Hello Family and Friends,
Did someone say it was Carnival in Brazil? Apparently, they didn't get the message here in Cidade de Deus. Not too much happened in my neck of the woods by way of celebrations. The only thing I noticed in my area was that one day the men dressed up as women and the women dressed up as men. It was interesting to say the least, as well as a little confusing. Other than that, the majority of the festivities took place in Manaus itself. The worst part of Carnival is that it makes teaching quite difficult. Nobody really stays home in the neighborhood. Instead, the majority of the population goes to where the action is and parties for five days (Saturday through Wednesday).
Elder Hodges and I had a very unique experience this week. We fulfilled the promise of a previous missionary to go to church with a member's mom. The church we went to was the International Pentecostal Church. It was very different...unlike anything I have ever attended. It consisted of drums, keyboards, and loud singing. The pastor eventually spoke, but it was hard to hear him since our ears were ringing. Surprisingly, they were very hospitable and greeted us kindly. They even invited us to come back next week...but the promise was fulfilled so that won't be necessary.
Every week it seems like we are starting all over again with regards to missionary work because most of the people we have been teaching just aren't dedicated enough to commit to baptism. We are currently working with a lot of new families. One of which, the father, is helping to build the new chapel for the Church. I'm pretty excited about the chapel...it looks like it is going to be really nice. We did have a few baptisms marked for this weekend, but they won't be happening now that they traveled to Maués last weekend. Although it seems that everything is falling apart, the future holds the possibility of success and, of course, hope.
-Elder Taylor Mackay