Whoa this is a long one…

Happy first week of Dezembro! Are you guys in the Christmas spirit? Will Mom and Dad put will the Christmas tree tonight alone? I’m just about in the Christmas spirit… the Christmas music sure helps! And if I pretend that the rain is snow, that helps too! Expect we’d definitely have 3 or 4 feet of snow by now. People told me that it almost never rains in SANTArém (haha thanks Craig), but looks like we’re making it rain here… haven’t seen the sun in days, it’s strange.

So to start to answer Mom’s questions, I’m loving it here in Santarém! First off, yes it’s awesome being able to see other missionaries again, haha. In my district we have Elder Paiva and me, and then 3 companionships of Americans being trained (yes, including Sister Grimnes still, and 2 more that just arrived this week). So we’ve got a pretty fun district! Elder Paiva is super cool, he’s from São Paulo, he’s been out 8 months, likes sports, speaks English (even did a foreign exchange trip to Utah), and his dad is the owner of Mr. Cheney’s Cookies in front of the CTM! We get along super well, he’s the man. I’m really excited to be working with him.

Santarém is a beautiful city also! Like I said, it’s just been raining since we got here, but I hear that’s atypical. There are 4 wards here in the city, so it’s a pretty big city (much bigger than Oriximiná). Most of the roads we walk are just dirt and sand (mud this week), but I’m looking forward to learning how to use whitener on my shirts as I wash them by hand! But we actually have a smaller chunk of the city to cover, so I don’t think we’ll be walking too too much. Everyone once in a while we grab an onibus to meet up with other missionaries also.

The ward here seems really great also! Like I said, they had spent a little while without missionaries before we arrived here, and it seems like just our arrival seemed to cheer them up, and get them excited about missionary work! We’ve already made a good ward mission plan, and the members seem very helpful. They even give us rides in cars when we’re caught in the rain! That’s probably a big difference between this wards and others where I’ve served: the people here seem a little bit more well off. It’s much less rare that a Church member has a car here. But I’m looking forward to getting to know them better. We’ve already got a few Christmas party invite from the members, so that’s a good sign!

Oh yeah, just before I left to catch the boat to leave Oriximiná, Izaura was baptized! Wow that was so amazing. After having taught her for almost 6 months, she finally was baptized in my last hours in the city. And she was so excited about the baptism! She the lady in the macaxeira cake photo that I send last week. And because she wasn’t able to leave her house due to her handicap daughter, we did the baptism in her backyard in a giant tank of water! Haha it was just a great experience, and I have a few sweet pictures, but this computer isn’t letting me send any… next week!

Wow did this letter beat the record for longest letter until now? Haha hope I answered a few of your questions. Love you all, thanks so much for the letters! And the packages also, mom, although I haven’t actually received them yet (but they’re in the city). Until next week!

Com amor,
Elder Scott Maughan

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