Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy 4th!

Buenas tardes!
I'm so bummed about missing the 4th on Bainbridge! I love the parade and street fair and stuff. But that's okay, I'll be partying missionary style. AKA we probably have to be home early so I'll be weekly planning and watching fireworks from our apartment until it's lights out at 10:30.

WE HIT STANDARDS THIS WEEK! And if you don't know what that means, ask Braden because I'm too lazy to explain. Basically we hit the mission goal for our area, and I've never done that before. Our baptism on the 5th is still a go, and we set a date for the 26th of July with Maciel last night! She's the one that our branch president contacted when he pulled her over because he heard her speaking Spanish. She came to church, has almost finished 2 Nefi, and is totally ready for baptism. And her two girls will probably too once they are home for school in August. It's so exciting! I most likely won't be here for her baptism, but I'll keep in touch with her :)

Johnny came to church! We actually had three investigators there - and all from different families! The work is exploding...I'm just praying we get another set of missionaries in our branch because we're exhausted and there's so much work we don't get to every week I feel really bad...
One of our investigators told me I look like I have a little Mexican in me! I was so proud.  #tanfromthearizona sun 

My head is fine...I actually didn't hit it. It was from stopping so fast that my brain crashed into my skull. But I have more awesome news! So after softball last week we were playing basketball with our zone and the other zone and I sprained my ankle SUPER bad. (That's what I get for jumping for a rebound at the same time as the Polynesian elder...) Like it was nasty swollen and completely blue for days. I could sorta-ish walk. Well actually it happened, I played basketball for another half an hour, and then hopped up on the stage to look at the damage and when I took my shoe off I was like "uh-oh" 'cause it was HUGE. The elders came over and were like "Put your shoe back on and tie it super tight. Somebody go get her ice!" and told me to lay down and someone grabbed a chair so I could elevate it. So I talked to Sister Killpack since she's a nurse and got in trouble because apparently for 2-3 weeks after the accident I wasn't supposed to play sports due to my concussion, but I didn't know. So I'm banned from sports until next transfer. My bad. On the plus side I think my foot is healing...hopefully I didn't rip a tendon or anything because I never went to the doctor. It's only slightly blue-green now.

As for good stories that don't involve injuries...hmm. I'm not really sure...I can't remember anything too crazy this week other than teaching a record number of lessons and being super tired and hobbling around with a brace all week.

President Passey is here! He got here this morning so the Killpacks are no longer our mission president and stuff. We meet the new President on Thursday, so I'm sure we'll start seeing changes here in a few weeks.

I'm glad people read my random rants and stories I send in these emails! It takes a lot of thought to figure out anything to say.

Remember next week is transfers so I'll be emailing Tuesday!

Mucho amor,

Hermana Blackford



Monday, June 23, 2014

4 Months in the Gila


Sorry for not getting the big email put together last week. But now I have a real excuse! So after our little car accident Saturday night en la semana anterior I had just been feeling out of it so finally I was like okay I'll go to the doctor. I went in on Friday and explained my symptoms. He wasn't too sure if it was just dehydration until I said, "Well, for the first time in my life I can think of nothing!" He immediately responded "Oh yeah that's a concussion," and told me don't hit my head and drink lots of water. But seriously you know how boys can sit and think of nothing and girls usually can't? I finally know what it's like to not think. And it's kinda nice sometimes, except in the middle of a lesson or a basketball when all of a sudden you realize you stopped thinking and have no idea what's going on. But the doc says I should be fine in a couple more days.

This week was CRAZY. We taught 31 lessons, which is the most I've ever taught - and I've only taught 31 twice before. We just had so much going on. Our investigator, Sean, who's getting baptized on July 5th, came to a baptism on Saturday and was just like "Alright now it's my turn to get in the water." He's a funny guy, but he will totally be ready in a couple weeks.

