Monday, June 25, 2012


Elder Blackburn's new address is:

501 E Centerton Blvd. unit 533
Centerton, AR 72719

It appears that Centerton is about two hours south of his first area - it is basically a suburb of Bentonville...we can't wait to hear about his continuing efforts in building up the kingdom of God in that great part of our country.
"Hey Everyone! Exciting News!
We had transfer calls Saturday night and I got a call from the assistants and I am headed somewhere new! Centerton, Arkansas! Right next to Bentonville. I am super excited, my new companion and I will be living in an apartment with two other Elders... I called the Elders that are down there and they say the area is awesome and they have 4 baptisms scheduled! Wow that is great I can't tell you how excited/sad I am to leave. So do not send letters to Pittsburg.

After finding out I was being transferred I had a rush of all sorts of emotions. Excitement, sadness, determination, courage, and others. I immediately wrote a small note to one of the Ward members who really had an impact on me - I just called him my mission Grandpa. He is in his 60's and he would always help us out on exchanges and was a convert at age 30. He has a super good knowledge of the Gospel and he was always teaching me cool things I didn't know or understand. One time we had a discussion about the idea of attending different classes in heaven or something, I was joking I wanted to attend like "History 101" where we'd watch all the big moments of Earth's history and he said he wanted to attend a class of whoever invented the feather and learn about it because how amazing feathers are. So I wrote him a note and at the end said, "If opportunities for us to meet in the future do not present themselves I will see you at feather building class" and included a small feather. At the end of church he came up to me and shook my hand and with tears in his eyes said "Elder Blackburn, I'm gonna miss you too and when I see a feather I'll think of you." After that moment I realized what an impact this first area had on me. The next hard thing was telling Paul, my 8 year old buddy who I always joke with. He was really sad I was leaving and I felt so bad. It's like leaving another little brother. I wrote down their address so I can write him. 

The investigator we are teaching moved his baptism date to the 14th of July. :) so although I won't be here for it I was apart of it. He is an awesome kid and we just had to bump it back because we need time to teach him all the lessons. He was telling us that he's already thinking of serving a mission ha I love Mission Work. 2 years is so short of a time. It really is. Even though I've only been out for 3 3/4 months the time is speeding up. This week was really neat, we taught a ton of lessons and saw a lot of Kansas ha... I just can't fathom how much I have personally grown... I can't comprehend how it works but you grow so fast and it just happens if your an obedient Elder. In "Elder terms" your trainer is called your "dad" and your "born" in your first area so I was "born" in Pittsburg. ha so in our terms I'm getting a "little brother". So now I'm like a 15 year old and in your last area right before your 2 years is up you "die" there ha ha

I love you all,

Elder Blackburn

Monday, June 18, 2012


Elder Blackburn frequently draws pictures to go along with his letters to family and friends - above is a drawing he sent to his uncle Tim and family along with some dialog below -

Sprains and gains...

"So this week was pretty crazy! First off on Monday we had our Zone Outing with "flour ball" and I have given myself the nickname "Blackburn the Lamanite" because no one can hit me ha ha Get it? Like Samuel the Lamanite how he couldn't get hit? Funny? I thought so. After that fun day we were doing our morning exercises (which is just running @ PSU's Stadium) and as we're running my companion trips and I look over and he's on the ground and like OW! My ankle! It swells up pretty big and we luckily have a podiatrist in our Ward who we went and saw and he said he sprained it pretty good and now has crutches and a boot. That makes the work pretty slow... so we have been doing our best to get to appointments, etc. We will have the car on Wednesday so no worries. On Wednesday I went back up to Parsons, Kansas ha ha and I'm going up again this Wednesday! I call it my second area, we just have had a lot of exchanges... Mom, thanks for the care package! :D Thank you! I loved the ties and the root beer float gum! I chew it while studying because we're not supposed to chew gum while proselyting. ha I finished Doctrine and Covenants and wow just when I thought it couldn't get any better after the Book of Mormon, it did! The blessings of having a prophet are so great! Joseph Smith = the most incredible man of our dispensation. Read I think it is Doctrine and Covenants Section 135 about the Martrydom. John Taylor talks about what great men Joseph and Hyrum were. And Section 138 is just the icing on the cake! To end with a glorious vision! As you read, you can't help but here the hymn "the Spirit of God" play through your head. 

Yesterday a lady we taught came to church with us because she was visiting and it was awesome to see her beaming with the spirit (she was an investigator we taught a while back and she has since been baptized, confirmed, and done baptisms @ the Kansas City Temple) We get transfer calls this Saturday so next Monday if I get transferred. We'll see! Exciting times, This Elder has almost been out two transfers! Woot! 15 More transfers to go! ha ha :)
Love you all,"

Elder Blackburn the Lamanite

Monday, June 11, 2012

Service, hard work & miracles

"Hello everyone :) Hope you all had a great week!

Well, my week was good and filled with events. On Wednesday I had exchanges with Parsons so I traveled up there - we had fun and I occasionally like going up there ha ha. It is a pretty small town. 

Do you wanna hear a cool story? So yesterday @ church my companion and I both had to give talks, we found out we were the only speakers on the program so we did well each filling 30 mins. We both spoke on missionary work so it wasn't hard at all. "The most effective work for missionaries is when members do the finding and missionaries do the teaching..." -- Spencer W. Kimball. It's so true though, when a member finds someone for us to teach they have a personal interest and the investigator has way better chances of making it to baptism and staying active. So after sacrament we're talking to members and chit chatting when a young woman is like "Hey, do you want to teach an investigator?" as she points to a boy to her side. Me, "Of course! Come with us!" We taught this boy (18 years old) and he has already been reading the Book of Mormon and told us how he went to the Kansas City Temple open house and felt that it was right. And he said whenever he reads the Book of Mormon he feels that same feeling again. So we taught him the first lesson (Restoration) with our Ward Mission Leader and had a great lesson. The WML here has a terrific conversion story. Needless to say we committed him to baptism on June 23rd! Pretty cool, right? I immediately said a prayer, "Thank you for this Miracle." ha seriously ah... so good...Also I think it's inevitable that I will have an accent when I get home. I can tell I'm getting one ha. Today we are playing flour ball! We play it once a transfer, can you believe it's been a month since last time I played? I think we we'll both stay in this area one more transfer and then one of us will get moved. We find out on the 23rd if we are going to get moved or not, I'll keep you posted. I really want to get transferred down into Arkansas. I don't know why it just sounds fun. 

We did a lot of service this week: mowed 2 lawns, worked at the Wesley House (food for the needy), and helped with Habitat for Humanity (building houses for the homeless) It was a lot of fun, I learned how to shingle and how to make and place frames for windows. We also went to a Priesthood Meeting and the Stake President gave a great talk on how we live like the sailor story of the ones who got stranded on sea and how they died because they had no water even though water was everywhere (they were in the ocean) "Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink." And how we live in a world where salt water is all around us and how Jeremiah 3:11 talks about how fresh water and salt water can't coexist together. How we must remain pure even though salt water is all around us. Salt water is corrosive and dehydrates us and is bitter. Then he used SPAM as an example about our world today (because SPAM is mostly salt) S: Sex sick society (we need to remain morally clean), PA: Physical Appearance (don't worry over what you wear or how you look), M: Money (do not be greedy and set your heart upon wealth) Then his son also gave a talk and he used an interesting story that I really enjoyed."

"I have always loved the story of the son of King Louis XVI of France because he had an unshakable knowledge of his identity. As a young man, he was kidnapped by evil men who had dethroned his father, the king. These men knew that if they could destroy him morally, he would not be heir to the throne. For six months they subjected him to every vile thing life had to offer, and yet he never yielded under pressure. This puzzled his captors, and after doing everything they could think of, they asked him why he had such great moral strength. His reply was simple. He said, “I cannot do what you ask, for I was born to be a king.”

Like the king’s son, each of you has inherited a royal birthright. Each of you has a divine heritage. “You are literally the royal sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven.

Love You All,"

Elder Blackburn

Monday, June 4, 2012

Staying dogs, cats and a goat

Hi guys! :)
" Well, this week has been pretty busy (as usual) we did a lot of service which was fun because it lets you take your mind off of the regular stress of Missionary work. The weather has been pretty nice, it cooled down quite a bit and we had some good breezy days. Of course right as we trade the car off with Parson's it becomes super hot ha ha. Parsons is the area next closest to us so we are with them quite a bit...  A lot of our investigators have moved away so we were pretty sad but we picked up as many as we had so that was a nice blessing. On Saturday we were tracting and I was like, "Let's go to the guy's house with the goat." ha (So this house has a white goat outside that lives in a dog house and there is a guy that always yells something we can't understand at us every time we pass so we figured hey why not? Let's go see what happens) We knock on the door and out comes a guy who says, "hey I've been wanting a Book of Mormon." We talk for a little and invite him to church too. Guess what? He came! Woot! It was funny we had barely taught him anything and during the sacrament he tells us loudly "hey look at these trays, how convenient!" we shush him laughing ha ha. Hopefully we can teach him more but it was fun to have an investigator at church with us. It's interesting there are so many different churches in this area but so many people who don't see the need for church. Friday we had interviews with President Merkley! He is amazing and it is sad to see him and Sister Merkley go. But I know President and Sister Shumway will be great! It was a real boost because I was getting down again. This mission has a lot of challenges and sometimes they weigh you down! So you have to find ways to stay positive. :) I try to wave really excitedly at the cars that drive by and give them a real cheesy smile ha ha that always lightens my mood. Or I'll pretend I don't know how to ride a bike ha ha people look at you so funny. Our nerdy helmets are the icing on the cake. Missionaries have to be the only bikers who wear helmets. Heavenly Father's always there though, when you're feeling down, I don't think he sent us on missions to endure them but to enjoy them. How great is it that 19 - 21 year old boys are helping the Lord bring in the fruit! We are his harvesters :) It isn't supposed to be easy but it isn't supposed to bring you down either. Learn to rejoice in the smallest of victories. That is the key... Every dog out here wants to bite me it seems. Occasionally there are nice boxers to pet. There are cats all over this place. One street there was an old lady sitting on her porch and I think I counted 8 cats lying around her yard, one was lounging on the top of a car ha ha."

Spiritual thought:
"Brothers and sisters, the most powerful Being in the universe is the Father of your spirit. He knows you. He loves you with a perfect love," he said. "God sees you not only as a mortal being on a small planet who lives for a brief season. He sees you as His child. He sees you as the being you are capable and designed to become. He wants you to know that you matter to Him." --- Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I love that quote...

Have a great week!

Elder Blackburn

Book of Mormon summarized...

Elder Blackburn included the following synopsis of the Book of Mormon with his last letter.  At first I thought it was too long to post to the blog, but it was so good, we decided to get out of the way and let you enjoy his inspiring words -

"I just finished up the Book of Mormon yesterday. Wow what a spiritual adventure, I was glued to the book. I can't believe how a book can be so amazing. It should be called the "The Tragedy of the Nephite Nation" It is so sad how they go through the pride cycle... They are humbled, they repent (due to the prophets showing them miracles and speaking plainly to them) then they become prosperous (wear costly apparel have all manner of gold, silver, and ore) then they forget the Lord and boast of themselves and want to establish a king...Then they separate themselves and become "weak like unto the Lamanites" (Helaman 4:24) then they fight and prophets preach and the cycle begins again. Through this cycle we meet many courageous and valiant men such as Captain Moroni who was appointed all the Nephite army at the age of 25! In Alma 48:17 we learn what kind of character he was, "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." Wow...I want to be just like Moroni when I grow up! ha ha Then the story of the two thousand stripling warriors fighting many battles and "not one soul being lost"... "they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness"...Alma 57:21. So I learned if I want to become like the two thousand stripling warriors I must follow my commands exactly (obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles) Moroni, Lehi, and Teancum are what I call "super" chief captains. Then comes the Gadianton filth started by Kishkumen who murders Pahoran the second! Kishkumen flees the sight and joins Gadianton "who was exceedingly expert in many words, and also in his craft to carry on the secret work of murder and robbery" (Helaman 2:4) Then Nephi and Lehi, sons of Helaman, go and preach and bring many people to repentance and baptism. The Lamanites become so righteous they begin to preach unto the Nephites! (total role reversal right? ha) They both become friends and unite against the robbers who had become very powerful. (After Nephi cries on the garden tower and prophecies of the Chief Judge's murder and Samuel the Lamanite preaches to the wicked Nephites) Then Christ is born and mostly everyone believes and they defend against the scary robbers (3 Nephi 4:7) however the Nephites were brave (3 Nephi 4:10) They have peace but then become wicked and then tempests and storms tear down there cities and there is 3 days of complete and utter darkness. They hear Christ speaking to him, the father announces his son, and Jesus descends and teaches them his gospel and his doctrine. They enjoy two hundred years of peace until they become wicked again, so wicked that Mormon is not allowed to preach, he sadly leads the armies (at 16 years old! He is a lot like Moroni) and then refuses because they are so wicked and then leads them again to the biggest battle where 220,000 Nephites are destroyed and all but Moroni and 24 others (who are hunted down) are left. Moroni becomes the last Nephite and it is sad to read his words. You can't help but feel so sad for the Nephites... (He then abridges the plates of Ether which is another sad story) He writes about how the sacrament and ordaining should work and baptism and seals up the plates after his final testimony in Moroni ch.10. This book is true. Those events happened. They are the accounts of real people and their real interactions. Alright, now I'll climb down from my soap box and get to the details of the week prior."