Monday, February 24, 2014

The Week I Didn't Get Rabies

Hey hey!

So this week was a bit weird...like it was forever long yet super short. And now I only have one week left of the transfer. Dang! Next time I email it will probably be from another area!! But we'll see; transfer calls come Sunday night and Tuesday is transfers.

The less active guy (and his wife) didn't come to church yesterday, but we're going to try to see them this week and see if we can't fix that :) That was such a cool experience...I wrote about it to Pres and he even talked about it when I had interviews with him last Wednesday. Speaking of interviews, during mine he said, "Sister Blackford, I think that you're just one of those missionaries who will be happy wherever she goes no matter what the area is like," or something like that. Basically then he told me how he thinks I love everyone and everything. Which is sorta true (my comp laughs because everything/everyone is my "favorite"), but makes me think my next area will be English and a bike area. A ver!

The kid that said he missed church dropped us...ugh. Sad day. Welcome to missionary life though.

Grandma asked if there is a lesson I like teaching most and the answer is that it depends. I LOVE teaching the first lesson because the Spirit is so strong whenever we share the First Vision. But I also really like teaching lesson 3, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it clicks with anyone with a Christian background and helps them see that Mormons are actually not as weird as they thought. 

Today for p-day we'll head up to Tucson as soon as we finish emailing. Then we have exchanges tonight to tomorrow night. I'm stoked! It's "The Day" and this time the focus is on asking for referrals. I'm getting a sister that I don't really know, but heard she's super nice. She's coming here with me :)
 
Next Sunday is the Gilbert temple dedication!! We get to see it and so I'm excited. It's the second temple dedication I get to see! Win!

Trying to think of a cool story...oh yeah! I got bit by a dog last week. Freakin' chihuahua. I've got a nasty bruise and it sorta bled a bit when it happened. And now there's a orange-green-yellow-blue bruise and a scab. I hate those dogs. I wanted to punt it. But it was a member's dog. On the plus side it's been a great conversation starter! Everyone's like "What happened to your leg?" For a day I was pretty sure I'd get rabies, but I didn't.

Also got my first haircut of the mission this morning! One of the hermanas from the branch has been cutting hair for like 20 years and will do it for free for the missionaries :) I've got some awesome Mexican layers going on too. But for real I really like it (at least so far) and my ends were super dead because it's so dry here and now my hair feels happy.

The end.

Hermana Blackford

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

4 months!!

Buenos Dias!

 I am ridiculously short on time today, but I can't believe I've been out 4 months! Time flies by...especially because we're super busy!

Thanks so much for the package! I'm nice so I share the chocolate and mangos with my district, so everyone is like yay!

So about language study: President is strict. 1 hour every single day (except p-days!) your whole mission.

We substitute some times for Gospel Doctrine, but missionaries can't be with kids so we can't do Primary (no matter how many times they ask).

Yesterday for P-day we went out to this mine and explored - super fun! I'm a little banged up from the army crawling and such, but it was worth it! Hopefully Lucano posts the picture on Facebook of the 4 of us hermanas that went! There was us 4, 4 elders, and 2 young men. Adventure!

Here's my miracle for the week: Because of mile cuts, we borrowed some bikes from some members and are trying to use them to save a few miles. On Saturday we had blocked out a couple hours where we would be on our bikes. We were near a street where one of our investigators and a less active couple lives. We stopped by our investigators house and got some water and talked with her daughter, and then decided we would knock on the less active's door. Normally they don't answer and the couple times that the husband has answered his wife hasn't been home. This couple was very active until less than a year ago, and since then has not been to church or allowed missionaries in. But we knocked on the door, and to our surprise it opened. A friend of the husband opened the door, told the husband we were there, and then he came out and said his wife was asleep, but offered us water. We stepped inside and he gave us water bottles and started some small talk, asking about where we're from, how long we'd been on our missions, why we were biking, etc. He even offered us some hamburgers he'd just been grilling! We talked with him and his friend for about 15 minutes before leaving. Nothing was said about church or anything, except we mentioned we'd love to meet his wife sometime. The next day, we were shocked when we came out of branch sacrament meeting to see this man standing in the foyer talking with some of the ward members. He came for all three hours of church! Hopefully we can visit them soon, and we keep praying he comes back next week. All of this because he felt pity for the Hermanas on bikes. Maybe mile cuts were more of a blessing than we realized. Plus as saddle sore as I was for a couple days, it's getting better and oh man is it getting us in shape!

Okay one more cool story: so we've been focusing on our finding a lot this transfer to build up our teaching pool and so we could drop investigators that weren't progressing. On Sunday, less than an hour before dinner, we had 2 news (weekly goal is 3) and all our potentials didn't play out. We were like shoot! So now we have like 20 minutes and we decided we couldn't go to dinner until we got our new (we report our weeks on Sunday nights). Hna Wright was like "Let's knock this house!" which was a neighbor to an investigator and so we did. No one was home. Then I was like "Wait...we knocked the wrong one. We need to knock the one across the street." So we did and bada-bing! The kid that opened said he misses going to church and was interested in listening to us. Turns out when you have faith and do all you can, the Lord blesses you to reach your goals. And we were even a few minutes early to dinner :)

Miss and love you all!

Hermana Blackford

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

No Snow in Arizona!

Buenos Dias familia!

Snow at home?? I'm jealous...we don't have snow. We only have sun, sun, and more sun. Which actually is super good for me with the whole sleeping thing, but I wanted snow too. So yes, I definitely miss winter. Everyone here still thinks I'm crazy for not wearing sweaters at night, but it's like only in the 50s....
First of all, Pres wants us to ask everyone back home if there is anyone they know who lives in the Tucson Mission who we can send the missionaries too! Our mission is working really hard on referrals right now, and part of asking everyone is asking you guys! So do you know anyone that lives down here? Because I know an awesome set of missionaries we can send to them :)

Okay so I got 437856705386 gazillion questions from Mom and Braden
(thank GOODNESS or I would not know what to write to you guys) so here we go:
Tracting in my area is a JOKE! Like there are all of maybe 5 streets you can tract because otherwise you have to drive from house to house. So we almost never do it - it's solidly the most inefficient way of finding in our area. We box knock (like knock houses around the houses we visit) and talk to people we see on the street (all 2 a day). Basically finding here sucks and is super hard if we don't get referrals. Which we don't. But it's getting a lot better!

Family that's pretty involved with us...well there's a couple. There's the Johnstons, who we see a ton, mostly because we're helping them move and stuff, but we started calling Sis. Johnston "Ma." She came with us to a lesson last week for a family she referred us to :) Sis. Richens comes out with us a lot, and Sis. Duarte is like one of the best member missionaries ever, but we're not super involved with everyone's families...I don't know how to explain it. Honestly us sisters are pretty tight with everyone, but we still struggle to get people out with us.
Okay Braden, here's our SOEs:

5 member presents
3 news
2 progressing

and it also used to be 20 lessons (total) but they took that away...but it still is kinda part of it
Our mission president is SICK. Like he looks like Uchtdorf and should be an apostle someday. He's really the coolest guy ever. Super funny, big voice, really nice, but scary when he's mad. Our focus is "baptivating" or en espanol, "bautivarse" which is baptism + reactivation. Our mission goal is 150 baptivisms, 75 each. That is our focus. But with zone trainings and stuff they really emphasized baptizing into activity, not into inactivity.

First Vision we do word for word, super slow and powerful. I get the chills every time I recite it. And people cry a lot when we say it and then are like "Why am I crying!?"
We teach the PoS a TON!! We love to teach it to families, because it gets them excited about the gospel together :)

We have a mission song! It was written/composed by an elder a few years ago. Maybe you can find it on Google...the Arizona Tucson Mission Song. Haha
We are very strict on not entering a house that doesn't have another female in it who is at least 16. I don't know if it's the same for elders, but for sisters here it's pretty important. We sit outside with people and have lessons sometimes because of that haha.

Exercise = heck yes we do!! I would go crazy if I didn't. We drive ALL day, so...Jillian Michaels or running every day. And sometimes in the evenings I'll do an ab workout too. Don't wanna be a fat sister...haha why do you think so many come home like 30 lbs heavier? Turns out there's a reason why they ask us to exercise in the morning. Definitely consequences if you don't.
We pray in English like every day, but only with ward members. All my personal and comp prayers are Spanish. But the ward members speak English so...yeah. We work a lot with the Spanish branch though.

We don't have a mission standard for accepting baptismal dates...it's just up to us to determine when to drop people. Which sucks and I went through that for the first time this week.

As for churros, I haven't had a single one. That had literally never crossed my mind until now.
I don't really know the APs anymore...Elders Hansen and Berry were the ones when I came out and have since stepped down. Elder Wasden (the Spanish AP) seems super tight but I don't even know the other one, probably because I don't ever see English missionaries. I've only seen him once.

Our zone goal is to contact 10 people a day, but we rarely ever make that...we get like 5-8 usually. Turns out you have to see people to talk to anyone.
I haven't memorized the commitments or remember this, but I'm pretty familiar with them. I should memorize them though...that's actually a good idea. Mostly I just memorize the scripture of the week in English and Spanish.

Lesson 5 I am teaching for the first time ever with our RC Lourdes! So it's new for me :)
Our miles got cut!!! We are not exactly sure how we're supposed to do missionary work with 600 less miles...so yeah. We're begging members to 1) come out with us to appointments and now 2) drive us to said appointments. And we got bikes! Well...borrowed bikes from the members we live with. Saturday we saved 20 miles...and I'm still saddle sore. If you've seen Google Earth, you'd see that our area isn't exactly flat and that biking is ridiculous and super inefficient, but we'll use them a little just to prove a point and hopefully get miles back. In the meantime our thighs are getting super buff.

To end on a more spiritual note, I'm starting to appreciate how often as missionaries we get random inspiration. Because we need it - for everything. This week some promptings have ranged from looking down at the gas tank gauge (which I need to learn to do more often) Saturday night and realizing we need gas to suddenly remembering the reference to the perfect scripture in the middle of a lesson to knowing when to stop by an investigators house just as she was having a mental breakdown. It's weird how I'm really coming to fully understand the scripture on my plaque (Alma 26:12) through these experiences. I definitely used to wonder how it is missionaries don't brag about all the amazing things that happened on their mission, but now I realize that the most incredible and powerful experiences are also the most humbling. After those experiences, the only thing I can think is that there is absolutely no way that came from myself. And you realize that without the Spirit you accomplish nothing. I never knew that it would be so humbling. But those kinds of experiences where you do something that seems random to you and turns into something great for someone else are the ones that bring you to your knees in gratitude.
Well, I'm out of time! Miss and love you all!
-H. Black.

(sounds pretty ghetto that way, huh?)

 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pictures!

Hey hey!
 
So I'm kinda short on time today, but it sounds like normal life back there! Here every day is another adventure. I have been so exhausted lately - Hna Wright and I have been working ourselves into the ground because our area is taking off and we don't want to lose the enthusiasm and momentum.
You guys seriously gotta ask me questions because I sit down and all I think is "Well....life is good, I'm alive, we're teaching people, and I hate wearing skirts all the time." And that's about all I got.

Let's see...Lourdes is doing alright. She was really sick and is exhausted, but she still is happy to be part of the gospel and knows she's doing the right thing.
I'll send pictures from the baptism now for Mom to put on the blog :)
Love you!

Hermana Blackford
 
 

Erin on P-Day in the Elder's area.....hmmm - nice neighborhood

 
 

Nogales district prior to current tranfer



Roger, Lourdes, Baby Jesus

 
 
 
 

Hermana Blackford, Lourdes, Hermana Johnson, Elder Call - Baptism!

 
 

 

Hermana Johnson and Hermana Blackford at the temple

 
 
 

South Zone (prior transfer) at the Temple