So here is the scoop. My mission is freaking hard, physically. Wonderful but really hard and it has been great. My area, Mauazinho is really stretching and pushing me to the limit as far as my mission experience goes. I was warned in the MTC that Manaus is THE hardest mission in Brazil and as it turns out, Mauazinho its a pretty grueling area. Also, I am part of a new training program that is 12 weeks long instead of 6 weeks (two transfers instead of one). So I will be here for a while...
Mauazinho: So this is the scoop about my area. It is industrial and a ghetto, not a suburb. People get shot here but the missionaries are safe because everyone is a member of the church.... they are all just really inactive or don't believe any more. Half the area is paved and the other half is in the jungle and a little bit is on the river, Rio Negro. Its really diverse and tons of hills!!!! Holy Cow!!! So hard to walk around during the day because it's about 40 degrees C (104 F) and there are incredibley steep hills but I am thank full. I keep remembering that only through trials is our faith tested and made sure.
So, stories of the week: First, I have about over 100 bug bites and little red dots on my left arm and they itch!!!!!!!! It really kills some times. The mission presidents wife said she has never seen it before, but I have hydrocortizone and neosporine (thanks mom).We are trying that. It may be that I touched a plant (something like poison ivy) and I am having a reaction. I have to wear a TON of bug spray.(It IS the Amazon...) Also to get to some of the areas in my mission, we have to cross floating log bridges and it scares the crap out of me. We crossed at night one time and I was soooo mad at my companion. Not really, but I did NOT enjoy the experience. I am still trying to learn piano to help out the ward. It relieves the stress too when I can focus on the music. Good stuff! Oh, I saw a 4 inch long grasshopper. Crazy big bugs!!
We are teaching some really cool people. I am terrible with the names of the people here so sorry I don't remember them. They have names like "Astrogilda". There is one man who seems really receptive to our lessons and wants to know more. He is reading and finding Joseph Smith to be very cool. We taught an inactive girl by showing her "finding faith in christ". Excellent video! She teared up and is going to come back to church next week. We also have 2 baptisms this week! Leandro and Jefferson. Leandro is 24 and is way cool. He lives on the Brazil Navy Marine base. So we get to walk over through the base, which I love. Jefferson is 8 years old. He is incredibley smart. So cool! So the Brazilians say that I speak pretty well and that I have a "Spanish/Sao Paulo" accent.
Something CRAZY: There's this family in the ward that's pretty cool and the dad cut off his thumb!!! I don't really know what happened other than he did it while working in his yard. They didn't even try to get it sewn back on because the doctors here just don't do that. They just sewed it up and sent him with the tip of his thumb in a cup!!! What a great family heirloom! Haha!
I got your package!!!!! LOVE IT!!! Wasabi nuts are the bomb! I love the pictures of Christ and the Portland Temple. Thank you so much! Oh, I am sending Roman a letter this week. I've been thinking a lot about home but I came to the realization that this is home right now and that I just need to forget about the dirt and the sticky/mugginess and just focus on the work.
Here's a bunch of pictures of my area and sun stuff. It may be super hot here but it's beautiful!
I love you all!!!!
This is some BIG rain! Not like the rain in the NW...
Doing service for a member... Great color huh?
Mission Conf! These are the missionaries that are just in the greater Manaus area, NOT the other areas of the mission. There's three other major areas with about 30 more missionaries divided up. Can you find me? It's like a "where's waldo" picture, we are ALL waldo! Haha!!
Me and Elder Z Reeves from Harmony Ward back home!!! (this was taken at the MTC in Sao Paulo)