Hey there everybody!
So, just to start out, I got transferred again...haha it's just not meant for me to stay anywhere for very long. It came as a huge surprise since I only had six weeks in Castanheira (my ward in Manaus). Even more of a surprise, was that they transferred Elder Lippe (my companion) as well! That doesn't happen very much, but it's what happened. I'm now in a city called Manacapuru which is just on the other side of the river from Manaus. It's about a 2-hour bus ride from our mission office. I'm serving with another American and am excited to work in this city! It is a really clean city and doesn't have any hills!!! We have a brand new chapel that is only 6 months old and is beautiful! It's even two-stories which is something I haven't seen that very much in my life. Elder Battraw is a cool guy and is going to do Army ROTC at BYU when he gets home. He only has one more transfer than I do, so we are going to go home almost the same time and then to BYU at the same time. We are getting along great so far and I'm excited for the transfer!
Okay, on to your questions =)
I am doing great! I'm hungry and thirsty, but we are going to eat lunch after we finish here. We also need to go buy food because we are opening this area. It closed a week ago because of problems that came up, so we are both new to the city. Because neither of us was here, we don't have food and don't have mineral water (the water we drink) but will be buying it today!
My week was great! It was full of fun and we got to go to the temple!!!! The temple is the best part about this mission. I love it and it is so beautiful because of how new it is. It sits in an area that doesn't have very much going on, so it is peaceful. I think that was the first thing I noticed when I walked in: silence. We get so caught up in the noise and chaos of the world that we forget what silence is like. I had a few minutes to just sit and enjoy the feelings of love and comfort and happiness that come from going to the temple. I had been feeling really stressed beforehand, but those feelings vanished. I hope that I can come back to this temple after the mission, because that was one of the most spiritual experiences that I've had on my mission, and I will always remember it.
Yesterday, we had our transfer. It was great to go to the mission office and wait for the transfer because I got to go and see so many of my old companions! I think I saw all of my past companions who are still serving in the mission. It was great to see Elder Calcagnoto and Elder Camargos (my companions from Cruzeiro do Sul) and we just sat around and talked for close to three hours. You asked me when I laughed this week, and that was when I laughed =) We told old stories, talked about old investigators, and just joked around. The best part of being at the mission office though, was when I got to see Elder Furtado. He was my first companion in Brazil. I haven't seen him since March, and didn't have his email to keep talking to him. I have always wanted to thank him for all of the help he gave me and all of the patience he had with me. He was just as happy to see me, and we only had about 10 minutes to talk before we had to go. He was returning from the area where I'm serving now and gave me some good advice for the area. I'm thankful that Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to thank him for all that he did for me. I have been wanting to ever since I left Manaus back in March, but never had the chance. I was sad to hear that Elder Furtado has to go home early now because he is having health problems with his knee and is going home with honor. I was hoping I'd serve around him one more time, but we got each others' email and will be talking for many years to come. He was the greatest missionary we had in this mission.
When did I feel the most peace? Definitely in the temple =) I took some great pictures there too! We were there right as the sun was going down, so it was dark enough to be lit up by the temple lights, but light enough to leave the sky bright. I felt the most peace as I was walking up the main staircase. I might have already told you about it, but it's my favorite part of the Manaus temple. There is a floor-to-ceiling painting of Jesus Christ with His arms stretched out to whoever is coming up the stairs. As you go up the stairs, you can feel the Love of the Savior and the testifying power of the Holy Ghost. As you are continuing up the staircase, you feel as if you are rising up to the welcoming arms of the Savior. I hope it's many years before I actually have to do that, but I'm very excited for it too =)
That story about Haylee and the Medal of Honor receipient was awesome! I think that is so cool that he coined her! Tell her to keep that forever! She'll have to show it to me when I call home in a few weeks =) Christmas is already close. We have our mission Christmas Conference on Friday in Manaus! It'sgoing to be around 100 of the missionaries from our mission all together at the same time! I will get to see all of my old friends and am really looking forward to it! Speaking of which, I got your package =D It got to me yesterday when I was at the mission office =) I opened it up, but haven't touched the wrapped presents yet =) The Mickey suckers and candy made me miss home =p Thank you for them and for the socks and goldfish too! I look forward to eating it all!
We should have a good week this week! We are leaving for the conference on Thursday, have the conference on Friday, have our stake conference in Manaus on Saturday and Sunday, and will be coming back on Sunday night. We should be able to go to the temple on Saturday too! I'm really hoping we do! It won't be a week with very much work in our area, but we will take advantage of the next two days to get as much done as possible!
I think that's about it for this week =) I did meet a guy from Brasilia, who was baptized in Uruguai, and who learned English in England when he was living there for two years. He was pretty cool =) We also heard of one of our investigators telling off a preacher who was speaking bad about us. He said the pastor was saying that it was bad to talk to us, that we were bad people, blah blah blah and that it was really bad for us to be passing by his house. Antonio, our investigator, said to the preacher, "They are my friends and are teaching me about Jesus Christ. They are always passing by my house because I want them to and because they want to help me find God. When I was going to your church, I don't remember you ever coming to visit me when I was going to your church to see how I was doing or to help me, so why are you coming by now?" It was AWESOME! I don't give any credit to the missionaries, but to Antonio and to the Holy Ghost who has been testifying to him in every one of our lessons. I know that what we are doing is right. I am grateful for such experiences that serve as reminders to me of how true this work is and how much Heavenly Father loves us =)
I love you all and will talk to you soon! Have a great week and know that I am praying for you all!