Alright...I'm going to get the important things out of the way first. Our district was walking around in a local forest just checking things out (I guess the mentality is if there is a rain forest with a little trail, why not check it out) and out of nowhere it starts pouring buckets of rain. Fortunately, the tree coverage was thick enough that we didn't get hit by the rain, but then I heard it...chirping sounds but not those of a bird. It was some MONKEYS and not the caged kind either but wild monkeys...it was awesome! On another occasion, as we were walking along a road, we encountered flying ants the size of my finger. Little kids were running around catching them with 2L bottles. The people here break off the back half, fry it, and eat it...interesting I guess you could say.
The teaching continues to go well. We continue to clap doors and teach new lessons, but the bulk of our work and teaching comes from references we receive from members and other investigators. So last Saturday, Kennedy and Jennifer (American names but obviously not American) were baptized. They are the children of James, but of course, he couldn't make it to the baptism. On that note, after announcing the occasion in every class at church, a whole lot of nobody showed up to the event! It was pretty sad. The other two baptisms that were supposed to happen last week got rescheduled, one of which is taking place this Friday with the baptism of Patrick, Luana's brother. We are still working on the whole concept of marriage with Daniella, but it just doesn't seem like it's going to work out, so she is taking the other route and considering living on her own for a few months to prepare for her baptism.
Last P-day we went to the Creatures of the Amazon River Reserve, which turned out to be interesting. We got stuck on a bus that went to almost every bairro in Manaus, so it took us over two hours to travel a distance of 20 miles. To make matters worse, the driver blew past the entrance, so we had to hike back only to find it was closed until 2 p.m. for lunch (something which we hadn't yet had). When it finally opened, there was a native lady standing outside the entrance selling animal teeth to gain money for entrance to the reserve. She came up to me and asked for R$2, which I willingly gave her, and then she handed me some bracelet thing including a tooth with some weird writing on it. I just said, "Obrigado," and kept moving. To make a short story short, there were manatees and caiman inside but not a whole lot of anything else.
Everyone here continues to be really nice. They are constantly buying us stuff to eat even if we say we aren't hungry, which is generally the truth. The people remain very respectful and receptive of our message and nobody really tries to mess with us or give us a hard time, which from what I've heard isn't the case in other countries. The Portuguese is going really well. I understand about 99% and speak it pretty well (sufficient enough to get the job done). The weather is starting to switch over to the rainy season, which really makes a mess of things. Nonetheless, all is well here and time is going by faster than I ever thought it would. The attached pictures are of me in the jungle and of the recent baptism of Kennedy and Jennifer. Thanks for all the support.
Elder Taylor Mackay