Sunday, May 28, 2017

My Cute Brazilian Daughter! I Wish!

     Natalia is so special to us.  The very first Sunday we were in Tatui, she and her family invited us to dinner at her home.  She is a wonderful cook.  So not only is she beautiful outside, she is beautiful inside.  Besides being a great cook, she has a beautiful singing voice. She is a teacher of geography.      Natalia teaches two sessions a day, from 7 am to noon and then from 1 pm to 5:30 pm.  Usually the younger children go to school early in the morning and the older students go in the afternoon until evening.  Four nights a week she teaches an adult class that goes from 7 pm to 11 pm.  I don't know how she does it.
     She will be getting married in the Campinas Temple next January and will be moving from Tatui.  That will be sad for us but we are happy for her and she will be closer to her parents.  Her Dad was just called as Bishop in his ward.  They are a terrific family.

A Special Baptism and a Miracle

     Top picture: Elder Sagae, Luana and her husband Henrique and their three children and Elder Campos.  Two weeks ago Luana heard Elder Sagae talking to someone on the bus about the Church.  She told Elder Sagae she wanted to hear more about it and so she and her family received the Lessons.  So today, following Sacrament meeting, Henrique, Luana and their son Kauan were baptized
     Elder Sagae baptized Kauan, Elder Campos baptized Luana and Elder Barrus had the great blessing of baptizing Henrique.  This family will be a great asset to our Branch.
     This family feels they have been the recipients of a wonderful miracle.  Their youngest child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was a baby and has spent a lot of time in the doctor's office and the hospital.  More tests were performed recently and the tests were sent to the United States.  Just this past week they received word that all the tests were clear!  Yes, it was a miracle.

Temple Trip

     We went to the Campinas Temple Saturday, May 27 with the Tatui Branch.  The youth performed baptisms.  Presidente Vagner and his wife, Ivone, are standing in the back. We saw Mark briefly to say hello, he was working in the baptistry.   After Elder Barrus and I did an endowment session we went to the cafeteria in the Temple for lunch.
     We visited with a young couple who were sitting across from us at the table.  They had boarded a bus at midnight the night before, travelled on that bus for 5 hours, did 3 endowment sessions when they arrived at the Temple and after lunch, they were getting back on the bus to travel the 5 hours back to their home in Marilia.  And, she was a few months pregnant.  That is dedication!

St. Anthony's in Jau

     On our way back from Bauru, Mark took us on a side trip to Jau (Jah-oo).  This is a beautiful, little Catholic church called St. Anthony's, after the saint of sweethearts.  The church is about 100 years old and the attention to detail is magnificent.  There is a wonderful story that goes with this church but we will save that for another time.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dinner with the Bentims in Bauru

     Pictured left to right back row:  Ivelisse and Mark Grover, Fernando Bentim, Stake President in Bauru, Elder and Sister Barrus.  Front Row:  Brother and Sister Bentim and their daughter.  To the left of me is Rosa.  Mark knew President Bentim and told him we would be coming to Bauru to spend the weekend.  They very graciously invited us to dinner (it was amazing!).  Brother Bentim has served as a Mission President, a counselor in a Temple Presidency and a Temple President.  His wife helped to translate the Book of Mormon into Portuguese and translated the LDS hymns into Portuguese.  She is not well now but her family takes wonderful care of her and she does have a precious smile. Pictured below is Fernando, Brother Bentim, Rosa, Fernando's wife, Sister Bentim and Fernando's sister.

Elder Barrus, Then and Now

     It was from this very pulpit that Elder Barrus gave a talk for the first time in Portuguese 51 years ago.  Well....tried to give a talk.  He was a new Elder, Bauru his first assignment.  Since he really didn't know Portuguese yet, he had written out his talk word for word and practiced many times.        That Sunday he got up to give his talk, confident that all would go well, reached into his pocket to retrieve his talk, oops!  He had left his talk at his apartment!  He gave a one sentence testimony and sat down.  He gave a talk in another chapel on this day, Sunday, May 21 and even though he speaks Portuguese pretty well now, he checked several times to make sure it was safe and sound in his briefcase.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rosa - 51 Years Later

