This was a very interesting week. A lot of things went well and some things not so well, but it was a good week overall. I'm still alive and Missão Brasil Manaus is not in a dire financial crisis...yet (haha). Other than a few wrong moves on the part of São Paulo and Tefé, it seems by now I have managed to redo or patch up this shady, Brazilian money laundering I do as Financial Secretary. The following is a recap of this week's events:
The first legitimate day as Financial Secretary of Missão Manaus was a great but busy day full of adventure. The day started off well doing divisions with Elder Rangel, the new Executive Secretary. We then went to develop photos of the new missionaries who arrived in the field this transfer, hopped on by the correios (post office), and then made our way over to the polícia federal to drop off some visa information. Next, we lunched on fejoada at the house of Lucas/Rose. Their niece, Giselle, a returned missionary from Rio de Janeiro prepared it. It was served with peach créme and was really good to be honest. It was a lot better than the last fejoada that I ate when I was sick with dengue fever.
Following lunch, we made a nice, little viagem through all of Manaus squished in the back of a tiny, two-seater pick-up truck to deliver some washing machines to the ghetto areas that either didn't have machines or machines had broken down. They were very happy when we arrived with machines since we were able to meet their needs so quickly. Although it was an uncomfortable ride for 1.5 of the 2.5 hours, it was a great experience that took us through Zona Norte, Oeste, Central, and Leste...how's that sound? When we got back, we talked to President Jayme about a taxi contract we are trying to settle and then we headed out to teach Artemeze and Nadila, who live in Beco Oriental right on the side of the church (the home will be one of many to be demolished due to the World Cup giving a few games to Manaus in 2014). All went well and she will be coming to church.
To say today was busy would be quite the understatement. After our daily studying and planning, I made a few payments for water and Internet on-line. We then got a ride with Marcos to the nearest Itaú Bank where we stood in a long line for me to make a R$300 deposit for the first time in Missão Manaus history since 2008. Upon returning, I took care of a few house payments and finally was able to pay the furniture store the R$7000 that the new couple missionaries spent to furnish their house. That was a BIG mess. Later, a few of the house owners stopped by to pick up their money, which we had owed them. One of which went well (Santa Etelvina) but the other (Terra Nova) was not so good. The owner came in drunk and wanted all R$500, but due to the fact that I need some information out of him to fix the electronic payments, I only gave him R$250 (call me a jerk, but money is a good incentive in Manaus to get people to pick up the slack).
An interesting set of events happened today. We started our day teaching Anna at the church. After the lesson was over, we walked out the front door and I said, "It looks like it's going to rain," which was followed by, "You guys should grab an umbrella." Then out of nowhere, as we turned around to head back to Staff to get our rain gear, buckets of water started falling from the sky. I mean hurricane status rain that slapped your face in the blink of an eye. It was pretty funny. After the rain subsided, we headed over to Bairro União to talk with Silvia and Adriana. I was really surprised to hear the progress Adriana is making. She will be moving out of the house to live with Juliana and Silvia, so she can be baptized in a few months. It has become a real goal of hers.
We became hungry and grabbed a picolé de graviola and eventually made our way to a little restaurant down the street for lunch (we received R$20 for lunch). The lady who works there really likes us, so she allowed us to grab as much food as we wanted although I only took the normal amount out of respect. She also gave us taperibá juice on the house, which I graciously accepted.
As far as teaching goes, the day wasn't amazing, especially after we got stopped for 30 minutes after knocking the door of a Jehovah's Witness. He ended up teaching us from the Bible, but he was at least cool about it. The highlight of our day was that we found a ghetto part of our area that requires us to cross a bridge to reach it, but the area has some real potential and I'm very excited about its prospects.
Since we had quite a few appointments fall through or had people move, we headed to the church where we talked with Taciara about genealogy. We stayed a bit longer than we should have and arrived a little late to Family Home Evening at the Leite house. It went smoothly and they gave us popcorn and açaí to snack on. It was great!
Oh yeah, so last night there was a revolt at the local juvenile retention center and there was a cool war going on between the youth and the military police all night long. It added an exciting final touch to the week here in Alvorada.
We have a baptism Saturday, which will be a great experience for Gabriela. Her cousin Lucas, who will be serving a mission in Santa Maria in December, will be baptizing her.
I want to express my gratitude to everyone for the pictures and package I received this week. It really brightened my day and brought a huge smile to my face. Thanks for all you do and for your love and support.
Elder Taylor Mackay