Sunday, December 4, 2016

October 1 - 31, 2016

Pictures provide a simple chronological history for our mission so that is mostly what you will see. The work is going well here in Vitória and the missionaries have settled into this transfer (October 22nd) much better than the previous transfer. We generally have aabout 135 missionaries in the mission with about 40 of those being sisters and about one-third of the missionaries from outside Brazil. Our Brazilian missionaries are a blend of raised-in-the-church and recent converts which provides helpful perspective for both. Each day we are reminded that this is the Lord's work, it is an important work and we are grateful to be a part of that work here in Brasil. 
This is how we watch General Conference - streamed to the laptop in our apartment so  we can listen to the sessions in English. During conference, out time (Brasilia Standard Time) was just three-hours ahead of Mountain Daylight Time.  However, by the first Sunday in November, we would "spring-forward" and the United States would "fall-back" making it five hours difference.

This is a foto of Cleiton dos Santos Oliveira with Elder Burkinshaw and Sisters Dodge and Sister Albrecht, who taught him and his family.  Although the other members of the family were not baptized, they attended the baptismal service.

Moroni e Victória present a special musical number for Cleiton´s baptims.

Primary in the Vitória ward focused on Sunday-dress with this amazing origami!

Elder Rodrigues (from Fortaleza, CE), trainer, and Elder Thierry (from Sumaré, SP), new missionary, boarding the transfer bus we rent to take missionaries to the rodoviária (bus station). They will be serving in the Campos Zone this transfer.

The assistants to the President, Elder Lugarani (Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina) and Elder Conde (São Paulo, SP) in front of the Mission Home. They provide initial orientation for the new trainers while new missionaries are trained by President and Sister Young and the mission secretaries (Elder and Sister Burkinshaw).

Sister Missionaries getting their belongings off the bus. Each new missionary receives a new pillow(not an easy thing to pack in their suitcase).  Left to right: New trainer Sister Albrecht (Cleveland, OH); new missionaries Sister Cruz (Macapá, AM) and Sister Silva (Rio Largo, AL); and New trainer Sister Jube (Provo, UT).

Old Mission logo.

New Mission logo.  Elder Burkinshaw did some great computer graphic work with an idea from President and Sister Young based on the teaching of Elder Russell M. Nelson: 
"Missionary work should begin and end with our minds focused on the blessings of the holy temple. Missionary work is all about gathering people out of the world, ennobling them, and enabling them eventually to dwell with God forever.  This is His divine desire. Simply summarized, God wants His children to return home to Him. What else would you expect from a loving Father? Missionaries have a solemn responsibility to act on God’s fondest hope—that His children will return home to Him. If we will help Him, He will help us." 
(June 2014 New Mission Presidents Seminar)
New vertical mission logo. The warrior with sword has been replaced with the São Paulo temple. This is the first of many booklets where the logo is used.

Close-up of the new vertical mission logo.
Sister Burkinshaw makes between 25 and 50 booklets a month using the logo. The booklets are for weekly statistical reports for President and the Assistants, monthly statistical reports for mission presidency and stake and district presidencies, booklets for new missionaries, and for the missionaries going home.

Lunch at Subway - Elder Burkinshaw, Elders serving in the Vitória ward: Elder Passos (Belém, PA), Elder A. Oliveira (Natal, RN) and Elder Soares (Limeira, SP).

Lunch at Subway for two sets of sisters in on a p-day. Left to Right Sister Jenson (Kalamazoo, MI), Sister Cruz (Macapá, AM), Sister Jube (Provo, UT) and Sister Chavez (Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia).
Lunch at Subway with Sisters from the Maruipe Ward - Left to right: Sister Araújo (Brasília, DF), Sister Dodge, (Murfreesboro, TN) and  Sister Burkinshaw.

Baptism of eight-year-old Isabelle, in the Vitoria Ward.  Sister Burkinshaw played the piano for the baptismal service.

Isabelle's baptism was followed by the convert baptism of Sandra Regina Dias.
Left to right: Elder Lugarani (Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina) 
and Elder Conde (São Paulo, SP).

Choir practice with the Young Single Adults for an upcoming Christmas fireside at the home of Bispo Jocimar. Sister Burkinshaw was at the piano. Elder Burkinshaw gets to join in, even though he is not a young adult anymore as well as Irmã Renilsa e Bispo Jocimar.

Home teaching recent convert Renata da Silveira Cardoso, her husband Paulo, her mother Mayara and her daughter Mayra.  We showed and discussed "Mans Search for Happiness."
In Brasil, home teaching visits usually involve treats and they were delicious!  There was Guananá, which Elder Burkinshaw loves but has only been drinking on special occasions and a special cake that tasted as good as it looks!

Sister Burkinshaw, Elder Burkinshaw and Elder Douglas Fernandes Gonçalves who is from the Ipiranga Branch in Teófilo Otoni.  Elder Gonçalves received his mission call to the São Paulo West Mission and since he lives in a mission district, he came to Vitória to be set-apart by President Young. Elder Gonçalves will be an outstanding missionary!!

Apartment hunting with Sister Chavez (Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia) and Sister Jenson (Kalamazoo, MI) in Estrelinha. Sister Burkinshaw's frown was knowing that Sister Young would not be happy with the cement stairs and no handrail. This is a challenge as these kind of stairs are everywhere in Brasil.

Sister Chavez, Sister Jenson and Elder Burkinshaw on the street in Estrelinha.  The potential apartment had some fatal flaws so the Sisters will keep looking.

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw used their early morning walk to apartment hunt close to the mission office. Since we will not be getting a couple for the office we have begun looking for a place for Elders to live near the office. 

We continue to walk 4+ miles early each morning to start off our day.  This is a new beach we found tucked away among the houses on the Ilha do Boi.

Another beach area we saw during our walk on the Ilha do Boi.
Another morning walk view of the ocean.  When the tide is high and there is a strong wind, the waves become pretty intense and splash up on to the path we walk.

This is a sunrise behind the granite monument at the Curva do Jurema about one-half mile from our apartment.  This is where our morning walk begins.

Morning walk sunrise. One of our regular walks takes us down a rock pier near where these boats are anchored.

Saturday morning bike ride down Praia do Camburi. Our apartment is in the far background. It is about a five mile ride one-way. We have loved having access to the Vitória bike rental that the city installed in June.

In a recent Sunday Gospel Principles lesson we studied the "Postmortal Spirit World". In the "For Teachers" section it was suggested that to help class members or family members understand the differences between paradise and spirit prison, consider drawing a vertical line in the middle of the board (or on a piece of paper), making two columns. At the top of one column, write State of the Righteous (Paradise) and at the top of the other column, write State of the Wicked (Spirit Prison). Ask class members to describe each state in the spirit world, based on their reading in the lesson manual and scriptures. At the conclusion of that activity this question was asked: "How are conditions in the spirit world similar to conditions in this life?". 

One thing that is similar is "missionary work". While temple work must be done here on the earth, missionary work exists here on earth as well as in the postmortal spirit world. 

"According to the prophet Alama, the righteous spirits rest from earthly care and sorrow. Nevertheless, they are occupied in doing the work of the Lord. Joseph F. Smith saw in a vision that immediately after Jesus Christ was crucified, He visited the righteous in the spirit world. He appointed messengers, gave them power and authority, and commissioned them to 'carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men' (D&C 138:30)....In the spirit prison are the spirits of those who have not yet received the gospel of Jesus Christ. These spirits have agency and may be enticed by both good and evil. If they accept the gospel and the ordinances performed for them in the temples, they may leave the spirit prison and dwell in paradise."

A reminder of the missionary work that needs to be done and the need will continue well into the next life. No wonder the prophets have counseled "every member a missionary" and continue to counsel members young and old to prepare to serve a mission. We are grateful to have answered that call. Missionary work is the LORD'S WORK and it is a WORK OF MIRACLES.

Avante, Avante para Vitória!

Elder and Sister Burkinshaw