CPF

In order to officially exist in Brazil an individual has to have a CPF.  CPF stands for “Cadastro de Pessoas Fisicas” and is essentially an individual taxpayer registry identification number.  Getting my CPF required a tight parking job,  I am so thankful for the parking skills that I learned while visiting my parents in San Francisco.

CPF

Tight Parking Spot

We not only had to go to the building below to get my CPF number.  I thought that the bureaucracy in the USA was difficult at times but Brazil takes it to a whole new level.

CPF 1

Government Building where I get my CPF

To pay for my CPF identification number I had to not only go to the main building but walk next door to the building below so that I could pay the required fee.  I am so thankful for the team here in South Brazil who were able to walk me through this process.  I would be so frustrated if it were not for them.

CPF 2

Government Building next to the CPF building

 

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Missions Team

A couple of weeks ago we had a missions team visit our field.  It was my first missions team experience that I had as a missionary.  The team was made up primarily of college students.  The team was lead by future members of the South Brazil field team.

Missions Team 3

Missions Team

One of the events that the missions team did was to help paint sealant on the new church building.  It was great to get all of us together to do some painting.  I really enjoyed my time with the team.

Missions Team 2

Painting the exterior wall with sealant

I had the privilege of reaching the high panels while others were painting the lower panels.

Missions Team 1

The short and tall

Sometimes it is good to be tall and have long arms.  We were able to pant most of one exterior and interior wall.  Check out the progress that we made.

Missions Team 4

Painting the interior wall.

 

Wonderful Wedding

Going to my first wedding in Brazil was an experience that I will never forget.  I had a great time and it was awesome to see Wendell and Sara get married.  Weddings in Brazil have some similarities and differences.  There was a message delivered by the pastor on what was I think the role of the husband and the wife.

Wedding 1

Beginning of the Ceremony

One of the differences was that the wedding party took some pictures after the wedding with the guests still in their seats.  I was even able to catch one of the pastors in the background behind the wedding party.

 

Wedding 4

Wedding Party Pictures

Another difference was that the wedding guests also took pictures after the wedding.  I enjoyed taking pictures of some of the other guests.

Wedding 5

Some of the Youth at the wedding

I was a late addition to the wedding and I didn’t have a table at the reception.  It turned out nicely for me as I was able to join the table with the youth and had a great time talking with all of these people.  Table conversations at a wedding are similar no matter what country you are in.

Wedding 6

My table at the reception

Instead of the money song where people pay to dance with the bride or groom in America they have the pass the shoe.  Passing the shoe gives the wedding guests an opportunity to provide some spending money for the bride and groom on their honeymoon.

Wedding 7

Pass the smelly shoe

 

 

Enjoying the New Diet

I am really enjoying my new diet in Brazil.  I am a fan of many different foods but I especially enjoy different meats.  Churrasco is Brazilan for BBQ.  The classic BBQ is done over a wood fire with simple seasonings like rock salt.  I enjoyed the beef, pork and chicken BBQ one Sunday afternoon with some people from the church.

Food 3

Backyard Churrasco

Schneider’s is a very nice and expensive Churrascaria (BBQ Restaurant) that I had the privilege of going to one day.  Some of the best things that they do is cow hump, filet minion, garlic roles, mozzarella balls, and their roasted pineapple desert.  Being a missionary is tough some times but for the sake of the gospel I will rough it.

Food

Schneider’s Churrascaria

As I was car shopping with one of the missionaries it came time for lunch.  We were driving by a place and he told me that this is the best Thai food in South Brazil.  The name of the restaurant is Thai in a Box.  I have to say that I was disappointed because I went to a good Thai food place just two weeks earlier before I left the states.  However,  I am told that in about 6 months to a year this will be a great place for Thai food.  On a side note this may be the only Thai place in South Brazil.

Food 2

Thai in a Box

One of the meals that I had was a great fresh chicken, fruit, and nut salad.  It is great to enjoy some awesome food.  This might have been the most healthy thing that I ate in the 3 weeks that I have been here.  I do have to say that I have been enjoying the food here and have found it good to only eat a couple of meals a day with the major meal actually happening around lunch time.

Food 1

A Healthy Salad

 

Grapes in Brazil

This past week I went with Joel, one of the church members, and Ruth, an intern, to get some grapes from the source.  We were going to get Valencia grapes from a farm about an hour and a half away from Ivoti.  We drove to a very beautiful place near Flores da Cunha to get the grapes.

Grape 2

Beautiful fields of grapes

This drive took us down some interesting roads to a family farm where the husband and daughter were out picking Valencia grapes in the fields.  It was interesting to drive up to their house following the tractor and to get the grapes which had just been picked.

Grape 3

Pouring the grapes into bins.

We ended up purchasing 234 kg, or 515 lbs of grapes.  I was in awe of the 10 bins that we filled up with grapes.  It actually caused the car to drive differently due to all the weight in the back.

Grape

Look at how low the car is riding

When we got back to Joel’s house we unloaded the bins and took a picture standing infront of them.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say that we had to sample a few of the grapes on the way back.  I never thought that I would see this amount of grapes purchased by a private party in my life but now I know where to go to get Valencia grapes at a good price.

Grape 4

Ruth, Joel, and I arrive back safe

 

Explosions Rock the Church

It was very interesting to watch the blasting of the bedrock so that the church could put in a septic system in their new building.  When we drove up I noticed that there was only one small sign along the street across from where the blasting was about to occur.  As we walked up to the area where the explosions were to occur I began to notice the lack of safety measures.  I will mention just a few of the things which would have been present if this were done in the US: no hardhats were worn by the blasting crew, the area was not roped off, and there were no high visibility vests warn by the crew.  The lack of safety measures meant that this little boy in the picture below and the rest of us could walk right up to where they were blasting to watch them get set up and then we walked about 100 feet away and were able to watch the explosions take place.  It was great to be able to feel the pressure wave that some of the blasts created.

Dynomite 3

The only warning sign.

One of the church members is actually in charge of the dynamite and the blasting which is about to take place.  It was very interesting to see how he had already drilled and filled all of the holes he was to blast with dynamite even though he was going to blow them in sections.  I think that it would be fun to have his job.  FYI look at the picture below and see the box of dynamite which is 10-15 feet away from the first section he was going to blast that day.

Dynomite 1

The Master Blaster

One of the safety measures was the use of old tires and what appears to be an overturned truck bed to stop the rock from flying everywhere after the explosion.  They dropped off all of the tires and then proceeded to move them over each section that was going to be exploded using a back hoe.

Dynomite 2

Preparation for the explosion

One of the video’s that I took you could actually see the church building lift up a little because of the power released during that explosion.  It was also interesting to see the “Master Blaster” light the fuse and run away until he felt he was at a safe distance and then he would walk away until the explosion happened.  It was fascinating to watch this process happen and I also appreciate the results of the work.

Dynomite

After the blasting was completed

 

Language Studies: A Rollercoaster of Emotion

One week into language studies and I feel like I have ridden a rollercoaster of emotions.  I was so excited to begin language studies a week before I thought I would.  I had figured that I would begin on March 6 but I began on February 23 instead.  This put me almost 2 weeks ahead of schedule.  My expectations were shattered the first couple of days,  I had been told that I would begin with the sounds that different letters make but I had also figured that they would give me a couple of phrases which would be helpful in daily life.  That was not the case.  We worked on sounds for the first two day’s and I was only given 3 phrases that seemed to be helpful in daily life over those days.  This is where I bottomed out on the roller coaster.  I was so frustrated and angry with things.

Portuguese

Day 1 Materials

After a good conversation with one of my team mates I began to feel better about what was happening in language school.  It was after the fourth day that I read something and my teacher said that I did a good job at reading, although I did not understand what I was reading.  I began to think that I can read things well, this was probably the high point of the first week of school.

Portuguese 1

My Classroom setup

I started to study even more and try to get the different pronunciations correct.  One of the hardest parts is listening to the different sounds which are similar as I study at home.  It is difficult enough to hear the difference with my teacher there but listening to the difference in the sounds when they are both in my head is hard.  One of the things that I have found which helps is listening to my previous day’s lesson and specifically my teachers pronunciation of different words.

Portuguese

Study Time at Home