Archive for February, 2013

A Personal Blessing Through the Temple Office

February 24, 2013 3 comments

While most of the time the major effort gets done by Ismael, we have the tools in the temple office to find out information about both the living and the dead so that we can properly perform ordinance work.  One of the other things we do all the time is call  bishops and stake presidents when people show up at the temple and have forgotten their recommends.  We have a book listing all the ones in the temple district and we have access to church records so that we can find others if we need to.  (I’ve even had to call a bishop in Utah to get permission for someone to enter the temple.)

After some checking, I called the bishop of Ala Princesa dos Campos in Ponta Grossa, got a phone number for a grandson, Morôni, who gave me his grandmother’s phone number, and then called and spoke first to his mother and then to his grandmother – Olga Ferreira da Silva Prado.

In 1967, Elder Carl VanLeuven and I taught the Prado family that consisted of a father and mother and two small children.  To the best of my recollection we found them tracting (though I can’t be sure because my mission journal is in storage in Virginia).  This is a picture of the family taken soon after their baptism.


The young girl on the left is Irmã Prado’s sister, who came to stay with them after we started teaching them.  The little girl, Joselina, is the one whose son gave me Olga’s phone number.

Olga and Ayrton were sealed in the São Paulo temple prior to his death, and Joselina served a mission in Brasilia and currently has a son serving on a mission.  Olga noted that they live at the same address, though in a new house, and that there is a new chapel now on the grounds where this picture was taken.  The branch that met in this location is now two stakes.

Through Alf Gunn’s collection of emails and phone numbers I was able to call Carl VanLeuven and recount the conversation with him.  Olga is 76, and Ponta Grossa is a long ways from here, but as she noted, if we don’t get together again in this life, there will be plenty of time in the life to come.  Talking to her yesterday blessed my day.

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Too Many Missionaries – Too Few Workers

February 20, 2013 1 comment

Yesterday Janice had arranged to go in early to work with the matron on the assignments for the sisters for the next couple of months, so we arrived while they were finishing the first session of the day.  Missionaries from both Porto Alegre missions had arrived for the 3:00 session and the session had overflowed.  They put in the normal ten chairs and even a couple of extras, but some of the missionaries had ended up doing other ordinances.  With 36 men in the session we just didn’t have enough people to help at the end.  

That was sort of the story for the whole day.  We had a good number of patrons but few workers.  The recorder had planned to go on the 8:15 session with his wife but ended up officiating the session instead; and I started the baptistry work in place of the coordinator and then had to just leave it running while I went to interview a couple of potential temple workers.  

Tuesday afternoon we have the smallest number of men working, and the evening shift was unusually sparse.  Having lots of patrons is a wonderful thing, but there is a tipping point, and with just a few workers we passed it yesterday.  Who knows, today we are likely to have to cancel sessions for lack of patrons and we will all be standing around wishing some of yesterday’s folks had decided that Wednesday was a better day to come.

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Something We Didn’t Want to See

February 20, 2013 1 comment

Along with almost everything else in Porto Alegre, the temple closes for Fat Tuesday, giving us a three-day weekend.  We had gone downtown for a couple of things on Monday and almost all the stores were already closed, so on Tuesday we decided to take the long bus ride to the mall with Applebee’s and go to a movie and dinner.  That had all gone fine, but we got home to a voice-mail message from President Warthen asking us to go to Pelotas.  One of the wards was having a special event for the couples in the ward and wanted someone from the presidency to give a talk Saturday night and then speak in sacrament meeting on Sunday.

Since this was to be our third trip to Pelotas, we had to check on which stake this ward was in to see if they had already heard our standard talks; however, when we had gone to the Pelotas North Stake they had only given me five minutes to speak, leaving us with talks for this ward.  I arranged for a car and prepared some discussion points for the evening meeting and we were good to go.

We opened the temple at 5:30 Saturday morning and at 1:15 I changed my clothes and went to catch the B09 bus to the airport.  That went well, and I was in the car heading back to get Janice a little after 2:00.  She had stayed a bit later to help, and I needed to change into travel clothes and eat lunch, so it was 3:00 when we drove out the gate.  Then we got to the river and saw this:

sm Post Bridge

Those four pillars in the background are the pillars of a lift-bridge, and that large square up in the air is the road.  We weren’t going anywhere for a while.

I don’t really like the road to Pelotas.  It’s a two-lane road with crazy traffic, but trying to make up time really makes for a bad trip.  I think I came as close to being in a wreck as I ever have here when just as I was moving into the left lane to pass a truck; a car arrived from behind trying to pass both of us at once.  If he had hit me, I’m sure he would have considered it my fault for getting in his way.  He honked and I swerved back behind the truck and he just missed me.  It is not a leisurely three-hour drive.

I actually figure we made two serious mistakes.  First we worried about being late, and then we went to the hotel so we could change out of our traveling clothes.  The bishop was in blue jeans.  We could have just shown up in our traveling clothes, and while it was 7:10 by the time he came to the hotel to meet us (I called to say we wouldn’t be at the church at 6:50), the party was at a condo complex close by and we were there by 7:15.  There were three people working in the kitchen doing the main course and the bishop’s wife was there, but the next people to show up came about 7:45 and the party started closer to 9:00.  Luckily for us it was the night for going off daylight savings time and we got an hour back.

The discussion went well, and I was able to weave some comments in about the couple that was being honored on their 50th anniversary.  This is Algeu and Ivani:

sm Post Couple

And this is more of the group that were there.

sm Post Group

Janice and I both spoke Sunday morning in sacrament meeting.  It went well.  I had combined pieces of a couple of talks to fill up the time we were given, and had to cut just a bit as I gave it so that the meeting didn’t run over, but I think I managed to do it without leaving gaps in the flow.

We had turned down two invitation to lunch and had changed clothes and were loading the car when it started to rain.  We drove in pouring rain for the first while.  It was coming down fast enough to flood streets.  We stopped for something to eat about an hour out of town and it caught up with us again, but this time the car was parked under an overhang and we weren’t getting wet trying to get to the car.

Most of the trip back was uneventful, other than the typical problem with lines of cars caught behind trucks.  We happened to be in a long line at one point just as we hit a short straight stretch, and other drivers set a personal record.  I counted five cars from the line in front all moving into the oncoming traffic lane and then two others from behind us came past.  A seven car echelon passing attempt is the most I have ever seen.  We watched, but didn’t join.

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Death of a Hard Drive

February 8, 2013 4 comments

sm Post driveWednesday afternoon when we came home after a morning of meetings in the temple, I checked my email and went off to do something else, and when I next saw the computer screen it had a message saying it couldn’t find a bootable device and to insert one.  That is not a good message.

I have a DVD repair disk and I tried putting that in, but it wouldn’t come up correctly.  The computer seemed unusually hot, so I shut it down and we went off to do our temple shift.

Ismael, our source of all kinds of such knowledge, gave me the name of a repair shop in the center of town, and so I came home with only minimal hope that what was wrong would be fixed by cooling down, or at least that I could figure out for certain what had failed.

We got out of the temple around 11:00, so there wasn’t a lot of time to work on the computer, but I did manage to find a set of built-in tests that I could run.  I actually only ran two.  Both failed with the same error message –  “The short DST failed,” followed by the same failure ID, a 24 character string.  Having the iPad was a big help.  I could still get on-line and try to find out more about what I was being told.  I didn’t find my exact failure ID string, but every reference I found to the short DST failing said the same thing – your drive is toast.

A link to the maintenance manual for this computer showed me which two screws to loosen so that I could take off the cover (though it didn’t explain how tightly the cover was fastened on even without the screws), and a call to Ismael got me a recommendation for where to go to buy a drive.

I had bought my printer from the Digimer store in the local mall, but when I got there yesterday, I found out they were closed for renovations.  After trying, unsuccessfully, to find another store in the mall that would sell me a drive, I was told that there was another Digimer store in the new mall north of this one.  So I’m off to the new mall.

I took the 637 bus to the mall, but caught the B09 bus that goes to the airport to get to the other mall.  I had the drive with me in case there were questions, but they showed me an inventory list on the computer and they had a couple of 500 GB options.  The young lady helping me wasn’t sure at first that I needed the kind they had, but after talking to me and one of the other workers she went and got a drive.  I checked that it was the same physical size and then walked the four blocks necessary and waited for the bus to come by the other way to get home.  It was hot, so rather than continue to wait for the 637 bus, I took a 620 bus and walked up the hill to our apartment.

All ready to put things back together, I open the package to find out that while they sold me the right type of drive it’s the wrong capacity.  It was a 320 GB drive.  So I’m now running out of time, but I went back out, caught another 637 bus back to the mall, paid another $15 for the correct size drive, and went to catch the bus home.

Around fixing dinner and getting ready to go to the temple, I put the drive back in, and used the recovery disks to reload the drive.  By the time I left for the temple, it was through loading files and was going through an initialization process.  I came home to a machine set up just like when I bought it a couple of years ago.  Then I just needed to put it back the way it had been before the crash.  I have an external drive and we back it up every Sunday evening, so I put files back on and then figured out that what I should have done in the first place was do a full system image restore using the repair disk.  That was running when I went to bed.

I actually checked it once around 4:30 this morning and it was back ready to use, which allowed me to happily go back to bed.  So after 5 bus rides and going to 5 stores and returning to one to exchange the wrong drive and reloading the software and the data twice, I actually have everything back except for a few pictures that I edited during the week.  I have the originals and the final results are posted to the blog or sent in Janice’s emails to the grandkids, so that’s not any kind of a major loss.  Every penny I spent on the backup drive and every effort I expended to make sure we did backups have been amply rewarded.  There may have been some extra running around yesterday, but nothing like installing all the needed software and changing all the settings on a new system.

We are back on-line and working.

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February 5, 2013 3 comments

One of the things you can do on a trip is shop.  Since we would have to figure out a way to get things back here and then home in a suitcase, most of our shopping involves just looking in shop windows at things we might want or might just never buy.  Rio is full of shopping opportunities.  You could start at the stalls near the metro stop.

sm Post shopping 1

Perhaps you’d like a tee-shirt.

sm Post Shopping 2

Or did you want a monkey or a ball or a hat to take into the zoo?

sm Post shopping 3

Or perhaps what you wanted was an ear of corn to munch on while you walked.

sm Post shopping 4

Or maybe you liked the jeweled flip-flops you saw by the bus stop?

sm Post shopping 5

Or did you have your eye on a brand name pair?

sm Post shopping 7

Or maybe a stone bird?

sm Post shopping 6

If you are feeling really flush you can go for the eagle.

sm Post shopping 8

Or you could head to Ipanema and buy a fun kitchen clock.

sm Post shopping 9

Or maybe a shoe in an interesting color is just what you need to set off a new outfit?

sm Post shopping 10

Or are you looking for a bathroom accessory?

sm Post shopping 11

Or jewelry to remind you of where you came?

sm Post shopping 12

Remember that you passed on the cheap watch.

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And when you were in Iguaçu, all it would have take was a taxi ride to do this –

sm Post shopping 13

All those opportunities passed up.

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A Rio Cathedral Before and After

February 3, 2013 3 comments

This is a before and after set that has nothing to do with my having seen them long ago and now.  I don’t think I saw the earlier cathedral when I came to Rio before, but they are both here now and we saw them both.  This is the early one that was started in 1749, though it stayed under construction for years and the tower was really only finished in 1905.

sm Old Cathederal

Interestingly, it actually has two chapels.  This is the first one we went into.

sm Old Cathederal 1

And if you go down the street to the next main door, you enter into this one instead.

sm Old Cathederal 2

Starting in 1964 and finishing in 1976, they built this new cathedral.  It is totally different than anything I have seen elsewhere.  I’m told it will hold 20,000 people.  This is what it looks like from the outside.

sm New Cathederal

And rather than having a tower on the top, it is actually a separate structure next to the building.

sm New Cathederal Tower

Inside, the building has no support pillars, so it is just one huge space.  It has four huge stained glass panels.  This one is the one you see facing the front of the building.

sm New Cathederal Glass

Almost everyone inside seemed to be there to take pictures.  Here is what you see if you look up.

sm New Cathederal Up

Two very different feeling buildings, the older very traditional, and this one a very interesting modern structure.

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