Transferring deep into the Amazon Jungle!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day here in Brasil, in case you were puzzled.

Tomorrow is also transfers! Found out that I’ll be going as far away from here as I possibly can, to a city called Oriximiná. To get there it’s going to take 4 hours in a bus, 1 hour in a plane, and 12 hours on a boat! Haha this is going to be way interesting. But don’t worry Mom, I’ll take pictures.

The green marker on the far right is Bragança, where Scott is currently serving. The yellow marker on the far left is Oriximiná, the jungle city where Scott is being transferred.

But I’m going to miss Bragança a ton! The people here are so nice and motivated, and they love to help the missionaries out with everything. When I was writing in my journal last night I realized that I’m going to miss this area even more than Paar, my first area, because I was able to make more friends and become closer friends here with members and investigators, probably due to the fact that the language has been getting a little better here. But this is part of the mission! And I’m exciting to help and meet more people in Oriximiná also.

Not sure if you guys heard in the States, but the Templo de Manaus was dedicated yesterday! That was a really great experience. I vaguely recall the dedication of Winter Quarters, but I couldn’t remember anything, so that was pretty much the first dedication I had seen. I really enjoyed how the chapel turned into part of the temple, where a recommend was required. While it was a little bittersweet, just because we’re hoping the same thing will happen here in Belém soon, it was great to see the people in Manaus being so blessed. The night before they presented a cultural celebration, full of cultural dances, and also a small skit representing the sacrifice that the members had to make to attend the temple. Tons of fun!

Well love you all, I’ll let you know how the voyage went next week! Take care!
Love,
Élder Scott Maughan

“Me with a family from the ward. The young man farthest on the left just got back from his mission while I was there, and was the ward mission leader. Really helpful guy!”

“Élder Lopes burning a tie at the 6 month mark (not something that I did, by the way)”

Just Like Cereal in Milk, Right?

Happy June!

I hope everyone had a great end of May and start of June! I won’t lie – I was pretty excited for June to start, mostly because the suspense of what would be the next picturesque photo in my Adirondacks calendar was killing me.

May ended well! I had a ton of meetings this week, with zone meetings in the beginning of week and ward meetings in the end of the week. But they were great, and productive! I remember more or less dreading meeting before the mission… that’s on my list of one more attitude change I’ll need to keep when I return. Obviously, sometimes meetings get nothing done. But when everyone participates and afterwards actually does what they say they will do, it’s amazing what even a quick, little meeting can do!

So I remembered I haven’t talked about food for a while… that’s probably because I arrived in Bragança just after the era of açai for R$2. I can’t believe I missed that! Right now it’s R$8, since we’re out of season. But there’s plenty of other awesome foods here to make up for it. Seafood is really popular here in Bragança, and lately I’ve been loving the shrimp! It’s way different here: much cheaper, smaller, saltier, and (hate to break it to you) fresher. And super tasty! Grab a handful of shrimp that had just been taken out of the sea that morning, wash them, pluck off the heads, the tails, the antennas, and the legs, and you’ve got a great afternoon snack! I also hear they are absolutely amazing mixed in a bowl of açai, so I’m thinking that Elder F. Lopes and I will have to throw in some cash to experiment with that this week, in case I get transfered from here next week.

Well, love you all! Thanks for all the support. I really appreciate everything you do. Take care, until next week!

Com amor,
Élder Scott Maughan

That was Confidence, not Ignorance

Happy Memorial Day!

Thanks to that sweet Adirondacks calendar, I can still remember American holidays! Hope everyone is having a wonderful day! While it’s not a holiday here, preparation day is more a less a holiday, so we can all celebrate holidays together today haha.

This Memorial Day weekend has been pretty exciting here as well! Yesterday was stake conference here, which was really great. Since Bragança is so far away from the stake center (3 hours on a bus), they decided to just have the two wards here meet together for stake conference. But it was still great, the stake president came, Presidente and Sister Campos came, and the talks were super spiritual, inspiring, and interesting. They talked a lot about the importance of having missionary experiences weekly, if not daily, and of using the Book of Mormon to introduce the church to non-members. The stake president invited everyone to carry a Book of Mormon in the hand with them wherever they go, which I thought is a pretty neat idea. Apparently that’s worked really well in a few cities where that idea has been applied, so I’m exciting to see if it will work here.

