Monday, January 27, 2014

First Week of Transfer 3!

Hey everyone!

So I can't believe this week has already gone by...it seriously feels like I was picking up Hna Wright yesterday from Tucson. She is AWESOME. We are a lot more alike than I expected, and we have fun and laugh all the time. Like everything about missionary work is fun with her, because we just get to be hyper and excited and then talk nonstop. We're getting better every day with our teaching - it's always a little rough to get the flow down at first, but it only took a couple days for us to get pretty solid. Hna Wright is from Virginia (just like Hna Johnson!!) and she has been out for 11 months...so she will hit her year mark with me and we'll party it up. Or we'll just go get ice cream with our district. Same difference as a missionary.

Can't wait for Shannon!!! She's going to love being a missionary and will be one of those sisters who everyone else wants to be companions with :)

This week was crazy!! We had the most member presents ever since I've been here, still got our 3 news, taught 24 lessons (our record was 21), and had TWO less actives come to church. None of our investigators came, which sucks, but I can't be that sad because Blanca came to sacrament meeting!! She walked in a couple minutes late so I waved at her to come sit with me and was so stoked! She left after that, but hey, we were so happy. We also literally saw almost every single less active we have in our area that I've met - we still have a couple to find, but that's what we'll do this week. We have some new investigators, so now we're teaching 3 families! Just gotta get people to church. And we need to set dates, because no one came to church so our dates dropped. But hey, we're pumped and ready to hit the pavement (well...gravel) and get people progressing!

The funniest thing that happened....man that's hard. Every day something funny happens, because Hna Wright and I are kinda crazy. Literally we just have fun 24/7.

Spiritual-wise...here's a cool miracle. We were trying so hard to hit SOEs this week (almost got there!) and called like 2 gazillion members trying to get someone out with us, and just as we were running out of people to try, one member called us back and had rearranged her plans so she could come with us!! We were like hey look blessings!! And it ended up that she bore a sick testimony of the Book of Mormon. Win!

Possession...yeah not actually possessed. Kinda disappointing...

Spiritual though of the week: Read Alma 40! I have been teaching the Plan of Salvation a lot recently and have fallen in love with this chapter.

Miss you and love you all!!

Hermana Blackford

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Transfer time again

Hey familia!

First things first, the baptism did go through! Pictures I will send like next week...sorry. I was so excited!! Elder Call baptized her and then on Sunday Elder Harper confirmed her. She was so happy. I've never seen her be so happy and she says she feels dumb because the last few days she hasn't been able to stop smiling! It was like the best day ever. Lourdes is so ready and excited to keep moving forward and learning more. The ward is amazing and just embraced her. She's already making friends and everyone loves her. Turns out some people really are more ready than we could ever know.
Here's the low down on transfers: I stayed in Rio Rico, which makes me so happy. But I really am going to miss Hna. Johnson. We worked so well together and I'm glad she's staying in the zone. I laugh because she says I came pre-trained but truth is she was an amazing trainer and I learned a lot from her. My new companion is Hna. Wright, also from Virginia. Haha. She's seems super sweet, and I've heard good things about her from Hna. Johnson so I think we'll get along just fine. Our whole district is sad to lose Hna. Johnson, and that always makes it hard for a new person - she's got big shoes to fill.

Let's see...oh yeah the children of one of our investigators might be possessed, so we're bringing the elders over there this week to get a second opinion. So I might have my first experience with casting out a devil. A little scary but also super cool. Definitely not something you come across every day.
I have no idea how long it takes for mail to get here. Like 4 or 5 days, depending on if you send it straight to me or through the mission office.

I got super sick on Sunday. It was no fun. Now it's just like I have a cold. But Sunday after church I went home and slept for two hours, then we went to dinner and the members there insisted that I get a blessing from the elders so we texted President and got permission for me to get a blessing. I didn't get worse, which was what the blessing promised, so that's cool.

We are teaching the smartest 10 year old I've ever met. Her name is Daisy, and she literally remembers EVERYTHING we teach her, keeps her commitments and is genuinely excited about learning about God. We did the PoS lesson with her on Tuesday last week and drew it out on her back patio with chalk. Hna. Johnson was gone on exchanges that day, and when we saw Daisy again on Friday, she asked her about the lesson she had missed. Daisy stands up, runs to the chalk drawing, and explains the PoS PERFECTLY, including spirit prison and paradise, that we get perfect bodies when we're resurrected, what type of people go to which kingdom, and that God lives in the celestial kingdom. We literally didn't even know what to say. Most members couldn't explain the PoS as clearly and correctly as this little girl did. It was incredible. She is so prepared. She has a baptismal date for next month. She still needs to come to church enough times, but that shouldn't be an issue. Her grandma is a less active, and had requested that we start teaching Daisy. So it's awesome.
Well I'm pretty much out of time.

