Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weeks of August 10-29, 2015

  Following a week and a half of training in the mission office, we boarded the bus from Vitória to Teófilo Otoni at 9:00pm Thursday evening, August 13 and arrived there at about 8:00am Friday morning.  The FitBit said we did not sleep at all which is accurate.  We took a quick shower and then took the Elders and our favorite taxi driver, Cleiton, to lunch.

Final almoço (lunch) with the Teófilo Otoni Elders.  (Left to Right) Elder Daniel, Elder Silva, Elder Machado, Elder Oliveiera, Sister Burkinshaw, Elder Burkinshaw, Cleiton (our favorite taxi driver), Elder McKay (Hendricksen), and Elder Chaves.  We fed them once a month.  
   On Friday afternoon, Irmão Winston Franklin da Silva called and asked if we could give him a priesthood blessing, so we arranged to go by to visit him.  Elders Machado and Chaves met us there and Elder Chaves annointed and I sealed the annointing. Since Franklin  was recently ordained an Elder, we made it a teaching experience and also gave him his own small vial of consecrated oil to keep on his key chain and a booklet of chapter 20 of Handbook 2 Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings (in Portuguese).  He seemed genuinely touched and appreciative.  He then offered to take us to our next appointment which was a special family home evening.

Irmão Winston Franklin da Silva, a recent convert who was ordained an Elder who we have been teaching about church government.
   Friday evening we had a special family home evening at the home of Jeanderson Anjos, who is the first counselor in the Teófilo Otoni Branch presidency.  Irmão Jeanderson is a great young man, a returned missionary, relatively recently married and the father of a new baby girl.  Their home is in a neighborhood accessible by a street so steep that we had to walk the last 150 meters because Irmão Franklin's car could not make it up.  Several members were present along with neighbors they had invited to learn more about the church.  

Family home evening (l to r) Rebeca, Daiane and Jeanderson do Anjos, Elder Machado, Elder Chaves, Marcelo Barbosa, Karina Soares, her father Alvino da Silva and a neighbor.
   It was a wonderful evening and we were anxious to get to bed afterwards but unfortunately Irmão Alvino's car got a flat tire just after we left.  So we helped him change the tire, which turned out to be relatively quick.

Changing a flat tire with Irmão Alvino da Silva after Family Home Evening.  The process was quick and it was more work to get the tools out than change the tire - pois é!
    Saturday morning we started organizing and packing stuff for the move on Monday and then in the afternoon, we were invited to a special Primary activity.  In Brazil, Fathers day is the third Sunday in August so the Primary was having a special activity for fathers and the Primary President, Sister Carmen, invited us to attend and help since many of the fathers were not able to attend.

Primary President, Irmã Carmen, speaking to the Primary Children at the special activity for Fathers Day.  Note there are 13 balloons on the blackboard, and she selected a child to pop each balloon and then recite the Article of Faith number contained in the balloon.

The Primary children and their parents at the Fathers Day activity.  If our family moved to the Branch, our 21 grandchildren would more than double the attendance!
   After opening exercises with a song, prayer and a message on the importance of families by Irmã Carmen, they had some child-father relay activities.

The "egg on a spoon in your mouth" relay race at the Primary Fathers Day activity.

The gunnysack relay race at the Primary Fathers Day activity. Elder Burkinshaw and Presidente Costa were very competitive.  Presidente Costa went a little too fast and fell just before this picture was taken--Elder Burkinshaw won!!
   Following the Primary Activity, Sister Burkinshaw taught her final English class.  And then we met all the Elders at Donna Pizza (the local Pizza Parlor) for Pizza to honor Elder Daniel who would turn 25 on Sunday.  Elder Daniel has already completed a university degree in Automação (automation which is really process control).  He has quite an inspiring story about how he was able to complete his program, which included a special automation project just hours before he had to leave for the MTC.

At Donna Pizza to honor Elder Daniel who turns 25 the following day (Sunday).  Elder Machado and Elder Oliveira not shown because Elder Oliveira was home with a sore foot. It was matching tie day for the Elder's, two black and two pink (ha, ha).
Elder Daniel's birthday present from Sister Burkinshaw - a jar of Peter Pan Peanut Butter.
   Sunday morning we spoke in the Sacrament Meetings of both the Teófilo Otoni and the Ipiranga branches.  It was a bit difficult because we had so many plans to prepare members for advancement in the priesthood and missions and temple ordinances.  But it was also a very happy time to consider the many friends we have made and the progress achieved.

