Sunday, October 6, 2013

Woooo! i love life! (Sept 30)

So this week we moved houses to this super nice apartment that is now on the 3rd floor not the fifth thank goodness. we`re living with 2 other sisters now that are in the sector next door and are in a different ward. my companion and i found this house when we were looking for our investigator. seriously soooo nice. im living the high life! haha. well i dont know if its just becuase ive lived here for 5 months(crazy right?? my fifth month birthday was this tuesday! we celebrated with a cake fight.), or maybe cuz it really is sooo nice. like brand new and we have our own kitchen. i love it! dont ever worry about my living conditions mom!(until i have a transfer...but i dont think thats going to happen for a WHILE). so thanks for all the prayers. God loves me. :)

we traveled to a little town called Abancay this week. i love this calling because I get to see how the other parts of the mission are like and how the other sisters work and their unique talents and abilities. Abancay is like a living on a mountain side, the sisters have to walk up a hill that is literally a 90 degree angle. ok literally, no, but thats how it felt k? my comp and i took a taxi up it haha. I feel like my spanish was better this time, and i really felt like I helped the sisters and we did good. I love following the spirit, and strengthening their area and teaching them. The Lord blesses us with the abilities we need to fulfill what he has called us to do. He will never leave us alone, unlike Satan who always will.

This morning i was reflectioning on the story of the tree of life and the large and spacious building. how the world teaches how appealing being selfish is and all the things that WE want and how pride is cool. but in the end it will always fall, but with Christ and eating of the fruit patiently little by little he will make us more. One thing that both Hermana Swartz and Hermana Martinez taught me so well before they left was that you have to lose yourself to find yourself. Like one day I was asking Hermana Swartz how she could find out who she was on her mission. She told me that you have to serve others, forget yourself and what you want and only think about God`s will and how you can help others. crazy different than what the world thinks right? They think that you need to think about what you need and want and what YOU need to learn and how YOU need to improve and YOU YOU YOU, but that's such a big fat lie. we`re happier and become MORE and learn what our divine attributes are and who we really are when we forget ourselves. God magnifies us when we`re not looking inward. Martinez taught me that we have to be empty vases (or in other words, we have to drop everything that we want or think we are) so that we can become filled with what God wants us to be. So wise ah?  

anyways i love learning from the hermanas. we visited two companionships in 2 days, but it took three days cuz we had a day of travel. well... its only supposed to take 4 hours but guess what?! PARO!!!!!!!! or STRIKE!!!!!!!!! what??? haha they have this a lot here! its normal for the people, and like everyone knew that it was going to happen i swear! except little ole naive hermana black and her comp! haha so we`re on the bus at 6 in the morning leaving abancay, everythings normal right, we have our plans for the day when we arrive to teach the people in our sector because we have to use our time wisely that we have there. so after about two hours of vueltos(this bus ride is the WORST! i seriously felt so sick after the trip home cuz its  up in the top of the mountains and there are sooooo many turns! and the bus takes them fast!!! formula for WORST CARSICKNESS EVER), we come to a complete stop. i thought that the bus driver just wanted to take a break or something(not surprising) but after about an HOUR of waiting there(my companion was sleeping) we came to realize that no, the road was blocked by PEOPLE on strike! after about a half hour more we finally got moving again only to have to stop every once in a while for the bus drive to go around TREES that were blocking the road or rocks that were put there to block our path! finally when we`re like a half hour away from cusco, we come to a complete stop again. come to find out that theres another group of people blocking the road and they`re not going to move for 3 more hours!!!! so i tell my companion we`re walking cuz we have work to do! we get out of the bus to see a huge line up of cars and buses and mass of people that are walking with their backpacks(had the same idea as us), people tell us that a taxi to get back will cost about 20 soles each person(super expensive) but im thinking its worth it cuz i was so sick of waiting by this point. we talk to some people take a short cut find a taxi(for only 10 soles) and are on our way! so funny story that my companion makes fun of me for, we pass a group of people that were all waiting for the taxi with us and one of them were friends with us on the bus and tries to signal us down so she can hop in with us, well im all tired (ended up being a 9 HOUR bus ride instead of 4!) and want to help this person and have the taxi driver stop so i start signaling and telling him to stop! well he keeps driving and looks at me like im crazy and then i hear my companion telling me to be quiet and i look at her and she has a confused look on her face to, and then it was only then when i realized that in my stressed befuddled moment i was talking and signaling fast in ENGLISH. embarrassing. haha  

well folks thats all for today! love you all lots!

Hermana Mal Black

Sickness, lima, leader stuff, and my old home (Sept 23)

wow! trev looks great! thanks for all of the pictures! the sombreros. hilarious. woooooooo got a boy heading to japan!!! woo! soo cool our plaques in the church too. thanks for all the pics! 

soooo this week i only had 2 days in my sector! Tuesday all of the zone leaders, district leaders in the whole mission, and us the sister leaders, had a big meeting with the president and assistants. They presented all of the changes that are going to be happening to make our mission more spiritual. Like now they`re going to be more strict about where we can go on pdays(before every pday was with our whole zone and we could pretty much go where we wanted to--even if it was outside our sector or zone. ) and other things like that to make our mission more in alignment with the white handbook. We also can`t travel in the night anymore(which i think you`ll be happy to hear mom cuz i travel a lot now), and presidents going to be having some trainings for the pensionistas to help us eat food thats more nutritious(no more potatoes and white rice for ever meal anymore!!! wahoo!!) I love our president. He`s really focused on getting the spirit more in our mission and I can tell he really loves and cares about us. It`s cool how he wants to be obedient to all of the manuals that the first presidency has given, it motivates me to be more obedient as well. I´m learning that you have to have faith to be obedient. makes sense that the first principle of the gospel is faith and the first law of everything is obedience. they go hand in hand. 

wow. speaking of obedience i am out of time! be happy though, you have a lot of pictures:) love you all so much! 

sorry its so short! love you! 

Hermana Black


finally ah? ive got some pictures of a pday in a place called ruines of tipon, last days with my other companion, first day with the new one...maybe i already sent these?? i cant remember.. i also have some of my trip to sicuani, some pictures of peru so you all can picture where i`m living, and some pictures with hermana sheets, and her companion hermana ayala, me and my comp! theres also a picture of me with the other set of sister leaders (hermana parraga is on the left) and a polynesian sister in the background that went to byu hawaii as well! shes in my zone and we`re going to be sharing an apartment with her starting in october! she`s a hoot and a holler! super funny. hahaha she always tells me i have `white girl problems` (as if shes not gringa either! ha she cant even roll her r`s!) today i was using a pen without the case cuz it broke--so like just this little skinny thing that i was trying to write with, ya..definitely a white girl problem. ha


Focus on Families (Sept 16)

Happy Independence Day Guatemala yesterday! I wore the guatemalan colors yesterday without realizing it and my companion congratulated me:). 
Anyways, my viaje was awesome this week to siquani. I have never felt sooo inadequate and insecure in maybe all of my life. There was one night where I just laid their on a mattress on the floor of the apartment de hermana inga and hermana allred just thinking, what am i doing here?? Who am I to be a sister leader and be an example and help and train these hermanas when I can barely even speak this language?? Obviously it was satan putting these thoughts into my mind, so I just prayed and prayed. I never realized how much stress and responsibility a leader can have. I am making greater efforts to purify myself and follow more the example of Jesus Christ and trust in the Lord. I have so much to learn. I think my biggest insecurity is spanish lately. i know I’m not supposed to compare myself but I see my friends that I was with in the ccm and their spanish and it’s hard not to compare. Especially what was hard about my travel was that hermana allred started her mission the same time as me, is speaking well, and I’m supposed to be training them and helping them when I can’t speak so well. Like i went on a split with hermana allred and she speaks better than me. 

I am realizing that this is one of the tactics of satan. if he can get us to feel insecure, think these thoughts that we`re not good enough to do the work of the Lord or that the world is too wicked, we don’t have a chance to help it, or  feel overwhelmed with all the things we have to do that we don’t want to do anything, Satan has won. I’ve been realizing that the more I think my spanish isn’t good or that I can’t speak, the more I CANT speak it. Interesting how that works ah? Faith is to not think these thoughts, but to always remember that who the Lord calls the Lord qualifies and we have been promised so many blessings, let’s just trust the Lord act ah? That’s what faith is. action on the hope of the promised blessings or word of the Lord.

The focus of our mission with our new president has changed to focus more on the less actives and fortifying the church in this way. we still have high goals for baptisms, but we were taught from our area seventy that the baptisms will come when we work with the less active members. how? Because there are a lot of family members in their families that aren't members. our focus needs to be on completing these families. Families are the strength of the church, the basic unit, and where the gospel is best learned. yup, this is our new focus.

There are so many less actives here it’s crazy. we visited a family yesterday that is just so poor. The father says that he cant go to church because he has to work to help his family. We showed a video about a father that realized he was focusing too much on work and wasn’t giving enough time to his family. We asked the family what they thought about this message and the oldest daughter who’s fourteen said, how are we going to live if my parents don’t work? I felt the spirit come on me and I promised them as a representative of Jesus Christ that if they obeyed the commandments and went to church always, they would always have enough. We read mosiah 2:41 that talks about the blessings of the Lord for those that obey the commandments. this is what faith is. Acting on the hope that comes from the word of the Lord, even when everything else is telling you not to. 

My companion and I have a goal to talk to every single family that we see in the street, we`re taking up our leaders on their council to work with the families. Its awesome cuz without even saying something to the other companion, if we see a parent with a kid we talk to them. or sometimes there will be a family like way down the street and ill just say, `familia`and we go, even if its out of our way. haha its awesome cuz its so easy to contact these families, all we have to do is say, `que linda es! es suyo?` then we ask like how old they are, what’s their name, sometimes I’ll tell them that I have a sister that is 5 years old and how i love kids. Yup, usually that does it. Ticket into their house. People love talking about their kids. haha so this goal has also gotten us into some `awkward` or `creeper` situations. hahaha I’ve taught these two words to my companion. We laugh all the time..I never realized how many awkward situations are in the mission. hahaha. ya...well think about it. To have the goal of talking to every family means that sometimes we have to chase after some of them, or follow them until we catch up to them or awkwardly change directions or cross the street when we have no reason to. haha good times. crazy mormons. 

well love you all lots!

hermana black

Loving every minute of my mish! (Sept 9)

Hola Familia!

haha mom. yes im eating. hahah i think im eating a little too much lately! the bread is just so yummy! the 40 day fast is of things like following the rules more closely, smiling more, serving, making sure my thoughts are always pure etc. it was an idea our asistants gave us.  yup i live with hermana sheets. its super fun. we found this p90x cd so weve been doing the ´ab ripper´ its great. :)

Ya..pretty crazy this new assignment huh? Im really excited and am loving every minute of my mish! The two senior companions have been pretty stressed though because our bishop wants more baptisms and help with the less actives. Anyways so this week we just dominated! We had ward council on sunday and he thanked us for all our hard work. awesome.. i hope it'll last, tomorrow we start traveling so we'll see!

wow. i feel overwhelmed with this calling. you have no idea! ha im supposed to be helping hermanas that have way more experience than me and can speak the language. well, i have faith in the Lord and know that He thinks I can do it, so thats all that matters. i trust Him. I feel like Ive been on fast learning mode this last week. Ive been learning what the spirit feels like and actually been following it! One time we were walking down a pasaje and i felt something special about a door passed it with my companion then told her we had to go back and knock it. what do you know? there was an inactive member that answered the door and told us he wants to come back to church but didnt know how! milagros. The lessons have been awesome this week as well, when I follow the spirit and work hard and really care about the people and think in their needs, I dont have to worry about what Im going to say..the words just come. I can never deny the milagros Ive been seeing, if anyone says Gods not real and that miracles dont

I have my first travel tomorrow to sicuani and will be going on a split with a girl that has the same amount of time in the mish as me and can speak the language better ha. I think im going to fast after lunch today for the spirit. cuz if i have that, nothing else matters. I just want to help the sisters.
My companions great. we get along. one time we were in a lesson with an old old lady whos scared of getting sick and dying from the cold water so wont get baptized. anyways i was holding up a picture of jesus knocking on the door without a handle to explain that this is her time and that she needs to let Christ into her life, and my companion said so seriously, ´you just need to knock the door´ and then paused and there was this look of confusion on her face and then we both couldnt help it but bust up laughing..we had been holding in those laughs the whole lesson cuz this lady just goes off on tangents like the whole time we teach her..hahaha so we laughed and laughed and the lady was laughing with us. great times. Im excited to travel with her tomorrow!
Yup. I think thats all this week. mas for next week! love you all!
hermana mal black

New companion, New area, 40 day fast (Sept 2)

Hey!!! Wow i have been learning so much this week! i seriously am so happy right now, it’s ridiculous! The church is true, the spirit is real and by golly I’m just so happy! 

This new calling has been interesting. We`re not going to travel until next week which is good cuz i don’t feel prepared at all! There are six sister leaders in our mission right now. Right before this last change there were only four, but this change they added me and hermana sheets to be trained by one of the companionships because they will both be finishing their missions in november. It’s pretty incredible how blessed i feel because Hermana Sheets was in my district in the ccm! we were like best friends and so now we`re both in the same boat...we live together in the same house, have the same ish level of spanish and love to play soccer! haha. So amazing how the Lord blesses us so much and knows us so much. I couldn’t think of a more perfect situation. I can’t wait to meet all the sisters all around our mission!  Also been blessed with good living conditions and food, which I think has been showing recently..gained a few pounds haha but it’s going to be good because Hermana Sheets and I have started going running in the mornings. Seriously, my goal after the mish is to run a marathon because it’ll be EASY to run in the states after this thin air! haha

Well I’ve been learning a lot about pride and communication this week. The mission is amazing because we have the opportunity to learn soooooo much is condensed time. Satan is tricky. He`s good at sneaking his way in there, and if we`re not careful we can find ourselves in one of his traps.  I realized that one of my weaknesses is pride, and satan likes to use it on me. 

When we`re prideful we can`t have the spirit with us, and I`m realizing that pride comes in many different forms. One, when we think we`re better or different than other people (like not have to obey certain rules etc because they don’t apply to us`). Two, when we don`t have enough faith in the Lord to trust in the talents we have been given, or when we compare ourselves to others and call them prideful. Satan is very subtle and this week I realized that I`ve been allowing him to use some of his tactics on me.

I realized this on Friday and have started my cleansing fast yesterday to change me. I`m working on my list that the Assistants taught us about the fast for 40 days from worldly things or from habits that we want to change to have the spirit be with us more. Every morning I pray for the strength to complete my goals and in the night I have an inventory with the Lord about how I did that day. I`m doing this because I realize I need to have the spirit with me more. It’s vital to be a missionary and especially a leader. I also realize I need to love my companions and missionaries more. One thing that we cannot do is pull down other missionaries. They are our teammates in this battle against Satan. I`ve made it my goal for the rest of my mission (and life) to never talk bad about another person. It’s not worth it to pull down my teammates.
Hermana Choc is my new companion. She is 22 years old, is from GUATEMALA (wow, two of the three companions I’ve had have been from Guate!), is short, funny, and we get along great. She’s been in this area for about six months, but right now we don’t have very many investigators because we`re only in our area for about half the time with this calling. Anyways, were going to work hard and I’m excited for the opportunity to learn from her. The gift of tongues is also real and with this fast I’m seeing that the language is coming faster, like right now it’s hard for me to write in english haha.  

I love the Lord! His power is soo real! And if we`re worthy vessels He will send us His spirit. 

Much love! glad you got the package! 
Hermana Mal Black

Never going to be 21 in the states (Aug 26)

Wow thanks so much for all of the birthday wishes and letters! Definitely had a great day yesterday. The members that we live with made me breakfast in the morning! It’s like this thick rice drink that’s a little sweet with crackers! I guess it’s a peruvian speciality for birthdays! then we went to church, had a special birthday lunch (steak with like a pesto pasta, yum!) with cake from my pensionista, more cake from the other sisters from the zone next door and my zone leaders, then we went to the room and packed because we moved houses today and then my companion lied to me and told me that we were going to an appointment but ended up taking me to a members house where the other sisters were that we live with and we had pumpkin pie with my name on it that you can see in one of the pictures I sent! At the night we had oreos with the peanut butter you sent me. A great birthday! I had a weird realization that I’m never going to be 21 in the states! Weird! And i did get grandmas package. thanks!
So like i said we moved houses today! We decided to because we didn’t want to inconvenience the members we´re living with and we wanted our own and its closer to the pensionista. well it doesn’t really matter because i have a cambio or a change tomorrow with change meeting. Crazy how fast time has flown! I’ve already had two companions, 12 weeks in the field, I’m finished with my training and am ready to show the Lord what I’m willing to give him!  

I just hope I can always have the spirit with me and love them always. Its incredible to be able to look back on just these past 3 months in the field and see the Lords hand in preparing me for this moment to serve. I had one of the best trainers to start off my mission, became good friends with the sister leaders and learned from them because I’ve always been so close to them (living in the same house), had a second companion that i had to lead the sector with and learn a lot about love, and now with this new opportunity i can see the things I’ve learned and where my talents are going to fit in. God knows each of us soo well its amazing.

This week I was feeling nervous and a little stressed one day without knowing why(i think it was with this new transfer that’s coming up) and took the opportunity to really pray for a while at night until i felt better. I realized that why we´re commanded to pray always is because its literally a learning experience every time. As we pray the Lord teaches us what’s appropriate to pray for and we can literally put our will in line with His as we talk to him, He shows us and guides us to what we should be doing and thinking about. It’s incredible. Every little commandment has a grand and deeper purpose. There not just there to be there, but everything in the gospel is put in place to help us come closer to the Celestial Kingdom and to live with Him again. 

Also learned that loving those who don’t love you back is a commandment and its not easy, but sooo completely worth it as well and pays off.

love the mish! love you all! have a fantabulous week!

Hermana Malorie Black

ps. Trevor. I just barely found your letter that you snuck into my bag. I bawled my eyes out and laughed and cried some more! It could not have come at a more perfect time. wow trev thanks. sooo considerate. good luck on your mish dude!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Elder Cook!!! woo! (Aug 20)

GUESS WHAT?! Elder Cook came yesterday!!!!!!!!!! thats why im emailing today.  i sang in a choir for him! only people from the two zones closest to the office got to sing in it, so im super lucky that im here! we sang oh my father to the music of come thou fount and it was amazing! an elder directed our choir and when we had practices last week and split into parts i took the hermanas cuz i can play the piano and have a little experience in choir! haha, wow. glad i have the music talents i do. but the choir was amazing, really, the spirit was so strong that our president was crying after and i think Elder Cook got a little teary eyed as well. Two elders from the 70 came as well! When we got to shake all their hands of them and their spouses(hugged the women), i told him `hey! my family just met you!`haha it kind of caught him off gaurd and he was like `really?` but that was all the conversation we could have cuz i had to keep moving. :) anyways, super spiritual experience with them all. Its incredible the authority they have. I could feel his spirit so strong when he spoke, and for once i was glad i knew english so i could here the words from his mouth, not the translators. Wow, so pumped to do more. He said that this experience is going to prepare us for the rest of our lives like nothing else could have. He was also companions with one of the other apostles and he said that they decided that what made the difference for keeping converts active for their whole lives is the commitments we extend. Commitments are super important (and it also makes our church different) cuz every single person needs to have a spiritual experience. needs to gain their own testimony and change their lifestyles. (natural man is an enemy to God) and they can only change when they act, do something, so we always need to help them act. Wow. I know He is an apostle of Jesus Christ, and I felt such peace and confidence and trust in him. at the end of his talk it seemed like the spirit of prophecy came over him and he left a blessing on us, he said that every person that we loved would be blessed for us being on missions. ya so you`re welcome everyone back home! ;)

We have another 70 coming next week as well! super lucky! the 70 thats coming next week weve known about for  a while, Elder cook was kind of last minute this week cuz I guess he`s going to visit Machu Pichu so thought he`d stop by and visit the mission as well!! love his wife, she led us in a song haha like she did with you guys at `this is the place`.

So this world is crazy. We are so incredibly blessed to have the gospel and all the peace that we do. We have found so many poeple that are scared. Down here they believe in evil spirits and 2 20ish year old girls we`re teaching are scared because they dont know the good news of the Gospel and only know that their are evil spirits with power to harm them. As a missionary I have been into many peoples houses and listened as they told me grave stories about their lives and their family situations, taken part of their burdens on my back as a representative of Jesus Christ that I am at this time. I have such a testimony of my calling, there is NO way I would be able to keep going if God wasn't carrying me at times. Some days there is so much evil in the world and I am so tired, but God lifts me up and I have some energy that came out of no where and Im somehow happiest when Im the most tired, and when I take someones burden on my back. Its an amazing feeling to see God working through me, and to be a light in this dark dark world we live in. Its also amazing to see my valient brothers and sisters that are prepared for the truth and who are working in this part of the world to build and edify His kingdom. Satan definitely doesnt want us to be successful, but the cool thing is is that we always will be if we draw  closer to Christ! God is so much more powerful, and Im grateful for opposition so that we can recognize Him more in our lives, because He honestly does so much. 

That family with the drunk dad came to church this sunday! we had to go get them from their house and my companion was awesome cuz she straight up told him, `you will not go to that party, but you will come to church with your family for an hour, dont answer your cell phone, go get changed and come with us.` he listened! he messed up and drunk this week, but he came to church. his family is reading the book of mormon(we gave little charts to the two daughters to track their reading). little by little is how people change, and God is helping this family. 

My comps in Machu Pichu today so im with hermana Irvine(comp from the ccm) and the sister leaders that are in the zone next door today(the sister leaders that i live with are traveling to do visits today as well).

Love you all lots! the church is true! be happy!

Hermana Malorie Black