Thursday, February 7, 2013

Christmas 2012 Skype Visit

We did get a 30 second pre-Christmas phone call. Elder Blackford called a couple of days before Christmas and quickly told us what time to log on and to make sure Dad’s skype account was all ready.

Elder Blackford’s skype call came in the middle of opening Christmas presents but it was a welcome interruption. We got to visit for a full hour. The connection had some problems but we still enjoyed seeing him and hearing him.  A church member offered to let him use her computer and internet connection even though she wasn’t home. We appreciate the members who help out with the skype visits.
Since Elder Blackford’s companion was not planning to skype with his family they did a companion exchange. The other Elder with him for the call asked if Alan would speak some Spanish so he could hear….he seemed satisfied that Elder Blackford’s dad really could speak Spanish.
We didn’t have to ask Elder Blackford if it was hot there. We could see he was feeling rather toasty. J Air conditioning just doesn’t exist ….too energy consuming and energy is very costly. He also said that virtually nobody has clothes dryers….again, it costs too much. Elder Blackford is not a fan of the heat, or humidity, so that part isn’t so great. If you read his other letters you will occasionally find he mentions how hot it gets there.
Elder Blackford’s accent is definitely thicker than when we talked to him on Mother’s Day. When Portuguese words would slip into his sentences he didn’t even know it most of the time. Sometimes we would chuckle and then he would ask if he said it wrong. Even in English he was often using the grammar structure for Portuguese….which, again, we found amusing.
Much of our visit was hearing about what it’s like there and the work he is doing. The area where he is serving is the next ward over from where he started so the conditions are similar - very low income. He and his companion have had many people to teach and have had a fair number of investigators who decide to be baptized. Elder Blackford definitely gets excited when there is a baptism. We didn’t have much interesting news for him as he had for us.
The inconveniences and frustration of mission life definitely do not overshadow the enjoyment Elder Blackford is getting from his mission. He clearly loves being in Brazil and serving the people there. His mission is just over half way done. None of us can believe how quickly the time has gone. He is very engaged in the work and his enthusiasm is still at his usual high level.
We are so glad he has this opportunity and seeing his growth is fantastic.
He sent love to all and a request for letters. Mail is still exciting even when they can get email. J So everyone write letters!

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