Goodbye Rio Branco!

Hey family!

Big changes this week! This transfer, the biggest group since my group arrives on the mission, and quite a few really great elders are leaving tomorrow. Some very big changes were made in the transfer! I think about 5 companionships were left untouched haha. I’ve left Rio Branco! After only one transfer there. It’s a little uncommon but I’ve actually felt the whole six weeks that it would work out like this.

I’m being transferred to Ilha Bela, way up north! It’s a big island up near Caraguatatuba and São Sebastião. I’ve heard it’s the most beautiful area on the mission! (The name means “Beautiful Island”.) The branch there is small but growing. I’ll be working with Elder Timmons, who is one of the elders I like and respect most on the mission. I couldn’t be more excited, to be honest!! I already worked a little with Elder Timmons when I was in Cubatão, and he’s great–a hard worker, very obedient, and a great missionary. I’ll be living just with one other elder for the first time on my mission too.

This week in Rio Branco was good! We had a great lesson with Maria, the one with the small baby, who has been reading everything we give her and even Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, which a member of the group gave her! She says she’s really liking the church and has been talking to her husband about it and he’s warming up to it. At least, he said that if he ever has the sudden desire to visit the church, he’ll go! That’s light years ahead of where he was a few weeks ago hahah.

This week I also had two firsts on the mission: first time flying a kite (which is a very very popular hobby for every boy or man from 3 to 50 years old) and first time killing and eating an animal! One of the members here had a rooster whose days were coming to an end, so Elder Jenson and I went there and Elder Jenson killed it and then we watched the nice old lady clean it, gut it, chop it up, and then we went over last night to eat it! Quite an experience. I have a video, but it’s pretty bloody and so I won’t send it haha. (the knife wasn’t very sharp, and Elder Jenson doesn’t really know where to cut a chicken’s throat, so there may have been some unnecessary suffering.)

Mom–I tried to get in contact with David’s referral this week, but I think she might still be in the US! At least, nobody answered when we called. But I’ll keep trying. David’s also famous in the mission now, since Sister Cabral put that story in the mission newsletter. [A little background: Craig’s cousin David just returned from his mission to Los Angeles. On his flight home, he put a Book of Mormon on his tray, and the woman next to him asked if he was Mormon. Turns out that she is not a member, but has a granddaughter who served a mission. Oh yes, and she lives in THE EXACT TOWN in Brazil where Craig is serving!! She was happy to share her contact information with David so that his cousin could come and talk with her about the Gospel. Such a tiny world!!]

And yes, I have been playing a lot of piano–I’ve been the ward pianist in every area so far. How ironic that the day they set up the nice new piano in Rio Branco I got transferred! We’ll see if the rented building in Ilha Bela has a piano.

Well I’m actually in Santos right now, in my old area Orquidário! Elder Timmons and I will be heading up to Ilha Bela (about a 7-hour bus ride) tomorrow afternoon after a meeting with the trainers and the arrival of the new missionaries tomorrow. We’re really excited, as I said!

Hope everybody is doing well! Love you all, and I’m praying for all of you!

Elder Maughan

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