Monday, December 31, 2012

feliz navidad!

hello hello and feliz navidad!!

Sorry no pictures this week again- i have lots this week but for some reason this computer isn’t letting me send anything. i don’t have time to figure it out haha. Anyways i will be calling actually at 6 if that’s ok. i hope so because there´s no way to talk to you before. its because i thought i was calling from the house but we have to leave to call. oh my companion. always assuming i know things... sigh. Anyways i really hope that’s ok because i don't know what to do if it’s not! also i wont know if i have any packages until right after i finish this email. so... i dunno. I’m so happy that you got my package!!!! yay!!! i hope you like the stuff haha :) so some christmas traditions here: they always put the nativity under the christmas tree. The christmas trees are all small and fake and on tables so this is easy. its also pretty normal to give and receive baby jesuses or clothes for the baby. Also, fruitcake is a big deal here. like its the nicest thing you can give someone. hahaha love it.

So this morning i went to the clinic! i wanted to talk to you first about it, but Hermana Calderon (wife of President) said i had to go today. I had a problem with my big toe- it was infected yesterday  Not really hurting, but yeah. so i went in and got that all cleared up this morning! All i have to do is wear flipflops all day and maybe this week. but it doesn't hurt or anything so yay!

Ok so martes we got to go and have an activity with the president for christmas! The activity was futbol! (there really isn’t much else to do here i guess). Anyways it was a multizone activity which was fun. We can’t keep score, but the elders were messing around that like everytime you scored you move up on the leadership- like district leader, zone leader, secretary, assistant. You´d have to score a lot of goals to get assistant. And guess who was the only person who reached that status? yeah. me. guys its so weird i dunno how this happens! I've been trying to figure it out and i think it’s because i have so much stress, and usually in my life i get rid of stress by talking with people, and laughing and stuff like that. well i don't really get to do that here, so my stress bottles up. Well exercise is the best outlet i have now, and it feeels suuuuuuuper great to play soccer! Also people don’t play dirty or mean. Anyways its embarrassing- i even got past President Calderon with the soccerball. ha. well later in the night we had a special dinner at a restaurant. It was a buffet. i was so excited- i could choose not to eat meat! I ate salad and salad and salad and then i decided to try me some of the stir fry. well the stuff i thought was cauliflower turned out to be sting ray and the mushrooms? chicken hearts. haha. chicken hearts are super yummy!

Wednesday was a hard day lots of walking. Thursday i was sick for the first time really- my stomach hurt. but i was still able to go out just had to walk slow. Maybe i need to eat less chicken hearts. On Friday Rudi told us that he feels pressure and doesn't want to get baptized or pray or go to church. sigh. Basically sandra is our only progressing investigator and she was in the hospital this week with her mom (sandra is 46 and is the youngest of 10!)

Saturday was fun. we received (surprise surprise) mangos from a lot of people. we also received fireworks and a table decoration for a graduation. ha. also, i finished making a map of our area, using three other maps that aren't complete. now maybe we can get some work done! ,) sometimes you just gotta take life into your own hands.

Sunday we tried to put together this activity where all the youth and young single adults visit the less actives in our ward. Well 7 people showed up and we have 42 less active families. We split into two groups and we almost visited them all- mostly just leaving a card because no one was home. its really hard organizing activities here, and i try so hard! I thought organizing things during high school for drama council was hard. ha. also hma choque has been really sick the last couple of days so it was a pretty slow week.

But anyways its christmas! I hope that this week is wonderful and that you all have so much fun! I can’t wait to talk! i think we are going with skype. i have an hour. Roxana has been working on the skype all week because she really wants to see you all haha. but i will be calling at 6 my time here so 3 your time. actually we will probably be half an hour late. my companion is sweet. ha. hope that doesn't ruin any christmas plans!!!!

oh also thought this week is from Joshua in the bible. In the first chapter God tells him to be strong and of a good courage. Sometimes even prophets need reminders of that. Also Joshua says near the end somewhere that "I yet have strength". Sometimes we just have to keep going a little more. Joshua has been my friend this week! :)

love you love you love you all so much and looking forward to talking soon!

love, Hermana Elisa Black

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Hma. Black, her trainer's trainer (Hma. Conejo), and her trainer (Hma. Choque)
hello hello!

Oh my gosh how cool that Michaela is coming to bolivia, and will be with Malorie in the CCM!!!! Wow its amazing!!! I´m so excited about this haha congrats! My companion is already planning on visiting her because the temple is in Cochabamba. Also, this temple is the temple closest to Malorie's mission (well until the new one is finished in Peru but that will be a while). Also, i guess i didn't get everything in the package- just the shirt and it wasn't wrapped. oops sorry i didn't know it was for christmas. But thanks anyways! Also thanks so much for the lyrics. Could you send You know better than I as well? Sorry there’s just so much i wish i would have done before my mission and i cannot do any of it now. But Malorie (and Michaela) can learn from my mistakes! ha. OH OH OH I almost forgot in all my cousin excitement. YOU CAN SKYPE ME next week!!!!! The only problem is is i have no idea how to skype... so... you should give me all directions in your next email. And malorie’s password or whatever i need because i don't have anything. And do you get to skype via email? i dunno how any of it works so let me know. if its too hard, we will just talk on the phone. but i´d love to skype if we can! But yeah so next monday i will email like normal. then, in the day i will call you. I’m thinking ill call at 5 my time, so that's 3 your time right? email me and let me know if that works or not. I’m super flexible. At that time please let me know what time i should skype-call for tuesday the 25th. Literally any time works for me!

Monday- for FHE we had some straight up mango ice cream. Hermana Roxana makes straight up fruit into ice cream- im talking you have to pick the seeds out. You don’t add sugar either- sometimes you have to dull the fruit down because it’s too sweet! But anyways its mango season right now so we had mango ice cream. Actually mangos are more common than rocks here right now. People sweep them out of their yards and put them in bags outside their houses. (Everyone has a mango tree). Our fridge has so many mangos right now because people are constantly giving us mangos. ha.

Tuesday- today we found two different people that knew about mormons and that they are good people thanks to the example of Neidda! (a girl in the ward and daughter of Roxana) Letting your light shine is definitely part of missionary work.

Wednesday- Today we talked to someone in Quetchuan or however you spell it. well my companion did i cant ha. I only know how to say one thing in Quetchuan. It’s pronounced What Time Is It and means to hang a cat. hahaha. Also we called one of our passed investigators this night because we needed someone else to visit thursday. He answered and said we could visit. His name is Rudi.

Thursday- well we met with Rudi and guess what? His phone is all messed up so it was a miracle that we got a hold of him! and he tried to go to church not that long ago and was across the street, but then he chickened out because he is scared of ruining his relationship with his mom because his sister converted and now his mom wont talk to her really. and he’s the baby of the family (he´s 20) and is worried about this happening. but he is meeting with us a lot and really wants to know if this is true! He has a baptism date set for January 19th if he prays and gets his answer that its true :)

Friday- sometimes you just have to let things go. We weren´t able to finish planning today because we had a surprise inspection by our zone leaders. But it ended up being a great day- we just followed the spirit and found people to talk to.

Saturday- We met with Rudi again this day.... He prayed for the first time! This was a huge huge huge step for him. We met with him like 6 times a month ago and he wouldn’t ever pray. I’m hopeful for him!

Sunday- well not one of our investigators came to church today. It looks like we wont be having a baptism this month unfortunately. Auster (23) is definitely going to need more time. Sandra (she is 46, is a widow with no children and speaks english perfectly- she studied cinema in NY and CA and wants to teach english or make a movie. haha i love her) went on a vacation this weekend and didn't have time for us during the week. We are hoping that she is still interested but its hard because we havent’ been able to talk to her much. but we ate lunch with this family and the dad served in Cusco! he showed us pictures and man mal its so cool looking! My favorite picture is of what they think is a baptism font from the book of mormon days! too cool!

So i have a goal now to try every empanada in Santa Cruz. They are super good. Love them. Also how many people live in Provo? Salt Lake? Utah? and do you know the percentage that are mormons? sorry but these questions come up so often and I just keep making up numbers... i should probably start telling the truth haha. oh also i realized that ive been forgetting to write my favorite spiritual thoughts lately. I absolutely love Helaman 3:35 right now, its so beautiful! and is exact words for me right now. Also I read this week from my notes from the devotional with Elder D. Todd Christopherson in the CCM, and he said "a lot of people reject the Gospel. That Doesn´t mean it isn’t true." Anyways I’m excited to have so many people joining me in S. America- I hope you girls are excited!!! Start working on your spanish if you haven’t already!!!

much much love,
Hermana Black

Thursday, December 13, 2012


**FYI for those of you who don't know yet...Elisa's (19 year old) cousin Michaela got called to the BOLIVIA COCHABAMBA mission!! Can you believe it? She goes into the CCM early May--Malorie beats her by 2 weeks! Awesome!**

hello hello!

Well this week was good. I can't believe I've never written about where my companion is from- Bolivia. I thought i wrote that. She’s from Oruru bolivia. Also i always forget to explain the pictures. its this place called New York mall. I don't know if its actually finished being built- most buildings here are only half built haha. But It’s funny to see the statue. Also, Elder Felton told mama Roxana that his mom knows my mom. so i dunno what that means. ha. And before i forget- the pictures this week-the first one is at this place called Conik pizza. its pizza, but turned into a cone. yeah its nasty. ha. And the other is me with the shirt you sent!

Conik Pizza, home of pizza in a cone

New T-shirt...only gift from the Christmas package that made it to Elisa
ok so monday, we decorated our house for christmas! We have this cute little tree thanks to some past sisters who lived in our house. We also made stuff out of the stuff you sent, I’ll have to take some pics.

tuesday- so i learned that i did something really bad my first week in the mtc provo. i wanted to work super hard and not waste a minute. So i decided that i wouldn't even think about my progress in spanish until i was fluent. Well this made it so i couldn't be happy with my progress. so i'm now trying to think more about my progress and this is really a happy thing because i can definitely talk more spanish now than i could 5 months ago! Also, advice for future missionaries- bring quotes and stuff that you like. and don't bring recipes. there's no time or stuff to cook with haha.

wednesday- so my companion is pretty quite. she isn't shy, but like every time we need to get off the bus (about 4 times a day) she just isn't loud enough for the bus driver to hear her say pare! (stop). But this day i heard her scream as she was leaving our room. this naturally made me get up on top of my desk as fast as humanly possible, because it could only mean that there was something she saw. Well you guessed it, gus gus came into our room. It’s one thing for the mice to enter our kitchen. But our room is the one sacred place i have. And of course, he hid in my stuff. sigh. Well there was a time where i wanted to tell God that i could keep going as long as no mice came into my room. I am glad though that i never said that. Instead, I yelled Get me the broom! And i got gus gus out of my stuff and out of the room. Then Roxana let her dogs in to get Gus gus. boy am i glad for that- gus gus was pregnant.

thursday- We went to the Cumabi today- tons of little shops (for lack of a better word) with used north american clothes. holy cow it was so fun! i bought myself stuff for christmas- boots, three skirts, two shirts, a dress, and 4 sets of earrings for less than $20! Also Sandra is progressing wonderfully! She has a baptism date set for this month, but she wants to read the whole book of mormon first before she totally commits... we are excited for her though! 

Friday- so sometimes you just have to accept that you can’t speak as well as you’d like and just sit back and pretend you're in a spanish soap opera during a lesson. we visited this lady and her old little mother with a member. The mom and lady and member talked and talked and as they moved about the room the only thing i was missing was my popcorn. It was intense, and kind of hilarious. Don't worry we did get a lesson in... kind of. ;) Also sometimes you just have to bark back at the dogs because you get sick of hearing them every two seconds. Except sometimes their owner is right there and sees you and then it’s really uncomfortable. But afterwards you laugh your head off with your companion.

Saturday- so it rained hard core and i guess rain kills mice here. Anyways Emile (Brother of Remy in Ratatouille) was found dead this day. I am running out of names for all the mice....

Sunday- Sandra and Auster came to church again this day! We are so excited about these two. The only problem with Auster is that he is always leaving town for work so we never have time for lessons! but these two are our baptism goals for this month. Ojala!!! Also, i got to play the piano and give a talk in church. i love giving talks. But not my favorite thing in spanish. ha. But it was awesome. I shared about your guyses experiences sharing a book of mormon!

Anyways i love you lots and lots have a great week!

love, hermana black

Sunday, December 9, 2012


hello hello and hello all you people that i love!

So first off i got the Christmas package- thank you! I am excited to read the letters on Christmas!!! thanks!!! Man when i started here in september i did not think I’d ever get to december, but here i am!! We are getting through this. i am so glad that people are finally getting my mail man does it take forever huh? ha. we had transfers last week- hna choque and i didn’t move- we are in Hamacas with the Uriona family for Christmas! So that’s going to be super awesome. I’m grateful for that. they truly are the sweetest family. And i got to meet one of the elders that converted them on thursday! Elder Felton. 

It’s hard to believe that this family has only been members for about a year and a half. they truly are the perfect family. I’m soooo grateful for the elders (and sisters- it took a while for some of them to convert ;) ) that converted this family. They have blessed my life and I dunno what i would have done without them! Missionaries help other missionaries. But somehow I’ve found out that Mom you know Elder Felton’s mom? Through missionary moms or what? haha weird. i hope you’re not  telling all the missionaries here about me...ha. oh also Neidda has more pictures of me- so if you add her to facebook you can get more pics. Also Ninoska I think wants to add me. i want to add these girls because they are leaving on missions before i get back from mine! everyone here wants to serve in USA or Japan. English is so important here- i wouldn’t be surprised if the entire country is speaking english with in ten years or so! and they just love asian people haha. But now that these girls know where malorie is serving, they want to go to Cusco! haha. Also as far as the phone call goes- I’m not sure exactly but i know i call you the day before just to say call me tomorrow at this number! and then you call me at the time i will have or something like that.

ok well we only have 45 minutes to write, the internet is slow today, and i have to write president. i dunno why we have less time to write now. sigh. i need this time silly zone leaders! but I’ll do my best.

oh cool thing- the lizards change colors with their surroundings here!!! it’s so cool. i love the lizards, because they eat bugs!  also there are 10 different kinds of mangos here! my favorite are the apple mangos- they are really small. but there are pineapple mangos that are like soccer balls hanging from the tree! it’s crazy. Also one morning i woke up to the loudest thunderstorm of my life! seriously i thought the sky was breaking. it was awesome. There was some hard times this week, but sunday was the best sunday yet! we brought an investigator- Sandra. She lived in New York for 20 years so it’s great to talk some english with her! 

"New York" Mall in Bolivia

Then also, The Uriona family brought this 16 year old named Wilfredo who wants to be baptized, but he is going home until January so we will talk to him more then. Then, The father of the family Madrid came (they’ve been waiting 20 years for him to convert!) and it looks like he is finally ready! (i love the Madrid family-- sister madrid goes with us to visit people all the time, and Christian is 19 and is the ward mission leader) i would love to see the happiness from him converting in this family! Also, Daniel, a guy in our ward, brought his sister!! so like it was amazing I loved it. We are working hard with some other people right now too- and I am really hoping that we have a couple more baptisms before the end of this transfer (january 9th). 

Anyways that’s all i can write right now, but i love you all so very much, thanks everyone who has sent me advice and help and everything. I have the best family and friends ever ever ever!!

much love,

hermana black

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bolivia :)

hola hola hola!!

Well first off i would just like to let you know that this week was lots lots better :) It was an interesting week though! But first some housekeeping business: I am sending a christmas package today- its all super small stuff, but i couldn't resist! it should get to you sometime in January i hope. have you been getting anything ive been sending? also, for how many weeks will malorie be in the ccm? also i tried to take pictures of my house but its too hard of angles, but i drew a picture and sent it last week so hopefully you'll get it next week! oh Dad how much money do i have please and thank you? Also rice cooks a lot lot faster here if anyone wants to know. oh also an important word to know: my favorite word i learned in the ccm is "Chevere" (kind of like Chevorlet the gas station). it means cool, but they don't use it in Bolivia, only Peru. But my friend who is a returned missionary here in my ward who served in Malorie's mission for half of his mission (before it split into lima central and cusco) uses it, so i do too. but anyways...

monday- I got to go to the centro again! love the big city. it was also our last day with Jorge and Adriana, but they just wont pray so there's nothing we can do.

tuesday- today i had to leave the house at 6a.m. to go to migration and do some paper work. it was fun because i got to talk to some of the other elders in my mtc group. One elder was telling me all about his area, and showed me pictures. its gorgeous! BUT its just out of the city so i will never get to go there. He´s having tons of success, and its just so beautiful! I was like dang i wish i could go there till he started talking about the Tarantulas....then i was like k cockroaches are actually kind of sweet.
Elisa's first zone in Bolivia
wednesday- today they took a census of all the country of Bolivia- something that only happens every 15 years! But it meant that we couldn't leave the house ALL DAY. Over 300 people were arrested because they were found outside of their houses. The entire country had to be inside all day. it was weird, but relaxing.

Thursday- Thanksgiving! to celebrate, I made the popcorn Monica sent and shared it with my zone at zone conference! most of the gringos forgot it was thanksgiving, because there is just nothing here that resembles thanksgiving! haha.

Friday- Black friday! I explained Black friday to my companion and she was weirded out and confused haha. we north americans are such weirdos. This night we planned an activity for the ward- a movie night, where members could bring friends to watch the movie about Joseph smith. we've been planning this for a while, and were super excited. the activity was scheduled to start at 7. Well at 7:30 there was four people: the ward mission leader, the guy with the projector, the bishops wife, and one member. at 7:50 hma choque and i walked outside. 2 families showed up, one with an investigator! at 8 we started the movie. after that people started trickling in. Even after 8:20 we would get people coming in and we´d say go on in its started! and they'd be like oh really??? wow. Bolivian time sure is different! anyways i think it was a success... the relief society president showed up a little after 8 with refreshments. Oh Bolivianos... haha

saturday- we talked with this members wife who belongs to another church. The more active people are in their churches here, the crazier they are. ha wish i had time to explain.

sunday- at 5:58 am i was woken up by the sound of flapping above my head. i was up and wasn't a bit tired. I used to be scared of moths in utah. (ask sister Lee for details if your curious about just how scared i was). The moths in utah i will compare unto a ping pong ball. The moths in bolivia: are basketballs.  Seriously if it wasn't for the fact that birds are colorful, you´d think the moths here were birds. but anyways it turns out it was not in the house but i was not tired after i heard the flapping. also i saw my first avocado tree! that was cool. We have a lot of new investigators right now that i'm really excited about, but i don't want to write about anyone if they don't really progress haha. so hopefully ill have some good stories about investigators next week. Fernando is helping us out though with one of our new investigators, and i cannot tell you how cool it is to see how different he is now- trying to spread the gospel and everything. He just has a light about him now and its so cool to see!

Anyways, I'm really grateful that this week was tons better than last week ha. I seriously am doing good. Don't wait for missionaries to spread the gospel- give your friends a chance to know the truth!

i love you all so very much, thanks for your prayers and support!

love always,

hermana Black

photos: the Lawn mowers of Bolivia (these cows were just roaming the park. its totally normal) and my first zone in Bolivia!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


hello hello!

First off SO COOL about malorie going to Cusco!!!! I know a bunch of Elders that are serving there because they were in my district in the CCM! Also I cant wait for you to meet the teachers there malorie!! They are going to love you because i was their favorite missionary ever hahaha. So so cool! Cusco!! You will probably have to learn two languages- thats what they told all the elders in my district!! wow sweet!

Well this week was extremely hard. I got to talk to the area psychologist on the phone (her and her husband are serving as psychologists for a lot of missions) this week. We figured out what is ´wrong´ with me- I have REALLY bad PMS haha. Its a real thing and I have it. Its extremely worse here though because: Ive been eating way too much sugar (there is way more sugar in the fruit here) and I am still struggling with Culture Shock. These things cause stress, and on top of all the other missionary things that cause stress, I had an extremely painful and hard week. This will happen once a month on my mission, but now that i understand the problem and am receiving help, things should be better. things already started getting better after I talked to Hermana Packard on the phone. So anyways, yeah.

The photos this week- are from a zone conference we had. Out of the 5 girls from north america here, one of them went to SUU! Shes in the picture with me.
Also the white girl in the zoo picture i sent is in the same ward as Uncle Wood in Washington! He emailed her last week haha. Anyways small world.

Monday- we have a new friend. Gus-gus. if you cant tell by the name, he´s a mouse. He hasnt gotten into the kitchen though i dont think. Also we got hot water again in our shower! but usually i keep the icewater- its just so hot usually.

Tuesday- so Jorge and Adriana changed the 10 hours to 5 hours. we have one hour left today. They came to church for an hour this sunday, but they just dont want to pray about the church, but they want answers. sigh. Its hard because they are so pressured into this. We will try one more time today (monday 19th) as hard as we can though.

Wednesday- We had a surprise zone conference! which was actually really good becuase its where i got to talk to the other north american girls and they are the ones that recommended i talk to the councilor. Im so glad I did! Its really helped me to think more positively too. I was telling myself ´´God will help me´´ but i wasnt using the things he gave me to help me, like the councilor. But now I think things will be better.

Thursday- We had a returned missionary in one of our lessons who taught with great power with one of our investigators. I thought i was going to learn how to teach like that when i left the mtc. psych! no one teaches you how to teach the gospel. i really hope i can teach with that kind of power though one day!

Friday- My companion was attacked by Edward this day. Edward is a bat if you couldnt tell. Also I learned that one of Satans favorite things to do is exploit negative thoughts. If you think a negative thought, He will blow it out of proportion. so to be safe, just dont think negative thoughts! Its not worth it!

saturday- I tried to pray in english haha didnt work i couldnt do it. had to start over. also i scared this little old lady that looks exactly like the little old lady at the beginning of the movie Ratatouille. She had these giant eyes and she was sweeping and i walked passed her gate and she almost died of fright. We tried so hard not to laugh but man it was hilarious!!!

Sunday- we got two new investigators today thanks to the same family that helped with Fernando! Most everyone else in the ward just complains that this ward is super hard and no one wants to listen to the gospel here. This family, the Family Torrez is the only family that gives us references, and hey look? we had a baptism. Also, theres this giant tent in our area thats set up saturday and sunday, and if you want a miracle from god you walk in the tent and pay a bunch of money. This guy is screaming scriptures and things at the people and making them jump up and down and yell Hallelujah every couple of minutes. Its insane and sad...

Well this week was hard but I know i can do the work of the Lord. I would recommend mal and trevor learning how to deal with stress, and learning stretches and things because my muscles have gotten tense and stuff. But I am so excited for Malorie! Cusco is going to be awesome. Peru is seriously amazing and I love it so much! Thanks family for your advice, help and love. oh also if someone could get me Britany Samuelson (Dewey)´s address that would be awesome! Thanks so much!

love always,

Hermana Black

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

hello hello

Hello friends and family!

so first off- I love what the stake/ward is doing with the books of mormon and references! i would do anything for that to happen here!!! i'm learning more and more about just how difficult of an area i am in right now, Fernando really was a miracle! But we found out this week that thanks to the change in age for missionaries, Santa Cruz is about to DOUBLE the number of missionaries! Instead of about 120, we are going to have 250 missionaries! I am so grateful because we really really need this. Also i did receive everything in your package, but I've been told that anything that arrives in December I most likely wont get, and there isn't a chance that it wont be broken into. Christmas things need to be sent AFTER Christmas. But we will see.
Also, I REALLY need more calming medicine if you can send it. But i got a blessing last night so hopefully that´ll help.
Also I sent Topher and Marivel letters two weeks ago- they should get them this week. Lets see what else...  Talitha- i love you so stinking much and am very grateful for your prayers and thoughts! every time i look at the moon i think about you.

ok moving on! Monday- every Monday that i wash my towel it rains hard core. this is bad because my laundry is hanging out to dry. the rain is awesome here though i love it! and it rains a lot all year because well its a tropical climate. Also all the juice and ice cream is straight up fruit here. i seriously love it so much! If there's one thing i will miss about Bolivia, it´ll be the ice cream  so dang good! oh also i'm trying to laugh at myself more- this day i accidentally told an investigator that in the church, we like ourselves a lot. haha oops.

Tuesday- so i really miss having Fernando to look forward to everyday haha. We don't really have anyone progressing right now, but we are working hard! In our ward there are quite a few young single adults that are members but no one else in their family are members. We are working with two sets of parents right now- Antonio Cruz is about to leave on his mission so his parents are giving the missionaries a chance right now. And Alejandro Medrano- his parents have a lot of problems, but his Dad comes to church sometimes. Alejandro is a returned missionary and his parents always love having the missionaries over. but they don't progress despite thousands of we´ll see.

Wednesday- today i tried to talk to an elder in English  it was super hard. the Spanish and English are all just mumbled up in my head and i really cant speak either well right now. my companion in the mtc (sister Kimes) said that its easier for men to learn languages because they separate everything in their minds. for women, everything is together. i'm really feeling that right now haha.

thursday- another dead mouse was found. I knew there was more than one! Thus mickey has joined Remmy in the fields above. Also two north american sisters went home because of knee problems. We are now down to five of us! we are hoping to get more. I'm very grateful to Hermana Seaverson, one of the sisters who went home. she wrote me a note on my first day. the very first thing it said was DON'T GO HOME. I thought this was funny at first until i got to my house that second night, and the following days getting into the mission. Her note really helped me a lot.

Friday- today we received what we call our "10 hour challenge". A bishop from another ward in the stake has a son who now says he will give the church a chance- his dad says he just has to listen to the missionaries for 10 hours. so we have 10 hours to "convince" him and his wife that the church is true. This is a little unnerving but seeing as we don't have anyone else progressing i'm pretty hopeful. his name is Jorge and him and his wife are really nice. our second hour is tomorrow so we will see how it goes...

Saturday- today a lot of people are sick because it was really hot during the day, and there was a little wind at night. its so funny to me- i'll be sweating like a pig and we'll have people coughing because its cold. my companion is sick too because of how much the weather changes apparently. To me its all the same: hot. ha.

well that's it for this week. i'm grateful for awesome leaders- my zone leaders right now are top notch. I'm really hoping that this coming week will be a lot better!  

much love always,

Hermana Black

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bolivia (sorry i always forget to think of creative subjects)

hello hello!

sounds like everyone had an awesome halloween! love loved the pics! too cute :) I did receive packages last monday from mom, monica, and Grandma. thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much! (we don't get our mail till after we write on monday so i never know before). So is Malorie not going to have another semester of school then? shes leaving like januarish? crazy! well i guess my guesses are Mexico and Maine. haha. cool cool though. So someone has to tell me about elections ! Also, i love what the ward is doing. I cant even tell you the power of members! its the reason Fernando was baptized, but its also the reason why we don't have any progressing investigators right now...sigh. Members have so much power, i had no idea! Also, if anyone wants to send me their conversion stories id love to have them! ok...

Monday- this day we gave Fernando the pictures from his Baptism. he was so happy he started showing them to everyone around. haha it was great. He’s so happy- everything about him has changed for the better, and thanks to the amazing young single adults in the ward, he has tons of new friends too. it's awesome.

Tuesday- we had an investigator named Mary who is super catholic. She felt that our message was true, and this scared her so much that she decided she doesn't want to talk to us anymore. shes too scared to change her life. I've thought a lot about fear here on my mission. When i first arrived i was so scared, and i thought this was really bad because i thought it meant i didn't have enough trust in God. But I've been reading a lot of scriptures throughout the last couple of weeks, and there's lots of stories about people having fear at first. Joseph smith was scared when he saw the angel Moroni (Testimony of JS in the introduction). The women at the tomb where scared when they saw the angel (Matt 28:8), and Peter, james and John (Mark 9:6) were sore afraid on the mount. But their fear leaves them when they turn to God and use him as their light and strength. As I've done this I've found my faith build. Baptism is a scary thing, because its a change and you don't know what its going to be like. But when we trust god we know that as we step into the dark, He will catch us. BUT there is first that step into the dark.

Wednesday- Theres a lot of power in knowing what kind of questions to ask. It lets us know what the investigator is feeling and what they need. But knowing the right questions and when to ask them is the hard part! I want to be a good question asker.

Thursday- I am really starting to love our weekly district/zone meetings. it's fun to get together with the other missionaries in my area. This week the President of the mission was out of the country, but everything functioned just fine- totally normal. And its just a bunch of 19-22 year-olds out here running everything! It definitely builds my faith in the truth of this work to know that its possible with just a bunch of kids. God is in it all that's why it works! God makes weak things strong.

Friday- so today our Pensionista- Hermana Roxana who makes us food- was gone, so her son bought us chinese take out. well chinese food here is basically the same as all the other rice and meat we eat here, but my companion is convinced it was different. haha.

saturday- as i walked to the bathroom i almost stepped on dead remmy. dunno how he died but hes dead. it looks like someone stepped on him. It probably was my guardian angel. haha. anyways we don't have mouse problems anymore. ha.

sunday- i learned today that Dora the explorer is originally for spanish speakers to learn english, and that explorer in spanish is exploradora. therefore, it is a rhyme "Dora la exploradora". haha i thought that was super funny. Also, lots of people talk to us because they think we are jehovahs witnesses. when they find out we are not, they tell us they aren't allowed to talk to us, because they promised the jehovas witnesses they wouldn't talk to anyone else. sigh.

anyways a tough week, but i'm learning lots. I read a talk by Elder Packer, who talked about life with afflictions. I love that he says that yeah sometimes when we do whats right we are really alone. Therefore the question becomes, "when you're alone, are you in good company?" i love this, and i'm trying to work on being good company for myself. I often think, if only i was with someone who could speak english and realized how horrible some of these things are, we could laugh it off together. But now i'm trying to work on laughing at myself. "come what may and Love it" as Elder Worthlin said once. Anyways thanks for all the love and support! have a great week!!

much love,

Hermana Black

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Hola everyone!!

so this week was awesome because I got to participate in some fruits of my labors! Fernando is officially baptized! more about this in the letter... But i hope that everyone had a great week this week! Its weird to think its Halloween this week because i haven't seen one pumpkin. haha. people here just give each other bread and candy the day of halloween and put bread and candy around gravestones of dead children. or at least this is what i understand. I'm sure ill have more details this week. Also i've never written about the fact that people here love frysauce! but its called salsa golf here haha i think that's hilarious. Also the clouds move super fast here always. like you can try to run to keep up with their shadows but you wont be able to for long. its nuts! and awesome. thanks mom for the recipe! my companion would like the words in english to you raise me up if you have time this week. thank you so much though! 
Fernando baptized October 28, 2012
ok monday- was a normal pday. i dunno if its just my mission but i don't really like pdays. you just work a lot for yourself which isn't very fun or distracting from thinking about home. haha.

tuesday- i finally ate something i don't really like- cow leg gelatin. or something like that. it tastes fine all ground up in the jello that's sold on the streets. but just straight up cooked and on your plate- the texture is just a little too much for me.

wednesday- the most important thing in this work is prayer. if a person doesn't pray to know that this stuff is true, there's nothing we can do to "convince" them of the truth. A witness of the truth from God is the most powerful thing there is. we cant give that- you have to ask God for that.

thursday- so its pretty much a religious blood battle out here sometimes. In my ward area is the Headquarters for the Jehovahs Witnesses for the whole country of Bolivia! They've knocked on our door twice now. But they’re not the only religion working hard in this area. There's another church that everyday at church asks who is new? if you raise your hand they take you into this room and make you sign this paper saying that you are a member of their church, and that you wont visit any other churches. Then there's another church that knocks on your door and does what i like to call the Nacho Libro move- they ask you if you've been baptized, and if you say no, or hesitate, they put this white hat on your head and dump water on you. dead serious. Its pretty much crazy. I'm learning a lot about different religions which is really fun- it makes me want to study them when i get back.

friday- we lost a lot of investigators this day, so we are hoping to find some new ones soon! One thing that really helps people is if they can realize that god wants to hear whats in their hearts- details and specifics. If we understand our relationship with God then prayer is natural (see bible dictionary on prayer). I love this. and i love that its true and works.

saturday- i ate my first mango! oh man sooo good! and yeah i did eat tons of papaya that one day. ive toned it down with the fruit and i think i can basically eat anything. it helps if you eat rice after apparently too. Also Bruno, a returned missionary who served in Peru who always helps us, says that in his mission, he received a box of 20-30 books of mormon every week. In my mission, we receive 2-3 books every 3 weeks!!!! and that's if we are lucky!!! no wonder peru is booming and the gospel is spreading like wild fire there. if you pray sincerely to God to know if the book of mormon is true, he always answers you. this is another challenge here. where other churches have buckets of water, we have our books. but we just don't have many of them. we are hoping that the church will start progressing a lot more in Bolivia soon.

sunday morning at 8 am Fernando was baptized! it was a beautiful day and a beautiful time. I cant believe everything worked out. Its thanks to some amazing people in the ward and the help of the Lord that everything worked out. After he received the holy ghost in church he couldnt stop smiling it was awesome! What a great day and how much rejoicing there is! Thank you for your prayers on his behalf! I know that prayer played a major role in his conversion. actually, it was everything.

Well anyways it was a great week (minus the fact that its getting hotter which means more cockroaches and they are bigger and fly. we are trying poisons and things but so far no luck!) We are hoping to have many more investigators soon! But so much depends on the people in the ward. If people don't have friends at church they just don't go. and especially because we don't have books of mormon, if they don't go to church they can't progress. Our goal this week is to really inspire the ward to want to be missionaries.

Anyways thank you for all your love and support! I love you all with all of my heart.

much love always,

Hermana Black
 oh ps i have only received packages from Marivel- one here and one in Peru.
Picture of an ant hill. "There's tons of them everywhere."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vivo la vida Bolivia!

Hermana Black with Herman Roxanna and her family
Hello hello!!!

It was so great to read about everyone today! I love my family so much!! Thanks also to Patrice for the pictures!!! I love it!

So a few things real quick before we get into this email. Dad- i took about 30$ out last week, and im going to probably have to take out some more today or next monday. Also hopefully afton got my birthday card! Also mom if you could send an apple pie recipe (in spanish) for a lady in my ward that would be delightful! just translate one the best you can. google cant translate recipes well. also its humid here so that changes things, but just do your best if you wouldnt mind!

ok! so to answer some questions- i do my hair in that twist pretty much everyday. i made up part of it at the MTC in provo, and when i got my hair cut there the lady made it cooler. its the easiest thing ever. also i dunno who taught this parrot or if its wild or not. theres more though that ive talked to haha its awesome. Also no i  do not live in an apartment ha. I live in more of a storage unit behind a house. i´ll send pics someday. And as for india for malorie- ive got some pretty strong impressions here that i will be going to the middle east during my life. we could go together! also way cool about aftons story thing!

ok not much time today. just some quick stuff- no cambio! i am still in Hamacas with Hermana Choque. one of the pictures is of my last day of my first transfer, the other is at the zoo with the sloth. This week was pretty good- getting ready for Fernandos baptism next sunday! He is very strong to be going through with this. Hma Choque and i are pretty awful teachers. good thing the church is true or i dunno how this would work. haha. i draw strength from the fact that if god wanted to send his most talented and smart servants he could, because there are many in the church. but he chooses to send a bunch of crazy kids. But its a good thing that there are members here haha. Its thanks to members that Fernando is where he is at today. pretty much every day i make a new vow for how i am going to help the missionaries when i return home. Seriously. Its so important.

Well i ate my first papaya here! The fruit is awesome and delicious here but comes with a high price for gringos. Remmy is enjoying the high life in our kitchen. Each night we affectionately help him leave with a broom. Now that he has a name though i dont mind him as much. thank you pixar. If only there was a cute animated movie about cockroaches... Malorie???

Anyways im glad God is a God of second chances. Im grateful for all the people that help in this work. I have so much more to write but the internet was silly today sorry! anyways i love you all so very much!

love, Hermana Black
Elisa with Hermana Tracy who is holding a leaf that the sloth had just dropped on their heads

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bolivia, Bolivia

Hermana Black with her companion (trainer) at a zoo in Bolivia

Hello hello family!!

Wow I can't believe how missionary crazy our family is right now. 3 out at once??? ah! so weird! Shorter time at the mtc? I dunno if that was inspired or just because people were literally sleeping on the floor already when i was there- they just don't have room! ha no of course that's great. wow God trusts his young people doesn't he? ha wow. I actually had a dream my first week in bolivia that malorie was serving in Mexico while i was here in Bolivia. haha funny right? or now is it not? he. he. Anyways!

This was my best week yet so far. P-day was fun- we played a lot of soccer with our zone. Except, i dunno what happened but i got really good at soccer.... i made 4 goals for my team and no one else made more than one. i think its all the tap dancing i did or something... anyways it was kind of embarrassing how good i played, and now my nickname in my zone is Hermana Messi (apparently some good soccer player in Argentina or something like that). ha anyways that was weird. Oh also Ninoska, a girl who is 20 in our ward goes with us on visits a lot and she nicknamed me Torpe this week. (shes almost done with her papers now- started the minute conference ended!) Torpe for you non spanish speakers means slow, clumsy, or awkward. haha its because i dont understand a lot. but its fun. she reminds me a lot of Malorie.

Tuesday was a good day. We did a lot of trying to follow the spirit going door to door, and we found this 25ish year old woman who went to church in La Paz with her friends, but now she is here. she has been trying to find the church here and here we were on her door step! so thats exciting.

WEdnesday we had a pretty much all day conference. Oh my scripture for the week is Alma 31:38 "yea He gave them strength that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ." at first when i read this i was like, what God made it so these missionaries didnt suffer anything? luckies. but then i realized NO! thats not what it says! it says they didnt suffer anything that the Joy of Christ didnt triumph! so this day when our hot water stoped working and it was really cold outside, i just thought about how my faith in christ and the happiness i have and will have because of Christ is more powerful than the icey shower! (and the hot water still isnt working today. ha. i just pretend im at Bear Lake mostly and that helps too).

Thursday we were at this house knocking on the door and the voice of a little girl said "sorry senoras, no one is here" (but obviously in spanish). we were like ok weird. So we started talking about where we wanted to go next, and the little voice kept saying "hola senoras!" and "sorry no ones here!" well then all of a sudden this girl came out of the house, and we realized that we had been listening to a parrot! the parrot sounded like a little girl because it listens to the girl who lives at the house. Theres tons of wild parrots in part of our area and they are so smart and cool to see! haha it was awesome.

Saturday was awesome. The more i feel love towards people here, the more i listen for inspiration, the more I search the scriptures, (the more spanish I learn), the better this work gets and its awesome! I love to feel like im helping people.

Sunday is usually my hardest day- i dunno what it is about going to church here but it makes me homesick. But today Fernando was there and i was so preoccupied with helping him that church was awesome haha.

Well good times. Im excited to hear about where Trevor and Malorie are going! This is just too crazy and awesome at the same time. Oh and to answer some of those questions mom- dont bring heavy shoes but bring shoes that can walk on rocks. emotionally- PREPARE before hand. Like, know why your serving, and remember that you will face hard trials that you cant even think of right now. But read all you can about other missionaries and where you´re serving. ill have to write more next week when i have time to think about it.

i love you all so very much!!!

love, Hermana Black
Hermana Black "holding on" in Bolivia

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October in Bolivia

Hello Hello!!!

Muchas Gracias por all the letters i recieved this week! I recieved dearelders from Grandma, chi-chi, Annalea, Patrice, Bessie, Dad, Madeline, and Mom. Wow! it was crazy and exciting and i feel so much support, so thank you so much! Also sorry my pictures didn't go through. I'm trying again today ha. Anyways thank you thank you thank you!!! your advice is always exactly what i need and i'm always so inspired. thank you thank you thank you!

Ok so how much did you just love conference??? It was a little different for me because i was only able to watch the last session in english. So when the Prophet made his grand announcement i only caught the part about the Sister Missionaries. Wow! was my first reaction. My second reaction was man we totally need this and are so ready for this! and then Hermana Tracy leaned over and said, "did you understand that?!" And then she explained that young men can leave when they are 18. And i was like well that's all ready what it is in South America. but then i was like AH! My brother is 18 next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! um so whats the verdict? is he leaving right after high school? also how loud did mom scream? also does mal have any desire to go too? Wow.

Also, someone should tell me if Bryan Meyer made it home in one piece, and if chelsea, whitney wilcox, and Kynsie rife all made it off ok. Id like to know ha. :)

Also, did you ever get pictures on facebook via my teacher at the CCM?

Also i am the most tan i've ever been in my life as we are coming into spring here. oh also I forgot to write last week, that to go to the zoo here its 10 bolivianos. that's like $1.50!!! our whole family of 8 could go for under $10!!!!! Also, people here play basketball at least as much as futbol. all the soccer fields or basketball courts are the same- a basketball hoop hooked to a goaly box. even at the church. ha its cool.

ok into the week. We are having a really difficult time holding on to our investigators at the moment. for example, when we went to visit rosi on monday she was wearing a rosery for protection against us. haha. My companion was like "that's nice. now lets start with a hymn." haha it was hilarious to me. We had a nice normal lesson. but when the rosery didn't scare us off, her husband made her stop meeting with us. sigh.

tuesday we found lots of new people, but they've all decided that they don't want to hear the message. but we are probably going to go back to all of them anyways this week. We are trying to be more persistent this week with our investigators!!

wednesday Hermana Roxana asked me if i was being transferred in the next couple of weeks. obviously i dont know, but for the first time i felt sad that i might be leaving. Its been slow, but I'm growing love for this place. :)

Thursday I really had to focus on patience. I just feel like i should know spanish by now! i know i know you're thinking, its only been a month! but I really want to help people so much but its hard to feel like im doing any good when i don't know whats going on, let alone what to say. we are getting there though! Also, I never thought id say this, but i'm grateful for spiders. they eat mosquitos! usually i don't kill them because of this reason. but our house is just covered in them. I kill spiders with my hands now. ha.

Friday We were mistaken as jehovahs witnesses about a million times. they work super hard here. also there's this other church that promises all these miracles if you sell everything you have and give them the money. we lost a family of investigators to this scam unfortunately. people want easy solutions to their problems. the good thing is is that this "miracle" doesn't take place till december. so we are hoping we can help them see the light before then.

saturday conference!! fastest 8 hours of my life!! Maybe its becuase i didn't have to be walking around in the heat. haha jk. Seriously i loved it. I only understood maybe half, but i really felt like they were talking to me personally more than i ever have. Every person who spoke was telling me they know what its like, and they love me. And how cool that the closing prayer of the first session was given by Elder Uceda, who was jut in bolivia? and Elder Clark on sunday was a mission prez in bolivia! it was like God wanted me to know that with out a doubt, He knows exactly where i am in the world. :) Also I'm super excited about the temple in Arakipa Peru. I have friends from there and serving there currently!! Also Peru is seriously booooming with the work of the lord right now! I'm hoping Bolivia will start getting there soon too.

Sunday more conference! And Fernando came to a session! This was of course very exciting. We have his baptism scheduled for oct 27! but its going to have to change. I'm praying hard that he will continue to progress! I cannot even tell you how important every member of the church is in this work!

My "family" here and Fernando (second to the end)
well anyways thanks so much for all your love and support in my life. Hugs and kisses to you all! Trevor, work hard to prepare! read Preach my Gospel all the way through at least once!! Study study study! This work is so true. I know that the Prophets call to the 18 year olds is inspired. I've spent a lot of time with these 19 year olds, and i know that they are so ready and mature- more than i thought possible before my mission. this gospel is incredible!! 

Much much love, 
Hermana Black 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1 month down in Bolivia!

Familia y amigos!

ok im still trying to figure out the whole email photos and printing thing, but hopefully you get an email and photos haha. This is what happens when i dont have marivel with me. ;)

Here are some photos! I sent some in the mail that you should be getting this week sometime. The photo with lots of girls is all my MTC buddies the second 3 weeks. We were crazy and had lots of fun haha. The other pictures are all at the zoo in Bolivia! It was super fun. If you look at the picture of me and Hma Tracy (the white girl) we are standing under a sloth. sloths and monkeys just kind of go wherever they want in the zoo! The leaf Hma Tracy is holding was dropped on our heads by the sloth when we went to take the picture. it was super funny because all these people were gathered to take pictures of the sloth, and then the sloth dropped it on us. we screamed and everyone laughed. good times!!

Ok so monday. the zoo! such a blast i loved it. Thank you Anita for the advice about sharing the gospel with every living thing. Im still working on turning screams into discussions, but we are getting there.

Tuesday was super windy. I wish I would have thought about wind with my skirts. One time Hma Choque´s skirt flew up and she said, "Mi integridad!" (my integrity.) haha oh man i laughed for a long time after that one. Also I received some tender mercies this day: I was really hungry but we still had two more hours till we were to go home. So i was just going to wait it out. but then, one of the members in our ward gave us bananas! God is sweet isnt he? oh also, it rained a little in the night and i had laundry out on the line, and Hma Roxana came and moved it! There are such sweet people here. Hma Roxana is the sweetest :)

Wednesday we found more churches: i have seen more than 20 churches in our ward area! Its insane! Some people here want to join every church just to be safe haha. so they get baptized all the time. Most people just tell us, "theres only one God and he´s the same for everyone so it doesnt matter which church". This is our biggest concern we work with right now.

Every Thursday is zone meeting. This time President came to ours, because our zone was "in trouble" for only having 7 baptisms. I guess as a zone we are supposed to have over 20 a month. President is super funny. he shook his hands at us and said something along the lines of, "you need to have blood pooring off of your hands from knocking on so many doors!" He´s great.

Friday Celina went to an appointment with us. She is over 70 and has only been a member for 10 months or so. She really wants her family to be members obviously, but no one is interested. She is so valiant and strong!! I love her lots. Members at lessons are seriously so great! Conversion stories have so much power :)

SAturday we had this awesome lesson with this investigator named Fernanado. Hes 20. I didnt think he´d really be an investigator (the only reason we started teaching him is because we were visiting with this member family and they wanted me to sing again and i said i would if theyd get us an investigator and one of the boys walked across the street and grabbed their neighbor fernando. haha) but he is asking lots of questions and is super interested.

Anyways it was a good week. Oh by the way its not flying crocodiles  their more like lizard type things. also everyone thinks its amazing that i haven't gotten sick. ha. the repellent is white with a green lid and its deet free "buzz away extreme". My quote this week was "forget yourself and go to work!" Also i think I forgot to write that i saw RAchel Asay when Elder Christopherson visited peru. also, I usually sleep with no blankets and a fan, and my companion sleeps with a comforter and a blanket. ha.


Hermana Black

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bolivia, Week 3

Hello hello!!

Well this week was better. Each day gets better as i get more and more accustomed to my new life and the things around me. I am learning how to print off emails, so I haven't read your email yet. so for the future, write any pressing matters you need me to comment on that week in the first paragraph. thanks so much!! jk I can't print! oops gotta go back and read hold on...ok so thanks for the emails! yes i got the david archuleta pictures but not till after she left! so i sent them to her mission this last week. haha i laughed a lot when i got them.

Wow ok. so first of all, Happy birthday Madeline! because mail is crazy you probably won't get my birthday card for another week or so. Sorry!! But thanks for all the mail i receive here!! I appreciate the support each week.

Congrats Trevor! I finally got a letter explaining the results of your audition. How fun and crazy!! Way to have a good attitude- i hope you're having fun and being a good example to all those people! wow how fun :) my favorite play in high school was probably pirates of penzance because of all the fun with friends backstage haha

So Im in santa cruz de la sierra, and hamacas is my ward area. by the way I've only been to less than half of my ward area and I've seen 11 different churches. Its insane here. whoever said that bolivians are all catholic had to have been here more than 2 years ago. this place is crazy with religion! seriously, they teach kids at school about religions, and about how the mormons are bad. sigh. we talked to this 8 year old boy who goes to church every week by himself, and he was interested in talking to us- he even got his friend to come over and hear too (his friend is 9). but they aren't convinced our church is right. ha. way cute. but weird because of all they are taught in school.

Ok so my theme scripture this week was Alma 17:11. If you want to know exact words that God spoke to me, read that verse. And i believe that mosquitos are part of long suffering. I use repellent often,  but we can only use it in the night hours because we are supposed to wear sunscreen during the day. Anyways i started counting the bites on a small part of one leg- i got to 20 and gave up. ive got around 100 or so im guessing. fun fun. :) Oh there is peanut butter here by the way! and also ants. you want ants, we got them. small, medium, and large. we also get them in long leg, thick, and creepy. also just get used to them always on you. its too tiring taking them off constantly.

so on pday this last week we got to go to the center to drop off mail. AH i loved it!!!! I was SO much more comfortable in the heart of the city with tons of cars and people and tall buildings!! I never knew if i liked cities or country better, but after monday i know i like big cities more! I loved it!! hopefully i´ll get to serve there sometime. I do serve in what is considered city. But its not big buildings, lights, and shops, and business!! its more suburbs i'd say.

also, i hate leaving the toilet lid up, but i have learned that its just nicer to you and your companions when you do this. You get to see our "friends" on the toilet from the door instead of right up next to them. so i leave the lid up. goood times.

Also, members are so much help in this work!! We are supposed to have a member at each lesson if possible. When we do have members, they help so much! Like on tuesday this 16 year old girl is really struggling to go to church stuff (she lives with her grandma because her parents died :( ) we brought Neyda with us- the daughter of Roxana who is my neighbor. She is 18 and has been a member for almost 2 years. she is the seminary teacher here. anyways she got this girl laughing and talking and praying! it was a miracle.                     

On wednesday i woke up to the sound of thunder!! I was excited! so i jumped out of bed and landed in ankle deep water!! haha. wednesday was an adventure. going to the bathroom or the kitchen was the best- the water outside was almost kneedeep in some places! this day we actually didnt go out at all- not becuase of the water. but becuase we had a conference with Elder Uceda of the 70! He was so great! the conference was from 2-8. It was so awesome. He even role played with us which was super fun and incredible. I loved Wednesday! also, I got to talk to other girls from north america! oh man this was a relief for me. they understood what i'm going through right now. Hma Morris is even from Cedar city and studied chemistry at SUU!! small world! there are 8 of us from North America i believe. Anyways according to them i'm doing really good haha. This week was better though so i'm grateful.

Thursday i realized that everything I've done in my life has helped me prepare for my mission. for example, the time i spent memorizing scriptures in seminary really pays off here (or not because i didn't memorize as many as i should have). but all the scripture reading and anything else i did before my mission is paying off here. its awesome. This day i also learned that "porque" not only means why and because, but your welcome as well. haha that was funny. love it.

Friday i realized that i am really going to need some TLC for my teeth when i get back. all this meat eating is nuts! I floss when ever i get an extra minute, but i'm afraid its not going to be enough. haha. Also we met with this family in the ward this day and talked to them about the importance of reading the book of mormon. people here love to read the Liahona, but struggle to read the book of mormon. when i told them of the blessings of reading the book as a family in my family, the mom said it was easy because i was born in the covenant. she is convinced her family doesn't need to read the book of mormon because they weren't born in the church. weird right? and sad...We are trying to help them out. 

Saturday we went to a park for a minute. parks here are called Mangoles because every park has tons of mango trees!!!! there's mangos everywhere here. but they are not ripe yet. oh also a rooster attacked Hermana Choque this day. They are so big and beautiful here! and apparently violent. Also the mouse came back this day. Our neighbor has 5 cats so you'd think wed be ok ha.

Sunday none of our investigators came to church this sunday. But we are starting to have more people as investigators!! haha. there's some interesting people here. So today is the birthday of Santa Cruz!! Everything is green and white because those are the colors of the city. Last night there was lots of music everywhere in celebration!!

Anyways that's all for now!! I love you all lots!!! Things are getting better and better!! I love God and his church!!! also thanks for the emails from Patrice and Anita!!!!!

much love,

Hermana Black

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bolivia, Week 2

Hola friends and family!

Thank you so much for your love and concern!!

Monday night, I experienced 2 miracles that really helped me out a lot. The first one was when we were walking at night. There was this giant dog out. A man came jogging past the dog (this is weird- people dont jog here. ever) right in front of us. the dog started going crazy and barking wildly. the man stopped the dog from attacking him, but then of course we were scared to pass the dog. But when the man saw us, he circled around and blocked the dog from getting to us as we walked by! Definitely he was an angel. Seriously he was right there at the right moment and I was so grateful to feel like the Lord was protecting me!!! Also, The lady who lives next to us who feeds us lunch every day is named Roxana. We had family home evening with them because they are recent converts, and we try to visit recent converts for 2 years after their baptisms. Anyways her husband promised that they would do anything for me that i needed. They are the sweetest family- only a year and a half in the church and the dad is in the bishopric, and their daughter teaches seminary! The church is young here in santa cruz. Anyways those were my miracles monday night and i know they were possible because of all your prayers!!

Ok some housekeeping stuff- i can EMAIL every week, but i can only send letters every 6 weeks. this day is today, so hopefully some people will get responses to their letters in the next 2 weeks. Also I am so glad i have a backpack! thanks for sending that mom!!! I actually just got the dearelder where you said you’d send me a backpack and to buy new scriptures. Therefore, i did not buy new scriptures because i just got that dearelder and i should have got it in provo... so email is best.

Ok anyways thank you family for all your love and advice. Seriously It helps so much! Also, my theme scripture this week was Revelation 2:10 which says, fear none of those things that ye shall suffer. Lots of other things helped too but this was my theme scripture!!!

Ok so after my miracles monday night, my next couple of days were awesome. OH! heres a little bit more about this place: the people are really nice, they always invite you in and give you drinks. But that's usually as far as it gets. getting them to go to church or do much is super hard. My companion is Hermana Choque. Choque in english: collision. so, people at church always say hermanas black and white! or, they push us into each other for a collision. haha. its great. She is really sweet and is from Bolivia. OH! I am in Hamacas if you want to googlemap where I am. :) Also, the main things we eat are rice and meat. Hermana Roxana is a super good cook- I always love all the food she makes. Because of this, she keeps making more and more traditional meals. She has cooked for lots of gringos and she said that they dont usually like very much of the stuff, but I seriously love everything! Also, we cant flush down toilet paper. gross right? haha. Oh and my house IS normal mom- I talked to some other sisters and they’ve had more cockroaches than I have. ha.But Ill definitely be oiling up the house thanks!

One of the things that helps me the most here is when I am myself. When people ask me what i did before my mission and i tell them about what I study, they always ask me to sing. I am getting super good at singing The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow. haha. I love it though. IT really helps me be more comfortable. Also, everyday i try to remember to smile as much as possible, thanks to some advice from Aunt Patrice. I ACT happy, and it helps me to be happier. Acting and singing are things i love, and they are helping me lots! And its amazing the effect smiles have on people. I can help someone soften their heart simply by smiling at them. They are polite so they smile back, and often their countenance changes and they listen more! So i know that smiling is powerful.

So we are supposed to bring members to every lesson if we can, so that people have friends when they go to church. If you have missionaries in your ward i encourage you to go with them to lessons! It helps us a lot. Also, If there are missionaries from other countries in your area, be nice to them. haha. Its so hard being so far away from my culture, language, and well everything! I have so much more respect for all people that have served missions.

Something else that is really helping me is to think only about the day that I am on. Its tons easier to think, "I can be strong today!" instead of "I can be strong for 15 and a half months!" Missionaries always say that the time passes fast. I really hope i start feeling this soon because right now it feels kind of like eternity. haha. Also Chi-Chis advice about being grateful for one thing everyday. Gratitude is so helpful!! I try to focus more on this.

Anyways I think I wrote a little about Luis in my last email- we invited him to be baptized. He said yes, but he hasnt come to church because he has work. He wants to go, but he has to pay 1000 US dollars a week for 7 weeks to pay off a debt. This doesnt sound super bad, but remember here one US dollar is 6.8 of their dollars. so its 6,800 dollars a week. we taught him about how God will help him if he follows the commandments. He is great and we are hopeful for him, but this is a very, very difficult challenge. Im grateful for Grandpa blacks story about how on his mission he taught a family about the blessings of tithing and then the power that had in the lives of that family. This is helping me as i talk to Luis. :)

Well this is the hardest thing Ive ever done. I am grateful for all of your love and help!!

Much love,

Hermana Black  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week #9 - Bolivia!

Moooommmie!!!!! and family :)

Wow. where to start. Well I'm here haha. Quick last week in CCM: it was great- so cool to see Elder Christophersen! I sat almost right behind him. just being in his presence was super powerful. We sang after the first two speakers (I need thee every hour in espanol of course). then Elder Christophersen got up to speak. (i had to have a transator to understand him ha). He said the choir was so powerful, he asked us to sing the song again after he was done talking! Poor Hermana Cardon (Presidents wife) almost had a heart attack. haha she is so great. Well the CCM was awesome.

BUT! Now im in Bolivia. Wow. Be grateful Im alive. Like, seriously. We arrived on Tuesday evening. We got off the plane and onto this little bus and were given Subway [sandwiches]. haha that was weird. My companion for the flight, and my first two days in Bolivia, was Hermana Huenchur from Chile- the one who wants to study animation. She is amazing- i hope she gets in one day! Anyways the first two days it was meet the President, go to the police, meet my lawyer, etc etc etc. It is so hard for me just to get on a bus and not know where im going or why. one time we got out at a clinic. yeah they took our blood. it would have been nice to know that like even an hour in advance, especially because I accidently said i didnt want breakfast at the hotel that morning... hehe oops. good ol speaking spanish. also my President really wants us to focus on the work, thus if i understood correctly we only receive mail and only get to send mail once every 6 weeks!!!! so... sigh. I love you all, and see you in 18 months? ha. but anyways that day was amazing compared to the rest of my week. ha.

So on thursday I got my companion- Hermana Choque! She is super sweet and doesnt speak any english. :) She has been out for 4 and a half months, so technically we are both newbies. when we got to our house, it was all i could do not to have a panic attack. Its...well...awful. I will have to take pictures and send them. Just know that I was so terrified of the shower and toilet that I didnt go the first day. like at all. and I cried (literally) thinking about having to use the shower in the morning. I would have used it that night because i was dripping in sweat, but i was terrified of it. Also, if i get bitten by certain mosquitoes, i will get dange i think its called? anyways its where your whole body is in pain for two weeks to the point where you cant move. and if you take aspirin here and a mosquito bites you, YOU WILL DIE. Those are the exact words of my Mission Presidents wife. Good thing i dont believe in aspirin. Also this first night i was really scared of all the spiders in my room, because the last week at the ccm one boy got bit, and had to be rushed to the hospital. So if i die here in Bolivia, you´ll know what from.

Friday my first day in the field! I read Mosiah 24:15 which really helped this morning. I really tried so very hard to be positive all day. While i got in the shower i just hummed "just whistle while you work" (because well i cant whistle) and the line that really stuck out was "try to be just like a cheerful chickadee". But that day I was attacked by five dogs and a mouse ran past me in my kitchen... that was hard. so if i die here in bolivia, you´ll know what from. After i saw the mouse that night i just started saying "I CAN DO THIS!" over and over and over again until i believed it.

Saturday was mostly better. I invited someone to baptism! The lessons are great and what make this all worth it. I just wish i could be in lessons all day and not have to go home haha. Well minus the fact that a giant spider jumped off my neck in this guys house. Also that night in my kitchen, there was a cockroach!!! ah... not cool. The power phrase that came into my head this day was "you are not yet as Job". except this leaves a lot of possibilities.. for example when i tried to confide in my sweet companion, she said to be grateful i wasnt there when there was this reptile in the shower. I dont understand much, but she said it was similar to a crocodile and was on the roof somehow? anyways... If i die here in bolivia, you´ll know what from. But needless to say i have stopped praying like this: "Dear God, please anything but another mouse!" or "anything but another cockroach!" because well, actually theres always something worse. instead now i pray, "thank you for a companion who killed the cockroach." and try so so so so so so so so hard to be grateful.

Sunday i was looking forward to relaxing at church, but when you are asked to give a talk its kind of hard. the ward is sweet, and we had a family of investigators show up! Sorry im not writing a lot about the people here that Im visiting. this week has mostly been about trying not to have panic attacks. I fight this pretty much hourly. Sunday though, after church and lunch (lunch is provided everyday by our neighbor except for sunday its a member), the best power phrase yet came to me. it was simply, "Satan get out of my head!" I say this in my head and im instantly relieved of fears!! Also singing hymns works instantly as well. So The rest of sunday was good. everytime i start getting scared, I just yell at Satan to get out and things are much better.

Well out of time....

I love you all lots!!!

love, Hermana Black  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Week #8 - Last email from Peru, if you can believe it!

Family!!! Ah i just love hearing about your lives!!! It sounds like everyone is doing fabulous and im so excited about that!!!! I love you all so very much. happy birthday to everyone who has had birthdays recently!! You{ve been in my thoughts and prayers all week!!! :)

Well there wasnt really any big events this week, so i'll just try to write about just some individual things that happened. This week we werent able to go out on saturday which was super sad because thats what i look forward to all week long! the reason why is because we are being moved to a new ward area- something about the last one being way too dangerous. haha. I never saw anything super dangerous. The people here are just so great! but anyways the new ward wasnt ready for us yet, but they will be this coming week :)

So thanks for letters family!!! I got some more mail this week which was fun :) I love getting updates! So if you are gunna send a package please send some more floss, c drinks, and eucalyptus. but really, packages are so expensive! so please dont feel like you need to. also, the next time i send an email it will be on my pday in bolivia!! sooo i have no idea when that will be. also i have no idea when my flight is. I think its next wednesday though. Can you believe it???? I have fallen in love with Peru.

Ok so my new district has just been so great. last night we did one of those things we do in the car, you know where someone starts a beat and everyone joins in with different things??? Well yeah my whole district is amazing at rapping and beatboxing hahaha so pretty much it was amazingly cool! we are a pretty musical group. Hermana Cardon the presidents wife who is directing the choir says this is the most musical group of elders and sisters theyve ever had- and she knows its because we are singing for Elder Christophersen.:)

So language wise i finally started getting impatient with myself this week. I just wish i could know spanish before i go out! But i know itll be ok. Ive learned so much!! My favorite mistakes this week were both done by Hma Kimes: she said pescados (fish) instead of pecados (sins) and esposo (husband) instead of obispo (bishop) in two different lessons. hahaha gooood times. oh and i accidently blessed my district with health AND sickness one day.... oops. haha.

So this week we had hamburgers for breakfast twice... haha. we{ve actually been getting more vegetables because they have this suggestions book and a bunch of us write that we want veggies, so weve started having salads available for dinner!!!! so thats been cool. Also, North america doesnt know what churros are. Um, here they are AMAZING!!!! Also, today we had a quinoa salad for lunch!!! I danced around the lunch room and all the Peruvians laughed at me. They dont really like it this way- most of them only eat it with this purple corn syrup for breakfast or in drinks. But i loved it!

So one elder in my district is from the jungles of Peru and kills anacondas all the time- his case for his hymn book is made out of anaconda skin. Isnt that insane??? Everyone in my district comes from families and lives that are pretty unimaginable. All of them are the only one in their family that is mormon, or only like one or two other people are mormons. But they are all so strong and love the church. It changes lives and its a beautiful thing! I am probably going to come back home and cry easily at things though- every time the spirit is strong, all Latino girls just cry and cry and cry! Its adorable.

Theres an elder here that looks a ton like President Obama. Everyone knows who Obama is and they all know our elections are coming up. its weird to think i didn't even know where Bolivia was, and they all know who are president is, and often whos running against him. They say that a lot of what happens in thier countries depends on ours. Which speaking of that, two elders in my district are from Bolivia, and alll of us are serving in bolivia except hma Kimes and hma May! they are all serving in la paz, but all missionaries in bolivia go to the temple together once a year together. So anyways i talk to Elder Arancibia (from near santa cruz) about bolivia all the time.

Anyways we play soccer like crazy here. I might play for an hour or two... or three today. hahaha. I may or may not be getting really good.... according to my peruvian district haha. They are amazing. Like, i wish i could describe the things these elders can do with a soccer ball. I feel like im watching a magic show whenever I play soccer with them!

Anyways I love you all so very much. I know this gospel is true- i see milagros (miracles) every day. Multiple. Its amazing the power the Lord has, and I'm so grateful that i get to be a part of His important and life changing work!!!

Have a great week family!!! This is my last email from Peru and I can hardly believe it! Its been so amazing here. I seriously am so grateful i got to spend time in the Peru CCM. Its helped me to grow so much in my life!!!

much love always,

Hermana Black