Hello to All-
I hope the computer doesn't delete my email again like it did last week. That's always a great feeling knowing you can never rewrite your thoughts exactly the same way. I hope you liked the pictures from last week. It's unfortunate I can only send two at a time.
Anyway, this last week was pretty good...mostly because it flew by way fast. That is except for the 4th of July. No matter how "cool" it sounds to be in another country for the holiday, it's always nice to be back home running the Firecracker or just hanging out at the park. I didn't dare try and run a 5k around the 100m track even though Elder Farnsworth, a BYU XC runner who I knew pretty well before my mission, would have most definitely joined in. Unlike Independence Day in America, the horrible imitation for hamburgers, fries, and ice cream sundaes here in Brazil didn't quite match what I have enjoyed in the past, but it was a good day nonetheless. We made our own fun by flying paper airplanes during our 30 minute breaks and ate a ton of disgusting, but addicting, candy we picked up at the candy shop around the corner, which probably makes a living solely off the missionaries.
Exciting things so far...let's see: I found out from my Amazonian friend, Elder Xisto, after a minute of concentration that I will be eating monkeys and alligators in Manaus and throughout the Amazon...can't wait for that. Seriously, though, I've been looking forward to eating a monkey my whole life. We had about 4 speakers this week, all of which gave us hints on how to be better missionaries. Most of it had to do with serving others and talking to everyone you see. We also traveled once again to Campinas on a bus that felt like it was falling apart. It was truly amazing. Honestly, though, we were just glad to get out of the CTM for a little bit and see what it's like in the real world.
Guess what I'm doing on Friday...I'll be in downtown São Paulo in the "Wall Street" district trying to teach people about the Restoration. It should be great. I love talking Portuguese and I like challenges, so it will be interesting. As for my routine, not much has changed: still learning the language, lessons, eating, and playing basketball every day (the finger is getting better I believe).
I received 7 emails this week...let's pick up the slack everyone (haha). It's nice seeing letters waiting for me every week. I wish I had the time to write each of you individually, but I basically only have 20 minutes of writing time.
We are now living on the 7th floor (the top floor) and have a great view of the city (I attached a few pictures of me on the 4th floor as well as the sunset from the room...it's pretty beautiful). Our new roommates are great. They have great attitudes and personalities, which makes life a lot easier. As for the rest of the district, nobody has really had a melt-down, but a few of the elders are starting to wonder why their hair is falling out. One of them was messing around on the bus today with his eyebrows and now he doesn't have anything left...it's hilarious (I'm actually looking at him right now).
Anyway, it was a good week. Once again, I am still the only one going to Manaus in the entire CTM and I continue to hear more things about the area where I will be serving that makes me thankful to be going there. Fortunately, the mail strike you might have heard of here in Brazil is over temporarily (the mail carriers kept getting robbed, so they demanded more security). Have a great week...I know I will.
Elder Taylor Mackay