Questions & Answers:
Q: Is 19 the age for young men to go on missions? Some countries have slightly different age requirements.
A: Great question! The answer is yes, here in Brazil you can go on a mission with 18 years of age.
Q: What about young women? Do you know if many women go?
A: It’s still 21, and there are some sisters here. It’s about the same ratio as the United States.
Q: Any more to tell us about Elder Lopes? (You said from northern Brazil and recent convert)
A: Sure! Let’s see, he is from the city Natal! (That means Christmas!). And it’s very hot there. Uhh...his family isn’t members, just him. His mom just started a bit ago to go to church…but it will be a while before she gets baptized because she’s living with some dude who got married with some other lady who doesn’t like him so she is like “No! I won’t divorce you so you can re-marry.” So basically she can’t get baptized. You wouldn’t believe how many people here aren’t legally married (about 6/7 of couples).
Q: How often do you get to go to the temple?
A: Every 2 transfers each zone goes to the temple, so I will go again near the end of this transfer.
Q: Are there very many youth in the ward?
A: Uhh, 5 active boys and 6 active girls. And that’s because we baptized 1 of the girls (Larissa) and we will have 1 more boy!
Elder Blackford’s English is quickly getting worse and worse, especially when it comes to sentence structure. Even he realizes it. He said, “So anyways I’m officially letting you know that I am really losing my ability to speak English. It is already getting hard. Elder Lopes wanted me to do a prayer in English, and I gave up, I couldn’t remember the wording to say prayers, so after like 20 seconds of not remembering I just finished in Portuguese.”
Here’s the update with all the investigators:
This week went fantastic, let’s see, we had the whole teaching Gina, and yesterday (Sunday) we had the baptism interviews, and everyone passed yey! So now Saturday will be the baptism. let’s see, Elder Lopes will baptize Ezekiel and Italo and Gina and I will baptize Gabriel and Oriel and this other little dude who I don’t know his name (I can’t remember) [his mom is active].
Let’s see, Gina is still bringing lots of people to her house for our lessons, wow she has a super strong testimony! And the other day she brought this "young man" vamos Dizer Assim. So anyways he is like a pastor, and he’s nuts. He wasn’t even there to "bible bash" he just wanted to spout off nonsense it was ridiculous. You know that person that walks in starts quoting scriptures that have nothing to do with the conversation? yeah it was so funny because Gina flipped on him and tried to explain to him that his church was of the devil and stuff, we just sat there while in our heads thinking (go go go go go!) so funny, but anyways one day I’ll explain more about this kid for you it was classic.
We have some other people progressing, mainly Manuel, the problem with him is marriage, he has to get married, in which it’s still ridiculous because his wife is like dedicated to her church (which is one of the psycho ones but whatever) but the funny thing is that they at least have rules there too, and I was like wait, did you get baptized in your church without getting married legally? And she was like yeah...I know what I did is wrong but I wanted to do it so I lied.
Anyways they want to get married and probably in 2 weeks…but anyways he knows the church is true and all, he’s gone to church 4 times, and we have almost taught him everything, it’s just marriage. In 5 weeks of teaching him, he’s already in 3 Nefi, which is like a lot of reading. He loves it; he took a principles of the gospel book? [He means a Gospel Principles book.] I don’t know what it is in English. But anyways he wants to read that too to learn more. So he is GREAT and he is trying to get his kids (he has 5) to go too, but it’s a process cause they go to church with mom. And he’s super goofy, so it’s kinda hard to take him seriously.
Since this was Elder Blackford’s birthday, he was excited to tell us “In the ward we had a parrrtaay, for me! Had cake and stuff was super yum!” Then he finished his letter with, “Lots going on, and lots to do here. Loving the mission and all that, thanks for all the birthday wishes! I will eat cake for everyone!”