As for other exciting stories that happened this week… Oh yeah! So we were walking to an appointment in the part of our area that is the most jungle-like when we arrived to where a bunch of boys in the street were running around shouting things. There were a bunch of wasp-looking thingies flying in the air, but I thought to myself, “I’m not afraid of wasps!” and just kept on walking. After we left the commotion behind, I found out from Elder Lopes that those “wasps” have some sort of venom (spelling?) that can knock you out, send you to the hospital, and keep you in bed for a week. But, as one of those boys pointed out as we passed, “They are men of God; these wasps can’t bite them.”

Well have a wonderful week! Thanks for all the letters and support, love you all! Take care!

Com amor,
Élder Scott Maughan

Penalty Kicks?!

Hey family!

Hope everyone has had a great week! Sounds like the weather was super nice. I’m pretty jealous… the weather here is starting to get less rainy, more sunny, and even hotter. Here comes the summer! At least I won’t have to lug around an umbrella as often.

This was a good week in Bragança! We found lots of new people to teach this week, thanks to the couple that just got baptized, and also that Day of the Missionaries. And a few of these new investigators even came to church with us, and they seemed to really like it! Also this was a good week because we got to work with a bunch of less-active members who came back to church yesterday! It was such a great feeling to see these people walk back through the doors, and I could tell that they felt much better too. It seems really tough to return to church; it really takes guts and courage and humility. But it definitely pays off. And the members of the ward were great. They made the less-active members feel welcome and wanted here in the church again. Really, this Alegre Ward is awesome.

In other exciting news… I felt kinda proud because I was somehow able to teach (and focus on!) the first lesson while the Championship of the Champions League was going into PENALTY KICKS. Not going to lie, that was extremely challenging. Basically every TV in Bragança was turned on to watch that, so despite the fact that we were teaching a women in front of her house, there was really no way to avoid it. I can’t even imagine trying to serve here during the World Cup – that would be nuts. I have to admit, next to my vocabulary of the Gospel is probably my vocabulary of soccer, because everyone here loves to talk futebol.

Speaking of sports, I cannot wait to read this article about Joe Carr! That’s amazing. I definitely couldn’t stop smiling for forever after reading those 2 tweets from Milesplit. Tell him congrats for me!! [I sent Scott a screenshot of the tweets announcing that Joe had just run the 200m in 21.33 and had the Section 2 record and the NY#1 time!]

Well, hope everyone has a great week, love you all! Thanks so much for the support from everyone. Take care!

Com amor,
Élder Scott Maughan

Holiday = Food

Hey family!

It was so great to talk with you guys too! Sorry for my lack of ability to speak English! And just so you know, that doesn’t necessarily mean I know how to speak Portuguese, just that I’m at an in-between stage where I can’t speak either, haha.

[For those who don’t know, Scott is allowed to call home twice a year – on Christmas and Mother’s Day. In much of Brazil, missionaries are given permission to Skype with their immediate family, and a kind LDS store owner in his area allowed Scott and his companion to use their store and computer. We ‘called’ Scott at 9 am New York time (10 am his time) and Skyped for about an hour. Melissa, Eric, and our new daughter-in-law Noelle, connected to our group Skype from Utah, and Craig (the blue square!) called in from his cell phone during a layover he had at Washington National Airport during that time. Scott looked and sounded great! We recorded much of his call, but somehow the sound didn’t copy, so we have some great silent movies! *Ü*]

Well not too much has happened since I talked to you yesterday! Turns out Mother’s Day is a much bigger holiday here that it is at home (sorry, Mom), so everything was closed, and everyone was together with their familes. And, of course, we ate/received a ton of food, because that’s how holidays are celebrated here.

