Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Birthdays and Miracles with My Deming Family

Hey!
 
This was possibly one of the best and one of the saddest weeks of my mission yet. I'll start with the sad so we can get that out of the way and talk about happy things....I got transferred! I kinda knew it was coming, but I LOVE Deming so much. I will be missing out on some awesome things happening down there, but Hna. Ellis will take good care of it for sure! It's just sad because the people there are just amazing. And as the elders said, our family is broken up! But hey,I have no regrets about Deming and I'm happy to leave it the way I did.
 
Now I'm back in the Gila Valley!! Kinda crazy because now I'll spend at least 2/3-3/4 of my mission not in Tucson...still haven't been called there yet haha. This time though I've been called to be in FOUR English wards in Central and Pima. I'm sad to be out of Spanish for a little while, but having so many people will keep me more than busy. My companion's name is Sister Harrington - I went on exchanges with her about 6 weeks ago too!
 
Alright now to why this was pretty much the best week ever!!
First of all, on Tuesday I came on exchanges here in the Valley - in Thatcher - and was on a bike all day! I didn't even die. And I got to do cross fit for the first time ever. I LOVE it. Now I'm in the Valley so I get to do it 3 times a week.#getfit  Anyway exchanges were fun and the sister I was with is from Vancouver, WA. We couldn't figure out if we know any of the same people though.
 
Skipping to Thursday...so Hermana Ellis somehow got up early without waking me up and made me breakfast! She changed the alarm to 6:30 instead of 6:15 and when I woke up she was like "Happy birthday Hermana! I made you breakfast in bed!!" and then flipped on the light and there was hot biscuits and gravy all ready. She's the best! Then we did the normal morning stuff and baked the cake Mom sent me to bring it to district meeting. We had a great meeting, ate cake, and then went out to lunch at the Patio, a place we'd been wanting to go for weeks. Great burgers, not-so-great fries, but totally worth it. Next, we headed down to Columbus with the elders to blitz their area (and to see the border). That was also super fun to head down there. We'd been wanting to go ever since we got to Deming. We then came back to Deming, knocked a few doors in our area, and then headed to dinner. The member knew it was my birthday, so there we had cake #2 of the day! THEN we went for cake #3 out at the Quintanas because they invited us out to celebrate. It was a lot of cake...and all of it chocolate. Then we went to our usual Thursday night volleyball, which is always fun and the youth are great about bringing nonmember friends. As we left and were heading out to our car, the elders from our branch were like "Sister Blackford stop!" and so I did and Elder Dayley was like "Okay now turn around and walk backwards toward me." I turned around but didn't want to back up towards their truck because I had no idea what was going on and for whatever reason my reaction was to think they were going to throw water balloons at me! Haha totally something they would do (cough cough, Elder Williamson) but anyway after a minute of freaking out I finally walked backwards and when they let me turn around, the two of them were sitting in the back of their truck and Elder Williamson had his guitar (he's super talented at playing guitar) and they played and sang for me! Haha they rewrote a song to make it all about my birthday. It was super sweet! Totally made my day. They both have great voices too so it was actually really good. Then, Elder Merritt let me take the leftover cake from the day that no one wanted and I caked him in the face! I've ALWAYS wanted to do that to someone. It was fun!
 
Alright so continuing on....Friday we did more service - yardwork otra vez. Saturday night the calls came about transfers, and Hermana Ellis and I had a little plan to end the transfers in a fun way. We bought about 500 styrofoam cups earlier in the week and while the elders were at church in Columbus, we used our lunch hour to fill them with water and cover the floor by the entrances to their apartment - on the inside! So when they got home they would open the door and couldn't walk in without having to either soak the floor or dump out all the water. It was pretty funny. They got us back though and taped cups with eggs in them between our screen door and regular door so when we opened it some of the eggs fell and made a mess on the ground.
 
Now for real missionary things. Saying goodbye to everyone was SO hard! But it's really cool to see how things have changed. We visited the Renteria family (they're just awesome) and got to hear Hermano's conversion story this week which was incredible and inspiring. We got to keep teaching Dalia and her two boys too. They seriously already seem like members. I love them so much and am sure I'll see some baptism photos from them sometime next month(:
 
We didn't get to bike a ton because we were all over the place trying to visit people, but we had a cool miracle yesterday! So a few weeks back I remembered this particular house I had visited on exchanges like 6 months ago and for some reason felt that we should go visit it. When we went, we met Hector and chatted with him. We gave him a Book of Mormon and a card with our number in case he had any questions. He didn't seem really interested so we never really thought about it again. Well, yesterday he got in touch with us and wanted to meet. He came to the church and we had a lesson outside. He'd found our card and wanted to talk about what happens after this life because his 8 year old son passed away last week. Hermana Ellis and I were so grateful to be able to explain about thte Plan of Salvation to him. As we drove away from the lesson I remembered how we'd met him (we couldn't remember at first) and when we realized it was at that house we were like "Woah! Talk about a unique prompting!" It's a good thing we followed it. The sisters will be meeting with him again tomorrow, and I'm excited to hear how this turns out.
 
Well, this is a super long one and now I'm out of time, but thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes! I'll respond to all y'all next week. I also sent pictures so Mom can put them on the blog(:
 
Love you!
Hermana Blackford
 
 
 
Deming District
 
 Elders, Quintanas, Hermanas


Renteria Families, Elders and Hermanas

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hola hola!

Family! 

This week I came prepared to emails...I wrote down a list of 4 things to write about #preparation

So first (this answers Mom's question) we had tropical rainstorms ALL WEEK. I've never seen so much water that wasn't like a river or lake or something. And of course we thought it would be a great idea to bike on Tuesday (no time for pictures this week so I'll send some next week). Which means we were SOAKED. Literally it got to the point that we went to visit this part-member family and we were dripping on their floor. Luckily they brought us towels. Actually that led to a really cool experience too because the husband, who isn't a member and usually avoids us like the plague, chatted with us and even sat in the kitchen while we had a lesson with the kids in the room right next to it. He mostly wanted to know why we were biking when there was flash flood warnings. Haha but hey at least we're finally establishing some form of a relationship with him!

Point number two I wrote down. So our investigator Socorro (she has a new baby) told us this week that she knows the Book of Mormon is true! We'd left her and her "husband" for a week to read and pray, and when we came back she said she got her answer, and the next day she came to the baptism of one of the 8 year old girls in the branch. And LOVED it. She is really excited and finally keeping all the commitments :) 

This week we also started teaching this family - a mom and her boys who are like 8 and 10. She has 3 sisters who are all members of our branch and super incredible people. We are pretty tight with the families and so we're excited to see how this goes. The two boys have been here in Deming for a couple months and love Primary (and us) and we were just waiting for mom to get here to start teaching. They are such a sweet family and definitely already fit in with the branch.

And then...a funny story. We were asked to teach the older Primary class yesterday, and so Hna. Ellis and I had 4 boys ages 9-11 and a 2 girls. The boys are all super hyper of course and it was a little crazy, and the lesson also was not going to last the entire 1.5 hours. After we finished we played hangman (with gospel-related words) and at one point apparently I was not paying enough attention, because all of a sudden one of the boys who was sitting next to me grabbed my face and turned it towards him. I literally thought he was going to kiss me and Hna. Ellis, who was sitting across the room and saw the whole thing, seemed to think the same based on her facial expression. But he didn't, he just asked me a question. Haha I started laughing so hard because I was panicking about how to explain that a kid in Primary kissed me...crazy kids.

Also...the temple is like 2.5 hours away. We drove to Duncan first though for zone meeting and it's only like an hour from there.

I haven't really seen any wildlife at City of Rocks, but we're always running around playing capture the flag or sharks and minnows (renamed lions and gazelles because we're on land) and so I don't really take time to look for animals...

Anyway I'm about out of time. Love you all and have an awesome week!

Hermana Blackford

P.S. Transfers are next week so I won't be emailing until Tuesday

Monday, September 15, 2014

Temple & Service

Hey y'all!
 
This week was a little crazy, and I'm about out of time so you're going to get the 5 minute version and then I'm going to send pictures!
 
So Tuesday we helped paint a recent convert's house for like 5 hours...she's really struggling to get by and the house really needed to be painted. We did the whole front room and it went from grey to white! It looked awesome when it was done, and the 5 of us (us, the elders, and our branch mission leader) were exhausted.
 
Wednesday was AWESOME! We went to zone meeting (where as an object lesson we taped Elder Williamson to the wall) and then went to the temple! It was a little weird because to save miles us and another sister rode with the elders and then the 3 other sisters also rode with elders. Weird. But the temple was so good. I really needed that spiritual recharge.
 
Saturday morning we did service for a non-member. Yardwork! It was actually kinda chilly and windy that morning too. I even had to break out my jacket. I weed-whacked for like 1.5 hours straight...my arms are still recovering.
 
I'm currently borrowing Elder Williamson's bike (thank you to him even though he won't see this), but I'll be buying one from another sister at transfers. But in the meantime this works. We need to cut back on miles and we don't really have much in the way of people to teach, so now we can literally talk with everyone and find some new investigators! We are just getting going with the bikes, so we're sore sometimes but it's fun.
 
