Next Week = Beach Week!

Bye, Abaetetuba! Yup, once again transfer week has arrived… and I’m on my way out of Abaetetuba. Tomorrow I’m going to Outeiro… do you think that’s on the map? Sounds like its a beach town! Well actually I’m already gone, since they informed me at 11:00 last night that I would leave 6:00 the next morning… and I still had to pack my things. Trying to be a hard working missionary on 4 hours of sleep just doesn’t fly, good thing today is P-day!

Yeah I’ll admit I would have very much liked to stay in Abaetetuba, especially to see the new church dedicated. Also I had become really attached with the members and other people here. And I was the only one of us 4 to be transferred. The members also seemed a little sad, probably in part because we were all set for me to play the piano at the dedication as well… but that’s alright, I’m sure that God has other greats plans for the branch members, and for me also.

Although I was initially a little disappointed, I soon became excited! I think I like change. Moving from Burnt Hills to Salem and then back to Burnt Hills probably helped lots with that. I don’t remember who said it (Melissa maybe?), but the mission is all about meeting people, changing their lives, and then leaving them behind. In Abaetetuba I met some great people from the branch, and I had the privilege to help teach and baptize some amazing people here also. At least I hope to see them again, in this life or the next!

I heard a saying I really liked this past week: “It’ll all work out in the end. If it didn’t work out, that’s because it’s not yet the end.”

Quick learning espiritual experience: I have a tradition of praying before each hymn I play on the piano in church. Yesterday, in the opening hymn, I forgot to pray. Didn’t turn out too pretty. Remembered that I hadn’t prayed. Prayed for forgiveness, humildade, and help with the other hymns. And the rest were great! 2 Nephi 32:9

Well have a great week! I’ll be sure to send lots of pictures of me hitting up the beaches in Outeiro this next week… just kidding! Unless we baptize on the beach, which would be awesome. But anyways, love you all, thanks for all the love and support! Take care!

Com amor,
Élder Maughan

Scott's transfer from Abaetetuba to Outeiro.

Scott’s transfer from Abaetetuba to Outeiro.

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Elder Wonka

Four missionaries that share an apartment in Abaetetuba.

Four missionaries that share an apartment in Abaetetuba.

Querido família,

I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day yesterday! Not that they celebrate this holiday here… and also I forgot to wear a green tie, but that’s okay. Instead I wore the purple one that Mom sent me for my birthday. Thanks for the birthday present! Made me feel like Willy Wonka the whole day.

I’ll be sure to thank the branch members for the birthday party for you! Actually maybe you’d be able to thank them yourself… since your last package, half the branch has been asking: when will your mom send more Peanut Butter M&Ms? Or Jelly Beans? Sister O also sent silicone CTR rings, which seemed to be a big hit. I think that the Brazilian members must really enjoy having American missionaries serving in their wards, haha.

Soo let me answer some of Mom’s questions. About the packing tips: nope the passport stays in the mission office. Unless you go to Santarém or Macapá, where it stays with the zone leaders. I just walk around with a xerox of the ID they gave me when I arrived here in Belém. Also, I liked the shoes that we brought! The heavier ones [Dansko Men’s Walker] I only use for conferences and special occasions. The lighter ones [2 pairs of mission shoe tracting deluxe] are comfortable and easy to use, but they definitely don’t last forever, especially not when walking in so much sun. Six months in Oriximiná more or less destroyed the first pair I had, leaving holes in soles and holes in the upper part, which seem to be the first impact the sun has on the shoes. But I think I could’ve avoided that if I had shined them more often with a shoeshine that treats the material and not just makes it shiny. About the shirts: I heard that there’s a type of shirt that is blueish that stays whiter longer? Either way, you’ll probably end up having to use plenty of Vanish to keep the shirts whiterish.

The dedication of the new church building will be the 20th and 21st of April! We are pretty anxious. But we are going to have transfers next week… I hope I’ll still be here! Presidente Scisci met with the branch leaders last week to formulate a good preparation plan. The week anterior will be the open house, we’re expecting lots of references and work these weeks. Each organization of the branch is in charge of giving a presentation about what they do, as part of the building tour. I think this week or this Saturday we’ll be able to enter and I’ll be sure to take pictures to give you the virtual tour as well.

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful week, thanks so much for the love and support! Until next Monday, take care!

Com amor,
Elder Maughan

Thanks for the birthday present! I've never had a purple tie before, I think it suits me pretty well. Here's one of the members of the ward who goes on splits with us often. our matching ties weren't planned but turned out pretty cool.

Thanks for the birthday present! I’ve never had a purple tie before, I think it suits me pretty well. Here’s one of the members of the ward who goes on splits with us often. our matching ties weren’t planned but turned out pretty cool.

The view of Abaetetuba from outside the apartment building.

The view of Abaetetuba from outside the apartment building.

Scott and his missionary companion, Elder R

A Few More Photos

"Called to Serve" - a poster hanging in the Abaetetuba branch building.

