Monday, October 29, 2012

Another Baptism...and another six weeks in AR

"Well, transfer calls came on Saturday and I am here for another 6 weeks. No change in companion either so we are excited!  I think after this next transfer I will leave. So on Saturday we had another baptism! And I forgot to bring my camera here to the library so, I don't have the picture with me but it was so special. It was amazing and gosh, missionary work has it's ups and downs but this just made it all better. So the sister we baptized has had a long road to the font and I was just so darn proud of her. It just shows how the spirit and gospel takes time and it does change people. I will try to explain the story. She has a super less active husband and we met with them a lot my first transfer here in July and I thought wow, this might take longer than expected but overtime I've been able to watch the whole family progress and her son is being baptized in two weeks! At first the spirit in the home was of chaos, kids were being crazy, they were frustrated and it just seemed like a problem always arose to stop them from progressing. But after consistent lessons and never giving up, and suddenly their countenances started to change. The lessons started to sink in. It was nothing short of a miracle! Now the spirit in there home is calmer and loving. I told them, "Wow, the Spirit in your home is so nice! I love it!" Her son said the closing prayer at the Baptism and he was so nervous but he did such a great job and it was really special. These precious moments are the diamonds of the missionary mine I like to say. After tons and tons and tons of digging and coming up with nothing but a growing pile of dirt and rocks you finally come across a beautiful diamond. (It can go more in depth too because a diamond has to undergo a lot of time and pressure or in a spiritual sense trials or acts of faith first, so early missionaries start the process and some get to mine them up kind of a different spin on the sower analogy) I will always hold their family close to my heart and I am so happy I was here to see this whole experience. I don't have much to say today, just that no matter how low you think you are or how lost you think you may be the gospel and the Atonement of Christ can always find you and pull you back up or put you back on track. When I talk to people tracting or investigators I just picture in my head that they are already members! It makes it fun and replaces the doubts you have. I don't think I have ever been happier and sadder in my life then on my mission. At times you feel you have no one to teach and it seems all your investigators are falling away and you just throw yourself on your bed and cry because you love them and know that the gospel can change them but they just don't try or they don't listen or don't believe in what you are telling them. But when you see an investigator work through trials and enter those waters of baptism you can't be happier! Your heart is "brim with joy" as Ammon says of his own missionary experiences with the Lamanites. All these moments brought to us because of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for that sacrifice. I often ask myself why did he do it? Why? Why put yourself through so much for us? For me? He loves us. He loves me. He wants us to return. He knows our potential and wants us to reach it. He knew we had fallen but with his help we can rise! His experience was incredibly horrifying but he went through with it. He pleaded with the Father to take this cup from me. Please don't make me do it, find another way, please! But an angel came and probably told him you must go through with it but it is your choice, Heavenly Father knew you could do it and that's why he chose you and ordained you, if you don't everything you helped create will go back to outer chaos, you are the only one who can save your Father's children. So Jesus made that choice that he would go through with it and he did. Thy will be done and he took that bitter cup and drank it all. It wasn't a mere kneeling prayer, he threw himself across the ground and fell on his face, so much blood was going through his circulatory system that it was forced through his sweat glands and great drops of blood fell from his pores...That pure, innocent lamb, a harsh word never left his mouth, nor a bad thought enter into his mind and he went through so much and after that Atonement he then went through torture and was treated like a vile criminal...Heavenly Father's little boy, his Son, smitten, striped, slapped, spat on, and for what? He never fought back or spoke back, he took it all and after being striped by a cat of nine tails he was given his cross and forced to march. He was so kind, so gentle, he spent his days healing the blind, the sick, the diseased, the people no one wanted to be around or care about. Upon the cross, to make the total experience complete Heavenly Father had to with draw his presence from his Son to see if Jesus would finish the task. Christ asked in agony why have you forsaken me? But he took it and said it is finished. He had done it and he did do it, Christ has atoned for our sins. He won! Christ has won death and overcome the world! Believe it!"

Elder Blackburn

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