I think our little Deming district is going to head to City of Rocks for a BBQ and the run around and stuff today. Pretty exciting!
 
Grandma asked if there are trees in Deming, and the answer is yes! Not very many and they are kinda small, but they're around. As for cactus, not really. I actually kinda miss them...
 
Okay sending pictures now!
 
Love you!
Hermana Blackford
 
Car ride to the temple

Object lesson at a zone meeting



Zone attending the temple

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hola!

Buenas tardes a todos!

Can I write my email in Spanish one week? I think it'd be pretty cool...it wouldn't take me any longer to write so it would be normal length even. My mission president emailed me and told me my Spanish grammar is "excelente." #woot

Investigators moving towards baptism...well depends. No one currently has a date, but we have some that are definitely going in the right direction.

P-day....we just play sports. No hay nada aqui. There's nothing to see or do for the most part. But I like sports, so I'm fine with it. I'm getting a lot better at basketball. And have awkwardly ran into the elders a few times. It's weird how missionary awkward I am. But it happened. Boys scare me. I think if one tried to hug me or something I'd have a complete freak out. This will be fun to readjust to when I go home. 

We have not been teaching English lately, but will probably start up a little bit. Because - are you ready for a cool story? Because the other day we went to go try and visit a former investigator, and when we knocked, Adriana opened the door! About 4 weeks ago when I was on exchanges, knocking in a different part of Deming, I knocked into Adriana and had a long conversation with her. She's a member of about 6 years, but her husband got upset that the elders were coming because he was super jealous and suspicious and wouldn't let her go to church. She decided to not go to try to save her marriage, but wants to come back so bad and knows without a doubt it's true. I told her about English class and she thought that since it isn't religious her husband will let her come. I hadn't seen her until the other day. She just moved into that house about a week ago too. She remembered me before I recognized her and told us she really wants to come to English now. This was definitely no coincidence - Heavenly Father is looking out for her. And maybe the reason is we can find a way to soften her husband's heart and help her come back. It was a really cool experience.

It's been hot lately, but the last few days it cooled down again. Supposedly by the end of the month people will be pulling out their sweaters.

This week we'll start biking some! I'm excited. Also I learned yesterday that they need me to play for the Primary program, so I have some new songs to learn. One isn't from the Primary book, and they called me in yesterday to have me play it. I'd never even heard it before. Do they not know I can't read music that well? I can't sight read to save my life. I have to play hymns I don't know frequently so I guess I'm learning. They seem to think I'm this amazing pianist that can just play whatever they throw my way. False. I have to practice. A lot.

Well I think that's about it for now. 

Have an awesome week!

Love,

Hermana Blackford

 

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's September?

Hey hey!

I feel like I was just staring at the computer screen yesterday trying to figure out what to write home and here I am again with the same dilemma. It's not that we don't do a ton of stuff, it's just all of it is normal to me so nothing stands out.

Our potential investigators are leading to some new people! Here's my cool story about finding for the week:

Last weekend (about a week and a half ago) Hermana Ellis and I were going to a lesson and a member was coming out with us. She texted us saying she was going to be like 10 minutes late, and we had arrived like 10ish minutes early, so we decided to do some knocking in the same apartment complex. We knocked a few doors, y nada. Then we saw this lady (she's about 25) standing outside and so we went and started talking to her. Her name is Alicia, she's from Colonia Juarez, and doesn't speak English (like tons of people here). We gave her a copy of El Libro de Mormon and explained what it was using the pictures at the front, set up a return appointment for this past Wednesday, and left. Wednesday came, and she was actually ready for us to come! She'd skimmed over La Restauracion pamphlet that we'd left as well, and even had some questions. Taught her the Restoration, it was super awesome, set up another appointment for Friday. We came back, and this time she brings here sister Alejandra with her (she's probably like 23) and her sister wants to learn more too! She just moved to Deming. Alejandra also said her husband was also reading over it, so maybe we can teach a couple of couples! They were going to come to church Sunday but we got a text late Saturday night saying something came up and so they told us "Hopefully we can come next week. We're still on for Monday though right?" They're awesome!

So I'm in a branch, haha a pretty smallish one at that too. I'd say on average we've got 60-80 people. Not tiny, but not too big either. I love it. Most families feed us twice a month because there aren't enough different families to do only once. Haha

Called for jury duty? Yeah I can't exactly make it...sorry.

Well...yeah that's about it. Send me more questions!

Love,

Hermana Blackford