Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Howdy Y'all

We had an awesome week and taught a bunch of lessons...more than I have ever taught in a week on my mission. It has been good and we are working with a lot of people, mostly less-actives. Our mission Pres is super hard working and always tells us that he can outwork any of us and always says, "We're so good, I don't know why we aren't better." He is a down-to-business kinda guy and really stresses our obedience and diligence as missionaries. I feel that he knows each of us and knows me personally pretty well too, he thinks I'm really funny for some reason...but I feel like he also trusts me too. He is a good guy and his wife, Sister Shumway, is just super sweet and nice and reminds me of having a mom out here. They're like our "substitute parents" while we are out here.
We were all in zombie mode yesterday because we are just so wore out from working non-stop, it is great to be in a trio because we only need one person to come with us and we can split up and hit double the appointments. I like our ward mission leader Brother Gephard, the german, I went with him on splits and while I was with him he taught me all the names of the farm animals in german. This email isn't going to be super long I apologize for that....just remember Mosiah 2:41---if we keep the commandments the Lord will bless us temporally and spiritually and we will some day dwell with him in a state of never ending happiness. What a great scripture.

Elder Blackburn

Monday, August 19, 2013

Great new companions and time at the rodeo...

At the Rodeo with some good Amish folks...
The "super Trio" doing good works in Pryor, OK

So transfers came and now I'm in a pretty small town...not much in it at all...but I have the two coolest companions okay get this...

Elder White--been out 3 months, from San Diego, convert to the church in October 2011, used to be a huge punk has a bunch of tattoos and is the only member in his family. He is so awesome, wants to be 100% obedient and is the nicest guy ever, he still has holes in his ears from his gauges he used to wear. It is so awesome to have him because he relates with EVERYONE. He is very diligent and hardworking and does not take anything for granted because each aspect of the gospel/missionary work means so much to him. He's is going to work me into the ground and I'm so excited to have a companion who wants to do just that.

Elder Gallegos--been out 4 days, headed to the Floranopolis, Brazil Mission, knows Spanish and English and can speak like 75% Portuguese. He is pretty much a professional soccer player, played for the Mexico National team and for the Houston Dynamo academy. He chose to give up playing internationally to go on a mission and focus more on the gospel. He is teaching me Portuguese and we read the Book of Mormon in Portuguese at night together. He is mi amigo.

So pretty much I have the two coolest companions ever...and I top the trio off by just being a goofy kid from Utah...

The small town that we are serving in used to be a senior couple area for the past 4 years, and are happy to have elders. The success Elder White's been having already has been super good and we know we can teach and baptize many.

The first full day we were out here a less active family took us to the small outlying town of "Locust Grove" to see a rodeo. I really like the 'calf-roping' portion of the rodeo. The bucking bronco and bull riding is pretty intense but it can be VERY dangerous. So I think if I ever did rodeo it would be cattle roping for sure.

At transfer point an elder came up to me who was brand new to the mission and told me that as soon as he got his mission call he searched on Google and found my blog and read every single article on it and told me that he enjoyed it a lot and it was a big part of what made him want to come out here, and that meeting me was like meeting a celebrity. I was super flattered and just stunned that someone actually took the time to read what I have been writing. So it was a major boost to me to hear him say those nice things to me.

It was hard to say goodbye to Fayetteville...I gave tie I had that was golden colored to

my "Golden Investigator" ha ha

------>Lately I've been studying in the Book of Ether (because that's where I am at right now) and I found a lot of scriptures that hadn't caught my attention before (<--- I love when that happens, you catch yourself going "What? how did I miss that before?" or "who's been adding scriptures in here?" ha ha)

In Ether 2: 23-25 it portrays a classic example of how revelation and problem-solving through prayer works.

The Brother of Jared prays and says please don't suffer us to go across the ocean in darkness and the Lord responds, " What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?" He knows what the answers are already and what needs to be done but he gives the Brother of Jared some hints first and then lets him figure it out himself. He says "Hey you can't have windows they'd break to pieces and you can't have fire, so go figure out what needs to be done and then come to me with what you have found out and we'll make it work" Heavenly Father wants to help us and can help us but he expects us to do all we can first. He is not there to solve our problems for us. That's why we are here on Earth, to have problems and figure them out ourselves while working with the Lord. So through pondering, study, thought, and action on those thoughts, we come up with and take our solutions we have come up with to the Lord for confirmation. And if what we have done is good than he will grant us what we need. So the Brother of Jared makes the stones and then offers a very humble prayer at the beginning of Ether Ch. 3 and asks for the final touch to his solution to the problem of not having light for the vessels. And in the process has so much faith that the Lord will help him that he sees Christ and no longer has faith because he knew, nothing doubting. He says though that we can have that experience too, check out Ether 4:7, 15.

