Friday, March 20, 2009


FYI--In Brazil, most syllables that end in a "d" that are then followed by a consonant, have an 'ee' sound added to the end of the d. For example, KKay goes by his first name, Edmund. But no one calls him Edmund or even Edmundo. The first 'd' gets an 'ee' sound added. In other parts of Brazil it might sound like, Eddy-mundo. But the accent in Rio is such that
a "de" is pronounced like the letter "g". That means that KKay's name comes out, Edgey-mundo.

KKay-Edemundo is our first child to go to a regular school from the beginning. He is extremely diligent in his schoolwork. He absolutely will not tolerate being late to school. I bought him a Ben-10 watch and he tells me minute for minute how close he is to being late. His teacher is the ultimate authority. If she says he has to buy the workbook to learn English like the other portuguese speakers in his class, then there is no other alternative. Even the principal, who assured him that he doesn't have to buy it, cannot be believed. He wants to get his homework done the second he gets home from school. If, as usual, I don't have time to do it with him at night (when we're going to seminary) I suggest we do it in the morning, since school doesn't start until 1:00pm. If this happens, his first waking thought is to do his homework. I usually have to explain that I meant I would help him AFTER I make breakfast.

Today was Ashton's birthday. I put KKay off to make carrot cake waffles and we were all sitting down to eat them. KKay had his workbook beside him at the table, indifferently eating (because he is never really hungry in the morning), waiting for me to finish my breakfast and help him.

Noah looked over at KK and took in the situation. "KKay..." he menaced. "KKay, I'm going to do your homework..." KKay immediately rejected this idea.

"KKay.....I'm going to do your homework...."

KKay knew he was being teased, but he was nervous. "Mom, Noah's not going to do my homework, right?" "Right."

"KKay, I'm going to do your homework....and I'm not going to follow the directions. Mwaaghaagh."

Only brothers truly know how to torture each other.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Favorite Missionaries--Tamara and Kierstyn

I have two favorite missionaries in the field right now. They both happen to be serving (well one got home this week) in the Poland Warsaw Mission. One is my neice (who just finished). She is the preferred neice of the world because she plays with the kids in the pool, takes them places, and is generally super fun. The other is one of my best friend's daughter, who is also a favorite in her own right, who was our babysitter when we lived in West Valley. I have known her most of her life (since she was 10).

Ever since we got to Brazil, I have been receiving forwarded copies of their letters from their moms. It has been such a thrill. They have the best stories. They are amazing! I seriously feel a high when I read what they are accomplishing.

I was just reading Tamara's last letter, and one of kierstyn's letters, and I was so touched by how much fun they are having, and how much work they are doing. I just can't get over how wonderful missions are. I always encourage every girl I know to go, and every young man. But still, I am always a little shocked when they end up having such marvelous experiences.

I think no one can know until he or she goes what a gift missions are from Heavenly Father to the server. You think you're going to help other people, well, that's true. You think you're going to help the Church, which is true too. But, in Heavenly Father's math, every reason is 100% important. Or, in other words. you might think that going on a mission is 50% for other people, and 40% for your own personal benefit/growth, and 10% for the good of the Church. But actually, your mission is 100% for all of those things, and more, and there is no way to count all the good it does.

Being down here in Brazil is a lot like going on a mission because everything we do is showing the standards and beliefs of the Church. Liza went to a party last night, a big bash, a debutante ball. They are really popular here. She wore a dress with sleeves. She was the only one--lesson number one; dress standards. They had an open bar for everyone and her friends wanted her to try some things, but of course, she said no, not even a sip. Lesson number two: no alcohol. Then she had to leave at midnight because the next day was Sunday (which was too bad because the party STARTED at 9:00pm) This was the hardest for her (but she didn't really have much of a choice because we picked her up, but nevertheless) the third lesson was: keep the Sabbath day holy.

It's slow going, but it's the little things that count. Little examples add up, and one is eventually the grain that tips the scales toward the gospel. It's not a matter of convincing someone, or debating, or proving. The Holy Ghost confirms whatever truth you share, if you share it with conviction...and then it's up to them... and a little at a time is totally normal. Let's all be better missionaries. Who's with me?

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Seminary. I never knew it could be the refiner's fire. But when you only have 25-30 minutes between picking up from school and leaving, to drive 30-60 minutes through rushhour traffic every Tuesday-Friday night, leaving your three little children hopefully fed during those 25-30 minutes, to stay at home alone for 3 hours, until you get back at 9:00, well, it's a challenge.

We started this week. Friday night we started driving, but the rain was so heavy that it was 8 inches deep in some places so we came back.

Last year, I had this same problem. At times, I had to count backwards and breathe, like during childbirth, to handle the anxiety of moving at 5 kilometers an hour, through traffic so thick that you can reach your hand out the window and touch the buses (on either side of you).

I really think I would have given up, except one particularly horrible day, Eliza sat looking somewhere out the window, and she said, "You know mom, I don't think I could survive without seminary. It's like a spiritual cleansing after I have to listen to all the smutty stuff at school all day long."

So now, I drive to seminary, and I complain, but really, I'm glad that it's important to her and that it helps her. Noah is going this year and we are picking up a boy his age too. I've heard rumors that they might split the seminary, since we are so far from the Chapel, and let some of us do our own closer to home. We'll see if that happens. It has pros and cons.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Girl's Camp

Well, the first thing you need to know is that they haven't really had girl's camp (or boy's camp) in our Stake for 11 years. They've had youth conferences, but somehow the other stuff fell out of favor. So this year the Stake President decided to start up the process again. There was quite a bit of resistence--to the point that he was accused of apostacy for wanting to have camp, and in tents! (No really, somebody thought it was against the handbook to have girls camp and use tents. Maybe the previous leaders used that for an excuse to avoid it!)

Carnaval is such a carnal week down here that all youth camps and activities are ALWAYS planned the four days of carnaval to keep the kids off the streets during this time. Our church services (the week before Carnaval) was let out early to help people get home before the Parade of the Piranhas (transvestites--everybody goes drag for fun and to expose their stupidity) which passes in front of our chapel. The next week, church for the youth was at camp; the adults and primary kids combined with another ward. The missionaries are on house arrest that week too.

The last factor is that public parks aren't known for being safe. Going hiking at some of the forests around here is considered foolish because theives can be hiding anywhere and jump out when you are isolated. Anyway, there aren't really places to camp, and our stake doesn't own any land. But in Rio, many people live in apartments, so when someone wants to hold a big party (which is a very common thing to do) they rent a special party place. Most times these places are houses that have a pool and lots of land and room for a barbaque. So that's what the church did. We camped on the soccer field.

I had to put in some pictures of this house! It was AAAMAZING. It must have been the pinnacle of chic in the 1960's. I guess it was built for a judge that did a lot of entertaining. He died, and his kids arent' interested in the house anymore, so it's a party place now that will probably be bought out by land developers anyday.