February 2011-August 2012

27 February 2012

February 27, 2012 Curious Workmanship and Other Small and Simple Things

Well last week was a really good week. It started on Tuesday with a trip to the chiropractor... turns out I was almost 2" out of alignment. haha... And I had strict orders to take it easy on all fronts. Apparently my body isn't quite as healed as I think it should be. Oops. So what did I do that day instead of walking the streets of Sylmar? I made a Liahona. Yep. It's off the hook--if I do say so myself. I'm sad I forgot my camera cord b/c I was going to send pictures of it. Just imagine a hamster ball+broach+clock hands... We had planned a lesson on the liahona/scripture study (read 1 Ne 16 and Alma 37) for some less actives so I thought this would be a fun way to grab their attention. haha Oh if only people KNEW the lengths that missionaries go to for them sometimes. How'd the lesson go? Well, when we got there, the lesson actually ended up going in a very different direction and so we never even taught what we'd planned. But that's ok. That's what happens when you follow the Spirit. And now I have a liahona! haha

Wednesday was Zone Conference, and this might've been one of the best I've ever had. I got a lot of good food for thought. I love President Martin. And The APs gave a great training... theirs was actually my favorite. They showed us a clip from The Lion King--when Rafiki tries to help Simba understand WHO HE IS, and he sees his father, for those of you who will remember that part. Wow... when you watch that with your spiritual eyes and ears... Talk about personal revelation. In a lot of ways I'm like Simba and I need to REMEMBER WHO I AM. But in other ways, as a missionary, I play the role of Rafiki helping others realize WHO THEY ARE. What a cool job. I love being a missionary! Anyway, it was really help for me personally as well as for our investigators right now.

Thursday we had a jam-packed day of appointments... with NEW PEOPLE! Jose, Alicia, Alondra, Abelinda, and then with Lucia, and dinner with David. Man! What a great day! I really hope that our days this week are a lot more like Thursday than Tuesday of last week! haha

Today we are going to go to the San Fernando Mission... the old Spanish, Catholic mission that is, b/c clearly I'm IN the San Fernando Mission. haha But I'm excited! I've been here for almost 9 months and I still haven't been to see it! And then I'm going to try my hand at making a quiche. We'll see how that goes. :)

Oh and for all those who are curious about the roaches... they've decreased substantially. Thanks! Operation Extermination is still in full effect though. As I finished the Pearl of Great Price last week, I came across the part about all the blood of animals we've killed being required at our hands when we're judged by God. Do you think cockroaches count as animals in that instance? Sure hope not! haha Yikes! 

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week! Keep smiling and serving!
Hermana Blackburn

20 February 2012

February 20, 2012 One YEAR. Yikes!

Holy MOLY! I had my ONE YEAR mark this last week. How did that happen? I have NO IDEA. haha Anyway, it's hard to believe that I've been on my mission for more than a year now. I still have such a LONG WAY TO GO. Personally, I mean. It's kinda overwhelming. But I am grateful to know that I can keep changing and growing for the rest of my life as I continue to love and serve and share the gospel with others! PHEW!!! My mission doesn't REALLY end after my mission. Good thing! Because I LOVE my mission. So now I just have to learn to love my life's mission... once I figure out what that might be... haha. But I don't have to think about that for another 7 months! ;)

Well it was a pretty busy week, and yet I feel like we got nothing done. I hate it when that happens. But I just have to remember that not all missionary work is visible when we report numbers at the end of the week. And actually, MOST missionary work is not visible in numbers. But we had lots of meetings, lots of planning, lots of tracking down people who weren't there. I'm trying to pace myself and still allow my body to recover, but there is SO MUCH WORK to do, and it's both overwhelming me, and pushing me to just work even when I don't feel great. haha Just don't tell Sister Martin that. ;) But this is my SIXTH transfer here in Sylmar. And for those who don't know what that means, it means I've been here since JULY. That's 8 months now. And so I'll probably be leaving at the end of this transfer, and knowing that is just pushing me to work as hard as I can to leave it on an upswing. Anyway, for not having been able to work a ton the last couple months, our area has definitely suffered... and I take FULL responsibility for that. But I don't want to leave it how it is right now. My goal has always been to leave each of my areas better than when I found it. So we have A LOT of work to do, and not very much time to do it. We are already halfway through the transfer! Anyway, this stress is all self-inflicted, but very much real for me right now. So we just got pray hard, and work even harder. :)

As for Hna. White and I, we are great. We laugh ALL THE TIME. And that DEFINITELY helps everything! I'm SO grateful to have a companion who is so patient and loving with me, who is a rock-star Spanish speaker, and a great gospel teacher. I love her a lot! We never thought we'd be able to be companions, because we're both so old in the mission now, and that normally doesn't happen. So we are both just cherishing this time together. 

We do have a problem though. Cockroaches. SICK. We've always had them in this apartment, no matter how clean we keep it. But  it hasn't been too bad. But as it's been getting colder here, they've been growing in both size and number. We bombed it the day of my surgery, thinking that would help. It's made it worse. So we're going to bomb it again on Wednesday when we have Zone Conference... this is REALLY DUMB, considering all of the other things I SHOULD be praying for, like PROGRESSING INVESTIGATORS, but this morning I reached my limit. So I'm asking for those of you who will remember me in your prayers anyway, to just add in an extra note about getting rid of the cockroaches in our apartment. *Shudder* haha Thanks! :)

Well, that's all I have time for. I love you all! Thanks for all your love and support! Have a great week! And Happy President's Day!

Hermana Blackburn

New Mission President Announced

Dear Missionaries,

I have exciting news to share with you.  Brother Kenneth T. Hall and Sister Dianna M. Hall have been called to succeed myself and Sister Martin as the new mission president and wife on or about July 1, 2012.  The Hall's have already been highlighted in the Church News as a new mission president but without a specific mission assignment.  The new mission president assignments will be published in the Church News on March 3rd.  Below is the article that appeared in the Church News.  The Hall's have four children.  Two daughters age 18 and 13 and two sons, age 15 and 7.   I had the pleasure of speaking to the Hall's this weekend.  They are bubbling with excitement to serve in this great mission alongside each of you.  They were fun to speak to.   The Halls have a very deep faith in the gospel of Christ.  They are people of capacity.  You can trust them to lead you well and lift the mission to even greater levels.  Sister Martin and I already feel a great love for the Halls.  Now with that said, I want you each to know that Sister Martin and I will serve to our capacity to the last moment of our mission.  We have much work to still complete here.  We have many missionaries to teach, many seekers of truth to baptize, much work to do with the stakes, wards and branches, many miracles to still experience.  We will finish our course until the Lord says: "Your work is done here."  In this tender moment, we realize even more how precious each of you are to us.  We are all fellow servants in the work of the Lord to bring about his great purpose which is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  So let's remember whose errand we are on and get back to work! 

With heartfelt love,
President Martin

Kenneth Troy Hall and Dianna McConkie Hall
Kenneth Troy Hall, 43, and Dianna McConkie Hall, four children, Arrowhead Ranch Ward, Glendale Arizona North Stake. Brother Hall serves as a gospel doctrine teacher and as a stake strengthening marriage instructor and is a former stake mission president, stake Young Men president, high councilor, bishop, high priest group leader and missionary in the Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission. Former senior vice president, PetSmart, Inc. Born in Richland, Wash., to Troy Edward and Lucille Yancey Hall.
Sister Hall serves as a Relief Society president and as a stake strengthening marriage instructor and is a former counselor in a Relief Society presidency, counselor in a Primary presidency, institute teacher and gospel doctrine teacher. Born in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to Stanford Smith and Kathleen Ann Sorensen McConkie.

13 February 2012

February 13, 2012 God is Good.

Well, I am still definitely on the mend, but the surgery was a success. God is so very good to me and poured out miracles upon me this week. Prayer is oh so very powerful. Thank you all for your love and prayers. I don't really have the time or energy to say much more than that. But thank you all so very much.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true. And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church which contains the fulness of that gospel. How very blessed I am to know that and share that with others. Don't forget, you can spread the word, too. :)

Have a great week!

Hermana Blackburn

08 February 2012

February 6, 2012 Still in Sylmar

So the big news this week: Hna Erickson is leaving. I'm REALLY sad for me. And REALLY happy for her. She's going to open up a new area in the Young Single Adult Spanish branch, take over an Elders' area in Reseda, and train a new hermana... all at the same time! She definitely has her work cut out for her but she'll do great! I'm really proud of her. :)

I'm staying here for another 6 weeks... this will be my 6th transfer here in Sylmar. Yep. But I'm getting Hermana White, who is just delightful, so I'm excited about that! We'll have a great time together. :) 

Wladimir was confirmed yesterday. And unbeknownst to us, he had already been interviewed by the Bishop and also received both the Aaronic Priesthood and a calling as the Assistant Ward Mission Leader! Cool, huh?! That's NEVER happened to me with a new convert. Especially in a Spanish Ward! He'll be well taken care of. He has lots to learn from the members about how to act appropriately, and about true, correct doctrine. But the ward has lots to learn from him about being ANXIOUSLY and zealously engaged in a good cause... the BEST cause! :)

On a very different front, something I specifically have NOT mentioned in my emails is that I actually have been having lots of health problems for the last several months and I'm actually having surgery tomorrow. Due to the risks involved with the surgery, my mission president requested that my mother be here with me for a couple days. What a HUGE tender mercy from the Lord. I'm so very grateful for her being here with me this week. I'm confident that all will go well in surgery. No matter what happens, the Lord is in charge. I'm just so grateful I've been able to stay here on my mission. So THAT is really the big news I have this week. And I wasn't planning on ever mentioning it, but my mom told me she'd already told the whole ward and all our family... haha. So much for me keeping it to myself. Anyway, thanks for all your continued love and support and prayers. I CERTAINLY appreciate it!

That's all I really have time for. Sure do love you all! Have a great week!

Hermana Blackburn

Reflections of Christ