February 2011-August 2012

26 December 2011

December 26, 2011

Oh my dear sweet familia! How I LOVE you ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!! For those who I got to talk to yesterday, it was DELIGHTFUL!!!!!!! And I went to bed counting my blessings (instead of sheep. haha $5 to the person who can came that movie and song...) for this incredible eternal family of mine. I was saddened by the news that Aunt Joyce passed away, but so VERY happy imagining the entire Goodman family reunited on the other side. Their legacy of love, hope, faith, devotion, and hard work has been passed on down to our generation and they now all get to reap their reward while we continue to follow in their footsteps of faith. Sorry to get all sentimental, but I'm just really so grateful for those who have gone on before me.
On Tuesday we had our Zone Temple Trip to the LA Temple. SO WONDERFUL to be back in the temple!!! I hope all of you get to experience one day the peace and love of God that surrounds us in the temple! We ended up being stranded there for hours afterwards though, because our ride never got off work like he thought, and then we had to find someone else and wait for them to make it through traffic... haha So we were on temple grounds all day long and got to see the Christmas lights come on. So beautiful!
It is a really interesting experience to absolutely know 100% that what you are saying is TRUE, but being told by the Spirit to just let someone else tear you to shreds with words because they want to be RIGHT. It is something that I've experience a few times as a missionary, but it had been awhile. But this last week Hna. Erickson and I both experienced what was to this point, and hopefully is never topped, the worst lesson of our mission. We've both learned that there is no point in defending truth on your own (without the Spirit) when 1)someone doesn't want to hear it, 2) is actively trying to prove themselves right, and 3) they won't feel the Spirit. So, we did all we knew how... we read 2 Ne. 25:26, bore our testimonies, said a prayer and left. There was no room for recovery, no room for the Spirit to do His job in such an environment. But we both learned a really big lesson about charity... the UNCONDITIONAL love of the Savior for ALL of God's children. Not just the ones who will receive His gospel. Definitely a growing experience. And we came home and scrubbed our apartment from top to bottom in order to relieve the tension. So I guess the blessings were twofold. Haha
We have transfers toay. Hermana Erickson and I are staying together here in Sylmar for another 6 weeks. And we are both SO HAPPY!!!! This will be my 5th transfer here, and my 4th with Hna. E. We LOVE being companions and are grateful for a few more weeks of it! :)
Well, as far as Christmas goes, it was a LONG day. It was the Sabbath, so we had church. We also had the baptism of Rodrigo, who was taught by my District Leader and his companion. I sang the words of "Come Follow Me" to the tune of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" with a couple elders in my zone. It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. ;) haha And then we had dinner with the Velasquez family... pasoli and tomales. A very traditional Latino Christmas dinner. On Christmas Eve we had lunch with the Alpizar family and then dinner with the Vargas family. Needless to say, I've eaten A LOT in the last few days. And every Latino I've asked has told me that is how they spend teir Christmas... EATING. They all say that they just eat all day long. So I feel pretty successful at having my first traditional Latino Christmas, and spending it just like they do... EATING. haha But really, my FAVORITE part of Christmas yesterday was getting to partake of the Sacrament and be cleansed from sin anew as I celebrated the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ who made it all possible by His atoning sacrifice. I am so grateful for the knowledge and testimony I have of my Savior, of His life that He led to show us the way, and of His death and Resurrection that then made that way possible for each of us.
I love you all so very much! I love this gospel! And I LOVE being a missionary! A heartfelt thanks to all those who sent me packages and cards so unexpectedly. It meant so much to me to feel such an outpouring of love from all of you as you took the time to remember me here in California. THANK YOU!!!! And I hope you all have a delightful New Year's holiday.
Hermana Blackburn

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