Hello, this is Elder Mackay once again reporting for duty. This week was a little crazy, but I think I've made it and am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am officially training Elder Murray to be the next Financial Secretary of Missão Brasil Manaus. FYI he is from Minnesota...that's a first, right? So, just to get my companions straight...I've had one from New York, Brazil, Utah, Idaho, Maine, and Minnesota. Contrary to popular belief, I have no doubt that Flores will be his most memorable area for very good reasons. Life in the office has more to it than meets the eye...trust me. Every day you fight mini financial battles that are electronically lost or won. If you're me, you always win, but let's not fool ourselves; there is only one Elder Mackay.
General Conference was really good. I watched all 10 hours of it. There were certainly a lot of good talks. I don't know if I was just a slacker in past years and didn't pay attention, but this past conference was legitimately put together. We were able to have a total of 9 people present to watch conference, many of which stayed for several sessions.
Right now there is a huge party going on that will last for a few weeks in the Sambódromo (Samba Stadium) called Boi Manaus. Here in Amazonas, the bull is almost worshiped (I think it comes from indigenous culture) and at this party there are various dancing groups that dance the "boi," a type of dance which looks like a ritual to call in the rain or sun. In a few more days, I'll have all the music memorized since it blasts through our windows until midnight.
It's always funny the day after all the new missionaries arrive, because when I give my presentation, I have to speak in English, which to be honest is a little hard (just the manner of mental processing and putting the words together to form a sentence). As a result, I'm a little mixed up today with the language and I have to catch myself from slipping in an English word every once in a while when talking to the Brazilians.
One cool thing that happened when all the noobs arrived in the Mission Office was that one of them came up to me and asked, "Are you Elder Mackay?" Pointing at my name tag, I said, "Why, yes...I am." He then said, "I have a message for you...Hodges says, 'hi,' and sends you a beijo." What do you know...there is life on the other side. It just so happens that this elder was visiting his aunt's ward and Elder Hodges was there and found out he was going to Manaus and sent the 2 month delayed message. I've got to hand it to the kid for remembering.
This Sunday, we have a baptism planned for Gabriel, the brother of Paulino who just returned from his mission. We have been working pretty hard with the family and it's paying off thanks to his huge help. The other people we are teaching and who are progressing are: Flávia, Karla, Alexandre, Anderson, Ana Leite, Ana Vitória, Tatiana, Adriana, Wellington, Erika, and Marcilene. Wish us luck.
I would like to wish a Happy Birthday to Grandpa Mackay...make it a great year! I'll give you the gift of my presence sometime after the 8th of June (haha).
Elder Taylor Mackay
(I just made up that word...abreijo is a kiss and a hug together)