Monday, July 13, 2015

Week of July 5-12, 2015

Bom dia (Good day) to all from Teófilo Otoni.  We hope you are all doing well and enjoying the summer.  We enjoy seeing the pictures of your activities and pray daily for your protection with travels and fun!  We have had another busy week here and continue to enjoy our winter.  The temperatures have been in the high 70°F’s during the day and the low 60°F’s at night which is perfect. 

We decided one day this week to take a picture of our morning walk and evening walk along the major east-west thoroughfare through the city, Avenida Luis Boali Porto Salman (most of the roads are named after a person and as we explained in a previous blog, they generally have two surnames and two given names).  The avenida is split by the Rio Todos os Santos (All the Saints River) with one way traffic on either side.  Since we arrived in Teófilo Otoni, the city has been developing a nice sidewalk along each side of the river. Quite often we walk with the Elders that share one of the apartments formed by dividing the former home of a Church member.  The sidewalk is completed, at least from downtown (Centro) to our street and the city has completed cleaning all the leaves along the path so it’s looking good.  Many people come to exercise (walk and run) both in the morning and in the evening along the sidewalk and there is a protected zone along the road for bikes.

Morning and evening along the sidewalk along the Rio Todos os Santos.
Elder Burkinshaw is accompanied by Elder McKay and Elder Nascimento
We had two very long walking days this week as we visited members on the east side of town.  The Centro or downtown is generally flat but as you move in any direction toward the bairros or neighborhoods where people live, there are very large hills or morros.  One of our visits was to Sister Claudia, whose son has scoliosis and will likely require an operation in the bigger city of Belo Horizonte.  Her home is near the top of the bairro of Frei (Friar or Monk) Dimas.  The climb is about 25 stories up a very steep road but fortunately it is paved with asphalt.  Following the visit, we descended to the bairro of Concordia to visit another member and the shortest way was down the concrete stairs seen in the picture below.  

Escadas (stairs) from Frei Dimas bairro to Concordia
   After our second visit, we spent time trying to find small paper bags for the pipoca (popcorn) for our Friday evening showing of Meet the Mormons.  After visiting with several members to identify contacts for renting popcorn machines and then visiting vendors in the Praça (park) we finally got some guidance on who might sell the bags.  After a lot of walking that day, we finally found the bags.  However, we still had to go to the Supermercado (supermarket) to get the popcorn, oil, cups and guaraná.  Unfortunately, not one store had everything we needed so while Sister Burkinshaw taught the English class, Elder Burkinshaw took a taxi to get the rest of the items needed for the activity.  Thus, we walked a lot and we spent quite a sum on taxi fare as well.  But in the end, we got everything wee needed to prepare refreshments for our activity on Friday.

This weeks walking statistics highlighting big days on Thursday and Saturday.
Weekly average was 90 miles and 350 floors - more than we want ;-) 
   Here in Brasil and elsewhere, members provide at least one meal a day for the missionaries to minimize full-time missionary expenses.  Since their meal calendar for the second Friday of each month was empty, we feed the six Elders here in our city.  In Brasil, it is common to eat a light breakfast and a snack in the evening but to have the main meal of the day at lunchtime, called almoço.  This week Sister Burkinshaw decided to cook her first truly authentic Brazilian meal, chicken stroganoff.  Using a recipe from one of the members and combining it with another on-line recipe, she prepared a delicious lunch.  The recipe is printed below or your can go to  Just so you know, she didn't use the white wine cited in the recipe.  We served the stroganoff over rice with batatas palhas (fried potato strings) and it was delicious. She also made brownie fudge sundaes from ingredients she has been able to find here in Brasil.  Although she still has not found white corn syrup, she did discover that a can of creme de leite (sweetened condensed milk) and a hershey's dark chocolate bar makes great hot fudge.  The Elders ate it all up quickly and jokingly wished they'd had time for a nap after lunch, but being the dedicated missionaries they are, they went back to work.  

Chicken Stroganoff
 There are variations on the original recipe– and this Brazilian version of Stroganoff is one of them.  Serves: 4
  • 2.2 pounds (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound (about 450 g) fresh common white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • ¾ cup heavy cream (sour cream, plain or Greek yogurt, or coconut milk can be substituted for the heavy cream)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • I also added 1 pkg. cream cheese (Sister Burkinshaw)
  1. Pat the chicken breasts dry, cut into 2-inch cubes, and season with salt and pepper. In a large stainless steel pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the cubed chicken in batches so that it is browned on all sides, then let rest on a plate or bowl after pan-frying.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onions, cooking and stirring occasionally until they are soft (approximately 3 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Return chicken to the pan!!! Pour in the wine and let cook until it has been almost completely absorbed. Stir in both the tomato sauce and the chicken stock/broth. Cook, partially covered, over medium-low heat for 40 – 45 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until the they are browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and reserve.
  4. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the heat and fold in the mushrooms, heavy cream, mustard, and parsley. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if necessary.
  5. Serve the Chicken Stroganoff with white rice and shoestring potatoes. Or, as a variation, serve with your favorite pasta. And don’t forget those shoestring potatoes!
Our happy, well-fed Elders after Sister Burkinshaw's almoço of Chicken Strogonanoff and Brownie Fudge Sundaes
   Following lunch for the Elders, we watched Elder Packer's funeral and then popped enough popcorn to fill 120 bags for the Meet the Mormons night at the movies activity at the Church.  Elder Burkinshaw got a routine going so it only took a couple of hours using our propane stove.

The popcorn factory for Friday's activity at the Church
  Our night at the movie went well and we had about 80 people attend including several non-members and investigators.  We had hoped for more, but there are always schedule conflicts so we were grateful for those who came and brought their family and friends.   "Meet the Mormons" is a great movie (available now on NetFlix) and since we will be here next year on July 10th, and we didn't put a year on the posters, we are savings them for next year and we will do another missionary activity on July 10, 2016.  We have decided our next activity we will do a "bolo" (Brazilian cake) pot-luck for the refreshments which will involve more of the members and be much easier for this old missionary casal (couple).  

The Teófilo Otoni chapel set up for movie night "Meet the Mormons"

Our wonderful members and friends enjoying refreshments after the movie.

   Sister Burkinshaw forgot to include this picture last week, but it is definitely noteworthy, not because she is getting any younger and wanted to share her picture (although that should be one of the blessings the Lord includes with willing missionary service don't you think?), but because she found someone here in Brazil to cut her hair.  With each passing week getting a hair cut became more of a priority as we are outside everyday and with the scarcity of hairspray as well as the heat (even during the winter) it was needed.  Sister Young, the mission president's wife told us she cried after her first hair cut in Brazil so it was a little scary.  After looking at people's hair she finally asked a sister from the branch who cut her hair.  She was kind enough to set her up with a lady that actually comes to the house, which means she doesn't have to walk to get her hair cut, it was great!!.  The stylist did a great job and we scheduled her again for the first of August on a preparation day.

Last picture.  We noticed yesterday at church that a couple of our missionaries had the same tie on. They actually both bought their tie at different times in the same store in Nanuque which is three hours west of here and part of our Zone.  They have been companions the past six weeks.  Elder Moreira (left) has been our District leader.  We have transfers this week so we are losing two of our Elders.  Elder Moreira called us Sunday evening at 10:00pm to tell us that he and Elder Nascimento will be transferred.  He also reported that Sister Burkinshaw was being transferred (joke).  It only took a few seconds before we could hear him and the other three elders in their apartment start laugh.  We do enjoy these Elders!!  We are glad Sister Burkinshaw will not be transferred - Elder Burkinshaw does not want a new companion!

Elders Moreira and Chaves with their matching ties - very colorful!

Avante Vitória!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw

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