Sunday, November 8, 2015

October 25, 2015

Hay muchos miembros en mi area. Yo estoy en un barrio. Aquí en Juárez, there are ward buildings and there is only one ward per building which is kind of weird. Haha. There is one family that we go to a lot because they are recent converts. It's a grandma and two of her grandkids. They have been super helpful, especially because the grandson can speak english! But they are awesome. All of the older people are concerned about my mosquito bites (I have like 50 of them). And they are pretty bad. But yeah. It's good. There are VERY few americans around. I've seen three. Haha.

Teresa was being taught before I arrived. She was walking with a menos activo when they met her. She is around 50 or 60 years old. 

I have a way to listen to music but my mission president doesn't want us to use USB's por la música. Entonces, si usted quiero enviar una CD con la música de navidad, you can do that. We have one CD that we listen to, so I would LOVE new CDs.

My companion was singing the other day the song Hi Ho Hi Ho from snow white. Only, when she was singing she sang it like "Hi Hope". haha. It's funny how the language differences manifest themselves. Also, inside out is intensa mente and I find that really funny. A lot of the fraccionamientos have gates and guards. and one of the guards looks like Strax from Dr. Who. And I love it. Haha. Also also, a lot of the people can't say Blackham and they ofter pronounce it like blanca. So I am Hermana Blanca (Hermana White). Haha. I love it.

This week I learned that as soon as you think you have something going good, the Lord will knock you back down and make sure you realize that you can't do anything without him. That is always a fun lesson to learn. Haha. Not really though. But it's good.

I love the Book of Mormon! I learned how aware of us God is. He is so aware that He will put things into play months beforehand to help us. At the beginning of my mission, I started reading the Book of Mormon starting from Words of Mormon. Don't ask me why because I don't know. Haha. But because I started there I have scriptures that I read that I need in the exact day that I need. And I wouldn't have them if I started reading at a different place. Or I wouldn't catch something new if I hadn't started where I did. I finished reading the whole Book of Mormon this week and have found new things in stories that I literally read a month ago, Revelation never ceases. 

I also learned that if you ask with sincerity, you receive. . My comp and I have been wanted hamburgers for like two weeks now. And we had hamburgers for four meals in a row with members. I am so sick of hamburgers now. Haha. 

I love you so much! And I really do feel your prayers. The mission is getting easier but at the same time, it is still hard. There are still times where I wonder what I am doing. And the prayers that I know are coming are always helpful. 

Hope everything is going well for everyone! I love you!

Hermana Blackham 

October 19, 2015

Health wise I am feeling fine. My asthma has bothered me a little bit but that is to be expected with the weather changes. My allergies are horrible. And I hate them. But they are only really bad in the mornings. Thankfully my stomach hasn't bothered me at all with the food. Thank goodness for tender mercies! We usually have lunch at 2 with members and the members feed us every day except for Monday. It is really rare for us to go a day without members feeding us. We are usually home right around 8:45.

So, this week I went on exchanges again!!! AGIAN! Haha. The first day I was with someone named Hermana Robles and the next day I was with Hermana Hale. Hna Robles is from Mexico and I still don't know how I am able to communicate with the Hermanas who don't speak english but somehow it works. Haha. Hermana Hale is from Utah and that was a really fun experience. In the casa that night there were 4 americans! That is crazy because there  are only like 10 American sisters in the whole mission!

This week I was able to go to a baptism and that was cool. And different than how I am used to it haha. But it was good. I could understand (basically) everything that was going on because it was pretty much the same! The only different thing is that I think we make a bigger deal out of baptisms in the US. Not sure though. I will get back to you on that in November because our next baptism is for Oct. 31! And that is for one of my investigators named Teresa! Yay!

I love you mom!

October 12, 2015

I don't even know what to say. This week, as you well know, has probably been the hardest freaking week of my life! Which is saying something, because I have had some hard weeks in my 20 years. On Monday I had made up my mind to go home. It didn't matter what people said. I was going home. I was searching for the answer to go home in all of my reading and praying and just searching. And I found the answer to go home. But among the answer to go home was a quieter answer to stay. An answer that I needed to hold on for just one more week. And I think I got that answer because Heavenly Father knew that by the end of the week I would be okay, or at least be feeling better. Mom, Heavenly Father is aware of us. And sometimes we can't see it. And that is hard.

This week, I went on two different exchanges. (My companion is a STL: Sister Trainer Leader, ). And at the beginning of the exchanges, I thought: Why are you doing this to me, Heavenly Father? Why are you making me pack my bags for 24 hours and be with someone new when I am having a hard time just being with someone that I know! And you know what? That was exactly what I needed. I needed to go to a new area. The first time, I was able to go to the area with the temple. And I was able to go to the temple. Not inside, just be on temple grounds. There is something about the temple that is just different. There, we met one of the security guards who works there and wants to know just everything about the church. Absolutely everything. He showed me his Libro de Mormon and it was all marked up and written in. He saw the truth of it-just from a historical stand point and even a little on a spiritual stand point. He lived in the US for 16 years and talked to me in English about everything (he likes English more than Spanish-haha). And that opportunity helped me remember why I am here. It reminded me of the joy I feel when I talk about the gospel. 

For the second exchange I was able to be with an American Hermana and we talked in English a lot. I was able to talk about what I was feeling without worrying that she didn't understand what I was feeling. And that helped a lot. To be able to talk about my feelings in English and have the person understand it! With her, we were able to teach a family that we were not planning on teaching and that was cool. We had a member with us and the member was awesome. I needed her in my life this week. The exchanges were such a blessing for me. And now I realize that sometimes, it is those things that we think we cannot handle that end up being the best thing for us. In the short run, it was exchanges for me. In the long run, it is the mission.

So, as you can gather from my message so far, I am staying. And I know it is what I need to do. :)

Yesterday, I was fasting. And in Mexico we fast from lunch to lunch. So we started on Saturday. And by the time morning came around I was STARVING. Hungry enough that it reminded me of Trek. HAha. But anyway. As I was walking to church, I had a thought. Sometimes, the sacrament bread and water (however little it is) is the thing that makes fasting bearable and allows us to make it through. And that is the Atonement in our lives. The Atonement is what allows us to make it through the hard times. Even when you can't even see the difference that the Atonement is making in your life. It is what allows you, enables you, to make it through.

Hermana Blackham

September 28, 2015

This is a picture of my district that was taken back at the CCM. From left to right, the Elders are Elder Gardiner (he is with me in Ciduad Juarez), Elder Harrison, Elder Nicoll, Elder Gardner, Elder Greenwood,Elder Larsen, Elder Thompson, and Elder Jansson. And my companion, Hermana Banish

September 16, 2015

It is Mexican Independence day. Last night was crazy. Everyone was shooting off fireworks and guns and playing music and just partying. Getting to bed was a little hard. But this morning we went to the temple and that was super cool! All the streets were like empty and we got to the temple faster than we probably ever will. Haha. 

This week for me has been super awesome and full of spiritual experiences. We got to watch the Mexico City Temple cultural celebration and then also the temple dedication. I don´t have my notes on me but I´ll tell you more about that next week. I know that the Lord is always aware of us and is always helping us, even when we can´t see it. Sometimes it takes years before we see how His hand has been apart of our lives. 

I love my district! They are seriously so awesome. Every companionship has similar personalities and that is awesome. Haha. We all get along really well, and I hope we all stay in contact. My companion is going to Chihuahua, so the mission below mine. And I haven´t met any sisters going to Juarez yet. If there is another one, she will be a Latina.

Tell Nonnie that I am praying for her and that some other sisters in my zone are also praying for her. That sounds really painful and I wish I were there to help take care of her but I know I can do more good being on a mission than being home. :) 

I don´t have any pictures today because we literally spent all day at the temple. Sorry there isn´t much to say, but all my days kind of blend together and I do the same thing like every day. Tell everyone I love them!

Hermana Blackham

Sunday, September 13, 2015

September 13, 2015

(This first paragraph is in response to my question about her health)
I´m feeling pretty good. Last week I went in to the doctor because my cough started getting worse and it was coming more from my chest. And it turns out I had a small thing of bronchitis! I got medicine for that and am feeling a lot better! My asthma acts up a lot because there is a constant change of weather. It will be hot and sunny and rainy all in the same day and sometimes it lasts for a while, but, I´m doing just fine. The doctor also gave me a cough suppressant that works really well.

Something cool happened this week. So, for some reason all of my french started coming back to me this past week and most of what I have been saying has been French and not Spanish. But then I got the prompting that God cares about me liking French. And that my remembering all my French was His way of telling me that he knows I´d rather be speaking French. And that when I get home, I won´t lose any of the French that I had learned.  It was just really cool. 

Spanish is coming little by little. I learned the difference between por y para this week. Which is confusing and I´m not sure if I totally understand it or not. Haha.
Another funny story! During companionship prayer before going to bed recently instead of saying "bendicenos con bueno sueño," (bless us with good dreams),  I said "bendicenos con bueno suerte." (bless us with good luck) So I asked for good luck and not sleep. That was funny :) But it is through the mistakes that we learn!

So in my zone, we have this thing where we "33" people. Page 33 in the White Bible (the rule book)  is the page that talks about not flirting with others. So, like anytime anyone talks to another person of the opposite gender who isn´t a part of the district/zone, we call out 33. It is hilarious. 

Nothing has really happened all that much here since last week. We had to go get our visas taken care of today   (Thursday) which is why the p-day got switched to today. But all is well. Next week it will be on Wednesday :)

Pictures from my trip through Mexico City to get my Visa.

the bench was just amusing because it had a cut out of a man on it. haha :)

Statue I saw on my way to get my Visa

The taxi is called Iron Man taxi because of its colors :)

Statue I saw on my way to get my Visa

September 2, 2015

This week was awesome and so uplifting. My companion is super awesome and really helps me to learn the language. We use flashcards and quiz each other all the time. The language is coming slowly but surely. I can have small conversations in Spanish which is a miracle considering I´ve only been speaking the language for two weeks!

This week for devotional, we got to listen to Elder Dallin H. Oaks  and his wife. It was broadcast from Provo. And that was awesome! Probably one of the best devotionals I´ve ever listened to/watched. It was all on how to be a better missionary and it was great. I sang in the choir before the devotional started and that was awesome. I missed singing on a stage haha. 

Something kind of funny. So, I live in a casa and have my own room (obviously with my companion) and my own bathroom. In the room, there are four beds and because it is only me and my companion, there are extra pillows. And also, my companion brought her own pillow. So I now use the extra pillows, my companion´s pillow, and my pillow, with a total of four pillows. Haha :) That´s something I wasn´t expecting to be able to do! 

This week I´ve been studying Mosiah and the beginning chapters of Alma and they are awesome. I´ve gotten so much out of them and it´s just amazing. The Book of Mormon really is another testament of Christ, and it is the word of God. 

Something else that is kind of funny! My companion and I were trying to plan  a lesson but we were just too unfocused so we decided to say a prayer. And if we pray aloud we usually pray in Spanish. And I was the one who was going to say the pray. And instead of saying Querido Padre Celestial, I said Querido Pedro Celestial. I didn´t even notice until the end and my companion told me that. So that was great haha. And it didn´t help our predicament of not being focused. So, even though there are some hard times, there are also some really great times. The spirit here is awesome.

Last night as we were saying district prayer on our knees, I was just really wanting to have a hug from one of my brothers, and immediately I felt arms wrap around me. Heavenly Father is SO aware of us and our needs and wants. I can´t wait to be out in the field teaching real investigators. (At the CCM, all the investigators are our teachers, haha)

I love you Mom! Hope all is well. Oh! Read Mosiah 28:7. When I read that I thought it would bring you some comfort. I´m doing a lot better this week. 
Hermana Blackham

Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 26, 2015

  I know what you mean by a mission is hard now. It´s only been a week and I get it, at least a little bit, now. But yeah, the hardest part is definitely learning the language. And the hardest part about learning the language is forgetting all the French I know. I keep trying to say things and they come out in French and it´s just super frustrating to me because I´m used to being really good at language classes and in school in general.  I am the only one in my district, I feel like, who is having a really hard time with the language. 
The CCM (Mexico City MTC) is awesome. The workers are great and SUPER nice when it comes to speaking Spanish slowly so that us Americanos can understand what is going on. Ha ha ha. The spirit here is awesome. It´s kind of weird being surrounded by a bunch of missionaries though. But I love it. 
The food is good. They usually have a few choices to choose from, and you can choose to have beans and rice or not! So I haven´t had the beans and rice yet. That will come soon though, I feel like. I get to have fruit here at EVERY MEAL!!!!!!!! It is so awesome. My stomach has handled it a lot better than I thought it would. 
The plane trip was fine.  It was adventurous getting to the CCM on the bus. Ha ha ha. The traffic is insane. I don't think that there are any lane lines and they drive like bumper to bumper going like 40 mph. It's crazy and I seriously think I am going to die whenever I go out. Which has only been once to go to the Mexico City temple open house.
    Here is a quick rundown of my week:
There were three other Elders and one other Hemana on the Phoenix flight, then in Houston we met up with like two other Elders and one other Hermana. One of the Elders is in my district, and is even going to Juarez! His name is Elder Gardener. 
After we landed in Mexico, we couldn`t find the person who was supposed to pick us up and that was freaky. None of the numbers worked when we tried to call the CCM (MTC). We got to the CCM at like 8 and then had to hurry and get our packets with the map, our schedule, our house keys, our name tags, and everything like that. My companion´s name is  Hermana Banisch and she is from Colorado. She is a convert to the church and super awesome.
Classes started. I met my teacher and we got a tour of the CCM. I´ll send pictures next week. 
Classes started. I met my teacher and we got a tour of the CCM. I´ll send pictures next week.
I TAUGHT MY FIRST LESSON IN SPANISH!!!! Mostly I just read from the pamphlets that the missionaries use, but still. That was probably the hardest thing ever. I had more classes and more orientation. It finally hit me that I was away from home and couldn´t talk to anyone that I knew and that was hard.
Even more orientation. Seriously, this whole first week has felt like one orientation after another. 
Sunday was awesome because I got to take the sacrament. They say the prayer in Spanish and three of the talks were in Spanish. But then three were in English so that was cool. Relief Society was in a room that is kind of like the lecture all in the PAC. We watched a devotional by Jeffery R Holland that was AMAZING. Every Sunday we also get to watch a movie. Haha. This Sunday it was How Rare a Possession. 
Basically the same as every other day except there was only one more orientation thing that I had to go to. I worked out at the gym and that was fun. We are required to do so for an hour every day except for Sunday
I got to go to the Mexico City temple open house this morning and it was beautiful and HUGE. There are four floors and like 12 sealing rooms and the endowment room could probably fit about 100 people. That´s insane. 

My P-day will usually be Wednesdays but tomorrow Elder Christopherson is coming so they changed it to today. I´ll send pictures next week. 

 Hermana Blackham

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How to correspond with Hermana Blackham

To email Hermana Blackham:

To send a letter via postal service until September 30th: (Only letters, no packages allowed at MTC)
   Sister Elyse Catherine Blackham
   Mexico Ciudad Juarez Mission
   Mexico Missionary Training Center
   Carretera Tenayuca- Chalmita #828
   Colonia Zone Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
   07230 Mexico City, Distrito Federal

After September to send via postal service to her Mission Home:
   Hermana Elyse Catherine Blackham
   Mexico Ciudad Juarez Mission
   Arenida Ramon River Lara
   Fraccionamiento Las Asequias
   32617 Ciudad Juarez Chihuahua