Monday, August 27, 2012

Rainy Monday

To preface this entry - we sent Hayden some videos on a flash drive along with a slide show of what has become known as "The Bunny Video" that he recorded with some friends his senior year of high school.  We are glad he has been able to view them...

Hello Everyone! Good Morning!

Oh my gosh! The Bunny Video!!!Thank you Mom, Dad, family for the interviews and thank you for the funny slide show...Hilarious! Ha ha oh man... what can I say that is me in a nut shell! Thank you! I look so little! Wow, I have really grown up since then...physically that is, mentally though I am still the same ha ha Well this week has been pretty awesome. Yes, the knee is fine and the stitches will be taken out on Saturday, for those that care I will be taping them into my journal. (My journal is an amazing show and tell book with many little trinkets taped here and there) So last Sunday a member asked us if we would assist him in giving a blessing to a co-worker husband so we went and he is in bad shape, he was in a coma state. So I annointed and my companion sealed and afterwards the wife was crying, well guess what happened, on Friday the guy woke up! Miracles still happen. Also this week we were able to commit 4 people to baptismal dates one is Sep. 7 so we are excited! Also this week it has absolutely rained like crazy! While at Church it was just dumping down sheets of rain (our Stake fasted for rain last fast Sunday) So my companion goes "Huh, so this is what happens when you fast for rain." ha ha Even though we have 4 baptismal dates those are our only legitimate investigators. Most days are filled with countless hours of is so discouraging to tract for like four hours and not be let in once...I don't get it! So mission life can be tough when we can't find people to teach. I don't really have a whole lot to say, just trucking along for the most part and enjoying the whole experience. I wish I had something to say to edify you all so I will just leave you with this poem that I love to read and ponder on:

My life is but a weaving
Between the Lord and me;
I may not choose the colors–
He knows what they should be.

For He can view the pattern
Upon the upper side
While I can see it only
On this, the under side.

Sometimes He weaves in sorrow,
Which seems so strange to me;
But I will trust His judgment
And work on faithfully.

‘Tis He who fills the shuttle,
And He knows what is best;
So I shall weave in earnest,
And leave to Him the rest.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

Heavenly Father loves us so much :)

Elder Blackburn

Monday, August 20, 2012

A bike accident, stitches and back to work...

"Well, from the title I'm sure you're thinking what did he do now? Let me explain... So the other day (two days ago) we were riding home on our bikes on a rocky dirt road when I crashed on my bike. It was so weird I thought I was sticking my arms out but then they were under neath me and I slid on my left shoulder (which was protected by my backpack strap) and so then I just laid there as I went through a checklist in my head. Everything was good, I sat up and saw no tears, no bike problems just some raw palms. I stood up and put my bike up and then felt a pain in my knee, I lifted up my pant leg to see blood trickling down into my sock. "Elder, we gotta go."  We bike another 1/4 mile home and I observe the cut. It was a deep cut right at the bottom of the knee cap and I could see white fatty tissue and tendons. A member takes us to the Urgent Care only for them to say "Ya, you should probably go to the ER for that." So I jokingly say, "Alright guys, I guess it's bad." ha ha Imagine me with my white shirt and tie but with gym shorts on. We go over to the ER and get it stitched up...that was fun. Nothing like getting it pumped with anisthetic and then cleaned out and stiched up. 7 stiches in all. :) the doctor left a note and the nurse read it. She said, "Wow, the doctor left a note, that's odd it says: Tell the parents of this young man that they did a wonderful job in raising the finest young man I have ever met." The best was my companion's reaction as they were stiching me up and all... He said he stiched it up good so I can still run/walk/bike/etc. and nothing got torn besides some skin layers so I'm lucky :) so now I have a mission scar! Alright, check that off the list. At the same time I was there a lady in the other Elders' ward was there above us at the hospital, she was 8 months pregnant and during the night didn't feel the baby kick and so they rushed over to the ER during the night and they did an ultrasound and the doctors performed an emergency C-section and got the baby out, but the baby was still born...ward members were consoling her and her family the whole day.  The whole mood was solemn and the mother and family were just crying and crying.  At these moments you ask why? It was just a baby? But we must remember the Great Plan of Salvation. Some spirits are so valiant that all they need to do is gain a body and they are done. Some spirits so pure and clean that they don't need this worldly experience to become better they just need a body. Now that is easier said then done, because it is hard for us to accept that as we wonder what could have been. No doubt though that, that young mother will have her baby in the next life and raise it as her own. Can you imagine going through such a trial as this without the knowledge of the Restored Gospel? I can't... Why we can rest assured that, that little baby is back in our loving Heavenly Father's care. What a thought, what a truth. Babies are so perfect they need not baptism nor repentance they come into this world so pure and clean and perfect that if they leave unexpectadley they go right back to that God which gave them life. Just like my cousin Grant :) What a valiant spirit he must have been! I can't wait to meet him in the hereafter. My uncle Matt and aunt Kristie are so lucky to be the ones that brought him into the world and gave him the body he needed. It will be such a joyous reunion when they see their little boy again. All of these things made possible by the Atonement and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Alma 7: 11-12 reads: 11 "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will takeupon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

Isn't it great? Isn't it marvelous that we can know such plain and precious truths?"

Elder Blackburn

Monday, August 6, 2012

No unhallowed bacteria can stop the work from progressing

"Elder Blackburn has been under the weather - hence the title... On Wednesday I woke up just sick as can be, turns out I had bronchitis...Mission work is not fun at all when you are sick because all you can do is rest and think about the work you could be doing. Now mom, you're probably already worrying but let me first tell you that my awesome ward mission leader is a doctor and he was able to give me what I needed and I am feeling fantastic today. But I believe it was for a purpose because it cause me to engage myself in much scripture study and I feel I was opened up to new things (hidden treasures if you will) that hadn't presented themselves earlier. One of the questions I was wondering was 'why is it so easy to sin?' and why does it sometimes give you a false sense of feeling good?' As I was reading in 2 Nephi Chapter 2 I found my answer. I learned about the fall and the oppostion in ALL things, I had never noticed that it says ALL not just some things so every good has its counter bad. We are born in a fallen state and all have the natural man and woman default setting. We are "naturally" drawn to bad traits and naturally it feels good. So our job here in our probationary state is to choose the righteous side of things and by so doing we follow our savior more closely and start to become like him. It is a commandment to become like him "What manner of man ought ye to be? Even as I am." but our loving Heavenly Father has left it in our hands to choose (Mosiah 3:19) We also are commanded to deny ourselves immortality and to take up the cross DAILY we must not be lazy and take up the cross occasionally, we have to practice the righteous traits of Charity, obedience, selflessness, patience, humility, etc. daily or we will "naturally" fall to the default, the whole reason we have scriptures/church/gospel/prophets is so we can choose the path that leads to Eternal Life, we have not been left alone in this battle and need not to follow the worldly crowd! Hold to the faith! (1 Nephi 22:19)

When I first came out I thought that I would have amazing stories to tell, people saying they saw me in a dream or having a dream where I see a church history moment or see an ancestor or something miraculous along those lines...In my naivety I soon learned I am involved in a miracle in itself. I don't need grand visions or dreams because look around! We have a modern day living prophet, apostles, temples that dot the earth, the Book of Mormon, a successful Welfare program, the list goes on and on. For me to expect a sign is just selfish of me, I don't know God's will and his timing so I just need to learn to appreciate the miracles all around me. I am filled to the brim with joy when I reflect on how many missionaries are in the field, how many wards there are, how many temples, ward houses, etc. Past saints (especially the pioneers) would absolutely flip in their graves if they saw how much the church has and is and where it has gone. So don't take all that we have for granted. We have so much. And I am learning that, and it has made my mission that much better because now I rejoice over the little things like someone accepting a Book of Mormon or something along that line.

Also Transfer calls was Saturday and I am becoming the Senior Companion! I am a Sr. Comp at 5 Months! Pretty Amazing. My new companion is an Elder I came out with from the MTC!!! We are best buddies so this Transfer is going to be so fun. We are like the youngest companionship ha ha he will be joining me on Thursday."

Love you all,
Elder Blackburn