We had a super cool lesson with Johnny yesterday about the sacrament, and for the first time ever he committed to come to church. We basically challenged him to come 3 times and see if he felt a difference, and he was like, "I'll be there!" It was different than a usual church attendance lesson for us because we basically were like, "Okay Johnny. We know we've invited you and told you to come to church a million times. And this is our bad because we haven't told you why." And we were super straight up about how yeah it's hard and sometimes it totally sucks waking up on Sunday morning to go to church, but that it's something you'll never regret. I think he really appreciated that we were honest and now actually understands why on earth we keep telling him to give up 3 hours of his Sunday. #comingtochurchonsunday #gonnagetbaptizedsomeday

Elder Petersen (he's in my zone) was a pitcher in high school and could throw a baseball 95mph! So today we're playing softball because he and I decided it would be fun and I was like okay! and got equipment and planned it and invited everyone. #zonemom It's gonna be hot and we only have like 12 people total, but hey it's fine. I don't even know how to properly swing a bat. Or throw. Or catch. Basically I don't know how to play this sport, but I figured we'd all have fun and get some good laughs.

This is President Killpack's last week! Exactly 7 days from now it will already be President Passey. Change is a little scary, but it should be good.

We had the SICKEST zone conference on Tuesday! My favorite part (well...President and Sister Killpacks' dying testimonies were my favorite but besides that) was this throw down discussion led by President. Here's the assignment: Read 1 Samuel 15 with the mentality of "spirit of the law vs. letter of the law." You may have recently learned about this in Sunday School, but if you didn't read the chapter, read it, and if you did, do it again. In the end Saul keeps the sheep and cows with the intention of sacrificing them. Sacrificing is good because it keeps the law of Moses, but that's not the point. He broke the commandment to destroy everything the amalecitas (I'm not sure what it is in English) had. Ready for the throw down? So how many times do we justify breaking a law/commandment by saying something like, "Well what I'm doing [is more important, is also good, doesn't apply to this rule, etc.]"? We do it ALL the time. It's justification. We even go as far as to say, "I'm following the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law." FALSE! You can't do one or the other. You have to do BOTH. The "spirit of the law" NEVER justifies breaking the letter of the law. The spirit of the law is simply understanding the why of the letter of the law. Take for example the Jews (escribas y fariseos) in ancient Jerusalem. They were all about the letter of the law - to the point that they made up their own rules to "enhance" the letter of the law. But they completely were unable to recognize who the Savior was when He came. Why? Because they didn't have the spirit of the law! They had no idea why they were keeping those commandments. Now let's flip sides of the world and look at the nefitas here in the Americas. They most definitely kept the letter of the law, but they knew WHY they were doing it - to be ready for the Savior Jesus Christ! When he came here, they knew Him and received so many blessings because of their righteousness. So what do we take away from this? As President Killpack said, "The spirit of the law is nothing without the letter of the law, and the letter of the law is nothing without the spirit of the law." If you classify these things separately and use the spirit of the law as justification, you are sorely mistaken my friend. Read 1 Samuel 15! You'll understand.

Love you all!

Hermana Blackford


Monday, June 16, 2014

Busy Missionary

Hello everyone!

Hermana Blackford had a busy week and asked that I just post a short note on her behalf this time. Hopefully we'll hear a bit more from her next week. She had some reports that were taking up a good chunk of time today so she apologizes for not getting a full letter written.

Hermana Blackford and her companion had a new investigator that has set a baptismal date of July 5th. They are super pumped about that and are hopeful that will work out.

At a branch barbecue they had three investigators join them so they were very excited about that as well.

She is experiencing the challenges of working with different companions and different sets of sisters and elders so she's learning skills of how to work with different styles and personalities.

Hermana Blackford isn't a big fan of the Arizona heat but she's finding the positive side to it - like she manages to do with most things.

Please continue to send her emails, letters and keep her in your prayers.

Tune in next week for the next chapter.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Energizer bunny forgot to add a title so Mom filled it in

Familia y amigos!!!

Just as a warning I woke up on the hyper side of the bed yesterday and have been like the Energizer bunny ever since. I have NO idea what got into me (I don't eat a ton of sugar and no caffine), but I have just been a little cray cray these last couple days.

Alright ready to read about my super exciting missionary life?
So President Passey comes on the 30th, which means one more zone conference next week with the Killpacks! Woot woot!
That's funny that you were just talking about me threatening to break people's bones when they bother me. Just the other day my companion was telling the elders how she only has seen me semi-mad once, and it was because one of the elders said something dumb and all I did was rant about how I was going to beat him up. She says it was super funny because the elder who I was going to beat up is a foot taller than me. Whatever. I still woulda won. Apparently I just say violent things when people annoy me. I've never actually followed through on it though....
Hey! So COOLEST STORY EVER. Remember when I told you about the miracle lesson with Hna. Sutherland where our investigator Johnny prayed for the first time out loud ever? Well...he had dropped us like a month ago and we had dinner with their family on Thursday (his wife is an active member) and he talked about how he missed us coming and wants us to come back! So we started teaching him again Sunday. But the BEST part is that at the end of the lesson on Thursday, we asked him who he wanted to pray, and he said he wanted to!! Which is only the second time I've ever heard him pray. He's also in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. We had an awesome chat about how while we all follow the same path, each of our steps are different. Hna Lundquist shared her dad's conversion story, and I talked about a couple of the active non-members from our home ward. As much as missionaries tend to want to be pushy and get people baptized (and Johnny is one of those that is totally ready), we wanted to let him know that we're glad he's taking this so seriously, but to remember to follow the promptings of the Spirit he receives as he continues on this path. We can tell him to get baptized, but until the Spirit tells him it doesn't matter.
There were 3 baptisms in our stake on Saturday, and so we got to go to all of them! And an investigator came to one of them! His name is also Johnny, but he's Johnny D.
Also on Thursday we biked for a while. It was 111 degrees when we started...then it cooled down to like 90ish by 8:30. It was a good workout! I really like biking.
I have a new favorite saying! This applies to members as well as missionaries. I better attribute it to Elder Nelson, because he's the one who said it at zone meeting last week.
"Follow all your weird promptings."
I love that! Think about it: how many times during the day do we have impressions to do what seem like the most random things? Another valuable lesson on my mission came from a crazy Mayan lady. She told me to eliminate the word random from my vocabulary. Because NOTHING is random! Even those thoughts that seem crazy aren't. If we are living worthy of the Spirit, we are frequently receiving promptings to do things, whether to grow our own testimony or someone else's. When we act on the weird promptings, you will be surprised what miracles follow. I think of how many times I've had the impression to do the most random things (one time I just felt like we should walk across the bridge on 8th Ave.) and that most of the time in the end, I have no idea why. But I always feel accomplished afterwards. Try it out! Follow your weird promptings, and watch for the blessings.

Love you!
Hermana Blackford



Monday, June 2, 2014

Just Keep...Knocking?

Hey people!
I have like 7 minutes to write this email so here we go....
This week was pretty normal, minus the fact that about 60% of the missionaries in the valley just got transferred here. It's pretty cool though because we have a lot of Spanish missionaries in the English wards, which means we have extra eyes and ears on the look out for Mexicans for us to teach!! Which would be awesome because we could really use some new investigators.
We haven't biked yet, though we did find two bikes to borrow (transfers messed up our bike situation) and they are all ready to go, freshly repaired in the Elder Nelson bike repair shop! Poor elder...he had 7 bikes in their front room he was fixing up. That's what you get for working in a bike shop before your mission!
P-day this week will be the same as last week...sports at the stake center! It's less strenuous simply because we're all too lazy to plan anything. I'm feeling a hike next week I'll chat with the zone leaders and get that arranged.
I don't think more sisters will come to the Valley...this transfer the mission got super mixed up to get it cleaned up for the new president. So it was rather unusual.
Since we are having a hard time and so are the Solomonville/1st Ward elders with finding new investigators, we got us and the YSA elders out to their area on Saturday to blitz. We picked the most Mexican part in an attempt to help us too. It was 109 degrees. I didn't die though! and I have awesome tan lines on my feet and the WORST farmer's tan of my life. #sistermissionaryproblems On the plus side they got a new investigator, and some members gave us popsicles. And we've learned, when all else fails, just keep knocking, don't stop working!
Well...I need to learn to type faster. This is a short one this week!
Love you and miss you!
Hermana Blackford
Hermana Blackford in the Arizona desert
(she says this is what a large part of her area looks like)

Nelson, Blackford, Lundquist

Zone Picture