Monday, April 28, 2014

Screamed Like A Little Girl - Week 13


First off: Mom, you are crazy. I don't think any of my birthdays have
ever been as extravagant as Emma's have been. It looks like it was a
lot of fun though, I'm totally jealous that I missed it! I'm glad Emma
enjoyed her present (: Happy birthday Jo Jo girl!

This week has had a lot of ups and downs. Missionaries have crazy mood
swings. I'm super happy one minute and sad the next. It's like being a
teenager again. Oh wait I still am a teenager!

Before I get into everything else I'll explain our car. On Thursday at
5pm we were headed to a dinner appointment with a member family and
Laura. Sister Johnson was driving and we got into the left turn lane
and started to slow down as we neared an intersection when the car to
our right decided to merge right into us. I heard Sister Johnson
scream and then I felt it slam into my door while I screamed like a
little girl. We weren't hurt and neither were the people in the other
car. Thankfully the police and everyone came quickly and everything
was resolved in about 25 minutes and we still made it to our
appointment at 5:30 on time. I don't think we were supposed to drive
it anywhere else except home but we were right next to where they
lived. It was a super good lesson and we committed Laura to read the
Book of Mormon and pray. We were sore the next day. My back hurt and
it was uncomfortable to stand for long periods of time and it still
twinges a bit but other than that I'm good. We had to drive it to an
auto shop the next day. The Elder in charge of cars in the mission
office felt bad for making us drive it there after he saw it because
he didn't realize it was that bad and we shouldn't have been driving
it. Oh well. Apparently everyone is wrecking because the are about 5
or 6 other mission cars waiting to be fixed haha. Friday night a girl
in our ward drove us around to teach people and on Saturday we got the
elders car so they got to be on bikes. We can't bike because the
Visitors Center and our area are 30 minutes away from our apartment
while driving. And that's the story how I got in a car accident on my

I went on an exchange last Tuesday to Wednesday. Sister Leben, who is
from Germany and trained Sister Johnson, came to my area and Sister
Johnson left :( I had a sudden idea to go to a bakery in Poolesville
and talk to the guy who works there and commit him to having the
lessons. We ended up teaching him the whole first lesson (restoration)
right there in the bakery. It was a miracle no one came in during that
time. Hopefully we'll be able to teach him more. It was pretty sweet.

Sunday was sweet and very Spanish. After church, the Velasquez parents
came over to the Knudsons for dinner and a lesson. Brother Velasquez
is a member, although he can't remember anything about the church and
hasn't been since he was baptized 30 years ago. His wife and 8 year
old kid and the wife's toe adult children aren't members. The wife's
20 year old son is a former. Anyway, we had a great time. Brother and
Sister Knudson both speak Spanish from their missions so they
chattered away in Spanish for most of dinner and part of the lesson.
Sister Johnson took Spanish for like 4 or 5 years so she could
understand pretty well. I understood a bit but I've never studied
Spanish. By the end of the appointment I started zoning out whenever
they spoke in Spanish because my head hurt from trying to understand.

After dinner, the Velasquez asked that we come to their house and
teach their kids. We've taught Abby before and she's been reading the
Book of Mormon. Sister Velasquez sat us down with her three kids and
told us to teach them and then left. Sometimes she would come up
behind them and give us a thumbs up and nod and smile. That lesson was
completely led by the spirit because we didn't know anything about
them or their religious backgrounds. But by the end of the lesson they
were a lot more open and understanding and we have return appointments
with each of them. We'll be teaching different members of the
Velasquez family three times this week. So now we have two new
investigators! I love teaching people.

The head of all the Visitors Centers in the world came and spoke to us
Friday morning. He was super nice and happy. Apparently the church is
coming out with another movie. There was "Legacy," "The Testaments,"
and "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration." And the new one coming
out this year is "Meet the Mormons." It sounds dumb but looks super
good. He showed us the first minute and it's so sweet. I'm excited to
see it. Keep your eyes open!

I love you all!!!!!!!! Have a good week! Read Alma 32. The whole
chapter.  Pay attention to verses 26 and 27.

