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

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