What an interesting week! I don't remember If I told you or not, but last week I was asked to conduct a multi-Zone conference with the president and the assistants. There were several zones from here in Belem. It was a great experience. It was the first time I had done that before.
This Tuesday, our zone got together and had its meeting. My companion, Elder Beames, and I had to give an hour long training on how we can work better with the members to get referrals to work with. It went really well. Afterwards, we headed over to pizza hut for an all-you-can eat, and ate away. We went on splits for 2 days with the District Leader from a place called Abaetetuba. The District Leader's companion stayed with Elder Beames in our area, and I went to work with Elder Nitta in his. We took a bus down to Ver-O-Peso then walked over to a nearby dock and took an hour long boat trip down a branch of the Amazon to a large island outside of Belem. Once there, we took a bus for an hour through the forest to the small city of Abaetetuba and then walked a half hour to their house. It was quite the trip. I really liked the area, it reminded me of when I was in Braganca a year and a half ago. It sure was a lot more quiet than Belem and a little cleaner with a lot of forest. It turns out Elder Nitta and I lived in the same stake as kids when I lived in Cypress, CA. What a small world.
This week here in Belem there was a large anual event called Cirio. I believe it's the worlds largest Catholic gathering. Every year on the second Sunday of October, over 1 million Catholics from all around the world come to Belem for this event. They have a statue of Mary on a cart thing attached to a massive cord that they pull from one church to another. The whole route they take is within my area and my last area, Telegrafo. The streets get totally packed full of people as they all try to get a turn at touching the rope. I would have loved to see the actual proccession but we work far away from where it happens. I have seen pictures and video and it is quite an interesting sight. Im sure you can find better info and pictures looking up something like "Cirio de Nazare" or "Cirio Belem" on google.
During Cirio, Belem becomes totally uncontrollable. It was pretty chaotic in our area. Those that aren't at Cirio are at home drinking their brains out. Crime rates rocket that day and the police flood the street. Last year 7 people were trampled to death during the procession. I don't know how many died this year. We had an interesting day yesterday. In the 2 hours between lunch and church, we saw 2 people shot and killed and an armed robbery during broad daylight on the side of a main road(3 different instances). What an awesome holiday... Props to whoever invented that one. Im glad things are back to normal now.
There is a nice little old lady who lives next door to us that is not a member but who loves the missionaries. She invites us over to her house every Sunday to eat cake and other desserts she makes. Im going to miss going there. Its always a great way to end the week.
Our investigators are doing well. We are currently working hard with a teenager named Iago (yes, again... I know I already baptized one... we found another) He is the son of a recent convert who has a ton of friends in the church. He was really sceptical at first when we talked about baptism but we gave him a date of the 1st of November this week. He accepted the date and when we asked him to say the prayer when we taught him, he prayed that his baptism would go well. That was great progress. I hope it does go well.
This week should be pretty busy too. We will be sitting in on a district meeting tomorrow and we will go on splits with another District Leader from our zone. It's a little closer this time. Whew. Next week we will be going on splits with the assistants. Maybe Ill be able to head back to Telegrafo to see some of my recent converts. That would be awesome. Gotta run. Love you all tons. Have a fantistic week!