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  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Week of August 3-9, 2015

  Change has been an inevitable part of our life since we were married almost 36 years ago. Since that time, we have lived in 7 apartments and owned 8 homes in 5 states.  When we arrived in Brasil, it was our understanding that we would be assigned to the two branches in Teófilo Otoni for the two years of our mission.  However, during our last zone meeting in Nanuque, President and Sister Young invited us to have breakfast with them and suggested that we consider going into Vitória to serve as the mission office staff.  They asked us to fast and pray about the assignment, which we did, and then responded that we would do whatever they needed us to do.  Last Monday afternoon, August 3, he called us and asked us to come to Vitória to find an apartment and begin transitioning with Elders Carvalho and McDown who are the mission financial and executive secretaries respectively.  So we hurriedly arranged to leave Tuesday evening for the all-night bus ride to Vitória and on Wednesday afternoon we went into the office to start the transition.

Mission office sign for the Missão Brasil Vitória.
   Normally, they would not change both callings at the same time and would allow 6 weeks training time.  However, President Young would like us to be moved to Vitória (which includes moving our apartment furnishings (bed, desk, sofa, chairs, refrigerator, stove, washing machine, dryer, etc.) and take over by the next transfer on Tuesday, August 25. Fortunately, we found a nice apartment near the office that will be available the week of August 17 and we think we have lined up a mover to load us on that Teófilo Otoni.  We'll go back on Thursday night (another all night bus ride) to pack and get things ready to load on Monday.  Another bus ride back to Vitória and we're done.  This whirlwind schedule will give us about 9-10 days of overlap time.  And while most missions have a staff of 4-5, our mission operates with a staff of two.  In addition to our work in the office, we will be assigned to the Maruípe Ward for evening and weekend missionary work so we expect to keep quite busy!
  The office is near the Terçeio Ponte (Third Bridge) which connects Vitória (an island) with Vila Velha, a mainland city which is a part of the greater Vitória area.  Here's a view of the mission office building and the bridge from the mission office with our apartment building and the Shopping Vitória mall.

The Brazil Vitória Mission Office is on the 15th floor of the Enseada Office.
Terçeiro Ponte (Third Bridge) Vitória to Vila Velha from the Mission Office.  Our apartment will be in the high rise on the far left.  The Shopping Vitória mall is also visible right of center with the red CINEMARK lettering.
  This will be quite a change from the rural city of Teófilo Otoni and we will very definitely miss the dear members of the two branches there.  Fortunately we have completed our training for the Branch, Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidencies.  We have also been teaching the young men preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and go into the mission field.  Here's the Portuguese and the English PDF versions (the originals were in PowerPoint) of training on the Oath and Covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood that we prepared.
   We will particularly miss the Ipiranga Branch Presidente Marcio Costa and his family who have been very kind and helpful to us.  We had them over to our home for Family Home Evening last week and shared with them our latest presentation for the youth - a fireside on dating and morality.  Here's a PDF copy (the original was in PowerPoint) of that presentation in both Portuguese and English.  
   Based on the statistics from the Apple Health app on our phones, during the past four months, we have walked 1,250 miles (10.5 miles per day average), 2.5 million steps (21,000 steps per day average) and 6,000 floors or 13.6 miles vertical climb (50 floors per day average).  Since most of Vitória is near the beach and therefore flat, this will be quite a bit easier physically for which we are appreciative.  However, during this time we have been able to eat with "reckless abandon" and that will now have to moderate :-).  However, while we are still running a high metabolism, we took advantage to have dinner a couple of evenings at the Domino's pizza near our hotel.

Dominos is a favorite spot of the missionaries.  Here's Elder Burkinshaw ordering an "Americana" which has pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions! 
Elder Carvalho, the current financial secretary, is from São Paulo and has been a great help in the transition.  He's a great missionary and after his mission he plans to study law.
Elder McDown, the current mission executive secretary, is from Flower Mound, TX.  He speaks excellent Portuguese, in part, because his mother is a Brazilian.
Elder Burkinshaw in a very familiar pose behind a computer keyboard and monitor.
  We worked Wednesday through Saturday and attended Sunday morning meetings in a ward near our hotel.  Today is Fathers Day in Brazil and they had a special gift (chocolates) for each of the fathers, which were great.  The lessons and speakers were excellent and very uplifting.  The topic of father's day reminds us of a great Mormon Messages video called Earthly Father, Heavenly Father which you might enjoy.
   Sunday evening we took a walk along the beach just across the street from our hotel.  It's still winter here in Brasil, so the temperatures during the day ranges from the 60's in the morning to the 80's in the afternoon, so it's quite pleasant.  Here's a selfie we took along the beach.

Walking along the beach in Victória.  We walked a couple of miles but turned around when we felt the garoa (drizzle) and got back to the hotel just as the heavy rain began.
Early morning picture outside our hotel window. The shore is beautiful.
    In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the week we are grateful that the Lord continues to bless our family at home. We do miss being there for our ever changing and growing family. So grateful for the safe arrival of Adelaide Hannah Burkinshaw, Paul and Molly's latest addition, this week on tuesday, August 4,2015. We miss not being able to hold this beautiful little girl and realize that we won't get to until she is 20 months old, but we know we are where the Lord needs us to be--it is a little hard though!
Adelaide Hannah Burkinshaw our 21st grandchild.
Ewan and Adelaide (Molly says she is most like Ewan was as a baby--a good sleeper!!
We have several busy weeks ahead of us as we make a very challenging transition is an extremely short timeframe, but after our fast last week, we have confidence that this will all work out in the end.  Moroni reminds us:

"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6)

Avante Vitória!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Week of July 27 - August 2, 2015

   We had family home evening this week with the missionaries and a family and some members and investigators in the Teófilo Otoni branch. One of the Elder's gave a great lesson on enduring to the end and Sister Burkinshaw's cookies are always a hit for the treat (which is perhaps why we are always invited). The invitation is always "Elder and Sister Burkinshaw can you come for FHE tonight and bring cookies?" We are happy to serve and making cookies is an easy service. We always carry the cookies in a plastic container that is easy to carry in a plastic bags as the walk is usually 30 to 40 minutes one-way. When we get there, they always take the cookies from the plastic container and put them on a plate. We figured this was to make them easier for people to grab, but when we went to get the plastic container to take home the mother of the family grabbed it off the top of the refrigerator and removed the two or three cookies she had stashed before handing us the container. We wished we had taken a picture of her smile, definitely a look of getting "caught with your hand in the cookie jar!" - she is the best!

FHE - Missionaries (who love having their pictures taken), members, and investigators, a PERFECT combination!!
Elder Machado teaching the FHE lesson.
Sister Burkinshaw enjoying Grandma time with adorable, big brown-eyed baby Rebeca dos Anjos - her last name means "of the angels" which is very appropriate!.
 The weather in Teófilo Otoni continues to be pleasant and the work moves forward.  We have been training the branch leaders, first the branch presidency and clerks (see the library of outlines and agendas in Portuguese and English versions) and more recently the Elders Quorum and Relief Society Presidencies.  Since the Church has recently made home and visiting teaching set up available to leaders through their LDS account on, this has created some new enthusiasm for reorganizing and encouraging home and visiting teaching.  And with the ability to see each members home as a dot-point on Google Maps through the "Maps" app in, it helps leaders create better assignments that require less travel.  Since we spend much of our time visiting members, we now have home and visiting teaching assignments in both branches. 

Elder Burkinshaw training the Relief Society president and her counselor in using the visiting teaching tools.  Sister Joana, at the computer, is an amazing lady--we should have taken a picture of her hopping on the back of a moto taxi (motorcycle) after 9:00pm for a ride home (besides walking it's the cheapest way to get around here). 
   We had an interesting experience this week with an interaction between the young missionaries in one of the branches and the leadership.  At times, the missionaries dedicated focus on baptisms can create concern for leaders who are responsible to work with the new converts.  After such a concern was manifest recently, Elder Burkinshaw prepared some training materials from Handbook 2 to give to both the young missionaries and the leadership in an effort to clarify roles and responsibilities.  When we arrived at our Thursday evening missionary correlation meeting, we found a very faithful and humble branch president who, himself, had gone to the Handbook and reviewed prophetic direction. As a result, a greater spirit of unity was felt by all and the work moves forward with greater enthusiasm.  I wish we had a copy of the DVD One Good Man about an LDS bishop to show this humble, good branch president--I'm sure he would appreciate the common challenges and feel validated in knowing he isn't alone. The blessings of following the prophet are real! 
   In our scripture study we are in the Helaman and 3 Nephi chapters of the Book of Mormon just before the coming of the Savior to the Nephites. A recurring theme is the rebellion against governing principles and the criticism of (to the point of stoning) the prophets for their teaching the need to change (repentance).  The parallel to our day is uncomfortably real, underscoring both the dangers in ignoring prophetic warnings and the blessings that are ours in responding to the prophetic priorities.  The Lord blesses his humble and faithful children who heed "....whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38)
Language study selfie, notice Elder Burkinshaw is missing. It seems like every time we sit down to do language study someone calls and needs Elder Burkinshaw. We are going to have to resort to "live your language" for Sister Burkinshaw to progress.
   Here are a few pictures for the grand kids. The first is a picture of our unintentional formiga (ant) trap. If Grandpa has guaraná before bed and forgets to rinse out the plastic cup, it is full of ants the next morning. Grandma gets out the ant spray and zaps them but don't worry -  there are plenty more to take their place. Don't worry this is a throw away cup so we aren't drinking ant spray on a regular basis.
The formiga (ant) communication network - once they find food, the word travels fast.
A bug Grandma let live even after it tried to climb up her arm.
A mother hen with her chicks along the roadside.

  Here are a few pictures from this week's Friday evening youth activity.  As is usual, Elder Burkinshaw was busy in the office - this time preparing recommends getting the needed signatures for several youth to receive their Patriarchal Blessings since the Vitória Stake Patriarch will be here on Monday.  He also works with the mission to assist with problems in the missionary apartments and we've engaged two different plumbers without success. Sister Burkinshaw was once again the photographer and wished she'd remembered her good camera instead of her iPhone. The activities continue to be held outside as the weather right now is beautiful in the evenings. This is the third week in a row for relay games, but everyone enjoys them and there is always a new twist. The best one this week was a pile of blown-up balloons with play money inside.  Each team sent someone to get a balloon, bring it back, pop it by hugging each other, retrieving the money and sending the next person to get another one.  We are reminded that the Church helps the youth stay strong despite the challenging times in which we live.  It is fun to watch them interact together and draw strength from each other. The Elders had three youth investigators participating as well. The two young men hugging each other, trying to pop the balloon are brothers, one of whom is a member and the other one is taking the discussions. Both are amazing soccer players and very competitive.  The other is a game where a circle of youth that must pass a hula-hoop without breaking their grip.

Sunday was a good day for us. Sister Burkinshaw continues to improve her Portuguese and even got brave enough to share her testimony in Portuguese during Fast and Testimony meeting. She has also been able to have some simple conversations with the members which is encouraging. She was excited to report that after the Gospel Principles lesson, which was on Missionary Work, she shared some interesting things she had learned about when and how the missionary work in Brazil began. Here are a few of those facts:
  • Two missionaries from Argentina came to Brazil looking for a group of German saints who had settled in Brazil.
  • The first mission in Brazil was organized in February of 1935 in an old house in Joinville that still serves as the meeting place for the Joinville Ward of the Curitiba Brazil Stake.
  • There were seven deacons, four teachers, four priests, 29 male members with no priesthood, 64 female members of 21, and 35 children--a total of 143 members and nine missionaries scattered through the mission.
  • The language which the gospel was first taught in Brazil was German which remained true for about the first 10 years.
  • First chapel constructed in Brazil was dedicated in 1959.
  • The first Stake was organized in São Paulo in 1966.
  • Today Brazil has over a million members, 239 stakes, 49 districts, 1,925 congregations, 34 missions and seven temples.
  • Portuguese is the 3rd language of church members with English first and Spanish second.
   As you can see Brazil has grown. In district meeting this week we asked the elders here in Teófilo Otoni if any of them, there are six (5 Brazilian and 1 American) came into the mission field from a branch, all six belonged to wards. We reminded them that branches are not required to have the full programs of the church and that the members are doing their best to meet the needs of the members here. It is easy to forget sometimes that it " not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength..." 
   We feel so blessed to be serving here in Brazil as we continue to help the work of "gathering the elect" and bring them to a knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father and the blessings of the gift of His Son through the Atonement. Where the world is heading is always concerning, but brought into proper perspective as we serve in The Kingdom of God. We miss the comings and going of our ever growing changing family and being there to help and assist, but know this is where they Lord needs us now.

Avante Vitória

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw