Leadership classes in Londrina, Parana, Brazil, 1960's.
My Aunt Marian kept many of the letters my mother, Donna Biel, wrote to her. She returned them in 2010. Most are recorded here. They were not entered in chronological order, so the best way to view them is by year, found in the index on the sidebar.
Dear Marian and Frank,
we have had some cold weather. We had a few days down to 5 centrigrade in the house, then it got quite warm with 5 days of rain in a week. I appreciate the clothes dryer that I have. I don't know of any Brazilians that own clothes dryers but most of my neighbors could afford them if they wanted them.
Rachel has finished the first grade Calvert school with me. She has learned to write very well at the Brazilian school which she goes to every morning for five days and will go until the end of June. In August she starts second grade at the small mission school here of the United Missionary Church. It is a five minute drive from here. A Baptist missionary family who lives near us will take turns with us to take their boy and Rachel to the school. There are a about 30 students- the high school is a correspondence course. Charles goes in the morning to the school he and Rachel went to last year. It is a school directed by a Japanese missionary of the Methodist church. He is busy practicing writing numbers up to 10 and playing with the boy next door. Next March, he will start first grade in a Brazilian school and if the Mission school here doesn't have first grade, I will teach him (as of now that mission doesn't have any children his age so they won't have first grade unless a new family comes with someone in his grade.)
Helen has three friends that she plays with, then they go to nursery school in the afternoon. Of course, she thinks she can go to school, too. She seldom takes a nap for then we can't get her to sleep until 10 p.pm. She insists on dressing herself and screams if I help her but yet, though she tries to be grown-up, she still isn't completely toilet trained. We have many cars that zoom by our house. It seems like I spend a lot of time watching the children and yet Charles ran across without looking and a car barely missed him.
Cliff is busy planning for activities in July when there is a month off in the school year. For the first 11 days, he will be in Londrina, two hours from here for Bible camp and for a course for teachers in Sunday School.
Mauro and Edilma at Leadership school in Londrina
Cliff is the representative for youth work in the Northern part of this state. He went to a meeting in another state to plan various types of Bible camps. One is on music, another on Evangelism and another on the Church's social responsibility. Some camps are too far away for our youth. After that meeting four pastors from around here and the director of the hostel in Londrina were at our house for dinner and an afternoon meeting for planning the Bible camps.
Square Dancing at the Leadership School
Londrina, Parana, Brazil
Last week Cliff was gone for three days to a meeting in the Southern part of the state. It was a nine hour drive one way. Each church was to take two representatives. One of our representatives was waiting in a nearby town for Cliff. While he was crossing a street he was hit by a car. Cliff spent the afternoon with him in the hospital. He was taken to the hospital unconscious, but fortunately, the head wounds were not critical and he is recovering with a couple of broken bones.
This Thursday we will have women from neighboring cities and I'm sure there will be a good turnout of our group to hear the wife of the pastor who lived for 27 years in a nearby city of Rolandia and formed most of the churches in this area. Unfortunately, I won't be able to understand it for even though the pastor's wife has been in Brazil for 30 years, she speaks only German. This weekend Cliff has exchanged parishes with a German pastor. They do it once every two months in order have German services in our parish. The pastor and his wife frequently stop here when traveling. Their oldest daughter, almost six, came along this time to play with Rachel.
For one month, Manuel from our church in Londrina, lived with us. He is a 25 year old man who was waiting for a work permit in Germany. He is not of German background. He has spent one year in the State's on scholarship. While here, he helped his sister teach English at the Fisk school. We enjoyed having him with us. His mother is helping care for the missionary children at the the hostel in Campinas.
A few days ago, Cliff was 33 years old. We bought him a shirt a month ago. He acted as if the present were a surprise but later said that Helen had showed him where I had hid it the day it was bought. In spite of getting older and Cliff is much grayer now, we are continuing to be blessed with good health.
When do we get some pictures of your children? These pictures we are sending we made four for each brother and sister, Aunt Martha, two sponsoring churches, for our parents and scrapbooks of ours- it came to over 100 pictures. It certainly comes out much cheaper doing it ourselves and we can blow up the best part of the picture.
Today it was 42 degrees at 7 a.m. and 50 degrees in the house. We heated the kitchen and Joey heats his office. A cold spell usually lasts three to four days. This kitchen has a door on it, leading to a hallway which goes to other rooms. Our other house in Loanda didn't have a door going to the hallway, so we used a bedspread to keep heat in the kitchen.
While making this letter and developing pictures, we caught six mice in the oven- all small. As soon as we got one, we threw it out and used the same bait. Since then, I caught two more and had gotten three big ones on a previous day- total of eleven. They seem to like the oven in the cold weather- the nest must be underneath the grill but we can't find anything.
All for now,
Donna and Joey