Dear Family and Friends,
Sorry for not being able to write last week, but I was sitting in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV. It seems like I've hit a rough streak with my health. Before I say too much more on the subject, you don't want to get dengue fever...it might be one of the worst feelings in the world. Besides a constant fever of 104, your head feels like it's going to explode. It is also known as breakbone fever or bone-crusher disease. Considering what I endured, it is appropriately named. For those of you who are unfamiliar with dengue fever, it is a hemorrhagic disease transmitted by a mosquito infected with the virus that only feeds during the day. What luck! I was admitted to the hospital last Tuesday and stayed there for 48 hours until my temperature and blood platelets returned to normal. Unfortunately, there isn't a cure for dengue, so I just had to ride it out. I've been keeping count, and in the past month, 23 needles have gone into my arm and at least an equal number of injections have been given to keep the fever and stomach pain under control and most importantly...keep me alive! The worst part of the whole experience was the fact that the one pain killer that could offer me any relief is banned by the mission, so I spent most of my time hunched over in a chair trying not to pass out from the pain. Anyway, I'm almost back to full health. It's still a little hard to walk, but we're back out teaching.
The one thing I did learn out of the whole dengue experience is that I am good at Connect 4. Elder Hodges brought it to the hospital to help pass the time. Even though I wasn't all there, I was destroying the game...even connecting 5 for a few wins and winning within a matter of 4 to 6 moves (haha).
My experience in the hospital wasn't all that favorable, so I have indefinitely postponed my hernia surgery. The hospitals are dirty and very unorganized, so I don't feel too confident about having the surgery in Manaus. On top of that, the staff was not very impressive for lack of a better term. Hopefully, it can wait until I get back home.
As for our investigators, it appears that some have slowed down with their progression and are still battling with cigarettes, while others who we thought would take a while to progress had some experiences occur in their lives that really turned them around. Elder Cain and Elder Morris had 6 baptisms this last week, which was awesome. We have had a lot of splits, so I had the opportunity to teach 3 of these individuals and watch them progress. It was a great experience. There was even a wedding before the baptisms...the groom had 2 broken arms, so we had to tape trash bags around his arms prior to baptizing him.
Lastly, we just had transfers and I'm staying with Elder Hodges in Cidade de Deus in Jardim Botânico 2, but Elder Cain was sent to Tefé, which is way in the interior. It continues to be hot regardless of the rainy and cloudy conditions outside, but that's life in the Amazon. For lunch, Elder Hodges and I will be having jacaré (alligator). I hope it tastes as good as it did the first time.
Sorry if I've been slow with the letters, I've been really sick lately and have been at the hospital quite a bit. And now for the secret code phrase of my letter: I love peanut butter...you know who you are. Thanks for all the support...I'm still alive.