Here I am with Elder Christensen (left) and Elder Nicholes (right), my 7th and 6th great-grandchildren, respectively. (This is actually taken in the same office I cried in daily as the Financial Secretary for the Mission. That dear air conditioner is still chuggin'!) And, as it happens, one of Elder Nicholes' friends from his days at Jackson Hole is a good friend of mine. So when he got his call to Manaus, she informed him that I had served there. I wrote him an email about 2.5 years ago telling him how much I ADORED Manaus and what he could expect from that BELLA city. It's only right that he follow in my footsteps and blaze his own trails on the way.
This was a little barbeque/get-together at Kiyoshi and Elizabeth Miki's house in Manaus. (They're the lovely couple on the right). Also on the left is Andrea Leao and not pictured is Jessica Miki. They were some of my favorite people in one of my favorite wards in Manaus--Flores. And in case you hadn't guessed it, that's me holding an enormous Top Sirloin trying to avoid the Coconut Volture that was hanging right above my head. ;PHere's a picture of me lookin' smokin' hot at the Temple Site in Manaus. Now you can simultaneously behold the beauty of the Rio Negro and that of the only white guy within 50 miles. In a serious note, I cannot adequately describe how lovely this property is. The cool breeze whipping off the river, the continual battle between towering thunderheads and scathing sunshine, the majesty of the mightiest river on the planet--it all must be experienced to be understood, as is so often the case in life. I cannot wait for the House of the Lord to be erected here. But I guess 4 years or so won't be too long to wait. Heck, I'll only be 28!
Here's a photo with Richard (left), Bryan (right), and myself (center--again, patronizing, huh?). You might be surprised by how white we are, but you have to remember that it's winter in Brazil right now. These gentlemen were gracious and charitable enough to put me up for five nights in their comfortable apartment. To top it all off, they even gave me the masterbed. It was probably the most comfortable accomodation I've ever had in Manaus. We took a day to go see the "Encontro das Aguas"--The Meeting of the Waters--where the Amazon River (in Brazil, called the Solimoes) and the Rio Negro meet and DO NOT MIX for several miles. It's black running against yellow, and it's another "Must See to Believe" moment. Check out the pictures below to see just how much Mother Nature was showing off when she invented this stretch of water!
How cool is that?! Seriously!!! On a side note, that shirt was given to me after I got caught in a freak downpour and completely drenched. The Brazilian gentleman, Bispo Nedson from one of the Wards I served in, literally gave me the shirt off his back.
Even cooler picture, yes?
For those of you wondering, Yes, that is a floating Church, and NO, its members do not walk on water to get there. I'm pretty sure they come by boat. Or swim. But the Piranhas are pretty feisty in this part of the water, so my money's on the boat.