WELLLLL...I was in the middle of my letter and the guy that messes with the Internet did something that caused all the computers to crash, so I'm starting all over again. This week went well. The majority of things we had planned took place as well as a few things that weren't. For example, Elder Yates and I were walking down the street after an interview, and out of nowhere, a police car hits the brakes next to us and a cop jumps out wielding a chromed .45 and shoves his gun in the chest of the guy right in front of us, pinning him against the wall. It was one of those sweet scenes you see in all the films. From what I can tell, some dude robbed someone and took off running. Unfortunately, the police confused the guy in front of us with the robber and ended up frightening an innocent citizen. It happens a lot here I'm sure. As far as our scheduled baptisms, they went as planned last Saturday. Jéssica Brenda Neves Ribeiro and Anderson Reis da Silva were both baptized. With regards to their relationship, Anderson and Leo (baptized last week) are brothers from different fathers and Jéssica and Victoria (as well as two other friends) happen to live on the same street.
One thing that I just don't understand here is that everyone says I remind them of Mr. Bean. I can't stand the guy, so every time someone mentions this, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. I guess I should consider it a complement since they really like him and find him very funny.
Another interesting fact that I have discovered is that the school system is really messed up and several kids who want to study are left out of luck because there is not enough space in the schools. The day before registration started there was a huge line in front of all of the schools and people actually slept out on the streets just to reserve their spot. Even after waiting overnight, some of these people still didn't get a place in a school. It is really quite sad.
As you can see from the attached picture, I'm up in a tree...a mango tree! It was growing way too big. A member wanted us to cut off some of the huge branches, so we carefully climbed up the tree and chopped off the branches with a machete.
Today we left the house early with a member, Reginaldo, and his son, Wilson, to go fishing at CEASA. It was a fun little trip, but unfortunately, we did not have the least bit of luck. Next time I go, I'm just going to take a massive net and hurl it in the water...that way skill isn't a factor in the fishing experience.
I'm happy to say that my sweet Eccos are starting to look pretty sad. The bottoms have holes and the sides are ripping from exposure to the elements. Fortunately, I still have another pair that I use every once and a while, but my busted shoes will make a cool mission souvenir.
Oh yeah, this week we have an additional elder living with us. His name is Elder Cainã and his companion, Elder Yates, went home on Tuesday since his two years were up (he was one of the original Cuiabá elders). I got word that only four elders will be arriving in Manaus this next transfer yet a ton of missionaries are leaving for home. That means, once again, that President Jayme will have to close a few areas. I'm thinking, but not certain, I'll be pulled from this area and put in another, as well as one of the elders from the other Jardim Botânico companionship. This means this area will be combined once again. We'll be getting the phone call Saturday confirming or rejecting my hypothesis.
For some reason, the mailing system has slowed down quite a bit. I received a Christmas card from Hodges (thanks buddy) on Monday that was mailed on the 7th of December!!!! Hopefully, it's just a temporary delay.
I've got a nice burn on my nose, which is starting to peel. It reminds me of the good old beach days. After living in the heat of the Amazon, summer in Southern California will be a piece of cake.
Elder Taylor Mackay