February 2011-August 2012

19 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

It is incredible to be a missionary at any time of year, but I particularly love it during this Christmas season. Every miracle seems to mean twice as much. Every heart touched seems to be twice as important. And everyone we teach... seems to be twice as distracted. haha I have never had a lesson interrupted because they discovered that the Pixar Short films were playing on TV and they just COULDN'T miss them. But I guess there's a first time for everything. And on the plus side, we made it through the story of the First Vision in that lesson without the fire alarms, dogs, birds, or anyone else spontaneously going off! haha So like I said, every MIRACLE seems to mean twice as much!

We taught a new family this week. We sat there and listened to them talk for more than an hour, and the whole time I was just so impressed with how prepared they've been to hear our message. We both felt impressed to just stay quiet and let them talk for the most part... Well the effect was twofold. 1) They were drained of everything they had to say at that moment. And so they were basically obligated to listen to us now. 2) They were so touched by how "calm and peaceful, respectful, confident, and loving" we were that they WANTED to listen to us. CHA-CHIIING. Now I'm not saying that strategy works with everyone... but I'm really grateful that it did with them. And that we followed the Spirit in just staying quiet for so long. We're excited to go back and teach them again this week. :)

Cesar was confirmed yesterday, and he was just SO HAPPY!! Which, of course, just makes US SO HAPPY!! And lots of people in the ward know him because he comes to EVERYTHING with us, which is both rare and awesome. So we hope that they will take good care of him! And put him to work! ;)

Yesterday we went caroling with our ward to a few inactive and home-bound members. It took forever, but it was well worth it to 1) musically help out the ward members, 2) build relationships with different members so that we can all help each other better, and 3) spread Christmas cheer to the families who need us most right now. It was also great to show our Bishopric that as missionaries we have personal relationships with these families because we DO visit them and we try our best to take care of them and love them and bring them back. So we're glad we took the time to participate in this ward activity, even though on the surface it may have seemed frivolous.

Today we're having a "traditional" Mexican Posada with the other missionaries in our zone. It's a Christmas activity where neighbors all go from house to house and eat way too much food and do a few other activities. My district was in charge of bringing the pinatas. We tried our hand at making them... hahaha. NEVER. AGAIN. But I am going to make my famous hot chocolate for the zone. We'll see how it goes. I don't think I've mentioned this yet. But I have discovered the secret to making the BEST hot chocolate EVER. I was going to keep this a secret, but I guess that's not a very missionary-like thing to do to keep great news to yourself! haha Use Vanilla Almond Milk. It doesn't seem to matter what kind of mix you use after that, but obviously the better the mix, the better the hot chocolate. And if you want to make it extra delicious, put a scoop of your favorite ice cream or gelato in it. Yeah... you might die and go to heaven--It's THAT GOOD. Seriously. :)

My district leader, Elder Ruiz was a street performer in spray painting before his mission in Oakland, CA. On Friday after our district meeting he made us all paintings as our Christmas present. He did each one in about 5-7 min. Incredible! He actually ended up making an extra one... so I got two! What great fortune! haha I've attached a couple pictures to give you an idea, but I haven't taken pictures of the two that I got yet... and some day I'll post the videos I took of him making them.

As for calling on Sunday... I have no idea yet what time you should expect. But we have church at 11 PST, and our District Christmas probably after that. So it'll probably be between 2-9pm my time since I have to call you all individually. I think this is the first year where NO ONE in our family is spending Christmas together. WEIRD. Anyway, we'll figure it all out. This is the first of two times we have to figure out 3 missionary phone calls on the same day. So fun!! :)

Well I love you all and I hope you have an incredible Christmas. I hope that each of you have come up with something you are going to give to the Savior this year... as it's HIS birthday we're supposed to be celebrating, right? ;) And don't forget that the Spirit of Christmas can be kept all year long! Have a great week!!

Hermana Blackburn

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Reflections of Christ