Monday, January 14, 2013

Busy in Arkansas

Note:  due to some changes with companionships, Elder Blackburn is temporarily working alongside two other Elders - so the three of them are hard at work in the Centerton area until the next transfer!

Hey guys!
This week has been really good we did a BUNCH of work. Taught lots of lessons. We've started doing a lot of active member lessons specified towards missionary work with an outline that President Shumway gave to us in order to get more referrals and the ward members geared towards the finding efforts. It seems to be working.... Since we have a car and since I was, I guess, adopted into the Centerton area we are doing quite a bit of work now that we have to cover three areas. The Centerton ward is really cool and some of the members are high up in Walmart. 

So during this week I have recently had my testimony strengthened in the doctrine behind John 14:26-27/2 Nephi 33:1/2 Nephi 32:3/Romans 10:17

The Holy Ghost is such a key to missionary work that if we do not have the Holy Ghost as missionaries we won't teach people, we just won't, missionary work cannot work without the Spirit. The reason behind that is because just like Nephi says it, "Carries it unto the hearts of the children of men..." The Spirit is the reason people become converted. Our job as missionaries is to be the middle man, we teach, testify, and tell them what they need to do in order to have a spiritual experience and communicate with their Heavenly Father. We help them, through the Spirit, tap into that communication line and establish that necessary relationship to receive revelation. We can't have that connection for them, we tell them how to plug in their prayer line to Heavenly Father's receiver and if they do it they will receive an answer (It is so cool that we can promise that they can/will receive an answer). And we must have the Holy Ghost so that when we testify it will "prick" their hearts in order for them to do the commitments we leave which, as Joseph Smith says, "press on their mind" the things they should do which if they do the commitments it will become prayer which will become personal revelation which will become repentance which will become testimony which will become conversion which will become baptism.
I guess this would be the steps:
We prepare to teach them (The Spirit helps us know what to teach them and what their needs are)<
We teach and testify with the Spirit<
The Spirit touches their heart<
They start to read the Book of Mormon, or pray, or come to Church (whatever the commitment was)<
They get personal revelation (an answer confirming the truth)<
They start to repent through fervent prayer<
The feelings they feel and spiritual experiences they have while in this process become something real and concrete the experiences into a testimony<As they repent they want to make covenants and will do anything to do what God wants them to do (they are converted)<
They are baptized and then they have entered the gate of the strait and narrow path.

"Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost."

But it all starts with us having the Spirit to know what they need to hear so that the Spirit will "Prick" their hearts and they will ask us just like Peter of Old,
"Men and Brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the holy ghost."

So this whole process is dependent upon two things: The Spirit and their agency
One of the hardest things to understand as a missionary that even if a lesson goes absolutely perfect they can still choose to not accept and it is really hard because you prepare so much and pour out your heart to them and you think to yourself there is no way they aren't feeling the Spirit right now, but sometimes they just don't accept and you don't understand because you are telling them exactly what they need to hear: The Gospel of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all the answers they need in order to have maximum joy down here on Earth and what steps they need to do in order to return to a loving Heavenly Father who didn't place them here alone and hopless he placed them here WITH a way back (Gospel) and WITH a guide and comforter (Holy Ghost) and WITH an savior who atoned and took upon himself all of our sins/afflictions/trials who is our example (The Savior) and WITH a road map (The Scriptures) WITH a spokesperson (The Prophet) WITH his power and authority (The Priesthood) and the assurance that, through sacred ordinances, they can be with their family forever.

I don't know what I did in the Pre-mortal realm to be so lucky here in this mortal life so I just thank Heavenly Father for my being able to be born to goodly parents who had a testimony of the Restored Gospel and of our Savior, who raised me in righteousness and by virtue of the priesthood, by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— and for being reproved at betimes with sharpness, when my parents were moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward me when I was reproved;

The Gospel is true and I am grateful for every. little. part. of. it. and for a loving Heavenly Father who created the universe and worlds without number yet, who notices the fall of every sparrow.

Elder Blackburn

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