February 2011-August 2012

25 July 2011

July 25, 2011 Cucarachas

Well I have A LOT to say, especially since I didn't get to say anything last week. But I have about 5 minutes left to write, so we'll see how it goes... haha

1) I REALLY hate cockroaches. And I really HATE living with them. I stopped counting my kills... haha. Gross. I especially hate at night when you turn on the lights and you see them scurry. *Shiver* EW. But we're becoming better friends. I think it will help our living situation if I stop hating them so much... haha

2) God saved my life this week. Fer rills. I don't have time to tell you all the details. But let me just say that thanks to angels preventing my companion from turning when our light turned green, we weren't creamed by a truck going about 45mph that decided to run a red light... God is SO good to me. I literally have replayed that scene in my head over and over again and I am convinced that we were protected by angels. There is no other explanation for why I am not at least in the hospital right now. So you should all say a prayer of Thanksgiving. :)

3) The Martinez family was baptized yesterday!!! All four of them!!! And I'm SO happy for all of them! I wanted to send a picture home today, but I don't have time. But I'm SO SO SO SO SO happy for them! And what's more, I got to go! What a tender mercy in my life!

4) David and Julio both came to the baptism yesterday, so I got to see them, too! And the Alanis family! David accepted a baptismal date for Aug. 28th, so we'll see. And the Alanis family are planning on being baptized sometime in September. I love all of these people so much and I'm so glad I was able to see them again!

5) We had dinner with the Monrroys last night after the baptism. Oh my heart was going to burst I was SO happy to be with them again! Guess what? Sergio got the priesthood and passed the Sacrament last week!! AAAAHHHHH!!!!!!! SO SO SO SO SO SO HAPPY!!!!

6) I forgot to mention that we went to Wendy's on dad's birthday. :)

Well I love you all so very very much!!! I hope you have a great week!

D&C 64:33-34

Hermana Blackburn

18 July 2011

July 18, 2011

Well so I only have 5 minutes to write but I love you all so very much. I'm learning. A LOT. Probably more personally than as a missionary, but sometimes that is what Heavenly Father wants. So I'm ok with that. :) Um the week has been long and rocky, but Heavenly Father is giving me the personal tender mercies that I need most. My predictions from last week have been pretty accurate... this transfer is bound to be a very humbling one... but I'll be a much better person and missionary because of it!

John 16:33
John 13:17

Just some food for thought this week. :)

I hope you are all doing well!

Hermana Blackburn

12 July 2011

July 12, 2011

So sorry I didn't get to write yesterday! It was transfers, and I moved! Not gonna lie, it was completely unexpected, and therefore slightly devastating, but I'm taking it like a champ, if I do say so myself. Turns out there is a sister who has been having a rough time here so my amazing Hna. Garcia has been given the special assignment of taking care of her and helping change this girl's life/mission... It has been an incredible privilege for me to work with and learn from Hermana Garcia and I hope that we'll get another chance before she goes home in November, but if not then I'll at least always know that God loved me enough to bless my life with her, even for a short time! And my district... it was hard to leave Elder Camacho and Elder 'Otuafi also... not going to lie there either. They have become like my brothers, just like all my elders in the MTC. We made a great team but now it's time to make new friends and love and teach and serve people and missionaries in another part of the Lord's vineyard!

So guess where I am? Yeah... you'll never guess. So I'll just tell you: Sylmar/Pacoima, which is basically the ghetto of San Fernando. The situation here is entirely different in every aspect of living. We live in one room of an apartment with a member family living in the other. Cockroaches. Pollution. City. Mexican gangs. Requirement to carry pepper spray wherever we go. Entirely Latino. Established Spanish ward in an established Spanish stake. Yeah, REALLY different. haha But in time I'm sure I'l come to love it for what it is just like I have everywhere else I lived. I'm grateful for my experiences in the Middle East and Mississippi especially right now, because it's kind of a good mix between the two. And my companion? Her name is Hermana Williams and she is from Portland, Oregon. She is 6 ft tall. So that takes me back to the good old days of walking with Eryn in downtown Indianapolis! So far I think she's a lot like me, so this kind of seems like Heavenly Father's way of teaching me what it is like for others to live with me... I'm sure it's bound to be a delightful, eye-opening, humbling experience for me and I hope I can learn as much as possible from her! Also, she's only been out one transfer longer than I have, she's only served here, and her trainer left today... so I am her first real change in the mission field so far. But for me, she is my 3rd companion and this is my 2nd area in just 3 transfers... I think I'm one of the newest missionaries with that many changes already in the whole mission. Do you think maybe God is teaching me how to deal with change? hahaha... My move here to San Fernando is my 24th move in the last 5 years... I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Here's what I know so far:

God ALWAYS knows what is best for me. God has a plan for me. God is going to use me WHEREVER I am if I am willing. I can learn to love and serve wherever I go. Growing pains are good for the soul. There is someone HERE that I am meant to teach and love, and there's something that I'm meant to LEARN here, too!

So it was really hard to leave... but I'm ready to dig in and get to work here in Sylmar! I'm ready to love and serve and testify of Jesus Christ to my brothers and sisters here in this area. And now I have the opportunity to get to know so many other members, investigators, and missionaries here in the San Fernando Valley!

So here's my new address:
10943 Laurel Canyon Blvd. #B5
San Fernando, CA 91340

I love you all and hope things are going well for you there! Godspeed!

Hermana Blackburn

05 July 2011

July 5, 2011

So the Monrroy family was baptized and confirmed on Sunday. We met them, taught them, and they were baptized all within 5 weeks. Why? because they are 1) incredible and 2) prepared. They are seriously so great. I can't imagine heaven without them and now I know that I don't have to! The baptismal service was really great. President Martin even came for part of it! The Spirit was so strong as this incredible family made their first promises with Heavenly Father and began down the path to being an eternal family. No words will ever be able to describe how happy I am or how much I love them! I had very little to do with the process of them receiving their own witness from the Spirit that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that His church really HAS been restored again to the earth. But I'm so grateful I was able to witness this process with them! I know I've never actually ATTACHED photos to my emails before, but I thought I could make a special exception for this occasion. :)
I don't really have any more time, but I guess that's ok because I could write all day and never be able to adequately describe in words how happy I am--for the Monrroys, for my calling as a missionary, for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life--or how much I am filled with love right now--for my Heavenly Father, for my Savior Jesus Christ, for my family, for my dear friends, for the Monrroys... everyone. This gospel really IS the only way to find lasting joy in this life or the next, because it is GOD'S way. And He's in charge...
Happy Belated Fourth of July!! Not going to lie... I was a little homesick yesterday as I was watching the fireworks. But now today I get to go back to work inviting others to come unto Christ and be healed (3 Nephi 9). I love you all so very much! Pray always, that you may come off conquerors!
Hermana Blackburn

Reflections of Christ