Questions & Answers
Q: Is attendance at stake conference very good?
A: well this stake conference was BOSS! So I thought it was like normal, but it wasn’t, it was a regional conference (the every 5 years one) and it is for all Brazil. Guess who spoke! Elder Anderson (he’s over Brazil and speaks Portuguese so yeah always him) and then there’s the Profeta Thomas S. Monson. It was a great conference, I understood a good part of it, and so I was enjoying it.
Q: Do very many members of the ward have cars? (Estimate in 7ths ?)
A: 1/7. (That’s an overstatement as well; it’s actually a little less)
Q: Dad wants to know if there is cereal you like and eat.
A: yeah there’s like regular frosted flakes and stuff like that, the problem is it’s about 7$ (usd) for a small box. So psssh, cereal is so expensive, and the milk is too it’s not really worth the time, so we just go for blended fruits for breakfast.
Q: Service – are the elders involved much in service for ward members? If yes, what kinds of things do you do?
A: there’s not much to do since nobody has a yard... if there was service, we would do it.
Q: Do people move in and out of the area much? Or do people stay put for the most part?
A: it’s about the same as the United States. People don’t like to move, and generally everyone lives within the same area they grew up, you get plenty of people who move here and there renting houses, but for the most part people don’t like to move. Some families here have been here 50+ years. So yeah it’s not really any different. Tons of people are still moving to São Paulo because of the lack of work outside of it so there are people from all over Brazil with accents impossible to understand!
Wooo 1/4 mark yeah! It’s all exciting and great, but time flies so fast, I can’t count the days that I have been here. I’m still nowhere near fluent, but I can hold my own just fine, talk with people and understand most of what they say. Like I’ve said when they talk just to me, and use normal language and don’t throw too many complex stuff I can get by just fine. The members are saying that I am starting to lose my accent.
Since Elder Blackford is losing his English accent when he speaks Portuguese, I wonder if his English will have an accent for a short time when he returns…
Because this week was a conference, and next week there isn’t church (because everyone with temple recommends will go to the chapel next week to watch via satellite the dedication of the temple in Manaus (I think that’s how you spell it) and it will be great. But no investigator can go... so yeah. But Sunday after the conference we had 2 baptisms Erlan and Larissa, as well as her cousin and another ladyElder Crandall baptized Erlan, but Erlan refused to wear the macacão (I don’t know what it’s called in English, the white baptism clothes?) but anyways so he wore my pants and shirt and tie combo (to be baptized) and I wore the macacão to baptize Larissa. WHICH SHE DIDNT TELL ME AHEAD OF TIME! Yeah so we figured it was going to be this other person to baptize her in the other ward with her cousins and stuff, but then we got there and she was like oh no I decided you will do it. So I had to change back into my church clothes with dripping wet garments. Good thing it’s still hot out haha.
It went great, we (me, Elder Summerhaze, Crandall and Larson) sang "Quando for Batizado" or "I Like to Look for Rainbows." It actually translates really well; it just makes more sense to name it after baptism in Portuguese. It rocked. I made up a base harmony for the song.
Elder Blackford has a natural talent for singing, and since he’s left he’s had lots of opportunities to use it. He even led a little MTC choir. He says, “Yeah by the way my singing has gotten even better! Like the 30 most commonly sung hymns I can sing the base part like perfectly without a piano or anyone else. I’m even learning the parts like I just make it up and guess while someone else sings and after a while I get it.”
We have so many people were teaching right now—no one close to baptism— but a couple that are possible the end of this month. One family would be great, it’s a mom (age 33) with 5 kids (all boys) ages 13, 11,10,8 and 4. They are a great family, and Gina (the mom) has had a lot of experiences with lots of churches. It’s been a little different to teach her and she is super sporadic and goes off on crazy tangents. But she likes the book of Mormon, and has already stopped with coffee. She had a dream about coffee where she was told she had to stop, and now she doesn’t even have desire to drink it anymore.
Yeah lots of people in Brazil have dreams that are like revelation for them. It’s so hard to relate but I would say about 25% of people at church if you ask them about their conversion they will tell you they had a dream about something and because of it they got baptized. It’s weird. In my dreams I kill penguins with swords and stuff. So yeah…
It’s really interesting how these people have dreams that are meaningful to them. My dad, who served a mission in Mexico, has often told us how many people there have had dreams where they have seen Jesus or other types of revelation like Gina and her coffee. Do I doubt that these people have dreams that are revelation or spiritual? Absolutely not. But it is a foreign concept to most of us. I for one understand Elder Blackford’s side. In my dreams, I have to save my family from dinosaurs.
Also, this was Elder Crandall's last week because he will be transferred! So we'll have a new companion to learn about soon.