It was a crazy week once again due to the conferences and the massive expansion of the mission boundaries. The latter is making the whole rent situation a bit more complicated than in the past. However, it's all out of the way for now, so the next few days should be a bit easier. Hopefully, I will be able to get caught up on my sleep since our curfew in the office is a little distorted.
The teaching is still going well, but recently many changes have been made in our ward. A lot of people aren't very active and it's looking like it may turn into a branch if they don't do something quick. As for Elder Seastrand and me, we can do our part to find new people and help recent converts. Unfortunately, our efforts won't have too much of an impact given the fact that members aren't fulfilling their home teaching and visiting teaching responsibilities. In addition, the ward mission leader hasn't been to church for months, but that's life. It's unfortunate that our old, Bolivian mission leader was released because he was really good. Apparently, the Stake is working on calling a new one, so we can get the show on the road.
On a high note, we have a baptism for Maria Gessy Dos Santos in about 5 hours. She has been waiting for over 23 years for this special day to arrive. I'll be baking a cake, using my funfetti cake mix, to add that special touch to an already great occasion. Besides, Elder Seastrand and I don't need the extra calories, so we might as well share it with those in attendance.
There was a lot of running around this week, both for errands and teaching purposes, given our limited time. One of the week's highlights was my trip with Elder Reis to the docks to buy tickets for missionaries serving in Tefé, an interior area, since flying is not an option. It was super bright out and a few of the fishermen were trying to sell their catch of the day, pack up, and go home. After purchasing the tickets, we headed back to the car and picked up a nice cup of limeade from a street vendor. We even got a kiss blown to us by a crazy, drunk lady, who is always hanging out at the bar.
As for excitement in the office, we had our share yesterday. Elder Rangel was having some back pain and wanted someone to help him crack his back. Forgetting that he is heavier than me, I locked arms with him and tried to lift him on my back in an attempt to stretch his back and help alleviate the pain. With our arms still locked, I lost my balance causing him to slam face first into a cupboard. Fortunately, he is gordinho and his gordura softened the impact. Surprisingly, it seemed to do the job and ease his pain.
The upcoming weeks should be pretty eventful with missionary work since the whole mess of rent and conference is out of the way. That means more teaching, cooler photos, and more baptisms, as long as we start getting the support of the ward.
To answer a question about last week's picture with the American businessman, every once in a while Americans travel down here for business. In most cases, they work for an employer that has divisions in Brazil and they need someone to do yearly inspections and interview the workers. Rather than pay thousands of dollars for an interpreter, they generally send someone who speaks Portuguese. Often times, this means returned missionaries because Portuguese isn't as highly learned as Spanish or French in the United States.
Elder Taylor Mackay