Buckle up for this one.
Monday 13/3 -
Today, I didn´t really do much except that night I met up with some other elders to get burgers. Everyone was talking about transfers and one elder told me that he knew the transfers and that I would stay and Elder Prado would be transferred. Another elder, an American, told me that he felt that I would be transferred to Caicó and when he said that I felt it too. Despite what the other elder said and the other rumors I heard saying that I would stay, I somewhat knew that I was going to be transferred to Caicó specifically.
Tuesday 14/3 -
Today, the news about the transfer came later than usual, about 11:00. The ZL said "Elder Holdaway will be transferred to Currais Novos, Zona Caicó, and his new companion will be the DL, Elder Cassiano." Except for the news about my new companion, I wasn´t surprised at all. Elder Cassiano is from Ribeiro Preto and was in my zone in my first transfer; Elder Nhantole was my DL and Cassiano was the other DL. The zone Caicó is about 4-5 hours inland from the state capital, Natal, and is actually spread across a few cities. Where my old area was a borough of the city, Natal. Currais Novos is its own city and is actually two hours away from Caicó and the ZLs. My new area has 4 missionaries; Elder Cassiano, Me, Sister Newman (an American), and Sister Noble (a Brazilian). I´ll talk more about my area later. I spent the rest of the day packing, and I visited some people including Nathanael; the boy I baptized Sunday and his family, and Ismael, my Ward Mission Leader, who is awesome - he served in Ribeiro Preto and was called as Branch President in his FIRST AREA!!! I can't imagine doing that. He served in various leadership roles on his mission and when he was an AP, Elder Oaks visited the mission and spent the day with Ismael doing divisions. He taught me a lot in these 13 weeks and he cried a little when I said goodbye. Then we went to the Costa's for dinner. Brother Costa and I talked a lot about our time in the military and I showed him a little pin I have of the Special Forces unit patch with airborne wings. He was a Brazilian commando which is kinda like the Navy Seals. He did a lot of underwater demolition and he also parachuted; static and freefall. He said that the military here has the upmost respect for the US SF unit patch and anyone wearing it. He said he did a lot of work/training with them. Dinner was great and it was hard saying goodbye to them, the best and kindest family I’ve met yet here.
Wednesday 15/3 -
Today at 7:30 I said my last goodbyes to my "birthplace" and we headed for the rodoviário which is a big bus/taxi station where all the missionaries met up to travel and exchange companions. I enjoyed talking to the other missionaries before my bus left at 10:30. It was a small A/C-less bus as opposed to the nicer buses that others got. We stopped at a pretty nice restaurant for lunch and continued our long journey. The countryside here is beautiful and green with small mountains jutting out across the land. It looks like a greener version of Arizona. We got to Caicó and met up with our comps and ZL's. We went to the ZL's house and chilled. We went to go out and eat dinner, and walking around I saw THOUSANDS of stink beetles and the whole city smelled like beetle. My shoes still smell like all the beetles I massacred with my feet. The ZL's said it's not normal for them to be here and they arrived whe
n we came. We at dinner (I had tapica recheado, which literally means stuffed tapioca. It's meat, eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, etc., stuffed in a crepe or tortilla made of tapioca – Its pretty dang good) and crashed. I didn't sleep that well because it was hot and those stupid beetles kept jumping and crawling on me. The next day we had zone meeting and afterwards we played Mafia which was fun. Then we ate lunch at a member’s house from the ZL's ward which was an hour away in the hot, hot sun. The members are bakers and they make little cakes, or scones and biscuits for a living and they sell to markets. It was interesting to see how they work. Then we went home to grab my things and went to the rodoviário to go to our area. Another boring trip. After being here for a few days (it's Sunday right now) I'll explain more about the area. Currais Novos, translated, means New Corral. With that you can guess that there’s plenty of ranches here. But, actually, this city, or town, is an old mining town. The city is in the middle of nowhere with one road in and one road out. The nearest city is at least an hour away. I love it here, and one reason why is because the landscape and climate here is like northern California or northern Arizona. There are shrubs, cacti, and rocky hills everywhere. The nights are a cool 70 degrees. The culture here is like that of the American Northwest as well. There is a local motorcycle club here and, at the moment, a motofest in the town square. I love it here and if given the choice, would never leave. That night we ate dinner with the sisters at an outside churrascaria.
Friday 17/3 -
We slept in to get needed rest after 2 long days of travelling (and 2 weeks of sleeplessness for me) and went to get lunch at a restaurant that a member works at and he paid for our meal. Then Elder Cassiano showed me the area and we met a couple members. I went to the local supermarket to get groceries.
Saturday 18/3 -
After lunch, we went to the chapel to visit with the branch president, who wasn't there. We went to go to his house but met him on the way and talked. He wants us to speak on Sunday. Then we went to take açaí and then checked out the Motofest which was awesome. Hundreds of bikers from different clubs were walking around with their cuts on, like the Brazilian version of Sturgis. Luckily, I didn't see any "one-percenters." I bought a pin of the state flag, Rio Grande Do Norte, and a pin of an eagle with the words "motociclista" written beneath it. Then we ate dinner at a snack shack that the branch president owns and chatted with him.
Sunday 19/3 -
Today, we picked up some members and went to church. My comp and I had to give talks, and I prepared what I thought was a pretty dang good talk on how we can grow our testimony of the BoM, that would fill the 10 minutes allotted. I was first and wasn't too nervous to talk in front of 25 people. A little more than halfway in and right before the good part, the 1st counselor nudged my leg and gave me the thumbs up like that was enough. So, I quickly wrapped it up and closed. I don't think I talked all that long or even went past the 10 minutes. He apologized after I sat down and said something but I didn’t understand him, I still don’t know what happened, but I hope it means they won’t ask me again.
That’s all folks, until next week. More pictures in the blog.
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