Q: How are Gina and her boys doing? Would be so good if they got entrenched quickly. So neat that so many people were at their baptisms. And wow: lots of investigators there.
A: They are doing AWESOME. We had lunch with them today, it was fun. Everyone really loves church and stuff so that helps. Today was kind of sad on the inside for me though. Uriel did the last prayer before we left, and as always it’s hard to keep everyone quiet during prayer but he asked “If we would stay longer and not be transferred especially Elder Blackford because I love him so much." And then Israel (4 year old) piped in with his little 4 year old voice "Ask God if he can live with us!" But yeah they are a really special family, and they will bring others to a knowledge of the truth. No doubt.
Q: Other investigator updates?
A: Yeah, so we had a lot of people who we were teaching but pretty much no one was progressing, so we cut at least 20 people from our group and we started over from almost ground 0. More like ground 1/7. And anyways we went to this road that is as far away from the rest of our area as possible, I went there a few times with Elder Crandall but no one wanted to hear our message. So the other day when planning me felt impressed to go there again, and it’s been 2 months since we went to that road (it’s really out of the way). The last house we entered and taught a family. We only taught the mom and her daughter, Cassia. Cassia is 22 with a son of 6. And we taught the 3rd lesson like normal (faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, endure to the end) and we challenged them to be baptized this month, and they said they will see about it but accepted. We came back the next day and taught with Erlan (recent convert) and talked about the Restoration. We invited her to church and Erlan he gave such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon; it was perfect. Cassia’s mom had to work, but she went to church, and she loved it. We went to her house today, we taught the 10 Commandments, and we asked her brother, Carlos who has 13 years, about baptism at the end, without even talking about it. We said "Your sister is preparing to be baptized on the 28th, will you prepare to be baptized as well?" He looks at her and is like “Really you’re going to go baptized?" and she said "Yup I will!" with a voice of excitement, and Carlos replied "Well then I will too!"
So yup...that was today, and so now we just got to keep it up. So that’s the news on new investigators.
Q: Are there fruits and vegetables that you don’t see now that it is winter there? Just wondering if you there is some seasonal items just like we have more things available in the summer here.
A: Yeah I don’t think so...but I haven’t really paid a lot of attention. But I do know I’m allergic to a type of bananas.
Q: Do you feel pretty certain that you will be transferred this next time? When is the next transfer?
A: Yeah I’m pretty sure I will be transferred, and the next transfers are in 8 days, so yeah in a little bit I’m probably getting transferred I’ll let you guys know next week what will happen. It’s a little complicated because one of the sisters that was in Novo Ja is going home right now (problems in the knee) and so the other one will be put in a triple. So this ward used to be part of our area, and when Elder Crandall was here he had to work with both wards, and in both areas but it was really annoying and difficult. And so they split it. Anyways we will take over the area this week and take over the investigators of the sisters, and so possibly one of us might stay in their area and the other in Lucia so that way we can lead the area, which would be better than just dropping off another pair of missionaries that don’t know anything (because I know the area pretty well). So president will call probably tonight or tomorrow and we will talk about what will happen, and I will try to ask to at least stay in Novo Ja and that way I can do splits with the missionaries in Lucia to see people but at least that’s what I’m going to try to do haha. We will see how it goes.
Q: Is Elder Lopes getting more comfortable with the responsibilities of a district leader?
A: Yeah I think so. He has started to get it down pretty well. He still has a lot to learn…but he is getting the routine down. He also has learned a lot about asking people to do what you do, you know don’t be a hypocrite. So when he tells the others "You need to do your street contacts" he has to be doing them as well. Because of this he has really been improving his attitude. Also I have been teaching him Old Testament stories. He never learned them. And I was surprised and how much I knew and remembered, I thought I knew nothing but I was able to talk a lot and help him learn stories. Story of Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Job, Daniel (Shad rack Meshach and Abednego?) and yeah lots and lots of stories so yeah it’s been kind of fun to relearn the stories.
Here’s a cool story that is definitely NOT like anything we really experience here in the US:
So church this Sunday...was a little different. So normally we chill at the school, it kind of stinks at times but we get by. But Sunday 20 minutes before church starts the cell phone rings, I look down...”Bishop?” I answer and it went a little like this.
"Hi bishop how goes it?"
"Hey Elder car black! (carro preto)"
"Tell me what’s up."
"So the school won’t work today."
"What do you mean won’t work?"
"Yeah it won’t work, so church is at Vagners house"
"Yeah bro this aint no joke." (This part actually in English because he speaks broken missionary English).
"So sacrament meeting will be at Vagners house?"
"Yeah that’s right, see you there."
Elder Lopes: "What about church?"
"Yeah it’s at Vagners house..."
"Sure you understood right?"
Anyways so we had church at Vagners house. They have a tiny little patio thingy about the house where they normally hang clothes. We put like 60 people there, most of us standing, and we had sacrament meeting outside, in the rain, freezing cold. And it was Cassias first time. So all and all it was great. What an experience, eh? But it was super cool.
And of course we can’t forget the random little side stories that…don’t really have much of a story but are funny, “Also Saturday night we had a ward party...there was like a pool and stuff, music dancing, candy, games it was awesome. We had a few people there, and a bunch of recent converts. So yeah it was fun. I wore a fake mustache, I was cool.” Oh, Elder Blackford.