Oops don’t have time for a subject line!

Hey there everyone!

I hope all have been having a great summer! It just occurred to me that it’s winter here.

The PO box is working well! I’ve gotten a handful of postcards and a couple letters from Dad, thanks! As of today the package from home still hasn’t arrived… but that’s okay, there’s still one more week left in my journal. So far I’ve been faithful to one full page in the journal every day, by which I’m pretty surprised, considering I never wrote in my journal before the mission… but I’ve been enjoying it so far!

[Scott has a PO Box in the town where he’s serving, so if you want to write him a letter in the next week or two, it’s probably safe to send it here:
Caixa Postal N°10
68270-000
Oriximiná – PA
Brasil
You can also continue to use the address here.]

Oh yeah I knew Elder Williams was from Buffalo, I didn’t know he’s from the same ward as Aunt Anita! That’s really awesome. You’re not going to believe this, but I’ve actually never met him haha. He was up in Macapá while I was in the Belém area, and now I’m out here in Santarém so I’m probably not going to see him for a while… this might be the only mission where it’s impossible to get the whole mission together. Speaking of isolation, Elder Tavares and I are going to go 3 weeks without seeing a single other missionary… good thing we get along really well!

So I would write more, but they are shutting down this cyber so I’ve got to go…
tchau tchau!
Élder Maughan

My Poor Shoes

Wow 50 weeks already? I’ll admit when Mom sends me a letter with the week number as the subject, I usually don’t even notice the number. But that “5” caught my attention haha. This seems to be passing by much faster now.

Hope everyone is doing great! Sounds like everyone in the family sure is keeping pretty busy. Glad you liked the pictures! No I actually haven’t seem any wild alligators, that last one was on its way to becoming food. Haven’t actually eaten alligator, although I’ve heard it’s rather quite tasty, with lots of meat in the tail. Elder Taveres is asking for the skin to make a cover for his scriptures haha. But I have seen Macaws in the wild! My first very day here, two singing Macaws flew overhead. Which is apparently really rare, and really beautiful. Think Ash seeing Ho-oh fly overhead in the first episode. I hope at least Craig got that.

My typical day isn’t exactly too different now as it has been in my other areas! Oriximiná isn’t exactly super jungle, isn’t a nice little city founded on the edge of the Amazon, and actually isn’t a pretty well developed city. Actually, largely in contrast with other areas I’ve seen, the city is almost completely paved, with only a few small neighborhoods on the very edges with dirt roads. So a typical day isn’t too different, we still make contacts in the street and stop by the houses of members. We’ve also been doing lots of service projects lately, helping people clean up their yard, shovel and spread out sand, and helping  families move into other houses. I really enjoy the service projects! Also, this is the first time that I’ve been the only companionship in the city, and the members and our investigators are pretty spread out, so we usually end up walking a ton. But that’s okay! I just feel bad for my shoes, they’ve been taking a beating, walking on hot asphalt all day.

I met the new president, Presidente Scisci, in Santarém last week! Quick trip (24 hours on a boat, only 12 on land) but it was great. He’s from São Paulo, and seems like a really great guy. His wife is also extremely nice. They seem really humble and caring. I’ll keep you updated with how he is as I get to know him better. I only spent a couple hours with him before we had to return to Oriximiná.

Well have a wonderful week, love you all and take care!
Sincerely,
Élder Maughan

Yes We Use Candy As Bribery…

Bom dia! Hope everyone is doing great! Thanks for the emails, even if I don’t always write back to everyone, I really love hearing from you!And I’ll try to be less of a slacker, and I’ll write back.

This email might be a little shorter, since I’m spending half my time trying to find an efficient way to upload pictures… But they say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

To answer Mom’s questions: The Oriximiná Ward actually has a pretty solid amount of youth, most of them really active also. They are almost always hanging out at the church, playing soccer, listening to music, riding bikes, or just doing whatever there. They seem to like Élder Tavares and me well enough, or at least they love joking around with us. They are almost always willing to go on visits with us, even if they demand candy in return, haha.

The language is going much better now! Now I’m just trying to develop more of my personality in Portuguese, haha. But it’s coming along. It doesn’t seem like the accent here is as strong as it was in Belém, or maybe I’m just getting used to it (hope so!). It looks like I’m actually picking up an accent from São Paulo instead of Pará, just because Elder Tavares has been helping me out a lot with that. But I figure that’s okay, because I look much more like a paulista than a paraense. Also fun fact: I found out yesterday that when a baby is born with blue eyes here in Oriximiná, they call him a “Mormon baby”. Hmmm… haha.

The people are really great and really open to us. When we clap at doors, almost everyone will talk with us, and I’d say a majority let us in if we ask. We tend to knock on doors more than talk to people in the street, because not too many people here know their address exactly, or their house doesn’t have a number, so that makes it a little hard to find their house ever again. But of course we try to find all our new investigators through help and references of the members, that makes it much easier in every way.

