Monday, March 10, 2014

To the youth of the Church -

To all who read this:

If you are a youth in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I plead with you to prepare yourself to serve a mission, it is your duty young men to give these two short years to the Lord who has given us so much. I make a promise that if you serve faithfully and work hard that you will experience miracles, have a mighty change of heart, grow at an incredible rate (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically), and come closer to the Savior then you have ever been in your life. The only thing that can save peoples lives and help the world become a better place is by you preaching the gospel. There are members, companions, mission presidents, investigators, less actives, that the Lord has in store for you to meet and for you to learn from. There are people out there waiting for the gospel that only you can touch. You can take part in bringing them to our Heavenly Father and watch their conversion. You have a fail-proof message that will continue to be spread until it has "penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear", you can either take part in this great harvest of souls and reap blessings "that you will not have room enough to receive" or watch from the side as the work moves on, which it will with or without you. Change your life and change the world, serve a mission.

Elder Hayden T. Blackburn
Oklahoma Tulsa Mission
March 2012-2014

This is thoughts from the Elder

2 years gone by, they seemed to fly,
at first I thought I'm gonna die,
scared and alone in the MTC,
but hey everyone here is just like me,
the spirit so strong we learned how to teach,
we practiced all day and learned how to preach,
some of us had to learn dignified speech,
we learned about the joy of mail,
and how MTC food leftovers can become rather stale,
excited we waited to leave for the field,
but first we had to learn to His will we yield,
we stepped on the plane our hearts beating fast,
this mission things fun in fact its a blast,
we arrive in Tulsa and meet the President and his wife,
shoot, they are nice, this could be the life!
assigned to a trainer he doesn't seem like a meanie,
well here I am the official new 'greenie',
we study and pray, he shows me the way,
I'm kinda nervous at first, what should I say?
I open my mouth the words seem to flow,
as I invite them to read and pray, then they'll know,
Moroni's promise, the Restoration,
the Book of Mormon, the Plan of Salvation,
this teaching stuffs fun if only they'll listen,
finish the day, exhausted and tired,
wake up in the morning feeling re-fired,
knock on some doors and try to get in,
most slammed in my face good ol' rejection,
dang where's the glory?
Uh, oh I think it's time for another inventory,
I learn to love the people I serve,
the road to baptism sometimes takes a curve,
work through the troubles, the rules obey,
it always gets better with each coming day,
trust in the Lord, in his footsteps tread,
I hope and pray that my investigators read,
sometimes its hard, to the Lord I cry,
and wonder with tears, 'Heavenly Father, why?'
why can't we find a family to teach,
I feel like to the wall that I preach,
I crashed my bike, I got no mail,
I feel like there's no wind in my sails,
But oh there's a person lets talk to that guy,
"Hello we're missionaries, my companion and I,
we have a message for you about the Book of Mormon"
"Well, how 'bout you'ins come on back in the mornin',
I feel something good about what you have to say,
but let me first feed my cows some hay"
he seems promising, that was awesome,
oh! look out...roadkill possum,
the members here are wonderful and kind,
I wonder who the Lord sent me here to find,
you teach a referral and they are ready,
to accept baptism and then stay steady,
there's no greater feeling then testifying,
and know they feel the spirit, and you both start crying,
some family oppose, some trials await,
until their scheduled baptismal date,
the day comes and they are washed clean,
there is no better scene,
after the weeks you count the years,
so many good experiences compensate the tears,
soon the time comes that you are called back to your family,
I can't describe the feeling inside of me,
my hearts been changed, my mind enlightened,
my spirit enlarged my horizon heightened,
all these experiences have helped me grow,
it's crazy how fast these two years go...

Elder Hayden T. Blackburn

Short emails over the past three weeks...everyone is getting excited for Elder Blackburn's return!

The past three weeks:

March 3rd:
Hey this email will be pretty quick...I plan on making the last one nice 'n long. It snowed like 8 inches last was getting so nice but now plunged back into the arctic...

Feb 24th:
Well, the day is coming soon...I don't know how it keeps coming faster but it does. This week was awesome and I am doing great. I have been reading the "Infinite Atonement" by Tad R. Callister and I highly recommend that book to anyone who would like to learn more on the Atonement. Today we are going "cave-ing" so I'm excited...
Elder Blackburn

Feb 18th:
Hey Family and friends,
So yesterday was Presidents' Day so that's why you didn't receive an email...this past week was sooo good. We are doin' work down here in West Plains and seeing many miracles. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can...but guess what? President just let us know that Elder Callister of the seventy is coming March 14th so I am going to try and see him before coming home...I hope he will either do a little mini-devotional for us missionaries going home (because he'll have to spend the night with us too March 13th) or something because Elder Callister is one of my favorites...
anyways I'm doing great...and feeling old...
Elder Blackburn