“Called to Serve” – a poster hanging in the Abaetetuba branch building.

Here the the poster that is up on the church’s wall now! I thought this was very funny. Coincidence? No… [If you didn’t read last week’s letter about the fact that Scott’s photo has been hanging in this building for a year, you can click here to read it.]

New chapel in Abaetetuba

New chapel in Abaetetuba

Here’s a picture of the church that I tried to take as we passed by in the car. It doesn’t do the church justice, and also you can’t see the beautiful garden and the lawn and the soccer/basketball court. I think was really makes the church stand out (besides the fact that it’s right on the main road and you can’t leave/enter Abaetetuba without passing in front of it) is the fact that it looks incredibly different than all the other buildings in the city. Definitely americanized, but still considered the prettiest church by all the citizens here.

Just a Few Lizards in Our House

Wow! What an awesome cake. Notice the age of the missionaries on the top.

Wow! What an awesome cake. Notice the age of the missionaries on the top. “Here the cake that another lady from the ward made! It was huge, and way tasty. Plus, there were 2 other smaller cakes, haha.”

Dear family and friends,

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! They were definitely felt here in Abaetetuba. I celebrated my birthday in Belém, attending an awesome mission conference with Elder Godoy of the Seventy. Besides being really funny and animated as he speaks, he is incredibly bright and spiritual, and has a few great ideas for how we can have more success as missionaries in Belém. Elder R and I have already been putting a few of those points in practice, and in just a few days we’ve been blessed with more success in our work. This past week, 2 families we’ve been teaching accepted the invitation to get married and be baptized. Lots of miracles already are appearing! The general authorities of the Church really are inspired, that’s for sure.

It was also nice to see all the other missionaries, old companions, and friends at the mission conference. And, of course, new missionaries that I hadn’t ever met, thanks to my long stay in Oriximiná/Santarém (“Oi! Are you new on the mission?” OR “You’re Elder Maughan? My mom loves your blog!”). Also, Sister Scisci knew that it was my birthday, so she had everyone sing to me after the conference. Yup, a Seventy sang happy birthday to me! Coolest present ever.

Before I forget, let me answer your question about the bugs. In our apartment, we are rather lucky. While there sure are plenty of ants (where there is food, there are always ants) we don’t have any flies or very many mosquitoes, probably because we are on the 3rd floor. We’ve only seen a few large spiders, and a few lizards. It’s a nice apartment, far from the street, secure, and without too many worries. Pictures coming next week! But there are some places in the city where, at night, you can’t stand still while teaching or contacting, because it’s a constant fight against the mosquitoes… but that’s okay! It’s a good icebreaker. And don’t worry mom, I haven’t gotten dengue yet! Knock on wood…

Saturday was also Elder R’s birthday [Scott’s was on Friday], so the members threw a party for us! It was a supposed to be a “surprise”, but since the members aren’t very good at keeping secrets ;-), I “accidentally” gave them the party decorations that mom had sent me. It turned out really well! Tons of cake, we 4 missionaries have been eating cake leftovers for breakfast and dinner for 2 days now. But it was really nice of the members, we really appreciated their love and support for us.

Well, with the photos, that should be plenty of words for today. Thanks so much again for all the love, I love all of you also! Have a wonderful week, até mais!

Sincerely,
Elder Maughan

Brazil-Abaetetuba--4

The two birthday boys – Scott and his companion, Elder R – with the Branch President and his wife.

Dug This Out of Scott’s Drafts Folder

Dearest family,

Thanks for the early birthday wishes! This is sure to be another fun and eventful birthday here on the mission. Last year, I ended up taking a 6 hour bus ride to Paragominas. This year, I’ll be in Belém for a zone conference with Elder Godoy from the Seventy! So that will sure be a fun birthday present. Plus I’ll get to meet up with all the other missionaries (other than those in Macapá e Santarém), with is always a pleasant reunion.

Here’s a fun story! When I first got here, a few people told me that I looked familiar, but then decided that that’s probably just because all Americans look the same (more or less). But this week I found out why I looked familiar: One of the young men from this branch is serving a mission, and he was in the CTM with me, where we took a picture together and he sent it home to put up on the branch’s bulletin board! So for a year I was on the wall of the church, except a few months ago the picture fell down and one of the families kept it. But this past Sunday they put the photo back up, so now I’m on the wall again. Small world! I vaguely remember meeting him, but it’s a bit hard considering I don’t think I understood anything that he told me back then haha. But I do remember him saying that I would have to take a boat to get here.

Other than that, not too much has changed here! It’s still a blast living in this group of 4 missionaries. We are all pretty different one from another, but that helps to learn one from another also. The branch is also excited to move into the new church building next month, the choir is getting all tuned up, and we’ve got a few big activities and expositions planned to invite this whole city to the dedication(s).

[Sorry… the letter ends here. Looks like Scott’s had a busy last few weeks!]