You never really appreciate things until they're gone. Once again, this theory really came into focus this week. In the past, it was the trans-fat free American candy, but this week was something a little more essential...electricity. So, I was sitting in my room after our almoço appointment and then all of a sudden the perfect storm comes out of nowhere and thrashes the side of the house and all the power lines. Of course, the houses here don't have windows, just concrete holes, so the rain started coming in sideways. Fortunately, I got all my stuff out of its path of destruction, but it still got the upper hand when it decided to take out the ever-so-valuable electricity. So, this week was a little interesting to say the least.
On a high note, we had two baptisms: Roselane and James, both of which are not pronounced like they look. I've still managed to keep my record going...I haven't baptized a single man and my companion has yet to baptize a woman. Anyway, we don't have any baptisms this week but five the next week and then two after that, which is pretty good. Investigators are turning their lives around doing what they need to do in order to show they are ready to make this covenant. Also, this transfer will put me on pace for that goal that was given to us at my first conference... essentially one baptism a week.
I don't recall if I mentioned it last week, but we are teaching a lady by the name of Daniella, her sister, and her three kids. It's going really well. They are very accepting of the message and are great people. We had a really good week last week in general with forty lessons...so far that's our best. It is really motivating to share the Gospel with as many people as possible to give them that opportunity and to say you at least tried. A lot of times, though, the most effective way of teaching is to go to the investigator's house frequently during the week to give them that extra push to do their best. The greatest challenge the people here face is their love for coffee and, of course, their lack of desire to get married. Many, if not most, people don't understand the importance of marriage, so that seems to be the bigger of the roadblocks to baptism. They live together for years and years but never make it legal (that simple step that one might think would be easy just doesn't click for them).
In other news, I received word from the Mission Office that they are going to start a bonfire with my mail. In the past week, eighteen letters have made their way into my hands along with one package. Today I got to read them all, which was a daunting yet enjoyable task...thank you. They have now given me my own address for mail. It's...just kidding, but it was an awesome feeling getting to see all those waiting for me.
Last week I tried some sort of manioc patty wrapped in banana leaves from the interior of the jungle, which was actually pretty good. It was probably one of the first things I've eaten in my life that is the real deal - all natural...except for chocolate soy milk, of course. We also went to the center, where there seems to be more people than fish in the sea. It's really amazing to think about how few people live in the interior of the Amazon and then you go to the center, where the Theater and Palace are, and you'll see thousands upon thousands of people flooding the streets.
Lastly, I thought I would share some funny stories. There is a house here where some short people live and the little peep-hole they use to look out of is in the dead center of the door level with my stomach. And then the next is my personal favorite...the daughter of Marianice was complaining that corn cake (tastes like corn bread) couldn't be eaten with a fork or spoon, so I suggested the "spork." The concept boggled her mind...the look on her face was priceless. I never thought something so simple could be so foreign to someone. Hopefully, I have answered most of the questions. If not, let me know. Have a great week. Tchau.
Elder Taylor Mackay