Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April 16th Letter


In this letter Elder Blackford gave a little more explanation about some of the cultural differences between America and Brazil. One of the first things he told us about was the level of education. He says that while adults aren’t “dumb,” there is a large percentage that only has a basic education. “I would say in 95% of the situations I have run into, when there is a family with a 16-22 year old son or daughter, they are more educated than their parents,” he said. Doesn’t that make you grateful that we can easily get a good education here?

Here’s a classic example of how one story turns into another with Elder Blackford:
We had another training for new missionaries on Thursday, learned a ton of new stuff, and this time got to talk with some Americans who just arrived in the field. It was awesome to feel that I had improved a lot since last time and I understood everything without any problems. The trains were stuffed full of people when we returned, and when I say stuffed, I mean like no room to breathe. This one guy tried to get in and we watched as he pushed as hard as he could to fit in, and the door closed partway on him, and he was yelling "Push push!" and then after 5 minutes of struggling security shoved him in. Yeah it was crazy.
It’s always good to hear that he’s feeling more confident with his Portuguese. While we weren’t really worried about him, learning a foreign language as quickly as missionaries do is not an easy feat! I’m glad he’s improving rapidly.

The longer Elder Blackford is there, the more it seems he isn’t hesitant at all to jump in and do something that isn’t typical here in America. For example…

We also helped with a road down in the favela sexta-feria. Here’s how they "redo" roads here. So first off, the road is a dirt road, with rocks and holes like 2 feet deep everywhere. It’s just a mess. Cars that drive on it can hardly get by. So here’s how they fix it: they have a giant dump truck drop in 3 spots along the road massive piles of wet cement. That’s how they fix it, then everyone in the favela runs out with shovels and spades and it’s their job to fix their road. So we were going to teach some people but because everyone was out in cement, we rolled up our pants, kicked off our shoes jumped in the pile of cement and went to work. It was pretty awesome. I was covered in cement. But we have some teenage friends that live on that road (investigators, kind of) and we washed up in their house so I don’t have photos. And it’s like their house. There’s like 6 kids that live there, and there’s always like 7 more that stay there the whole day. Their dad left them, and their mom works every day like 2 hours away, and she leaves at like 8 am and gets home like 10. So we have never seen/met her, but these kids run the house and keep it clean and all that. It’s nuts.

And the part of the letter that was most enthusiastic was this, “We have a baptism this Saturday! Maria-Aparacida (the lady with 80 cats at 12 dogs). We will go tomorrow to finish teaching everything, she only needs to finish drinking coffee, she has stopped drinking at home, and almost quit at work, so yeah let’s hope she quit completely now!”

Although this letter was a little short (in part because he sent pictures), it’s easy to see that Elder Blackford really doesn’t miss home…like at all! There is never the slightest hint of homesickness or regret in his letters. What a great example of a missionary!

Here are some pictures from his recent temple trip! (Which, might I add, was the first time he went to the temple and did a session all in Portuguese!)




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