Monday, February 25, 2013

Twas a good week

Dear Everyone, 

"The weather here has it's ups and downs somedays it's sunny and 50's and the next in the teens but that's no problem we bike in the sleet, ice, rain, snow, we're like the postal service. Except everything around here shuts down if there is like any snow ha ha. The humidity makes everything a lot colder, just a chillier wind. For my Birthday I just bought some groceries and slept...(it was on a P-day) it didn't really feel like a Birthday or anything and I realized that it is kind of weird we celebrate the day we were born, it ought to be 'Mothers' Birthing Day' ---where mothers around the world relax when it is their child's birthday, they sort of take the day off and make up for the pain of the process it took... but I guess it would be weird to sing "Happy Birthing Day to you, Happy Birthing Day to you, Happy Birthing Day dear (insert Mom's name) you had a baby come out of you!" -----ya doesn't really work. ha ha, the work has been going pretty good we have a small pool of investigators now. Yesterday we ate dinner with this really cool family -- they invited a friend over who is very smart - we discussed music, his life, his family, and eventually religion. He has some interesting notions on it and after a long discussion about how you can't really 'know' something (referring to spiritual truths) it was late in the evening and he had to leave. After that night as I was pondering about how that night went I made the connection of ancient intellectuals with this modern professor we had just met. It made me understand how persuading and charismatic Alma the Younger, Paul, Zeezrom, etc. must have been and how they were able to draw such crowds and deter people away from the church.  If you want to hear/read a good talk on how we can know something go to and find Truman G. Madsen's talk titled "On how we know". I am grateful that I know that God is our Heavenly Father, Christ is our Savior, Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the Earth with Christ at the head."
Elder Blackburn

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Elder Blackburn turns 20

We received the picture above from a member in the area, and on his birthday no less!  It was very nice to exchange emails on his birthday.  We are very proud of that guy.  

We believe this picture was taken at an LDS book shop (kind of like a mini-Deseret Book) that is now in Hayden's area.  The picture is a little fuzzy so we cannot tell if he is with his companion or just hamming it up with another Elder.  Either way, it's always good to get an unexpected email/photo from the mission field.


"Well, It's preparation day and I'm here in the Springdale Library. Last week was a good one we got a lot of work done and had some good experiences. It seems the more we tract the more and more successful we are finding those ready to hear the gospel. We found an investigator who studied at a Bible College and we had a great discussion, it was just great. At the end of the 1st discussion he was just laughing out of amazement and said I can't believe it, I believe in everything you've said tonight and he'd ask us questions and we'd answer them and was just excited that we believe so similarly. We are excited for him, we biked last night a couple miles so we could give him a Book of Mormon. There are great families in this ward and it is so fun to have dinner appointments and meet with each of them. I just am loving my mission and am in pure astonishment that my year mark is approaching at such a rapid pace. The year has flown by and I feel I need more time to improve myself! My goodness...Missions are just fantastic, it is a happiness that I cannot describe knowing I am doing the work of the Lord. I'm so blessed."
Elder Blackburn

Monday, February 11, 2013

Training and Preaching...

"This week we did a lot of biking, I also had to pay to get my bike fixed which was okay because I didn't tune it at all for a whole year so I was due for one anyways. We were headed off Tuesday morning ready to start an exciting day and I stripped my pedal out of it's threads and so we had to walk to the nearest bike shop which was 5-6 miles away...there are no sidewalks on the main street so it was rough...but a nice ol' fellar fixed up my bike. Later in the week we had "Train the Trainer" where President comes and talks to us about how we can train better and ways to help the young Elders learn their duty. It was really good and so many new elders and sisters are out it is crazy! It is either warm or freezing cold - one day can be like 50's the next like 30's. It has rained a lot this past week too which we got caught in...all the storms so we got soaked. Me and Elder Hughes gave talks in Sacrament yesterday and I love giving talks, the program was a youth speaker, Elder Hughes, a hymn and then me. As Elder Hughes finished I looked at the clock and saw that I had 25 minutes to fill...I could see members of the ward smiling up at me as they realized I had a lot of time to fill, I filled it though and I will send my talk home via letter. We don't have a lot of investigators so we've been doing ALOT of contacting and finding less actives and part member families. As we were biking on the coldest day I was just praying "...Heavenly Father please just lead me to someone, please it is so cold and I've heard so many stories about being lead to people who are ready and I'm doing my best to be a good Elder could you please just lead me to someone?..." After biking a ways out I felt we should stop and the first door we knocked on a nice guy let us in and we had a good first lesson. After that I thanked Heavenly Father for hearing my prayer. It was great."
Elder Blackburn

Monday, February 4, 2013

Becoming as little children...

"Well, February is here, that is weird to me. Just last week I was at the MTC. Now I am coming to grips with how time works when you are older...but my perception on myself is that I am 15. That was almost 5 years ago. I like to think that I have really enjoyed myself, my youth, my experiences, but in reality I think it is human nature to not pay attention to what is there at the moment and then to miss it once it is gone. I am now almost considered an adult, but forever I will be a child. It seems in our human nature to, when looking back, think of things we did wrong instead of the wonderful times we had.
"Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Interesting that Jesus wants us to become like children because we are always children, children to God. We need to become children because we need to learn to be like dad. Like God.

We need to be as children because we are always learning. Children are always asking questions. That's what God wants us to do in prayer to him, without questions we cannot have answers. That is how we learn. By asking questions and by experience.

We need to be as children because they can forgive. Have you ever watched two young children get mad at each other, maybe a shove there and a push here, always ending up with both in tears and then in just a few instances later they are seen hugging and being friends? That is how Heavenly Father wants us to be, it is okay to get upset sometimes but he doesn't want us to be upset for very long, we can forgive and children are great examples of how to forgive, because they do it so easily.

We need to be as children because we need to learn to submit ourselves (children learn to submit to their mom and dad's will we also learn to do the same for Heavenly Father's will). Just like how we learn to do our chores we learn to do God's will. It is only as we are doing those chores we learn the why behind it. Our parents don't tell us to do chores because they want us to suffer, they do it so we can learn to work, learn to help, learn to serve (I wish I learned that long ago!). When we do our chores with a good attitude they no longer become "chores" but blessings. Some people see going to church and going to seminary and reading their scriptures and saying their prayers and paying tithing and giving talks as "chores" when really they don't understand the why quite yet. As President Packer says, "The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." Once they know the doctrine behind those different things it becomes so much more then just something we have to do, it becomes something we want to do. And just as we please our earthly parents by doing our earthly jobs we please the Lord when we do our Heavenly jobs and we get rewarded with blessings, isn't that great?

Christ understood how to be a child of God and what it meant.
(At age 12)And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? awist ye not that I must be about my bFather’s business?
The greatest example though is as he is performing the Atonement, "Not my will be done but thine." He knew the doctrine behind doing his job. Is it any wonder we address God as our Father? and Christ as the Son? God the ultimate father who chastens us from time to time and Christ the example of how to be a child of God."

Well, looks like I have to grow up but I can still be a child :)
Elder Blackburn