A lot of things happened this past week. To get it all started, I have a new companion, Elder Reis, who is 26 years old and from São Paulo. A new missionary arrived to the mission here in Manaus, got sent to Maués (an awesome interior area), and in less than 24 hours decided he wanted to go back home. Elder Seastrand, my previous companion, had already served there and knew the area, so after a quick interview with President Jayme, he was shipped back out to his first area! This was a serious, emergency transfer, which left us without an official Supply Secretary! The balance of the office staff is contributing a little bit of their time to make up for the empty position.
I have to admit, it is nice having a Brazilian companion for the first time since December of last year. Your Portuguese really suffers when you have no need to use it in communication 24/7 (among the American elders). It is also the first time in about a year that a Brazilian missionary has stepped foot in our area, which is very exciting. To be completely honest, Elder Reis can phrase things a lot better than I can. Although the work in the area has been going well, it can only get better with his help.
This past week was super rough with all of the transfers and people getting shipped out to the middle of nowhere. Meaning...elders hang around with us in the office the entire day until it comes time for them to catch a flight. Needless to say, our week was weak, but given the seriously low teaching numbers, we were able to magically have 7 investigators at church on Sunday. It got me thinking...if we can get 7 investigators out with little effort on our part, we could greatly improve an already decent attendance with a week of poder.
As for big events this week, there will be the baptism of Adriana, who has gone through 13 different missionaries but has finally been convinced to change her ways and move on with her life. It's really cool to see this transformation since she is just starting college and has a job, working to gain her independence. I'm truly thankful I have been given the opportunity to put an end to several of the Flores area's eternal investigators, who had been working years to make the right decision but just needed that extra push or maybe hear the same words from a different person with a different perspective. If all goes as planned, the baptism will be on Saturday.
One of the big projects I've started in this area is reactivating the less actives and helping the rest of their family join the Church. There are several people who are at the age of baptism (it'll be a baptism of the ward rather than mission) who just need to be taught by someone and need an appointment (which we have to coordinate) with the Bishop, so they can be baptized. Right now, Ana Vitória and Ana Leite are the next to take these steps.
Another cool story is that of Andrews and Anderson. They are the same age but Anderson is Andrews' uncle...it's complicated. Alex, a less active member in our ward, showed up one Sunday with two 16 year old guys, who I thought were just friends but just so happen to be family. After talking briefly, it was easy to see that he wanted to help them learn about the Church. Unfortunately, three Sundays of them attending went by before we were able to teach them, but it all worked out. With the help of Alex and Kennedy Boby, they have become pretty knowledgeable of the gospel and have dates marked for baptism. Although Elder Seastrand was excited to visit his first area again, I'm sure it was a bit of a bummer leaving all the potentials and progress being made in our area, which was once a dreaded assignment (understandably so since it supposedly went 7+ months without a baptism). We have several other investigators progressing that I'll keep you posted on in the future.
Since I'm basically the branch Financial Secretary in Tefé, Maués, and Parintins, I'm in charge of getting the payments organized for their yearly district meeting (about 200 people) which will take place here in Manaus. One cool thing is rather than rent a bus to get them here, we have rented an entire boat!
Until next week...Tchau tchau,
Elder Taylor Mackay