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





February 15, 2016

Hola Mamá!
First of all, no I do not have your package yet. However, I FINALLY got the letter from Sister Tyler! So the letters without the #7010 will get to me, I just don´t know when. The mail in Mexico is crazy. I honestly will let you know once I get the package. It is a little frustrating to me too how long it takes. Haha. But it's okay. I'll get it when I get it and I will treasure it once I get it.
It is so weird to me that so many people younger than I am are getting/have gotten married. I am still with Hermana Teisina and I am still in my same area! At the end of this transfer that will mean 6 months in the same area! I think that I am only going to have three areas in total in my mission. Haha. Which is good because it means not a lot of moving, but I like change! Haha.
At church, we usually arrive about 5-10 minutes early. We have one progressing investigator who is actually going to get baptized this Saturday! YAY!!!! Church is from 9-12 and there is only one other ward that attends the same building as us. Which it is actually kind of rare to have more than one ward in the same building. There was much confusion for the Mexicans the first Sunday. Haha. 
Right now, we are teaching only a few people. Estamos trabajando en levantado el area ahora. PERO! Tenemos una familia! And the husband´s name is Marco Polo. And no I am not kidding. Haha. 
Street contacts are always interesting. Usually we use a pass along card, and a lot of people give us adresses that don´t exist! Which is super frustrating! But that is okay.
The good news, is that you only have to miss me for one more year! Exactly! Haha. In 365 days I will be able to give you a big hug!
Something intersting for you! This week the Pope is coming to Juarez and will visit my area. Or, at least, he will be walking/driving through my area. And it is estimated that about 2 MILLION people will be traveling to Juarez. That does not include people from El Paso. But starting tomorrow at 5, we have to be in the house. And we are in the house until Thursday at 5. So that is 48 hours of needing to be in the casa. I will tell you how that goes next week. But yeah. Va a ser una causa.
I love you mom!
Hermana Blackham

February 7, 2016

My address for letters is:
Avenida Ramón Rivera Lara #7010
Fraccionamiento Las Acequias
32617 Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua
Mexico
I firmly agree with that quote by President Hinckley. I have litterally fallen in love with the scriptures on my mission. I have learned SO much from the Book of Mormon it is insane. I've commented on this before but really, reading the scriptures in Spanish allows me to rediscover them. As an avid reading, I sometimes wish that I can re-read a book for the first time and have the same feelings and with the Book of Mormon, I can do that!
I love that story of the little girl. Because sometimes we feel that small with the things that we have to do (me in the mission and you with getting ready to move), but if we hold on to our Heavenly Father, we can do anything. We really can´t comprehend that literally, we can do ANYTHING with the Lord, and with Heavenly Father. We just have to ask. There have been many times that I need help in the precise moment that I am praying, and I recieve that help. So if you are feeling overwhelmed, just say a prayer and ask for peace. You'll recieve it. God is waiting for us to pray so that He can bless us.
Thanks for telling me about Nonnie. I'll be praying especially for her this week that the stitches can hold :)
I love you mom! Happy Valentines Day!
Hermana Blackham



February 1, 2016

Ester and Valeria are doing pretty good. Pues, Ester is. Ester read all of the first pamflet and asked us for a Book of Mormon! Ester said that Valeria doesn't want to go to church with us because she doesn't want to get confused. But that is okay. We are praying for her and hoping that little by little her desires will change. 
This week would have been transferes if me and my companion were transferred to another area. Haha. I am going to have 6 months in this area by the end of this next ciclo! That is crazy! But not super uncommon for Hermanas to stay in one area for six months. I will be really surprised if I am here for more than six months though. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Right now we are working on saving the area. We had zero baptisms in our ZONE this last month and in December we had only one. So we are working on saving the area and finding more families to teach. Which goes into how the week went. Every day we found a family to teach. That does not mean that we set up a secure time to return but we found a family that gave us their information every day. Which was kind of cool. But yeah, this week was also hard because I was the one doing most of the contacting. Which is hard for me. I don´t like talking to strangers on the street all that much. But I learned that I can do it! Haha.
I still don´t have your package(it includes more longsleeve shirts, jackets, and socks), I will let you know once I do have it. But yes, it is still snowing and raining. The months of February and March are the coldest of the year. So I will be super happy once I have the package!
I am honestly a little excited to have a new mission president. I love President Derbez but I am excited for change. I just want to know how it is going to change also! Haha.
I love you mom!
Have an awesome week!
Hermana Blackham

January 25, 2016

Here is a secret for you (that isn't really a secret). I am really bad with last names here because everyone has like cinco. Really it's only two. But sometimes it feels like five. Haha. So I don´t remember thier last name. But right now we are just teaching the daughter and the mom, Ester and Valeria. 

Believing fearlessly is going to be something that I will definitely be striving for this week. Haha. We are going to be focusing on contacting in the streets. My mission president put a rule that we can´t visit any members this week (including menos activos y recent converts). We can still go with member for the comida but for lessons, we are only allowed to visit investigators. Which will be interesting. My zone did this two weeks ago and it was a little hard. Just because we don´t have many investigators. Which is one of the reasons that we are doing this, to focus on finding investigators. 

Also, this week, it has amazed me again how much I love the scriptures. And I feel like I am rediscovering everything in the scriptures, especially the New Testament as I am starting to read that in Spanish. Because I know all the stories in English. But reading them in Spanish is like reading them for the first time. And it is awesome.

I´m doing good health-wise. I have the energy that I need for the days (even though sometimes I day dream about coming home just so that I can sleep. Haha). Mostly that happens when the alarm goes off. But i'm doing good. I really am getting enough sleep, my bed is just really comfortable. Haha. It is starting to warm up a bit. However, there is a lot of wind which makes it really cool. 

(Hermana Blackham's opinion on a new way to analyze yourself spiritually is asking 1. Where is Christ? and 2. Where am I?) I love the comment, where is Christ in the story, and where are you. I feel like that is what Chapter 5 of Alma is all about. You should go read that chapter with those questions in mind because it will blow your mind. Haha. 
I love you mom!  I miss you!

Hermana
 Blackham

January 18, 2016

(The GMC Jimmy blew a head gasket and we had to sell it) The car might be a blessing that it broke down and died. Because that was one of your worries-of how to get the Jimmy up to Utah when you move. I know that it is a trial right now because Meg doesn't have a car to get to school and whatnot, but there has to be a reason for it. And a really good one. I know that as you pray for help with the situation right now, you will be blessed beyond what you could believe. Pray with all the energy of your heart and you will have an answer to whatever situation that you are going through.
(In response to questions about the new investigators she is teaching) The family is going good. They still want to listen to us, but they didn't come to church this Sunday :(. But we are going back this week to visit them! This is awesome but sometimes it is really frustrating when we put an appointment to return and then nothing.
The Lord truly does help us a lot more than we realize. And this is something that I love about Mosiah 2, when Kind Benjamin compares us to the dust of the world. And despite that, God wants to bless us more than we can imagine. We have to ask and we have to do our part, but the Lord is waiting for us to turn to Him. Being a member is a life long thing. We can´t just do it for a day because we will not have the blessing of the gospel. We have to continue working. Act on the impressions that you get, continue reading (and writing down the revelation that you get) because if not, you won´t grow. And if you aren't growing, you aren´t progressing.
The blonde in the picture is Hermana Creer. She is from Centerville, Utah and we have plans to have a bbq when we return haha. She gets home the transfer after me.  I did not get your packages yet (it might be tonight that I get them). I will let you know when I get them!
I love you!
Hermana Blackham

January 11, 2016

I will probably get the package today or next Monday. Today we have our zone conference and that is when we get packages. Or during the third monday of every month. 

We just call our apartment la casa. Haha. 

 (In response to Gaylene's concern for Hermana Blackham's asthma) I really don´t have to use my inhaler all that often. I have used it like three times the whole time that I have been in Juarez. 

This week was really good. We found a family while we went tracting and we had an investigator come to church! We are going to invite her to be baptized this week so I will be telling you about that next week! 

I love you mom! 

Te quiero! Te amo! Te extraño!
Hermana Blackham 

January 4, 2016

Dear Mom,

(In response to the new TX address we are able to send packages to and how often someone will deliver the packages to the missionaries.) I think that President has an assistant that lives in El Paso or something. When I fly home, my flight will be from El Paso and not from Ciudad Juarez (if things stay the same with the new president). 

This week we were able to contact a menos activo family. And that experience was cool. During the lesson I could feel the love that Heavenly Father has for them and it´s humbling to be apart of a work that isn´t really me at all. Pues, it is me, but it is also not me at the same time. I´m always astounded when I can feel the love that Heavenly Father has for His children. All He wants is to have us return and live with Him again, and to be happy. And everything that He has us do, is to accomplish this goal. This whole life, however hard it may be, and with whatever trials we are asked to go through, is for our benefit. Like in Moses 1:39 ¨This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the imortality and eternal life of man.¨ Ponder on that for a moment, and just remember that EVERYTHING has a reason. And EVERYTHING is for your benefit. Even if it isn´t fun and you feel like you can´t take one more step, or your can´t take one more appointment falling through. You can do it. The Lord doesn´t doubt you, so don´t doubt yourself. 

This week there aren´t really funny stories, it is mostly just walking. Everyone is in their houses and so we had like zero lessons (basically). But this week I will keep my eye out for something funny! Haha.

cuando llegó a su misión, como que mes? qué hice cuando no hay personas para enseñar y cuantos bautismos tuve? yo realizó que yo no sé muchos cosas acerca de su misión! 

I love you mom! Have a fantastic week!
Hermana Blackham

Happy New Year

(In response to ending the skype call) Hanging up was really hard for me. But in 5 months we get to talk again! So that is good! Also! If you are going to send me a package, you can send it to this address:

Mexico Ciudad Juarez Mission
700 N. Zaragoza-North 188
El Paso, TX 79907

It started snowing on Saturday, at around 5. And it did not stop until like 9 on Sunday in the morning. On Sunday we weren't allowed to leave the casa so I did the puzzle! (She received a puzzle in a package) And that was fun! I really enjoyed that :) I miss doing puzzles with you! We also played Uno and LeftRightCenter and Phase 10 with the other Hermanas that live across from us. But I did not like being in home all day. At home I love days at home but here in the mission it is not that fun. Because you can't really do anything! 

We don't really OYM ("Open your mouth" with people on the street as opposed to those who are already investigating the church) very much. I'm working on that. There really aren't very many people that are outside in my area so that is a problem, too. But yeah. 

I forgot to tell you about Hermana Clara! She is like my grandma here on the mission :) She is a recent convert (she will have a year in March). And her two grandchildren are around my age, and were baptized the weekend before I arrived. But she is always feeding us when we go and visit her and she is lending me yarn and kneedles to make a scarf. Haha. She is so awesome and I love her!

This morning I was reading in 1 Nephi. We just started the Book of Mormon over again. And in chapter 17, verse 51, it says something interesting. In spanish, it says "el Senor tiene tan grande poder, y ha hecho tantos milagros entre los hijos de los hombres, ?cómo es que no puede enseñarme a construir un barco?" And I really like this verse because a lot of times we think that it has to be something super big that we need help with for the Lord to help us. Also, something interesting here is that Nephi did not expect the Lord to just have a boat appear. He knew that he had to work but he also knew that the Lord would help him. And I can't explain very well in writing my thoughts on this verse but I love it.

I've also learned that the Lord answers prayers in the best way possible, if they are earnest. As I said, we started the Book of Mormon over again. And this time, I am reading it in Spanish. And I still don't understand everything. And the first day that I started reading in spanish, I prayed for understanding of the scriptures. And I had understanding. But I've learned that I really have to mean what I am asking for. My prayer can't be routine. It can't be 'oh i'm studying the scriptures, I'll ask for deeper understanding'. If you want something from the Lord, you have to REALLY want it, and you have to REALLY ask for it. 

There aren't many stories from this week haha. We didn't have many lessons and had like three days where we had 0 lessons (Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Sunday). I'll have a story for you next week though! :)

 I've felt so much comfort from Jesus Christ that it is ridiculous. I KNOW that he knows exactly how I feel about everything and that He is here to help me through EVERYTHING. No matter how small the thing is. Because if something is bothering you, even though it doesn't bother others, it bothers the Lord too. And I don't know. I'm just learning that it's really the small things that make the biggest differences with us, and with our relationship with the Lord.

I love you mom! 
Hermana Blackham

Christmas Letter

I did not get transferred, but I do have a new companion! Obviously, as Hna. Herrera went home. My new companion is Hermana Teisina. She is from Bountiful but her parents are from Tonga. I will be calling around 2 on Christmas Eve in the afternoon.
I feel oddly at peace about Nonnie's surgury. (Hermana Blackham's grandparents) Whatever happens is what needs to happen for one reason or another. I will definitely be praying for Nonnie and Poppie!
The Lord really does give us the strength to do what we need to do even if we sometimes don't want to. Haha. Sometimes I just want one day in the casa to just rest. But then I think about everyone that I will be going to see and I have the energy to do it all. I don't know if I told you this or not, but one of the reasons that I think I had such a hard time in the beginning of my mission was because during lessons I was literally fighting to keep my eyes open because of how tired I was. But I prayed and fasted and continued with the work and now, that isn´t a problem. I'm still tired, I can just handle it better and I have the energy to do what needs to be done.
That is so funny about the cats!(Our cats keep swatting the ornaments off of the bottom of our Christmas tree) I was thinking about them and how they were doing with the tree. Sometimes it is really wierd how much I miss Turner and Macie!

(In response to another package sent and what the address was) As for the address, I think that you need to have 7010 no matter what, it is the number of the oficina. OH YEAH! I got the small package from you! It´s my Christmas miracle :) I love the pictures and duct tape and I am wearing my retainers (at least for my top teeth right now). I'll work on my bottom teeth soon.
I love you mucho mi madre y no puedo esperar para Jueves!
Con Amor,
Hermana Blackham

Decmeber 14, 2015

Mi Querido Mama-cita :)

The songs have to be original disc tabernacle choir haha.
It kind of makes me sad that I won't ever see another VVHS choir concert haha. Pero está bien. Haha. That phrase, está bien, is my phrase. I literally say it like 50 times a day. That and no importa.

This week was kind of weird. On tuesday we had a meeting at the offices for all of the sister missionaries in the mission. It was about how to dress and make up and all that stuff. And there is a hermana who knows how to cut hair so I got my hair cut (for free!) Yay! Haha. But, during the meeting, Elders came in with the President and later at night we went Christmas carroling with the youth. It wasn't in my area, but in the area of other Hermanas in my district. And that was fun. Haha. It was as close as I am going to get to knocking on doors for references. Haha.

I'm realizing how humbling it is to be called to serve a mission and also how aware God is of both your weaknesses and your strengths, and how He can make  a weakness into a strength. As you well know, I had a hard first few weeks in the mission. And I still don't know why it was so hard for me but I am grateful that it was so that I can help others who go through hard times also. There is an Hermana here that is having a hard time and I've been talking with her to kind of help her through it all. And it is because of my hard time that I am able to help her and give her tips and be able to talk to her. We are called to do things in life that are not easy, and sometimes it feels down right impossible. But God qualifies who He calls and blesses them to accomplish it in the best way. All we have to do is submit our will to His. And this goes for every calling in the church, not just for missionaries. 

The ward is a little different. Haha. But it's more of a cultural difference. Almost all of the members are converts. Which is kind of cool and different that what I am used to. They pass the sacrament a little bit differently and they give their talks a little bit differently and its just different. Not wrong at all, just different. 

Shopping is normal, just like going to safeway or to the mall. The only time it is crazy is when we go to central (which we are doing today!). And yes, I was able to buy a jacket! Thank goodness! The weather is cold and then warm and then freezing and then warm. Haha. It was raining on Saturday and that was fun but also a little annoying. You never quite know what to expect. 

Also, I sing songs from Tarzan like daily. Haha. 

(In response to Skyping on Christmas) Okay, I will call Nonnie and Poppie then. I still don't know all of the details and I probably won't know until the day of. So I can't really give you a secure time either. But don't worry, it will all work out! :)

Also, I have loved the 12 Days of Christmas gifts (The Christmas package we sent to her) :) I opened day three today (the gum).

I love you mom! And I can't wait to talk to you! 
Love,
hermana Blackham

December 7, 2015

Hola mi mamacita!
I've been able to laugh about the music thing so that's okay. I will just wait como 6 meses. I get a new mission president in June. Haha. 

(This is in response to a question about how we will Skype with her for Christmas.) Also, for the Skype, I don't know yet. I kind of have to see if I am going to be transfered to a new area. I think I will be able to call you both separately but I don't know. I think I will only have like one hour total to talk to both you and dad, so 30 minutes each.
(This in response to Gaylene's car having been rear ended really hard but not being damaged.) That is so awesome about the car! Sometimes it takes something big for us to realize the help of the Lord in our lives. I don't have much time but know that I love you! Also, the packet! (Referring to a package sent to her about a month previous that still hasn't made it to her.) It is in Mexico somewhere, pienso que es en customs still. You can look up the tracking number and find out why though! Pero si.

 I love you!
Hermana Blackham

November 30, 2015

This first part is a response to Mom's question about allergies to detergent that Hermana Blackham has always suffered her entire life) My skin is doing good. And that is one of the biggest miracles of all on this mission. They don't have detergent  here that is for sensitive skin, and I haven't had problems with that at all. I'm not having eczema problems, thank goodness! 

Thanksgiving was different for me this year. Haha. My companion and I went to a recent convert's house for dinner which was cool. So I had a thanksgiving dinner, it just wasn't like it usually was. Thanksgiving was really hard for me and I wasn't expecting that. But anytime I started to feel sad, I started to think about everyone that I had to visit during the day. I thought about everyone except for you guys and my own wants. And little by little the day got better. 

(This part is in regards to some hymns we sent for Hermana Blackham to listen to) I love the music! And I was able to listen to it for a day before my companion informed me that she didn't know if we could listen to it. So I looked up the rules for the mission and it turns out they need to be in the original disc. Don't feel bad though because it is totally my fault, I didn't read the rules all the way through. And who knows, maybe my next president will let us listen to cds that aren't original. But I was able to listen to it for a day and that made my week :) It was actually really hard for me to put the CD's away. And it kind of feels like everything that will help me is being taken away from me. But I still have the scriptures and I still have prayer. And we have a CD of the hymns that I can listen to. But it is still hard. But I am going to obey the rules. And just looking at the CDs makes me happy :) I can sacrifice listening to music that I like. I'm learning that the things that are the hardest to do, if we do it, help us the most. They help us grow and they help us have a better understanding of who we are.

OH! Also, I can use Facebook during the month of December. But only to post things about Christmas and videos from the Church. So don't worry when you see that I posted something on FB. :) I can't do anything on fb other than post the videos. I can't even check my notifications, even though I can see that I have them. Haha. That will drive me crazy. 

I love you!

Love,
Hermana Blackham

November 22, 2015

This week was absolutely crazy. Hermana Herrera and I had to go to the offices four days in a row, from Martes-Viernes (Tuesday-Friday). And when we go to the offices we have to wake up 45 minutes earlier to get to the offices on time. So we had four days of early mornings. And then meetings always mess with our schedule for lessons because there are a few people that can only really be seen at around 1, and our meetings don't even end until 1 and then we eat lunch at 2. So this week was a little discouraging because we didn't have many lessons. 

But, at the same time it was a good week because I am being able to participate in the lessons more. It still isn't perfect but I can contribute and my companion isn't doing all of the work. Which is good. Haha. 

We did not have the baptism this week, and as a matter of fact, our investigator disappeared!!! I'm not even joking. We made an appointment with him on Sunday and then he never showed up and then his phone isn't working either! It's really kind of weird!

We don't really celebrate Thanksgiving here at all. Which is sad. Haha. But that is okay. Sometimes I forget that Thanksgiving is more of an American holiday. 

Love,
Hermana Blackham

November 16, 2015

Hola mi madre!

I don't really get to work with children a lot which is really sad. But that is okay. I see kids all the time, and one of my investigators has three kids. The youngest is crazy and I have never seen a kid with so much energy which is saying something because I have babysat some crazy kids before. Haha. But he is cool.

Also, I cannot wait to eat your cookies when I return. Haha. Hermana Herrera was asking me today what we usually do for christmas and that made me miss your cookies and your cooking!

I've learned the importance of sacrificing willingly. It really is so much better to sacrifice willingly. It blesses you so much more and it makes you so much happier. I've learned this week that everything we are ever asked to do in the church has to be done with ALL of everything. Nothing in the church can be half way. And that is just interesting to me. If we are serving, it needs to be with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. If we are teaching, if we are persevering to the end. Everything needs to be done with our all. Which is exhausting sometimes but it will make the reward so much more worth it in the end. 

This week we had a baptismal day set but that is going to be switched to next week. Which is kind of sad. The investigator's name is Alfredo. He went to visit his parents for like a week and a half so we couldn't teach him at all and we still have to teach him lesson 4 (The Commandments). 

Something crazy. My companion was telling me of a missionary who served in El Salvador in her area with the last name Sevy (Sevy is Ely's paternal grandmother's maiden name and the last name of an ancestor of hers who lived in the Juarez area as a pioneer) . Crazy, right? BUT IT GETS BETTER! Elder Barraclough, who just got transfered into this area, has a friend with the last name Blackham! And both the Elder Sevy and Elder Barraclough's friend live in AZ. Crazy stuff right there. 

It is pretty cold here. It really isn't all that hard anymore. I know that I am needed for something here and that makes it easier for me. While I would love to be with you all right now, I don't want to leave my mission any more. For so many reasons. Sometimes when I think about the immediate future I start to get anxious just because I don't know what is going to happen and I like knowing plans. So I take it one day at a time. And the weeks are starting to go by so fast! It is crazy. I already have 3 months in the mission and two transfers and it is just insane.

I LOVE YOU!

Hermana Blackham

November 9, 2015

Thank you for telling me about your life at home. Haha :) It makes it easier for me to know what is going on, even if you just tell me that you made brownies or some kind of fun dinner for the week :)
I dind´t really get to experience dia de los muertes porque fue en mi dia de la preparacion. haha. But next year I might! It also just might not be as big of a deal here. Who knows. My companion right now is Hermana Herrera and she is from El Salvador.
This week not much happened. Again. Haha. The most interesting thing was my companion had a meeting at the offices and so I had an extra like three hours of study because there wasn't another hermana that I could go on exchanges with. But that was totally fine with me! I loved the extra time that I had to study. And I wish that I had enough time to write all of my insights down because I also love talking about what I have learned and I can't quite do that very well in Spanish yet. But that is okay. I will get there eventually! One thing that I learned from study this week is from Alma 49:8 which says something about the Nephites being prepared for the Lamanites in such a way that had never before been seen among the children of Lehi. And that was cool because I realized that we needed to be prepared against the devil and against temptation now in a way that the world has never before seen. We need to strengthen our faith and our devotion to God in such a way that it is not possible for the enemy to get anywhere near us.
So when I got my mission call to Ciudad Juarez, I thought that it would be hot. And it was. For my first two weeks. Haha. But then a cold front came in and never left. I keep thinking of the temperature back at home and being confused as to why it isn't that hot here. It is sometimes literally freezing! (Okay, probably not literally but it gets really cold). Especially when it is windy and in the morning/night time. Next week Hermana Herrera and I are going to go shopping so that I can get some winter clothes.
Also this week, I ran into someone that I met that first weekend here in Juarez (and we all know that was not a good weekend for me). And that was really cool. She said that she almost didn't recognize me because I was speaking Spanish, and I had a completely different demeanor about me. She said I looked more confident and happy and oh how right she was!
I love you! And hope you have a good week :) Keep on keeping on and remember that you are awesome!
Hermana Blackham

Novemeber 2, 2015

Hola Mi Madre!

I did realize that some of my letter was in Spanish. Haha. That was for two reasons. One was that on the computers, it marks anything in English in red because the computers think in Spanish. The other is because sometimes it is just easier to write in Spanish! I don't know if I have a phrase that I say all the time in Spanish, probably just esta bien. I swear that is my phrase. Pero, esta bien. Haha.

This week was interesting. On Monday, one of the other hermanas in my district got really sick on Monday during our district meeting. And we had to get a ride with a member to get her to a doctor. But it made me grateful that I have had to take care of Nonnie so much because I may not understand Spanish but I know how to care for sick people. Then on Tuesday something was wrong with my stomach. After lunch I had to come home. But, because the other Hermana was also sick, we just had an exchange and the other two went out to go to an appointment. 

I can't really think of anything special that happened other than the baptism on Saturday. That was really cool to witness and be a part of. My companion and I made cup cakes and that was interesting. Haha. And just the whole experience was really cool. I think my favorite scripture for the week is D&C 24:7-8. You should go read it :)

I'm on  my second run through of the Book of Mormon and I love it! It is seriously my favorite book ever and I am getting SO much out of it. I am currently in Chapter 4 of Jesus the Christ, and  I really like that book also!

Love,
Hermana Blackham