Elder Burkinshaw with Pedro Filgueiras who will soon receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Camila (organist and Gospel Doctrine Teacher) and Hítalo (First Counselor in the Branch Presidency) Marques who are expecting their first child, a girl named Luiza, soon. Camila teaches English and is a self taught pianist, very impressive. They have big plans for little Luiza!  Hítalo's tie was from the Primary activity.

Sister and Elder Burkinshaw with Juliano da Silva, Teófilo Otoni Branch President.

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw with Bruna Pires, Sister Burkinshaw's best English student.

With recently baptized Rayssa de Oliveira and her grandparents and younger sister.

With Franklin Fernandes who just received his mission call to Brasilia starting in October.

With the family of Celso Vogel.  Daniel (L) and Mateus (R) will soon be missionaries.
   Following our church meetings, we had lunch with Presidente Marcio Costa and his family. They have been so kind to us and helped us so much when we first arrived in Teófilo Otoni. We hope they will be able to visit us in Vitória next March when their son Lucas returns from his mission in Salvador.  Presidente Costas mother, Irmã Eva, makes the best maionese (potato salad) in Brasil!

Presidente Marcio Costa and his mother Irmã Eva after almoço (lunch) at their home.

Elder Burkinshaw gave his favorite blue ties to João Pedro (15) and William (17) with the understanding that they would wear these ties when they go into the mission field.
   Following lunch, we made a few visits on our walk home and then continued organizing and packing for Monday.  It was a short night and we spent Monday morning finalizing the packing and moving our things into the garage for the move.  Mudanças Fonseca arrived at about 3:00pm on Monday and we had all the missionaries there to help us move the stuff into the moving van.  We were finished by 4:00pm - definitely the fastest loading we have ever made in all our moves.

In front of the Teófilo Otoni house in Ipiranga bairro with the moving van loaded and ready.
    Following the loading of our things, we joined the missionaries for a special dessert made by Elder Olivieira, who plans on becoming a chef following his mission.  He made pudding with maracujá (passion fruit) which is supposed to help you sleep.  Given that we were preparing for the all-night bus ride back to Vitória, it was an appropriate dessert.  We also played UNO with the Elders for an hour.  The cards and the rules are slightly different but a good time was had by all.

Pudim de maracujá and UNO cards for our final activity with the Teófilo Otoni Elders.

The Teófilo Otoni Elders after loading our stuff into the moving van and eating pudim de maracujá.  Elder Daniel is feigning sleep already!
   After the Elders left for their evening proselyting following Monday P-Day, we went to the Rodoviária (bus station) for our 8:20pm bus to Vitória.  Many of the branch members were there to bid us farewell.

At the Rodoviária (bus station) with Elder Burkinshaw is Presidente Marcio Costa, his son João Pedro and wife Andreya, Douglas Gonçalves and William Ferreira.

Sister Burkinshaw at the Rodoviária (bus station) with Laurinha Heloisa dos Santos and Bruna Rayssa de Oliveira, two of her excellent English students.

Sister Burkinshaw with Dayana Santos de Jesus who is submitting her mission papers.

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw with four of our most promising future missionaries, Marcelo Vitor Barbosa, João Pedro Monteiro, Douglas Fernandes Gonçalves and William Ferreira.

A group picture of some of the members who came to see us off at the Teófilo Otoni Rodoviária (bus station) on Monday evening before we left for Vitória.  We will miss them!
    After many abraços (hugs) and a few tears, we boarded the all-night bus for Vitória.  We arrived the next morning at about 8:00am just in time to catch a taxi to our new apartment. The FitBit again confirmed that we did not sleep at all on the bus.  Elder Carvalho had arranged for some of the Vitória Zone to meet us at 9:00am to unload the van and it only took about an hour even though there was only one service elevator and we are on the 14th floor of the apartment building.

