Monday, December 28, 2015

Weeks of December 14 - December 25, 2015

We love this time of year and the Christmas spirit that is in the hearts of so many. It is no different here in Brazil. Brazil is a little less commercial and since we don't get a lot of opportunity to shop, that aspect of Christmas hasn't been problematic, if anything we may have even missed it a little. Our ward (Maruipe Ward) did a Christmas musical devotional last Saturday evening that turned out very nice. Sister Burkinshaw played the piano for the musical numbers and Elder Burkinshaw sang with the choir. The program, which included musical numbers (some very nice voices in this ward), Christmas videos and a narration was very well done and the beautiful display of finger foods was amazing. 
Somebody went to a lot of work to prepare for a very nice evening. The individually wrapped bread (on the back right) is Brazilian fruit cake which is a very popular gift.

Amazing Christmas spread at the Maruipe Ward Christmas Devotional.
Lots of ward members enjoying the food and a little picture taking in front of the Christmas tree.
Elder and Sister Burkinshaw dressed in Christmas red posing in front of the food. 
It is interesting that the mission office and responsibilities are or should be pretty routine and in some ways they are, but there is also a continuous element of unplanned events that provide opportunity for learning and stretching. We thought we would share a few of those experiences from the past couple of weeks. What is amazing through all of them is that the work moves steadily forward seemingly uninterrupted. What is also evident is that our young missionaries move happily forward in faith and with a great deal of optimism. So what follows are a few experiences from the past couple of weeks.

Experience One: About three weeks ago Sister Burkinshaw finally received a response back from São Paulo with confirmation that one of our Elders from Bolivia needed to leave a few weeks before our December 29th transfer or before his Brazilian visa expired. The faithfulness of this Elder was evident when Elder Burkinshaw called to inform him and his response was "Sério?" (Seriously?). He was anxious to see his family again and be home for the holidays, but at the same time he felt his time in the mission was being cut short two weeks and he wasn't quite finished with what he wanted to accomplish. As he came to the mission office for his final interview with President Young we held back a few tears as he reminded us of a couple he had worked with who were not yet baptized and he asked that we not forget them. The couple married after this Elder committed them to do so, but are still working through some issues.

D&C 64:9-10 is appropriate here.  "Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive on another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.  The missionaries never seem to have trouble seeing people through the eyes of the Savior Jesus Christ whose name they wear.  President Uchtdorf in April 2012 said, "This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: STOP IT! It's that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters." This young Elder had that kind of love!!

Experience Two: There are always problems with the housing for missionaries. We have a sister from Hawaii serving in the mission who is the cutest, sweetest missionary. A week ago we received the following e-mail from her. "Good morning! So I am writing this email to say that the toilet here in Ancheita does not flush correctly. The water pressure is wrong so we use a water bucket to flush. Also the shower head fell out of the wall completely. Luckily the water falls nicely out of the wall so we are able to still take a shower."  That was the e-mail. Remember in Brazil that hot water comes from the shower head so the water coming "nicely out of the wall" is cold! Our missionaries just handle the challenges that come and patiently wait for some help. Knowing Sister Wheeler it wasn't hard to hear her sweet voice in this email and appreciate the tone with which it was sent. Needless to say Elder Burkinshaw made a quick call and got someone over there as quickly as possible, even with that effort it was several days before the problems were resolved.

Experience Three:  The past couple of weeks President and Sister Young have been holding special Zone Conferences for Christmas. The Zone conference included the normal three hours of training, but added a special Christmas lunch and activity in the afternoon. The meetings have been planned and arranged by the Zone leaders as have the lunch and activity. They have each been different, but enjoyed by all.  In one Zone the lunch experience became one of those nightmares you have the night before an activity that you have planned and prepared for.  The Zone leaders found someone to cater the lunch, they required half of the payment in advance, that the missionaries purchase the meat for the "churrasco" (brazilian barbacue) and the other half of the payment after the meal. The meal was for 30 and the price was such that it seemed a sure thing to have a fine meal. The Zone meeting training proceeded and 30 minutes before the end, the Zone leader went to check and make sure everything was ready for lunch.  As he walked back into the chapel it was evident from his face that there was a problem. The caterer did show up with a 9x13 pan of rice (to feed 30 missionaries), a few other small servings of items and a very small grill, not sufficient to grill meat for 30. President and Sister Young walked into the office about 3:00pm having just finished lunch and reported that the workers were excused, another lunch location found, the meat will be frozen and saved for next weeks transfer meals and the Zone Leaders were determined to re-coop their financial loss if at all possible. Sister Young reported that although very disappointing for the Zone Leaders they would be fine. They are missionaries who would "Cast not away therefore [their] confidence..." - "For the Lord shall be thy confidence...." The Christmas Zone meetings were a great success. We were sad we missed out on the Vitória Zone Meeting, but we had an audit that day--which was so much more fun (ar, arr,arrr).

