Dear Family and Friends,
So, this is it. This is the last email that I will be sending from the CTM here in São Paulo... fortunately. It's been a great experience so far, but...it's rough not being able to see the sun for 6 days at a time. This week has gone by fast and slow at the same time...if that makes any sense. We have finished all of our scheduled learning, so we have been reviewing everything we feel is important, but on the other hand, the entire district is leaving to their various destinations in about 5 days now, so time is flying by. This past week we went out to a bridge in the middle of the city to teach people. Fortunately for us, it was pouring rain...really hard, which just made things a little bit more difficult. Amazingly though, we were more successful this time in talking and teaching people, which doesn't make any sense. The progress made here in the CTM was definitely a big help.
Not to scare anyone, because this wasn't very serious, but me and 3 other missionaries were sitting at a chess table in the middle of Casa Verde (ghetto) writing letters when we were approached by 2 drunk, old men. They just waved their arms and were saying...Americanos this or that when I spied a legitimate-sized knife in one of the men's back pocket, which he made attempts to grab every so often. In English, I just said, (since they couldn't understand) "Well, these guys are obviously crazy...and one's got a knife...how about we take a little walk before he does something stupid." I think there was a little inspiration in my sight.
Also this week, something even more unbelievable was that I sang "Comigo Habita" in a quintet (I believe that's what it's called) at church...now I can check that off my list of things to do...but then our President said something, and before we knew it, we were asked (forced) to sing this Sunday in front of the entire CTM (300+) people. That got a little out of hand really fast.
I have continued to hear crazy things about Manaus from workers here: mosquitoes the size of birds and alligators everywhere...I don't believe anything I hear anymore.
We have a meeting this upcoming Monday with the President to get all of our travel information. Then on Tuesday, I get to wake up bright and early to head over to the airport and hop on a little plane to Manaus. I will be the only American heading north on the plane ride, so that will be interesting. I'm pretty excited about it, especially since every week I get a better grasp of the language. It's amazing to think that after only 2 months of training we're getting sent out to the field...but I'm ready.
We had a little talent show the other night in our free time, which was a nice break from all the studying. Our instructor came and performed some of his magic tricks (magic is a really big deal here in Brazil). Other than that, I don't really have much else to say besides the fact that the next keyboard I touch will be several hundreds of miles away. It'll be interesting to find out what part of Amazonas I will be sent to first. I really appreciate all the emails and read every single one. I'll send some good pictures next week.
Elder Taylor Mackay