Well, one more down. This week was pretty good with regards to preparing for the future. We met a ton of people through contacts and members that seem to be very interested in our message. Once again, I must say the people here are a lot more open to hearing a religious message than back home. Not that I ever really tried back home, but in my opinion, the people here rely a lot more on religious values. Due to this religious heat wave, people are naming their little shops "Butcher God is Faithful" and "Little Market God Gave Me." These wouldn't be my first picks for a store name, but it seems to be working for them.
My first week with my trainee concerned me a bit. I was a little worried about his capacity to speak the language, but in a relatively short amount of time, he is improving. By the end of the transfer, I'll be able to sit back and let him do more of the talking.
Something cool that's happening today, which should make me fatter than I already am (don't worry...I'm not really fat but compared to my 5% body fat and rock hard abs before the mission, I'm feeling a little out of shape but that will all come back after a month or so of hard training) is that Victória and her family invited us over for lunch. Being that we are especially lazy on P-day, we accepted the invite.
I thought I would share a ridiculous story with all of you that I found kind of funny. At lunch yesterday, the host had farinha, beans, and rice on the table, which to me is enough for lunch. Then she said, "When you finish, I'll bring out the chicken." Oh great (sarcastic)...then after she brought out the chicken, she said, "When you finish, I'll bring out the macaroni and salad." WHAT?!?!...fala sério rapaz...where am I supposed to put all this food? After that she brought out dessert which was a pudding (I was exempt since I can't eat anything with milk). My companion, after a few bites of the pudding, turned a little yellow and his cheeks started to inflate and then he started coughing. I asked him if he was feeling alright and he said, "No." I asked him if he needed to puke and he said, "Yeah." I suggested we politely leave since puking at the table isn't exactly a real crowd pleaser. Fortunately, he's all better now.
Monday of this week was Zone Conference. Out of nowhere, I was asked to speak on the topic How God has Blessed Me through Using and Testifying about the Book of Mormon in My Teaching. It went surprisingly well. I must say I'm a lot more confident in my public speaking. It has become no big thing. It's crazy seeing some of my best buds bearing their testimony for the final time at conference since they'll be leaving after this transfer. Then it hit me...in two more conferences, that's going to be me. I took a picture with Elder Durrant (who goes home this transfer) and Elder Spotts (who goes home in the next).
I think after a year and a half and change on the mission, I have finally figured out how to be an effective missionary. You've got to visit those you are teaching at least four times a week and really become friends with them, so they feel comfortable telling you their doubts or questions. After the ward had taken a nosedive, we finally are getting things back on track. The attendance is going up and the ward is baptizing again. I'm not going to lie, it's been a lot of work, meetings, and planning, but I have no doubt that if the missionary work continues this way AND the members do their part to re-activate those who are no longer going to church AND if they do their monthly visits, the ward will divide this year.
Elder Taylor Mackay