Love, Sister Black

P.S. THANK YOU for the Easter package!! Also the middle picture is
what happens between shifts at the Visitors Center in the Sisters
lounge. The pic of me with the package is the lounge too so don't be
too impressed that the kitchen is clean.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Marriage Proposal - Week 12

Dear family,

This past weekend has been really great. The week was good too, but I
was exceptionally happy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Thursday was fun
because we got to feed apples to a ward member's horses.

Friday was the best day of my mission. The whole day I was in such a
good mood before the miracles started. We drove to a random less
active person's house to get to know them and teach them. They weren't
home so we got in the car to drive away. I saw a guy standing outside
a car and talking to the lady inside. We're supposed to talk to
everyone but I got scared and decided not to talk to him which is bad
of me but it happened. Sister Johnson was feeling scared too but then
she remembered how she had promised herself she would talk to everyone
so we got out of the car and talked to them. They were super nice and
interested and we have a return appointment for tomorrow! After that
we were so happy and determined to talk to everyone like we're
supposed to.

We visited the next less active on our list and they weren't there
either. We saw a man carrying in groceries so we talked to him and
gave him a Book of Mormon pass along card. He wasn't super interested
but he thanked us.

Sister Johnson got in the car to leave and turned on the engine but I
saw a few men down the street talking. The same fear came back but I
was determined to talk to them. So I knocked on Sister Johnson's door
and told her to turn off the car because there's someone else we need
to talk to. We awkwardly walked towards them and said hi and gave them
a Book of Mormon pass along card. They were so nice and very religious
themselves. We talked for 20 minutes, testified of Christ, and showed
them the "Because of Him" video. One of them sang their favorite
religious song to us and asked if we could stay in contact. So now
we're Facebook friends and hopefully we can meet with them again. One
of them said he's seen other people approached by missionaries but he
never has been approached himself so he was very happy. Also when we
said goodbye he hugged us which was awkward for Sister Johnson and I
but we did it haha and he and his friends are nice.

We had an appointment at 8 and when we were walking into the apartment
building we met three 15 year olds. We talked for a couple minutes and got
their phone numbers and invited them to basketball with the elders.
Such a solid street contacting night!

Our appointment at 8 was so good. It was with Laura. She is an atheist
and I think I talked about her in my last email. Anyway we asked if we
could share a message about our church with he so we taught her about
God and how he's our loving Heavenly Father and how we can pray to Him
and have a relationship with Him. We also taught her about Jesus
Christ and showed her the "Because of Him" video. It was a really good
lesson and I feel like it's one if the best I've ever taught. By the
end we got her to give a kneeling prayer. So cool!

Visitors Center on Saturday was fun. Two Germans came in and said
we're Christians with a twist haha. We're actually not Christians.
Like dead serious. We're Christians in the sense that we believe in
Christ, but we're not the definition of a Christian because 1. We
aren't Protestants or reformers and 2. Dictionary Christians believe
that we'll always be below God but Mormons believe that we will one
day be like God. Fun fact of the day.

That night the Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C. Performed at the
Visitors Center. Ashley Barney, who is 18 and us submitting her
mission papers and is the middle one in the picture of Sister Johnson
and I with our Easter baskets, took Tina to see it. L. Tom Perry came
as well and spoke to us at the beginning of the performance which was
really cool. The choir was beautiful. My favorite song was "Cross
Cry." Can someone (mom) find a video of a choir singing it and post it
on Facebook so I can listen to it again? It was really really good!

Easter Sunday was great. It was weird waking up without an Easter
basket. I haven't gotten the package yet mom. They bring by the mail
at the mission office a couple times a week and they hadn't brought it
by when I was at the Visitors Center on Saturday. It's probably here
but I haven't seen it yet :( Church was great, we had 4 investigators
there. They had each of the full time missionaries in the ward get
bare a 3 minute testimony on the Savior's resurrection. Dee gave
Sister Johnson and an Easter present (:

We went to the Barney's for dinner. It was really nice and fun. We
painted our nails with Ashley as we waited for dinner to be ready.
After dinner they gave us each an Easter basket which was super nice
of them.

Dee invited us to her house after dinner and we got to meet her
husband and extended family. It was really nice and fun. Made me miss
Easter with family at home.

I've discovered the danger of adding random people on Facebook. A
couple people added me after I posted #BecauseofHim on a couple
Facebook "Jesus" pages. One of them messages me and asked if I would
marry him and that he's been praying to find a girl like me. I
politely told him that I'm a missionary so I'm not dating at the
moment but I'd love to teach him make about Jesus Christ. So we
discussed Christ and I tried to teach him about the gospel without
much success. Over the week he kept on messaging me asking about me
and my family and saying he thanks God for me and asked if I'll have
him to be my husband. Oh, he's from Nigeria. I finally messaged him
back and said sorry I can't be your wife and my only purpose is to
teach others about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Then I deleted him. I
can't believe I had to in all seriousness tell someone I can't marry
them. So now I'm creeped out. I'm sure he was a good guy but it was
weird and I'm going to be more careful and I'm going to delete the
link to the blog off of Facebook so he and others can't find it.

Sister Johnson cut her hair today. She cut off 12 inches and it looks
so good! I love short hair, I think it's so cute. Her family is
freaking out though. Most boys like long straight hair and I have
short curly hair. That's why I'm on a mission instead of dating haha.

I met an elder in the mission who also wants to major in animation at
BYU and we'll be applying at the same time in 2 years. We talked for
15 minutes about it and showed each other pictures of our art work
from Facebook. It was soooooo nice to talk to him. I love talking

I hope you all had a great Easter!! Read D&C 88:67. Also everyone
study Preach My Gospel as a family! M. Russell Ballard said so (:

Love, Sister Black

P.S. Dad I got my first "black? But you're white!" from a foreigner (:

Dee and her daughter, Katie. Katie is a member and Dee will be soon!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Popcorn Really Does Pop On Trees - Week 11

Dear family,

This week was a bit crazy. When I decided to come out on a mission I
didn't think I'd be doing any of this. It's fun and exciting but it's
a lot different from the knocking on doors I thought I'd do all day.

First off, popcorn really does pop on trees. I am amazed at all of the
popcorn trees around here. Maybe I was just blind but I swear we
didn't have this in Utah. There are tulip trees and cherry blossoms
and popcorn everywhere. It is so so so beautiful. Now I understand
more why so many people love spring. I've always enjoyed it just
because it starts to warm up and flowers start growing but here
blossoms are exploding everywhere. I love it.

Friday was so tiring. By 4pm I was so done with the day. But
unfortunately (more like fortunately) missionaries have to keep
finding and teaching until 9pm. Anyway, the reason it was tiring was
first because we had to wake up at 5:45 to get to the temple by 8. The
temple is so nice and beautiful. The only struggle is that half the
missionaries fall asleep during the session. Guilty. Only for about 10
seconds though then I realize what's going on and wake up. Don't judge
me, you try to be a tired missionary and go to an early session. So
that was nice.

After the temple, we went to the Visitors Center so I could practice
accompanying some songs for Sunday which I'll write about in a few
paragraphs. We also waited for an investigator to show up but she
ended up not being able to come. I'll talk about her in a few
paragraphs too (:

At noon, we walked to the church right next to the Visitors Center and
temple. We had to film for the family history video they're making to
send to Salt Lake. At first we sat in front of a camera and answered
interview questions. The Elder filming it has his bachelors in
cinematography so I'm glad it's someone who knows what he's doing.
After the interview questions, we acted out two elders and Elder and
Sister Kendrick coming to the church to meet Sister Johnson and I and
us teaching them how to use familysearch. It's cheesy. Elder Guerro
who's filming it had a hard time because Sister Connell, a senior
missionary, wanted it to be painfully cheesy and Elder Guerro was not
going to do that. I kind of wish Sister Connell would've listened to
him more instead of arguing with him since he's the one with the
degree. Sister Connell is great though. She's been so on top of
everything and organizing this all. So that's what I did for two

Sunday night was "Night of Music and Inspiration" which is where
missionaries perform musical numbers and give talks for an hour on
Sunday evening a month.  A Sister missionary is in charge of
organizing each one that they have. This time it was Sister Kaarma
from Estonia. She asked me if I could accompany 3 sisters singing "I
Will Rise" (which I think is on Facebook). That song was pretty easy
to play. My only struggle was that the sisters weren't singing the
right rhythm and were at least a quarter note behind for part of the
song. I think it still sounded ok though. Anyway so that was fun and I
practiced that for a month. A week after I said yes to that one,
Sister Truman asked me if I'd accompany her for "He Walked a Mile."
Then last Tuesday, Elder Anderson called me and asked if I'd accompany
him as he sang "Through Heaven's Eyes" and Sister Eyring played the
violin. It's the same arrangement from my "Prince of Egypt" piano book
at home. That was always the one song I struggled with. When I first
got that book 3 years ago I could barely play it and last summer I
started trying to play it again but it never sounded very good. I
agreed and the next day the three of us practiced together with Elder
Dahl being the wonderful page turner. It was so bad. Sister Eyring is
a professional violinist and also taught piano lessons and I was
messing up all over the place. She was very nice but she'd make
comments and I knew she wasn't too impressed. I went home completely
stressing out about it. The next day Sister Johnson, Sister Bascom,
and I went to the church and I practiced that song for an hour
straight. By the time we rehearsed again the next day, it was much
better. The performance last night went well. When we were running
through the whole program before, I was shaking and nervous to play.
The songs weren't even that hard but I don't really enjoy playing the
piano in front of people unless it's hymns or just for fun. But
performing and accompanying is different. There's a reason I never
offered to accompany for choir. I said a prayer and I was able to play
the three songs without my legs shaking and I barely messed up at all.
I'm so gladly it's over. I'm willing to play in the future now that
I've done one and realized it isn't that bad.

We got a new investigator this week! Her name is Tina and I love love
love her. We taught her last Monday night and I have never felt the
spirit so strong during a lesson. It was like a blanket. We met with
her three times and now she's on date to baptized. On Saturday we
weren't planning to drop by but we did because plans fell through as
usual and I'm so glad they did. She was having such a hard night and
was really upset so we all hugged each other in a huddle on the floor
and prayed and cried. We didn't want to leave her because she lives
alone but we had to. I could tell there was something wrong in the
house which was trying to influence her and it was scary but we said a
prayer on the way back that she would be ok and a wave of calm came
over us. The next day she called Sister Ainsworth (the one who
introduced us to her) and said she wanted to come to church and so she
came! And now she calls us her girls and her angels. She's so sweet.

My other investigators are doing well. We were over at Dee's house for
dinner on Thursday. During the meal I told her to call Dain so she did
right there and put him on speaker and asked when he is coming to
baptize her. He said hopefully in May so we're very excited. She also
came to "Night of Music and Inspiration" last night and really loved
it. She told us that the sisters have had a bigger impact than the
elders have. She said it's not that they elders aren't great but we've
just had a huge impact and that she's ok with the elders being
transferred but she's not ok with us ever being transferred. I LOVE

For the family history video, they created a 3 minute one of just
Elder Alca talking. He was my zone leader last transfer and just
barely went home. Look up "Family History Initiative - Elder Alca" on
YouTube and it should come up.

Also, look up the Washington, D.C. Visitors Center on YouTube to find
their channel. Hopefully they'll be posting the videos from "Night of
Music and Inspiration" soon. If not I'll be getting a copy anyway so
you'll see it one day.

Sister Bascom is leaving us tomorrow to train two new ASL sisters for
4 weeks before going back to Temple Square. I'm really sad she's
leaving us. She was only with us for 2 weeks but I have really enjoyed
it. She's so awesome and a great missionary. If any of you are ever at
Temple Square between the middle of May and end of October, look for
Sister Bascom (: she'll have a Canadian flag on her name tag. And let
her know I think she's amazing. :( :(

Read Jeremiah 17:7-8. I love you all.

Sister Black

Monday, April 7, 2014

Peed on by Dogs - Week 10

Dear family,

I'm now in my second transfer! I'll never have to go through a first
transfer again! Well I will when I'm old and wrinkly but that will be
totally different and I'll have a hot husband by my side to help me
out. First transfer was great. I learned a lot about how to be a
missionary and I feel like I've grown. I'm a lot more confident. I
call people, set up appointments, teach, and talk to people on the
street without Sister Johnson elbowing me to do it. Only six more weeks
and I won't be a greenie anymore.

I'm now in a trio! Sister Bascom has joined Sister Johnson and I. She
is a Temple Square sister and came out here the transfer before me for
her outbound mission. She was companions in Poolesville with Sister
Johnson so she already knows the ward and our investigators which is
awesome. She speaks ASL and was training two new ASL sisters last
transfer which was hard since she was also trying to open up a new
area. So she's with us for two weeks before a couple new ASL sisters
come and then she'll train them. I really enjoy having her with us,
it's fun and she's a great missionary.

The family history is going great. We had a conference call on Tuesday
night with the Knights, Kendricks, and Sister Connell. They wanted us
to make lesson plans for family history. We watched all the video
tutorials on Facebook but they don't tell us how to actually teach it.
The Knights made the videos and were a little taken aback that we all
thought we still need lesson plans. We told them it's like Preach My
Gospel. It has all the material we need to know, but it still has
lesson plans and tells us how to teach it. So Sister Johnson and I
spent a while at the family history center making lesson plans for
members, non members, and less actives. We want to teach he material
but also invite the spirit into the lessons but we have to do it
differently for each person since a nonmember doesn't necessarily want
us telling them how God has commanded we do family history and take
names to the temple. For them, it's just a free service we're giving
but if they're interested in learning more then we can start teaching
them about the gospel.

Bishop Marshall had us practice teaching our class on him and his
family. It was funny because at the end he told us that we were using
the commitment pattern (we invite you to... Will you...?) and that we
can't do that to nonmembers because they'll think we're weird and
pushy. Oops. Got to switch out of missionary teaching mode.

We went to the Poolesville library to see if we can do free family
history classes there. They said to rent the conference room it's $20
a night. So we went to Town Hall and their conference room is free but
the schedule for it is packed and they don't have wifi. We talked to
Bishop Marshall and he said they could cover the $20 for the library.
For our classes, we want it to be a 3 week course and we want to do
multiple ones so it will start adding up but Bishop Marshall says it's
fine. He's really obsessed with family history which is great. If he
wasn't, a lot of our plans wouldn't get carried out. So now we need to
print off fliers and start working on specific lesson plans.

This Friday Sister Johnson and I are going to be interviewed and
filmed for the video President Cooke wants us to make. It's weird
knowing that this video will go to Salt Lake and probably end up in
the hands of general authorities. No pressure. It's exciting though. I
like feeling involved and that I make a difference. The Kendricks want
us to teach at zone training about family history this week and teach
other missionaries how to do and teach family history.

General Conference was so good! I really have been looking forward to
it. It's like Christmas for missionaries. Spiritual presents! The
talks were great and I loved the overall theme which is to keep the
commandments and be obedient. I don't have my notebook with me so I
can't name off exactly who I liked. But I loved Elder Holland's,
President Monson's, President Uchtdorf's, and Elder Corbridge's a lot.
I'm glad Elder Cook talked about family history. It was exciting to
see Elder Zwick talk. He came to this mission a couple months ago and
spoke to all the missionaries. I wasn't there, but he came to the MTC
and he's the one who walked around with a microphone and scared
everyone. His was good. They were all good. Super inspired. Brother
Velasquez came to the Sunday morning at the church with us. Candy and
Sister Hancock were supposed to come too. President Uchtdorf got up to 
talk first and he said EXACTLY what Candy needed to hear. I could 
barely pay attention to what he was saying, I was so upset. I felt 
like crying and I didn't even want to listen anymore because the one 
person who needed to hear it wasn't there. I think Sister Johnson 
actually cried. That whole session was for Candy so we need to watch 
it with her this week.

We had dinner at Katie's on Thursday. Dee came too but was late so
when she came I hid in the bathroom. When she saw Sister Bascom she
was so happy and confused. They told her that I had freaked out on
Sunday and gone home. She totally believed it and she was like, "I
knew something was up with her! I've been saying it the last few
weeks!" Etc. When I came out of the bathroom she was so surprised and
mad haha. It was way funny. She has been saying that I seem off but I
think it's because she's never seen a new missionary before. Sister
Johnson told her that when she was new, she was super shy and scared.
I don't consider myself shy or scared but the point she was trying to
make is that new missionaries are still adjusting whereas older ones
are more confident and adjusted. I'm getting there. Being a greenie is

We taught the Velasquez family the first lesson on Friday. They are
excited to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. After the
lesson, they made us a huge meal which was delicious. And then an hour
later we had dinner with a member at a steak house (not stake house).
I was very full and fat that day.

The night that Sister Johnson lost her keys in her car 6 weeks ago, we
knocked on the door of a woman named Laura. She said she wasn't
interested in religion but she's interested in family history. We
tried calling her since but she never answered so we finally decided
to go see her again on Saturday. She let us in and we started talking
to her about family history. We found out that she used to be Lutheran
and that she served 9 service missions around the United States. We
then talked about service and Sister Johnson found a scripture on
service in the Book of Mormon and one thing led to another and we left
a Book of Mormon with her and she said she'll look it over! So cool.
If we hadn't offered her family history, we never could've talked to
her again or given her a Book of Mormon. She's so sweet. She lives
alone with her dog and she's a computer programmer. Also, funny story.
Her dog peed on Sister Johnson. We were playing with him as we were
talking and he randomly ran up to her and peed on her foot. It was so
funny! Oh man we were laughing so hard. But it was good because it
helped to break the ice with Laura and Sister Johnson was a good sport
about it. Made me think of Elder Hollands talk. We may get peed on by
dogs but it is worth it!

I'm on the metro right now headed back from DC. I am so tired, cold,
and wet. Sister Cooke organized a run for the sisters which was about
a 2 mile run. It was really fun, except it was pouring rain. At first
I didn't mind and it was just fun, but once we ended at the Jefferson
memorial and had to stand around for 30 minutes waiting for Sister
Cooke and her daughter to drive back with our bags we left with her,
the cold and the water set in. We were freezing. We all huddled
together and took turns running our hands under the hand dryer in the
bathroom. When she eventually came back with the bags, we walked
another mile to buy sweatshirts and food. And now I'm finally headed
home. We were going to go to some museums but, like last time, we were
too tired and cold. I just really want a nap. The cherry blossoms were
so gorgeous. Not all of them have bloomed and the cherry blossom
festival doesn't start until tomorrow, but it was so pretty. I bet
it's breath taking when they're all in full bloom. Maybe next year. I
loved what I saw though.

Well that's my week in a nut shell. I've been so tired this week. Last
night when we got home and after we planned for today, I laid on the
ground and fell asleep for a while before waking up and crawling into
bed and saying an incoherent nightly prayer. I'm sure God knew what I

Also, I wouldn't mind a couple letters every now and then if you
happen to have time. It's not a huge deal, but letters are nice. The
address is the mission office address I gave you and they bring all
the sisters mail to the Visitors Center so I check every Wednesday and
Saturday when I'm on shift.

Love you all! Read D&C 58:3-4

Love, Sister Black

P.S. Happy birthday Daddy!!!

This picture is from when Sister Johnson
got peed on. She had to take her shoes off and clean them at home.

These are the "My Family" booklets I've been working on and that Elder
Cook mentioned in his talk. This is the reason why I keep pestering
everyone on Facebook for information. This is what I have so far. I
still haven't finished filling in what I know about Grandma Carol and
Grandpa Brandy but other than that I don't know much about the others.
If anyone can help me out, email or Facebook message me! I really need
to get this done. Thank you to everyone who has already helped!