Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Off to Serve the Lord

Celeste was dropped off at the MTC today! We'll miss her!

I'm Going on an Adventure! Peace Out

Hey guys I'm headed to the MTC right now. My mom will post my first letter sometime within the next week. I'm excited to start my mission! Loves to all! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Missionary Pictures

I leave for my mission two weeks from today.  Yikes.  In exactly 14 days or 336 hours (yes I did just use my computer's calculator), I will be driving with my family to the Provo MTC.  I'm so excited yet so nervous.  The two emotions are cancelling each other out so now I just feel weird and buzzy.  Like a busy bee who isn't busy yet and still struggles waking up before 10am (I woke up at 9:50am today; making progress!).

I'm just about done with preparing for my mission.  My mom forced me to get my immunizations last Saturday which I wasn't happy about.  I was all for arriving at the MTC and taking my chances but Mom likes to be all logical and do what we're told to do.  I have all of my clothes except for an ugly pair of gauchos that's on its way here from Amazon.  I need them just in case I'm in a bike riding area.  I really hope I'm not just so I won't have to wear those terrible things.  But I will sacrifice for my mission!  For music, I found a cheaper iPod shuffle on Amazon (Amazon and I are bffs) that's ORANGE, my favorite color, and I just got a portable speaker in the mail from Bed, Bath, and Beyond thanks to a $25 gift card my aunt had given me for graduation back in August.  I accidentally lost the gift card and didn't find it until last week haha.  The Lord has great timing.  Thanks, Aunt Suzy!  I have my luggage, books, family pictures, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and testimony I need for my mission.  Oh by the way, I finished the Book of Mormon for the third time in my life Saturday night so I've been in a really good, spiritual mood the past few days.  It's been delightful, I can't wait to feel this happy and spiritual 24/7 for 18 months!

The main reason I started writing this post was because I wanted to show off my missionary pictures.. haha.  I don't really like the cutesy missionary pictures with the missionary holding out the Book of Mormon or wrapped in a flag or sitting on luggage.  People accused me of being a terrible person on facebook and asking what kind of person I must be when I tried to express that I'm just not a fan of those pictures.  Well if I'm a horrible person for disliking cheesy pictures, I'm sure me and a ton of other people must be downright despicable.  So for my mission pictures they were just basic - me in a dress by some pretty trees and snow.  I probably wouldn't have gotten mission pictures except I wasn't a fan of my senior pictures.  My photographer did a great job, but I had braces and I looked awkward in some of them.  Like this one:

And this

Eew and this

Okay maybe these aren't the worst in the world, but I wanted some where I didn't have braces and I wouldn't look so young and awkward.

So without further ado, these are some of my favorite mission pictures that I just got back yesterday.  They were taken at Sugarhouse Park.

Wow I love posting on here.  I used to blog every week for like three years during junior high and I've forgotten how fun it is!  Anyway, I think it's crazy how much older I look.  It helps that four days before these were taken I got my braces off and my hair cut and dyed.  I look ready to go preach the gospel to all the world!!!  Well or just DC, but people come from all over the world go to DC so same thing!   

Alright, thanks for reading!  


Sister Celeste Shannon Black

P.S. My photographer was go check out her awesome work! (:

Friday, January 10, 2014

Link to Washington D.C. North Mission Blog

Hola.  Here is the link to the Washington D.C. North Mission blog if any of you are interested.  

Happy blogging!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters, For Those of You Who Don't Know Me....

Hello everyone!  My name is Celeste Black, soon to be Sister Black.  A little over 3 months ago, on October 2nd, I got my mission call!  I'm called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and to labor in the Washington, D.C. North mission.  In addition, I'll be serving at the Washington, D.C. Temple Visitors' Center as well.  From what I've learned from stalking other D.C. missionaries online, working at the Temple Visitors' Center is like a part-time job.  I have shifts I'm given every week is what I understand.  However during the Christmas season, I'll be there full time for the Festival of Lights which will be so much fun!

I am SUPER excited to share this gospel.  My whole life I never wanted to be a sister missionary unless it was a couples mission with my husband when I'm old and retired and bored.  But, because of certain circumstances leading up to President Monson's announcement of the new mission age change, I came to the decision to serve as soon as the new age was announced.  Almost exactly a year later, minus 4 days, I received my mission call and joined the "missionary wave".  

The year wait after my decision was very hard.  At first I was just excited and didn't think much about it.  However, a month or two into my decision, I was gripped with fear and anxiety about my decision.  I felt trapped because I had already told everyone I was going to serve yet I felt absolutely terrified to go.  I can't nail down exactly what it was that scared me so much other than the fact that I'd have to wake up at 6:30am every morning which is horrifying by itself.  I spent hours reading other missionaries' blogs and talking to my prospective missionary friends about it and would make myself feel better for a day or two before I'd slip again into my anxiety.  I still decided that I would go on a mission no matter how I felt, but it didn't make me feel any better about it.  Finally in June of 2013, the week before I was supposed to go, I remembered that a woman who had been my councilor at AFY or Adventure for Youth just returned from her mission to Armenia a few weeks previously.  So I contacted her on Facebook and we arranged to meet for breakfast.  We met and talked for over an hour about her mission and about me and my decision to serve.  I told her some of the experiences I'd had the past year, especially the really hard one I'd gone through that had shaken my faith.  I explained to her how I got through it, and am still getting through it, and why I decided to serve a mission.  She made me realize that I didn't just coast through my trials, I had conquered them and had become a better person and she also helped me to realize that I do have faith and a love of this gospel and that a mission is really what I want to do.  Hearing her talk about her mission was one of the turning points in making me more determined to go.  With tears in her eyes, she talked about how much she absolutely loved the people and missed her mission.  I could see how much she loved her mission and also how much she had grown.  She was still awesome and silly like before her mission, but now there was a new light in her eyes and she seemed more mature.  I want to get to experience what she did and be changed for the better myself  while helping to change other peoples' lives.  When we were done and I went home, I no longer felt the same fear and anxiety as before.  I can't pinpoint any one thing that she said, but ever since that day I haven't felt as scared.  Sure, I still think about it and get nervous, but not like before.  

In the coming weeks and months, I watched many of my friends and Facebook friends (meaning we know each other but we're not really friends) leave on missions.  There were about 80 people in my graduating class who had their mission calls before graduation night.  Now the amount of people with calls or on mission in my graduating class is well over 100, and the number of people I know who are on missions are around 200.  That's the fun thing about living in Utah (maybe the only fun thing haha) is that I know so many people leaving on missions.  Just in my ward, there are 3 Elders in Canada, 2 in Jamaica, 1 in Spain, 1 in England, 2 in the United States, and then a sister in Mexico, a sister in Brazil, and 2 sisters on the East Coast of the US.  Soon I'll be on the East Coast and another guy in my ward, whose twin brother is currently in Canada, is leaving in March to Sweden.  Our missionary board is overflowing and it's so cool.  All of these missionaries are incredible and have impacted my life.

I leave in 20 days and I cannot wait to be out there.  I'll miss my family so much.  I'm putting off my dream of majoring in animation as well as giving up dating, music, TV, video games, sleeping in, family, pants, my cats (probably the saddest one), friends, and income for 18 months to serve the Lord and the people of Washington D.C..  It's so insane, sometimes I still can't believe I'm doing this.  However there's nothing else I'd rather do.  I don't want to go to school or work or date even.  This is what I need to do for myself, my family, and for all the people I'll be serving.  I need this so I can come home and get my life started knowing that I'm on the right track and am doing what the Lord wants.  I want to come home stronger and better than before and ready to become the person I'm supposed to be.  

Anyway, I might post once or twice more before I leave.  I don't know if anyone will actually read this post haha at least not until I'm already gone but it's here for those who want a bit of my background.  I will have my mother post my emails home on here to keep my family and friends updated and to help anyone who is considering going on a mission or already has their call or just enjoys reading a 19 year old's letters home about trying to teach about Jesus to disinterested Americans in their nation's capital.  I loved reading Sister Bullock's mission blog.  She is currently serving in my mission and will leave a few weeks after I leave so I probably won't get to meet her, but reading her blog about my mission has helped me out a ton so I hope I can help someone else in the same way.

I love you all.  Now that I've grown a foot or two, I'm ready to serve in the Lord's Army!!

P.S. - This video was taken on a not too amazing phone by a 10 year old.  Please bear with me (: