As I'm waiting for your 7MB picture to download, I'll take this time to get a nice jump on my letter. First off, with regards to the updates from friends back home, it's crazy to see how much progress people make and how much time passes (2 years obviously) while you're serving a mission. I'm proud of you guys...keep up the great work!
So, this week was pretty laid back. The only difference being that I did my first interview for the dupla of Êxodo (Elders Melo and Keicher). The investigator passed and was baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday. It's pretty cool now being a part of the bigger picture as a district leader even though it is quite a bit more work and responsibility.
This week was Carnival, which ends today. It reminds me a lot of the New Year's Day parade since each samba school gets judged and can earn different awards. I guess the only difference between the two celebrations is that the clothing budget here in Brazil seems to get reduced each year, so people are a little more exposed to the elements. Fortunately, where we are is just about as far away from the Sambódromo as you can get, so we didn't have to worry about streakers and women and men dressing like the opposite sex.
We are having a little bit of difficulty in our area since it is so expansive, but that's just the way it's going to be until we get some more missionaries in Manaus. We still are lacking families and men to teach (who will actually keep the commandments and go to church). The other thing that doesn't help is the only people giving us references and who are excited to help with the missionary work are kids and teenagers. I'm not going to let that get in the way, though. If that's what gets put in front of us, that's who we are going to teach. Like Elder Olsen once said, "God will be more likely to trust you with men and families if He can see that you are a successful teacher to rapazes, moças, and crianças."
I still can't get over the fact that I will have missed two Olympics while on the mission. I completely forgot about the Winter Olympics in Vancouver until a member was watching the luge the other day. Go Team USA!
Today makes exactly 1 year and 8 months since I left sunny California. In 3 more days, it will be exactly 2 years since I received my mission call...pretty sweet. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed.
Sister Jayme wrote a message in the Journalzinho about Elder Larson, so the whole mission will be praying for him. Whether or not he is able to return back to Missão Manaus really isn't a big deal anymore. What really matters is that all goes well and he is able to enjoy the simple things in life without pain. That's all I have for now.
Paz e amor,
Elder Taylor Mackay