Macuxi...that's what you call someone from the Brazilian state of Roraima. It's just like someone from California is called a Californian. I decided to save some time by writing this week's letter while I was on the airplane. I have a busy couple of days ahead of me since I will be doing divisions with the assistants.
The trip to Manaus was a little hectic. We arrived at the airport at 11 p.m., but our flight got delayed until 3:50 a.m. because the airport in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro shut down due to the weather. We finally landed in Manaus at 5:15 in the morning and took a taxi to the Mission Office where we crashed for 30 minutes before getting back up and making ourselves presentable for the Leadership Council. I am now back in Boa Vista, but it has been a crazy 36 hours!
The Leadership Council was very informative. As zone leaders, we established the mission's goals together with the assistants and President Jayme. We were also given the topic of the training that we will be holding on Friday at the zone conference. It will be on how we can correct our fellow missionaries without losing their confidence and at the same time respectfully doing so.
So, my area, Caçarí, is ridiculously spacious. The limits are huge so every once and a while we have to walk quite a distance to talk to our investigators. The Rio Branco passes right by our area, but it currently doesn't have much water since we're in the dry season. The branch meets in a rented house every Sunday, making it the smallest church building I have ever entered. As a way for the branch to get to know me better, the Branch President called me as the first speaker in Sacrament meeting. This sort of thing isn't as nerve-racking as it used to be. My companion, Elder Lima, is from Vitória, Espirito Santo. I ran into him quite a bit while I was in the office since he used to be the zone leader of Zona Central. I'll be sure to send a picture of the two of us next week since I think we'll be playing soccer next P-day.
As for the zone, it consists of 12 missionaries...it used to be larger but has been reduced due to the lack of missionaries serving right now. It consists of: Elder Soares, Elder S. Johnson, Elder Seastrand, Elder Dorneles, Sister Poole, Sister Gabani, Sister Costa, Sister Dos Santos, Elder Francisco and Sister Francisco, Elder Lima, and me (Elder Mackay).
Last month the zone wasn't too successful with baptisms (only 1 baptism). We are working hard with the missionaries, so they can help their investigators progress to the point of becoming a member of the Church. As part of this effort, we had a meeting on Monday with the members of the zone to establish goals and ideas to better the work. The interesting thing about this area is that it is wealthier than any area in which I have served, but the way of life of the Macuxi makes them more interested in our work and more willing to accept a visit from the missionaries. I am really hoping I will be able to finish my mission here in Boa Vista.
We are having a lot of success right now with three families. The first of these families is Alcides and Walquiria, a couple who is around sixty years old. Their son is a returned missionary. Finally after two years, they have prepared for their wedding, which will be in a month followed by their baptism. The next family is Giselle and João Paulo. They are the friend and sister of a member. Giselle called us the other day and said she wanted to get married and João accepted, so we went to the cartório with them and the documents for their wedding will be ready at the end of the month. Finally, Oneto and Sumara have family who are members and are also planning to get married this month. All is perfect for the baptism of Sumara but Oneto needs to stop smoking, which might be more difficult than one thinks. That's about all I have for now. I should have more updates for you next week.
Elder Taylor Mackay