Well, I didn't think it was possible, but I have returned to my last area. I guess I have a bit of mixed emotions about the move. It's cool to serve in an old area (which is very rare), but at the same time, you kind of hope for something new when transferred. It was an emergency situation, more or less, that resulted in my return to Cidade de Deus. I'm thinking that I'll stay only one transfer to give my new companion, Elder Trage, a good grasp of the area. Jardim Botânico I and II was the area of the LZs (zone leaders), but apparently things weren't going the way they were supposed to, so President Jayme removed them both and sent them to new areas. As a result, I was sent here with a companion that has never seen the area. Out of the five elders in the field who have previously served in Cidade de Deus, President chose me to open it up again. It's funny walking down the street seeing familiar faces and the same kids still asking me for money. When I was walking down Rua Bota Fogo yesterday, the kids of João Bosco and Maria started shouting, "Elder Mackay!!!" Everyone was saying, "It's cool that you're visiting...when are you going to be back again?" My response made them happy, "I'll be staying for at least six weeks."
The last week as Financial Secretary passed way too fast, but fortunately, I was able to spend some time with the members that had an influence on me and vice versa. In the pictures, you can see one of my last stops with friends: Leite family, Aline, Dulce, Marcilene, Cooper family, family of Maria Rabelo, and several others. The Leite family had a nice Family Home Evening where, for the brincadeira, everyone said something nice about me. It reminded me of the activity that takes place in a re-hab group session, but I appreciated it. The Cooper family had a churrasco of fish (Tucunaré and Bodó), which was also really cool. There's nothing like having a native family cook native fish. They do it better than anyone else with only a little salt and spices. It was sad leaving the ward, but I'm sure there is a lot of work and change that I can accomplish in Cidade de Deus, Alfredo Nascimento, Aliança com Deus, Bragamendes, and the list of neighborhoods goes on in our massive area (it takes over an hour and a half to walk from one extreme to the other). Hopefully, I will keep following in Hodges' footsteps on the mission and maybe my next area will be Manacaparu...but we'll see about that.
After this area, I only have four more transfers, so I could end up "dying" in my next area. If that is the case, it would definitely make me one of the first missionaries with only four areas in two years! I don't mind, though. With more time comes more results and you really have the opportunity to see the changes that occur as you work.
As for things to come our way or at least to work on, we've got two couples we need to marry and baptize, in addition to baptizing a teenage girl and a teenage guy. Hopefully all goes well, and in the next couple of weeks, we can get them rolling towards the end goal. I'll give you more information on the people we are teaching next week when I get to know them better. The church is still covered in graffiti and looks like a bit of a dump, but that's just one plus that comes with the area.
Today was my first P-day since I was...well, actually, today was the first real P-day I've had since I left this place (haha). I actually rested and wasn't asked when the mesada was going to fall or how much money people had in their account, but I can bet Elder Murray got those calls.
I'll let you know when I get the packages and letters. I sent out the DVD on Monday...it's 4GB of photos just from Flores (haha). I guess that shows I was there for a while. Thanks for all the love and support. Until next time...
Elder Taylor Mackay