Dear Family and Friends,
Our New Year was pretty uneventful. Surprisingly, there were a lot less fireworks than there were at Christmas, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Nonetheless, Happy New Year!
When you train, it's like your mission starts all over again. This week went as planned with regards to the baptism. Even though I had more time with the people, I threw the "noob" in the água to make his first week here all the more special. He was super nervous trying to memorize in Portuguese and getting the person's name right: Victoria Regina Santos da Silva...but that's life on a mission. I told him in a few weeks he'd have it all down.
On Monday, I got a call from the district leader, Elder Yates, as we were walking to Êxodo for the district meeting. He notified me that his companion was sick and they wouldn't be attending. To me that meant there wouldn't be a meeting. I asked, "So.....????" He replied that I would have to give the training and lead the meeting. Crash! It's so nice just sitting there and listening, but everything went well. I did a training on contacts and we talked about the importance of teaching lessons when given the opportunity. Apparently, according to the zone leaders, our zone is slacking with respect to numbers. I'd like to see my companionship outside of that stereotype since we are rolling along pretty well.
Today we played soccer on the cuadro above the church for a few hours and afterward had a churrasco out behind our house. It was pretty ghetto but got the job done. The meat was good and nothing beats the ice cold Kuat guaraná we drank along with it. I've heard rumors that BYU sells guaraná. If that's the case, I'll make a pit stop on my way up to USU and buy some in bulk.
The government here in Amazonas is really slow to react to problems with regards to electricity or water or massive holes in the street. Unfortunately, that makes our job walking the hilly streets a bit harder. The dirt here is like a red clay that builds up on the bottom of your shoes and makes a nice slippery buffer between your foot and the ground. It's one of those situations where if you make the wrong step, you'll be lying on your stomach covered in mud in no time flat.
A request the Bishop has made is to baptize only on Saturdays. That means we had to re-mark the baptismal dates of Crislane, Cristian, Leonardo for the 16th and Jéssica, Katrine, and Anderson for the 23rd. It's all right, though. In my opinion, the additional time is better because it allows for more preparation.
We have a ward activity that is being planned for the 13th of January. It is going to be called "Night of the Banana." If that isn't a giveaway that you're serving in the Amazon, I don't know what is. Not only do people like to plan things around food but the banana is a staple in their food supply.
This week should be a pretty good week of teaching and learning. We have a few people who are reading the Bible and Book of Mormon. To give them a better visual, we are going to start watching The Testaments, which is a relatively entertaining film the first four times you watch it...after that it's not too exciting. We also have conference on Monday so it's a guarantee that lunch won't fall through. That's all I have for this week...thanks for the e-mails and support.
Elder Taylor Mackay