Miss and love you all!!

-Hermana Blackford

Monday, January 13, 2014

Last Week of the Transfer!

Buenos Dias!!

Oh my goodness no puedo creer that this is the last week of the transfer! It has gone by SO fast. In 1 week I won't be a greenie anymore, and in 3 days I turn 3!! (Also this means I won't email until Tuesday next week.)
Alright today I have more time to email, so let me answer all the questions y'all sent and tell you the most exciting news of my mission so far!
The Gilbert temple - not in our mission...the only temple is still the Gila Valley. And not in our mission = we don't go. BUT the members are excited to have another temple. Hopefully some are going to the open house...
The Spanish branch and English ward actually used to be combined 100%, so yeah they get along super well. The youth and Primary are always together still. It's super fun to have both.
Grandma asked if we still do lots of service, and it's sad to say, but as of late, the answer is no. We haven't had time and there have been fewer opportunities. Turns out when you do hours and hours every week, eventually people start to run out of things for you to do...
As for great contacts...we had a rough week finding new investigators. Hopefully this week will be better.
Before I tell my good stories...here's a sad one. Yesterday we went to Phoenix (like our whole mission got bussed up there) because Elder Holland was supposed to come and speak, but Friday we found out he wasn't coming and a member of the 70 came. It was good, but not the same as Holland. And it was a long, expensive trip. We were all so bummed... 

Funny story...this will explain why as Spanish missionaries we always talk about why we don't like white people. We went to see if we could find this former investigator, but they weren't home. Another former lived not too far away, and since we had like 30ish minutes, I suggested we walk down the street instead of driving there. As we walked we met two people. the first was a white man, probably in his 60s, who was working on his car. We walked up to him and started talking to him, but all he wanted to do was bash on Obama. He told us that if we want to do something useful, we should assassinate Obama and then we can come back and talk to him. He also told us to go find someone who actually cares about our message. It was super funny because he wasn't rude, just crazy. We then continued walking, and the next guy we saw was also a man in his 60s, but he was Mexican (doesn't even speak English). We talked to him for a little bit, and he was super friendly and of course accepted a LdM (most Mexicans are pretty open to talk to us). He was like "Oh I can read this at night! I live alone and don't have anything to do when I get home from work." He also said he wants to come to English class and asked us when we have our church services. Not that he showed up yesterday, but who knows maybe he'll come to English class. Either way, he was so much cooler than the crazy white guy.
Best 2 things from this week let's see...
First is THE BEST THING OF MY MISSION!! We have a baptism on Friday!!! For realz. So I don't think I've told you anything about this investigator. Her name is Lourdes, and she is the girlfriend of a recent convert. The sisters started seeing her like 5 months ago, but she was only curious and said that she wouldn't ever be baptized (haha that was her first mistake). She was a pretty devout Catholic. And was not about to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. She was like this until about 2 weeks ago. Lourdes hadn't really been reading the Book of Mormon, so we decided that there was 0 point in teaching anything to her anymore until she read it. So we started reading with her, especially since she was having a hard time understanding it. We got through chapter 7 with her, and it was super good. As we were reading (she just told us this), a comment Elder Whitman had made to her before he left kept going through her mind - about Joseph Smith not having an education. We kept reading, and she realized that there was no way he could have written it. One night, she even went on a little 5 minute tangent on how exciting the BoM is and that she wanted to keep reading to know what happens to Nephi. It was pretty awesome. Then last (like a week ago) Sunday she met with the Bishop because she wanted to get to know him. In the middle of their meeting, he suddenly leaned forward and asked her if she believed Joseph Smith was a prophet. Before she even realized what she was saying, she blurted out "Yes!" He asked if she would be baptized, and she said yes again and then he told her to talk to us. We saw her the next day and she told us she wants to be baptized as soon as possible and that she is making this a change for life - that she's 100% in and it's for her and her baby, not for her boyfriend. It was incredible and we didn't even know what to say! We were SO excited. At church yesterday, the difference in her was like night and day. Previously at church she was super quiet and not outgoing, but yesterday she was chatting with people and smiling and sat with Sis. Duarte (who came with us to visit her last week) through every meeting. Those two are practically BFFs already and Hna Johnson and I were so happy to see Lourdes seem so much more comfortable. Several sisters asked us in Relief Society more about her and everyone has been very welcoming. First baptism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My other best thing was that we got to see our favorite less active - Blanca - twice last week!! The first time was because last week SHE told US we should come over Wednesday to help her take down her Christmas tree (we decorated it with her a month ago). So we did, and it was fun because we dragged the tree outside and burned it. BIG flames. Then we shared a message, and as we were leaving asked if she wanted to feed 4 hungry missionaries the next day (because we and the Rio Rico elders didn't have dinner). To our surprise she said yes, and then invited her less-active sister to come too! Haha it was awesome! Blanca is such a mom to us sometimes too. She always gets after me for not wearing sweaters...
Another cool story about another less active named Pamela! We stopped by her house on Friday, but she didn't have time for a messge because she was on her way to work, but we chatted for a couple minutes and she told us we should come next week, and made sure we had her phone number so we could call. Then, she was at church on Sunday (what!?) and told Hna. Johnson her work schedule so that we could know when to come. (This was the sister we had a miracle blessing with about 6ish weeks ago where all our plans and the elders plans fell through one night and we showed up as our last attempt to see someone, she actually opened the door, we called they elders and they gave her a blessing.) Which means we will get to see her this week again! She's super sweet and has the cutest little girl. 

Wow this email is like a novel! But it was an awesome week. Also so I thought I was doing good about being really calm and not hyper or over-enthusiastic on my mission....turns out that might not be the case. The bishop made fun of me yesterday for being so excited and when I said something to my companion and the Rio Rico elders they laughed and said I'm excited about everything. I told them I thought I was being super calm and they looked at me like I was crazy. But I swear I'm calmer than at home!
Well I think that's all I got for now.
K, love you bye!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Feliz Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos!

Heeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyy everyone!

I swear every week it gets harder to think about what to say...now I understand why the longer people are out the less they write. It's not that less happens or even that they have less time....it's just you sit down at the computer screen and stare at it like, "Well....what to say..."
New Year's wasn't all that exciting...we had to be home by 8 so....yeah. BUT we get to share the sick Mormon Message about Lot's wife and the New Year and Sis. Johnson and I made up our own New Year's scripture message (BAM!). Haha we talked about how we always steal ideas from other people for messages, but this time we came up with our own!! We used the scriptures in Alma that talk about the people of Ammon/Anti-Nephi-Lehis "laying down their weapons of rebellion" and stuff and then we talk about how we all have weapons of rebellion - the little things we do that we shouldn't or don't do that we should - and how this year is the time to lay them down. It ends up being pretty cool.

If I ever get up to North Tucson I will totally go see Lora!!
Haha SUPER funny about the sisters....I mean really? They were that freaked out? Please, drunk people aren't that scary.  I guess it's a good thing they aren't serving outside the US. Or even here. I wonder if they would have freaked out about seeing a huge group of illegals at 6:30 in the morning outside their house or being followed by a pack of javelinas.

Apparently our little bread miracle was passed around the ward. Our ward mission leader was out of town and when he came back was like "I heard the coolest story about you sisters!" I guess the bishop told him what had happened. Now everyone is like "Wow the missionaries really do have the Spirit!" Turns out that we would be the worst missionaries every if we didn't have it....
Which reminds me I went on an exchange this week while Hna. Johnson was at MLC and I learned how important companionship unity is and that she and I actually really have amazing unity. Because while on this exchange I may have taught 4 lessons and contacted people for over an hour, I literally didn't feel the Spirit and there was 0 comp unity with this sister. It's kinda funny (and bad), but I keep learning that I'm doing good by going on exchanges and realizing how well Hna Johnson and I actually work together.

I also am learning so much better to recognize promptings from the Spirit. We had an appointment with one of our investigators tonight, but we were going to cancel because something else came up. This morning I told Hna Johnson that we HAD to, because I've had the strongest feelings about her lately and then an elder who used to serve here (now he's in the east) texted last night and asked about her. He said he had an impression that something important had happened - so sounds like he's getting the same feelings I am. So we rearranged and texted her to see if we could move our appointment back by 30 minutes. She responded and said that was fine, and she has some big news. We're pretty sure one of our investigators is going to tell us tonight that she wants to be baptized - because our last few lessons with her have been pretty powerful and she met with the bishop yesterday. BAM. Totally was feeling the Spirit and I'm so glad I spoke up to say we have to see her today. I have never been so anxious in my LIFE for pday to end...

Love and miss you all!!

Hermana Blackford