Monday, March 31, 2014

Mormon Bible - Week 9

Dear family,

I'm so glad you had snow in Utah. It snowed here in Maryland yesterday
too so I'm glad we're not the only ones suffering. When we went to
church it was only raining and I decided I would be fine wearing flats
and not wearing a coat since no one thought it would turn to snow. We
were on the go until 7 that night so I was running everywhere with wet
shoes until we came home for a couple minutes to put on boots and a
coat before heading back out. I'm so glad I bought those snow boots,
they're so warm. Anyway, it's funny when it snows here because
everyone freaks out. When church was out, everyone was telling us to
be careful and that we shouldn't be driving. One mother was freaking
out because she and her 19 year old daughter drove separately and she
said she was going to follow behind her home in case she spins out.
Katie, who lives about 20-30 minutes away from the church, called us
and warned us not to come because when she and AJ were driving he
almost spun into a fence and that there's 2 feet of snow. I told her
Sister Johnson and I would discuss it and let her know if we were
coming, even though we knew there was no way we were missing a lesson
with the two of them. We've been waiting all transfer for this. Well
we finally drove off to Katie and AJ's house after everyone at the
church was freaking out and lo and behold! There was maybe 2 inches of
slush on the streets. People are funny. It really needs to stop
snowing now. It snowed last Tuesday too and I'm done with it. At
least today is warm.

I taught a workshop at district meeting this week. Yay me! District
meeting is every week with the 4 other companionships in our district.
I think it went well. It was on using the scriptures in teaching and
even though it seems like an easy topic, which it was, I actually
learned something.  Sweet.

On Friday after our weekly sister training at the Visitors Center,
Sister Johnson and I had a meeting with President Cooke. We thought it
was going to be a meeting just to get permission to hold a family
history class at the Poolesville library. However, we got there and
President Cooke, Elder and Sister Kendrick, and Sister Connell (single
senior sister) were all there and Elder and Sister Knight were on the
phone. We had a two hour long meeting about family history and how
we're gonna use it as a teaching tool. President Cooke was very
impressed with mine and Sister Johnson's ideas and how we and our ward
have been using it to find people to teach. The ward that Sister
Johnson and I are in is one of the pilot wards for family history. So
far we're teaching three less active women about family history and
we've taught 4 young women how to use it. President Cooke wants to
have one of the elders film Sister Johnson and I using our iPads and
family history to teach and then interview Elder and Sister Kendrick
about how our mission is using family history and also to film other
missionaries who have had success stories with using family history to
teach and find. Sister Connell is working on a script and he wants to
have it done in a few weeks and then he is going to send it off to
Salt Lake. So that's super exciting. It was funny because we thought
we were going in to talk to President Cooke real quick but then it was
this long, really cool meeting and we're happy to be a part of it. The
whole time, I was thinking about how proud Grandma Veldron and her
mother would be. They were so big into family history and now I'm
using it to share the gospel.

We saw Savior of the World with the Velasquez family at the Visitors
Center on Friday. It was good but not what I expected. The Velasquez
family seemed to really enjoy it. They're such a cute family. They
came to church for the first time on Sunday and they brought the mom's
older daughter as well. I sat alone and saved them half a bench and we
were stressing because they weren't there when it started but they
came during the opening song. As soon as I saw them walk in, I jumped
up and ran over to them and beckoned them to sit by me. Sacrament
meeting wasn't too exciting but I think they liked it. The next two
hours were rough. I took Abby, the 8 year old daughter, to primary and
then joined the parents and other daughter in gospel principles. We
learned about the structure of the priesthood. It was nice to learn
because I've never been totally clear on the different offices of the
Melchizedek. But, the whole time I was thinking about what the
Velasquez family was thinking and feeling, especially since the mother
is still learning English. It was the fifth Sunday so third hour was
combined in the chapel and we talked about covenants and it was hard
to hear. Sister Johnson and I were sure they'd never want to come again. 

However, Abby seemed to really like primary 
and we set up a time to teach them this Friday. Also, the father,
Esteban, texted us today and asked if we could bring by a Spanish and
an English "Mormon bible"(Book of Mormon) for them tomorrow since I
gave mine to Abby on Sunday. Sweet! They're such a cute family and I
love them so much. It's people and families like this that make me so
excited and grateful to be a missionary.

AJ is doing well. The only time we can meet with him on weekdays is at
9 am before he leaves for work. Katie isn't home at that time and
other people that could come with us are at work or school so we have
the lessons outside. On Tuesday, it was snowing. So we had a 15 minute
law of chastity lesson while standing on his front porch during a snow
storm. It was awesome. We were then able to teach him and Katie on
Sunday after church! They have cancelled on us so many times so we
were thrilled. Brian McMullan, who just came home from his mission in
Utah a month ago, came with us and we drove through the scary two
inches of slush to see them. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it
went so well. AJ is super smart and humble and we just adore him.
Katie is lucky, and she knows it.

We taught Candy this week the Plan of Salvation as well. It's hard to
teach her because her heart is hardened from her trials. She knows it
and she knows she's rebelling against God, but it's her way of
blocking out the pain. Whenever she feels the spirit she starts to
cry. She's so sweet and we're working on her. She said she would go to
Savior of the World last night with the Hancocks and we told them to
be ready to go at 5:30 so we called them at 5:45 and Sister Hancock
said, "oh I don't know if Candy wants to go, I'll call her." And then
Candy didn't want to go. So that was super frustrating. Did they not
hear us? I feel like mom. No one listens or does what we ask! Sister
Johnson and I went to the Visitors Center anyway because our ward
mission leader said he was bringing a couple non member friends. But
once we got there, he called us and said just kidding they're not
going. We're not allowed to be at the Visitors Center if we don't have
any investigators so we basically drove there for nothing and it's a
30 minute drive. We left two tickets for the Hancocks since they were
still coming but we then had to leave because we have other people to
see and we can't be there. The Hancocks got there right at 7 when it
started and if you're not there at least 10 minutes before, they give
away all the seats. They weren't happy but there was nothing we could

Dee is continuing to do well. We didn't have time to teach her this
week although we happened to run into her at the local bakery when we
went in there to buy something for her. So we got to sit and talk with
her and Katie for a while which was nice.

The rubber band bracelets Emma made me are awesome. I'm writing her a
letter today. The bracelets are really popular here, tons of girls,
young and old, always ask me about them and I've had two girls make me
and Sister Johnson some while we're at their house for dinner. For
some reason children like me here. I've always liked kids but I've
never been good with them. However, I seem to have a knack for
children here haha. I hope you saw the pictures of the Emery family on
Facebook. Those girls were so cute. I was afraid they were gonna break
my iPad, they were going crazy with the pictures and yanking it from
my hand.

The women's conference was good. I was disappointed it was only an
hour and President Monson didn't speak. But the talks were great and
there was lots and lots of singing and a couple videos. I can't wait
for conference! We have so many people we want to watch conference
with, we might have to go on splits.

I'm so excited that Sariah got her mission call!! If she's reading
this: congratulations!! I love you mucho grande and you're going to be
amazing! I was hoping for DC but Argentina will do (: and if she's not
reading this, pass on the message.

I've been trying to eat healthier out here. At home I was relatively
healthy. I didn't count every calorie but I was aware of them at least
haha. Here it's tricky because you don't know what members will feed
you for dinner. I also need as much energy as possible. This past week
I've been eating lots of fruit (which is usual) and salad which is
actually really good. Today I bought more salad, grapes, bananas,
pineapple (my favorite!), cantaloupe, and apples. I feel better and
then I can eat dessert or have seconds at a members house and not feel
too bad because I had a salad for lunch. That's been my moto for the
past week.

My first transfer is almost over! Wednesday will be second transfer.
I'm so glad first transfer is done. The first few weeks were rough. I
was unsure about what I was doing and my teaching skills.  Yesterday
though, I was running around at church to find people to set up
appointments for dinners, lessons, and member exchanges and I feel a
lot more confident teaching. Also, I was so so so tired at the MTC and
my first few weeks. I was always falling asleep in class at the MTC
and miserable because I was so tired and the car was torture because
we'd be stuck in traffic and I'd be falling asleep but I wasn't
allowed to. Now, I'm still a little tired every day but I have an
easier time waking up and I don't feel like I'm going to drop. It gets
better every week. And it's these friends and investigators that make
it all worth it. I love them so much and I'm so grateful I have the
opportunity to teach them and get to know them. It's the best thing

Ok that's it! I love you! I hope you like the long emails! Read D&C
59:23 and watch conference this weekend! XOXO

Love, Sister Black

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