Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Dia de Pavo!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

The plans this Thanksgiving are pretty awesome. We have a couple dinners/lunches we're headed to (hopefully 1 with an investigator and another with a less active family) and we had looked for service projects, but since we didn't find any we decided we're going to make cookies and swing by as many of our less active families as we can to drop off cookies and meet all the people we don't know! It should be a lot of fun.

I live with the mailman!! Haha that's so funny to say. But it's true. We live with the Merrills, and Bro. Merrill is the mailman. It'd be like me living in Grandma and Grandpa Wilhoit's basement. We live in the basement, and the Merrills pretty much adopt us as their kids. It's THE BEST.

As a training leader, I go on exchanges about once a week (once with each companionship we're over) to see how the sisters are doing. That means we give advice if their area is struggling with something, we address any obedience issues, and most of all we just listen. Missions are tough, and lots of times we don't need help, just someone to talk to. And that's what we do. We can give suggestions and advice where appropriate, but our most important role is to love the sisters and be there for them if they're having a tough time. Besides that, we do train at zone/district meetings as requested and we are part of the Mission Leadership Council (MLC) every month. It's pretty cool! It's intimidating too though because we are expected to have "model proselyting areas" in all aspects as well as be examples of obedience and diligence. No slacking for us!

We didn't find any new investigators this week, but we had one of the busiest weeks of my whole mission! We are struggling a little to find new people to teach (and by that I mean this week we didn't find anyone, last week we found 4 new investigators haha) so we decided to get in touch with a ton of our active members and do short lessons with them to challenge everyone to invite someone to learn more about the restored gospel within the next two weeks. This could be in the form of inviting them to church, to meet with missionaries, read the Book of Mormon, FHE, attend the church nativity in a couple weeks, go to mormon.org, etc. So we ran around like CRAZY visiting as many people as time would permit. Members are the best way to find, so we figured if we can't find we need to get our members pumped to do it! I'll keep you posted on the results over the next couple weeks.

I got to go back to Pima on exchanges this week! It was weird to be back so fast, but fun to get to see some people and be with Sis. Harrington on exchanges.

Sister Munn and I have SO much fun together! We work to the point that we basically come home and collapse each night and usually the second people close the door behind us we run to the car because we book our appointments super close together, but that's what makes it fun. We're throwing our everything into this little 5 week transfer, and miracles happen because of it. And...we throw in a Disney quote every now and again. And by that I mean like at least 5 times a day. (:

Here's a little miracle of the week! So Thursday I started getting a migraine (yuck!) and did my best to keep it in check, figuring if I could make it to the evening then that night I'd sleep it off. Well, when I woke up Friday it was worse! I got up at 6:30 and did the normal morning routine, and I had this feeling it was going to be a rough day. I decided I would just tell Heavenly Father that I wanted to work and ask that if I did that He would make it possible for me to work despite my head feeling like somebody was crushing my skull. And He did! I don't even know how it happened, but we had a completely normal day. Turns out if you have faith, it really works to pray for anything!

I just want to remind you all to look for opportunities to do some service this week with Thanksgiving!

Have an awesome week!!

Love,

Hermana Blackford

 

 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Is It Really Monday?

Hey y'all!
 
What the heck!? Is it just me or do weeks keep passing faster and faster? It's really starting to freak me out.
 
Sorry I didn't give you enough details on my new area.
 
Not Spanish, but there are no Spanish missionaries so we have some members and nonmembers that don't really speak English that I get to talk to!
 
We're assigned to 2 English wards.
 
My companion is from Springville, UT! Post-mission friend? I think so! :)
 
Funny story for the week:
 
1) Look up a little info about Tombstone, AZ before reading this, because then you can picture it better. (For those who are too lazy to take 60 seconds to google some pictures, it's like this old west cowboy town.)
 
2) We were in Tombstone to go visit some less active members and drop by some potentials when we saw this older man, with his camo jacket, cowboy hat, and long white ponytail, walking down the street. As missionaries we talk with everyone, so we pull over (well...the member driving the car pulls over) and I roll down my window and start to talk to him. He is very friendly, has worked for an LDS guy before and knows a little about the Church, and all seems well until out of nowhere he says, "Yeah, I believe in UFOs too! So whatever Joe Smith saw out there in the desert, I believe it" and goes on to tell us about how our "elders" know so much more about the UFOs than they tell us. It's because we're sisters. And we're young. It took my all to not laugh and to try to bring the conversation back in. As we pulled away, the 3 of us were laughing so hard. We told the member, "Welcome to the life of a missionary!" She just laughed and said, "I like it!!"
 
Man are people weird.
 
Saint David is such a cute little town full of awesome people! The members are great, and I can tell I'm going to like it here a lot. We have a lot going on, but still could use some new investigators.
 
Love and miss y'all!
 
Hermana Blackford
 
 
Pictures are from her previous area a couple of weeks ago - in the Gila Valley
 
Sunrise at Red Knolls



Another picture of Sunrise at Red Knolls





Hermana Blackford



Sister Harrington, Hermana Blackford, Pima Elders and member John at Red Knolls

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Still No Tucson for Me....

Hey family and friends!
 
I'm glad people liked my little story from last week. It was such a small thing but such a powerful experience. I think we miss some of those learning experiences if we just glaze over them.
 
I got transferred!! We thought Sis. Harrington would leave, but I have been assigned to St. David - as a sister training leader! For those of you that don't know what that is, it's pretty much like the sister version of a zone leader. For those of you that don't know what that is, my companion, Sister Munn, and I are in charge of 5 other companionships of sisters! We do weekly exchanges, go to MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) once a month, do trainings, and follow up on the individual and companionship progress of these sisters. I was so surprised and am nervous about this new responsibility, but I have no doubts that Heavenly Father will bless me and help me be able to do this.
 
