Monday, March 23, 2015

The City is...Big

Hey everyone!

So this was quite the interesting week since it was my first week in a new area, with a new companion, and in the city for the first time.

Sister Moe-Tufaga is pronounced Moy (like boy) Tufanga. Not as hard as it looks.
To say I am starting to learn my way around would be an overstatement. If I'm lucky I can find my way back to our apartment. And I drive all the time so you'd think I'd learn, but learning streets in the city is a totally different animal. I can learn a small town in no time, but a city? No thanks! And we even have the outskirts....and I STILL can't learn it! I started studying the map a little though and that seems to be helping.

I'd love to tell you about all the people I met but frankly, I only met a few people. We have a handful of investigators we teach, and that's it. No less-actives, nothing. Now I know why I got sent here! I talked to President and he was suprised when I told him what the work was like. The wards are AWESOME so I'm not sure what the disconnect is. We got some names from ward council yesterday, but other than that we knock, and knock, and knock, and try to find people that the ward doesn't know who they are. Which means more knocking. Good thing I like it! It's tough though because I got used to teaching 30ish lessons a week and to cut that in half....I just feel really unproductive.

We go to the gym every morning around 6! Wohoo! Since missionaries aren't allowed to go to public gyms, a member gave us a key to an apartment gym, and Hermanas Sutherland and Budge come with us. It's fun! It's actually in some of the elders' apartment complex, so now they complain they "can't use their gym" because we're there. I told them they could come. They said nah. Haha

Nothing too exciting or crazy for this week. I'll try to have some better stories next week!

Love y'all!

Hermana Blackford

Hermana Blackford with the Busby family
Hermana Blackford & Loretta

Hermana Blackford and the Merrills

Hermana Blackford on St. Patrick's Day - Green skirt!

Hermana Blackford & Sharlane

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

One More Time!

Familia y amigos!

I can't believe I'm starting my last transfer! This has gone by so much faster than I had ever expected. I still feel greenie fire!!

Since I know you're all dying to know, I am getting transferred to the Rincon stake! Tanke Verde and Bear Canyon are my wards. Yes, it's English, but I was sad for about 5 minutes, then I realized I really didn't care that it wasn't Spanish. Haha. The Rincon zone has a reputation for being a tough zone. It's a wealthier area, in the outer suburbs and into the foothills. and finding people to teach presents a bit of a challenge. Which I think is why I'm so excited to go there! I feel like this last transfer I will get to put everything I've ever learned as a missionary to the test.

My companion will be Sis. Moe-Tafata (I think that's how it's spelled) and she's Hawaiian! Everything I hear about her is that she's awesome, but I'm still waiting for the transfer van to come get me so I haven't met her yet.

More good news - I will still be the sister training leader for Sierra Vista zone, which means I get to come back on exchanges and keep all my sisters! I love them so much and am excited to continue working with them and see the progress over the next 6 weeks. It means a lot of driving time for exchanges, but President felt that it would be beneficial for me to keep working with them since we've gotten so close over the last few months.

This week was CRAZY! We taught the same number of lessons, but did tons of service on top of it. Saturday we spent about 5 hours helping plant pecan trees, and finally today my back and shoulders aren't sore from all the digging. It was super fun though! We had quite the crew (including us and the elders) and planted 550 pecan trees!

Thursday we went and started doing this sweet old lady's yard - her name is Jean. She has some good friends that are LDS, and she's on oxygen so she stays at home 99% of the time. When our member gave us to her as a referral, she told us, "Jean has come to church a couple times before but has never really been interested in learning more, but you could probably do some service for her!" Well it turns out, that although Jean hadn't been interested in the past, she'd also never met sister missionaries before, only elders. So we showed up, scheduled a time to do yard work, and went this past Thursday. About 40 minutes in the weed-eater ran out of gas, and Hermana Baum and I cleaned up what we'd finished, looked at each other and were like, "Well, let's go ask her if we can teach her!" We sat down, began getting a little bit more of her religious background and experiences with the Church, and then I said, "Jean, have the missionaries ever taught you about what it is we believe?" She said they hadn't, but that the people from our church are so wonderful that it must be something good. "It is!" I said, "Can we teach you more about it?" She readily agreed, and we taught her about the Book of Mormon, and then she said, "Well next time you come back you can finish the yard and then we can talk some more!" Turns out this time, Jean was ready.

On another note, the doctor put me on some steroids for the week to help with my lungs since my allergies were getting a little out of control, and the medicine made my sugar levels totally weird! My sugar would spike and then plummet, so I was a little loopy all week. Sometimes I would shake (like how older people's hands shake when they hold stuff) and other times I would be so exhausted I physically couldn't stay awake. It was crazy! Hermana Baum asked me a couple times if I needed to go home for a while, but I was like ,"No!! Let's go!" I only have a few weeks left, so I need to make them count. I'm done with the medicine now, so I'm back to normal, but there were like 3 days that were rough.

It's been so sad to say goodbye to everyone in Saint David! I've seen so many miracles here (one of the less-actives who I helped come back got her temple recommend yesterday!) and have seen so many lives change, but I know that now it's someone else's turn to do that, and there are people in Rincon that need me. Saint David will always have a piece of my heart!

