Saturday, April 20, 2013

Encontro de Ex-Missionários - Mission Reunion

An emotionally and spiritually exhausting day. [Oh, and physically] We started with the ward clean-up where we went around to various widows in the ward and did yard work in the rain. Then I went with my friend in the ward from my mission to another mission friend's house near Foothill Village to participate in a video simulcast of a conference in Brasil that my wife and I figured we could neither schedule nor afford in person. After that, I came home to find my parents here - a surprise to me (except for a couple of texts that they had arrived). My wife knew they were coming, but didn't tell me which works well in helping to avoid anxiety issues (and we'll leave that right there.)

But the important thing was the mission reunion of the Brazil, Porto Alegre Mission (Missão do Brasil, Porto Alegre) 1976-1979.. It was scheduled to correspond with our President's 80th birthday a few days ago. The few of us meeting here in town had a great time just with ourselves. This was good because the connection to Brasil was not that great. Especially the audio, especially when they neglected to place the mike next to the camera so when we saw particular old companions waiving at us, we couldn't always hear them!

Watching ourselves watch ourselves (upper right) and a few others
It is amazing technology to connect with people all over the world. We just wish they had figured out the sound problem in Campinas. But it was somewhat of a miracle that the best sound was when Sister and President Souza were speaking.

Sister Lindamir Souza
Sister Souza was so kind and loving as she has always been. The essence of the message was that we were and always will be their children. She talked about how to be happy and that the most important things are repentance and forgiveness.

Presidente Jason Garcia Souza
President Souza continued on his theme that we were and are the best Missionaries in the world, both Elders and Sisters. He told the story of his conversion that he was a seeker after truth and as a teen became latched to the scripture from Joshua "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15. Once he was asking his Priest about a question from the Bible, the Priest took the Bible from him and tore it to pieces saying that he shouldn't be worrying about such things. He told the Priest that he was a servant of the Lord based on on the Joshua scripture and that he needed to know. Eventually he found the Mormon Elders, had a spiritual witness, and was baptized. He mentioned another verse from King Benjamin, Mosiah 2:17, that when we are in the service of our fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God. And the way to be in the service of our neighbors is to preach the gospel. He bore a powerful testimony that helps reinforce my own.

He went on to preach faithfulness and appropriately pleased with his own family talked about how all his sons and some daughters had served missions, all his sons-in-law, all his grandsons and many granddaughters too. And how every one of them have callings in the church evidencing their active involvement.

The whole thing was a great experience. We even had a special guest appearance from that 55-year-old Brazilian guy who was on "America's Got Talent." Yeah, he was one of our Assistants to the President and actually sang for the conference from the living room we were in.

Luiz Meneghin's got talent
The best of it was just socializing. Our local group was fun. It was great to visit with others on-line. The best part was waving, throwing hugs and all to companions we hadn't seen for 35 years! I had a good contact with the companion I had been trying to connect with for decades along with a few others - some barely recognizable because they look like old men somehow. That's why I try to avoid mirrors.

Old Men - the best kind of friends in the world!
April 23, 2013

Our dear Mission President posted this on Facebook today. If you are not entendendo, you might try Google translate to get the gist of it:
Jason Garcia Souza:
Meus queridos Élderes e minhas queridas Sísteres.
Ainda com o coração apertado por tanta emoção, enviamos a todos nossos sinceros agradecimentos pelo sábado gratificante que tivemos. Graças à presença de todos, ao incansável trabalho do Elder Magalhães e todos os que trabalharam com ele nos preparativos, e a presença do Espírito Santo inspirando-nos, fomos brindados por um dia inesquecível. Pelo trabalho e presença de todos pudemos constatar, mais uma vez, vocês são OS MELHORES MISSIONÁRIOS DO MUNDO. Podemos imaginar como será o nosso encontro na Eternidade. Foi maravilhoso termos tido a oportunidade de rever, via satélite, os valorosos missionários residentes no exterior e que não puderam estar conosco. Em nosso regresso, no domingo, durante nossa viagem, nosso carro resolveu pregar-nos uma peça, parando e negando-se a continuar funcionando. Nosso querido filho Jarbas, informado por nós via celular, tomou todas as providências. Enquanto aguardávamos a chegada do guincho plataforma, ficamos relembrando os momentos felizes que passamos com todos no sábado. No início da noite chegou nosso filho Jarbas e nossa querida nora Christianne. Durante o tempo em que aguardávamos a chegada do socorro da seguradora, fomos muito bem cuidados por dois educados moços da Polícia Rodoviária Federal. Foi uma experiência interessante. Em nenhum momento deixamos de nos lembrar do sábado maravilhoso que nosso querido Pai Celestial nos proporcionou. Muitas vezes, enquanto comentávamos, nossos olhos marejavam. Nosso amor por todos é imenso. Nossa gratidão ao Senhor por tanta felicidade é maior ainda. Nossa querida sobrinha, Sistrer Scarante, que viajava conosco, compartilhou tudo e também não media palavras para afirmar o que todos nós sentíamos. Em todos os momentos sempre vinha à minha mente a última frase proferida pela minha querida avó paterna antes de sua partida para o mundo espiritual: COMO JESUS É BOM!!!!!!!.


  1. Hello out there. Elder Sean Sullivan here. Looking to reconnect with any of the Elders in our district out of the LTM. Elders Bartlett, Johnson, Layton, Anderson, Ruegner?
    Any help?

    1. Anderson's in my current ward. In fact, he's my home teacher! I'll tell him you're looking for him.


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