Sunday, 14 February 2016


January just flew by....with leadership councils, special district leader training, transfers, the arrival of new missionaries interviews, and zone conferences. 
It was sad to say goodbye to Tiffany, Alex, Jade and Leo.  They brightened up our Christmas in every way!  We miss them a whole bunch!

TRANSFERS...(a few people wanted to know about transfers)
 Transfers occur every 6 weeks.  When new missionaries come to the mission we have an orientation and a dinner. Before the old missionaries leave we go to the temple, Pres. Hill interviews them, and we have a dinner.  During this time we make changes in missionary companionships (transfers).  This transfer coming up we will have about 80 changes.  We could have new assistants, some new zone leaders, district leaders, sister training leaders, and trainers. It can be a stressful time for the missionaries as they go to new areas, face different challenges and have different companions. So in our weekly news letter to the missionaries (The GH) President Hill (Bruce) placed this picture of Leo and announced that someone new did the transfers this cycle "Pres. Leo" and to blame him for any of changes :)  

 Who could blame this little guy for anything....surprisingly we didn't get any complaints this time around :)

A picture of Jade in Grandpa's office.  She took over his desk and his heart.

At home in Canada we have a theatre room with a commercial popcorn machine and slush machine.  Bruce has his own special recipe for his popcorn that is just like the popcorn at the theatre.  We call it his "heart attack" can cause instant arterial blockages...but it is ohhhh so good!   He must have been missing this Christmas he went looking for one and found this baby. The  missionaries love it!
...During interviews Bruce brought it to the office for the missionaries to enjoy while they were waiting for their turn for an interview.  Bruce has about around 180 missionaries to interview in a two week period.  Some are done at the office and sometimes we travel to their areas to do the interviews.  It is a special time when they get one on one time with the President.  We go from 6:00 am 10:00pm (including traveling time).  While Bruce is interviewing the missionaries....I am sitting with the missionaries that are waiting.  I have to admit this is really hard for me....but the best for me as well. For 2 weeks straight I am struggling to understand what the missionaries are saying to me... and then the hard part...trying to say something back. ....but this is when I have grown the most.  It is so true what they say "trials are what make us grow and become stronger". I have to admit I am seeing a change and it is getting better.  I've come a long long way from our first interviews.  A long long way :)  Any thing is an improvement from 40 words :) haha
In Brazil they don't celebrate Valentines Day.  At our home it is BIGGER than Christmas.  We celebrated Valentines Day on the 13th this year...our Pday.   It was right after a long stretch of interviews.  It was a much needed break. In the morning we had waffles with strawberries and whip cream.  We made some of my daughter's (Heather) famous waffle syrup to go on was delicious! 

Waffle syrup:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1/2tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter-then add buttermilk and sugar--cook until bubbly--stirring constantly--remove from heat--add soda and vanilla.  Serve on waffles with strawberries and whip cream mmmmm....
I got valentine flowers and chocolate...

My chocolate was a little different this year...not heart shaped.  I love Ferrero Rocher chocolates and we found some in a bunny shape and we had to try them.  I know what I want the Easter Bunny to bring me this year :)

It was so so good!

We spent the day relaxing at our pool... enjoying chocolate fondue and dipping the many exotic fruits found in Brazil...poolside dinner...and Applebee's (yes they have Applebees's here in Brazil)   
The fruit here is amazing.  They have all the basic fruits we have at home and more....and more....and more....  When I go to the market most of the fruits I don't recognize.  Each time we go to the store Bruce and I try a new one.  This valentines day we tried 3 new ones....

This is a "Jaca Fruit"....or "Jack Fruit"(in Canada)  It grows on trees and is the size of a large watermelon.  It is hard and spiny on the outside (it doesn't look that tasty because of the strange shell)... but inside there are hundreds of little light yellow fruits about 1 1/2 inches in length.  Each have a seed inside.  The fruit is so sweet and they smell delicious!  The taste is a combination of apples, pineapples, mangos, and bananas.  I'm obsessed!!!

 The second fruit we tried was a "Pitaya" or "Dragon fruit"(in Canada).  It was almost too pretty to eat.  It grows on a pretty tree....(below).  They come in various colors.

This is what they look like on the inside...

They taste really sweet ....something like a kiwi...but much better.   I love them!

The 3rd fruit we tried was the "Cashew Fruit" or "Caju"(in Brazil). I never knew that the cashew nut had a fruit attached.  It is amazing!!  I love cashews...they are my favorite nut...and the cashew fruit is right up there as far as my favorite fruits go.  
This is Bruce's favorite juice ...cashew juice (Suco de Caju).  We buy it by the case :)

It contains 268.6% of your daily vitamin C.

I wish I could bring some home for all of you to taste.  It is "beyond good"!!!

Some of the houses in Brazil just like ours and some are a little different. A lot of them are brightly colored and have tile roofs like these...

 Most houses have high gates that have locks.  A lot of the windows have bars. 
Most homes don't have door bells.
Instead of ringing the doorbell you clap your hands (loudly). Missionaries have to be quite coordinated to do this...some have more difficulty than others :)

A lot of homes have high walls with spikes and electric fences to keep robbers out.  Our home has 30 foot walls with spikes and a electric fence on top.  We have bars on the windows too.  

Most apartment complexes and gated communities have a 24 hour security guards in a booth.  

My favorite day this month was when we got to go to this wonderful family's baptism.  They were taught by some dedicated missionaries and each member of the family individually prayed to know if the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints" was the restored gospel of Jesus Christ....the same gospel that Christ brought back when he was on the earth.  Each of them gained there own witness that is was true.  Each of them took the first step in following the Savior's example to be baptized.  They were baptized by immersion by a faithful man who has the authority from God (priesthood authority) to perform this ordinance.  
...a memorable favorite day...
It was a start of a "new" beginning...



  1. What a treat it is to read your blog and then to scroll to the last picture and see my boy!Oh how I love Elder Branch. I appreciate so much you detail of this wonderful mission. Thank you for sharing

    1. President Hill went to interview some of Elder Branch's investigators last night. He has 5 more people getting baptized this coming week! What an outstanding missionary! He's a keeper :)

  2. It's fun to read and see your news.Keep up the good work. Love you guys. Celanie

  3. I can honestly say that reading this blog is the highlight of my month! Thank you!