Experience Four: Mission audit, something that only happens every three years. The outcome, it is a miracle that missions all over the world stay fairly financially stable with the constant turn over in unpaid missionaries who need about four months to understand what is happening financially in a mission.  We came away with a list of things that we should be doing, although we are not sure how we find the time to do them all. One suggestion was to use our accounting contact in the São Paulo office more, who, by the way has 13 other missions who need the same help as well as three young children, a wife (who probably doesn't see him very often), is a young bishop and is going to night school to finish his accounting degree. We were told that most mission offices have four or five people (please contact us if you have a desire to serve a mission in Brazil!!!).  After a few days of struggling with possible solutions to the challenges we face keeping things going, we counseled with President Young and it was decided we would continue with just the two of us and do the best we could. (The next audit will come after all of us have been released.)  We will put things in order the best we can and continue to pray that the Stake Presidents will find local members who can serve as Church Service Missionaries with Missionary Apartments. It continues to be a very humbling experience, but a constant reminder that the Lord provides when needed.

Experience Five: We had two Elders come into Vitória this past week, one an American and one Brazilian. The Brazilian had to check in with the Brazilian equivalent of the draft to continue his deferment while serving a mission. The American is new having just arrived in the mission last transfer. He is from Texas with a wonderful Texas accent. We took them to lunch and Elder Lake, the American elder, said he told his parents if they wanted a humbling experience, go on a mission and learn a foreign language. While we concur that is true we are also amazed at the abilities of these young missionaries to learn the language. We have another one of our American Elders who has been here two transfers (twelve weeks) who will be a trainer this week - that is miraculous! 

Christmas Week. The packages just keep coming and coming and coming. The challenge is when they arrive so close to Christmas it is't possible to get them out to the missionaries in time for Christmas. Because of Stake and District conferences this month President and Sister Young had to hold Zone meetings early so most of the Christmas packages had not yet arrived, but they are here now. However, every few days we have one of Santa's elves stop by the office to pick up the missionaries' packages. This Christmas elf came into Vitoria (from Colatina) on the bus and stopped to pick up a few packages on his way home via the bus. 

A closet full of Christmas Packages for the Missionaries.

One of our Christmas Elves, we are so thankful for their service to the missionaries.
We had a wonderful Christmas Eve. We watched the Christmas nativity video together, read "The Little Star Story", sang Christmas carols and did a google chat with all seven of our children and their families. Sarah put together a couple of videos that were so AMAZING and we appreciated that gift as well as a package that arrived two days before Christmas. It came with a few ties for Elder Burkinshaw and a pair of headphones and used iPhone in some Hershey kisses for safe keeping.  The iPhone will probably always smell like peppermint.  We appreciate modern technology which allows us to be far from home, but still able to see and talk to everyone.  We have an amazing family and feel so blessed. Below is a link to the videos if your interested in watching them. 

2015 Burkinshaw Family Christmas Nativity

2015 Christmas Caroling

Christmas morning we took an early morning walk on the beach and then prepared dinner for us and the two elders that are serving in the ward we are assigned to. The dinner was delicious and since we had the Bartlesville elders over to our apartment for dinner Christmas 2014 and to talk to their families it all felt very familiar, although we are pretty sure it was much colder in Bartlesville last year than our very warm 92°F on Christmas day. We are ever thankful for our air conditioner (which is only in the bedroom) that can keep our small apartment cool enough to be comfortable. 

Elder Burkinshaw with the Maruipe Elders. Elder Sessions left and Elder Chaves right.
Elder Chaves opening his package that arrived Christmas Eve from a faithful Bishop.
Elder Chaves, left, working his magic with the Selfie.
Our last bit of news concerns transfers which take place tuesday, December 29th. Two days before Christmas the brethren in Salt Lake did a training for mission presidents worldwide which changes completely the way we have been doing transfers here in Vitória. We will no longer hold a transfer meeting.  The tradition of a transfer meeting was handed down to President and Sister Young and they have worked hard the last year and a half to make it an edifying meeting. The new counsel, however, was very specific and President Young is obedient so with just a few days it was decided to implement completely the new counsel. The planning and logistics will take some getting use to and most of that is being given to the Zone and District leaders. For us, we get back the two days that had been consumed with the transfer meeting preparation.  This transfer we had already pre-purchased bus tickets because of the holidays so Elder Burkinshaw had to spend a considerable amount of time changing bus tickets to make them work as the only missionaries that will come into Vitória will be those called to train the new missionaries coming from the CTM (MTC). The change will improve uninterrupted proselyting time and reduce expenses for the mission, but it will take a little experience and time to adjust. The doctrines and principles of the Church are constant, but the growth requires constant adaptation and this is one of those times. 

Elder Burkinshaw once again working his magic at the bus station. (His is the one in a suit on a very warm afternoon - because of the holiday travel we immediately changed tickets.)
Our love for the Lord continues to grow and we feel very blessed to be a part of the missionary work. We are so grateful for our eternal family and pray daily we will all faithfully work through the opportunities for growth that the Our Heavenly Father provides this coming year. Happy Holidays from Brazil!!

