Weeks of March 20 - April 3, 2016
We said goodbye to 7 of our experienced missionaries as they returned home and welcomed 17 new missionaries (10 Sisters and 7 Elders) on March 22, 2016 which is always fun but a lot of work, particularly for Sister Burkinshaw who prepares the materials for the departing missionaries and arriving missionaries. As we looked around the room at our trainers we were impressed, many of these trainers just completed their own two transfer training period and they are inspiring.
After the announcement from the 1st presidency in December 2015 that missions were no longer to hold "transfer meetings" President and Sister Young moved our meeting with the new missionaries from the mission home to one of the chapels and invited the trainers to participate in the meeting. After using that format for two transfers they decided to move the meeting back to the mission home. We bring the new missionaries from the airport on a bus to the mission home and train them upstairs in the condominium. The common area downstairs is used to train the trainers. We meet together for a brief meeting and lunch downstairs in the common area. The missionaries have only two opportunities to be in the mission home, when the arrive and when the leave, so it is nice for them to have this opportunity. We had one of the largest groups we will have, and all though a little tight for lunch, it worked so unless the neighbors start to complain about having all the missionaries there once every six weeks we should be good.
|Sister Matano (new from Curitiba), Sisters Jenson and Barbosa (trainers) and Sister Onofre (new from Rio Grande do Sul) at the lunch for new missionaries and their trainers.|
|Sisters Vieira and Ferretiz (trainers) and Sister Ramos (new from São Paulo) and Sister Hora (new from Bahia) at the the training lunch.|
|Sister Camelo (Trainer), Sister Jube (new from Provo), Sister Gonsalez (Trainer), Sister Souza (new from São Paulo), Sister Oliveira (Trainer) and Sister Woodard (new from Boise).|
|Elder Sessions (Trainer), Elder Nascimento (new from Fortaleza), Elder M Silva (new also from Fortaleza) and Elder B. Machado (Trainer) at the lunch after new missionary training.|
|Elder Rolim (new from Curitiba), Elders Pereira and Arias (Trainers) and Elder Sousa (new from Fortaleza) at the lunch following new missionary training.|
|Elder Verçoza and Elder A Pereira, our two Assistants doing what they always do, even at the lunch following new missionary training, try to solve missionary problems by phone.|
|All 40 of the participants for the new missionary training session.|
The weekend following transfers was Easter. Good Friday was a holiday here in Brazil and because most businesses were closed including the banks, post office and the Church offices in São Paulo, it was a nice quiet Friday that allowed us to catch up on some projects for which we normally don't have time. On Easter Sunday, Sister Burkinshaw played for an Easter cantata in the Vitória Ward Primary (very well done with short statements of truth, a song and a question for discussion on each topic). Elder Burkinshaw taught the priesthood lesson which was based on President Uchtdorf's "It Works Wonderfully" October 2015 conference talk. He used the portable Bose sound box to play a couple of segments with the iPad for video. We found the portable BOSE sound box to be invalueable. We introduced President Young to it and he had one of his children bring one to Brazil. He has been using it for training meetings and firesides. It has excellent sound and the portability makes it a great teaching tool in a variety of situations.
We enjoyed Easter Almoço (lunch) at Bispo Jocimar's home with the Sister missionaries assigned to the Maruipe ward. It was a traditional Brazilian Easter lunch with a roasted chicken and "Torta Capixaba" a traditional Vitória dish which is cod fish pie (for us chicken pot pie). Cod, as you might guess, is not a tropical fish but a cold water fish so it is shipped dried and salted from Chile and is popular all over Brazil, presumably because of their Portuguese heritage (cod for Portugal came from the North Sea). It was quite good. We saved our traditional American Easter dinner with ham, scalloped potatoes and deviled eggs for General Conference Sunday
|This box with a small loaf of bread and small bottle of grape juice was given to each of the Primary children (and Sister Burkinshaw for playing the piano) to remind them of the Sacrament.|
Following Easter weekend, we had the final push to complete the CPFs (Cadastro de Pessoas Física - a form of identity used by the Brazilian government) for the foreign missionaries. Our last two foreign missionaries were Elder Arroyo from Houston and Elder Arias from Argentina so this was our last lunch at McDonald´s near the Receita Federal (Federal Revenue office) where we complete the CPF process.
And of course we cannot have a blog post without some pictures from our morning walks along the beach. The first is of a hungry caterpillar (remember the book?) when we were walking along the Praia do Canto (Beach of Song).
|Beautiful sunrise during our morning walk here in Vitória.|
With a celebration of Easter comes an appreciation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ as outlined in 3 Nephi 27:13-21:
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;
22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
One of the miracles that we see over and over in the mission field is how The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses the lives of those who embrace it. One of the ways we have seen this process is in the lives of our young missionaries. As they gain a deeper understanding of Christ and of His Atonement it changes them (and occasionally the result is being released early from their service as a missionary to fully resolve previous issues), but the blessing is that it allows them to be freed from the burdens they have been carrying and to move forward with a greater portion of the Spirit in their lives. As we watch this process we feel and embrace the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland when he said, "O Evangelho de Jesus Cristo é tudo para mim (The Gospel of Jesus Christ means everything to me)!!"
Elder and Sister Burkinshaw