Well, well, well...this transfer continues to go well. We had two more baptisms last Saturday (Daniela and Matias), which was cool since we have been working to complete the entire Pinto family. They were really excited, but it was a battle since their aunt was a little contra (against) the igreja (church). Nonetheless, they had their parent's full support, which ended up turning into a marriage and baptismal service scheduled for May. What a cool surprise! We made an awesome cake for the baptism with chocolate Cadbury eggs on the top. Our recent converts remain really active and are learning a lot.
I have a quick story to share that is pretty entertaining. So, the ward made the tri-annual caravan trip to the Caracas Temple, which went really well until it came time to return home. Right before the border, the group decided to make a bit of a pit stop to get food and use the restroom. Since nothing in the vicinity appealed to the Bishop, he wandered off in search of something to satisfy his appetite. Meanwhile, everyone else had made their purchases and returned to the bus, with the exception of the Bishop. Time passed and the bus driver lost his patience and decided to resume the trip back to the Amazon (without the Bishop). Needless to say, come Sunday Bispo Prado was a no-show. I got a kick out of it! I think he may have had to catch a bus home, but I'm not certain. All I know is that he didn't walk.
We had a ton of divisions this week. I spent one of the days with Elder Paredes from Matto Grosso do Sul. He arrived with me from the CTM (I go home one transfer before him, though, since he was only there three weeks). We worked in an area called Canaranas. It's a step up in financial standings compared to the area I'm serving in even though it's just a 20 minute walk or so down the street. Some people thought I was from Saõ Paulo because I spoke Portuguese well and am fair-skinned.
On another day, the ZLs did a division with the assistants, so Elder Garcia, from Palmdale, came to my area just in time for a machete-hacking service project. This wasn't your typical tornado cleanup but instead was Schwarzenegger-style Total Recall, blade-swinging action. A guy named Correa invited us over to help him with a project. He had a hill on the side of his house that was infested with spiders and stuff and he needed help clearing the vegetation, so he could put up a cement wall. Jokingly, I walked over to a tree and told Elder Morris that I could take it down with one swift swing after having watched him struggle with another tree. Using my samurai skills, I envisioned my 9th grade geometry teacher's head on the other side of the tree and swung with force. To my surprise, the next thing I heard was the crack of the 30 foot tree, which promptly fell back toward the house. The impact completely shattered the fiberglass roof and cheap brick wall. Rather than sticking around, I ran off back through the jungle to our house and showered. When it came time to visit him later in the day, I asked, "What happened to your house? It looks completely trashed." I'm sure he'll come up with the money to rebuild it within the next few months.
We have five baptisms scheduled for this week, which is great. Their names are Luana, Rian, Lucas, Ruan, and Kesiane. They are all indigenous descendants, so I guess you can say that we'll be baptizing a few Lamanites this week. Please pray that all goes as planned. The area is progressing well and we are using the escalator effect to always prepare people and have weekly results.
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Easter. Nothing out of the ordinary transpired here on Easter Sunday. It felt just like any other day with the exception of people giving each other big chocolate eggs.
A few areas in Manaus get a bad name simply because they don't always have running water or because it's really ghetto. As for Cidade de Deus, it's a good mix of everything...other than the body they found in a local stream last week.
Elder Taylor Mackay
I almost forgot...I did chop the treeish growth down in one swing but nothing happened to the house. The project went smoothly until the rain came. Once we had completed the task, he rewarded us with hot dog puree and crackers (it tastes just like it sounds).