Avante Vitória!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weeks of November 16-December 13, 2015

November 17 was the largest missionary transfer we have experienced so far, as 15 elders and 4 sister entered the mission and 12 seasoned elders departed.  As such, more than half of our 129 missionaries (about 80 of them) changed areas and living quarters.  Generally, President Young finishes the transfer board sometime Saturday afternoon.  We then interleave a spreadsheet of previous assignments with new assignments to come up with a list of what bus tickets are necessary to bring the transferring missionaries into the central city of Vitória and another list of tickets needed to take the missionaries to their new areas. The tickets are then purchased late Saturday evening and then Sunday evening we call the Zone Leaders to advise who needs to come to Vitória for the transfer meeting and whether they will need to bring their belongings or not.  They will not know their new assignment until the Transfer Meeting on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm when President Young announces over the pulpit who is going where.  The departing missionaries come to Vitória early on Monday to participate in a self-reliance class to prepare them for going home and preparing for the rest of their lives.  We use Monday to prepare for the Transfer Meeting by bringing all the letters, packages and proselyting materials to the chapel and also printing the agenda and list of missionary assignments for the transfer.  Tuesday morning, we meet the new missionaries as the arrive at Vitória airport and take them to the mission home for training and lunch.  Then we finish setting up the audio-visual equipment for the Transfer meeting.  After the transfer meeting, we load the missionaries into a double-decker bus and take them to the Vitória bus station (rodoviária) to catch buses to their new areas.  By the time it is over, we breath a sigh of relief and crash at our apartment.  On Wednesday we then start preparing for the next transfer in 6 weeks.

Here are some the the Brazilian Elders who were going home about the same time the new missionaries were arriving.

Sister Young, Sister Burkinshaw, Elder Benicius, who is returning to home to São Paulo, and Elder Burkinshaw.

Elder Rosário, who is returning home to São Paulo, with Sister and Elder Burkinshaw.

Elder Alves, who is returning home to Alagoas, with Sister and Elder Burkinshaw.

Elder Moreira who served with us in Teófilo Otoni and is returning to Recife.

Elder Ramos, who is returning to home to Fortaleza, with Sister and Elder Burkinshaw.

Elder Kuan, who is returning home to São Paulo, with Sister and Elder Burkinshaw.
Three of our departing missionaries with six of our newly arrived missionaries at the Vitória Airport.
On the Friday of transfers, we had the opportunity to assist a couple who wanted to join the Church but were not yet married, a frequent situation here in Brazil.  We met them at a nearby Cartório, which is like a commercial notary public where all kinds of transactions are validated.  There they were married civilly by a judge and Elder Burkinshaw served as a witness.  The next day, they were married at the André Carloni chapel just north of Vitória. Life has not been easy for Wenderson and Inés but they are trying to do the right things.

Elder Burkinshaw signing as one of the marriage witnesses with Wenderson and Inés watching.
Wednerson and Inés with Elder and Sister Burkinshaw following the Civil Marriage ceremony.

Wenderson and Inés with Bispo Jocimar Pinto at the André Carloni meetinghouse
The following week was Thanksgiving.  We visited Sams Club in Vitória to purchase a turkey roast and some "Cheesecake Factory" cheesecake for desert.  It made for a much more familiar Thanksgiving dinner than Elder Burkinshaw remembers during 1974 and 1975 when serving in São Paul.

Thanksgiving dinner, 26 November, 2015.

President and Sister Young had one of their daughters, Anika and her husband John Zito and their children visit them from Billings, MT.  Their oldest daughter had turned 8 years-old and so they had the baptism and confirmation on the Friday evening of Thanksgiving weekend there in the Jardim da Penha meetinghouse.  The bishop of the ward, his family and the missionaries in the area attended.  It will be a very memorable baptism for the Young´s granddaughter.

After the Baptismal Service for President and Sister Young´s granddaughter.
As Christmas approaches, Elder Burkinshaw received an early Christmas present.  Since September, when our case with Sister Burkinshaw´s iPhone, and the Missions petty cash card and wallet was stolen, he has had to pay the utility bills with cash at several different banks.  Not only has this been time-consuming but also somewhat insecure because of the need to carry large amounts of currency.  However, last week the new petty cash card and bank account arrived in the mail.  They were sent via SEDEX 10, which is the equivalent of overnight insured mail.  However, it took more than 10 days to arrive and had us worried we would be waiting until the New Year.  Afterwards, it took another week and many hours on the phone with Church computer support to get through the firewall to the bank´s website so we can pay the bills on-line again.  But we are now back paying utilities via the internet. Merry Christmas early Elder Burkinshaw!

The new debit card, token (SecureID) and account for the Mission petty cash account.  Merry Christmas Elder Burkinshaw!
We are assigned to attend the Maruipe Ward and so we take every opportunity to support the activities of the Ward.  We recently attended the Young Women in Excellence program on a Friday evening.  One of the sweet returned sister missionaries from the ward, Dayane Gomes, is a counselor in the YW Presidency.  Here is Sister Burkinshaw with Dayane in front of the display in the cultural hall.

Dayane Gomes and Sister Burkinshaw at the Maruipe Ward Young Women in Excellence display.

Sister Burkinshaw is called upon regularly to play the piano and organ and the Vitória Ward asked her to play for their Primary program in Sacrament meeting.  This involved several practices on Saturday afternoons and after the block of meetings on Sunday.  The program was held on the second weekend of December and turned out great!  After the program, many of the children gave her hugs and thank yous and she even received a Christmas basket full of chocolates!

Sister Burkinshaw with two of the Primary girls who gave her a hug and a Christmas basket for playing the piano for their Primary program in Sacrament meeting.

Sister Burkinshaw and the Vitória Primary following their program in Sacrament Meeting.  They were amazed when Sister Burkinshaw told them that if her 22 grandchildren were there, it would more than double their numbers!