Members of the Vitória Zone ready to help us unload the moving van and move our things to the 14th floor of the Affinity Home Edifício (Building).  We will post more pictures of the apartment next week.
   We spent the rest of the day arranging and setting up the furniture and appliances in our new apartment and making an initial run to the grocery store.  We will post some picture of the apartment next week.  Once again, we slept well after the all-night bus ride on Monday.
   On Wednesday, we continued our training with Elder Carvalho (financial secretary) and Elder McDown (executive secretary).  Transfers occur every six weeks and the next transfer would begin next weekend so we were hurrying to prepare for that event.  Since we now work in the mission office, our Preparation Day is on Saturday.  Saturday morning, we cleaned our apartment and went grocery shopping at the nearby Horto (Garden) Supermercado.  When we got back, we had a text from President Young that the transfer board was complete, so our P-Day was cut short and we began the logistics for the transfers which included preparing a schedule of who would come into Vitória on Tuesday for the transfer meeting and then buying bus tickets for all them, which we completed about 9:00pm.
   Sunday was Stake Conference for the Vitória Stake.  We had been advised that the general session would be at 10:00am so we arrived early at 9:40am only to discover that they hold split sessions beginning at 8:00am and again at 11:00am.  We got to hear the last 20 minutes of conference and then headed back home for lunch and back to the office to complete preparations for the transfers.
   Monday we finished paying bills and preparing documents and training for the newly arriving missionaries and adjusting bus tickets for the zone leaders who also come in for the Transfer Meeting.  We also cleaned the meetinghouse (following two sessions of stake conference, it was in need of cleaning) in preparation for the transfer meeting the following day and then organized the packages and letters going out to the different zones across the mission.  Tuesday morning at 7:00am, we were at the Vitória airport to greet four new sister missionaries arriving from the CTM (Centro de Treinamento de Missionários or Missionary Training Center - MTC in English).  Two of the new sisters were from Brazil, one was from Bolivia and one from the United States.  We took them to the Mission Home where President and Sister Young greeted them and we had a two hour training and testimony meeting which was excellent followed by a wonderful lunch.
   We then took the new Sisters to the nearby Jardim da Penha meetinghouse where the transfer meeting began at 2:00pm.  At this meeting, President Young announced over the pulpit the transfers associated with replacing 12 missionaries who had completed their missions and were going home.  Assistants, zone leaders, district leaders, sister trainer leaders, trainers and new senior companions were announced following by their geographical assignments.  The zone leaders then received the bus tickets for the members of their zones and we loaded those going out of town on to a large bus and went with them
to the rodoviária.

Cascade of missionaries visiting about their new assignments following transfer meeting.

Picking up packages and letters following the transfer meeting.

Loading the taxi bus for the ride from the transfer meeting to the Rodoviária (bus station)

Unloading the taxi bus in front of the Rodoviária.

Getting everyone to their gate at the Rodoviária (bus station)
Elder Burkinshaw with Elder Garcia and Elder Carvalho, the two previous financial secretaries, including the obligatory "money" tie which is passed to the new secretary.

Sister Burkinshaw with Elder McDown and Elder Olsen, the two previous executive secretaries.
   Once we were sure all the missionaries had their tickets and all their luggage, we returned to the mission office.  Because several homes were closed this transfer, Thursday was spent finalizing the closures and movement of furniture.
   Friday morning, Irmão Guilherme de Oliviera from the São Paulo central offices in Brasil came to train me.  It turns out that Guilherme is from Teófilo Otoni and was baptized there and trained as a home teaching companion to Presidente Marcio.  He then went on a mission to São Paulo, returned home to Teófilo Otoni but then went back to São Paul to work for the Church.  He is now 29 years old, has a wife and 3 children, is finishing the last two semester of his accounting degree and was recently called as a bishop.  We had a great time discussing the financial secretaries duties and also visiting about people we knew in Teófilo Otoni.  We also shared our training materials for new bishops with him.  

Sister and Elder Burkinshaw with Guilherme de Oliveira who will be our contact at the church's central office in São Paulo.  He was a great trainer and will be a great resource.
   We went from 8:00am to about 8:00pm, when Guilherme left for the airport.  We were finishing things up in the office when we received a call from him about 8:30pm saying he had forgotten his cell phone.  We grabbed his phone, hopped in a taxi.  We explained the situation to the taxi driver and he went into race-mode.  Sister Burkinshaw said she was praying the whole time that we would arrive safely.  Taxi drivers normally drive fast but in this situation, race was the correct term.  Fortunately we got Guilherme his phone, he made his flight and the taxi driver drove much more slowly on the way home.  We tipped him generously for his efforts. ;-)
   More on our adventures in Vitória next week!

Avante Vitória

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw  

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