Many times over the past few weeks we have been asked for either our passport or CPF number which is the Federale Policia identification number. We left our passports at the Mission Home for safekeeping thus we haven't had our passports and we couldn't get a CPF number because we didn't have our passports. The Mission Home has been working very hard to help us.
Last Wednesday night, December 21, we received a call from the Mission Home while we were meeting with Presidente Vagner at the Church. They said we needed to be in Sao Paulo at 9 am the next morning. It is 2 1/2 hours to Sao Paulo and more by bus. We didn't know where we were supposed to go once we got there. The Mission Home kindly arranged for a driver to pick us up at our apartment at 5:30 am Thursday morning. Our driver was a very nice young man named Diego. Diego had only been working for the company the Church hires for such occasions for about two months.
Diego, although a very pleasant young man, was a very aggressive driver to say the least. Elder Barrus and I had the white knuckle drive of our lives! We finally reached Sao Paulo, drove into town, drove out of town, drove back into town and circled several times. Sao Paulo is about the size of New York City and Chicago combined. I mouthed to Elder Barrus, 'I think we're lost.' Just then Diego took his hands off the steering wheel and put them on top of his head and said, 'Eu vou chorar, eu vou chorar!' I am going to cry. Yep, we were lost.
We finally did make it to the very, very huge dark gray Federale Policia Building. There was a really long line and we thought we would be standing in line for at least two or three hours. When we got out the car Diego told us just to go up the stairs and not wait in the line. Up the stairs we went, there were two doors you could enter. One had the long waiting line and the other said 'Preferential' above the door. We figured we were not 'preferential' so we just stood around looking like we didn't know what we were doing, and we didn't.
Some very nice people in the long line told us to go through the door marked 'Preferential', and we did. Through the door there were armed policia and a very long counter with ladies with computers behind it. We came up to the first lady and she said, 'Passport'. Well, we didn't have our passports. Is this when the handcuffs were going to be snapped on? She said something else to us and we just looked at her. Then a booming voice from the end of the long counter said, "Drivers License!" We looked to see where the voice came from and there stood a very, very large man. He must have been at least 6 foot 6 or 7 inches and could easily have played linebacker for the NFL, they would love to have him. We, of course, scrambled for our Driver's Licenses. After we showed them and our pictures were taken, the linebacker said in English, 'You're with me.'
His name was Fabio and what a wonderful man. He took us up to the 3rd floor where several young elders and sisters were waiting to receive their ID numbers. It was fun visiting with them, they were still in the Language Training Center. Fabio took us to the front of the line and saw to it all our paper work was taken care of and then told us he had called our driver and Diego would be waiting for us in front of the building. What started out to be a scary experience turned out wonderfully well because of Fabio. We're pretty sure he is a member of the Church. I didn't know Fairy Godmothers came in that size!
Our trip home with Diego was as exciting (?) as the trip there. We did arrive back in Tatui safe and sound and we are now legal.