Sunday, 13 July 2008

A fine example to follow . . .

Our church puts out several magazines every month, and I have to say they are all filled with a wealth of wonderful stories and information that is pretty special to read and inspiring. You don't have to be a church member to enjoy them. There's a magazine for the wee ones, one for the young people, and international one and a lovely one for adults and families. Todd and I await each issue eagerly every month and it is devoured as soon as it comes through the door.

The reason I mention this today is because there was a really special article in the latest issue, the July 2008 issue, entitled "Faith in His Step . . . and a Song in His Heart." Only two pages long, I was moved to tears as I read it. It's about a Brazilian member named Paulo Tvuarde. Paulo lives in a remote area of Brazil and walked to church every Sunday, some 40 kilometers. (25 miles). This is something that he had been doing every Sunday for 14 years, since the age of 15. He rarely missed, except when the mud on the roads he had to walk on was so thick that he couldn't make it. It meant he had to leave home at 3:00 am, and it took him 8 hours to get there. He usually managed to make it three out of every four Sundays.

Why did he do this? Well, Paulo lives out in the country where he takes care of the family farm, so that his 74 year old mother who has a heart condition can live in the city, where she is able to receive the medical attention she needs. He lives in a home with no electricity or running water. The nearest bus stop is some 8 kilometers away and it doesn't run on Sundays, and so if he wanted to go to church, he had to walk.

Often during the work week one can hear him singing hymns at the top of his voice as he is plowing the fields, just his unique way of sharing the gospel with his neighbours who are also out in their fields working away. I can imagine how much joy this must bring to their hearts.

Several times a year Paulo also travelled about 330 miles to attend the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, and it was on one of those trips that he was introduced to a lady that worked at the temple named Rita. After a long distance courtship they married several years ago and now Rita lives and works with him on the farm and they have a young son. These days they travel the 25 miles to church together each week, except that they leave late on a Friday night and take the bus, making the return trip on Monday morning, again also by bus.

As I read this story, I thought about the times I have grumbled to myself about having to get up a bit earlier on a Sunday, so that we can drive out of our way to pick up people that live outside the town where our chapel is, and who don't have their own cars to bring them in. I thought about the odd Sunday when I have thought to myself that, I would rather be lolly-gagging around my home doing things that need to be done, than making the trip into church myself. When Saturday and Sunday are your only two days off a week, and sometimes Sunday is your only day off during the week, it is quite tempting to want to stay at home instead of making the journey. It is only about a 20 minute trip by car and, thankfully, we don't have to walk . . . We are often there all day because Todd is on the Bishopric and we only have the one car, and so we leave here about 9 am and don't get home until sometimes past 3 pm, as he has duties and obligations to fulfill that keep us there longer.

When I read this story, it made me feel really sheepish and ashamed about having these feelings from time to time. I know I am only human and not perfect, but still . . . here was a man who loved the gospel so much that he made huge sacrifices each week just to go to church and worship with his fellow members, and he did it without grumbling or complaining. Would I walk 25 miles to do the same? My heart tells me I'd want to . . . but . . . I hope that I never have to find out . . .

We are so very lucky and take so very much for granted. They say that when God wants your attention he sends a burning bush . . . and sometimes it comes in the form of a few written words on a page. I hope that the next time I am resentful in my heart of the few paltry sacrifices I have to make each week to go to His house and worship Him, that I will remember Paulo and his family, and the sacrifices they have to make each week just to do the same, and that when I do . . . I will thank God for his tender mercies, and for having a car and for having the petrol to get me there . . . and for the blessing of being able to help others do the same . . . it's the least I can do . . .

We had a lovely day at our Country Fair yesterday. There were some lovely displays and presentations and I even got to do some Morris Dancing! My photographs got first and second prize certificates . . . mind you they were the only two entered, haha, so that wasn't very hard to do. We feasted on barbeque and salads and got to enjoy some time together learning some new skills and playing some fun games. All in all it was a great day and we both really enjoyed it!

Todd and I have not been eating much in the way of red meat lately, and, in fact, have been really trying to cut down on our meat consumption a lot, instead, choosing to eat more vegetarian meals. This, however, is a lovely way to cook a piece of pork. Because there are only two of us we got two meals out of it, the second night reheating the leftovers nestled in a tasty bed of buttery sauteed cabbage, which was delicious. (I'm so bad, but it was sooo good!)