St. David is another small, Mormon community. Still no Tucson for me! And because my companion goes home at the end of the transfer, I will definitely be staying at least 3 months.
 
Mom did you put up the sunrise pictures? Also, Elder Harris should be sending you a few more. So if they come you can go ahead and put those up too!
 
I'm trying to think of a cool story from this week...let's see. I feel like some really cool things happened but they're hard to explain to people that aren't missionaries. Haha but I can try! We had a couple different less actives that we're working with who are really progressing (I'm so sad I left them!). One of them should have met with the bishop Sunday for a temple recommend, and the other was a brother who never sat through lessons, but did this last week and even bore his testimony! It was so cool. Hopefully that gives him the motivation he needs to work to continue feeling the Spirit, because it was definitely strong as he bore his testimony.
 
We had another cool experience helping a non-member move. As I was sweeping her back porch, she said, "I have a question for you. How come there are always cars at the temple?" She knew that people got married there, but was surprised that people were there from early in the morning until late at night. We explained baptisms for the dead and about eternal marriage (and how we seal families together), and she said, "Wow! That's so cool!" and really liked the idea of giving people who never heard about Jesus Christ on this earth the opportunity to be baptized. It was a really spiritual conversation, and the porch was well-swept by the time we finished.  (:
 
I'm going to try to send a couple pictures. Love you all, have a great week!
 
Hermana Blackford
 
 
 
 
District in Thatcher
 


Trying Venison




With Thatcher Sisters



Zone October 2014



The field is white, all ready to harvet

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Promise This is a Good One!

Hey amigos!

I know I've been really bad and slacking at sending good emails home, but to answer Mom's question yes, I have been sending a lot more individual emails. I'll work on not doing that though and making this one more interesting. So people who normally get personal emails, sorry. They might be a little lacking!

I had some of the COOLEST experiences this week. We taught lots of lessons, especially with less-actives, and even had an opportunity to do splits one evening! A laurel came with me and as we were driving to go see the Vegas I told her who we were going to see and she said, "Oh! I know their daughter! We have a class together." It turns out she was the PERFECT person to have there that night. Not just because she had met them before, but I had asked her to prepare a testimony on how knowing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church, restored again to the earth, has changed her life. She shared a touching experience about her mom's battle with cancer and how she came to gain her testimony. As we went home I told her how impressed I was and she excitedly said she wants to come again! #preparingyouthformissions

Another exciting thing (which I would send pictures of if the elders were here because it's on Elder Harris' camera, but unfortunately their truck died and they aren't) was that we got up early Saturday morning (as in 5:10) and hiked up Red Knolls for morning exercise and watched the sunrise from the top!!! It was us, the Pima elders, and our recent convert John Garcia. We have some awesome silhouette pictures, which might not come until next week! It was a little windy and chilly, but totally worth it! I haven't watched the sun come up in long time.

We're headed up to Red Knolls today as a zone as well (:

Okay here's my FAVORITE story of the week. It's just a classic example of why I love my life, especially as a missionary. So if you're skimming my email and not reading everything, at least READ THIS STORY

We had stake conference this weekend, and the elders and we helped usher people and all that good stuff. Which meant that there was a seat reserved up front for us missionaries (hooray for soft chairs!) and we sat with the elders (which is weird because normally we don't ever do that....ever). They reorganized our stake presidency, started the conference, and then we got to see the broadcast from Salt Lake! All was well, except for they turned off all the lights so it was too dark for me to take notes and they had the air conditioning BLASTING and I was sitting so that it was blowing right on me. Within like 10 minutes I was freezing cold and of course, it's the Sunday I forgot to bring a sweater. Elder Harris, who was sitting next to me, noticed that I was chilled, and, trying to be gentlemanly, offered his suit coat. Me being the proud and stubborn person I am politely refused and said I was fine. He then whispered "Sister Blackford, I know you're cold. Just take the jacket!" to which I replied, "Thanks, but I think it would look bad for an elder to give a sister his jacket, and I wouldn't want the members to see it the wrong way." He frowned, asked his companion for his opinion, and his companion sided with me. "Don't worry!" I said and informed him I would be fine. But he now had a point to prove. He ripped out a little piece of paper and scribbled a note that he passed to the brother sitting a couple people down, asking if it would look bad for him to give his jacket to a sister that was cold. The member nodded saying it would, and I gave him my classic I-told-you-so look. Not more than a few moments later, the member (who must have thought more about this) passed a note to Elder Harris that said, "It's service so it doesn't matter if it looks bad. Serve your sister." Elder Harris showed me the note, took off his jacket, and handed it to me. The point of the story is not that I was able to watch conference without turning into a popsicle or even that Elder Harris is a nice person. What really stood out to me was what the member said. It hit me as I thought, "How often in our lives do we not do the right thing because we worry about how others will see it?" I know even as a missionary I do or don't do things because I fear what other people will say or think. But as this member so clearly demonstrated, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. If we know something is the right thing to do, we should do it no matter what. I also loved the statement, "Serve your sister." It wasn't, "Serve the sister missionary." or even "Serve the sister." It's "Serve your sister." To me, it was the best 3 word testimony I've ever heard. We are brothers and sisters, and we need to serve each other, in the small and in the big things. Even though it was a simple experience, I was really touched by what I learned. And so I thought I should share it with you all, to remind you all that it doesn't matter if it looks bad; serve your brothers and sisters.

I love you!

Hermana Blackford