Saturday, May 31, 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Optimist Golf Tournament

2nd place for Sawyer and Hunter - congratulations!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Letter #96

Dear Family,

Are you excited? Don't forget there are still six more weeks of work : ) You can be very excited though, as I am as well. It is perhaps a testament that families were designed to be together forever that our very being yearns to be again together. We are not meant to be separated for very long and certainly not after this life. You'll have to be gentle with me though when I get back because I'm not quite as durable as I was when I left, physically speaking. Although I have picked up, naturally, throughout the mission, incredible Brasilian jujitsu moves that will allow me to completely dominate any future wrestling matches : ) yup.

This week was very, very rainy, and officially as far as being cold goes the beginning of winter here in Brasil. Gray skies though are not a reason to have gray spirits. In a week and a half the cup of the world starts here in Brasil. Normally (they tell me) all of the streets are painted yellow and green, but this year due to the apparent corruption and robbery demonstrated in cup preparations, the populace is disinterested, deceived and depressed, so I don't expect much excitement or out of the place happenings because of the cup, which will finish on my last Sunday here in the mission. Keep tuned for cup developments.

This weekend we had stake conference in Tiradentes with the presence of President Genaro and President Lima, first counselor. The president returned from his trip to the seminar for mission presidents with FIRE, and quickly let the stake know that we are here to HASTEN the work. The work is very simple, it just has to be DONE, and daily. We haven't seen much of the president due to interviews, the seminar and now more interviews so I can't share much news on that front, nor much of what Elders Nelson and Anderson taught.

Imagine our surprise on Saturday after being told we would have an hour and a half to train the ward mission leaders and missionaries when the day before they had told us fifteen minutes. . . : ) Luckily Presidents Genaro and Lima decided to unload and left us free to listen: )

Sunday we confronted freezing rain and dark skies, leaving early to get investigators for the Sunday sessions. Dressed to the nines and without umbrellas I'd say that we were considered the "foolish things of the world" by all who saw us, but it was well worth it for the two families who felt the warming and sanctifying influence of the spirit during conference. We had three baptisms this week but all out of our area. The sister and brother in law of two young women converts was baptized in the other stake in Londrina, and a close friend of a couple, who had attended their marriage was baptized in another ward. The fruits of member missionary work are undeniable.
The other couple converts sang in the stake choir this Sunday. It was an emotional moment for me. I remembered back five months ago when I had taught him that strong drinks were not for the body and that in front of his house on Christmas, the drinks being strongly present. The gospel transforms those who follow it. Never forget that. They sang "A Child's Prayer" and "This is the Christ" and tears flowed freely.

Even one of my young woman converts received her mission call to serve in Porto Alegre South mission : ) I think that was the happiest moment in my mission. She leaves the 18th of June, before I even go home! and is hurriedly sewing dresses and reading and rereading her call packet. I don't have any more words to express the joy one feels at such times as these. I will likewise never forget the day we found them and I challenged her to read The Book of Mormon to discover again the testimony I knew she had. I was sure we wouldn't be let back in the house again because of the firm insistence we used to call them back to church and activity. The result was quite the opposite and we've been going back for lunch ever since! Her mother is also preparing to go to the temple to receive her endowments.

This is the last week of the transfers and it is a doozy! we finished last month with 113 baptisms, and have seen rapid, SUSTAINABLE growth and that makes me very optimistic for the future of the mission. I sent you a graphic I made showing the baptisms of men this year. I know it is in Portuguese but I think you can read between the languages: )

This week we are preparing for the many changes to take place next week, as well as the 18 missionaries that will be arriving on Tuesday. Yesterday, Tuesday, we already had 23 people marked to baptize this week, about 2 to 4 times the normal amount this early in the week.

Rain doesn't stop us. The world cup doesn't stop us. This is indeed the work of God. I love you, and am praying for you. Pack with fervor and share the gospel wherever you are.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

With All Our Love

We received a letter from the Dean's office, College of Engineering and Technology, inviting you to a math refresher course to "assist you on your return to BYU." I assume, even though it is free, you're not registering for this event?

Dear Tanner,
What a week! One for the record books! the Bachs arrived in town, Hunter graduated from high school, we placed 850 flags on graves of veterans, Porter held his Eagle Court of Honor...those are some of the activities. Lots of red, white and blue with a sprinkling of green ;-) Let's start with Friday. The German friends arrived at lunch time, and we scooped the brothers skipping school (Porter and Cooper) to drive straight to Hillbilly Hotdogs. We figured one more time there would be fun! Hunter met us there after a mow job.

We also picked up Porter's scout awards, and our new double paned window newly repaired for $100 after Miller put a baseball through your bedroom winter. After a quick trip to a summer league basketball game by Sawyer, where he scored 9 out of the 19 points, we ran to graduation. It wasn't as good as yours, as the speaker wasn't you or your brother ;-) But, Hunter graduated second in his class, and represented the family well. They also handed out the sum cum laude awards. Your sister wanted to wear her party dress, and promptly fell asleep, after deciding Hunter was too far away to see (we were on the upper deck - nosebleed section!).

Saturday, due to the Bachs generosity and forethought to pack 850 flags in their car trunk, we got to put a lot of flags out on the graves of veteran soldiers. The boys had a great time finding the stones, and we actually ran out of flags before we finished! We handed out a lot of flags to other scouts there, and even went to Bro. Overby's family cemetery to do his as well. That's a fun tradition I'd like to continue to do on future Memorial Days. We also visited the Museum of Radio and Technology, a Huntington treasure ;-) It has SO much stuff! you could get lost there for days - look forward to those pictures in your email!

We visited Fat Patty's for a really late lunch, always a culinary delight. At 6:30 p.m. we had a few folks over to celebrate Hunter's graduation - Sis. Parrish, the Mazons, and Larry and Sandy. It was a delightful group, love for us and them was very palpable. Everyone has been very generous to Hunter because of his graduation. He is very loved as well. I couldn't be prouder of you two boys.

Sunday morning we took two very loaded cars to church - patriotic flowers, balloons, programs, flags, decorations, table cloths, paper products, cake, cupcakes, potato salad, Boston baked beans, chips, veggies, BBQ pork, macaroni and cheese, homemade rolls, watermelon, lemonade with strawberries...miss me? It was very good. Took us about 20 minutes to get the tables and chairs set up in both rooms, decorate, and get the food ready - record time because of all those willing to help. Hopefully it was well worth their efforts. There were close to forty that stayed after church to support Porter. He desperately wanted to wait until you were home, but you're not here long enough for us to wait. Dad did a nice job talking about scouting, its history with the Church, and its importance as the activity arm of the Priesthood.

Monday morning we went to Gallipolis for their Memorial Day parade, our stopping was actually spontaneous ;-). It was short and sweet, and perfect. 

There was also a vain attempt at a famous local hot dog eatery. With their burlesque theme, dancer named hot dogs, vintage strip tease posters, and "weenies that wiggle," we couldn't run fast enough out the door!).

We moved onto our 100 minute train ride in Nelsonville, OH. The trains were great, the vistas beautiful, the history very interesting, and the company the best!

We finished with buffalo burgers, and a visit to mothman and the museum. The day couldn't be beat! Filled with enough Ohio oddities to scare any sane person from returning to visit! We topped off our most excellent Brown Sign day by celebrating an early birthday cake for Cooper.


The Bachs left early this morning, and are just about home while I'm typing your letter. We're off the holiday schedule, and are back to orthodontic appointments, lawn mowing, wash, trash, dishes...the stuff of which make summer vacations.

We're getting a little trunky over here. Today Breyer spoke with your grandparents, and then wanted to call you. And she didn't want to take no for an answer! Miller wanted to know if you'd be back in time to see him play baseball. Cooper doesn't want me to put away his Legos because he has play dates planned with you. Feel the love! We love you! We're ready!


Mom and Dad

Real Bobble Heads ;-)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Eagle Scout Court of Honor


Memorial Day Preparations

One of our favorite service opportunities is through the boy scouts long standing tradition of placing flags on the graves of soldiers, Memorial Day weekend.
Our friends from Boston loved sharing this tradition with us last year, they brought 900 flags with them for us to put out! And we did!


(Hunter found the section in the cemetery for confederate soldiers!)

(Every picture has me posting. Must be bossy ;-)


Miller would look for the word "war," and know it needed a flag.

Our favorite headstone we found today: A Purple Heart AND Iwo Jima...amazing!