Have a great week!

Hermana Blackford 

P.S. I forgot my camera cord today so I will have to send pictures next week!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring is Here!


This week was a little crazy, but good! I spent two days in Sierra Vista on exchanges. We went up Monday for a hike (it was raining and cold and I was like what the heck!? I thought this was Arizona!), and I stayed until zone meeting on Wednesday. Zone meeting was super fun though, we did this activity where we all had a piece of cardboard and we had to get from one end of the gym to the other, but we couldn't talk and you couldn't just slide on your cardboard. Then they would do things like blindfold us, take away cardboard, add rules, it was crazy. Everyone had to cross, and so we made it across and then Hermana Baum and I went back a few times to get some other people. A super fun activity on unity though!

Just a reminder, next week is transfers so I won't be emailing until Tuesday!

We did some service this week - yay for yard work! We've got more service this week, because right now the weather is perfect for it. Not too hot yet.

We contacted a handful of referrals, but no luck. We're really struggling on the investigator end right now, but on the plus side lots of our returning members are doing great! We've had a big focus on patriarchal blessings, and off the top of my head I can think of 4 people that will be getting theirs over the next couple months.

The only story that is coming to my mind right now was while on exchanges, Sister Goodwin and I went off to contact a referral for Robert, a less-active, and his non-member girlfriend, Brianna. We show up and Brianna tells us that "He no longer lives here." Awkward! They had totally broken up. But we start talking to her, and we realize she started the lessons before and says she would love to meet with missionaries again! Got her info, boom, new potential investigator for the sisters. Then she gave us Robert's address. We get in the car and pause, because the address is in the elders' area. We debated just passing it to them, but then I had the feeling that we should go. So we drove over and Robert seemed a little surprised. We started talking with him, and even though we were just standing on the porch, the Spirit was so strong. He questions if there is even a God at all because he feels that he's had to go through all the hard things in his life by himself. Sister Goodwin piped up, "Well Robert, why do you think we showed up when we did? Isn't that God's way of saying He's aware of you?" He dismissed it as coincidence, but there was no doubt he felt the Spirit as we testified to him that he is a son of God and that He truly does answer prayers. I hope someday he feels that too, and remembers the two sister missionaries who "coincidentally" showed up when he was going through a tough time.

I love that the Spirit can prompt us anytime, anywhere.

Have a great week!

Hermana Blackford

Monday, March 2, 2015

This is the Way I Live

Wow am I tired! Something about this week was just exhausting. It was actually tough to get up by 6:15 this week. Sometimes we slept until 6:25 instead. Haha 6:30 isn't too bad, but earlier than that has gotten tough!
So if you want some early transfer news...I'm 99% sure I'm leaving St. David! It's sad, but strangely enough the reason I'll leave is for health reasons. Everyone and their dog in Saint David owns a horse, and with the wind picking up this time of year and the horses shedding as we head into spring, it's getting a little bit more difficult to breathe. Not to the point that I have to get moved out before transfers, but I talked to President last night and he agreed that I can probably function better if I can breathe. Who knew my random allergies to horses would affect transfers? But hey, it is what it is.
I had MLC and an STL conference this week, so I went up Thursday afternoon to Tucson and came back Friday afternoon from those. I love meeting with President Passey! And staying at their house is always fun, especially because the beds there are SO much better than ours that I sleep a lot better. Our mission has a gap between the missionaries that have been out longer and everyone else, and all the old missionaries pretty much go home by June. So our new focus is training the younger missionaries to take over, because it's going to happen fast!
Last week on pday we were planning to go to Sierra Vista to play sports after stopping by Target and Ross...yeah we didn't make it to sports. We spent the whole day shopping! Not that we got much, but it's nice to find a couple new things every once in a while. Plus I had to be stylin' for MLC. Haha...or maybe I am just so sick of my clothes that I kind of want to burn them so I never have to look at them again.
We had a cool experience this week with Personal Progress! We've started working with a few (and we're picking up more) YW on their Personal Progress. Some are active, some aren't, but they all need some help. Then in testimony meeting yesterday several of them bore their testimonies about how much it helps them when the missionaries come to do Personal Progress with them! I just remember how much I idolized the sisters (both in BG and on BI) and am so grateful to have the opportunity to pass that on by working with the YW here.
This week we got to do lots of service. With the weather being fairly mild, everyone wants to get stuff done before it gets hot. On Saturday, this less-active out in Tombstone needed help moving. It was an older lady, and we tried to get people to come help but there was a youth temple trip and someone else moving in and so all but one of the brethren weren't able to come. So we headed out, and lucky for us nothing was too heavy and we loaded the whole truck, and fast too! My arms were a little sore yesterday, but thank you to Heavenly Father for probably literally giving us strength to lift that stuff!
Nothing else too exciting this week, just lots of meetings. That's just kinda how life goes on the mission sometimes. Thanks for all your love and support! 
Love y'all!
Hermana Blackford
P.S. Mom that quote you sent me from President Packer is in PMG. Did you know that?

Hermana Blackford in St. David