Monday, April 29, 2013

Tracting, Teaching and more dogs...

It has rained a ton lately and I guess has been a very wet year for Arkansas already. (which is good because of the drought last year) We did a lot of tracting which is always a joy. We had a lot of success at Apartment complexes. At one house in particular we knocked and some guys opened it and said, "Yo the christians are at the door."....then a guy in the back yells, "Hey no mormons allowed!" So then we left ha. It's always fun meeting new people, most of the time I just try to strike up a small conversation so that we don't scare them by throwing a Book of Mormon in their face and telling them to read it. I told the Elder's Quorum and High Priest's to use us hometeaching and so yesterday we went hometeaching! It was a lot of fun, visiting members. The two brothers we went with are very funny too. One of them has a neat story. He has only been a member for two years and before that he was a baptist. He has a super strong accent and told us how missionaries just tracted into him and he let them in and they "got to talkin'" and even though his granny said they "was all devil worshippers and satanists" he said at one time he would go to the Baptist church in the mornings and then go to the LDS church in the afternoon. He quit smoking and drinking and a week after being baptized "found himself a wife while walking down the halls of the church!"  He said at first his family was real hesitant and scared for him but now they really like the church now that they know more about it. The other guy who came with us is the Gospel Doctrine teacher and he is so good at teaching. He is very funny and he has the whole class laughing and having fun, just a real nice humble guy with a good sense of humor. One investigator we found is nice and I feel has great potential so we are excited. She has a bunch of dogs, they are chihuahua's and very yappy and one is pregnant and she said they they usually have 5-9 puppies in a litter and I was like "What? Seriously outta that dog?" I was just really shocked that chihuahuas can have that many, must be the size of gumballs or something sheesh. We also (funny story) tracted into this guy who was in his garage working on making a chicken house and he had a punch colored drink and I'm like "Hey what'ya drinkin' there?" and he says, "Oh that's a mix of vodka and cranberry juice, you know we Catholics get started early." he then showed us the tree house he made for his kids and it was so cool!  a mechanical engineer and built a three story tree house! It was really cool. He also has the cutest dog. A Bull Mastiff, they are like giant Pugs, seriously they are. And the dog put his paws on my arm and they are giant and he sniffed my face and it's rather intimidating, it's like a bear sniffing your face or something haha. Definitely going back to see him again.  Also the Bishop of our Ward's son got his mission call and opened it up yesterday and he's going to the Terisina, Brazil Mission. I told him we'd take him tracting a bunch before he leaves so that he can experience what it's like to be rejected before he heads down to a high baptizing mission like Brazil haha. I just finished Miracle of Forgiveness and wow! So good! President Kimball really gives sin a nice kick to the pants. It teaches you so much and really made me learn what repentance is all about.

Well, until next time.

Elder Blackburn

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fayetteville week #2

So this week has been pretty slow, due to the shotgunning and the area didn't have much going on we get the privilege of starting it up again! So future Elders/Sisters note to self: keep your area book updated and leave an area better than you found it. This week after companionship study we have what's called "Bike Sesh" (short for session) because we need to use our bikes more in this area and Elder Archibald doesn't know how to ride one....but he does now! Boo-yah! We are almost ready for lift off down here. Better look out there's a new biker on the road. I wish I was from like...another country because people really seem to be deterred when we both say we're from I just say I'm from Mexico and fake a spanish just kidding...I wouldn't do that...---->aside from the joking I have been feasting upon another book and this time I took the "Miracle of Forgiveness" by President Spencer W. Kimball to the taking. It is a great read and a good fast paced doctrinal book covering all sorts of sins and why they are sins and the harmful effects they have on us and to our spirits and how we can be forgiven. I have really enjoyed it and he uses a great balance of quotes and stories that give you not only "food for thought"-but a whole feast for thought, I thoroughly recommend it to any one looking to better themselves in the quest of enduring to the end. Yesterday the OTM did something quite eventful. About 2/3's of the mission drove to Tulsa to listen to Bishop Dean M. Davies of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church speak to us missionaries. It was really fun because the ward mission leader in Siloam Springs rented a 15 passenger van and took about half the zone. He gave a great talk and explained to the responsibilities of the presiding bishopric. (They cover all the temporal needs of the church, they are the presiding authority for the Aaronic Priesthood, and they cover things like communication, finances, welfare, security, humanitarian, construction, etc.) He explained also about is an acronym for Discouraged (which leads to...)--->Idleness (which leads to...)--->Murmuring (which leads to...)--->Sin

