Weeks of September 21-October 11, 2015
Vitória and the entire state of Espirito Santo is "tropical" which means it is between the equator and the tropic of capricorn and on about November 15 around 12:30, the sun reach it's zenith or in other words, it will be exactly 180° above the city both north-south and east-west. Until that time, the sun shines from the north. After that date, the sun will shine from the south until about January 29 when the sun hits it zenith again and afterward will shine from the north. For those who are interested, here's a site that provides date and location adjustable maps. The bottom line is that Vitória is warm with lush vegetation. And although the season is spring, for us raised in cooler climates, it is what we would call hot! For that reason, we arise at 5:30am each morning to walk. Currently, the sun rises at 5:15am but next Sunday (two weeks before the United States) the clock springs forward in daylight savings time and then we'll be getting up in the dark.
|During our early morning walk along the beach, we watch rowing crews with the Vitória city and the Terçeiro Ponte (bridge) in the background.|
|Another early morning rowing crew with Ilha do Boi in the background.|
Gradually we are getting to know all of our ±130 young missionaries. They live a very austere life as they dedicate their whole time and energies to sharing the most important message in the world with the people here. While senior missionaries also live a more spartan life, we have access to our personal resources. We enjoy treating missionaries to pizza or Sister Burkinshaw's delicious cookies or brownies. The only English-speaking elder who served with us in Teófilo Otoni, Elder Cody McKay (he uses his middle name as his surname because it's familiar to Brazilians, and we already had an Elder Hendrickson, but his surname is Hendrickson) had a birthday last week. Unfortunately he was still in Teófilo Otoni and we were an 11-hour bus ride away in Vitória. So, like we have for other missionaries, we took a picture and sent a vicarious treat with the promise of a pizza dinner in the future. Here is the picture. the brownies were from melskitchencafe.com and they are delicious! A side note, as mentioned our missionaries often have to use a different name as we can only have one missionary in the mission with any given name. Sometimes we will do W. Santos or T. Santos to distinguish. In Brazil this is quite difficult as they have long names that are very similar. It has taken a while to sort them all out especially the Silva's and Santos. In looking at our upcoming transfer we have four more Silva's coming which adds to the five or six we have now who have had to adjust their name. We have heard that it makes doing family history also quite difficult. Our daughter's should thank us for not giving them middle names so they only have Burkinshaw to deal with.
|Sister Burkinshaw eating one of her delicious brownies as a vicarious treat for Elder McKay who was celebrating his 20th birthday. This vicarious treat can be redeemed for a future pizza dinner.|
Last Friday night, October 2, we left the office about 7:00pm and went to the Horto Supermercado to buy groceries and ordered a chicken Parmesan dinner to go. We had so many things, we took a taxi back to our apartment and unfortunately, we left our small bag, which contained among other things, Sister Burkinshaw's iPhone. When we realized we had left it in the taxi, we turned on the Find My Phone app and Elder Burkinshaw began to try to find the taxi by running to where it was on the app. He eventually engaged another taxi and put the iPhone in "Lost" mode and had it make noise to alert the taxi driver. Unfortunately, the taxi driver must have decided that he didn't want it to be found and he turned it off. He would periodically turn it on but then turn it off quickly thereafter so we couldn't find it. After searching late into the night, we gave up trying to find it and erased the contents using the app. We then had the cell phone company cancel the chip. It was a disappointing lesson to learn - most people are honest but there are a few who are not. There were several other things in the MIssâo Brazil Vitória bag which we spent a good part of the day on saturday replacing so we would have them available for transfers. Such a hard lesson to learn! Silver lining to this sad story, while at the mall to replace a cord to be able to use the sound system at the chapel we also found the chocolate store. One of the Elder's had given us one and now we know where to find them. We drowned our sorrows with a few varieties of chocolates--so, so good.
Since it was Sister Burkinshaw who left the bolso (bag) on the back seat of the taxi Elder Burkinshaw words of comfort all evening were "it will all work out". Sister Marriott's conference talk Saturday morning was comforting and also humbling as she spoke of their experience while serving in Brazil. She said, "In 1970, when the missionaries taught me about the Father’s plan of salvation and of the Savior’s Atonement, my waiting ended. I embraced these truths and was baptized. Based on this knowledge of the Lord’s mercy and power, my husband, children, and I chose this family motto: “It will all work out.” Yet how can we say those words to one another when deep troubles come and answers aren’t readily available? When our delightful, worthy, 21-year-old daughter, Georgia, was hospitalized in critical condition following a bike accident, our family said, “It will all work out.” As I flew immediately from our mission in Brazil to Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, to be with her, I clung to our family motto. However, our lovely daughter passed into the spirit world just hours before my plane landed. With grief and shock running through our family like a current, how could we look at one another and still say, “It will all work out”?" Their family of course continues faithfully as will we and the bag of worldly things seemed very insignificant in comparison to the loss they experienced while serving in Brazil. I did appreciate the words she shared from President Hinckley “If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God. … The Lord will not forsake us.” Hopefully it won't take too long for them to replace the mission credit card that was in the bag as we use that often to keep things running in the mission.
We spent the rest of the weekend preparing for transfers which took place on Tuesday, October 6. There is significant coordination required because first, you have training and final interviews for the missionaries who go home, training and initial interviews for the new missionaries who are arriving and then a transfer meeting in Vitória where all the missionaries who will be transferred meet to learn who their new companions and areas will be. At the end of the Transfer Meeting, we sing the Mission song with a slide show of recent activities and baptisms. For this transfer, we had slides of the missionaries marching in the Cariacica 7 de Setembro (Brazilian Independence Day) parade. Here are the lyrics to the mission song (sung to the tune of the hymn #263 "Go Forth with Faith" and a link to the slide show.
Hino da Missão Brasil Vitória
Pros-se-guir-e-mos em tão gran-de cau-sa do Sen-hor
A-van-te pra'a Vitória com fpe no Sal-va-dor.
Pro-cla-mai com de-di-ca-ção e a-le-gri--a.
Co-ra-gem, ir-mãos, e a-van-te pra'a Vitória.
Com ca-ri-da-de e a-mor lu-ta-mos com vi-gor.
E-fei-tu-ar a re-un-ião dos elei-tos do sen-hor.
Tra-zer al-mas ao Re-den-tor é nos-sa glór-i-a.
Re-go-zi-ja-mos e a-van-te pra'a Vitória.
Ao en-to-ar o rei dos reis com can-tos de lou-vour.
Hor-ra-dos va-mos ba-ti-zar os fi-lhos do Sen-hor.
Se-lan-do com po-der do ceu a nos-sa histo-ri-a.
Este é o lega-do da Mis-são Bra-sil Vi-tór-i-a.
We hope your are all doing well and enjoying the fall season. We loved conference and can't believe that last conference we were in Salt Lake, the six months have gone fast and we have found that missionary work is work, but we see the miracle of the gospel daily--mostly in the lives of the missionaries we serve.
Elder and Sister Burkinshaw