February 2011-August 2012

28 November 2011

November 28, 2011 Let the Holidays Begin

The last week has been a pretty bizarre one in the way of our routine. Hna. Erickson had a leadership training on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Thanksgiving, but we still had some great experiences. Tuesday I spent with Hna. Williams (my former companion) and her greenie, Hna. Quick. Turns out I MET Hna. Quick several years ago. I'm good friends with her older brother and his wife, and I know her older sister, too. ANYWAY, small world. Wednesday I spent with the Hermanas in my first area--Canyon Country. But we studied the whole time I was with them because of this new greenie training program that came out. So I was bummed I didn't get to see anyone, but I got LOTS of hours of studying in, so I guess that was needed! But I was relieved to be back with Hna. Erickson. I am just SO GLAD that SHE is my companion. I'm going to definitely enjoy the time we have left together!

Well, I started getting some weird phone calls from Vladmir. And last night he called and thought he was talking to me and started saying some weird things again, and so Hna. E. called him out on it. I didn't know what was going on because I was in our bedroom, when I just heard through the wall, "Are you in love with Hermana Blackburn?" in a very loud, serious voice...hahaha... I about died when I heard her say that! Well, her bold missionary self made it perfectly clear to him after his confession in the affirmative that I could not nor would not be interested in him romantically now or ever, and that we can't teach him anymore. Well... I have mixed feelings about that whole situation... I have been teaching him for 4 months, so OF COURSE I care about him! And it is sad that I basically have to cut ties with him for now. But I'm also irritated that he would act like that. I mean he's 63... so I'm not sure where he got the idea that he could get away with that... haha And I also think it's really funny and awkward how Hna. Erickson called him out about it. Oh man... never a dull moment as a missionary!

In other news, we have no gas in our apartment. I guess it was never signed up for, so somehow we've been having it for free the last two months we've lived there? Well, it was turned off on Tuesday, and we thought it must've just been a fluke thing. Well, by Thursday, still nothing. So we made some phone calls and found out we never were supposed to have it to begin with. And the gas company won't turn it on until Dec. 8! haha So no heat, no stove, no oven, and... NO HOT WATER! Yeah... it had been a LONG time since I'd taken such a freezing cold shower... but we worked it out with the English Elders to use their showers when they're out every couple days... haha

Thanksgiving was pretty uneventful. The highlight was setting a baptismal date with Cesar for Dec. 18th! We ate with Jose and Marta... tomales. And then of course we had Thanksgiving Dinner with the Vargas family an hour later. I felt bad that I barely had any room, but I couldn't have said no to Marta without hurting her feelings! So, we zipped up our extra-large man suits and ate two dinners that night and wanted to die afterward. haha But Hna. Vargas had a delicious meal prepared for us! And to my pleasant surprise, I didn't have to eat Turkey this year!! SO HAPPY!! (That has always been my least favorite part of Thanksgiving, and I never eat it if I can avoid it. haha) Like I good Latina, she made us CHICKEN! haha I know I eat chicken at almost every dinner here on the mission, but I still prefer it over turkey any day... And the rest of the food was all great, too. I definitely was counting my blessings to have any food at all!

On Friday I gave the training at our District Meeting... I talked about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion, and how we as missionaries can rely on and facilitate that better. I learned a lot from preparing it! I hope someone got something out of it... haha.

David was confirmed on Sunday without any glitches... PHEW! I'm just so very happy for him! And I'm SO excited for Cesar, too. I hope they become friends with people in the ward to make their transition easier once we leave. That's why members are SO CRUCIAL in missionary work!

We have zone conference on Wednesday, which is always nice. So hopefully next week I'll have something a little more... spiritually enlightening to share with you all. We'll see. ;) Have a great week! I love you all!

Hermana Blackburn

21 November 2011

November 21, 2011 Happy Thanksgivi​ng!!

