Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The last transfer

Well, I got my last transfer calls yesterday night and they are switching the Zone Leader area from Mountain Grove to West Plains so I will be moving down there Thursday...pretty exciting, I knew they were going to do that (since it's central to all the areas). So West Plains Missouri will be my final Mission destination. So with packing this week I will be sending home anything that is not necessary for these last 6 weeks...It is pretty hard to say goodbye to this ward and Elder Holyoak, it has been a wonderful two transfers here and the ward was pretty devastated we were both headed out. Elder Holyoak's going to Ft. Smith, AR.

The thought I'm sharing with the friends I have made here in MG is based off a talk by Elder Ballard:

"Oftentimes we are like the young merchant from Boston, who in 1849, as the story goes, was caught up in the fervor of the California gold rush. He sold all of his possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.

Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him, “That’s quite a pile of rocks you are getting there, my boy.”

The young man replied, “There’s no gold here. I’m going back home.”

Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.

Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, “I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.”

The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.

The old prospector said, “Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”

This story illustrates the spiritual truth that Alma taught his son Helaman:

“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. …

“… And by very small means the Lord … bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:6–7).

Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most.

What are the precious, simple things of the gospel that bring clarity and purpose to our lives? What are the flecks of gospel gold whose patient accumulation over the course of our lifetime will reward us with the ultimate treasure—the precious gift of eternal life?" This lesson changed my mission because at the beginning I, like the young merchant, thought that if I just went out tracting I would find "nuggets"(example of a "nugget": a family that would have had a dream where they met me and their family of 8 people were all ready to join the church)...well, that's not exactly how missionary work goes. It takes patience, endurance, and lots of faith. I realized that while I was searching for those "nugget" experiences I was missing the"tiny flecks of gold" (example of "flecks": handing out a Book of Mormon, testifying to someone, teaching someone, having an investigator come to church, going on exchanges with a member, working with a less-active, making relationships with members) After I learned this I began to cherish each little fleck of gold and now as I near the end of this magnificent journey I have a pouch of flecks that I can reflect upon the rest of my life. I then like to explain that the opportunity to have met them and teach them has been one of those flecks that I will cherish forever. :)

Love all ya'll,

Elder Blackburn

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