*Fennel and Mustard Rubbed Loin of Pork*
Serves 4

Often when I buy a pork roast I buy a loin of pork, with the bones attached and frenched, much in the same way as you would get a rack of lamb. It's so moist and tender, but then they do say that the meat next to the bone is always sweeter. Pork roasts over here always come with the rind attached which when roasted makes lovely crackling. I remove it when I cook it this way though and cook it alongside in the pan. Todd and I don't eat the crackling as much as we would like to. It's not very good for our cholesterol, but the birds do enjoy the treat!

1 pork loin roast, bone in, frenched and tied
(for 4 you will want at least 4 bones, but if you want leftovers you will want more)
1 TBS good olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp ground fennel seed (I do this with my mortar and pestle)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Bring the pork out and allow it to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

If your pork has the rind attached, cut it off with a sharp knife, leaving a thin layer of fat on the outside of the meat. You can roast this along side of your meat in the pan if desired. Place the pork in a roasting tin just large enough to hold it comfortably.

Whisk the olive oil, mustards and fennel seed together in a small bowl. Whisk in 1 tsp of salt and about 1/4 tsp of pepper. Rub this mixture on top and all over the roast. Place the roast in the oven and roast it for about an hour to an hour and a half or until the internal temperature reaches 71*C/160*F. Remove from the oven to a cutting board and let rest, covered with some aluminum foil, for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into slices between the bones to serve.

Todd and I will be leaving for our holidays next weekend, but don't worry, I have plans to pre-post a few things so that you have a few words from me several times during the week I am away . . . well, fingers crossed that it works at any rate!


  1. The story about Paulo is lovely. It really makes you think!

  2. Hi Marie...Thank you for the wonderful pork mouth is watering!

    Have a wonderful time on your trip!
    You both deserve the time together.

    Look forward to hearing about your time together....please take care.


  3. The pre-posting worked for me. I hope it works for you!!

    Have a wonderful time on your trip. I'm so glad you had a fun time at the fair yesterday. It looks like you had a blast.

    I'll miss you while you're gone! Be sure to take lots of pictures for me!

  4. Makes you really think, the day may come when we HAVE to make that choice . . . I am like you, the spirit is willing, but my flesh might be weak! Lovely story, Marie. I am glad that you had fun at the Fair. The pork recipe looks great, I love fennel.

  5. What a story! Thanks for sharing it with us. Hope you have a wonderful time on your holiday.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  6. I can relate to today's post. When we go down to Mexico, I am reminded of how much I have to be grateful for....

    Sauteed cabbage - yum!!

    Happy Sunday!

  7. Dearest Marie,

    First...."Thank you So Very Much for your Awards you graciously gave to me!!" I am so honored to have received them. You are so inspiring to all, And all love to come here to get that extra depth of thinking to their day. You truly bring that out in your posts.

    Secondly..."May you both have a wonderful time on your trip!!" I hope to hear all about it when you return, and I will miss you tremendously!!


  8. Hey Marie! I have been absent from the cyber-blog world for a little while, but I am back for a few days at least. :) Thanks for the award~! I added it to my list of awards. HOORAY! I am very excited about it. I would tag other bloggers...but everyone that reads mine is basically a non-blog owner. I will miss you on my last sunday when you're in the Lake District! That is one place that I have really wanted to go in England and never had the chance. I will look forward to seeing all your lovely pictures! Which pictures did you enter in the stake activity? and your pictures are WAY better than mine! You are SO ARTISTIC! How did your pictures do? I bet you won! Anyways, I am seriously looking forward to tomorrow, and I will be bringing my be prepared!

  9. Love the recipe Marie!
    PS: I've given you an award, see my blog!

  10. What a wonderful story about Paulo.
    Your pork roast looks so good Marie.

  11. Hi! Marie
    I remarked to Allan at the weekend, 'Marie will be off to 'The Lakes'soon....we usually have one week there each year, but needed a change this 'Summer' and chose Devon. We still have a week, and it will be spent there or further North, but have to wait until September :>(
    I know you will enjoy your time off....
    Look forward to all your news

  12. I am so glad that I stopped in today. This story was so inspiring. I grumble and make excuses all the time about why I can't get into church. Ohmylanta.. this was over the top... Thank you.. I will remember this for such a long time.... Truly... THank you...


  13. The story about Paulo moved me to tears, it was so beautiful and faith affirming. I shall try and remeber it the next time I am feeling that my life is too difficult and my burdens too heavy.--Sheria

  14. Susan aka sweetomato15 July 2008 at 16:31

    Hi, Marie! I'm finally figuring out how to post comments on blogs so that people know it's me as google wants to use my gmail acct and noone knows me by that one! Anyway, the story was lovely and the pork looks so tasty! Hope you and Todd have a wonderful vacation!


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