This week was also my first zone conference in Manaus. My entire zone gathered at one of the chapels and we got taught how to be better missionaries by the zone leaders. The zone leaders are pretty awesome. One of them is american so he helps me with my portuguese whenever I need help. It was awesome, but a little tiring. I have also figured out why brazilians don´t have amusement parks. They don´t nee them at all. The buses here do the trick just fine. We have to ride the bus a lot whenever we go out of our area so I´m pretty used to it, but the first time was definitely an adventure. These buses will fly down the street filled with potholes and literally move up and down about 6 inches the entire way. It is always jostling from side to side and when you get on the bus you have to be fast b/c they don´t really wait for anybody. Once you get on, you have to pay 2.75 reals, bu the bus is already moving so getting the money out and standing there while the bus is flying down the street always makes life interesting.
This past week I´ve been sick from something. I´ve just had a headache and a upset stomach. No vomiting, just not feeling good. It would come and go. It started Wednesday night, so we called Sister Klein, our mission presidents wife the next morning and she recommended some medicine and I´m feeling much better. Still have some headaches, but for the most part I´m feeling fine. My feet are getting used to walking everywhere as well. We probably cover 5-10 miles everyday just going from place to place. My feet haven´t blistered, but hey have come close. Showers here are also interesting b/c the water temperature depends on how hot is outside. I figured that our shower water sit outside the house above the house and is warmed by the sun. Its closed so nothing gets into it, but if its raining all day and we don´t get much sun, water is frigid. Speaking of rain, it rains almost every day here. Even if its just a little bit, it rains. You get used to it, but it still makes you kinda or miserable at times.
Had my first interview with President Klein as well this week. That went well. He speaks only Portuguese with a little english. So it makes interviews interesting, but possible. Registered with the federal police this week as well. I am now officially allowed to stay in Manaus for the duration of my visa. My visa actually expires next October so hopefully we will be able to renew it when the time comes. I hope Tara will be able to return to her mission. Being a missionary is awesome. It is hard at times, being away from home, learning a new language and culture, but its worth it. Right now I don´t need anything from America. I did get the carmels before I left, they were delicious. Anything that I might want would be another pair of basketball shorts b/c my companion keeps wearing my Fishers ones and I would prefer to keep those and any food would just be anything that is american. I don´t need anything though. Packing tips, don´t pack anything that sounds like food or anything valuable. Muffle it somehow. Don´t send big huge packages as well. When you pack it, put a picture of Christ under the tape b/c people here are superstitious and don´t want to cut a picture of christ to open the box. You could also write `Religious materials´ on the side and I´ve heard that helps as well. Thanks for the piano guys cd. Its always fun to listen to whenever we get the chance. I hope you guys have a great week and I miss you all!
Love Ben/Elder Battraw