Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Christmas Conferences

We held two Christmas conferences with our missionaries. This one was with all the missionaries close to Salvador which was a group of about 110. We held it at the chapel.

This conference was in another city called Petrolina, which is about 7 hours away from us. We flew up there and had a group of about thirty missionaries.

For our lunch with the big group we ate in the institute building adjacent to the chapel. It worked out really nice.

We've had several of our missionaries go home in the last few weeks for health issues, so we had everyone write on a group letter to them.

Two of our cute sisters, Siter Piola and Sister Souza.

The office staff helped serve the lunch for the big group. Elders Perreira, Perry, Killpack, Morgan and Curtis. They are awesome Elders!

Two of the Sisters, Sister Souza and Sister Bezzera presented Jim and I with a really cute little gift depicting us as "formidavel" missionaries. They were so excited to give it to us at the party.

These were the four sisters we had in Petrolina: Sisters Kalamafoni, Davis, Tiburcio, and Marciano.

The elders helped us decorate.

Elder Morgan, one of our assistants making sure everything looks good.

We put all our little gifts on the tables as decorations.

We gave the missionaries a little photo album for their baptism pictures and the elders also got a tie. The sisters got a cute pen holder and matching note paper.

The sisters were excited to help decorate the room.

Sister Turner and Sister Pratt.

The Elders and Sisters loved the tone bells. They got here the day before the party I think. Thanks, Britt!

The sisters were good at it.

President Hart kept making fun of Elder Mota, in the paper tie, because he kept missing his note.

I even packed the tone bells in my suitcase for Petrolina.

Because our group was so much smaller in Petrolina, we were able to do a fun gift exchange. The zone leaders gathered up everyones name plaques and put them in a Santa hat, and then we all drew a name and had to give clues as to who was our secret friend.

Elder Hubbard was dying because he drew my name and his gift was toilet paper.

Somehow everyone managed to get their gifts all wrapped up pretty. It was funny because I asked Jim earlier if he thought it would be possible to do a gift exchange. He shot the idea down, saying it would be too hard for the elders and sisters to get something. But when the zone leaders called and suggested the same thing, he thought it was a great idea! Hmmm...

Elder Siqueira goofing off with his tie. He's really not cross eyed.

This was our lunch in Petrolina. A really nice sister there fixed it for us and it was delicious.

Sister Davis and Elder De Ararujo provided some beautiful Christmas music at the party.

In Petrolina we had sort of an impromtu Nativity scene. Sister Tiburcio is wearing my skirt on her head as Mary. We got stuff out of my suitcase for the costumes and swaddling clothes.

Elder Mummy was an angel.

We also had a really nice missionary quartet perform for us. Elders De Ararujo at the piano, Elder Ararujo, Elder Barbosa, Elder Mummy, and Elder Bernard, who loves to sing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Small Branch

One of the most enjoyable things for us is to visit the small branches of the mission. They are usually so excited to have us visit. They usually meet in an adapted house like this one.

One of our missionaries is the branch president along with another one who is one of the counselors.

Here they are in their office.

This is where the Elders Quorum meets.

Young Women's room.

The cute Primary room.

The Relief Society room with the obligatory table cloth and centerpiece.

I guess this is the Elder's Quorum room.

This is the cute little chapel.

These are the sweet Relief Society Sisters I met.

Here is the whole branch after church.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's a Girl!

Well, maybe she doesn't look too much like a girl yet, but she will. Meet baby Amber, our tenth grandchild. The proud parents are Brittney and Jake Nielson. Brittney is due in April. If we happen to have any weddings taking place, maybe I can home for the birth.

One of the biggest blessings I am thankful for is the technology we have to keep in touch with our family while we're away. I love Skype! I was able to be part of the exciting moment when Brittney, in Las Vegas, found out through an ultrasound that she is having a girl. Her cousin Jenny used her cell phone to Skype with us so we could find out at the same time they did. They were on a girls' trip with all the cousins and Grandma Hart, so there were about 20 of them all crowded in the room to find out the fun news.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our "Formidavel " Mission

The joke right now in our mission is how much Jim uses the word "formidavel." It means great or wonderful. The missionaries made up a tee-shirt to make fun of it.

The sisters also made up a version too.

Zone Activities

We asked all of our zones to hold a zone activity to try to create more unity in the zones. We got invited to attend this one.

They had a fun barbeque at a church institute in Feira.

Is that President Hart in the game?

The sisters are fixing lunch.

The Wedding Planners

Our mission is not much different than Kevin's and Zach's in that we have the same challenges in getting people married before they can be baptised.

It's such a beautiful thing to see a couple get married and start on the road to becoming an eternal family. Both the bride and groom were in tears.

Fun Ward Activities

The ward activities have been pretty impressive. This one was headed up by the missionaries. It's a night where the ward members come to compete in teams and they earn points for certain things like bringing an investigator, coming as a family, coming on time, etc.

In this activity the ward members were asked church related questions and if they couldn't answer they got a plate of pie in the face. Sounds like an activity created by missionaries, doesn't it? The ward goes crazy over it though.

This was a fun primary birthday party where all the kids came in costume. Most were Disney princesses. Little girls are the same everywhere, aren't they?

They had really gone to a lot of work to decorate the chapel really cute. It's impressive because it's not really easy for these members to come to the church on another day besides Sunday. They usually have to take a long walk or bus ride at night to get there. But they love getting together. The difficulty in travel makes it a real challenge to start any event on time.