As you guys had seen in the videos I had sent, Elder Cerna and I spent our day with Nilda and her family on our pday a week ago and I decided on commemorating my 1 year a few days earlier rather than burn a shirt with people I still haven´t known too well yet. It turned out nice and the boys got a kick out of seeing a shirt go up in flames. They were super anxious when they returned home from school so I imagine they must have been pretty excited to return home that day hahaha. Anyway, as we left, the boys must´ve given me at least 50 hugs before leaving, but no tears were shed (at least that I saw). I sure will miss those boys. I printed out some pictures that day and wrote a kind little note behind it and left my email for them to continue writing to me, so I hope they continue to do that. We also had one last pizza with João that night as well and I said goodbye to him and left him with a tie that Elder Dehnike had given to me in the MTC. I didn´t have a super relationship with the Elder, so I figured that João would appreciate that tie more than I would. We said our goodbyes, and our ride came and picked Elder Cerna and me up. Alison and Kelcimara were their names and they´re a couple that we had been teaching and they´re super awesome. Alison is actually a less-active but Kelcimara is investigating the church. I made sure to take photos with them, so you´ll see here soon. Elder Cerna spent that night in Elder G. Santos´s area and I left with Elder Williams for Salvador. The 8-10 hour ride was tiresome but I managed to get some sleep.
The transfer meeting was great too. It´s always nice to relax for a day and catch up with plenty of other missionaries that are your buddies and also to have some trainings from President Lisonbee and the other leaders. I made sure to talk a little bit with many friends and all of my companions. I sure do miss Elder Costa e Silva. Other than Elder Rivera (who had already left), he´s the guy I miss the most, having had spent so much good times. I also saw Elder Macalupú, Elder Ramírez, Elder Sterling, and Elder Adams. I´ll be sure to include the photos of them as well :) I also met 2 new Americans that had finally arrived here in good ol´ Brazil after waiting for their visas to come. One is Elder Woods, a big guy from Alabama who, like me, had passed through some difficulties as he´s still in the beginning of learning Portuguese. Another was a Sister Charles from California. It was kind of funny talking with them in Portuguese because they were all, ´´Woah, man! You need to slow down!´´ having completely forgotten that their understanding was where I was when I had first gotten here as well. It was also weird to have them ask a few questions here and there about the mission. It made me feel old!
Alright, so on to what everyone I´m sure wants to know. After the trainings finally came the presentation of the transfers and our companions. I was super anxious to see where I would be going and, just like last time, the names started to pass. and pass... and pass and my name still hadn´t shown up. The areas start from Salvador until the interior parts of Bahia and my name was last. Literally, last. I´ve been transferred to Barreiras, which is like the end of the world for our mission. My companion is Elder Laurindo from Rio de Janeiro and I will be ending his training, meaning that I am more or less a trainer this transfer (much to my surprise). I won´t be District Leader though. It´s nice because that means my only responsibility other than the work is just teaching Elder Laurindo. So yeah, no big deal, but I have a ´´son´´ on the mission now. Elder Laurindo is a champ. The guy loves to work and doesn´t get too worried about setbacks or the like. He also has a strong passion for learning English so I´ve been doing my best to help him achieve his goal. He says one day he wants to go to BYU. He´s really cool. He played soccer for a soccer team in São Paulo for some time and planned on going pro from what I understood and actually passed but had a knee injury and was barred from playing. He wasn´t too let down about it though because he takes it as being an answer to his prayer in either playing soccer or serving a mission. I always feel like he has my back and is always checking in on me to see if I need help with certain things. Sometimes I feel like the guy is training me more than I´m training him! hahaha. But he´s really humble though. He´s constantly asking me what I think that he needs to improve on when in reality he´s already a stud. I mostly just share personal mission experiences, what has helped, what hasn´t and such. Overall, the guy is amazing. It still blows my mind that Heavenly Father has blessed me with so many great companions. It makes me a little worried that soon I´ll receive one a little bit more challenging than the others. In our house, we live with an Elder Barroso ( a big, funny guy from Minas Gerais, Brazil) and Elder Bacca (São Paulo inland, who´s being trained by Elder Barroso.) I actually took the long 12-14 hour bus ride to Barreiras with them. President gave us money to have dinner at the mall and then take the bus but I got to talking with them a little. Good guys and overall, we seem to get along just fine. All 3 are Brazilians anxious to learn English, so I´ve been having fun teaching them a thing or two. ´´Elder Skinner! How do you say..´´ ´´Elder Skinner, what does this mean..?´´ ´´Elder Skinner, did I say this right?´´ hahaha, more or less like this.
Our house and our area is nice. Just HOT! worse than Petrolina for sure and I had the luck to get here in one of the hottest areas on the eve of Summer. You walk into our house at night and it feels like we entered an oven. I never thought I´d take so much pleasure in taking a (semi) cold shower. Elder Barroso, Elder Laurindo, and I have been starting ´´Insanity´´ for our morning workouts and when we do warmups, I kid you not that I´m already drenched! Don´t worry though, I´ve been applying sun screen, staying in the shade, and drinking more water than I´ve ever had in my life and honestly, it´s not something I´m legitamately complaining about. I just like to joke about the heat :) . The people seem to be pretty swell here too. I don´t know too many, but the most notable guy here is a guy preparing to serve a mission named ´´Ronald´´ who I kid you not is a fan of One Direction and a lot of other questionable artists and such. I´ve had to restrain myself from totally bashing his tastes of music as he constantly picks on me as well and occasionally I unleash a little, but he´s a swell dude and my ´´servant of the Lord´´ status has certainly helped me keep a cool head instead of making fun of him all the time, hahaha. I´ll for sure end up taking a picture with the guy to send to you all.
General Conference was rather hard because there wasn´t a way to watch it in English so I certainly missed out on many important things that the speakers had said but I still managed to catch quite a bit. The problem is that I´ve gotten to the point where when I listen to them 110% attentive, I can catch everything with an occasional error but it´s super exhausting for my brain. The start of the 2nd session on Saturday, my brain was alright fried and for the priesthood session, I caught myself falling asleep. It literally tires me more than working in the sun, and I don´t know how that can be. It was nice though. Barreiras is still growing in membership, so for now we don´t have a ward, it´s just a tiny branch with a few faithful members. The Branch president gave us a ride home from conference and bought us a pizza which was super nice.
So that´s been my week. I´m still lost in our little area but Elder Laurindo has been showing me around, so not too long from now, I´ll be able to find my way around in Barreiras. I still haven´t taken a picture with our group here but I´m going to ask if we can in the Lanhouse to send to you guys. Love you all! :)