Well, I definitely have A LOT to be grateful for, so in no particular order, here a just a few that came to my mind:
1) THE BEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD sending me a pre-Christmas package!
3) I have an incredible family who has taught me the gospel and the way to REALLY be happy in this life.
4) I am a MISSIONARY. I get to share the BEST NEWS IN THE WORLD with people. Everyday!  (See #2)
5)  I have the BEST best friend a girl could ask for! Fer rills.
6) I have a great companion who is an awesome missionary. We have so much fun teaching together!
7) I have the privilege of teaching some incredible people here in Sylmar. And I was no less blessed in Canyon Country!
8) I have made some eternal friends here, with missionaries, members, and investigators alike.
9) I'm learning Spanish! That's cool, right?! haha Well, I might speak like a chola, but people can understand me nonetheless.
10) David got baptized!!! SO SO SO happy about that!!! :)
11) I bought all the ingredients and pan to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this week. REALLY looking forward to that.
12) The new sister missionary dress code allows colored tights. I'm grateful for that.
13) I am here on earth. With a body. Even if it doesn't work very well, I'm really grateful I have it.
14) Christmas music that keeps my spirits high.
15) Dr. Richardson. Is. An. ANGEL. Wow, I don't know where I would be without him right now.
16) I have health insurance! Phew!
17) People that feed us.
18) People that talk to us.
19) Playing the piano... my one stress reliever that I can still do as a missionary!
20) The temple. And my eternal family. I don't know where I would be without this comforting knowledge.
Ok, Well I really could go on FOREVER, but you all get the idea. We all have SO much to be grateful for! So I hope you each take a few minutes and write a journal entry about what you're grateful for this week.
Speaking of journals... I've written in my journal every night for over a month! Seriously, that is SO good for me! haha Anyway, I let the first third of mission go by without a very good, consistent personal record, and that's a shame. So I'm pleased to report that I'm doing my best to correct that!
Also, David got baptized yesterday. SO HAPPY!!! He is just SO wonderful and I'm so proud of him! It can be a scary step for people, but he didn't balk at his anxiety. He knew what he felt, he knew it was true, and he just moved forward with faith. He is a great example for me, that's for sure! I definitely need a lot of faith these days! Anyway, for some reason this computer won't let me send pictures. But you'll see them all eventually. haha But it was a great baptism. Too bad no one came. I hope you ALL go to baptisms in your wards. If not, shame on you for not supporting the missionaries and new members. I hope I sound serious about that. Our work is almost pointless without the support of the members. Just sayin...
Well, that's all for now. I hope you all have a very HAPPY Thanksgiving!!! Don't forget to actually GIVE THANKS. I love you all!!
Hermana Blackburn

14 November 2011

November 14, 2011 Holidays in Sylmar!

Well Hermana Erickson and I get to spend another transfer together here in Sylmar!! And we are both SO excited! Three transfers with one companion is a record for both of us! And we're just so grateful that we work SO well together and have a great time. After our exchanges a couple weeks ago we had both decided that we just wanted to stay together... haha So we're excited for 6 more weeks. And to be together for Christmas!! :) So mom, you can just send that Christmas music I asked for to me here in Sylmar. Thanks!

Well, we certainly ended the transfer with a bang last week! We had 9 lessons where members accompanied us--I think that's a record in this ward, because no one ever wants to come with us! And we had 7 of our investigators at church. It probably had something to do with me playing piano for the primary program and telling them it might be my last Sunday here... haha Funny how a little motivation goes a long way sometimes. ;) But then most of them ended up staying for the whole 3 hours and LOVED it! See?! We've been telling them all along they were going to love it, and we were right!

Well do you remember Cesar who I told you about last week? The man who just showed up at church after a 5 min conversation with us? Well, We taught him 4 times this last week. He came to church again, and then a baptism, and then a special devotional from the Conference Center for Spanish speaking members of the Church. He bought a whole car load of Vitamin Water so that he can stop drinking coffee. He watched the Restoration movie TWICE on Saturday night. Yeah... don't worry. He has a baptismal date for December right now. But it is SO fun to teach people who just WANT to be taught, and who understand what you're teaching them! Seriously, how am I SO blessed to teach all of these amazing people? I'm not really sure, but I'm SO grateful.

We are teaching this boy who's family has been inactive for several years, named Sebastian. Well, there is this demonstration you do with an empty tea bag and you light it on fire while someone holds it in their hand, but just before you think it burns you, it floats up into the air. We use is to teach Faith. Well, I've done it LOTS of times. I've never had a problem, with anyone. I've never heard of anyone having a problem either. But we tried to do it with Sebastian, and half-way down, he FREAKED OUT and blew it into Hna. Erickson's face--flames and all! haha I thought her hair was going to catch on fire! But gratefully it didn't. But now we know that when you ask "Do you trust me?" and the person says "NO" that you should have someone else do it! hahaha... Oh man. Never a dull moment as a missionary! :)
Anyway, life is good. The work is moving forward here in Sylmar, and we're looking forward to another great transfer of helping God's children come unto Him and make sacred promises with Him and receive all the blessings that God has in store for them! Have a great week!

I love you all!

Hermana Blackburn

07 November 2011

November 7, 2011 Transfer 5 Week 5

Hello Family!!
I hope things are going well! Tanner--9 days until the MTC! How are you feeling? Haha Yeah I know... I hated that question, too! And Logan-HAPPY 23rd BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!!! For some reason MY birthdays don't make me feel nearly as old as YOUR birthdays do! haha But I hope you have a great one!

Highlights from the last week: exchanges, training, and church.

I went on exchanges with Hermana Beauchamp up in Palmdale. It was great to be out of the city and have clean air and blue skies. But it was a pretty normal missionary day with lots of canceled appointments and knocking. So nothing too out of the ordinary. I had a great time with Hna. Beauchamp, and I learned a lot from her. But by the end of the day I very much looked forward to getting back to work with Hna. Erickson. In a very grateful kind of way, that I have such a wonderful companion who is an all-star missionary. She never lets a moment go by with someone without bringing up the gospel in some way. She is persistent, but not pushy, which is a rare skill as a missionary. Anyway, I just LOVE working with her so I'm grateful that I have one more week to soak it in. We have transfers next week, so I'll find out on Saturday if I'm staying or leaving. I've been here for 3 transfers (4.5 months) so I kinda think I'll leave. But who knows.

Hna. Erickson and I gave a training to our Zone on Friday morning about our Missionary Covenant and our Quest for Obedience. I will try and attach our handout that we made for it. It went really well. I've pretty much shared with you in my emails over the last 12 weeks the ideas of STRIVING to be obedient and our missionary covenant based on our studies and our Zone Conference with Elder Golden several weeks ago. We had a really great time preparing and giving our training, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. So we consider it a success. :)

I may have mentioned this before, but as missionaries church is always a bit nerve-wrecking hoping and praying that those you are teaching actually come and that once they are there they can feel the Spirit, feel welcomed, and not be taught any false doctrine from anyone! But this last Sunday was one of the BEST Sacrament meetings this ward has had since I've been here! It was SO GOOD. The Spirit was SO strong. And our investigators there felt it and recognized it. Another miracle? have I mentioned Jose and Marta who we're teaching? Well they are great, but this story is about a man, Cesar, who rents a room in the back of their house. We met him briefly as we were leaving a lesson at their house. We invited him to church, but just like most contacts you make like that on the street, we didn't have any expectations that he would come. But lo and behold, he CAME! i could hardly believe my eyes when he walked into the Church on Sunday! haha I was so happy! And he LOVED IT. We haven't even taught this man yet, and in the middle of Sacrament meeting, he leaned over to Hna. Erickson and said he felt something "funny" and pointed to his heart. He said "I don't know what this is. I've never felt it before. But I like it." So she taught him about the Holy Ghost and what it means when we feel it. :) So we have a lesson with him and Jose and Marta tonight! But seriously, it was great and we're excited to teach him more!

Well that is all I have for now. But I love you all and hope you have an incredible week! God is so good to us, so he blesses us with families and prophets. And I'm SO grateful that I know Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet on the earth today. I've prayed and asked. And God has answered me through the Holy Ghost. I love that! And I love sharing the love of our Savior and Heavenly Father with everyone here in Sylmar!

Love you!
Hermana Blackburn

Reflections of Christ