Below is Elder Olivier's email that we received today! He doesn't have much time to email, especially since being Zone Leader and having to send a lot of reports to the AP's during his one hour that he gets on the computer each week. This is what we got today just to us (his family):
Sorry I haven´t replied to this email for two weeks! I just completely forgot! hahaha. I always get carried away reading everyone's emails and looking at all the pictures that you guys send me! hahaha.
I still have plenty of contact lenses! I´ll let you guys know way in advance if they start running out! The mosquitos are surprisingly not that much of a problem. They don´t really come into our house (I don´t know why, maybe because we usually keep it pretty clean?). Also I don´t have sunglasses or a hat, but nobody uses them. All of us (the four elders in our apartment) are thinking about getting hats just to be funny.....haha
That´s crazy that Hayden is already leaving on his mission! Time flies!
That´s crazy that Dad mowed the lawn! haha!
Being a zone leader is a little different than being a normal missionary (just a little). It´s kind of cool because we get to go to the mission leadership counsel once a transfer (it´s ) and we receive a training from President Castro. It´s super cool. And we eat a lot of pizza. It´s not american pizza (brazilian pizza doesn´t have tomato sauce) but it´s not bad. Our zone is the Rio Amazonas zone, aka the Amazon river zone. It´s all of the areas in between Manaus and Manacapuru, including part of downtown Manaus and the part of Manaus just over the giant bridge. The bus ride to Manacapuru is straight up through the jungle.
Our ward is great, even though we don´t get a ton of support from the members. Our lunch with the members falls through almost every day, but there are a few awesome families that are always willing to feed us no matter what day :). Other than that the ward here is a HUGE contrast from the branch I was in in Acre. There are activities almost every day (also- seminary is at night) and people are always playing soccer at the church. One of the greatest missionary tools the church uses with every single chapel in Brazil is a concrete soccer field. Everyone wants to play soccer there because it´s one of the best places in the city to play. We do a ton of contacting people at night at soccer. Also, the church is by far the prettiest building in the city. Sometimes, non members even will go to church alone just because it´s the coolest church. Haha. Some of the members in the ward have a really closed vision when it comes to missionary work, but the bishop has a really open vision. President Castro advises us to baptize our investigators on sundays (or on any other day really) after church because it´s way easier and better for the investigators, but there are a lot of members that don´t like having baptism on sundays. Luckily we have the bishop on our side! haha. He is really helpful in the missionary work.
This part of my mission so far has been by far the best! I got a little sad when I found out I would leave my last area, because I loved it there. But Manacapuru is so awesome! Also (obviously) in this part of my mission I have been most comfortable with the language (until the point where weirdly when I speak english with the americans that are in our ward for a couple of weeks more than once people have asked me if I am an american or not). I have been translating a lot for the americans (every after church we go with them to visit less-actives so I always translate for one of the groups) and translating from english to portuguese is way easy but portuguese to english....... está complicado. I know I have english somewhere way back in my brain but it´s hard to get it out.....haha
We had a baptism this week! My eyes are closed in the picture, haha. I am continually amazed with how much faith the people here in the Brazil Manaus mission have. There are so many people that are willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. There are tons of people that are prepared to receive the gospel. The church grows so fast here!
I hope you all have a great week! I love you all! Love, Elder Olivier!