Monday, April 20, 2015

Tell the World I'm Coming Home

Hello everyone!

I cannot believe I am sitting here typing out my last email! I feel like I should have something really profound and spiritual to say, but right now my mind is completely blank. I just don't want to believe this is real.

This last week was pretty awesome - nothing out of the ordinary, but I sure seem to appreciate everything more than I did a few months ago. I'm so happy to be out doing any form of missionary work at this point. I'll miss tracting believe it or not.

We're still working towards the baptism on the 27th (I think last I said 22nd, but we had to move it so their dad could come) and it looks like everything is a go! The girls are so excited and we just really hope we can help them stay active, because this family has a history of getting active long enough for the kids to get baptized and then just falling away again. We're turning the focus to the temple though so that we can help them start to see a little bit of a bigger picture.

We had missionary homecoming talks in both of our wards yesterday, which was way cool! I love seeing the ward freak out about how much people change on their missions. Especially the guys.

I got to go to Sierra Vista on exchanges last week for one last visit there. It's funny because although that was never my area, I visited so many times that I actually can pretty well find my way around. And I know quite a few of the people they work with!

This Friday is Brother Orton's baptism, and I am so excited to go! I feel really blessed because so many people have made huge steps right before I go home - I just heard from Hermana Baum that one of the people we reactivated went to the temple to do baptisms for the first time last week! It's comforting to know that my time has not been wasted and I have been able to help people come closer to Christ.

Wow I really can't think of anything to say. I think I'm kind of in shock that the mission is coming to a close. This has been the best (and hardest) 18 months of my life! It's a scary thought to think about needing to transition to home life, but I know I'm going to be able to apply so many of the things I learned out here.

I think one of the biggest changes I've seen in myself is actually shown by the fact that I don't want to leave. The reason is because I have learned to love people. Not half-heartedly, but with everything I have. I LOVE the people here in the Arizona Tucson Mission, and they have stolen my heart. I never realized how selfish and self-centered I was (and probably still am more than I should be) until coming out here and I've met people that I would literally do anything for. I think

of the scripture John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." I can say with surety that there are people for who I would lay down my life. There's so much more for me to learn and I know I still need to continue to develop this charity, but there is nothing more beautiful than having a small glimpse of the way Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ view us. I hope and pray I never lose that perspective.

I want to close with the scripture that I chose to put on my plaque when I left. This comes from Alma 26:12 (in the Book of Mormon). Ammon, his friends, and his brothers have just returned from serving 14 year missions. Thousands of people were converted and they changed the lives of the people of an entire nation. This is what Ammon says,

 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

I wanted this to be the way I felt when I came home, and I feel this way now. Everything that happens is according to the will and power of God. I am just a tool in His hands, and will do everything I can to always be His instrument. And you can do the same! When you pray, make sure to ask what He needs you to do. When the will of the son becomes the will of the Father, miracles happen.

Love you all, see you soon!

Hermana Blackford

 

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