Questions & Answers:
Q: Do you see any differences in how the ward runs to accommodate the local people and circumstances?
A: Yeah, the bishopric almost all other men in the ward are under-trained for their callings. I love them, they have great hearts and strong testimonies, but for a lot of them they don’t understand a lot of things still, and they are put in leadership positions without having a lot of training. So the bishopric ends up doing a lot more because there are so many converts who never served missions and it’s just harder. There is a lot of dependence on a few key people, but it’s getting there.
Q: Keagan asks if you have seen any pretty girls. (We know you aren’t really looking at the girls.)
A: Well of course, it is Brazil.
Q: Do you have to hang your clothes out to dry? It seems you had a washer but not a dryer.
A: Yup, no one has a dryer because it sucks a lot of energy. All the lights in our house dim like 25% just from running the shower, so imagine a dryer. The amount of energy you can consume in a house is very low.
Q: Do very many of the members (or people in your area) have a computer?
A: Depends, in the favella almost no one has a computer, everywhere else it’s like 1/3 or so of people have a computer, it’s not uncommon.
Q: Have you missed any of the technology that you were used to having every day?
A: Uhh not really. The only thing that would be better is a better plan for phones, due to a large amount of phone misuse we only have 60 seconds a day to talk on the phone, and that’s relatively speaking. For example we can buy "phone cards" there’s a lot of like phone booth things all over São Paulo. You buy like this credit phone card and can do calls. Here’s how it works, it’s about $3 for a 20 credit card. If you call to a fixed line (like home phone) about 2 min will use up one credit. It’s great. If you call to a cell phone about 8 seconds will use up one credit.
This week was an exciting week for Elder Blackford. They finally had the baptism of Maria Aparecida Lopez de Olivera, and Elder Blackford was the one who baptized her! He says, “. I was super nervous, but I said everything right and it went smooth. It was a great experience. It was good to see her finally get baptized.”
Elder Blackford told us that they may have some more baptisms during the upcoming week, but that the next two Sundays will be different because of stake conference and then the dedication of the new temple in Brazil. However, some of their investigators are well on their way to being prepared to enter the waters of baptism.
But Erlan is almost ready for baptism; wow he is such a great person. His life has flipped around, and he is making such a huge change. He hasn’t drank or smoked or had coffee, he burned a large amount of inappropriate materials, and the only thing that he has left will be tricky. He starts work again the 31st, he has had 4 weeks off of work as a break, but when he gets back he has some stuff to return, so if he doesn’t go to prison, he will be baptized soon, if he does we will wait until he gets out to do it. Can you imagine? Literally facing the chance of going to jail just to be baptized. I find it amazing how willing he is to do it all, without hesitation. Right now the biggest thing he wants in his life is to serve a mission, he is already asking us if he can go do visits with us. And since we are waiting on one more things to clear up, we have started teaching him the lessons again, and how he can teach them. He will be an example to keep his family strong, and help the rest of them eventually be baptized.
Also, at the end of this week, it is very likely that Elder Crandall will be transferred! I know Elder Blackford will miss him, but will have great experiences with his new companion.