As we prepare for Christmas here in Brazil we are ever grateful for the life of the Savior whose birth we celebrate. We are continually reminded of the blessings that His birth has brought into our lives as well the people here in Brazil and around the world. We join our voice with those of the angels who exclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Avante Vitória!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Weeks of October 26 - November 15, 2015

The miracle of rain. Brazil has been very dry this year. As president and Sister Young have traveled to the different areas of the mission they have been concerned about having to move missionaries out of some areas as there has been talk of water rationing. Last weekend an e-mail was sent out requesting members to include the need for rain in a special fast. On Thursday and Friday the prayer was answered as we had significant rain here in Vitória. We didn’t mind having the missionaries from the Vila Velha Zone arrive a little wet to the office Friday for their quarterly interview with President Young as the rain was a welcome relief from the dry. The missionaries do bring a little chaos to the office. Sister Young tries to schedule and organize the interviews so we don’t have more than four missionaries in the office at one time. The office itself while comfortable only has a very small area for visitors (two or three people), which means the missionaries overflow into the work area and it makes it difficult to actually work. Elder Burkinshaw had to kind of smile on Friday when they were all gone as the phrase “….the taillights that take the grand kids home” came to mind. We love the missionaries as we love our grandchildren, but they are easier, and there is less chaos, when they come in small numbers.

One of the things that the office handles is the mail and no surprise missionaries love mail. All of the mail comes through the office. From the office we distribute the mail through the zone leader two or three times a transfer. We get packages large and small as well as letters. It is always interesting to see what packages require additional postage to be picked up, which the missionaries are always happy to pay. Actually Elder Burkinshaw and I usually pay for it and pick it up at the post office several blocks from the mission and then the missionaries pay us back, or at least we hope they pay us back. I suppose there is a small risk involved, but Elder Burkinshaw does hold the purse strings so to speak as he has the ability to adjust in both directions their bi-monthly mesada (monthly allowance).

Sister Franco received several packages in the mail from home and on-line stores.  She had ordered some clothing, not for herself but for another Sister of humble circumstances. It is a blessing to associate with these wonderful and selfless missionaries.

We took a picture of Sister Franco receiving several packages in the mail. The interesting things is she ordered the new shoes and clothes which came, but not for herself. Many of the missionaries come from very humble circumstances so these packages were actually for one of the other missionaries in the mission who will appreciate her thoughtfulness and put the items to good use.

An interesting tidbit about interviews. President and Sister Young had me do a questionnaire for the missionaries to fill out and bring to their interview this quarter . A month ago Elder Burkinshaw had arranged for us to have the software to turn documents into a writeable pdf, so I made the questionnaire a pdf writeable and president e-mailed it to all the missionaries. They were instructed to fill it out on the computer (typed so President could read it) print it off and bring it to the interview. President Young had to smile as Elder Burkinshaw and I were his last missionary interviews and the only questionnaires that were actually typed. Obviously the missionaries did not understand they were suppose to fill it in on the computer, print it off and bring it OR they didn’t want to waste valuable computer time answering the questions, not sure which, but reading their handwriting can be very challenging. We just had to smile and say maybe next time.

Elder Burkinshaw again spent much of the first two weeks of November trying to get all the electric and water bills up to date. He should have taken several selfies in the various locations he went to, which allow payment of late utility bills. It is very interesting how it all works in Brazil. One day he was in downtown Vitória with R$3,000 in his pocket at a place they sale lottery tickets. Another day he got stuck in the rain without an umbrella trying to find a dentist office who had to be paid in cash because they haven’t given adequate information to be paid online. President Young agreeing to help with the adventure walked into the office with $R9,000 in his pocket which Elder Burkinshaw used half of the same day at another payment place a few blocks from the office. President had gone to get what cash he could from the ATM to help with the process, which is usually very limited and was very pleased with the amount he was able to get. A day later he told us a story about a man being held at gun point in his car after someone saw him take $R3,000 out of an ATM. We will be so glad when the utility bills are all paid up and we have received the new mission credit card and counter so this call all be done online, in the office. We are also glad to report that the banking strike in Brazil ended this week so that will also help. Working in the office at this point is never dull although we are hoping for that in the near future.

Even with all the challenges it is never hard to see that the Lord is able to get done what needs to be done in spite of our weaknesses and stumbling blocks placed in the way by the adversary. We marvel that the work moves forward and that things are in place when they need to be. This week we have visited with both President and Sister Young and Elder Perez one of the assistants about stumbling blocks they have experienced, and they are many. President Young shared their first experience in the mission trying to find their way to a meeting house for missionary interviews. After several hours of failed attempts with the GPS on both their phone and car they finally had to call the missionaries and reschedule for the following morning. President said he dropped a very weary Sister Young off at the hotel, which they found, and he continued his search for the building, which he eventually found. Interviews were held the next morning and everything worked out fine.

We were invited by the missionaries to attend a baptism one Thursday morning which was suppose to take place at 9:30 at our church building. We arrived a little before 9:30 to find only some missionaries holding a district meeting. We prepared the room for the baptism and waited until 10:00 when the assistants and another sister from the ward arrived and said that the missionaries were at the doctor with the family as one of the children was sick, but that they were still planning on the baptism. We decided to wait another 30 minutes to see if things came together. They did not so we headed back to the office. Elder Perez commented that often their best made plans do not come together and he has learned to enjoy the challenge of moving the work forward despite the stumbling blocks, he actually admitted that he kind of enjoys the adventure. The baptism did eventually take place around noon. The adversary is hard at work and for those of us who are use to having a well ordered life we are learning to recognize the miracles that take place as the Lord moves around the stumbling blocks. 

