Elder Blackford sent an email to us today! He said, "I finished up the last day at Provo, and said goodbye to all my district buddies. Got on the plane and headed to Brazil, a long flight indeed! But after much restless sleep and sitting by myself at a window seat, I made it." He has not been as impressed with the Brazil MTC as the Provo MTC (he says that the programs in Brazil aren’t quite as polished as they are in Provo), but that doesn't seem to dull his enthusiasm in the slightest. He is determined to learn all he can and put his best foot forward:
I have been working extra hard to spend any time that I do have to study more! Because I feel like I am falling behind on the language. Elder Neu is here though! He has been here for 6 weeks, in case you don’t know that’s Lance’s roommate from BYU, the one who lived a block away blah blah. His visa was so far behind that they told him his mission was delayed 6 weeks, because he was supposed to report in September but yeah! So he was telling me all the tips and tricks to being able to focus and how to learn better, because he went through the same thing.
(For those of you who don’t know, Lance is one of Elder Blackford’s best friends, and is also currently serving a mission in Honduras.) Although he is worried about learning Portuguese, he does say that he is getting fast at picking out key words and phrases and that he knows enough verbs to understand what his teachers are telling him to do.
Despite his disappointment in the way things are organized at the Brazil MTC, Elder Blackford is having a great time and we know he will be ready by the time his training is finished. He tells us that basically all the missionaries are in the choir for the firesides on Sunday, so they pretty much sing for themselves. However, Elder Blackford says that most of the missionaries can’t actually sing, but that it’s really fun anyway. He also very excitedly informed us that the Brazil MTC is the largest Church building outside the U.S.!
As today was his Pday, he was able to go out and do some fun things:
…Pday you can go wander the streets of SP and shop around, so I just finished doing that and it was sooo cool! And it’s fun seeing all the different culture stuff. We went to the temple early this morning, such a beautiful place, and the temple is SO SMALL! Oh boy! But I loooved it and it was an amazing time.
Of course, the email was just spilling over with classic Elder Blackford phrases and humor. He says, “The Brazilians are NUTS they stay up till 1 am like every morning, always running around and singing ‘Moves Like Jagger,’ yet they get up at 6:30 like the rest of us and still have the energy to be loud and goofy, I have no idea how they do it.” Elder Blackford said that it is “freaking” hot there, and he feels like he’s “sweating to death,” which makes it difficult to fall asleep. But, he has his usual upbeat outlook on the whole situation and says, “I know that I will get used to it and find a way to make it through and learn as much as possible!”
He finishes his email with a last plug for sending him mail, “Write me letters so I can respond! Plus everyone here says it’s all about the letters!”