Monday, November 18, 2013


Well, I'm 240 miles away from Tulsa...It is crazy. I hope ya'll are doing good back home! This week was hectic...we had MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) in Tulsa so we had to drive all the way there Monday had meetings then slept at the mission home and then drove all the way back Tuesday night. I am excited to tell you though that a lady we were teaching in Pryor was baptized and a guy from Tulsa that I taught was baptized on Saturday! So awesome! And guess what?! President is allowing us to go to the temple now! YAHOO! We can go with a recent convert and do baptisms once per recent convert. We have one in this area so that means I'll get to go soon, we are in the St. Louis Temple District so I'll be able to go to the St. Louis Temple! I am so excited, I have gone 20 months without the temple so it will be a wonderful thing to enter into that Holy House of the Lord. The work is a little is a process but with diligence, obedience, and member support the work can greatly improve in a matter of a couple weeks. While being interviewed by President Shumway he asked me what my favorite scripture is at the moment (because it changes so much) I shared with him Ether 6:5:

5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a afurious wind blow upon the face of the waters, btowards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

The reason I chose this scripture because as I read it I understood it to mean that our Heavenly Father allows us to be tested and tried by challenges, our trials and challenges are like those "furious winds" that aren't there to discourage us or stop us but if endured well actually push us to our individual "promised lands" (i.e they help shape us into the being God designed us to be)

At MLC Sister Shumway talked a lot about strengthening our prayers and really praying with "full energy of heart" it made me evaluate my prayers and see what I need to do to make them more sincere. She said prayer does four things:

1. Gratitude--helps us be thankful for our blessings and see God's hand
2. Guidance--Holy Ghost can help us, "lead us not into temptation..."
3. Confidence--prayer strengthens us, when Christ was atoning in agony he prayed more earnestly
4. Inspiration--way we learn of spiritual truths, revelation

So I encourage ya'll to evaluate your prayers (preach my gospel pg. 95 "personal activity") do your prayers include the following? What can you work on?

a) strong faith
b) full of thanks
c) mind focused on improving
d) actions fulfill prayers
e) focus on today's needs (not repetitious)
f) edifying, refreshing
g) focus on pure thoughts
h) mindful of others
i) Specific
j) the spirit guides the prayer
k)confident that God will answer you

President Shumway talked a lot about being exactly obedient and how if you are willing to keep the small seemingly "stupid" commandments (for us missionaries: keeping the part in our hair, texting out of zone to other missionaries, listening to unapproved music, etc.---for people at home: girls having one piercing in the ear, listening to uplifting music, having Family Home Evening, etc.) then you will be the ones who follow the big commandments when the time comes. "In preparation of the Lord asking you to do the big things, do the little things today."

Love ya'll,
Elder Blackburn

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