Já Fui Já. Well...my time in Jardim Botânico came to an end when my head hit the pillow Monday night. It definitely was a very difficult area for me, but I would like to think those whom I taught now know more than just that the Gospel is true...they know what the Gospel is. Many times as members, for our entire lives, we ride on the faith of others...bearing our testimony that things are true and not really knowing the specifics of what those things are or what they mean.
We were able to baptize João Carlos Caldeira Dos Santos my last week in Jardim Botânico. He is a great kid. We accidentally (to the human eye) knocked on their door to talk to the person who originally lived there. When the door opened, it shut quickly and their son screamed, "Mom, it's the Elders." The door reopened and there stood Ana Célia with a smile on her face as if she had been waiting a long time for our visit. From that day forward, we worked on their reactivation and all quickly made their way back (family of five). The only difficulty that remains is João Santos, the dad and past Elder's Quorum President. He is now a pastor (a profession here in Brazil) for Assembleia de Deus-Nova Vida. Through many visits, they are making great progress and João (the son) was baptized.
I could never have guessed where I would serve next but am very thankful to be here. I'm 40 miles away from Guyana and close to the border of Venezuela in the state of Roraima...a city better known as "Good View" in Portuguese. I'm in BOA VISTA!!!! I was called to be the new zone leader with Elder Lima, who already has one transfer here. I also have the privilege of working side by side with a good friend of mine, Elder Seastrand, who was called to be one of the new district leaders up here. The city is pretty small and the weather reminds me A LOT of Palm Springs. It's really hot, really sunny, and gets a nice dry breeze. It is the only Brazilian capital located entirely above the Equator.
I'm really excited, though, to more than likely finish my mission here in the extreme North of Brazil. There are a lot of people to teach and the culture is a lot different than in Manaus. Our branch is renting out a house for their weekly meetings. I'm excited to work with the missionaries in the zone, which includes a few elders and sisters and a missionary couple. This upcoming Monday will be the first time the entire zone will get together to meet one another, so I'll have a lot more to say next week.
As zone leaders, we fly back once a transfer to Manaus for the zone leader council with the assistants and President Jayme. There we talk about goals and what we can do to better our work. It just so happens that this council will take place next Tuesday! With less than a week here, I'll catch a red-eye flight Monday night to Manaus and then fly back Wednesday evening. It will be a great experience.
It was sad to see my missionary buddies finish their missions and head back home. Now that I am the next American to return home, it's official that I am dying...but like a race, the last stretch can determine if you win or lose - if you slacked or gave it your all. This is the difference that can be applied to every aspect of life...the difference of a fulfilling life or a life of regrets. I DO NOT want that heavy weight of regret on my shoulders, so I'm going to give an extra kick and sprint my butt through the finish-line. Thank you to my friends and family for the e-mails, letters, love, and support.
Elder Taylor Mackay