The whole mission I have been marking my progress by the number of toothbrushes I haul around with me (I use one for an entire transfer then toss it). FYI- yesterday, I used my last toothbrush of the mission for the first time (see foto). So, this week had quite a bit of chuva (rain), and since it's not a common occurrence here in Boa Vista, the unprepared streets became rivers.
It's official...I'll be finishing up my mission here in Boa Vista! Now that the transfers are over, our zone consists of: Sister Nascimento, Sister Costa, Sister Gabani, Sister Anacleto, Elder Soares, Elder Pires, Elder Seastrand, Elder Henshaw, Elder and Sister Francisco, Elder Lima, and Elder Mackay. The zone is really prepped for the month of May. So far, there are 14 people who already have baptismal dates, included in that number is about 5 men and 4 families.
This week, as part of a service project, we helped one of our investigators (Alcides) with his morning fishing on the Rio Branco. It was a ridiculously long walk to the bridge of the Macuxis, but with three people rather than just one, I would like to think we added to his fishing success. It was interesting because the fish we caught weighed only 2 or 3 pounds at most, but when you've got one on a hook and you are reeling it in by hand (nobody uses a fishing pole here), it feels like a good 20 pounds. Alcides was using chicken liver and intestines as bait. Not knowing any better, I bought a sausage, cut it up, and put it on the hook. Right after my line hit the water, the other line started moving around. With fat-greased hands, I felt like my battle with the fish was in vain, but after a lot of slipping and concentration, I pulled the beast out of the water and then wiped off my hands to prevent future embarrassment. I caught 1 fish, which was better than Elder Lima's 0, and we ended up with a total of 7 for the morning between the three of us.
I hate to say it, but I am losing a little faith in Alcides and Walquiria. They are good people. They go to church and say they understand everything, but I feel that they are missing the big picture. We are here to help them out with their wedding, so they can receive the blessings of keeping the commandments, but they continue putting it off. I know one day they will follow through with everything, but I feel that day still hasn't arrived. So, rather than push them to do something they won't and aren't ready to do, we will most likely stop passing by their house until they show they are prepared to step up to the plate.
One of the highlights of the week was the baptism of Geovanna Greta Azevedo de Souza. She is 19 years old and was at a phase in her life where she didn't know what to believe anymore. The first time we taught her it was a real battle to get her to open up her heart to our message, but thanks to many factors, including her friend Anne, the situation progressively got better. I was glad to see the big changes in her and in her family. Her mother, who once was more or less against her being baptized and following a religion, is now excited to talk with us and feels free to tell us her worries and doubts.
This weekend will be the long awaited wedding of Giselle and João Paulo (Tito). They will be marrying in the District Headquarters here, which is a really nice looking chapel. Giselle, who is progressing at a faster rate, will be baptized on the 7th of May, less than a week after the wedding if all goes according to plan. Tito, no doubt, is making progress and changing for the better, but it will take a little bit longer for him to follow in Giselle's footsteps.
The missionary work, and all other work in general, reminds me a lot of a quote by Frank Lloyd Wright- "I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen." Success doesn't just walk up to your door and knock. You've got to prepare yourself: get up and out in the street and start the search. It is not an immediate condition. We must visualize what we want and not accept failure, which only happens when we stop trying. Devote yourself to the cause. As some might say: eat, drink, and breathe it until it becomes a part of you - something natural that is instinct or second nature. Many times the obstacles we must overcome seem so great that we do not even dare to try, accepting immediate failure. Challenges remind me of a drill we had to do in football. The coach pulled up onto the dirt track in his F 350 and put it in neutral. He grabbed me and 6 other guys from the skill group (wide receivers and defensive backs) and told us to push his truck around the track while he steered. We all looked at each other like he was asking us to do something that was going to really do us in, but together we dug our feet in and pushed. At first the truck didn't budge, but with all our force, it started to move inches, then feet, and eventually we were sprinting behind the truck with our hands on its bumper and tailgate. That's my two cents this week.
Elder Taylor Mackay