So don't get caught in the DIMS Cycle!

Elder Blackburn

Dinner with the Bishop

We received a surprise email last night from the Bishop of the Fayetteville 1st Ward who had them over for dinner last night.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

SEC Territory

Well, I'm getting settled here in beeeeautiful Fayetteville, Arkansas! Seriously, it is super pretty and the campus is gorgeous. And the Stadium is HUGE, welcome to the SEC. Makes Romney Stadium look like a jr. high stadium. My new companion is Elder Archibald and I are getting to know each other but it will be good.

The Ward is very nice and a lot of fun. We ate at the Harvey's last night (the owner's of Beehive Mercantile) and they are so nice and fun. The only thing is the zone leaders (that's what area this used to be) didn't pass around their dinner/exchange calendar and didn't have a lot of work going on...being shotgunned into an area is usually rough...but once things get going it gets a lot better.

Conference last week was so good! I thought all the speakers were all intense. Elder Holland's was my favorite "Fan the flame of faith first!" I love expecting his talks at conference, it's like waiting for a punch to the stomach that feels good. ha ha You can tell that as the last days keep approaching the talks are getting a little more serious (not that they haven't been but they are more direct and straight up) A guy in the ward served in Venezuela too but he is younger he was wondering what areas Dad served in. And also (small world instance) the aunt of Spencer Moore/Jeremiah Moore lives in this ward. Crazy, right?

It was hard to say goodbye to the Har-Ber Ward. A lot of people were sad we were leaving :'( 'tis the toils of transfers. Did you get my package I sent home yet? Also, (cool note) this apartment has all to ensigns back to like 1972, seriously, every one. So I am excited to devour the knowledge in them right up. Sorry this email show's my 'scatter-brained-ness' right now as I am trying to figure this area out.

Hope you are all doing well :)
Elder Blackburn

Monday, April 8, 2013


Well, I'm on to another area!
Here's my new address:

78 N Aqua Crossing Apt. 11
Fayetteville, AR

It's sad I've got to leave this area...Oh well, on to bigger adventures I new companion is Elder Archibald. I am just going a little ways over. Fayetteville is where University of Arkansas is located.

That was an incredible conference. Some of my favorite talks included Elder Bednar's, Elder Hales', Elder Perry's, and Elder Holland's. So powerful, the spirit is overwhelming when they speak. I am going to like every session I can when I'm home. I can't believe I have been to one before! General Conference goes so fast...I wish it were longer.

I am so grateful to know the truth and to be in the church that has true and living prophets that receive revelations on our behalf and warn us of the dangers the adversary is cookin' up for us. What a privilege it is for me to be a servant of the lord at this historic time where there are more missionaries than ever. I'm so grateful to live at this on the Earth. We thank the Oh God, for a Prophet! I can't say it enough!

I don't have a lot of time sorry,
I'll talk about conference next week I've got a lot of packing and goodbye-ing to do... :(
Elder Blackburn

Monday, April 1, 2013

Exploring Arkansas, tracting and a little soccer...

Hey Family and Friends!

"Today is a beautiful day here in Springdale, Arkansas. And it has also been a great week topped off with a good Easter. I'm super jealous that there was a MLB game in Salt Lake! Oh my, everything cool happens while I'm gone no big deal. The reason I'm writing late is because this morning we decided to go adventuring and explored local creeks and poked around for arrowheads. It was really fun because we asked this lady if we could explore her huge backyard that had this big creek running through and she said no problem do whatever you want! So we explored and her farm dogs followed us and chased bunnies while we hiked around. I love Arkansas. It is beautiful, green, has many creeks, back woodsy places, hidden valleys, and pastures with lots of cows and horses. Every farm has a couple cute dogs too. I'm still way exhausted and could probably sleep for a week solid due to all the biking we do. Seriously, we bike a lot. I enjoy it though, bikes are awesome and so great to maneuver through a town and contact people on the street. So Springdale has a huge population of Marshallese people from the Marshall Islands because they all work for Tyson foods. So we have a Marshallese branch and it is fun, it adds islander flavor to the city. We were tracting and I saw some young 7-9 year old kids playing soccer and so I immediately took off my backpack and asked if I could join and after showing off a little bit they were like "Wow! He's amazing!" and they'd ask me "Where'd you learn Soccer?" and they'd say "Wow, I thought he's English!" ha it was a lot of fun and we played for a good 30 minutes and were all laughing and having a good time. So I got a glimpse of what a foreign mission would've been like to just play on the streets with kids, so I'm grateful Heavenly Father let me have a taste of that. The week has been pretty good we have found a lot of investigators tracting but they are all just starting out and we don't really have anyone close to baptism yet or anything. A lot of people just want to meet like once a week, which is hard because we need to see them like every other day. One of our investigators, was taught about the plan of salvation...she has had a tough life and I was just like look this gospel is true and I don't know why you have such anger inside of you towards life but I know one thing, this gospel if lived can and will make you happy and will change your life and you will become the daughter of God he created you to be. After a little more "straight-up" talk she was asking what she needed to do to become a Mormon and how she needed to start acting to become one. It was cool, boldness as a missionary can really help get discussions back on the right track but not overly bold just enough to get them thinking. I love little kids so much, all the kids in the ward seem to know who I am and always come up and shake my hand and know that I'm a big tease ha it is a lot of fun. I just am in such a good place. I wish I could do this the rest of my life. I can be a missionary the rest of my life but not how it is now ya know? I am grateful Heavenly Father blessed me with a testimony so that I could give him two years of my service and know that it is not a waste or detour in life but an extreme time of growth for a boy like me to learn how to become a man of God. I love this gospel and just am brim with joy that I know that it is true without a doubt and that I didn't really have to look hard to find it, that I was blessed to be born into a father and mother already sealed together and strong members of the faith and that through them I was almost just born with a testimony, it feels like I just have always known it is true and as I read the scriptures and study the words of the prophets and apostles it just gets stronger and stronger. We have been blessed with so much and although many people believe that this life is a place of suffering, we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know that, that suffering is really a blessing. What a joy it is to live in this world full of "mists of darkness" to see things clearly through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It makes life worth living! Worth rejoicing over! Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have JOY. God created us to have JOY. The sorrow and suffering we feel is, in the next life, truly going to feel 'but a small moment'. Isn't it great to think that the Fall happened so that we have time to prepare to meet our Father? We have a Savior that already did the unachievable and we now have a way back if we but choose. I heard an interesting talk about how those who will end up in 'hell' chose to. We choose to be happy or to be sad. We choose to good or bad decisions. We can choose Eternal Life and if you are reading this and feel like there is no way you can or no way you can right some wrongs or become the daughter/son of God you were created to be you are mistaken, there is always time and although repentance might sting a little at first, God's love will fill your whole soul and 'though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow' and 'he who repenteth of his sins the same is forgiven and I the Lord remember them no more'. Christ is always waiting for us to use his Atonement. Remember, the Atonement covers all things not just sins, it can help us through pain, through sorrow, through sickness. Don't compare yourself to others, don't beat yourself up, don't say you aren't good enough, because although we may be below the dust of the Earth, we are EVERYTHING to God, and he's rooting for you to make it back to him."


Elder Blackburn