Monday, September 17, 2012

Staying in AR six more weeks

Elder Blackburn wrote a couple of follow-up emails after sending the one below - he mentioned that transfers are this week, but that he and his current companion will be together another six weeks.  He is very grateful for that because they get along so well and are working hard together.

"This week was special to me. I have started becoming the missionary I want to be and am seeing a change in the way I act - this week we worked hard and tracted much and contacted much. My comp and I have decided to lead the zone both in achieving the zone goals and by example. On Friday we had a zone meeting and had some really cool guest speakers. One was John Tvedtnes, an expert and former archaeologist at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Book of Mormon archaeology, he said he would like to address on how to respond to criticisms of the Book of Mormon but first let us ask questions, we asked him tough ones - or so we thought - and without a seconds hesitation or the blink of an eye he answered them all with no problem, he was awesome. 

Afterwards a sister came in and told us her conversion story, she was in the lowest of low in her life and had been in and out of jail a bunch and didn't want to go back and decided she needed to know God, one day she had a vision where she and an innumerable amount of people were in a huge room raising our arms and cheering saying Yes! yes! and on the platform above saw a man and felt it was Jesus and we were cheering, she said she had an understanding that this was Pre-Earth life, Suddenly the vision moved her to an empty, cold, dark place she knew was Hell and she saw three kingdoms and people people giving each other light as the higher kingdoms taught the lower kingdoms. After this experience she thought she was the only one who knew the truth until one day two missionaries found her taught her and then she found out a whole religion knew and believed what she knew and believed. Her first Sunday at our church was fast and testimony meeting and as people were bearing their testimonies she said she was like Yes! I know it is true too. Pretty amazing story, she then encouraged us to go out there and work hard because there have to be more that have had similar experiences. 

Yesterday we were teaching one of our investigators and his dad and we were talking to him and he just broke down and told us how he wants to stop using drugs but can't and about this desire that is in him and that it catches him and won't let him go and makes him want to use all the time. I shared Alma 7: 11-13 and explained the enabling power of the atonement and how you must have faith that God and Christ will get you through this and if you show you are willing and break the cycle just once they will begin to change you and you will experience a mighty change of heart. Because he has used for so long I explained how that desire will always be there and how it will be very strong but as you continue to refuse it, it's not that the desire is gone but that your ability to overcome it has increased and is stronger then the desire but just right now the power to overcome and the desire are lopsided and that you must work to increase it through overcoming in order to make it lopsided on the overcoming side. we then proceeded to give him a blessing...I must say that this was the most spiritual experience yet, I knew exactly what to say with ease, it was amazing.  After I gave it, our investigator (the son who is 11 yrs old) tugged my shirt and said, "I felt him" and I said, "who?" he responded, "The Holy Ghost, I felt so warm inside." I said a prayer in my heart and thanked the Lord that I was able to be worthy to give a blessing and to be in tune with the spirit . There is power in the Priesthood, it is real and I am so happy God was able to bless one of his children through me and I knew then that, that is what missionary work is all about. To read how I felt check out D&C 42:16, 33:8-10, 68:3-4, 100:5-6. It explains it better then I ever could!"

Elder Blackburn

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