Sunday, January 15, 2017

Pictures!


She found Mator in Casas Grandes


Casas Grandes


An authentic Poncho in Casas Grandes


Best looking tan-line ever in Casas Grandes


New rule: Sisters can wear hats and sunglasses! (in Casas Grandes)


A closet in Casas Grandes


Two sisters that she LOVES in Casas Grandes


Hermana Blackham and some other sisters serving in Casas Grandes


Hermana Blackham and her zone in Casas Grandes


Hermana Blackham and her companion with a family they are teaching


Hermana Blackham with two companions after a tiring day of walking in Casas Grandes



Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 4, 2016

Mom,
I have felt Nonnie here during random times. During one of the opening prayers during conference I felt her sitting next to me. :)
I absolutely LOVED conference. I think my favorite talks were by President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland. They were seriously amazing. 
I'm not getting sick from the dust, thankfully. 
This week was kind of long but ended really good, with General Conference. 
Also, this weekend is when we started day light savings. And I didn't think to change the alarm before I went to bed because I thought that the phone would automatically change, pero no! So we slept in a little late on Sunday. Haha.
I made french toast for breakfast :)
The Lord helps us through trials and helps us know exactly what we need and when we need it. 
I love you mom!
Hermana Blackham

March 28, 2016

Dear Mom,

This week has been one crazy ride. First, I feel like I need to share this poem that I wrote on Monday when I got home from our only lesson. (In response to the passing of her grandmother Nonnie) I am calling it I Love You.
They told me you got worse this week
That your body just couldn't handle it
That it is death behind every door.
     it's not the news I wanted to hear
But look at the life you've lived
Years passed what the doctors told you.
A life of faith and growth and light and love
You got to meet your grandkids
And even saw a great grandkid or two
Six for six of your eligible grandkids
Served away from home in the service of the Lord.
Your two little girls are faithful and enduring.
Your love of music showing through the generations.
The legacy you left behind, you are leaving behind,
Will be hard to live up to.
But here we are Nonnie. Donna Rae.
We are here because you kept fighting.
I love you. Goodbye, until we meet again.

Here in Casas Grandes, there are murals all around centro that have different reasons to love Casas Grandes. One of these says we love Casas Grandes because of the five seasons- Summer, Fall, Winter, Dust, and Spring. And boy can I attest to this. I felt like I spent a day in the sand dunes by the time we got home like every day. But it's fun to be out in the wind all day, and I will take wind and dirt over heat and sweat any day.

Sometimes I ask people how they know that God loves them. Almost everyone says it is because they have a family. For me, it is even more than that. I was thinking about this all week, actually. I read the talk from last general conference about ponderizing a scripture a week and my scripture that I chose this week is 2 Nephi 26:24. The one that talks about Christ not doing anything unless it is for the benefit of the world. But what I've gotten out of that is that, when we are following the commandments, nothing will happen in our lives that will not be for our benefit also. The death of Nonnie has been hard for me. But I know that it was her time. I knew before I left that she was going to die while I was in Mexico. We had this one moment, my last week at home, where we were just laying down next to each other. Not even talking, just laying down, and it was peaceful. Which was weird because the house was busy, but it was like we were in our own little bubble. And I just had the very distinct feeling that I would never be able do that again. This week, I've thought a lot about that. And that is one of the reasons that I know God loves me. Because He gave me a chance to say goodbye to my Nonnie without actually saying goodbye. I had the chance to grow up knowing the most faithful person I have ever met. 

I have felt Nonnie here with me a lot. The day that she died, when i got home, the beginning of the song All I Ask of You from Phantom came into my mind. The part that says ¨no more talk of darkness, forget your wide eyed fears, I'm here, right here beside you.¨ My wide eyed fear was that Nonnie would die. But it`s okay, because she is here with me now. Right here beside me. 

Everything that happens in life is for a reason. I could see that with one of our investigators this week. The sister is interested  in the church, but doesn`t like committing to do anything. Which is a problem because her progress depends of committments. But. We tried to go with her like every day this week. Literally every day. We finally found her on Sunday, with her husband. we met her husband in the last lesson we had with her, and he was really interested but couldn`t commit to going to church because he had to work.  But yesterday we invited them to General conference and he said yes! That from now on he will be home on Sundays. And I just felt the entire time during the lesson that this was the reason we couldn't find this sister in her house until Sunday, so that we could also teach her husband. 

Also, I had to give a talk in church! It was on the atonement and I think it was good haha. 

The timing of the Lord is  perfect. All we need to do is rely on Him and everything will turn out to be okay.

I love you mom. I'm thinking of you all this week. I want you to know that I am happy. That I am doing good and i really wouldn`t rather be anywhere else, even though I would like to be with you all during this hard time. 
Love,
Hermana Blackham

March 21, 2016

This week has been really good. Opening an area really is not the easiest thing to do, especially when the streets don`t have the street name posted and most of the houses don`t have a house number. A few of the investigators don`t have an address, only their phone number and we didn`t have credit on our cell this week! It has truly been an adventure. The good thing is that the members here are fantastic and willing to help us out whenever they can. 
There was one day this week where we had like nine lessons planned. None of them actually happened. Haha. The lessons we did have were unplanned but they were good. But the good thing is that we were able to contact a lot that day. And from those contacts, we were able to visit a few during the week end and that was really good!
I did not have any reactions to the dog bite, just a nice bruise. Thankfully. And I had a fear of dogs that lasted for about a week and a half.
I don`t really like being the senior companion because it means I am in charge of the phone and I have to give reports nightly. Mostly I just don`t like being in charge of the phone because I can`t understand people completely through the phone. 
My companion is from the state of Mexico. She is super awesome. She`s a convert and is the same age as me. We get along really well, which is nice. Her name is Hermana Benitez.
I am really excited for this area. We have a lot of work to do but we can do it. We put two baptismal dates this week for a mom and her daughter and they are super excited for their baptism, too. The only thing that the mom has wondered is if she knows enough. And this is something a lot fo people wonder, actually. And it is something that I love about the gospel. We don`t need to know it all. We just have to know enough and have a testimony and then the rest of the knowledge will come, bit by bit, and when we are ready. 
I love you mom!
Hermana Blackham

March 14, 2016

My first week here was amazing, and I loved it, but I have transfers again this week! Haha. But that's okay because I am staying in Casas Grandes, and in the same ward, and everything, just to the other area in the ward. I live in a pueblo. It is actually called Pueblo. Haha. But I love it. I am walking SO much and it is up and down hill and there are almost no paved sidewalks and I feel like I am living in the forest a little bit. But I love it. And I am super happy that I am not going to be changing too much. I am going to be opening (or white washing) the area, and I am going to be a senior companion! That will be interesting because it is still a little hard for me to understand people of the phone. 
As for feeling like the Savior was carrying me, honestly speaking, has been these last six months. From the time that I came to Juarez until I came to Casas Grandes. There were so many things that were hard for me, emotionally, mentally, and physically. A mission is just really hard. But I have learned on a very personal level how aware of us Heavenly Father is. There have been days where I just felt like giving up and like I just wasn't cut out to be a misionary. And every. Single. Time. that I felt like that, there was a scripture that talking about how the Lord will qualify those who He calls. It was the love that I felt from the Lord that has helped me keep going. And this is the thing about the Lord carrying us through our burdens. It does not mean they go away, or that they get easier even, it just means that you can just feel the support of the Lord, which makes it easier. 
 
Adventures of the week/Spanish with Hermana Blackham
morder- to bite. As in I got bit by a dog this week. We were walking to our mission leader's home for correlation meeting. And these dogs started barking and following us (that is not unnatural). But then one of the dogs came up on the side of me and bit me! It didn't break the skin, so that is good, but I definitely have a good bruise from it. 
mayonesa- mayonnaise. As in Hna. Clark and I found chipotle maynaisse this week and it was fantastic. We literally ate it like everyday and came up with a new invention every day.

I love you Mom! Send my love to Nonnie also and to Poppie and to everyone there! 
Hermana Blackham
P.S. I have a new address in Texas that I know for sure works because my companion recieves packages and her parents send it to this address. It is: 

Hermana Elyse Blackham
Mexico Ciudad Juarez Mission
1410 Gail Borden Ste B-4
El Paso, Texas 79935

(if you want to send a letter first to try it out I would love to recieve a hand written letter) :) Love you!

March 7, 2016

This week was a little bit crazy for me too! I was still in the trio this week and it is a lot of fun to be in a trio. It really makes it a lot more fun. But then, on Saturday, we got a call in the morning that I was going to be transferred to Casas Grandes, in the area of Pueblo! I had to pack everything in like 45 minutes. That was absolutely crazy. And it turns out that the car to take me to the offices didn`t even arrive until like 2. Haha. But that is okay. I was in the offices for an hour and then I was taken to the bus stop and took a bus to Casas Grandes! I was all by myself traveling which was totally fine. It`s weird that I didn`t feel stressed out during the ride. And when I arrived at the bus stop in Casas Grandes, my companion wasn`t there yet because the bus was a little early but there were other members there that waited with me until I my companion arrived. The Lord is aware of everyone and of their needs and He knows how to help in the best way possible.

So, I am now in a new area. And I love it. I feel like I am actually in Mexico now. My companion is Hermana Clark, and she is from Colorado. She has two more months than I do. This area is beautiful and my favorite thing is that I can see the stars at night now! So yay!

As for Nonnie, I don't know what to say. (Her grandmother is really sick) All I know is that God is in charge and with whatever happens, it is was needs to happen. 

I love you, too Mom. 
Have a good week!
Hermana Blackham

February 21, 2016

 I really kind of can't believe that I have finished another week. Especially because this week felt like it was three weeks. Haha. I like staying in the house for like three hours and then no because we have nothing to do!
The baptism went really good! We told everyone that we were going to start at 3:30, and they didn´t even start to show up until around 4. We didn´t start until 4:30. Haha. The baptism was for Hermana Blanca, and we contacted her around Christmas time. It has been really cool being apart of her conversion. She was ready from the beginning to be baptized. 
We found Marco Polo knocking on doors. He answered the door and then we showed him the Proclomation of the family and he said that we could come back. Finding new people is honestly the hardest thing on the mission. Especially in my area right now. It's starting to get hotter so that helps but starting in like November, everyone is always in their houses so it is a little hard to contact. Basically we have to talk to anyone that we see to have contacts every day. HAha.
We did not leave the house when the Pope was here. But leading up to the Pope was interesting because the city fixed the roads and the street signs but only in the path that the Pope passed by. Haha. There were literally millions of dollars spent to make the city ready for the Pope. Who was here for ONE DAY. But yeah. Other than that all was normal. 
Also I'm pretty sure for the first few weeks that I am home I will be following you around everywhere so plan on that! haha :)
I love you mom!
Tenga un buen semana!
Hermana Blackham