Well...this past week was pretty normal until about Tuesday when it got really complicated as a result of a few young families from Tefé making their first trip to the temple to be sealed together. The trip was last minute and very poorly planned, which made our lives here at the office all the more difficult (running around to get food for them and making sure they had the money they needed for their trip). The original plan was to go to the São Paulo Temple, but in the middle of the trip, the Mission Counselor informed them the temple was closed for restoration (funny...I already knew this and figured he did too) so they will now be taking an hour minivan ride to the Campinas Temple instead of just walking around the corner. I guess that's life.
As for the whole thing with Adriana, it didn't work out this week because of her extremely busy schedule. I have no doubt her baptism will occur. It's just a matter of time because of the increased responsibility of living on her own.
As for the big changes in the escritório, my companion is Elder Reis, the Historiador. He is the one who puts together the jornalzinho every other week. Fortunately, Elder Rangel is training his replacement, so we actually have 4 people here at staff but still no one person 100% designated to the job of Supply Secretary.
The 7th of September in Brazil is like the 4th of July for the U.S. (Independence Day). Independence from what? I have no idea and I'm pretty sure the majority of the people in Manaus have no clue as well. It's just one more reason for them to have a big party, shoot off fireworks, and drink before noon. Fortunately, though, there was a pretty cool rally going on at the Sambódromo, which is right next to us, so we were able to see all the military vehicles and ridiculously unsafe flybys done by plane and helicopter.
Another big mess of late was with the Branch of Parintins and Maués, who took forever (last minute as usual) to pass me the information necessary to make the boat payments so all could go as planned for the district meeting...but, of course, Parintins passed the wrong type of account, which further complicated things with the whole money situation. After quite a bit of communication with São Paulo and the Mission Counselor, Presidente Martins, it looks like we have managed to make a solid Plan B.
In cooler news, I'll be training my replacement in about 3 weeks and the day before I leave the office Elder Guerrette will be finishing his mission and heading home (the same thing happened with Elder Hodges when Elder Guerrette was training me). It got me thinking...it's quite possible the person I train will still be serving in the office when I'm catching my flight back home in June. It's a long ways away, but that just gives you an idea of how long Financial Secretaries serve.
In even better news, bananas are back! After a long period of poor harvests due to flooding, the prices have gone back down and yesterday I bought a palm of bananas for R$2,50. Lately, there has been a serious heat wave unlike anything we've seen for some time. The water is drying up and apparently crop failures are possible if things continue this way. Seriously, though, I was outside for maybe 30 minutes and burned! Never in my life has that happened. Then again, never in my life have I been as UV ray deprived as I have been the past few months working in the office.
Boby came over on Wednesday to teach me the techniques of kite fighting. It's pretty cool. They have these paper kites with glass coated strings that they fly (usually on Sundays) and they cut each other out of the sky. It's a big deal even for adults...it's a life or death thing. I actually saw a 26 year old guy rip a kite (worth 50 cents) out of a 5 year old's hands and push him to the ground leaving him there crying. It was pathetic!
The other day we received R$50 for lunch, so we decided to go somewhere good for the first time and dine with the wealthy of Manaus. We went to La Parrilla, a first-class churrasco. It was amazingly good, but as we were eating, we realized Elder Reis, for the first time, was the only black guy in the restaurant and instead we were surrounded by what appeared to be Italian drug traffickers and a pimp.
Teaching continues to go well and we are working really hard on re-activating several members and teaching several families who are interested in changing their lives for the better. It appears that Selena (Marianice's daughter) hasn't received her call yet, but it should be coming any day now. Wish us luck this week with our baptisms and hope everything goes as planned.
Elder Taylor Mackay