Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Mission Update, uh, Rewind

No one ever really wanted to watch my mission slides with me. Now that I have that slide scanner, I thought I'd try it on the blog.

We'll start with the inspirational:

In my current mission, I am documenting the early missionaries in Wales who were trying to get converts for the New Zion in America. My mission in Brazil 1976-78 was to bring Zion to the People of Brazil. The Temple under construction in São Paulo was the culmination of that. It would bring sacred ordinances to seal up individuals, families, and peoples together in preparation to live with God. They gave us a tour of the nearly completed Temple on our way out of Brazil. Note the guide wires to the steeple. Lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.

My mission started a little slowly. We were held up for a time, a long time, in the Language Training Center (LTM) in Provo waiting for visas (later, the Missionary Training Center or MTC). We had to find creative ways to keep studying.

We finally made it to Brazil. Here is my first companion and I in front of the Mission Office at Princesa Isabel and João Pessoa, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.

There aren't a lot of scenic shots as I didn't want to be that Elder going around like a tourist. Now that I'm in my 60s, I'm glad that most of my shots were of the people around me like my companions. In my first city Cachoeira do Sul, we loved the rooftop access. Here were are with our united farewell as they shipped us Elders out and replaced us with Sisters.

We were in P-day clothes packing up.

My second companion (who took the pic above) was from Rio but was often mistaken for the North American as I tan well. That is, until we opened our mouths. I had the discussions memorized backwards and forwards as we had spent a long time in the LTM. This companion, a hard worker who had difficulty in memorization, would start me off like a tape recorder with the discussion then answer any questions the investigators had.

I'm still Facebook friend with these first two Brazilians. Not so much with my third in Brazil who was from Utah. My next companion was a stellar missionary and a great man. He trained me to be a Zone Leader. I wish I could track him down today.

We worked hard, had good missionaries in our Zone, and helped turn the mission around with new a number of converts. It was all Temple preparation. My companion had not yet been endowed with power from on high. The Church decided to let all these Brazilian missionaries serve and go to the São Paulo Temple as a group when the Temple was dedicated just after I went home.

I stayed out on the Frontier in Alegrete in our rented, pink house. My companion was an old friend from our long LTM days. We had destiny together. The other Elder there behind the molequeada has sadly passed away.

Our good work and success kept going. As Zone leaders with far-flung cities, we spent most of our time traveling from one place to another to conduct baptismal interviews. Sometimes we stood when there were no seats on the inter-city buses. They still smoked on the bus in those days, so we would ride along in a cloud of blue haze. It was more fun and cleaner air when we caught the train.

It took many hours to get to the mission home. Often we would ride through the evening and night to arrive early in the morning. Mission conferences were a wonderful time to meet up with our friends. Here we are with our District from the LTM days (weeks, months).

In the back of this picture is a sad story. A drug-addled lad used to hang around the mission home and the Elders were generally kind to him. One day, he somehow got into the mission fusca, or Volkswagen bug, and rammed it repeatedly into the mission van. The Mission only had three vehicles. Fortunately, the President's nice car was not involved.

That nice, pink house a few pictures above was great for four Elders. Unfortunately, the landlord came one day and told us we had a month to vacate as it was to be sold. When we had some spare time, we searched and searched for a new place to live. We prayed a lot too. As often happens with prayer, we found a place right at the end of the month. It was perfect and seemed to have been built just for us.

Miracle House that it was, we still had to clear the mission furniture out of the old place when we had a free P-day and lived in the garage for a few days until the new place was ready. This is a true story. Here is a photo:

One of my biggest adventures was right on the frontier or border between Brazil and Uruguay. It was in a stake of Zion with two wards in our Brazilian side. The rest of the stake spoke Spanish or "Uruguaiyo" pronounced with a soft "jo" on the end. Here I am right on the open border with Santana do Livramento, RS, Brasil behind me

It was comfortable enough with the members there that I got some pictures at church.

One of my favorite pictures, my really great companion in the middle:

The last few months of my mission were in a beautiful small town across the bay from Porto Alegre, Guaíba.

It was very convenient that the midwinter (down there) celebration for St. John's Day came on the eve of leaving for home. We had a Branch party.

Then we were off.

In those days it was still allowed to stop off for some tourist visits on the way home. We were still set-apart missionaries so it wasn't a complete bacchanalia. My friend with the new suit on the far left did have someone to meet in São Paulo. That story is told elsewhere but here is the pic:

Somehow we survived with our faculties intact. Next stop was Rio.

We had great day there in perhaps the most beautiful city in the world.

Imperial Palace, now a Museum
But I was tired and anxious to get home not having seen or even spoken to my family all that time. It is much more lenient today on family contacts.

Where did I want to go when I got off the plane in Salt Lake City? McDonald's, of course! (I was still just a kid.) And after that I wanted to go to Temple Square. I felt that longing still for solid Temples. My new mission is right back there now.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!