So the pictures: One is me on the giant motor boat on the Amazon River, and the other two are animals that are more or less common in Oriximiná and the jungle round about. Enjoy! Love you all and take care!

Sincerely,
Elder Scott Maughan

Oh Say Can You Seeee

Hey there everyone!

Hope everyone had a great Melissa’s birthday, and a great 4th of July also! I didn’t do anything too exciting for the 4th of July,other than wear a red, white, and blue tie, and sing The Star Spangled Banner at the top of my lungs for Elder Tavares haha. He said he enjoyed it. Glad to hear that Melissa had a great birthday. I loved seeing the pictures of everyone too. Seems like everyone is doing well!

I don’t have too much time to write today, so I’ll try to just answer all of Mom’s questions. Oriximiná isn’t a HUGE city, but it’s not tiny either, so we do a pretty good amount of walking. Actually, someone told me that it’s the second largest city in the world in terms of territory! But that’s just because there are a little communities 5 hours up the river that still count as Oriximiná. It’s a really pretty city, lots of little parks and tons of trees also (think junglish). Yes it’s the farthest west area in the mission, which is kinda funny since Alegre, my last area, is the farthest east area in the mission. [side note: we’re so far away from the mission home that we’re not even on the same phone plan as the rest of the mission, haha.] Also the sunsets here are spectacular! I promise I’ll take a picture of the sunset over the river. Mom will love it.

The ward here is great also! It’s not too big, usually there are 80 or so members each Sunday. But that’s just for now! Unfortunately, there’s no piano, so nobody plays. I’ve been trying to find someone with a keyboard though… and the members help a lot with the missionary work also! We receive plenty of references from the members. But we also do our best to find new investigators with our own effort, so we talk with people in the street and clap at doors (you don’t knock here) when we can. The young men and young women help us out a lot also! Last night after church (from 4 to 7 here) we asked if any of them wanted to go visit an investigator with us. Ended up that all of them went with us to visit this other young man that we are teaching, and I think it was a really great experience for everyone.

At night on Melissa’s birthday the Elder’s Quorum President brought us pizza! We don’t get pizza here very often (almost never) so we had our own little party.

Well love you all, have a fantastic week!
Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan

Hammocks Rock! Get it… “rock”… haha

Haha pardon the subject line, puns in English are a bit harder to make now.

Happy July! Glad to hear life is going well for all you guys! Sounds like there’s been some really crazy weather too, I hope everyone is managing okay. Life here in Oriximiná (ory-sheemy-nah) is swell! Despite the fact that we’re more or less in the middle of the rainforest, Oriximiná doesn’t get too much rain (so not nearly as bad as the east coast back home). That being said, it’s actually been drizzling all morning here today, so maybe I’m just mistaken. Also, I saw a map of Pará yesterday, which was really neat to actually see where I am and where I’ve been. Honestly, it was the first time I’ve seen a map since I got here, haha. I realized that I really miss maps for some reason.

This past week has been a good week! Elder Tavares and I are continuing to work hard with the members, both to strengthen the ward and to help them to fulfill their missionary responsibilities. Our zone (Zona Santarém) has a goal to teach lessons only with members. While this makes it a bit more difficult to teach a large quantity of lessons during the week (and sometimes it makes the lessons themselves a bit more tricky), I know it definitely pays off in the end, since our investigators will already have a support system and friendships in the Church, making it more likely that they’ll accept the invite to come worship with us. A good example of this was a women we’ve been teaching who came to church for the first time yesterday (and loved it) after having been taught by the missionaries for probably 6 months now.

The members also showed lots of support for Pablo, a young man who got baptized Saturday night! He’s one of those converts where you could really see a huge difference in his conduct as he progressed and agreed to live the commandments. He’s already been participating in the ward activities now, and seems like he’s made some great new friends in the church, which I know will be a great influence on him. Activities are another thing Elder Tavares and I have been planning/organizing! We were thinking of ways to excite/unite the ward, and we’ve been trying to do that through activities and a little program to give to the member on Sundays.

Glad you liked the pictures! The hammocks on the boat really were incredible, I should’ve tried to take a picture when all the hammocks were full of people haha. You basically sleep with everyone just piled together, except everyone in their separate hammock. And yes I’ve actually been sleeping in a hammock every night! That’s my hammock I was using in the picture with Elder Stacy. Except it’s a pretty cheap, lightweight hammock. Perfect for traveling, but probably not the best when it comes to comfort. Either way, I still really enjoying sleeping in a hammock and rocking myself to sleep!

Well have a great week and a great 4th of July! Love you all, thanks for all the support. Take care!
Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan