Monday, December 29, 2014

Long, Crazy, Fun, Exhauting, Miraclulous Week - Week 48

Dear family,

This might end up being a novel. This was a long, crazy, fun,
exhausting, miraculous week.

The VC is crazy. Every day we had at least a few thousand people
coming in. We talked to tons of people and were able to get a lot of
referrals. Sister Huddleston and I have gotten a lot better at
teaching and testifying quickly and then getting a referral. Also, a
lot of sisters are getting sick so every day there are at least three
sisters sleeping on the sofa or the floor on the lounge downstairs. I
started to get a bit sick but nothing major thank goodness.

Christmas Eve was the best one ever. Before we went on shift that
night, Sister Sundwall and I opened all of our presents since we
wouldn't have time that night or the next morning. Thank you so much
everyone for the presents! Thanks Dad, Cari, Mom, Ashley, Hannah, and
Emma!!! We then went to the VC to rehearse for our Christmas Day
performance and then shift started.

Shift on Christmas Eve was the best. I was on fire. Why? Because it
was Chinese night! A Chinese choir came and sang and tons of Chinese
people came in. My companion was sick so they stuck me with someone
else for a while. However, I ended up having to sit in the nativity
room for 40 minutes instead of being able to teach the hundreds of
Chinese people that were out on the floor so I went to the sister
trainers and requested to not be on a schedule so I could just teach.
My wish was granted and for the rest of the night and I ran around
solo and talked to as many Chinese people as I could. I also said the
opening prayer for each performance in Chinese and got applauded each
time which was funny. I have never spoken Chinese so comfortably and
so much. Usually I have a super hard time understanding what they are
saying but I had no problem. My Chinese was still limited and they
could sense that so our conversations were simple and they were all
pretty much the same. In Chinese I'd say hi and ask if they are
Chinese, they say yes, I say I can speak a little Chinese, they tell
me my Chinese is great, they ask where I studied and how long, I tell
them at school in Utah for four years, they say my Chinese is great,
they ask of I've ever been to China, I say no, they say my Chinese is
great, I ask them if this is their first time here, they say yes, I
ask if they have any questions, they say no, they say my Chinese is
great, I tell them that I'm a missionary so I teach people more, I ask
if they've heard of they Book of Mormon, they say no, I ask if they've
heard of the Bible, they say yes, I explain the Book of Mormon and how
it testifies of Jesus Christ and was written by ancient prophets, I
ask if they'd like a free copy, they say yes, they fill out the
referral card, I say thank you and nice to meet you, and they tell me
my Chinese is great. I talked to tons of Chinese people and I just ran
all over the VC finding Chinese people to talk to for the rest of the
night. Usually I'm tired after being on floor teaching for an hour but
the time flew and I was having so much fun. I ended up getting six
referrals by myself tonight which was awesome. Collectively we got 50!
It was such a good night, I was super happy.

After the VC closed that night and we kicked everyone out, we went
into a room and played some games then the senior couples read a
story, Elder Eyring played his guitar and sang, we had snacks, and we
received presents from the VC senior couples and temple couples. It
was so sweet.

The next day was Christmas!! It was such a good Christmas! At 9am we
went to the VC as a mission. Santa was there for a bit so I got my
picture with Santa but idk where the picture went, sorry. We all went
into the main theater and the Cookes talked to us about Christmas and
showed us the nativity video and their kids each spoke to us for a few
minutes about Christmas. After that, we got to watch a movie. We got
to watch "How To Train Your Dragon 2"!!!!!!!!! When they announced
that I started tearing up a bit haha. I was so incredibly happy. The
first HTTYD was amazing and whenever I watch it I think about how I'm
going to be an animator one day and I learned the play the songs from
it on the piano when it first came out. So now I got to see the second
one and it was amazing! I loved it. The animation and visual effects
were incredible! The quality was a ton better than the first. I
thoroughly enjoyed myself.

After we watched the movie we walked to the stake center next door. We
all enjoyed a nice lunch and then we had a talent show! It was really
good. The Chinese elders did a lion dance which was funny and cool.
One elder is super good at tap dancing. We had some groups songs and
dances and skits and beat boxing and rapping. Finally I was last.
Elder Stevenson and I got up there and announced that we had made a
cartoon for the mission. I drew all the background with some help from
Sister Liu, Elder Stevenson did all the characters, and Elder Guerrero
put it together into a movie and made it animated. It's super cool.
It's on my Facebook so go watch it! Everyone loved it. It has a lot of
inside jokes and it was 11 minutes of pure genius. I didn't write the
script or put it together so I can say that and not be full of it.

That night we had shift at 3:30. All of the sisters were performing
for the concerts that night. We had concerts at 7 and 8 and
surprisingly a lot of people came. First we all came together and
sang, "Go, Tell It On the Mountain." Then I accompanied four sisters
who sang, "He Sent His Son" while Sister Eyring played the violin.
Then I sang with seven other sisters, "Baby, What You Goin' to Be?"
Then Sister Eyring did a violin solo, three sisters sang a song while
Elder Eyring played the guitar, Sister Sundwall sang a solo since
she's profesh, and then we all came together to sing "Oh Come, All Ye
Faithful." After that, we all went on the floor and worked. Even
though we were only teaching on the floor for two hours, we still got
48 referrals. Boom.

Friday was interesting. The performance that night was "Feliz Navidad"
and there were tons of Hispanics there. We thought we would get a ton
of referrals but it was hard. The Hispanics were just there to party
and they were all standing and dancing in the theater and the spirit
wasn't there. People were more rude and didn't want to talk and we all
struggled and got around 30 referrals which was good but 20 less than
the nights before. I didn't really enjoy that night.

On Saturday, four sisters went home. One of them was Sister Taggart
who I was companions with back from May to June and who I was in
Kensington with for two weeks with the other two sisters. It's so
weird that they're gone. I'm really going to miss them. Now we are in
a trio. I wasn't feeling too hot Saturday night at shift so I spent
about half of it downstairs.

Sunday was a struggle at church haha. The night before we got home
late from festival and got to bed at midnight and then we had to be at
Ward council at 7am the next morning. We were all fighting to stay
awake in sacrament meeting.

Thankfully, we weren't on shift last night and we aren't tonight. I am
so relieved, I am dead tired. Last night was miraculous. We were on
shift after church until 4 then we came home and had dinner. We then
planned for our lesson that we were gonna teach our investigators that
evening. We have received about 25 referrals in the past few weeks and
we were feeling very overwhelmed since we are at the VC almost every
night and don't have time to check on them. We started calling them
before leaving to our appointment. 5 minutes before we were gonna
leave, our investigator texted us and told us she can't meet anymore
and wanted to reschedule. We were pretty upset. But then two minutes
later, our referral who didn't answer called us back. I asked when we
could meet him and he asked if we could come over tonight. Yes, our
other appointment just cancelled! So we quickly went out the door and
went to his house. He's Hindu and from India and we were able to teach
him and his 11 year old daughter. They are so nice and have really
great questions and are really open and prepared. It was super cool.
We are meeting with them again Thursday morning so now we have two new
investigators! Yay! It truly was a miracle. We almost stopped by his
house the other day but couldn't and then our investigator cancelled
right before he called so we could meet with him and he is so ready.
He was a referral from festival. Amazing!

Aaaand that was my week! So crazy. I love Christmas here! I am so
super tired from festival but it's amazing and we have already gotten
three new investigators from it. The last day of festival is this
Thursday. I just have three more days. I can do it! And then I have a
ton of people to go teach! I am so excited.

It was really great talking to my family this week! I'm glad I was
able to call dad on the phone and then Skype the rest of the family!
President Cooke was so kind for letting us do that. I love and miss
all of you. I hope you all have a fun New Years celebration. I'll talk
to you next year but more importantly I'll see you all next year!

The scripture today is 3 Nephi 18:25, 32:
"And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but
rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel
and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh
this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.
"Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your
places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye
know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with
full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the
means of bringing salvation unto them."

Jesus right here commands us to not turn away anyone. Everyone is
invited to come unto Him. Everyone should be allowed at church. Those
who think that they are better than others or discourage those whose
sins are more visible than their to come to church are in the wrong
and are the real sinners.

Hope you all have a fabulous week and new year!

Love, Sister Black

Christmas pjs (:

Monday, December 22, 2014

How Badly I Wanted A Christmas Tree - Week 47

Dear family,

I'm so happy that it's Christmas and I'm also so happy to be a
missionary! Festival of Lights is so crazy and I'm super tired and I'm
spending Christmas away from home but I am so happy.

Christmas as a missionary is so fun! I'm with all of my friends every
day teaching and working hard and there are some great Christmas
activities planned for this week and it's different. Halloween as a
missionary wasn't fun at all and neither was Thanksgiving, but
Christmas is so unique and fun. It's just one Christmas away with
these interesting, fun experiences and then I'll be back for it next

On Friday my companion and I were going across the street to the
temple senior couples apartments to do laundry while doing our
studies. While there, a brother who works in the office there told us
he's going out of town and asked if we wanted his Christmas tree so it
doesn't just sit there. Yeah we do! After doing laundry, we came back
to pick it up. He came out and said a Christmas tree isn't complete
without presents and so around his little Martha Stewart tree he had a
tin of popcorn, cookies, bread pudding, and a pre seasoned chicken. We
were astounded at his generosity and so excited. We loaded it into a
wagon and pulled it home. As we walked into our apartment where the
other two sisters were, I felt like Santa Claus and I announced,
"Merry Christmas!" as I waltzed in. After a couple seconds confusion,
they realized what was going on and they jumped up and we all started
jumping around in glee. We then spent the next little while cleaning
our apartment. We found a crate to put the tree on and we hung up
stockings that Sister Lewis had left from her mom and a nativity
scene. We also cleaned up all the clutter around the living room and
dejunked and hung up pictures that had been sitting on the floor.
Santa doesn't come to a dirty house. We were so happy and full of the
Christmas spirit and we were singing Christmas carols the whole time
and now it really looks and feels like Christmas. Just the night
before I was thinking about how badly I wanted a Christmas tree and I
was debating tearing down our green shower curtain to fashion into one
but this is even better. It was a huge tender mercy and Christmas
miracle. All of our presents are around the tree. And I got the
packages from mom, dad, and Ash. Thank you (:

There's a quote that we recite during district meetings and
companionships studies. There are four and we rotate through them
every transfer. This transfer the quote says, "Work, work, work. I
have often said one of the greatest secrets in missionary work is
work. If a missionary works, she will get the spirit. If she gets the
spirit, she will teach by the spirit. And if she teaches by the
spirit, she will touch the hearts of the people and she will be happy.
There will be no homesickness, no worrying about family, for all time,
talents, and interests are focused on the work of the ministry. Work,
work, work, there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in
missionary work." That has been so true this transfer. I've been so
incredibly happy this transfer and a big chunk of it is because I'm
working so hard. It's Christmas and I'm not even homesick which is a
huge blessing.

Festival has been insane. We had Thursday off but other than that we
have been at the VC every day from 3:30 to 10:15. Yesterday we were
there from 1 to 10:30. On Saturday we had over 7,000 people come in
and yesterday probably more because I could barely move through the
huge crowd that was infesting the place. I have had some cool
experiences this week which I would like to share with you. So we give
everyone a referral card and on the upperbox they can write their name
and address to have missionaries visit them. The lower box is the
refer a friend. So whenever someone agrees to have the missionaries
visit them, we call it an upperbox. We have a goal of 800 upperboxes
for Festival and right now we have about 350 which is already more
than last year. We have a super tight schedule in fifteen minute
increments where we are on the floor teaching people and seeing if
they would like missionaries to visit, playing videos, greeting
people, talking to people outside, ticket taking, and ushering the
performances. It's slightly overwhelming when you're on the floor and
there are hundreds of people surrounding you and you need to decide
who you need to talk to. It's daunting but the spirit always has led
me to those who need and want to learn more. All of us sisters get fed
dinner every night at either 4 or 5 for half an hour then for the
other 5 hours we are running around and teaching people. It's super
tiring but exhilarating.

So last Tuesday I was on splits with an older member. It was towards
the end of the night and the crowd was disappearing. I stood on floor
and watched as an Indian Hindu family came in. A sister greeted them
and answered their questions and directed them to the crèche exhibit.
They then asked her if they could get a tour and she said no because
it's all interactive. WHAT?! You NEVER turn down a tour. I casually
went up to her and asked why she didn't take the tour and she said she
doesn't really like doing that stuff. I'm pretty sure all the prophets
and Jesus Christ didn't enjoy doing most of what they were asked to do
but it's what you do! I walked away, super angry at this sister. My
companion was downstairs and my member just went home so I grabbed
another sister and followed the family into the crèche room. I asked
them if they'd like a tour and they said yes after they're done. When
they came out of the exhibit, Sister Huddleston had again joined me.
We showed them around and I spent a few minutes introducing the Book
of Mormon to them and I gave them a Family Proclamation and explained
that we had a prophet today. We were gonna show them the movie in the
back but someone else was in there. They went up front and I nudged
some other sisters to talk to them a little bit. Then a few minutes
later, they approached me and asked if they could watch the video.
YES. We took them in the room and I introduced the 10 minute video and
bore testimony. We then played it and waited outside. I have Sister
Huddleston the card and told her to follow up. When it was done, we
went in and she bore her testimony and gave them the card with the
invitation to learn more. The mom and dad looked at each other and
said, "let's do it" and grabbed the card and filled out their
information. I was stunned. I had faith but I didn't expect them to
want to learn more. Now missionaries are going to be sent to this cute
family and they will get to learn more about the gospel! And that is
why you never turn down a tour. Tours are golden opportunities to

On Saturday we got two upperboxes during the night. We had one hour
left and we were feeling super tired and done. One of the sisters came
up to us and told us if we got two more upperboxes in the next hour
then we will each get a ten minute back massage. Sufficiently
motivated, we went out and taught. We got two more upperboxes in
thirty minutes. Boom. Massage here I come.

Last night was cool. I was with a really cool member who is in her
40s. We went around and talked to people and she was doing so well.
She would point people out to me and then I went up and initiated the
conversation since she felt awkward about it but then she was so good
at talking to them and giving out cards. She pointed out one family
and we approached them. It was a mom and dad and their 25ish year old
son. We ended up talking to them for 30 minutes. They aren't members
but they have tons of friends who are. After a while we asked them why
they haven't been investigating or what's stopping them. The member
ended up teaching their son and husband about reading the Book of
Mormon and praying to know it's true and committed him to it while I
taught the wife. It was super cool and the member was so happy and
excited. At 7 I was with a cute 14 year old and we were able to get
two upperboxes. Also, I totally got the gift of tongues and talked to
two Chinese women for 20 minutes in Chinese last night at the VC.
Usually I have a hard time understanding when people speak it to me
but we were able to communicate well. It was super cool.

That's been my week! I'm excited for this week. On Christmas morning
the whole mission is getting together and we are going to watch a
movie and have a talent show and have lunch and be festive. Then all
the sisters have to be to the VC at 2pm to rehearse for the concert
that night. I'm in three numbers for the sisters Christmas concert so
that will be fun. For the talent show I made an animated cartoon with
a fellow aspiring animator and an elder who has his degree in
filmmaking and I'm also doing a hula dance. Fun stuff.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and remember to keep Christ
at the center! I love you all and I'm excited to talk to you this
week! Make sure you all go watch "He Is The Gift" on YouTube or

Alma 7:10-12 (:

Love, Sister Black

Monday, December 15, 2014

English Is Bestest - Week 46

Dear family,

I'm back in the English program! And I'm training a new sister! Guess
where I'm at???? KENSINGTON. I am back in my favorite ward where cute
Meredith was baptized. I am so happy. I already feel so much better. I
have a new fire in me. I'm back in Kensington training a new sister
and at the VC with other sisters. It's exactly what I had been hoping
for. It's such a blessing to be here and then I'll be ready to go back
to Chinese in March. I'm so grateful to be here. God knows what's best
for me.

Monday night we went to a restaurant with a member and her husband. It
was super good. I started to get really full and I told her that when
she was offering me more food but she told me that the dumpling was
small and gave me more. Many prayers were offered that I might finish
and I managed. The next day we had lunch with members and then dinner
with members three hours later. It was good but once again they kept
on feeding me and I was still full at dinner from lunch so it took
some real effort. After dinner we went with a cute old lady member to
the VC to watch a Festival of Lights performance.

Wednesday was transfers! I stayed up super late the night before
because I procrastinated packing and then woke up early on Wednesday
to finish so that was fun. We packed up our stuff and went to the VC.
I went to a meeting for the new trainers and got my baby. Her name is
Sister Huddleston and she's from Layton, Utah. Next we went and had
training meeting. I was so nervous about where they would put us.
President Cooke got up and called the new zone leaders then they got
up and announced who would be in which area. A different zone went
first and the whole time I was praying I wouldn't be called to any of
the areas. Finally my zone leaders got up and announced the areas and
that we would be in Kensington with two other sisters and I was so
happy and relieved. So the four of us are in a quad. We have two
separate phones but one car. It's my companion and I, Sister Sundwall
who just barely finished being trained by Sister Lewis, and Sister
Taggart who I was companions with my third transfer in Seneca after
Sister Johnson left. Sister Taggart goes home two days after Christmas
so then it will turn into a trio. Very interesting.

We spent forever getting all our stuff and took two trips to our
apartment which is just down the street thank goodness. K house best
house. I found out that two elders will now be living in Sister Liu
and my old apartment so I felt weird about that for a couple days
because I didn't do a great job cleaning and accidentally left a few
things there... Oh well.

That night we were at the VC for Festival. It was good but not super
crazy. Thursday we were there from 9:45am to 10:15pm which was very
tiring. It was kind of slow. Only 1000 people came in. Friday was
good. A lot more people came in. We had the zone leaders volunteering
there and their shift was done at 7 but they still needed to be there
so one of them asked what he should do. I gave him a referral card and
told him to go give it back. I came back on the floor after ushering a
performance an hour later and the two elders were running around and
teaching people like crazy. They were like VC sisters. We were all so
proud. Also, whenever a Chinese person came in someone would run up to
me and be like, "hurry, they're in the back!" Haha it was fun.

Saturday was a good night. We didn't have to be at the VC so we went
and checked on some referrals we have received from Festival. We went
to one woman's house and here you have to call them from outside and
they let you in. We called her and she was super excited when I said
who we were and then when we went inside the building she opened her
door and told us she thought it might be us and had us sit down and
offered us herbal tea since she said she knows we don't drink
caffeine. She had met with missionaries like five years ago and was
super nice. We discussed a variety of topics and had a very
intelligent conversation about God which I haven't had in a while
since I've been Chinese. The spirit was super strong there, it was
kind of weird. We didn't bear crazy testimony or say a prayer at the
beginning but it was there. When we pulled out the Book of Mormon and
read a verse and I explained who Alma was since she asked, the spirit
was like electricity. It was incredible. She wants to meet with us
again so hopefully we will before Christmas. So cool!

After that, we went to the Kensington Ward Christmas party. I was
pleased by how many people remembered me and told me welcome back. I
got to see Meredith there and our miracle investigator Alba whom I
haven't seen since September. She had a baby two days after I left so
I get to see the baby. She is doing so well. We found and started
teaching her and she was super golden. Only problem was that she was
pregnant with her boyfriend's baby who was living with her and she was
still married to the last guy. Now she's divorced and her bf and two
kids are now taking the lessons and love it and they are going to go
to El Salvador to get married next month. So so cool. She's a huge
miracle from my mission and I'm so happy I get to teach her again.

Last night was crazy at the VC. I know that Saturday we had almost
6000 people come in and last night was busier. We had 40 people on
Saturday agree to meet with missionaries and 41 last night. Festival
is full of miracles. Jenny Oaks Baker performed last night. She's a
famous violinist and she's the youngest daughter of Elder Oaks. She
was way good. I got to usher one of her four performances so I got to
watch it.

1 Nephi 11:13-23 (: love you all!

Sister Black