24th-Christmas eve.
Sister of Irmã Ílma, Sister Dodge, Irmã Ílma, Sister Araujo on Sunday, December 25th after Irmã Ílma was confirmed in the combined sacrament meeting - Ala de Maruípe e Ala de Vitória. Ílma's sister is part of the Vitória ward.

One of our wonderful home teaching families on Christmas day. Elder Burkinshaw, Pedrinho, Pedro, Yuri, Luciana Caldas and Sister Burkinshaw.
Elder Burkinshaw wearing his Christmas gift from another of our wonderful Home Teaching families (família de Silveira Cardoso) - they have great taste.
Elder Burkinshaw, Sister Burkinshaw, Sister Bunderson (St. Louis, MO) and Sister Gonsalez (Yankton, South Dakota) two of our Sister Leader Trainers. Sister Bunderson returns home on the January 3rd transfer.
Elder Burkinshaw, Sister Burkinshaw, Sister Chavez (Bolivia) also returning home on the January 3rd transfer and Sister Rodrigues (São Paulo).
We share our final family video with our testimony of why we are here in Brasil and away from our family.  Families are a part of God's plan for His children. The Gospel of Jesus Christ makes it possible for families to be eternal and we are grateful for the opportunity to be here in Brasil helping to share the message of the Restored Gospel.

family video

The Family is of God.

1. Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.
2. A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.
3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.
4. I’ll love and serve my family and be
A good example to each fam’ly member.
And when I am a mom or dad, so glad,
I’ll help my fam’ly remember:
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

Words and music: Matthew Neeley

Avante Vitória!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw