Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18th 2013 Letter

So yeah…. this week was super good. We worked super hard. We went to Caucaia 1. I saw some old friends there. =D That was fun. We then had the first of the 2 multi zone conferences. That was weird sitting in the front, giving my farewell testimony and also doing trainings and all that stuff. Then we went to Morumbi! That’s where the big soccer stadium is, I saw it,  =D but I wasn’t with my camera and I didn’t take pics. =(  But that was cool. We found a Buddhist. He was cool. Then we had the 2nd conference. I thought it was better than the first. It was cool to see everyone on the mission right before we go. It was really special, you know, I basically know the entire mission, and there were so many missionaries that came up and said "thanks Elder Blackford for helping me with ______ I hope I can be a missionary just like you!" It was really special to think that I had made a difference in several lives of other missionaries. That was great. Same thing with Elder Martinez.

Then we went to the zone Camp Limpo, in JD Kennedy and Ypê. Kennedy is an area where Elder Warner passed. I visited a RC that he baptized. We were with Elder Hadley and Elder Malaquias (like the last book of the Old Testament malaquias) and it was great. Malaquias is new, 2nd transfer. And he has to be the most innocent person I have ever met. He stopped studying in like 5th grade, so he doesn’t understand much, has little studies but he has a great desire to work and learn. He has never watched a movie that isn’t a movie by the church. (He is a member for like 7 years), not because he couldn’t but he never wanted to. and someone showed him the case for the new Spiderman movie and he, with all innocence, looked at the case then looked at the member and asked him "and what gospel principles are taught in this movie?" like literally asking him, and everyone started to laugh and we had to explain to him it’s not a church movie, and he decided he didn’t want to hear more about it. It was really funny. He’s the best.
JD Ypê we spend with Elder Lima and Oliveira, both of them are new on mission, 4 months with Oliveira and 2 weeks with Lima. He was wanting to go home, but after 2 days working hard and having fun with us, he is really animated, I hope he continues strong. I feel when the next big problem hits he is going to want to go back, but I feel that a great part of the worst has already passed. Elder Oliveira is super spiritual and a super hard worker.

But yeah… so that was basically the week. I think next week I will send a short email, although we literally can do whatever we want, I think we’re gonna try to get permission to go to Grajaú/Interlagos area and visit people from there, but here in a bit we got our meeting with Pres. del Guerso and we will talk with him about some stuffs.
Work as AP is going well. I already knew the drill after spending time as ZL so there wasn’t that much "training" to be done. The only thing kinda weird is like permission to use the computer to do some stuff, and like we can dink around on paint, but other than that that it’s all cool. It kinda sucks when we have to get on someone’s case when they aren’t doing things right, but whatever, that’s how it rolls right?

Well until next week! (literally)
Elder Blackford

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11th 2013 Letter

So about being AP- it’s been pretty cool and fun, but it’s really busy. For sure I have lost lots of sleep. lol  We don’t get the blessing of going to sleep at 10:30 always.

My companion is Elder Martinez. He’s from my district in the CTM. He’s is from Fresno. We never even passed in the same zone (same time or any time, so our mission was totally different) but he is super cool =D. We work exactly the same way and we both love pizza! And we are going back the same day. So when we finish there will only be the other Aps. There are 4 of us, but 2 will keep on going. lol  So we will be on our Atlanta flight, but then he goes to Salt Lake and I’m going straight to Seattle He is going to study at BYU so I will see him there soon. No worries.
So my "house" is the area above the mission office, but I kinda don’t live here. What we do is we have the part of doing the presentations (this week we have multi zones and we have to prepare a bunch of stuff) but also we are doubled in doing visits and divisions with the missionaries. I spent the week in like 3 other areas, and tonight we’re headed to Caucaia 1, which is right by Caucaia 2! (how cool!) and we’re going to work with them tomorrow. It’s really tiring because these missionaries are all like looking up to us cause we are the leaders, so we gotta be on 100% game when we are with them, so it’s pretty rough. We can’t be trunky either, so it’s all work, work, work. It’s way cool.

But it’s fun, this morning we had a meeting with pres del guerso talked about the missionaries with difficulties and plans for us to go help them and plan certain stuff. We are on the inside of everything. and were like operation ninja. So that’s how the things are. There are about 50 companionships on the mission, and like 13 are sisters. Something like that. Yeah so things are chill.
Yeah… there are lots of stories and things I don’t have time to tell. I will be honest, I hated writing in my journal. There were times when I did good, but I just don’t like writing with a pen. It’s so slow and ugly. I think if I had a sort of ipad I would have kept a journal more tidy. But I still got lots of stuff.

Just so you know mom, like none of my pants are good anymore, and like 3 shirts, everything needs to be like burned. My clothes are horrid. So I’m coming back with like nothing. lolercats.
I have letters that I didn’t manage to send to the girls, and I think I might not end up sending them cause it’s so close...but oh well. It’s the thought that counts?

Love you all keep it strong!
Elder Blackford

Monday, November 4, 2013

October 2013 Pictures


Elder Blackford with 16 new ties!


Baptism of Sonia (elderly lady), Douglas and Maiara (next 2 pictures)

November 4th 2013 Letter

Hey, so about the itinerary, I don’t have one yet. I know it’s been a while since Elder Taylor bought the ticket, and I told him not to send it to me early, but tonight I’ll be in the mission office I’ll tell him to send it to you, and all that, and I’ll only look at it the last week ok? So don’t tell me the hours when you get it.

Also, let’s see. In other exciting news, this week we had 2 baptisms! Yeah! So we ended the transfer with 5 baptisms. This was pretty cool. (Although sad because our zone ended the transfer with 7...)
Luan and Fabiano were baptized. Luan is 10, pretty smart and cool kid. Fabiano is 13, and is totally gay, but that’s ok cause he wants to choose the right! (and rainbows!) So Sunday there were 5 confirmations. Almost didn’t have time for testimonies ha-ha! That was cool.

We don’t really have any people super ready for baptism, but we’re teaching a lot of people.
Well, speaking of the transfer...I was transferred! Ouch. Yeah, how sad. I know right? They take a guy who was only 3 weeks and move him out! I’m pretty sad, I was really starting to like it here and the work was going going... but bleh.

Also I am no longer zone leader. So that designation is over as well, but oh well.
Now I’m what’s called assistant to the president. So yeah, to the mission office I gooooo! There will be lots of new opportunities in these next few weeks. Tomorrow I’m going to be getting up at like 4 am (I’m going to spend the night at the mission office today) and I’m off to the airport with my new comp (I don’t know who it is - he is also a new assistant) and we’re going to pick up a batch of new Americans. woot woot.

So there’s that news!
We didn’t have Halloween here. But we had a party for my comp, cause Halloween is his birthday! yay! He turned 21. We had food and stuff, cake and brownies (the sisters made brownie!) But it was way coool.

Uhhh... yeah I don’t know what else to really say. lol. It’s going to be really weird these last few weeks and I’m gonna have to keep way concentrated.
I ate lots of pizza this week. Like 3 times. But I’m still not gaining lots of weight. I am still 69. It’s been a while since I have passed 70. So I’m staying o.k. Don’t ask me in pounds cause I don’t remember how pounds works anymore. lol. Just find a calculator to move it from kilo-lb.

We were running every day during the morning, it was really good. Wow I love to run! My comp was and is super out of shape, so we went super slow. but still it’s good.
Hmmmm, I’m not gonna lie. My mind knows nothing else to say.

So peace out. Good night, good luck!
Please don’t get trunky people alright?

Just think of how many minutes there are still, it’s a big number.
Elder Blackford

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 28th 2013 Letter

So, anyway, this week was super full of things to do. We managed to have 3 baptisms, Maiara, Douglas and Sonia. Saturday we have marked the baptism of Luan, 6:30, and it’s all set as well. How blessed I feel to have managed these baptisms that the Lord gave to us. It has been a lot of work and I feel that things are going a lot better here in Butantã. We have members working with us and they are all pumped. We had a few FHE this week that were way cool and people got animated.

I also spent 2 days out of my area. I spent 1 night at Rap. Tavares and another at Rio Pequeno. It was pretty fun. This week was really hot 1 day, cold the next. It’s still happening. It’s really dumb. One day you are wanting to take off your skin, the next you want a sweater. What a blessing.
It was super hot this morning and now it looks like a storm is coming. That’s how São Paulo works this time of year.
Also I have been running these days during the morning. I am so out of shape and fat. It makes me sad. But I have lost some weight again, I hit 76 kilos for a while, but now I’m at 70 again. Whew. But I still wanna drop back down to 67. (Don’t ask me pounds cause I don’t remember anymore use a converter)
Yeah, but all in all I still can’t believe how much time I have on the mission. Next week we’re almost..almost at the 1.11 but not quite there yet so no worries. =P
So I’m still super excited to work, next week is transfers as well so you guys will get all the highlights and details on that. I don’t think I will be transferred but who knows.
OOOH SUPER NEWS! So you know how in Cacaia I always talked about the Agreste? That other part of the area that’s far away from the church where lots of ppl live? Well, there is going to be missionaries there now! The work there continued strong with Elder Ruiz Diaz, and he convinced President to put more missionaries to work there. I am sure they are extremely happy the members, who are working so hard to open up a new branch there so they don’t have to go so far to church. Rock on!
Also I helped the missionaries in Rio Pequeno take a couple to mark their marriage in Santo Amaro (heading to grajaú/interlagos). It’s not even in our mission limits, but that’s where we do it for freeee! While I was there we saw some missionaries from grajaú and Kelvin! (a dude who was in the sisters’ area and they taught him horribly and Elder Lopes and I had to go teach him and explain all of the doubts the Sisters created). (who tries to explain to someone learning about the church that they will become a God and have powers to create other worlds and that there are actually lots of Gods like God and blah blah...durrr..only sisters would do that) but anyway he’s so strong that he’s got his mission call! He’s about to head out. aiiiiiii siiiim!
But yeah things are cool here, health is cool beans and I’m pumped for this last week of my last full transfer!
Blackford...rollin out!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 21st 2013 Letter and Picture of his apartment

This week was really good. We worked super hard. I spent 2 days out of my area, one in Rio Pequeno, the ward that shares the chapel with us. And the other day I went to the assistant’s area, passed the day with one of them. It was cool, it’s fun to be with another hard working missionary. My comp is really good; he just is too nice sometimes. Like when we go to the house and the person is sleeping - he lets them sleep. I wake them up and say hey! I came all the way over here to teach you so wake up and let’s go. It’s kinda funny. Sometimes he doesn’t like it but oh well; they will learn to not be lazy.

As far as investigators go...we had a family go, except the dad...what a slacker...
Anyway, the 2 kids, Douglas and Maiara, will be baptized Sunday. Also Sonia, she’s like 71, she went to church as well and she is going to be baptized. We also have Luan, whose dad is a RC, but he lives with his mom, he has already gone to church a few times, and so we are trying to mark a visit with his mom to explain to her about baptism and all, get her signature and BAM! Water.

So basically we got 4 people planned to throw in the water this week. It’s gonna be GREAT! Just like frosted flakes!
Let me see... there’s not much else to say. It’s starting to get really hot outside, so that kinda stinks
Wow I’m so excited that Erin’s out there! I’ve been telling everyone that my sister is a sister! kakakakakakakaka!
But that’s it people! Love you all!

beijão no bundão!

Elder Blackford

Google image of Elder Blackford's apartment. He lives on the lower level of the place in the back

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 14th 2013 Letter

Good bye Erin! Hope you find your dad!

Don’t forget a Frisbee! It’s a really good thing to have on the mission. Just don’t take mine - kkk.
Oh, and don’t forget to baptize at least 54 people. Está bien borracha? Wow, it is so crazy to think that you are going off on a mission. Don’t slack off. Don’t ever plan to knock doors. If you see in your planner you put Bate Puertas - you failed =/. It’s lame. Understand the "work of salvation" that was passed recently, and study chapter 9 of PMG. Things will make sense why knocking doors is ridiculous. Love you! See ya in 2015! Lol.

Oh my road is...Amália de Oliveira Vargas 127. I think that’s the name, it is literally right by the chapel of Rio Pequeno, that’s a good reference point. Look for praça da família and the Ceu Butantã (school of the heavens =O!!) which is also nearby and then you gots the big road of Raposo Tavares and there’s a super big Extra (supermarket) right by and also the mall (shopping Raposo) and Leeroy Marlin. (in front of the mall)
It’s a pretty cool little area full of fun stuff.
Woop. Ok so this week was cool beans - my tongue continued burning Monday-Saturday. I still don’t know why my mouth was on fire.
I’m so strong and I’m so fast I got runs.
And what else... oh yeah we had a lunch with an old lady and her mom, and the old lady came "running" to shake our hands and tripped and fell, knocked over a bunch of pictures. Glass went shattering, bookshelf fell down, blood started spilling. Whew. Yeah it was kinda nuts. At least all the blood was from her knees. She had to go get stiches. She’s like 84. Not even a member, Catholic until the day she dies. But whatever, at least she’s ok. Scared the crap out of everyone.
Also my book of Mormon reading is good. Still in Spanish. =D  I’m in 3 nefi 17. For sure I’m gonna get done before the 5th of Nov. woo!
I bought a simplified hymnbook in Portuguese. Its legalzinho. (pretty cool).
I also won for myself a JW hymnbook it made me sad that they bothered to put the syfrus (think that’s how you spell it) in the hymnbook but we don’t. It would be way cool if they put it in. Maybe later I will write the people responsible and tell them to do it. The simplified hymnbook has it, so it makes it even easier to play. But whatever.
I am loving still the mission. It’s full of great and fun things to do. Talking with everyone about Jesus. It’s funny because I have lost all patience with people who start making up excuses.
"Hi were missionaries and my name is Elder Blackford. What’s your name?"
"Oh I’m really busy right now and....."
"Oh ,my Portuguese must be bad but, sorry, I asked you your name not what you’re doing. But ok, bye, the church starts at 9 every Sunday!"
It’s kinda sad - my patience, but it’s how they say, who wants something does it, who doesn’t makes up excuses. So yeah, it’s kinda funny.
Working with the members is way cool. I think it was Elder Ballard who said everyone has to bring a friend to church before Christmas. I’m stoked to animate the people to do their part.
Sunday while at the members’ house right before lunch their cat bit my ear and tried to play with it. Woohoo! Playing with cats!
Well that’s like all I got this week. Mom don’t cry that much ok? Or else you will get a headache. =D
I got the box, it was great. Exactly what I needed no worries. Now you don’t have to worry about sending these super expensive boxes to foreign lands.
Love you all! Keep it real!
Elder Blackford