Last week we faced another one of those challenges via a phone call from São Paulo at 8:30am Wednesday morning informing us that the visa would expire tomorrow for our only missionary from Ecuador and he therefore needed to be out of the country or he would receive a significant fine.  President and Sister Young were in Recife in meetings for the week. Since President's meeting did not start until 9:00 we texted him to ask what he wanted us to do. The word we got back was the Elder had several baptisms scheduled for Thursday and Sunday and a radio program interview on Friday morning so bring him in on Monday morning for his exit interview and fly him out Tuesday ad just pay the fine.  We made the necessary bus and flights arrangement for that schedule and went home around 8:00pm.  At 9:00pm we received a text from President saying he had just been advised at his meeting that there would be several other negative consequences from keeping him past his visa date so we needed to arrange for Elder Aguayo to return home the next day before his visa expired.  Elder Aguayo was serving in the second furthest area from the mission office, Nanuque, which is an 8 hour bus ride into Vitória.  However, since the only flight to Ecuador left Vitória at 5:30am, the bus would not get him there in time to make the flight.  So Elder Burkinshaw contacted our good friend, Presidente Souto who is the District President in Nanuque and withing 10 minutes he had identified a member of the Church who drives a taxi who could transport him to the airport that night.  We then called the Elder Aguayo and told him he had an hour to pack.  We returned to the office and arranged for the flight early the next morning and went to bed about 1:00am.  At 3:00am, Elder Burkinshaw was up and took a taxi to the airport to meet Elder Aguayo at 4:00am with his passport, airline schedule and other materials.  Finally Elder Aguayo arrived about 5:00am, just in time to check-in.  In the end, it all worked out well and he arrived in Ecuador about 7:30pm that evening.  However, the first thing Sister Burkinshaw did was review all visa expiration dates to make sure we were not caught by surprise again.

Elder Aguayo and Elder Burkinshaw at 5:00am before Elder Aguayo departed for Ecuador unexpectedly early due to an expiring visa.  Neither got much sleep the night before.
Our regrouping experience, before what is often a hectic day in the office, is our 5:30am morning walk on the quiet and serene praia (beach).  We share the following picture to show how beautiful Vitória can be.  Sister Burkinshaw has been reading the Gospels and found a scripture that we printed, laminated and posted in several locations in the Mission office for us and for President and Sister Young. Speaking to his disciples in Mark 6:31, Christ says:

      "...Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many
    coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat." 

This scripture seemed particularly applicable to our mission office experience.  As President Ezra Taft Benson said, "One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people, and he will be happy....Work, work, work--there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work. If we want to keep the Spirit, we must work. There is no greater exhilaration or satisfaction than to know, after a hard day of work, that we have done our best."  So after we've done our best, we don't worry knowing this is the Lords work and he will intervene when all else fails.

Sunrise along the praia (beach) in Vitória during out morning walk - a quiet and serene beginning to what may be a very hectic day - our harbor in the storms of life.

We had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting this past week. It was Sister Burkinshaw's first time in Portuguese and it went pretty well. We will share our talks with side by side English Portuguese so you can see what it looks like. Our message of course was on Missionary work. The Portuguese language is beautiful although it usually requires more words to communicate the message. We do love to hear the members sing the hymns and they love to sing the hymns!!

Sister Burkinshaw's Talk
Sister Burkinshaw’s Talk – Maruipe Ward
08 November 2015

The phrase “boots on the ground” is used in war to refer to those who are closest to the battle. I would like to share four experiences I have had with the Lord’s “boots on the ground” known to us as young missionaries and what I have come to understand about these amazing young warriors.

First:  Before coming on our mission I was serving in our ward as the relief society president. I received a weekly report from the missionaries during a Sunday morning meeting with the priesthood.  This was very helpful as often times the missionaries and I were working with the same people. We shared new phone numbers and addresses and talked about needs. It was like having eyes and ears all over town, they were my “boots on the ground” and I was grateful for their help.

Second:  While serving in Teofilo Otoni the first four months of our mission. One of the branch presidents there has a young family, is starting a new company and was new to the area. One Sunday we as missionaries sat down with him and his counselors to review a list of the members of the branch. I was amazed at the information these young missionaries had. They had correct addresses and telephone numbers to share with the leadership of the branch.

Third:  Also while serving in Teofilo Otoni Elder Burkinshaw and I learned quickly the young missionaries worked better than the GPS on our cellphones. We learned the benefit of going with the young missionaries for first time visits to homes of the members. As we walked, in the rain, they sang.

Fourth:  A few weeks ago I was working in the mission office trying to figure out how to work my cellphone. In walked two missionaries. I asked for their help and five minutes later my phone was working.

In all of these experiences President Russell M. Nelson’s words have rang true “ask the missionaries, they will help you”.

Elder Nelson said,
“Missionaries in their late teens or early 20s are young in the ways of the world. But they are blessed with gifts--such as the power of the Holy Spirit, the love of God, and testimonies of the truth--that make them powerful ambassadors of the Lord. They share the good news of the gospel that will bring true joy and everlasting happiness to all who heed their message. And in many instances they do so in a country and a language foreign to them. Missionaries strive to follow Jesus Christ in both word and deed. They preach of Jesus Christ and of His Atonement. They teach of the literal Restoration of Christ’s ancient Church through the Lord’s first latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith.”

Brother and sisters the greatest lesson I have learned so far on my mission is that the Lord knew what he was doing when he called these young adults to be his “boots on the ground” in these last days. We share with great awe the story of the army of Helaman and the miraculous way in which they served with exactness and yet often do not recognize the strippling warriors, the “boots on the ground” standing in our mist. As in all things it is easy to see their weaknesses, but even in those moments the Lord’s words ring true “That the fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.” D&C 1:23. 

I have seen many worn boots on our missionaries but those “boots” have put them where as President Eyring described they have “....felt the joy of forgiveness through the Lord’s Atonement.”

I pray we will love and seek to help, lift and serve the “boots on the ground” here in the Vitoria area. They have been sent here by a loving Heavenly Father to help us share the message of His love and the love of His only begotten son through a covenant relationship available only through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They are to invite your family, friends and neighbors to be baptized and enter the gate that will lead them to eternal life. My experience has been these “boots on the ground” are good at what they have been called to do.

I know that ...

Sister Burkinshaw Discurso – Ala Maruipe
08 Novembro 2015

A frase "botas no chão" é usada para referir-se a aqueles que estão mais próximos à batalha. Eu gostaria de contar quatro experiências que tive com as "botas no chão" do Senhor, que são os missionários e o que eu vim a entender sobre esses incríveis jovens guerreiros.

Primeiro:  Antes de chegar em nossa missão, eu estava servindo em nossa ala como o presidente da Sociedade de Socorro. Eu recebeu um relatório semanal dos missionários durante uma reunião da manhã de domingo com o sacerdócio. Isso foi muito útil por que muitas vezes estava visitando as mesmas pessoas dos missionários.  Nós compartilhamos novos dados de telefone e endereço e o que essas pessoas estavam necessitando.  Os missionários ficou meus olhos e ouvidos por toda a cidade, as "botas no chão", e eu estava grato pela sua ajuda.

Segundo:  Elder Burkinshaw e eu servimos em Teófilo Otoni durante os primeiros quatro meses de nossa missão. Um dos presidentes do ramo teve uma família jovem, estava começando uma nova empresa e era novo para a área.  Um domingo, nós, como missionários, reunimos com ele e seus conselheiros para avaliar uma lista dos membros do ramo. Fiquei surpreso com a informação dos jovens missionários tiveram. Eles tinham endereços corretos e números de telefone para compartilhar como líderes da ramo.

Terçeiro:  Enquanto servindo em Teófilo Otoni, Elder Burkinshaw e eu aprendemos rapidamente os jovens missionarios funcionou muito melhor do que o GPS nossos celulares. Aprendemos a vantagem de ir com os jovens missionários para achar as casas dos membros. Como nós caminhamos, na chuva, eles cantaram hinos primaría hinos muito animado.

Quarto:  Algumas semanas atrás, eu estava trabalhando no escritório da missão tentando de descobrir como funciona meu celular. Em caminhou os dois missionários. Eu pedi sua ajuda e, cinco minutos mais tarde meu celular estava funcionando.

Todas essas experiências mostrou as palavras do Presidente Russell M. Nelson:  Se tem necessidade, "Perguntem aos Missionários! Eles Podem Ajudá-los!".

O Élder Nelson disse,
“Os missionários que estão no final da adolescência ou com pouco mais de 20 anos são muito jovens, na visão do mundo. Mas são abençoados com dons -- como o poder do Santo Espírito, o amor de Deus e testemunhos da verdade -- que os tornam poderosos embaixadores do Senhor. Eles compartilham as boas novas do evangelho que proporcionarão alegria verdadeira e felicidade eterna a todos os que derem ouvidos a sua mensagem. E em muitas ocasiões, fazem isso num país e num idioma que lhes são desconhecidos.  Os missionários se esforçam para seguir Jesus Cristo, tanto por palavras quanto por ações. Pregam o evangelho de Jesus Cristo e Sua Expiação. Ensinam a respeito da restauração literal da antiga Igreja de Cristo por intermédio do primeiro profeta do Senhor nestes últimos dias, Joseph Smith.”

Irmãos e irmãs, a maior lição que eu aprendi até agora na minha missão é que o Senhor sabe o que está fazendo quando Ele chama estes jovens adultos para ser seus "botas no chão" nestes últimos dias. Nas escrituras, contamos com grande admiração a história do exército de Helamã e o jeito milagroso que serviram.  Mas muitas vezes, não reconhecemos a milagre dos guerreiros missionários de tempo integral aqui.  É fácil ver suas fraquezas, mas as palavras do Senhor quando falou “que a plenitude do meu evangelho seja proclamada pelos fracos e pelos simples aos confins da Terra e perante reis e governantes.” D&C 1:23.

Tenho visto muitas botas gastas nos nossos missionários, mas aqueles "botas" colocá-los onde, como Presidente Eyring descreveu "... sentiu a alegria do perdão por meio da expiação do senhor."

Oro que podemos amar e ajudar, levantar e servir as "botas no chão" aqui na área de Vitoria. Eles foram mandados aqui por um amoroso Pai celestial para ajudar-na compartilhar a mensagem do seu amor e o amor de seu filho unigênito por meio de um relacionamento Pactual disponível somente através do evangelho restaurado de Jesus Cristo. Estão a convidar a sua família, amigos e vizinhos para ser batizado e entrar no portão que vai levá-los para a vida eterna. É minha experiência que as,” botas no chão”, são bons no que eles têm sido chamados para fazer.

Eu sei que …

Elder Burkinshaw's Talk
Light and Truth

The principal of a middle school had a problem with the older girls who were beginning to use lipstick.  When they went into the bathroom to put on their lipstick, they would kiss the bathroom mirror, and the mirror was covered with lipstick. The principal requested that they stop doing this during the daily announcements each morning.  However, they continued leave lipstick marks on the mirror and became increasingly difficult for the custodian to remove marks.

Finally, he called a meeting with all the girls so he could solve this problem face-to-face. They met one afternoon along the janitor at the ladies' room.

The principal explained that it was becoming a problem for the custodian to clean the mirrors every night. He said he could not understand why they continued to leave these marks because they were difficult to clean. Then the custodian gave a demonstration of how she cleaned the mirror.  She pulled out a long-handled brush from her cleaning materials, dipped into the nearest toilet, and began to scrub the mirror where there were lipstick marks.
 The girls were shocked by the demonstration and the problem was immediately resolved.
President Boyd K. Packer has said:
“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviors. (General Conference, October 1986, p. 20)

But how can we learn these true doctrines that will help us to avoid the problems in life and find lasting peace and happiness?  Do these true doctrines come from Universities and other institutions of higher learning?
Between my junior and senior year in high school, I had the opportunity to take several classes at the University of Utah.  The most memorable of these classes was Human Anatomy which was taught by a visiting professor from a prestigious university in the eastern United States.  Since this was my first experience at a university, I was somewhat in awe of the intelligence of our instructor.  Her lectures were very interesting, particularly for a high school student.  Consequently, I studied hard and as a result did quite well on the exams.

One morning, I remember a particularly interesting lecture she gave about the pulmonary system.  She explained how the air we breathed passed through the trachea and into our lungs through a branching network of smaller and smaller bronchi until reaches tiny and delicate air sacs called alveoli.  These fragile alveoli are protected by small hairs, called cilia, which line the bronchi and sweep out dust and other contaminants we might breathe into our lungs.  Oxygen from the air breathed in permeates through the alveoli’s single cell wall into the non-oxygenated blood, replenishing the oxygen used throughout the body to provide energy through a chemical process called metabolism.  At the same time, carbon dioxide, which is the byproduct of metabolism, diffuses from the blood into the alveoli so that it may be removed from the body by exhaling.  It was quite a remarkable process and I was truly impressed by the marvels of science and academia.
I had occasion that afternoon to stop by my professor’s office to pick up a test that had been handed back when I was absent the previous class period.  When I knocked on her door, she invited me to come in.  I was taken aback when I opened the door and smoke billowed out of her office.  I looked at my instructor sitting behind her desk and was stunned to see her with a cigarette in her mouth, another in her hand, and still in another burning in the ash tray.  She was a chain smoker!  I quickly retrieved my test paper from her and left the office, glad to breath clean air again.
For weeks thereafter I was disillusioned with the glories of academia and felt betrayed by my instructor, who, of all people, being educated should have applied the knowledge she had acquired over years of scholarly training.
 Therefore, I ask again.  Do true doctrines that change attitudes and behaviors come from Universities and other institutions of higher learning?

40 years as a missionary in São Paulo, I taught a young college student named José Carlos Múfalo about the Book of Mormon. He was very diligent in his study of the Book of Mormon and soon joined the Church. A few weeks later, the Sunday School teacher from his old church visited his home and José Carlos explained that he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Sunday School teacher later invited José Carlos and his missionary friends to visit with the pastor of his former church. On the appointed day, we went to José Carlos for the house of the pastor and he invited us to tell about our Church. We shared a message about the restoration of the priesthood in Portuguese as well as two American missionaries could speak. The pastor then using his great mastery of the Portuguese language, began to criticize our message and, using some obscure scriptures of the Bible, he made some compelling arguments against what we had shared. Perhaps lacking a little faith, my companion and I were afraid that Jose Carlos would be adversely affected and might even return to his former church. Before we left, we asked if we could offer prayer. As we knelt to pray, we were worried about José Carlos. Before the prayer, José Carlos said: “I would like to say something. I do not know about all the things that have been said tonight, but I know that when I read the Book of Mormon, I feel the Spirit of the Lord in my heart.  I know it is the word of God.”

