Letter to Marian and Frank, December, 1971

Dear Marian, Frank, Lisa and Eric,

I see that I won't get many letters written if I don't make copies.

Joey seems to enjoy being back here.  It was nice to come back to the same house and only unpack clothing.  Within a couple of days, we were back to normal.  The girl who worked for me called the day we arrived and was here to help me the next day.  Helen was bashful about speaking Portuguese again, but within a week she had no trouble.

Joey has taken on two more preaching points twice a month.  One is about 45 minutes from here and the other is on half hour from there.  Another pastor was serving them, but he has a bad case of hepatitis so they will probably become a permanent part of our parish.  They are happy that Joey plays the violin as they haven't had anyone to accompany them.

I was gone for five days to a regional retreat for women.  Two from here went with me.  It was a long 11 hour trip to the ocean front.  We enjoyed the retreat but it ended with the sad news of a fatal car accident of the pastor and his wife, of the church where the retreat was held.  The pastor had given a talk 36 hours before the accident.  They hadn't taken their children along on the trip.  They had been her for 12 years from Germany.  Relatives from Germany were called to come and get the three small children.

Two afternoons I have taken women to visit a shut-in.  Since these women are in their 60's or 70's, they prefer German.  Joey studied for on month, twice a week, to learn some German.  The school year is over and he hopes to continue in March when classes start again.

Joey teaches the women's choir soprano and alto parts by playing the violin.  We will sing three hymns and one will sing a solo.  The children's program is on the 19th.  We have a confirmation service on January second where four will be confirmed.

We had a Thanksgiving pot luck at our church- about 45 Americans counting the children,.  At the dinner a missionary was telling of his recent trip with six children, wife and trailer driving for two months from Minnesota down to the Panama Canal then through the west side of South America coming up through Argentina and Uruguay into Brazil.  This pastor used to be with our mission but works now with the the Lutheran Free church.  They stayed with several missionaries in other countries and he said we should be thankful we have more religious freedom and friendly people.

 Charles Biel, 1971

Rachel and Charles are doing well at the small mission school in Maringa.  Charles is the only second grader.  He hasn't been having school in the afternoon so he went to a private Brazilian school where he finished first grade- doing just the Portuguese.  Next semester he will stay three afternoons a week at the American school and will have a Portuguese teacher go to his school.  Rachel has one classmate in the 4th grade.  The teacher says they are working harder this year.  There was some talk of reducing the hours at the American school and doing Brazilian school, but the math system is different and would be confusing and they are assigned a lot of homework in the Brazilian school since they only go for three hours.  A new couple will come in July for the American school so we hope that they will continue at that school.  It looks like in August I will have to start teaching Helen first grade as the mission that runs this school only accepts first graders if there is one from their mission and they don't have any.

 Rachel Biel, 1971

I have taken Rachel to see ballet put on by students of this city.  It was well done.  This week we went to hear a piano recital of the students studying in their ninth year.  One girl was from our church, who is the organist, and graduated from the course, in all, eleven years as there are two years of introduction.  Rachel is continuing lessons after we got back and is in the introduction.

Helen has been going to a nursery school every morning.  She still wets up to four or five times a day, so I think she will have to have another dilation of the urinary canal.  It will be six months in February since the last time, and the doctor said that it is usually done every six months until it is no longer necessary.  I'm planning to have her taken to an urologist in January and think she can have it done in our city.

I've been doing painting in our guest bedroom, Cliff and my bedroom and the dining room.  A sixteen year old boy did a good job in the living room.  I hoped that he could do more of the painting, but he helped while he had a cast on his left arm and when the cast came off, he went back to work on his regular job working as a bellboy at a hotel.  He had helped paint the hotel for seven months.  Some of those days that I painted were 100 degrees and when I put the paint on, it dried instantly.  I certainly got tired of painting but am glad that it was done. 

I have joined the English club which meets once a month.  It is mainly for Brazilian women to practice their English.  There are about 10 American women in this city.  One lady who speaks English that moved here in August is Dutch.  She came here 25 years ago and stayed in a German speaking community for four years, then went to Canada for five years and then to the U.S. for 15 years.  When they were here for the first time, their only child decided to stay here to marry.  This Dutch couple came to retire and be by their only grandchildren, but can't enjoy them much as they don't speak Portuguese.  They say there is no place like Santa Barbara, California, and may go back there.  He went with Joey to a rural area one Saturday for church services and visited with the members in German.

We have a kitten that drinks out of a doll's bottle.  The mother cat was run over by a car.  The kitten eats bread wet with milk.  We still have our big cat, Blackie, and our dog, Velvet.  Rachel bought gold fish with her money but didn't have a fish bowl for them, so they were in a regular bowl.  One day when we were gone in the afternoon, we forgot to put the cat out so she had a delicious meal of fish.  Charles wants a canary or a rabbit but I doubt that we will get them as it ends up being mother taking care of animals.

Happy to hear your folks got down to see you, Marian.  Hope you can do that more often.

Helen misses Lisa and Polly- especially when her neighborhood friends went to school in the afternoon and she was home alone.  I tried to read to her every day.  Now they have vacation for 2.5 months so she is busy playing.

Rachel made a list of the Yearling Books like "The Good Master" that her school bought.  Now I can't find the list.  We are going to borrow some "Jack and Jill" from one of the families to see if she likes it better than "Children's Digest" which she gets now.

Hear you went as a family on one of Frank's trips-  hope you had an enjoyable time. 

Who lost the most weight by Thanksgiving?  Joey and I lost 10 lbs. the first month back.  We didn't diet- guess it was getting back to a normal routine.

A blessed Christmas!


Donna and Joey

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