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!