In church yesterday day I confirmed the lady who had just been baptized, which was the first time I had actually been the one speaking. That was a really neat experience! Definitely felt the spirit incredibly strongly. It’s so good to see a family joining the Gospel, and to be so excited about it too! They already want to go to the temple a year from now. Now we are going to teach some of their relatives, to add to the eternal family they are going to have!

Well, that’s kinda it for exciting things I can remember to say right now… but I hope everyone had an awesome Mother’s Day, and that everyone has a great week. Love you all, until next week!

Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan

Be sure to click on the photo to enlarge it and find Scott among a sea of Brazilians. (He’s the only American in this picture!)

UNO Marathon

Merry May!

Hope everyone has been having a great May so far! Things here have been going really well so far this month; I have a feeling that this is going to be a pretty awesome May! First off, because I’m super excited to speak to Eric in Portuguese this week! Oh, and to talk with the rest of you… haha just kidding, I can’t wait to talk to all of you guys! I promise we won’t speak tooo much Portuguese.

So this month started off well because we had a baptism saturday night! A young man, Marcos, who has been attending church for a few months now finally decided to give up coffee and get baptized. He was really excited and has a very strong testimony, and a ton of people attending his baptism! The young men’s president (a recent convert himself) was the one who performed the baptism. I couldn’t tell who was more excited to enter the water, him or Marcos haha. Either way, it was a really awesome baptism, and it also seemed to help spark even more interest in missionary work in the ward.

So in other exciting news: we got stranded in Castanhal on Thursday! Woke up at 4 to catch the bus for a zone meeting at 8, then when we went to catch the bus at 2 to return to Bragança — turned out that there weren’t any buses! Apparently there was a strike in the road, and people weren’t letting buses pass… so the six of us ended up sitting in the bus station playing UNO for 4 hours, eating Tootsie Rolls that Mom had sent. Can you believe that in 4 hours of UNO I never won once? That was pretty pathetic. But finally the bus came, and we got back to Bragança around 10 at night. Long day!

Well once again I can’t wait to talk to you all [Skype!] on Sunday! I hope you all have a terrific week until then! Thanks for all the prayers and support!

Love y’all!
Élder Scott Maughan

Missionaries Taking Over Bragança

Dearest família,

Bom dia! So I actually have things to say today that are kinda cool! First off, transfers are tomorrow, but I’m not going anywhere! And neither is anyone in our house. The 4 of us are staying in Bragança, and we’re pretty excited. The other Elders are really great, super fun and spiritual and hard working at the same time. We have lots of great discussions and learn a ton together. So we were pretty happy! Things are really been catching fire here too recently, so I am happy because I didn’t want to leave just as things are starting to improve a lot. Also, the fact that we just got a new fridge and washing machine Saturday — wouldn’t want to have to leave that behind.

Saturday was Day of the Missionaries! That was actually really neat; all the returned missionaries in the wards here in Bragança, as well as a few from neighboring cities, were set apart again as missionaries for one day! Everyone spent the day out in the streets visiting less active members, friends of other faiths, and just making any contacts with people in the streets. The streets of Bragança were packed with white shirt and ties (and a few skirts too, thanks to a few sisters) and black nametags! All in all, it was a huge success, and now we have 50+ references to contact in the city haha. Certain got our work cut out for us!

Also, I was really inspired by how exciting all the returned missionaries were to be able to put that nametag back on, for even just one day. Made me really think about the rare and amazing opportunity this is, and how I don’t want to waste one day here. Definitely don’t want to have any regrets in the end!

As for housekeeping… I can buy contact lens solution here (way expensive, but available). My shirts are more or less still white… but most of them have stains or marks, which I believe are thanks to the old washing machine. Also, wouldn’t mind a few more ties, those are always useful! If I think of anything else I need this week I’ll write it down and let you know.

As for Skype [on Mothers Day], not sure yet… if we can use Skype, I’ve already found a place here we can use it. So I’ll let you know when I find out!

Well thanks for everything, dearest family! Love you all, and you’re in my prayers also!

Sincerely,
Élder Scott Maughan