We said a prayer with much gratitude and then left.
Luz e Verdade

O diretor de uma escola secundaria teve um problema com as meninas mais velhas da escola que estavam começando a usar batom de cores fortes. Elas entravam no banheiro e começavam a beijar o espelho do banheiro, e o espelho ficava toda manchado de batom. O diretor da escola pedia sempre que elas parassem de fazer isso, através de anúncios pelo alto falante da escola a cada manha.  Entreatanto elas continuavam a deixar essas marcas de batom no espelho e ficava cada vez mais difícil de tirar as manchas.
Finalmente, ele convocou uma reunião para todos as moças, assim para resolver este problema face-a-face. Eles se reuniram em uma tarde, junto a zeladora no banheiro feminino.
O diretor explicou que estava se tornando um problema para a zeladora para limpar o espelho todas as noites. Ele disse que não entedia o por que elas faziam isso, pois eram difícil para limpar.  Então a zeladora fez uma demonstração de como se limpava o espelho.  Ela puxou uma escova de cabo longo de seus materiais de limpeza, mergulhou o pincel no vaso sanitário mais próximo, e começou a esfregar o espelho onde havia as marcas de batom.
As meninas ficaram muito surpreso com a demonstração e o problema foi resolvido imediatamente
Presidente Boyd K. Packer disse:
A verdadeira doutrina, quando compreendida, modifica atitudes e comportamentos. (Conferencia Geral, outubro de 1986, p. 20)
Mas como podemos aprender essas verdadeiras doutrinas que nos ajudarão a evitar os problemas na vida e encontrar a paz ea felicidade duradoura? Será que estas doutrinas verdadeiras vem de universidades e outras instituições de ensino superior?
Antes de completar o ensino médio, tive a oportunidade de fazer várias classes na Universidade de Utah. O mais memorável dessas classes era Anatomia Humana que foi ensinado por um professor visitante de uma universidade famosa no leste dos Estados Unidos. Uma vez que esta foi a minha primeira experiência na universidade, eu estava um pouco admirado com a inteligência de nosso instrutor. Suas palestras foram muito interessantes, especialmente para um estudante do ensino médio. Consequentemente, eu estudei muito e como resultado fez muito bem nos exames.
Certa manhã, lembro-me de uma palestra particularmente interessante sobre o sistema pulmonar. Ela explicou como o ar que respirávamos passado através da traquéia e em nossos pulmões através de uma rede dos brônquios menores e menores até que atinge pequenos e delicadas sacos de ar chamadas alvéolos. Estes alvéolos frágeis são protegidos por pequenos pêlos, chamados cílios, que varrem a poeira e outros contaminantes que respiramos. O oxigênio do ar respirado permeia através da parede de uma só célula para o sangue não-oxigenado, repondo o oxigênio usado em todo o corpo para fornecer energia através do processo químico chamado metabolismo. Ao mesmo tempo, o dióxido de carbono, o qual é o subproduto do metabolismo, difunde-se a partir do sangue para os alvéolos de modo que ele pode ser removido do corpo por exalação. Foi um processo bastante notável e eu estava realmente impressionado com as maravilhas da ciência e do mundo académico.
Um dia, precisava visitar o escritório do meu professor para pegar um exame que foi entregado de volta quando eu estava ausente.  Quando eu bati na sua porta, ela me convidou a entrar. Fiquei surpreso quando abri a porta e fumaça subia de seu escritório. Olhei para o meu instrutor sentado na sua mesa e ficou surpreso ao vê-la com um cigarro na boca, outro na mão, e ainda outro queimando no cinzeiro. Ela era um fumante inveterado!  Eu rapidamente pegou meu exame e saiu do escritório, feliz por respirar ar limpo novamente.
Durante semanas depois eu estava desiludido com as glórias da academia e sentiu traído pelo meu instrutor, que, de todas as pessoas, sendo educado deveria ter aplicado o conhecimento que ela tinha adquirido ao longo anos de formação acadêmica.
Então eu pergunto de novo. Será que estas doutrinas verdadeiras, que modifica atitudes e comportamentos, vem de universidades e outras instituições de ensino superior?
Há 40 anos como missionário em São Paulo, eu ensinei um jovem estudante universitário chamado José Carlos Múfalo sobre o Livro de Mórmon. Ele era muito diligente em seu estudo do Livro de Mórmon e logo entrou para a Igreja. Algumas semanas mais tarde, o professor da Escola Dominical de sua igreja antiga foi passar a sua casa e José Carlos explicou que ele se juntou à Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias. O professor da Escola Dominical mais tarde convidou José Carlos e seus amigos, os missionários, para visitar com o pastor de sua igreja antiga. No dia marcado, nós fomos com José Carlos para a casa do pastor e ele convidou-nos para contar sobre a nossa Igreja. Nós compartilhamos uma mensagem sobre a restauração do Sacerdócio nas melhores portugueses que dois missionários norte-americanos poderiam falar. O pastor, em seguida, usando seu grande domínio do idioma Português, começou a criticar a nossa mensagem e usando algumas escrituras obscuras da Bíblia, ele fez alguns argumentos convincentes contra o que tinham compartilhado. Talvez faltando um pouco de fé, meu companheiro e eu estava com medo de que José Carlos pode ser afetada negativamente e pode até voltar para sua igreja antiga. Antes de sairmos, nós perguntamos se poderíamos oferecer oração. À medida que se ajoelhou para orar, nós nos preocupamos com José Carlos. Antes da oração, José Carlos disse: "Eu gostaria de dizer algo.  Eu não sei sobre todas as coisas que foram ditas hoje à noite, mas sei que quando li o Livro de Mórmon, sinto o Espírito do Senhor em meu coração e eu sei que é a palavra de Deus.” 
Fizemos uma oração com muito gratidão e saímos.

We send our love to all - we think of you often and pray for you daily. We began this post with an answer to prayer and we end with a request that you add to your prayers the need for more rain in the Vitória Mission area. 

Avante Vitória!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw