Sunday, October 2, 2016

September 1 - 30, 2016

This month we provide another picture post with a short message.  Our most frequent interaction with the young missionaries come when they visit the Office on P-Day, when their lunch appointments fall through or when new missionaries arrive or depart (chegadas e saidas).  Besides those interactions, are our visits to member homes, attendance at Church meetings, and Sister Burkinshaw's piano/organ playing for weddings and choral performances. And there is always our walking/biking excursions for exercise early each morning which helps with the daily grind of sitting at a desk and attending to the administrative issues of the mission.  It is a good life and we are everyday grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord here in Brasil. If it seems like we go to Subway a lot, we do. We have made it a standing invitation for the missionaries in the area that, if their lunch appointment falls through, they can join us for lunch.  Subway provides something different for them and is close to the office so it works well for both of us. So here's what our month looks like:

We have an apartment of Sisters who live close to the Mission office. They often come over on P-day to pick up their mail instead of waiting for it to be delivered through the Zone Leaders which can take 4 to 6 weeks. From left to right Sister Vieira (Maranhão), Sister Guillen (Cuzco, Peru), Sister Lacerda (São Paulo), Sister Albrecht (Cleveland, OH).
Elder M. Silva (Fortaleza) and Elder Castro (São Paulo) pose with the sign in front of the door to the Mission Office, a popular photo shoot for our missionaries. 
Elder Tedeschi (Porto Alegre) and Elder M. Silva (Fortaleza) pose in front of the sand picture in the mission office following lunch at Subway.
At the Vitória airport for the August 30, 2016 Transfer with departing Sister Vianculo (Mozambique) and Sister Vieira (Maranhão) before their flight home. They served faithfully with an impressive work ethic as well as love for the people.  They will be missed!
Departure of Elder Y Gonçalves (bright orange tie - President Young described him as one having a pure heart) and the group of newly arriving missionaries from the CTM (MTC).
At the Jardim da Penha chapel, where departing missionaries receive autosufficiência (self-reliance) training before they depart, we took a last photo with Elder B. Machado (Florianópolis), who served with us in our early days in Teófilo Otoni.  We love him dearly!
After a P-Day lunch at Subway, we pose for the traditional mission office photo.  Sister Dodge (Murfreesboro, TN), Sister Alchrecht (Cleveland), and Vitoria Zone Leaders: Elder Eufrasio (São Paulo) and Elder Costa (Recife).
Our current Assistants to the President, Elder Lugarani (Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina) and Elder Conde (São Paulo) after their weekly meeting with President Young and before lunch at Subway!
Our line of hungry missionaries at Subway.  Elder Silva (João Pessoa - one of our Teófilo Otoni alumni), Elder Hendrickson (Nibley, UT - also a Teófilo Otoni alumnus), Elder Session (Longmont, CO), Elder Lugarani (Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina), Elder Fernandes (Cabo Verde) and Elder Conde (São Paulo).
Lunch at Subway with Elder Aguiar and Elder G Moreira. Elder Aguiar earned his lunch by reviewing Sister Burkinshaw´s Portuguese translation of the Mission newsletter. He, like many missionaries, learned English listening to music and watching subtitled movies. 
Subway Lunch with Sister Dodge (Murfreesboro, TN) Sister Albrecht (Cleveland, OH), Sister Martins (São Paulo) and Sister Tavares (Belém).
After renewing visas at the Polícia Federal located in the Shopping Praia da Costa mall, we took these Sisters to lunch in the food court.  They are Sister Chopin (Nuevo Laredo, Mexico), Sister Martins (São Paulo), Sister Ochoa (Veracruz, Mexico), Sister Ferretiz (Tamaulipas, Mexico), Sister Jube (Provo, UT) and Sister Oliveira (Campo Grande).

The Happy Meal toys were not lost on these Sisters.  Gatinha (little cat) in Brazilian context is a pretty girl and they do look pretty cute!
Of course we always finish lunch with an ice cream treat (a McFlurry) complements of Elder Burkinshaw's experience as a young mission with President James E. Faust.
A beautiful sunrise on one of our 5:30am walks along the beach in Vitória.
On Saturday mornings we combine exercise (rental bikes) with our P-Day shopping for peanut butter and hard taco shells.  It is nice to have a Sam's Club close!
One of the familiar paths we walk several times each week which takes us under the Terçeira Ponte (bridge) which goes from Vitória (an island) to Vila Velha.
The Middle Beach (Praia do Meio), another familiar part of our morning walks.
During a morning walk to Ilha do Frade (a small island neighborhood) which has a duck pond in the center, Elder Burkinshaw herded the ducks off the road. Everywhere we go, we walk so we are sensitive to the very real danger of being a pedestrian in Brasil.
Our friends, the ducks (patos) back in their safe and secure pond.
We don't usually walk at night, but there was a harvest moon on P-Day (Sat, Sept 17) so we took a little walk for a picture and some ice cream at the McDonald's across the road.
One P-Day morning, we took a cab across the bridge and walked 7 miles along the beaches in Vila Velha.  Fortuitously, there was a Fioretto ice cream store at the end, which serves a sundae called the Suave (Soft) Bahia - warm coconut pudding on the bottom with vanilla ice cream and topped with whipping cream and toasted coconut - a heavenly treat!
Sister Burkinshaw spends most third hours playing the piano for Primary as they prepare for their Sacrament Meeting program in November. 

The Vitória Ward Choir sang for Stake Conference presided over by Area Seventy Moroni B. Torgan, the highest ranking Latter-day Saint politician in Brasil.  Sister Burkinshaw was the accompanist with our dear friend, Pedro Caldas, on the violin as they sang "I Heard Him Come", "Faith in Every Footstep" and "We'll Bring the World His Truth".

Vitória Ward Bishop Domiciano invited us into his office the Sunday after stake conference and presented us with this bag of goodies as thanks for helping with the choir. The chocolate represents two of the major chocolate makers in the area, both are excellent.

Sister Burkinshaw is always happy to play the piano - definitely the international language.

Elder Burkinshaw enjoying the OBRIGADO - THANK YOU!

Sister Burkinshaw and cellist Jéssica Vianna (who performs with the Symphony Orchestra of the State of Espirito Santo) play for a wedding in the Vitória Chapel.  Sister Burkinshaw thinks Elder Burkinshaw should learn to play the cello so they can play duets together!

Jéssica Vianna plays cello for the symphony and is an amazing cellist.  As the wedding was an hour late starting, she and Sister Burkinshaw had plenty of time to play together making it a very enjoyable evening for them as well as those waiting in the chapel.

Sister Burkinshaw and Jéssica Vianna, musicians par excellence.

The happy couple!  They are married civilly at the chapel and travel the following day to the nearest temple (São Paulo or Campinas) to be sealed!  

A "tudo azul" (all blue) picture with our dear, sweet friend Dayane Gomes. 

Elder Burkinshaw took a group selfie with Elder Passos and Elder Andrade and several of the wonderful youth of the Vitória ward between Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School.

Sister Vieira and Sister Albrecht after Gospel Principles class with recent converts Marcelo Santos and Elizabeth Kester de  Andrade (they are married, but many married Brasilian couple do not use the same last name - it makes family history work a little more difficult) their 9 year old son Ykaroh Kester Santos was also baptized, but in primary when we took the picture. They have two more girls who were also both in primary.

Sister B. watched as Elizabeth picked up one and then several tithing envelopes (in her hand) from the dispenser near the  clerks office.  It is inspiring to watch new members embrace teachings that have the power to bless their lives now and in the eternities.

José is an older man who comes to Sacrament Meeting most Sundays asking for money. The members are always kind to him and we wonder if he isn't drawn by the spirit he feels.

As we walk in the mornings and walk to the mission office and walk back home in the evening, we are always reflecting on what is going on in the mission particularly during these last few months of our service.  We have started to read the Book of Mormon together in Portuguese and individually in English looking at the theme and examples of obedience and the blessings it brings.  We have concluded that our mission has given us the opportunity to see, in a short period of time (2 years), many of the truths we have learned during our lives (61+ and 57+ years).  It is like reading the Book of Mormon to the end of Mormon and then reading Ether which seems to be a condensed version (30 pages) of everything learned in the previous 487 pages.  

Four major interrelated themes are illustrated in the lives of people over and over again.
1.  God favors the righteous 
2.  Israel is scattered but then gathered again
3.  The Lord delivers the righteous from the wicked
4.  Opposition in all things but returning to theme 1, the righteous eventually succeed.

This repetition of themes is remniscent of the musical device called a fugue where a few short themes or melodies are interwoven to create a memorable presentation.  Perhaps the most familiar example is that of Bach's Fugue in G minor which is sometimes called the "Little Fugue".  Here is a great video that actually provides a visual as well as musical presentation of these interwoven themes.

We close with some lyrics from Rob Gardner's oratorio "Joseph Smith: the Prophet" inspired from the writings of the prophet Jacob in 2 Nephi 9:

O how great the goodness of our God!
O how great His wisdom and His mercy!
O how great His works, His wondrous plan,
O how great the love of God!

The older we get, the more we see the Lord´s hand in every part of our life and the lives of those we love and serve by sharing the Gospel.  The themes are repeated time and again because they are critically important to our current and future success and happiness.

Avante Vitória!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw