The congested traffic of horns honking and motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic put my nerves on pins and needles. I tensed up into knots and didn't even notice the scenery around me. It was all a blur....
Being able to return to Brazil has been very healing to me and Steven. We have been able to take in the beautiful sights down to every little detail and share precious time with the people that Britten loved.. With being here only 2 days, we now understand why Britten was living his dream. The Brazilians are a beautiful, happy, humble and generous people that would welcome you in their home and give you their last meal. The love we feel from them is heartwarming, as they greet everyone with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I already love these people I have barely met!
The streets in Sao Paulo are very crazy as we have decided the white lines mean very little. haha Felipe's mother told us, "If you can drive in Sao Paulo, You can drive anywhere!" This time I noticed all the horns, but in a different way. Yes, the horns are always honking or short toot, toots, but this is to say, "can I move over in your lane? OR "thank you for letting me in". Felipe says, the 90% of the tooting horns are to say Thank You. Much different than the U.S. haha Many of the streets are made of cobblestone but most are patched asphalt.
buildings and walls are so colorful and most have graffiti style paintings on them varying in a wide range of art work. Many streets are lined with beautiful trees, and flowering bushes. Such a beautiful site to take in. How grateful I am to be able to notice all the little details, that give me a wonderful feeling about Sao Paulo.
Our first visit was to Haide, Britten's first baptism. She was converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and gave her heart and soul to the missionary's as she loved them and fed them every day. Haide never had any children of her own, so she adopted every missionary (especially Britten) and found great joy and love in serving them and making sure they were taken care of.
Knowing the special relationship that Britten and Haide had, I made sure my camera was ready to get this great reunion! When Haide opened the door, she threw her arms around Britt and hugged him tightly...and then the tears started. She just cried and cried as she held him. It was as if she was seeing the return of her own son! She said, "I have worried and worried about you. I am so happy to see you!"
We sat at her table as she fed us a wonderful meal. Britten and Haide talked non-stop as they had so much to catch up on. Britten loved Haide's cooking and shared a fun story. -One time there was a zone conference where the Elder's were playing soccer. Jokingly, Britten told Haide that she should she bring her amazing beans and rice to their soccer game. Britten laughed and said, "And guess who showed up? Haide! She had made beans and rice for ALL of us!
I told Haide, that was very nice of her. She replied, "I do it for people I love...and I love the missionary's!" To this day, she is still feeding the missionary's!
I have a great love for Haide as she was like a mother to my son and cared for him as if he was her son. Thank you Haide, we will always love you!
The rest of the afternoon was spent on the road with Felipe getting things ready for his Ward Christmas party. As we entered the Penha Stake Center everything looked familiar. This was the building that Steven and I had talked at, when we spoke to the missionary's at their Zone Conference. It was such a peaceful feeling to return to a place of such special memories.
With the Christmas music playing and the stage decorated with
Christmas trees and decor, hundreds showed up to celebrate the Christmas season. When Britten entered the building, members immediately flocked to him, as they were so excited to see him. Britten shared the same enthusiasm as he was thrilled to be reunited with the people he genuinely loved.
It was fun to see several older women throw their arms around Britt and say to me, "I feed your son many times. He is like my son. I love him so much!" I didn't realize how many mothers he really had! How grateful I am to the many Mothers that took care of our son and loved him as their own!
It brought joy to Steven and I, as we watched how the Ward received him. Eric, a return missionary who knew Britten before he left on his mission said, "Every one loves Britten. He is a legend here."
We didn't realize how much Britten's accident affected this Ward as well as other Wards that knew him. Bishop told Steven, "This is the most united Ward in the church. Partly because of Britten and the miracles they have seen and heard of."
Britten was so excited to return to the Penha Ward because he had many connection in this ward. Many individuals had a great impact on his life, as he was able to share the gospel with them and help in their convertion.
The prepared buffet was amazing and hundreds enjoy the evening as we listened to the beautiful Christmas music and program.
The spirit warmed our souls as we shared the evening with a our new friends... They made us feel part of the Penha Ward.
The party started at 6:00 and was still going strong at 10:00 when Santa Claus came. Everyone got the opportunity to sit on Santa's lap! Even us!
We are so grateful for the spirit that was there that evening as we celebrated the birth of our Savior and Redeemer of the World. We are grateful for the Penha Ward and how they received us with open arms! It was privelage for us to be in your presence!