Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Mission Home

Jim at his desk in the mission home office.

This is one of our bedrooms that has been converted into an execise/TV room. It took a month but we finally got cable TV hooked up. We can at least see some news now.

This is the kids' guestroom just waiting for some grandkids to come and try it out!

Elder De Ararujo at the piano. He has been dying to come and play our piano and sing with us. He used to play for weddings before his mission. It felt like a Sunday night with Brody and Corine at our house and all the music blasting away.

We had our office staff over for Sunday dinner. It felt like home for me to cook for my new "family". We're saying good-bye to our assistant, Elder Hillman, (two elders behind me) and we keep threatening that we are not going to let him leave. He seems like he's a 40 year old stake president and acts like it too. He has only been in the church for about 9 years. I set the dining table using all the fancy dishes and they were really impressed. My lasagne even turned out!

This is our kitchen. It's been kind of a challenge learning to cook in a gas oven. The temperature guage is not in Farenheit, so I never quite know what degrees I'm using.

This is a view of our bedroom. We have a king bed which we have really liked. The tables with my computer stuff on them are going to be replaced with study desks soon. We still haven't received our shipment of goods from home yet, so that's why everything still looks so bare.

This is the office in the mission home, looking at the missionary board. Jim spends a lot of time here answering missionary e-mails. He potentailly has 134 e-mails to respond to each week. He didn't realize he'd spend so much time just doing that.

This is the dining room where we have some of our training meetings. The missionaries, I have decided just love anything that makes them feel like they're at home or with their family. One of our cute Elders, Elder Nachtigall said, "I like it when we travel with you because it feels like we're a family."

This is the living room. It has Liz Lemon Swindle paintings on the wall, so it does feel like home to me. And we have two prints of Minerva Teichert on our walls so I do approve of the artwork choices.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our First P-Day Outing to the Pelourinho

Here we are at the Pelourinho. We dressed up for the occasion.

This is the old part of Salvador where the Portuguese brought in the African slaves. The architecture is very European.

This is the elevator that connects the lower part of the city to the upper part. It costs fifteen cents to ride on it. All of the office elders wanted to come with us on this trip. One of them said, "I like when we travel together. It feels like we're a family."

We're about to get on the elevator to see the lower city.

This church is all gold plated.

We are listening to the most famous percusssion band in Brazil. It's made up of kids and Michael Jackson recorded his song "They Don't Care About Us" with this group right here in Salvador. You can watch the music video on Youtube. The kids are amazingly good.

This was our lunch spot. Ambience right?

Another picture of the percussion band.

This is MY plate. Can you believe it? I actually really like the food here! It's a mission miracle.

The restaurant was up on the second floor of an old building.

Here is another example of the old European style buildings.

An example of the traditional Bahian dress.

The lighthouse where the slaves were brought in. Me and my five body guards.

Meeting our Missionaries

The outgoing Mission President and wife, President and Sister Toledo welcoming us to the mission office. They have done an excellent job in keeping our mission on top.

Getting to meet our office elders--Elder Nachtigall, Elder Mitchell, Elder Quindara, President and Sister Toledo, us, Elder De Ararujo, and Elder Hillman. We have learned to love these five elders more than we can express! They are my five body guards when we travel. Jim calls the three secretaries the Three Nephites, because they have rescued us so many times now.

We had three conferences the week after we arrived to get to know the missionaries and introduce ourselves.

Our sisters are the best in the church! We thought we only had eight, but we have seventeen!

We feel so blessed to have such awesome missionaries to work with--134 in all!

Last Get Togethers with Family

The Harts had a fun farewell dinner and swimming party before we left.

They gave us a homemade Ice cream freezer to take on our mission. The missionaries will love it!

Our farewell talks were on Father's Day so Andi had a family dinner for Dad. It worked out so nice to be able to tell all the Smiths good-bye.

If we're smiling extra big, it's because we just finished our Sacrament Meeting talks.

Me, Mom, Val and Sandy just after Relief Society the day we spoke in church.

Saying Good-bye June 27, 2011

The night before we left, we had a nice farewell dinner at our house thanks to the kids.

Jim and Bridger taking one last look at the garden.

The flowers in the backyard are just starting to come in.

Saying good-bye to little Bridger and Graham.

Brittney, Brooke, and me.

Bye, Bridger!

Our little Graham-ster.

Bridger is crying here, but I don't think it was because we were leaving.

We'll see you all in three years!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mission Presidents Seminar MTC June 22-26 2011

Here we are as new missionaries in class. The semianr was one of the choicest learning experiences of our lives. We were taught by President Monson and nearly all of the Council of the Twelve.

These are the new mission presidents going to Brazil.

We sat next to Sister Tanner (former General YW President) and Sister Wixom (current General Primary President).

The traditional map picture. We're just like every other missionary.

We snuck home a few nights to be with our family for a few last dinners together. This is taken at Little America Coffee Shop, one of our standard places to go.

This is our first day at the MTC. We're just as scared as any other new missionary!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Setting Apart

The girls were so excited to meet an apostle. They looked so pretty in their white dresses.

Grandma Hart and Makenzie visiting.

Brooke and Corine

Brittney and Jake

Elder Andersen set Jim apart and Elder Costa set me apart. We received beautiful blessings.

It was so nice of Elder Andersen to suggest we take some pictures.

He was so cute to the girls and let them ask questions and showed them some things he had from Brazil.