Since there are three of us we have given ourselves the nickname of being the "3 Nephites" ha

This Church is true, Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and President Monson is a prophet of God and holds all the keys of the Priesthood on Earth to officiate and administrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our day. What a blessing to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Love you all,
Elder Blackburn

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


After 14 amazing months I am getting transferred to Oklahoma...

my new address is:

3279 Oakwood Rd Apt. B

Pryor, OK

Arkansas has been so wonderful to me, it will be hard for me to leave it :')

So this week will be full of goodbyes and so longs! This ward has been my favorite thus far and I have made so many friends. I will definitely be visiting Fayetteville, AR again someday. The week went okay, just contacting a lot of less-actives and helping with different service projects. We introduced our newest member to his new home teachers and they told him how strong the spirit was being around him and how happy he looked - this Brother then told us how he had been searching for a church for a couple of years and had come to the conclusion that none of the churches he had been to were the true church and then we showed up and showed him the way. I just couldn't believe the words he was saying, he was actually someone prepared to hear the gospel and I had had the opportunity to teach and bring him into the fold. It will be super tough to say goodbye with him...I wrote him a card (well, I wrote lots of people little 'thank you' cards) and in his card I told him that he has been a major part of my experience here in Fayetteville and in my mission as a whole. I also thanked him for preparing himself and for taking the invitation to be baptized and for strengthening my testimony. I can truly say without any doubt that the Lord is preparing people for the gospel. What a joy it is to serve!

Elder Blackburn

Monday, August 5, 2013

Testimony of truths around us...

Hey! Not much has happened this week just another fun, hard week. I am so excited for Hannah and Mitch to get married this Saturday...I'm pretty sad I will miss out on the fun experience! And wow Hannah's been through the temple now huh? That's crazy...tell her to write me about what she thought of it/her experience. It has been really rainy the past month, this summer has been a hundred times better than last summer...(last summer it was in the 100's for like a month) but this summer it has been in the 80's upper 70's and lots of rain so I have just loved it! The reason I'm writing so late is because the Prairie Grove Elders (Elder Porter and Andra) came up early to eat breakfast with us and study and workout so we are all hanging out today! Tell Elder Porter's parents that he is doing so awesome!!! I love having him up here, It's a party ever P-day... I hope you send me a million pics of the wedding/festivities, where are they going for their honeymoon? I am oblivious to what's going on...Oh well. The other day we were helping at the Palmer's farm and we were picking blackberries and I just had a duh! moment. As I was eating a few and just enjoying myself I just thought wow, why would a plant just make a sweet, life sustaining fruit/vegetable? It makes no sense other than for the use of man. Everything has been divinely designed by a loving Heavenly Father for our use and to make one happy. He truly does love us. He makes wonderful animals, from loving dogs to working horses to pollinating bees to song singing birds to meat bearing/milk making cattle to tasty fish, to trees for making buildings and furniture to plants that make beautiful flowers to plants that bear fruit, to plants that bear medicinal herbs, EVERYTHING is there for our betterment.

Alma 30:44
44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of aall these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and call things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

We are so lucky to have the knowledge that we are the children of the of the Supreme Creator. For the Spirit beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God and if children than heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him that we may be also glorified together. <---is Romans 8:16-17

This Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has to be true, how else can a boy like me find joy and become happy just by reading a book about some group called the Nephites?...It has to be true..if it were not I would not be enlightened by it, yet I am, if it were not true I would not feel the spirit, yet I do, if it were not true I would not have a hope of the future, yet I have hope, if it were not true it would not make me a better person, yet it does. The Book of Mormon truly is the keystone of our religion and if one wants to solidify their testimony of the church all one has to do is gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and if it be true than all else is. And if that is not enough you can prove God with a single doctrine (such as prayer, tithing, church attendance, etc.) and see if he will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that you may not have room enough to receive it. Isn't that amazing we can test God to see if an aspect of the Gospel is true or not! What other religion says for you to test God and find out for yourself? If the Book of Mormon is true, we can rest assured that it is all true. I am so grateful for my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was a prophet and the Book is true! The Book of Mormon is unlike anything else, you get what you put into it, so if you want a strong testimony, give it disciplined reading and all your concentration as you read and study it. I promise if you do this you will become converted to the truth and never fall away just as the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's were.

Alma 23:6

6 And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.


Elder Blackburn