     The weekend of May 20 we went on a nostalgic visit to Bauru.  Left to right, Mark Grover (serving with his wife Ivelisse as missionaries in the Campinas Temple), Rosa and Al.  Mark and Al served in the Brazil Mission at the same time and have known each other since the MTC days.  Bauru was the  very first place that Al served in, his second day in Brazil he was given a sign that said in big letters BAURU and was told to get off the bus when he saw that word. Several hours later he arrived in Bauru and this sweet little lady in the middle was one of the members he remembered.  Mark made arrangements for us to visit her and what a choice experience it was.  She made delicious dinners for us both Saturday and Sunday evenings and we attended Church with her on Sunday morning.  She called us after we arrived back to Tatui and said she is coming to visit us here in a couple of weeks! We are so looking forward to that visit.  She is a dynamic, talented little lady and has provided housing for missionaries for many, many years.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Great Conversion Story

     Left to right:  Elder Brum, Elder Barrus, Joshua, Reginaldo (father of Joshua), Elder Sagae, Elder Campos.
     Twenty years ago the missionaries approached Reginaldo but his wife was opposed to having the lessons.  Reginaldo became a pastor for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Years later his older son joined the LDS Church, went on a mission and married a young lady, who was a returned missionary, in the Temple.
     Recently the missionaries approached Reginaldo and he received the lessons and knew that he needed to join the LDS church. Elder Barrus asked him what it was that prompted him to want to join the Church.  He said that Baptism for the Dead and Eternal Families touched his heart and bore testimony to him of the truthfulness of the gospel.  In this short time he has read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.  On Sunday, May 14, he announced to his congregation that he would be baptized into the LDS church.  This past weekend he and his son Joshua were baptized by his older son.  A side note:  his ex-wife who was opposed to receiving the missionaries, has also joined the Church.
     What a blessing the gospel is in our lives.

The Graduate

     Our granddaughter, Addy, graduated from pre-school this past week.  We are so proud of you, Addy.  Michael, Addy, Kylie and Jacob.

Babe Ruth!

     Our grandson Eli playing baseball.  Look at that stance! Way to go Eli!

Show de Talento

     Friday evening, May 19, the Branch hosted a Talent Show.  Left to right in back, Thaynna (sang a parody of a popular Brazilian song), Aparecido and Antonio (they are brothers in their eighties and they sang and played the guitar and did it so beautifully, wonderful voices.  What was so funny was at the beginning Antonio started singing and playing and Aparecido kept flipping through the pages of words to the songs and looking at Antonio, finally he slapped Antonio on the arm and stopped him and said, "That isn't one of the songs we've been practicing!" Antonio looked at him, turned back to the audience and started singing the song again!  It was hilarious, I laughed until I had tears running down my face, they reminded me of  Brazilian Smothers Brothers, loved it!) Luciano, master of ceremonies, Edsen (sang, beautiful voice), Elder Sagae (played the piano, he plays like a concert pianist), Esther (plays the piano, her mother brings her three times a week to Tatui to take lessons at the Conservatory here, Tatui is the music capital of Brazil and students from all over the world come here to study their instruments.  They live in a town 1 1/2 hours from Tatui so you can see how dedicated they are.).  Middle row, Sister Barrus ( no talent, can't sing, dance or play an instrument but I can make cookies!  I made several dozen of different kinds of cookies for the refreshments so they decided that was my talent and insisted I be in the picture with them.), Gilmara sang with her son Ryan who played the guitar.  Ryan is kneeling in front of Gilmara.  Debora sang with Edsen who is standing behind her. (They sang and acted it out, it was darling.) Vinicius sang Nearer my God to Thee, ( Vinicius comes to our English class), Marjorie ( Esther's sister played the violin in a duet with Esther playing the piano.) Last but not least Divinia who sang and has a very pretty voice.  A fun

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tatui Branch Young Men and Young Women

     The Young Men and Young Women of the Branch presented a Fireside on Sunday night on the Restoration of the Gospel.  They presented it with narration and singing and a slide show.  It was beautiful. In back left to right, Ryan, Haury, Mosias, Edsen (Young Men's President). In front, Mericia, Ketilyn, Carol, Thaynna (Young Women's President), Rafaely and Debora (counselor).